Category Archives: Social Media

Advertisers vs. Agency Digital Marketing Projections for 2011

Here’s an interesting report on what advertisers think is going to happen in digital marketing in 2011 as compared to what agencies think.

The first point this chart makes is that in 2011 most everyone agrees there will be an increase in spending on digital marketing.   The only substantial predicted decline is in Display, where agencies see a 32% decline while advertisers predict only a 12% decline.

Agencies seem to be more interested in Mobile than advertisers, as they should be.  A recent report claims that 25% of all new car buyers used a mobile device to research their new car purchase.   That’s a big percentage of people researching a big ticket item, agencies should be paying attention and leading their clients in that direction.

Digital marketing is still in a state of flux as new tools continue to come online, so the fact that agencies are thinking one way and advertisers another is understandable and probably healthy for the industry.  In the old days predictions of increased spending were generally based on the economy, not on new mediums.   This is a lot more interesting.

Smaller Retailers Spending More on Social Media

Here’s another indication that your small retailers increased their usage of social media in 2010 and intend to use it even more in 2011.

This report is just another in a long line of indicators that social media sites, primarily Facebook, are becoming more important to small retailers and it’s been said that their Facebook pages have become their local web site.

It’s also interesting to note that retailers are spending the same or less money every year on traditional media.

There are three obvious reasons why a Facebook site is so appealing to a small retailer.  It’s free, it’s easy and it’s popular.

The challenge for a brand manager is to understand this trend and adjust your marketing efforts to take full advantage of your dealers and consumers online interactions.

We think you have to add the ability to post information to a dealer’s Facebook page from your ad builder.   That way you reach consumers where they are, you control your brand at the local level and you help your retailers take advantage of this wonderful new cost-effective media tool.

Print is still important but the new media is catching up fast.

Facebook Deserves To Be Part of Your Local Media Plans

Local advertising continues to change and what may have been a farfetched media idea a few years ago, should be a part of your plans today.   Look at this chart from eMarketer about Facebook penetration in the US.

While you may not be convinced that buying display ads on Facebook is right for you, we’ve seen major brands adding brand content to ad builders and teaching retailers how to add that content to their Facebook pages.

Facebook made this a little more complicated recently by changing from FBML to HTML and making a few other changes in their requirements.  No matter, the fact remains that consumers are going to Facebook for a variety of reasons, including checking out local retailers who sell your products.

And, your retailers are finding it easy and inexpensive to maintain a Facebook page for their business.   So the opportunity and smart move is to provide your retailers with your brand’s Facebook friendly digital content that they can use on their Facebook pages, without any publication costs for you or your retailers.

Retail advertising really isn’t anything like what it used to be.

25% of New Car Buyers Do Their Research via a Mobile Device

Local advertising continues to change at, if possible, an even faster pace than last year.  We’ve read, written and heard a lot about the need for mobile sites as the younger generations rely on their phones more than their computers to access the Internet and to communicate with one another.

Here’s a screenshot from a recent Google blog post.

This statistic jumped out at me because while I saw the need for mobile sites for retailers, I thought we were still a little ahead of  consumer demand.  Well, I don’t think that so much anymore.  It can’t be teenagers buying cars and using a mobile site to get product information, mobile is for grownups, too.

There is a huge void that needs to be filled.  Your retailers barely have a decent web site, they’re playing with Facebook and don’t have a clue on how to get a mobile site built.  Well, as a brand manager, you can fill this void right from your ad builder.  In addition to building newspaper ads and flyers, build and host mobile friendly pages for your retailers.  Now, you’ll be combining your brand message and product information with your retailer’s input to deliver a great sales presentation right where it can help you the most, right into the hands of your most likely prospect.

The technology is here now.  Go mobile!

It's Time to Take Your Brand Message to Local Facebook Fan Pages

Here is an interesting report about who has a Facebook fan page by category.

For  many local retailers a Facebook fan page has become their local web site and as a brand marketer, you have to worry about what they are saying on these pages about your brand.  Because a Facebook fan page is so easy to change, it should make you even more nervous.

There are several ways we’ve seen to take  control of how a brand message plays out on Facebook.  One of the best ones we’ve worked on is to provide a tab section for a Facebook fan page to your retailers.

It happens inside of our ad builder, where we teach a retailer how to add a brand tab and then give them all the necessary content to present your brand the way you want.  Now your retailer gets great looking, brand friendly content to add to their fan page and you get to present your message to their customers without anyone paying for media.

Local advertising is getting cheaper, better and faster.   Local Facebook fan pages should be a part of your marketing mix.

Here’s How Dealer Microsites Become a Local Advertising Network for Brand Managers

As the internet becomes more localized (because of all that is happening with local search, mobile and even local twitter) brands have to keep pace and deliver local information to consumers or risk losing their interest.

Here’s one way to deliver regional promotions and promotions for specific dealers economically.


Some promotions aren’t national and therefore can’t be a part of your brand site, but all is not lost if you have a robust dealer microsite system.  With dealer microsites you’re in position to quickly publish regional or dealer promotions based on the dealer’s sales level or by the products they carry.

Link to these mircosites from your dealer locator and you have your own internet advertising network that reaches thousands of your most likely prospects daily, without any publication costs.

With a good online admin tool, dealers will be able to enter their own promotions giving your customers even more compelling reasons to head for your best dealers.

Once this system is in place, it will work beyond your dealer locator, too.  These dynamically generated pages can become landing pages for Google local adword campaigns, email efforts and even Facebook dealer fan pages.

It’s like having your own online advertising network, except cheaper.

Local Online Marketing – Pay-Per-Click, Display Ads, Facebook, Twitter…

Channel Program

The Channel Program is a software platform connecting all players in an industry vertical. Built around the independent retailer, it links them to their manufacturers, buying groups, distributors, customers – anyone a dealer interacts with in conducting their business.

Participants in the Channel Program can have a wide variety of tools for all aspects of their business, from managing their Channel Program website to receiving and responding to quote requests from site visitors to managing a full-fledged e-commerce system that lets them sell directly from their site.

Collaborative E-commerce Platform

One of the most exciting parts of the Channel Program system is the Collaborative E-commerce Platform (CEP). The Collaborative E-commerce platform allows manufacturers to sell directly from their websites, but transfers the sales to authorized dealers in the manufacturer’s national or international dealer network. It’s a win-win-win solution – consumers who want to buy when they’re visiting the manufacturer get to, local retailers are brought in to the transaction and channel conflict is avoided, and the manufacturer

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Facebook is Starting to Creep Me Out

Social marketing is on a fast track to become a part of our everyday marketing plans and efforts.   And, Facebook may lead the way, unless they mess up the security and privacy issues that have plagued them for sometime.  Like this feature:

So, Facebook will allow my friends to check me in to places?  So, I’m out of the house somewhere, or not, and someone across the room posts my location?

This sounds a little creepy to me and if it sounds that way to others, Facebook will raise more fears about privacy.

Social is here to stay.  Places has the potential to be a fantastic local marketing tool.  Facebook might ruin their own good fortune by doing things simply because they can.  Creepy doesn’t sell.

Let's End the Year on a Positive Note

Now is the time of year when we evaluate the past and look toward the future.   Here’s a report from Wells Fargo/Gallup that tells us our small businesses are starting to feel better about their future.  And,that’s good for all of us.

Since many of our retailers fall into this category and/or sell products to consumers who work for small businesses this is a faint but nonetheless positive sign.

As the economy improves it’s clear that retailers won’t go back to the good old days of advertising, when they spent most of their money advertising on radio and in newspapers.  All of the studies we’ve seen indicate that SMBs learned a lesson during these past few years and now understand that consumers are online and they need to be there too with microsites, e-promo pages, Google landing pages, Facebook fan pages,  mobile sites and more.

If there is anything we can learn from looking back is that the future of local advertising is going to be much different, better and much more exciting than the past.  Happy New Year!

Online Ad Spending Beats Newspaper Spending for First Time

We’ve seen it coming for years but 2010 will go down as the first year ever that advertisers spent more money online than on newspapers in the U.S.

I think the biggest reason this didn’t happen sooner is that it’s hard to spend that much money online.

Consumers have been spending more and more time online over the years to the point where today they spend as much time online as they do watching television and simultaneously leaving printed newspaper readership way behind.

Newspapers still have great local franchises and they will be a part of local advertising for many years to come both online and offline but we can’t ignore the value of online advertising, especially for local advertising.

As a marketer you should look at this chart and ask yourself whether you’ve adjusted your marketing efforts to match the dramatic change that has happened in the past few years.  If not, now is the time to be building co-branded digital sites, microsites, landing pages, social sub-sites, mobile and e-promo pages with input from your dealers.

The technology is here.