What’s the best way to win advocates for your brand? TRUST. What’s the best way to win trust? Be helpful. What’s the best way to be helpful? Give consumers useful information they wouldn’t expect to get free. Information that will save them time, save them money, make them smarter, make them happier, make them feel better about themselves – and you.
Since its inception, the Nordstrom brand has centered around being helpful, right? Like a phone call telling you they remembered you were looking for shoes to go with the suit you bought last month, and they just got the perfect pair in. Or how about the American Express openforum.com, a free website with tons of information that claims huge success in helping business owners succeed. Oh, and its content contributors are donating their brains and talent at no charge to American Express.
It’s easy to talk about big brands like these, but how about the success some smaller brands are enjoying due to their helpfulness? Like Kellogg Garden Products, with a website full of gardening tips from soil calculators to fun kid gardening activities. Their website Analytics show a huge percentage of visitors time being spent on the pages they’ve built simply to be helpful, and their brand recognition confirms this.
Big or small, these brands understand they must give in order to receive. Paying it forward may end up being the most successful marketing mantra for the 21st Century. The question is, is your brand ready?
Clients often ask us how much it costs to produce an online video ad. Their initial thought is that, because the media is usually free, the production cost should be lower. Sorry. There's no correlation.
Think about the process of inbound vs. outbound marketing for a moment. Outbound marketing includes traditional advertising. Intrude. Repeat. Intrude. Repeat. You didn't ask to see the ad, but it's going to be pushed in front of you anyway in the hopes that you will like it, remember it, and respond to it. Oh sure, the option is usually there to fast forward past it on TV, push the button on the radio, or flip right past it in print. But, you at least get a glimpse of it before you make that choice. A glimpse you didn't ask for. A glimpse that cost the advertiser a lot of money.
But inbound marketing is different. Inbound marketing puts the exposure responsibility on the consumer. This is why it's often called “viral”. It's based on making something so compelling that people will not only see it and share it, but also search for it. Quite the opposite of traditional m
edia, eh? This viral effort often requires spectacular creative that comes in the form of incredible production, or just a brilliant simple idea.
Does that mean it always has to cost a lot? Not always. Like we said, it's about the idea more than the production (see Levi's successful viral video campaign that cost less than $10,000). But usually the few successes in the online viral world have involved substantial production costs.
Take the Evian Roller Babies ad above. When totaling its US and international versions, it just surpassed 100,000,000 views online, making it the most viewed television ad in online history. In comparison, this year's Super Bowl had 106,000,000 viewers and the average 30-second spot cost was a little over $3,000,000 dollars, and that's before any creative production. Media costs for Evian's 100,000,000 viewers? Zero.
But when you find out the production costs for this spot were well over $1,000,000, you realize the cost of the ad production has nothing to do with the media on which it airs. In fact, in addition to the message needing to be even more impactful online for the viewer to become your media distributor, the beauty and curse of online ads is they're not limited to :30 seconds. And those of us in the production world know, with TV spots, the longer they are the more they cost to produce. Ouch.
Just now, after almost a year of online exposure, Evian is taking this ad to traditional television in markets like New York, LA, London and Paris. Will their traditional media exposure pay off as well as their viral campaign did? Time will only tell. But we, the media world, will all be watching.
Many companies avoid Internet marketing becaus
e of the horror stories they’ve heard: customers posting hundreds of negative comments on Facebook pages, rogue employees taking over twitter accounts, and ex-employees blogging lies about the company.
We’ll level with you: these are all definite risks. But the rewards far outweigh the risks. In fact, many of these risks are possible without you even becoming involved in Internet marketing (for instance: an ex-employee can start blogging about you even if you aren’t online).
Luckily, we can learn from the mistakes many other companies have made online. Here are three marketing “fails” we’ve seen and what you can learn from them.
1. L’Oreal’s Fake Blog
A few years ago, when blogging was still relatively new, many consumers started blogs about the companies they loved. One of these blogs was for L’Oreal, and it extolled what consumers loved about the company. The problem was that it was not a customer blog: it was created by L’Oreal. As soon as consumers discovered this, L’Oreal faced a huge backlash from their customers.
The Lesson: Everything you do online should be genuine and real, or customers will call you on it.
2. Personal Tweets on the Company’s Account
There are so many social networks available today that it is difficult to manage all of your company’s social media accounts. And let’s be honest: you probably have a couple personal social media accounts you update as well. It can be difficult to keep track of all your accounts…and sometimes you may even mix them up. That’s what happened when a Red Cross social media intern posted the following message to the Red Cross twitter account:
“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd” [Source]
The Lesson: Before posting anything to a social media account reread what you are posting and make sure it’s going to the correct account.
3. Domino’s Employees Post Disgusting Video
Two Domino’s employees decided to do something that would make any restaurant eater cringe: they posted a video to YouTube showing them doing disgusting things to the food they were preparing for actual customers. As would be expected, the video went viral and customers were up in arms. Many companies would have handled this situation by either keeping quiet and hoping the situation would go away, or finding someone to blame. Domino’s President Patrick Doyle however released his own video on YouTube taking full responsibility for the issue. With this move, Domino’s avoided an issue that could have significantly hurt the company.
The Lesson: If you do experience an Internet marketing blunder, accept full responsibility.
If you’d like to read about more Internet marketing “fails” and what you can learn, take a look at this article. If you are interested in how we can help with your Internet Marketing, be sure to contact us.
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