Media Updates:
Media Definitions

So you 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 helicopter.

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 start.

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 individual customers.

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 advertising.

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.

KEY POINTS
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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