Cardinal sin of advertising: racism.
Divine blessing of advertising: a good ad agency.
The law firm of McCutcheon & Hammer seems to be the unfortunate victims of advertising that they didn’t want. According to them, they didn’t even pay for it. Or ask for it. A commercial production company created the offensive ad below using a horrible Asian stereotype character and it was uploaded to the firm’s YouTube channel. Check it out below (on the production company’s YouTube channel) and then scroll down for updates since the video was discovered last week.
Things got weird once the video went viral. The law firm claimed that it never commissioned the video and that their YouTube channel was hacked. It is a fair assumption that a local TV production company doesn’t have the ability to “hack” YouTube (which is owned and secured by Google). So let’s assume the law firm is using some legalese and hinging the accuracy of their statement on the first part of the statement. They never commissioned this particular video and, therefore, never authorized it being uploaded to YouTube.
Since both sides make opposing claims and the ad involves a very derogatory portrayal of Asians, the Natiaonl Asian Pacific American Bar Association has looked into the situation and made some odd discoveries:
1) Neither party is willing to produce documentation to support their claim.
2) Neither party is eliminating the idea that someone pretending to work for the law firm is responsible. (If this is true, the production company is disastrously negligent in their client authorization process!)
3) The video is still online.
4) The law firm has not followed through with any threat to sue the production company.
5) This is still very bad PR for the law firm and production company.
All that said, the judgment on this one is bad all the way around. The production company makes junk, and racist junk at that. The law firm has done terrible damage control. If this were professionally handled at the onset, it would have been cleanly wrapped up and the reputation of the firm would still be in tact. Such is not the case today.
It isn’t a rumor, nor is it a conspiracy. Facebook organic reach has been slashed. Facebook has admitted to changing its algorithm so businesses (or anyone else with a Page) are forced to pay if they want their posts to be seen. While most businesses saw a decline to about 15-20% organic reach last year, many are now reaching only 2%. In the case of the Arkside Marketing Facebook Page, we are seeing 5-8% consistently.
Facebook has become the bridge troll with a pay-to-play model.
The origin of this change reaches back about a year and a half. Facebook had one billion users and was the place to be. Many Fortune 500 companies were clamoring to get on the bandwagon but still hadn’t figured out how. Even at the end of 2012, only 66% of the F500 were on Facebook, let alone using it effectively.
But in May 2012, General Motors’ firebrand CMO, Joel Ewanick, made the decision to fire their social media agency of record and stop all advertising on Facebook. Quick way to save $10 million. The stated reasoning was that they didn’t see any substantial return on their investment so they would stop advertising and continue with their organic Facebook Page fan base of a few million followers.
Even with Facebook making it impossible for brands to reach 100% of their followers, most were still seeing what you posted. Why advertise? Faceb0ok was cannibalizing itself. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
Not only did they just eliminate themselves as a top Facebook advertiser (and revenue source), but they did this the week Facebook had their IPO. Ouch.
We believe Joel was right.
Ewanick and General Motors exposed the flaw in Facebook’s plan. Spending wasn’t necessary because people were organically finding, Liking, and sharing brand content.
Facebook had to fix the giant hole in the ship. Now you have to pay to get on board.
Post-IPO, Facebook has been under immense public pressure (especially from our own Founder who has had issues with the platform). They have been busy addressing their failure on mobile devices and an unfriendly ad platform. Organic results were odd also. For many years, it has been frustrating for businesses on Facebook because they are treated badly. Even when a customer says they “Like” a business, Facebook doesn’t see that as permission to show your content. In their belief, just because a customer says they “Like” something, that doesn’t really mean they want to see anything from it.
In high school, guys wanted “no” to mean “yes”.
On Facebook, “yes” actually means “no”.
Now, “yes” actually means “no way in hell”. So what is a business to do? According to Facebook, a business is to pay for ads.
“Your brand can fully benefit from having fans when most of your ads show social context, which increases advertising effectiveness and efficiency“.
Perhaps the most offensive and glaring admission is this:
“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.“
If someone tells you they like something and you block them from seeing it, how does that equal a meaningful experience?
1) Save Money and Reach Fewer People
There are many social media agencies and managers that we have spoken to whom have told us they will be focusing less of their time (and their client’s money) on Facebook Pages. In their view, the task of reaching a fan base is so time consuming and expensive that better results can be found on other social media or even traditional media.
2) Spend Money and Reach More People
Other social media agencies and managers have said they will pay, if necessary. Facebook wants to command paid media and may be a force that is too large to ignore. For those companies with substantial followings in the thousands or hundreds of thousands, a marketing investment may be a wise decision.
At Arkside Marketing, we have saying, “advertising is an investment. If it is only an expense, you are doing it wrong.”
3) Leave Facebook
Yes, we’re serious. For some businesses, the Facebook Page organic reach may have provided a nice bump in social interaction, but their new model decreases the return that could possibly be achieved. Could that time be better spent on other social platforms such as Twitter or the SEO-friendly Google+?
In the spirit of full disclosure, we have not recommended that any of our clients abandon Facebook. Each of them can continue to successfully reach their audience, but to a smaller degree. We also plan to continue our own Facebook presence, but will reduce our advertising to large announcements.
Although we agree with his decision, we blame Joel Ewanick for this. Ultimately, it would have occurred anyway. Facebook had to realize their shortcoming. But now that it is here, what will your business choose? The pay-to-play model is here to stay, mainly because it doesn’t seriously infringe on Facebook’s main product: its users.
If you would like an objective evaluation of your social media presence and strategy, contact our office.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2013
From: Arkside Marketing
Media Contact: 951.444.1237
Growing Southern California ad agency brings on specialized talent for highly regulated industries.
(Moreno Valley, CA) Arkside Marketing has retained the services of Cyndi Lemke, formerly of Soboba Casino, Target, and Kenneth Cole, to further strengthen their efforts and expertise in highly regulated industries such as law, casinos, automotive, healthcare, and education. Ms. Lemke brings a wealth of experience from her previous positions with large and small business entities.
“At Ms. Lemke’s first contact with us, I was excited at the opportunity to bring her on board,” said Nathan Greenberg, Founder of Arkside Marketing. “Our clients expect a high level of knowledge gained through experience in complex marketing strategies. Ms. Lemke’s background makes our team much stronger in that regard.”
She has spent the last 18 years working in retail management and marketing. Her professional passion of helping others succeed aligns well with the mission of Arkside Marketing: to solve their clients’ business challenges. Ms. Lemke said joining a company like Arkside will, “give me opportunities and a professional atmosphere not commonly found in this industry. I’m looking forward to this journey.”
Arkside Marketing is a full service advertising and marketing agency serving industries with high levels of government oversight. Arkside’s foundation is built on the harmony between traditional and digital mediums while providing the highest levels of customer service. Offered services include traditional media buying, campaign strategy, brand development, digital ad campaigns, graphic design, website development, social media, reputation monitoring, and market research.
The question “is print media dead” is much harder to answer than you expect. The reasons are complex and the answer is changing. Today, it would depend on what part of “print” you’re asking about. Print marketing includes newspapers, direct mail, magazines, coupon publications, and others. If any of them are “dying”, it does not mean mean they have lost utility or effectiveness.
The century-plus old technology has faced small year-over-year declines, but overall, has fallen for a decade. This is only true of their print editions. Most newspapers in America have made transitions to digital editions to various degrees. Their digital efforts have seen robust growth in most cases. Because of this adaptation of new media, the budgeting and targeting of an ad campaign is vital for positive ROI in newspapers.
Your Marketing Consultant should know the publication and work closely with the media representative to ensure a customized campaign for you. Very little in advertising is one-size-fits-all. The demographics should be understood and costs thoroughly explained so that expectations can be appropriately set.
As will be mentioned in each print advertising category below, the benefit of a media mix should not be ignored when considering “dying” print. How can newspaper work in tandem with radio or television? How can online ads on the high school sports webpage help support your community relations or targeting of active families? Work with your Marketing Consultant to explore these opportunities.
Your customers want to build relationships and so do you. Direct mail is routinely rated one of the least intrusive forms of advertising. According to a recent study on direct mail by Millward Brown, “physical media left a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain”. In other words, people remember more about something they can touch as opposed to something they can not.
But what about results? Doesn’t everyone throw out “junk mail”?
Target Marketing magazine conducted a study on ROI and the media producing the best results for customer acquisition, customer contact, and retention for B2C marketers was direct mail. It is easy to track and that makes it easy to understand and source it’s performance.
Beautiful, glossy pages filled with beautiful people and products. Although not as hard hit as newspapers, magazines have seen challenges erupt over the last decade. But there are many success stories and evidence of a rebound in the industry. Just last week, Newsweek announced it would restart its printed publication. Publications are seeing a growth in readership and revenues are on the rise.
As long as magazines are used effectively and for the right goals, they can be a powerful element in your media mix. Some data suggests that you only get half a second to make an impression before someone decides if they will read your magazine ad or not.
Focus on what you want people to notice. This could be a call to action, a logo, or a photo. If appropriate, include contact information and a reason for people to use it. Like all ads, your space is limited so use it wisely and beautifully.
We may be climbing out of the recession, but people still love a discount! Find the publication or mail package that is most likely to reach your target market. Just because you publish a coupon doesn’t mean it will get used. Targeting is critical and must be combined with a worthy offer.
Again, time and space are limited. You have less than a second to make an impression and only so many inches to use. Keep your disclaimers short, your dollars or percentages big, and your contrast strong.
There are many options such as Welcome Wagon, which targets new home owners, or PennySaver which stretches “from sea to shining sea”.
Is print media dead? No. It is changing and rebuilding but it remains extremely successful for advertisers. Contact an Arkside Marketing Consultant today and explore your best options.
By now, it is no surprise that Facebook has launched another feature without much explanation of how it works. They do this with EdgeRank updates and advertising options. Of course, privacy
glitches features have been repeatedly changed without explanation as well.
In this case, Facebook unveiled a new 5-star rating system for business Pages and at least two weeks have gone by since any details have emerged from the Menlo Park headquartered company. The star ratings appear under a business name on their Page and seem to be visible to all Facebook users.
This is what we know from the two questions Facebook has added to its help section:
Other than showing the rating to the public, Facebook has not shared what this means to the Page owner.
1) Does a score impact how a Page appears in search results?
2) Why not show how many ratings have been received?
3) Are mobile and desktop ratings scored equally?
4) Are any filters applied to “score” ratings? (i.e. – John Smith has 1,000 friends and reviews many businesses…will his rating be worth more than Jane Doe who has 100 friends and rates 1 business a year?)
5) How are false reviews flagged/responded to/deleted?
As we said, these important issues are not being addressed so the system is of little value to businesses today.
However, there are some noteworthy elements about the project in general. The Facebook star rating seems designed to infringe on the business models of companies like Yelp and FourSquare. By connecting a rating system to a business’ Facebook Page, it reduces the need of someone to leave and see how they rank on another site. It also mimics the Page/Places/Local integration currently being attempted by Google on their Google+ social media platform.
It is the integration that is key. Social media sites are continuing to explore new options to integrate themselves into a user’s daily life. It also puts another focus on customer service within a business and making that reportable to the public. More and more, businesses are being forced to provide better experiences because each customer has a voice.
Facebook alone has 1.1 billion voices.
The new rating system is yet another element that must be incorporated into a business’ reputation management and overall social media efforts. They must solicit reviews from current customers, monitor their star rating, and promote a four or five star score.
Business cards are still an effective and convenient method for distributing your contact information. Ignore the small chorus of nay-sayers who ponder the question, “is the business card dead?” A business card is a valuable and inexpensive investment. Here are 5 tips to make your business card effective:
Its a good idea, but that’s not really number one. Here we go…
Simple form over function. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your business card is if no one can read it. Even if you are an artist or graphic designer. Don’t let a creative flair overtake the reason you have a business card…so people can contact you! There are plenty of ways to incorporate beautiful, colorful, extravagant designs and still have easy-to-read information.
2″ high by 3.5″ wide.
That gives you 14 square inches of space to work with. Don’t let it go to waste. When clients come to us for brand development, we often find a misuse of space in their business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and websites. Your business card can communicate a lot of information including:
|License number(s)||Special prices||Discount offers|
|Famous quote||Appointment form||Portfolio piece|
With all of those possibilities, why would you leave the back of your card blank? Put it to good use. Don’t just copy your logo again in a larger size. Use it as an appointment reminder (many dentists and doctors do this). You could also promote a particular product line, include social media icons/addresses, share your industry recognition award, or give a useful tip that is relevant to your customers.
Your business card needs to meet and exceed the expectations of the person to whom you give it. If you own a law firm catering to high net worth clients, your business card needs to reflect that. The design should be professional and elegant. Including the colors of your favorite baseball team is not recommended.
Utilize your color palette, fonts, and other brand design elements. This information should be readily available in your branding guidelines.
Many years ago, we came across a company that had plastic business cards. They had a custom cut shape, full color, and nearly as thick as a credit card. EACH card was about $1.00. Yes, they spent $500 on every set for employees. They were beautiful, unique, and effective.
They were not cost efficient.
The same unique beauty could have been achieved on a paper stock, even a rarely available stock, for less than $1.00 per card. Use a stock that is appropriate for your customers. A heavy-duty card stock for rough industries such as construction or landscaping. Elegant linen is appropriate for accountants or attorneys. Plastic for…well…no one.
The layout and content options for your business card are limitless. But you aren’t going to reinvent the wheel. Someone already did what you want. Best of all, someone already did a part of what you want.
“Good artists copy, great artists steal!” –Pablo Picasso
Start collecting business cards with things you like and want on your own: a great font, a nice placement of a logo, the right size social media icons, whatever.
Now use this opportunity for marketing and networking. Compliment the person who’s card you admire and tell them what you like. They’ll appreciate your kind words and will be more receptive to your card once it is ready.
6. Order your business cards from Arkside. (Just contact our office and we’ll schedule a free consultation.)
If you could change one thing about your current business card, what would it be? Leave a comment below and let’s see what others want to improve.
In case you haven’t heard, Twitter plans to go public with an IPO sometime in 2014. Cheekily, they made this announcement in a tweet. Now they are under intense pressure to prove their value. How can Twitter be profitable? Can it grow? Can it help business? How will it attract advertisers? With a recent blog post, Twitter has set out to prove that tweets drive offline sales.
Twitter partnered with Datalogix to determine the impact Promoted Tweets (and tweeting in general) had on offline sales. Despite the surging popularity of social media with businesses and their consumers, 94% of purchases in America are still made offline, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
So how can businesses use Twitter to impact their offline sales?
Promoted Tweets, according to Twitter.
The logic is fairly simple but execution is key. Tweeting is about condensing any idea or action into a message of 140 characters or less. The people that see those messages have just become a branding audience and, in most cases, the goal is to move from branding to action. You want people to act on the information or call-to-action you provide.
When 35 CPG brands were studied, it was determined that Promoted Tweets (one of Twitter’s advertising products) directly correlated to a 12% sales lift offline. Also impressive, organic Tweets helped push an 8% offline sales lift.
Impressed? Wait, there’s more. (We’re not cheerleaders for Twitter. This just happens to be excellent marketing data that we believe can help our clients achieve great success in social media and gaining incremental sales. You want to sell more, right?)
Twitter’s data also showed that customers exposed to Promoted Tweets bought 29% more than customers who were only exposed to organic Tweets.
Twitter has helped advance the measurement metrics of online promotion affecting offline sales. It is a critical tool for any brand who seeks to grow their business with the inclusion of social media in their marketing mix. Verifiable sales are an element of measurement, just like website traffic, online buzz, or media coverage.
Facebook also had a recent announcement about conversion from online ads to offline purchases. This segment continues to grow and should not be ignored.
It is becoming more difficult for skeptics to deny the importance of social media in marketing. Its importance has been documented for SEO objectives and its genuine dollars-and-cents value is being better quantified every day. If you would like to learn more about effective social media and how it can lift your sales, please contact Arkside today.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Full service ad agency in Southern California expands and deepens experience base with multifaceted sales and management veteran.
Moreno Valley, CA (September 20, 2013) – Arkside Marketing has retained the services of Richard Aguayo to contribute a new dimension to their sales and consultation efforts. Mr. Aguayo has demonstrated an accomplished sales career over the last six years as well as managing a variety of businesses for many years before that.
“Richard was referred to me as someone with a positive attitude and deep desire to help others succeed,” said Nathan Greenberg, Founder of Arkside Marketing. “Whether it is for our clients or the other members of the Arkside team, that is the kind of attitude that I’m looking for.”
He has spent the last four years working in digital and print media, specializing in multi-media integration. He has an exceptional record of great customer service and is committed to solving clients’ marketing challenges. On his own goals and accomplishments, Mr. Aguayo had this to say, “I have a passion for assisting small to large business reach their goals through a consultant approach.”
Arkside Marketing is a full service advertising and marketing agency serving a variety of industries since 2010. Arkside’s foundation is built on the harmony between traditional and digital mediums while providing the highest levels of customer service. Offered services include media buying, campaign strategy, brand development, digital ad campaigns, graphic design, website development, social media and reputation monitoring, and market research.
It was recently reported by Searchmetrics that Google is strongly prioritizing social media activities in their ranking algorithm. This knowledge should have profound implications in the SEO strategy of your company and how you include social media in your overall online plans. The SEO strategy you have built with your Arkside consultants incorporates this information already and we encourage you to utilize these best practices in your social media efforts.
Seven of the top 10 factors in a website’s rank involve social media. They are:
1) Google +1
2) Facebook Shares
4) Facebook Total
5) Facebook Comments
6) Facebook Likes
The importance of social media elements has been a growing trend in Google’s SEO algorithm and 2013 seems to reinforce that notion. Although backlinks continue to remain vital, there are other factors which have decreased in importance such as keywords links and domains. It is interesting to note that Google is specifically including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, while ignoring LinkedIn which is a hub of deep knowledge on nearly every possible industry. We’ll have to see how or if this evolves over time. When sharing your content on social media, remember that people don’t want to see you talk about yourself all day. For every 7-10 social media posts you make, one should be about you.
Also of note in the report are the on-site elements Google is looking for. It is no surprise that “content is still king” and Google wants websites to create unique content that is valuable to the intended audience. As a contrary example, the Arkside Marketing blog is filled with information about the company, areas of marketing, best practices, and client profiles. If we suddenly began blogging about fishing or the latest updates to IRS tax code, Google might devalue our site for being grossly off-topic. Ensure your website has fresh, unique, and quality content in order to build your authority on your topic(s). These are the on-site factors examined by Google:
Missing from the first list in this blog post is #3 – Number of backlinks. Google still considers this to be a critical metric of your authority on a particular subject. If you have good content, Google assumes people will like it, link to it, and share it publicly via their own site or social media channels. This does not mean you should implement any “black hat” SEO techniques and create blog farms filled with backlinks to your site. White hat techniques are still the unarguably best way to achieve Google SEO success.
While Google hasn’t made many dramatic shifts in their ranking priority from last year to this year, social media has climbed in importance and must remain a key factor in your online strategies. Use social media to promote the high-quality, unique content on your site and encourage people to distribute that content via backlinks and social media sharing. This is how you will achieve digital success.
When the doors to the office are locked for the evening, that never means you have to stop receiving phone calls, generating website traffic, receiving emails, or educating your customers. There are many ways that your direct response advertising campaign can continue to sell after hours. Advertising is an investment and, like your money, it should always be working for you.
Let us pretend your company sells mattresses. You have three showrooms within 200 miles of each other and they are open 9am – 6pm seven days per week. Your website shows your full product catalog along with information about your company and how to contact any store. You are currently running a radio ad campaign and 20% of your commercials are running from 8pm – 12 midnight. (Don’t worry. You got these for free as a result of our negotiating.) You also have a television campaign running from 4pm – 12 midnight, a YouTube channel, Facebook Page, Twitter feed, Google AdWords, and a long-term SEO strategy.
How do you continue to sell after 6pm?
Your radio and television ads include a phone number. But after 6pm, you don’t have a live body in the office to answer it. That is no reason to stop your customer from calling after hours. There are many call center services with locations around the world (remember the time difference) that can provide professional operators to take calls for your business after hours. They speak proficient, sometimes fluent or native, English, and can be trained to follow your company protocol for greeting and working with after hours calls. This can include instruction on what to do with urgent calls and whom to reach. Messages can be taken and delivered via fax or email for convenience.
They can also direct customers to your website and/or social media networks, which we will cover in the next sections. Always remember that your staff and marketing media should be a resource to the customer.
Your direct response advertising should include a reference to your website. And your website has a live chat operator, right? If your answer was “no”, we hope there is a great reason because a live chat operator can help you move more mattresses when your brick and mortar is closed. According to a 2010 Forrester Research study on live chat, “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”
In addition to answering questions just before or even during someone’s purchasing process on your site, live chat also offers specific after hours benefits. If most or all of your competitors are lacking a website live chat feature, you are in a unique position to help your customers AND sell to them while your competition waits for 8am the next morning.
Live chat is also a great means of reducing cost-per-sale.
Customers hate waiting. By allowing your employees to multitask, you can substantially reduce the backlog on your phone system during the day (not to mention reduce call volume dramatically) and increase the overall number of customers who received support.
Finally – use it in your advertising! Promote your competitive advantage of having help available 24 hours a day, especially if that is when your advertising is running.
It isn’t wasted time or space to include social media in your direct response advertising if you can help questions and sell mattresses via social media. In much the same way live chat can help you sell after hours, so can social media, but with more opportunities. Live chat requires initiation by the user on some level to begin the relationship. All of the social media sites give your business the opportunity to start a relationship, answer questions, promote a new mattress line, or offer advice.
A recent study showed that Google prioritizes social media factors in its calculations for search rankings. Seven of the top 10 factors involve social media. If for no other reason, make sure your company is using social media to enhance its own rankings in search. Never make it a challenge for customers to find you, especially after hours when customers have plenty of time to search and choose between you and your competitors.
Content is also critical for SEO and customer engagement. No one wants to see a Facebook Page or Twitter feed filled with self-promotion. Talk about events in your community, share interesting and RELEVANT photos and videos, and create contests to prompt customer engagement. These are a few of the things you can do that will earn a customer’s attention while they try to learn more about you and your mattresses in the wee hours of the night.
Ensure that your staff or an outside vendor are monitoring your social media networks after hours. They should have the ability to respond to messages, reTweet, share information, and assist customers with making purchases on your website. The goal is to be far more than an answering service taking messages for someone to handle in the morning.
Your social media team should be thoroughly familiar with your website. This is vital so they can direct customers to the right page at the right time. For example, a customer wants to know how many years a mattress will last. Your social media team should send that person to a Testimonials page about the mattress line, not a description of the features. (Of course, if your product page has testimonials on it, that is okay.)
There is no reason you need to wait for your doors to open to sell. Utilize your after hours direct response advertising to direct your potential customers to the places they can find answers. With these three techniques, you can successfully and cost-efficiently sell your product or services after hours.