Articles & Opinion

Rules of Engagement

Three years after the ARF introduced its working definition of the term "engagement," there is still a lack of clarity over what the term describes and how it can best be measured. Perhaps the problem is that no one definition can really suffice when engagement takes place in multiple contexts. To be useful, the definition needs to account for all three contexts of engagement: brands, communications, and media.

Targeting Online Ads

Among the significant and distinct attributes of online advertising is its ability to deliver relevant messages to specific targets. However, the range of available online targeting options is vast and becoming increasingly complex. How should advertisers choose among these alternatives to optimize their online ad effectiveness?

Whose Brand is it Anyway?

You can pick your brands and you can pick your friends. But if you're a marketer, can you pick your brand's friends? Should you even try? As a brand manager, your first instinct may be to protect your brand from negative influences, but if you've endowed your brand with a solid set of values and associations, sometimes your best bet may be to "just let go."

Direct-To-Consumer Advertising Works

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising in the United States has been a subject of much controversy since restrictions on the practice were eased in 1998. Critics blame these ads for contributing to rising drug costs and unnecessary conflicts between patients and doctors, and recently, a widely publicized study has reported that they are not even effective at promoting the products they advertise. Are DTC ads worth the investment?

Make Friends, Don't Pitch Them

Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have empowered people on an unprecedented scale to build and maintain connections with others. These sites allow users to share personal news, interests, and videos, as well as to play games and get to know each other better. Can these virtual neighborhoods also be a space where marketers can build and maintain their brands?

What's in Store for Store Brands

Store brands, also known as private labels, are mainstream in many markets and becoming more so, particularly in developing markets. As such they constitute legitimate threats to established brands. As retailers update store brand packaging and roll out premium lines of private labels, shoppers seem increasingly willing to try these products. How can the makers of major consumer packaged goods brands defend their market share in the face of this phenomenon?

Marketing Effectiveness: Beyond the Short Term

While the results of marketing investments are most readily measured in the short term, marketing's beneficial effects often extend well beyond the initial weeks or months following a particular campaign or activity. Therefore, marketers who have a clear idea of how their activities will work in both the short and the long term are able to balance their immediate and longterm objectives in their brand management decisions.

Marketing During Recession: Survival Tactics

It's been proven that it is sound advice to spend more on marketing during a recession. But many marketers will find this advice impractical. For those that don't have extra money available, what tactics can be used to weather the storm of tough economic times?

Marketing During Recession: To Spend or Not to Spend

It's been proven that an increase in marketing spend during a recession can gain a long-term advantage for a brand. But many marketers, constrained by budgets and circumstances, won't be able to use this strategy. Will this leave their brands in peril? Or should decisions on how much to spend be taken in light of the overall prospects for the brand and category?

Mastering the Mobile Marketing Maze

Everyone's talking about mobile marketing as the next big thing. But despite the panoply of available options, the desired ROI is unlikely to be achieved without careful consideration and management. Success depends not just on knowing the range of mobile options, but on your ability to match these options to your brand's objectives.

Marketing Effectiveness: It's More Than Just ROI

Linking marketing to financial performance is not now—nor has it ever really been—solely about return on investment (ROI). Quantifying the return achieved by marketing activities is a necessary step in the process of connecting marketing to finance, but is not, in itself, sufficient for understanding how marketing helps to achieve business objectives or how its contribution can be improved.

What's the Word

Spurred on by the realization that no advertising can match the impact of an unsolicited testimonial, marketers around the world are seeking ways to leverage the power of word of mouth. But if they go too far in trying to manipulate this form of communication, they risk not only negating its benefit but turning it against their brand. So how can the power of personal recommendation be managed effectively for brandbuilding?

Putting the Shopper Back into Marketing

Budgets are flowing into shopper marketing as never before. But marketers hoping to maximize the return on their investment must address two key point-of-purchase challenges: first, its unique set of dynamics as a communication channel, and second, the fact that its full power lies in the way it works with the preexisting associations and expectations that consumers bring to the store.

Advertiser, Forget the PC, Pick Up the Phone

It has been predicted that by 2008 more people around the world will access the Internet by using their mobile phones than by using computers. While this may already be the case in Japan, other countries such as the United States lag far behind. Will the mobile phone really come to dominate the PC, and if it does, what are the implications for advertising?

Out-Of-Home But Not Out-Of-Place

Marketers are returning to the great outdoors. Frustrated by the declining ability of television to deliver mass reach that is cost-effective, advertisers are putting renewed emphasis on reaching people when they're away from home. Out-of-home media companies are encouraging this trend, offering new ad formats while touting out-of-home as the "unavoidable" medium. But is the 24/7 coverage offered by out-of-home really the simple answer to reaching consumers on the move?

What Makes an Iconic Brand?

Brands are an accepted part of our daily lives. But some brands seem to transcend their product or service categories to become part of the popular culture. What distinguishes these iconic brands from the rest of the pack, and what can marketers learn from them?

The Logic of Search: Has it Clicked Yet?

To many online marketers, search seems like the ultimate direct response medium. It allows them to reach people who are actively shopping for a product or service, and marketers rightly believe that if they successfully engage people at this point in the process, they are one step closer to closing the sale. But is there more to search than just converting an active shopper into a purchaser?

What Price a Strong Brand?

As the world of brands becomes ever more cluttered and competitive, the marketer's task of building and maintaining strong brands becomes increasingly difficult. Senior management wants concrete evidence of return on marketing investment. Yet the challenge of demonstrating a brand's true value is complex. What proof do we have that strong brands really provide a financial benefit to brand owners and shareholders?

Engaging Consumers’ Brains: The Latest Learning

Marketers are fascinated with cognitive neuroscience, and understandably so. New brain imaging techniques seem to promise access to deeper insights into how people think about brands and what motivates their purchases. But more valuable to marketers than any brain-imaging tool are the advances neuroscience has provided in our understanding of how the brain works. In light of this new knowledge, they may choose to reconsider and refine their approaches to advertising and brandbuilding.

Viral Marketing

It's hard to resist an offer to get something for nothing, even if our better judgment suggests "you get what you pay for." Could it be the irresistible appeal of a free lunch, combined with envy at the success achieved by a few notable viral marketing campaigns, that is behind advertisers' current rush of interest in viral marketing? Or is viral really the next big innovation in online marketing?