iMedia Connection Feeds

The purpose of any good advertising campaign is to get your brand or product noticed. But what happens when a simple campaign goes off the rails? Well plenty of companies, in fact big and important companies, have found out the hard way. Lucky for you, their mistakes can serve as an example of what not to do while navigating your own campaign. Here is a list of campaign blunders to avoid.

9 campaign blunders to avoid

view full article | Add a comment

Today's fragmented media landscape means it's becoming harder and harder for brands to reach a critical mass. Consumers are now divided across millions of different channels and hundreds of devices, which means the brands that are still trying to reach everyone with blanket media placements are in serious trouble.

But for marketers who are willing to dig in and get to know individual segments of their audience, the digital media landscape presents wonderful opportunities to make meaningful connections in less crowded environments. You probably already use Twitter as a vehicle for your brand messages, but you might not know how to tap into this social giant's research potential to identify targeted media placements for your audience.

Use public Twitter data for an analytic edge

Twitter is a rich source of free, up-to-date public information about your target consumers. This data can uncover narrowly targeted media placements that are more effective and less expensive.
Just use these three tactics to help you sort through the data:
Segment to find No. 2
The first and most important step to using Twitter for research is to segment your data. Even if you can't get fancy with algorithms and text analysis, segment for basic demographics like gender, age, location, and frequency of engagement.
When you've identified the most valuable segments, set aside your most engaged segment and look at your second most engaged segment. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but moving beyond the expected will allow you to identify media outlets that aren't receiving as much attention from advertisers.
Ignore overrepresented media in favor of segment saturation
Dig into your analytics tool, and determine which media is overrepresented by the personas you want to reach. Popular sites such as The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and ESPN will be overwhelmed with advertisements and probably out of your price range.
Instead, compare the ratios of your followers to a media source to the rest of Twitter's user base. Taking this extra step will help you find the media outlets with a higher saturation of your target audience (not just Twitter's total audience), which could unearth less popular blogs with a high concentration of your followers.
For example, if you were looking at media placements for the FIFA World Cup, hopefully you didn't get stuck on sports blogs. Your audience visits other places online, such as @FiveThirtyEight, or Nate Silver's blog. His account doesn't even hit the top 25 for @FIFAWorldCup in popularity, but for uniqueness, he's at No. 8. His blog is a nice outlet advertisers could use to extend their reach.
Identify what else is popular
Next, look at the other off-topic media outlets your target audience engages with. Identify the most popular media by counting the links your target personas share on Twitter. Which URLs and media outlets do your top engagers link to when they're not talking about you? This data can reveal media options you might not have considered.

How to ensure the right fit

Identifying possible media placements is only half the battle. When you've put together a list of possible media outlets, there are three questions you need to ask before moving forward.
Are you trying to extend your reach or defend your most loyal advocates?
Determine your goals for this promotion. If you're trying to defend your loyal advocates, you'll want to stick with media outlets that are comfortable for your audience. If you're trying to extend your reach, the personas you use become a little more flexible, and so do your media options. Customize your promotions and content accordingly.
Are you trying to win over your competitors' engagers?
Another value of persona-driven targeting is that you can sometimes win over competitors' engagers. If your competitors are behind the times, you can find their market and target them as you would your own.
In this case, go for their No. 2 segment again, which might be more likely to swing over to your brand without a fight. Just look at what Apple has done to Microsoft Windows. Apple started with its core audience of heavy graphic design users but quickly moved to users who weren't emotionally attached to Windows. Apple targeted them and increased its market share by more than 300 percent in just five years.
Can you match the tone of the targeted media?
Even after performing an analysis and finding unique and popular media for your targeted personas, you have to be able to match the tone of the publication for your efforts to be successful. If the tone of the publication doesn't match your brand truths, it's not a good match.
For instance, if your brand is straightforward and honest, you can't bend it to be snarky and sarcastic for the sake of a media placement like The Onion.
When you know your audience, there's no need to fear media fragmentation. With the right approach, you can put Twitter to work for you and identify a highly targeted media placement. You'll stand out by appearing in a less crowded environment, and you'll make an instant connection by associating your brand with media your target audience already loves.
Jack Holt is co-founder and CEO of Mattr.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

view full article | Add a comment

Acquiring new customers, increasing conversion rates, driving customer loyalty -- these are all classic examples of the goals of a marketing professional. But as companies try to capitalize on the promises of big data -- the ability to glean insights from terabytes and petabytes of data to better target your customer -- IT departments play a crucial role in helping marketing achieve these goals.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, the CMO will actually have greater power over IT budgets than the CIO, while some pundits think both roles will be collapsed into a single chief digital officer role in the future. This analysis assumes a zero-sum game where IT and marketing can't effectively work together to create better customer experiences.

I think there is an alternative way for IT and marketing to collaborate to achieve even greater personalized experiences with measurable results. Before I get to that solution, however, let's take a look at the marketing department.

What the marketing-IT relationship looks like today

Let's say you work as a product marketer at a travel company, and you're redesigning your e-commerce website to facilitate the trend towards online research and purchasing. You're on the line for increasing conversions (AKA ticket purchases) by next quarter. How can you make the digital experience more compelling than your competitor's website?

You might start by trying to learn who comes to your website, so you pull up traffic reports from a couple of analytics tools you use. The data you get varies somewhat, but that's OK. You log into your CRM to create buyer personas so you can better personalize your website. You talk to your IT team to query reams of customer behavior data to be able to predict purchasing behaviors, which you work into the shopping cart. Finally, you use another tool to segment your audience and A/B test different designs and different web copy.

Depending on the size of your company, this sort of cross-functional planning could take months. Execution could take even longer. This common scenario forces even the most tech-savvy marketer to rely on overworked IT teams to implement changes. Worst of all, this method often fails because marketers don't have good customer data to work with.

Times have changed, and marketers are now in a position where they're trying to be more sophisticated with customer experiences. Some marketers are finding that their budgets are being consumed by disconnected technologies which are, ironically, building increasingly complex, fragmented customer pictures.

What it could look like

Now you work for a travel company where marketers and IT play nice. Same job -- to redesign your e-commerce website. Only now, you're not using a bag of applications, you're using an integrated customer experience platform that centralizes customer interaction data and marketing tools (from marketing automation to search engine optimization) in a single digital marketing environment. Instead of having to rely on other departments to provide you with customer insights, you can dig into customer data yourself. IT can serve more as a consultant and spend time querying big data, which, let's face it, is still better off done by humans.

Everyone is happy in this scenario. As marketers you can proactively make data-driven decisions, and your IT colleagues are happier knowing all they have to support is a single, managed application. But your customers are happier too, because finally, you're looking at, and speaking to, a single customer view that gives you genuine insight into what your customer needs and wants.

Some companies are already seeing the benefits of a strategic marketing-IT partnership. Amazon is a clear leader in this space, having long chosen to invest in big data-driven marketing rather than traditional advertising tactics.

Starbucks is another great example of a successful marketing and IT partnership. Starbucks has embraced technology like web-based coffee builders and mobile apps, to expand and improve the entire Starbucks experience. It's no surprise that Starbucks has seen steady growth for the last four years.

A customer we work with is Carnival Cruise Lines, where IT and marketing work hand in hand to optimize the entire user experience, from pre-purchase to the voyage itself. At Carnival, you no longer have to worry about packing bottles of shampoo into your already oversized carry-ons. Carnival lets you order toiletries online before you board and have them waiting for you in your cabin. On the cruises themselves Carnival has installed several customer-facing intranet services, which are easily managed in the cloud using Sitecore.

Invite IT to brainstorm with you

A lot of companies make a lot of promises with their marketing products. As a customer, you'd be wise to ask your IT department to look at what is going on in the backend.

The ideal customer experience application combines web content management, marketing automation, email marketing, social media, e-commerce, optimization, and analytics into a unified platform. But does it truly integrate disparate data sources? Is it easy to manage and secure? Does it operate well within the existing IT environment? These are all questions that even the most tech-savvy marketer should talk over with their IT counterparts early on.

The opportunity is ripe for the analytical left-brained IT side to collaborate with the creative right-brained marketing side of your business to create more intelligent and thoughtful customer experiences. Position IT as a strategic partner rather than the more traditional function of executors. This means bringing IT into the conversation from the beginning, understanding their technical concerns and coming up with a mutual set of goals and project timeline.

James Smith is the VP of marketing, North America at Sitecore.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

view full article | Add a comment

"Weird Al" Yankovic -- Word Crimes

We firmly believe that there is a Weird Al song out there for everyone. This is one video -- whether you love him or hate him -- everyone needs to watch. And obey.

view full article | Add a comment

Gen Z constantly moves between devices

Generation Z is finicky. These young people were born into a world where a digital existence is not only normal, but required and even expected. This generation was raised with the highest number of technological devices ever and a massive amount of personal online presence to boot. This creates an enormous challenge when trying to market to them because it's hard to get Gen Z to focus. These consumers are constantly moving from their computer, to their phone, then their tablet, then back to their phone, then to the TV, etc. They pop in and out of so many online communities on so many different devices that marketers face the obstacle of how to reach them at the right moment. This will be a giant hurdle to overcome.

People don't understand them -- especially marketers

It shouldn't surprise people that Gen Z is mysterious. Unless you're a teen between the ages eight and fifteen, you're not going to know who Nash Grier is (in case you're wondering, he's a popular Gen Z Vine celebrity). We're only really starting to learn about how this generation operates and how it is different from Millennials and Gen X. Marketers have limited resources in exploring consumers in this life stage because Millennials still make up the majority of the spending power. Once Gen Z emerges as a powerhouse that can compete with current dollar trends, marketers will be pouring money into figuring them out. By that time, it might be too late, so it's best to start thinking about this now.

They're not afraid to be truthful about your awful ad

If there's one thing you can say about this generation, it's that they're honest. Members of Generation Z are not afraid to be truthful and vocal about a terrible advertising experience. This group needs things tailored to each of them, as they were raised in a world of hyper-personalization. Gen Z expects customization in every aspect of life, and advertising is no exception. If you screw up and market in the wrong way, you'll pay for it on social media.

T.J. Marchetti, CMO of AwesomenessTV, speaks to iMedia about the biggest challenge marketers will face when Generation Z becomes a main focus -- and why you should prepare right now.

Click here to subscribe to the iMedia YouTube channel!

Article written by senior media producer David Zaleski.

Video edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Confused businessman with paper head gesturing confuse" image via Shutterstock.

view full article | Add a comment

While Germany took home the World Cup, it wasn't the only winner. This year's World Cup is the single biggest branded video event to date, reaching 671.6 million views as of the final day of the tournament.

That level of viewership is simply astounding. To put it in perspective, 671.6 million views is equivalent to 8 percent of the total branded video views in 2013. The World Cup has 30 percent more views than the 2014 Super Bowl, which was the most-viewed branded video event, with 516.2 million views, until the end of June.

For the third month running, the iMedia Brands in Video chart shows just how much the World Cup has dominated the branded video universe. Eight of the 10 brands included on the June list created and released tournament themed campaigns. Seven of those brands -- Nike, Samsung, adidas, Beats by Dre, Kia, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola -- were on the Visible Measures list of the top 10 most-viewed World Cup brands.

Nike tops the June chart with 123.7 million views. The apparel brand increased its views 136 percent from May and moved up one spot from the month prior. While Nike had more than 65 campaigns generating views during the month, it was the performance of its World Cup campaigns that made its viewership nearly double that of the next brand on the list.

It was Nike's "The Last Game" that contributed the most to the success of the brand in June. Garnering 83.8 million views, the animated short starring some of the biggest names in soccer accounted for 68 percent of Nike's views for the month.

By the end of the tournament, "The Last Game" had more than 97 million views, which made it the second most-viewed campaign of the World Cup. It was only bested by "Risk Everything," another Nike campaign that generated 20.5 million views in June and more than 124 million overall since its release.

With numbers like that, it shouldn't be a surprise that Nike was also the most-viewed brand of the whole tournament, with 240.6 million views (half of which were garnered in June) across eight campaigns.

Samsung, like Nike, managed to dominate the World Cup video conversation, despite the fact that it was not an official sponsor of the event. The brand was the second most-viewed in June with 62.5 million views. Overall, the electronics maker drew 124.3 million views from its World Cup campaigns, making it the second most-viewed campaign of the tournament, as well.

Samsung's most popular campaign of the month was also the third most-viewed World Cup campaign -- "Galaxy 11: The Training." The campaign sets up a story in which 13 of the world's most popular soccer players must save Earth from an alien invasion. It accumulated more than 25 million views in June and 74.5 million views overall.

The third most-viewed brand in June, adidas, was again the third most-viewed brand of the whole tournament. In June, it brought in 45.4 million views, which is about half of its total World Cup viewership.

The apparel brand, and official sponsor of the World Cup, produced nine campaigns for the tournament, the most of any brand. It's most successful campaign in June was "House Match," starring David Beckham, Zidane, Bale, and Lucas Moura, which drove more than 18 million views for the brand.

view full article | Add a comment

BlueConic introduced self-learning optimization, making it faster and easier for marketers to improve online interactions by automatically delivering the best performing messages.

Datonics added GumGum, TwoPointO, and Vemba to its roster of data distribution partners.

Drawbridge announced the addition of Andy Miller to its board of directors.

IZEA announced the addition of Mike Church to the company's strategic advisory board.

Guardian News & Media (GNM) announced the appointment of Eamonn Store as CEO of Guardian US.

Madison Logic announced that UBM Tech tapped its powerful stream of B2B intent data to inform its email segmentation efforts, leading to a 375 percent lift in CTRs.

MediaMath announced it is expanding its reach to Latin America and has chosen global programmatic media company Headway Digital as its exclusive partner in the region. MediaMath also announced its move to 4 World Trade Center.

Mintz + Hoke promoted Kathy Morelli to senior digital program manager from account executive.

Payoneer appointed Bart Rubin and Jani Gode to the company's leadership team.

PlaceIQ announced that it has hired two new seasoned business executives: Ed Haslam as SVP of marketing and Dr. Phil London as SVP of product and technology.

PulseConnect announced it has rebranded as PostUp. PostUp also announced Joshua Baer, a highly celebrated digital marketing technology innovator, angel investor, and original founder of the company, has returned as a member of the board of directors.

raw engineering announced, a mobile-first content management system (CMS) for the enterprise.

ScribbleLive announced the acquisition of CoveritLive from DemandMedia.

SheKnows named Amy Boshnack as editor in chief, Tara Wacks as VP of ad product and strategy, and Kate Durkin as VP of Experts Among Us.

Simulmedia announced that Mainak Mazumdar has joined the company in the newly-created position of chief science officer.

Sizmek announced the availability of Sizmek Audience Suite, a tool that provides marketers with an integrated view of campaign performance measurements within the Sizmek MDX open ad management platform together with data from either comScore vCE or Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.

Syncfusion announced the release of Essential Studio Enterprise Edition 2014, Volume 2, which includes a new set of ASP.NET controls completely driven by HTML 5 and JavaScript.

Telerik announced the latest advancements to Kendo UI, its HTML5 and JavaScript framework.

TigerLogic Corporation announced it has added several new creative features to Postano, its flagship social product and leading visual marketing platform. The Postano version 2.5 release includes advanced social filtering options, a style editor for custom visualizations, new dynamic data visualizations, and other platform enhancements.

Trueffect announced Jeff Hassemer has joined the company as chief product officer and E.J. Freni has joined as EVP of sales.

Vevo and McDonald's will team up for the second annual LIFT Live concert in Chicago on July 30. The event spotlights four of 2014's hottest rising stars: Disclosure, Sam Smith, Phantogram, and Kiesza.

ZeroFOX announced that it will be exhibiting at Black Hat 2014, showcasing its enterprise social risk management platform.

Editor's note: This column publishes twice per month, and we are always looking for industry announcements, so please email them to

view full article | Add a comment

Trying to generate buzz around your business? It's natural to think the more exposure you receive, the better. However, knowing how to communicate to your customers will help make your brand sticky and complete. Since you need to focus your communication, tread delicately in these waters.


With Instagram, you post a picture and customers "like" your pictures or follow you. Therefore, they will like your brand and buy your products. Where it gets tricky is in order for customers to see your picture, you need a mix of followers and hashtags. There's no way to deep link your picture to your product unless you put a link in the description. Therefore, direct sales are more difficult. 

And, just because your pictures have a lot of hearts, doesn't mean you'll increase in Google searches (similar to Facebook "likes").  You have to work just as hard to end up in more Google search results.

Instagram does not have a "share" function -- whereas with the other platforms, customers can share the company's posts across their networks, spreading that company's brand much farther. Here, Instagram posts almost go "dead" after a few hours of customers seeing them. The choice for the customers sits at "like" or keep scrolling, and there's not a clear call-to-action for a conversion to buy.

Finally, you run the risk of your products/posts on Instagram being muddled with start-up shops of people looking to use Instagram as a classier eBay. People will "heart" your product, but unless they truly like it, they won't visit your profile and will just keep scrolling.

view full article | Add a comment

There isn't a conversation between a marketer, agency, or retailer that doesn't include the word "beacon" in it. Beacon providers are trying to map out business use cases to push adoption, retailers are creating their "beacon strategies," and agencies are tasked with figuring out how to use them.

There's no doubt beacon technology and proximity marketing will have a dramatic impact on advertising and retail. However, we're very early in the game. The required infrastructure must be in place, and consumer expectations aligned, before proximity marketing goes mainstream.

Here are some practical tips for how to approach and test beacon technology right now -- so you are ready when proximity marketing begins to scale.

What's all the fuss about?

To set the stage, let's do a quick "beacons for dummies." Beacons are not new. A beacon is simply a transmitter of signals, often used in navigation. However, for our purpose they can be placed in locations where marketers might want to communicate with consumers -- for example, in the entry point of a store or on a city street with high foot traffic. They are available from several manufacturers for about $10 per unit and easy enough to install.

The beacon hardware is only half the equation. You need a receiver to actually use those signals in a meaningful way. Today's beacons transmit Bluetooth low energy (BLE) signals. So it is only when a smartphone is actively Bluetooth enabled (location is turned on) and there is an app installed that is listening for that BLE signal that any type of interaction begins. And more importantly, that's when there is real value for marketers.

According to Forrester, about 30 percent of smartphones are enabled to connect to beacons using BLE today. That number is expected to grow to 80 percent in the next 15 months. So now you understand why we're early in the adoption cycle, yet there is a real urgency to be the first to figure this out.

Let's get practical

While there is great potential for beacons, there are immediate (and quite challenging) issues to be resolved. Ask yourself this question -- what is valuable enough to you as a consumer that you would not only keep your smartphone location turned on at all times, but you would also happily download and install (with certain permissions) at least one app that listens for BLE signals?

My company ShopAdvisor recently conducted a survey using female shoppers to answer this very question. We asked them to respond to a series of scenarios to determine which would get them to "cooperate" in the context of proximity marketing -- turn location on their smartphone and download a specific app. Their answers were consistent. The value received in exchange for action had to be personally and contextually relevant. The deal had to be for something they intended to shop for, or for a nearby store they liked to shop in. They were not about to change their shopping desires or preferences. Simply providing a discount for a nearby store -- or even the one they were walking into -- was not perceived as enough value in exchange for the required actions.

To sum it up in the words of one respondent: "Allow me to find items that I love, with a price point I also love."

Taking this information into consideration, here are four intuitive rules for approaching the use of beacons for a proximity marketing pilot the right way.

Think like an experiential marketer

These marketers have a different view of what context is. While most of us think about context as related to content, for proximity marketing the context has to be a combination of location and moment in time.

Remove all friction

That means mobile-first design. Remember that smartphones are great for a quick scan -- swipe or text -- but frustrating when typing many characters or numbers (e.g., an address and credit card number).

Make it about their intent

Find a way to start capturing what your audience wants now. According to a recent L2 Digital Report, 67 percent of department store apps feature a registry. That seems to me to be a treasure trove of intent data.

Design the right experience

Remember that you are bringing virtual and physical worlds together. In the physical world, phones are used as a communication device and as a way to gain on-the-spot information. In the virtual world, consumers have been trained to look for information from a QR code scan and relate "check-in" to receiving an incentive or reward. Use this natural and learned behavior to your advantage.

Three beacon-ready programs available today

Now that you understand how to approach this, the challenge is not how to secure or install the hardware -- it is the back-end infrastructure required to translate beacon signals into meaningful customer interactions. The following are three resources for launching a proximity marketing or advertising attribution test:

  • Gimbal (spinoff of Qualcomm) is already partnering with sports venues, retailers, and even event organizers to use its existing platform of context aware proximity beacons.
  • If you advertise with one of the major publishers (e.g., Hearst Corp., Time Inc., Conde Nast) you know that most now offer some form of enhancement to "commerce enable" your ads. These same publishers are now teaming up with beacon solution providers and retailers to pilot tests in which readers can be anonymously tracked from ad to in-store.
  • Titan already offers Bluetooth for some of the out-of-home advertising inventory it sells and has worked with Gimbal to provide beacon proximity services at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. Attendees were encouraged to download an event app that worked with Gimbal beacons, offering attendees a variety of options to supplement their experience based on their location.

In closing, rest assured you are not late to the party. We're just getting started. But if Forrester is right in its predictions, anything you can do today to pilot a proximity marketing program using beacons will put you way ahead of your competition when these programs are ready to scale. And that looks to be in the not-so-distant future.

Karen Macumber is CMO at ShopAdvisor.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

view full article | Add a comment

The mobile phone may be the smallest device we carry, but it has become perhaps the largest daily opportunity to portray your brand to consumers. Its intimate nature is intensely appealing to brand managers and content creators alike, yet continues to be significantly misunderstood. The one common, missing component in mobile strategic planning is often to put the user experience first. And whether we like it or not, consumers consume on their terms. This means that no one flavor will satisfy everyone. But unfortunately, many companies large and small, are serving up 90 percent vanilla, as they turn to the app as their primary savior, and leave their mobile websites as mostly uncultivated gardens.

While a well-developed app is a powerful, interactive asset, the vast majority of mobile consumer discovery and exploration begins with search and direct navigation on the web. A feeble mobile site strips the brand of the consumer image and feel it works so hard to develop across other media -- including its traditional website. Instead, what remains is a weak cover band rendition, with simple menus, minimal graphics, and overall poor experiences. Further, as the PC takes its place as a minority internet-consumption device, why are a disproportionate amount of your internal resources continuing to be devoted to that web experience, leaving your mobile site remaining neglected?

Admit the mistakes of others

Interestingly, over the past three years, virtually every company has at least tacitly acknowledged the idea that it needs a mobile website. However, the lack of true interest here has led many brands and content publishers to present mobile sites that the average consumer can easily deem as truly awful. The question that many managers continue to not even ask is whether their site, their company's 24-hour face to the mass audience, is in that group of shame. The good news is that you can play the internal hero in correcting the errors that may have been created and exacerbated by others, and quickly.

To start fixing the problems, managers need to understand the factors that continue to work against them in creating strong mobile sites. The first is your digital team members have been unreasonably expected to become mobile experts immediately, as this area was deemed close enough to the more than 20-year-old traditional web. While rooted in the same coding languages, the fact is that mobile is its own animal, with different nuances, data, and consumer behaviors.

The next challenge for the mobile website is that it does not carry the same cachet and pride with executives that an app does. Politically, the app looks to be the safer route. However, that safety is quite short-lived, particularly after the need for a full, real, app program is required to make the simplest of apps successful. Once it becomes truly accepted internally that any app needs revisions (on multiple platforms), advertising budgets, and personnel to manage the app and its data, the app honeymoon comes to a quick ending.

Perhaps the biggest culprit in impeding the growth of strong mobile websites lies with the choice in agency partners and assigned responsibilities. With the explosion of smartphones starting around 2009, each day seemed to further display consumers' ever-increasing content consumption on their mobile devices. Agencies, of all kinds, couldn't help but note this change based on the data coming from the traditional websites they created for clients which showed PC-consumption diving. Coupled with a new flood of requests from the justifiably-un-mobile-knowledgeable clients, seemingly every agency began stating it could "do mobile." While the "could" in that assertion may be true, there were few that could actually do mobile well. Similar to your internal team, it was unrealistic to believe that an agency could offer advanced, embedded understanding of mobile consumer behavior and market experience overnight. Their offering, instead, was born more out of a defensive position to contain client budgets in-house, than to best serve those same clients' interests.

view full article | Add a comment