• Making Online Advertising More Relevant to Customers

    by Joe Kearns | May 19, 2011
    Web advertising has been evolving ever since companies started trying to generate sales online.  As web users gain experience and their surfing habits evolve, advertisers must also change their habits to get attention and clicks with their ads.   Mass messaging, where a single message is expected to attract everyone, is a frequently used yet ineffective approach.   To succeed, advertisers must focus their attention on effectively communicating with the user rather than pushing non-targeted and often irrelevant messages to the masses. 

    In years past, when someone was surfing the web they were barraged with popups and flashing banners that had no relevance to their interests. These intrusive ads would have little or no response and no impact on sales.
    Recently, more sophisticated methods have been introduced for serving ads to users based on their behavior and interests.  Surfing behavior is constantly tracked, and sites can now serve banner ads based on this information.  This is a significant step forward in making web advertising more relevant and more profitable.  Sites serving these banners are due to receive more ad revenue while advertisers will receive more qualified clicks. 

    The problem is that marketers continue to use mass messaging strategies which have very low response rates, and these rates are rapidly declining.  Many marketers do not understand or acknowledge the ever changing landscape of the web.  Why is this?

    Many marketers remain under the impression that they can generate results without investing the time and effort to create more targeted strategies and campaigns based on customer interests.   This approach does not work because of changing user habits and expectations, and the evolving digital landscape. 

    Customers have changed their habits to become more conscientious of their clicks.  Users now respond to messages that speak to them, are relevant to their interests and needs, and feel natural.  These types of messages have a greater response as they are important to the customer’s decision making. 

    The digital landscape is changing and will always be an evolving entity.  Right now, Social Media is serving as the platform in which users spend most of their time online.  Everything about Social Media is personalized for the user, based on information the user shared freely when creating their profile, so why shouldn’t the ads?  The information is available now to create meaningful and engaging campaigns for users, and is waiting to be leveraged to connect you with your target.

    Trellist is serving as the bridge to change a mass market approach into a personalized strategy to find the target demographic, present a compelling message and add value to the user’s online experience. 
  • Listening to The Consumer: Gap Misses the Mark

    by Joe Kearns | Nov 01, 2010

    Gap, Inc., the apparel retailer, had established its logo through consistent usage over the past 20 years. Recently, Gap decided to try its luck with an updated logo and revealed the new creation on the Gap website without warning.  This move ignited spirited conversation within the online community, which responded with mostly harsh criticism of the new logo. As a result of the controversy, Gap announced it will not be using the highly-criticized new logo and will instead continue with the existing logo.  Consequently, the time and expense to design the new mark were wasted.  Gap’s mistake was not in wanting to update its logo.  The mistake was changing the logo in a vacuum.

    Is this really about an unfavorable logo design change or was the backlash due to consumers’ lack of involvement in the logo update?  Consumers were left out of the design process altogether, no input and no explanation.  In today’s society, where consumers have more access than ever to brands and companies, Gap mistakenly chose to keep consumers out of the loop. Social networking outlets are the new “It” child online and companies are anxious to use (or misuse) every outlet available to them.  Gap got a quick lesson that these outlets are not only for pushing marketing to customers but rather a two-way street, and criticism can come rolling in, sometimes immediately.  Companies should evaluate using Facebook or Twitter to get customers involved in their branding changes.  There is an opportunity to connect with customers and gather valuable feedback and involvement from the fan base regarding certain changes to the company, such as a logo update. Gap and other companies do not need to take every posting on their Facebook wall as credible information that speaks for every customer.  The objective is to create an interaction between company and fan base to tighten that connectivity.  Connection to the brand is why users feel the need to follow companies via social networking venues.  Gap could have created buzz and some excitement by just getting customers involved and talking about the design update, but it didn’t.  Gap acknowledged the mistake in a press release on the corporate site: “We’ve learned a lot in this process. And we are clear that we did not go about this in the right way. We recognize that we missed the opportunity to engage with the online community.” Companies like Gap will find ways to capitalize on this new online community and create a tighter connection between customers and their brand.  Even if Gap had created the Mona Lisa of logos and asked the online community for their opinion, it may still have received negative feedback. However, the community would have been involved in the decision.

    In these early days of social media networking, many companies are treating social media sites as just another online channel.  Why not?  The cost for entry is relatively low and it’s simple to keep content updated.  However, just having a Facebook page or Twitter feed isn’t enough – there should be a strategy to increase brand connectivity, increase brand awareness and gather feedback from customers.  A sound social media strategy is a marketing necessity, and Trellist is helping clients leverage these networking outlets to increase brand affinity  and customer loyalty.

Insights posts by: Joe Kearns

Joe Kearns

Responsible for maintaining and managing the health of project plans, Joe coordinates timelines, budgets, and resource allocation. While working in tandem with clients, he oversees all aspects throughout the life of a project—effectively controlling risk while minimizing uncertainty.