Do You Know Where Your Customers Are?

Imagine people sitting in a bar boozing at 8:00 a.m. It’s OK. Most of these morning drinkers work the night shift and this is their cocktail hour. Could these be some of your customers?

Imagine people sitting in a bar boozing at 8:00 a.m. It’s OK. Most of these morning drinkers work the night shift and this is their cocktail hour. What’s more, they want their TV news during prime time when they are having breakfast and getting ready to go to work.

Meanwhile, sometimes I cannot sleep and get up at 4:00 a.m., walk the dog, make coffee, scan the headlines. Alas, the printed newspapers are ipso facto yesterday’s news. What happened overnight?

From The New York Times, August 31, 2010:

Stations in Boston, New York, Washington and other cities are adding 4:30 a.m. newscasts this month, joining a backward march that started in earnest a few years ago. And those are not even the earliest. One station in New York, WPIX, will move up its start time to 4 a.m. on Sept. 20.

In catering to the earliest of the early risers, stations are reacting to the behavior patterns that are evident in the Nielsen ratings. Simply put, Americans are either staying awake later or waking up earlier — and either way, they are keeping the television on.

In the past 15 years, the number of households that have a TV set on at 4:30 has doubled, to 16 percent this year from 8 percent in 1995. At 11:30 p.m., by comparison, when most local newscasts end, 44 percent of televisions are on, up 10 percent from the levels 15 years ago.

-Brian Stelter
“TV News for Early risers (or Late-to-Bedders)”

Do you know your market and how, when and where to reach it?

Takeaways to Consider

  • Marketing guru Axel Andersson bought a small mail order study course in Germany after World War II and turned it into the largest “distance learning” organization in Europe. Axel retired to Florida, a millionaire many times over. When he would come to Philadelphia to consult, he insisted on staying at the Clarion Suites. Why the Clarion Suites—emphatically non-deluxe lodgings in the middle of Chinatown? “Certainly I could stay at a four-star hotel,” Andersson said. “But first of all, I get a suite with a living room where I work and a bedroom where I sleep. Secondly, the price is very reasonable. And thirdly, I see real people! At the Marriott or the Four Seasons, I would be among people just like me. I see those people everywhere. You can’t learn anything from them!”
  • “If you are a marketer, take the bus, subway, train or streetcar to work. These are the real Americans that you want to reach with your messages.”
    —Axel Andersson
    Direct marketer, founder of the Axel Andersson Akademie, Hamburg
  • “Listen to the murmur of your market. Create feedback loops in your database environment so that you can record what your customers and prospects are saying about your products, your service, your company and your competition. There is no more valuable source of information.”
    —Don Jackson
    Direct marketing insurance consultant

Web Sites Related to Today’s Blog
TV News for Early risers (or Late-to-Bedders)

Wunderman’s Morel on Social Media, Online Video and Mobile, Part 2

I recently spoke with Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm that’s part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP. Among other topics, we talked about the difference between social media and social networking, online video, and mobile marketing.

I recently spoke with Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm that’s part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP. Among other topics, we talked about the difference between social media and social networking, online video, and mobile marketing.

Last week I offered part 1 of the highlights of our discussion. The following is part 2.

Melissa Campanelli, eM+C: I know Wunderman has used video extensively in its campaigns. Why is video important?
Daniel Morel: People are more seduced by moving images than fixed images. They’re more interested in entertainment than text. People are inherently lazy — you and me included. We want to be entertained constantly. That’s why television moved from a static experience — simply voice and text — to a medium of moving images. That’s when it became an entertainment medium.

The same thing is happening on the web, thanks to new technology. Moving video — and thus entertainment — is appearing on the web, and when entertainment arrives in a medium, that medium takes off. This is why we’re doing more video on the web. It’s possible. It’s what people like to consume, and it allows for customization. It’s also tested, and we know it works.

My only concern right now is about how many creatives we need to produce if we want to use our data to create customized video. We’ll have to create several versions of the same piece of communication — not just one 30-second spot. So, what kind of production capability will we need?

MC: What about mobile marketing. Do you see that as a growing area?

DM: We spend a lot of time testing mobile marketing. But I still haven’t made a large bet on it yet. Maybe I’m making a mistake, but the reason I haven’t made a serious bet on it is because I follow the desire of my clients, and they’re not asking for it. Sure, I try to push them a bit and have them look at new technologies, but in most cases, I can’t make the economy of mobile work for my clients and me. A large amount of time is spent on working on the mobile platform and technology and making sure messages can be calibrated properly and tabulated.

On a $100,000 mobile marketing project, for example, I could spend $75,000 on technology and only $25,000 on communication. And when I get 10 [percent] to 15 percent of the $25,000, that’s not a lot of money.

We do have several people here working on mobile with clients. Ford is very interested in mobile, as is Microsoft. Our clients Nokia and Burger King are very active in it. But what does that represent in terms of a percentage of our business? It’s not large.

Yes, technology has improved. The chips are getting faster, the messages can now be in color and customized for each platform, and mobile operators are becoming more receptive to the needs of marketers.

So, the channel has become more marketing-friendly and more interesting to me. But, the technology has to mature even more, and the people in charge of the pipe have to recognize the value of marketing more before I make any real bets on it.

MC: Where do you see advertising or marketing being in the next five to 10 years?
DM: You’ll see exactly the same thing you’re seeing today: The existing channels will continue to coexist with whatever new channel or new use of an existing channel comes around.

Books have been around since the 16th century and still haven’t been replaced. The television advertising market is also very robust even after 15 years of internet communication. So, we have yet to see an example of a new medium totally eradicating what was done before.

Customers in the end will decide how they want to consume information. Consumers like to have choices. They want to watch the Oscars on large screens, product demos on their laptops and stock quotes from their portfolios on their mobile phones. They decide which channel is most appropriate. Five years down the road it will be exactly the same.

HULU.COM: An Intriguing Advertising Opportunity

Hulu is a fascinating Web site. Not only can its content be riveting to the viewer, but also represents a highly efficient medium for advertisers, enabling them to close the loop and measure actual ROI.

When I read that Hulu is drawing huge audiences, I went to the Web site and clicked on a movie—”Abel Raises Cain.” It is a 82-minute documentary about professional hoaxer Alan Abel, who was famous in the late 1950s for dreaming up and publicizing the “Society of Indecency to Naked Animals” with the mission of clothing naked animals. Over the years he has duped the media and made talk show hosts look like chumps and generally made a hilarious nuisance of himself with a slew of nutsy-fagen schemes, many of which are chronicled in this film.

This unique Web site offers full-length television shows and motion pictures; viewers remain on the site for a long time, sometimes a couple of hours—a boon for advertisers.

I sat through the entire film, which was presented with “limited commercial interruptions.” The TV-type commercial advertisements ranged in length from 10 to 30 seconds. Among the advertisers:
“Angels and Demons” (upcoming Tom Hanks film)
Nestea Green Tea
Honda Insight
Healthful Cat Food, Purina
Sprint Now Network
Swiffer Cleaner
Coldwell Banker

Returning to “Abel Raising Cain” on another day, I found additional advertisers:
American Chemistry Council
BMW Z4 Roadster
Toyota Prius
Panasonic Viera
Plan B Levenorgestra
Citi

At the end of this blog is a screenshot snapped during the BMW commercial. As you will see, the moving picture area takes up about half the computer screen, leaving a blank area above. At upper left is the film title, running time and the number of stars by reviewers. At upper right is a small response box that shows the car, the BMW logo and the headline:
The all-new Z4 Roadster
An Expression of Joy.

In light gray mousetype are two words: “Explore now”—the hyperlink to more information.

Once the commercial is finished and the film resumes, this little box remains on screen until the next commercial interruption. Then the next commercial’s response box stays on the screen. For the advertiser, this represents his presence onscreen for far longer than the 10-30 seconds allotted in the commercial.

Further, Hulu combines the razzle-dazzle of action-packed TV commercials with the advantage of direct marketing. The prospect clicks on the box, the advertiser has a record of the response to that commercial and that venue. This closes the loop: ad — response to ad — further info requested — and (hopefully) sale. The advertiser can do the arithmetic, measure the sales and determine whether the ad more than paid for itself or whether it was a financial loser.

This is far more valuable than running an ad on old-fashioned TV and hoping that people (1) have not left the room for a potty break and (2) will remember the thing when they are at the car dealer or supermarket.

What a direct marketer would do differently:
1. The response box at upper right is tiny compared to everything else going on. If Hulu wants happy advertisers, it should at least double its size, so that it is immediately obvious what to do.

2. The advertisers must make a terrific offer—something Free, for example—so the movie watcher is impelled to leave the film and go for the freebie. Or download a $500 certificate. With the tiny box and mousetype, these advertisers seem almost ashamed to ask you interrupt your movie to see what they have to offer. “Learn more” or “Explore now” in teeny-tiny light gray mousetype is not a compelling call to action.

3. My sense is that Hulu may be a tremendously efficient and relatively low-cost medium for testing TV commercials. Run an A-B split where one viewer gets the A commercial and the next viewer gets B and so on. The commercial that wins—gets the most responses—becomes control and is rolled out on TV, in movie theaters and anywhere else … until it is displaced by new commercial that tests better on Hulu.

With the Hulu model, razzle-dazzle TV-type commercials are combined with an immediate direct response mechanism. Trouble is that it is obvious the advertisers are allowing the general agencies that created the great commercials to handle the direct marketing element, which they know nothing about.

Old rule: never use a general agency for direct marketing.

But do spend some time at Hulu and think through how you might use it—either for sales or for testing.