Tag Archive: Real Time Marketing

Friday Five – January 31, 2014

21 real-time marketing Super Bowl prop bets
http://bit.ly/1by8jpZ
On Sunday, most of America will tune in to watch the Super Bowl. I’ll be one of them. A smaller group, will be watching the “2nd” screen just as much as their TV, to see what advertisers do during the Super Bowl. Arik Hanson has put together a very funny list of prop bets that outline some of the seemingly preposterous, but potentially likely actions by brands on Sunday. You’ll chuckle.

The Death Of Expertise
http://bit.ly/1by8CRJ
This is a long read. I’m just warning you. But, it’s also a great read. In an always on and always connected world, are we losing the reason to learn and retain knowledge? This author seems to think so. I think he’s on to something. How many times have you been in a situation where someone asks you a relative basic question and you offer the response of “just google it.” I’m guilty. Is that behavior contributing to a slow down in the development of critical thinking skills, which negates the ability to create expertise? Grab a cup of coffee and read this thoughtful post.

Millennials Not That Into ‘Things’ and That Goes for Cars Too
http://bit.ly/1by9965
Solid short read. If given the choice between renting/leasing or buying, millennials would choose the former. That behavior goes across things big (cars) and small (phones). Perhaps this behavior and mindset is why marriage rates and home ownership rates are on the decline with this demographic. As a marketer, you need to rethink the value of the carrot you put in front of these consumers. Experiences will be viewed as more valuable, than tangible items.

TV Remains the Reigning Champ, but Display Internet Ads are the MVPs of 3Q
http://bit.ly/1by9FAY
Lots of great data in the latest report on Nielsen, covering media spending habits. Nearly 60% of budgets go to TV, with only 5% going towards digital. On one hand, shocking. On the other hand, not really; old habits die hard. Keep in mind that massive gap is even AFTER digital investment increased nearly 33% year of year.
Nielsen Ad Spend Shift

Full report can be downloaded here.

13 Things You’re Not Outsourcing (But Totally Should)
http://bit.ly/1bybm1m
Loved this post. A great mix of things you could be outsourcing at work and things you could be outsourcing in your personal life. My personal favorite on the list was “waiting.” Totally agree with how much of a life suck waiting can be.

Why Your Super Bowl Real-Time Marketing Will Fail

The Super Bowl is a peculiar American tradition. Over 100 million people will tune in, with the advertisements as big a draw as the game itself.

Last year, with the success of the tweet from Oreo heard around the marketing world, a new tradition was born: big-event real-time marketing through the second screen. Since the Oreo tweet, brands big and small have attempted to recreate the perceived success of that one tweet. No doubt, judging from what we saw at the Grammys, we’ll see many, many more attempts to replicate the “Oreo moment” during this year’s Super Bowl. And they’ll all fail.

Having been on the inside of large complex organizations and having worked at agencies challenged with leading large complex organizations, I have seen up close and personal how brands grapple with being successful in social media.

From our couches, it’s always easy to second-guess a brand’s decisions and motives for engaging in real-time marketing. It’s even easier to critique those efforts. It’s become a bit of an event within the event, for marketers to make fun of a brand’s efforts and tag their efforts with the dreaded “#fail” hashtag.

That said, here’s why real-time marketing will come up short at the Super Bowl.

Immature client organizations.
Can you believe it’s 2014 and organizations still debate the value of digital and social marketing? It happens more often than you think. When you’re part of a team trying to change that fact, you’re looking for anything to demonstrate the merits and value of your team. You’re hoping that one tweet, that one blog post or that one Vine video catches lightning in a bottle and starts creating some type of buzz internally. Buzz eventually leads to interest, which leads to funding. It’s tough to fault an organization that’s so early in their digital maturity, for delivering something not at a Cannes Lion-worthy level. That said, you probably shouldn’t step onto the Super Bowl field, if you’re playing at a junior varsity high school level. Rarely, does something good come from that.

Social media by committee.
Social media is a team sport. Since it’s the Super Bowl, let’s look at a football analogy. The Broncos have a game plan that they’ve created for the game. The coach created that game plan. Members of the team know their role in executing that game plan. Some are meant to block and tackle. Some are meant to score. When Peyton gets into the huddle, it’s his huddle. The plays are chosen by a single person, not a committee, and only one person (Peyton) can audible the play. The person you’ve empowered with the responsibility and accountability for hitting the “send” button to deliver something on brand, on message and in context is in effect, Peyton Manning. He or she needs to have their finger on the pulse of the game, what people are talking about online during the game and how their brand fits in, if at all. For them to be effective, they need to be fast. Fast doesn’t come from committee. It doesn’t come from running every single tweet by the brand team, legal team, corporate communications team, media team and so on. Fast comes from trust.

Not enough preparation.
Measure twice, cut once. When it comes to social, 90 percent of the time should be spent on preparing and 10 percent on executing. If your planning is poor, if you haven’t thought through scenarios, if you haven’t identified your goals and if you haven’t pre-created a base foundation of content to pull from quickly, you’re not preparing enough. You can’t prep on the fly. You can make adjustments to the game plan in real time, but you shouldn’t be creating your game plan as the game is unfolding.

The wrong objectives.
What’s measured matters. It’s a tried and true maxim of corporate America. If your objectives are to make sure you drive “frequency of message” or drive “reach,” you’re more apt to post often; even when you don’t have great content to deliver at the right time. If your objectives are generic (e.g., engagement) or if they aren’t aligned with the nuances of each social platform and how people consume, share and interact with branded content, they won’t be successful.

Mistakes happen.
If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough. Peyton Manning has thrown 219 interceptions in his career. But without forcing it sometimes, he wouldn’t have 491 TD passes. The best thing you can do after you make a mistake is learn from it and apply the knowledge to the next effort. Being able to do that is made so much easier if your organization understands that mistakes happen. And sometimes being lucky is better than being good. For example, Miley Cyrus could incorporate your product into one of her songs and all you need to be doing is paying attention to hit social media gold.

There is no formula for real-time marketing success, even if the endless debates over it seem to expect one to emerge. On Super Bowl Sunday, there are only two guarantees: One team will win, and real-time marketing won’t.

Please note, this post was also published on DigiDay.

The Beta Fallacy

Beta. As an industry, we seem to love that word. It conjures up ideas of excitement. Things that are in beta aren’t fully baked. They’re rough around the edges. They have cracks. Beta means, it’s not perfect. When technology and software companies would offer a beta preview of their latest creation, geeks like me, would get giddy. Getting access to something beta wasn’t something everyone received. We were part of an exclusive club by getting to experience something in beta. We were all a little cooler…in our own minds.

Beta

Somewhere along the way, as social platforms and behaviors grew, we created this belief that if something is in beta, people and companies were some how courageous for sharing it with you and the world. Our comfort with letting you look at, play with and experience something in beta is supposed to mean we’re heroic.

I’ll raise my hand and call myself out. Guilty. Yep, I’m guilty of perpetuating that concept. After all, to live your life in beta is to acknowledge we are, in fact, not perfect. Fail fast, right? Launch something, “throw it out there” and let’s “listen” to feedback in “real time” is better than testing something behind closed doors, right? Have we become a voyeur society? Perhaps. At least, that excuse, would help explain our love affair with beta.

Betas has some how grown from a purely technical term to define the current evolution of a product to the word that gives license to be mediocre. Calling something beta has now become the way to absolve ourselves for creating things aren’t very good. I mean, how can you call something bad, if it’s in beta? If it’s in beta, we’re still refining it and frankly you should just be thankful for the privilege of seeing this half baked idea, product, experience before it’s out of beta.

This has been going on for quite some time now. So what’s got me blogging about it, you ask? We’ll get there. Let’s start with a few quotes:

Being the first to do something new and complex is usually hard and expensive. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not the future.

For now, brands have to start somewhere.

Nobody tries. Nobody fails. Nobody wins.

And trying will only make it better.

If the marketing “community” is successful at tearing itself down in the pursuit of building up the profiles of individuals too fickle to be bothered, then we all lose.

At the heart of it, these are nearly all excuses for why something isn’t good. Because, it’s in the “early days”…because we all need to “start somewhere”…because if you don’t try, you’ll never “win.” At this point, let’s just quote the entire line of Successories, starting with “You can’t steal 2nd base and keep your foot on 1st.”

Frederick Wilcox Quote

The quotes were taken from two different people writing about the state of Real Time Marketing. The idea of course is we should recognize that all Real Time Marketing is in “beta” and therefore:

  1. You can’t judge or critique it
  2. You should accept and excuse mediocrity, in the name of progress

When did it come to this? Really? I’m sorry, but when I think about my role at the Campbell Soup Co., I know I have a real responsibility to do no harm to a beloved, cherished, admired and respected brand. It’s a responsibility I take seriously.

Delivering mediocrity under the guise of “beta”, won’t advance our thinking or our execution. Accepting mediocrity doesn’t create future leaders. Embracing mediocrity doesn’t make us better. Is everything we do, perfect? No. But, do we accept it something that’s not perfect, shrug our shoulders and say, “well, it’s in beta.” No. That’s just not our culture. We have higher expectations for ourselves.

I think Google really nails the use of the label, “beta” Beta, for Google, doesn’t not mean a buggy, unusable, mediocre product. Those types of products and ideas are housed under their “Labs” group. Beta for Google means significant changes may be made to the product. Gmail spent 5 years in beta and Google News spent 4 years in beta. They were not mediocre. Google didn’t say, “hey, we’re trying here, please overlook how bad this is right now…because technology will change, making it better…and if we aren’t trying and failing, then we aren’t focusing on the future.” They have a higher standard to bear for their consumers.

The marketing and advertising industry is in a significant state of flux. As we all look to make sense of the ever changing landscape, we’re trying to navigate, don’t be mediocre. Don’t offer excuses. Don’t become a “me too” in search of catching lightening in a bottle. Be better than that. Be much better than that.

We should never trade the promise of a short term gain at the expense of long term pain. I learned that in 1998, from Kevin Flatt, when I was working at Fallon. Brands are built over years. They’re built by having purposeful positioning, insights driven strategy and roadmaps that ensure they’re able to remain culturally relevant. These principles haven’t changed, just because we now have social media, big data and a sharing economy.

Think before you tweet. Don’t be a gimmick. Know your brand, it’s heritage and where it’s going.

Oh, also, please don’t judge this blog post. It’s in beta.

5 Things I’m Pondering Right Now

Changing Landscape

1 – A Changing Mobile Landscape

Wow. The pace of change in the mobile landscape is staggering. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile handset business was inevitable. Blackberry being purchased by private equity was less inevitable. I think many though Blackberry might be purchased by someone like Samsung or Apple. The private equity move is a bit of a head-scratcher. That’s some serious change. Add in Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C, both with the added security feature of finger print verification. Frankly, this security measure was long overdue and it was only going to be implemented well by Apple. We’re on the cusp of some serious changes, but I’m not sure these changes will end up being great for consumers. Why do I say that? Well, as the mobile world shrinks, will we see a slow down in innovation? Google is being less open with Android. Samsung wants to create their own OS. Microsoft has never really been good with leveraging an asset they purchased (see Skype as an example). There’s just a lot going on. While this might not be good for the consumer from an innovation standpoint, this could be great for the market at large. Less players, less devices, less fragmentation should create better standardization and hopefully start accelerating the road map for mobile marketing and advertising.

2 – Career Advice?

Yesterday, I came across this post titled, “Career Advice to My Daughters.” With a title like that, you knew it was going to get a lot of play. It was shared several times in my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds. Friends, called it “thoughtful”, “poignant”, “important” and a “must read.” I disagree with all of those words, except “must read.” I have a daughter, Cora. She’s 6. I became more and more irritated as I made my way through the author’s post. A great friend of mine, captured my feelings better than even I could. She said, “Wow. So, that guy’s advice is to basically NOT have a career? I’m baffled.” Another friend, this one a guy, said, “This is the same type of garbage that drives me nuts about younger employees. They’re “owed” great jobs. Companies do not owe you a job. They certainly don’t owe you a great job or career. It is a financial transaction. Provide value and be compensated. Be awesome and you’ll get the better jobs. On the plus side, if Cora and his kid were in a pool, Cora finishes in the top 50%.” I couldn’t agree more. While, I don’t need, nor expect my kids (both of them) to become CEOs, I do expect them to have an understanding of how the world works and that those who like ambition, drive and a clear sense of direction, struggle.

So Hard To Keep Up

3 – It’s Tough To Stay Digitally Fit…Even For Digital People

Keeping up in digital is challenging. I read. I read more. I try. I try more. I joined Snapchat. I hate Snapchat. I keep trying Snapchat. In a very sobering study from Adobe (PDF), it was revealed that less than half of DIGITAL marketers feel they are highly proficient at digital marketing. On some level, this isn’t surprising. For years, we haven’t invested in making digital important…certainly not important enough to invest in making our digital talent better through formal training-like programs. When we talk about building the digital capability and increasing our level of digital fitness at The Campbell Soup Co., we don’t focus on non-”digital” talent. Everyone needs to get more fit. Even those that are considered the most knowledgeable about digital, can always be smarter, better and more fit. When I read a report like this I feel even better knowing my kids are embracing digital and technology at such a young age.

Real Time

4 – Real Time “Marketing” Fatigue?

I watched, as many marketers did, the “real time marketing” efforts by brands during the Emmy’s. Most brands seemed to sit it out; and I happen to think that’s a good thing that reflects a return back to basic marketing fundamentals. Now, it’s possible, many brands sat out the Emmy’s because the Emmy’s aren’t as big as the Oscar’s. However, I tend to think it’s because marketers are realizing that real time marketing is a fad. Yes, I said a fad. Let me be clear when I say a fad, it’s the idea that an Oreo Super Bowl moment is repeatable every day. What isn’t a fad, isn’t being prepared, actively listening and striking at the right moment with an authentic on brand message that your audience actually wants to hear. What we saw with this most recent Oscar’s, were brands forcing the conversation. They were trying hard to replicate a moment. The problem is, you can’t force a moment. Moments happen, what you need to do is be ready to take advantage of the moment. Now, of course, leaders in the space, took umbrage with people calling them out for forcing a conversation and ultimately delivering off brand and mediocre creative experiences. They would have you believe that “no one” has this figured out and this is part of the evolution of real time marketing and it’s about innovation and test and learn. I’m not buying that. At Campbell, we often talk about how social is 99% preparation and 1% execution. If you spend your time preparing, you’ll almost always be able to take advantage of that 1% moment. If we want social to be better than robo-calls, infomercials and overly aggressive mass market direct mail, we need to focus on the preparation, not on trying to make execution the 99%. Our new soup campaign features a character called called, The Wisest Kid. You won’t find any tweets from him during the Emmy’s. There were certainly some great oppotunities, but we passed on them. Why? Because, we’re staying true to the campaign and our audience…the Emmy’s started after The Wisest Kid’s bed time. To have tweeted during the Emmy’s, with the hopes of catching lightening in the bottle, would have meant we were prioritizing short term gains and the expense of long term growth. Know your brand. Know your audience. Connect with them in a natural way.

Spartan

5 – Does Your Digital Org Road Map Include Blowing It All Up?

Digital moves quick. Every day it seems like there’s something new to keep up on. When you’re building a digital organization or looking to transform an organization into a more digitally fit one, you have to have a plan. I know that sounds basic. I realize you’re thinking, well gosh Adam, tell me something I don’t know. Ok, now, think for a second; do you have a real 5 year road map for where you’re taking the organization? Does it have vision and strategy? Does it include how you’ll evaluate your progress? For some of you the answer is yes. That’s great. Now, let me ask you, does your plan include and account for blowing up your entire model at some point? I didn’t think so. Why is this important? Part of it is as simple as the old adage, what got you here, won’t get your there. The other part though is that the skills, staffing dynamics, focus, priorities, partners and economic environments change often. While your vision and strategy should be consistent, the road map to get to bright will need to evolve and ultimately, at some point, you’ll need to blow it up if you want to be successful 5 years out from the end of your 5 year road map. We’re 15 months into our journey to be the most digitally fit CPG in the world. It’s a marathon. But, a marathon that we need to run at a sprinter’s pace. The more I think about things though, it might be less marathon and more like a Spartan Challenge style race.  In Spartan Challenges, you need to adapt and adapt quickly and often. You have fire, mud, hills and other obstacles. Those obstacles force you to reassess your path quickly. You need to be nimble, but not sloppy, as you keep your eye on the end goal.

Moments Happen Every Day

As we move to an age of what some are calling “real time marketing” we need to consider how to make our marketing more meaningful. This past Super Bowl was a tipping point for brands who might have been on the fence about social media marketing. Efforts by Audi, Oreo and Walgreens highlighted how providing quick and contextual marketing during an event can breakthrough. This post by Jay Baer does a great job of highlighting how hard it is to do great marketing. Notice, I didn’t say great social marketing or great “real time marketing.” I said great marketing. Getting to great marketing is tough. It takes a near perfect storm of the right brand, the right team, the right opportunity and the right stage.

The key for making a lot of this work is being honest about the social currency your brand has. Not all brands have a natural social currency that leads to a natural intersection of pop culture (eg The Oscars) and marketing. Additionally, I can’t stress enough the importance of planning. “Real Time Marketing” or whatever we need to call it, isn’t just about events, it’s about being in the moment…and moments happen every day, not just during the Super Bowl, Oscars or Grammy’s.

I tend to think this is less about real time marketing and more about right time marketing. Real time marketing, as currently conceived, seems almost forced. It’s being fast for the sake of being fast. Right time marketing is more about making sure the right message, is delivered at the right time to the right audience. This isn’t easy. It takes work. It takes effort. It’s a process. It’s a marathon.

It definitely requires some new wiring internally. That re-wiring takes time. But, eventually the muscle memory gets there and it simply becomes the way you create amazing experiences.

As I turn the lens inward, we’ve evolved in the last year. I see progress every day. We, like many brands, definitely stepped up our game following the Super Bowl. For example, this effort by our Campbell Kitchen team during the Grammy’s sticks out as nailing the right moment with the right creative at the right time:

There’s still work to be done. We’re not 100% bright. No one is. That’s the fun.

There’s a certain level of “geek” in all of us. It’s part of what gets us excited when we see a great ad. One of the most challenging things is balancing the inner-geek with what’s right for the business. The inner-geek wants to do the things that are interesting, cool, innovative and headline grabbing. But, I have a responsibility to my team, the great brands I work on and the company who trusted me in this position. The easiest way to temper that inner-geek is to remind myself it’s about driving a brand’s success, not my own personal success.

About
Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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