Content marketing is top-of-mind around the office this spring. All of the posts and articles that have caught our attention recently discuss different shades of content marketing, especially ways to stay relevant within the customer’s buying journey.
Pro-bono assignments can present a challenging predicament for any agency. On one hand, the agency team is typically very excited to lend their creative expertise to develop something truly special, often for an inspiring nonprofit cause. On the flip side, (while rarely stated) an agency must evaluate the overall pro-bono commitment and ensure the proper resource allocation is in play–after all, paying clients take precedence.
CMD was recently presented with the opportunity to help AC Portland, a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform communities through youth soccer. The specific assignment focused on AC Portland’s silent auction fundraiser, the organization’s first, held on March 7, 2013. The money raised from the fundraiser would help AC Portland continue serving 400 Portland-area students with soccer programming, creative writing, service learning and nutrition education.
Why was CMD so excited for this opportunity?
Let’s face it. We live in Portland, Oregon, aka Soccer City USA. Many CMD employees bleed green and gold for The Timbers. The Thorns of the NWSL recently took the city by storm in their inaugural home match. CMD played an instrumental part in the JELD-WEN Field sponsorship development and implementation. We then get to leverage this passion for the beautiful game and help kids in need. What could be better?
Selecting a pro-bono project team that is eager and excited about the challenge at hand obviously sets the stage for success–and that’s just what CMD did. Our team’s mindset was to treat AC Portland just like any other client that comes through CMD’s door. While this effort may have required more night and weekend hours, our intention to deliver sound strategy, creative solutions and flawless execution never wavered.
RAISE 2013 Takes the Field
So what exactly did CMD do? It started with AC Portland coming to us with a kernel of an event idea. Given this was AC Portland’s first foray into an auction-focused live event, we evaluated a series of solutions based on a variety of parameters. While we were certainly presented with challenges along the way, CMD and AC Portland remained optimistic and flexible to ensure the best possible outcome.
We worked in lockstep with the client to establish the most effective approach and lay the groundwork for the overriding fundraising theme–RAISE 2013. The theme was developed not only for this lone event, but also to serve as a rally cry for future AC Portland fundraising activities.
The RAISE campaign took shape and extended into all facets of promotion including the event landing page, posters, email and social media outreach. CMD’s approach with all event communications was to infuse a fun and energetic tone and stay away from the “tug-the-heart- strings” messaging technique. Further, CMD was heavily involved in the procurement of auction items and coordination of all event logistics.
But something was missing. The essence of AC Portland’s mission, beyond the information provided on their website, needed to be captured through an inspiring statement. CMD proposed telling this story through the voices of the children whom AC Portland impacts most. The result was a short video that was shot during a special soccer session held on the adidas headquarters pitch. Capturing this story was important, but even better was seeing AC Portland’s commitment to these kids firsthand, not to mention the ecstatic and energetic attitude of all participants. Once the kids hit the pitch, they never slowed down!
The sold-out RAISE 2013 event was held at Casa Del Matador NW, which provided an intimate atmosphere for attendees to socialize and preview the wide array of auction items. Andy Carson of Fox 12 Portland served as emcee while event-goers rubbed elbows with Portland Timbers players Darlington Nagbe, Brent Richards and Futty Danso. Also on hand were mascot Timber Joey and Portland Thorns’ local superstar Danielle Foxhoven, who played an instrumental role in helping with the auction.
In the end, the silent auction saw a lot of participation with folks bidding on everything from valuable soccer memorabilia to a variety of goods donated by local businesses. The overall result was not only a healthy financial contribution but also great awareness building of AC Portland’s mission.
The Most Important Lessons Learned?
Not to state the obvious, but the best lessons learned are simple. When taking on a pro-bono assignment:
Commit to the effort just like an agency would for any other paying client
Embrace the opportunity to lend strategic, creative and executional resources to an organization in need
Give the client your best work and don’t forget to have fun along the way
Here’s what AC Portland said about the experience:
“It was such an honor to get the opportunity to work so closely with the CMD team to help RAISE 2013 be a success! As executive director of AC Portland, I have experienced the ups and downs of the nonprofit world. So often, people promise the world and underdeliver. CMD treated us like a client, and gave 110% of what was promised! For that experience alone, it restored my hope in nonprofit work.” - Ben Dudley, Executive Director, AC Portland
The results speak for themselves and in a word are…beautiful.
There are some excellent fodder for your next digital marketing brainstorm in this week’s headline roundup, from locating influencers on Pinterest to contemplating what it’s like to be a social media DJ. Click on names to follow some of our awesome agency leaders on Twitter. Click on the article links to get reading. Enjoy!
I bought a pair of shoes yesterday―admittedly, not earth-shattering news.
But it brought to mind the discussion many brands are having these days about “driving to end of funnel.” Maybe you’ve heard this term. It reflects the desire to shortcut the typical awareness, consideration and purchase process, and go straight to sales.
Wouldn’t that be nice? If only you could actually get consumers to stop all that pondering and buy already! Just imagine all the money we’d save on marketing.
Which brings me back to my shoe purchase. While poking around Facebook, I spotted an ad for Zappos for 40% off on boots. Being a boot fanatic, this caught my eye. But rather than shopping right then, I logged off, poured a cup of coffee and decided to go back and browse Pinterest to see if any styles were trending. As I had to catch a plane that morning, I packed up and headed to the airport. A Zappos ad on the security bins reminded me of the deal, so while waiting to board, I went directly to Zappos.com, found the boots I was looking for and the rest, as they say, is shoe history.
Facebook probably doesn’t much appreciate what I did. Nor does Pinterest. And likewise, it’s a bummer for the internal marketing team who, without a much deeper set of behavior analytics to give them the ability to track my ping pong-like behavior, most likely credited my “conversion” to the Web team. The poor social ad buy team was left to justify their spend on Facebook with only those suspect impression numbers to arm them, since I took no action originating from there.
The real story is that Facebook was the inspiration for my purchase. Pinterest was another breadcrumb on the trail. Airport advertising gave me a nudge in the right direction. The Zappos site simply hosted the transaction.
Too often, marketers think of the purchase journey as a narrow funnel, where consumers slide down the slippery slope of an ironclad chute we’ve built for them, reinforced by data, until they are blindly force-fed a purchase after they hit bottom. They tend to put less priority at the top and want to focus all on the bottom, where they believe that transactional goodness takes place. Yet, even with big data insights and better abilities to track behavior, we intuitively know it doesn’t quite work that way.
I prefer to think of successful marketing efforts not as a funnel, but as tempting morels of inspiration, education and motivation―breadcrumbs that entice consumers to discover and find many paths to purchase that reflects how most people actually buy. In the quest for how to create the best sales journey, the idea of how a conversion takes place has to take into account for when a mindset decision is made (which can happen at any point), as well as where action takes place.
So my theory is that marketers need to stop looking for the shortcuts, and instead combine the knowledge that numbers give them with an understanding of human behavior, recognizing every step is important. And speaking of steps, holler if you know of any other great shoe sales going on out there―I’m self-identifying as a qualified lead.
Guest Post by Kevin Murphy, CMD’s Director of Digital Strategy
Flying cars, jet packs, ads that sense your mood, universal translators that work, virtual account managers . . .
Unfortunately, Jules Verne didn’t write about the agency of the future, but many Verne-like concepts that were marketing science fiction a few years ago are just around the corner.
Tomorrow’s brands won’t care about demographics, impressions or reach. They’ll care about behavior, and affinity. Content, offers and messages will be defined on the fly, based on things like audience behavior and personal context. Marketing and customer experience will become inseparable, with customer advocacy as important as lead generation. Already, we are seeing marketing triage centers that enable creative to react to opportunities within minutes.
Last month, the Harvard Business Review Blog Network posted an article outlining what marketing agencies will do differently in the future. In the article, the author asks, “So, now what? How do agencies ensure their future by being able to help brands sell more and build stronger loyalty in such a disrupted and disintermediated world, where every individual is consuming so much media from so many different channels?”
To answer the how in the above question, the agency of the future will not only care about behavior, but also about the environment the content is consumed in. It will measure impact and behavior in real time and adjust campaigns dynamically. The future agency will build tools and campaigns that are responsive to the context of the customer need and dynamically modify creative, offers and experiences. The barriers between social media, PR, advertising, out-of-home, and digital will vanish as campaigns focus on end-to-end integrated experiences.
Traditional competencies like storytelling, creative, strategy and messaging don’t go away. But instead of agencies being fully focused on pushing brand messages, they will selectively match brands to customers. With the growing amount of noise in a consumer’s day, agencies that can offer utility to customers—not just brands, will be the most successful.
How is CMD embracing this future?
We’re rethinking content . . . We’re developing content that’s designed to be useful and measuring its usage in real time. We understand that there is not a single path to purchase and that customers consume information from many sources. Our goal is to deliver content that resonates wherever the customer is in their decision making, from evaluation to advocacy. We know that content with value gets shared. We’re designing contextual experiences with responsive design. Our goal is to increasingly deliver tailored content and experience based on the optimal moment of need and impact.
The barriers between marketing functions are falling. The consumer experience is seamless, and that drives seamless integration on our end. We tell stories across channels that can stand on their own, or be stitched together to form a master narrative that follow the customer from corporate website to Facebook, to Instagram, to TV.
We measure everything. CMD continues to grow its investment in analytics and data visualization. Great reporting is a huge value-add, and also enables our teams to see results in real time (or close to it) and adjust campaigns on the fly.
We might not drive flying cars to meetings. Only a few members of our account staff have started growing tentacles—they help with multi-tasking. And, despite the lack of jetpacks around the agency, the age of behavior-driven marketing is here. We’re happy about it.
Guest post written by John O’Connell, Associate Creative Director.
ASUS came to CMD to help them promote their groundbreaking new dual-screen laptop, the ASUS TAICHI, to run as online advertising during the NCAA March Madness tournament. The goal of the ad was to create an emotional, engaging introduction to the ASUS TAICHI and to increase ASUS brand awareness with basketball fans. The ad focuses on the nuances of touch in basketball and ties that into the TAICHI’s unique touch capabilities. This spot was shot over 3 days in Portland and Los Angeles and is narrated by (and features) legendary NBA coach, Phil Jackson.
A key technical lead at CMD, Seth Mills-Cannon has been giving Facebook Graph Search a workout in the last couple of weeks. We wanted to get his take on it as an individual user, and also learn what marketers should be focusing on for this new feature of Facebook.
JULIE: What are some of the features of Facebook Graph Search that first caught your attention when you tried out the beta?
SETH: I found the real-time interactive behavior of the search to be both fascinating and distracting. As you type, the search shows results based on what you’ve entered (similar to Google Live Search), but since the results are usually directly relevant to your experience on Facebook (your friends, your Likes, etc.), I found myself drawn in much more than with Google Live Search, because I could immediately see the connections between what I was intending to search for and what was being shown as a result within Facebook. This prompted me to explore much more than I would have with a normal “enter search term, click Submit, browse results” style of search. In the process, I saw names of Facebook friends who I haven’t talked to in a while as well as Facebook Pages that I’ve liked at some point in the past but haven’t revisited since. I followed some of these unexpected pathways through the results and found a few Pages which had updated significantly.
JULIE: Was it difficult to adjust to the behavior of the search bar? SETH: I found that the search bar behavior became less distracting and more intriguing the more I used it. After awhile, I started evaluating why some of the results were appearing as I typed, which encouraged me to try combining different search terms to see if I could get the same results by rewording the query, or if I would get distinct results when I changed only a few words.
One frustration that I encountered was confusing “forward/back” behavior while searching. Unlike Google Search, with Graph Search, I wasn’t able to explore a particular path of results, then back up to my original search term, and choose a different path to follow. Instead, the current Facebook page changed every time I clicked the Back button in the browser, and I had to retype my search term and start over. This leads me to think that Facebook intends or expects their users to find the most relevant result the first time they click through. This could certainly be a valid philosophy, since Facebook’s pool of data is deep but nowhere near as deep as Google’s; expecting users to get the “right” result on the first try is more feasible when they have a personal connection to the data to begin with and the volume of potential results isn’t as enormous as Googles would be.
JULIE: There are lots of ways to customize search, such as timeframe or hometown. What do you think is most important for users to focus on?
SETH: In terms of particular filters to refine a search, I don’t think there’s going to be a single filter or even a set of filters that apply to every search. Most users will probably use a combination of:
Guesses about the demographics and volume of their personal pool of data (How many people/pages do I think will match my search?)
A sense of how much time they want to spend browsing/evaluating results (Will I get overwhelmed by reading through all these results?)
Adapting their expectations to match the results that are returned as they try different filters to determine which filters to try. (Do I need to change what I’m searching for to get more results?) More than anything, though, I think users will use the filters in Graph Search as part of a more interactive, exploration-based process.
Based on the depth of information available through Graph Search, I suspect that most users should start with a general query, to get an idea of the results their search will generate, then refine using the sidebar.
JULIE: What do you think is the most important thing for marketers to focus on?
SETH: As with most new features from Facebook, the algorithms behind Graph Search will likely change over the next few weeks and months, so I don’t think there’s a single approach for marketers that will work across all users and brands, but here are some recommendations based on what I’ve seen so far:
Make sure your brand has a Page on Facebook for each physical location, and promote awareness of the relevant local Page to customers who interact with your brand. For example, if you have a chain of restaurants, don’t focus on increasing views to your corporate page; encourage your staff and customers to Like the local Page relevant to where they work or buy from your company. This strengthens the person-to-person connections between your customers, their Facebook friends, and your local Page.
Establish a consistent way to name all the Pages for your brand. For example, if you have a chain of restaurants, consider something like:
“McHanson’s Bar & Grill: Oregon” (one location in the USA)
“McHanson’s Bar & Grill: Portland, OR” (one location in Oregon)
“McHanson’s Bar & Grill: NW 123rd Street, Portland, OR” (multiple locations in Portland)
Be only as specific as needed to help your customers distinguish between multiple locations and remember to consider how your customers interact with your physical locations. Communicate this naming convention to everyone in your organization who manages Pages for your brand. Being consistent across your company except for a single page named “The BEST McHanson’s Bar & Grill” could be confusing and dilute your efforts to connect customers with physical locations.
Graph Search treats photos as a separate category of data with its own degree of importance. Encourage your customers to share photos of themselves, tagged with the local Page (ideally the physical location connected to this Page is where the photos were taken) and their Facebook friends. This intersection of “a Page I like,” and “people I know and trust” will create the greatest relevance within Graph Search and therefore, the best rankings within the results.
JULIE: What about the big question anytime Facebook makes changes, Privacy?
SETH: Facebook’s attention to privacy has definitely had its ups and downs. With Graph Search, Facebook maintains that individual user settings for Privacy will be respected; bear in mind that some users are not fully aware of the steps needed to make their content private, so they may be surprised or concerned when unexpected connections appear in Graph Search results. At least one blogger discovered that searching for combinations of factors which reflect negatively on the resulting Facebook users (e.g., people who work for a particular company and have Liked the Facebook page for Racism) will return a surprisingly large group of people who probably wouldn’t like to have their unsavory Likes publicized. However, this cuts both ways, as it will likely prompt Facebook users to take a more active role in evaluating and maintaining their Likes and public information, generating more accurate results via Graph Search.
What are your experiences with Facebook Graph Search so far?
It’s no secret that when executed properly, integrated marketing campaigns can be a highly effective way to reach an audience. Using different campaign touch points that work together to illustrate a common message can influence and make an impact. However, sometimes creative teams are put to the test with a need to combine different creative concepts together. This is always a risk when presenting multiple ideas and creates a chance of diluting the goal of the initial campaign promise, especially when working across agency and in-house marketing teams. However, occasionally a project comes along where the client and the agency become true partners in realizing the campaign to its full potential. This was the case in our recent campaign launch for ASUS.
Our assignment was to create a campaign theme and logo, a fully responsive website, a TV spot to run on-line and in movie theaters and banner ads driving traffic to the website and an earned media effort that included a Facebook sweepstakes and a custom, download-able music track created by a YouTube influencer. The goals were to raise awareness of ASUS products being released with Windows 8 and drive sales from the point of entry to select retailer sites. Lastly, we needed to incorporate an existing ASUS brand message – Incredible- into the messaging.
We presented four ideas, with the client ultimately taking bits and pieces from three of them to combine one idea; ASUS and You. Incredible Together. A tag line from one idea, a video idea from another, and a social campaign from yet another. Yes, we were concerned. But the collaboration between internal teams and ASUS worked well and ultimately made it a stronger campaign.
During development of Incredible Together, we began sharing assets with ASUS; photography, logos, messaging and other assets that they then used to create other campaign components. They took our visual direction and the marketing elements we created and executed them into POS materials, a huge monitor display in Times Square and print ads, all of which helped to round out the campaign and make a larger impression.
Working together, sharing ideas and assets and creating a strong creative platform allowed us, and ASUS, to be incredible together. Check out the website and video at incredibletogether.asus.com.
During this year’s Super Bowl, the plays that made headlines weren’t limited to the gridiron. Oreo is dominating the Monday-morning quarterbacking for its on-the-spot play during The Great Blackout. Here’s a selection of articles we’re sharing around the water cooler today at CMD: