Points of View

Ads That Travel: Planning a Safe and Profitable Journey for Your Campaign

For those of us who love to travel, the variety of cultures around the world is endlessly fascinating. The Pyramids of Giza, the bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City, and the Gaudi architecture in Barcelona all attest to the rich and unique history of each place.

Planning by Numbers

From time to time, we are asked our view on the “optimal media plan.” Those who ask know that we’ve studied ad effectiveness for years and that we have a database. Surely, they reason, we must know what works!

What's Next for Mobile?

While the world remains engulfed in an economic “Perfect Storm,” the full potential of mobile marketing will not be achieved until a “Perfect Calm” occurs, in which the vision that mobile operators and marketers have for the mobile phone lines up with the reality of what the device means to consumers. As to when and how this may occur, emerging markets that are home to three in four of the world’s mobile users may provide critical clues.

Marketing During Recession: Planning on Recovery

When sales are down and budgets are cut, it would seem that the most important thing for a business to do is to focus on survival, not plan for growth. But recovery will come, and marketers who are not ready to seize that opportunity will lose out to those who are. Brands must develop plans to regain lost customers now. And effective planning requires a detailed understanding of how consumer behavior and attitudes have changed (and how they might change again).

Culture Clash: Globalization Does Not Imply Homogenization

The culture in which we live shapes our view of the world around us, which in turn influences our decisions, including those about which brands to buy. Increasingly, people everywhere are exposed to foreign cultures through commerce, travel and media, but globalization of the marketplace does not necessarily imply homogenization of culture. In the future, marketers of global brands may have to understand, accommodate and address an increasingly diverse audience of consumers.

Getting Serious About 360

The promise of 360 communications is significant but elusive. While the economic power of a great brand idea projected through a coherent voice across channels seems to be beyond debate, much work remains if the promise of 360 communications is to be brought to fruition. It is vital that marketers grasp this nettle now before the pace of change turns the task into one of gargantuan proportions.

Brand Building Along the Media Long Tail

As people use a wider range of media in their everyday lives, marketers likewise have new options to consider for communicating with them. But in a world keen on rushing us down a growing tail of communication channels, we need to revisit some key principles to ensure that we are wagging that tail and it is not wagging us.

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.

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