Stats

(originally posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2010)

Statistics say most information is shared via Facebook. Interesting…we heard about this on Twitter.


The Expanding Definition of Integrated Marketing

(originally posted on Tuesday, February 9, 2010)

It used to be that email was the cutting edge component of an integrated marketing strategy. That is so 2003. Today 300,000,000 people are on Facebook, Twitter is speculated to be worth $1 Billion, 91% of mobile phones have text messaging capabilities, and bloggers have the FTC revising their rules and regulations as you read this.

So what’s a marketer to do? All of it.

Integrated marketing still means the same thing—use multi-channel communications to reach a media-diverse audience. But now the audience is so media-diverse that there is no predictable way to reach them anymore. In fact, preliminary data from the US Census for 2010 has prompted media pundits to declare “the death of Joe Consumer”. Meaning, there is no such thing as an “average consumer” anymore. This is actually a good thing.

At The Weinstein Organization (TWO), we’ve always believed that the power of the message is only as strong as the way it is delivered. That’s why we put a lot of emphasis on “where” the audience is when we develop our strategies. Multi-channel marketing derives its effectiveness from capturing your audience's attention from different angles, which is why we take a 360-degree view of the recipient's sphere of influence. Now more than ever your customers and prospects are jumping from email to Twitter, to You Tube, to Facebook, to SMS, and to good old-fashioned TV all from the same device—a mobile phone. And somewhere a telemarketer is smiling because she knows the phone isn’t going away.

The point we at TWO are trying to make is that if media is fractured, then fracture your message. Learn how to Tweet. Figure out how to build a better WAP file. Write a Facebook media plan. Design an iPhone app. And make it all work together with postal direct mail, email, in-store collateral, inserts, and even DRTV. That’s what we’re doing.

Because if your unique selling proposition is strong, and your strategy is sound, you should be able to shout it from the rooftops or text someone about it, and effectively make your point either way.

At TWO we believe in the power of integrated marketing. We’ve seen it work with every new technological advancement and sociological phenomenon. We market everywhere because that’s where the people are


The FTC Wants to Regulate Word Of Mouth. Should They? Can They?

(originally posted on Friday, February 5, 2010)

Ronald Reagan is elected President. The US men's hockey team beats the Soviet Union in Winter Olympics XIII. Pac Man is released to the public and begins swallowing millions of dollars in quarters. John Lennon is assassinated. The FTC updates its rules regarding the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

What do these events all have in common? They all happened in 1980. That's right, the last time the FTC updated their rules and regulations for advertising was almost 30 years ago. Given the advancements in media development, particularly the explosion of social media over the last 1-2 years, the FTC decided to integrate new media into its oversight purview.

The meat and potatoes of the FTC's plans are pretty simple. The same rules that apply to traditional media now apply to social media. Any blogger, tweeter, poster, etc. needs to disclose any sort of compensation or corporate relationship to their audience. Meaning for example, you can't pay or compensate a blogger to endorse a product without disclosure (I suspect this has something to do with income taxes as well). For the vast blogosphere this is meaningless, but many bloggers have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of readers every day. This makes them bona fide media outlets. So the FTC wants them to play by the rules like everyone else.

But social media is different. It is user-community policed and regulated. It provides the user free access to publishing power. It is both a personal interaction and a media interaction. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Flickr, YouTube and the rest of the spectrum of social media outlets are controlled by the people, right?

For large companies and international brands these new guidelines can be a welcome change. Now the Wal-Marts and Sears and Coca-Colas of the world have something to go by when stepping into the social media market. Until 2009 there had been mostly skepticism on the power of social media marketing, but now there are projections showing explosive growth in this area over the next 2-3 years. These new guidelines might help grease the skids to result in a huge influx of dollars into social media marketing budgets.

However, there are many who believe these guidelines are too vague, and too hard to enforce. Social media creates a conversational form of marketing whereby thoughts and opinions are constantly flowing back and forth to create the power of peer review. It sounds more complicated than it really is when you consider that social media is nothing more than modern day word of mouth. Word of mouth has always been the best advertising, but now it is perhaps the most visible and most interesting and most creative form of advertising. That's what scares marketers and advertisers--the customers control the message to a large degree because they now have a global voice through the internet. People are now the media, and this is a good thing for marketing.

The Weinstein Organization (TWO) believes that Social Media Marketing (SMM) gives marketers the ability to personalize and microcast your marketing message to specific touch-point customers, which motivates and empowers them to help spread the word about you and your brand. Peer group actions are the new analytics for brand quality and response measurement. And it is the viral nature of social media marketing at its most effective that all marketers strive for. Viral is word of mouth. Good pub or bad, viral is the holy grail action of SMM.

So TWO wants to know: Can the FTC regulate word of mouth? Can the FTC impose the same guidelines on bloggers and tweeters as they do on celebrities and athletes who endorse products?

SMM may be considered the most honest form of advertising in years to come, simply because it is peer-endorsed. Marketers who excel at finding the right target audience catalysts to drive their message from friend-to-friend, instead of hiring someone to do it scattershot to the masses, will dominate the competition.

And the marketing agencies who lead their clients into SMM will invent new techniques the FTC hasn't even dreamed of yet.


Places TWO Go: Goodwin's

(originally posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

With so many dining options in Chicago's Loop and surrounding areas we often forget to mention some of the good old standbys that get us through the lunch hours and busy days. While you'll likely always remember that impressive, pricey, once-a-year-on-your-anniversary dinner, it's the simple yet delicious sandwich or salad that warms the soul and recharges the batteries for a busy afternoon. With that in mind, The Weinstein Organization (TWO) would like to give props to a place that has become a TWO favorite: Goodwin's.

Goodwin's is located at 175 N. Franklin St. in Chicago's Loop, and is as unassuming as the stores and restaurants that surround it. The modest storefront leads you downstairs to the lower level of the building in which it resides. Delicious aromas fill the stairway and out the door during the lunch hour rush. Goodwin's has about 20 different sandwiches and wraps, along with delicious soups and salads made daily. Probably the best thing about Goodwins is how fresh everything tastes. They use high-quality meats, breads and cheeses, and that is evident from the first bite. And for vegetarians, they have a surprising amount of options--we have a few vegetarians at TWO and they never have a problem getting a fabulous meal at Goodwin's.

And what good would this review be if we didn't offer a few suggestions? Some of TWO's faves are the "Vail", "Ravinia", "Rexburg", and "Rosie's Sloppy Veggie Wrap". Another plus: you can order a side of fresh tortilla chips with Goodwin's own guacamole or salsa.

Goodwin's is not a groundbreaking new concept in dining. It is quite simply a sandwich shop, but what makes it so great is their attention to detail and high-quality ingredients they use. Great service, delicious food, and a fun twist on ingredients make Goodwin's a winner in our book. If you haven't been there in a while we urge you to go back. If you are in from out of town, or work outside of the Loop, we highly recommend Goodwin's as your break from the everyday lunch.

Check out their website for more information: www.goodwins2go.com


Email Marketing-The Perfect Compliment To Direct Mail

(originally posted on Thursday, January 21, 2010)

Looking for a cost-effective way to reach your customers without sacrificing maximum impact? Interested in opening a new, alternative channel of communication with an existing customer without being redundant? You should consider email marketing.

"Email ad spending will jump to $677 million in 2011, from $492 million in 2008."--eMarketer, "Social Media and E-Mail Spending to Rise"
www.emarketer.com

E-mail marketing is an efficient way to provide timely updates, and beneficial promotional information to your customers. Designed to encourage and prompt the recipients to take immediate action--buy, download, sign-up, or direct them to the nearest store location.

Besides offering a unique creative palate for direct marketing solutions, the benefits of a well-integrated email marketing component as part of your overall strategy are numerous:

1. Inexpensive - no postage costs

2. Multi-Channel Strategy - complements all components of your strategy

3. Measurable - analyze results: open rates, click-thrus, and conversion rates

4. Easy To Test - try multiple offers, introduce a product before rolling out

5. Targeted - segment your audience and vary messages for each recipient

6. Top-of-Mind - keeps your company name and contact info in front of customers while generating awareness about new products and services

7. Builds Relationships - often resulting in customer loyalty and trust

8. Increases Credibility - increases awareness and brandishes image as industry expert with timely news and valuable tips

9. Quick Turnaround - perfect for communicating time-sensitive information

10. Immediate Action - sales, downloads, inquiries, and registrations instantly

At The Weinstein Organization we've been integrating email marketing within our clients' overall marketing campaigns for several years, and the results have been impressive to say the least. For more on how cost-efficient email marketing can complement your direct marketing efforts, contact your TWO account representative today.