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I was very pleased last night that autoTRADER.ca, one of the Trader Corporation brands for which I run Consumer Marketing, picked up two awards at the CASSIE’s in conjunction with our agency partners, DDB Canada. It’s a great feeling when a great campaign is recognized in this way.
We were especially honored to walk away with the Grand Prix (as well as Gold in the ‘Off to a good start’ category) because of the strength of the work on show. Koodoo’s luchadore, Budweiser’s ‘Fan Brew’, and also some campaigns which as a newcomer to Canada, I wasn’t aware of before the night, are all fantastic campaigns. Every client and agency present had a lot to be proud of. The strength and standard of marketing in Canada has really impressed me.
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I came across a very nifty little app which caught my attention this week. Checkout 51 (www.checkout51.com) rewards Canadians with cashback for buying certain items in grocery stores. The app is barely a month old yet can boast over 37,000 downloads, 40,000 coupons redeemed and #1 spot in the Appstore lifestyle chart. Those familiar with the likes of Quidco and other ‘cashback’ affiliates will know exactly how this works, but the twist here is that all the conversions are in the offline (ie ‘real’) world.
I think this is the first time I have seen a natively online business model transferring into the real world. I’ve heard a few people refer to Checkout51 as ‘mobilised coupons’ but I’m not sure I agree. Getting a check in the post is MUCH more satisfying for consumers than getting a buck off at the register, psychologically. No, this app reminds me of cashback sites more than traditional cut-out- and-keep coupons. Modern mobile technology makes the process incredibly simple. The user just snaps a photo of their receipt with their mobile device camera, and any qualifying items are recognized. Hey presto, their account is credited with the cashback. When I took a look, the list of products on which cashback were available was a little slim, but this is to be expected from a recently launched app. I am positive it will grow. I did see the Old El Paso dinner kit in there, with a decent $2 cashback for every kit purchased.
Why would brands want to get involved?
Like the philosophy of online cashback affiliates, the idea is that a little incentive will make users a) trial new products with lowered price point risk b) ensure that brand hoppers stick to Old El Paso every time and c) defend market share of existing Old El Paso consumers. It’s tried and tested, and has been going on for years in the online space. Better still, the data collected by Checkout51 every time a receipt is scanned (stop for a moment and think about how powerful that is….just ask Tesco who know more about a huge slice of UK consumers than the British government probably do), can be used by brands for hyper-targeting of their offers based on previous purchase. Pretty neat. It never ceases to amaze me how the public will forget about their privacy concerns and give up everything on the first date so to speak, in return for a few bucks off a fajita.
What about users?
But is this really driving incremental sales? Isn’t it just people who buy the stuff anyway looking for a cheaper price? Well, that’s the old claim, but it’s just not true. Truth is, cashback schemes increase frequency and loyalty amongst existing customers, and introduce products to new customers with a little cherry on top to make them take a risk and try something new. It lowers the barrier to trial. Sure, consumers might think they are getting paid to buy the stuff they would anyway, but that’s because they don’t notice their increased frequency and don’t notice when the stop buying a rival brand altogether because they’re hungry for kick backs. They like to think they’re smarter than marketers – and we’re generally happy to let them think that, as long as they keep buying OUR stuff!
Functionality wise the developers have got it right too, Checkout51 has a rating of 5 stars for the current update. Consumers are full of praise for the app, and rightly so.
Made In Canada
The coolest thing for me as a London bred marketing man now plying his trade in Toronto, is that this app is exclusively Canadian (for now) because it was developed by three smart guys, right here in Toronto. At a time when Canadian businesses and industries are really having to step up to the mark digitally, with the threat of US giants looking North, I love to see this sort of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking going on right here in Canada.
It’s only available on iOS right now but with an Android app in the works, I see bright things in the future for this business. Top marks to the guys at Checkout51!
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The boffins at Auto Trader UK have compiled this handy insight into UK car-buyers mobile behaviour!
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So last night was the showpiece final of the NFL season, the Superbowl. With an audience of over 100 million, ad spots in the Superbowl come in at a pricey average $3 million! These rightful centrepieces of any campaign have become an institution in themselves, and millions of Americans look forward to the ads as much as the football! So the audience is also attentive – and increasingly, online simultaneously. The Superbowl this year generated 13.7M tweets! Get the creative right, and tens or hundreds of thousands of tweets will be sending your positive buzz through the roof, get it wrong and you damage your brand in a major way, or get it somewhere in the middle and you’ve wasted $3 million. No pressure then, let’s get into the creative!
Best Ads By Quarter – First Quarter
Strong showing from Best Buy and M&Ms. Best Buy, forgetting their ongoing customer service issues and lack of synergy in their on and offline businesses, created an ad which is not only interesting, seeing the inventors behind some of the most popular technology currently, it aligns their brand with such innovation and technological excellence with a compelling product truth. Whether the ‘rub off’ on the brand worked, sales will decide.
The M&M spot was just good old fashioned FMCG advertising, good use of humour, strong characterisations, and simple premise.
Notable mentions for Pepsi and Audi.
But I have to give it to Chevrolet for their second spot ‘Happy Graduation’, purely because this ad uses humour so effectively, and makes the product look a million dollars. It positions Chevy Camaro ownership as an aspirational goal and I can really see it doing well virally. Just great advertising up and down.
So, all in all it wasn’t the best year for ads to be honest, but there were some real gems in there! My standouts were Chrysler ‘Half Time’, Samsung, Budweiser, Chevrolet ‘Happy Graduation’ and Best Buy. I must give special mention to Budweiser because as a body of work their ads were consistent and quite powerful. You can watch all the ads here and decide for yourself though!
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“I know half of my advertising doesn’t work…I just don’t know which half!”
So we all know the marketer’s quandary. How to attribute conversions and success back to media accurately. Now sure I know there are many more tools available today to try and decipher the riddle, like econometrics, cross visit participation, outright asking users how they heard of your site. But can anyone, hand on heart, say that they know the exact contribution and RoI from all their media?
Here’s a bit of fun for a Friday!
It often strikes me that media is lot like football. In a football team, players work together, in concert, to achieve two broad common objectives – score goals, minimise goals conceded.
In a marketing campaign, media work together, in concert, to achieve broad common objectives – such as increase market share and block out competitors.
Football players, like media, have different jobs to do. Can we map the roles?
Let’s look at some goals to explore this idea.
If we looked at a different goal, say a midfielder scoring from range, I would say this is a user clicking through on a display ad. A rare thing, but it does happen! A midfielder who creates and scores goals himself is like a great DR display campaign.
What is the point I am trying to make? Well, on average, who is best paid in a football team? Below is the average salary for different roles in a Premier League football team according to a PFA survey in 2006. OK, a bit of date! It’s probably twice or three times this now, but it’s still true that strikers are paid more than defenders for example. If you were to apply the same ‘attribution’ to a marketing budget of £10M, I have shown what your breakdown would be. Looking a bit heavy on PPC! Does that mean that managers are suffering from last clickitus?
The fact is, we will never know the whole story of what contributes to a conversion, just as we never really know who contributes to a football victory. It’s the sum of the parts and has a million influencing factors. But one thing is certain. No one ever won a football match by putting out eleven strikers. No one ever won a match putting out eleven defenders. You should be tailoring your mix according to your sector, market position and strategic objectives.
Evolved marketing is about testing, learning and refining. Every now and then, eliminate a media from the mix and observe the results. In this way you can arrive at stats like the one that says that over 50 games, Arsenal averaged 2.1 points when Fabregas played, but only 1.75 when he didn’t play. Sure, still fallible, and many other factors may be involved, but more robust than instinct alone. Can you replicate this type of insight in your media mix?
Lastly, before we beat ourselves up about attribution, if you looked at UK adspend by media ‘forwards’ only represent about 18% of the total mix, so you could say marketers are actually doing a better job of attribution than Premiership football managers, with equally mystifying attribution problems to solve. What do you think? Does treating your marketing campaign like a football match make it more fun!?
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Recently New Media Age asked me to comment on the importance of usability, specifically across multiple channels. To most of us, that means mobile and online! Below you’ll find my thoughts on this.
What are some of the key areas that usability can affect in digital marketing?
What challenges does the growing number of mobile devices pose in terms of usability – what is the best approach to ensure a smooth user experience across devices?
But for those that do have mobile optimisation, usability now means delivering the seamless experience that users expect across platforms. As cookies alone will not yet allow marketers to identify the same user across platforms the answer is surely to create a compelling value proposition for registration and use shared cross platform registration data to provide a relevant and contextualised experience to a given user, whatever device they happen to be using at that moment.
How has the role of usability and user experience evolved over the past year, and how is it being integrated – both agency, and client side?
The take up and application of such techniques appears to be a little overlooked by digital creative agencies and perhaps rightly so – the best place for a UX team is most definitely client side where the team will have the proper connections to the web development pipeline to implement their recommendations and MVT tests.
As alluded to earlier, UX importance becomes more pronounced as cost of acquisition increases, for example general media inflation in the year of the olympics or lower disposable income meaning it’s harder to convert users to purchase.
Do you feel usability should be taking more seriously, or is the industry already recognising its value in the digital mix?
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