In today’s ubiquitous multi-screen environment, brands must work harder to stand out and create a unique brand experience.

The best experiences provide visceral engagement involving the 5 senses to create lasting impressions

The best experiences provide visceral engagement involving the 5 senses to create lasting impressions

We stand at the threshold where multi-sensory technologies will become part of the brand experience.

The purchasing process, once dependent on advertising, salesmanship, display, and brick and mortar showrooms, has been usurped by the internet and emerging technologies. Search, brand experience, and visceral sensory excitement are becoming more important as purchasers look for personalized experiences that create lasting impressions.

It is reported that 70% of purchasing decisions are made before the buyer contacts the seller. This is why legacy brands can become invisible if they do not continually reinvest in their marketing and explore new digital channels and multi-sensory experiences.

Agile marketing

Agility in marketing equates to quick strike capability. Being able to adapt to changing market conditions provides a safety net.

Take product introduction, for example. Rolling out a new product at a trade show creates the opportunity to borrow ideas and executions from different industries. Creating a sensory bashing, multimedia experience supporting the launch generates excitement among the customer base, media buzz with the press, and social media spikes, resulting in more lead activity flowing into the sales pipeline. Contrast this with the “drop a business card in the fish bowl to win a digital tablet” approach. In addition, much of the multimedia execution can be repurposed for website and mobile video use.

Spend wisely — invest in the brand experience

Museums are a great place to start when looking for ideas for multi-sensory user ideas. The best experiences provide visceral engagement involving the 5 senses to create lasting impressions. One example was the “Rain Room,” a temporary installation in which water rains down except where sensors detect people, giving visitors the illusion of walking between the drops. It was not unusual for visitors to wait four hours or more for their opportunity to experience this exhibit at MoMA.

The connected television

You don’t have go out on a limb too far to recognize that we are creatures of habit. One habit we share is the attraction to television. Viewership is at an all-time high, driven by streaming technology and the ability to personalize media selection. The mass personalization of media will lead to more opportunities for marketers to apply behavioral targeting, tapping into big data sets and using their brand experience as a form of currency. This will encourage users to share their information, providing brands with deep insight into selection, usage, and emotional attachment.

While this may sound like future shock, it is not. Many of these technologies exist today. With implementation comes the responsibility for safe guarding users’ personal data. In the not-so-distant future, brand loyalty may hinge on personal privacy safeguards and data security.

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Aviation Marketing: When to rethink

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

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Business-to-business marketing and relationship building

Good business relationships are built on trust.

Good business relationships are built on trust.

The longer the sales cycles, the more important the relationship becomes

Business-to-business marketing has always been about establishing a relationship with the prospect. One reason for this is most considered purchases involve multiple parties, resulting in extended sales cycle time. With the new technology of programmatic buying and selling of digital advertising inventory, ad technology companies would like for you to believe that a constant barrage of banner ads will substitute for a relationship built on trust.

Opening doors for new business

We all rely on new business to keep our companies growing and profitable. Yet in today’s automated marketing environment, it seems that the value of relationship building (people talking to each other) has been deemed as inefficient and replaced with marketing automation platforms and churn-out emails.

To a degree, all B-to-B marketers rely on automation. The problems begin when marketers rely too much on automation and start viewing opens and click-through rates as a substitute for a person-to-person conversation.

Some sales people only want to invest their time with those who are ready to purchase. I can identify with this viewpoint; no one wants to waste his or her time on a deal that is going nowhere. But the issue remains that in the B-to-B sales environment, it can take months for a purchasing decision to be made, and during this time it can be affected by a multitude of external factors. The relationship is developed during this period as the sales person educates and counsels the prospect as to the advantages and positive results that their product offering will have on their business.

That is where the relationship comes in

Good business relationships are built on the following:

  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Communication
  • Business understanding
  • Anticipating needs
  • Delivering on the promise

There are also intangibles that go into a good business relationship, like understanding the person’s value system, as well as their background, goals, personality traits, and expectations.

This is the essence of people-to-people marketing and relationship building.

We all know the sales funnel cycle – awareness, interest, evaluation, trail, and adoption. The digital marketing environment is focused on the first three – awareness, interest, and evaluation – because it is transactional and therefore can be tracked using analytics. However, it takes a conversation leading to a relationship to move through trial and adoption.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

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Why bother with branding?

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Digital Ad Targeting – What Do Marketers Know About You?

Who is looking at your data?

Who is looking at your data?

More than you suspect – first, second, and third party data

The adoption of programmatic advertising has given rise to using captured data to target banner ad placement across ad exchanges and networks.

This data is referred to as first, second, and third party data. Depending on which side of the buy/sell equation you stand on — advertiser or publisher — these terms have different meanings. What is important to keep in mind is just about all programmatic advertising is data driven marketing, with the intent of making more efficient targeted ad buying.

Not all data is created equal

First party data

First party data refers to data gathered about you through a direct relationship. Even in its simplest form, there are two types of first party data — advertiser and publisher.

For an advertiser, this can be data captured through a registration, check out transaction, cookie content, purchasing history, or merchandise searches. Advertisers use this data in a variety of ways, including showing additional merchandise that may be related to your purchasing history.

Publishers also lay claim to first party data; however, most likely not due to a direct relationship with you. Publishers monitor their ad networks and store analytical information, such as age, gender, etc., to create interest segments, such as banking/finance, travel, autos, technology, etc. This data creates a behavioral profile of your interest that helps advertisers target their programmatic advertising purchases across the publisher’s network to the pages you view.

Second party data

Second party data refers to one first party entity – advertiser or publisher – sharing information with each other.

For example, Amazon might partner with the New York Times to gain access to its audience behavioral profile. Amazon considers this information second party because it did not collect it. However, Amazon uses the data to purchase advertising space and place a banner ad of items that you recently viewed on the Amazon site.

Third party data

Third party data is information that is collected by an entity that does not have a direct relationship with you. Third party data collectors pay publishers to collect data about their site visitors and create profiles on your tastes, shopping habits, and behaviors as you move around the web. This information in turn is sold to advertisers with the intent of making their ad buy more effective.

The current reality of the internet is that we provide advertisers, publishers, and third party entities with our personal information for free. In turn, our information is repackaged and sold to marketers that use it to provide us with a “more personalized” web experience. Depending on your point of view, this can a good thing or something we should be very wary of.

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Measuring Digital Display Advertising ROI

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Ad Technology: Programmatic Advertising

Many marketers have become proponents of programmatic advertising.

Many marketers have become proponents of programmatic advertising.

Welcome to the high-speed trading desk for automated digital advertising placement

Marketers spent more then $3.37 billion on programmatic advertising last year. eMarketer is estimating the programmatic advertising will top $9 billion by 2017. Research studies by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester indicated that only 23% of marketers said they used and understood programmatic advertising and that 26% indicated they understood the concept but needed to learn more about how to apply it to campaigns.

Kantar Media defines programmatic advertising as using technology to automate the buying and selling of digital advertising. “Programmatic” has different meanings to different people depending on which side — buyer or seller — of the transaction you are on.

The term is founded on an auction concept of buying and selling digital ad space inventory on ad exchanges and networks. Through this automated process, buyers bid for online ad impression through real-time auctions that occur in the time it takes for a webpage to load.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has identified 4 types of programmatic advertising transactions:

Automated guaranteed – refers to reserved inventory at a fixed price between one seller and one buyer. This can also be referred to as “Programmatic guaranteed.”

Unreserved fixed rate – unreserved inventory at a fixed price between one seller and one buyer. This is also known as “Preferred deals or Private access.”

Invitation-only auction – unreserved inventory available at auction prices between one seller and a few buyers. This is also referred to as “Private marketplace or Private auction.”

Open auction – unreserved inventory, available at auction prices between one seller and all buyers. This is referred to as “Real-Time Bidding (RTB) or Open exchange.”

These four types of transactions, based on two criteria, determine how the price is set and what type of inventory is transacted.

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The process of programmatic advertising

In its simplest form the process works like this: in the time it takes for an ad impression to load in a user’s web browser, information about the page it is on and the user viewing history is passed to an ad exchange, which auctions it off to the advertiser willing to pay the highest price. The winning bidder’s ad is then loaded into the web page.

Advertisers use demand side platforms (DSP) software to purchase advertising in an automated process. DSPs allow advertisers to purchase impressions across a wide range of publisher’s sites, but target specific users based on the geo-location and the users’ previous browsing behavior.

Publishers use supply side platforms (SSP) to connect their impression inventory to ad exchanges, DSPs, and ad networks all at once. This allows the publishers to offer their inventory to a large audience and achieve the highest rate possible for the ad impression.

If all of this reminds you of a stock exchange high-speed trading desk, you are correct, which is not surprising because most of these platforms are funded by venture capitalists, private equity firms, and publically traded advertising and media companies.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs)

People-to-people Marketing and “Small Data”

The challenges of “Big Data”

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

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Brand Loyalty and the Art of Motorcycles

Brand promise fulfills emotional needs

Big Bend Bucket List Ride

Visceral experiences create emotional connections to brands.

It was the bucket list ride. 2,200 miles in all, beginning with a ride to Big Bend National Park and culminating with the North Texas Norton Owners Association rally in the Texas hill country. That much seat and think time allows for serious contemplation such as brand loyalty -– how to create it and how to keep it.

User experience drives brand loyalty

Four motorcycle brands were represented on the trip — Yamaha, Honda, Triumph, and Harley Davidson. Each of us being expert riders, we had accessorized our machines to complement our riding preferences and styles. Brand loyalty was evident by the fact that many of the machines were upgrades from previous models, leading to the conclusion that riders select their machines based on previous user experience. When reliability is of the utmost importance, riders select the brand that has never failed to deliver the intended results.

Reliance on performance creates emotion connection with the brand

Big Bend National Park encompasses 801,163 acres, making it the 15th largest national park in the United States. With that much distance to cover, dependability of the machine takes on new meaning. Feature and function is highly relative in brand loyalty, and performance criteria is measured by miles per gallon, rider comfort over long distances, handling characteristics in high wind situations, cargo capacity, and overall emotional connection with the motorcycle at the end of the day.

Brand promise fulfills emotional needs

Motorcycles occupy a special place in the category of fulfilling emotional needs. Novice riders like to think of it as rebellion and non-conformity. Veteran riders are fulfilled by the promise of a new vista at every turn. Regardless of the brand or riding experience, motorcycles put you in the picture and expose all of your five senses to the visceral experiences that come from the riding environment. Individuals that want to experience life, not just view it from behind a windshield, are calculated risk takers attracted to this form of travel.

Brand loyalty makes us advocates

Our group of riders hailed for Europe, Australia, and North America. Our affection and excitement for a particular brand, vintage or new, comes from our user experience with the brand. This experience spans decades and encompasses milestones in a riding resume. Our loyalty is demonstrated by repeat purchases, social events, and interest in all things with two wheels, a seat, and a motor. No matter the industry, marketers that study this curious group can learn valuable lessons from those drawn to the open road and the anticipation of exploring new vistas that are just around the next corner.

Click here for more trip pictures

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Aviation Marketing: Trimming marketing expenditures

Blog 92 Aviation Marketing: Trimming marketing expenditures

How to keep share-of-voice and maintain industry presence

Cost reduction is nothing new. The great recession accelerated the learning curve on how to reduce expenditures by cutting personnel and marketing investment. However, as we fast forward to a new year and a recovering economy, when asked to reduce marketing expenditures one must take into account the value of marketing and the influence it has on the behavior of your customers and competitors.

Where to start?

Begin by taking a realistic approach to reducing marketing expenditures. Identify what is essential for maintaining share-of-voice, brand awareness and customer attention.

Outbound marketing areas to review:

  • Advertising
  • Directory listings
  • Direct Mail
  • Public Relations
  • Tradeshows
  • Telemarketing
  • Email

Inbound marketing areas to review:

  • Website
  • Social media channels
  • Video sharing sites
  • Newsletters
  • Search optimization
  • Events sponsorship
  • Tradeshow participation

Making smart decisions

A consequence of reducing marketing expenditures is a void in share-of-voice. It can be easy to justify drastic reductions in the hope of returning later when better financial times arrive. The fallacy of this strategy is that previous investment is lost and the completion fills the void left behind. Playing catch up is an expensive proposition because now the competition has the customer’s attention and it will require more investment to return to the status quo.

A more thoughtful approach is to review tactical executions such as reducing ad size, cutting back on frequency of placement, and the number of publications. If done correctly this can yield a reduction of 50% or more in outbound marketing cost while still keeping a presence in core industry segment publications.

Customer perceptions

While some may argue that marketing and the various tactics used to change customer behavior contribute little to the bottom line, customers notice the brands’ absence and begin to question brand health, viability and commitment to the industry.

Keeping a commitment to inbound marketing assures that these channels do not become neglected.  In fact, these channels can become the focus of the marketing efforts because they are owned and do not require continual purchase of space and time.

The following should be reviewed for tactical execution and resources needed to keep the outbound program vibrant.

  • Newsletters – keep customers informed by telling an expanded brand story.
  • Blogs – highlight employee expertise and extend the effectiveness and reach on social media platforms.
  • Emails – invite customers to events and keep a steady stream of valuable content delivered to the customer’s desktop.
  • Website updates – keep the site fresh with announcements and social media postings.
  • Video Produce iMovies and post to syndicated video channels for optimized web search.

Marketing budget reductions happen, those that that take a strategic approach can minimize loss of market share and industry presence.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Why advertising is important in aviation marketing

Why internet advertising matters to aviation marketing

Emotional ties create strong brand loyalty

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

What’s your brand’s point-of-view?

Brand recognition for thought leadership takes stepping into the spot light.

Brand recognition for thought leadership takes stepping into the spot light.

Point-of-view marketing involves communicating your brand story through thoughts, deeds, and actions on how the industry should be served.  One avenue to achieve this is through social engagement marketing tactics. When your brand provides authoritative content, supported by experience or scientific facts, it is demonstrating thought leadership.

Sometimes it calls for taking a calculated risk and commenting on or providing content for a hot button topic. Controversial topics breed readership. The more the readership, the more the brand can play a role in educating and shaping public opinion.

Participating with organizations, associations, and publications

Depending on where your brand is connected with the industry, there are a myriad of associations and publications devoted to producing content for every industry segment.

Unfortunately, a lot of the content is opinion based on faulty thinking drawn from incomplete facts. Any hot button topic has its share of detractors and advocates. Wading into the fray takes fortitude and a willingness to listen to the opposition, understand their fears and insecurities, and acknowledge there is a place in the world for conflicting viewpoints.

The opportunity for thought leadership recognition comes from participation and providing a point-of-view substantiated by experience and facts. Brands that take the risk to step into the spotlight are rewarded with recognition for setting the story straight.

Brands that look for safe haven and to avoid controversy become one of many and relinquish their position of thought leadership.

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo

As an example, take a look the big search, social, and tech companies. When the National Security Agency (NSA) ran amuck over our constitutional right to privacy, they stepped into the spotlight and offered a detailed look at the NSA’s activities based on experience and facts. National security is a hot topic with millions of detractors and advocates. They could have played it safe and said nothing, worrying more about their stock price instead of their social responsibility. Instead, they came forward, injecting themselves into the conversation and offering thought leadership on how to serve both the nation’s security interest and the privacy right of their customers.

Leadership brands understand the value of participating in the conversation that helps form policy.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Finding your voice

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 Defining your brand’s personality

 Please leave your comments or thoughts below.