I am no scientist. Just ask my son the scientist.
And I am no Facebook advocate. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.
Still, all the recent excitement over the God particle got me thinking how awesome it must be to be a scientist and to know with almost complete certainty that you’ve actually achieved something real. Think about it. Peter Higgs hypothesizes the existence of this particle, then PROVES it through experiments.
According to the LA times, two teams reported independent results that suggested the existence of a previously unseen subatomic particle with a mass of about 125 billion to 126 billion electron volts. Both groups got results at a “five sigma” level of confidence — the statistical requirement for declaring a scientific “discovery.”
“The chance that either of the two experiments had seen a fluke is less than three parts in 10 million,” said UC San Diego physicist Vivek Sharma, a former leader of one of the Higgs research groups. “There is no doubt that we have found something.”
No doubt. How awesome would it be to run a Facebook social media campaign, hypothesizing that it will achieve something, then look at your results (traffic, likes, talking about this, total reach) and be able to conclude with five sigma certainty that you actually achieved something.
That’s the problem with marketing. You can be strategic. You can apply a scientific approach. You can measure for and document results. But you will never ever get results with a sigma five level of confidence.
Face it (and if you wish, you can even Facebook it), at the end of the day, we are not scientists. And I can live with that. After all, it took Higgs nearly 50 years to prove his theory, and very few clients have the ability, desire or luxury to invest that kind of time to sell a product.
Intrigued, I visited yonanas.com and learned about a new kitchen gadget that can turn overripe bananas into delicious, healthy soft serve ice cream. This marketing seemed directed right at me. I’m often faced with the dilemma of what to do with the last banana in the bunch that I just don’t want to eat. And as someone who loves ice cream but hates how bad it is for me, I thought the marketing and product was a great idea. There was even a video on the website showing yonanas featured on The Today Show. A quick scan of the yonanas Facebook page reveals a few people who saw the stickers and plan on purchasing a machine.
While this is definitely an unorthodox marketing strategy, it was a critical reminder to think beyond the obvious marketing strategies. In the case of yonanas, using the banana peel as advertising space made absolute sense, and they used smart creative and a clear call to action to support their message. This is an excellent example of using an ad to engage rather than invade. Rather than being offended to find an ad on my banana, I actually appreciate how well the company understands their target audience.
For your next campaign, consider how can you reach your customers with an ad that makes sense in their daily lives. There is no limit or shortage of possible locations for your next ad.
When considering advertising – whether it be print, broadcast, online or even through Facebook – run a test campaign before making a long term commitment. This is a good method for determining if advertising in general – and a specific outlet in particular – is an effective strategy for your brand. And while the definition of a test campaign implies a much smaller cost, you still need to ensure those dollars are well spent and ultimately provide useful information to shape your advertising strategy moving forward.
Below are our top five quick-tips for securing the most data from your ad test campaign.
1. Establish Accurate Metrics. In order to understand whether a test is effective – and ultimately make a decision on whether it will be part of your long-term strategy – you need to specifically correlate customer response to a particular ad or campaign. Using a distinct phone number, web page or sales code or phrase to pursue an offer are simple ways to track responses.
2. Test competitive outlets. Use the same creative to reach two different outlets at the same time. Be sure to establish measurable outcomes to track the results from each outlet separately. You may learn that advertising in the leading trade magazine is ineffective, but that its competitor delivers impactful results. If you simply had tested with the leader, you may have decided not to pursue advertising at all.
3. Test different messages with the same outlet. Similarly, once you understand your best medium, try testing different messaging with the same audience to determine what drives the best results.
4. Provide a very specific call to action. This goes hand-in-hand with the importance of establishing metrics for a test campaign. Use the test as an opportunity to drive a specific action among your prospects. A high level branding campaign takes time and frequency to deliver results, and therefore is not conducive to a test campaign. Instead of trying to change a perception or raise awareness in general, use a test campaign to drive a measurable behavior. This will enable you to know sooner whether the campaign has been effective.
5. Always ask for more. Ad sales reps use test campaigns as a way to secure long-tem advertising commitments, and they understand that the more effective a test is, the better chance you will become a regular customer. Always ask for multi-media support when running a test campaign (i.e. ask for no-cost banner ads to support your radio test, or ask for an e-blast sponsorship to support your magazine ad).
Tom Hanks has nothing on me. Yeah, he was cast away on a deserted island for four years, but did he lose his iPhone? Did he survive a week without checking his email at every convenient moment? Did he suffer the inability to check baseball scores or the ESPN Fantasy Scoreboard? Did he know what it was like to not use a TV Guide app and have to actually flip through the channels to find a program? Did he go to his favorite coffee shop (Starbucks) unable to check in on Foursquare? Did he experience the anxiety of not being able to text friends and associates whenever the spirit moved him? Did he have a clue what it was like to be shunned by the mobile Facebook and Twitter communities? Did he stare into the eye of a QR Code knowing he could not scan and download?
No, Tom Hanks (aka, Chuck Noland, the FedEx systems engineer) had it easy. After all, I was one of those guys – one of those early adopters – who managed to secure the earliest version of the iPhone… the iPhone classic. And despite the crappy AT&T coverage and the grindingly slow speed at which it operated, it became a part of me. And I became a part of it.
So imagine the emotional pain of losing my right appendage.
Turns out it wasn’t that big a deal. Within the first 24 hours, I was back to my old routines (pre-iPhone). Within a couple days I was actually happy to be freed up to talk with people and avoid all the junk mail and conversations that were eating up my day. I even managed to spend the last two days in Atlanta on business without missing a beat. Suddenly my iPhone was a whyPhone, as in “why did I let it become such an important part of my life?”
By the time you read this, I will have survived seven days – a full week – without my soulmate. I will also be activating my new iPhone 4.
What can I say. Just because I don’t need it, doesn’t mean I don’t want it.
The day after Halloween, I started seeing Walmart and Kohl’s holiday television ads. Pottery Barn already distributed its 1st holiday catalog, Target featured a toy guide in Sunday’s paper, Santa is already appearing in the malls, and just this week I started seeing direct response televisions ads for holiday music CDs. It is like we skipped Thanksgiving and went straight to the holiday season.
I completely understand why retailers are starting the holiday season advertising and marketing sooner, and it is apparently working because I’m already feeling like I’m behind with my holiday travel plans, holiday cards and holiday shopping. And I don’t think I’m the only one because the city of Wilmington put up its holiday decorations downtown last week and my sister has already been bugging me for gift ideas!
Personally, I think we as consumers need to take a stand. If we don’t, Christmas in July will soon be a reality! Join the “It’s Too Early for Christmas” Facebook group and take a stand http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=318417645693
On Saturday at 12:01 a.m. EST Facebook will allow users to secure a unique username for their Facebook accounts on a first-come first-serve basis. This will make it easier for consumers and brands/companies to make their Facebook pages more memorable.
So rather than the long profile ID URL users were given when they signed up (www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=123456789), you might have something like www.facebook.com/john.doe. All users have to do is go to http:/www.facebook.com/username starting at 12:01 EST on June 13 and hope Facebook doesn’t crash and that someone didn’t already take their name.
The rules for public Facebook pages are a bit different. An individual, company or brand with a public page has to meet two requirements. 1. Have started a public page prior to May 31, 2009 and 2. Have more than 1,000 fans by May 31, 2009.
I personally see this opportunity more beneficial for public pages – brands, companies/organizations and individuals. And get ready to see a lot more brands promoting their Facebook URLs… “visit Victoria’s Secret on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/victoriassecret.” Seems to me like there is more in it for Facebook than the brand or company itself… more Facebook promotion should translate into more visitors and more users.
While I do plan to get a username, I will not be on a date with Facebook this Friday night! After all, I don’t want to make my husband jealous.
Certainly extraordinary times create an opportunity to divert from the topic of consumer goods.
More than 1 million people are expected to flock to the National Mall tomorrow to see Obama sworn in. But you can enjoy the best seat in the house by watching the inauguration from your office, home or coffee shop. Consider yourself lucky… you will not have to fight for the port-a-potties; only about 500 are being provided for the expected 1-2 million people anticipated to attend!
Tune into one of the many online news sites streaming the live video.
1. CNN.COM: CNN.com and Facebook have partnered to enable you to connect with your Facebook friends while watching all the inaugural events on CNN.com Live. I already RSVPed and am excited to see how this works.
2. CBS.COM: CBS.com will host an exclusive Inauguration Webcast at 10 p.m. ET hosted by Katie Couric, who will look back at the historic day with a host of CBS reporters, political experts, pundits and special guests. The Webcast will include answers to viewers questions, which you can submit at the link provided above.
3. MSNBC.COM: MSNBC will broadcast the event live. There are no special features… just straight video.
4. New York Times: The New York Times will stream video from its home page. Simple and easy!
5. ABC News: Will stream video live and also have live blogs from John Berman and Juju Juggles.
6. PBS: Will be streaming the events live. You can also explore past presidents’ speeches on this site and see how Obama’s speech measures up.
No matter where you are, be sure to catch some of the inauguration. As my mother would say to us when we were kids… “This is history”. Now I can finally appreciate it.