Tweeter Tiptoes into Advertising - Opportunity for Businesses?

By announcing its advertising model called Promoted Tweets, Twitter officially moved to the paid advertising world. So have a look at its features, operation and benefits to corporations.

What is it?
Unlike traditional PPC advertising like Google AdWords, Twitter’s pricing strategy involves bidding on keywords based on one thousand views. This allows marketers to place their 140-character message at the top of the estimated 50 million tweets displayed on the website each day.

Promoted Tweets will allow advertisers to buy keywords to link to their ads, which will show up when users search for those keywords and later in users newsfeeds. Twitter promises they will be targeted for relevancy. The ads will also be monitored for resonance, which is determined by factors such as the number of retweets. replies, clicks on the links, etc. Promoted Tweets with low resonance will be dropped.

How does it work?
The ads will let businesses insert themselves into the stream of real-time conversation on Twitter to ensure their posts do not get buried in the flow. Starbucks, for instance, often publishes Twitter posts about its promotions, like free pastries. But the messages quickly get lost in the thousands of posts from users who happen to mention meeting at Starbucks.

The ads will also be a way for companies to enter the conversation when it turns negative. Several companies have created tools to measure sentiment on Twitter, but until now, businesses can do little with that information. Even if they write a post in response, it also quickly gets lost in a sea of complaints.

At first, companies will pay per thousand people who see promoted posts. Once Twitter figures out how people interact with the posts, it will figure out alternate ways to charge advertisers. In the next phase of Twitter’s revenue plan, it will show promoted posts in a user’s Twitter stream, even if a user did not perform a search and does not follow the advertiser. For example, if someone has been following people who write about travel, they could see a promoted post from Virgin America on holiday fare discounts.

How do companies approach the new model?
Corporate marketers can use promoted tweets to accomplish a variety of goals such as receiving customer input to streamline product improvement or to start a conversation which leads to greater brand recognition. It helps to enhance the communications that companies are already having with customers on Twitter. Since marketers do not pay for re-tweeted advertisements, this program gives marketers the potential to reach a large audience.

In order to tailor advertising to Twitter, marketers need to step up to the plate and take it upon themselves to create value-driven Twitter ads. Advertisers need to sit down and think about how content is used and shared on Twitter, and, importantly, what makes a Tweet (paid or not) successful.

However, let's see:
- The acceptance of Twitter’s users with the new ad program
- The balance between user experience and website benefit
- The effectiveness if the model in execution

(Sources: NYtimesTwitter's BlogMashableE-commerce Services Suite)

Lipton Milk Tea: Chinese Viral Campaign

[Digital Buzz] This is a little old now, but a great view of what can happen when something goes viral in China! Earlier this year, the agency AKQA and Lipton Milk Tea created a viral campaign that was launched on China’s biggest IM and social networking site QQ to celebrate Chinese New Year 2010.

The campaign featured a website where people would select one of three videos (shot in first person) to personalise and send to a friend along with adding a special Chinese New Year greeting that was made of the steam from Lipton Milk Tea. The results were pretty crazy, with over 100 million people sending or watching a view in just a few weeks! Watch the campaign's summary below:

Winter is a key season for sales of Lipton Milk Tea. Chinese New Year is also a heavy promotion period for the Lipton brand. The brief was all about communicating warmth during the festive season linking back to the milk tea product, and about allowing users to send Lipton Branded Chinese New Year Greetings to their friends.


Lipton's agency created a viral tool that lived on QQ is China’s biggest IM and social platform. This tool was comprised of three short films in where users could simply upload a photo of their face, and instantly be part of any of the three films. They had the option to star in a schoolgirl dance, to perform in a rock band and to mime out greetings. In addition to this content, users could type in a customized Chinese New Year greeting to forward along with the film. When friends received this Lipton branded greeting, they saw a film shot in first person of somebody opening a door and receiving a box. The box contained a steaming hot cup of Milk Tea. When users blew into their built in microphone, the steam would then reveal the customized greeting. They then saw the film with the sender’s head in it.

This campaign has already received loads of free media exposure and proved that viral marketing, and a strong partner really deliver results. In a country with over a billion people, campaigns that reach the millions are not surprising. Lipton Milk Tea ‘A Cup of Greetings’ engaged over 100 Million users in less than two weeks since it’s launch proving that a simple Chinese New Year greeting, can truly go Viral.

How to Generate Sales Lead by Google Adwords?

Millions of searches are happening each second. By taking advantage of search engines, companies can enhance their online advertising and sales performance. And Google Adwords offer companies this rare opportunity.

By using this, the company is generating and placing its adverts and paying Google for each click. It's a form of advertising that advertisers make a bid on selected keywords to have adverts showing on prominent position on Google’s search website result page, thus attracting more clicks from searchers. This bid can range from a few cents up to several dollars per click depending on market competition.

More important, as a pay-per-click form of advertising, Google Adwords could help to build qualified sales leads easier, more affordable, and more rapidly as it can also reach markets which were previously hard and expensive to access. However, in order to generate more sales lead, there are three keys for companies to apply in a Google Adwords campaign.

First, a keyword research to find targeted keyword phrases should be applied. It is fundamental to any Google Adwords campaign for identifying and selecting relevant and profitable keywords. Popular and obvious keyword may cost more, while keyword combinations or more specific keywords are better for the market niche. The priority is always targeted sales leads at the lowest possible cost, not just the increasing traffic.

Second, attractive advert copywriting and good landing page optimization is crucial. This will improve the conversion rates and minimize the cost per sales lead.

Last, cost per lead should be minimized. As in fact, most of sales leads are generated by a small percentage of keywords according to 80/20 rule. Therefore, elimination or lowering bid on unprofitable keywords is necessary. Adwords conversion tracking and Google Analytics are powerful tracking tools that help to select smart keyword and make clever bid strategy to minimize the cost per sales lead.

It is similar to other search engines like Yahoo! Search Marketing (Y!SM) and MSN AdCenter (known as Bing now), which offer the same principles and practices.

Marketing Metrics: Go back to the basics!

One of the things I love most about online marketing is the metrics that allow you to easily gauge the success of a campaign. At the touch of a computer key I can tell what percentage of blog readers or ad visitors are being converted into shoppers.

However, similar to direct response marketing which can offer easy measurement of say, coupon redemption, but may not accurately account for brand recall that leads to future business; even strong web metrics can’t tell you how many people may have seen your online content/ads and then returned later as organic traffic.

According to a recent article on (, “When it comes to measuring marketing performance, the top areas for which marketers have metrics are campaign management (40%), customer management (33%), lead management (31%) and market outcomes (31%).” None of these percentages satisfy me, and if you’re a marketer they shouldn’t satisfy you either.

So what’s the solution?

Here are two for consideration: First, invest more time and resources into effective forms of marketing measurement, and second, do a better job of clearly identifying the goals of your marketing campaigns with other organizational, sales and product development leaders.

However, investing in improved metrics can frequently be a tough sell internally, as organizational leaders who don’t understand marketing may still view sales performance as the easiest and most preferred method of marketing measurement; even though sales are often not the best scale and just as often not the short term goal of many marketing campaigns.

Therefore, here's one way to help ensure that you get the credit you are due, and it’s pretty basic: Each time you launch a new marketing campaign, attempt to control (or at least identify) all internal and external variables that may impact the results of your campaign. Believe me, if you don’t, the marketing cynics will always find a way to account for them after the campaign. Plus it’s just smart marketing.

After you've identified all of the potential variables, you may even realize that the timing of your campaign isn’t optimal, allowing you to move your advertising/promotional dollars to a time that will likely generate better (and more accurate) results.

Socially Responsible Banking: Are you buying it?

The Washington Business Journal reported this morning that a new Spanish bank with a social mission is coming to DC.

Caja Navarra’s business model stresses transparency and social investment. The bank publicly reports its profits and then invites its constituents to donate 30% of those profits back to a list of approved charities.

While big businesses have been practicing corporate social responsibility for years, this unique model allows the bank’s customers to determine the focus of the bank's philanthropic investments. Plus, those investments have the potential to be MASSIVE!

Caja Navarra, or CAN, chose the DC area for its U.S. launch due to the large number of nonprofits in the region. The bank expects to open its first U.S. affiliate early next year.

What a great business model! During a time when big banks are being bailed out by taxpayers, and consumer trust in banks is waning, here comes a new bank that is not only going to invest heavily in social causes, but is going to allow its customers to determine those causes.

As a marketer, I would love to market the CAN model!

This reminds me of the days when Muhammad Yunas first introduced the idea of micro finance, and people from all over the world were intrigued by it, but didn't know if would work. Well, we know the answer to that question now!

However, it will be interesting to see if this social mission will be enough to entice investors to move their money to CAN.

While I think that this model will be attractive to the philanthropic minded; I still believe that we live in a cynical society that has become more and more protective of its assets and investments. The question that CAN will probably hear most often is, “What's in it for me?” Will CAN offer free or interest bearing checking accounts, overdraft protection, low or no ATM fees, access to loans, etc?

However, all things being equal, this socially responsible business model could tip the scales in favor of CAN, especially in a city like DC with more than 30,000 NGOs.

I’m intrigued! What do you think?

Levi's going high fashion?

Levi's is going high fashion?!

Well, we now call old stuff "vintage" and sell it for more than it cost when it was new; so why can't Levi's be considered "high fashion?

My memories of Levi's will always be from my days in high school when the brand was at its peak of popularity. As teenage boys, my friends and I used to say, "If a girl can look good in a pair of Levi's, she can look good in anything!"

Regardless of their hip factor today, Levi's are still the most comfortable jeans to wear. They have also gained new credibility in my mind through a recently launched, socially responsible marketing campaign built around the care tag inside the jeans. The "Care Tag for Our Planet" campaign, in partnership with Goodwill, is designed to increase the life cycle of clothing while reducing the 23.8 billion pounds that end up in U.S. landfills each year.

The care tags inside Levi's jeans now say, "Machine wash cold, line dry when possible, and donate to Goodwill".

So go for it Levi's. Be socially responsible and high fashion. You've earned it!

A Few "Obvious" Tips for Job Seekers

We’re living in tough times and jobs are scarce. Local unemployment in the DC area is at almost 12%, and we're better off than most areas of the country.

While the economy seems to be slowly recovering, jobs are not, outside of the federal government.

As the president of the DC Chapter of the American Marketing Association I spend a lot of time speaking with people who are looking for work.

What I find very curious as I speak with the unemployed is how extremely picky some of them are about the jobs they will consider.

One young lady, recently out of graduate school, with very little professional experience told me she won’t accept anything below a director level job – she’s been out of graduate school and unable to find work for a year now. Another experienced sales executive refuses to accept a position that is 100% commission – he’s been out of work for almost two years. A third is looking to change careers, but has no real experience in the field he wants to enter, so he is competing against more experienced professionals in his field of interest who are also unemployed – he’s been looking for a job for almost nine months.

While everyone hopes to find the perfect job, perhaps now is a good time to set more pragmatic short term goals. I’m not saying one should ever stop looking for jobs that make them happy. But I would think that today, simply paying the bills should be a higher priority. I’m amazed at the sense of entitlement among many who have no work experience or seem to believe that the market is overflowing with jobs.

Now I don’t believe that this group makes up the majority of job seekers. I have come across far more people who simply want to work. For them I will provide whatever assistance and support I can. We all should. I hope I never find myself in their position.

The advice I give to the others, is the same advice I will offer those of you who may be reading this and are unemployed: Don’t stop looking for what you want, but seek out something that you need first – a paycheck.

Focus on your core competencies. Look for a job at which you will excel or that will allow you to pay your bills. If it is not a dream job, try to incorporate dream job components into it in order to hone your skills and become a more valuable employee. You never know; that opportunity may just lead to the perfect job.

Sometimes you have to take one step back before you can take two steps forward.

Archetypal Branding - Where do you fit?

I sat in on a brand identification retreat last week that was interesting. While everyone was there for the same reason, the method we used became very polarizing.  Some participants felt it was highly beneficial, and others who thought it was useless.

The brand identification exercise focused on archetypal branding.

The basic premise behind archetypal branding is that your brand falls within a limited selection of archetypes. These archetypes create the foundation for your brand. They include:

The Innocent
The Regular
The Explorer
The Hero
The Outlaw
The Creator
The Ruler
The Magician
The Lover
The Caregiver
The Sage
The Jester

Don't let the titles fool you. An ad agency may believe that its brand would be best identified as a "creator"; but while a creator is creative and imaginative, it can also have a tendency to express its own vision. If I'm a client, I want the agency expressing MY vision, not its own.

Not to say a creator archetype is bad. They all have strengths and weaknesses. but if you use archetypal branding, you need to be honest and take ownership of the archetype that most suits the brand you are trying to create. If you understand your weaknesses, you can always work to improve them.

You also aren't necessarily limited to one archetype. You will generally have a dominant archetype, but can have more than one secondary archetype.

The group that I was working with developed a dominant archetype of "Magician" because the organization believes it makes things happen. It sees itself as a "transformer". However, it also had secondary archetypes of Sage and Ruler because it believed in "seeking out and understanding", while also "developing systems and procedures", respectively.

It is an interesting exercise in brand development that can also be used to develop a personal brand.

Take a look and let me know where you think you fall.

Me? I see my personal brand as a "hero" with a secondary "caregiver" and "Explorer". If anyone reading this knows me personally and would like to share their thoughts on my personal brand, I welcome the feedback.