April 10, 2014

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Advertising and Marketing

Discussion moderated by Paul Dishman, Ph.D., chair of Utah Valley University’s Woodbury School of Business.

April 10, 2014

ROXBURY: A lot of us have said the key is producing good, relevant content. More recently, personalized content has become important. Taking the data that we talked about before and creating a personalized, unique experience for those customers is really valued. The big shift is that advertising is moving from a push environment to a pull environment. So you need to have the good, relevant, interactive content to have customers pull the content into their lives.

How are you advising your clients to manage social media?

YOUNGREN: We are working with a small restaurant and they have a social media presence. They were getting mixed reviews online and their initial reaction was to try to respond online and get into sort of one of those comment wars that we have all seen happening. We encouraged them rather than do that, to reach out and contact these people personally and make up for the poor experience in the restaurant with a gift card or an apology or whatever. It’s such a 1950s solution to a 2014 problem, but it seems to be working out really well for them.

Sometimes you have to not get lost in the cascade of technology. Sometimes a personal approach is better—make the phone call, send the e-mail.

ROXBURY: What it all comes down to is you have to have a good product and good service. If you don’t have a good product or great service, none of this matters. You can advertise the heck out of something but if it is not good, people aren’t going to buy it. So as we look to produce good content, we have to make sure that our product and service is the best that it can be. Are we focusing on the features and benefits that add value to our potential customers’ lives?

SHELTON: One of the things we are keeping an eye on is the content of predictive search. There is so much data out there about your search habits. What does it have in common and what ads do we want to put in front of a consumer because we think they are thinking about that before they even search for it. And when do we want to deliver that message?

For example, in an e-mail, we want to deliver that e-mail when we know they are going to open it and when we think they are going to be engaged in thinking about that particular product or service. And that’s something that is coming as the search engines get more sophisticated—actually being able to deliver content and messages before they have even searched for it.

C. THOMAS: I concur with what you said about providing a quality service and product. At the same time, society in general is becoming politically more polarized. More cynical. Even if we are providing that good product or service, there’s still criticism online. So the ability to respond to that is so important.

A lot of times we will do a phenomenal job, have a 95 percent success rate, and it’s the 5 percent that becomes the focus. That just goes with the territory. With consumers becoming more empowered there’s going to be some fallout. So it’s setting that expectation, managing that expectation, and recognizing that’s something we have to deal with.

DeNAUGHEL: What I would add to that is authenticity. Because if you are not authentic to your brand and consistent with what the consumer wants, they call B.S. pretty quickly, and you can’t pull anything over on them. So it goes back to the basics of branding and figuring out what is the essence, how is that relevant to the consumer.

MINK: All the comments are building toward humanizing the brand. What makes good content is you are entertaining, helpful, you are empowering the user. On the reputation side, you’ve got to go from the big brand, big box, to, “Hey, I’m wearing the dunce cap because I screwed up and you know about it.” And reaching out with some of the personal touches, a phone call when a phone call is warranted, free passes or whatever it is, because, “We screwed up, and we get it. But we will be better next time and here is something we can do.” There’s a big crossover both on the advertising side as well as that reputation side.

CHASE: In terms of personalizing and authenticity of brand, we have a client in Cafe Rio that has just embodied that really well. On their home page, there’s one tab that says, “I don’t care.” If you click on “I don’t care” it takes you to whatever the hot YouTube video is for the day. Whenever we have done Facebook posts for clients that are built around an offering, we tend to not have great following on those posts and on that interaction. However, Cafe Rio will post, “If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?” They get hundreds of people following, and it’s because they are embracing their culture and personality, and people relate to that. It builds this philosophy of brand.      

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