From engagement and interaction to MSN and Google, find out what's on the minds of Brand Summit Attendees in Coconut Point.
Editor's note:iMedia Editor at Large Masha Geller, Search Editor Kevin Ryan and News Editor Roger Park contributed to this piece.
At the iMedia Brand Summit in Florida’s Coconut Point, the buzz is, of course, about interactive marketing. But given that the conference has assembled the brightest minds in the business, the conversations are quite specific. No longer are we talking about clickthroughs, branding vs. direct response or spam. The buzzwords are “interaction,” “engagement,” “multicultural marketing” and “cause-based marketing.”
Engaging the consuming public has been a hot topic in industry discussion for some time, but many marketers feel 2006 will be the year they will begin to really understand their target audiences in a whole new way. It’s been said that last year was the year marketers understood behavioral and contextual marketing, but this year the concepts are reaching another level. The technologies are getting better, the success stories are piling up and behavioral is no longer looked at as something to try. Now it’s something to perfect on an ongoing basis.
MSN’s adCenter, for one, is seen as an exciting, new and innovative way to target audiences with search. The system, launched last year, is hailed as a new way of targeting by reaching out to potential audiences by demographic profiles. MSN has built databases with registration data and combined it with third-party profiling information. An advertiser can segment messaging for specific audiences by keyword grouping. MSN is still working out the bugs, but marketers seem excited about the system’s future.
Beyond targeting is an understanding of consumer interaction with online content and advertising. For most marketers there is a baffling mix of advertising response information (ad serving data) from site-side analytics, email response and customer response information-- a confusing plethora of numbers. Many marketers want this to be the year they begin to sift through that information faster and easier and really engage the consumer.
To most, that means searching for ways to customize interactions for every member of their audience, and ways to use the advantages of online interaction to create personal experiences without sacrificing customer’s privacy.
Multicultural marketing is also hot on the lips of interactive marketers today. Our global economy means that marketers want to reach out to consumers everywhere, but few take the time to go beyond simple language translation. One marketer pointed out that translations alone do no fit the bill. You have to translate content into something that is culturally appropriate as well as linguistically accurate.
And finally, considering the many unfortunate events of the past year that united people and companies in efforts to help others (Hurricane Katrina Relief efforts for one), “Cause-Based marketing has become a hot topic. It’s a “win-win situation for the client and marketer,” said Susan Schroeter, managing director of marketing and corporate partnerships at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “However, it’s not social marketing or corporate philanthropy but it is strategic marketing tactics in a competitive environment.”
Interestingly enough, 86 percent of consumers say they are likely to switch brands associated with a good cause given all things equal-- and 50 percent are willing to pay 5-10 percent more, according a Cone/Roper Report.
Here are some other reasons to get involved with cause-based marketing:
- Strengthens the brand and corporate reputation
- Differentiates a company from its competitors
- Protects from potential company crisis
- Increases customer and employee loyalty Facilitates entrance into new markets
Schroeter’s advice on Cause Marketing: “Keep it simple!”
iMedia Summits are not all business, of course. During the networking breaks, most conversations border on name-dropping, “who’s working where,” and “have you heard?” gossip.
Big topics: Kate Everett Thorp leaving AKQA and Jim Spanfeller taking the reigns at the IAB.
And if conversation falls flat, there default topic seems to be Google, their Wall Street woes and the company’s future. The online senate’s verdict? Google should keep doing what they do best and stay out of traditional media.
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