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No Habla Español?


There are more Hispanics in the United States than in any Spanish speaking country. So it's perplexing that, out of the eight billion total dollars spent for general marketing and advertising per year in the United States, Hispanic marketing spending doesn't even reach $50 million.

Interestingly, according to TNS Media Intelligence and CMR, the Internet is the second fastest growing medium in 2004 for U.S. ad spending, topped only by Spanish language TV. Still, even the most aggressive and progressive advertisers are spending small fractions of their total media budgets in Hispanic media.

The largest Hispanic media advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, Sears Roebuck, PepsiCo and General Motors, are spending around $10 million each, and all advertisers in Hispanic media spent only $310 million in 2003, barely 1 percent of total media budgets. Meanwhile, with Hispanics accounting for 13 percent to 14 percent of the U.S. population, and a large percentage of Hispanics devouring Hispanic/Spanish language media (either solely, or along with mass English-language media), there is a considerable spending gap.

Carlos Manzano, associate publisher of HispanicOnline.com and HispanicTrends.com believes that Hispanic-based advertising is not catching up as it should. According to Manzano, “If Hispanics hold 8 percent of the buying power of the United States, then why do advertisers and marketers only spend 1.5 percent to 2 percent of ad dollars towards Hispanics? If the buying power is 8 percent, then the ad spend towards Hispanics should be 8 percent.”

Manzano believes Hispanic based advertising is truly a market to understand. “You can’t translate an ad into Spanish and expect it to work,” he states. “I see a little bit of traction in print advertising geared towards Hispanics, but online is well behind. Any ad dollars spent on Hispanic marketing goes straight to Spanish TV.”

That's a mistake. “With more than 14 million U.S. Hispanics online today and more flooding to this medium daily, advertisers can’t afford avoiding this enormous opportunity,” says Peter Blacker, vice president-multi-cultural and international AOL network sales and solutions and chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB's) Hispanic Committee. Blacker says larger advertisers are just starting to notice this fast-growing demographic. “We have been able to secure major Hispanic campaigns with marketers like Ford, InterContinental and the U.S. Army, and are seeing an increased interest from the automotive industry. However, educating all advertisers and marketers to understand the value the Internet plays in reaching the Hispanic community is certainly our challenge as an industry.”

Factors to consider

The challenge lies in educating advertisers and marketers about the specific variables, such as household income levels and age, that can affect Hispanic marketing plans.

According to Liz Sarachek, director of sales for Yahoo! en Espanol, the 53 percent of U.S. Hispanics who are actively online are a lucrative target. Studies have shown that Internet penetration is highest among affluent U.S. Hispanics; 89 percent of U.S. Hispanics with an income of $150,000 or higher are actively online while lower income U.S. Hispanics tend to be heavy TV watchers. These statistics alone should persuade advertisers to make the shift from television advertising to online.

Age is a very important factor to take into account as well. The Hispanic population is much younger than the general market with a median age of 25 versus 38. According to Alejandro Rodriguez, vice president of sales for Hispanic portal Star Media, the young Hispanic demographic is untapped. “We must focus on young Hispanics -- they are surfing, chatting, downloading music, and instant messaging over watching television. To not target this demographic is a wasted opportunity.”

A little while ago, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies conducted a study that recommended a spend of 8 percent for Hispanic advertising. “If your products appeal to young people or to the over $40,000 income groups, I recommend a 12 percent to 14 percent level for online,” says Michael Saray, president of Michael Saray Hispanic Marketing, a consulting and project management firm dedicated to helping direct marketers with their Hispanic iniatives. “The 12 percent to 14 percent spend should incorporate all facets of online advertising, not just banner ads. Search will play a bigger part as it is almost non-existent now. Try and use a Spanish language query and see where you get.”

Aside from search, email and affiliate marketing should be considered too. “Email will be important as the Hispanic population is very word-of-mouth or viral oriented. Affiliate relationships will continue to grow as new entrants to the Hispanic arena look for a foot in the door,” Saray says.

According to comScore Media Metrix, Hispanics’ preferred destinations online are largely the same as everyone else’s -- they are flocking to sites run by the big three portals (AOL, Yahoo! en Espanol, MSN) while preferring Terra Lycos a little more than average (undoubtedly for its Spanish-language content) and Amazon a little less (which is understandable too, as credit card penetration tends to be somewhat lower among Hispanics compared with the overall population).

Is Hispanic online behavior different?

Now, that leads to a particularly tough question: Are Hispanics just like everyone else when it comes to online behavior?

According to David Berkowitz, editor at eMarketer, the answer is undoubtedly yes and no. “By advertising online on English-language sites such as Yahoo!, Google, and eBay, advertisers will undoubtedly reach a sizeable percentage of Hispanics. Yet it will be particularly important, when targeting this demographic growing both in number and purchasing power, to examine specifically where they are going, what they are searching for, and what they are buying. It is only when advertisers and marketers fully embrace and understand this that marketing towards Hispanics can achieve a strong return on investment.”

Interactive ad companies are starting to accommodate the need for Hispanic-based advertising. ValueClick Media, for example, is carving out a specific Hispanic channel in its network. Email acquisition solutions provider, NetCreations, has expanded its Hispanic file to two million opt-in subscribers. In addition to the online ad companies, top portals and service providers have specifically created Hispanic-focused service offerings. 

AOL Latino, for example, is the only ISP in the marketplace to help Spanish-language dominant users get online all in Spanish while offering a full range of content. Blacker says, “We offer services such as Parental Controls in Spanish, a Homework Help function providing tutors in both Spanish and English so parents that only speak Spanish can help their kids with their English language homework, as well as the lowest discounts available for money transfers and prepaid phone cards.”

The IAB recently created a Hispanic Committee whose purpose is to promote the value of online advertising in reaching the Hispanic audience. Members of the committee range from publishers to advertising agencies.

As the Hispanic population grows, both in the United States and online, it is crucial for us marketers to adjust and customize our marketing messages. It is only through education that we can begin to understand the Hispanic market and its impact on how we advertise online. Not adjusting your online marketing messages to the current trends in population, not just for Hispanics but all demographics, will result in a higher return on investment and brand loyalty. Just look at the success of several companies such as Jet Blue and Office Depot that have created Spanish sites. I’ll be discussing that in my next article.

Elizabeth M. Lloyd is currently the Director of Corporate Marketing for a start up online ad company in Silicon Valley. Elizabeth recently moved back to the Bay Area from New York City where she was Director of Marketing for leading opt-in email provider, NetCreations, Inc. Prior to that, Elizabeth was responsible for the Public Relations department of ValueClick, Inc., a leading digital marketing company.

Adaptive expectations: Users' psychology

The standard form of advertising online tends to counter what the user expects to see. Internet users have the notion that the web should be devoid of four minutes of advertising blocking from their content (a la TV) because they have not experienced that in the past.

Internet users experience adaptive expectations: forming expectations for the future based on what happened in the past. Over the course of the 2,900-plus monthly web pages that an internet user views per month, the user rarely encounters interruptive advertising experiences. When someone does, in the form of a pre-roll, interstitial, homepage takeover, etc., the experience does not match expectations, and the user is left with a poor brand experience.

Compare this to the adaptive expectations of a person watching TV. If the viewer switches from one TV show to another, they maintain the expectation that they will see at least 30 seconds of ad content. There is no psychological barrier to viewing ads on TV; there is online.

"It hasn't been easy for brands to evolve along with media and the people that consume it," noted Ian Schafer, CEO of interactive agency Deep Focus. "This is the result of media not only being what is directed at people, but now, what exists between people. Simply running TV spots at people online misses the opportunity for deeper connection -- which can also be delivered at scale."

Tackling the psychology: What's a marketer to do?

The online marketing sector has some changes to make in the brand space, tackling both the value-added theory and adaptive expectations. To handle the former, look to the media buying arm of the digital industry. To handle the latter, look to the creative directors.

Moving brands to invest their resources to focus on the online sector versus TV will require media buying arms to level the playing field. TV is currently bought on GRPs and a handshake during the upfront season.

Online social media companies, like Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon, yield more than 2 billion social traffic referrals per month. Measuring that same effective lift is easily scalable. Run tests on the cost per lift in purchase intent and compare it to TV. If the cost ratio of purchase intent lift online versus TV nears an eye-popping ratio of something like 50 percent, the job will be easy. This is how you ignite the value-added theory into action.

Let the creative directors take it from there to solve the adaptive expectations problem.

Creative directors hold the burden of creating the content that is indigenous to the online platform. This means they cannot be ads in the traditional sense. It means that the brand creates an immersive experience that blurs the line between sponsored content and content that the user wants to consume, creating a destination with which the user engages.

Schafer said, "Platforms have eclipsed publishers as the destinations of choice for consumers online, and require a different approach, one that looks less like advertising, and more like marketing."

Think it's impossible? Check out Nike's "Better World." Or perhaps Intel's "Museum of Me." Or even State Farm's "Chaos in Your Town." These are not ads, they are rich content destinations from the most traditional brand advertiser through a clear direct response advertiser. This is content that is indigenous to the online space.

(source: http://www.nikebetterworld.com/)

To take it from the words of Sharethrough director of marketing Chris Schreiber, "In a world where we have increasing control over the media we consume, brands need to approach their advertising decisions with the goal of producing content that people will choose to watch."

We need to build on this. We need creative directors to continue to expand their minds to align with the adapted expectations of internet users to discover an experience that can entertain, educate, or enlighten. Combine that with the media buying arms proving the cost per lift in purchase intent, and we will finally move online marketing into the forefront of brands' media dollars.

Jack Krawczyk is senior product marketing manager at StumbleUpon.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Back of man watching tv on a sofa" image via Shutterstock.

Customer experience

Let's face it, even with a sound manufacturers advertised price policy, customers will find your product for a better price than you offer it. Don't try to beat the retailer at his game. More often than not, you'll lose the sale and the relationship. Focus on the customer experience. You'd be surprised by how much and how often a customer will sacrifice a little money for time and peace of mind.

  • User experience -- You are a brand marketer, but you need to start thinking like a retailer. The fewer clicks-to-purchase, the higher your conversion rate. Study the important conversion tactics such as user reviews, and use a skilled information architect who knows how to optimize the buy-flow.

  • Don't flub the buy-flow -- Whether the product is sold direct or through a dealer, it's critical to offer a seamless buy-flow model. Much like a proper shopping cart experience, a handoff to the dealer should be seamless through a proper concept shop or product-to-product links. Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing a customer handed off to a retailer, just to be greeted by an ad for a discount offered by a competitor. If the retailer isn't willing to support the referral properly, they're likely not one of your best reseller partners.

  • Track inventory -- Make no mistake about it, while this may not seem like a marketing function, promoting and selling your product is about being in the right place at the right time. If you have the best selection of inventory, you should offer a similar experience through the dealer sale. Implement a real-time inventory gateway, offered only to dealers who stock product. This is a better experience for the customer and more incentive for the retailer to stock your product. Only with a proper inventory sync gateway does the direct sale compete with retailers who are offering less support through stocked product.

Balance ecommerce with brand strategy

Many will argue that a robust ecommerce model can degrade the brand experience. Depending on how you view it, they might be right. Ebay and Amazon are great brand experiences but not for the same reason Apple is. You can achieve this without romancing the product and vice versa. If you fall somewhere in between, put faith in the collaborative effort between your creative director and user experience designer. Through a proper digital process, you can drive the sale and keep your customers in love with your brand.

  • Alter the message -- No need to blow it up, just alter it. There's no reason why the game has to change completely. You're still promoting your product or service. Just consider that you're not only asking the consumer to learn more, you're also asking for the sale.

  • Alter the medium -- Some tactics are better suited for the sale. Without abandoning your brand advertising, find the right mix of impressions-based advertising and direct-response marketing. Good analytics will measure ROI and recommend optimization on the fly.

  • Own the customer -- OK, the sale is nice, but the customer is more important. Research shows that the lifetime value of a well cared-for customer is the key to strong ROI. Email marketing is your best friend here.

Budgets and ROI

You don't need me to tell you that good analytics are paramount to campaign accountability. This is especially true with an ecommerce model when budgets are on the chopping block. If you can show that an initiative is making the company money, you have a pretty good argument for more funding.

  • Budget allocation -- The direct sale tends to produce a higher margin for the manufacturer. By allocating an appropriate percent of the total marketing budget to a direct response strategy, you can build an ROI model that "self-funds" the initiative. If your competitor's model hasn't matured in this manner, this is a market advantage. In some cases you might even consider using some of this margin to support dealer sales programs, or a cause marketing campaign to help support the brand side of the marketing strategy.

  • Analytics -- Find a good analyst, period. Yes, Google is free, but if you don't set up a campaign with the proper key performance indicators, properly tag the digital properties, or effectively report ROI, you've missed the most important part. Besides, it makes you look good in front of your boss.

Ultimately, you're still selling your brand. Developing a strong voice and message around your products is mission critical. If you can strike the right balance between brand strategy and ecommerce you'll find harmony with your customers and retailers.

Rob McCready is senior partner and director of client services at Blue Collar Interactive.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"3d people walking on the rope" image via Shutterstock.

You're condescending

You don't mean to be patronizing. You are just trying to help and want to see a good job get done, but you come across as a condescending blockhead.

If you say to someone (as I admit I did just a few weeks back), "We really should have considered factor X before we did this," and they already did consider factor X before they did this, you are being condescending. Although you and I both meant to be helpful, we were not. There is nothing more repulsive to the people who work with you than some know-it-all implying they are idiots.

Arrogance is unattractive. No one wants to be sneered at. Before you go tell somebody how the work they did isn't as good as the way you would have done it, make sure you have context. This is not the same thing as having standards or caring about the work you do. Nor is this the same thing as sharing vital information that your co-workers need in order to do a great job.

This is about respect and professionalism.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, "How am I supposed to know if my co-workers considered factor X? I just know it needed to be considered."

Here's a simple tactic that might blow your mind: Ask.

Yes, it's a subtle difference. Yes, it may take you an extra 30 seconds. But by treating your co-workers with that little dash of respect, you build relationships instead of tearing them down. At the end of the day, what's important is that factor X is considered, not that people are impressed with how smart you are.

Because, believe me, they're not.

You talk before you listen

As the CEO of an interactive agency, I am constantly looking for bright, passionate, and creative individuals to join my team.

The problem with bright, passionate, and creative individuals is that they have a ton of great ideas that they just can't wait to share. They just-can't-wait so much that they wind up talking over the people around them -- other people who happen to have a few bright ideas themselves. There is nothing more irritating to the people you work with than being interrupted. It makes people hate you, and it is counterproductive.


When you have a meeting with your co-workers, the goal should be some level of collaboration. When you spend that meeting spouting your "brilliance" without making the effort to understand your co-workers' perspectives, they don't want to collaborate with you. They want to throw you out of the window. They will shut down on you.

You may not realize that I'm talking about you. But I am.

If you're wondering why your co-workers don't seem to care about the project you're on, if you're scratching your head about the hostility you seem to get every time you have a brainstorm, or if you feel like you care so much more about how to correctly do this task than everyone else around you and just can't understand why, take a look in the mirror. Observe yourself.

Do you listen to the people around you? Or do you talk first?

You set them up to fail

We work in a very goal-oriented business. We have deadlines we must meet, objectives we must surpass, and clients we must please. Performing in this environment is hard, especially when you don't have a chance of succeeding because some bonehead set you up to fail.

Are you that bonehead? If you are, your co-workers surely hate you. If you suspect you might be, keep reading.

There tends to be two ways that you can set your co-workers up to fail -- the tangibles and the intangibles.

The tangibles are the things that a team simply cannot succeed without. These are things like the right tools to do the job, enough time to do it well, enough resources to get it done, and enough budget pay for it all.

There's no escaping the fact that we sometimes have to make commitments that other people have to live up to in this business. But if you are making those commitments, there's no excuse for doing so unless you know your co-workers have the tangibles they need to live up to them.

The intangibles are murkier. They're easier to get wrong, but no less critical to get right. These are things like ensuring that a client understands the implications of a particular decision, that feedback is clearly communicated to your team, or that the person who is going to be making a commitment on your behalf knows if you don't have the tangibles you need.

That last one is key. If you see a train wreck coming and you don't speak up, you're just as guilty as your coworker who might be driving the train. After all, we're all human. We only see what we see. If someone is setting you, themselves, or someone else on your team up for failure, your goal should be to prevent that -- not to point fingers.

You waste their time

In 2010, Harvard Business Review reported on a multiyear study that overwhelmingly indicated that the single most important factor in keeping workers motivated on an ongoing basis was a sense of progress.

If that's the case, then surely the single most important factor in keeping workers de-motivated has to be some idiot wasting your time.

I'm going to make an assumption. I'm going to assume that since you're reading this article in a professional publication, you care about your job. You take pains to do it well. You strive to get things right. You spend time on the details. You put your heart and soul into your craft.

These are not just your billable hours we're talking about. This is your sweat. This is your commitment to excellence. Now, imagine you pour all that commitment into a project, and it turns out that your efforts were a complete waste of time -- and that waste of time was the result of one of your co-workers simply not doing their job well.

You're going to hate that person.

There's a fine line here. Sometimes we have to go through the motions. For every idea a client picks, there are two that wind up on the cutting room floor. They all have to be great and that requires work, which is not wasting time. That's the business we are in, and it's not what I'm talking about.

What I am talking about is wasting people's time because you are careless, lazy, incompetent, sloppy, or irresponsible.

That, my friends, is grounds for loathing. Don't do it.

You don't say please

You work in a fast-paced world with demanding clients to serve, or perhaps demanding executives to report to. You don't have time to explain every little detail of every little decision to every person you interact with.

People need to shut up, stop whining, and get done what needs to get done when it needs doing. Sounds good, right?
Perhaps. But people have dignity and self-worth, and they want to feel self-actualized. They deserve to be treated with respect. Sure, sometimes (or often) stuff just needs to get done, and you don't ask them to complete the task because "no" isn't an option.

Wrong. You should say, "please" anyway.

But why should you, other than simply to not be a jerk?

Remember role power and relationship power? Role power -- using the authority of your position to make others do stuff -- works great in the short term, but it quickly erodes in the long term. If you use role power as your long-term means of interacting with your co-workers, you will quickly find yourself surrounded by haters. They'll grumble. They'll do a haphazard job. They will do the minimum they need to do and nothing more. And, you'll wonder why.

Relationship power is a better tool for the long haul, and the path to good relationships starts with common courtesy.

If there's urgency, explain why there's urgency and say "please."

No urgency? Still, say "please."

You communicate everything and nothing

A friend of mine likes to tell the story of a creative director he once worked with that used to make a point with a rubber ball. He would sit across a conference table from a client and bounce a ball to the client. They would catch it. Then he would do it again, but this time he would throw three balls across the table. The client would miss them all.

Too often, I see people try to communicate everything and wind up communicating nothing.

Rambling is not an effective communication tool.

We exchange information constantly in business -- in emails, briefs, meetings, and hallway conversations. It is tempting to try to convey every nuance and detail -- to cover your tracks at the expense of actually communicating what's important.

But, the human mind can only grasp so much. It is worth the effort to pause and look at what you really need to say.

And that's all I really have to say about that.

You don't have their back

At my agency, we have three rules:

Do your best work.
Deliver it on time.
Always have your teammates back.

Ten years ago, when we were just starting out, bigger agencies would hire us as a creative SWAT team. Around that time, an agency in San Francisco was pitching a huge account. They brought me in for a week to put together their first round presentation.

As often happens when agencies pitch, the CEO of that agency was making big changes up to the last minute. When he left the office at 7 p.m., I still had a mountain of work to do before our deadline at 8 a.m. the next day. At about 11 p.m., I realized there was no way I'd be able to pull this off by myself, so I called my partner, Theo.

By 11:45 p.m., he had gotten out of bed, jumped in his car, and driven downtown.

By 5:45 a.m., we stumbled out of the office bleary-eyed, but satisfied that we had done our best work, and had done it on time.

My partner had my back. There is nothing that builds trust like knowing your team has your back. And there is nothing that builds distrust like knowing they don't.

I've seen great people just up and quit a great job because one co-worker decided, "it wasn't their problem" when another needed help.

You have a job. That job has a job description with neat little bullet points that describe exactly what your responsibilities are.

If you really believe all that matters is that you accomplish the specified tasks in your job description, you suck. If your first instinct is generally "not my problem," you suck. If you throw your teammates under the bus, you suck. If you leave them in the lurch, you suck.

And your co-workers should hate you.

Adam Kleinberg is the CEO of Traction.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Business men fighting" image and "Cracked wall texture" image via Shutterstock.

The problem

The constant introduction of new technologies, social networks, advertising avenues, and consumer preferences has hastened what many are calling "agile marketing." This is the inevitable result of the relentless forward march of the "new."

The term "agile marketing" comes from the agile software development process where instead of creating an exact blueprint of what every feature will do, how the user will interact with it, and having an exact timeline of what will be implemented when the new features are added in "sprints." Each of these sprints may be loosely or formally defined for what problems will be tackled in each, but exactly how they are tackled is more of an iterative process. This agile process allows developers to quickly solve problems that were not foreseeable at the time the project was started.

You can see how this easily relates to marketing. Gone are the days when we had the luxury of creating a plan that is set in stone and cannot be altered or modified for another calendar year. While we need to be careful not to simply make modifications to chase shiny new objects that might be temporarily popular, we also need to allow flexibility in our plans to safely try new things.

You must be careful when doing this because if you are distracted by adding new tactics to your marketing strategy, you could easily go against your strategy or even dilute your brand's communications.

For instance, you might be surprised how many companies jumped on the MySpace bandwagon too late. Who would want to be the last big brand to champion a failed social network? It means more than an embarrassing misstep for your brand, though. The time you spend on that failing property means time and money lost that could have been directed on better-performing channels.

With that being said, there are going to be times when you simply need to adopt a new tactic in the middle of a well-planned strategy. One caution is that this article assumes you have done some research on your audience and their usage of this new tactic, whatever it may be. Read on for a few ways to make this easier with a greater chance of success.

Four tips to start experimenting

Pick a short term or finite campaign to start
A great way to experiment with a new strategy or tactic is to test it on a campaign or event that has a finite existence. This might be the promotion of an upcoming seasonal sale, a weeklong event, or anything else that requires upfront promotion, but it doesn't necessarily require a long-term web or social media presence to support it.

This is a great way to test a new strategy or tactic because the unspoken "agreement" you have with your audience is that whatever you're doing to promote this campaign is by its very nature temporary. This way, if the new tactic you are trying out is not wildly successful, then you'll know not to use it for future campaigns. 

Integrate successful tactics for the best of both worlds
Make it easy on yourself. If you have a wildly successful Facebook presence but you choose to incorporate a new tactic into your arsenal, why not leverage a channel that is already working well for you? It's better to work with an engaged audience rather than users you know less about because you will quickly and easily see how an engaged audience responds to new channels. The other benefit is that the new tactic can look great if it works well, but it won't stand out like a sore thumb if it works less than perfect because you can easily direct traffic to the more successful channel -- in this case, your Facebook presence.

Be honest and get feedback
This is a very important one. Be honest about what you're doing with a new marketing tactic and be sure to have your customers' best interests at heart. If you're trying out a new tactic for a specific duration, tell your customers you're excited about the new communication channel you've opened up and that you want their feedback on how helpful it is. If you are planning to use the tactic in the long run, this feedback will be invaluable to incorporate into your larger strategy. This, combined with your measurements of their activity, is the best research you can possibly do.

If you've done your job correctly and figured out a good short-term strategy for the channel, your customers will more than likely love it and you can then work on your long-term plans of incorporating the new successful channel into your larger strategy.

If you're diverting energy from the rest of your strategy, you're doing it wrong
Remember that this is an experiment, not a permanent change to your marketing strategy. If you divert effort or energy from what was planned and what is working, it is not a fair test. That's one reason for the suggestion of making your experiment part of a short-term campaign. Chances are your efforts for something like that are kept separate from your traditional marketing strategy.

Now that you've decided that you're going ahead with the launch of an experiment, there are just a few more things you should keep in mind.

Commit to it

Whatever you do and however you approach your test of a new tactic, make sure that the organization fully commits to it. Just as consumers can separate hyperbole from fact and prefer recommendations from trusted sources as opposed to a company talking itself up, they can also tell when your heart isn't really in it.

Even with a short-term campaign, you still have the ability to put your full set of resources and the strength of your brand behind your efforts. This will go a long way in helping the success of your efforts.

You are being watched

Don't think for a minute that your competitors are not watching what you are doing. This is another reason to be careful about how you frame your experiment. If your campaign is wildly successful, don't be surprised if there is a copycat campaign or tactic launch by one of your competitors. If it's not successful, you might have just helped someone else save time and money.

Short-term measurement is key

Measuring your short-term results is probably obvious, but it's important to stress that your measurement needs to be tailored around seeing activity and results during the short term. Therefore, you need to build in measurements that can be quickly evaluated. Don't pick metrics that will take six to 12 months to fully evaluate if you are using a new tactic for a three month campaign.

In conclusion, while there are many things to keep in mind when launching an experiment like this, make sure to keep your approach agile and get as much customer feedback and data for its duration. Combine this with building in a way to manage expectations both within your organization and within your customer community, and you'll have a great platform with which to take some chances and not compromise your overarching marketing strategy.

Greg Khilstrom is principal, VP of digital strategy, of Carousel30.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Modern social media abstract" image via Shutterstock.

Elizabeth M. Lloyd is Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of 9Global, Inc. (www.9global.com), an international online marketing company focused on lead generation and customer acquisition. Elizabeth´s work on international online marketing...

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