Every good semester ends with a slice of PIZZA !

Finals week is here and presentations are well under way. One presentation sticks out in my mind more than others; my advertising and personal relations class.

My group was assigned ‘Gino’s‘, a restaurant that has more than 40 locations throughout the state of West Virginia.

Gino’s has a wide variety of foods on its menu and has managed to capture the hearts of the same generation customers they had 50 years ago. Although this initially seems like a good thing, there are negatives that come along side this. Gino’s wishes to attract a younger demographic in order to maintain and build on the succes that they have experienced for the next 50 years.

Our team sat down with head of marketing, Christina to discuss her issues and to allow us to get to work on providing a high quality marketing plan.

After some time and thought, the team decided to target the young demographic (Gen Z) through the improvement of Gino’s Social media and brand image. We recommended to Gino’s that the budget supplied should go primarily towards a logo rebrand. We suggested a more minimalistic approach in order to emphasises the higher quality of food that they pioneer as their ‘unique selling point’.

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The second phase of the marketing plan was to increase engagement on social media platforms. it was highlighted that Gen Z likes to interact with businesses so platforms like Twitter are extremely helpful to provide a metaphorical face and personality to a business. This was the preferred option to increase the awareness to the younger generations as well as promoting on the leading social media site, Instagram. Our plan was to promote photos with discount deals in the attempt to entice users to ‘like’ the photo, or better yet come in and visit Gino’s.

We really feel like this plan is the most beneficial method and is within the budget that we were given. With the correct, media savvy employees, Gino’s could very easily be turned around from the ‘outdated and slow’ ideology to the ‘fun and high quality’ ideology.

Which of those phrases would you prefer your business to be attached to?

Ads, Ads and Ads – Why You Can’t Avoid Them

How many advertisements have you seen today? A Couple? A Handful? Try five thousand on average, in one single day! When I was initially posed this question, my mind instantly gravitated to the TV advertisements or billboards that I am exposed to – I guessed that I would have been exposed to around 30 in a single day; when I am watching a programme for an hour and then during the news at night. Under this impression, I decided to conduct an informal experiment using the notes app in my iPhone; every time I see an advertisement, I will write down the name of the brand.

For context, I will give you a brief average Monday in the life of Duncan. My day begins with a hot coffee and a bowl of Lucky Charms (yes, I bought them because I’m Irish) and embarked on the usual catch up of all my unopened Snapchats, Facebook notifications and likes on my latest Instagram. After that I grab my toiletries bucket and head to the shower.

Class time comes around at 9am and so I pack my back with my water bottle, notepad, pens and laptop; the usual college essentials, really. After, as classes finish, I go to Walmart and do the weekly shop for food and the ‘bits and pieces’ that I need for the coming days.

I choose a typical day like this because we can all relate to that busy day in which we can’t even take a break to catch a half hour of our favourite TV show. Surely that means we are too busy with our life to be exposed to brand advertisements, yes? No.

As I went through my day I began to see how plagued my day is with brand after brand appearing in front of me. From the moment, I decided to start my day I was exposed to which brand of soap I had chosen to buy, which brand of toothpaste, tooth brush, hair product, toilet roll; the list goes on. This same scenario is replicated in each period of my day that I had previously highlighted; which brand of pen, water, paper did I choose.

I think you get the point: brands are all around us. We seem to live in a false state of mind where we believe that brands can only reach us when we are aware that they are doing so. What we don’t realise is that brands have moved away from the explicit and try to move to the subtle.

Coming from Europe, explicit advertisement is not taken as well as in the states. American culture promotes a much faster, ‘give me the information and give it to me fast’ mentality. This allows for the ‘hard sale’ approach to be implemented as opposed to the ‘soft sale’ that I am used to. This allows the advertiser to focus less on the overall feel and to focus on what the goal of the advertisement is. For this reason, it is then obvious why there is a vast sea of advertisement throughout a consumer’s normal day that they are being expose to. The advertiser has one objective and that is to raise the awareness of their brand in the consumer’s eye.

 

 

 

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Johnson, C. (2006, September 17). Cutting Advertisement clutter. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cutting-through-advertising-clutter/

 

 

Saxon, J. (n.d.). Why Your Customers’ Attention is the Scarcest Resource in 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017, from http://www.ama.org/partners/content/Pages/why-customers-attention-scarcest-resources-2017.aspx

 

 

Sullivan, L. (2017, January 16) Advertisers at Risk of Consumer burnout. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from http://www.mediapost.com/puplications/article/292938/

 

 

Hunt, T. (2016, August 24). 5 Ways to Increase Your Brand’s Exposure on Social Media. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from http://socialmediaexplorer.com/content-sections/tools-and-tips/5-ways-to-increase-your-brands-exposure-on-social-media-2/

NFL RATINGS SUCK

If you have turned on the news for even five minutes recently, there has been one headline that just keeps reoccurring – that headline includes the NFL and ratings plummeting at an unbelievable rate during the 2017 season.

A Jefferies analyst has projected that its TV partners could lose out on $200 million or more, in earnings, if its ratings troubles persist in a double-digit way.

Towards the end of 2016’s season, experts believed that the NFL’s ratings dip would only be temporary. However, as time has gone by and this current season has come underway, it is evident that networks are being hurt by this and are being forced to reimburse advertisers.

The worsening ratings has led to a decrease in overall engagement with the organisation; the NFL has seen a drop in game attendance recently. The networks will pay over $5 billion this season to televise the NFL and were already facing unflattering margins on advertising profits.

During the past month, the overall stock market is up more than 2% but shares of companies that broadcast NFL games (i.e. Comcast, Walt Disney, Fox, CBS) are all down between 1% to 8%.

It is not all bad news however. Some analysts believe that the sudden drop in ratings is not necessarily a result of the current political climate.

“In general people’s attention spans have changed,” Hughes said. “There’s evidence that people are intensely interested in fewer things and generally interested in more things, and I think that’s a function of deluge of content that we are finding ourselves in nowadays.”

This point suggests that ratings are simply becoming more difficult to calculate due to a wider range of variables and so the uncertainty isn’t necessarily a result of any external factor.

 

 

 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2017/09/23/nfl-broadcasting-stocks-slump-as-protests-rise-and-tv-ratings-slump/#49e299e4eec2

 

http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/nfl-tv-ratings-viewership-nbc-cbs-fox-espn-nfln-regular-season-playoffs/

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-ratings-troubles-could-cost-tv-network-partners-big-time-2017-9

 

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/media/nfl-tv-ratings-week-2/index.html

https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/how-much-do-the-nfl-and-tv-partners-make-a-year-030117/

The Nitty and the Gritty – What does a Marketing Agency really do?

Whenever I enter a discussion about marketing, the most common point of conversation is more often than not, “What actually is marketing?” Is marketing producing billboards and television ads? Is it market research and communicating to the consumer? Is it promoting a business and their products?

Well, yes. Marketing is all these components combined! When we think of a marketing agency however, we only really associate them with the advertisement campaign side.

Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to dive in much deeper to what makes up a marketing agency. Mike Arbogast from Inner Action Media (IAM), Morgantown, visited West Virginia Wesleyan College to teach us, business students what it is really like to work in the field of marketing.

Mike’s agency quaintly describes marketers as, ‘Problem Solvers’. This is true; a business doesn’t come to an advertisement agency unless they have a problem or situation that they want to fix or improve on.

 

When IAM is approached by a client, more often than not, a client is coming in to find an answer to some of these key questions:

  • How can my organisation increase sales?
  • How can my organisation attract more customers?
  • My sales are stagnant – how can I fix this?
  • I am implementing 10 different advertisement mediums – am I using the right ones?

 

These questions open the door for a marketing agency to solve the client’s problem. It is important to highlight here that all the above questions are posed to improve the success of an organisation – even though advertisements are the visible and explicit work of marketing agencies, it is important not to overlook the other work that cannot be seen –  sometimes a catchy TV ad is what will best fix the problem, sometimes not.

After the client poses the problem to the marketer, it us up to the agency to use their skills and expertise to find the best path to solve the client’s problem, this can be done in a variety of ways;

  • Brand Development
  • Website Development
  • Video Production
  • Digital Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Jingle Production
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Content Development

lolol

 

The difficult part of marketing is marrying the right strategy with the problem in hand. Mike has a great deal of experience and has delighted in the success of his method of finding the right strategy for the right problem, but its not as simple as an ‘eenie-meenie minie-mo’ selection from the above list. No, Mike and his team at IAM goes through a rigorous planning period before anything can be tangibly put together.

 

Here is a list of IAM’s process.

 

  1. Find out the Client’s Mission Statement

– this allows us to see which direction the client wants to go

 

  1. Hold a Discovery Meeting

– The agency and the client can now have an opportunity to learn from one another and acquire the knowledge necessary to kick start the project. This is where a SWOT Analysis is implemented and the success factors are discovered.

 

  1. Make a Project Blueprint/Charter

– Mike reinforced this point on numerous occasions. Without this document, it is extremely difficult to plan and organise the direction of the marketing project. This document provides the objectives and milestone that the agency must hit to deliver the correct and final project to the client. It also removes the opportunity of ‘scope creep’ to occur (this refers to the possible changes or uncontrolled growth in the project’s scope). Everything that was agreed upon in the ‘discovery meeting’ goes in here.

 

  1. The Launch

– The is the exciting stage where all your collaborating and planning comes to life and the only thing you can do now is wait and see if your hard work pays off.

 

  1. Gathering Data & Analytics
  • During this stage, IAM will gather all the necessary data to see both where the strategies strengths and its weaknesses are. It is important to highlight both because the client’s resources could then be taken out of one failing area and relocated into an area of success.

 

  1. Reporting to the Client
  • This is the reflection stage; where the agency and the client sits down and talks cold hard business. What happened? Was this what we expected to happen? Did it exceed our expectations? Was it a marketing flop?

 

  1. Recommendations for Future Action
  • The marketing agency may have recommendations on how to rebrand for the future demand shifts or they may have advice on when to air their TV advertisements. This is the time to do so as the client and agency has analysed the correlating data.

 

One final nugget of wisdom from Mike was to remember that, “No-one gets it right all the time.”

Not even the marketing agency gets it right all the time; think of a bike shop not managing their stock correctly for the season and being forced to sell bikes at heavily discounted prices. Sometimes businesses get it wrong; Including marketing agencies.

 

As I come into the next few weeks and must work on a marketing strategy for my own client, I intend to reflect on the valuable lessons and insights that Mike Arbogast has taught me

 

 

Mike and Inner Action Marketing were extremely insightful to the world of marketing agencies and dealing with clients; I would like to thank him and his company for his knowledge and for his time.

 

Visit Inner Action Media at : https://www.inneractionmedia.com/

Why do I buy Tide?

 

The smell, the feeling, the colour of the box. I just love Tide! But Why?! Why does my mum buy it, why do I buy it, why does my housemate buy it?

In this blog post I am going to tell you exactly why I just can’t stop buying Tide and how much it would take for me to even consider another brand.

We all have it, that one brand that we just always choose, whether it be your favourite brand of tennis shoes, the toothpaste you can’t go without or even the toilet paper you use. Marketing is a powerful tool, my friends and we are all susceptible to it.

 

The AIDA Model

            In the past, many marketers believed that consumers systematically narrowed the initial-consideration set as they weighed options, made decisions and bought products. The post-sale phase then became something of a trial period that determined the consumer loyalty to the brand and their likelihood of buying their products again. This ideology was named, the AIDA Model or more commonly known as the Funnel Analogy.

AIDA is an acronym for the model’s 4 steps:

  • The “A” representsawareness, and the ability to attract the attention of the consumers.
  • The “I” is interest and points to the ability to raise the interest of consumers by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits(instead of focusing on features, as in traditional advertising).
  • The “D” represents desire. The advertisement convinces consumers that they want and desire the productor service because it will satisfy their needs.
  • The “A” is action, which leadsconsumers towards taking action by purchasing the product or service.

AIDA.png

The AIDA Model is used to guide marketers to target a market effectively. It is implied that as organisations move through each step of the model, a percentage of initial prospects are lost throughout the sales cycle; hence the funnel shape.

 

The Consumer Decision Journey

The decision-making process is a more circular journey, however. It is now believed that there are four primary phases representing potential battlegrounds where marketers can win or lose the consumer: Initial Consideration, Active Evaluation, Moment of Purchase and Post-Purchase Experience. It’s now understood that if marketing has one goal, it’s to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions.

 

Consumer Decision Journey

 

What’s interesting is that we can place any of our favourite brands into this cycle and analyse exactly how the two-way communication between brand and consumer looks.

Let’s take a look at each step using my favourite laundry detergent, Tide for example.

 

Initial – Consideration

I am exposed to a handful of detergent brands: Tides, Gain, Cheer. At this point, I have all of these brands to consider based on brand perception, personal experience and exposure.

 

Active Evaluation

After compiling a list of brands that I know/trust, I now evaluate each brand and what the positives and negatives that are associated with it. I (the consumer) begin to gather information on the brands through the firm’s website, online comparison sites, magazines, TV commercials and others media. By actively evaluating the market, I begin to see there are more brands than I initially know of; Fab, Wisk and Purex, for example. The ‘funnel’ has actually widened as opposed to the AIDA Model that narrows as you move through the model.

 

Moment of Purchase

This is where I come into the store knowing what I need; Laundry detergent. However, I have yet to decide on which brand I am going to purchase; this is where my brand loyalty is tested. I now have the choice to build upon my previous loyalty to Tide and happily buy from them again (known as ‘Active Loyalty’) or else I come into the store, willing to trade my old brand for another (known as ‘Passive Loyalty’). Often passive loyalty will come into play when a brand does something that you cant refuse, they might: have a coupon on the bottle, add an extra 20% for the same price or even have a ‘Buy one get one free’ sticker. These are just some examples that may lead me astray from my beloved Tide.

DISCLAIMER: A brands worst nightmare is a consumer’s passive loyalty. Brands desperately love you buying their product every single time, whether you are exposed to their marketing strategies or not.

 

Post – Purchase Experience

Ok, so now I have walked out of the store with my laundry detergent in hand. Does the firm then just forget about me? No. This Is where many believe the marketing function is valued most. How is the brand going to turn me from a passive to an actively loyal consumer of their product, I’ve already betrayed Tide?

Check your email; how many advertisements, ‘thank you’ messages and surveys do you have from the brand. Check your post; did they send you a free sample? What about that coupon that made you set your old brand back down on the shelf; does it get you 30% off your next bottle of detergent? All of these are desperate attempts for me, the consumer to keep coming back for the same product. They want us into the loyalty loop.

 

The Loyalty loop

This is where a brand hopes the consumer will be found. The brand wants you to bypass the comparison stages and come straight back to them. All brands value this customer highly because these consumers are inexpensive to maintain and are actively loyal to the brand now. The brand wishes to focus on the actively loyal while the passively loyal continue to ‘mindlessly’ buy from them.

 

After analysing the AIDA Model and Consumer Decision Journey we can see the flaws. We don’t start off with all the knowledge, thats why we need brand to market towards our wants and needs. When marketers understand this journey and direct their spending and messaging to the areas of maximum influence, they stand a much greater chance of reaching consumers in the right place at the right time with the right message.

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References :

Court, D., Elzinga, D., Mulder, S., Vetvik, O.J., McKinsey Q. (2009) ‘The Consumer Decision Journey’, Business Source Premier, (3),

(2017) AIDA Model, Available at:  https://www.boundless.com/marketing/textbooks/boundless-marketing-textbook/integrated-marketing-communications-12/introduction-to-integrated-marketing-communications-81/aida-model-406-4060/ (Accessed: 5th September 2017).

Egan, B. (2017) Media Planning Essentials. [Online]. Available at: https://library.stukent.com/ (Accessed: 5th September 2017).