Tag Archives: Advertising

Interruption Marketing Is Alive and Well

If I hear “interruption marketing is dead” one more time, I will scream and blow up my car. Maybe then I’ll have their attention.

“The battlefield is relevance. Talk directly to me, or I’m not listening.”

“Interruption marketing” triggers a “something is different alarm, check it out” reflex that has wiring deep inside our reptile brain we inherited from dinosaurs. So, the same neurons that helped Bambi elude a T-Rex are the same ones that keep you glued to the TV to watch an ad with hamsters driving cars.

Social media is interruption marketing, too.

Our social behavior, technology and use of media are changing at warp speed, but the wiring that makes us pay attention to it has not.

Whenever a marketer posts on social media, engages prospect in a conversation through an app or an email, we have a singular goal. That’s to create content that will divert the prospect’s attention from Angry Birds to your brand.

The difference is we don’t have to shout like we did when speaking to big demographic swaths through old-time TV networks, radio and newspapers. Now, because we have the ability to target and converse with micro segments, the battlefield has switched to relevance. Talk directly to me, or I’m not listening. But make no mistake about it, our goal is to interrupt and divert the attention of our friends, followers or fans to our message du jour. So impact and retention still depends on a gleaming attention-getting content, whether it’s a 140 character Tweet, or a viral video about your exploits in Vegas.

“The media is the message,” but it’s a hollow tube unless there’s something of meaning inside it.

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Data, Easy. Ideas, Hard.

Here’s a quote for Joseph Gelman of the Brand Consultancy, Prophet, that practically made us dance.

“Today, coming up with data, analyzing it and transforming it into fact-based recommendations is easy to achieve. Any big company can do it in a very powerful way. The problem is that their competitors can do it too, so developing marketing, branding and innovation decisions based strictly on facts is no longer enough.

“What truly differentiates a brand is taking those facts, completing them with non-traditional sources of inspiration and applying a process to spark creativity and result in powerful ideas.

“And this is truly hard to do.”
(via American Marketing Association)

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Democracy: The Enemy of Marketing

One man, one vote works brilliantly in democracy, which moves slowly and mitigates risk at every corner. But it’s a tepid way to run a brand. Instead of focusing on results, marketing democracies seek to placate their constituencies, employees, boards, spouses, and sometimes ex-wives. It poisons everything in your marketing, from strategy and creative to research and advertising execution. Not to mention the traction you lose by plodding along.

What’s a marketing director to do? Dictate, we say. Take counsel, but don’t follow advice if it doesn’t resonate with your plan. Be aggressive and succeed wildly. If you fail, blame the agency. Either way is a better move than a career of mediocre results.

  • Determine who in your organization is required for approvals, i.e. the smallest group possible.
  • State goals, objectives and timelines that are realistic, but light a fire under your colleagues.
  • Develop a strategy that’s understandable by anybody in your company. Make your approval group sign it in blood. Solicit and assimilate feedback.
  • Explain that the creative work that you present will meet the strategy.
  • Present the work by restating the strategy and objectives.
  • Gain agreement that the work will deliver the strategy.
  • Sell like crazy.
  • Unless you welcome copy changes from spouses, don’t let anyone leave the room with the work.
  • Maintain focus. Don’t dilute your plan and budget with last minute add-ons.
  • Execute with a vengeance.
  • Plan your celebratory extra week of vacation.

Don’t vote on it. Do it!

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Marketing Kung Fu: Co-branding for Greater Clout

We’re declaring August National Co-branding month, because we think it’s a great antidote for marketing budgets stretched to the breaking point. Co-branding, which, in English, means getting together with other companies to create awesome promotions you couldn’t pull off individually. By pooling internal marketing resources, visibility on existing advertising, blogs and web sites, you and your co-branding partners can minimize out-of-pocket expenditures. Apply creativity and your partnership could also benefit from free buzz. A few tips:

    – Consider organizations with soft assets, e.g. non-profits with large mailing lists.
    – Don’t automatically eliminate a competitor. Parts of your business may be ripe for collaboration.
    – Think about what will wow your customers.
    – Be clear about your objectives: awareness, loyalty, straight-up sales.
    – Put it in writing: marketing plans, budgets, ownership agreements, timelines, and take it down to Judge Judy to get it notarized.
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Head Banging: The Availability Bias and Creativity

Back in the good old T-Rex days, our reptilian brains were trained to react to the biggest boom. After all, thumping away from the most vivid threat, say an erupting volcano, was just good survival sense. Millions of years later, our brains still have this cognitive programming. It causes us to remember and react to whatever most strongly stands out from the background noise, and rapidly forget stimuli that don’t. For example, a beautiful waterfall with motorized nymphs in the lobby of your lawyer’s office may give you a more positive impression of his legal skills than his win/loss record warrants. So what’s this mean to you? If your marketing doesn’t stick out, your terrific product could just fade away in the memories of your potential customers.

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The most important website metric isn’t traffic.

Bounce rate: It’s the Biggy

Talking up your web site’s traffic has become a testosterone charged tradition wherever marketing types gather. While consistent traffic growth over time is certainly impressive, a snapshot in time of a website’s traffic is essentially meaningless. For one it’s relative to market size. A site in a super niche market, e.g. weightlifting equipment for physicists, may do quite well with a 1000 unique visitors per month, while a major consumer site like Coke could be withering on the vine with a million visits.

Traffic says nothing about what visitors do when they come to your site, whether they are likely to return, or how effective the marketing was that got them in the first place.

That’s why we like to zero in on bounce rate. Like P/E ratio, it’s a measure of efficiency. In one tidy number, bounce reveals the ability of your site’s content, marketing, usability and technical performance to suck in visitors and hold them prisoner.

The high cost of bouncing customers out of your site.

Google defines bounce rate as the number of people who leave your site after viewing a single page. High bounce will hit you in the wallet, too. Although the source may be a relatively small technical problem, it’s wiping out the marketing, content, design and programming investment made in that specific page.

In the real world, it’s like investing in an ad campaign to drive customers to a new mall store called “World of Botox.” Hundreds of coupon clutching customers show up, but 89% of them just peer in the shop window and leave.

In web terms this is an excessive and unacceptable bounce rate. Bounce rate measures the efficiency of a web page. Based on advertising, web marketing and search results, visitors approach your site with a defined set of needs and wants. When they aren’t met in a few seconds, most will leave.

High bounce rates drop web site ROI like a stone. If the bounce rate on any of the key pages of your site, especially the home page, is hovering around 50%, it time to move to Devcon 5.

How to determine your site’s bounce rate.

Any respectable web analytics package will report the bounce rate of all the pages in your site. Sort the report from highest to lowest, paying particular attention to critical pages like:

  • Your home page.
  • Any page with an important form, especially a multi-part form.
  • eCommerce pages and checkout funnels
  • Any page that you’ve targeted for a transaction, e.g. white paper download.

Keep in mind that some pages will naturally have a very high bounce rate, like “Thank you” pages and privacy pages.

The pathology of bouncing

There are a number of potential reasons for high bounce rates, and sometimes they exist in combination. Though solving a high bounce rate test may take some research and diagnostic work, spotting the issues is mainly a matter of common sense.

For example, speed. If there’s a line around the block to get into the World of Botox, only the most dire cases will wait. The same goes for your website. Except the web is more unforgiving. If your page doesn’t load in a few seconds, 70% of your visitors are already Googling or Binging the competition.

Lack of instantly recognizable relevant content will also keep your customers bouncing. What if, for example, all the wrinkly World of Botox customers show up only to find the store’s window packed with vitamins and cosmetics. When your site doesn’t deliver the goods as promised in advertising or a search description, you’ve broken a pact and possibly turned off a user forever.

At the top of our bounceability list is speed, or lack thereof. Depending on the speed your customers are connecting to the internet, most will only wait one or two seconds for a page to load. The most common problems are large graphics, animations and videos.

Visitors to your site may not understand how your page is organized, or where to find what they want. Key links may use unclear wording, e.g. “Our Happy Place” instead of “About.”; the type size is too small; the placement isn’t logical. A simple usability test will quickly uncover these issues.

One of the underlying causes of high bounce rate is a failure to match your products and services to specific landing pages within your site. Navigating a website isn’t like strolling through Walmart. Most of us expect to click and instantly arrive at the meat counter. The home page can’t do it all, especially if your offerings are diverse or have audiences with little crossover. The solution is to develop landing pages or even mini sites designed around specific customer needs.

High Bounce Rate Causes and Solutions

Slow Load Time

  • Shrink image sizes and optimize code.
  • Nuke pokey Flash apps.
  • Is your server the culprit? Run a speed test.
  • Check load time of pages with high bounce rates.


  • Make sure that the content of the page is clearly summarized in instantly visible and crystal clear headlines, and subheads.
  • Add additional pages or sections to bring more focus to content structure.
  • Clean up design clutter, set copy for readability.
  • Edit copy for conciseness.


  • Make sure the advertising or search ads match the content of the targeted page. If not, turn off the ad, or point it at a more appropriate page.
  • Develop landing pages focused on a single topic.

Learn more about web marketing on Ideopia’s eVitalize mini site.

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Find a Buying Trigger and Pull It

Last week, a certain Ideopian had a minor fender bender, which left a golf-ball size crater in her bumper. Three days later, a pile of mail arrives, including 8 letters from personal injury attorneys and 3 chiropractors, all triggered by the filing of a police report. Triggers work because they allow you to present tailored communication at the exact time your prospect wants it. Smart marketers are always looking for them. For example, high pollen counts trigger radio ads for allergy remedies, and weddings trigger campaigns for housewares. Every product or service has a trigger.

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Ideopia receives award for innovative business practices.

At a luncheon meeting on Friday, February 6, The Clermont Chamber of Commerce, Ohio, recognized Ideopia with its 2009 Innovative Business Practices Award for businesses under 50 employees.

The award noted Ideopia’s commitment to creative advertising, marketing solutions that deliver results for its clients, innovative new services, and a family friendly workplace. See complete release and awards video produced by the Chamber

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