think youíre a savvy, media-impervious, hype detector? Youíre
exactly the type a new generation of marketers are targeting,
and they will stop at little to get your attention. In the
short walk from the bus stop or train station to the office
these days, you can be exposed to dozens of advertising
messages on the footpath, bins or in the sky. You might even
see the Virgin king, Richard Branson, hanging from a
A smorgasbord of new marketing trends is pushing the
boundaries in every sense by snapping up the kind of ideas
once sneered at by serious ad agency and marketing types. The
key to all this is, of course, money. Highly attractive
audiences like Gen X and Y canít be so easily targeted by
free-to-air television, commercial radio or newspapers
anymore; and even if they are watching, listening or reading,
it takes a lot more style and a touch of subversion to grab
the attention of this lot.
Some marketers have decided that, if they canít get through
the media maze, they should go around it. Any free space or
time is being bought up for messages that are often cryptic
and part of wider campaigns. Whether they work is another
question. Certainly some achieve notoriety but that catch-cry
of todayís marketer Ė measurability Ė is still an issue. If
itís hard enough to know how to accurately measure the number
of people watching the nightly TV news, how much harder is it
to quantify the audience for the logo scrawled overhead by a
skywriter? One thingís for sure: the value of a clever idea
has never been higher. This guide isnít exhaustive, and even
the experts admit a blurring between categories, but itís a
1 Permission marketing: Also known as one-to-one marketing,
this is the great white hope of new marketing. The rationale
is that by building a close relationship with customers and
knowing a lot about their buying habits, you can sell them
products and services in a more targeted, effective way.
Getting the permission to keep the dialogue going is the key,
but expect a lot more of this kind of specific promotion,
ranging from personalised bank newsletters to birthday
reminders from your florist or even the supermarket which
sends you specials on the kinds of products you usually buy.
Online permission marketing is based on the premise everything
on the internet can be like a chat between two people.
Customers give companies "permission" to market to them, and
marketers can accurately and quickly build up a profile of
what they like and donít like. The result, according to
permission marketers, is dramatically lower marketing costs
and higher response rates.
"The web is great for that," says Jason Scott of niche
media consultancy NetX. "Itís taking off. Everyone is trying
to get involved in some way." He nominates Interflora, Amazon
and Westpac as three companies using forms of permission
marketing effectively by tailoring their communication for
Data is building to support the effectiveness of this
approach. Research from US group Forrester has found that,
compared to average click-through rates of 0.65 per cent for
online banner ads, opt-in e-mail has an average response rate
of 18 per cent.
2Viral marketing: Mention viral marketing and horror film
The Blair Witch Project is likely to pop up. A large part of
the filmís success has been attributed to a marketing campaign
that promoted the idea the film was a documentary. Pivotal to
that was a website (www.blairwitch.com) launched in April
1999, two months before the filmís release, which has drawn
more than 10 million users. An intrigued youth market picked
up on the site and "spread the word".
"Viral marketing is quite an effective way to reach the youth
market," says Jean Oelwang, marketing director of Virgin
Mobile. "You make the marketing fun so they want to pass it
on." Her company has plans for viral promotions very soon.
Simple though it may sound, ideas have to be excellent to
catch the imagination. Miles Joyce of NetX says
telecommunications company Dingo Blue in Australia has done it
well, while in the US Budweiser beer has used viral marketing
to play on its catchy "whassup" advertising campaign. "Itís
really about discovering ideas that are so good that people
want to spread them," he says.
3Banner ads: Once hailed as the way ahead for online
marketing, banner advertising has been widely dismissed as a
disappointment in directly generating sales. A survey by E-buyersGuide.com
in the US recently showed that only 38 per cent of online
customers had been attracted by banner ads compared with 63
per cent by e-mail promotions and 29 per cent by traditional
The debate on banner ads is far from over, however. Some
marketers defend them as an effective brand awareness lever if
used with high frequency. Itís probably got more to do with
the expectations of marketers than anything else.
"Banners are a huge percentage of our business," Scott says.
"But people have got to start looking at what work they are
putting in before they get a banner in there. Iím not
surprised they are not getting clicked on." The key, he says,
is to use banner ads as branding platforms to raise awareness.
4Guerilla marketing: This is the "cool" end of new
marketing, using unorthodox techniques to grab the attention
of advertising-weary consumers. It may include writing on the
footpath in crowded streets or handing out promotional coffee
in cups blazoned with logos.
To the purists, guerilla marketing has a quite specific
definition. "Itís when you are taking over someone elseís
event for a tenth of the cost," Joyce says. The main effect is
getting high recognition for little outlay. An ad campaign for
AAPT Smartchat in Australia that was quite clearly taken from
the Budweiser "whassup" campaign probably qualifies as
guerilla marketing. "The thing about guerilla and ambient
marketing is the impact of the context itís in," Joyce says.
"You canít buy that brand impact."
Not always the most sophisticated of methods, guerilla
marketing aims to grab attention at unusual times and
environments. New telecommunications company Dingo Blue, for
instance, has given away coffee in cups bearing the companyís
logo to people on their way to work.
Virgin Mobile, which launched in Australia last year,
swears by guerilla tactics. At Christmas it enlisted choirs of
university students who sang versions of carols rewritten to
extol the virtue of Virginís service. A current promotion of
Virginís cheap calls uses a comedian dressed as a pimp
accompanied by "cheap-call girls" to drive around major
cities, getting people to take a "value test" comparing their
current service to Virgin.
Oelwang says measuring the impact of these techniques is
integral to the promotion. With the Christmas carols "we did
make sure we got our money back" by putting a special offer on
the back of song sheets to gauge response.
5Ambient marketing: Despite its rather benign tag, this is
marketing designed to give a jolt, often because of the
juxtaposition of media and message. Rubbish bins, skywriting
and ads on taxi seats are some of the channels used.
NetXís Joyce says the distinction between guerilla and ambient
marketing is blurred, although he defines the latter as
getting to an audience in a non-traditional way, often by
reaching them when and where they donít expect it.
When launching the Virgin Blue airline in Australia last year,
founder Richard Branson flew over Sydneyís Darling Harbour
suspended from a helicopter. The image certainly worked into
peopleís consciousness. Another mini-campaign to increase
brand recognition involved putting out special beer coasters
through a string of pubs.
1. Permission marketing claims to be able to sell products in
a more targeted way by building a relationship with customers
2. Viral marketing requires fun ideas to catch the imagination
of people who then pass it on.
3. Although banner ads have been dismissed by some, others see
them as an effective brand awareness lever.
4. Guerilla marketing uses unorthodox techniques to grab
attention at unusual times and events.
5. Ambient marketing is deigned to give a jolt because of its
juxtaposition of media and message.
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