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Media Planning 101

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 10:59 AM

Selecting the right media platforms to advertise your products or services can be a daunting task and requires time, energy and strategy. A “set it and forget it” approach isn’t going to prove very successful as media planning should never be put on autopilot. With the plethora of media options, and the rate at which new options become available, careful consideration should be given to each alternative at the onset of each advertising campaign. Some advertisers handle the media planning on their own, but it’s no surprise why some enlist the help of an agency. What follows is an introductory course on the ins and outs of media planning.

Determine the campaign objective

First things first: figure out the goal of the advertising campaign. Without a clear objective you won’t be able to evaluate whether or not the campaign is successful. Goals can vary from increasing brand awareness to driving store traffic to stealing breakfast business from McDonald’s.

HS-goals

Determine the right media mix

As I alluded to in the introduction, media planning isn’t getting any easier, especially since technology continues to affect consumers’ media consumption habits. The days of deciding between newspaper, television and radio are long gone as new media have joined the party, but this doesn’t mean advertisers should neglect traditional media altogether. Traditional media, when paired with non-traditional channels, can greatly increase the reach of a campaign. Figure out what your target audience is reading, watching and listening to, and then include it in your media mix.

Determine the media schedule

Once you have selected the right media mix for your ad campaign, you have to wisely pick the dates the ads will appear on TV, in the newspaper, on the radio and on your local news website. Pay close attention to holidays and other events when planning your schedule and know that circulation can vary from one day to the next.

Pick one: frequency or reach

You can’t have it all, at least not without investing a significant chunk of change. Do you want to cast a wide net and reach as many people as possible, or would you rather repeatedly hit fewer people with your message? This decision will be harder to make than “paper or plastic” at the grocery checkout but easier than accepting a marriage proposal from someone you’re not entirely sure is “the one.” Determine which is most important to you and adjust your media schedule accordingly.

Set the budget

Your budget may help narrow available media options. In addition to determining the overall media budget, you will need to determine how to best allocate it across your options. Will you evenly distribute it across media or focus primarily on one medium with a couple supporting channels? Consider which outlets offer the best return on investment and spend wisely.

Evaluate success

HS-thumb-up-thumb-downJust as you shouldn’t hop on the scale every day to see if you’re losing weight, you shouldn’t expect to see immediate results. Set benchmarks before kicking off the campaign and measure success at the end of every week, month or quarter. Make changes as needed to ensure the continued success of the campaign.

Now that you have completed Media Planning 101, you have two options. You can either use the steps outlined above to determine the media strategy for your next advertising campaign, or if you’re not feeling up for it you can give us a call at 888-672-2100 and leave it to us. The choice is yours.

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

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Tags: media planning

Is it Time to ‘Consciously Uncouple” from your Media Buyer?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 12:38 PM

The following is a guest post by Jenna Bruce.

By now you’ve heard the news: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have decided to call it quits, or rather, ‘consciously uncouple’ after 10 years of marriage, which in the world of celebrity is a very long time. Many in the media have poked fun at the phrase ‘consciously uncouple,’ but those who are throwing jabs gwyneth-paltroware missing a very important point: the couple realized it wasn’t working and instead of limping along on a broken relationship, decided to end it in a mature, non-dramatic fashion.

Have you been limping along with your current media buyer? Did the relationship sour a while ago but you haven’t been able to put your finger on what went wrong exactly? Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider consciously uncoupling with your current media buyer:

Do They Conduct Thorough Research Before a Media Buy?

Today’s CMOs are faced with overwhelming advertising options, thanks to the fast paced growth of digital and mobile marketing along with fragmentation of traditional advertising channels. In order to select the most beneficial channels, a media buyer should first conduct thorough research in order to develop a strategic campaign plan.

Has your media buyer sat down with you to discuss your target audience and their consumer behavior? Can they identify trends and spending motivations? Do they know your ultimate marketing goals? Have they conducted a proper competitive analysis? Do they know exactly what your media spend is? If not, it may be time for you to move on.

Do They Lack Expertise?

I doubt very much Gwyneth would have been attracted to Chris in the first place were he not an expert singer. A good media buying agency will also bring expertise to the relationship. They will have highly knowledgeable buyers who are able to navigate the ever-changing media landscape with ease and offer advice on which channels will reap the most benefits in terms of reach and frequency. If your media buyer can’t answer all your questions, offer comprehensive strategies and back up their media buying choices with hard data, it may be time to show them the door.

Do They Leave Something to be Desired in the Negotiating Process?

One of the biggest benefits of using a media buyer is their buying influence in both local and national markets. Because they place buys for several clients at a time, they’re able to get lower prices per spot and better timeslots as well.

Does your media buyer have established relationships with media vendors and publishers nationwide? Are they able to not only get you a discounted rate but also add value to your entire media strategy? Are they able to identify traps that could compromise the media buy? If you answered no to any of these questions, it may be time to tell your media buyer to “hit the road, Jack.”

Are They Able to See the Big Picture?

Many advertisers try to buy their media themselves but, more often than not, the individual sales rep they big-picturemay deal with can’t see the overall strategy the same way a media buyer can. Your media buyer should know exactly who your target customers are as well as all your placement and marketing goals. A professional will not only obtain good spots on your behalf, they will work with vendors to reach your ultimate campaign goals while staying in your stated budget. If your current media buyer can’t see the big picture, start writing your ‘Dear, John’ letter now.

They say breaking up is hard to do, but what’s even harder is staying in a relationship that leaves much to be desired. If your media partner isn’t delivering, take some advice from Gwyneth and Chris and consciously uncouple from them and find someone you can live happily ever after with.

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Tags: media buying, media buyer

Five in Five: Interview with Advertising Leader Jorge Paz

Posted by Hannah Hill on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 @ 02:03 PM

Mediaspace Solutions’ Five in Five interview series highlights individuals in the advertising and marketing field and their path to success. Interviewees answer five questions, varying in scope, and it is our hope that you are able to take something away from each interview in the series. Subscribe to our RSS Feed so you can stay up to date on ‘What’s On Tap’ and be notified when the next Five in Five interview is published.

Today’s interview features Jorge Paz. Jorge is the Director of Planning at Media Storm in Los Angeles. Prior to Media Storm, Paz worked for Western International Media, Fox Broadcasting, Starcom LA, KTLA, CBS Outdoor and 4D. His previous client experience includes Fox Sports, Fox Broadcasting, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, ESPN Radio, Disneyland, Progressive Insurance, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Disney/ABC Domestic Television. He managed campaigns for the NFL Pre-game show, Fox NFL Sunday, Finding Nemo and Marvel’s The Avengers.

Jorge-Paz-collageBelow is our Five in Five interview with Jorge.

1. What's the one mobile app you can't live without?
I would have to say the mobile app I use the most is Facebook. I know a lot of people are getting tired of Facebook, but I still enjoy seeing what my “friends” are up to and connecting with them. The mobile app allows me to do quick check-ins, post photos and update my status and comments quickly. If it wasn’t for the app, I probably would not be as engaged with Facebook as I am.

2. How do you get your news?

I still get my news the traditional way. Every morning here in LA, I watch the KTLA Morning News (thanks to my wife, it’s her favorite morning show). We always have it on in the morning while we are getting our day started. At other times, I enjoy getting my news from Yahoo’s homepage. I think Yahoo has a good mix of entertaining news, as well as the hard hitting news or the more serious news that keeps me informed.

3. What is the toughest lesson you've learned in your career?

I believe patience is the toughest lesson I have had to learn in my career. It has taken me a long time to find the right fit and I think I finally found it at Media Storm. With experience in planning, buying and sales, I always knew all these skills would put me in a position to be a leader and help a company achieve its goals. I had to be patient to seek the right opportunity. I needed to work for a company that valued my skill set and gave me a role I could be successful in. With all the politics, favoritism and mismanagement of talent I have seen in my career, it feels nice to be at a place where skills take precedence.

4. What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

The Real Housewives on Bravo, particularly the Real Housewives of New Jersey and Beverly Hills. I love to watch their petty behavior and watch them argue and fight. There is nothing better than a good old fashioned cat fight.

5. How do you spend the first hour of your day?

In our profession, e-mails reign supreme. I always spend the first hour of my day reading and organizing my e-mails. I have to keep them organized or they will get out of hand. Plus, it helps me organize my to-do list every day.

That concludes our interview with Jorge. Come back soon to check out our next Five in Five interview. While you wait, download The CMO’s Guide to Media Buying and learn how to reach your target audience through the right media mix.

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

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Tags: five in five interview series, advertising leader

Is Product Placement Part of Your Advertising Strategy?

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 09:14 AM

Last week’s blog post featured the benefits of cinema advertising. If you missed it or really want to read it again, you can do that here. Similar to cinema advertising is product placement. Product placement is a technique used by advertisers who wish to increase exposure by featuring their products in movies and on television shows. Most advertisers have to pay for product placement, but not Apple; the company simply hands out its products as needed. That’s a pretty sweet deal, and unfortunately, not all advertisers can be so lucky as to score free advertising. They can, however, incorporate product placement into their advertising strategy and achieve results.

Influence consumer preference

product-placement-pizza-hut

Product placement is a form of stealth marketing in that consumers do not realize they are being marketed to from the moment the movie begins until the credits start rolling at the conclusion of the film. Talk about sneaky. Advertisers pay to work their products seamlessly into the storyline and influence viewers who identify with the characters consuming the products on the big screen. If consumers make a connection with a particular character in the film, they might mimic his or her shopping behavior. Good product placement will not seem obvious to viewers, unless of course, they are smart marketers or advertisers like you and me, and it will influence future purchasing decisions unbeknownst to most consumers.

Build brand awareness

Like other forms of advertising, product placement can boost brand awareness. The more an advertiser’s product gets in front of consumers, the more likely they will consciously or subconsciously consider it product-placement-carwhen it comes time to make a purchase. Think about the number of times a character grabs his or her phone during a full-length movie or the number of times the character’s car is shown. On that note, can you name the car Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery drove as James Bond? How about Mike Myers as Austin Powers? Every time a brand name or logo flickers across the screen, even if just for a second, consumers become more aware of the product. Brand awareness is becoming increasingly important in today’s crowded marketplace and product placement is one way to help build it.

Promote products to engaged consumers

Product placement offers advertisers the opportunity to incorporate their products into entertainment. So essentially, consumers pay to view the advertisements when they purchase their movie tickets. Unlike television commercials which can be skipped or avoided by leaving the room, product placement in movies isn’t so easily ignored. The number of people who close their eyes or skip an entire scene because they don’t want to be marketed to is probably pretty small. Okay, it’s zero. Consumer engagement varies from movie to movie and from person to person, but I’m willing to bet consumers are more receptive to products featured in movies they enjoy.

Below are a few examples of successful product placement on the big screen:

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Let’s test your memory with this one. Do you remember the prominent product placement (whoa, say that product-placement-reesesthree times fast) featured in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? Go ahead, close your eyes and let your mind wander back to Elliott riding his bike in his red zip-up hoodie. Do you see the product that helped Elliot lure E.T. out of the woods? It turns out E.T. and I share a love for Reese’s Pieces. Here’s a shocking tidbit: Mars brand M&Ms turned down the opportunity to be the alien’s candy of choice. That was a poor decision on their part as Hershey’s profits increased 65% following the release of the film.

You’ve Got Mail

Before Gmail, there was a little something called America Online, or AOL for short. Maybe you’ve heard of it? If you still have an AOL email account (Mom, Dad, Grandma, I’m talking to you), you might want to transition to Gmail. All the cool kids are doing it. I remember logging in to AOL and being welcomed by the familiar “You’ve Got Mail!” which became the title of the 22nd grossing romantic comedy of all time. AOL paired up with Warner Bros. to connect with the romantic comedy audience and try to convince them they could find love using their email service. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true, but the company got a lot of exposure as a result of this film.

The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie takes product placement to a whole new level as the title itself and everything in it is made of LEGO bricks. What child isn’t going to get the itch to play with LEGOs after watching this film? Sorry parents, but it looks like you will be buying LEGOs if you let your kids see this movie. The LEGO product-placement-toy-storyMovie isn’t the first animated movie to sell children’s toys. Toy Story also featured product placement by casting Mr. Potato Head and Etch-A-Sketch as characters; sales increased 800% and 4500%, respectively. The toys fit in so well that it wasn’t entirely obvious they were advertisements which is exactly what good product placement is all about. If your product has what it takes to be a Hollywood star, you should find an agent ASAP.

After learning some of the benefits of product placement and seeing a few examples, is it right for your brand? Let us know why product placement might or might not work for you in the comments section below.

  

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

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Tags: advertising strategy

An Easter Basket Full of Effective Local Advertising Strategies

Posted by Hannah Hill on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 @ 11:06 AM

The following is a guest post by Jenna Bruce.

Walk into any Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid this time of year and you’ll see it – that seasonal aisle lined with cellophane-wrapped Easter baskets containing various cavity-inducing candies. Now, as a kid, I saw an Easter basket as a giant sugar rush. But as an adult, I see an Easter basket not simply as chock-full of sugar, but chock-full of effective local advertising strategies. Stay with me here.

Target Your Ideal Customers

Marshmallow Chicks – They’re not for everyone. I’ve met many individuals who simply never embraced the gooey marshmallow bird with the same enthusiasm I did as a child. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

An Easter Basket Full of Effective Local Advertising StrategiesTargeting is a critical component to any campaign, especially in local advertising. Considering that three-quarters of consumer spending happens at retail locations within a 15 mile radius of consumers’ homes – targeting ensures the most relevant consumers walk into your store. By utilizing online and offline data, you can understand your demographic and serve up ads that are tailored only to those individuals interested in your product or service.

Embrace Digital Advertising

I remember the first time I ever got a bag of candy coated almonds in my basket. They were new, they were different, and I wanted nothing to do with them. Then I tried a few and realized they were pretty awesome.

Many small and medium sized businesses are used to traditional advertising channels like newspapers, magazines and radio spots, and while those channels can be highly effective at reaching your audience, you shouldn’t avoid digital advertising just because it’s new and a bit scary to you.

Digital advertising has the ability to deliver meaningful messages to your target audience at just the right time in a cost-effective way. It also affords you the ability to repurpose existing campaign content, such as from a direct mail piece, which can save time and scarce resources.

Claim Your Online Listings

One year the “Easter Bunny” accidentally left one of the baskets at the checkout counter and didn’t realize it until Easter morning when she found only the one hidden in her closet. So, that year, my sister and I had to share an Easter basket. I never let my mother live that one down. At any rate, as my sister was removing the cellophane from the basket, I got into a position that would allow me to pounce on the candy I wanted, claiming it for myself. There would be no delicate splitting of candy that year, my sister and I were smart enough to know that. We would simply grab and claim what was rightfully ours. She claimed the giant milk chocolate Easter bunny and I claimed everything else.

Many businesses are unaware they have digital profiles on major local platforms like Google+An Easter Basket Full of Effective Local Advertising Strategies Local, Yelp and Foursquare. Google will often create business listings based on information that is available online, and many customers will create a business listing in order to leave a review about a company. It’s important to search for your business on these platforms and, if you find a profile you didn’t create, claim the business as your own and verify it. Just doing this can help you rank higher in search results.

You should also make sure all the information about your business is correct. This includes spelling, address and telephone numbers, as well as category. If you do a search and don’t find any profiles, create them yourself so you can be found by potential new customers.

Seriously, Just Go Mobile Already

The Easter Bunny is not an idiot. There’s a reason he (or she) delivers all that candy in a little basket instead of, say, a bowling ball. Because little baskets are easy to carry – hence, they are mobile.

The Local Search Association and comScore, Inc. conducted a study which points to the fact that search, using non-PC devices like smartphones and tablets, continues to grow at a significant pace. “The continuing shift of mobile usage signals an opportunity for local businesses to evaluate where they devote their online ad spending,” the report reads.

Here are a couple key findings in the report:

  • Traffic to online directories and other local resources from non-PC devices more than quadrupled in 2012, reaching 27 percent share of total web traffic in December 2012 from 6 percent share in December 2011.
  • 48 percent of U.S. mobile users used their devices to access local content in December 2012, up from 42 percent in December 2011.

Mobile marketing is clearly a powerful tool to reach ready-to-buy consumers on a local level.

The only thing sweeter than a tiny wicker basket full of milk chocolate goodness is getting more customers to walk through your door and buy from you time and time again.

 

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Cinema Advertising Makes it Big at the Box Office

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Apr 08, 2014 @ 09:37 AM

Movie theaters are a go-to destination for date night, family time, birthday parties and rainy afternoons. All the aforementioned occasions have brought me to a local cinema at one time or another and I’m sure you can relate. Who doesn’t like a trip to the movies? Nielsen’s studies show that moviegoers are male and female, young and old, white and non-white, which means advertisers have the opportunity to reach just about anyone on the big screen, including their target demographic.

According to the Cinema Advertising Council (CAC), cinema advertising revenues reached a new record in 2013: $677.9 million. Compared to the previous year, cinema advertising rose 6.5% in 2013 and the CAC is optimistic about continued growth. CAC President Katy Loria said, “This growth is a result of more new brands moving into cinema, the unique power of the movie theater as a venue for creative, engaging advertising, and a movement by agencies to a more video-neutral approach that places cinema alongside TV and online platforms.”

Local, regional and national advertisers who incorporate cinema advertising into their media mix can take advantage of the following benefits:

Exposure to captive audiences

After moviegoers purchase their tickets and snacks and make a pit stop at the bathroom, they settle into their semi-comfortable seats where they will remain for the next 90 to 120 minutesCinema Advertising Makes it Big at the Box Office with their eyes glued to the big screen. They won’t get up during the movie, especially if sitting in the middle of a row, and they aren’t supposed to be texting or playing Candy Crush during the film either. Movie theaters might be the one place to escape multiscreening. For all of these reasons, advertisers have a rare opportunity to put their messages in front of a captive audience at the movie theater and take advantage of their undivided attention.

Connect with consumers at the local level

When was the last time you arrived early to the theater and there was nothing playing on the screen? Yea, I can’t think of a time either. The amount of pre-movie advertising seems to have increased during the past few years, which leads me to believe it offers a good return on investment. Mixed in with the Hollywood trivia (and friendly reminders to silence our cell phones) are ads for local chiropractors, restaurants, colleges, dental offices and more. These local advertisers use the big screen to increase awareness in their communities and educate consumers about their products and services.

Cinema Advertising Makes it Big at the Box OfficeBut local advertisers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from movie theater advertising; national advertisers want in on the action, too. Cinema advertising gives national advertisers the opportunity to connect with consumers on a local level. I mean, what national advertiser doesn’t want to hang out with their target audience on a Saturday night? Coca-Cola is just one of the many national advertisers using cinema screens to reach consumers. If you caught a movie in early 2013, you probably saw a replay of Coke’s Chase ad which aired during Super Bowl XLVII.

Increased brand recall

Maybe it’s the atmosphere or a chemical in the buttery popcorn, but the cinema outperforms television when it comes to brand recall. According to Nielsen research, brand recall is often 50% greater for advertisements shown at the movie theater than those viewed on television. Because consumers actively seek out movie theaters for the experience, they are more engaged and likely to remember the ads they are shown. It also doesn’t hurt that good movie theater etiquette (e.g. limited whispers and cell phone usage) is still practiced by the majority of moviegoers which eliminates distractions.

Cinema advertising offers a variety of benefits including exposure to captive audiences, the ability to connect with consumers at the local level and increased brand recall. Next week we’ll highlight product placement as another way for advertisers to get in front of consumers at the movies.

 

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

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Tags: advertising

5 Digital Advertising Trends for 2014

Posted by Hannah Hill on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 09:08 AM

The following is a guest post by Jenna Bruce.

Spring has finally arrived! Unless of course you live in New England where it won’t arrive for another two to three weeks. Nonetheless, in many parts of the country, people have officially begun that grand ol’ tradition of spring cleaning.

This time of year is also when advertisers can do their own version of spring cleaning: throwing out those campaigns and strategies that didn’t work, polishing the ones that did, and embracing new tactics and channels which offer the potential for tremendous business growth.

With that in mind, here are five digital advertising trends for 2014 you may want to consider adding to your marketing arsenal:

Social Media Diversification

Disclaimer: I’m about to date myself.

Remember when TV only offered a few channels? You were essentially limited to watching ABC, NBC, CBS or PBS. Then cable came along and offered other viewing options. Today, TV audiences literally have hundreds of channels at their viewing disposal.

5 Digital Advertising Trends for 2014The same thing is happening today with social media. Not too long ago your real choices of social marketing channels were Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But now networks like Pinterest and Instagram are big players, and there are countless new social channels entering the space each month. Some of these channels will never gain momentum and some will rise to the top. This ever-shifting social landscape makes it imperative that advertisers don’t put all their social networking eggs into one basket.

Social media diversification will help advertisers deal with constantly changing algorithms, terms of service and acquisitions, as well as give them a way to extend their brand reach.

Video Marketing

Video marketing isn’t a new concept, but with the introduction of Vine  which is expected to grow in popularity in the coming year, no doubt spurring countless copycat video sites – advertisers can easily convey brand messages in a uniquely creative and engaging way. Also, videos are increasingly being watched on mobile devices (and we all recognize the significant opportunities mobile marketing offers) and that’s a potent competitive advantage, able to instantly alter consumer behavior.

Location-based Marketing

Perhaps the most dynamic advertising development to emerge in recent years is location-based marketing, and this is sure to be one of the biggest digital advertising trends of 2014. Talk about target marketing – the GPS technology allows multimedia content to be tailored specifically to a particular geographical location and delivered directly to a prospect’s mobile device. According to a report by Pew Research, 91 percent of adult mobile phone users have their devices within arm’s reach 24/7. Also, social apps like Ban.jo, Path and Foursquare are helping this trend move along by providing vital consumer data.

Big Data

And speaking of data...5 Digital Advertising Trends for 2014

The focus in recent years has been how to collect and manage big data. The new thinking is how to make all that data useful and actionable and lead to consumer insights. Once advertisers can harness the power of data, they will have the ability to optimize their messaging and ensure it shows up in the right place and on the right device.

Multichannel Marketing

Digital technology has created what is now being called the “always on” consumer, and this modern consumer poses many a challenge to today’s marketers. On one hand, it’s far easier to reach potential customers because they are continually using their mobile devices, searching the web, watching videos and interacting on their favorite social media networks.

On the other hand, modern consumers hate being annoyed and will tune your message out in a heartbeat. In order to get them to trust you and buy, you need to have a continuous two-way conversation that offers them useful information within a personalized experience. This is where a multichannel strategy can help. Multichannel no longer means delivering a consistent message across multiple channels; with consumers being in control, multichannel marketing now has to mean combining messages and channels in a meaningful way that enhances the customer’s experience of your brand.

These five digital advertising trends will not only bring better experiences to the consumer but more successful campaigns to the marketer in 2014. That’s a win-win!

 

Image credit: erlen.co.uk, akrayasolutions.com

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Is April Fool’s Day Part of Your Advertising Strategy?

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Apr 01, 2014 @ 08:32 AM

Today is the one day out of the year where pranksters get to do what they do best with little to no consequences for their actions while the rest of us live in a constant state of paranoia. What’s the best April Fool’s Day prank you have ever played on a friend, co-worker or family member? And if you’re willing to admit it, what’s the best prank you have ever fallen for? Let us know in the comments section below.

Your significant other and your co-workers aren’t the only ones who enjoy a good practical joke on a day like today. Companies want in on the prank planning, too. But why? They use this quirky holiday to engage with consumers and get people talking about their brand. Some release their pranks via social media while others go the more traditional route with print and radio advertisements. Regardless of media channel, the best pranks often get picked up by media outlets resulting in even greater exposure. Have you considered incorporating an April Fool’s Day prank into your advertising strategy? It might be worth the investment. Below is a sampling of some of the most talked about brand pranks delivered through the years.Is April Fool’s Day Part of Your Advertising Strategy?

Burger King: Left-Handed Whopper, 1998

We mentioned this prank in our post about National Hamburger Day last spring, but it’s too good not to mention in this prank-filled post. On April 1, 1998, Burger King ran a full page ad in USA Today introducing its new Left-Handed Whopper. That’s right; a burger made solely for our left-handed brethren. This BK newspaper ad was hugely successful and drove store traffic from lefties and righties alike, and people are still talking about it more than 15 years later.

Google: Nose, 2013

Google has been known to play a few tricks on the first of April. From adding a treasure map feature to Google Maps to developing an app that translates animal-speak, the company uses the holiday to draw attention to its sense of humor each year. My favorite Google prank is last year’s introduction of Google Nose, a feature developed to allow users to search for smells. Google promised users scents ranging from cookies to victory to the inside of an Egyptian tomb. While Google reigns as the most used search engine in the world, these attempts at prankvertising continue to keep it top of mind. What will they think of this year?

BBC: Flying Penguins, 2008

BBC has been planning April Fool’s Day pranks since the 1950s. Perhaps that’s why they were so successful in getting people to believe they had discovered a colony of penguins that could fly in 2008. Take a few minutes to watch the film trailer; I have to admit I was almost convinced.

While penguins can’t actually fly, they are quite capable of promoting the BBC iPlayer, as is evidenced by the film.

Scope: Bacon Mouthwash, 2013

P&G took advantage of the great American bacon craze last year with the introduction of Bacon Mouthwash "for breath that sizzles." Some of you were pretty upset about this littleIs April Fool’s Day Part of Your Advertising Strategy? prank and expressed your distaste via social media. The Facebook posts and print ads claimed the bacon-flavored mouthwash could kill "99.9% of bad breath germs with 100% bacon taste." Is bacon breath any better than bad breath though? Sorry bacon lovers, but it’s all the same to me.

Head to the comments section of this post tomorrow to let us know what advertiser played the best prank in 2014. Thanks for reading and keep your eyes peeled for toilet seats covered in Saran Wrap or any of these little tricks. Also, there’s no time like the present to start thinking of next year’s practical joke.

 

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

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Tags: advertising strategy

Advertisers Continue to Fail Women

Posted by Hannah Hill on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 @ 09:26 AM

The following is a guest post by Jenna Bruce.

As the famous Virginia Slims ad saying goes, "You’ve come a long way, Baby!" And in some ways, women have come a long way. The past two years alone have seen women making Advertisers Continue to Fail Womentremendous strides in politics, business and the entertainment industry.

2012 was a groundbreaking year for women in politics as the congressional elections appointed 20 female senators in total, the most ever in US history. The House of Representatives can also boast a record 79 women holding seats, and Janet Yellin is poised to become the first woman to run the Federal Reserve in the bank’s 100-year history.

For the first time in history there are 20 female CEOs at the 500 biggest US corporations and a growing number of women on major company boards.

Even Hollywood has joined the 21st century (albeit at times kicking and screaming) and begun to depict women as beautiful despite not being a size 2. Shows like "The Mindy Project" and HBO’s wildly popular "Girls" have lead characters that, by most standards, are considered... curvy.

With modern women making such strides, why is it that advertisers are still missing the mark and creating sexist and stereotypical campaigns?

Here are a few recent ads that make my feminine blood boil:

Hey Gals, Science is Just like Fashion!

Let me start with perhaps the most offensive ad (and let me tell you, it’s hard to choose which one is most offensive). In an earlier blog post I ranted about stereotypical advertising and my distaste for the color pink. Well, this ad embraces both.

The intention behind this PSA was no doubt good (at least I sincerely hope the intention was good). Getting more young girls and teens interested in science is a noble endeavor. However, this video, created by the European Union Commission, relies on stereotypes that girls are only interested in fashion and makeup.

An article in the Huffington Post which mentioned this campaign summed it up best: "Love nail polish? You'll love hydrogen even more! Fashionable sunglasses are just like lab goggles!" Oy.

Boobs

It’s 2014, so why is it that so many ads still use boobs as the star of the show? Here’s an AxeAdvertisers Continue to Fail Women ad (you can generally rely on Axe ads to promote both male and female stereotypes) which is basically saying women are obsessed with a man’s full head of hair and men are obsessed with a woman’s ta-tas.

Sex Sells Burgers

This is one of those commercials that seems like it HAS to be an SNL skit; it’s so horrible it’s funny. But it’s not an SNL skit – it’s a real commercial that someone pitched in a boardroom and eventually aired on TV. I guess my question would be, did this ad really sell more burgers?

Women Have No Minds – Or in This Case - Heads

Here’s an ad that stars surfer Stephanie Gilmore. The ad focuses only on her body and never shows her face. Not once. There are many ads out there like this which sends the clear message that women are to be objectified. We are only our body parts and not the mind or the person inside.

All Women Care About is Shoes!

The last time I checked I was a woman, and I can tell you honestly that I own... I believe six pairs of shoes. There may be some in storage, but I can’t say for sure. My point is, I am not Advertisers Continue to Fail Womenobsessed with shoes. They keep my feet protected from cold, wetness and things that could seriously injure me. Other than that, I just don’t care that much. I’ve met other women from all over the globe who share my dispassion for shoes; we simply have other things that hold our attention more. But, according to this D.C. Metro Campaign, all women want to talk about and think about are... you guessed it... shoes!

Even Google jumped on the stereotypes bandwagon with this commercial for their new inbox. The ad perpetuates the myth that all "us ladies" care about is shoes, getting mani-pedis, knitting and going on dates with really cute boys.

Our Thighs Can’t Touch

While photoshopping models isn't exactly big news, there is something particularly creepy and offensive about Target's recent swimsuit fail.

The model in this ad not only has incredibly thin, long arms that don’t appear even human, her crotch area has also been blatantly airbrushed and a chunk of the suit has actually been cropped out, giving her an artificial "thigh gap."

Last year "thigh gaps" gained media attention when eating disorder advocates noted teenage girls were striving for a body weight so low their thighs wouldn't touch, even when they were standing with their feet together! Way to go, Target.

No, I Really Don’t 'Want It'

The fact that Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” song and video were a hit last summer says something really sad about our society. “I know you want it?” Uh, no, Robin. No, I really don’t. Then Radio Shack comes up with the brilliant idea to use the song and video to promote its Beats Pill speaker, a speaker which just happens to look like... well, you see for yourself.

Oy, I rest my case.

I think what bothers me most about these ads is the same thing that bothers me about failed advertising for men: it’s lazy. Advertising is supposed to be creative and tap into real issues and problems that people face. If you want your campaigns to stand out and attract new business, think of how your product or service can solve people’s problems and present those benefits in creative ways that don’t rely on stereotypes or sexist concepts.

 

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Tags: advertising, advertising campaigns

The Beginner's Guide to Newspaper Advertising

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 10:43 AM

If you have never considered newspapers as a vehicle for advertising your products or services, what’s holding you back? Nearly 70% of U.S. adults read the newspaper in print or online during an average week. That’s a pretty sizable group and I’m almost certain it contains a segment of your target market. Whatever your reasoning for not utilizing newspapers to get in front of consumers, I urge you to reconsider. Outlined below is everything you need to know to execute a successful newspaper campaign. Consider it the beginner’s guide to newspaper advertising. Even if you are a veteran to newspaper advertising, this post is worth a read. Every once in a while it’s good to go back to the basics.

The Beginner's Guide to Newspaper Advertising

Define your target market

Before you rule out newspaper advertising, you need to take a closer look at your target market. Grab your magnifying glass and really zoom in on them. Think Rick Moranis in “Honey, I The Beginner's Guide to Newspaper AdvertisingShrunk the Kids.” If you think retired baby boomers are the only people with ink-stained fingers, you’re wrong. Does it surprise you that 40 million millennials get information from newspaper media each week or that they trust their newspapers more than other sources of information? People of all ages still read the newspaper. Your job is to figure out if your target market turns to the newspaper for the latest news or print inserts and then proceed accordingly.

Determine your newspaper advertising budget

After you determine your total advertising budget for the campaign, you will need to decide how much will be allocated to newspaper advertising specifically. Some advertisers spend a lot, others spend a little. No matter your budget, we recommend taking an integrated approach to advertising and utilizing multiple media vehicles to maximize your reach.

Select newspaper markets

Newspapers can reach consumers in local communities as well as on a national scale. The nature of your product or service as well as the size of your advertising budget should help you select the appropriate markets. Maybe you run in two markets, maybe you run in 20. As The Beginner's Guide to Newspaper Advertisinglong as your target audience resides within the markets you select and reads the corresponding newspapers, you should have no problem increasing awareness. If the process of selecting the correct markets seems daunting, our team of newspaper buying experts would be happy to lend their expertise.

Create your ad

While you may not be the creative designer behind your newspaper ad, you can still have a hand in its success. Work with the creative designer to incorporate these best practices into your print advertisements:

  • Create a compelling headline
  • Focus on the benefits of your product or service
  • Create opportunities for interaction
  • Use a strong call-to-action
  • Include powerful imagery that supports your message

After your ad has been created, pass it around to a small group for feedback and proofing to save yourself from potential embarrassment. You don’t want to be featured on HubSpot’s next blog post about typos.

Determine ad size and positioning

We recommend testing a few different ad sizes to see which produces the best results. Obviously full page ads are less likely to go unnoticed. Similar to selecting the right newspaper markets, you’ll want to buy ad space in the sections of the newspaper most likely to be read by your target market. Aligning your ads with corresponding content is an added bonus.

Measure results

Make sure to include a unique redemption code or promo code on your ad so you can easily track its effectiveness at reaching your target demographic and propelling them to take action. At the conclusion of your campaign, compare the amount you spent on advertising toThe Beginner's Guide to Newspaper Advertising the revenue generated and measure it against your goals. If you didn’t get the results you were expecting, try different creative or different markets before you throw in the towel. You might even try A/B testing two different ads to see which performs best.

After reading this blog post you should have the information you need to plan and place your first advertising campaign. If you need help walking through the process or want to take more of a hands-off approach, give us a call.

 

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

Read More

Tags: newspaper advertising

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