Marketing – A game of inches

DIY Network tape measure
Photo owned by zieak (cc)

On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face.

Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday.

I’ve been thinking about marketing for a while and what works and what doesn’t work and I wonder if the distance between the marketing and us is a factor. Close and personal marketing is where it really has a positive effect but there are many obstacles and filters preventing this. Good. There should be.

Think about the various forms of marketing and advertising that are there. They’re sent out from people thousands of miles away and made and distributed hundreds of miles away. With old tech the cost of sending a tailored message to one person was huge but a bland message to thousands was cheap. Broadcast. With new tech it is becoming quite cheap and almost free to market to every individual and respond to each and every piece of feedback from every individual.

The Internet can be thousands of miles away or it can be inches depending on who uses it and in what way. It can remove geographical restrictions but at the same time add new ones that can slow sales and marketing. The biggest one is the inability to personally react to a person.

The best form of marketing is all about how close it is to you and how it reacts to you and gives you what you need, not what they need you to do. Long-distance relationships are hard to do.

Consider some of these forms of marketing:

TV and radio – thousands of miles to dozens with Satellite or broadcast from a tower. Shotgun approach to marketing but with advertising as well as TV shows and their content. Barely knows anything about you, they can’t react to you. Tethered to JNLR figures. The online equivalent is a website, the plain old brochureware type sites, splash page or no.

Billboards – Big large posters hundreds of yards away. Can know a little more about you due to your location and from rough surveys. Still doesn’t know a lot about you, not age, gender or interests. “Works in financial district”, oh great. The online equivalent are banner ads (thus the name).

Sign Holder
Guy with sign in town – Local but broadcast
50 feet to three feet away. Holds the sign announcing what they do. Don’t know you, don’t make effort to know you. The online equivalent is a website, maybe these are banner ads that guess stuff based on your IP address. These are people announcing crap on their Twitter profile that use it as a one way method to get news out there. While they’re in your local area like the town or twitter, they’re not actively contributing.

Chugger in Limerick
Chugger marketing
It’s personal. Some of the nasty creatures put their hand out which many people instinctively respond to by matching it. Then they grasp on and try to sell. These are the people who are conferenes put their hand up to ask a question and instead promote the work they’ve done. “I’ve found when I did X work for a client that”. Online these are the people that respond on mailing lists, LinkedIn, blog comments and Twitter whoring their stuff and not actually giving a damn if they are relevant or not to you. (Pic above from Lette)

George Orwell
Photo owned by markhillary (cc)
Bookstore Recommendations
Did you ever notice the personal recommendations from Waterstone’s staff on little cards on the bookshelves? A person recommending something to you. It has a little more power than just a “buy this book” type card. The online equivalent is a blog of a business recommending products or highlighting a recent product. Amazon tries to do it but it’s automated, cold and misfires a lot.

Online Reactive Marketing:
Google Adwords are a good example of designing ads based on what you want. You tell Google what you want when you enter a search term and Google spits it back to you in the results but it also acts as a guide to commercial companies that want your attention. It in a way reminds me of the very competitive restaurants you walk past in various holiday resorts. You go down the streets hunting for food and the salespeople try and sell you the restaurant’s charms.

Useless Facebook Ad
Facebook demographic marketing
Facebook don’t know what you want. You’re on a social network, not searching. So they just make the ads on it much more personal. They’re still ads though and as yet are not based on your actions or your wants. They know lots about you but they can’t see your reaction and respond to it. It’s getting personal but not personal enough and is done on Facebook and when an ad is placed on a profile it’s in conjunction with 2-3 other advertisers too. That dilutes the message too. Unlike Google Adwords, the inclination to click on the ads isn’t strong. They do not answer the question in your head or one that you asked a few minutes ago, do they? The offline equivalent of this is loyalty cards in Dunnes or Brown Thomas.

Sweet Revenge cupcake plus champagne
Photo owned by Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake (cc)
Value added local marketing – Austin in Bubble Brothers’ shop in the English Market
Austin is two feet away – you have a relationship, communications are two way. You chat about the weather, you bring in local events, you ask Austin about wines and what would work best with what food. You use his expertise, he shares it with you. He’ll recommend a few selections and ask your price range. You know he’s not there to make you pick the most expensive bottle. You’ll come back and he’ll ask how you got on with that wine. The online equivalent is a blog and leaving comments or going on Twitter and asking @bubblebrothers direct.

My friend/my work colleague/my shared situation person
In the office you might ask for a recommendation for a good Italian restaurant or back to the wine idea, you might ask for recommendations on a good Italian red wine. This shared space can be virtual where you can ask in the status update in Facebook or ask on Twitter. You get answers back from the personal network you have. Anyone recommend some wine to go with this? Online you might see Mike from Curious Wines on Twitter reply to that information request and you’ll respect his opinion as he’s the wine expert or you might respect that of an office colleague who knows a bit about wine. Being of use to the wine searcher or to the person the wine searcher goes to is personal marketing. It’s close enough to be reactive and works well enough that the relationship will remain personal over time.

As a company or a marketer, how are you fighting for those inches? How are you getting to know your customers and letting them get to know you?

Advertising on Facebook: bad ads are bad for everyone

I’ve just spent the past hour and a half going through Facebook, looking at the various ads targeted to Irish people and getting more and more annoyed with them. The standard of copy, design and actions after clicking an ad makes me want to bang my head against a wall. If badly designed ads are most common on Facebook it means people will pay less attention to them. This is bad for Facebook from a revenue perspective and bad for advertisers who work hard for good copy as people will self-train themselves to ignore all ads due to bad experiences. Here are some tips on what to do and what not do with examples from this evening.

Here are some tips:

Include an image:
This ad is boring plain text. An image would have gotten our attention more.
Useless facebook ad

Target your ads:
This ad asks are you from Ulster. 3/4 of the population that are outside of Ulster also see this ad. Not smart.
Useless facebook ad

Target your copy:
The ad here knows my age so mentions it in the ad itself. You can target deeper than that though. How about my gender, my employment, my martial status?

Useless facebook ad

Have a landing page if going offsite:
These ads sent us to the front page of the websites. Why? Have a targeted ad send us to a targeted page. Make sure the page is designed to ask an action of the person that’s landed.
Useless facebook ad Useless facebook ad

This ad sends us to a specific product page but it isn’t streamlined or have the same copy as the ad that sent you there:
Useless facebook ad

If sending to a page, make sure there’s activity.
This ad sends you to a page that looks pretty dead:
Useless facebook ad

If sending to a page for booze or other goods, make it legal
14 year olds can become fans of this booze. Not good.

Useless facebook ad

Facebook doubles in size in Ireland in 12 months – 400k in January 09

Using Facebook’s ad system we can now see that Facebook in Ireland has doubled in size in 12 months, going from just under 200,000 users in January 2008 to 400,980 Irish users in January 2009.

The growth pattern in numbers for Facebook users in Ireland:
January 2007 7,000 users in Ireland
October 2007 131,000 users in Ireland
January 2008 Under 200,000 users in Ireland
April 2008 – 224,820 users in Ireland
January 2009 400,980 users in Ireland

More stats:
400,980 users in Ireland

387,580 registered their gender
Male 169,280
Female 218,240

Relationship status: 223,520 registered their status
Single 80,060
In a relationship 75,960
Engaged 14,560
Married 52,820

Age 21 to 35 – 301,140 75.1%
Age 25 and up – 275,660 68.9%
Age 30 and up – 148,320 36.9%
Age 18 and under 17,540 4.4%

O2’s Irish Facebook and Bebo Apps that make consumers some cash

Yesterday I got an invite to install the O2 Ireland “Pass it on” Facebook Application (which also works in Bebo).

O2 App on Facebook

The idea is that if you send invites to your friends you’ll get money. 50 cents of credit that is. On Facebook it says you can send 4 invites a week but in the Terms and Conditions on their site it says 2 invites per week. If one of these friends applies for a free SIM card then you get €1. If a friend gets 20 quid in credit then you get a fiver in credit but the murky T&Cs say they must use the app themselves?

c) Level 3: €5.00 will be rewarded to you the first time that a friend that you invited who ordered a SIM through the member get member service purchases credit worth €20 or more. This friend MUST enter their new O2 mobile number into the application for this reward to be applied.

So either you can earn 2 X (€0.5 + €1 +€5) = €13 a week or else 4 X (€0.5 + €1 +€5) = €26 a week. The maximum you can earn is €300 in 6 months. Which is 46 friends.

Without evening checking I would think that takeup on Bebo is going to be a lot better than on Facebook. Looking at the age demographic and employment demographic for Facebook, they are going to have more people on contract than on credit phones and they won’t be able to move people as easily to a credit phone either. Bebo of course is different. And the numbers for Facebook and this app: Users:122 monthly active users

o2 Ireland Bebo App

When you look at the same application on Bebo: 1832 users. You can see who they are too. Reading the comments there does seem to be a few issues with the Bebo App platform though. The O2 Application has been on Bebo since March but the numbers are still very impressive. If each install resulted in 4 invites and say 2 sims being sent out per App install then that’s 3,664 potential new customers, €3,664 in credit (not real money) being given back for invites and €3,664 in credit when the SIMs were delivered. Given the average spend for those with credit phones, it doesn’t sound like a bad investment, once the cost of building the app wasn’t too much. Judging by the interaction on the Bebo Profile of the app you’d have to pay for a part-time resource too. 83 comments on the profile, many from O2 themselves.

A nice move though by O2 but I’d have considered it wiser for a different type of campaign on Facebook compared to Bebo.

Would you do anything differently with this? How would you target those you want to sign up for contracts? Offer them premium services?

Facebook Ad campaigns now generate more data to help you

Facebook yesterday announced that they are now providing more data to advertisers
Over on I’ve covered creating Facebook Ad campaigns before and in some detail. Facebook allows you to target people based on their profile data and you can get very granular with the data. Facebook sent out a notice yesterday letting advertisers know that they’ve added more metrics to their ad campaigns:

Photo owned by mudpig (cc)

“Responder Demographics” report: Facebook users spend a lot of time
connecting with friends and family on Facebook – uploading photos,
writing on each others’ Walls, posting notes. Now you can find out
who is interacting with your ads. This report provides the aggregate
age, gender and geographic location of the users who have clicked
on your ad.

This is good. It gives you more feedback on how your add is performing which will allow you to write even better copy for the ads that you have.

“Responder Profiles” report: In addition to age, gender and
geographic location of the users who have clicked on your ad,
we’re happy to provide psychographic information of these same
users. This data is aggregated from user profiles and shows common
interests, favorite TV shows, movies, books and music.

This is probably a bit scary but you will now know more about the group of people clicking on your ads and will know that an ad that mentions X is liked by people who like Pearl Jam and The Wire etc. Like the above, the more data you have on these people, the better you can make your ads which gives value to you and those clicking on them.