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Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Article from TechCrunch.

No one got just how powerful it was that Facebook recently said it would allow ad targeting to lists of email addresses. Today at the Dreamforce conference it became clear, as Facebook ad chief David Fischer formally launched “Custom Audience” ads and how they tie into CRM. I’m convinced they’re going to be hugely profitable for advertisers and Facebook.

Why? A hotel company like Starwood has email addresses of its customers and could target “Come stay at the luxurious St. Regis” to high-end customers who’ve stayed there before, while targeting “Find cheap hotels nearby” to those who’ve stayed at its low-budget brands. That means more sales and more loyalty for advertisers, and more revenue for Facebook.

On August 30, Facebook told press that Custom Audiences was coming, but now it’s live with eight ads providers. Custom Audience ads let businesses submit a text or CSV file of privacy-protected hashed email addresses, phone numbers, or Facebook User IDs and have Facebook target those people with a specific ad. Businesses can also layer on additional ad targeting parameters, such as age or interests to reach a specific demographic within a customer segment.

Salesforce who brought in Fischer for its Dreamforce conference is uniquely suited to take advantage of custom audience ads because it owns both its massively popular eponymous customer relationship management system, but also a Facebook ads buying system Brighter Option that it got with its acquisition of Buddy Media this summer.

I’ve attained from Facebook a list of the seven other vendors working with custom audience ads, but none have their own CRM. They are AdParlor, Alchemy Social, GraphEffect, Kenshoo, Nanigans, Social Moov, and Optimal.

Custom audience targeted ads will be much more relevant than ads just targeted to a business fan’s or some biographical demographic. They can reach people who a business is sure purchased its products before, or that haven’t thanks to exclusionary targeting. Yes, businesses could just email these existing customers for free. However,  Facebook can help them hone in on certain demographic segments of their customers by overlaying additional targeting parameters, and reach them vividly through the news feed instead of their dry inbox.

Here are a few more examples of industries that could use custom audience ads:

  • A car company with email addresses of its customers could target “buy a new SUV” ads to people who bought an SUV 5+ years ago, while targeting “Find nearby charging stations” to those who recently bought an electric vehicle.
  • A bank company could target different ads to customers with savings of $5,000 versus customers with $5 million.
  • A Facebook game developer could plug in the user IDs of its gamers, targeting ads for its newest war-strategy games to those who played its old strategy game, while targeting ads for its latest shopping game to users who played its fashion game.
  • A B2B vendor could submit a file of the phone numbers of its biggest clients and target ads for a premium service to them to increase revenue, while targeting its newest clients with ads for discounts to increase loyalty.
  • Instead of targeting general ads to all its Facebook fans encouraging return visits, Amazon could advertise specific products to segments of its customers who’ve bought similar things.

Precise targeting of segments of existing customers like this could produce huge return on investment for advertisers and command high ad rates for Facebook. CRM-equipped companies might spend more when they know who they’re reaching, and that could help Facebook please Wall Street with higher revenues. In fact, it’s such a smart idea to plug CRM into ads that I bet we’ll see more advertising platforms integrate like this soon.

Read more here.

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Why Successful Branding Still Happens Offline

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Does Facebook offer better branding opportunities than word-of-mouth and human interaction?

The Facebook IPO has both the financial and marketing communities abuzz, and with good reason. Facebook is the king of the social media hill, and its growth and ability to attract a loyal and highly networked audience is to be admired.

For brands, however, online social networks are far from the Holy Grail of marketing.  The research is increasingly clear and compelling that for brands that want to be social and generate conversation, a far bigger and more powerful force is real world, face-to-face conversation.

It has been said that online social media is “word of mouth on steroids.” Key to that argument is a belief that online conversations will spread to hundreds or thousands of people (and maybe more) with the click of a mouse. But while that is theoretically possible, it is not the way online sharing usually works. Most links that are shared reach only 5-10 people. And the huge legions of Facebook fans, it turns out, are not so actively engaged with the brands they once “liked.” Fewer than 1% of brand fans on Facebook have any type of active involvement, bringing those huge numbers back down to earth.

Meanwhile, our research finds that 90% of word-of-mouth conversations about brands take place offline, primarily face-to-face, in people’s homes and offices, in restaurants and stores, really anywhere people congregate. These conversations bring with them greater credibility, a greater desire to share with others, and a great likelihood to purchase the products being discussed than conversations that take place online.

So if not via Facebook and other social networking sites, what can brands do to get conversations started? It is important to fight the urge to start your marketing strategy with a particular tool or approach. Instead, start a story that consumers will want to talk about. What are the messages about your brand and category that make you talkworthy?

Next, it’s important to tap the right talkers. Who are the consumer influencers in your category, and your brand advocates? When and where do they talk, about what, and why? Often the people who have credibility when they talk are not the target customer. And the places to reach these influencers will not flow naturally from your media optimization plan unless you’re clearly focused on word of mouth as a primary goal. Media with the largest concentrations of influencers will surprise you.

Once you have your message and target in mind, only then does it make sense to choose the channels through which to reach people and to encourage sharing. And it turns out, the biggest and most productive channel to spark conversation is not online social media, but paid advertising. Fully one-quarter of conversations about brands include an explicit reference to ads. In fact, television advertising is far and away the single biggest driver of consumer conversation. Far from being a dinosaur, as some pundits say, television and other traditional media play a key role in today’s social marketplace.

Today’s consumer marketplace is highly social, but not because of particular platforms or technologies. The businesses that will be the most successful in the future are the ones that embrace a model that puts people– rather than technology – at the center of products, campaigns and market strategies. Those who achieve the greatest success will recognize that there are many ways to tap the power of today’s social consumer.

The great social wave is an opportunity that no business can afford to ignore or look at myopically. It’s happening all around us – and to the continuing surprise of many, it’s mostly happening face-to-face.

Ed Keller and Brad Fay are co-authors of The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, to be published in May by Free Press. They are also principals of the Keller Fay Group, a market research and consulting firm.

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