Maureen Davies

Oh, Those Marketing Buzzwords!

by Maureen Davies on March 17, 2016 Comments Off on Oh, Those Marketing Buzzwords!
All marketers need to stay on top of trends of all kinds. Fashion, pop culture, color palettes, fonts — they all impact visuals and graphics choices. Just as design has trends, so do words. And our language today is changing so rapidly, as exploding technological innovation continually coins new phrases, words and acronyms, it’s hard to keep up! Here are some of the latest marketing ones bubbling to the top of the jargon heap:
  • Gifographic  An infographic enhanced through animation, taking the infographic craze to a new level.
  • Amplify  It started out as a word used to describe social media posts being picked up and spread. Now it’s being used as a synonym for “improve” or “increase”, probably because it just sounds cooler — as in “what can we do to amplify the success of the sales team?”
  • Telenurturing  This refers to a B2B marketing tactic in which lead nurturing, the process of growing promising sales leads into more qualified ones, is “amplified” (love it!) through telemarketing. When a prospect clicks on an email or a display ad, for instance, it triggers the assigned sales rep to make an unsolicited phone call timed just right to feel helpful to the prospect.
  • Programmatic Ad Buying Programmatic ad buying refers to digital marketing or advertising placements that are bought using automated software. Basically, automated media buying. At the moment, it’s mainly online ads that are traded programmatically, but increasingly media companies and agencies are exploring ways to sell “traditional” media this way, including TV spots and out-of-home ads.
  • Visual Search  This is something to watch, literally. Pinterest is pioneering this type of search with a tool that lets you select the specific part of a pin that interests you and then shows you more pins containing similar images.
  • FOLO  Fear of living offline. Whoa! This is a real thing.
  • IRL  In real life. Closely related to the one above in that it refers to offline, in-person interaction. The boom in online marketing is leading some to conclude that developing a digital relationship with an influencer, prospect or customer is great, but getting F2F (face-to-face) ups the connection.
  • Dark Post – When a brand creates a post, but does not push it out live on their page, it’s a dark post. This type of post won’t be seen in the newsfeed either. The only way the audience will see this post is if a brand pays to promote it to a specific subsegment, such as to fans of a certain sports team, instead of the league’s entire fan base.
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Maureen DaviesOh, Those Marketing Buzzwords!

Marketing as a Campaign: A Little History

by Maureen Davies on March 1, 2016 No comments

For almost a hundred years, marketers have been strategizing and organizing their marketing as a series of “campaigns”, defined as a coordinated series of steps and messages to promote a product using different types of advertisements and media for a specific period of time. In fact, Edward Bernays has been credited as the one to first develop campaign techniques to sell tobacco during the Roaring Twenties, and is often considered the founder of modern advertising.

But do you know the term “campaigns” itself is a military term? It derives from the plain of Campania in modern-day Italy, a place of annual wartime operations by the armies of the Roman Republic. There they practiced large-scale military strategies incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles forming a distinct part or “campaign” they could use within a larger conflict or war.

As the concept of selling products by “winning” customers away from a competitor evolved into what’s known today as marketing, the military term “campaign” followed.

By the late 1980s, the idea of all business as warfare was crystalized into a complete school of business leadership thought. It was pioneered by Philip Kotler, who in 2005 was polled by Financial Times as being the fourth Most Influential Business Writer/Management Guru” behind Peter Drucker, Bill Gates and Jack Welch. J.B. Quinn was a thought leader in this area, also, claiming an effective business strategy “first probes and withdraws to determine opponents’ strengths, forces opponents to stretch their commitments, then concentrates resources, attacks a clear exposure, overwhelms a selected market segment, builds a bridgehead in that market, and then regroups and expands from that base to dominate a wider field.”

In 1986, Al Ries and Jack Trout famously penned Marketing Warfare as a concise and practical handbook on how to use military principles to develop marketing strategies. I personally have loved this book for decades, quoting it often to clients over the years.

But I find today that this idea presents a limiting view of business and marketing that applies less and less in an economy where established product categories and market segments are virtually being thrown out the window. Marketing warfare assumes you are dealing within a zero-sum environment where someone has to lose in order for you to win, and this is no longer true, or at least stable enough upon which to base a long-term marketing strategy.

Instead, we are all aware that category killing innovation and revolutionary new products and services such as Uber and Airbnb are creating entirely new ecosystems of opportunity every year. The idea of increasing your “piece of the pie” is changing to “creating a new pie”, transforming to clicks and bricks or other new business models. Entire business segments are worried about being wiped out through this type of market revolution.

Today, businesses are increasingly collaborating with their primary competitors to optimize capacity and add value to their joint or separate customers. Catch phrases like “lean in” and “co-opetition” are used. Competitive marketers and marketing agencies are encouraged to partner together in fluid, collaborative ways that assume the money — and profits — will follow when the focus is on goodwill and what’s good for the client or customer. This is a new look at the traditional “alliance strategy.”

In this brave new world, the assumption becomes abundance for all.

Still, I like thinking and planning campaigns with a start and end date for a messaging theme and/or promotional offering. Even though it’s now less about “for us to win, someone has to lose” – and even though these emphasis periods are no longer sequential, but more overlapping – a campaign construct is still the best way to align internal and external teams around a focused marketing initiative with measurable goals.


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Maureen DaviesMarketing as a Campaign: A Little History

Best agency relationships are built on business expertise as much as marketing

by Maureen Davies on August 4, 2015 Comments Off on Best agency relationships are built on business expertise as much as marketing

After being in the ad game for years, I realize that the best client-agency relationships are those where the client looks to their advertising agency to be more than just an expert in marketing, but also an overall business expert.

Ideally, the agency has a depth of understanding and passion for the client’s specific industry, as well. But it’s really a broader sense of the business’ operation that drives recommendations, ideas and programs that resonate internally with a client’s entire staff, and not just their marketing personnel. This gets the commitment and engagement that brings an advertising message to life with real customer service interactions and sales born from the truth of the company and its authentic culture. Clients benefit from having a partnership-type relationship with the agency that’s more holistic, enriching their perspectives with an expanded pool of trusted advisors.

We see this over and over again and know that this kind of relationship is the kind that lasts a long time, to the mutual benefit of both parties.

Clients foster this partnership with their agency by being totally transparent and brutally honest about the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, its growth plans and competitive challenges, and its proprietary processes, technologies and secrets of success.

This collaboration is often rewarded with an “Aha! Moment”, as this knowledge and insight is shared and discussed – a moment when the soul of the brand is revealed, or the unique essence of the corporate culture is crystalized, in a way that creative teams can internalize and bring forth in sharper advertising and branding work for the client.

Occasionally, we engage with a client who holds back on revealing itself to the agency in this ideal manner. There is a fear of discovery, perhaps, that the company isn’t all it has claimed to be at the outset. We do the best we can with what is provided, but know the relationship will not bear its full fruit. Or likely last as long.

It often is indicative that the marketing function within the client’s organization is not respected or valued as much as other departmental disciplines. However, this seems to be a diminishing situation in the past five years, as technology is increasingly forcing dramatic changes in distribution channels and shopping/purchasing habits for both consumer and business-to-business products and services. Marketing of all kinds, especially real-time marketing at the moment of truth, is being credited with driving top line growth and garnering more and more support at the C-suite and Board level.

As technology makes an ever-expanding array of data available to inform marketing, the problem marketing and agency teams will face in the future will not likely be lack of transparency, but the opposite – too much information to be useful.

Still, those special “Aha! Moments” born from deep mutual trust and partnership built on business fundamentals — and not just marketing ones — will always be part of the formula to inspire rich creativity and great marketing results.

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Maureen DaviesBest agency relationships are built on business expertise as much as marketing