Are Moms The Perfect Target For Brand Engagement?

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It has long been known that if you can get your timing right, then brand engagement can produce long term brand loyalty. Mothers appear to be a perfect candidate for brand engagement if you can gain their attention in all the right places. Gaining their attention could be a difficult hurdle to cross; do it well and you may gain loyal customers. The question is how to gain their attention.

The art of reating engaging content for moms is no small feat. Knowing how to get that content in front of them can be a science in itself. There have been numerous reports over the last 18-24 months reporting on demographic trends and their use of online services. The fastest growth in internet use is in the female demographic and a recent report suggests that moms are more likely to use search than non-moms. The report suggests that moms will use search twice as much as non-mums and that they are quite savvy in they way they use search.

Search is the number one activity for moms (85%) followed by email (83%). Shopping was down the list at number 4 (72%) and social 5th (67%). Those numbers are important if you want to catch their attention particularly if you want to catch their attention early.

When it comes to search, there are three other factors to be considered. The first is that mom’s place a lot of trust in Google. This then leads to them selecting results from above the fold and rarely going below the fold, let alone to page two. The third factor involves the use of long tail searches. Moms are most likely to use sentences, often in the form of questions, when conducting a search.

Based on that information, the logical places to target are the search engines using long tail keywords. If you can gain a listing above the fold on page one, then your halfway there. If getting to page one is too competitive, then PPC advertising may be an option that can achieve similar results.

What is often forgotten is that 67% of moms engage in social networking. That’s where brand engagement can create initial ties. Search engine results (paid or organic)  will then reinforce those ties creating a strong brand image in the mind. If you can put it all together in a successful campaign and then follow up with quality products and/or service, you may just win the hearts of moms as they become loyal long term customers.

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Regular Joes and Janes are changing the way we advertise.

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It’s late Sunday night at the time of this writing and I just came across a press release announcing The Future of Influence Summit by futurist and entrepreneur Ross Dawson.  If I set my alarm clock for sunrise, I can probably get to the airport in time to grab a flight up to San Francisco for the event, which sounds like an interesting one. According to the press release a new trend of “influencers” comprised of self-made influentials like bloggers, social media gurus and individuals are taking the power away from more traditional influencers like advertising agencies, newspapers and corporations. The shift away from “group influencers” to “individual influencers” is really giving advertising and marketing agencies heartburn as they scramble to figure out how to understand this new trend. In the pre-Internets era, people got their information about brands from traditional advertising like print, outdoor billboards and television commercials. The more a television commercial or print ad ran in the days of old, the more likely a person was to buy the product or service from that brand. Fast-forward to the Internets of the present. The media landscape has been fragmented into a million digital outlets, which is causing traditional advertising to lose its heavy-weight status. Media planners at advertising agencies now have to look at social media, PPC, banner, online video, rich media, email marketing, viral marketing, SEO, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and on and on and on. Couple that with the fact that now anyone with an authentic voice can build up a community of “fans” and influence if you buy a product or service and you’ve got some huge learnins to do if you’re a media planner in a traditional ad agency. Many times these “influencers” get huge audiences  because they carry with them the reputation of being an authentic, reliable voice. Take a recent blog entry where I wrote about Dave Carrol an irate United Airlines passenger who allegedly had his precious guitar broken by the airline. Instead of relying on customer service or filing a complaint with United,  Mr. Carrol took matters into his own hands by expressing himself in his own way; he wrote a song about the experience and released it on YouTube. The result was over 5 million viewers of his music video. Advertising agencies are still salivating trying to dissect and replicate the success. The point is that one individual can have a huge impact on a brand if the voice is deemed authentic. Long gone are the days that we take a corporations word for it when they tell us how great their products or services are. The individual is now the centerpiece of the show and advertisers better take notice. For more information on the program for Monday, check out The Future of Influence Summit Agenda

Digital or traditional marketing? It’s my strategy in a box.

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I just came across an interesting debate between web advertising vs. traditional forms on Search Engine Journal Clients will always want to measure results and pin-point what exactly is driving sales and who exactly is responsible for poor sales. It”™s human nature to dissect and put things in nice, neat little boxes. I mean, look at us: we live in boxes, we drive boxes around and we work in boxes that contain boxes within them that we call cubicles. So it”™s no wonder that we have the urge to put “traditional” advertising in one box and “digital” advertising in another. The problem is that we really don”™t know why traditional forms of advertising (like television commercials and billboards) work, but they do. If they didn”™t work you wouldn”™t see it everywhere you look. The act of putting things in nice neat little boxes extends far beyond analytics in some agencies. For example, if you walk into many of the larger, slower to move agencies you will find the “digitals” separated from the “traditionals” . Some agencies section off cubical space for interactive workers almost like they”™re cattle of a different breed. The opposite is true when you walk into many “digital” shops where they may section off some old-timers that have a background in traditional advertising just in case a client asks for a print ad or billboard. What I don”™t understand is why agencies can”™t make digital part of the everyday repertoire. Why can”™t we all make an effort to understand and utilize mediums like SEO and PPC campaigns just like we need to understand utilize the print, outdoor, radio and Super Bowl commercials. Why can”™t we all just get along?

Bing-bang-boom. Keywords will never be the same again.

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There’s a lot of buzz about Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing. But is it that much different than Yahoo and Google? After only a short time, experts are beginning to see how Bing may affect analytics for companies tracking how their customers find them on the internet. In a recent Mediapost article Brian Cummins, product manager for search marketing at Coremetrics said, “preliminary data suggests that bounce rates on Web sites have declined from people originating on Bing.” This may be attributed to the way in which Bing serves up search queries. When you do a search on Bing, you don’t just get a list of websites. Bing is designed to serve up various kinds of content along with listings to help the user find what they are looking for more quickly. This means that the journey that once took three or four steps to get you where you want to go is now taking only one, only now the in-between steps aren’t being tracked. So this also means that the keywords that drive traffic from Bing are going to be different than the keywords driving traffic from Google. For now, it looks like Bing is bringing something new to the table. How significant these features will be, only time will tell.

The yellow shine of PPC.

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yellowpageslogoThere’s a lot of discussion out there on the difference and effectiveness of PPC versus good SEM strategies that rely more on organic tactics. For a decent explanation on the differences between the two, read this article. When companies plop down the greenbacks to rank higher on Google or Yahoo, you can bet they’re expecting more click-through traffic as well as buy-through traffic. There’s lots of data out there that points to the effectiveness of PPC and having a good PPC strategy is smart. But in my opinion, it’s just another tool in the marketing toolbox and should not be used willy-nilly. What I wonder about is the effect on a brand image when relying too heavily on PPC for a long period of time. Does it harm a brand? Does it look too much like a hard sell? Does it turn would-be brand evangelists off? I haven’t been able to find any data on this, but my gut instinct tells me it can deteriorate a brand image if PPC is used with a heavy hand.

Gather around children, grandpappy wants to tell you a little story. In my younger days working in the advertising industry, I remember freelancing at one very large ad agency where an entire floor was devoted to media planning and buying for telephone book directories. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe they employed all those people for yellow page advertising. A gentle-mannered ad exec explained to me that yellow page advertising was highly effective and clients got a great return on their investment. The exec went on to explain that yellow page ads didn’t cost much to produce and they were highly targeted.

As you can imagine, that same floor today is now filled with young segway riding e-marketers who are supplying their clients with the latest and greatest digital offerings; and not a yellow page in sight. Later that day I walked around on the other floors and I noticed a flurry of activity not devoted to phone books. In fact, there were a bunch of other floors in the building devoted to many other facets of getting the word out for their clients.  There were people working on television commercials, print ads, radio commercials, P.R., product placement and even a think-tank like group helping the client engineer and design new product offerings. The point here is that the telephone directory advertising was just one (very profitable) facet of reaching their audience. Just like how PPC should only be a facet, not the whole kit and kaboodle, of an online strategy. Right now PPC is in its heyday and remains a bright and shiny object for online marketers. Which is all good and well. I just hope they don’t let the shine blind them.

Enzo F. Cesario