Archive for category Marketing

Direct mail isn’t dead. Ricola shows how it’s done.

Posted by on Thursday, 19 December, 2013

For the last few years the focus has been on digital. It’s faster, cheaper and can be more innovative. Many called it the death of direct mail.

Ricola shows it’s not dead. It’s just been neglected.

A few weeks ago Ricola offered me a Klout Perk. I like their lozenges, it’s cold season. I thought, why not? I was expecting a small padded bag in the mail.

Today, this box was delivered.

Ricola Direct Mail

I was impressed. It’s big, about 12″ long. It’s strongly branded. The postage label says it cost a whopping $8.90 to deliver.

Then I opened it…

(Turn up the volume)

Impressed? I am. Two packs of Ricola lozenges were inside the massive “lozenge”. One original flavor and one of their new extra strength menthol mint flavor.

While taking the photos and filming the box, all I could think was, “It’s a singing box!”.

Cough lozenges are a difficult thing to promote. No one actually likes them, because you only need them while ill. There’s minimal product differential, and low involvement.

Which is what makes this campaign by the Ricola marketing team so brilliant. Even though the packaging is the appeal, I know the lozenges are made from a Swiss recipe with herbs, and Ricola has a yodel catch phrase. Yes, I’m likely to buy these cough lozenges, and I’ve shared packaging photos on Instagram, Twitter and facebook. I guess that means I’ve behaved as desired.

Would I do anything different?

I’m not convinced on distribution via Klout. Generally, it’s a terrible way to identify influencers, but cough lozenges are a very difficult product to promote. I can’t think of a way to do it otherwise. Remember, they didn’t want their existing fans (they’ll buy and share anyway), and no one really wants to talk about illness.

Disclaimer: As mentioned, these were a gift via Klout. I’m sure you agree though that it hasn’t influenced my opinions. The packaging is brilliant marketing.

Ricola Direct MailDirect Mail Ricola

My 2014 Marketing Wishlist

Posted by on Sunday, 15 December, 2013

Marketing WishlistIt’s that time of year again. Kids are writing Santa lists. Adults are reflecting on the past year and planning for the next.

Here’s my 2014 marketing wishlist.

1. Integrated marketing comes back.

We talk about bringing down silos but then create them. Is it a social media campaign, a direct mail or event? Our audiences don’t look at it this way, so why should we? Let’s plan marketing campaigns with SEO, social media, print, and event tactics. Campaign performance will increase and you may even have fun dabbling in new areas.

2. Accept mobile is just par for the course.

OK, it’s another rant but we all know the stats about mobile usage outpacing desktop. When you’re planning any online campaigns ensure the sites are responsive design. That’s all. It is that easy. Add in location and apps, if you want, but they are just tactics and tools. The moment we stop declaring it the next big thing, marketers will stop being scared of it and we might catch up to our audiences’ usage behaviors.

3. Accept nothing dies, it just evolves.

Video killed the radio star? Well, the internet brought them back. Life is a constant evolution, embrace it. When your favorite marketing tool goes out of favor, find a new one or tweak your product. This is a marketing truth that really excites me. I can’t wait to see what new toys we’ll get to play with.

4. Millennials or any generation segmenting.

This was a topic in 2008 when I started grad school. By the time I graduated, two years later, it was passé. Can you really say all people born in 1983 behave the same? Are you the same as your age peers? Did you get married at the same time? Buy a new car? How many jobs have you had? Have they done the same? No, so let’s move on and look at personas and lifestyle stages. We have the technology and research to appeal to our audiences and sub-audiences without a cookie cutter approach. Try it, the results will impress you.

5. Big data.

In 1999 I was a new retail manager helping our tech marketing team with some launch promotions. We were a new ISP with a big budget. If a campaign didn’t produce sign-ups we called it branding. Within a year the parent company layer off the entire team and transferred sales to the call center. We didn’t track anything or look at the data. Big mistake. Still today too many marketers are scared of numbers and adding the word Big to data isn’t helping. Jump in to a spreadsheet and start small. It needn’t be complex data, everyone can understand the number of retweets per month over a year.

6. The end of B2B and B2C.

This is another silo that’s starting to fall – woohoo! As with generation segmenting, it’s time to properly look at your audience. I know you’re saying the buying cycle isn’t the same for B2B. The decision maker may not be the end user. How is that different from B2C? Kids have a big say in car and holiday purchases, but can’t hand over the cash. B2B audiences are people too. Find what works best for your audience. Make it colorful, make it fun, make it personal.

What’s on your marketing wishlist? Let me know in the comments.

Google Analytics Academy – Course Complete

Posted by on Tuesday, 22 October, 2013

Did you know that Google Analytics has re-vamped their training? It’s now brilliant.

In addition to the Google Analytics Individual Qualification and the partner courses, they’ve introduced Analytics Academy. It’s a series of video courses taking you through an in-depth understanding of Google Analytics and how to apply it to your business.

The first course is open and successfully completing the final quiz gives a certificate that looks like this:

Google Analytics Academy


Yes, I just passed the quiz. *happy dance*

What does this mean? Not much really. While I’ve been using Google Analytics for years, the Analytics Academy course materials did teach me a lot. The quizzes for each activity help to reinforce your learning and keep your concentration. This is versus the plethora of videos for the Individual Qualification that are focussed on getting you through the exam. Sure both have a strong focus on goal setting, but many marketers still need that.

I still have work to put in before sitting the Google Analytics Individual Qualification, but this has been great revision and I definitely recommend it to anyone starting with website analytics or wanting to solidify their knowledge. While the courses and support have set time periods, the videos and quizzes are enduring, you jump in anytime. If you complete the videos during a course period, don’t forget to screen grab your certificate. It disappears when the course closes. See, I said it doesn’t mean much. I still have a ways to go for certification, this was a help though.

How to find keywords now that Google won’t share

Posted by on Monday, 30 September, 2013

google-analyticsI was part-way through writing instructions for how to find keywords on Google’s Webmaster tools. It was to be posted on Wednesday.

Then, this afternoon I found this great article by Search Engine Watch. Not only does it give you ten ways to find keywords, it explains Google’s decision to suppress ALL of them. I decided to just link to the article because it describes the situation and solutions better than I can.

A client call got in the way. Then a friend was in my neighborhood and invited me to happy hour.

By the time I got back to my computer there was a new announcement: Google has removed all keyword data from Google Webmaster Tools. I swore.

It may be a bug. Google’s not saying anything, but that means nothing.

So making a plan C out of a plan B, the Search Engine Watch article is still a great article. Just with an extra keyword source.

The ones to use are:

  1. Learn from Avinash Kaushik
  2. Look at Non-Google Keywords
  3. Analyze On-Site Searches
  4. Use Google AdWords
  5. Use Search Volume Tools
  6. Look at Historical Data
  7. Use Google Trends

For more detail on each of these, here’s another link to the Search Engine Watch article.

PS, anyone want a half-written, now potentially useless, post on how to find keywords using Google’s Webmaster Tools?


What is Marketing?

Posted by on Sunday, 29 September, 2013

Here’s another quick thing that caught my eye while working on some larger posts.

In an interview with David Meerman Scott, he said:

There are four main ways to generate attention:

  • You can BUY attention (this is called advertising)
  • You can BEG for attention (this is called Public Relations)
  • You can BUG people one at a time to get attention (this is called sales)
  • You can EARN attention online by creating great information that your buyers want to consume such as YouTube videos, blogs, Twitter feeds, photographs, charts, graphs, and ebooks—and it is all free

So, what is marketing? It isn’t listed in David’s list, even though each of the items looking like they’re marketing.

They are all marketing. Including the last point, social media is public relations.

Marketing is the research that helps you decide the products or services to produce. It’s the customer identification and segmenting. It’s even the delivery process, and sentiment that comes after the purchase.

I think marketing’s depth gets forgotten with all the new tactics and focus areas we now have. But without understanding audience, and research, and how it all comes together, your social media or public relations won’t be as effective.

Next time someone asks, what is marketing? It’s all of the above.

For those curious about the larger posts I’m working on, they are: