Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bagvertising: Handling your Targeted Marketing Campaign

Proliferation of Media channels has entailed a decline in the effectiveness of existing traditional channels. Measurement of the efficacy of the traditional media is no longer treated with enthusiasm by the industry professionals and new requirements and expectations are emerging for innovation, insight, experimentation, and measurable returns.

According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, titled “Darwin Pays a Visit to Advertising” – Opportunities for Action in Consumer Markets

Marketers have moved beyond the “Mass Marketing” era, and there is a need for much more precision in targeting consumers. The traditional value chain has been disintegrated and has led to an evolved framework in the advertising industry with “targeted marketing” as their measurable goal. A concerted effort is being made towards an integrated, holistic campaign across alternative channels.

Thus, New and unconventional methods of marketing are being looked at and experimented with. There is greater focus on PR, guerilla marketing and the Internet, with the advent in technology wonderfully complementing this shift.

Therefore, customers need greater attention, much more personal communication, and tangible returns. Innovation is the key to reach the consumers.
Innovation in communication is passé. A couple of years back, the communication was the idea. Today, the media vehicle is the idea itself. New and innovative packaging, guerilla campaigns and aggressive marketing tactics are considered to be “effective” vehicles for Advertising.

One such advertising vehicle is the Carry Bag. Advertising on the carry bags, jargonized as “Bagvertising”, has experienced brilliant levels of innovation lately. Various Brands, spread across all categories, have leveraged the carry bags for their communication and positioning and are using it on a regular basis for their marketing campaigns.

Since Bagvertising is more precise in nature, there are specific advantages linked to such form of advertising –

- Greater visibility of the brand, leading to enhanced brand awareness
- More sampling opportunities
- A billboard effect without prohibitive production costs
- Effective targeted marketing
- More measurable media

Incidentally, most of the creatives on the bags are built around the “handle”, keeping in mind the grip of the bag, where the customer holds it. Others (like Blush) focus on how the bags are carried by the customer or in some cases (like Alinna) the threads holding the bag are modified. In most of the cases, however, Innovation is applied around the tags only.

Looking ahead, this channel will be exploited further by the Marketers. Considering the visibility it entails, and “perceived” returns from an innovative bag-vertising campaign, this advertising vehicle stands out of the media clutter and therefore, has been given greater preference over other channels. In certain aspects, however, there is scope for further innovation.

Possible areas which can be worked upon –
(a) Discount coupons can be attached to the specific bags, which would directly map to repeat purchase and loyalty programs.
(b) Reusable bags can be made, which can be used by customers for other purposes as well, keeping in mind the shopping pattern of a typical Indian woman customer
(c) Apart from the retail outlets, where they would be mostly used, other touch points such as Bus Terminus, Railway Stations and Airports should be exploited as well
(d) Similar innovation can/should be extended to backpacks also
(e) Linking the Bags with the customer profile and integrating it with CRM and targeted in-store advertising. However, as per my limited understanding and knowledge, this might be slightly difficult to execute and get pertinent data, since the same carry bag might be used by various family members. Nonetheless, this option can be explored further.

Am sure there would be more options and avenues for Marketers to exercise their grey cells. But for now, innovation is being “handled” fantastically on these carry bags…

Have you been bagvertised lately?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Guerillas with a sense of Humor..

Some creatives invoke a thought process, others simply make you smile...Found some of these creatives at Arvind's Blog Though some of them may be tagged as "cheap humor", they do make you laugh. And yes, you need a bent of mind for this kind of stuff to understand these as well...;)

The Campaigns are:
- Zandu Ads created by TBWA India "Dont Sneeze"
- Mini Guerilla in the Urinal "Test your handling Skills"
- The "It can happen anywhere" Axe Campaignm, and
- Jik Cleaner...

Check your sense of humor..

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Social Marketing – Moving Beyond the Ps and the Role of Advertising

Clara Jacob and Nedra Kline Weinreich discuss at their respective blogs (Post Haste and Spare Change respectively) about the role of advertising in Social Marketing.

Through their insightful thoughts, there is definite take-away for marketers on the role of advertising (which is evolving into new media like mass mailings, media events and community outreach, apart from the traditional ones like public service announcements and billboards) in social marketing and how it can be leveraged to change the social behavior of the consumers.

In her post, Clara avers that Advertising can get people to change behavior for products and purchase patterns. But Advertising alone cannot change social behavior.
She illustrates the point with a classic example, when a coupon giving a dollar off a gallong of milk received a 60 percent response rate. This was nothing but a change of behavior which entailed a shift in purchase pattern of hundreds of consumers. However, social marketing does not work that way.

Nedra in her post Leading Horses to Water - the Role of Advertising reiterates that Advertising is only one piece of what needs to be considered in a social marketing program, and if the other necessary components are not there to back up the advertising, the campaign will not be successful.

Agreed. Customers do not change their behavior simply based on advertising. The message/communication needs to be supplemented with an entire integrated campaign comprising partners, affiliations and other important elements.

Nedra, in response to Clara’s blog entry has wonderfully explained the concept in her comments (Quoted verbatim):
The important role that advertising can play is in raising awareness that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, or in helping an individual realize that they are personally at risk if they do not adopt the behavior being promoted. Advertising can create an environment in which the target audience develops a favorable impression of the “product” (ie the behavior) and begins to see it as socially acceptable and desirable.

But for an everyday lifestyle change (e.g., eating in a healthy way) or even an occasional but emotionally difficult behavior (e.g., getting an HIV test), advertising does not always offer enough personal support to lead someone to take action. [It has to be supported by ] interpersonal communication from an influential person like a doctor, friend, family member….Advertising can lead the horse to water, but whether the horse drinks 8 glasses a day is another question.

Excellent thoughts, Nedra!

Just to tap the basics, a quick recap of what is “Social Marketing”, especially for the jargonizers like me ;).

Social Marketing has been defined by Nedra as a multi-dimensional approach, including public service announcements and other modes of advertising, used by marketers for health communication with an objective to change behavior pertaining to a particular social issue. With constant focus on the consumer and his feedback, strategies are built and initiatives evaluated.

Social marketing (according to Kotler and Andreasen) seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the general society. Apart from the 4Ps defined for Social Marketing, some additional Ps have been attributed to the concept – Public, Partnership, Policy and Purse Strings.

"Public" refers to the groups involved in the initiative, be it external (audience, policymakers, gatekeepers) or internal (approving authorities). “Partnership” refers to other organizations in the community, the support of which is required for the initiatives to really be effective. “Policy” refers to the changes required in the environment to support, complement and ensure sustainability of the behavioral changes occurred due to Social marketing programs; and finally, “Purse Strings” allude to the necessity of funds required for the operations, provided by sources such as foundations, governmental grants or donations.

The on August 29 (through Marketing Power News) discusses an integrated Social Marketing campaign that illustrates the concepts and ideas above. The campaign, being run by local officials with an objective to prevent underage drinking during the back-to-school season, involves partnership with some organizations and key interface points for the young kids, to spread the message.

Though partnership is part of the marketing mix “defined” for Social Marketing, the campaign has moved beyond the Ps to understand and resolve the issue at hand. This includes educating the bartenders, waitresses and merchants on ways to spot fake IDs (used by kids to get liquor) and running educational campaigns for middle and high school students.

Smart measures such as putting wristbands on older drinkers than the under-aged reduce the defaulting rate. Personal discussions with bar managers and store merchants about their responsibility towards the society and the community, has resulted in a much more comprehensive execution than simply “social communication”.

As is evident in this case, it is imperative to move beyond the prescribed framework, if one wants to translate a social campaign into an executable and effective strategy, than confine into a simple half-baked social communication, harping on social relevance!

Similarly, other Social campaigns would entail a mix that not only works on the platform built by the 8Ps, but leverages this framework further, to incorporate other initiatives, culminating into an integrated Social Marketing Campaign, something that is much beyond the partnerships and publics, something that is much more than Advertising…something that is much beyond the Ps….

Following are some of the Social Marketing campaigns that have been discussed at this blog before. Some of them do trigger a thought process, which could/would have translated into a realistic executable strategy. As Nedra pointed out, they leave the forum open after triggering a realization a thought process. It is upon the marketers then to complement it with an integrated campaign!

Question is - how many have done it?

Ketchup Sachet (New Zealand) – Campaign against Landmines (August 2006)
Social Marketing in Liberia – The Voice of a Nation (April 2006)
Childcare India “Push Him out of Begging” Campaign (April 2006)
Anti-Smoking campaigns (Jan 2006)
Outdoor India: Child Labor (December 2005)

[Photo Sources: Social Message and Billboard AIDs Awareness]

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Next target of In-store Advertising: Conveyor Belts

Advertising has no limits and boundaries, but of late, Advertisers have confined it to the retail stores only. Their latest target is the conveyor belts at the point-of-sale, being used as another advertising medium.

The opportunity was identified by Frank Cox, president-CEO of EnVision Marketing Group, which has patented the system to print digital, photo-quality ads directly on conveyor belts. According to him,"With a store with eight to 10 checkout lanes, you're talking about 100 square feet of wasted ad real estate." [Source:Adage]

Seems logical. When a limited set of consumers is being chased by an unlimited set of advertisers, each and every square foot of space inside the retail outlet is being tapped.

Whether it is the Hand Rails at the Escalator or the Escalators themselves, whether it is the shelves or the restrooms, whether it is the entrance or the point-of-purchase, advertisers do not want to leave out any options of indoor media untapped.

The clientele consists of Retailers ready to get the belts printed as well as brand marketers willing to tap this new medium. Currently being applied at 52 Kroger Stores and 13 Harp Food Stores in the United States, the concept is being used by local brands only. As of now, marketers of only local brands have come out to test this new media, with local real-estate agents and insurance brokers placing their ads.

Bigger brands might be apprehensive of the ROI of this medium and its application or might chip in after they have clearly understood how to usefully exploit it! Even the president of the company has not approached the bigger retailers like Wal-mart. According to him, he would ask them for space once the national brands have adopted this advertising medium for the stores!

With incentives such as “exclusivity” and “national reach”, the effort is definitely commendable. However, though the idea is unique and creative for sure, its effectiveness is debatable.

In-store Advertising Objective of such a medium could be to ensure high recall value, trigger an impulse purchase, and in some cases, simple exposures. Personally, I believe this mode would be effective if there is a shock value attached to the ad, since normal mundane ads might not attract any attention at all. If a consumer is busy tallying her purchases, and waiting for the total amount to be announced, it is highly unlikely that she would bother to “read” the messages placed in the ad. Hence, it would be logical for advertisers to place innovative ads that have some element of “shock” value to ensure recall or trigger an impulse.

Promotions also might not work in this case, since it is pretty unlikely that a customer would go back to purchase the products under promotion, though I did read up on branded bags used by retailers, which entailed the consumers going back to buy the advertised products! Can only wait and watch in this case.

Restroom Advertising Even if the idea works, how frequent can the ads be moved and replaced? Definite limitations such as Flexibility with the Ad modifications and the frequency of change obviate seasonal promotions being advertised on the conveyor belts. Local services can be advertised, but that restricts the reusability of the conveyor belts at other locations as well. To add to that, over exposure might also irritate the consumer at some point.

Am not sure of the consumer insights here, but there is a particular advertiser insight for sure, that can be inferred from this ….. “Desperately Seeking Consumers Attention” (DSCA) is what I would attribute this to, if not desperation per se.

Steve (Adrants) critiqued the concept in one of his entries,
“If you happen to work as a grocery or retail store clerk you might find yourself checking into a hospital for dizziness or a mental institution for insanity all caused by being forced to revolving ads on the conveyor belt in front of you”.
True. With so much advertising inside the stores, am sure very soon we would have more advertisements inside the store than the products/SKUs on display! Undoubtedly, the DSCAs would have their mission accomplished, with more of consumer attention and lesser portion of her wallet, inside the stores!

As Steve mocks at the idea of captive audience, “Perhaps Cox should start calling hospitals to place ads on the ceilings of patient's room”
Well said, Steve! By the way, did someone notice the floor? ;-)

[Photo Sources: In-store Advertising; Restroom Advertising]