November 27th 2009

So this week we actually talked about two things affiliate marketing and the use of mobile devices in marketing. But the discussion n mobile devices delved into the realm or permission marketing. Permission marketing was a term coined by Seth Godin. Essentially what permission marketing entails is building a trusting relationship  that can get the customer to volunteer to get emails or special offers. Traditional marketing tactics where based upon the interruption model of marketing. An ad interrupts your page or a commercial interrupts what your watching on T.V. whereas permission marketing is based people volunteering to listen to your message. As Seth Godin puts it: when someone chooses to pay attention they are actually paying you with something precious. And there’s no way they can get their attention back if they change their mind. Another way to look at it is like this: the average person is exposed to about 3000 marketing messages in a day. If you do the math thats like one marketing message every 28 seconds. But how many of those do we remember? Realistically, maybe one or two. But if a person opts in to receive your marketing materials then they are going to be a whole lot more willing to actually receive your message. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the message is anticipated by the receiver and second the receiver has opted into this agreement because they are interested in the material. Thereby making the receiver engaged in the product. By having a receiver that not only wants to get the message but also wants to be actively engaged makes permission marketing a very powerful tool when trying to distribute your marketing message. If engaged in permission marketing then congratulations are in order, for you have entered the realm of the next wave of marketing and you should be excited about the possibilities of the future.

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November 20th 2009

Welcome back, one and all, to the follow-up post on advertising and virtual worlds post. Last time we looked mainly at advertising.  So in todays digital landscape there are essentially two kinds of business models when it comes to MMO’s. There is the flat monthly fee style games. Like World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, or Final Fantasy Online. Then their is also the micro transaction business model utilised by games like Asda Story, or Fiesta. Now the biggest reason for both of these business models is to cover development and deployment costs from the time of conception onwards. And the reason that I say “from the time of conception onwards” is because it also covers the cost of ongoing development. Now the marketing decisions that go into the decision between flat fee and micro transaction is huge. Is it worth it, is the game conductive to one model or another, or is the content so huge that there will be people playing this game for years to come. I can guarantee you that these kind of questions where asked by the marketers at Champions Online when they where developing their business model. They choose to expand the model a bit. First they charge a monthly fee to access their servers, but they also utilise micro transactions for the purchase of special items. Now we can’t forget that Champions online is unique in this way and they have used this to their advantage. One of the lead designers actually went around and did a plethora of interviews to help to alleviate perceived consumer risk, by explaining how the system is going to be working.If you think about that it’s brilliant. Why well not only do the recoup the initial startup costs from the monthly subscription fees but they also encourage people to take advantage of the items and perks that they can get through micro transactions. And heres the best part; some games utilise micro transactions but then they put time restrictions on the item. For instance Battlefield Hero’s is a free to play game, but if you want to have the best items in the game faster than working through everything and earning them then you are able to by ‘battlefield funds’ that can be spent on in-game items at the games store.  Now, advertising for these games, well for most games really, well digital games anyway, occurs online. With websites like IGN, Ten Ton Hammer, GameSpot, and countless others. Essentially with almost everyone being tuned in to the net by offering information to these kind of enthusiast websites, developers and marketers can take advantage of free publicity. Thats not to say that video game developers of online games don’t use conventional means. In fact, World of Warcraft had quite a successful marketing campaign where movie and television stars would talk about their game characters. And that is going to be my parting note this week, but I will leave you with these tidbits of advertising .

Advertising In The Digital Storm.

November, Friday 13th, 2009

Welcome back, once again, to the latest installment of my blog. I thank you again for tuning in. This week we covered more Search Engine Optimization. But I ran through that last blog post, and as we have already covered, we don’t have the attention span for that kind of thing any more. So we’re going to jump ahead to next week and talk a little about advertising and virtual environments. Sort of a two-parter if you will. This week we’re going to talk more about the advertising and then next week we are going to talk more about working within the virtual environments to generate profits.

Now when I prepare to write one of these things I usually stop by TED and check out whats new, good, or relevant. This time I happened to stumble across Rory Sutherland talking about perceived value that advertising contributes to products or services. And that got me thinking about what exactly does advertising get us as online marketers. To look at this a little further we also need to know what advertising is to a marketer as well.Traditional marketing methods would have us shouting to get the attention of the consumer with every advert that is seen on T.V. or in a magazine. And John Wanamakers famous saying about where his advertising dollars are going is actually closer to the truth than he knew. In fact, according to The Economist, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) puts the amount of money wasted on fruitless advertising at $220 billion world-wide and the total budget is $428 billion. So what does all this mean. it means that for advertising there is still a long way to come before we figure out what is truly effective in acquiring new customers, and swaying competitors customers away from our rivals.

So what does this mean for online marketing. Well let us see. First, it means there is a great chunk of the advertising resource distribution pie that is going to waste on traditional marketing methods. Secondly, these dollars can be directed towards online marketing efforts if we (the online marketers) can justify to management the cost-benefit ratio. Thirdly, the fact that we can use accurate historical server records to properly develop detailed reports on website traffic behaviours enables us to analyse a cost-benefit ratio.

But I still don’t think we’ve really narrowed down what advertising gets us. OH! I see, maybe its not what advertising gets us but maybe its what advertising gets the customer instead. According to The Value of Advertising website the consumer actually gets benefit from the advertising. The trick is making the customer understand the benefits of the advertising dollars. For instance right now MAC is promoting itself as the easier computer to use and with much better customer service to boot. And they are doing a really good job as well. This actually helps to allow Apple to sell their computers for 2-3 times what a PC would go for and people barley think twice about it. Regardless of the fact that apple computers are PC’s with a different operating systems.  So the customer receives the ‘benefit’ of knowing that MAC is a ‘better’ computer to use than a PC because customer service is reportedly better as well as usability. Knowledge, choice. This is what good advertising provides the customer. Now that we have this out of the way. Next week we will apply some of this to the varying virtual worlds that have sprung up as potential marketing well-springs over the last few years.