Rich Media Marketing

Notes on Rich Media Marketing from the Frost & Sullivan session moderated by Chris Young of Doubleclick, which was entitled “Brand Building: Engaging Your Target Audience with Rich Media and Video.” Kyoo Kim from MSNBC ad sales, Barbara Cerf from New York Life, and Craig Oldham of Allstate Insurance were the panelists.

Two different formats typically used include pre-roll ads and “in banner,” an ad within a page. Barbara is testing on-page ads because she finds pre-roll irritating. Kyoo mentioned, which gave him his “aha!” moment, when he saw that it is possible to create rich media flash players instead of annoying users with the pre-roll. Craig uses :15 pre-rolls instead of :30s. He hasn’t seen video ads do better than the “dancing clown” so far, so it’s hard to prove that creating content specifically for online channel advertising is worthwhile. Most pre-roll is currently re-purposed TV :30s.

Kyoo says ads need to be proportional; a :30 in front of a brief YouTube video doesn’t make sense, but the same ad in front of a long-form documentary is a huge value for the customer.
Check out Spotrunner.

Scale (reach and frequency) is harder to get on the web than through TV advertising. On TV, for instance, you can reach several million people at once. There isn’t enough inventory for reach and frequency. Craig doesn’t think reach and frequency matters; what he cares about is how many people in his target audience see the ad, and whether they take action. Reach and frequency is putting an old media paradigm on new media.

For the B2B market, this tonnage really doesn’t matter. As Rick Short said (he’s in the semiconductor market), being on the Today show is irrelevant for his business: there might be three viewers who could possibly buy his product. But he can go to an industry-focused web site and reach 15,000 likely customers, for much less money.

I asked whether the panelists are doing anything to create ads that people actually want to see, instead of the interruptive, intrusive ads that annoy. Chris said DoubleClick is contracted with Digital Broadcasting Group, which produces original webisodes. For example, THQ has a video game called StuntMan coming out soon, and DBG is producing 3-minute episodes of a guy going around doing crazy stunts that THQ is sponsoring and is syndicating around the web.

rich media marketing
Jeremiah Owyang asked about whether they have pursued consumers creating advertising (He’s blogging the conference here), and how the marketers are defining and measuring success. Doubleclick is pioneering something with webcams that lets users insert themselves into ads, and forward them to friends.

Craig says Allstate is exploring how to make car insurance something that people would even be interested enough in to want to create user-generated content.

Objectives for Rich Media Marketing could include brand awareness, direct response or, in the case of film marketing, having 8 weeks to create instant brand awareness before opening night.

Measures include click-through rates, percent of video viewed, brand awareness. For entertainment 19.2 seconds of a :30 is viewed; cars are about 21 seconds. Click-through alone isn’t enough, because people who see videos but don’t click through to the site have still seen the branding message.

Kyoo is interested in finding a way to measure “engagement” because he hears a lot about that from ad agencies. Jeremiah says he is developing a formula in the videoblogging space; hopefully he will post it.

Chris says he’s looking at who clicked on the ad, who sent it to a friend, interaction rate, time spent with the ad. For example, they had a Tiger Woods golf putting contest ad that had an 89-second time spent. The Odwalla Ken Jennings spelling contest, which I mentioned earlier here, is another one that likely has a long “time spent” factor.

I really like the panel format that Frost & Sullivan used for this, as compared with the overly interactive brainstorming groups like this one. Certainly there is value in both formats, but I would have liked to hear more from Craig from Facebook yesterday, and the format prevented it. We got to connect after the session, though, which was helpful. The panel format was still really interactive, with lots of good give and take, but we had one group conversation instead of six separate ones.

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Avoiding Irrelevance

Jeremiah’s Web Strategy blog has a great post about evolving your irrelevant corporate website.

Here’s a taste of his view of the future:

Websites are created with customers
This is disruptive, but I predict that the most relevant future websites will have customers building websites alongside employees. The most effective websites will contain a balanced point of view of both the product team and customers –even if they have qualms with the product.

Unfiltered customer testimonials will appear
You’ll no longer only be the only one publishing to your website, customers, prospects, and other members of the community will have direct access to publish on your website. Sure, there will be controls to make sure the content is somewhat factual or reviewed, but it will be obvious to many that the only voice won’t be the marketing one.

Content will have both negative and positive views about your products
This one is hard to swallow, but how do you build the most trust? By being open, authentic, and transparent to the marketplace. We know from research that the highest degree of trust comes from those ‘like me’, a savvy marketer will allow content to appear from peers, customers, and the market. These will not always be a product rave, in fact it may be downright criticism, the goal? To take that feedback, and demonstrate in public how you will improve your offerings in plain view. Case study: Dell has done this with IdeaStorm.

Check out the rest here. It’s certainly thought-provoking. Some organizations have high levels of trust. I think what Jeremiah is advocating will be keys to building and maintaining that good will with the public in the long term.

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And Now, A Word from Our Competitors

The late-morning session featured James Blazar and Marilyn Wilker from Cleveland Clinic. Their presentation was entitled “Branding as a Key Strategy for Success in Healthcare.”

Cleveland Clinic’s brand position is “Complete Confidence.” A brand is a promise. A pact between an organization and its audience. Strong brands uphold the promise at every customer interaction. An organization has a responsibility to fulfull this promise or risk the consequences (e.g. Firestone). A brand influences business systems, processes and policies. An example was Hampton Inn, where they gave a night’s stay free to someone kept awake by a youth softball team.

Brands matter because they provide meaningful differentiation, create a preference and reinforce an experience. If it can work for water, it should work for healthcare.

Cleveland Clinic’s re-branding was initiated by a change in leadership, growth of organization, marketplace changes and a new strategic plan. Their goal was to close the gap between their brand’s power and those of Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. They mentioned that Toby Cosgrove, their CEO, stopped doing surgery in December 2006. They bought the naming rights to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ practice facilities, which are called Cleveland Clinic Courts, because LeBron James is the second-most recognizable athlete in China.
Mr. Blazar described the Brand Driver Workshop process they undertook, which led to their choice of Complete Confidence as their brand platform.

Complete Confidence is the opposite of the fear people feel when faced with life-threatening illness. Brand characteristics they emphasize are: understated confidence and leadership, compassion and comfort, approachability and professionalism.

They changed their logo typography and simplified it to make it more contemporary. To get it through their approval processes, they showed how other organizations like Shell Oil, IBM and NBC had changed their logos over time…and that their beloved logo had not been handed down on stone tablets.

They developed a Brand Architecture to create a clear, organized system of brands. It’s similar to what Mayo Clinic does. Principles: Keep it simple, keep a customer perspective, align architecture with business strategy, minimize levels and keep it clear. Their ad agency implementation/tag line is “Find the confidence to face any condition at Cleveland Clinic” in the Letters to Tomorrow campaign. They have done a national cable TV buy for their ads (which I’ve seen.) We saw four of their ads, which were very well done, but didn’t seem to fit the “understated” part of their goal when the tag line said “World Leader” or “#1.” At Mayo Clinic we let others say “world renowned” and don’t say it ourselves.
Results: National awareness has increased from 62-71 percent, and awareness of advertising has increase (I think it was from 16 percent to 22 percent, but I may have that wrong.) Income generated from patients who have responded to the advertising is between $1.2-1.6 million. Calls have come from all 50 states, and the campaign has positively impacted philanthropy.

In response to questions, we learned that their marketing budget is 3 percent of their overall revenue, and that the consultanting firm fee for the re-branding was several hundred thousand dollars. They did not disclose the size of their advertising buy. It would be interesting to know whether the advertising has been directly profitable, although I don’t doubt it has helped in branding.

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