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Archive for November, 2011

Social Media Fatigue: the Challenge for Brands

With so much going on in social media these days, it is natural for both marketers as well as users to feel overwhelmed by the need to keep up. Social media is dynamic; while many companies are considering Google , others are juggling between blogs, tweets and posts. It is not just about what social media platforms to use. For most brands, the bigger challenge is keeping content fresh and coming up with new ways to keep consumers engaged. The increasing pressure to be on top of everything and to keep ahead of the competition can sometimes lead to social media fatigue. From the consumer’s point of view, reading the same content on Facebook, blogs and other channels will only give them a reason to check out your competitor’s webpage. Gartner’s recent study on social media fatigue shows that:

  • One in four young people is ‘bored’ with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • 31of the respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said the fun of social media is wearing off.
  • The study also indicates that social media exhaustion is something that was most commonly associated with the early adopters. For online marketers, this signals the need to keep branded content fresh and capture people’s attention instantly.

Average Corporate Owned Social Accounts

The proliferation of social media platforms can be exhausting for marketers. Yet, many brands believe that the more social media accounts they have, the more web-savvy they are. According to research by the Altimeter group, large corporations averaged a surprising number of social media accounts (178). So much choice and not as much content; what is the best approach? Do you focus or diversify? Do you jump onto every new social media channel that is launched? In our opinion, preventing social media overload is all about finding answers to the too much vs. too little dilemma. Here are some easy-to-follow suggestions:

  • Define Precise Goals

    The key to staying fresh and avoiding a burn out is finding out exactly what you wish to achieve from your social media efforts. Defining precise social media marketing goals is the first step towards understanding what works best for your brand.

      • Creating a Social Media Footprint: For brands that are relatively new to social media, gaining visibility and establishing a solid online presence is imperative. If these are your objectives, then we recommend focusing on the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) before considering the other options available. This will prevent your brand from getting lost in the social media blur and keep you from getting exhausted in the initial stages.


    • Knowing your Audience: If you have a target audience in mind, then the right approach will be to focus only on those channels where your prospective customers are most likely to be present. For instance, cosmetics brand L’Oreal launched its recent digital campaign on Facebook after research showed that women, who are the biggest consumers of their products, were highly active on the networking site. Posting the same content all over the social space, hoping it reaches your target market can be exhausting and time-consuming.
    • Improving Customer Satisfaction Rates: Our advice to brands looking to improve their customer satisfaction rates is ‘less focus on fancy campaigns and more focus on helping customers.‘ Although a well-thought out, creative campaign is sure to attract new customers, it may not exactly be what existing customers are looking for. @dellcares Twitter Account
      Instead of launching one campaign after another, while simultaneously trying to keep up with the flood of queries from customers, it would be wiser to work towards being a customer-centric brand. Offer advice, demonstrate how you can be of service, and show your customers that you care. Satisfied customers mean your brand can now breathe easy, plan ahead and eventually launch those great campaigns. Dell, which lists customer-service as one of its top priorities, has an exclusive team that focuses on helping customers via the @DellCares twitter account.

    Defining precise goals will give you a great sense of direction, helping you plan ahead. The ‘let’s get on board and decide as we go along’ approach sounds tempting; however, like everything new, the novelty of social media can wear off, leaving all those fans and followers wondering about the unexpected dip in activity. Our advice? Fight social media fatigue by getting a S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) plan.

  • The Balancing Act
    As an online marketer, information overload can be overwhelming not only for you, but also for your customers. There is a fine line that divides too much content from too little; this can either convert customers to brand advocates, or will drive them to completely stop following your brand. Although achieving the right balance can be challenging, it is nevertheless, vital for long term success.

      • The Importance of Give & Take: Many companies use social media as a platform to talk about or promote corporate activity. Yes, it’s true that social media is a place for this kind of a thing, but not all the time. Uploading or posting promotional material incessantly will give your audience a case of editorial fatigue, giving them the impression that you are too self-absorbed. Welcome those who respond to your marketing messages, engage with them and listen to what they have to say. Keeping the ‘social’ in social media is all about having a balanced brand-customer relationship.
      • To Tweet or not to Tweet: The plethora of networking channels out there can sometimes be confusing for marketers, who do not know if they should tweet, blog or constantly update their Facebook page. The pressure to be present everywhere or be left behind has seen many brands experiment with various channels. After a while, this can be overwhelming and tiresome. Here’s what we think: a) If you tweet more than 25 times a day, then it would be best to blog b) Try Groupon or Livingsocial instead of Twitter if ‘deal-of-the-day’ is your thing c) Not much to say? Then you should just tweet. As quoted by the Global Director of Digital and Social Media for PepsiCo, Bonin Boug, ‘Do only as much as your resources will allow. If you don’t have the means to have a person on Twitter 24/7, then don’t do it that way….Have [something like] Follow Fridays were you spend two hours talking to the community if that’s all you have to work with. There really are no set rules.

    Old Spice Ad

    • Integrate Social Media with Traditional Marketing: For brands that prefer social media in small doses, integrating social media marketing with traditional advertising campaigns is a good way to get the best of both worlds. Many companies believe that a well-balanced mix of social and traditional media can avoid a marketing burnout. One of the companies to have successfully experimented with this approach is P&G. While continuing to advertise on TV, the personal care brand has also managed to create several memorable social media campaigns.
  • Running Out of Ideas? Listen to Your Audience

    One of the most common indicators of fatigue creeping into your social media activity is when you don’t know what to do next. Marketers who are highly active on social media are on the constant search for fresh ideas and content in order to keep people interested in their brand. In a world where users are easily turned off by information that is dated and dull, this can be quite a challenge. To stand out in a highly competitive environment, brands need to create content that takes into account the real world environment and the day-to-day events that influence people. This is where social media monitoring tools prove to be highly useful. Here’s why we think media monitoring tools like Brand Monitor should be a ‘must have’ in every digital marketer’s tool kit:

      • It Pays to Listen: Refreshing content regularly is necessary for brands looking to keep people interested in their social media pages. However, delegating this responsibility solely to the marketing or creative department may not always be the best approach. The answer? Listen to your customers for content ideas. Media monitoring will help you sift through the conversations, pick out the most important ones and help sow the seed for some great content.

    Brand Monitor Volume Graph

    • Creating a Campaign? Look Out for the Trends: Measuring the impact of an online campaign is one of the most important reasons why brands use social media monitoring tools. How about using the same monitoring tools to help generate ideas for a new campaign? Using these tools will not just save time and effort, but also identify the current trends. Brands can then design marketing messages accordingly and create a unique brand or company angle. According to Harvard Business Review Analytics Services Report, 55effective users are using social media to monitor trends or look for new product ideas. Here’s what we suggest; monitor the buzz pertaining to trend, topic, or specific keywords before creating a campaign. You are less likely to burn out while learning new things that interest your consumers.
    • Testing the Waters: The best way to check if an idea is likely to work is by asking questions. Post that blog, ask your readers what they think, seek opinions, even opposing point of views. While some audiences jump into conversations willingly, others need to be prodded and asked for ideas and suggestions. This is a smart way to test the waters. Monitoring conversations, analyzing the sentiment associated with the topic of discussion etc, will help you alter your marketing messages and content accordingly, saving time as well as effort.

    My Starbucks Idea
    The Starbucks formula for social media success is quite simple; monitor the trends and communicate with customers for new ideas. The caffeine-giant, through its social media pages, asks fans for suggestions, encourages discussions and requests for ideas on anything related to the company. Prior to launching a campaign for a new or an existing product, Starbucks picks out the most relevant conversations (mostly by listening to what the influencers are saying) and ideas, making users feel that they have some role in the decision making process of the company. By doing this, the company not only generates new ideas and fresh content at regular intervals, but also keeps social media fatigue at bay.

  • Smart Solutions

    You have done your homework, equipped yourself with the required social media tools and have a great brand-customer relationship; yet, your efforts to go ‘social’ are running out of steam. What you need are a few simple, yet smart-solutions to make certain you don’t run around in social media circles.

      • Automate Some of Your Posts: For marketers with profiles on multiple networking sites, updating them all the time for routine ‘broadcast’ messages can be a tiresome task. This is true, especially, in case of smaller brands that do not have the necessary resources to refresh their social media content frequently. Automating the posting of some content is a smart way of saving time and energy, at the same time keeping content up-to-date.

    Facebook, Twitter Accounts Link

    • Linking Accounts: Linking key social media accounts saves time for marketers who want to post a common message across profiles without having to log in and out several times. For instance, tying your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts with Twitter, means every time you update something on Twitter it will appear on all three accounts.
    • Appoint a Dedicated Social Media Team: A large number of companies have their marketing or PR staff also overseeing their social media activities. This works fine for small to mid-size companies that have limited resources. However, for brands that consider social media an integral part of their marketing strategy, it is important to have a dedicated social media team to manage posts, tweet on behalf of the company and monitor the buzz surrounding the brand. This will not only reduce fatigue, but will also ensure the core marketing team has the time to focus on their content creation and campaign management tasks.


Marketers have moved beyond seeing social media as a fad and have started to include it as a crucial part of their overall marketing strategy. While this certainly has its benefits, it also means the possibility of getting caught in the social media vortex is high. After the initial excitement to post, blog, tweet or 1 wears off, brands are confronted with the question of ‘what next?’ Also, the fact that social media never stops means companies are increasingly pressurized to keep up. Our research shows that online marketers with an organized approach to social media have been more successful at beating the exhaustion that eventually follows.

Instead of the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach, brands are now looking at customers for inspiration by monitoring for trends and listening to conversations. It is also important to keep in mind that social media fatigue is not something that is restricted to marketers. With so much content and so many platforms to choose from, consumers are also susceptible to a burnout. Though it is not always possible to hold their attention all the time, innovating and diversifying can ensure that people are interested in your webpage. Easy-to-understand, fresh content has proven to be effective in preventing digital fatigue for both brands as well as consumers.

That said, for brands that are plugged in 24/7, instances of fatigue can occur occasionally. Take a deep breath…you don’t need to be a social media maven to avoid an overload; preventing a burnout is all about achieving that perfect balance, knowing what works for you and applying smart solutions.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/social-marketing-articles/managing-social-media-burnout-5212743.html

Online marketing involves embracing various strategies that can bring about brand awareness and customer loyalty. The Internet offers numerous opportunities to share product information. However, it is important to create a plan based on research to ensure ad campaigns are suited for your demographic market.

To achieve success with online marketing requires exploration of all available strategies and how they can enhance your business. While it is best to incorporate a diverse mix of advertising mediums, not all are practical when first starting a business.

After research is complete, the next step involves developing a written marketing plan. Considerations should include the wants and needs of the target market and the type of ads they respond to.

One virtually untapped advertising method is mobile marketing. Millions of consumers utilize their cell phone to access the Internet, text, chat, and respond to email. At present, approximately 20-percent of the 5 billion cell phone subscribers use their phone as a computer. Companies that want to take their business to a new level should consider learning the fundamentals of mobile marketing.

It is crucial to investigate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines before engaging in mobile marketing. Companies must avoid making false claims or sending ads to individuals who have not opted-in to a mailing list. Non-compliance with FTC regulations can lead to expensive fines and legal expenses and may result in loss of business.

Podcast marketing is a powerful online marketing tool that can be used in multiple ways. Audio podcasts are a great way to share product information and company insights. They can be used to broadcast a sponsored Internet radio show or to present interviews with industry experts.

Podcasts are an affordable way to build brand awareness by providing entertaining or educational information. The secret to success is publishing new podcasts on a regular basis. Doing so can help companies develop a dedicated group of listeners who will share podcasts with others.

Another exceptional Internet marketing tool is online videos. The secret to success with this strategy is determining viewing habits of the demographic market. As mentioned earlier, many consumers view videos via handheld devices. Companies need to consider the size and duration to minimize bandwidth use while providing attention-grabbing marketing messages.

Lastly, article marketing is an influential online marketing tool. This advertising medium can be used to build a reputation as an industry-expert. Many business owners neglect article marketing because it is a practice that requires a fulltime writer. It can be advantageous to hire freelance writers experienced in SEO and LSI techniques.

It can be challenging to stay abreast of all available online marketing strategies. Business owners often find it beneficial to work with an online media marketing consultant. These professionals can decrease the amount of time required to implement ad campaigns and reduce associated costs. They can also help owners determine which techniques are best suited for their business model.

Article Source:

About the Author
Online Marketing DNA provides customized
online marketing packages. Whether just starting out or an established business, we offer something for everyone. Learn how to launch your business to the next level at www.OnlineMarketingDNA.com.

Author: Philip Yaffe

“I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The problem is, I don’t know which half.”

This succinct resume of the advertiser’s dilemma is often attributed to John Wanamaker, the department store pioneer. Some people prefer to give the credit to Henry Ford, the automobile pioneer, or other favorite business giants. Whoever said it first, it is certain that it has been said thousand and thousand of times since.

The significance of the observation is nothing short of astounding. These are people whose business is investing and harvesting financial assets, yet when it comes to advertising, they freely admit to wasting at least half of their money!

But the observation can be turned on its head. Viewed from this perspective, it means that these same extremely clever and resourceful marketers believe that the power of advertising is so great, even at only 50effectiveness they still get their money’s worth. This is equally astounding!

The value of advertising can most easily be seen with mass marketed products. For example, a breakfast cereal launches a major advertising campaign; within a few days to weeks the sales figures will reflect the impact of the campaign. With technical and industrial products, the picture is not quite so clear. Few people buy a car or a piece of industrial equipment on impulse. They build up to it over a long period of time, so that the cause-and-effect relationship between advertising and sales is virtually impossible to evaluate.

Nevertheless, advertising is indispensable. So the question is, can you construct advertising campaigns that will assure the best return on investment (ROI), even when that return cannot be directly measured?

The answer is both yes and no. It is “no” if you believe that advertising by nature is more of an art than a science. It is “yes” if you believe that advertising is a combination of both art and science.

It is certainly true that advertising has a major “art” component, i.e. that people who have a “feel” for it are likely to produce better, more effective advertising than people who don’t. Unfortunately, this verity has led to the false conclusion that advertising is predominantly art, i.e. a matter of taste.

When advertising is viewed as largely a question of personal preference, the rational component of the exercise takes second importance. Worse, it often degenerates into a kind of pseudoscience of rules and regulations with no scientific justification:

— Be positive: no one likes negative advertising

— Avoid simple, straightforward headlines; headlines should “tease” readers into the advert

— Use big, bold visuals; people are impressed by pictures

— Show the solution, not the problem: this is reassuring to potential buyers

— Never write more than 15 – 20 words of body copy; no one reads body copy anyhow

— Make payoff lines (slogans) clever and memorable, not explicit and to the point

The summation seems to be: Advertising is entertainment. If you can attract attention and give a show, then you will sell.

One writer on the subject bluntly stated: “Advertising consists of first hitting people in the face with a pie, then delivering your message.” It is of course true that you must attract attention before you can deliver your message. But just how seriously is anyone like to take your message while he is wiping whipped cream off his face?

Advertising may have elements of show business. But if it is only show business, it will fail. On the other hand, if we are more detached in our analysis — i.e. if we put the art of advertising and the science of advertising into better balance — we many learn some valuable lesions. And gain some valuable commercial leverage.

I have done considerably work in pharmaceutical marketing. Doctors are perhaps the most difficult targets in the world, because what you “sell” them is ideas and information, which later on they may or may not turn into prescriptions for their patients. Thus, while the following examples relate specifically to doctors and medicines, the underlying principles are universally valid. Throughout this article, wherever you see the word “doctor”, mentally substitute the name of your potential technical and/or industrial customer and see how well these ideas fit.

Facing the Facts

David Ogilvy, one of the most highly regarded gurus of consumer advertising, asserts: “Very few advertisements contain enough factual information to sell the product. There is a ludicrous tradition among copywriters that consumers aren’t interested in facts. Northing could be farther from the truth.

If this contention is valid for housewives, how much more valid must it be for doctors!

Medicine is a serious business. When a doctor reads a medical journal, he is looking for medical information. Otherwise, he would be reading something else. It therefore follows: Advertising in medical journals that gives real medical information is likely to attract more attention and achieve better results than advertising which doesn’t.

If this seems self-evident, medical journals bear witness to the opposite. The majority of adverts tend to fall into two categories:

1. Lots of words, but little real information (lack of a focused message).

2. A clever headline, a pleasing picture—and no information at all.

The excuse for the first kind of advert is often: “It is a new product; we need to create a personality for it.” It is hard to imagine how an empty personality, based solely on errant prose, will result in positive promotion.

The excuse for the second category of adverts often is: “It is a well known product; this is simply a reminder advert.” Certainly it makes sense to remind the doctor that a medicine exists. But it makes even more sense to remind him of why he is using it, if he is already using it. Or why he should be using it, if he isn’t.

The 80/20 Rule
The objection will now be raised: Doesn’t this “art science” concept of advertising necessitate long body copy? Does it make sense to write long body copy when no one reads it anyhow?

Let’s examine this contention in reverse order.

For every 100 doctors who read the headline and look at the visual of an advert, let’s say only 20 will actually read the body. Does this represent an 80wastage? Emphatically no.

The 80/20 rule is a fundamental tenet of technical and industrial marketing, i.e. in general 80of sales come from 20 of customers. The same principle applies to advertising.

Readers who just look at the headline and visual, then turn the page, at that moment are not the real customers for the product. Those who remain to read the body copy are the real customers for the product. This is the ideal moment to tell them bout it, because this is when they want to know about it. Otherwise, they too are likely to turn the page and an excellent selling opportunity will be lost.

Body is important, in fact vital, because it is your only real chance to make the sale. But how long should that body copy be?

This is like asking how long is a piece of string. You don’t answer this question by counting the number of words. Rather, you consider the value of the words. The best guide is: If the body copy contains one word more than needed to deliver the message, it is probably too long; if it contains one word less than need to deliver the message, it is definitely too short, regardless of how many words are used!

Of course, it makes no sense to simply print the prescribing information. As Bill Bernbach, a legendary practitioner of consumer advertising, has written: “Be certain that your advertisement says something to the consumer; that it informs and renders a service. Then be certain that it says what it has to say in a way no one has ever said it before.” 

Notice the balance in this advice.

First: “Be certain that your advertisement says something to the consumer.” This is advertising as a science. Determining what you want to say about your product and what you ought to say about it are two different things. This is why most good advertising starts with market research. And never lets anything go to press before it has been thoroughly tested.

Second: “Be certain that your advertisement says what it has to say in a way that no one has ever said it before.” This is advertising as an art.

How the advert expresses its message, both visually and verbally, can vary dramatically depending on who is saying it. The total impact the advert will achieve intimately depends on the talents of the art director and the copywriter, the so-called “creates” of the business.

The Use and Abuse of Creativity
Introducing the copywriter and art director into the discussion raises the vexing question of creativity in advertising.

“Creativity’ is probably one of the most abused and misused words in English or any other language. As we have seen, some people think it means hitting people in the face with a pie. We have also seen the dangers of this approach. Surprising and shocking people in order to gain their attention can:

— Undermine the credibility of the serious message you are trying to deliver.

— Lead to rapid advertising “wear-out”. You can surprise and shock people only once; after that, you are likely to have no effect. Worse, you may have a negative effect!

Stripped of mythology, saying what you have to say in a way that it has never before been said simply means: Putting forward the essentials of the message in such a way that they cannot be ignored — on the first exposure and on subsequent exposures.

So much emphasis is placed on attracting attention and conveying a message on the first exposure (“pie in the face”), very little thought seems to be given to what will happen, if anything, on the second, third and subsequent exposures. This is the concept of “wear-out”; after how many exposures does the advert stop having any useful impact?

The concept of wear-out is closely allied to the idea of repetition. Unlike supermarket adverts, adverts for prescription pharmaceuticals seldom appear only once (“Buy now before supplies run out; Special discount prices, stock up now”). Instead, they usually run for at least several months, and often a year or longer.

True, few doctors read the same advert more than once, but they cannot help seeing it more than once. They will certainly see it much more often than they will see the pharmaceutical representative who visits them. Advertising is the most frequent and most consistent point of contact between the doctor and the company.

A truly efficient advert should have impact each and every time it is seen — whether it is read each time or not. This is why the fundamental structure is so important. And why it is well worth spending the time and energy to get it right, i.e. concept development not only for journal adverts, but also for brochures, mailings, oral presentations, symposia, etc.

How do you create advertising with such power and longevity?

In general, any advert that communicates the product name and main sell proposition in a flash should continue to work as long as the underlying strategy remains the same. The assumption is, each exposure — even if it is only as long as it takes to turn the page — reinforces previous impressions of the message in the journals, mailings, etc. Adverts that rely on “teaser” headlines or other indirect approaches are more problematical. It is far more likely that the doctor will perceive this kind of advertising as promotion rather than information, and will turn the page with no reinforcement of the selling message.

Courage and Conviction

A truly effective long-life advert may not always appear smashingly striking at first sight; however, if it is well constructed it will grow and gain strength over time. By contrast, an advert that is extremely striking at first sight — this being its major attribute — may in fact lose power over time. Sometimes overnight.

Developing advertisements that sell on first and subsequent exposures admits of no hard and fast rules. Some times it may mean an extremely factual advert that looks almost like editorial copy; other time it may be an advert with a highly emotional content. It all depends on the nature of the product; the nature of the market, and what ideas, true or false, are already in the doctor’s mind.

There is more to good technical and industrial advertising than meets the eye. Indeed, a superficial analysis is likely to be very misleading, with very expensive consequences. To properly evaluate an advertising campaign, it is necessary to know the underlying strategy and the objectives that strategy is designed to achieve.

By way of example, here are the descriptions of three advertising campaigns I produced when I was creative director of a specialized medical advertising agency. You may not fully understand the products, but look closely at the description of each advert.

1. Product: Vasodilator

Objective: Increase prescriptions by repositioning it as the first product of a new, more effective therapeutic class

Headline: “6 Actions on the Blood and the Vessels to Combat Claudication and its Premonitory Symptoms”

Visual: 6 symbols in the form of a rectangle representing the 6 modes of action

Body copy: factual, moderate length

2. Product: Benzodiazepine

Objective: Stabilize leadership position/market share in an anti-benzodiazepine marketing environment

Headline: “My Conditions for Prescribing an Anxiolytic to My Patients”

Visual: Intelligent, serious-looking general practitioner speaking the headline

Body copy: factual, short

3. Beta-2 mimetic bronchodilator

Objective: Maximize sales potential by overcoming market prejudice to using oral beta-2 mimetics in the treatment of nocturnal asthma

Headline: “Asthma: Night Is the Enemy”

Visual: Artist’s impression of the experience of a night-time asthma attack, painted by an asthmatic artist who actually suffers such attacks.

Body copy: factual; extremely short

At first glance the vasodilator and benzodiazepine adverts might appear uninspired, even banal. They are unlikely to win any awards for advertising “creativity”. On the other hand, the asthma advert is exactly the type that could win a creativity award.

Despite their superficial differences, fundamentally they are quire similar. All three adverts had very high awareness and credibility scores. One of the so-called “banal” adverts was so well received — and had such an impact on sales — that when we proposed a more “imaginative” version, the product manager, originally unconvinced by it, growled: “If you touch my advert, I will break your arm.”

Conclusion: All three adverts were extremely creative in the real sense of the word, because they:

1. Clearly reflected the nature of the product

2. Precisely addressed the needs of the market

3. Elicited the desired response (won prescriptions)

The serious advertiser would do well to bear this functional definition of creativity uppermost in mind.

It takes courage to reject an advertising campaign proposal that is striking, cute, funny, artistic, etc., in favor of one that doesn’t seem to possess these desirable characteristics. A so-called “unimaginative” campaign that clearly responds to the needs of the market and has the innate capacity to grow and develop (i.e. continue generating sales) is considerably more creative, in the true sense of the word, than one that flashes like a meteor, then dissipates its energy and loses impact before it has had a chance to do its job.

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About the Author

Philip Yaffe is a former writer with The Wall Street Journal and international marketing communication consultant. Now semi-retired, he teaches courses in persuasive communication in Brussels, Belgium. Because his clients use English as a second or third language, his approach to writing and public speaking is somewhat different from other communication coaches. He is the author of In the “I” of the Storm: the Simple Secrets of Writing & Speaking (Almost) like a Professional. Contact: phil.yaffe@yahoo.com.