Author Archives: markusrach

book review: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

I have recently purchased JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck (Amazon Link). Although the delivery took a little longer than usual (Amazon’s drones seemed to be grounded) I was quite thrilled to be getting this new bible of social media marketing. The book is heavily based on a boxing analogy (JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook) which is refreshingly funny in the first few pages but starts to become slightly annoying and repetitive after the first one or two chapters.

The book itself is structured in 12 rounds (according to its boxing analogy). Round 3 to 7 are the main chapters of the book and cover the biggest social networks by active users. Thus Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. Each chapter briefly describes the social network and then provides plenty of examples of both good and bad jabs, hooks and knockout blows.

Table of Content JAB JAB JAB Right Hook

Review:

For first time social or digital marketers, this might be enough to get a brief overview of what is going on and or what works on the premiere social media platforms. The book is nicely structured and provides ample of examples for most networks. The book’s main stronghold, its entertainment value, is however also its biggest weakness. It completely lacks subjectivity in example reviews (e.g. basic analytics of user reactions). A little demographic introduction to social networks would also be quite helpful to give people a feel of what or whom to expect in which network. Although the examples are nicely picked from all sorts of industries and companies, many seem very subjective in description. Providing some strategic brand perspective to it would undoubtedly help to make the book more useful for marketing professionals. Another shortfall is the missing link of social or digital to traditional media. Either one is hardly to be seen in isolation these days but needs to work together with other networks or channels.

To conclude: If you shoot for a book to provide you the background for a social media strategy or to build up your knowledge on the usage social media for brand purposes, you might not find enough meat on this one.

 

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HOHOHO by WestJet Airlines – amazing interactive marketing stunt

With the holiday season approaching fast, and advertising budgets going crazy, brand exposures are at an all time high. It is obviously harder for each brand to leave a lasting memory nor to get much attention from customers. Yet, some creative marketing stunts deserve the later by showcasing creativity, contextual integration and on the spot execution. WestJet Airlines has surely gotten this right with their latest christmas surprise for some of their passengers.

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Using digital channels, WestJet not only shares this stunt but gets also feedback from passengers and as it seems much earned media attention.

Passenger interaction

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My Milka ‘dare to be tender’ experience

After my last blog post, I couldn’t resist to head out and get a bar of the ‘dare the be tender’ campaign bars.

My Objective: To get a dare to be tender bar to test the campaign

Hurdle 1: My quest quickly evolved into a treasure hunt. After I have hit various large retailers, I still couldn’t find a ‘dare to be tender’ bar. So I went online and wrote to Mondelez (through the campaign microsite’s contact form). Roughly 2 days later, somebody from Mondelez got back to me saying that they do not know distribution details but suggest to talk to a local store manager. Thanks Mondelez for that amazing and very helpful advice!

The Purchase: I finally found a retailer (Real) who had the bars in stock. Only a little queuing up and a 15 minute drive home was holding me off from experience the ‘dare the be tender’ claim of the campaign. So far, it was more a dare to believe experience.

Unboxing Premiere of the dare to be tender bar:

Let the ‘dare to be tender’ experience begin: 
After having enjoyed the first pieces of the bar, I followed the instructions as printed on the packaging. The campaign microsite is nicely done, yet it takes quite a few steps to finally send the last piece off, including an invite join Milka’s community (see the gallery above).
Waiting for the last piece to arrive:
…waiting…waiting…waiting…
So far, so good:
One has to admit, the campaign is quite fantastic. Not only is it fun to eat chocolate, having a bar with one piece missing is quite an eye-catcher. Using the product as the communication medium is nothing short of genius and a very brave move by Mondelez. Brand integration is nicely done throughout the entire experience. I cannot wait for my wife to receive the last piece of my Milka dare to be tender bar…
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Milka out’squares’ the market with smart product centric campaign

Milka’s latest campaign set in France and Germany “Dare to be tender” exemplifies like no other campaign that it sometimes takes heart and a little bravery to really think outside the box.

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With over 10 million chocolate bars missing one square, Milka has put the edge back into the advertising game. The product centric campaign capitalises on its very product feature “tender” by giving consumers the choice to either claim the last square or to have it sent to a friend of their choice. The French agency Buzzman has apparently been working with Milka for roughly one year to setup the campaign, including alterations to Milka’s manufacturing process. The campaign leverages the product in a unique way, not only is the product message-medium but to some part, the message itself. Branding aspects have been neatly integrated, too.

In Germany, Milka has sent over 56.000 chocolate squares and received wide public attention. Social Marketing aspects, such as the crowd-gamified “tender o-meter” complete this campaign and give it incredible leverage.

Screenshot: Microsite Dare to be tender

Screenshot Microsite: Tender-O-Meter

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News Flash: social design contest activates fans & followers

BeyerDynamic, a German manufacturer of high quality audio-equipment (wiki entry) has just run a great social design campaign called “My headphone” on a special microsite www.my-headphone.com. With over 4000 design entries, Beyerdynamic has run a great campaign, combining both fans and the product, in a smart and as it seems contact cost efficient way.

My Headphone Contest Winner

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IKEA’s digital flea-market – increasing the no of touchpoints

Just a quick share. Ikea’s second hand campaign reaches customers on various levels:

1) Ikea displays to be in line with the growing sustainability notion of environmentally friendly products. In Ikea’s case through prolonging the products life cycle and thus reducing the immediate disposal. I am not going to start a discussion on the real sustainability of this; after all, environmental management is requires more than an extension of a product’s life to create measurable bottom line effects.

2) Increasing the number of touch points with existing costumers. Whilst the disposal of furniture is often a major hustle for customers; it has suddenly been made easier with the help of IKEA. By allowing customers to display their old furniture on IKEA web properties. The effect is manifold, customers get yet again in touch with the IKEA brand and receive a positive stimuli to purchase yet again IKEA but also, additional touch points are created with new customers to introduce them to the IKEA brand.

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B2B’s miss the mark in their brand communication

It is not long ago, that the B2B content marketing institute released its annual content marketing prediction (in this case for 2014 – more here). Throughout the report,  two things became apparent, content marketing has grown widely (with 93% of B2B engaging in some form of content marketing) and thus gained more attention in yearly budget rounds.

Content Marketing Engagement

However, at the very same time, only 42% of B2B content marketers judge their own efforts as effective. Although this is an uplift from 2013 of 6%, we can see still a large number of marketers engage in a practice doomed non-effective by themselves.

Content Marketing Effectiveness

Even more interesting is the fact, that over 73% of marketers state to produce more content than the year before; with a large percentage even having a dedicated person to content marketing and a documented content marketing strategy.

YET, if we contrast the latest McKinsey study (more here) on B2B communication (although brand focused), it becomes apparent that the effectiveness rating giving by content marketers (most likely on the skewed goal setting and remaining issues to measure the success of their programs) are in contradicting to the perceived brand strengths (post communication) in the market. Brand Awareness was stated as the number one content marketing goal by B2B’s for 2014 (82%); but as it seems, the focus remains on internally centred and not customer centric.

McKinsey study on B2B brand communication

I am thus wondering if the stated success metrics and effectiveness rating of B2B content marketing programs are in line with customer perceptions or if B2B’s are still largely trapped in using gut feeling or sales as an overall measure of success. Contrasting both studies on that aspect, I have my ongoing doubts.

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To conquer the marketplace, you have to win the hearts and minds of your employees first!

According to a recent Gallup study, spanning over 142 countries, only 13% of the active workforce is engaged at the workplace. Most shockingly, actively disengaged employees outnumber actively engaged employees by a ratio of 2:1. The effects are only all to visible on both micro and macro levels. Chances are, if you turn your head to either side, you will most likely see an actively disengaged member of the workforce. Thus, before starting amazingly expensive and externally focused marketing programs, you might want to look at engaging your own employees at the same time. Little tricks can help, as will be shown later.

Gallup study employee engagement

Source: http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/164735/state-global-workplace.aspx

 

Whilst there are numerous reasons for the continuous increase of disengaged employees, such as questionable hiring practices, inadequately trained managers for leadership positions or organisational politics, a common denominator found across many organisations is the focus on extrinsic motivation; or in other words outdated incentivisation structures.

 

The truth about motivation

The following clip, provides an interesting dive into sources of motivation and how current organisational performance management systems and therefore incentive systems, fail to acknowledge the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

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Source: Daniel Pink, The surprising truth about what really motivates us

If you have made it thus far, you have learned, that it is hard to almost impossible to incentivize creative or intellectual tasks with monetary rewards. In other words the reward structure does not fit the underlying motivational driver.

With the ongoing shift from a labor centric to a knowhow centric workforce, it is inevitable for organisations to change incentive systems to account for the increase in intrinsic stimuli needed.

 

Workplace Gamification to account for a shift in motivational drivers

To quote Dr. Stuart Brown, “Play is not the opposite of work. Instead, think of play as being at the root of gamification and when done well, people can engage in playful activities and still do business at the same time.” Workplace Gamification combines motivational theory with game techniques and design principles to engage employees in new ways.

About Gamification

Why is it that Angry Birds, a popular smartphone game, has been downloaded over one billion times, thus by almost 100% of the smartphone population with no incentive whatsoever. People seem to find time to play games in all walks of life which, according to Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach, is attributed to their inherent intrinsic motivational force paired with a positive neuro stimulus, also known as fun. Extracting the learning from years of digital game developments lead to the birth of a new practice called gamification, which is applying game mechanics and game design techniques to non-gaming environment, such as the workplace. Some public examples of applied game mechanics are the LinkedIn profile progress bar, which lead to a large increase in user profile completion or widely used loyalty programs, building on status, ranks and points.

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advertising + context = information

The advertising age has just published their latest edition about big data and consumer shopping. In other words, companies, both online and offline, ramp up their data mining efforts to learn about consumer’s preferences, needs, wants and overall behaviour. Whilst marketers strive to improve behavioural targeting to reduce the invasiveness of advertising and increase the contextually meaningful placed information (advertising + context = information), it becomes clear that the privacy – vs. advertising data verge is continually growing.

Marketers need to understand, that consumers start to exercise their right for privacy stronger than in the past. Apps like Ghostery enable consumer to spot trackers online and with that gain some control over what they aim to disclose and what not. According to ghostery, knowledge + control = privacy, which is certainly well received in times of continuous NSA scandals and the flurry of big data discussions.

Marketers need to understand that with the increasing awareness of consumers about marketing or advertising tactics, contextually placed information becomes the corner stone to successfully engage with consumers throughout their customer journey. At the same time, one could think of an educational campaign to let consumers know about trackers, opt out possibilities and also the benefits of contextually placed information; e.g. to reduce advertising noise.

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big is great but smart is better – a big data discussion

I have recently had the chance to listen to a presentation by Phil Winters at the CRM Expo in Stuttgart. Phil is an active advocate of big data theories and a very lively presenter (can only recommend to sit in if you have the chance). Anyway, one of Phil’s slides caught my attention particularly.  A slide about a very basic but yet, as it seems, mostly ignored principle about big data.

IF YOU CANNOT MAKE SENSE OF IT – WHAT IS IT WORTH TO YOU?

In other words, BIG DATA – NON-IDENTIFIABLE DATA SOURCES = SMART DATA. The grid used to present this is about as easy as it gets but holds all the value a smart marketer needs to step into the big data discussion.

1) Visualise your customers purchasing decision making process (or the funnel if you want)

2) Identify touchpoints (this alone is a great exercise for most marketers and even more for internal service providers – customer centricity is the key – not what you want)

3) Assess data availability per touchpoint (is data readily available, in which form, when, from whom etc)

4) Assess smart data options (can you make sense of the data or identify user groups or even single users out of a specific data set)

5) Identify the data creator (is it a customer, potential customer, noise etc)

6) Smart Data entry (can you make sense of underlying values, behaviours or motives – in other words, can you interpret the data gathered at this level)

More from Phil Winters here – enjoy the read and happy smart data mining (I am a big advocate of logical naming conventions and from that point of view, big data is a misleading term, we don’t need big data but smart data; think about it!)

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