Tag Archives: advertising

Traditional Marketing is Alive and Well!

Above is a quote from the weekly content marketing twitter chat that I participated in yesterday and pretty much sums up the topic of this blog post. It’s not about the platform it’s about the content, and in that context there is a place for traditional marketing.

Although I am proficient in digital marketing I don’t describe myself as a digital marketer because I don’t like to be confined by channels. I consider myself to be a strategic marketer, I’m governed by strategy and goals and will always opt for the channels and tactics that satisfy the objectives best – sometimes this will be print and other times Pinterest.

It get’s to me when I hear fellow marketers completely disregard traditional marketing (print, broadcast, direct mail, telemarketing etc.) in favour of more modern marketing methods (social media, content marketing, affiliate marketing etc.) because I don’t think the channels were ever the problem it was more the way they were used and the marketing mindset behind their use.

Both traditional and modern marketing can co-exist, they aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact quite the opposite – they often add value to a campaign when used together as part of an integrated multichannel marketing approach.

I demonstrated how well direct marketing could work as part of modern marketing campaign in a previous post. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of digital marketing and social media, but I continue to bang the drum for traditional marketig because I know there’s life in it yet. So when I saw that yesterday’s weekly Content marketing twitterchat topic was this… 

…I knew I had to chime in. I mean I love the weekly #CMWorld chat in general and attend often (If you haven’t you really should :) but this topic in particular really resonated with me. It was indeed a great chat with some great points raised, so good in fact that I wanted to share some of them with you in this week’s post:

Q1: How has traditional media become less effective? Where can content marketing fill the gap? #CMWorld

— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) January 20, 2015

When used in isolation, without context and content that creates a brand story that connects with an audience, tradtional media like broadcast and print advertising become less effective.


Some sound advice was given:  

If you want to drive a high volume of traffic to your business in a relatively short space of time, advertising is still the best way to do it.

Events can be the catalyst for a wealth of content such as video, blog posts, customer testimonials, Slideshare presentations, webinars and more.

There are still a wealth of opportunities in print:

They key is to adopt an integrted multi-channelapproach:


I really like this idea:

This pretty much hits the nail on the head:

My top tip:

So very true:

This is worth remembering:

Q6: Content is used in traditional ads. Is this content marketing? Does it even matter? #CMWorld

My view on this is simple:

So as you can see traditional marketing is very much alive and well. Don’t rule it out!

Speak soon,

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4 Simple Advertising Tips

Simple advertising

Advertising doesn’t need to be costly,  time-consuming  or complicated. There are many ways you can advertise easily and efficiciently here are 4 of my favourites:

1.  Target your marketing message

I’ve mentioned the importance of tailoring your messages to reach different audiences in a previous post. I have also touched on the fact that advertising often receives a bad wrap because historically it has been untargeted and ineffective compared to other marketing methods.

Suffice to say that if your advertising isn’t targeted not only are you wasting money but you’re also wasting the time of those who receive your marketing and are not in the least bit interested. Many of these untargeted recipients won’t resemble your target audience in any way shape or form, which is not beneficial for you or them.

The good news is that the Internet has made targeting  your audience easier than it’s ever been. Online advertising platforms  such as AdWords and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter make targeting easy.

Facebook ad targeting

Twitter ad targeting

2.   Amplify your message with paid advertising

The simple truth is that the organic reach of  marketing is declining. What I mean is that when you post something online, social media update, blog post etc. it is seen by a lot less people than would have been the case in times passed. The reason is that there is a lot more content being published on the web daily, so we have to work a lot harder for our content to be noticed.

Social media without paid advertising doesn’t scale, if you are a business trying to leverage the benefits of social media, ideally you need both organic and paid content.

3.   Measure success

Results count. If something doesn’t work i.e. move you closer to the goal you are trying to achieve stop doing it. So often we continue certain practices out of habit, passed successes or because ‘it’s just the way we do things around here‘. My advice is to proliferate what works and eliminate what doesn’t. A key way to measure success is to monitor the activity and behaviour that takes place on your website, Google Analytics allows you to do that. It allows you to see a wealth of useful information, such as the number of people visiting your website, the most popular pages, where visitors come from and a lot more. I highly recommend implementing Google Analytics,   you can do this yourself or have your web designer do it for you, it’s free and takes just a few minutes.

4. Test and refine

The Internet provides a great opportunity for us to test and refine our online advertising efforts. Enabling advertisers to increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and increase return on investment. You can test your advertising efforts in many ways but here are 2 key tactics:

  • Test your headlines and advertising copy
    The aim is to determine which headlines and wording is most effective at getting potential customers to take action. The desired action may be clicking a link, completing a form, visiting your website, purchasing a product etc. You can do this simply with Google Adwords, within  Adwords there is a tool called Adwords Campaign Experiments which allows you to test variants of your ad on a small percentage of your target audience.  Enabling you to monitor results before investing fully,  and placing all your eggs in one basket.
  • Test elements of your landing pages
    Similar to testing advertising copy it’s important to test your landing pages (the pages people go to when they click on your ads) to determine what layouts, designs and content are most effective at converting vistors to customers. Similar to Adwords Campaign Experiements, Analytics Campaign Experiments allows you to test up to 10 variants of your landing page.

Done wisely online advertising can be very successful, cost effective and simple for your business to implement. The key is to equip yourself with the right knowledge and use the right tools to get the maximum return on your advertising spend.

If you need help putting these simple advertising tips into practice feel free to give me a shout :)

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Facebook Advertising: 5 ways to get more for your money

we all have a story to tell

A few weeks ago I was involved in a workshop regarding Facebook advertising. In a previous post I’ve spoken about why I think Facebook advertising can be beneficial, but there was one particular  thought which cropped up that I wanted to share with you, and that’s:

You may pay for advertising but you still have to earn your place at the Facebook table

Facebook is public but most people use it to share somewhat private information and communicate  with loved ones. As such it’s not the primary place many of us choose to hear from brands.

As an advertiser you are not competing with other companies as much as  personal posts. For example – your advertising could quite easily end up between a picture of a sonogram announcing a close friends pregnancy and cool photos of family on their summer holidays in sunnier climes. Therefore Facebook advertising can easily seem  like an intrusion.

So the question is; how do you as a brand earn yourself an invitation to the Facebook table as opposed to being written off as an intruder?

1. Inspire by communicating your why

We all know that traditional advertising is not the purchase driver that it once was, and one of the reasons is that customers don’t want fluffy fake marketing messages, they want real and meaningful. Your brand has to be about more than selling, it’s about  telling a story, one that is real and resonates with your audience, and that has to begin with why your business exists. A lot of businesses know what they do but few know why, and if you don’t understand the why, your story is always  going to be flaky. Simon Sinek elaborates on this in his infamous Ted Talk on the Golden circle:

2. Leverage the power of visual story telling

visual story telling

Often nothing says it better and quicker than a picture, you can convey a thousand words in a single picture, this is increasingly important in our society where time poverty seems to be an epidemic.

Pictures are also a lot more emotive than words and have the ability to move people in an instant. So much of what is posted on Facebook is motivated by emotion; feelings of joy, anger, happiness and sadness, so it seems fitting that ads convey some level of emotional sentiment.

Facebook has also acknowledged the impact of imagery by recently redesigning ad formats so that all ads are centred around a key visual.

Facebook ad formats

3. You’re creative should fit in, but your message should stand out

What I mean is that your ad shouldn’t look like an ad it should fit into the Facebook environment. This is the point of native advertising it shouldn’t be intrusive but instead fit into the flow of Facebook content.

And yet the message should stand out, yep I know this sounds like a bit of a contradiction but these examples from  Shopify illustrate what I mean.

Shopify Facebook ad right

Shopify Facebook ad

You can see clearly how both ads fit comfortably in a Facebook newsfeed and yet they’re interesting enough to cause you to stop and pay attention.

4. Tailor your messages to reach different audiences

When you go on a date, you don’t want to feel like the person is sorting through options, you want to know that the person is interested in you as an individual. Advertising is similar, don’t deliver one size fits all messages, tailor your message to your audience. Facebook provides numerous options for targeting your messages accordingly.

As mentioned in an article from The Guardian on the atomisation of advertising, brands need to ‘contextualise the message by atomising advertising into a series of sustainable, high quality messages that are relevant irrespective of where the consumer chooses to engage with you’.

For example, if you’re a car dealer, you might have two ads for the same car; one targeting budget conscious men, one targeting mums.

The headline targeting men might say; ‘more miles for your money’.
The headline targeting mum’s might say; ‘it’s a car but it’s as safe as houses’.

5. Test your creative and ask the following questions:
  • Does it meet your objective - is the tone of voice on brand?
  • Is it a compelling story?
  • Does it have thumb stopping power? (i.e. is it good enough to make a Facebook user stop scrolling down their Facebook feed )

If you are using or considering Facebook advertising I hope this post helps, and for more on brand story telling I highly recommend the ebook below.

If you have any comments or questions I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave them below.
Speak soon,
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5 ways to monetise your big idea

monetise ideas

Most of us have had a great idea hit us at one time or another. That light bulb moment where you’re filled with adrenaline and excitement about the possibilities. Sometimes the way to make money from that idea is obvious, but often it’s not and you experience that sudden jolt back to reality, as you’re hit with the realisation that you need to pay bills and provide your family with food and sustenance. That idea soon falls by the way side as quickly as it came. What a travesty! If you can relate then this post is for you.

Firstly I’d like to say I do believe that ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ and if you think long and hard enough I’m sure you’ll find a ways to make money from your idea, persistence pays. However, if you’re experiencing a ‘brain block’ (as we all do at some point) that last statement really isn’t any help to you. So I thought I’d be a little more helpful and provide you with 5 concrete ways you can monetise your ideas.

1. Attach a paid service 

If your idea is to provide a free service e.g. a membership offering, the provision of information or perhaps an online tool, then there is the option to add paid services that are related to your free service  to your portfolio. Often times people think why not just charge for the main service, however charging can be a bad idea. For example your business may be dependent on attracting a high number of users (e.g. a social platform of some sort) charging for your service would hinder your ability to attract the volume you need. Another reason may be that competitors don’t charge for the service, so if you did, you would immediately put you business at a huge disadvantage.

This is why the freemium business model has become so popular. This is when a business provides a version of their offering  for free and then charges for a more complete version with premium features. Here are 7 types of freemium strategies.

2. White label and license

A white-label product or service is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they made it.

White labelling is done a lot in the food industry with famous brands such as Heinz, creating ‘own brand’ versions of their products for supermarkets. It also occurs often  in the  finance industry where department stores for example, offer store cards that are provided by banks as a white labelled services and then the stores brand and market it as there own. If you have an idea for a product that you think you’d have a hard time selling, but more established businesses could sell it with ease, then you could offer it to these businesses as a white-labelled product for them to sell.

3. Set-up an affiliate program

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

Essentially you pay other businesses and/or individuals a commission for selling your product. They simply place banners for your product or service on their website and you then pay the affiliates a commission from every sale they make. Companies like Affilinet and Comission Junction make it very easy to start an affiliate marketing program, here’s a guide to creating an affiliate marketing strategy for your business.

4. Attract a sponsor

Perhaps your idea is to set-up an event or an information based website for example, one way to finance this and generate revenue is to  attract a key sponsor.

A sponsor will provide money to a business  (typically in sports, arts, entertainment or causes) in return for access to a specific target audience and access to the commercial opportunities that association with a business provides. This may involve the sponsor having their logo on your website right through to speaking at your events and marketing to your customers or members. Here’s some sound advice on how to attract a corporate sponsor

5. Sell advertising

One of the most popular ideas for monetising an idea is to sell advertising a lot of bloggers do this and it simply involves allowing businesses that offer services that are relevant to your customers/members/users to advertise on your website for a fee.

If you’ve been struggling to come up with ways to commercialise your idea then I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.

If you’ve thought of other creative ideas to monetise your ideas I’d love to hear about them so please feel free to comment below,

Speak soon,

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Advertising Alive & well Pt4: The Power of Radio

Radio advertising

This is the 4th post in the Advertising Alive & Well series and it’s all about radio. Radio is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most traditional marketing channels, for that reason many will omit it automatically from their marketing mix.  In the current culture where Human to Human marketing and online channels are seen as the cure all to the failings of traditional marketing, channels like radio can be dismissed all too quickly. So in this post I want to highlight how radio can overcome many of the traditional objections to advertising.

Radio is part of our lives

Radio is an ingrained part of British culture, over 90% of the UK population tune into radio for 22hrs a week on average (RAB). We listen to radio at home, while we travel and at work and it’s also one of the most trusted media channels, perhaps because “people don’t feel that the radio station uses them – they use the radio station“, radio is seen as a positive influence in our lives unlike TV, which is often viewed as harmful.

Radio was an intrinsic part of my own childhood, Radio 2 was constantly playing in the back ground at my Grandparents house from speakers in every room. I constantly have the radio on in my own home, playing in my kitchen as background music.

Radio connects on a ‘human’ level

There is something intrinsic about radio that automatically gives brands a personality, this is very important in this age of Human 2 Human marketing. Bryan Kramer defines this #H2H marketing as; genuine and simple communication, with the humility and understanding that we’re all multi-dimensional humans, everyone of which has spent time in both the dark and delightful parts of life’.

Although many business people don’t like to admit it, research shows that many of our decisions are based on emotion which is why many of the most effective ads connect on a head and heart level.

Radio is one of the few channels that intrinsically has emotional appeal, an article on the RAB blog states;

Listeners use radio for emotional reasons – to keep their spirits up, to stop themselves from feeling bored in a car or isolated while doing daily chores. This leads to them seeing radio as a kind of friend, and this is a valuable context for an advertiser to appear in.

Perhaps this ability to stir emotion, explains why charities have such success with radio advertising, as the messages fit with the idea of connecting at the head and heart level.

There is something emotive about sound which is harnessed through radio

Sound, whether it’s the human voice, music or sounds from nature and the world around us has an amazing power to stir emotion. See what I mean by clicking the image below, what does each sound make you feel?

Emotions of Sound Interactive Survey from Amplifon

Emotions of Sound by Amplifon

Radio is a multiplier – it multiplies the effect of ads seen via other channels

The RAB states; Radio’s multiplier effect seems to originate in the fact that it is an audio-only medium, and therefore stimulates a different part of the brain.

This is why radio is an ideal addition to an integrated marketing campaign.

Most notably radio significantly increases online traffic, according to the RAB, allocating 10% of a media budget into radio boosts brand browsing online by 52%. The power of radio to boost online browsing is supported by this case study from the Occam Razor blog by web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik.

Radio advertising is accessible to small businesses

it’s important to note that small businesses can benefit from radio too:

  • Local radio stations are a natural fit with local businesses. in previous posts I’ve mentioned the importance of start-ups having a local marketing strategy, radio can be an effective addition to your local marketing efforts.
  • Radio advertising is affordable
    Radio campaigns can be expensive but they can also be managed on a budget especially for local campaigns.
  • Radio is cost-effective
    Brands using radio get their money back nearly eight times over on average, and in many sectors, radio offers the best ROI of any media. 

Radio is no longer hit and miss

  • Targeted
    Radio channels have very specific data about listeners, for each station this can then be used to target relevant audiences.
  • Relevant
    Most radio listeners listen to radio while they’re doing something else e.g., school run, surfing the Internet, getting ready for a night out etc.  This means that radio ads can be scheduled to be played at opportune times that increase their relevance to the listener e.g. a drinkaware ad on a Friday night during the time people are getting ready to go out on a Friday night. Ads that are relevant are significantly more effective.
  • Online multiplier
    Radio is a great complement to social media and online marketing efforts, boosting website traffic and online sales

For all these reasons radio advertising is very much alive and well. So the next time you’re rethinking your marketing mix, radio may be worth considering.

What are your thoughts on radio advertising? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Speak soon,


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Facebook Advertising: Advertising Alive & Well Pt3

Facebook advertising 

For the 3rd post in my ongoing series Advertising Alive & Well I’ve chosen to hone in on Facebook as it’s the most popular social media network, has a well-established ad platform, is one of the most effective forms of online advertising and is one of the easiest to get started with. I did consider writing a post on the ins and outs of Facebook advertising but decided against that because there are already tonnes of very useful and comprehensive resources available. These guides describe in detail how Facebook ads work, the various types of Facebook ads, the do’s and don’ts and more, I’ve included links to a few of these resources at the end of this post. Instead I’ve decided to share 5 reasons why I think you should consider Facebook advertising, no matter what size your budget is:

1.       Popularity

No doubt you know this already but Facebook is by far the most popular social network on the planet, with 1.25billion Facebook users across the world with more than 33million of them in the UK. As such it enables you to reach pretty close to every niche group or demographic that you might want to reach.

2.       Targeting

Facebook has access to large amounts of data and insights that few other companies have. This means that you are able to target ads at a level of detail that has previously been impossible in the advertising world. Instead of keywords Facebook allows you to enter interests and demographics, which in some ways is a more human and effective way of advertising than targeting based on keywords.

3.       Affordability

You decide how much you want to pay and set daily limits. Facebook offers payment flexibility by allowing advertisers to purchase ad space based on pay-per-click (PPC) or cost–per-thousand views (CPM), this allows you to tailor your ad campaign based on budget. The famous John Wannamaker quote “I know that half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half” no longer holds true. With Facebook advertising you are able to see exactly what is working and what isn’t, you can then scale what does work and pull back on what doesn’t. This means that you can not only achieve high traffic volume to your Facebook Page or website, but more importantly, traffic that converts to action whether it’s a lead or a sale.

Advertising has become less art and more science.

4.       Image based ads and more

Pictures are far more effective at grabbing attention than text, Facebook allows you to include images in each ad which helps to increase engagement. Facebook sponsored ads are also an example of native advertising which is less intrusive than other forms of advertising as it appears very much like organic content in a timeline.

5.       A resource to learn more about your fans and customers

There is a nifty feature on Facebook Pages called Facebook insights which gives you a more detailed picture of what’s working and some indications why. Facebook Insights includes useful information such as:

  • Reach: how many people saw your ad
  • Demographics: who is actually liking, commenting, sharing your posts, are they from your target audience?
  • Benchmarking data: allows you to compare the performance of your page at various points in time
  • Where your likes have come from

Hopefully this post has given you a few reasons to consider Facebook advertising and shown you yet another example of why advertising is very much alive and well.

As promised here are a few resources that I’ve found particularly useful:

  1. 45 Fabulous Facebook Advertising Tips & Magic Marketing Tricks
    Info about selecting your campaign objectives, various Facebook advertising formats, how to control the costs of advertising on Facebook and more.
  2. Facebook ads that convert (video)
    I’m a huge fan of Sandi Krakowski, she is a Facebook advertising expert and offers a tonne of resources on how to advertise on Facebook like this video. With over 390,000 Facebook fans she not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
  3. How to master Facebook marketing in 10 days (ebook)
    More about Facebook Marketing in general with a little on Facebook advertising, as I’m such a fan of HubSpot I thought I’d share. HubSpot are inbound marketing experts and if you haven’t already I highly recommend visiting the HubSpot blog
  4. How to use the new Facebook Insights
    This post all about Facebook Insights is from Social Media Examiner another very good resource for all things social.

Speak soon,

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DOOH: Advertising Alive & Well pt2


This is the second post in a series I started last week entitled Advertising is Alive and Well. The motivation for this series is the fact that although I’m a big fan of new and often more cost effective marketing methods like content marketing and social media, I’m a little tired of hearing that advertising is dead. Fact is, advertising is very much alive and well, the issue is that financially it remains out of reach for many companies with a limited marketing budget. However, for those companies that do have budget, which may include you if not now than in the future, it remains one of the best and fastest routes to market.

So, next on my list of favoured advertising channels is Digital-Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising, otherwise known as digital signage or narrowcasting. I worked in the digital signage industry for a number of years prior to my current job but had forgotten what a cool advertising channel it is until compiling this post.

DOOH is essentially: any number of methods used to display multimedia content in public venues. Alternatively known as dynamic signage, electronic signage or narrowcasting, networks of digital signs have been deployed across numerous retail chains, banks, travel hubs and corporate headquarters to deliver informative and entertaining content to captive audiences and passersby. (Wirespring)

DOOH is often a very effective advertising channel because it capitalises on a number of significant marketing trends, including the following.


Interactive marketing has evolved from the trend and tendency of customers to ignore transactional, one-way marketing and gravitate towards advertising that is engaging and conversational, two-way communication:


Media is more fragmented than ever before with tens of social media networks, hundreds of TV and radio stations and millions of online properties, all vying for the attention of consumers, making it increasingly difficult to attract the attention of your audience. Integrated campaigns are one approach marketers use to overcome this. Integration means communicating a consistent identity from message to message, and medium to medium. DOOH is an ideal integrated marketing channel; it integrates seamlessly with many other channels including mobile, outdoor, online, social and more. Here are a few great examples:

Real-time marketing

We live in a world where everyone wants to know NOW. As pointed out by David Meerman Scott author of Real-Time Marketing and PR, speed and agility are decisive competitive advantages in our real-time economy. As digital signage becomes increasingly intelligent with smart content and dynamic interfaces and the integration of real-time data into real-world applications, growth of the DOOH market has been stimulated.

Personalisation – user generated content

We appreciate the value of being recognised by name and treated as individuals, evidence shows that personalisation significantly increases customer loyalty and conversion rates. Digital signage has often been at the centre of some of the most creative and personalised marketing campaigns:


Defined as the “process of using game concepts and mechanics to engage users and change behaviour,” gamification has become a rising business trend. Gamification is such a powerful marketing approach because it allows brands to combine business interests with consumer interests by making content entertaining and fun (Econsultancy on gamification for marketers). Because it’s so easy to get fun and creative with digital signage, gamification has often been at the centre of many successful digital signage campaigns:


As you can see DOOH is probably one of the most innovative, flexible and dynamic advertising channels there is. Over the past few years digital signage networks have popped up everywhere from petrol stations and train stations to retail and hotel chains. It’s thriving in the retail industry in particular, in fact if you ever visit any of the Westfield shopping centres take a look at the creative ways DOOH is used. The examples shown are obviously part of expensive marketing campaigns but digital signage campaigns can be run on smaller budgets. The price of digital signage software and hardware has come down in price significantly in the last few years adding to this fact. So, if you do have  the budget it’s definitely one to consider adding to your marketing mix.

Like native advertising, DOOH advertising overcomes many of the issues that traditional advertising suffers from in terms of being interactive, often involving two-way communication and user-generated content. The best advertising campaigns adopt an integrated approach e.g. mobile, social, online etc. DOOH is often an ideal touchpoint in these campaigns.

All examples are worked produced by Grand Visual a production and creative technology company who offer platforms and services that unlock the communication potential of DOOH.

Previous posts in the series:

Have You Heard That Advertising Is Dead?
Native Advertising: Advertising Alive & Well Pt1

I’d love to hear about any DOOH implementations that you’ve been impressed by, so feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

Speak soon,

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Native Advertising: Advertising Alive & Well Pt1

This is the first post in a new series I’m writing entitled ‘Advertising is Alive and Well’ in my previous post I introduced the series and explained why I’m still a fan of advertising despite the emergence of more cost-effective marketing methods.

Before I get to the main topic of this post a little media history…

In days past you had three types of medial; Paid, Owned and Earned media which were distinctly separate:

paid, earned, owned media

As  defined by Social Media Today:

Paid Media is positive publicity gained through paid advertising

Earned Media is positive publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising.

Owned Media is promotion channels that you control, such as your website, Facebook Page and Twitter account.

However in recent years the lines have blurred and the media landscape now looks something like this:

converged media

In times past advertising remained in the Paid – traditional ads circle. What this meant is that advertising messages were entirely dictated by the advertisers agenda and the ‘one-way’ messages that the company wished to send out. This is essentially what has turned people off advertising – the perception that it’s essentially propaganda, companies trying to push products and services down people throats that they really don’t need or want.

Things have changed, yes traditional advertising still exists and works well in the right context, but what you also have is advertising that straddles Paid and Owned media (promoted brand content) and Paid and Earned (sponsored content).

Example of Promoted brand content (Paid/Owned):

Promoted tweet

This is a Promoted Tweet, it’s Owned as it’s taken from HootSuite’s own Twitter
profile but also Paid because Hootsuite has paid to have it show up in relevant Twitter profile streams among relevant content. As you can see the tweets on either side of this Promoted Tweet are related to social media. What’s different about this type of advertising is that it’s relevant, it adds value and it’s targeted. It’s not intrusive but appears as a natural part of the content.

Example of sponsored content (Paid/Earned):

Sponsored content

On the surface it looks like editorial but it’s actually sponsored, in this case by
Dell, which means Dell has written it and paid to place it. It’s also Earned because someone else has spread the word about the content not the company who has sponsored it. Like the previous example, the content is relevant, useful and targeted. In many ways sponsored content is very similar to traditional advertorials.


Both sponsored content and promoted brand content are examples of native
advertising. A new era of advertising that I am incredibly excited about!

For more on native advertising there are some great posts on the eConsultancy

Speak soon,


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Have you heard that advertising is dead?

print ad

Well, it’s a lie. Advertising is alive and well (albeit with a little less clout than it used to have)

So why do people say advertising is dead? Here are the main reasons:

1.      Advertising isn’t targeted

Advertising can be a bit of a scatter gun approach; very hit and miss, in fact John Wanamaker hit the nail on the head when he said; “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Marketing has become a lot more sophisticated it’s no longer necessary to waste half your budget.

2.       Advertising is a money pit

So naturally advertising is costly, if you want to do it well. One ad, in one magazine, one time is not going to work. Advertising messages need to be reinforced, repetition is used in advertising as a way to keep a brand or product in the forefront of consumer’s minds as it builds brand familiarity. This compounds the cost of advertising and is the main reason that I recommend that if you don’t have the budget for an advertising campaign over a period of time there is no point advertising. You’ll get a better return on your money if you use it on below the line channel such as social media, content marketing, email marketing etc.

3.       Advertising is one way communication

Advertising  messages tend to be product focused one-way messages in which we marketers tell you what we have to say as opposed to what you might want to hear.  Seth Godin also calls this ‘interruption’, marketing  which interrupts someone’s flow of activity e.g. a TV ad that interrupts a program that you’re watching, a banner ad that takes over your whole computer screen when you’re trying to read something useful etc.

I agree with all the above, the truth is due to the budget required advertising often isn’t an option for many small businesses.  In fact if you want to know more about the above and learn about more cost effective marketing methods I highly recommend you read The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott and Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin.

However inspite of these reasons I still believe that advertising has a place in the marketing mix for some businesses and can be the best marketing option in some instances, for the following reasons:

1.       If a product has mass market appeal 

If you sell a product that appeals to a large number of the population e.g. laptops, shoes, food etc. then advertising is one of the best marketing methods to reach a large number of people in a short space of time. Although the overall cost tends to be high the actual cost per person that will likely see the ad tends to be lower than a lot of other channels.

2.       If you need a quick win  advertising is often your best bet 

If you are advertising an event or a flash sale for instance advertising is often the quickest and most effective way to get the message out

3.       Advertising has become more sophisticated and measurable 

Thanks to tools like Google Analytics John Wanamaker’s quote at the beginning of this post is no longer true, it’s now possible to tell exactly which part of the budget is being wasted. This makes advertising a lot more affordable and cost effective than it used to be.

So with all that said this week I’ll be starting a new series telling you more about why advertising is alive and well and how you can advertise your product or service. I’ll be touching on topics such as Native Advertising, Second screen and mobile advertising, Digital Out of Home (DOOH) advertising, social media advertising and more, so stop by later this week and as always feel free to leave your thoughts and comments.

Speak soon,

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Master Marketers Master Simplicity

World renowned advertising agency M&C Saatchi has a moto that I really like ‘Brutal Simplicity’ according to joint CEO Carrie Hindmarsh in a recent article in ‘The Marketer’ this means; “Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff, working out the single most compelling message and saying only that”.

Apples ‘Think Different’ campaign exemplified this masterfully

There is clearly an art to simplicity and in my view it’s one of those relatively rare traits that all the best marketers have - the ability to say much with little.

I give my team a task each month to put together a PowerPoint presentation of scanned competitor ads and together we critique them in order to learn from them. Without fail the best ads are always the simplest.

The question is, how do you reach the point of ‘brutal simplicity’? Here are my top 3 tips:

1.      Become a master of the product or service that you market

In order to be able to simplify your message you first have to understand the complexity of your product, in order to aptly convey it in the simplest terms.

Question; if a marketer is not 100% sure of what their product does and how it does it (in more than just general terms) how can he or she expect to market it successfully? And yet often this is the case.

All too often marketers lack understanding of the products and services that they market and this is reflected in the standard of the marketing they produce. Copy is often full of Jargon, sweeping claims and generic creative. Joe blogs could probably tell you more about a product than the person that has been tasked with marketing it, and then there is a wonder why marketers lack credibility in some circles.

Marketers need to work closer not only with sales, as is commonly spouted, but also with their techies and product departments. No matter how complex a product is, it is a marketers job to get to grips with its complexities in order to market it successfully.

2.       Think differently

As an in-house copy writer for quite a few years I know how easy it is to fall into the habit of writing about the same set of features and benefits, in the same way, using the same jargon. Sometimes this is just sheer laziness and other times, time pressures stifle creativity and this is just the easiest option. I challenge all marketers to avoid this rut, change your perspective, think of ways that you can convey your message in a different way, a simpler way.

3.       Consider your product from your customers perspective

Quite simply, what is the one thing that customers really want that your product or service can deliver? Say this as succinctly as possible. As Michael Porter says; being the best is over rated it’s about being unique:

Managers who think there is one best company and one best set of processes set themselves up for destructive competition. “The worst error is to compete with your competition on the same things,” Porter said. “That only leads to escalation, which leads to lower prices or higher costs unless the competitor is inept.” Companies should strive to be unique, he added. Managers should be asking, “How can you deliver a unique value to meet an important set of needs for an important set of customers?” (Knowledge Wharton).

 I’ll leave you with a few great examples from an article entitled ‘26 Brilliant Minimalist Print ads’ that demonstrate clearly that ‘master marketers master simplicity’.

It's the hat


strong marriage ad


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