Retargeted Ads

I see why online advertisers are interested in native ads, sponsored content and other ways to get consumers to notice brands: retargeted ads are irritating. You click on an ad for whatever reason or visit a site and then that ad follows you around screaming “look at me.” The idea being that since you were interested enough to visit the web page, you will eventually convert to a sale if you’re constantly reminded about your interest in that brand.

Make sense, I guess, but the downside is a negative brand experience due to the perception that the retargeted ad won’t leave you alone.

No matter how wonderful the creative is, how compelling the copy, or how relevant the offer, seeing the ad everywhere I click for longer than say, a day, isn’t effective. If I’m interested in the brand, I’ll come back when I’m ready. Likely after I read a review and see people I trust write positively about the product.

In other words, tone down the retargeting and rely more on the other marketing communications tools.

Great Brand Stories Come From Answering 5 Questions

Some companies struggle to define themselves and what they do. I see it often when I go to the “about” page of a brand’s site and can’t immediately understand what they offer. More often than not I’ll need to Google the company to find news coverage describing them.

So why is it that some companies fail to clearly get to the point about what they sell and why it matters? Because they don’t understand the basics of storytelling.

News stories answer the following questions: what, why, who, how, when, where. For instance, knowing how a product will make it easy to quickly secure my data will help me appreciate why I might want to buy it.

All businesses need to know the answers to these questions. Whether it’s at the brand level or at the product level, if your team doesn’t know why your product matters and if your site doesn’t clearly state the customer benefits, for instance, then whatever is unique and wonderful about what you’re selling won’t resonate as much as it should.

So as you’re conceiving your startup or launching a new product or repositioning your business, make sure you and your teams are absolutely clear about the answers to these questions:

  • What is your product or service?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Who is it for?
  • How does it work?
  • Where and when is it available?

Once you can clearly and succinctly address these questions, you’ll be able to tell a compelling customer benefit story that will help you, and your, team connect.

Planning For The Next Big Thing

I’ve recently completed the fiscal year 2012 corporate communications plan for The Weather Network / MétéoMédia where I work. With help from my team, we’re working to increasingly participate in weather-related conversations, online and off. This may seem like an easy task given that Canadians love talking about the weather and TWN/MM are popular brands.

However, the task of managing our social media presence, working with the news media and generally keeping our fans happy is challenging. So how do I stay ahead?

I work with a great team that is integrated across research, social, PR, customer relations and marketing. The researchers help benchmark and confirm success and customer relations respond to and manage external feedback. I highlight the research and customer relations functions since it’s rare that they work this closely with communications. Their proximity, CR reports into me and I’m part of the marketing team that includes research, gives me access to data, insights and feedback that helps build and sustain strategies.

Success looks a lot different these days in light of changing media which have altered how marketing works. Good thing I work with a team that’s immersed in the mix and understands how to demonstrate success.