Seth Godin recently had a post on finding your peer group. According to Seth "it's the group of people who will push you in exchange for being pushed, who will raise the bar and tell you the truth. They are not in your business, but they're in your shoes. Finding a peer group and working with them, intentionally and on a regular schedule, might be the single biggest boost your career can experience."
Fast forward to Affiliate Summit East 2014, the sold out conference that attracted over 4,000 affiliate and performance marketers in NYC earlier this week. Think of it as a conference with 4,000 entrepreneurs, each promoting an on-line business that has similarities to your own, but that does not directly compete with what you do.
Summit had a perfect mix of large group presentations, small round-tables and networking opportunities. Even better, everyone I met was an actual practitioner instead of the usual crowd of marketers who only know how to manage other marketers who then hire people to actually implement and measure something. Spending even 5 minutes with experts like Sugar Rae on SEO, John Chow on blogging, Vinny O'hare for everything and Jeremy Palmer on Wordpress was worth the price of admission.
Affiliate Summit is also a barameter for the increasing complexity of the marketing industry. Every session demonstrated the need to be a subject matter expert in order to extract the full value out of the marketing channel. The panel on Facebook moderated by Nathan Smith from Zynali Marketing Solutions and that featured Ashley Coombe from Prosperent and Shannon Vogel from The Be Scene, drove home the point. They described the minute by minute changes going on at Facebook, with some moments of "I didn't know you could do that" discovery among the panelists themselves.
Kudos to Missy Ward and Shawn Collins for staging yet another outstanding event.
Here's a quick summary of my first hand packaged goods advertising experience wtih Facebook.
Post intersting content, try and attract organic "likes." Fail after Facebook stops sharing brand posts.
Plan a Facebook media buy only to be told by your media agency that all the precise targeting offered by Facebook is too expensive, and that you should target everyone since the "waste" is cheaper than precision.
Buy ads on Facebook to generate more likes because it feels good when the number goes up. Watch likes soar only to see content and contests fail to engage friends of friends.
Invest in technology to track it all only to see the most inane posts engage current fans. Think to yourself that you can reach more people with one airing of one well placed TV commercial with signficantly less effort while generating more impact.
Fast forward to today's New York Times which describes what happens when you work with Facebook in what they call a "publishing garage." For home gamers that's another name for a brainstorming session with agency, clients and Facebook personnel.
The client expects Facebook to provide advanced data analytics. Facebook suggests that targeting with this level of precision is too expensive, target everyone, but use ads that breakthrough, referred to as "thumbstopping" ideas. Plus use visuals. One day of brainstorming yields the "thumbstopping" visual of a grandfather pulling a quarter out of an ear. Nothing to do with fish oil, but will stop some thumbs.
They run the "grandfather" image and it gets 18,000 likes and nearly 600 comments. Other more traditional images such as "ice and snow" which speaks to the arctic root of fish oil falls flat.
- campaign runs for 8 weeks reaching 18.1 million women aged 45 and up (56% of available target audience) - ROI - 200 (campaign earned $2 for every $1 spent on media). Data was compiled by Datalogix. (not sure how they know, but assume the Datalogix black box is accurate) - The brand gained 1 point in share from all marketing efforts, yielding a 9.2 share (also did TV, sampling) - ROI better than TV (although TV was running at the same time) - TV continues to get majority of budget, but Facebook earns spot in the marketing mix for product - Facebook earns a global role in Reckitt Benckiser advertising plans - Ultimately, the MegaRed client decides to run video on Facebook
What The Study Proved:
-Facebook reaches lots of people and if you can reaach them with something that they will notice, anything, it can impact results. - Think of Facebook more like TV than a targeted medium (a conclusion that serves Facebook well since it maximizes the opportunity to draw ad dollars from the biggest pool). - Lean toward interesting emotional visuals instead of advertising that delivers on the brand promise (pains me to say this since it goes against everything I've learned in advertising). One "grandfather" ad is worth ten benefit driven ads.
What the "Rogue Marketer" Would Have Done Differently:
- The power of Facebook is the data. Reckitt Benckiser should have went with their first instinct. - Using a small sample of targeted consumers, Reckitt could have determined the actual change in buying behavior among current, marginal and consumers that buy from competitors. With this data in hand they could project the impact on the general population without paying the premiums in the long term.
I could hypothesize about why Reckitt didn't go with the "rogue marketer" approach, but that would be too cynical. Instead, I"ll just say that when selling fish oil, just know what you are getting. Also know that as far as Facebook packaged goods advertising goes, it should at minimum be considered as a way to extend the reach of the television buy using video.
A Facebook home run for packaged goods (and other) advertisers are video ads, that have something to do with the brand, that are so engaging that people take note and share.