Sunday, November 30, 2008

Video vs. Written Word

With the rapid evolution of electronic media being used in marketing, it has me wondering if the use of written words will decrease for marketers. My thinking is that we are living in a video world and it is becoming easier for marketers to deliver spoken messages rather than just written messages. With the use of Vlogs, podcasts and streaming media, the possibilities are endless for marketers, even those for small companies. This evolution of marketing also has some implications for marketers in terms of the types of skills that they will need.

A vlog is basically a video blog and as Lessson 6 in my class states “Vlogs can either be used as a small part of an existing Web campaign, or as the main feature. The number one reason to vlog? Publicity. Many video clips get press attention. Further, video clips often get linked to by bloggers – another great way to generate traffic at no cost” (Lesson 6).

The use of a vlog allows people to give their thoughts in spoken word where they can use emotion more than they can with a traditional blog. This form of media is great for public speakers and probably not so good for pure writers. It takes a different type of skill to produce an effective vlog vs. blog. It’s similar to the difference between a great public speaker and a great writer, some people can do one or the other very well but few people are good at speaking and writing. It’s a different mind set and skill set for both forms of communication. The best marketers will be able to utilize both

Video is becoming a must for businesses as Holloway states in the December 2008 issue of Entrepreneur magazine “Folks, it’s not just about You Tube anymore: Growing businesses must use video. Business websites with video directly translate to increased traffic, says Benjamin Wayne, founder and CEO of Fliqz, a provider of plug-and-play video solutions. “You unlock markets you never had access to.” (Holloway). The use of online video open many doors for small businesses who typically never had enough money to heavily advertise through traditional forms of media (TV, billboards, etc.). This helps level set the playing field somewhat.

Furthermore, the use of video marketing opens up opportunities for marketing agencies and on demand presentation software/services such as Brainshark ( which allows marketers to produce online presentations from their desktop while using their own voice. The days of the traditional media buy are probably coming to an end, and the use of written word will probably always be around but the times are changing and online video is driving the change. For marketers this means stay ahead of a curve that is curving very fast. The standards in video marketing aren’t quite known yet, but rather are being developed right now which makes it very exciting to be in marketing right now.

- Patrick

Lesson 6. IMC 619. West Virginia University.

Holloway, Lindsay. (2008, December). Trend: web. Entrepreneur. p. 68.

The Role of the Short Film in Marketing

This week in class we discussed the use of short films as part of emerging media. At first I thought not many companies utilized this form of branded media entertainment however after seeing all the examples that my classmates came up with, it has me realizing that short films are being used much more than I realized.

Based on our Lesson 6 in class, a short film is characterized as follows:
- Less than forty-five minutes in length.
- Contains elements of a hero who wants something, and takes action, but meets conflict, which leads to a climax and finally, a resolution.
- The characteristics of a good short film are focus, freshness, simplicity, conflict and it must appear to be a film rather than an advertisement.

Myself and each of my classmates had to find and review a short film used for marketing purposes this week. I noticed that the difference between the really intriguing short films and those that were just ok was that the good ones encompassed all of the characteristics mentioned above. Even when some of the films did a good job on the majority of the characteristics but were weak on one (particularly freshness), it significantly reduced the effectiveness of the short film.

So where does this position short films in the marketing mix?

• First of all, they are probably limited for use by very large companies with large budgets. The use of a short film by a small business is probably not realistic.

• The challenge for branded short films is how to measure the results. As an article in the New York Times by Nat Ives states “One big unanswered question is how much marketing money could eventually be diverted from traditional campaigns into branded films. While measuring the return on traditional advertising expenditures is difficult, gauging the impact of branded entertainment is even harder, marketers said. ''The measure becomes the buzz,'' said Anjali Lewis, vice president for marketing at DKNY, which is owned by LVMH Mo√ęt Hennessy Louis Vuitton. ''Return on investment in terms of how much clothing we sell is going to be hard to measure,'' she added. ''It's really going to be about how many people are talking about DKNY.'' (Ives).

• I think short films are better for promoting products that have an emotional appeal to them. Products such as automobiles and clothing are good products for short films because they have an emotional component to them that can be tied in well with a short film.

•Another challenge of the short film is that it has to balance entertainment with selling power. As Ives points out “The motivation to entertain consumers, rather than persuade them through traditional advertising, stems from a changing media landscape in which consumers increasingly avoid, tune out or fast-forward through marketing messages. For my marketing purposes the short film is a hybrid advertisement, infomercial, movie and web site (if published online). It has to take the best of all of these types of media and roll them into one cohesive program that first and foremost entertains and then influences the customer through some benefit for the brand.

I think the short film is a good tool for the right company and the right product if produced correctly, however I think there is a lot of room for error with a short film and if you don’t know what you’re doing you might want to stay away from it in your marketing plan.

If you want to see a really good short film check out the link below, which is a short film from Mercedes-Benz that was brought to my attention by a classmate (Stephanie). It was the best one I saw from those that my classmates provided this week. It has a great blend of entertainment and advertising value.

- Patrick


Lesson 6. IMC 619. West Virginia University.

Ives, Nat. Retrieved on November 24, 2008 from

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is Mobile Marketing Becoming Primary Marketing?

Mobile marketing is still considered an emerging form of marketing however it is growing in popularity at a staggering rate. As Lesson 5 in our course states “In fact, according to research firm Informa, worldwide cell phone subscriptions recently reached 3.3 billion, which is just about HALF the world’s population! As such, cell phones have become a primary means of communication, not only for voice calls but also for digital services, email and digital photos. Published reports state that more than half of worldwide subscribers are active users of text messages (also known as SMS messages) and according to the Yankee Group, over 15% of these messages can be categorized as commercial (i.e., marketing)” (Lesson 5, IMC 619).

Still not convinced that mobile advertising is here to stay…..check out these numbers from the Mobile Marketing Association “Research from the Nielsen Company shows a steady rise in mobile Internet usage, with more than 100 million unique mobile subscribers and $1.8 billion in revenues for the second quarter of 2008. The 102 million mobile Internet subscribers represent 39% of all wireless subscriptions, and a 32% increase in year over year growth since Q2 2007” (Mobile Marketing Association web site).

With these statistics in mind, it makes me wonder if mobile marketing will become the primary form of advertising eventually. I can’t say for sure that it will, but here are some reasons as to why it has a chance to become the premier form of marketing:

1. Direct, Targeted & Measurable – It’s every marketers dream to send direct messages to the right audience and be able to measure it. Mobile marketing allows for this.

2. Cost – Mobile marketing is less expensive than traditional forms of advertising and with the way the economy is going (or not going) right now, marketers will inevitably have to look at smarter and more cost efficient means to get their message out in the public. Mobile marketing provides a good alternative to traditional forms of advertising. This is particularly advantageous for small businesses that may not need the reach of traditional advertising and also may not have the budget to support it.

3. Actionable – Mobile marketing allows customers to interact with a brand immediately when they receive a message. This is important because it allows customer to react on the spot rather than hoping the customer will remember to do something later on. Customers are getting bombarded by marketing messages more now than ever, therefore it is important to get the customer to act as soon as possible otherwise a marketer may lose the customer’s attention to another message within seconds. Mobile marketing minimizes the effort it takes for a customer to interact with the brand.

Time will tell if mobile marketing becomes king of advertising but from what I can see; it’s on the right track.

- Patrick


Retrieved on November 24, 2008 from

IMC 619 Week 3 Lesson. 2008 West Virginia University.

Mobile Marketing - Sports & Pizza

The focus of week 5 in class was mobile marketing and the latest trends. I can’t say I’ve ever opted-in to any mobile marketing campaign, then again I use my cell phone probably far less than the average person. Some people talk on a cell phone like they’re addicted to it – not me. But the truth of the matter is that in today’s society a cell phone is basically like a little buddy that people can’t live without therefore it’s a great way to deliver messages directly to customers.

Here are some areas in which I think mobile marketing will continue to grow:

Sports Marketing – Sports fans are very passionate and can’t get enough information about their favorite teams. Receiving information about their teams on their cell phone is an instant winner. As Cuneo states “Then one Sunday in October 2007, and ESPN has what may be seen as a watershed moment in mobile history: For the first time, it had more visits to the NFL content on its mobile phone site than it did to the same area on its PC website” (Cuneo).

Furthermore, athletic arenas are great places to to promote mobile media campaigns. Think about, what else do you have to do during a timeout but watch the Jumbotron?. The Jumbotron is a perfect outlet to promote mobile campaigns because it allows people to focus on the message without being able to change the channel. Companies can easily reach tens of thousands of people at one time and get them to opt-in on the spot.

Pizza – Yes, pizza. Ordering pizza seems simple enough but think about what a hassle it can sometimes be. First of all you have to remember the phone number. Then you need to find the menu. Then you get put on hold for a few minutes until they take your order. Then you have to repeat yourself a few times because the pizza place is so loud that the person taking your order can’t hear what you’re saying. Then you have to call back because you forgot to ask how long it will take to deliver or for you to pick it up. Now think about how much easier it would be if you could just order directly from your cell phone. I know some pizza chains allow customers to order online which is good, however who wants to get up from the couch during a big game to go log onto the computer? It would be so much easier to just reach for your cell phone and order it without any movement from the couch. Any true sports fan can relate to this.

The pizza industry can use mobile marketing to promote special offers and even craft the messages to indicate what big game is on TV and what a great complement pizza would be to the viewing experience. This shows that although mobile marketing is high tech it can be utilized in some low tech industries.

- Patrick

Cuneo, A. (2008, March 17). ESPN. (cover story). Advertising Age, 79(11), 58-58. Retrieved November 23, 2008, from Business Source Premier database

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Electronic, Everything & Ethics

Our assignment this week in class was to analyze and critique an article regarding ethics, data mining and direct marketing. Through this article and the class in general, I’ve learned a lot more about cookies and what they can store. If you think I’m referring to cookies that you can eat then click the following link to find out what I’m really talking about and then come back to read my blog.

In a way cookies on a computer are good because it helps the sites you visit deliver customized information. As Morse and Morse state “In summary, the first benefit of data mining and direct marketing is, ideally, that the relevant data allow marketers to better understand the interests and purchasing behavior of internet users” (Morse & Morse, p. 79). What I didn’t know is that companies can share the cookie information they collect with other companies. Similar to magazines who may sell their subscriber lists, cookie information is probably even more beneficial because it tracks more types of activity than a magazine subscription list can.

So this has made me start wondering if my personal information and privacy is basically gone in the age of e-this and e-that. Given this info, let’s take a look at the “E”s I mentioned in the title of this post.

Electronic & Everything
I do my banking online, I go to grad school online, I communicate with people online, I make purchases online, I check my 401k balance online, I book vacations online. I would probably even eat online if I could….maybe. The point is that with so many more transactions going to an online format, the days of personal information are becoming obsolete if they already aren’t gone by now. The social security number used to be a cherished piece of information that no one should know however the internet has probably destroyed that concept.

So what do businesses do in an age in which their competitors are using every piece of information they can in order to get an advantage? As far as I’m concerned a business can use any information I give them to try to sell me any of their products. I just don’t think they should give my information to anyone else. I think this is an angle that many companies can use to their advantage as a differentiator. I want to see an ad campaign that focuses on the position that “give us your info, give us your business, we’ll give you some privacy – period.” How refreshing would that be?

The chances of this happening are fairly low so I guess my only other recommendation would be – buy identity theft insurance, you’ll probably need it someday.

- Patrick
Morse, J., & Morse, S. (2002). Teaching temperance to the 'cookie monster': Ethical challenges to data mining and direct marketing. Business & Society Review, 107, 76-97.

Email Mania

This week in class, our readings focused on email marketing and permission based marketing. It was noted in our lesson that email is a heavily used marketing tool because of four reasons – cost, customization, response and control. The same reasons that make email great to use are the same reasons why so many people (including myself) are inundated with it, particularly at work.

I estimate that I receive approximately 50 – 75 emails a day at my job. Not all of these emails are sent directly to just me, many of them are part of mass distribution lists in which I’m one of many other people copied on the email. I also receive quite a few direct marketing emails from other organizations, some of which I gave permission for, many others in which I did not. It has gotten to the point that although I work in marketing and am a fan of using email marketing, I myself will rarely respond to a direct email offer. As our Lesson 4 states, “Like most other advertising and marketing techniques, the more organizations that participate, the less effective a method becomes. It’s a safe bet, however, that newer and smarter forms of online marketing will be arriving in your mailbox soon” (Lesson 4, IMC 619). So is email becoming as annoying as telemarketing??? I would say not quite, but it’s not too far away in my opinion.

Here are four of my own tips for creating an email campaign that has a good chance of getting the attention of the prospect. I give this advice from the customer’s point of view in that this is what usually perks my interest the most from an email.

1. Keep it short – There is nothing worse than reading an email that is written like a traditional direct mail cover letter. Keep the email short and to the point. Get to the offer as soon as possible.

2. Combine email and voicemail – Although no one really likes getting voicemails from sales people, voice mail does allow a salesperson to set the stage for the email. The voicemail can give the background information that is too lengthy for the email.

3. Personalize It – If you put my name into an email, you’ve already separated yourself from many others. Otherwise the email comes off as “Hey you”.

4. Links – Not Attachments – Many people are leery of attachments however links can be accessed easier and usually are perceived as lower risk. Links to a web site also can provide more dynamic content than a MS Word or PDF file typically can.

Here are some other sources which we read in class this week that give valuable advice on email marketing.

• Yesmail. (2004). Effective email marketing 2004: Ten things to think about this year. Retrieved November 9, 2004, from:
• McCloskey, B. (2004). Email worst practices: A must-read primer on bad email practices. email Insider. Retrieved November 9, 2004, from:
- Patrick


Lesson 4. IMC 619. (2008). West Virginia University.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Crowdsourcing & Health Insurance??

In week 3 of our class we studied the concept of crowdsourcing which is defined by Jeff Howe as “represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call” (IMC 619 Lesson 3). Most of the information I have read about crowdsourcing applies to companies that produce tangible products. Crowdsourcing is particularly useful for gathering new design concepts for a particular product.

I work in the health insurance industry and although we say we market products we actually market a service. We sell the invisible. What we provide in the form of reimbursement is basically invisible. No one receives a box of insurance. We provide the security and peace of mind knowing that the costs of the medical services you receive will be covered by your health plan.

The health plan is the product (but really a service). Most health insurance companies conduct traditional research through both quantitative and qualitative methods (focus groups, online surveys, etc.). Alsever describes additional benefits of crowdsourcing including research as “Crowdsourcing can improve productivity and creativity while minimizing labor and research expenses. Using the Internet to solicit feedback from an active and passionate community of customers can reduce the amount of time spent collecting data through formal focus groups or trend research, while also seeding enthusiasm for upcoming products. By involving a cadre of customers in key marketing, branding, and product-development processes, managers can reduce both staffing costs and the risks associated with uncertain marketplace demand” (Allsever).

It has me wondering could crowdsourcing be used to create a health plan and if so how would it work? Here are a few of my initial ideas:

- First of all, don’t ask people to create a whole health plan because there are just too many benefits for people to try to figure out. Instead focus on the most popular benefits such as office visits, hospitalization, prescription drug coverage and preventive care.
- Health insurance in most states is very heavily regulated, so give the crowd some parameters to follow so they don’t submit ideas that won’t comply with regulatory guidelines. If a particular state has a minimum/maximum amount of visits limits or copay amount limits, let the crowd know in advance so they are not wasting their time with ideas that simply won’t pass regulatory approval.
- Ask the crowd to focus on what the level of coverage should be, the access to care (in terms of physician/hospital network size) and what value added benefits would they want (gym memberships, yoga classes, massage services etc.).
- Give the crowd some examples to work off such as you break your leg and need to go to the emergency room –explain the ideal scenario of what happens. Or you find out you need to have a tumor removed how does your health insurance come into play for this situation.

I’m not sure if what I outlined above would work with crowdsourcing however with health care being such a hot topic these days I think anything is worth a shot to improve what is such an important product (or service depending on which you look at it).

- Patrick


Alsever, Jennifer. What is crowdsourcing? Retrieved November 8, 2008 from

IMC 619 Week 3 Lesson. 2008 West Virginia University.

Blogging about layoffs

This week in class we had to find an unofficial blog to comment on. I chose the unofficial Crocs blog ( For the most part this blog was positive however there are also other unofficial blogs about Crocs which aren’t so positive such as I checked out the official Crocs site ( and there is no corporate blog on the site. Blogging is an issue which many corporations are trying to figure out if they should or should not have blogs on their corporate site which are open to customers to say whatever they want. After doing some research, I also realized that the employees themselves could post comments on their own employer’s site which can be equally dangerous to a company from PR perspective.

One of the hot issues that come up on a corporate blog site is the issue of layoffs and how to control the rumors about layoffs in the world of blogging. As Miller states, “Blogging about staff cuts is particularly prevalent in Silicon Valley, where tech gossip sites pounce on every rumor and Web-savvy employees broadcast their every thought on personal blogs and Twitter feeds. Companies feel pressure to break bad news on their own blogs so that they can better control the message” (Miller). I had never really thought about the potential for this in terms of the impact on the brand, on employee morale and with investors. This is an area in which public relations, human resources and executive management must truly all be on the same page.

When layoffs happen at large companies, there is usually some type of internal communication via email or on an intranet. Now with the internet that information is a mouse click away from being distributed to the rest of the world. Companies need to get ahead of the curve by being proactive, as is pointed out in Miller’s article “Today, whatever you say inside of a company will end up on a blog,” said Rusty Rueff, a former human resources executive at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo. “So you have a choice as a company — you can either be proactive and take the offensive and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on,’ or you can let someone else write the story for you.” (Miller).

Blogging is bringing a new dimension to public relations and the skills needed by a PR person. The days of just issuing press releases and developing key messages are coming to an end as Miller states “Unlike more traditional firms, many of today’s Web companies were built on the mission of creating transparency for users. Executives have lived that mission, blogging about company successes. Now that bad times are coming, some of them feel the need to make that public, too. A blog post also comes across as more heartfelt than a press release with canned quotations” (Miller).

Corporations are still trying to get their arms around the correct strategy for a blog as our week 3 lesson points out “While establishing a blog might seem like a no-brainer for most companies, there are many important questions that come with the territory. How do you keep an official company blog on-message while giving it a real and honest voice? Who should manage the blog? Is a corporate blogging policy necessary? And should a company encourage or stifle employees who spend time blogging? The answers to these questions are still being hammered out because the blogs of today represent new ground for marketers -- just as Web sites and e-newsletters did a few years ago” (IMC 619 week 3). The blog is definitely a tool that companies need to begin to master from many different angles. More than a traditional web site, a blog give companies the ability to let the public know what is really going on with the company. For a public relations professional this can be good or bad depending on what company you work for.

- Patrick


IMC 619 Week 3 Lesson. 2008 West Virginia University.

Miller, Claire. (2008, Nov. 5). In Era of Blog Sniping Companies Shoot First. New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2008 from

Blogs of Classmates

I have listed below the blog sites of my other classmates in class. I’ll be following a few of these sites throughout the remainder of the class.

- Patrick

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Media, Direct Mail & Senior Citizens

Our discussion question in class this week asked us to give our views on what type of traditional media would decline or be eliminated in the next 50 years. Some of my classmates mentioned direct mail which I disagree with. I think direct mail will reposition itself in the future but not disappear. If anything, I think direct mail will benefit from the evolution of new media because even online media vehicles can benefit from having offline promotion. Many people think direct mail is declining and not effective at targeting the younger generation but Tom Duncan makes me think otherwise when he makes the following points:

• “Young adults 18 -21 are more likely than any other demographic group to respond to a direct mail offer.”
• “Mail may not be as sexy as newer media such as the internet, but it is the third largest medium behind TV and newspapers, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all media spending.”
• “The average adult receives 22 pieces of mail per week.” (Duncan, p. 581 582).

I work for an insurance company in which we use direct mail heavily when marketing to Senior Citizens (65+ years old). Although direct mail is our primary marketing vehicle we do have our eye on new media, particularly the web, as well. We know that seniors currently are the lowest utilizers of the web but also the fastest growing. According to “According to recent findings from Nielsen//NetRatings, senior citizens age 65 and older were the fastest growing age group online, surging 25 percent year over year to 9.6 million Web surfers from home and work in October 2003. Additionally, within the senior citizen age group, Nielsen//NetRatings found that the number of female seniors online jumped 30 percent, while male seniors jumped 20 percent” ( This is going to pose an interesting marketing mix for marketers targeting the 65+ generation as the baby boomers who are relatively web savvy become older.

The use of new media with senior citizens will require marketers to explore new advertising methods in order to capture this audience. I believe direct mail will be key in the promotion of driving seniors to the web. Senior citizens will be more willing to use the web however I think they will rely on direct mail to tell them where to go rather than trying to take the time to search for themselves. This is a case where new and traditional media will integrate well together to target an ever changing and growing segment of the population. Online senior citizen marketing could be the next hot segment in marketing communication.

- Patrick

Duncan, Thomas. (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Retrieved on November 2, 2008 from

My favorites – web design & navigation

Our assignment for this week focused on analyzing a web site in terms of navigation and design. Prior to this class, this was something that I really didn’t think much about. I realized that in the past whenever I visited a bad web site I really didn’t think about what was wrong with the site but rather just moved onto another better site. This course is making me realize even more now how important having a web site is to a business but also how important it is to have a well designed site.

The following link is a great article we read this week for class which gives some common sense advice/thoughts on web site design - The author, Jason O’Connor, points out some very common mistakes with web sites that can definitely hurt an online experience.

Our work in class this week got me thinking as to what are some of my favorite web sites and why. I realized that I like most of my favorite web site due to the design and navigation as much as for the content. Here are some of my favorites and the reasoning behind them. – I’m originally from the Albany, NY area so I like to stay in touch with what is going on there. This is the web site for the all-local news station in Albany. The site is very simple and not overloaded with too much content and the advertising is limited to the top and right of the page and not mixed in with everything else. Furthermore, the left and top navigation bars stay consistent from page to page which is important to me. The left bar outlines the various news topics while the top bar shows the various geographic regions – it couldn’t be simpler. – I know many people like this site as well and for good reason. Amazon has mastered the art and science of customization. It knows who I am when I log on from home computer and gives me recommendations based on past purchases. The process of ordering online from Amazon is so easy that I don’t mind paying the shipping charges. The site sells many different kinds of products but the navigation is still easy no matter what I am looking for. From a design perspective it’s not the most exciting looking site but it doesn’t need to be. People are going to Amazon to purchase products not be entertained. They have used their web resources wisely and efficiently in developing this site. – I use this site quite a bit at work since I write a lot of copy as well as for graduate school. It has a dictionary, thesaurus and reference all in one site. It is very simple in the same way that Google is simple but effective. The site doesn’t try to do more than what it is intended for which is a mistake that I think a lot of web site developers make.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for more good (and bad) web sites throughout the course and try to make note of what I like and dislike.

- Patrick