Archive for August, 2009

What are you doing with your data?

August 28, 2009

Is digital marketing recession proof?

That was the question posed by Jenny Williams, MD of Sydney-based consultancy Ideagarden, during her morning presentation on the final day of Marketing Week 2009.

Typically, during a recession, budgets are slashed company-wide. As marketing is viewed as an expense, their budgets (usually along with IT and HR), are the first to go.

However, the smart companies are doing it the other way – they are increasing their spend during the tough times, and they’re doing better when the economy upswings because of it.

This means that old models need to evolve. Marketers get this, but getting that message through to decision-makers is difficult because of the ‘language’ barriers (marketing-speak vs. business speak).

So where does digital fit in to the marketing landscape during a recession?

Believe it or not, online advertising is proving just as effective, if not more so, than Television advertising. Digital is relevant and it is personal and it is interactive, as opposed to the passive messages from TV and radio.

Digital also has the unique, measurable property of being able to capture volumes and volumes of customer data. And in our technology-driven, time-poor, attention-deficit age, information about your customers is power.

A revelation put forward by Jenny was that in the digital space, demographics literally go out the window. Customers can be divided up into two key groups – those you know, and those you don’t.

You already have information on the people you know. You know what they buy, what they download, where they surf and, perhaps importantly, what they say. You can tailor your content, your products and your service to their needs. You can ask them if they achieved what they set out to achieve when visiting your online presence, and if not, why not.

If you don’t know them, you can collect data about them through engagement, not interruption. Then when they engage, you now have a customer you know.

Jenny believes digital marketing still has obstacles to overcome as it evolves.

Digital marketing is led by a different breed of people (read: geeks) and they speak a different type of language (read: geek-speak). Time to de-jargonise.

Digital also tends to get lost in the details. CEOs are not going to read a 100-page website specification doc. A better way needs to be found to communicate the power of this medium to decision-makers.

Then there is the problem of data overload. Too much information that is too hard to analyse (not that there is time to analyse it anyway). Identify the key data and do something meaningful with it (easier said than done!).

How can companies who are not effectively using digital channels start down the path?

Jenny suggests:

– Figuring out a strategy to store and collect the right kinds of data.

– Get data systems talking to each other consistently (read: IT needs to work together, not against, Marketing!).

– Invest in technology that is flexible (4 years for a CRM roll out is not going to cut the mustard today).

– Invest in flexible software development platforms for rapid deployment.

– Make sure your digital approach is fast and, importantly, user-friendly.

So, is digital marketing recession proof?

As Jenny succinctly put it, “nothing is recession proof.” But as digital marketing grows and evolves and starts to get the same spend as traditional marketing, more and more companies will turn to it as a way to talk to the people they know and reach the people they don’t.

Very interesting stuff from an industry visionary.

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.


Auld dog teaching new digital tricks

August 27, 2009

Malcolm Auld from MAD blew away a packed house with his presentation on digital marketing this afternoon.

I had started typing a post, trying in vain to capture the essence of his message.

I quickly realised it would be an injustice to Malcolm to put such an amazing and thought-provoking presentation into a measly few hundred words.

Bottom line?

Digital is NOT the only channel by which you can engage your customers, so don’t treat it like it is AND get good at the basics.

Tiger Woods doesn’t win because he’s a superhuman athlete.

He wins because he perfects the basics through practice and discipline.

5 million pages of content and counting

August 27, 2009

“Be where your audiences are before they get there.”

That direct quote came from Michael Ebeid, Director Corporate Strategy and Marketing at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, during the lunch presentation here at Marketing Week 2009.

A powerful, simple strategy that, I have no doubt, resonated strongly with nearly everyone in the room. How did the ABC execute such a strategy to deliver on their vision of wanting to enrich the lives of Australians?

The Internet has topped 650m users worldwide and is fast becoming the medium of choice for the consumption of trusted information, usurping both TV and Radio for the second straight year in Australia. It is also frequented more regularly for opinions and news than any other media.

Recognising these trends, the ABC launched efforts to find out where their audiences were going to consume media, then they went there.

Here is a sampling of some of their successful initiatives:

– They created YouTube channels and MySpace and Facebook profiles for their popular TV show characters to interact and engage with their audiences (and find new ones).

– They used Twitter to break news stories and update communities on the Victorian bushfires in conjunction with their radio broadcasts.

– They launched iView with full clips of their top TV programs so users could choose what they wanted to watch, when they wanted to watch it.

– Over 23m radio show podcasts have been downloaded since they became available and over 650,000 people have downloaded the ABC iPhone application (about 1 in 4 Aussie iPhone owners).

– As part of their editorial policies, the ABC have now included a ‘user-generated content’ section, outlining values and standards by which people can contribute and share with the ABC and their networks.

So what’s next on the bubble for the ABC? They will be launching new digital channels (ABC3 for 6-15 yr old audience and ABC4 which will be 24×7 news) and find more ways to tell great Australians stories to, you guessed it, enrich the lives of Australians.

At the risk of using a cliché, it’s all very forward thinking stuff. It’s an attitude and approach that says ‘with you, not at you’ when engaging with audiences.

As an avid iView user, I have a newfound respect for the innovators at the ABC and I am looking forward to the new series of The Gruen Transfer soon!

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.

Don’t climb Mt. Everest just because it is there

August 27, 2009

Managed to stumble out of bed in time to catch the breakfast session this morning (who knew there was a 6am in the morning!!?).

Patrick Baume of Media Monitors presented on how the news media landscape is changing with the advent of burgeoning social media channels.

First, some fun facts for you to digest between sips of your latte:

–       200m+ blogs worldwide

–       132m+ Facebook members

–       117m+ MySpace members

–       100m+ YouTube viewers (per month) viewing 6 billion+ videos (per month)

You might have heard through various outlets lately that no one is reading the paper anymore. Not so. According to Patrick, more people are consuming more media today than they were 5 years ago. Audiences are not dropping off.

So what are they consuming? Highlighting the stats above, it seems to be a hearty mix of new and traditional media. Interesting content borne out of social networks gets picked up and spread through the mainstream just as traditional media filters down through social channels, proving interesting content is more valuable than ever in this day and age.

Companies utilising this new form of media are seeing the immediate effects of customer involvement and participation with their brand, both positively and negatively. However, for every opportunity that abounds in communicating effectively online, threats inevitably lurk in the shadows (Wholefoods, anyone?). How do brands navigate the minefield?

For niche brands with web savvy customers, online communications should be at the core of their strategy. For everyone else, commons sense dictates that online communications should be part of an overall media strategy.

‘Social media is not like Mt. Everest. Do not use it just because it is there,’ explains Patrick when discussing whether companies should or should not delve into the latest online fashions ‘Think about how your message may be manipulated by the medium before communicating, not after’. Sage advice.

The advent of social media as a credible media platform does beg the question: is it beneficial or harmful to society? More information means more misinformation (take the Jeff Goldblum death rumours reported by Richard Wilkins for example) and means longer story cycles that probably should expire in their infancy (Chk-Chk-Boom girl etc).

Food for thought as I sip my coffee and peruse the latest headlines on Crikey whilst checking Twitter on my iPhone as I listen to the online radio broadcast from the ABC.

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.

m.Net Mobile Internet and Dr. Tim Cooper

August 26, 2009

Rounding out the final sessions for Wednesday, we started with Horden Wiltshire’s presentation on the changing face of Mobile Internet.

Horden, CEO of m.Net Corporation, a company which has helped the likes of Austero, BigPond, Fox Sports, 7 Yahoo!, Warner Music, and Pacific Magazines deliver cutting-edge marketing content to mobile handsets and devices, continued on from where Justin Milne left off yesterday in highlighting the massive opportunity for marketers and advertisers in the mobile space.

The way we consume media through our phones has changed significantly since speeds have increased, data charges have decreased and the devices themselves have become more sophisticated. Today’s savvy mobile users are much more interested in ways to interact with social groups and be more productive and less interested in the latest ringtone fad or gaming.

Through m.Net’s creation and delivery of personal, unobtrusive and interesting mobile marketing, Horden told a captive room that the next wave of mobile websites will be “premium mobile destinations” where users can interact with rich content and opt-in to relevant, local marketing and advertising. He predicts that in 5 years, most major brands will have a P.M.D. as well as a corporate website.

What I found interesting is that, according to Horden, the cost of producing a quality iPhone app compared to the cost of building a comprehensive P.M.D. is ‘about the same’, meaning companies will need to discuss and map out which path will suit their brand requirements best when outlining mobile marketing objectives.

Horden proved to be an engaging public speaker who knew his subject intimately and, like James Rickard earlier, I would encourage those of you interested in the leading edge world of mobile marketing and advertising to seek him out when he speaks in Adelaide next.

For the last session of the day, we were treated to a presentation by Coopers Managing Director, Dr. Tim Cooper.

Dr. Cooper gave detailed insight into the company’s history and explained how Coopers is not only committed to making great-tasting beer but how it is also committed to environmental sustainability and philanthropy through its Coopers Foundation. Since it’s inception, the Foundation has raised nearly $600k for various causes.

Coopers partners closely with kwp!, a relationship which has been built over many years. Dr. Cooper explained that it was from this long-standing relationship that both organisations were able to foster the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ approach to Coopers branding and advertising. ‘We don’t take ourselves to seriously and, because of our relationship, we don’t have to constantly explain and re-explain ourselves to our suppliers’, he comments when mentioning  the irreverent, sometimes cheeky ads.

The key aspects to the Coopers brand include being independent and family owned, producing a different product (cloudy and natural ales) and providing an opportunity to belong to the brand through tradition, loyalty and relevant engagement. Coopers are proud that their beers are different and they believe they taste better for it. With exports totalling just 3% of all the beer they produce, it’s obvious these brand messages are not lost on local drinkers.

I learned something today – did you know that the Coopers company did not invent the Dr. Tims brand?

The story goes that their packaging supplier, who produced their caps and cartons, could not produce the glass bottles, meaning the business went elsewhere. What they could make, however, were branded aluminium cans.

The packager created a can, complete with the Dr. Tim’s brand and packaging idea and gave 30,000 of them to Coopers to fill with ale and sell.

Reluctant at first because their particular bottle-fermenting process might be lost in a can, Coopers released the Dr. Tim’s product anyway with little to no fanfare. It is still being produced today and I personally think it tastes just fine.

Truly a remarkable story, not just for the obvious merits of relationship building but also for courageous risk-taking and opportunity-seizing by the packaging company. Why let business go elsewhere when you can offer your customer a compelling alternative?

Dr. Cooper was gracious with his time in answering a tonne of questions after the presentation, including how Coopers is tackling the lucrative international drinks market.

Well, that concludes a packed Wednesday at Marketing Week 2009. I’ll be back tomorrow with updates on more sessions as I attend them, so stay tuned.

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.

Sharing one passion: Sport

August 26, 2009

Marketing Week 2009 continues today with One HD’s Gus Seebeck talking about the conceptualization, development and launch of Australia’s only free-to-air, 24×7 HD sports channel.

It was interesting to learn about how the channel came to fruition considering this country’s love affair with all things sport. Network 10 took their market research seriously in the development stages, secretly commissioning Deloittes in 2008 to ask average Australians what it is they wanted from the newly commissioned HD channels.

The feedback was honest and forthright: engage us with a thematic brand, give us localized content, offer us better value advertising which is attached to the programming, appeal to new audiences (without displace existing ones) and have a flexible inventory.

The network considered 3 different approaches when deciding what to air on the new channels: ‘full suite’, which would offer a wide range of program and advertising choices across broad markets, ‘pass through’, offering existing content from other providers e.g. Nickelodeon or HBO or ‘genre specific’, choosing a theme and content and sticking with it.

In choosing the genre-specific approach of 24×7 sport, Network 10 felt that the appetite for sport in Australia was still not being satisfied. With sport being the number 1 driver for the uptake of digital equipment, the way people consume sport in this country is undergoing rapid change, as is the target audience (once dominated by males, but now increasingly female and ‘family’-oriented).

Sport brings a sense of joy and camaraderie to people and communities. We grew up on Ablett’s screaming marks and Allan Border’s defiant stands at the crease. We share the highs and the lows of our local teams, with our friends and families, as they chase destiny and glory. We root for the underdog facing certain annihilation and we revere with quiet awe the amazing performances and sacrifices athletes make in their quest for unyielding perfection.

It was these passions that 10 identified as they went on to to build and invigorate the One brand.

The vision? A channel inclusive of all people that was dedicated to sharing the country’s passion for sport as well as providing a reliable, free-to-air schedule and an insightful, comfortable appeal.

The brand essence? Sharing the greatness of sport.

The brand promise? Live the great sporting moments through One.

Funnily enough, Network 10 were concerned about the logo being green; however, once they, in conjuction with their agency partner, realized how prevelant the colour green is in sport, it seemed like a natural choice. Green is green for sporting folk, whether it’s the hallowed ground of the MCG or the comfortable confines of the back yard.

Being a massive sports fan, I found the presentation entirely insightful and continue to applaud and support Network 10 and One in their endeavours to bring the greatest sporting events of our time right into our homes in full living colour.

What’s next for digital sport consumption? Well, I hope it’s interactive, choose-your-own-viewing style content because I want to watch the Grand Prix from the driver’s view!

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.

The formula for a good ad?

August 25, 2009

Just finished up a great morning session with kwp! Creative Director, James Rickard, presented by the Advertising Federation of Australia.

A personable and engaging speaker, James’ central theme was ‘Hold on Tight’, and how increasing marketing activity during a downturn actually works in a company’s favour.

Condensing such an interesting  presentation into a few hundred words is proving a challenge so here are James’ key lessons for marketers and advertisers during a recession:

Lesson #1 – It pays to advertise

Using examples from his own organisation, James explained that by increasing marketing activity during the financial crisis, kwp! won more project work from new clients and did not have to make a single redundancy. Convincing evidence, undoubtedly.

Lesson #2 – Control your brand’s behaviour

Companies must ensure they control the types of messages associated with their brand. By protecting your brand, you’re in control of its behaviour. In other words, the wrong kinds of messages can sink a brand as easily as the right messages can enhance it.

Lesson #3 – Confidence is irresistible

People are drawn to confidence. It’s magnetic and irresistible. During an economic downturn, be brave and, whatever you do, don’t panic.

Lesson #4 – You are not better than your customers

Respect your customer’s integrity. Ask yourself ‘How do I view my customers?’ By creating intelligent, meaningful ads that engage customers in a human way, your customers will respond. They will get it.

Lesson #5 – The formula for a good ad? Likeability + Relevance + Surprise

Compelling adverts accentuate the positives. They are simple and they capture the imagination in new ways. Advertise to the top line, not the base line.

Some great lessons for marketers and advertisers across all levels of experience. Should you get the chance to catch James presenting down the track, I highly recommend you check him out.

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.

Marketing Week 2009 Kicks Off!

August 25, 2009

Apologies for the late post, Ladies and Gentleman. Ironically, with this being the  student blog and all, I actually had to duck off to a class right after the Australian Marketing Institute Gala Lunch and have only just gotten a chance to sit down in front of the computer.

Before getting too ahead of myself, formal introductions are probably in order. My name is Rob Frost and I am currently studying Writing and Creative Communication at UniSA. It is my great ambition to write words which people find compelling and interesting and one day make my mark in this industry; however, it is quite likely I will end up in a dingy cubicle writing the celebrity factoids one finds on a Fantails sweetie wrapper. I press on nonetheless, unperturbed and in good spirits.

Marketing Week 2009 has officially kicked off at the Holiday Inn on Hindley St! The cream of Adelaide’s marketing and advertising crop represented in force today, participating in a full line up of seminars and workshops from 7:30am till 6:00pm.

I was lucky enough to find a seat for the Gala Award Lunch, presented by the Australian Marketing Institute, and check out guest speaker Justin Milne, Telstra’s Media Group Managing Director, as he provided some interesting insight into the future of mobile content and the massive opportunity for markets and advertisers in the space.

Justin Milne, Telstra

Justin Milne, Telstra

Opening with incredible facts about the widespread proliferation of sophisticated mobile devices, he explained that growth markets like China have nearly 20 million new mobile service subscriptions every month, and that networking technology giant Cisco claims approximately one-third of the world’s data traffic is generated by mobile phones.

Obviously, the potential opportunity for marketers and advertisers is huge. It was interesting (and, admittedly, slightly refreshing) to hear a Telstra representative mention some of the company’s competitors when discussing the current media landscape and how each is vying to deliver the content we want, when we want it. With non-traditional players such as Apple, Microsoft and Google entering the media arena with fervor, the competition for our hard-earned dollars, and our brand loyalty, is already heating up.

Justin spoke of the recent technology breakthroughs which have made these opportunities possible; it’s scary to think that in 15 years time, your future mobile phone will be 1000x more powerful than your current handset (I wonder if it will have a built-in lightsabre for cutting sandwiches and vanquishing evil Jedi foe?)

Even with today’s current technology, advertising can now be delivered directly to its intended audience in a personal, interactive and localised way. Users choose the content they wish to know more about and when they want to receive it and marketers can tailor their advertisements to be viewed at the appropriate times.

For example, imagine grabbing a seat at your favourite local pub with your mates and your phone beeps. You’re amazed to find a video message from the pub telling you that, for the next hour, your preferred local ale is available at half price. You show the message to the barman to verify your claim and before you know it, you’re quickly quaffing frothy pints at a fraction of the price, all because you subscribed to receive that exact kind of marketing at those types of moments. Pretty powerful stuff, you’ll agree.

Naturally, Telstra and others are working with the appropriate agencies to ensure a users privacy is respected and Justin was adamant that this sort of directed marketing would be ‘opt in’, meaning the user controlled the type of experience they received.

With his speech concluding, Justin took a sample of questions from the floor. When asked about internet speed concerns, he was quick to talk around the question, instead speaking to the ‘reliability’ of Telstra’s broadband infrastructure and how it is considered one of the best in the world.

Now, I don’t wholeheartedly disagree with this viewpoint that Australians want reliable service from their chosen providers. Like a trusty car, reliability means you know it will start every time (even in weather like today’s) and it will get you where you need to be going at a pace which is convenient for you.

Thing is, with the internet, it’s not enough to have reliability; we need speed. Oodles and oodles of it. To borrow a line from seminal 80’s movie Top Gun, we need our internet to be going Mach 2 with it’s hair on fire.

Fast speeds over reliable networks will deliver all of the wonderfully interactive and localised content Mr. Milne was outlining during his speech. If we don’t have the speed, we won’t have the content. It’s imperative we get our act together otherwise I fear our digital future looks grim. With the Government’s proposed National Broadband Network in it’s embryonic stages, it will be interesting to see how this country’s broadband infrastructure develops over time to carry us into the developing digital age.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first day of Marketing Week and look forward to tomorrow’s breakfast session with James Rickard of kwp! Advertising (must remember to set my alarm, must remember to ingest redbull…)

Don’t forget, casual reader, that you can follow Marketing Week 2009 on Twitter: #marketingweek

More updates tomorrow but feel free to leave a comment in the meantime. All spelling, grammar and syntax errors can be forwarded to


Rob Frost

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am currently interning at Via Media, Adelaide’s Digital Marketing specialists. Via Media is a major sponsor of Marketing Week 2009. The views and opinions expressed in this post may not be fully represented by Via Media.