Tag Archives: marketing

Science, creativity, and contradiction: the making of a modern TV ad

3 Oct Indeed TV Ad

In this age of ubiquitous technology, it should be quick and easy to create a 30-second TV advertisement. How complex can it be? The answer: shockingly hard if you do it right. To get TV advertising right requires a near impossible mix of science and creativity – disciplines that are in many ways diametrically opposed. It requires small teams that protect the purity of great ideas and big audiences that provide the feedback required to avoid mistakes. Great ads requires creative ideas that strike the most personal human chords with an appeal that spans cultures and continents.

Among all of these contradictions, the core challenge of advertising is that you are delivering a message that nobody is looking to hear. When it comes to both TV and online video, the ads are the price of the programming and the competition is steep — in the U.S. the average person is exposed to more than 5,000 brands and ads every day.

And many companies are organized to systematically dilute the power of great ideas. Creative advertising requires powerful ideas, emotion, and beautiful execution. Science requires the sort of measurement and optimization that slowly erodes the punch out of many creative endeavors. Keeping performance and creative impact in balance is difficult. Too many powerfully creative ideas are weakened by endless rounds of negotiation, revision, and compromise.

Embracing these challenges, today our team at Indeed launched the first ad in our latest global TV campaign. The ad, titled “what / where” in reference to the highlighted Indeed search boxes that are featured throughout, will begin airing today in the United States. Additional versions will start to appear in 6 other countries over the next few weeks.

This is my favorite Indeed ad yet — for me it strikes the right balance between emotion, inspiration, and performance. Like many strong ads, the final version is very similar to the first concept. We’ve  worked hard to make sure that our tweaks didn’t erode the power of the creative idea.

While the creative idea was the starting point, we had four practical things we wanted to accomplish with this ad:

  1. Performance: Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. After family and health, career may be the most important dimension in our lives. We know that if someone hasn’t heard of Indeed, we won’t be able to help them get a job. We advertise to drive awareness and carefully benchmark for each ad the cost per new person aware of Indeed in the labor force.
  2. Salience: We hope people will think about Indeed when they think about looking for a job. We want people to know that we’re the largest job site in the world, that we are a search engine for jobs (not a job board), and that an incredible # of new jobs are added to Indeed every day. We look for ads that build memory structures around these ideas.
  3. Global Relevance: We’re working hard to build Indeed into a global brand. To this end, we look for campaign ideas that get to the heart of human emotion, hopefully transcending culture and geographic boundaries. Practically speaking, we try to design TV ads that can be adapted to work in many markets around the world.
  4. Effective across multiple media channels: We talk about TV but we run adapted versions of our ads on youtube, full episode players like Hulu, other digital video networks, and social networks like facebook. This ad, in particular, was designed to work with or without sound.

And as we developed the ad, we did three interesting things:

  1. Protect the creative idea: By keeping our internal advertising teams small and by ensuring that we have minimal processes for internal review, we try to limit the number of people designing, reviewing, and refining an ad. Our goal is to keep the creative idea as intact as possible as we bring the ad from concept to launch.
  2. Transparent development: In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of transparency as a core marketing value. With this belief, we’ve made our entire advertising development process completely open and transparent within Indeed. Any of our 3,000+ employees can see all of the 500+ ad ideas we’re working at any time. We solicited company-wide feedback on the four most promising concepts prior to the final round of edits. The feedback was phenomenal — it helped is make the ads more relevant to more people around the world.
  3. Pre-launch testing & benchmarking based on emotion: Finally, when we have an ad that we think might meet all these requirements, we test and measure the emotional reactions to the ad in markets around the world. We then benchmark this measured emotional response against a database of ads to model likely performance. Only if it tests better than all of our previous ads will we put it into market.

So that’s it — the difficult process of creating a good global TV ad. And even with all of that work and preparation, we won’t know how many people a new ad can help to find jobs until we release it at scale globally.

Public Relations, the “Comma Comma” Effect, and the Health of Your Brand

10 Dec

When media covers your brand, they’ll summarize the zeitgeist of your company’s identity with a handful of words that distill what readers or viewers need to know in the most succinct possible form.

For example, a recent article in the New York Times on Volkswagen started with: “Volkswagen, the German automaker, now at the center of a firestorm over its cheating on diesel emissions, . . .” using a sentence between commas to provide context to readers on what Volkswagen does and how they are currently perceived.

For brands regularly covered in the media, the  “comma comma” effect refers to the common descriptor that becomes used across multiple media channels as the shape of a public brand forms.

A major newspaper or media provider’s “comma comma” description of your company can be an important gauge of the health of your brand. No matter what words are used to describe your company in a press release or announcement, good journalists will always choose non-promotional descriptive language that reduces your identity to what people really need to know. This independent, and sometimes brutally honest, description can provide a good read on how a company is perceived.

For example, we can look at the “comma comma” description of Volkswagen over the last 73 years to see exactly how the brand has evolved in the eyes of American journalists. Over this period, the New York Times has continually evolved their description of the company as the Volkswagen brand’s role in the world has shifted.

Here are the last 70 years of “comma comma” descriptions of Volkswagen from the New York Times:

  • Volkswagen, a small german automobile (1942)
  • Volkswagen, a german version of a jeep (1944)
  • Volkswagen, the German people’s car that Adolf Hitler promised to his faithful (1945)
  • Volkswagen, or “people’s car” (1947)
  • Volkswagen, or People’s Automobile (1950)
  • Volkswagen, the biggest European producer of low-cost automobiles (1954)
  • Volkswagen, the biggest single exporter of cars to the United States (1955)
  • Volkswagen, West Germany’s largest exporter (1969)
  • Volkswagen, West Germany’s biggest car maker (1984)
  • Volkswagen, Europe’s largest auto maker (1993)
  • Volkswagen, Europe’s largest car maker (2000)
  • Volkswagen, Europe’s largest car maker (2002)
  • Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest auto maker (2007)
  • Volkswagen, Europe’s largest auto maker (2013)
  • Volkswagen, the German automaker, now at the center of a firestorm over its cheating on diesel emissions (2015)

Every marketer and communications professional has a set of messages and attributes that they hope people will think of when they think of their brand. One of the interesting things is to see how often these messages are pulled through in media descriptions of your company. For Volkswagen, the “comma comma” description often included powerful proof points related to the company’s size and clout. In bad times, it framed the company based on its problems.

Since the strength of a brand is also related to the consistency of perception, it can be interesting to look at the way that a brand is described across multiple media channels. If different publications and media providers describe your brand differently, or have trouble understanding what you really do, it’s probably sign of the broader perception challenges your brand is facing.

 

 

 

 

Facebook Email Targeting & CRM Retargeting: Important New Tools for Marketers

1 Oct

Email marketing is a delicate art. In today’s world, fewer than 1/5 of recipients will open a commercial email message. For every 10 people who click on an email link, one person permanently opts out. While new subscribers are likely to open and click, results fall-off by 65% or more within just 4 months of email list subscription.

For most marketing organizations, email lists are full of high-potential contacts who no longer wish to receive email. In B2B, this is particularly an issue in businesses with  long sales cycles and high levels of lifetime customer value. While a prospect may be interested in a product or solution, they may not want to receive any commercial email.

A few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out a new advertising feature that allows marketers to display ads to targeted recipients selected via email address, phone number, or Facebook user ID. The new feature allows a self-service advertiser to upload an encrypted list of 20 or more contacts with the ad they want to show. Facebook will automatically target the supplied ad to the specified contacts.

This type of marketing, often referred to as CRM retargeting, allows advertisers to invest in building awareness or driving conversion within a known group of contacts. A large IT provider, for example, could drive an online campaign targeting known CIO’s who arbitrate buying decisions for their firms. A telecom company could market new devices to customers on expired contracts. Concert promoters can promote shows to people who have purchased tickets in the past. And all of this can be done using a prospect’s email address or phone number but without sending an email.

For B2B marketers focused on nurture marketing or content marketing, CRM retargeting enables marketers to reach prospects with relevant messages and content through an additional channel. It makes is possible to invest in advertising specifically targeting people who would prefer to not receive email. For companies with very large accounts, it would be possible to build account-targeted campaigns that deliver a unique message to representatives of a specific company. For companies looking to build a Facebook follower base, the new model allows them to promote their brands directly to a list of customers or fans who are most likely to engage online.

While others have attempted to use email as a filtering method for display advertising, two things makes Facebook’s new service unique: a billion member reach and a collection of multiple address for many of their members. For people with multiple addresses — work, home, school — Facebook is likely to have a match for whatever address might be in your CRM system.

New Research: Only 40% of Your Marketing Budget is Wasted

2 Jun

Yes. Yes. Yes. We’ve all heard too many times the old adage that 50% of all marketing budgets are wasted. But now there is good news: new research shows that only 40% of the average marketing budget is wasted.

According to Advertising Age, new research concludes that “despite six years of obsessive investment in big data, marketing-mix models and other analytic tools, marketers are getting worse, not better, at directing their dollars.”

The research, included in a new book by Rex Briggs, argues that marketers focus too much on driving awareness and not enough on driving advocacy. In a world of social media, it’s never been more important to drive advocacy.

It also asserts that most modern media mix models do not reflect the complexity of the modern media world. As a result, advertisers over-invest in TV and price promotion and systematically underinvest in  social media. Recent analysis by Mary Meeker also suggests that this may be true: that print advertising in particular receives too much spend while social and mobile receive too little.

According to the analysis, “the underinvestment he finds in social media doesn’t broadly extend to digital. Since 2006, return on investment from branded-content efforts has skyrocketed, even as ROI from digital advertising has been flat to slightly down, despite a steady drop in digital ad prices. A big reason for the latter two trends has been publishers placing more ads and clutter on web pages, which he said has increased revenue per page but eroded impact and CPMs.”

The Perishable Lead: Why Don’t Good Leads Ever Get Recycled?

31 May

At this point in my career, my marketing teams have generated hundreds of thousands of leads that never received a call. If sales and marketing alignment had been perfect, these leads could have generated billions of dollars of pipeline and many hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. In addition, these teams have generated more than 100,000 leads that have been followed-up just one time, often with a single email, voice mail, or phone conversation.

For most organizations, recent leads are an incredibly valuable asset that is inevitably underutilized.Why?  The fact is that most B2B organizations do not have sophisticated enough lead scoring and routing processes to recycle great leads that, for one reason or another, never turned into sales opportunities.

So what does it take to effectively recycle leads?

  • A sophisticated scoring process: To effectively recycle leads, companies need to score the lead at least two times. The first score is based on the initial inquiry and the successive score is based on time-based degradation as well as subsequent prospect engagement. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to get right. According to Sirius Decisions, “Best-in-class companies define and execute targeted nurture efforts specific to disqualification reasons, product interests, industry and buyer role. An emerging best practice is to score disqualification reasons and weight responses to nurture-specific offers distinctly from non-nurture actions to recognize progress along a prescribed path designed specifically for reactivating recycled leads.”
  • A multi-pass lead routing process: To effectively recycle leads, you need the ability to present aging leads back to sales for follow-up calls and conversations. To get this right, organizations need to be able to granularly track the initial disposition of the lead and then to re-present the lead to sales at the appropriate time based on prospect activities or time-based follow-up best practices.
  • Strong Lead Generation Analysis Capabilities: In most organizations, sales follow-up capability is limited. Smart organizations are able to dynamically prioritize sales follow-up by balancing the quality of the lead, the level of prospect engagement, and the degradation of the opportunity resulting from the passage of time. According to Sirius Decisions, “Best practice organizations perform deal reviews on recycled leads that progress into active opportunities to determine common attributes. When observable events are identified (e.g. contract expiration with a competitor), marketers can incorporate them into recycle-specific scoring models.”

For many organizations, the first step to lead recycling is to drive second or third contact attempts to recent leads that have never been reached. Beyond that, organizations typically focus on nurture marketing programs to recent leads with the hope of driving prospect re-engagement. As CRM and marketing automation tools continue to improve, smart companies will figure out how to value and prioritize aging leads and to target sales efforts towards the highest value prospects.

 

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