Category Archives: Advertising

Marketing Technology: Cloud Computing Definitions – SaaS – PaaS – IaaS

Cloud computing stack showing infrastructure, ...

Image via Wikipedia

Marketing isn’t just about branding, creative, etc. – marketing accounts for the rise in global technology usage and stands poised to embrace the “Cloud”.  The Cloud is a virtual environment that precludes the purchase of servers and other technology components to deploy websites, social media sites, etc.  Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft and Google have offerings in this space and there are three acronyms that marketers need to understand when deploying future marketing strategies – no matter which vendor you utilize.  The three most typical deployment models are:

SaaS – Software As A Service.  Pronounced “SASS”.  Simplest deployment method which allows software to be tapped from a cloud computing resource rather than relying on software installations and implementations.

PaaS – Platform As A Service.  Pronounced “PASS”.  Intermediate deployment that steps away from simply renting applications from the cloud by leveraging the cloud as an operating system (platform).  This also eliminates expensive network upkeep as most service providers provide routine maintenance and upgrades as a part of their SLA (service level offering).

IaaS – infrastructure As A Service.  Pronounced “I-AS”.  The holy grail of cloud computing! You access / rent everything from the cloud … this means servers, storage space, routers, and other hardware, networking capabilities, operating systems, and applications.  This allows for the ultimate degree of scaling as your projects (and customers) dictate.

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Pre-game Super Bowl XLV Ads and Brand Strategy

I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl advertising spots this year – we should see a true blend of old and new advertising / marketing strategies at play with traditional video and TV spots leveraging brand presence on Facebook, Twitter, and most importantly …  YouTube.  Major kudos to Volkswagen with their efforts thus far – a “pre-release” or sneak peak at their spot has generated more than 12 Millions views on YouTube, 50,000 Tweets, and over 140,000 Facebook shares … and get this … over 5,000 mentions on Google Buzz (I didn’t think they had that many users?!).  YouTube may be the hands down winner in all of this as consumers hit the site to re-play not only scenes from the game but their favorite advertising spots as well.  If a brand positions these marketing assets properly, there is a significant opportunity to build brand equity and drive revenue growth.  In my opinion,  the spots should direct consumers to YouTube to re-play the ads (maybe via a promotional enticement upon viewing?!) with an opportunity for customers to engage with the brand further via social media (think Facebook likes and follows) with the ultimate goal of driving a desired behavior (e-mail subscribe, purchase, etc.) by re-directing new Facebook and Twitter followers to the brand’s consumer web site.

Volkswagen Super Bowl XLV Ad:  The Force


Holiday Marketing Perfection via Coca-Cola

You didn’t think I was going to let the Holidays pass without a marketing spin, did you?  : )

Coca-Cola has once again mastered the art of Holiday marketing with its latest commercial featuring the band Train’s new single “Shake Up Christmas”.  The commercial is titled “Snow Globes” and has been played in traditional and digital channels since Thanksgiving.  Holiday marketing can be a tricky strategy for many companies that try to be everything to everyone.  Rather than focusing on a single message (that would ultimately offend someone somewhere), Coca-Cola adapts current branding and messaging to local markets at a cultural level – whether you’re in Africa or North America.

Fun Fact:  Did you know that Coca-Cola’s marketing engine is responsible for the North American depiction of Santa Clause?  Read all about it on the Coca-Cola site:  http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/cokelore_santa.html  or simply enjoy the North American version of their Holiday campaign below …

Happy Holidays!


Facebook’s Relational Map of the Earth

Doubt the importance of Social Media and the power of a personal or professional network?  Facebook intern Paul Butler was able to create a visual map of the Earth based on Facebook’s Apache Hive data (their data warehouse)!  This is not a map of the world with Facebook members plotted against it, rather, it is a map of the world that slowly appeared during the rendering process of Facebook connection and relationship data.  More from Paul’s post on Facebook:

“After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn’t represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.”

The world as we know it still exists from a cartography perspective – but, the value of relationships is finally displayed as a mechanism that transcends traditional or natural geographic boundaries.  This poses an interesting dilemma for marketers everywhere – are you truly Global from a strategic marketing perspective? Whether you know it or not – you already are.

Link to Paul’s original post:  http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/visualizing-friendships/469716398919


Social Media ROI – Fact or Fiction?

Image Credit:  http://www.webguild.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/roi.jpg

ROI (Return On Investment) is a rather simple mathematical calculation that evaluates the efficiency of an investment or its performance in comparison to other investments.  How simple?  Here it is:  Gains – Costs / Costs = ROI.  Pretty nifty, right?

Here’s an example – if you use $100 of budget that nets $150 in revenue or gains your ROI is 50% (150 – 100 / 100 = .50).

The basic ROI equation becomes rather tricky in the Social Media realm.  How valuable is a Twitter follower?  What quantitative impact does a Facebook wall comment provide?  Is the quantity of LinkedIn connections more important than the quality?

Social Media is a channel of open communication that exists outside of the normal boundaries of push and pull marketing and is difficult to provide firm ROI in the traditional sense.  And this is where things get tricky …

Trying to prove the value of Social Media in a traditional ROI sense is rather difficult.  You cannot easily quantify the value add of a Social Media presence in terms of traditional ROI gains.  In fact, you’re more likely to show a loss when using a traditional ROI model.  Social Media, as a channel, should be analyzed from a branding, engagement, influence, and competitive value add perspective as a component of strategic marketing initiatives.  This allows for qualitative measurements of individual marketing channels that combined lead to revenue gains.  Strategic marketing encompasses the channels and messaging that will deliver on business initiatives (i.e. sales, hires, brand recall, viral marketing, etc.).  Thus, the Social Media aspect of marketing ROI cannot be measured alone.

I guarantee you that a marketing executive will get fired looked at funny if they delivered an ROI analysis that included this statement: “We spent $50,000 on a Facebook page and have not been able to prove that anyone posting comments on the wall or who has followed the page actually buys our products.  But, it looks cool. And, everyone else is doing it.”

Social Media’s ROI should (typically) be tied to branding and influence initiatives within the marketing budget and strategy.  Branding ROI is component of marketing ROI and should never be analyzed independently … rather, the entire marketing budget (thus, your strategy delivery mechanism) should be utilized against total revenues or gains to determine effectiveness of the strategy.  No results = Bad strategy.  Plain and simple.  Simply creating a corporate Facebook page or Twitter account is a tactical response to a strategic problem.  Changing your channels of communications as part of a shift in marketing mix that is quantifiable in gains (ROI) is a strategic move.

That marketing executive I mentioned earlier would look like a rockstar if their statement included:  “We built a fan base to mitigate negative public comments and bolster positive consumer opinions that would impact our brand.  We leveraged sponsored campaigns on this channel (Facebook) that were tied to the page and tracked click-throughs and sales via web analytics …”  and so on.

At the end of the day, it’s all about ROI.  Plain and simple.  Did your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. create gains on its own or was it part of a marketing mix that worked in unison from a strategic perspective to deliver gains?  The person signing checks or giving you a budget doesn’t care about fans, followers, comments, and so on … they are concerned with your strategy and its ultimate impact on revenue.  Positioning social media as a progressive and innovative component of your overall strategy makes you look like a rockstar – if, and only if, that strategy, as a whole, actually delivers something quantifiable like revenues, hires, etc.


QR Code Branding and Marketing – Say What?

Enabling consumers or candidates to actively engage with marketing collateral or messaging is the execution piece that many organizations completely miss.  A lot of time and money is spent developing social media strategy, marketing messages, and establishing or maintaining brand presence and awareness without thought to the opportunities to enable the sought after engagements!  Did you know that by 2012 or 2013, more mobile devices (phones, gaming devices, netbooks, ipads, etc.) will be sold than traditional PC’s?

While candidates and consumers will still be leveraging the Internet and will have access to marketing collateral on Search Engines, Facebook, Twitter, SEM, and PPC campaigns … the PLATFORM for engagement has fundamentally CHANGED.  Thus, the question … how are you executing your marketing strategy and enabling access to your content easily?  The secret is QR Codes.  QR codes galore!

Consumers and candidates can simply scan your QR code with their mobile devices and be taken to landing pages, social media sites, etc. – wherever your marketing campaigns or collateral resides.  And get this – you can track and measure everything.  What more could a marketer ask for?

Think of the possibilties from a personal branding perspective as well!  Rather than shooting resumes around via email or pointing people at specific URL’s like a LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, Blog site, etc. – you can centrally store all of your contact points, information, and background (or CV) collateral in a central location like Gravatar  and allow people to choose which channel they’d prefer to leverage to interact with you.  And all they have to do is scan your personal QR code.  Nifty, huh?


Cebu Pacific Airlines Does The Safety Dance

Cebu Pacific Airlines is getting a lot of attention via viral videos featuring their pre-flight safety presentations from crew members dancing along to Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and Men Without Hats.

The amount of marketing exposure as news channels, blogs, Facebook friends liking, and Twitter users retweeting is immeasurable.  Out of nowhere, a relatively unknown air carrier from SE Asia has gained brand awareness in markets (like the U.S.) that it doesn’t currently service.  They have instantly gained attention in an overcrowded advertising space that is too often full of “me too” spots focused on price points.

I don’t know about you – but an advertiser that focuses on an interesting and unique value proposition (like setting the tone for a fun flight experience via Cebu Pacific’s ads) instantly garners not only my attention – but the attention of an audience that is willing to try a new product or service based solely on differentiation of the experience associated with the brand. Cebu Pacific could expand into routes outside of the Philippines, China, etc. based solely on social media viral ads like this and be successful. Seriously!

Bonus Point #1: The fact that this attention is coming ahead of an IPO?  You can see the dollar signs getting ready to add up.

Bonus Point #2: The passengers are engaged for the entire safety presentation.  That doesn’t happen in the U.S. – ever.

If a U.S. airline embraced something DIFFERENT like this system wide it would be a game changer in the industry.  I’d love to see Delta Airlines or United Airlines or Southwest Airlines start having some fun again.  Check out the video:


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