Archive for News

avatar

The SoDA Report (Volume 1, 2014)

As one of the foundering agencies of SoDA, the Society of Digital Agencies, we are delighted, as always, to present the latest SoDA Report.  This issue, the first of two this year, clocks in at a meaty 236 pages, and is chock full of great insights from the some of the smartest digital minds in the world.

The SoDA Report is one of the most widely read digital trend reports in the world with our last issue getting over 250,000 views. So we hope you join the many readers who make this one of their regular and most valuable reads.

avatar
  • 04.01.14

How Smart Brands Tackle Video Content


Content is the currency of the digital age and video is increasingly what consumers want.  The problem is that brands and their agencies are more familiar with making TV commercials than creating an inexpensive on-going stream of fresh video content, which digital channels require. This deck outlines solutions to how to approach making this video content for brands with examples and step by step best practices.

 

You may also like:

How to Become a Knowledge Source and Win the SEO Game

4 Reasons Brands Need Agile Agencies

YouTube: The Next Big Thing Is Already Here

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

avatar

What’s Social Currency Worth?

tqimage1

It seems Marc Jacobs and his marketers are going to find out. His new pop-up store in New York for his Daisy fragrance doesn’t taking folding money, only social currency. In order to get something like perfume or a necklace you have to send a Tweet or an Instagram photo, or post something on Facebook. Visitors that “pay” with social activity win prizes and the best Instagram pic of the day even gets a purse.

Somehow I don’t think you’re going to be buying a car with a Tweet anytime soon, but this story does point up the value of social currency. Getting customers and prospects to “talk” your brand up in social media is worth a lot. The average person using Facebook and Twitter has hundreds of connections and their connections have connections and so on. It’s the cheapest marketing that money can’t buy.

That’s right, you can’t buy it, the only way to get it is to inspire it and that takes ideas. Marc Jacobs and his crew clearly have some ideas.

avatar

Better Late Than Never

The 4A’s just announced that they are discontinuing the “Television Production Cost Survey” after 25 years. The last report recorded an average cost to produce a TV spot of $354,000. It seems that the traditional advertising industry has finally realized they’re not in Kansas anymore.

The internet tornado changed everything a while ago, so the idea that anyone would spend $354,000 on just a TV spot  has not made a lot of sense for some time. Video, however, is just as important (if not more important) than it has ever been, especially since broadband has made it so accessible on the web.

But it hasn’t made sense for years to just produce a TV spot. Now every time a brand spends a dime on production they should be not only producing content for TV commercials, but also for digital channels. That might be videos for YouTube, a website, a mobile app, viral sharing or whatever.  Of course it takes special skills to know how to use content in digital channels, but that’s another story.

The big trick has been to get brands to move from the mindset of “we’re going to make a big,  expensive TV spot once a year” to “let’s produce videos all the time”.  It used to be okay to just produce a TV spot once a year before, but now content, especially video content, gets old as soon as it’s been watched. So the challenge is to produce a stream of fresh, high-quality content without it breaking the bank.

That’s where digital agencies like IQ have had an advantage over our traditional friends. We came out of TV production into the digital world back in 2000. But we never lost our skills, and with a studio, editing, sound design and animation in-house, it’s easy for us to quickly and in-expensively produce the stream of content our clients need.

So it’s good to see the 4As acknowledging that the world has changed, if a tad late. Consumers still want lots of video, it’s just the rare brand that can spend a small fortune on just a TV spot without a strategy for the rest of its media world.

avatar

Have You Been Scraped Lately?

Has Your Site Been Scraped Lately?

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, scraping has to be right up there.

Last week, we discovered a website hosted in the Bahamas called www.iqadvertisingagency.com. Some delightful individual, who was clearly not raised right, decided to scrape (or steal in the old vernacular) our website for some nefarious purpose. They changed the contact info to the address of an internet café in Toronto and replaced our telephone number with theirs. Worse, they seem to have persuaded my entire team of executives to go and work for them…traitors.

I can’t help but wonder what they think they can achieve. Opinions in the office range from they are trying to get a loan and needed a cool site to show their banker to they are trying to sell themselves as us to get business. Clearly they have never been in any competitive pitches. Most clients today not only want to meet and grill the entire team before they hire you, but many actually want the agency to do the work in advance to see how good you are.  Good luck with that.

We sent off the necessary communications to the hosting provider and requested that the site be be removed from Google which should put them in hot water, but part of me thinks that maybe we can do an outsourcing deal where IQ can handle any business they bring in.

*Note: after sending their hosting provider a formal DMCA take down request, it seems the site is now “under construction”.

avatar

5 Reasons to Rebalance Your 2014 Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

Just like your stock portfolio needs to be rebalanced when market conditions change, you need to take a hard look at your media and channel mix in your 2014 marketing plan.

Discussions of mix have usually been about how to distribute media dollars among channels, but you need to look at channels holistically and include all costs, not just purchased media. With the continuous behavioral and attitudinal shifts of consumers, seeing your go to market plan as an integrated ecosystem is more important than ever.

1. If your channel mix does not reflect target audience behavior

Hopefully you know how your target audience uses media channels and when and where they are most receptive to brand interactions. You would be surprised how many marketers start by picking a channel without that knowledge.

Suffice it to say that the way consumers of all ages and types discover, explore, and evaluate products and services today is completely different to the way it used to be. You must therefore use a data driven, evidence based approach to determining your channel mix.

2. Because channels need to be weighted to reflect the dynamics of the Consumer Decision Journey

The difficult, but essential, challenge for a brand is to insert itself into the Consumer Decision Journey*. Your channel mix should reflect a comprehensive understanding of when and where people can and should be influenced. These are the inflection points where you should concentrate your resources. (*McKinsey & Co.)

3. The budget in a particular channel is insufficient to rise above competitive noise

A common mistake is not having an appropriate budget to achieve the mission. TV is a typical example of where budgets are often insufficient to accomplish minimum reach and frequency goals.

To use a war analogy, don’t split your army unless it is larger than your opponent, and concentrate your force on a narrow front for maximum impact.

4. You’re trying to win everything

You probably have short-term goals, but building a brand is a marathon not a sprint. So look at all the channels where your target audience is congregating and start with the areas that are uncontested by your competition. Then only select those that you can afford to do effectively (see previous point).

5. Because too much of your budget only has short-term equity

So much of marketing spend is ephemeral. So look for marketing investments that have long term value for the brand. For example, instead of buying banner ads, invest in evergreen content that can be used for search and syndication.

Over time these marketing investments will become the fabric of your brand’s marketing ecosystem.

Click here to read part 1 of this series

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

avatar

The SoDA Report Volume 2, 2013

As the chairman of the board of SoDA (The Society of Digital Agencies), I am delighted to share with everyone the latest SoDA Report, the second Digital Marketing Outlook for 2013. This is our 8th DMO and has become one of the most influential trend and research reports produced about digital marketing today, with each issue viewed by more than 150,000 marketers around the world.

This new report is without doubt our most thoughtful and provocative yet, a must-read for every digital marketer. Please share with your networks and spread the knowledge.

avatar

7 Questions for Your 2014 Marketing Plan

2014 marketing plan

Most marketers are well into planning their 2014 budgets–an arduous process that runs the gauntlet of budget approvals. And even though it’s invariably about the numbers, at some point you know someone will be asking you, “What did you accomplish?”

With that in mind, here are a few questions to ask yourself about your 2014 marketing plan to ensure you have a great story to tell this time next year.

1. Does Your Plan Reflect The Way Your Target Audience Engages With Media?
You would be surprised by how many marketing plans still start with traditional media and then add digital. That doesn’t mirror the importance of digital media to your consumers, which is why it’s time for a digital-first plan. That doesn’t mean you cut out traditional marketing–it just means you start with digital at the center of your plan. Consumers form their buying decisions through digital influences so much that to approach consumers in any other way is foolhardy.

2. Have You Done Your Strategic Homework?
The path to purchase is now so complex that you have to map it as the Consumer Decision Journey. This is a channel-agnostic process, which maps the journey for each of your target audience segments so you can see where the critical interaction points are. When combined with other audience research and competitive analysis, you get an accurate picture of when and where it’s most effective to influence your prospects.

3. Do You Have A Content Plan?
How you communicate with prospects when they are exploring your category is different than when they are evaluating options. So whether it’s the copy in an ad or a video on your Web site, you have to know exactly what to say to each audience segment, at every stage in the journey. The only way to know for sure is by doing the work of a content strategy, which acts as the messaging guide for all of your communications.

4. Does Your Plan Prioritize Owned, Earned, And Paid Media Intelligently?
The good news is many opportunities for exposure exist today that do not require you to buy media. This exposure saves you money, but has more influence on consumers than paid advertising. Therefore, your plan should start with owned and earned media before jumping to paid media. If your agency suggests otherwise, then it’s probably making money by spending yours.

5. Do You Have An Integrated Measurement Plan?
Marketers have correctly come to expect detailed metrics and analytics for everything they do. This not only allows you to optimize as you go, but also to measure your performance against goals and plan ahead. In order to really get the value of all this data, you need to plan with clear goals and KPIs, an integrated view of data from all media (both digital and traditional), and a really good analyst to tell you what it all means.

6. Is Your Digital Infrastructure In Place?
The basic idea of an integrated marketing plan is to tie together your marketing touch points into one unified system across all forms of media. This requires some basic pieces of digital infrastructure, which you can’t do without.

This includes probably the most important piece: a mobile-friendly Web site. According to Nielsen, consumers trust brand Web sites more than any other marketing, so your Web site has to be designed for mobile devices.

But technology is not enough.

The Web site is where you must cultivate that trust and convert general interest into sales. This requires state-of-the-art strategy and user experience design. Remember, it’s up to your site to convert interest into action, so make sure yours is best-in-class. Other areas that are often part of digital marketing infrastructure are your social presence across social touch points, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM), email, ratings and reviews, mobile Web sites or apps, and marketing automation.

7. Is Content A Priority?
Perhaps the biggest problem with most plans is a lack of focus on content. The word “content,” of course, is a catch-all that includes everything from banner ads and TV spots to videos and interactive tools. All of your planning, media, and infrastructure are there to deliver content. That’s because content is the part of the equation that influences the consumer.

Brands that commit to creating an ongoing stream of high quality, original, compelling content in all forms win hearts and minds. Brands that don’t, regardless of the rest of their marketing investment, cannot win.


avatar

Strategic Marketing: We’re All Data Points

Data Collection

About a year and a half ago, I came home to an unexpected package on my doorstep. Inside the box were a free container of infant formula and some coupons for baby stuff.

There was one problem, I didn’t have any children and my wife wasn’t pregnant. I checked the package to make sure it was supposed to be for me and after I confirmed that it was, I just wrote it off as a poorly targeted marketing effort.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I realized how brilliant it was. My wife and I had just started talking about having a baby when we received the package, but how could any company know that? I’m not exactly sure how, but Target does.

In fact, the company is famously able to predict major life changes (especially pregnancy) earlier than anyone else because they have invested so heavily in predictive modeling through big data.  The theory is that consumers loyalty resets around major life changes, so if it can get a family to start purchasing baby products at Target, they will move their grocery shopping there too.

This experience spawned an interest in what large companies are doing with big data, and because I work in marketing, how they do it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was standing in line at Target listening to a sales pitch from a cashier to the customer in line in front of me. She was pushing a loyalty card that promised a 5% discount on every purchase. The catch? Use the card as a debit card, linking it to your bank account.

Immediately I realized what Target was doing. Their new REDcard gives consumers a small savings in exchange for massive amounts of data that it would otherwise have to purchase from third-party data collectors. Now, Target can see each of your purchases, even those outside of the store, and plot trends in your spending in order to predict major life changes.

I’m undecided whether or not I think this level of data collection is creepy or cool. As a consumer, I’m skeptical about any entity having this much of my personal information. But as a marketer, I think it will ultimately benefit consumers. It will create personalized shopping experiences that generate loyalty leading to fiercer competition among companies.

What will be interesting to watch over the next few years is where consumers draw the line.

How much is too much data? Is there even a line to draw?

avatar

The Big Data Bamboozle

Big Data Blog

Acxiom, a big data company, released a website called About the Data yesterday morning. It’s a website where you can see what data they have on you. Of course, in this time of Edward Snowden and the NSA, the press picked up the story of this good brother of big brother and their egalitarian concern for the public good.

Curious, I went to the site and eagerly anticipated seeing into the secret KGB files, not deterred by the requirement to enter in all my critical information (figuring they already have it).

To my surprise, the only information they seemed to have right was the information I had entered in order to find my file. They did, however, have pages of data points about me that were wrong.

My interests were all wrong. My purchase habits, all wrong. My home ownership and credit card use, all wrong. Happily, however, next to each erroneous piece of information about me there was a button that I could click to fix their error.

“Ah ha!” I said to myself, now I can fix all these errors at last. Finally, I could set these big data guys straight and get the facts right. No I didn’t like hockey (I’m a tennis man) and I don’t shop at Walmart (I like Target) and…wait a minute! Suddenly my addled consumer brain switched on and I realized I was looking at a fiendish plot from the same people that brought us credit scores.

Did they think we were so stupid that we would do their work for them? Did they think I would just tell them everything about me? Did they think that consumers would be so naive as to think that this website was some kind of good deed?

According to the New York Times’ Scott E. Howe, the chief executive of Acxiom said all the company wanted was to give consumers greater control over their data. Sure, and Miley Cyrus was just looking for her contact when Robin Thicke bumped into her.

Well I’m impressed by their audacity, but I’m not stupid. I made sure I didn’t give them my real email address. That should hold them at bay for about 5 seconds.

Stay Informed