Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Social Media: Retro Vs. Modern Marketing

50's Flasback!  Retro Marketing Meets Modern Media!
Friends of mine have been sending me photos of themselves transformed into different decades.  They urged me to go to and do the same.  You can see the result above.  I came away from the social media pasttime with two thoughts. 

1) I am positive that the 50's were definitely not my best hair decade.
2) Traditional direct marketers have to take a lesson from social media marketers- a lesson in "touchpoints".
3) Let's not forget our traditional marketing methods no matter how "square" they make us feel.

Touchpoints - repeatedly making your product or service accesible to the consumer using more than one marketing medium.  In traditional direct response channels we consider touchpoints to be TV and radio commercials, call centers, catalogs, direct mail pieces, etc.  In the social media world touchpoints are endless and even better- strategically convienent.

While I was creating my 1950's image this website was quitely feeding me fun facts on fashion with links to online clothing and accessory stores.  The stores themselves had little to do with the 50's (Old Navy, Abercrombie Fitch, Urban Outfitters) but I remember thinking, "Oh, I wonder if these stores are carrying retro styles?"  It was enough to make me click to find out.  And it was a good thing I did because I saved 30% on an non-retro outfit and had it sent to me with free shipping... but I digress...

When you consider the response rates of our traditional touchpoints, like direct mail pieces, you can hope for a .8-3% response on the customer list.  And a response rate means that the customer will call your 800# or visit your website but it does not always result in a sale.  Our touchpoints are limited to our databases or the lists that we buy.  Our touchpoints can be interpreted by our customers as annoyances (outbound calls, junkk mail, spam).  Our touchpoints are limited.  In the social media world the consumer can be exposed to your product in an unlimited number of ways.  My discovery of online stores while using a silly Facebook App is just one example.  With the viral nature of the internet your customer database is never ending.    This means that even at .8% you are getting alot of people's attention.

As you gather your customers through proven methods such as TV, radio and print consider how your are remarketing to them to encourage future purchases.  Are you reaching out to them enough?  And when you reach them are they annoyed or are they having a casual and fun interaction?  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online video are just some of the tools that social media marketers utilize to grab customers.  You should consider your product/service and how they fit into these online mediums but let's not abandon our roots!

Here are few ideas on how to take some retro marketing mediums and give them a modern day twist.

1. Run radio spot ads that drive directly to a website with an interactive game/survey/prize that links to your microsite.  Instead of telling listeners to call and order now ask them to click and have some fun.  While they are havig fun expose them to your product and convert them.  You may not convert as many customers as you would when they know they are calling to order but with the right interaction you could quadruple response and make it up in volume.  These spot ads are very cost effective.

2. Instead of sending out a traditional catalog or postcard to encourage reorders experiment with sending them an invitation to join your product's Fan page or Twitter feed. (this is easier if you have their email addresses)

3. Reconsider using a tradtional outbound call center to call your customer list and try a different approach when you dial.  Tell your customers that if they a) log on to your website within the next 2 hours they will get a free gift b) if they log on to the product's Fan page and download the brochure on a new product they will get a free bonus c) if they have a friend call back a special 800# they will get a major discount or bonus.  Be creative and make sure that no matter what the customer's response is on the phone they feel entertained not bothered.

When you consider the endless ways to take our retro marketing strategies and infuse them with new social media strategies the possibillities are endless.  BUT... and it's a big one...

According to an August 2009 survey by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, 86% of professionals in a variety fields said that they have adopted social media in some way.  GREAT!  The survey also stated 84% of respondents said they don’t currently measure the ROI (return on investment) of their social media programs. Even less encouraging, more than 40% of respondents said they didn’t even know whether they could track ROI from their social tools. YIKES!  This makes us traditional direct response marketers cringe in our bobby socks...

Where I believe we can be more successful in the inevitable intergration of traditional and social media is that we live and die by the ROI.  We already know how to track this wihtout a doubt.  By setting up these touchpoint campaigns with measurment tools we will be able to see our touchpints translate into sales dollars much faster. So as you get more familr with social media make sure you don't abandon what has worked for decades because social media responses can be tracked by clicks, 800#s, and carefully structured media plans. 

So c'mon... let's have some fun figuring out how to get your customers excited about your product again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Legal Zoom/Shoe Stylings - DR Radio Rocks

Here is a subject near and dear to my heart   SHOE OF-THE-MONTH-CLUB! 

Perhaps you missed the recent Press Release released in PRWeek. From the September 01, 2009 Issue of PRWeek   Check it out!

Here are the basics:
Robert Shapiro from teams up with Fashionista Kim Kardashian to launch a shoe-of-the-month club!  For $39.95 a month, Kim and her team of stylists hand pick a shoe for you and send it out with free shipping.  It's a very appealing idea especially when you see the site and the shoes!

This $100K e-commerce test launch has already shipped about 1000 pairs and they are increasing membership about 20% each month! 

How did they do it? 
A massive radio and press interview tour nationwide coupled with updates on Facebook and Twitter pages to help build word of mouth.  Just another example on how traditional radio is feeding new world social media.  Additional media inludes spots on E!'s Daily 10, Extra, the TV Guide Channel's The Fashion Team,, as well as the aforementioned 30-plus radio interviews. Facebook page membership has grown to 1,300 fans.

This is a bit of a departure from - or is it really?, Robert Shapiro's other great DR hit, has been utilizing the power of radio for months.  A major difference in the strategy, aside from STAR power of Kim, is the use of Outdoor advertising instead of Social Media. recently employed the use of outdoor billborads to increase their brand awareness and radio response rate.  Initial results seem to show a 3% lift!

What I love is that in both ventures Robert Shapiro has used one of the oldest forms of advertising to sell some very modern products - spot radio!  Now more than ever spot radio is delivering the audience you need to convert into sales.  The main reason is that it is so flexible and can be supported in so many ways - from billboards to banner ads.  Both of these products are internet based services - no store fronts - but they are using non-internet based mediums to doing the heavy DR lifting.  This is another testiment to why you should be looking at low-cost radio campaigns to test and roll out your next product.

And to answer your obvious nagging question: I am not a member of (yet).  I anticipate that the majortiy of the shoes at that price are pleather or "leather-like uppers" which are not my traditional choices for foot gear.  However, for the budding fashionista I can see this as a great club to join.

Ask me about how to incorporate spot radio with your existing campaings!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Busting Through Creative Blocks

3 Things Charlie Does To “Bust Through” Creative Blocks!

1. I try and stand in the Yoga Pose: Tree! It requires so much focus to keep me from keeling over that I get hyper-focused for a few minutes. When I get out of the pose my brain feels so free.

2. I try to break normal habits. My two favorites: eating a cookie before 12p or having pancakes for lunch – I’m a rebel.

3. I resist urges. In a creative block period I have done crazy things like buy shoes online in haste. I actively resist the $250 shoes, the 2nd doughnut, and picking the same old fight. Sometimes finding happiness or that great new idea is about what you don’t do.

A New Way To Spot Radio

Radio spot advertising just may be the most cost-effective and customizable direct response vehicle available.

Radio is mobile. Eighty percent of adults listen to radio in their cars, and a quarter of the population also listens while at work. Or at least those were the old stats of yesteryear – how many now listen on their iPhone or other mobile devices?
Radio is always new. Many stations now stream their programming on the internet, create web-specific programming, and design entire online and street-based communities of loyal audiences. What's more, if online listeners like what they hear on streaming radio, they're just one click away from your website. And through all this innovation radio has still managed to maintain its credibility.
Radio is a highly credible medium. For small businesses, online services and many products spots are ideal. Here are some tips and tricks to consider for your next spot ad test.

1. Zero In On Your Audience. Who do you believe will buy your product? If you can answer this question you can craft an effective media buy. Write it down: what does your consumer look-like, act-like, talk-like and spend? Try and make this one sentence. This sentence should include age, gender, and relative demographic information including household income. Send this sentence to your media buying outlets and they will send you back a market specific radio proposal that will zero in on your audience.
Ex. My buyer is 45+, male, with middle level income, who is worried about hair loss.
One place to start might be zeroing in on Classic Rock radio stations.

2. Know the power of 3: Reach, Frequency and CPM
Reach refers to how many people can hear the radio broadcast during the time you buy your media. Frequency refers to the average number of times your audience will hear your radio spot. CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand) is the basis for evaluating the cost effectiveness to reach 1% of your target audience. CPM is the best way to compare station to station and is determined by a blend of reach and frequency. Your media buying team must provide this to you.

3. Always be “promoting” your radio spots.

Radio stations are promotional engines- it’s their life blood. Whether it is through website banners, contests or on-site events you need to use every bit of promotional advantage the station is willing to give you along with your radio spot schedule. Remember, many listeners turn to the radio station’s home page to check weather, sport scores, local events and more. Take advantage of this viewership so that the next time a listener logs on they say “Oh, yeah I heard about that product. Llet me click here for more information!” In this same way you can take advantage of the station’s newsletter sponsorship and local events. Radio listeners are loyal to their stations and the more they see what they have already heard the more likely they are to purchase. Additionally, most stations offer the opportunity to sponsor news, weather reports or other types of regular programming. As a sponsor, you generally get additional mentions and lead in’s to your spot. It’s like the station saying, “Hey listen to this next commercial!” Often, sponsorship will guarantee your spots air first in the commercial breaks, or pods, so you'll reach more listeners before they have a chance to switch stations or tune out during long breaks. You won’t get this type of treatment with remnant spot radio but you’d be surprised how cost effective these integrated spots really are AND how much more profitable.

4. Write Good Copy!
Zeroing in on your audience is only half the battle – entertaining them is the other half! Don’t opt for do-it-yourself spots since they are rarely effective. Your spot needs to grab the listeners attention and hold onto it. Your spots must tell stories or present situations your target audience can immediately relate to. If you are going to run the spots month in and month out creating a campaign theme will help keep spots fresh and the audience responsive. Remember 80% Offer! 10% Big Promise! 10% Details! And always try and make the URL or 800# as memorable as possible. Even without a vanity number you can make the 800# pop using voice and sound treatments. Experiment with the URL and 800# - there are many places you can send a listener to but it is the one that converts them into a customer that matters most.
And always use radio responsibly as it just may be the best way to test your next TV or Online mega-hit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Social Marketing Survey's - Are They Relevent?

In the life of any true marketer the need for validation is constant. We have a great idea but we want to know that others think it is a great idea BEFORE we expose it to the world. Enter SURVEYS and OPINION POLLS. While very formal procedures exist to gather statistically relevent data we must not forget the power of an "unsupervised opinion". By this I mean, the opinon people give when they do not believe the answer counts. The "unsupervised opinion" is one made from the GUT and not the HEAD.

I have conducted these "unsupervised" opinion polls for years in a variety of places, my most favorite being in a resturaunt where I engage the waiters or bartenders into discusion. The feedback you get on an idea, product, or service is refreshing and invaluable because they feel like their opinion is merely a part of the discussion and is certainly not being disected. I asked a waiter once, "Hey does your Chef use any of those gadgets they have on TV to slice and dice or marinate meat better?" The answer was "Not in this kitchen but he told me he bought the Magic Bullet. And I like that one where you can make donuts and pancakes. But my favorite TV product of all time are those lights you stick on the wall - I have them everywhere!" My real survey question was 'which infomercial products were making an inpact at that particular moment'. Do you agree I would have gotten a different response if I had phrased it in such a way? And better, what if I had asked 300 friends online the same question?

Let's turn to Social Marketing- social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and others. The comments expressed in the threads are generally more honest when it comes to products and services than one would expect. Recently, I posted a question on a social site that asked "What would make you buy an acne product on TV: testimonials, clinical studies, a personal success story, or if you could try it free?" As with any opinion poll/survey I was hoping that my GUT was validated and that I could finish my TV script quickly. The answers I recevied back were all over the board. Some traditional survey experts would say the achitecture of the survey was not correct as I should have gained a more specific set of answers. I say that the wide variety of opinions I received prove why it is so difficult to produce a TV HIT right out of the gate. Here are some of the responses I recieved:

Respondent #1: Forget a risk free trial, cheapens the product. Celeb testimonials.

Respondent #2: testimonials that are believable. I bought ProActive before they had all the celeb endorsements... some are so bogus -- just about everyone can sniff a paid testimonial. Has to be real people making real statements. Best one ... Read Moreever was the Pepsi challenge. It felt" real" because they were on the streets doing it -- If you could re-invent that for an acne solution, BINGO!

Respondent #3: Word of mouth is best, but I guess you can't do that. Barring that, for an acne medication, probably risk-free trial. I would want to try it before I invested any money.

I recieved over 50 responses in a 24 hour period either posted publically and privately. The commentary was very specific about what they would need to make a purchase.
I have always thought that an email SPAM campaign was a massive form of a public opinion poll. Use one sentence to peak interest in a product and get strangers to open the email. Your open rate on that SPAM tells you the interest of the averge consumer on your product and their conversion rate states their final opinion on IF the creative angle was effective. Some email marketers will send out a dozen email creatives in SPAM to millions of people trying to narrow down the best offer and creative for roll out - basing their decision on the click-thru rate. The difference here is that the respondent has one choice - 'do you like this creative angle on this product and would you buy it?' By using social media interactions you allows respondents a choice in their response which yeilds more relevant information. The problem is scale!
How scaleable is social media? How many friends do you have to have on a Facebook site or followers on Twitter to make the data collection relative? Can you translate the "unsupervised" opinions into techniques that sell more product? Is social media able to generate revenue? It is not an easy answer but it is definely a YES!
Online marketers will agree that the days when a carefully placed newspaper or radio ad was the answer to building customers have come and gone. They will tell you that your target audience receives their marketing and sales messages through an ever-growing number of media channels – with Social Media and networking sites at the top of that list. I would say that these mediums are joined at the hip, not independent of each other, and can actually work together to produce highly impactful audience response and ultimately sales.
The next time you purchase a spot radio ad or a print ad ask yourself "What will people say about this on Twitter or Facebook?" And the next time you buy a banner ad or send a marketing email ask yourself "Does this have as much credibility as a headline story on the nightly news?" These two questions will guide your creative and marketing efforts in a whole new way. You'll be using Social Marleting Survey's to improve the response rates on your traditional advertising as a standard without giving up tried and true methods like radio and print - even TV!
Gotta go now... I'm late for a social media date!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



Ok, so what’s a GoGirl?
Simply put, GoGirl is the way to stand up to crowded, disgusting, distant or non-existent bathrooms. It’s a female urination device (sometimes called a FUD) that allows you to pee while standing up. It’s neat. It’s discreet. It’s hygienic. (more)

Hear Your Success on TV Before You See it!

The convergence of TV and Internet marketing has certainly happened and is definitely here to stay. Advertising campaigns have increadible reach with the hundreds of TV channels now available and the ease of online video exchange. It has never been easier to sell ALOT of product very quickly using the combined power of TV and the Intenet. BUT! And it is a big BUT! The risk of loosing BIG TESTING DOLLARS is still very high in these mediums because they still have a high "stumbled upon" factor which does not always translate into product sales. Many product marketers have one shot at testing their product before they run out of money or worse- they get picked off by a competitor (bigger, better faster). When I am approached with a product and asked "Do you see any potential on TV?" I almost always respond, "Let's not guess. Let's listen instead and see if we can hear the success first."

For over a decade, I have been using a talk show interview format on the radio to test product concepts, pitches, spokespeople, and marketing angles with very little financial risk to my clients. What we have proven over and over again with dozens of shows is that these radio talk show formats create a template for the TV version of the same show. This template not only extends to the creative but also the sales metrics. Basically, if we produce a radio talk show 1/2 program and it generates a 100 calls and 30 sales with the average order value being $120 we can safely expect very similar results on TV using the exact same radio show creative. This is not news to some of you. BUT! And it's an even bigger BUT than before... we have now pioneered a highly effective way to combine traditional long form and spot radio with advertorial print and online rich media. We call it PRADIONLINE testing. This is not traditional radio or affiliate marketing or even banner advertising. It is literally a way to increase the number of people listening to your ads and help them "see" exactly what they are hearing. Let me explain!

We use the 1/2 radio show to test the control concept for the product, and then test alternate concepts, buzz copy, price points and visual elements using a combination of advertorial print and online. All at a fraction of the cost of creating a TV spot. Quickly, we distill your marketing message down to make it highly potent. Once we have a winner we increase your listening audience through podcasting and embedding the radio show in highly credible online communities. We use short form radio spots to drive more listners to these credible online communities so they can hear the show or read the advertorial- we have great incentives to get them from listening to clicking through to your website and ordering. And because we have fully integrated the three mediums your consumer has the opportunity to "hear" about your product in many different ways on websites they trust rather than getting SPAM or channel surfing. Rather than allowing your consumer to stumble upon your message we guide them through your message and ordering process. We track which trigger made them order and within a 2-3 week period you have all the data you need to make the jump to TV testing. By testing your product using this interactive radio approach before you produce your TV infomercial or spot ad you will defintley save thousands of dollars and have a significantly higher rate of hitting it big your first time on TV. BUT THAT'S STILL NOT ALL!

Many of our clients have been able to fund their TV production and media testing using the revenue generated from these interactive radio and advertorial campaigns. Most of our radio and advertorial campaigns have generous lifespans of over 18 months each. So, even before you start your TV campaign you will be collecting active customers everyday.

What is so exciting about this direct marketing approach is that it removes the "stumbled upon" affect of traditional TV, banner advertising and affiliate marketing. Using highly credible online communities we put your traditional radio and print campaigns to work for you in new ways. It's not a crystal ball but our clients definitely agree that they heard their own success long before the ever saw it on TV.

If you have a product that targets men or women 35+ and your product has continuity then PRADIONLINE testing should work for you. Think about it.

On September 13th Las Vegas will be invaded by Direct Response marketers from all over the world at the annual ERA Convention - check out If you are attending let's find a time to connect and create some synergy!