Buzz Marketing

In a constant effort to influence customer buying behavior, companies do not restrict marketing through one medium. Many buzz marketing campaigns are organized in conjunction with an ad campaign or a social marketing campaign today,  further providing the buzz agents a platform to build upon their approach. In my opinion, a well-structured buzz marketing campaign can result in not only monitory gains but also in creating a trusted brand image.

I have seen many companies over the years utilizing personal interaction to create a buzz about their product in the market. Amway and Avon are some of the big names that have been associated with this kind of marketing activities. However, because of poor execution and misrepresentation, buzz marketing methods have been criticized in the past.

I agree with people when they say they don’t like to be approached by strangers in their personal time with family or friends and telling them about the benefits of a product. I would feel as if someone is intruding in my space, but when it comes from a friend or a family member I am not as uncomfortable talking about it.

There are a certain things that can turn a campaign around. Firstly, the companies need to make sure that the buzz agents chosen are social, have big enough circle and are a good fit for the company’s image. Secondly, the incentive structure needs to be though through and well-designed that serves the purpose of increasing awareness/sale without creating unnecessary complications.

We are bombarded with enormous amount of information about various products and brands from different channels of communication. I believe, the best way to reach out to the target customers is through reference and a carefully designed buzz marketing campaign can do just that.


High-tech Marketing Integration

With the advent of social media and the Internet, it has become increasingly difficult for the marketers to closely monitor and integrate all the marketing efforts. In today’s digital world, marketing has become more personalized, which presents new challenges in front of marketing managers in delivering a compelling and consistent experience/message. Various high-tech companies identified this problem and started looking at developing new techniques to integrate their marketing efforts at organizational level.
A recent development in the high-tech marketing integration effort was from Oracle. In the Oracle open world conference held in San Francisco this month, Oracle Marketing Cloud announced further integration between Oracle Eloqua and Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) systems. This integration will facilitate enhanced profiling, tracking, social analytics, publishing and custom targeting efforts.
Eloqua is a marketing tool that helps in segmenting and targeting new customers, lead generation and execution of global marketing campaigns. And SRM delivers a complete social business solution with capabilities like publishing, workflow analysis and collaboration capabilities. By integrating these two systems, Oracle has come up with an easy to use marketing integration solution.
“To deliver a consistent and compelling customer experience across all touch points, marketers need a complete digital marketing solution that can track, understand and analyze marketing and social interactions at scale,” said Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Oracle Cloud Social Platform. This system will not only provide the much needed customer intelligence, but will also help in smooth execution of the marketing campaigns. Across different industries the need for automation and integration is high and this development may be an answer to some of the most difficult challenges that marketers face today.

“Coming Together” ad by Coca Cola Vs Beyoncé “Mirror” ad by Pepsi

Big conglomerates like Coca Cola and Pepsi have all the resources to drive their big budget marketing or ad campaigns. Both have found an efficient way of doing this without wasting their efforts by engaging in cola wars. The two companies have wisely chosen very different messages to influence their target audience. Coca Cola has been focusing on the family values, social issues, happiness and harmony in their message for years; whereas Pepsi has always gone for the charismatic, bold and young image. The difference is quite visible with the two ads below. However, the big question that every marketer should ask is which message is more likely to change customer buyer behavior.
The Coca Cola ad here talks about how the company is being socially responsible by offering low calorie and zero calorie choices to customers because it is concerned about the growing obesity and health problems in the society. Being a skeptic that I am, I can’t help but think that Coca Cola is adapting and reacting to the market changes. Given the fact that Coca Cola doesn’t have a well-diversified portfolio as Pepsi and increased consumer awareness about how carbonated soft drinks (CSD) can cause health related issues, this campaign is an excellent move at the right time. I can really relate to this ad as a customer and feel informed about the low calorie options.
The Pepsi ad, on the other hand is musical, peppy and charismatic. Beyoncé definitely leaves you impressed, but I couldn’t really relate much with the message and did not feel the compassion that I felt with the Coca Cola ad. I agree that Pepsi also has low/zero calorie beverages in its portfolio, but it just doesn’t have that emotional connection. However, the issues related to CSDs are very true for Pepsi also and it would make sense to adapt and change with the market needs and expectations.

Marketing an Individual

It is quite fascinating to me that various streams of science, be it marketing science, physics, chemistry or mathematics are a result of hundreds of years of evolutionary process. Marketing science is one of the youngest approaches to marketing that has enormous scope and application in our lives today. I would like to share a realization that I had about the applications of marketing in our professional lives.
We all go to school, get a degree and start looking at our career options at some point. Some start looking for work, some create their own by starting a business. No matter what path we choose, we all need to market ourselves. We have to figure out ways to get the attention of the recruiters or make customers choose our products or services over our competitor’s. Creating a preference in the minds of our target market is the key; creating this image takes a lot more than just a CV or an interview.
As a marketer, I can design a marketing strategy, Business Strategy, do market evaluation and/or apply different tools to come up with the right solutions to a marketing problem. But when it comes to market myself, I realize how oblivious I have been in applying all that marketing knowledge. Integrated Marketing Communications is a marketing concept that promotes the unanimity of message in a marketing plan. I realized that this concept can very well be applied to a student looking for a job, a business owner or even a working professional.
Individually, we all need to communicate what value preposition we bring to the table when interviewed, but the process does not start there. We start communicating our value through our CV and LinkedIn profile first, and the rest follows through. As a result of all the technological advancements, an individual is evaluated on multiple levels. In this process, we need to make sure that our message is clear, consistent and our value is visible. For this to work, it is important that what we have to offer (our message) matches with what the employers are looking for.

Effective Vs Ineffective Ads

Super Bowl 2013 Ads

Super Bowl is known for its memorable ads that are highly anticipated each year. Some ads are more effective than the others. However, the success of an ad depends on whether it achieves its marketing goal, which can be anything from generating awareness, creating a positive brand image, to just reminding customers.

As a marketer and a consumer, I always test the effectiveness of an ad by asking a few simple questions; How influential is the idea? Does it have the potential to affect my buying behavior? How memorable is this ad and does it clearly deliver the message? After viewing these Superbowl ads, I found a few interesting reasons as to why some of these ads stood out for me and some didn’t.

For example, I didn’t care a lot for the first Doritos ad. I thought it was weird to see a goat obsessed over Doritos. This association did not make any sense to me.  This ad did catch my attention, but not in a positive way. On the other hand, I loved the M&M ad. I thought it had a catchy jingle “I’ll do anything for love,”. It was funny and it was trying to relate to a positive feeling. I always giggle a bit whenever I watch this commercial. Overall, I think it was memorable and it did a good job of brand reinforcement. Also, this ad was in line with the message in all the other recent M&M ads. M&M seems to have followed integrated communication methods in their marketing efforts.

Another ad that caught my attention was Kia Sorento. Although this ad clearly conveys the message that Kia Sorento is a family car, I am a bit skeptical about the approach to this ad which shows that kids sometimes ask questions which makes parents uncomfortable. That is just a fact and I can’t really figure out how this could inspire someone to buy that car. Also, they show the model and brand name at the end for a very brief moment. If one is not paying complete attention, chances are that they’ll miss it and in the end it will just be the message that will stick, not the brand or the product itself. In my opinion, this was not a very effective commercial.

Taco Bell was the ad that had almost everything going for it. It was both funny and memorable. They portray elderly people as Taco Bell’s customers in this ad, even though majority of their customer base consists of younger generation. While the ad certainly delivers the intended message that Taco Bell is open all night for fun-loving people, I am not absolutely sure why they did not show people that the target audience (younger crowd) could relate to. Nevertheless, the ad was mischievous and funny and I think overall it was successful in its efforts. The brand name is visible long enough for you to make out what the ad is all about.

The ads that I did not talk about above were not necessarily ineffective. They all had their positives and negatives. It’s just that they will probably not change my already established opinion about their brand. As I was going through the process to find which ads I found more effective, I realized that those were the ones that clearly communicated the message, effectively displayed their brand and evoked a positive emotion. These ads may not be able to make me buy their product right away, but I did have a positive association which will certainly help in the top of the mind recall when I am buying the same category of products.

TED Culture

I am sure a lot of you must have heard about TED. If not, it is one idea worth spreading. TED is a nonprofit platform that facilitates knowledge sharing of all kinds by people from various backgrounds. The ideas presented on TED are mind-boggling, yet simple to understand. The topics for presentations range from neuroscience to marketing, to quantum physics to magic. This is an amazing initiative, and I see more TED videos going viral every day. People are actually talking about it without any advertisement or marketing efforts by the organization.

Marketing field provides a lot of room for creativity where there are no limits to the number of ways people can promote their brand. The landscape of marketing communications has been changing rapidly. Today, radical ideas and campaigns have better success rate than the old stale methods of getting a customer’s attention by advertisements on a television or in a newspaper. Customers are more aware than ever and are sharing their experiences with people around the world almost instantaneously through the Internet. Hence, companies are starting to shift their focus on the quality of product and customer experience. If customers are happy with their experience with the product, there is a high possibility that the brand will be able to sustain growth in future. In case of TED, the radical ideas discussed are generating WOM and facilitating the self-sustainability of the platform.


Targeted Marketing Communications

At the core of every marketer’s effort to attract customer’s attention lies the question: Who is our target audience? It is one of the most important questions that needs to be answered before companies can even begin to formulate any kind of marketing communication or media strategies.

Clearly defining the target customer leads to formulation of an effective message that is likely to get the desired customer’s attention. By knowing their target customers, companies can make better media choices to increase customer’s response to the marketing efforts and minimize wasted circulation.

When it comes to marketing planning, companies often pay too much attention to the means of communication, but not so much to the message itself. Every brand has or is looking to create some kind or recognition and brand image in the minds of their target customer. This image can be developed through a constant and unified reminder of a company’s value preposition. The most effective way to find what your message should be is by focusing on what your customers would like to hear and that question can be answered by asking questions like these:

  • How do you want to be perceived as a company?
  • What features do your customers value most?
  • What is the demographic, psycho-graphic and geographic profile of your target customer?
  • What positive brand associations would you want to resonate with your customer?

Asking a lot of questions can give companies the most useful insights on their branding dilemmas. Companies can save top dollars by opting a targeted approach to their desired customer profile.