How Digital Tips the Marketing Balance

Dec 08
Mind Map of Media Plan Options

Mind Map of Media Plan Options

Mind Maps Help Create
A Balanced Media Mix

I recently discovered Mind Node, an app that allows you to create a mind map on any topic. Mind maps are great tools for visualizing information and when I did a sample mind map on Media planning, the results on the left, made it instantly clear why digital marketing can be so overwhelming for business and marketing people. It’s a quantity versus quality issue.

The shear and growing size of the innumerable digital and social media choices — shown in blue and green on the left side of the chart —  is  daunting. Traditional media is shown on the right side of the chart in yellow and lime green. The broadcast node (bottom right in lime green) has four elements — Television, Cable, Radio and Pandora. Pandora, or more correctly satellite radio, could  arguably be included in the radio node, pruning broadcast down to 3 nodes versus the 8 and growing nodes under social media.

One of the best books ever written on media planning is Sissors and Baron’s Advertising Media Planning, now in its 7th edition. As the book notes, digital advertising really began in 1995 with Yahoo!, and now, less than 10 years later, digital option nodes already outweigh traditional media options.

It’s important to note that social media was not developed as an advertising medium, but increasingly with revenue pressures and opportunities looming large, first Facebook and now LinkedIn and Twitter have developed advertising options. Hence, advertising complexity has increased in direct relationship to the growth of advertising choices.

Marketing is far more than advertising, so the complexity in marketing is even more exponential. Marketing people have embraced and need to be literate in each medium, and the subsequent learning curve can be overwhelming. When you look at the mind map, is it little wonder that business people cannot handle their own social media, and that most marketing departments also are not staffed up to meet the challenge?

In fairness, to some degree the challenges were always great even with traditional media. For instance, the newspaper node in 2011 represents 1,382 daily newspapers , according to Editor & Publisher, an industry trade magazine. Although newspapers adopted Standard Advertising Units (SAUs)  to make sizes more uniform across papers, paper sizes still vary and each newspaper has its  own rate structures, deals and combo packages. Due to the number of papers, many agencies and media planners opt to buy newspaper space  through centralized buying services, and many newspaper groups such as the New Jersey Press Association have set up a one stop buying service for papers in the Garden State, PA and NY. Now imagine putting together a national campaign and one that includes much more than papers!

Putting together a media budget is a true reach and frequency jig saw puzzle with infinite options. What’s the budget? How many people do you want to reach? How often and consistent can you afford to reach them?

Add to this that social media is so much more than advertising. It is about audience engagement, growth, interaction with advertising simply as a side note. A great Facebook marketing person needs to understand contest rules, have familiarity with some third-party services or apps, understand Facebook advertising, have a reputation or monitoring service, know Facebook analytics, and that’s just to name a few skill sets.

I could argue all those skill sets were also always critical in traditional mass media, except that mass media marketers just didn’t know it at the time. Still, the mind map does what it’s supposed to do:

  1. Visually show us how all elements are needed in a  true integrated plan
  2. Show how the digital side is growing out of proportion to traditional media
  3. Indicate the increasing complexity needed in modern media planning

A Take-away: Don’t spread yourself too thin. No one can be an expert in everything. Use a mind map in your own strategic planning to determine the elements most critical to your success and the resources need to be great at those few elements. It’s fair to say most marketing departments are not staffed well enough to any one node well, much less all of them.


What Editors Can Learn From Mothers

May 12

It’s Mother’s Day 2013 and as auspicious a day as any to discuss newspapers and News Media Marketing. Why? Because newspapers, sometimes chastised for being old and irrelevant – just as mothers worldwide are chastised by their kids – is truly the mother of all media. Just like mothers worldwide, newspapers continue to serve an important function in helping those they most care about – citizens near and dear frequently called “local” – better understand the world to which they were born, live and must function within.
Unlike mothers – newspapers are not parents and this is likely where (if they’ve gone wrong anywhere) is where they’ve gone wrong. The editing function has been defined as a professional filter where editors pick and choose the stories, their length, and time of arrival. If editors, largely male, were as smart as most mothers, they’d realize:womanreading

  • You have no control over who your baby is or becomes
  • You may have been told a due date, but babes don’t understand deadlines either at birth or anytime thereafter.  Just try getting a kid to any practice on time.
  • You never have your kids attention. Everyone else is always smarter, hipper, more expert, or just more prestigious to be seen with in public.
  • Parental controls don’t work. You can’t edit what people hear and see. You can only hope to stay part of the conversation and add perspective.

If you don’t allow a teen boy to see Penthouse in the house, he’ll most certainly see it outside. Best is if he sees it with a trusted relative or friend who can talk about what is both enticing and degrading about portions of it, and help the boy to verbalize his own feelings about sexuality.It’s not the initial viewing that matters. It’s the ensuring conversation.

Years ago,newspapers were the original social media allowing readers to write in to discuss views and concerns. Unfortunately, some editors along the way, decided it should be a one-way conversation. We print the news. You respond, and we don’t respond back. If others respond back, great, but we won’t comment back even on our own commentary.

Editors love to hang their hats on objectivity. Take another lesson from mothers. Great mothers are never objective.They care too much, have distinct point of view, and are shamelessly prejudiced about their flock. They will fight to the death to protect their own, and work like demons to help them progress. If they chastise and punish, it is generally in private, although a good lesson in public is not out of the question. But, you don’t embarrass in public for embarrassment sake. That only serves to turn family members more inward, and drive them away.

Here’s what every mother wants – families who grow up happy, healthy and successful well into old age. Hopefully mothers get to see their children grow old, and stay around long enough to see the next one or two generations also make an appearance. And, every mother knows sometimes you need the previous generation to help bridge the gaps and fill in because age does bring wisdom and perspective.

As newspapers become the grandmothers of all media, we still have a great function to fulfill. Relevance is not the issue. Communication and caring to be a part of everyone’s lives is what keeps us in the game.

How Small Salons Do Big Marketing

May 06

The biggest mistake many companies make — regardless of their size — is putting marketing last in the product development cycle.  It’s a holdover from the Madmen era.  In marketing’s infancy, it was, indeed, an afterthought. Companies and entrepreneurs put all their effort into building the best offering they could develop — the best mousetrap. Then, and only then, depending on their size, would they go to an ad agency, or start to market their product or service.

Times have changed, and so has the position marketing plays in developing a new market offering. Now, marketing must  go first, or very close to first. It’s called building an audience.

If you only start marketing after you’ve opened your store, or fully developed you product  — you’re way too late. Take, for example, the story of  Envy, a new nail salon that just opened in South Jersey. The young owner — 26 years old — is wise beyond his years. He noted that if he opened his doors and then started marketing, his overhead clock would have already be ticking and he’d already be losing money. Instead, while his store was still in the design and construction phases, he started a Facebook site. On Facebook, he shared store designs, color schemes, and asked people to be friends. Then, before his store opened, he offered coupons and had an established “interest” base from Day One, with appointments already made though social media.

Today, only a few months after opening, he has close to 2,500 fans on Facebook, a number well in excess of many larger, more established firms. Through social media, he gets testimonials, tracks customer feedback, takes appointments, and answers customers questions.

Nail salons are literally a dime a dozen throughout New Jersey. Envy’s owner was conscious that he needed to differentiate himself and launch as more than another nail salon. What could he do to differentiate himself? Design was a key factor. Check out the video on his web site. He prides himself on having a fire place in his pedicure room, as well as having a pedicure room! And, he positions his store as a nail spa rather than a salon. His attention to detail, atmosphere and style, make the differentiation real rather than in name only.

More than entrepreneur, Sean, the owner, is a true marketing professional. Here’s why:

  1. He knows what media is generating what leads
  2. He started marketing months before his store opened
  3. He understands the value of a unique selling proposition
  4. He values customer feedback and has an active mechanism for listening to the voice of the customer.

But Sean is not alone. For insight into how a North Jersey nail salon also differentiated itself with an entirely different proposition — organics — see  Karma’s web site. Similar to Envy, it’s positioned as a spa. It’s unique selling proposition (USP), however, is organic care. From the moment you enter the store, you know it’s different. The smell is of fresh florals,  and the atmosphere is different from the moment you walk in.  You’re senses are hit with the aroma of geranium leaves in the water soaks, and warm visual enticement to sit the cushy chairs from Ikea rather than a salon distributor. The floors are non-allergenic wood. Their web site is not sophisticated, but does the job in positioning the owner, Naz’s, real vision in developing an new product line. I feel so in love with his shop years ago, that I posted about in in  Duct Tape Toes on

On the flip side, I recently met the marketing director of a new developing shopping mall. She noted her employer had no money or time to spend on marketing as all his attention was on construction.  If Envy had time for marketing during its construction phase, it’s hard to accept that a larger concern doesn’t. It’s all a matter of mindset. Do you view marketing in the modern way as critical to pre-selling your operation, or are you still in the Madmen era and only consider marketing after you open your doors and the cash register is not ringing?