Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Good ol' fashioned sampling campaigns -- which put products directly in the hands of influencers for feedback and buzz -- have made a resurgence, thanks to savvy, new methods that target consumers via online communities, social media agencies and dedicated services. Even in a dismal advertising climate, eMarketer expects social media and word-of-mouth spending to increase by 17% in 2009 because such tactics can prove ROI friendly with greater engagement and reach than traditional media.
Programs like Psst, VocalPoint and ModernMom.com's Mom Tested empower consumers to try products and share their feedback -- whether negative or positive -- for their peers to consult before making a purchase.
So, why would a marketer take the chance of being panned by an influential target market in a mass forum? One word: authenticity. According to a recent eMarketer report, 50% of moms find online reviews from "others like me" to be a valuable source of information. One glowing review or a slew of positive comments lacks substance while, a majority of honest compliments among a few criticisms brings authenticity and is worth the risk.
Glenn Williams, a manager for P&G's Mr. Clean brand has gladly offered products for review to online users. "The reason we did it," he said, "is that we look at products like our Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and we know that the best influencer for the purchase of that is a peer. We wanted to get mom peers talking about the product."
So, how do marketers get involved in effective sampling and word of mouth campaigns? Some pointers:
1. Target the recipients of your product: You know your product best and who should test it. Determine a clear set of demographics and psychographics to fine tune your sample list against. Deploy a custom survey to further fine tune recipients if necessary. The key here is not to control the group, but place the product in hands of likely consumers. Target wisely: Don't send cheeseburger offers to vegans.
2. Look for a partner with an engaged community: Sites that offer reviews but lack consistent repeat traffic for other content and community lack engagement. Ideally, you want to look for readers who are connected to their peers and trust their opinions within a community that they are active in.
3. Continue to engage with your influencers: Consider making some consumers from these tests your product evangelists -- whether they offer feedback to you directly on occasion, or participate consistently on your brand site or continue to spread the word to potential consumers. "Real" consumers who believe in your product and can offer an honest voice -- though careful to disclose any relationships or compensation -- can prove to be highly effective.
Word of mouth strategies are effective on many levels. The key is to be authentic in your outreach and expect authentic feedback in return.
How did P&G's Williams feel about a few negative reviews of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser product?
"I was not disappointed that a small percentage of reviews were less than favorable," he says. "It only adds credibility. If all of them were favorable, well, that's not the real world."
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Please visit my lemonade stand and help support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. When you buy a virtual glass of lemonade, 100% of the proceeds will go to OCRF to support research to find a cure, and you will be entered for a chance to win a new French Door Refrigerator with Perfect Temp Drawer™ from Electrolux. Plus, for every lemonade stand opened, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF*.
Every effort helps in the fight against ovarian cancer. I hope that you will join our campaign!
*As part of its lemonade stand campaign, for each stand opened, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF (with a minimum of 10k and a maximum of 15k)
Monday, June 8, 2009
by Jack Humphrey on June 8, 2009
According to eMarketer, 34 Million moms log onto the web each month. That makes them one of the largest user groups online today. They’re powerful too. I call them the “momfia!”
They may look unimposing. But just cross them in the wrong way and you’re in a whole heap of trouble! Ignore them and you’re missing out. Get on their good sides, respect them, and just see what can happen!
What’s the big deal about moms?
- They know more about what the kids are doing online - so they know more about the web in general.
- They make the bulk of household purchase decisions.
- They chat it up - mommy blogs have some of the highest comment counts of any blogs on the web today.
- They network. Mommy blogger groups are everywhere. And they are some of the most networked people on the web today.
- They take each other seriously. Their brand of networking is not just casual. They are pretty hardcore about using their groups to help each other a lot more than other groups do.
Here are 10 misconceptions about Mommy bloggers from a mommy blogger who knows.
What do moms have to do with you?
Well, the household purchase decisions should have you sitting up in your seat. What can you do to make sure you are “mom friendly” in your marketing? How about how you describe your products and services? Do you sound like someone a mom would follow, buy from, or blog about?
Mom’s have a language of their own online. They have special keywords that evoke meanings that are different for them than other people.
Knowing these things can help you reach out in more meaningful ways to this powerful, savvy demographic. Because another thing moms do is buy from each other! Trust is everything for them, like with most people. But they are so well-connected, they don’t often have to go outside their circles to buy stuff they need or want.
They trust each others recommendations and buy according to what their circle likes.
Being recommended by a “hub mommy,” (someone who, by simply nodding in your direction, could send you tons of traffic and send sales soaring), is a big deal. Any advertiser can tell you that. More ad dollars are spent on mommy blogs than probably any other type of blog on the web! Advertisers know moms are one of the very most valuable audiences to get in front of on the web.
Learn about the mommy craze. This large group deserves your respect and attention when you are working to impress some of the most powerful people on the web!
Get to know mommy (or Mom) bloggers to get a feel for the Momfia
- Heather Armstrong - Dooce.com
- Amy Amy Lupold Bair - Resourceful Mommy
- Elizabeth King Humphrey - (no relation) :) Coastal Carolina Moms
- Laurie Turk - Tip Junkie
- Melanie Edwards - Modern Miami
- Jessica Smith - Jessica Knows
- Renegade Moms - Don’t Call It A Mommy Blog, Dammit!
Need More Mommy?
Check out Radical Parenting’s list of top 50 mommy bloggers.
Could proposed sweeping changes in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines shipwreck social media marketing and alter the common practice of using third-party spokespeople to deliver brand messages?
"Agencies and clients, especially those working in the social media space, must understand that the FTC's efforts to address deceptive practices can create liability and exposure," said Michael Lasky, senior partner at Davis & Gilbert LLP, a New York law firm that specializes in advertising and communications law.
At issue are additions and modifications now under consideration in the FTC's, "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials." Final ruling on the Guides is expected sometime later this summer or early fall. Behind the proposed changes is what Lasky terms, "The 10 Commandments of commercial marketing as found in Section 5 of the FTC Act -- summed up as -- thou shall not commit a false or deceptive practice." The FTC is working to address this: A blogger or spokesperson's failure to disclose a fact or event that could alter the consumer's decision regarding a product or service.
The exploding role citizen journalists and bloggers now play, and the long-standing practice of employing third-party spokespeople for media interviews sit squarely in the bull's-eye of the proposed ruling.
Where's the Danger Zone?
Clients and agencies should look closely at the FTC's efforts in order to steer out of harm's way and any attending legal entanglements. The danger zone and acquired liability arise when marketers pay bloggers or provide other "consideration" such as free products and services in return for a favorable post. The problem is not in the consideration or payment but failure to disclose it. And, thus, tempting a breakdown of the Mom Test -- would mom feel differently about what she reads or hears in a blog post or interview if certain facts were disclosed, whether they be material data or the matter of payment?
Need for Transparency
With liability looming on the horizon, now is the time to carefully examine practices and procedures to help address the disclosure issue up front.
Agencies and clients, if they haven't already, should adopt written guidelines that come into play when any "consideration" is involved. The guidelines must work explicitly to "make it clear the company wants the blogger to disclose whether any compensation or any other item of tangible value, such as free product, has been received in return for a favorable post or review," said Allison Fitzpatrick, associate counsel at Davis & Gilbert LLP.
When outside third-party experts or celebrity spokespeople are retained for interviews, the acid test is whether or not the consumer will recognize the relationship is paid. According to Lasky, if it is not readily apparent that a celebrity or expert is under contract, then the relationship with the marketer should be mentioned.
Again, the disclosure rule of thumb is transparency first. Spokesperson agreements should specify that the relationship be acknowledged in any interview. This can be accomplished through a statement such as, "I'm here today on behalf of (brand name goes here)."
Again, these rules apply when "consideration" is involved. The world changed concerning what is protected under the First Amendment during the famed Nike vs. Kasky case that put press releases in the spotlight as a commercial marketing tool.
So in the new age of transparency and disclosure, brands should navigate the communications landscape with care about being upfront. Look to the Mom Test as a starting point in your decisions about what to say and when.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
He was life flighted to Children's Hospital today. We don't know if the little boy will survive or not.
His parents, Tom and Cherie Carter, have other young children too. They are strong Christians and have a strong faith in our Lord, but, they are suffering in an unimaginable way right now.
The Carter Family will be taking Noah off of life support at a ceremony today at Noon. Your prayers are felt by all. There is still time for a miracle and we all believe the Lord is doing a mighty work in this tragic situation.
Noah looks so good. Healthy, good color, and at peace. His brain is completely dead, though. Only the stem remains alive and is keeping the heart beating. The nurses are saying it cannot get any worse as brain conditions go.
Please pray for the Carter Family today as they need to go through some grueling interviews and sign off paperwork for the life support and organ donations. Then they will have the official ceremony at Noon. This will be a tough day for the family.
Thank you for taking the time to pray for the Carters.