When mixing cocktails for a social event, you want to prepare something perfect so that your guests have a good time and come back for more. Similarly, when you create rich media campaigns this year, you’ll need all the right ingredients and tools to get the most out of the marketing and please your audience.
Here’s a guide to creating and serving the perfect rich media cocktail. The first three steps describe the preparation, the next three cover the execution and then there are two crucial follow-up steps.
1) Find out what your guests want to drink. Define your target market. This is back to basics for any marketing, and it’s at least as important for rich media. This affects both where you’ll reach the audience and what type of rich media you’ll serve, whether it’s a fast-paced game-within-an-ad on an entertainment site for younger users or an interactive version of a familiar TV commercial for an older audience on a finance site.
2) Have the cocktail recipe ready. Develop a comprehensive media plan to reach that target audience head on. Also be clear about the goals for the campaign, such as whether the focus is largely branding or direct response, or a healthy mix of both-- as the web tends to blur the line between branding and direct response. Additionally, you need to assess whether you are best served working with individual publishers, with a network that reaches a wide audience or a mix of the two models. A hybrid premium publisher and network model can ensure you’re visible on the A-list brand name sites while also expanding the campaign to get the largest reach at the best value.
3) Prepare the right glasses. You wouldn’t serve a martini in a highball glass; the format can have a profound effect on how the drink is received. Align the creative formats with the media plan and campaign goals. Does the campaign call for animated rich media or video? Should you use transitional ads or expandable units? Multiple formats may be in order to best execute the plan. Additionally, find out if your rich media provider offers any new custom formats with certain publishers to enable your brand to stand out even more.
4) Mix the drink. Add a few shakes and splashes to catch the eye. The pivotal moment comes in putting the drink together, making sure it’s not too weak or too strong. You have the power here to create something that will leave the target audience craving more, so spend whatever time and resources you have on this step. Make the most of the glasses you set out. If it’s an expandable ad, make sure there’s an incentive to see more and a big payoff after the click or roll-over. If it’s video, add interactive elements within and alongside it to fully engage the consumer.
5) Prepare the drinks how the audience wants them. Do they want a twist of lime or a splash of cranberry juice? Consumer control is key. Yes, many consumers will close an ad, but others will press rewind and spend extra time with it. The options differ with the ad format, but challenge your rich media provider to ensure you’re adhering to best practices. This year, your focus should be on giving consumers even more control.
6) Keep a healthy buzz going, but don’t give your guests a hangover. Frequency caps apply equally well to cocktails and rich media advertising. With the former, you run the risk of killing your guests; with the latter, you run the risk of killing your brand. Most publishers already provide high standards to prevent overexposure, but work with your media management and rich media teams to deliver the optimal reach and frequency. Additionally, if you’re running ads across a network, find out if there are frequency caps spanning that network or if those are done on a site-by-site basis.
7) How did the drink go over? Could it have used an extra twist or a little less soda? With rich media, you don’t even have to ask your audience. Delve into the reports and business intelligence, which should be available to you in real-time or close to it, and analyze what worked best. With online advertising continuing to claim an even greater share of total media spending in 2006, business intelligence will be more critical than others. Make sure your rich media provider can give you the detailed metrics and reporting you need to make informed marketing decisions.
8) Make the next drink even better. Take the lessons learned from the previous step to improve the campaign at hand and make the next one even better. There are three major areas to optimize: the rich media formats, the media planning and the creative. What’s exciting is that no matter how successful the campaign is, the next can be even better.
David Berkowitz is director of marketing for Viewpoint Corporation, having joined the company to focus on marketing its rich media advertising group, Unicast. He previously hails from iCrossing, where he directed marketing and media relations for the largest independent search engine marketing company. Previously, with research firm eMarketer, he interviewed 175 executives, authors and analysts on the cutting edge of technology and business. You can contact him via his blog at MarketersStudio.com.