Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The biggest piece of empirical research ever conducted on consumers’

The biggest piece of empirical research ever conducted on consumers’ digital behaviour and their attitudes to social media from the world’s biggest market research company, you would have thought, would create quite a lot of buzz. After all, 72,000 consumers interviewed across 60 countries is quite a sample. Yet coverage of the report and its key findings was almost non-existent. Blink and you missed it.

One look inside the Digital Life report, however, explains the lack of attention. Unlike the overly optimistic and wildly out of touch proclamations of the social media industry and those that cover it, the TNS study was based on empirical data. And as a result, it presented a much more even-handed and objective view of the digital landscape than most marketers are comfortable accepting or forwarding to their peers.

For example, the report concludes that the majority of consumers in developed markets do not want to engage with brands via social media. In the UK, that proportion was at its highest with 61% of consumers stating they do not see social media as a place they want to interact with brands. That’s a bummer for every brand manager who spouts the usual crap about "having a conversation with the consumer", because almost two-thirds of their consumers aren’t interested in talking to them.

But these facts were probably not communicated to you because they do not fit the ideology that the marketing industry is attempting to propagate when it comes to social media. - the hegemonic forces of marketing prefer to tell a story of new apps and bold Facebook strategies rather than a more fair approach. But what also emerged from the data was clear evidence of the lack of credibility or engagement that most brands can expect from their forays into social media. A spokesman for TNS said "Many brands have recognised the vast potential audiences available to them on social networks; however, they are failing to understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and brand presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

Wise is the marketer who uses data to assess the situation. In all the hullabaloo, has anyone considered that the term social media has no place for brands within its definition? ’Social media’ literally means the communication channels that exist between people. Not between brands.

But like every medium before it, brands try to invade that space anyway. And social media, like every other medium before it, is already suffering from clutter as a result. As more brands attempt to grab attention and start social media conversations with disinterested consumers, more of them will switch off.

Brands ‘wasting time and money’ on misguided digital strategies, study

Brands ‘wasting time and money’ on misguided digital strategies, study

UK social media users are among the most resistant consumers in the world towards brands invading their personal space, according to a new study, which reflects how businesses are wasting time and money trying to reach people online who, in all likelihood, probably aren’t listening.

Data revealed by TNS Digital Life  found that 61% of UK consumers do not want to engage with brands in their social networks, a figure that is slightly above average (57%) from other developed markets studied.

In stark contrast, fast-growing markets, mainly across Asia, South America and Africa, are much more open to brands online. About 60% of consumers there see social networks as a good place to learn about brands.

In Europe, however, 
the numbers seem bleak in comparison TNS suggests that misguided digital strategies are generating ‘mountains of digital waste,’ from friendless Facebook accounts to blogs no one reads.

This is being combined with ever-increasing content produced by consumers – the study shows 47% of digital consumers now comment about brands online.

The result is huge volumes of noise, which is polluting the digital world and making it harder for brands to be heard – presenting a major challenge for businesses trying to enter into dialogue with consumers online.

The study also sheds some light on why people do engage with brands online. More often than not, motivations of online commentators can be self-serving. 61% of consumers are driven to engage with brands online by a promotion or special offer.

About 46% of consumers motivated to post comments on companies do so for the simple desire to impart advice, while more people like to praise than complain online (13% v 10%).

According to marketing consultant, Richard Hillgrove the problem for many brands is the message.

"People in the UK don’t want obvious messages. It’s the same way Britain has largely rejected product placement on television. We don’t like things ‘in our face’ – the Americans don’t seem to mind."To achieve success online please use Interactive Marketing Communication @ Paul Ashby (UK) 01934-520047 or

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The financial crisis has transformed the global marketing world...

and, at the same time, discredited many of the ideas regarding advertising, marketing, consumers and society, that were taken for granted in the pre-crisis decades. Here nobody appears to see the crisis as an opportunity to build a new form of capitalism. Nobody seems to see that the future can be – and most certainly should be – better than the past.

Without a doubt the institutions discredited by the crisis can be replaced with something better, not merely patched up and restored. Corporations see the crisis entirely as a threat to established ways of life and modes of thinking. Nobody is presenting a vision, or even a credible thought, about how the crisis could produce a better tomorrow. The best that has been offered is a promise to clear up the mess created by previous corporations

. Without a doubt the new forms of advertising and marketing that must emerge from the crisis must be very different from the systems that were so badly damaged in the early 1980. The transformation will not just be a matter of rewriting some rules or replacing some incompetent people. It will mean changing the relationship between markets and consumers that has defined each successive version of marketing.

It is time to engage with citizens' anxieties about the profound problems of pre-crisis marketing and advertising suddenly revealed in 2008, the creation of an over informed society, clutter, lack of accountability, the Internet, Social Media and so on. Like all those packaged-up bundles of bad debt, contemporary advertising has no fundamental value. It was misplaced faith in future economic growth that drove up the values of 30-second TV commercials!

The Clients spent so much money on advertising because they believed that they were living in the best of times and that it was all just a one way street - upwards! We all now know all this wasn't true. In the years to come this advertising will be seen as the ultimate symbol of the economic fairyland we have been living through in the past fifteen years or so, an era in which the world lost touch with its sense of value. These were not masterpieces of advertising, they were the icons of idiocy.

By thinking seriously about such fundamental reforms, business leaders can engage with their customers' anxieties about the profound problems of pre-crisis marketing. The crisis has blown away the simplistic belief that the markets automatically produces the best possible outcomes and that we must always accept whatever social consequences market forces dictate.

Having invested over $10 million in independent research, Paul Ashby is ideally suited to present the case for the widespread use of interactive marketing communication. The research investment has proved conclusively that one exposure to an interactive "event" is far more effective in all key measurements, than traditional advertising. Paul made this investment because his company, Effective . Accountable . Communication is predicated on being totally accountable to its Clients. Discover more on or You can contact Paul on:

Monday, 24 September 2012

Making Marketing Measure

For years, corporate marketers have walked into budget meetings like

neighborhood junkies. They couldn't always justify how well they spent past

handouts or what difference it all made. They just wanted more money -- for

flashy TV ads, for big-ticket events, for, you know, getting out the message and

building up the brand.

But those heady days of blind budget increases are fast being replaced

with a new mantra: measurement and accountability. Armed with reams of data,

increasingly sophisticated tools, and growing evidence that the old tricks

simply don't work, there's hardly a marketing executive today who isn't

demanding a more scientific approach to help defend marketing strategies in

front of the chief financial officer. Marketers want to know the actual return

on investment (ROI) of each dollar. They want to know it often, not just

annually. And increasingly they want a view of likely returns on future

campaigns. "Marketing has gone from being a cost or expense to an investment,"

notes Martyn Straw, chief strategy officer of ad agency BBDO Worldwide, who says honing an ROI system for clients is his main job. "Call marketing an equity investment, and suddenly there's lots of accountability in the room." The push is coming from the top ranks. CEOs, CFOs, and even board

directors, have relentlessly cut costs in every corner of their companies except

marketing and are fed up with funneling cash into TV commercials and glossy ads

that they say cost more and seem to do less. That's especially true at a time

when profits are under attack and consumers of all ages are zapping ads and

spending more time playing video games and surfing the Internet. The bean

counters know that marketing matters. But they're hazy about how much or what


That's one reason companies are increasingly shifting their dollars from

TV and print ads to the Net and direct marketing. They can get a swift and

accurate measure of the impact of their efforts for a fraction of the cost of

advertising in traditional media. DaimlerChrysler , for example, is relying less on 30-second TV ads in favor of events where names, profiles, and addresses of prospects can be collected and tracked. It's

also pushing direct marketing and online advertising where response rates are

easily measured. "You better believe my money is chasing media and marketing

outlets that can prove their return in hard data," says Jeff Bell,

vice-president- Chrysler/Jeep marketing.

Companies in every segment of American business have become obsessed with

honing the science of measuring marketing performance. Consumer-products giants

such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods , and Gillette are further along this path, having long chased statistics to link different forms of marketing to sales and brand awareness. But the desire to

construct a comprehensive set of performance measures -- what many call a

marketing "dashboard" -- is fast extending to marketers in other industries as

well. Xerox Corp. uses the measurement techniques of Six Sigma to analyze marketing's impact

on a range of measures, from leads generated to cost per sale. Home Depot Inc.

has a proprietary computer model with sophisticated algorithms that

correlate marketing investments with product sales and regional variations that

have led the retailer, for example, to push paint using radio spots in some

markets and newspaper inserts in others. "Marketing ROI is one of the most

difficult things to measure in retailing because of all the details," says John

Costello, executive vice-president for merchandising and marketing. But, he

adds, the ability to do it right is fast becoming a competitive advantage.

For many, the goal is to identify and cultivate potential buyers -- and

then track whether they respond to marketing efforts by ultimately making a

purchase. Mark R. LaNeve, head of North American marketing and advertising for

General Motors Corp. , cites customer tracking as the carmaker's top priority. "We do less and

less advertising simply because it feels right," says LaNeve. There are no more

sponsored golf tournaments, for example, unless the sponsoring brand collects a

healthy number of customer profiles through test drives. Those people are then

tracked every time GM runs into them through a similar event or mailing and

again when they buy a GM vehicle. Such measures have helped GM halve Cadillac's

marketing spending over the last three years while increasing sales, market

share, and awareness. Although marketing giants such as GM know they have to be

on TV to launch models and blitz airwaves with a new rebate deal, the share of

the marketing budget going to network TV is steadily declining. LaNeve says he

knows with 98% certainty what the payoff of a direct-marketing campaign will be

before committing a cent. Yet the impact of image-building TV and print ads --

as opposed to those pitching rebates -- remains mostly "a mystery or educated

guess." Indeed, the Holy Grail of measurement is to figure out the impact of

traditional mass advertising, especially the 30-second TV commercial. One of the

most elaborate efforts involves a joint venture between Arbitron Inc.

, a media and marketing research firm, and VNU

the Dutch media company that owns Nielsen. "Project Apollo" next year will

begin tracking the media habits of 30,000 households representing 70,000

consumers. "Panelists" wear a pager-like device that picks up all the

electronically coded TV and radio they consume. That data, plus online usage and

grocery purchases scanned in half the households, and frequent surveys of

attitudes and lifestyle choices should help advertisers figure out which of

their marketing tactics really pay. Procter & Gamble Co.

which spent $4.4 billion on advertising in the last fiscal year, has

already signed on as a subscriber. P&G is looking for the system to tell it

whether it's better off funding an end-aisle display in 2,000 grocery stores or

increasing its radio ad buy for a month in the same markets. "It's not

perfect," admits Arbitron's project head Linda Dupree. "But the information they

get will be the best they have ever had."


Because advertisers work with multiple ad agencies there's a push to

establish some benchmarks and standards for measuring ROI. The CMO Council, a

Silicon Valley network of close to 1,000 chief marketing officers at tech

companies, released an extensive report of marketing performance measurements in

October. Merely counting eyeballs no longer seemed enough once the tech bubble

burst, says the report's editor-in-chief, William Glazier. Yet fewer than 15% of

council members have a comprehensive model in place. For all the effort to bring science to marketing, the art component will never go away. Figuring out how much of a product's appeal is due to marketing

and how much stems from innovative features or quality is often hard to pin

down, even for individual consumers. They don't know why they like it, they just

do. That's the human factor -- and so far, no one has found a way to measure


Monday, 17 September 2012

Interactive Marketing Communication - the ONLY Low-cost marketing method!

Interactive Marketing Communication - the ONLY Low-cost marketing method!

Small businesses have limited budgets but big ideas, so they have discovered the secret to making a little go a long way. By turning to Interactive Marketing Communication marketing methods, these businesses yield amazing results.

"Interactive Marketing helps smaller business expand their market reach and compete on a level playing field with all competitors." Paul Ashby, the Interactive Marketing Guru summarises research results from small business marketers who are capitalising on the effectiveness of Interactive Marketing Communication. Paul Ashby, Tel: 01934 620047 or

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

What is the biggest mistake brands make when it comes to social media?

Well, there's Dell, which has flat out lied to people about its social media success, and that's pretty serious especially when you're a publicly traded company, and Pepsi is guilty of this, too. Since it's made its big social media push, its brand status has sagged (it's now the No. 3 beverage in America), but it tries to hide that by having the CEO talk about how many likes it has on Facebook. Well, if you have so many likes that you're so proud of, how come those likes aren't translating to an increase in sales?

How can you claim success with something as shallow as likes when your sales are down? Can you honestly tell someone with a straight face that likes, coming from people who mostly already buy your stuff, is better than sales?The biggest mistake is what goes on in marketing departments when the end of the fourth quarter rolls around.

Large corporations give their marketing departments X amount of money, and if they don't spend X, they'll get less of it the following year. And so in order to not lose that money, and I've had multiple people tell me this who have been in these meetings, that money gets given to friends of friends or to things like social media,regardless of whether or not the stuff they're selling actually works. You have a lot of big brands out there that spend money on this stuff not because they think it works, but because they had to spend their money on something to keep it for next year.

That puts Ford's social media guru, Scott Monty, in a whole new light,

The End of Marketing and Advertising?

The End of Marketing and Advertising?

What about all the marketing, administrative, accounting, and IT jobs that we

think can't be outsourced or automated? Well, retail enterprises now tailor any

number of special offers directly to individual customers by mining data from

reward programs. That doesn't take an expensive ad budget or a huge marketing

department, since it's all automated. Have you ever noticed that most of the

advertising you see while you surf the Web is tailored to things you might be

interested in buying? That's all automated , huge numbers of marketing

professionals are just not needed.

And the only way to make this work effectively? Why Interactive Markating Communication...that's what!

Contact Paul Ashby on 01934 620047 or

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

How to create an effective mobile, social campaign

Mobile and social inherently complement each other and marketers are increasingly marrying the two to deepen their relationship with consumers. However, simply linking to a Facebook or Twitter page is no longer enough. With the proliferation of new social sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, marketers are constantly looking at new ways to better reach and engage consumers. Nowadays, there is rarely a mobile campaign that does not include a social component. And, without a doubt, says Interactive Marketing Guru,Paul Ashby, Interactive Media like Shopper's Voice, is the best place possible to complement and enhance all your mobile and social campaigns. According to Ashby,it's estimated that by the year 2016, more than a billion people will access their favorite social media Web sites by using a mobile device,

Marketing campaigns should pay attention to this fundamental shift towards Inveractive Communication.

Whether you interpret the market turbulence ...

.... as a source of risk or opportunity, it's inevitable that it creates pressure on marketers.

Interactive Marketing Communication, properly structured, is designed to help marketers develop future-proof strategies and plans, contact the Interactive Guru, Paul Ashby, 01934 620047 or to discover the building blocks of marketing success for 2013 and beyond.

Looking at solutions to some of the biggest challenges that today's marketing professionals face, share invaluable experiences on:
Planning, measurement and ROI: get to grips with a clear and commercially sound framework for measuring and evaluating marketing performance and ROI.
Joining the digital revolution with confidence: explore how to join up campaigns across multiple channels and integrate digital throughout the marketing mix.
Closing the gap between promise and reality: discover how to deliver a consistent customer experience and align your business around common brand value.
Only on Interactive Marketing Communication!


Monday, 3 September 2012

Failure Of Web Advertising

Failure Of Web Advertising

We're about 15 years into the internet revolution as a mainstream phenomenon

and by any measure internet advertising has to be deemed a major failure.

While the web itself has been a massive success (influencing virtually every

aspect of our lives) advertising on the web is mostly a bad joke.

Fifteen years into its mainstream life, television had created scores of

powerful consumer-facing brands.The only truly powerful brands I can

think of that web advertising has created are native web brands like Google,

Yahoo, Amazon and Facebook. It's as if the only brands television was good at

creating were CBS, NBC and ABC.After 15 years, can anyone name even

ten serious non-native consumer-facing brands that have been created

primarily by web advertising? Is there a brand of coffee, butter, beer, bread,

chicken, gasoline, soda, peanut butter, dog food, milk, tires, potato chips,

life insurance, lawn mowers...don't make me go on, you get the point...that has

been built primarily by web advertising? Display advertising is a joke.

Remember just a few years ago when they were selling us banner ads on the

promise that "interactivity" would make these ads so much more efficient than

traditional ads? Then they started measuring them and found that fewer than 2

people in a thousand were clicking. Oops.Now they're making the same

lame "branding" argument for online display ads they made against

traditional print ads. However armed with the proper understanding of the meaning of interaction,

properly executed, the web can be made to achieve everthing you have ever wanted!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Marketers are shifting from input-based

Marketers are shifting from input-based to outcome-based plans and measurements.
Where once they asked, ‘What is the
cost per thousand of the audience I am
buying?’ Today they are demanding,
‘How many people came through the
purchase funnel into my store as a
result of this campaign?’"
And you can only do that accurately with
Interactive Marketing Communication!

Interactive Communication

"Interactive Communication, properly executed, is the foundation for improving marketing,
building business performance, enhancing productivity and streamlining critical processes. That is why the drive to embed accountability as a core marketing discipline will only increase.

With it will come enhanced marketing ROI."

And only with Interactive Communication!


Clutter. That dreadful word that came into vogue in the late 1960s and was applied to the proliferation of advertising messages the consumer could be exposed to during the course of his or her working day. More accurately the term was "commercial clutter", however we much prefer "meaningless noise"

Now, if you could sort that little problem then you really would be well on the way to advertising brilliance!

Another way of achieving brilliance in advertising is to actively encourage interactive television on current terrestrial TV formats.

This form of interactive communication dramatically alters the way the viewers perceive the commercials, instead of being seen as an interruption the commercials now become a meaningful source of information (a form of programming) and thus are watched in a totally different way.

Presenting advertising within this format allows the most dramatic evolution of advertising itself. This renaissance in this period of the ongoing history of advertising will be know as advertising by true, accurate, more predictable, instant and measurable results.

Clients will pay only by results. The interactive nature of the new technology will allow research to measure the results and present these results as a post-evaluation of their participation. Clients will then pay for participation based upon these evaluations.

And that’s when you will have achieved advertising brilliance!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Despite today's buzz on all things

digital, despite global interactive advertising being forecast to reach US$147

billion by 2012 from the current US$45 billion*, and despite three online media

platforms making it to the Fournaise 2007 top 10 marketing Effectiveness Ranking

(or EFFER), in the day-to-day reality of generating incremental customer demand

for their products or services, marketers seem to have a major trust issue when

it comes to the overall reliability and credibility of online advertising.In such a skeptical context, it is not

surprising that 40% of marketers around the world did not run online campaigns , a figure

reaching 65% in high GDP growth markets such as Greater China, India andSingapore.The top five concerns

marketers have about online advertising are:

They don't know if they actually get what theypay for.

They don't know if they can trust the visitor and/or traffic profile online media owners and publishers claim their sites have delivered.

They have the feeling there is a lot of click fraud.

They don't know if their ads appear in the sites and/or sites' sections where they should appear.

They don't trust the traffic and click-through reports digital media owners give them. This could explain

why marketers globally are planning to still take a prudent approach and to spend a small percentage of

their marketing budgets online.

Across the thousands of online campaigns audited for our clients worldwide through we have

been observing consistently poor results: Click Through Rates (CTRs) have fallen

as low as 0.15% (sometimes even lower), Conversion Rates (CVRs) are barely

reaching the 3% average, and as far as Returns on Marketing Investment (ROMIs)

are concerned, our clients are most of the time flirting with the sub-30%

numbers," said Jerome Fontaine, CEO and Chief Tracker of The Fournaise Marketing


"One of the main reasons for such poor results is that for more

than 70% of the online campaigns we audit track across all types of online

media platforms (including display ads, emails, paid search, referrals, rich media

and sponsorships), our clients did not get what they paid for: one million

impressions purchased often ended up with 800,000 impressions served; an email

blast to a third party 10,000-record database was more often than not sent to a

7,000-active-email base. The bottom line: the discrepancy between what is

claimed and/or purchased and what is actually delivered is beginning to cast a

shadow on the long-term credibility of the industry. Online media have now the

immense challenge of winning the trust and confidence of marketers and must be

prepared to be audited and be accountable for the results they deliver,"

Fontaine continued

Build Buzz, Visibility and Leads in Minutes!


Imagine if every time your prospects went to Google to find a vendor, they found you first. Then imagine a similar thing happening with Twitter and Facebook - or even online news.

You can make it happen with Shoppers' Voice: the fast, easy way

to be everywhere your customers look. Grow your social media fans and

following, build buzz and visibility, create custom Facebook pages and attract

customers from all over the Web. To find out more,

Contact the Interactive Guru, Paul Ashby on 01934 620047 or .