Saturday, December 6, 2014

Digital Billboards Display User-Generated Photos For Holiday Social Media Promotion

+Lamar Advertising Company are the kings of outdoor advertising. With marketing real estate all over the country in the form of billboards, if you want your message to be seen by the highway-traveling masses, you go through Lamar to do it. 

But, as online channels have completely changed the way we target consumers, measure response, and how often we adjust our messaging, stagnant mass marketing has become less attractive for a lot of advertisers. 

Is it still effective? Hell yes! And, Lamar plans to prove it with their #ThankfulThisHoliday campaign allowing social media users to tag their photos with the hashtag and possibly see their image displayed for all passersby to see. 

You can read all about the campaign specifics in this article by +Marketing Land, but here is why I like it:
  1. It Grabs Attention. - Audiences are inclined to look at each billboard they pass because when they are the ones contributing the content, they never know what (or who) they may see as they drive by. They may drive past their family photo, or that of someone they know. It's fun, and it's interactive. So, by engaging with the recipients of their clients' advertising, Lamar pulls more eyes their way.
  2. This is truly creative billboard advertising. - Lamar is marketing their digital billboards themselves. But, even more so, their digital capabilities. As more advertisers focus on digital, Lamar is showing these advertisers that they're in the game with real-time solutions that connect the online with the offline, the innovative with the traditional. And, that is smart marketing. 

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Spice And The Marketing Of Seasonal Products

The thought process behind brands offering seasonal varieties of products is not too difficult to understand. Think like a customer (which we all are), and you get it instantly.

It's that time of year when you can finally buy that thing you like, and what do you do? You make it to the store before its too late and they stop selling it, of course. Ooh, that fear of missing out is a powerful motivator!

I doubt any of us are above it. We all have our seasonal pleasure - a Shamrock Shake from +McDonald's in the spring, a winter warmer style of beer from any number of breweries when it's cold out, and the Pumpkin Spice Latte in the fall. Oh, the pumpkin spice latte. That drink from +Starbucks Coffee has taken on a life of its own, and really created an entire seasonal flavor craze.

I'm sure Starbucks is not the first to create a pumpkin spice product. But, they popularized it to immense proportions, and hit a home run with a menu item that a seemingly large portion of their customer base eagerly awaits each year. In addition, they are no doubt attracting seasonal customers with this item as well. Why? Because it's an experience for people. The aroma and taste produce an emotion that keeps coffee drinkers coming back.

Since the popularity of this flavored latte, many many brands have jumped on board with their own pumpkin spice offerings. Below is a slideshow of just some of these other products:

With all of these and more, the pumpkin spice trend will probably have overwhelmed the population before long and outworn it's welcome. But, seasonal trends will continue. Some say Candy Corn is the next to catch on.

What do you think will be next? Leave your prediction in the comments.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm Back!

Wow, I've been away from this blog a long time! About 3 months. Actually, I have been blogging...on LinkedIn, but more on that in a minute.

If you happen to be connected with me on any of my social accounts (thank you much) you know I haven't really left. I've just been waist deep chairing a digital marketing event that took over my life for a while. It was a lot of fun though, and an incredible learning experience.

The event was a customer-focused marketing conference meant to explore how marketers can use digital channels and technology to deliver unique and valuable experiences to customers. In fact, one of the ways I was promoting it was with the LinkedIn publishing platform. I published 6 posts in the months leading up to the conference. You can read them here.

I had wanted to try out the platform, and I figured this would be a great opportunity to offer some focused content and judge the response. I really like the set up, and I love the fact that publishing a new post sends a notification to my connections, informing them that I have something to share.

I definitely plan on publishing there more in the future. But, for now I really want to get back in action on this blog too. So, expect something from me tomorrow.  

P.S. We're already starting to plan next year's conference (the 8th annual). If you would like to be involved in 2015, or would just like to get the details when we have some news to share, leave a comment on this post, and you will be hearing from me. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stone Brewing's "Enjoy By" Campaign Is A Case Study In Smart Digital Marketing

Beer is what you may call a very social product. People come together around a few drinks to talk, party, watch sports, and most anything else you can think of. Many also enjoy discussing, reviewing, and sharing photos of the multiple varieties, flavors, and brands with other enthusiasts online.

Through social networks like Google+ and Instagram, as well as dedicated websites like, and mobile apps such as Untappd, beer drinkers can, and do, keep themselves engaged with their peers for hours.

All of this is not lost on the exploding American craft brew industry, many of whom leverage social media specifically as a key way to inform and engage with their customers, and lure more thirsty patrons looking for something they have never had before.

The Stone Brewing Co. in San Diego, California is one great example of a brewery with a seemingly innate ability to share their passion for good beer online in an integrated way that builds passion and brand loyalty in customers.

Case in point is the marketing around their double IPA known as “Enjoy By” where the deadline is filled in after, depending on when it is released. 

Let's take a look at all of the elements at play here:

1. The Offline Outreach: Those who find "Enjoy By" in their area are informed of their responsibility to keep each fresh batch to follow coming back to their area right on the bottle. They are encouraged to visit the micro website, and "vote" using a dedicated hashtag along with their zip code in a post to Twitter, Instagram, or Untappd.  

2. The Microsite: The dedicated site begins by educating the customer on what this beer is, and why freshness is so important to one's enjoyment of it. This site then acts as the hub of activity to follow, and even keeps fans coming back to see their own content contribution. 

3. The YouTube Video: This video provides the same education as the written tale of the beer. But, the added visual element is important because it is more engaging and shareable for fans. It allows a deeper connection to the brewery because you get to hear the actual brewers discuss what they like about their creation. Stone also let's fans know that they have a YouTube channel they can subscribe to for additional content.

4. The Email Newsletter: The action requested by Stone is to vote for the beer to come back to your zip code. On the microsite you can make your vote count 10 times, and you're then prompted to give your email address for quick updates on that next batch. The address is confirmed, and boom! - future updates delivered through email. 

5. The Social Media Interaction: This is where the fun happens and the word spreads. Using the #EnjoyBy hashtag, fans can communicate their desire to have the next batch sent to their area and follow the conversation with other beer lovers. A page on the microsite displays a running feed of posts from all three networks being used for the promotion - Twitter, Instagram, and Untappd. Fans can return to the site to see their post show up and view others' posts as well.

    In Summation:

    Obviously, the sense of urgency is here with a call-to-action right in the name that plainly states when you will have missed your chance to experience this brew at its finest. That's motivation!

    But, this campaign works because it has several digital pieces that all work together to promote this beer, educate on the importance of freshness for this style, and get people talking about the brand.

    Lastly, I'm not sure you noticed the date on this most recent batch, but you had better hurry up and get one before it's gone. The clock is ticking. 

    Happy 4th of July!

    Want to talk more about integrated marketing strategies? Leave a comment below or circle me on Google+

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    How Marketers Are Leveraging The World Cup To Connect With Their Fans

    Today is the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Are you excited? I wish I was. But, honestly I'm not much of a soccer fan. Who knows? Maybe I'll come to some great realization as I'm pulled in by the hype of excited Futbol fans all around me. I have several in my family. And, guys like me are the exact market +Kia Motors Worldwide is looking to attract with this campaign:

    What does excite me is any large event that brings the big brand sponsors out in full force with all of their creative agency muscle behind them, as the smaller brands peak through a hole in the fence patiently awaiting that chance opening to shine without a paid sponsorship. The World Cup certainly qualifies as that kind of event.

    This week I've been sharing some World Cup-themed marketing that I've come across on my Google+ page. The most interesting one I've found is from +Coca-Cola. Their campaign started with the development of a unique Visual Identity System (VIS) that would then be implemented in every marketing channel for a consistent look, feel, and experience. It''s not just signage and product packaging with Coke. They've created branded elements that also feed into social media, mobile and digital marketing, gamification, events, and other promotional products for outreach.

    It's safe to say that Coca-Cola is living and breathing the World Cup right now. You can see more in the Plus posts below. And remember, these are interactive posts here. So, +1s, comments, and shares of each post can all be done right on this page.

    BONUS: Here's a great animated short by +Nike touting their mobile app with a fun story. 

    image credit: Jose Roitberg, Flickr

    Friday, May 30, 2014

    How To Introduce Customers To Your Brand And Drive Repeat Purchases

    I came across some really good product marketing while I was shopping a day or two ago. In the post below I give detail on what I saw and why I liked the strategy. At the end you will find a marketing challenge to try with your brand.  

    It's the little things.
    Presented in the right place at the right time, a little marketing can go a long way. An extra push to encourage another purchase, or to simply build greater awareness can lead to those incremental sales increases which can have a positive effect on the bottom line over time.

    We all try to deliver our marketing message throughout our customers' purchase decision process. But, what do we do after they have chosen our brand? Do we stop, and wait for them to come back again? Did we win? Absolutely not!

    Competition is high in most industries, and one sale does not guarantee repeat purchases. As difficult as it can be to gain a customer, it's pretty easy to lose them. There's no question that the product has to meet expectations. But, the marketing tactics we employ once the purchase has been made and the item's in-hand can make a big difference. Here we can deliver a brand experience for our customer, and start to build a relationship that results in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth advertising (especially on social networks).

    Who's doing it well?
    The team at Matt Brewing Company, brewers of Saranac, in Utica, New York caught my eye the other day with the marketing right on their bottlenecks. I'll break it down a little bit.

    The brand knows their customers' ritual for using (in this case drinking) their product. They know that the customer more than likely will have the bottle in their hands for at least a few minutes while it is consumed. During that period, the customer will look over that bottle several times.

    This is an opportunity. This is where Saranac continues marketing to their customer, and integrates their other marketing channels as well. Right on that tiny bottleneck is where Saranac does three things:

    • Tell the story of the product (inspiration, ingredients, taste)
    • Encourage interaction on their website and social media profiles
    • Give a sensible recommendation for another product (Like this? Try this:)
    Each one of these things helps build up the brand in the mind of the customer, and encourages further interaction. Does your brand have a similar opportunity?

    What comes next? 
    The next steps are up to the brand, of course. It depends on how they want to build the customer relationship. What would you do next?

    I view websites and (probably even more now) social media profiles as the hub for brand engagement. This is where all traffic should be herded, and where higher levels of customer engagement should originate. Adding apps to social brand pages delivers value while customer data is obtained for mutual benefit. Encouraging shares of your content, participation in events, and reviews of your products adds a lot to your social profile and brings in new customers. 

    Social Sign-In or other tools that identify customers on a brand website can also collect data and deliver value that builds loyalty. It's all about determining what the customer wants, and delivering it in a way that benefits your brand as well.
    My challenge to you.
    So, after all of this talk on "product-in-hand marketing" I'd like to issue the following challenge to you:

    Take your brand, or a brand you have worked with, and explain how you will further market to your customer after the sale in the future (or, how you do already).

    Now that they have made their purchase decision based on any number of factors - the design/label, the price, the social media post they saw, the ad they came across on TV or on a website, etc. - how can you grow that into a relationship that increases the lifetime value of that customer and brings you more revenue? Comment with your answer and let's talk.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Ads I Like: Surround Sound Headphones From Pioneer

    Sometimes all it takes is a simple analogy to deliver a powerful message to customers about the quality of a product or service. The folks at +BBDO certainly have done this with their campaign for Pioneer SE-M521 surround sound headphones.

    The idea is simple - these Pioneer headphones deliver a listening experience like one would get at a live performance. Using visuals to trigger familiarity and emotion, the ads display three separate live music venues as the diagrams we are all accustomed to looking at when we buy concert tickets.

    After a quick look, it is clear that these diagrams are in the shape of a head with headphones on. As our own experience with live music is applied in our minds, it becomes our head, and the amazing sound of a live performance is transferred to these headphones.

    Take a look at the ads below, and let me know what you think of them in the comments. 

    Thanks to +Ads of the World for sharing this inspiring work.