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Editorial Advisory Board

Is Branding Dead?

1 Jan, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

No, but as the economy struggles and marketing budgets are slashed, measuring ROI on every marketing dollar is now a necessity. In the new age of direct response, marketers are turning to 'response-branding' methods more than ever.


What technologies are having the biggest impact as traditional branders move into the direct response realm?

Beck: The Internet obviously revolutionized advertising, and search engine marketing (SEM) specifically has driven the appetite for controllable, measurable marketing spend. Once advertisers got a taste of SEM, they began to look for ways they could get the same benefits in their other advertising.

Hawthorne: Web video, mobile video and interactive TV are having and will continue to have the most impact. Due to video's superior capacity to "engage," as these technologies become more widely used their ROI will be significant for advertisers.

Savar: Online video, without a doubt. The ability to target, measure and deliver relevant content at a relevant time makes online video the single most important growing medium today. That said, the most effective use of the medium is not running traditional spots online. Again, it's about understanding your audience, so the message needs to be crafted specifically for the channel.

Baer: Video has had the most measured impact on purchase behavior of anything we've seen in decades. When you have data that says two out of every three people who watch a branded video act on it — and about 11 percent actually seek out information on the product — well, you tell me, is there anything else delivering 11-percent response rates out there?

Garnett: The "new media feeding frenzy" is destroying the advertising business. Studies are now suggesting that the primary impact of new media is to train consumers to reject messages faster and faster. Ten to 20 years ago, we were only influenced by two or three of the 500 messages we'd see each day. Advertising Age reported recently that, today, we see 2,500 advertising messages a day and are still only influenced by two or three of them.

All facets of interactive advertising on the Web are being touted as a low-cost alternative for marketers looking to maximize ROI. How effective can standalone Web campaigns be? What is the best way for a marketer to mix television, radio and other media with the Web to create the best possible ROI?

Hawthorne: Standalone Web campaigns can work for highly segmented and targeted product categories. But a truly mass appeal product still needs the reach of TV for effectiveness and market growth. And How a marketer mixes the various channels will depend on their product category and marketing goals.

Murray: When I was at MBNA, we were extremely effective in acquiring new credit card and loan accounts via the Web, with very little additional media support. What helped, however, was our advantage in being able to leverage affinity group relationships, as well as a barrage of direct mail campaigns. Unless your audience uses only one media source, it is unlikely that a single channel approach will be very effective.

Beck: The idea of cross-channel campaigns is a little overrated. If we are forced to dumb down our campaigns to the point that they work well in any channel, we're selling ourselves short. The choice here depends upon which is more important: campaign message (brand) or ROI (DR). At LendingTree, we approach each channel differently and execute campaigns that are optimized for the channel to drive the most revenue possible.

Stacey: Standalone Web campaigns can be very effective, and we have seen companies like Syndero lend support to this approach. How effective such a campaign will be depends on the suitability of the product for that approach. The Web can be a relatively inexpensive medium to test, and one that can be relatively easy to measure. There is no single best way to mix TV, radio and other media with the Web to maximize ROI. The best way to discover this is often through careful testing.

Baer: There is nothing standalone about the Web. The more it runs through television and mobile, the more central it becomes. Now, there are certainly powerful brands that have been built exclusively through online marketing. At this point those are mostly E-commerce companies, but that will continue to evolve. Once you embrace the notion of finding and joining the consumer dialogue, we find it leads you down the right path most of the time.

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