Thanks to much-buzzed-about tweets by major brands (e.g. Gap,
Sears, etc.) during Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath, the term “newsjacking” has
gained recent notoriety in the social media and marketing worlds. And while the
term may be new, the practice has been around in some form or another for a
WHAT IS NEWSJACKING?
David Meerman Scott, who literally wrote the book on newsjacking, defines it as “the
process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in
real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”
WHY DO IT?
A successful newsjacking campaign can result in your brand
and messaging being effectively woven into a larger news story. It can also improve
your SEO and boost your reputation – all for a relatively low cost.
HOW DO I DO IT?
To maximize effectiveness, you must jump in to the news cycle
early. This doesn’t mean rushing to throw something together once an
opportunity arises. Instead, explore opportunities for future stories and
implement your campaign when appropriate.
A great example of successful newsjacking: Oreo’s tweet
during Super Bowl XLVII. After a surprise blackout, the brand took to Twitter:
The tweet was buzzworthy not only because Oreo capitalized on the unexpected in a relevant way. The fact that the brand produced an
actual ad for the tweet proved to be a savvy move during an event that's watched almost as much for advertising as it is for football.
HOW DO I NOT DO IT?
The difference between scoring points and a potential PR
disaster often lies in the news subject itself. Before you decide to newsjack a
particular story, ask yourself these questions:
the public potentially react negatively to the association of my brand with this
specific news topic?
the information I am providing helpful to my target audiences?
it possible that another opportunity will arise in the near future that is
actually a better fit for my brand?
Riding on the coattails of a violent uprising to promote your spring
fashion line isn’t particularly helpful and surely doesn’t seem in good taste.
While the art of newsjacking isn’t new, many of the
opportunities to do so are. Before you, or your brand, dedicate the time and energy
it takes to launch a newsjacking campaign, be sure the circumstances are right
and use your creativity to find the absolute best possible fit.
In 2012, many people were proclaiming “native advertising”
the buzzword of the year, with all the fly-by-nightness that implies. But signs
indicate that content will not only continue to rule, but do so with an iron fist,
which means that native advertising is here to stay. And just like any trend,
there’s a right way and wrong way to do it.
What is native
The term refers to digital ads that blend into a site’s
content. You can “place” native advertising on social media (sponsored stories,
promoted tweets, featured videos) as well as editorial and news sites
(sponsored content, featured partners). Done well, it becomes part of the
user’s experience (as opposed to interrupting it) and nets higher engagement
rates. Done poorly, it paints brands – and publishers – as disingenuous,
out of touch and untrustworthy.
An infamous lesson on how not to do native advertising comes
from The Atlantic. The venerable
magazine’s online outlet published a
sponsored piece on Scientology – and got a face full of backlash. And not just
because the “sponsored” nature of the piece wasn’t as obvious as it should have
been. It was a bad fit in terms of sponsor and site, and made The Atlantic look like they cared less
about their readers than about ad revenue. After the outcry on social media (as
well as a mocking Onion
article), The Atlantic removed
the story and apologized. But the damage was already done.
If you’re ready to go native, you should first get very
familiar with content marketing: what
it is and how to do
it. From there, it’s really all about understanding the publisher’s audience
and speaking its language. Because the last thing you want is to look like a
Submitted by Jennifer on January 25, 2013 - 9:49am
Let’s face it: we’re a society of addicts.
We’re all just one intervention away from breaking down in tears and handing
over our smartphones in defeat. Here at Balcom, the Bs are no different.
I won’t mention a name, but there’s one person at the office whose eyes are
like a direct laser beam to their iPhone. Our face-to-face conversations pan
out like a bad date: I sit there talking endlessly about myself while this
person, who shall remain nameless, is captivated by an app, occasionally
reassuring me by saying “I’m listening” when I pause during my monologue.
Apparently, eye contact and human interaction are his (or her? I’m still not
I’ll admit it – I had an unhealthy addiction to
Words with Friends after
getting my iPhone. With 20+ games going simultaneously, I spent my waking
moments enraptured by the app, trying to attain triple-word scores by haphazardly
throwing together configurations of letters that Words with Friends would
accept – so-called “words” that undoubtedly left the dictionary scratching its
In a state of unbridled honesty (and forced
compliance), the Bs decided to face their addictions* and come clean about the smartphone
apps they can’t live without:
Jamie is addicted to the Solitaire app, playing it while in line at the
store, at the doctor's office, or waiting for a meeting to start. She’s played
39,441 games and 1,071 hours worth of Solitaire. Jamie has admitted she has a
Mike just can’t stop the music. He has to
have his Spotify app.
Audrey is an Elf Yourself addict – which is the reason the Bs
refuse to share pictures with her anymore.
Who knew Kim was so addicted to celebrity gossip? All those times we thought
she was emailing from her phone, she was probably just checking her People CelebWatch app!
Poor Steve. We
knew he liked coffee, but the extent of his dependency is now becoming clear.
Steve uses the Starbucks app (multiple times a day, we’re
sure) to pay for his orders, redeem rewards for free drinks, and find locations
when the caffeine cravings become unbearable.
Eric, like many guys, is an ESPN ScoreCenter junkie. He
tried to downplay how much the app meant to him, but we all know that the road
to recovery begins with overcoming denial.
Saying we’re concerned about Toni’s Twitter use would be an understatement. A self-proclaimed Twitter app junkie, Toni admits she
“didn’t know what she did before Twitter.” One day at a time, Toni.
Carol is full-blown Echofon junkie. She uses the app to review
her Twitter feed and the many lists she’s created, which include a News list,
where she scans Tweeted headlines from various outlets; a client list that
allows her to check on clients’ feeds; and a B Team list to keep up with
Trey is fanatical about checking The Weather Channel app to make sure he doesn’t head out
into dreaded cold weather. Since we’re in Texas, we’re guessing this isn’t a daily
A die-hard weather app fanatic, Alan currently has over 10 variations of weather apps on his phone. Oh
Carol uses the Surf Report app from Oakley to check the tides, wave
heights, and temperatures at beaches around the world (and hopes that a
teleportation feature is released soon). We’d seen her leave in the middle of
meetings, grab her surfboard and run hurriedly from the office – now we know
Ashley and Stephanie love
the super-organizing app, Evernote. They use it to take notes and organize
to-do lists that sync with their devices. They can obsessively check it
throughout the day to make sure everything is still organized – which it always
Krystal and Kim are
two organized moms! They both use the RenWeb app to daily check their children’s grades,
homework, or the school directory. We’re just glad our parents couldn’t check our
grades from their phones when we were growing up!
Jeff is obsessed with the Google Now
app, a virtual assistant for Android users – which Jeff claims is the superior
version of Apple's Siri. (Jeff is using the classic tactic of diverting
attention away from his addiction by criticizing someone else – in this case
Victoria and Lynne are
compulsive texters. The iMessage app allows them to make plans and
keep in touch with friends. Plus, in Lynne’s case, it allows her to keep in
contact with a son who doesn’t use his phone for talking.
Ali has to deal with a daily influx of
text messages from all her friends. To solve this, she uses the DeskSMS app that forwards her text messages
to her Google chat so she can quickly type a response without ever picking up
her phone. We wish we were this popular.
Brian can’t live without his emails,
so he compulsively checks his Gmail app every five minutes.
Hooked on Houses:
Lesley is hooked on the Realtor.comapp, which she uses to search new listings in her
neighborhood. We’re hoping she finds a home soon – she keeps randomly dropping
terms like “appraisal,” “FHA” and “escrow” into work conversations – no one
knows what she’s talking about.
So, now that you know our app weaknesses (and since you’re in a
safe place where you won’t be judged), what’s your must-have app? Please tell
us in the comments below so we don’t feel so insecure!
*The Bs are taking the necessary steps to overcome their app addictions, starting with the basics: looking to their childhoods and finding the root of their issues. We’re told there’s an app for that.
This season’s flu is the worst it has been in decades. How do we know, without even calling the CDC or thousands of hospitals? Simple: Google.
Google tracks the number of people that go to Google.com and search for flu-related terms (“body aches,” “high fever,” “Tamiflu,” etc.) and aggregates the information. In theory, the more prevalent the flu is, the more people will be searching for it – just as more people search for coats in the winter. Of course, more people search for the word “flu” during flu season, but does it actually correlate with real-world occurrences of the flu? Google worked with the CDC to compare search volume of flu-related terms with the actual number of cases of the flu.
It turns out search volume in Google is highly correlated with
actual cases as reported by the CDC,
as the graph above demonstrates. However, search data is near real-time, where
reporting from hospitals across the world can take months to collect. The
ability to quickly identify outbreaks of the flu (which can be measured even at
a city level) can save lives.
The flu and politics are, obviously, important topics – ones in
which big data can be a big deal. But what about marketing and advertising? At
Balcom Agency, we use the same tools (Google Trends, among others) to discover
how and when customers are searching for our clients’ products and services.
Let’s say that we want to see if our TV ads are moving the
needle at all. We can look at overall search volume in comparison to our
television buy. If advertising works, it will generate more demand and more
people will search after they see the ad.
As you can see, the more people that saw the TV spots (impressions), the more interest (search volume) we generated. As a result, the client has decided to spend even more on television advertising and look closer at the analytics to discover new opportunities.
There’s no doubt that big data can help you optimize your marketing and boost ROI. But before you go big or go home, remember that correlation doesn’t always equal causation. Ask questions, get details and never forget how important the human element still is when it comes to marketing.
At the most basic level, integrated marketing strategically connects all of a brand’s consumer touch points. Sounds simple, right? Sure, until you realize that all those touch points include advertising, promotions, search, sales, web, mobile, social, point-of-sale, direct marketing and even public relations.
If it’s so complicated, why do it?
The benefits of integrated marketing are well documented. A recent report from Forrester Research revealed that integrated marketing increases marketing ROI, shortens sales cycles and raises consumer engagement. Done well, it also increases customer satisfaction and boosts revenue. Seems like the only thing it doesn’t do is whiten your teeth.
So, how do you make it happen?
Start by getting all the right people at the table – marketing, sales, public relations, customer service, your web team and even IT. Frankly, this can be a huge challenge. Be diligent, be diplomatic, and keep reminding everyone of the bottom line benefits you’ll all share credit for. (If all else fails, mention how integrated marketing whitens teeth.)
Once you get the right people on board, take a good long look at:
Your brand’s promise and position in the marketplace. Make sure everyone agrees on where you stand.
Your organization’s business and marketing goals – these will guide your objectives and help you set up measurements.
Your customers. Find out how they interact with your brand across digital, social, mobile and offline channels.
Your sales cycle. Identify important milestones your customers experience within the cycle -- then think about how you can influence and track them.
Your current marketing, communications, promotions and sales initiatives.
This will help you begin to get a better picture of how customers actually interact with your brand, where current initiatives overlap and the opportunities you have to integrate efforts. All that’s left is the plan itself, and this means collectively:
Deciding on tactics
Securing media – paid and earned
Determining what to measure
So start putting it all together – and watch the blog for more integrated marketing tips. You’ll be connected before you know it.
Submitted by Jennifer on January 11, 2013 - 3:49pm
With 2012 quickly becoming a distant memory, the Bs decided
to take a look back at our favorite ads of the last year. As individuals, we
each had a different set of criteria for our choice of favorite ad: whether it
played on emotions, spoke to our sense of humor, or simply struck us with its
After a lot of deliberating, we narrowed down the competition
to share with you our top picks for favorite ads of 2012:
1. Allstate "Mayhem"
You must live under
a rock if you haven't seen an Allstate "Mayhem" commercial on TV. The campaign began in 2010, when we were introduced to
the now infamous "Mayhem" character, played by Dean Winters. Whether Mayhem is
the blind spot of your car sending you into an occupied lane or a
less-than-vigilant guard dog letting thieves walk away with your valuables,
we've learned – in a comical way – that mayhem is everywhere and Allstate can
help. Our favorite pick for 2012 goes to Allstate's "Mayhem: Super Fan." It's
easy to see why:
2. LEGO "Imagine"
Designed by Jung von Mutt for LEGO, the "Imagine"
ad campaign is clever yet deceivingly simple. Initially, the audience may be
unaware of the image within the image, but with a little imagination you might
be able to decipher some of your favorite cartoon characters.
3. Chipotle "Back to the Start"
The emotional and endearing stop-motion short film "Back
to the Start" portrays a farmer grappling with the
choices he makes on his farm. Ultimately, the choices he makes cause he and the
audience to question the welfare of the animals and the industrialization of
the food industry. With an evocative soundtrack of Coldplay's "The Scientist"
covered by Willie Nelson, "Back to the Start" definitely earns its spot as a top
contender for our favorite ad of 2012.
4. SportsCenter "John
Beginning in 1994, SportsCenter's "This is SportsCenter"
campaign has many years of practice making its audience keel over with laughter.
In 2012, SportsCenter debuted their "John Clayton" commercial
featuring real-life ESPN writer and reporter John Clayton – a seemingly dorky
and unassuming character – who is revered for his professionalism and
contributions to the company; however, within seconds, the audience sees
Clayton finish his segment from his childhood bedroom, and the rest you'll have
to watch for yourself:
5. Ultimat Vodka
"Stop Working. Start Drinking."
Guerilla marketing at its finest, Ultimat Vodka's "Stop
Working. Start Drinking." ad goes sky high to intimately reach its target
audience. Watch how these window washers get the message across to men and
women at work in New York and Chicago:
Find out which ad
each Balcom Agency employee chose as their favorite for 2012:
this Starburst Flavor Morph "Mean Streets" commercial funny every time. Besides the
humor, it earns points for tying in the product with the fun, youthful
demographic that enjoys the candy.
this Crest "3D
White" Whitestrips commercial because of its ability to speak directly
to the problem.
Eric chose this
hilarious Carlton Draught "Beer
Chase" ad – an original take on not drinking and driving that is still able to show people's
preference for the beer.
towards minimalistic ads, so it's no wonder he chose this simple and effective
LEGO ad "Imagine"
as his favorite. It forces the viewer to do the work, but the payoff is great
when you see it.
this NFL Evolution
commercial about a mother's concern for her little boy playing football, and
how the NFL is making the game safer. The irony that Ray Lewis is her son is
hilarious, and hearing Tom Brady call him a "cute kid" never gets old.
Kim chose the
Canon "Imagination" ad
because of the brilliant concept and stunning execution of the commercial,
which shows people capturing amazing shots with the camera.
chose Proctor & Gamble's "Best
Job" video – a salute to moms worldwide – which went viral on social media
during the 2012 Olympics.
loved the Fiat "Immigrants"
commercial because it grabs your attention when the cars drive into the sea.
Overall, it taps into cultural associations and the international appeal of the
Lauren T. picked
AT&T's "Hello" ad
because of three reasons: it's about football, it's a viral social media piece
and it's inspiring.
Steve appreciate the deadpan
style of the "This is SportsCenter" ads, so it's no surprise that they both
chose the hysterical "John
Clayton" ad as their favorite for 2012.
favorite ad of 2012 was Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale's "Breeding Habits," a great play
on Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom."
A new year’s resolution list should always be a mix of “gimmees” – things that you know you can accomplish – and loftier goals that are going to require a little more commitment. It’s in this spirit that we offer four marketing resolutions for 2013.
Dance with the one that brought you By which we mean: focus on customer retention. This one should be easy peasy – after all, these are people that already know and love you, right? It’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one, and you can create loyal brand ambassadors who will act as evangelists – effectively doing some of the customer acquisition work for you.
Find your sweet spot – and stay there You know the saying: Jack of all trades, master of none. When it comes to your marketing efforts, identify the channels and tactics that make the most sense for your business and perfect them. Don’t spread yourself thin trying to be all things to all people – or trying to ride every trend wave.
Get mobilized That being said, mobile is one channel that every business needs to commit to in 2013. For more and more consumers, mobile devices are quickly becoming the linchpin in the buying cycle, while social media mobile apps are growing exponentially in use. To realize the best ROI, get smart about your mobile strategy before investing in a lot of technology.
Measure up For many, this is fast becoming a perennial resolution. Our ability to track data keeps getting better – but it also keeps getting more complex, and trends like so-called “big data” can be daunting. But marketing metrics doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition – and the payoffs are more than worth the investment.
You may be thinking, “easier said than done.” Not to worry. In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll be posting longer entries on each of these four topics to help you make the most of your marketing this year.
I'll let you know the first sign someone is NOT creative. It's when they utter the phrase, "I'm just a creative person." That is the most tell-tale sign that someone is the farthest from being creative. That phrase is usually followed by some obscure vision that isn't rooted in any reasonable reality.
Here's why: creative people create.
Steve Jobs created the iPhone, iPad, iMac and much more. Richard Branson created the Virgin line of companies. Leo Burnett created great ads.
To be creative, you have to create. Period. End of story. You don't have to create art or words or music. You can create anything.
I look around the office and everyone is creative. Lynne has amazing ways to figure out the nuts and bolts of how to make our client's dreams come true. Mike finds ways to solve complex problems with programming. Alan finds unique ways to meet new clients. I could go on and on.
We can even take a look outside of the office:
Moms (and Dads) find new ways to organize the house so it is clean, but everything can be found.
Cops find ways to catch bad guys.
Doctors find new ways to treat diseases.
Notice something in common? They all have deliverables: a clean house, guys in jail and new treatments.
Guess how you can be more creative. Create something. It can be anything. It could be a love note to your significant other, a unique thank you note, an unexpected homemade gift, the painting you've always wanted to create or the poem you've always had in the back of your head.
You'll find that it opens up the brain to think in new and interesting ways. The creation process is what makes you creative.
I had the opportunity to speak at the UNT PRSSA’s meeting last night in Denton (they’re a very fun and bright group of students who are about to hit the job market *wink wink employers*), and thought I’d share a few of the talking points with other prospective graduates.
1. Do your research
This goes for anyone in the industry, not just jobseekers. The key to success as an ad pro or employee is knowing people. Do whatever it takes to understand who you’re selling your product, service, or self to.
2. Don’t be that guy (or girl)
Nobody likes the embarrassing co-worker who tells weekend stories too loudly. Similarly, nobody wants to hire a “frat bro” with the ol’ shirtless beer chugging Facebook profile picture.
3. Don’t stop learning
You’ll soon find that your formal education leaves you unequipped to manage the day-to-day changes of the marketing world. Keep up with blogs like Mashable, TechCrunch, Buzzfeed, follow the news (both global and local), and you just may want to keep up with those Kardashians so you actually hold conversations with the highly intellectual people around you.
Do what you have to in order to get the job done for a client, employer, teammate, etc. If that means making copies, cleaning the fridge, or videotaping a someone else’s child’s ballet recital... do it. Don’t forget to smile the entire way through, because guess what - everyone’s watching.
5. Everyone loves a good story (and to tell their own)
Not only is this extremely relevant in the advertising world (Facebook’s transition to the Timeline layout is an excellent example), but in our personal lives. Asking other people about themselves is the most successful way to make them like you. Fact. Make sure you have an interesting story to tell too, which leads me to our final point...
6. Be memorable
Whether it’s in a campaign you’re designing, an interview you’ve landed, or a conference you’re attending, make them remember you (in a positive way). Being different isn’t always bad, and being loud isn’t always good. Find a part of you that is important and unique, then build your brand around it.
Have questions about post-grad life or career goals and expectations? We’ve got plenty of Bs who’d love to help you out! Give us a shout in the comments below, or shoot me an email personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
Whenever I speak, I almost always get asked, "What's the next social network?" I have always said, and will continue to say: Facebook. It's not Pinterest, it's not Twitter and it's not Tumblr. Why? Because Facebook is totally ingrained into our lives.
But here's the biggest deal: Millions of users use Facebook by not going to Facebook.com. They login to their favorite site (ESPN.com, for example) or like a page or listen to a song on Spotify.
If you were to erase Facebook today, people would freak out - thousands of websites wouldn't work and the number one website destination in the world would be gone. What if you deleted Twitter? People would probably shrug their shoulders and turn back to Facebook.
If the Twitter immigrants didn't like the way Facebook showed their information, they could create an app that displays it the way they want. With the new Twitter rules, this is a big no-no.
Facebook wants to be the glue for the web, Twitter wants to be the book. You can't make a book without a whole lot of glue.