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  • 02.23.16

Introducing Christian Durrett

ACD Copywriter - IQ Agency

We’d like to welcome the newest member of our Creative team – Christian Durrett, Associate Creative Director Copywriter! Christian has over 14 years of experience writing for an impressive list of clients including Coca-Cola, The Atlanta Hawks, Mazda, AT&T, Aflac, The Home Depot, MGM Resorts, Publix and Marriott. His advertising career has taken him across the country from Atlanta, to Vegas, to California and back.

His skills include:

  • interactive
  • social
  • web and video content
  • print
  • TV
  • radio
  • outdoor
  • integrated branding
  • writing about vintage cars http://bringatrailer.com/
  • playing guitar

Fun Fact: His extensive guitar collection includes a ukelele and a very-soon-to-be-added banjo.

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How to Evaluate Your Agency’s Media Plan

Media Planning - IQ Agency

When developed thoughtfully and strategically, a media campaign can help your brand achieve performance goals at a level that organic media alone simply cannot deliver.  As you seek to determine whether your advertising agency has presented a plan for an effective paid media campaign, there are several questions to ask yourself. 

  • Does the targeting criteria reach the target audience?
  • Do the proposed platforms align with your brand and audience?
  • Is there a plan for evaluating success?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Is there an optimization plan?
  • Are there opportunities for earned media?

Asking yourself these questions helps to ensure that a media plan is as tactical as possible, and delivers the greatest opportunity for success. Below we explore these questions in more depth.

Does the targeting align with your current and/or prospective audience? A strategic targeting approach is crucial to the success of any media plan.  This may seem like common sense, but advertisers can often get caught up in the numbers game, focusing more on securing as many impressions as possible, rather than ensuring meaningful saturation that leads to the ultimate action, a conversion. Impressions, though a weak metric anyway, mean even less if your messaging is not reaching the right people. Targeting capabilities, especially across digital media, are now more advanced than ever, so advertisers would be remiss not to leverage them as strategically as possible.  Want to exclusively target a 44-year old woman who has four kids and shops at Whole Foods?  Now you can.

Do the proposed platforms make sense for both your brand and your audience? An agency shouldn’t recommend buying media on a platform that is popular among your audience but doesn’t make sense for your brand.  For instance, if your target audience is young college students, your media plan shouldn’t focus too heavily on traditional print advertising; conversely, you shouldn’t spend money on Snapchat in the hopes of reaching your 50+ audience demo.  Consumers, especially Millennials, are becoming more and more weary of blanketed advertising, and are quick to disengage with a brand which appears disingenuous in their marketing efforts.  According to a 2015 Forbes study, nearly half of Millennials ranked authenticity as more important than the content itself, ahead of several other factors.  This means that if an ad placement doesn’t feel right to a consumer, they aren’t going to take the time to open, read or engage with your content.  As a result, these irrelevant media buys will only yield poor ad performance and higher cost-per metrics.

Depending on the type of content, there should usually be a mix of traditional advertising, such as print and radio, with digital advertising like social media and SEM.  Of course, certain creative will warrant a more niche, focused media plan, but a combination of the two is typically most effective.  This will ensure your media dollars are working as efficiently as possible while also reaching consumers with diverse messaging through a variety of mediums.

Does your agency have a measurable way to evaluate success?  No two media plans are alike; therefore, campaign performance reports should not all reflect the same KPI’s.  For instance, a media campaign that is promoting video ad content should measure video view-through rates and cost per video view, while CTA campaigns should focus on maintaining a low cost per conversion.  Again, impressions are a weak value metric and shouldn’t be the sole indicator your agency uses to measure strong campaign performance.  In many cases, unique user reach and the resulting engagements, tells a more accurate story of how many people were exposed to your content.

Are you playing in the same space as your competitors?  It may seem counterintuitive to be buying ad space right next to your competitors, but in order to obtain a portion of the SOV (Share of Voice) pie, this is exactly where you should be.   It also explains why multiple advertisers drive costs up; the familiar adage is true: you have to pay to play.  To remedy your messaging getting lost in a cluttered marketplace, consider running dayparted media so that people are being exposed to multiple unique messages throughout the day.  For instance, dayparting a radio buy allows a consumer to hear a different message on the drive to work than they do on the commute home.  This will ensure that your content reaches a high resonation among consumers while also rising above the noise of competitors.  That being said, your agency should strategically utilize frequency capping so that unique user reach remains large and the same people aren’t receiving the same messaging multiple times.

Does your agency have an optimization plan? A truly great media plan is one that is fluid and accounts for ongoing changes in the marketplace.  While you may be locked in to certain traditional ad placements for the full investment, digital media is much more adaptable.  Your agency should be consistently monitoring campaign dashboards and evaluating performance to assess when optimizations should be made.  For instance, if one ad placement is underperforming, your agency should make a timely decision to adjust budget allocations accordingly and funnel more dollars into the better performing placements.  Additionally, A/B testing should be executed in order to test different creative and, if the length of the campaign warrants it, optimizations can be made.  This type of testing is ideal when the campaign is running constantly for at least one week.    

Opportunity for earned media growth? More and more, brands are beginning to view paid media as a way to leverage both organic and earned media.  One of advertising’s biggest success stories is when a campaign not only pays for itself, but continues to generate growth and interest even when paid media is no longer running.  Word of mouth and social sharing that results from a digital media buy can lead to increased user reach and conversions that a brand isn’t even paying for.  Take Pinterest for example: if a brand launches a Promoted Pins campaign and several people re-pin the content, the brand will continue to reap the benefits via earned media impressions and engagements long after the campaign has ended due to the nature of Pinterest and its user algorithm.  That content is still being seen, experienced, and shared by people who may have never been exposed to the content via paid media.  As a result, earned media makes paid media even more powerful and cost effective.   

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  • 02.18.16

Social Media Insights for Credit Unions

IQ’s focus on next generation marketing for financial services continues with this look at social media sentiment regarding credit unions by Noah Echols, IQ’s Director of Strategy, a summary of which was published today in the Financial Brand. To see the complete report click HERE.

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IQ has deep experience working in the credit union marketing arena with Oregon Community Credit Union combined with many years working on behalf of financial brands such Wells Fargo, Suntrust, Allstate, GEICO and others.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ knows Financial Services

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2016 Super Bowl Advertising Commercials Wrap Up

IQ Wrap Up of Super Bowl Commercials

Some IQers watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials. Here are some of our favorite and not-so-favorite commercials from this year’s “big game.”

The Good:

Audi – This is exactly the kind of emotionally driven commercials auto companies need to run with right now to get consumers to buy cars that aren’t just your basic vanilla get you from point A to point B types.  Basically, if you want someone to buy your super expensive sports car – you need emotion.  If you want someone to buy your poorly built and will likely break down piece of junk – you need emotion.

 ACURA NSX – David Lee Roth was the perfect voice for their target audience. I have listened to my husband play that exact track of David Lee Roth’s isolated voice repeatedly for years. He was very inspired by it. I’m so glad it now serves a more useful purpose. 😉

Doritos – Some people were offended by this spot but it was my favorite of the night – the only one I literally LOL’ed at.  It was the epitome of a “WTH” moment and whether people loved or hated it, it’s getting the most coverage and attention.

Amazon Echo – I’m a fan of the product anyway but I like that they featured the product more than just making it all about the celebrities (My husband and I tested it and we got the same answers she gave in the commercial).  Also smart marketing strategy to have the Twitter promoted trend the day after the ad ran for additional context.

Budweiser/Helen Mirran drunk driving – An important message delivered in a way that makes you want to be responsible. Less memorable is who sponsored the commercial.

The Bad:

MINI Cooper – Being different.  It made me feel like they wanted to be just like every other company that wants to “be different.”  MINI has such an amazing story and sadly no one will ever hear it because they never talk about it.  Disappointed.

Social Finance AKA “SoFi” – The worst commercial. For the amount of money spent to run the ad, they skimped on the creative process and made a forgettable, bland bank ad. Something you’d 100% skip in YouTube pre-roll.

Split decision:

PUPPY/MONKEY/BABY

“I hated and loved it at the same time. So obnoxious. I can’t get it out of my head.” – Carol

“No.  Just…no.  It came on TV, I screamed and I’ve never seen my fiancé run so fast into the living room because he thought I had fallen and likely broke something.” – Emily

“I loved Puppy/Monkey/Baby so much it’s my new ringtone.  Not only was it hysterically entertaining, we’re all talking about it today! It also reminded me of the 2004 Quizno’s commercial featuring singing rats. Yeah, I loved that one too.” – Russ

You can watch every 2016 Super Bowl commercial online here.

What can IQ research for you?

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ Spotlight: Megan Hawkins, Strategist

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  • 01.25.16

Decoding Modern Marketing Series Overview

We have recently begun a new series, Decoding Modern Marketing. The full overview article by IQ CEO Tony Quin is here. We’ll have Part 1 here for you next month.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Decoding Modern Marketing – A new series

DecodingMM

Midsize companies are waking up to new dangers.

During the recession, while consumers sharpened their digital buying skills and the Fortune 100 raced ahead, many midsize companies took advantage of the competitive lull and avoided the investments necessary to keep up with the digitally empowered consumer.

Cut to 2016: Consumers, both B2C and B2B, have become sophisticated buyers. They have the tools to make smart, fully informed buying decisions every time. They are demanding, digitally savvy and unforgiving of brands that do not serve them well, especially on social media. They expect easy, enjoyable experiences in store, online, and with the products and services they buy.

In a nutshell, they want it good, fast, and cheap, and if they don’t get it from you, they’ll find it somewhere else.

At the same time, competition is brewing even in the sleepiest of verticals. Companies are realizing that if they don’t superserve their consumers, one of their competitors will or already is. And the quality of such an experience has been set not by the sleepy competition, but by the world’s top brands, so the bar is very high.

While the big companies have used the recession years to shift their focus to connect with the modern consumer, midsize companies are only now waking up to the need to get their marketing and consumer experience up to speed. But time is running out. Nimble new brands are finding ways to disrupt almost every industry with product innovation and better consumer experiences, and big companies, like Amazon, are spreading their enormous wings with even more innovation, making it ever harder for laggards to get into the game.

With a relatively stable economy under our feet, we have entered the fat part of the snake, where many midsize companies are ready to catch up. That means acting now to shift to a consumer-centric orientation in which everything that touches consumers is designed with them in mind.

Midsize companies that have managed to slide by without more sophisticated marketing and just manufacture and distribute will have to become marketing companies now, which is a daunting prospect for many. But the alternative is worse. As a big-box retailer recently said to a longtime brand on its shelves: “What I want from you is a brand, and that means you have to get good at marketing. If I want a product, I’ll make it myself.”

The good news is that even though time is short, you can quickly build a modern marketing machine that will superserve your consumers and future-proof your brand. That’s what IQ’s forthcoming 10-part series, “Decoding Modern Marketing,” sets out to do. This monthly series is an executive guide for midsize brands ready to usher their marketing into the digital age. That said, “Decoding Modern Marketing” is applicable to brands of all sizes, large, midsize, and small.

View the overview of Decoding Modern Marketing here. We’ll be back with Part 1 next month.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ Spotlight: Megan Hawkins, Strategist

IQ Strategist Megan Hawkins

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so once a month we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

My name is Megan Hawkins and I’m a Strategist at IQ.

What is one thing you never leave the house without?

It’s so cliché, but my phone. My iPhone has everything I need on it. I wish I had a cooler answer, but I always leave home with lip balm and my phone.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally.

This isn’t at all what I went to school for. I went to school for Sports Broadcasting, and then realized pretty quickly freshman year that me being in front of a camera is just kind of a bad idea, I like being behind the scenes more. In my first job out of college I really loved the research, planning and strategy work I did. I also found out that I really work well in an agency environment. I enjoy the culture, the people and the smart work that goes on in an agency.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

It’s the ability to produce work that not only is designed well and looks great, but is also supported with strategic planning and research.

What are you most passionate about in your life, and why?

I am most passionate about my family! I have a husband and a dog. My dog is a Lab-Australian Shepherd mix and we go on long walks through our neighborhood every morning. My husband and I have owned our home for a little over a year now, so we’re still exploring the adventures of renovation and home repairs. I also really like to cook and bake, and I’m saving up for a camera so I can start a food blog.

Quickfire:

Pirates or Ninjas?

Pirates with ninja-like skills.

Pie: Apple or Pumpkin?

Apple. With ice cream.

Bright or Neutral Colors?

Neutral.

Math or English?

English.

Board games or video games?

Board games.

Now you know a little more about Megan Hawkins!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

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IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of our favorite……apps.

Unroll.me – Far superior to Gmail’s tabbed approach, Unroll.me is the simplest way to manage and filter your email to greatly reduce the number of times your phone vibrates and distracts you from what is truly important.

IQ best apps - unroll.me

Slack – Email will never die but that’s not stopping Slack from trying. Slack manages office communication with great cross-platform integration and we love the awesome giphy feature.

IQ best apps - Slack

Spotify – The streaming music service’s user base continued to grow this year and they extended into the fitness app market by launching a running feature that detects steps per minute, matching song pace to the user’s actual pace.

IQ best apps - Spotify

Instagram – While VSCO made a strong push this year, Instagram is still the photo sharing app to beat. From a marketing perspective the new self-serve ad platform they unleashed this year is fantastic!

IQ best apps - Instagram

Marriott – In addition to the great design this powerful hotel app (yes, we were surprised a hotel app made the list too) does more than just book your next stay at any of their 4,000 properties. You can chat with an associate to dial in the specifics of your booking or make special requests.

IQ best apps - Marriott

Timehop – Time travel to your past social posts. One of the best apps even though it can cause some self-shaming.

IQ best apps - Timehop

Snapchat – Started as a joke among older millennials but they’ve innovated to be a good news source for a tough market of media consumers, and their creative filters are almost memes themselves!

IQ best apps - Snapchat

Venmo and Cash – Instant and secure ways to send and receive money between individuals. It’s actually frightening how fast they work. Venmo took it one step further and socialized the act of sending money.

IQ best apps - Venmo and Cash

TwoDots – More than a few of us are addicted to this game. Just download it and curse us later.

IQ best apps - Two Dots

Favor – Their tag line is “Get Anything Delivered” Seriously. Anything. Food from your favorite barbeque place? Done.

Need a stapler? Done.

Anything you want in your city in under an hour.

IQ best apps - Favor

Tripit – If you connect your Outlook, Yahoo, or Gmail accounts Tripit will automatically pull plane tickets, hotel confirmation, restaurants reservations, and event tickets into the app and send you reminders of where you are supposed to be when.  One place for all of your itinerary needs. Some of us won’t travel without it.

IQ best apps - Tripit

So what will 2016 bring? We’re betting on apps and services that provide deeper connectivity and tied into wearables as more products enter the market at lower price points. Let us know what technologies IQ can research for your business.

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How Much Should you Budget for Marketing – what other companies will spend in 2016

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How Much Should you Budget for Marketing – what other companies will spend in 2016

How much to budget for 2016 Marketing

Having worked on both client side and agency side, I’ve experienced the end of year budgeting season from two perspectives. On the agency side, we work with clients to set goals for 2016 and then back out of that tactically to estimate (in terms of cost) what it’s going to take to reach those goals. In an agency, we get to dream about all the exciting things we could do to help move our clients’ businesses forward. We get to brainstorm and collaborate then present exciting ideas to our clients. But what many on our side don’t know is what you (our clients) go through during the final few months of the year – the planning, negotiating, revising, justifying, compromising, etc. Often it requires internal campaigning with adjacent departments to partner on initiatives so that budget can be shared. It’s a draining process and any data that might support your proposal for an increase in budget helps.

While the process will always be messy, taking a look at what others are doing helps provide context. Each year CMO Survey publishes a report with what companies spend in marketing and the percentage of revenue and the overall company budget that the marketing budget represents.

First the big numbers. Marketing budgets represent 11% of overall company budgets. This is further broken down by the type of company with B2C product (vs. service) companies getting the most budget at 17.5% and B2B product companies getting the least at 10.1%. Interestingly, the trend is on the upswing, with companies investing more on marketing than any report since 2012.

CMO Marketing Budget Report

While marketing budgets continue to take a larger percentage of overall company budgets, the net investment, however, continues to decrease as company budgets overall continue to decrease. On average, marketing departments intend to invest 6.6% of company revenue, down from 8.3% in 2015. Again, B2C product companies are leading overall spend with 10.4% with B2C services companies taking the bottom at 5.3%.

2016mktgbudget2

It should be noted that these numbers are inclusive of all marketing department efforts including operations – that’s everything from the costs associated with your brand advertising campaigns to the salaries of all of your marketing employees. Looking at total budgets then might be of little value to those of you who are creating budgets that get submitted to a CMO for inclusion in the overall budget, so let’s break it down a bit to see where companies are investing.

One of the biggest gains for 2016 will continue to be in digital marketing spend with a 12.2% increase year over year. B2C services companies, who we saw previously were getting the least amount of marketing budget as a percentage of revenue, will have an average 20% increase in their digital marketing budget, while B2C product companies will see a 14% increase.. On the other hand, traditional advertising spend for 2016 will be down 2.1% marking a significant swing toward digital.

Mobile marketing is another large focus for companies. In the next 3 years, companies say they will increase mobile marketing spend by 15.6%.

Investment in CRM also continues to be prioritized, with an 8% increase in marketing spend in 2016. Brand building will see a 5.5% increase. New product introductions will see 8.3% increase. And new service introductions will see a 4% increase.

Gone are the days when companies could do the minimum and hope to slide by without seeing any impact on the bottom line, and this latest data underscores what it takes to compete in today’s increasingly active, competitive marketplace. While this won’t make your job over the next month or two any easier, hopefully it validates what you’re asking for. Here’s to a successful 2016!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

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Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

Strategy Perception - Context

If you’re paying attention to the ad industry at all, you’re probably aware of the ‘attention’ media buyers have received by their clients. The kind of attention that costs thousands or millions to resolve.

Though you should always be assessing media spends and evaluating effectiveness, its come to our attention at IQ that many marketers today neglect a seemingly obvious and important piece of media effectiveness — context.

It’s important to seek 3rd party research for a number of applications in marketing. But think for a minute about your own consumption patterns.

Have I ever purchased directly after clicking a banner ad?

or,

Have I ever purchased a product from preroll video advertising?

or even,

When’s the last time I purchased a new product based on TV ads?

You’ve likely completed a purchase from a form of display advertising (loosely defined). Now think of your answers to these types of questions in the context of your consumption —“What else was I doing during this time?” Your answers will vary here.

Maybe you were checking email, and clicked a link to an article. Maybe you were attempting to watch your favorite show on Hulu. But definitely, you were checking messages on your phone, your Apple Watch, your Fitbit, or corralling the kid(s).

We live in an era of multitasked, multiscreen, low attention span consumption habits. In this case, we must consider the context for which an ad of any sort is seen by the consumer to develop a style of ad that will grab attention when we need it to.

To make the best ads possible, marketers must consider context along with attention and strategy to determine the right approach.

Below is a brief framework for creating more effective ads:

1.  Context

Where will the consumer be when viewing the ads? 

– What platform will the ads be viewed on? 

– What will the consumer (likely) be doing when viewing the ads? (i.e. multitasking) 

2. Attention

How attentive will the audience be on this platform? 

– Which screen will their attention be driven to?

What type of content will surround the ad? 

3. Strategy

Based on context and attention level, should the ad promote engagement or persuade the consumer? 

– Should the ad inform or entertain primarily?

– How critical is attention on first touch? (considering multi-channel ad campaigns)

The history of advertising leans heavily on persuasion. Shopping used to be fairly linear in that you might see an ad on TV or in a magazine and head directly in-store for more information. Advertisers had to persuade you enough to get you to physically try or buy.

But as the internet expanded in popularity, so did ad channels, creating a new ad content approach: engagement. Consider social media advertising. Attention spans will be remarkably low due to the amount of content. For this platform, its critical to get attention fast through entertaining content. This is why context matters first and foremost.

The next time you’re planning for new ad campaigns, try using this framework to right size your spend by platform and create content that’s appropriate for the context. If anything, you’ll likely have well grounded creative ideas and maybe even happier customers over time.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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