Online Promotion and Marketing

New and unique ways advertisers are reaching consumers online.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

O Click All Ye Faithful


I think I’ve officially seen it all. “O Click All Ye Faithful”, an article which will appare in the May 8th issue of Business Week describes how the same nun who created the Vatican’s website is now at work on a MySpace for Catholics. The brain behind the operation is Sister Judith, a 57 year old American who was a pioneer along with some web-savvy colleagues when they started work on the Vatican website in 1995. Since then, she has greatly expanded the site, including images of art from the Vatican Museums, a powerful search engine, and videos of restoration projects. Her MySpace idea is a forum for Catholics to interact, share news about themselves, she also hopes to have e-learning programs along with special areas set aside for families, young people and parishes. Other faiths have created similar websites, such as J-Date, a dating site for Jewish singles, but this will be the most comprehensive online religious site of it’s kind. One of the goals is to bring more traffic to the Vatican website, because although it receives 1 million unique hits per day, this number is down from when Pope John Paul II first died.

I’m impressed with the Catholic Church for taking such an innovative and proactive approach for not only connecting its current members online but also recruiting more members. Public opinion usually views the Church as very old-fashioned and conservative and the launch of such a website will bring immeasurable amounts of publicity and interest, not only in the site and the faith. I think this is an appropriate closing for my semester’s work of finding unique and innovative ways to market online. If the Catholic Church has even found a way to market itself online in such a unique and interactive way, I can only imagine the possibilities that the future of online marketing hold for us.

The picture of Pope Benedict XVI can be found at http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm
The MySpace logo can be found at: http://www.myspace.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Video Games...not just for kids.

This week I found an article on CNNMoney.com entitled, Video Games Aren’t Child’s Play for Big Media, written
April 25, 2006 by Paul R. La Monica. The article discussed the recent acquisition of online gaming company XFire by Viacom, which is only the latest in a series ofacquisitions and investments in the online gaming industry made by large media firms. These firms are attempting to acquire new customers and it is important for them to get into this market because more and more people are turning to the Internet as an alternative form of entertainment.

Online games are even more important than traditional video games for advertisers because research has shown that mobile games have a split in popularity between men and women, as opposed to the male dominance in traditional video games. Also important to note is that the core gaming crowd is in the 18 – 34 age range, which is the most attractive for advertisers to target.

I think that these acquisitions are great news not only for mobile and online gaming but also for the large media firms. The new acquisitions are sure to mesh well with their other youth oriented businesses and will provide the companies with greater bran recognition and a larger customer base to draw from. In addition, as Dan Ahrens, manager of the Gaming and Casino fund, said, "Gaming revenue should continue to grow at a faster rate than the overall market so I'd expect more consolidation online." This is a great opportunity for firms to take advantage of. There are numerous ways that the firms can use these new outlets to find fresh and dynamic ways to market themselves and I agree with the author that more acquisitions are inevitable.


The XFire image can be found at: http://www.teamplayfirst.com/faq/?id=xfire
The Viacom logo can be found at: http://ftp.tcp.com/pub/melissa/images/sabrina/series/closing/

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rise of the Lowly Search Ad

Last week’s post centered around how smaller companies could use search engine marketing to gain exposure in their local markets. This week, I found an article in Business Week, “Rise of the Lowly Search Ad” by Jon Fine which describes how large companies are using search ads to their advantage. An example given in the article is Coca-Cola purchasing popular search terms such as Oscar and placing their ad on the side of those search results. This is extremely creative, and almost obvious. It is a way to access a huge amount of consumers and since you only have to purchase search terms for a short period of time, you can change terms with the public’s ever-changing interests.

While I found the article interesting, I have to disagree with Fine when he describes search ads as ranked “slightly below ‘classified ad’ and slightly above ‘poorly Xeroxed Herbalife flyer stapled to a telephone pole.’” Search engine ads are not only a useful tool for consumers, but they are also an easy and successful way for advertisers to reach their target market. Properly used search engine ads have the ability to give consumers information as well as provide exposure for advertisers. They are also cost effective for advertisers, as explained in last week’s post. As the world of online marketing continues to permeate the market I think we will see companies big and small continue to come up with innovative ways to reach consumers, including using search ads.

The Coca-Cola image can be found at: http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/images/splash.gif
The Oscar Image can be found at: http://www.driko.org/smallpics/oscar.gif

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Local Search Engine Marketing


Over the past few months, I have been doing work as an intern, attempting to sell advertising space in a local entertainment magazine to small local businesses. So, I have seen first hand how difficult it is for these businesses, many of whom have one or two locations in a specific area, to dedicate precious money to an advertising budget. They want to make sure that the money they are spending is going to reap significant financial rewards. They want to know that their ads are reaching their local target market and they are getting a good bang for their buck. The article “Search that Works” by Ron Miller discusses how Yahoo and Google are finding ways to appeal to small businesses and how to make them more effective advertisers online.

It essentially does not make any sense for a small restaurant based in a small town in Oregon to pay to be at the top of the search when I search Google for restaurants from Newark, DE. These unnecessary clicks would cost the restaurant money which they would not recoup because I do not have the occasion to dine out in Oregon. Google Local and Yahoo Local make it more cost effective for local businesses to advertise online. Local business owners are becoming increasingly aware that their customers are turning to the Internet instead of the yellow pages when it comes to their research in doing business, it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s readily accessible. Now, companies can make sure that when the customers in their market search, they come up first.

The process works by first choosing a target area where you want to be searchable and then purchasing key words. Key words are priced according to popularity, so for example, real estate is extremely expensive, but the more localized and specific you go, the less expensive the key words are and the more useful they are to local firms anyway. The highest bidder on each key word goes to the top of the page, but even if you are not the highest bidder, you’re likely to be on the first page just due to the fact that there is not that much local competition to begin with. After that, you can monitor the effectiveness yourself, or you can hire a web monitoring company to take over the process for you. This way you can see which key words are working, which are not and which ones you need to add to your repertoire.

I think this is a fantastic and cost effective way for small businesses to get into the online market. They will gain credibility from their current customers as well as a wave of new customers who will be able to discover them.


The top image can be found at: eldoren.com
The Google Local image can be found at: google.com
The Yahoo Local image can be found at: yahoo.com

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself

The article “YouTube Way Beyond Home Videos,” by Heather Green, to appear April 10 in the Information Technology section of Business Week discusses a the growing popularity of the YouTube site and whether or not it has the opportunity to become the next NBC or Napster. YouTube was started with the same idea that Napster was. Friends Chad Hurley and Steve Chen wanted to share video clips with each other and their other friends and needed an easier way to do so than email or posting them online in a traditional format. So these friends developed and launched YouTube which is basically the most intense and far reaching form of public access television you could imagine. They have made it easy for anyone to post anything they want on the web in a matter of minutes. Upon further investigation of the YouTube site you find anything from short clips of concerts, or clips that seem like they could have been on America’s Funniest Home Videos. YouTube allows users to express themselves and to share what interests them with the rest of the world.

The legal and ethical issues come into play when users begin posting copyrighted clips without permission such as television shows or music videos. Hurley and Chen do not filter out the copyrighted works but they will remove them when asked. This is reminiscent of Napster and where the Internet laws and jurisdiction come into play when monitoring peer to peer sharing.

Instead of cracking down on YouTube and the peer to peer sharing, I think that companies should use this site as a unique marketing tool. They could partner with YouTube to place ads on the website or even place their own clips on the site of new shows or music videos they want the public to become aware of and excited about. At the end of the clip could be a commercial or just some information where they can find out more about the show or artist. The technology of YouTube right now isn’t at the place where people will replace watching entire episodes of a TV show, it would take too long to load and the quality would never be as good as it is on TV. I don’t think companies really need to worry about YouTube stealing market share or revenue froj them, but I do think they should take advantage of the people they could reach with YouTube, especially as it grows in pop

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Do you give good Google?


I chose an article this week, based not on how companies are marketing themselves on the Internet, but rather how individuals are doing so, and the importance of making sure your online presence is desirable. This has become a very heated debate at the University of Delaware this week because of the recent revelation in our newspaper that an administrator was keeping a facebook.com profile and posing as a student to check up on students at the university. It brings to light a very heated issue, also discussed in the article You Are What You Post found on Business Week Online, to be published in Business Week the week of March 27, 2006. Individuals have to be aware that there are two of them, the real life version of you that you present to the world every day in class, in your interviews and then there is the online version of you, growing larger and more difficult to control. Employers are reading blogs, myspace.com profiles and facebook.com profiles as a way to not only weed out potential employees but also to keep tabs on current employees.
A quote from the article is “Do you give good Google?” As search engines become more and more pervasive, it is becoming increasingly important to make sure you market yourself online as you would offline. To be extremely careful in what you put in online profiles or what you post in blogs or even comments to other blogs, you need to make sure you would want your mother, your professors and your future employers to read. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that what you post on the Internet is there forever, this includes any digital photographs you might post online as well. To make sure you’re not at risk, it’s a good idea to Google yourself so you can see what others might see if they looked you up. Of course, Google is not the only means of searching on the Internet, so it’s really just a good idea to be conservative with what you post. You wouldn’t want to be at risk of not getting a job or even being fired from a job because of a blog posting

The Google logo can be found at http://www.google.com
The MySpace logo can be found at http://www.myspace.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New User-Data Tool Lets Media Firms Plan Quickly

This March 14, 2006 Wall Street Journal article, by Sarah McBride discusses the recent introduction by the Los Angeles based technology and market research company Big Champagne LLC of a new measurement tool called BCDash. This tool will allow companies to quickly track how people legally and illegally use their products online. It will include information from AOL Music, Yahoo and Apple's I-tunes. This information is currently available, but not in an easy to access comprehensive format that BCDash will provide.

This tool will come with a fee starting at thousands of dollars per month, but for large companies especially movie studios and record labels, the information it will provide will prove invaluable. This tool will allow them to keep their finger on the pulse of their industry, and never again will they have the excuse that they were unaware or acted to late on the most cutting edge marketing techniques. More and more, traditional companies are beginning to make acquisitions with websites and online companies because the need to find out what consumers are doing online and how they use online content is becoming increasingly important. BCDash will provide companies with indicators such as when a movie or song is being downloaded legally or pirated illegally and in what parts of the country and to what types of audiences so they can act accordingly. The tool provides companies with analysis and forecasting models of these factors so much of the marketing research work will be done for them. BCDash will allow them to spend fewer marketing dollars but to spend them more effectively.

In my opinion, BCDash will also benefit consumers because for instance, if a song is being downloaded frequently in one area of the country, a record label will be aware of this and the artist will be able to add more tour dates to this area. I don’t think that this tool, at least from the perspective article is particularly invasive or encroaches on any consumer rights. It will make companies more aware of piracy and illegal downloading, but at this point consumers should already know the dangers of this illegal activity and be pursuing them at their own risk. However, whether or not any prosecution can come from this online monitoring is definitely something to be considered.