Archive for October, 2009

“Bang for Your Buck” – Efficient Marketing

October 15, 2009

***This post starts out with a short discussion of Pay-Per-Click advertising market fluctuation and proceeds to efficient marketing (the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

According to Online Media Daily the highest-priced keyword on Google last month sold for $99.44 dollars a click. The word was Mesothelioma and lawyers are purchasing it in the hopes of attracting clients affected by the lung cancer caused by asbestos. It isn’t the only fluctuation in the market right now. Around 2 months ago we were assembling a Food/Beverage Advertising campaign with the estimated bid of $2.50 a click. Now the same campaign runs $7 a click. Getting in ahead of a trend can make a big difference in your PPC campaign both the size of your initial investment, and the level of return you receive from it. In the case of the Food ad, the clicks increased in price after a series of articles were released touting the growth of the companies being advertised to.

For example, if you purchase a keyword at a lower rate you will reduce the number of impressions (viewers of our ad that didn’t click on it) your ad gets. If you increase the amount you bid for a keyword, you get more impressions (free!), but you pay more for each individual click-through.

Over the next few years keywords will experience the same season-based fluctuations other industries do. It is fascinating to watch this market develop, grow, and adapt like the consumers it markets to.

People develop immunity to certain kinds of marketing over time. There was a time when a newspaper ad would make the phones ring off the hook. Now it seems to be a tool primarily for visibility as support for a larger marketing campaign. Other marketing adapts over time, direct mail is in the process of doing this through interaction with sophisticated online-based campaigns working together.

For a traditional direct mail piece the client might get a 2-5% response rate (closer to 5% with a targeted mailing list or if they offered a discount or special), with some of the new sophisticated campaigns that dovetail online advertising a client can get a 10-20% response rate. Now the campaign costs more than 1 direct mailing, but it would take around 8 direct mailings to get the same response level. The best thing about this campaign is after it’s initial setup the individual send-outs are around the same rate as a regular direct mail campaign.

It’s about cost-efficiency over time. We get it. Our clients get it.

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Times Are Changing For Food/Beverage Marketing

October 7, 2009

Times are changing for Food/Beverage marketers according to yesterday’s NYT article. It seems consumers are staying in more to eat and choosing less expensive brands. This isn’t news to those of us closely tied to the industry (or on a tough budget). In fact we recently released research on the difficult battle being waged between Name Brands and Private Label Brands in the Food/Bev marketplace today. It is interesting to note that many of the top national brands have decided to fight back with astounding results. Companies like Campbell’s, Jell-O, Kraft, Lipton Tea, and Post cereal are putting their money where our mouths are with advertising campaigns, packaging, media plans, and the research/development/launch of new product lines. 

There has never been a more vital time for Food/Beverage companies to take market share than now. Check out the article for yourself: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/business/media/07adco.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=business

Quality Versus Price, Choosing an Ad Agency

October 2, 2009

It seems these days everyone is shopping around, and advertising dollars are no exception. As a small  to mid-size agency, we often compete with both the larger agencies and the two-man freelance operations. I would like to describe the pros and cons of working with larger and smaller (but not mid-range, which is a great place to be right now) agencies in this economy. Not all agencies will fall into these categories many small and large are quite reputable, but many others will. 

Smaller Advertising Agencies

They may be less expensive, but they are less experienced, stable, and consistent. Their portfolios are limited.

They can over-promise and under-deliver because they don’t have an established reputation in the community. 

They don’t have the ethics and non-compete understandings of a mid-to-large agency. Some smaller agencies will take a client’s email list or threaten to pull down a website over a minor disagreement. Others will use confidential information to sell themselves (and your information) to the competition, and why shouldn’t they? They don’t have a contract with you.

Their inexperience leads to poor quality and ultimately unusable work. Now the cost of the project is doubled or tripled by a good quality company having to begin from scratch along with tearing down the old site.

They are unable to support larger projects due to their cash flow and labor abilities.

Larger Agencies

Larger agencies charge larger prices. They have more staff, higher-end talent, and more expensive facilities.

Larger agencies have high-demand clients whose budgets keep their company in the green, and they often overlook the smaller clients.

Larger agencies put out a quality product, but the price and lead time are significantly higher. 

Larger agencies support larger egos and drama, be it with representatives, or  the talent you will be working with. 

Mid-sized Agencies

I know I am biased because we are a mid-sized agency, but I find we are a good fit for most people. Reasonable cost, high client service, and established reputation for consistently excellent work leading to proven increased sales for our clients.

Here is what you should look for when hiring an agency:

1. Good reputation with proven results. Ask to see case studies if you have to.

2. High client service. Ask for a reference, make sure their clients didn’t receive “Not Big Enough To Care For Treatment” or “Missing Rep Syndrome.”

3. Feel comfortable pricing an agency; however, remember you are not buying a washing machine. One company will not honor another’s price. One may sell a well-designed, scientifically engineered product, while another may very well have cobbled his together in his basement. They may look the same, but you will discover the difference when you turn them both on. 

Key Takeaway:

Remember your new ad campaign, website, SEO, jingle, social marketing, print/package design will be an investment. One which will support your business for many years to come. Think quality over cost, but be reasonable with your expectations. Happy Hunting and Have a Great Weekend!