Saturday, December 20, 2008

Marketing best practices

Killing two birds with one stone is great isn't it?

I'm writing an appendix about advertising channel marketing strategy right now for a report as part of my 601 project and I thought about posting the analysis up to the blog!

I love original content!!!

It's really abbreviated, but it's a quick comparison of old and new best practices of various online and offline advertising channels. I've tried to be comprehensive and unbiased here (although I personally think that untargeted advertising can go to Hell....) but it's a good synopsis of the different benefits and recommendations for effectiveness for each channel.

You'll see that throughout this chart I'm really in support of integrated campaigns. That means marketing communications that simultaneously leverage the other active channels. It's the newspaper ad that tells you to go online and try virtually test drive the new model car, it's the radio spot that tells you to look for Count Chocula sampling this Saturday at Metro stores in the GTA.

God, how I wish there was a product sampling of Count Chocula....but I digress.

Oh, and BBAs, plagiarize away! Just don't expect to develop unoriginal, uncited analysis and hand it to me to give to one of our clients.

Advertising channel

Channel description

Old best practices

New best practices

Website development

Includes website design, management, analysis, promotional microsite development.

Important channel for speaking directly to tech-savvy, younger consumers.

Clear site navigation and shallow site structure with few deep levels.

Integrate web metrics tracking for site optimization and online marketing.

Promotion in offline marketing communications as a source of extra information about a brand.

Site users have the opportunity to create content and interact bilaterally with the site.

Important to integrate websites with offline communications including print and television (often these drive consumers to the website).

Provide relevant brand and product information in multiple formats, allowing consumers an opportunity to take content with them or send to their friends off the site.

Promoted in offline communications as a destination in itself and a place to go as part of Web 2.0 consumer interactivity.


Includes email design, deployment, analysis, and potential integration with database segmentation.

Important channel for direct marketing and establishing brand relevance.

Use an attention grabbing subject line.

Display the best content “above the fold” of the screen.

Do not be too copy-heavy, leverage text and pictures.

Communicate exclusive offers, promotions, and deals to “our best customers”.

Perform active segmentation and response analysis on house list to determine most optimal messages/content to be included in targeted email to consumers.

Must be easy for consumers to unsubscribe or change their email settings. Position as nonintrusive consumer touchpoint that is relevant to you.

Email is highly useful to create a curriculum or education campaign for new consumers or a multi-wave campaign.

Social media

Includes brand promotion through social media public relations, viral content development and distribution, network ‘seeding’, and identity development on social network profile sites.

Important channel for brand identity building through online affiliations and new project promotion.

Note, because this is such a new channel, best practices are being developed as part of an ongoing mutation of the medium.

Social media is too young to have any “old” best practices, because marketers are still trying to understand how to use it effectively.

Pay attention to emerging consumer memes and viral trends online. Ride these.

Create a clear identity that allows users to comment, rate, or interact with the brand’s social media presence.

Use social media PR sparingly and only to announce exciting brand developments or significant launches.

“Feedback 3.0” is the act of brands actively responding to and commenting back to their commentators in online forums. (

In-store retail promotion

Includes design of product packaging and printed promotional materials, development of coupons and offers.

Also includes total management of promotional projects and events, including multiple-party promotions.

Eye-popping visuals and unique creative execution.

Display in preferred locations in retail environments (end of aisle, eye level, front of store and produce area).

Promotions are used to highlight exciting new product launches or as a boost to seasonally low sales.

Retail promotions are immediately relevant to the consumer (because they are physically interacting with the product and have opted-in). Therefore how are promotions used by brands to develop long-term positive relationships with their consumers?

Promotions must be thought of like big impressions for brand building and used for activating new brand strategy.

Strong integration of promotions with other non-tangible brand communications.


Includes the planning, execution, and management of in-person demonstrations, sampling, physical product interactions, sensory advertising, and other impression-based advertising experiences.

Create innovative and original experiences – make the consumer say “wow, I’ve never seen this before”.

High traffic locations are effective to reach as many people as possible.

Eye-catching or permits prolonged or repeat impressions.

Demonstrate measurability and big impact on sales by using experiential techniques. Cannot simply generate a ‘big splash’.

Use experiential advertising projects as opportunities to also establish customer listening posts and gain valuable primary research about brand perceptions and usage.

Direct mail

Includes the design, writing, segmentation, deployment, analysis, and management of print advertising, flyers, brochures, offers, product samples, and house-list magazines that are targeted to specific consumers (not mass mail).

‘Test and learn’ – perform frequent empirically controlled tests to different consumer segments to understand what is the optimal form of creative and offer to generate higher response.

Personalize direct mail and provide a compelling reason to open it (similar to an email subject line)

Integrated use of direct mail with CRM database for clients. Understand customer behavior across response channels (direct mail, web, email, SMS).

Like in-store retail promotion, direct mail establishes an intimate connection between the brand and consumer because it is highly interactive and tangible.

Clear announcement of purpose and call to action so that customer understands role of direct mail in context of all other interactions they have with the brand.


Includes the design, deployment, and management of all messaging that appears on outdoor ‘surfaces’ in high-traffic or visible areas.

Note, limited effectiveness of this channel at driving response and engagement from consumers. Highly passive engagement by prospects in this channel.

Like experiential and in-store retail promotion, out-of-home should be immediately understandable and capture interest.

Copy must be concise and non-informational. Strictly call-to-action.

A classic medium, the best practices have no changed significantly because of limited innovation potential of the platform.

Obvious integration of out-of-home advertising with existing in-market campaigns in other channels.


Includes copywriting, segmentation, deployment, management, and analysis of text or multimedia messages distributes to mobile phone subscribers over a network.

Important channel for brand building and relationship development.

Note, because this is such a new channel, best practices are being developed as part of an ongoing mutation of the medium.

Mobile technology is also rapidly evolving and permits unique applications like proximity sensitive out-of-home marketing (billboards that activate when a consumer walks by) and geo-targeted messages direct to the consumer.

Must be an opt-in house list and must permit easy unsubscribe for recipients.

SMS marketing is highly invasive (it’s marketing that vibrates in your pocket). Therefore the message should be targeted, relevant, and actionable by the consumer.

Therefore, SMS is not optimal for informational campaigns. Instead, use for direct response or experiential purposes (e.g. respond now).


Includes the design, production, media buying, and management of television commercials or infomercials.

Important channel for broad awareness of brand strategy to consumers. This sets the tone of an integrated campaign with multiple channel strategies.

A great ‘hook’ to immediately capture attention.

Clear link between story and brand, story and message, and brand and message.

Clear call to action for viewers, or an understanding of what they are being made to believe.

Best practices somewhat unchanged for mass media.

Perhaps greater concern for how television commercials are able to change behavior among consumers. Is this really an advanced form of marketing that succeeds at building a relationship with consumers?

Call-to-action that is integrated with other marketing communications in market. Useful capstone to large campaigns which rely on a broad mix of mediums (out-of-home, online, promotional, print, and radio).


Includes the design, production, media buying, and management of radio commercials.

Memorable messages that listeners can associate to a brand with unaided prompting.

Local message optimization because of the ability to purchase large blocks of commercial time from radio station conglomerates that own stations in different markets.

Same as above.

Positive associate to highlight existing in-market or upcoming promotional campaigns for integrated marketing campaigns.

Mass print media

Includes the design, production, media buying, and management of printed advertisements in newspapers, magazines, flyers, and other non-targeted print media.

Classic principles apply here for copywriting and call-to-action development.

Same as above.

Considering existing volume of print media advertising that continues to be done, important to integrate this activity with marketing mix of online and offline channels.

Can be used as a traffic-driving source of consumers to online channel where more information can be found about brand.

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