Tocquigny Wins DMA International Echo Award09.09.2013
Tocquigny has won a DMA International ECHO™Award in the Education category for its 2012-2013 work on the Regent University campaign. The DMA International ECHO Awards recognize the world’s best direct and interactive marketing campaigns that have “raised the bar in terms of strategy, creativity and results.”
After five years of successful partnership to grow Regent’s undergraduate College of Arts & Sciences, now ranked as a Top 10 Online University by U.S. News & World Report, 2013, Tocquigny expanded the focus of Regent’s campaigns. The team began recruitment across the entire online student population, including graduate students.
Tocquigny conducted research to determine graduate students’ unique priorities, which were then incorporated into new, targeted marketing strategies. The campaign was also optimized to recruit undergraduate and graduate applicants (those who fill out an application) rather than just recruits (those seeking more information about the university). The campaign leveraged display media, paid search, student and faculty blogs, and lead generation networks, while employing highly specific testing every step of the way. Tocquigny ultimately surpassed the campaign goal of new online students by over 50 percent.
“Our work with Regent is a testament to the power of long-term partnership and planning,” said Sr. Director of Media and Planning Colin Gilligan. “Pair that with the Tocquigny team’s passion for results and constant desire to improve the work, and you’ve got a recipe for success. We are pleased and proud to be ECHO award winners this year.”
About the DMA International Echo Awards
Established in 1929 as the “Best in Direct Mail” contest, the ECHO Awards Competition is the longest established international award that honors excellence in direct marketing, with over 1,000 marketers and agencies entering each year. Entries are evaluated on creativity, marketing strategy and response results. Judges pick winners based on overall creative concept, which includes copy, graphics and production quality, marketing strategy and response results. To learn more about the DMA International ECHO awards, visit dma-echo.org/welcome.jsp.
Tocquigny Expands With New Executive Creative Director and Other Hires09.09.2013
Growing digital marketing agency Tocquigny has hired several new team members, including Executive Creative Director Prentice Howe. The agency also brought on board Matt Kemp as account coordinator and Matthew Godfrey as junior art director.
As executive creative director, Howe will champion a culture of fresh ideas and oversee creative development of integrated campaigns across Tocquigny’s diverse client portfolio. He brings to the agency 16 years of experience as a writer and creative director on some of America’s most iconic brands, such as Minute Maid, The UPS Store, Activision, Serta, Texas Rangers Baseball, The Alamo and Anheuser-Busch. His campaigns have been recognized by Cannes Lions, London International Advertising Awards, the Webby Awards, Communication Arts, Creativity and The New York Times. He holds a degree in advertising from Southern Methodist University.
Kemp comes to Tocquigny with four years of marketing experience and a full spectrum of leadership experience, including leading soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has provided quality brand management for a wide range of clients such as Whataburger, R.J. Reynolds and Camp Bluebonnet.
A recent graduate of the distinguished Texas Creative program at the University of Texas at Austin, Godfrey has previously contributed to campaigns for clients including the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Texas at Austin, Noodles & Company and ESPN’s Longhorn Network.
“We are so fortunate that Prentice, Matthew and Matt have joined the agency,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “We constantly strive to improve upon our past work, and Prentice’s unique perspective and extensive experience will propel our creative to the next level. Matthew and Matt will be integral to helping us exceed all of our clients’ expectations.”
Yvonne Tocquigny to Serve on Madison&Main Panel09.09.2013
Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO of the award-winning digital marketing agency Tocquigny, will be a featured panelist at the Madison&Main panel on social media marketing at Austin’s Capital Factory on September 10, 2013. Along with fellow panelists Victor Wong of PaperG and Andrew Allison of Main Street Hub, Tocquigny will speak about mastering the art of social media and overcoming the challenges of scaling it to different sized organizations.
The Madison&Main Panel Series is a multi-part and multi-city panel event hosted by PaperG that explores the intersection of Madison Avenue and Main Street and how ad technology is changing local advertising. The Austin event is free for social marketers, advertising and media professionals, and students. Attendees can register on the panel’s Eventbrite page.
PaperG is a leader in local display advertising that strives to make online advertising effective at the local level. Through PaperG’s technology, local advertisers find that online display advertising can be an extremely effective way of promoting their businesses. For more information, visit http://www.paperg.com.
Tocquigny Hires New Senior Copywriter07.16.2013
The award-winning digital marketing agency Tocquigny is pleased to announce its hire of Christi Sears as Senior Copywriter. Sears has over 10 years of experience writing for agencies on the national scene.
At Kastner & Partners in Los Angeles, Sears focused on experiential and digital marketing, conceiving creative for Red Bull energy drink and helping to lead the international launch of Red Bull Cola. At other leading agencies including 72andSunny, Deutsch and Razorfish, she worked on campaigns for Volkswagen, Samsung Mobile, Porsche, Anthem Insurance, Lexus, Qualcomm and other iconic brands. She is dedicated to creating great work that makes a positive impact on society.
“We are so happy to welcome Christi to the agency. Her experience and innovation will enable our clients to speak to their audiences in new, exciting ways that get results,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny.
Sears graduated from the Miami Ad School and the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in advertising.
Yvonne Tocquigny to Speak at RISE Week Austin Conference05.08.2013
Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO of the award-winning digital marketing agency Tocquigny, will be a featured guest speaker and panelist at RISE Week Austin’s 2013 conference, held May 13–17 at the Long Center. She will speak on the “Women's Entrepreneur Super Panel” on Wednesday, May 15.
Named a "Must-Attend 2013 Conference for Entrepreneurs" by Forbes magazine, RISE Week Austin encourages networking and exchanging ideas that foster the entrepreneurial spirit. The conference is free for entrepreneurs of all levels and industries. It features a combination of interactive learning sessions, inspiring keynotes, unique competitions, funding opportunities and celebratory networking events. Sessions are peer led, participant organized and divided into tracks such as Women Entrepreneurs, Health & Fitness and Green Technology.
Tocquigny has an established relationship with RISE, having spoken at previous conferences and hosted events for the organization. In 2011 she spoke on the topic of developing a marketing plan for start-up businesses. In 2010 she became the first woman to deliver the keynote address at a RISE conference.
About Rise Global
RISE — a Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs — is a nonprofit program that hosts an annual series dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through a free, crowd-sourced, decentralized conference in which entrepreneurs connect and exchange ideas that inspire the entrepreneurial spirit. Founded for and by entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas in 2007, RISE has grown into an ongoing annual program serving thousands of entrepreneurs and featuring a format that is hands-on and high-energy. RISE was recently named a “Must-Attend 2013 Conference for Entrepreneurs” by Forbes.Visit www.riseglobal.org to learn more.
Tocquigny Submission Nominated for Best Shopping App Webby Award04.23.2013
Fans Can Also Vote Online to Help Tocquigny’s Tory Burch App Win Award
Award-winning digital marketing agency Tocquigny announced today that the Tory Daily mobile app it developed for Tory Burch has been nominated for Best Shopping Application in the 17th Annual Webby Awards. Tocquigny’s was one of 11,000 entries from 60 countries.
Hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by The New York Times, The Webby Awards recognizes excellence on the Internet in five categories: Websites, Interactive Advertising & Media, Online Film & Video, Mobile & Apps and Social. Mobile & Apps Webby nominees were selected based on excellence in content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity and overall user experience. The awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
"Over the past 16 years, Webby Winners have continually set the standard for excellence on the Web; they are the sites, innovations and world-changing platforms that have shaped the Internet into what it is today," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of The Webby Awards. "It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 11,000 entries we received this year."
In addition to the Webby Award, Tocquigny’s submission is eligible to win a People's Voice Award, which is chosen by fans via online voting. Through April 25, Tocquigny and Tory Burch fans can cast their votes for the Tory Daily app at pv.webbyawards.com. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, and honored at a star-studded ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in New York City.
Tocquigny worked with Tory Burch to extend the company’s digital presence and increase audience engagement through a content-rich, mobile-optimized application. Launched in June 2012, Tory Daily supplies users with new content and access to exclusive sales items daily. With a built-in e-commerce component, the app also drives customer loyalty and sales.
About the Webby Awards
Hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including websites, interactive advertising & media, online film & video, and mobile & apps. Established in 1996, the 17th Annual Webby Awards received 11,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Internet Explorer, Google+, Quancast, Yext, Vitamin T, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mashable, The Occasional and Business Insider.
Tocquigny Announces New Senior Director of Client Engagement04.10.2013
Former Employee Returns to Lead Interactive Agency’s Account Service Department
The award-winning digital marketing agency Tocquigny has welcomed back former Account Director Amy Fenwick as its new Senior Director of Client Engagement. She will oversee all account service operations for Tocquigny.
Fenwick is an interactive marketing veteran with 15 years of experience. Prior to her return to Tocquigny, Fenwick gained a wealth of experience covering business to business and business to consumer markets during a six-year tenure at the Austin-based technology company Advanced Micro Devices. As a senior-level marketing manager at AMD, Fenwick proved her success in creating global marketing strategies and translating them into highly executable, measurable and integrated campaigns.
Amy envisioned and created AMD’s first Global Sales Enablement organization, bringing consistent governance, measurement and content management to the entire enterprise across the areas of training, field equipping and communications. Within Global Sales Enablement, she developed and launched AMD’s online Customer Group University, a global program responsible for educating, arming, supporting and measuring both AMD and channel partner sales teams with access to insight, experts and information that would ultimately drive revenue.
Fenwick’s leadership oversight has been instrumental in helping Tocquigny make data-driven decisions that generate revenue for our clients. “I couldn’t be happier to return to Tocquigny, where I can blend my passion for research and data with digital (creative) strategy. My goal is to help our clients see their future in a new way and capitalize on the future of digital marketing and analytics,” said Fenwick.
“We’re extremely thrilled about Amy’s return to the team,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “Her expertise in developing campaigns that deliver creative impact and measurable results will be an important asset to the agency as our list of new clients grows.”
Fenwick received bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Management from Texas A&M University.
Tocquigny Among Top B2B Interactive Agencies for 13th Year04.01.2013
Tocquigny, an Austin-based, full-service digital marketing agency, has been recognized by BtoB Magazine as one of the top interactive agencies in the nation for the 13th consecutive year.
The Interactive category of BtoB Magazine’s annual Top Agency List gives kudos to the interactive marketing agencies that have shown exemplary growth in the U.S. business to business (B2B) sector over the last year. BtoB selected the agencies based on revenue growth, new client wins, creative business solutions and effective use of new interactive media technologies to create innovative online marketing campaigns. This year’s winners showed particular savvy by succeeding in a recession economy with clients who were cutting budgets across the board.
"Tocquigny creates strategies that deliver predictability in marketing. Our entire team works toward a singular goal of creating not just business development but business transformation for our clients,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “I’m grateful to our staff for their ongoing innovation that delivers on our promise, and continues to hold the agency in a leadership position.”
Tocquigny has been committed to delivering innovative and creative digital marketing solutions that help companies transform their brands and achieve their business goals since 1980. Focusing on B2B branding, interactive website design and development, and integrated lead generation campaigns, the data-driven agency’s client list ranges from robust startups to Fortune-100 companies. Tocquigny has also recently been strategically and creatively recognized by the Interactive Media Awards, the DMA and the Web Marketing Association.
To learn more about BtoB Magazine’s Top Agencies award and to view the full2013 Top Agency list, visit www.btobonline.com.
World Vision Selects Tocquigny as Agency Partner for Marketing Strategy10.08.2012
Award-winning digital agency Tocquigny announced today that it has added World Vision as a client in the non-profit sector. Tocquigny was selected from a competitive set of six national agencies to engage with World Vision in the development of marketing strategies and campaigns for two large national initiatives: 30 Hour Famine and Church Mobilization.
World Vision is a Christian Humanitarian organization that works with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, provides emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict and advocates for justice on behalf of the poor. Tocquigny will serve as World Vision’s strategic agency partner on 30 Hour Famine and Church Mobilization, with the goal of increasing awareness of the programs and fostering participation.
In serving World Vision, Tocquigny will build upon its long-standing record of success in reaching and resonating with Christian audiences. Regent University, a provider of online and on-campus Christian higher education, has partnered with Tocquigny for over five years to drive its online student population, leveraging mostly digital media channels.
”We’re trying to inspire our audiences to act, but we’re also trying just to inspire,” said Colin Gilligan, Tocquigny’s Digital Media Director. “We implement direct response and digital best practices to drive audience engagement, while also making the Christian message approachable and the tone relational.”
“World Vision’s mission and outreach is truly inspirational,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO and founder of Tocquigny. “We are truly honored to partner with them again. Donors count on World Vision to multiply the power of their gifts to transform children’s lives, and we’ll be honoring that trust through innovation and careful stewardship of their resources.”
“World Vision selected Tocquigny based on their experience with Christian organizations and nationally recognized expertise in digital communications,” added Michael Baker, Senior Director of Marketing at World Vision. “But more than anything, we felt the passion and creativity they bring to the table. We’re pleased to resume our long and rewarding collaboration.”
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. They serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionUSA
Tocquigny Wins Two WebAwards09.14.2012
Award-winning interactive agency Tocquigny is proud to announce that it has won two 2012 WebAwards from the Web Marketing Association for Outstanding Web Site. The awards were for “Shine,” a microsite Tocquigny created for Regent University, and the agency’s website, Tocquigny.com.
Tocquigny created the “Shine” microsite to promote general brand awareness and increase engagement for potential online students of Regent University. Content-rich features such as user-generated stories and success statistics help students and learn more about the institution, its mission and how they can achieve their academic and professional goals. In addition to multi-platform accessibility, including mobile optimization, a unifying brand message seamlessly guides students through the site and to social media pages, the Regent iPhone application and, finally, to the university’s application webpage. Earlier this year, the Interactive Media Awards also recognized “Shine” for Outstanding Achievement in the Education category.
In 2011, the agency redesigned Tocquigny.com to reflect its use of measurement and optimization to drive results for its clients. To illustrate this focus, the site tracks each visitor’s progress and monitors practically every type of user data feed current technology permits. Animated data infographics reveal the results, sharing demographic information, revealing common search terms, recommending popular content and more. A metrics “drawer” at the bottom of every page can be opened anywhere on the site for real-time updates, and an interactive site map indicates pages already visited.
“We are always honored to be recognized by our industry peers,” said agency founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. “With two Addy Awards and a DMA International ECHO Award, along with being named a top three interactive agency again by BtoB Magazine, 2012 is shaping into a banner year for Tocquigny.”
Now in its 16th year, the WebAwards program is the longest running annual award competition dedicated to naming the best websites in 96 industries. The WebAwards competition recognizes the people and organizations responsible for developing some of the most effective and best websites on the Internet today.
Tocquigny Wins DMA International Echo Award08.28.2012
Tocquigny is proud to announce that it won a DMA International ECHO Award for the Teradata Oracle Migration campaign. Presented by the Premier Direct/Interactive Marketing, The DMA International ECHO Awards Competition honors the world’s best direct marketing campaigns that “...have raised the bar in terms of strategy, creativity and results.”
Tocquigny created the Oracle Migration campaign by utilizing both traditional and non-traditional media. The campaign strategy presented a direct comparison between the agile Teradata solution and legacy Oracle data warehouses by utilizing an integrated series of email, direct mail and telemarketing that directly targeted Oracle users. The tagline for the campaign was, "Why settle for more Oracle?"
The campaign’s success speaks for itself. Marketing efforts reached 100,000+ people total, with more than 20,000 prospects visiting the landing page, leading to 9,000 responses. The original goal was to set appointments for 50 meetings – over 400 were secured. The overall response rate was 1.27%, more than doubling the industry average b-to-b rate of .62%. The final lead conversion was 4.22%, over four times the average b-to-b rate of 1%.
“The Teradata Oracle Migration campaign showed how effective Tocquigny can be in the b-to-b space,” said agency founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. “By using a combination traditional and digital techniques, the campaign created buzz and generated fast results for Teradata.”
Established in 1929 as the “Best in Direct Mail” contest, the ECHO Awards Competition is the longest established international award that honors excellence in direct marketing, with over 1,000 marketers and agencies entering each year. Entries are evaluated on creativity, marketing strategy and response results. Judges pick winners based on overall creative concept, which includes copy, graphics and production quality, marketing strategy and response results.
To learn more about the DMA International ECHO awards, visit http://dma-echo.org/welcome.jsp.
New Lessons for Marketers in Higher Education06.06.2012
By Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO, Tocquigny
Marketers in Higher Education find themselves beset by new challenges. Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO of Tocquigny, a digital marketing firm that helps universities with student acquisition, offers 10 reasons why higher education is one of the hardest places to get an 'A+' in marketing today.
1. Marketers are held accountable for meeting challenging enrollment goals. Their jobs depend on creating quantifiable success, measured by the number of new students they acquire.
2. Marketers are held accountable for measures they have little control over. Marketers are expected to generate applicants as well as manage the quality of students who submit applications. Many marketers are expected to manage metrics around recruiting accepted applicants for enrollment and retaining students.
3. Marketers must lower their CPE (cost per enrollment). Sophisticated marketers use testing methodologies to improve their CPE regularly and demonstrate predictable results.
4. Marketers must provide visibility into performance data. Administrators require metrics around the recruitment and application process. This requires new tools and technologies that many marketers aren't familiar with.
5. Many marketers lack the training to do what is expected. Some were trained years ago — before the use of mobile apps, social media, and search advertising. Though they have backgrounds in branding and print, they need expertise in new media, measurement tools, testing strategies, and data analysis.
6. Marketers don't have time to stay abreast of trends. New marketing tactics such as social media and search advertising are effective — and constantly evolving. Marketers are expected to do this in addition to their jobs.
7. Marketers are held accountable for compliance with new government regulations. Most marketers have no way to monitor their practices or determine whether or not they are in full compliance.
8. Marketers must contend with more competitors than ever. The competition for digital exposure in the higher education space has driven up media costs by more than 18% in the past two years.
9. Marketers are expected to do more with less. Marketing budgets compete for funding with teachers' salaries and student services. Never has the demand for resourcefulness been greater.
10. Marketing practices are challenged by administrators. Marketers must justify their expenditures with data proving they are doing the best work at the lowest cost.
To succeed in today's evolving marketing world, higher education marketers must meet two criteria:
Develop a sustainable model based on performance metrics, not activities.
Control the marketing ecosystem from start to finish. Test, and then optimize performance at every touchpoint.
If the marketer in your organization asks for help tackling these new challenges, this is an indication that they have a thorough understanding of the changing environment and they are willing to adapt in order to succeed. Marketers can no longer play the role of "Swiss Army Knife" individuals and do everything themselves. The variety of tactics marketers must deploy requires multiple skill sets delivered by a collaborative team. And if that team reduces your cost per student, you might ask yourself, "What would that be worth?"
Tocquigny Wins 2012 Interactive Media Award05.09.2012
Tocquigny is proud to announce that it won Outstanding Achievement in the Education category from the Interactive Media Awards for the “Shine” microsite developed for Regent University.
Tocquigny created “Shine” to help Regent increase engagement with prospective students and promote brand awareness. The microsite is a rich, interactive experience that features user-generated stories and success statistics to help prospects learn more about the University and its mission. The site also helps potential students learn how to achieve their academic and professional goals through online learning.
In addition to multi-platform accessibility and mobile optimization, the microsite presents a unifying brand message that seamlessly guides users through the site and to Regent’s social media properties, iPhone application and the University’s lead-generation landing page.
According to the Interactive Media Awards website, winners must excel in the following criteria: “Design, Content, Feature Functionality, Usability and Standards Compliance.” The winning microsite can be found at www.regent.edu/shine
“We are extremely proud of our work with Regent,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “Our teams have collaborated to create groundbreaking work, and the business results—and this award—validate the strategy behind our creativity.”
This latest win marks the seventh time Tocquigny has been honored by the Interactive Media Awards, which recognizes the highest standards of excellence in website design and development.
Marketers Look to Build Brand, Drive Revenue04.09.2012
The current edition of BtoB Magazine features a discussion with Tocquigny founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny, who discusses the agency's evolving role in the current digital landscape.
BtoB: In which interactive areas are your clients investing the most this year?
Yvonne Tocquigny: Our clients are investing to enhance their brands and generate demand. The need for clear brand messages continues to drive website investments, but the big growth is in social media strategies and platforms, and mobile-optimized sites and apps. For demand generation, there's a shift to align budgets with how b2b customers like to buy — on their own terms. That means creating a presence for our clients where their customers are so the customer can find a match and engage with our client's brand. Thus, more emphasis is placed on SEO, SEM, paid digital media and compelling content, especially videos and infographics.
BtoB: Are you doing much with mobile marketing yet, and what is working?
Tocquigny: We've had a lot of activity this year optimizing websites and content for mobile browsing. We are big fans of responsive design to provide a great mobile user experience while enabling clients to leverage a single content management approach. As for apps, we're still spending a lot of time helping clients determine when they really make sense. They can drive engagement and convert regular customers, but they have to offer real value to the end user. Apps specifically for salespeople are also hot. Lastly, mobile-specific ads haven't caught on yet, but we expect growth there this year.
BtoB: How is your agency responding to changes in the digital landscape?
Tocquigny: We're helping clients fully utilize their new marketing automation systems (Marketo, Eloqua, etc.). Even with those tools, clients still need strong messaging, beautiful and consistent creative, and well-crafted campaigns to really drive lead flow. We're also guiding them through new opportunities in content, which is essential to digital marketing success.
Tocquigny Hires, Gets Award, Launches App03.14.2012
Austin Business Journal by Sandra Zaragoza, Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Digital marketing agency Tocquigny is celebrating a new hire, receiving an award and launching a South By Southwest mobile application.
The 32-year-old agency, which employs 50 workers in Austin, has hired Annie Brennan as its senior director of client engagement. Prior to Tocquigny, Brennan was senior account director at Razorfish. She has also worked with The Walt Disney Co., American Heart Association and Dell Inc.
Tocquigny has been ranked among the top three interactive agencies in the nation, according to BtoB magazine. The agency was recognized for its work for Insperity, Momentum and Teradata.
“This marks 12 consecutive years that Tocquigny has been ranked by BtoB,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny.
Last but not least, the agency launched its Hideouts and Hangouts mobile app to help out-of-towners in Austin for SXSW find the right spot to eat, shop, have a margarita and listen to tunes. The app uses Google Maps API, Instagram photos and a custom graphic overlay.
”SXSW attracts more and more visitors to Austin every year,” Tocquigny said. “This year, we decided to leverage our local expertise by tapping our team of Austin experts and sharing that knowledge in a handy app.”
Click here for more on the app.
New Report Ranks Tocquigny Among Top 3 Interactive Agencies in U.S.03.13.2012
Tocquigny today announced its selection as one of the top three interactive agencies in the nation by BtoB Magazine.
BtoB follows a set criteria when determining which agencies will top its list including: innovative online marketing campaigns, percentage of business that is business-to-business, new client wins and effective use of new technologies.
According to BtoB, “Despite the still-sluggish economy, the top b2b agencies won new business and grew their overall revenue in 2011. While total ad spending in the U.S. increased in the low single-digits last year, many winners in BtoB's Top Agency report saw revenue gains in the double digits.”
The announcement is found in the March 12 issue of BtoB magazine.
The following campaigns led by Tocquigny in 2011 factored into its top 3 ranking:
The agency’s social media campaign strategy for Insperity.
The integrated “VoIP Brand Launch” campaign for Momentum Telecom, which included a website, social media and lead-gen campaign.
The “Oracle Migration” lead-generation campaign for Teradata, which included online advertising, email, search, social media and direct mail.
“This marks 12 consecutive years that Tocquigny has been ranked by BtoB,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “Our business model is focused on devising innovative business-building solutions for our clients, and the agency’s continued success reflects this.”
According to Tocquigny, the agency’s competitive advantage is its disciplined process for developing business solutions, measuring the results and optimizing to increase campaign performance. This proprietary methodology, called A Measured Approach™, tracks and quantifies the links between online and offline marketing activities. By following this process, Tocquigny helps clients easily grasp the relationships between interactive and traditional marketing and reveals actionable insights, driving the adjustment of strategies and tactics to dramatically improve results over time.
Tocquigny to Host 4th Annual View512 Happy Hour for SXSW Interactive02.24.2012
Tocquigny today announced it will kick off SXSW Interactive 2012 with its fourth annual View512 Happy Hour on Friday, March 9 from 6–8 p.m. Space is limited, so SXSW badge-holders are encouraged to RSVP.
View512, which coincides with the opening night of the conference, will also feature the unveiling of Tocquigny’s new interactive Hideouts and Hangouts app. Whether you’re attending SXSW or just curious about cool, quirky things to do in Austin, the app will help visitors find the coolest, quirkiest places to eat, drink, shop and play, as recommended by the Tocquigny team (a group full of Austin experts).
Tocquigny will host the party in its offices on the 17th floor of the iconic Frost Bank Tower at 401 Congress Avenue. SXSW Interactive attendees will have the best view of all the festival action from 17 stories above, while enjoying top-shelf Austin beverages and entertainment, spectacular sunset views and an interactive photo booth.
”Tocquigny looks forward to SXSW every year,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, Founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “So if you’re coming to SXSW Interactive, let us give you a proper Austin welcome.”
Tocquigny Wins 2012 Austin Addy Awards02.13.2012
Tocquigny won a Silver Addy for the web and mobile versions of its corporate website: Tocquigny.com.
The agency redesigned its website in 2011 to reflect its passion for using analytics to drive results for its clients. To illustrate this focus, the site tracks each visitor’s progress and monitors practically every type of user data feed current technology permits. Animated data infographics reveal the results, sharing demographic info, revealing common search terms, recommending popular content and more. A metrics “drawer” at the bottom of every page can be opened anywhere on the site for real-time updates, and an interactive site map indicates pages already visited.
Tocquigny also won the Bronze Addy for its Taco Trends print ad, which ran in the 2011 SXSW Interactive brochure.
Taco Trends was a teaser for BuzzBrawl, the agency’s web-based app that used real-time data to identify the top trends at SXSW Interactive, as well as an illustration of the agency’s analytics capabilities. Playing off of Austin’s fascination with the ubiquitous breakfast taco, the ad featured an infographic that illustrated taco consumption vs. taco craving, with consumption winning for the month of March. As a result of all the publicity, BuzzBrawl was featured on CNN.com’s What’s Next blog.
In addition to its two Addys, Tocquigny also would like to recognize copywriter intern Lori Otto and her creative partner, art director Abbey Nield, who won a Gold Addy in the Student Work, Mixed Media category for their Penguin Books: Find Yourself a Classic ad.
“Winning these Addys caps off a groundbreaking year for Tocquigny,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “I’m especially proud of the amazing work on Tocquigny.com, which is a terrific example of our team collaborating to create something we’re all proud of.”
AirBorn Selects Tocquigny to Develop New Corporate Website02.01.2012
AUSTIN, TEXAS, Feb. 1, 2012 – Tocquigny, a full-service interactive agency that provides measurable marketing results, today announced it has been chosen to create a new corporate website for AirBorn.
AirBorn is a Texas-based manufacturer of electronic components and provider of value-added solutions for the aerospace, avionics, defense, energy, medical and automotive industries.
To accommodate AirBorn’s goal of doubling its revenue every five years, Tocquigny will create a new corporate website that can scale with the company’s growth without sacrificing overall usability. Tocquigny will also implement a content management system, which will allow AirBorn’s internal resources to easily manage and maintain the site.
“AirBorn selected Tocquigny because they offer a unique combination of technical skill and marketing expertise,” said Mike Kramer, AirBorn’s Director of Software Integration and Web Applications. “Tocquigny’s approach will help AirBorn build the kind of site our business needs today and one that can more easily expand as our company grows.”
“AirBorn is a great fit for Tocquigny’s core competency in B-to-B technology marketing,” added Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “We look forward to improving the online customer experience through the creation of a website that provides compelling messages, and an intuitive user experience.”
About AirBorn Inc.
AirBorn is an ISO-certified and AS9100-certified global electronic interconnect manufacturer and provider of value-added solutions, and is focused on serving customers requiring high reliability and innovative solutions. AirBorn was founded in 1958 as a manufacturer of electronic connectors for the military and aerospace markets. The company’s current offerings include connectors, cable assemblies, flexible circuit assemblies, custom power supplies and other value-added solutions for aerospace, avionics, defense, energy, medical and automotive industries. AirBorn is 100% employee owned, and is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas. It has manufacturing sites in Georgetown, Winnsboro and Addison, Texas; Little Falls, Minnesota; Phoenix, Arizona; Lake City, Pennsylvania; Toronto, Canada; and Tonbridge, United Kingdom. For more information, visit http://www.airborn.com.
Tocquigny is a full-service interactive agency that provides measurable marketing results for businesses. The agency uses a rigorous, data-driven process called A Measured Approach™ to create digital, social and mobile experiences that engage audiences and move them to action. Based in Austin, Texas, Tocquigny has been named a “Top Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine for nine consecutive years and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek. For more information on Tocquigny, visit http://www.tocquigny.com.
Tocquigny Featured in BtoB Magazine Article: “Increase Mobile User Interaction”01.26.2012
Tocquigny was prominently featured in a recent BtoB Magazine article that discussed how the increase of mobile devices is not necessarily leading to more user interaction. "People are in a hurry, so they are basically processing, scanning and deleting," reported Tocquigny founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. "When we get someone on a smartphone, they are much less likely to stop, consider and interact with emails. That's the risk we're all facing.”
Tocquigny Chief Strategist Tom Fornoff to Speak to The Advertising Club of New Orleans01.25.2012
Tocquigny, a full-service interactive agency that provides measurable marketing results, today announced that Tom Fornoff, Executive Director of Business Strategy, will speak to the Advertising Club of New Orleans on Feb. 2.
Fornoff will present “Digital Marketing: From Elegant Frameworks to Gritty Tactics” and share his personal perspectives on what it takes to succeed today in interactive marketing. He will also discuss the framework Tocquigny uses when developing websites, lead generation and social media campaigns, and mobile applications for its clients.
“We’re so proud to have Tom speak in New Orleans," said founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. "He has incredible experiences to share, from working both on client side at IBM and Oracle and on the agency side at frog design, Sapient and Tocquigny. But it’s his wisdom he’s gained along the way that will be most impactful to attendees.”
The speech is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, 2012, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Crescent Pie & Sausage Company, 4400 Banks Street in New Orleans.
The luncheon is free for members and $35 for non-members. Those planning to attend can register at http://adclubluncheonfebruary.eventbrite.com.
Tocquigny Wins Echo Leader Award10.07.2011
Tocquigny is proud to announce that it has continued its award-winning year by receiving a 2011 ECHO Leader Award for the Teradata CRM/IWI Direct Marketing Campaign. Presented by the Premier Direct/Interactive Marketing, The DMA International ECHO Awards Competition honors the world’s best direct marketing campaigns that “...have raised the bar in terms of strategy, creativity and results.”
Tocquigny created the award-winning campaign by utilizing both traditional and non-traditional media. Teradata, which was traditionally known for its agile warehousing capabilities, wanted to increase interest in its robust CRM solution. To establish this goal, Tocquigny combined two Teradata CRM products—Teradata Integrated Web Intelligence and Teradata Relationship Manager—into a lead-generation joint venture that included direct email with personalized landing pages (PURLs), telemarketing and direct mail. This initial effort drove prospects to a product video created for the campaign that was featured on a variety of social media outlets as well as a sales product demo for Teradata’s sales force for display on an iPad. The six-month campaign was followed by a six-month combined lead-generation and lead-nurturing effort. Of the 300 Fortune 500 companies targeted, 10% were scheduled for sales meetings with an additional 6% in the pipeline.
“The Teradata CRM/IWI Direct Marketing Campaign was an excellent showcase of Tocquigny’s breadth of services,” said agency founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. “In the current market, being able to unite several different modes of traditional communication—both online and offline—is an effective way to reach the largest, most diverse audience.”
Established in 1929 as the “Best in Direct Mail” contest, the ECHO Awards Competition is the longest established international award that honors excellence in direct marketing, with over 1,000 marketers and agencies entering each year. Entries are evaluated on creativity, marketing strategy and response results. For the Leader Awards category, judges pick winners based on overall creative concept, which includes copy, graphics and production quality, marketing strategy and response results.
To learn more about the DMA International ECHO awards, visit http://dma-echo.org/welcome.jsp.
Tocquigny Bolsters its B-To-B Expertise With the Hire of Accomplished Global Marketing Strategist09.09.2011
Award-winning interactive agency, Tocquigny, is pleased to announce that Tracy Bramlet has joined the agency’s account service team as Client Partner. Bramlet will provide strategic leadership and management for Teradata as well as Tocquigny’s other B-to-B clients seeking business consulting, global branding, product launch strategies and customer acquisition and retention campaigns.
“Adding someone as experienced and talented as Tracy offers a huge advantage to our clients,” said Ralph Pici, Senior Director of Account Services at Tocquigny. “She is a seasoned executive who will provide valuable insight for our most valued B-to-B clients.”
A marketing strategist who is adept at developing and executing multi-channel campaigns, Bramlet is a creative and motivated B-to-B professional and cross-functional team player with proven abilities to achieve consensus and deliver results. She has extensive experience in a variety of industries including financial services, technology, the public sector and business services. Over the course of her career, she has developed an extensive technical skill set to complement her strategic planning and brand management expertise. Before joining Tocquigny, she was Director of ETS Product Marketing at Software AG, where she was responsible for shaping and executing the overall positioning and go-to-market messaging for the Software AG’s Enterprise Transaction Systems product families. Prior to that, she was Director of Industry Marketing Financial Services at GXS, a leading provider of global B2B integration solutions, where she helped grow the GXS brand in the financial services sector through the creation of internal and external-facing marketing efforts. Bramlet also worked for Sterling Commerce, LexisNexis and MCI.
“I’m very excited to be part of an innovative, growing company like Tocquigny,” said Bramlet. “It’s a great opportunity to work at an agency that is looking toward the future, helping audiences interact with products that use advanced technology solutions.”
Five Digital Shops in the Heartland07.11.2011
By Christopher Heine | Reprinted from Clickz.com
Not every aspiring agency founder in land-locked states packs up a U-Haul and moves to The Big Apple, San Fran or LA. Some stay put, raise funds and start their own shops.
While that was certainly true pre-Internet, the digital age seems to have opened up opportunities for heartland agencies to gain the attention of big-time clients with quality creative and technology solutions. Sometimes you wouldn't know it, but there's a digital advertising world out there that doesn't involve names like Razorfish, AKQA, Deep Focus, SapientNitro, or 360i.
To compete with those coastal entities, ad men and women between Appalachia and the Rockies tend to shoot their campaign pitches with proverbial guns locked and loaded. And every once in a while, explains Charles Hull, managing director at Archrival in Lincoln, NE, client relations can literally mean bringing out the bullets.
"A few weeks ago, we had a big project meeting with client reps coming in from Europe and Los Angeles for a three-day strategy session," Hull told ClickZ News. "To have some fun, we took them out in the country to fire semi-automatic assault rifles at a huge assortment of fruit. It was the highlight of their trip, and something they still talk about. [It's] tough to do that in Los Angeles or New York City."
Archrival is a Facebook preferred developer and social media/youth marketing shop that was purchased by Dachis Group last November. (The 14-year-old company's official name is now Archrival Dachis Group.) During the past year, Archrival's 20-odd staffers have run campaigns for Red Bull, Colt 45, Harper Collins, Foursquare, and other brands.
"In the early days," Hull said, "we thought we needed to open up a Los Angeles or New York office for business development and image purposes. But as we got bigger and our clients got bigger, the less we felt that need. Today, we actually use our [low-key] Nebraska location to our advantage - many of our clients who are from Los Angeles and large urban markets enjoy getting out of the grind and coming to visit us for days at a time."
Dave Knox is chief marketing officer at Rockfish Interactive, which is located in the Northwest Arkansas town of Rogers, nestled in the Ozarks. Knox said there are numerous advantages to being located more than 1,000 miles from either the East or West Coast.
"For starters, when you look at the top national advertisers, an overwhelming number of them are located in the Midwest," he said. "This proximity becomes increasingly important given the speed of digital marketing. Second, there is access to incredible talent in the heartland, especially people with deep backgrounds in brand building and retail marketing. And this talent doesn't have to make sacrifices between their personal and professional lives given the more affordable cost of living. Finally, these agencies have the ability to see first-hand the digital behavior of consumers, avoiding the echo chamber sometimes created by early adopters on the coasts."
To Knox's first point, Rockfish's brand clients include the Arkansas-based Sam's Club, Walmart, White Cloud, and Tyson Foods, as well as other non-coastal names like The Nutro Company (Tennessee), UnitedHealth Group (Minnesota), and P.F. Chang's (Arizona). It also counts Los Angeles-based EA Sports as a customer, as well as Cisco in San Francisco. Since the beginning of 2009, Rockfish has opened offices in Dallas, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Little Rock, AR, while building a staff of 150-plus. Its Rogers employees enjoy the perk of having a Silver Joe's coffee shop on campus (pictured above).
"There are pros and cons no matter where you are located," Knox said. "There are no significant disadvantages [to being in the heartland], especially given the geographic location of so many large brands and companies."
Rockfish and Archrival are among numerous digital shops likely deserving a little ink while being situated between the coasts. For good measure, based on industry sources, here are three more doing quality work for brand-name clients.
VML, Kansas City, MO: This is one of the larger and more well-known centrally located shops, boasting dozens of name-brand clients like Microsoft, ESPN, Kellogg's, Southwest Airlines, and Colgate. But as one competitor admitted to ClickZ, the agency "doesn't get as much credit as they should." A recent example of VML's creativity: For Colgate, its London division orchestrated an effort that entailed uploaded photos by Facebook "likers" being randomly displayed on digital billboards across London, Birmingham, and Liverpool.
Tocquigny, Austin: Long before its Texas state capital hometown became a technology hub, this agency was helping Dell achieve juggernaut status in the computer hardware space. And it certainly doesn't appear to have fallen behind the times, also calling Jeep, Caterpillar, IDG, The Washington Times, and Teradata clients. For a Teradata effort, Tocquigny was nominated this year for a South by Southwest Interactive award in the "Kiosk/Installation" category. It featured a videoed wall utilizing 52 LED monitors and three large LCD panels, which pulled information from YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, stock market indices, and 20 other crowdsourcing points of interest.
Electric Pulp, Sioux Falls, SD: This Web design, iPhone/iPad marketing, and e-commerce agency has more in common with Archrival than the other examples, employing a skeleton crew of 10 staffers that work on an eclectic mix of brands. They include Ford, Justin Bieber, Comedy Central (book sites for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert), New York's Apollo Theatre, and Incase, an iPhone accessories manufacturer.
Stefan Hartwig, a partner at Electric Pulp, said brands that want to keep innovative campaigns hush-hush appreciate the fact that his company is located "from a lot of people's perspective, in the middle of nowhere." And the Sioux Falls native described the satisfaction of being able to build an advertising firm that attracts national clients in the small city he knows intimately.
"It's more than we ever expected we could do from here," Hartwig said. "It's cool knowing you don't have to take that huge jump, that you don't need that address. Your track record of being able to deliver is more important than being from San Francisco or New York."
Tocquigny Adds Fashion, Retail and e-Commerce Expertise With Industry Leader06.30.2011
Award-winning interactive agency, Tocquigny, recently announced the addition of Pierre Fay as Senior Director, Business Strategy. Fay will help develop the agency’s presence in the fashion and retail space, while utilizing Tocquigny's core expertise in Social Media and Mobile Applications.
“Pierre is an experienced executive with a history of leading highly respected brands in Europe and the U.S,” said agency founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. “As we expand the agency’s client base into fashion and retail, Pierre’s specialized experience will be a valuable asset for our clients.”
Fay is a dynamic, innovative leader with extensive experience in the eCommerce, specialty retail and wholesale environments. A seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in the fashion accessories and optical industries, Fay has proven sales, marketing, business development and operations management skills, as well as extensive knowledge of licensing, product development and brand management.
Prior to joining Tocquigny, Fay held top management positions at leading companies such as Essilor of America, Luxottica Group — a global leader in eyewear with over 5,000 retail locations in North America and a strong brand portfolio that includes Ray-Ban, Oakley, Persol and licensed brands such as Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Burberry — and many others. Fay holds an MBA degree from INSEAD, Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires.
“Tocquigny has developed a strong expertise in Mobile and Social Media-centric applications, providing its clients with very efficient marketing solutions in acquiring, engaging and retaining customers,” said Fay. “I am very happy to join the Tocquigny leadership team and leverage Tocquigny’s unique capabilities in the fashion, retail and media spaces.”
Tocquigny Named One of Top Interactive Agencies in U.S. by B@B Magazine06.27.2011
Award-winning, top-tier interactive agency Tocquigny has been named one of the top interactive agencies in the U.S. by BtoB Magazine for the ninth consecutive year.
BtoB bases its annual listing of top interactive agencies on innovative online marketing campaigns, percentage of business that is b-to-b, new client wins, effective use of new technologies and other criteria. According to BtoB, after two years of client cutbacks, b-to-b agencies once again saw business expand, as companies sought help adapting to the new economy and implementing new interactive strategies. Tocquigny’s growth mirrored this, as the agency doubled its revenue from the previous year and increased staffing by 40 percent.
The agency also raised its profile by leading campaigns for prominent brands such as Jeep, Teradata, Global Experience Specialist (GES), Reliant Energy, Insperity and Momentum. Some of Tocquigny’s marketing highlights over the last year include:
- Growing overall agency video production capabilities, creating brand videos for Balfour, Teradata, Merck and IDG
- Furthering its leadership in the mobile space by executing a fully integrated mobile marketing strategy for Teradata, which included application development, mobile web optimization and mobile advertising
- Creating the “At the Moment” Video Wall, a groundbreaking video installation that synthesized traditional and non-traditional data, earning a finalist position in the SXSW Interactive awards
- Developing an award-winning website and award-nominated blog for GES, the largest one-stop provider of exhibition and event services
- Developing BuzzBrawl, a web-based app that used real-time data to identify the top trends at SXSW Interactive. BuzzBrawl, which aggregated data culled from Twitter, RSS feeds and blogs, was featured on CNN.com
- Continuing to expand its social media capabilities and expertise in campaigns for Regent University, Jeep and Teradata
Tocquigny’s disciplined process for developing business solutions and measuring the results has created a competitive advantage for the agency. The agency’s proprietary methodology, “A Measured Approach™,” tracks and quantifies the links between online and offline marketing activities. The process helps clients easily grasp the relationships between interactive and traditional marketing and reveals actionable insights, driving the adjustment of strategies and tactics to dramatically improve results over time.
Tocquigny Strengthens Business With Strategic Hire06.20.2011
Interactive Agency Hires Leader in Technology Business Strategy
Award-winning interactive agency Tocquigny is pleased to announce the addition of Tom Fornoff as Executive Director, Business Strategy. Fornoff will lead the strategy, client services and business development functions at Tocquigny and will play a key role in continuing to grow the agency’s service offerings with technology-based businesses.
“Tom understands and can navigate complex business challenges with regard to new product launches and the revitalization of existing product lines,” said agency founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. “He offers our clients valuable insights into the most efficient strategies to penetrate new markets and grow existing opportunities.”
Fornoff brings over 20 years experience in technology marketing as well as specialized expertise in the development of channels and alliances for large corporations. Formerly an Executive Director at frog design, where he worked to develop new business and ensure positive project outcomes and client satisfaction, Fornoff has demonstrated a unique ability to simultaneously value relationships, products, design and business realities.
Throughout his career, Fornoff has managed the successful launch of technology offerings spanning hardware, software, consulting, eCommerce and information services. In his past roles at frog, Oracle, Sapient, IntelliQuest and IBM, he has managed and cultivated key client relationships with a diverse range of clients including AT&T, JPMorgan Chase, IBM, Yahoo! and Home Depot.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Tocquigny, which has the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup, 30 years of heritage in delivering marketing excellence and a base of outstanding clients and passionate marketing professionals,” said Fornoff. “I’m looking forward to supporting the ongoing success of the current model and moving forward into new growth areas.”
Tocquigny is a full-service interactive agency that provides measurable marketing results for businesses. The agency uses a rigorous, data-driven process called A Measured Approach™ to create digital, social and mobile experiences that engage audiences and move them to action. Based in Austin, Texas, Tocquigny has been named a “Top Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine for nine consecutive years and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
Tocquigny Wins Webvisionary Award06.02.2011
Tocquigny is proud to announce that the Tocquigny.com website won the 2011 All Your Format are Belong to Us award at the fourth annual Webvisionary Awards ceremony on May 26 in Portland.
The Webvisionary Awards, which bills itself as “The world’s only all-interactive awards show,” celebrates the most “imaginative, daring, and curious talent on the Web.” The All Your Format are Belong to Us category recognizes innovative, cross-functional websites that provide a consistent user experience across web, mobile, tablet and print for “total Interwebs domination.” With its sleek, efficient design, cross-media functionality, and overall accessibility, Tocquigny.com is the perfect embodiment of this award category.
The Tocquigny.com website reflects the agency’s passion for using analytics to drive results for its clients. To illustrate this focus, the site tracks each visitor’s progress and monitors practically every type of user data feed current technology permits. Animated data infographics reveal the results, sharing demographic info, revealing common search terms, recommending popular content and more. A metrics “drawer” at the bottom of every page can be opened anywhere on the site for real-time updates, and an interactive site map indicates pages already visited.
The Webvisionary Awards were presented in conjunction with the annual WebVisions Conference. This year’s ceremony was dubbed “Episode 4: Reign of the Robots.” The winners received miniature robots, which were, of course, fashioned after our robot overlords.
Use Social Data to Guide Your Mobile Strategy05.09.2011
Use data to pinpoint yourContact Us
mobile strategy and guide
the future of your business.
By now, most companies are already well aware there is value to be found through participation in social media and mobile marketing. These are hardly separate initiatives, however — in fact, they’re quickly becoming inextricably linked.
Consider this: More than 70% of the world’s population has a mobile phone, including nine out of every 10 people in America. And 91% of mobile users use their device to socialize — compared to 79% of desktop users of social media. It’s clear that in many cases, social media and mobile usage have converged and are catalyzing each other’s growth.
Whether they know it or not, companies are heading full steam into this convergence. In a year’s time, many will post wins and find significant successes — a select number will change the entire game and watch their competition fall away. Still others may be the unwitting victims of this changing landscape.
What determines their success will be how adept they are at using social data.
Social data encompasses a wealth of information you can gather, analyze, and take action on.
Whenever your customers participate in social media, they broadcast a vast amount of information to the web. The most perceptible part of this information — called social data — is its content: what people are tweeting, liking, and posting.
It’s standard practice for companies to analyze content on social channels: to detect and respond to customer complaints, for example, or to track competitor and product mentions and attempt to sway individual customers to their brand through direct offers. Some forward-looking companies also maintain two-way social channels that create transparency between their business and their customers. Many companies also analyze social connections in order to prioritize customers based on value, influence, and other factors.
These tactics, however, only break the surface of available social data, of which there is a staggering amount.
To make social data work for you, first you must recognize that it includes more than what users actively say. In fact, it’s every single field of information they’ve added to all their outward-facing social channels — e.g., their age, their education level, their marriage status, and plenty more. In addition, metadata — such as timestamps and geo-location — is often attached to every burst of information.
Now expand your scope to include your users’ social connections and all their outward data, and you soon have a vast amount of actionable information about your audience — and of course, your competitors’ audiences.
Companies already are reaping the rewards of intelligent social-data mining.
Take any business problem. You know you can solve it if only you had data point A, data point B, and data point C. Find those data points by combining your newly acquired store of social data with your larger mix of business, financial, and other corporate data. Now you can construct virtual models that show how a certain business decision affects a very specific customer target, moving them to act, to buy, or to switch brand preference.
The key, however, isn’t in supplying target audiences with offers, but to use the model to inform the way you do business. Here’s an example:
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis wanted to boost sales of its over-the-counter cold and flu product, Theraflu. More than a marketing play, they realized a sales increase would be propelled by stronger geographical focus on product manufacturing and distribution. Accordingly, the company collected geo-tagged consumer status updates from Twitter, filtered by users who complained about flu symptoms. The Theraflu team created a model from that data, enabling them to detect short-term geographical trends of flu outbreaks — and make critical revenue-driving business decisions regarding supply-chain management and product pricing.
The longevity of your mobile investment hinges on the flexibility of your mobile strategy.
Companies are rushing to invest in mobile marketing. Many will be swayed by the allure of mobile apps, which certainly have their place; however, when they don’t — a common danger posed by poor planning — they result in a minimal or slow ROI. Because for some companies, a mobile-optimized corporate website is the wisest investment. For others, mobile advertising will deliver the greatest return. The right strategy is essential. Here, a four-figure investment could return six figures — or vice-versa.
To guide your mobile strategy, consult your social-data model. How do your customers and prospects use their mobile devices? Do they use them to connect with friends? Is their mobile device more frequently used for business purposes? Do they research and, predictably, purchase products and services through their mobile devices? How does their behavior fit with your business goals and your offerings?
And the final — and most important — piece to consider here is: What’s on the horizon?
How will your customers and prospects be using their mobile devices next year? What about in five years? Don’t assume that the way people use mobile devices today will be the same in the future; don’t base your decisions on a strategy that assumes little to no change in mobile technology or habits. Anything can happen in the mobile space. Here, the greatest predictor for success will be who can see the furthest ahead in order to react to the unpredictable. Social data is the roadmap.
Use data to pinpoint your mobile strategy and guide the future of your business.
Tocquigny Buzzbrawl on CNN04.13.2011
VIA CNN.COM: CHARTING THE BUZZ @SXSW
"The buzz leading into SXSW 2010 was the war between FourSquare and Gowalla. Who would come out victorious as the definitive location-based social app?
Experts had their opinions, but Craig Saper, a producer at Tocquigny in Austin, said he wanted more analytical data to really find out who was "winning" SXSW (no, it's not Charlie Sheen). This is the concept behind Buzzbrawl.com.
The site provides a real-time look at the conversation happening in the media and on social media networks. Saper said he wanted to move away from subjective trends list put out every year and find a quantifiable way to discover the top trends of SXSW.
"We want to create a single repository, a single resource for identifying trends at any given moment for the audience who finds relevance in analyzing what matters – making sense of what matters," he said.
At any given time the site shows what's trending based on conversations people are having on Twitter and mentions in the media. The site also shows where the majority of the conversation is coming from."
. . .
Read the rest of the article at whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com.
Tocquigny Wins Outstanding Achievement Award For Web Design03.15.2011
AUSTIN, TX, March 15, 2011. Through its continued pursuit of excellence, Tocquigny was recently awarded the “Outstanding Achievement Award” by the Interactive Media Awards™ for its work on the Global Experience Specialists (GES) website. This award celebrates the highest standards in website design and development as recognized by leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals.
To determine a winner, IMA awarded a maximum of 100 points for each of the five following categories: design, content, functionality, usability and browser compatibility. Tocquigny scored highest in a field of more than 110 entrants in the “Professional Services” category with 461 points and near-perfect scores for functionality, content and design.
“It’s always our goal at Tocquigny to generate proven, measurable results for every client,” said founder and CEO Yvonne Tocquigny. “With its new site, GES is better able to engage clients and prospects through a compelling and visually appealing narrative. We’re thrilled with the results and are happy to see that others, including the Interactive Media Council, recognize the excellence in our work.”
Jeff Neely, Senior Director of Creative at Tocquigny added, “GES presented a unique opportunity in that it has two stories to tell: there’s the story of what you see as an attendee inside an exhibit hall, and there’s the story behind everything you see in an exhibit hall. GES can now tell both stories through a site that is as visually stunning as the exhibits it builds.”
Tocquigny is a full-service interactive agency that provides measurable marketing results for businesses. The agency uses a rigorous, data-driven process called A Measured Approach to create digital, social and mobile experiences that engage audiences and move them to action. Based in Austin, Texas, Tocquigny has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB magazine and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
SXSWi 2011: View512 Happy Hour presented by Tocquigny03.09.2011
At Tocquigny, we’re all about happy hours. We're also pretty geeked out about SXSW... As such, it's a no-brainer for us to kick off SXSW Interactive 2011 with our third annual Tocquigny View512 Happy Hour on the 17th floor of the iconic Frost Tower. No other party offers a better vantage point of Austin's famed March sunsets, top shelf artisan cocktails & beer, live music and interactive social art installations.
Enjoy the view and kick back some drinks while we celebrate our SXSW Interactive Awards finalist nomination and the launch of BuzzBrawl, our groundbreaking trend-tracking web app. This is one event (and view) you don’t wanna miss!
Badgeholders and invited guests only. 401 Congress Ave., 17th Floor. Friday, March 11. 6-8pm.
More information at www.tocquigny.com/sxsw
At the Moment: 2011 SXSW Interactive Award Finalist03.03.2011
The Teradata PARTNERS Conference “At the Moment” Video Wall was a groundbreaking multi-platform video installation that synthesized traditional and non-traditional data and allowed conference attendees to participate in a real-time social experiment. This innovative installation has been named a finalist in the Kiosk/Installation category of the 2011 SXSW Interactive Awards, which recognize projects that live outside the standard browser experience.
Founded in 1997, the SXSW Interactive Awards is the centerpiece of the SXSW Interactive Festival, honoring the best new digital work for sites or projects that were launched or redesigned in 2010. Finalists represent the cutting edge of trends, products and overall developments in new media. The At the Moment installation is pitted against such prestigious brands as Showtime, TED and Unilever. Winners will be revealed at the 14th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards Ceremony on March 15 at the Hilton Austin Downtown.
Tocquigny designed At the Moment as a social experiment to exemplify The Socialization of Data, a forward-thinking methodology that Teradata uses to demonstrate the power of fusing non-traditional business data with traditional data. This concept encourages companies to “socialize” their data by integrating as many information sources as possible to gain insight into their customers’ behavior. To illustrate this concept, we created a video wall comprised of 52 LED monitors and three 77" LCD panels. As conference attendees passed by, the wall displayed more than 25 unique data sources in real time, including YouTube, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Tweetfeel, business news, stock market indices and polling results.
In addition to collecting information from outside sources, we used mobile phone signals to track and visualize attendees’ whereabouts at the venue, showing viewers where the convention action was concentrated at any given time, along with geographic representations of registrants’ home cities. Viewers could also use their mobile devices to interact with the visualized content in real-time by responding to polls. They were even able to join in the action by recording themselves in a video booth, with their footage displayed almost instantaneously.
To extend the experience to those not able to attend in person, we also developed an interactive microsite that offered the same data streams in an interactive format.
Socialization of Data microsite
This project represented an ideal opportunity to fuse audience interaction with a storytelling medium, in essence using digital media to create real world social interactions. The installation was a focal point for the entire conference, as attendees gathered to soak it all in and discuss both the content and its presentation. The interactive elements allowed them to be a part of the experience, helping make the conference a more memorable occasion for everyone involved.
Yvonne Tocquigny to Speak at RISE Summit03.02.2011
Yvonne Tocquigny is speaking at the Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs summit on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the RISE Global buidling on North Lamar in Austin. Her topic, A Guide to Developing a Marketing Plan for Start-Ups, will shed light on what matters and what doesn't, from an entrepreneur with 30 years of marketing experience. If you're interested in attending this session, visit the infromation page to sign up.
RISE is a non-profit program dedicated to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs. Created originally in 2007 by Roy and Bertrand Sosa as a week-long, free “un-conference” for- and by- entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas, RISE has now grown into an ongoing annual program that leverages its proprietary web interface to provide one-of-a-kind resources and experiences to entrepreneurs worldwide for free.
Tocquigny is a leading interactive marketing agency whose end-to-end offerings solve business challenges of every complexity. Tocquigny's proven methodology guides its marketing practices and provides clients with clarity, confidence, and precision. A full-service leader in interactive, social, direct response and mobile marketing, the agency is propelled by innovation and hands-on leadership. Tocquigny has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB magazine and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Peter Moossy.
Tocquigny Nominated as Finalist at 2011 SXSW Interactive Awards02.03.2011
Tocquigny selected as a finalist for a 2011 SXSW Interactive Award in the Kiosk/Installation category for projects that live outside the standard browser experience.
Finalists represent the cutting edge of trends, products and overall developments in new media. Tocquigny’s entry, PARTNERS at the Moment, is competing against such prestigious entries as Showtime’s Dexter, TED and Unilever.
Founded in 1997, the SXSW Interactive Awards is the centerpiece of the SXSW Interactive Festival, honoring the best new digital work for sites or projects that were launched or redesigned in 2010.
Winners will be revealed at the 14th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards Ceremony on March 15 at the Hilton Austin Downtown.
We created the wall to demonstrate the concept of The Socialization of Data by using a dynamic visualization of non-traditional data to help attendees follow the action at Teradata’s 2010 PARTNERS Conference.
Tocquigny concepted, designed, and coordinated PARTNERS at the Moment as a real-time data visualization platform to exemplify The Socialization of Data, a forward-thinking methodology Teradata uses to demonstrate the power of fusing non-traditional business data with traditional data.
The display consisted of a Video Wall, a groundbreaking multi-platform video installation with 52 LED monitors and three 77" LCD panels.
As conference attendees passed by, the wall displayed more than 25 unique data sources in real time, including YouTube, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Tweetfeel, business news, stock market indices and polling results.
Tocquigny used mobile phone signals to track and visualize attendees’ whereabouts at the venue, showing viewers where the convention action was concentrated at any given time.
Viewers could also use their mobile devices to interact with the visualized content in real-time through polls, surveys, tweets, and Flickr photos.
- Attendees were able to record video in a booth and nearly instantaneously this video was broadcast onto the display wall.
Pedernales Electric Cooperative Taps Tocquigny for Interactive Site01.10.2011
Austin, TX, January 6, 2011. Tocquigny, an award-winning and nationally recognized interactive agency, announced today that it has designed and re-launched the Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) Web site. The new leadership at the PEC is using technology to improve online services for the cooperative’s membership.
Based upon member input, the PEC sought an interactive site that could streamline online services for customers. The PEC selected Tocquigny for the task due to the agency’s 30-year history of award-winning creative work and its prowess in interactive, direct response, social media and mobile technologies. Tocquigny’s in-depth expertise is demonstrated by the fact that it has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine and as a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
The PEC leadership wanted to develop a highly functional Web site, establish a social media strategy that includes a blog on conservation, and conduct a re-brand of the Cooperative. As the nation’s largest member-owned electric distribution cooperative, the PEC wanted to both educate and engage its membership community online. Tocquigny has developed an interactive site that uses technology to better serve its membership base. This is accomplished with paperless billing, online service requests, conservation education and applications like an Energy Analyzer, which allows members to see their daily electric usage and helps them estimate their electricity usage in advance.
“We appreciate that the new leadership at the Pedernales Electric Cooperative is forward-thinking and understands that their membership expects convenience in their Web site interactions,” comments Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO of Tocquigny. “They also understand that social media is a valid and measurable way to spread the word about the PEC’s services.”
The new PEC site will also meet the needs of an expanded audience with a section for commercial members and a Kids Zone that offers safety and conservation information for children. Since a complete revamp of the 2003 Web site was necessary, the PEC wanted an agency to guide them through a carefully executed redesign that would support corporate transactions, communicate with the community and offer money-saving conservation content and applications.
“It is our goal to make it easier for members to engage with the Cooperative,” offers Michael Racis, Communications Manager at PEC. “We want our members to visit our Web site regularly, and we believe they will find it informative and fun to use. Tocquigny is helping us to accomplish these goals.”
The large-scale site redesign has been under construction for approximately a year and was re-launched in December 2010. For more information, visit www.pec.coop
Tocquigny is nationally recognized as a top-tier interactive agency serving global brands with creative branding and A Measured Approach™ to interactive. With an extensive breadth of services, Tocquigny can harness the latest trends and technologies in social, interactive, direct response and mobile marketing. Founded by Yvonne Tocquigny in 1980, the agency is propelled by innovation, proven methodologies and hands-on leadership. Tocquigny has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Peter Moossy.
Mobile: The Next Frontier11.11.2010
The shift from traditional to online advertising has been fueling the growth of interactive agencies like Tocquigny over the last decade. But that’s old news. The latest movement of advertising budgets to the mobile space is a wake-up call for agencies and advertisers to redefine their approach to designing web properties. Considering only the “traditional” Web, accessed from full internet browsers on PC’s, is no longer enough.
Is mobile stealing wallet share from traditional budgets or even “traditional” online budgets? One could argue the case using these recent stats: According to a survey by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), from 2010 to 2011, mobile marketing budgets will increase by 124%. Comparing that to other channels, digital as a whole is increasing 30–32%, while TV spending remains flat, at 16%. Outdoor is dropping by 26%, newspapers by 25%, and DM by 18%. Furthermore, according to a recent survey by J.P. Morgan in June, mobile budgets are projected to continue this pace into 2012, more than doubling 2010 budgets to $566 million.
Obviously, we should start with the consumer. The expectations of today’s on-the-go user are changing, and our ability to deliver a robust user experience must keep up. These users are already captive and engaged, so the resulting opportunity to make a substantial impact by producing a great mobile experience is crucial for all marketers.
The strategic purchase of ad networks AdMob and Quattro by Google and Apple respectively, demonstrates both companies saw this growth opportunity long ago. Recently, Mashable pointed out that each corporate giant has a different angle, with Google betting on mobile Web and Apple betting on the apps. Apple had a head start; a larger market share and a rabid fan base to launch its mobile platform. But Google has been in mobile for a couple years now with AdSense, and already has an established relationship with advertisers. iAd, Apple’s advertising platform, is experiencing slow growth due to a high barrier to entry and the focus on high-end ads within apps for advertising. With Android’s recent massive growth fueling the other side of the equation, you can count on significant R&D investment in mobile by both sides. The takeaway here is that this friendly competition is also spurring the growth of the mobile advertising industry as a whole.
Speaking of Apple, their public battle against Flash and the push for HTML5 will definitely impact the user experience in mobile advertising. Waaaay back in 2005—can you hear my grandfather voice?—the first mobile ad networks started to pop up, but since then, the basic mobile banner ad hasn’t changed much. HTML5 will alleviate many of the technical barriers for rich media developers to enter the space. Another great article from Mashable highlights the “5 Ways HTML5 Is Changing Mobile Advertising” for the better. Highlights include the upcoming drop in the barriers to entry for mobile developers, mostly in the areas of development efficiencies, flexibility, speed, and measurement. It also highlights the continued need for more standards in cross-platform rich media.
The Mobile Inbox
While social media is seeing large increases in mobile use, we should not forget about the importance of email. A recent study by Nielsen shows that the majority of mobile time — 41% — is spent in email. There is no doubt that the email industry as a whole is coming to terms with the growth of mobile. This is inspiring providers and marketers in general to improve the overall mobile email experience from the mobile inbox to the click-through destination. Social media has a head start in mobile; for the most part, it comes out-of-the-box with mobile optimization for messages. For email, both the email and the destination need high customization to deliver a solid experience. If your message ends up in someone’s mobile inbox and you don’t have a mobile-optimized destination, you are dead in the water — to that user at least. Email marketers are facing relatively low response rates to begin with, so every interaction and click is precious.
The Mobile Effect on Retail
Mobile search is also expanding at a rapid rate, not just for information, but also for local retailers. A recent Google blog post points out that 54% of users who shopped online but purchased offline used their mobile device to conduct that search. The iPad and many other entries in the tablet market are also causing this shift, as more and more consumers will be surfing not from their desktops, or even notebooks, but from their other, larger mobile device. Now add mobile barcodes to the equation. More and more users are tapping into the power of their personal barcode scanners. In a trend report from September 2010, ScanLife reported a spike in mobile barcode scanning in the last year. Now that consumers are using their devices to price-shop “offline,” retail marketers need to keep their eye on this movement. While barcodes may not have a huge effect on mobile advertising the way we see it today, the future will most likely show that proximity-based ads will throw bar-code scanning into the mix.
This is where we as marketers need help. Sure, the ads have a great click-through rate, but then what? With less clutter and banner blindness and more ownership of ad space, we need to support this mobile evolution by providing a better place to land after the click. In the past, mobile has been greatly constrained by many factors, including the fragmentation and a lack of standards in the mobile industry, privacy concerns, and a lack of mobile ad networks — until now. However, in my opinion — formed from 10 years of experience in direct response advertising — the most important obstacle has been the poor post-click conversion and the resulting impact on efficiency metrics related to ecommerce and lead generation. One of the primary drivers for this is nonoptimized pages and forms.
While these problems are quickly becoming history, marketers need to adjust their mobile focus from apps and pick up the pace on mobile Web optimization to provide consumers a better basic mobile Web experience. So much focus has been paid to apps that marketers have been distracted from this bigger long term opportunity. A great example of a champion in the mobile optimization space is Taptu. Visit their website from your mobile device, and you will be served a great list of the early adopters of “touchfriendly” mobile websites. As we head toward the end of 2010 — “The Year of Mobile” — keep your eye on the trends in mobile advertising and mobile Web optimization. Push your agency peers and advertisers to get ahead of the curve and avoid losing opportunities to others that embrace the next big wave. Review other predictions, tips, and trends in mobile, and work on your mobile Web strategy.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Tom Fornoff.
The CEO’s Top Five Misconceptions of Social Media10.26.2010
By Yvonne Tocquigny
In more than 60 speaking engagements addressing a total of more than 1,500 CEOs over the past two years, I have repeatedly bumped up against a set of common misconceptions on the topic of social media.
Many business leaders view social media as a young person’s game and a waste of time for a serious executive whose calendar is already overbooked. As a CEO myself, I understand how much competition there is for our attention. Social media can seem like a very low priority. It’s important to understand where these misconceptions originate and how to guide a busy executive toward a rewarding plan of action.
Many CEOs are holding back to see what becomes of social media before committing to a company-wide strategy that requires the allocation of some serious resources. As a stopgap, some executives have identified a young person within their organization to set up a Facebook page or Twitter presence. And with this, the CEO has mentally checked off the social media box and moved on to focus on other things. They don’t realize that their company is exhibiting a social presence that hurts their business more than it helps. This approach gets a company the presence of a “twenty-something” individual (who most likely set it up), rather than the presence it needs or deserves.
Social media has become a required component of almost every company’s marketing mix. It should be considered an important part of every media plan. Each component of social media has a different purpose — any one social media outlet in and of itself isn't enough.
Misconception 2: “Someone on my staff” can write social media posts for me.
Most executives I speak with are delegating their social media. In the best cases, where this works, it looks like the executive is involved and sharing ideas even when he or she is hands-off in the process. The executive may or may not be reviewing this content prior to the posts. At any rate, executives often miss out on the action and settle for content attributed to them that is usually less insightful than what they might have generated. And they’re missing out on the responses from their audience.
Many executives point to the fact that they get no response to their social media blogs, tweets, posts, etc. as a justification for not allocating their time to it. The reason their posts get no attention is because they lack the true personality of the executive. This situation is difficult for the executive and the staff members who are beside themselves trying to drum up yet another pithy bit of content. Or staff members work themselves into a frenzy trying to imitate thought leadership beyond their personal scope of experience.
I recommend that CEOs genuinely participate in one social media tactic. Stick a toe into the water and give it a go for six months. See what can be learned. A marketing firm can provide direction, instruction, encouragement, and support. I see that this usually pays off for everyone. In the worst-case scenario, if the executive decides to revert to delegating the social media contributions, he or she will be much better at providing direction and support in the future.
Misconception 3: I can’t learn anything I’d value from social media.
“Who wants to hear about every time someone gets a cup of coffee or turns on the TV?” That’s the response I’ve heard from many CEOs to the topic of social media. They have taken a peek and saw little content that they value. They see it as a haystack of junk with a needle of wisdom buried somewhere within.
Once CEOs know where to go online, many are actually overwhelmed with information that is useful and beneficial to them. The key is to pick an area of interest or expertise and focus on a specific topic. Learn. See who the thought leaders are and engage them. Then, proceed to network and play with the big boys.
Misconception 4: The people I care about aren’t on social media.
Executives wonder why they should spend time participating in social media when their peers and customers aren’t there. They often hold the belief that it’s just the twenty-somethings and kids who are using social media.
Yes, young people are there. And so are the media. Investors. Analysts. Professors. Prospective employees. And customers. You name it. There is a group of influential, highly informed movers and shakers of every ilk on social media. And it’s growing.
Misconception 5: My life and business activities are private, not public.
Executives are averse to allowing their thoughts to go public. It’s the practice of holding their cards close to the vest. They are uncomfortable leaving traces of interactions with their contacts on quasi-public sites like Twitter. Executives often prefer silence and secrecy when pursuing potential clients or new business strategies. CEOs experience enough public scrutiny without opening themselves up to more from utter strangers.
Even so, there is a place for discretion while using social media as an opportunity to monitor and learn as well as hold a conversation on selected topics.
All of these CEO misconceptions point to the need for a social media strategy that is integrated into a larger marketing picture that includes more traditional initiatives such as email marketing, search, and even direct mail. Once the tactics have been integrated to fully support each other, a measurement strategy is crucial. When CEOs receive regular data to understand how social media is helping to meet the company’s business goals, you’ll see a completely different attitude and willingness to play the game.
Tocquigny is nationally recognized as a top-tier interactive agency serving global brands with creative branding and A Measured Approach™ to interactive. With an extensive breadth of services, Tocquigny can harness the latest trends and technologies in social, interactive, direct response and mobile marketing. Founded by Yvonne Tocquigny in 1980, the agency is propelled by innovation, proven methodologies and hands-on leadership. Tocquigny has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
Is It Time to Fire Your Interactive Agency?10.15.2010
By Andrew Womack
You couldn’t be happier with your agency.
Everyone agrees they deliver impeccable work. For years now you’ve depended on them, and through all that time they’ve never let you down, they’ve always been prompt to meet your requests — and to be honest, they’re not exactly a burden on your budget. You couldn’t imagine any reason you’d want to change the relationship now.
But could it be better?
Take a moment to ask yourself: Are you getting the most you possibly can out of your marketing? Look beyond face value — are you getting concrete results? And even though you and your agency may feel good about the work, are you achieving your business objectives?
Though the toughest question of all may be: How can you tell? Here are some key indicators you should seek out to find your answers.
How often do you view results?
Marketing results won’t magically appear. Throughout campaign management, your agency must adhere to a rigorous pattern of testing, measuring, and refining your marketing tactics. At regular intervals, you should see their progress as they make their way toward reaching your desired objectives.
Don’t expect to see results overnight — the process takes time. But it also takes dedication. And if you’re not seeing it on a consistent basis, then you and your agency aren’t learning how to predict what’s around the corner and establish a path of continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement requires continuous examination. Does your frequency of review assure continuous improvement?
Using The Measured Approach, Tocquigny reduced this online health insurance provider's average cost per lead by 81% in five weeks.
Your goals must steer your agency’s decisions. But how specific is your agency when discussing your marketing progress? Consider hearing each of the following statements during a check-in:
- "We're on track to achieve your business goals.”
- "We've reached 1,200 of your 2,000 desired leads, and are on track to reach your remaining 800 leads by the end of this quarter.”
While the latter statement is specific and reassuring, the first is vague and should raise concerns. Specificity signals ownership, intention, and an ever-present knowledge that guides the marketing tactics your agency proposes and how vigilant they are while managing your campaigns.
You must also address whether you or your agency is leading discussions around your results. If you’re absent from a meeting, are you ever happily surprised to find out how far they’ve moved the ball forward? Unchecked progress is an indicator of the relationship’s value.
Does your agency ever tell you "no?"
Does your agency push back when they believe your requests aren’t in your best interest?
When you and your agency trust each other as equals who are dedicated to your business objectives, it creates a space for constructive conversations to flourish. That’s where you’ll find your most valuable marketing partner — as well as results that exceed all expectations.
What have you and your agency learned?
The best of all possible agency relationships is one in which your agency shares your insatiable desire to understand how your marketing performs and improve your results.
This will be evident in how your agency interacts with you. Are they open to trying new methods? Are they always pushing to a new horizon?
A continuous process of testing, measuring, and refining should produce significant insights. However, insights are worthless without action. To derive their ultimate benefit, they must be applied to future marketing efforts.
So you should ask yourself: What have I learned and what was it worth? If you can’t pinpoint any actionable learnings from the past six months, there’s an issue with your agency relationship. If there were no learnings, then there wasn’t adequate testing. And if there were learnings but no action was taken, you’ve missed serious opportunities for improvement and newfound efficiencies.
- Consider the year-over-year results Tocquigny created for one of its clients: In 2009, our client’s $700,000 investment drove $18 million in sales.
- Halfway into 2010, our client’s $350,000 investment has driven $17 million in sales.
As you can see, the benefits of continuous improvement are both exponential and vital to your success.
Does your agency ever make you nervous?
Nervous is good. You’ve hired your interactive agency to push the envelope further than you ever could have imagined. Though you may feel the need to rein them back in, your agency should be bringing you ideas that bend the limits of what’s possible in the realm of marketing technology. When you get nervous, it’s because you’re seeing something that you — and your competitors — have never seen before. You could be witnessing a game-changer.
Your agency should be presenting ideas of that caliber and consistently be moving toward securing your objectives.
If not, you know what you have to do.
Tocquigny is nationally recognized as a top-tier interactive agency serving global brands with creative branding and A Measured Approach™ to interactive. With an extensive breadth of services, Tocquigny can harness the latest trends and technologies in social, interactive, direct response and mobile marketing. Founded by Yvonne Tocquigny in 1980, the agency is propelled by innovation, proven methodologies and hands-on leadership. Tocquigny has been named the “No. 2 Interactive Agency in the Nation" by BtoB Magazine and a “Top 20 Interactive Agency” by Adweek.
Still not sure about the future of your agency relationship?
Tocquigny and Jeep Officially Release TripCast iPhone Application10.14.2010
Adventurers and travelers broadcast their journeys in this location-based branded experience.
- Today, Tocquigny, an internationally-recognized interactive marketing firm, officially announced the release of TripCast™, an iPhone application developed for Jeep®.
- TripCast is a free iPhone application that allows travelers to create an electronic journal of their adventures in real time by uploading photos, video, audio clips and status updates on location during their journey.
- Adventurers can share their trips with family and friends in real time via Facebook, Twitter, and the TripCast website.
- Includes “Points of Adventure” feature, offering more than 250,000 outdoor recreation spots in the United States to those users looking for their next adventure.
- TripCast™ is compatible with iPhone 3G, 3Gs, and 4, and can be downloaded on the iTunes App Store [links to iTunes App Store] or from the TripCast™ website www.jeeptripcast.com.
To see Jeep’s announcement of today’s news, please follow this link.
“TripCast augments the spread of place-based social sharing already established by geo-location platforms like Foursquare, Gowalla, and the newly released Facebook Places, while fostering the true adventure associated with the Jeep brand. Our clients know that 2010 is the year for mobile. In addition to mobile application development, Tocquigny has seen a rise in demand for all mobile projects, including mobile website optimization and mobile media placement.”
--Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO, Tocquigny
Video demonstration of the iPhone application in action.
Tocquigny CEO Yvonne Tocquigny discusses Tocquigny’s role in leading Jeep into the mobile space.
Senior creative director Jeff Neely and creative producer Craig Saper discuss the marketing goals and concepts behind the development of the TripCast application.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Peter Moossy.
Tocquigny and Jeep Brand Speak at Change Summit on Mobile Marketing10.13.2010
Tocquigny, nationally recognized as a top-tier interactive agency for its creative branding and measured approach to interactive, social, direct response and mobile marketing, was chosen to speak at Change: The Digital Transformation Summit on Oct. 6th in Boston, Massachusetts.
The event will showcase the forward-thinking strategies of leading digital marketers and how they are transforming the ways brands interact with their consumers using digital media.
Austin-based Tocquigny has been asked to participate in the summit to share expertise and best practices in a case study on how they assisted the Jeep® brand with mobilizing its owner fan base to promote its brand. Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO of the interactive agency and Lucas Frank, Jeep Brand Manager, Chrysler Group LLC will review the strategy, challenges and lessons learned while entering the mobile space.
The companies worked in tandem to connect the brand with its adventure-loving customers through immersive, branded entertainment, catalyzed by the integration of geo-location and social sharing. Aware that the next era will belong to mobile, the duo will speak on how to capitalize on this emerging and evolving medium and the vision for future mobile trends.
“With mobile web revenue projected to reach close to $24 billion by 2013, we know global brands are contemplating how to best take advantage of the iPhone and smart phone consumption,” comments Tocquigny. “Our experience taught us that an understanding of the behavioral patterns of the target audience combined with core competencies in interactive, social and mobile technologies is integral for success.”
The summit will also bring to life the findings of MEDIA Magazine’s October “CMO Issue,” led by Guest Editor Julie Roehm (former CMO of Wal-Mart) and her hand-picked advisory board of top marketing visionaries including David C. Edelman, Partner-Marketing and Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company; Jim Garrity, Former CMO Wachovia, Former Chairman of the Association of National Advertisers; Bill Moult, Partner, Sequent Partners; and Kim Garretson, Partner, Ovative/Group.
With Citi, PepsiCo, SAP, American Express and other marketing trend setters sharing case studies and vision for the future, Change: The Digital Transformation Summit promises to be a fast-paced environment for adapting to new digital opportunities. Those interested in attending the event, may register at: Change: The Digital Transformation Summit.
About the Jeep Brand
Built on nearly 70 years of legendary heritage, Jeep is the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys. The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence.
The Jeep vehicle lineup includes the Commander, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. To meet consumer demand around the world, all seven Jeep models are sold outside North America – and all are available in right-hand drive versions and with gasoline and diesel powertrain options. Chrysler Group LLC sells and services vehicles in approximately 120 countries around the world.
Tocquigny Supports Regent University in Enrollment Growth10.13.2010
Austin, TX, September 28, 2010– Tocquigny, nationally recognized as a top-tier interactive agency in interactive, social, direct response and mobile marketing, was tapped by Regent University to assist them in efforts to grow the university’s enrollment during the 2009-2010 academic year. Regent reports that this year’s enrollment numbers are the highest since the school was founded in 1978.
Undergraduate enrollment for Regent is up 29 percent, and graduate enrollment has increased by 19 percent over the last year. Selected to guide the university’s efforts in reaching prospective students online, Tocquigny gained national recognition by winning the Six Sigma Award for “Best Organization Improvement” for its work in assisting Regent with recruitment.
Screen grabs from pre-roll spot that ran on cbn.com and Tangle.com
"We can attribute our strong enrollment to several factors, including an effective online marketing program and superior student retention," said Tracy Stewart, vice president for information technology. Tracy received the 2009 CIO100 Award from the International Data Group’s CIO magazine. She was recognized for the effective and innovative use of technology in applying Tocquigny’s “A Measured Approach™” (for accountability in ROI and metrics) directly to the university’s recruitment efforts.
The efficiencies gained have been useful in offsetting the increased media costs incurred as more colleges and universities enter the online arena. Developing a strategy for connecting with prospective students while they are researching colleges on the Web, Tocquigny implemented an interactive campaign consisting of media, pay-per-click ads, Facebook advertising and other social media.
“In a year when many colleges and universities are competing for new students, we consider the growth in campus and online classes to be quite significant,” comments Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny. “Institutions of higher education now need to meet their prospective students online.”
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Peter Moossy.
TripCast: Our Jeep iPhone App Adventure10.12.2010
By Colin Gilligan
We love adventure. We love mobile. We love Jeep. So, you can imagine the fun we had developing Jeep®’s first iPhone application: TripCast™, a trek-tracking, geo-social sharing utility.
After a multi-month adventure, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Jeep’s stellar application (if we don’t say so ourselves). TripCast by Jeep is an easy-to-use, free app and website that enables consumers to track a trip, share an electronic scrapbook of their adventures, and upload photos, videos, audio clips and notes. Users can also share their journey through Facebook and Twitter, and online through the TripCast website.
Check it out now. TripCast is compatible with iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 and can be downloaded free from the TripCast website, or from the iTunes App Store using “Jeep” or “Tripcast” as search words.
To make a splash in today’s interactive market, brands have to find innovative ways to facilitate sharing, especially as social media becomes a way of life for a new generation of consumers. As we’ve all read over and over, recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted online are now the most trusted forms of advertising.
So, when it came time to concept Jeep’s mobile application, we wanted to associate this legendary automobile brand with the most cutting-edge trends in real-time sharing of content and geo-location in the social sphere. Phew - that’s a mouthful! Really, we layered popular technologies, like those that power Gowalla and Foursquare, on top of other popular technologies, like the real-time social sharing of content along an adventure via Facebook and Twitter.
Most important of all was to provide an application that would appeal to both the Jeep core consumer and a mass audience that could identify with the brand’s adventure-loving lifestyle.
Traveling across the southeastern U.S. just a month ago, I broadcasted my trip via Twitter and TwitPic. My friends and family loved it, following me along the way and sending texts of enjoyment. But, I wished there was an easier way to transmit my trip – for my friends (miles away) to enjoy in real-time, for my family (waiting at our vacation destination) to know my real-time location, and for me to relive all the memories at the end of the trip.
Enter TripCast by Jeep – not just a road trip tracker but an adventure tracker. Kayaking, hiking, or biking, TripCast by Jeep makes it easy to share an adventure in real-time and save it like a scrapbook. Too bad I took vacation last month…
In the end, the top-funnel awareness this sort of branded entertainment application can generate is just the kind of soft sell to which consumers respond more favorably. By offering an entertaining, utilitarian experience, the Jeep brand can build interest, engagement, and trust with its potential (and current) customers. That’s something everyone can love.
Do you love mobile?
But, unsure how to harness this emerging medium to invigorate your brand?
Take an adventure with the Tocquigny team - contact us today.
Life Science Marketing - An Interactive Approach03.17.2010
By Yvonne Tocquigny
Scientists and medical professionals seem to have an insatiable appetite for information on new products and techniques. They also have strong preferences as to how and when they wish to interact with marketers. That said, they also tend to lack respect or trust for advertising. They resent the intrusion of marketing and want pertinent professional information, not clever or promotional ads. Believing they are above the influence of advertising, scientists and medical professionals want to make decisions based on technical facts that they generally believe are "beyond a copywriter’s understanding." Writing that resembles "ad copy" is seen as distasteful, and slick graphics are quickly dismissed as "fluff."
Regardless of what you have to say, this audience chooses not to listen to your marketing message unless it is tailored specifically to their information needs. Scientists and medical professionals have two types of information needs — “Heads-Up” information and “Heads-Down” information:
- "Heads-Up" information includes news on technological advances, the competitive environment, and industry trends. They are more likely to read printed articles, ads (particularly banner ads placed on sites they trust), brochures, and email newsletters for this type of information.
- "Heads-Down" information is knowledge gained on the job and consists of data, specifications, or technical information on how to solve specific problems. They are more likely to use websites and blogs to acquire this intelligence.
Take a Straightforward Approach
Scientists and medical professionals usually purchase products after carefully weighing facts and making relevant comparisons. They prefer straightforward message tones, characterized by factual, low-key, professional approaches. Advertising copy should appeal to reason first and emotion second — because, for the scientist or medical professional, purchasing is a measured process based primarily on technical data, not pleasant feelings. Furthermore, the conceptual language used should be familiar to this audience (e.g., charts, graphs). Using their vocabulary is important because it conveys credibility and makes them comfortable with their ability to fully understand the message.
Get It Right the First Time
Scientists and medical professionals are trained to question information. They apply a highly critical eye to the choices that a vendor company makes in designing and marketing their products, and they won’t revisit their decisions. Therefore, inadequately executed efforts to influence this audience may do more harm than good. We recommend testing marketing campaigns before their deployment to be certain that the messaging and tactical implementation will be effective.
Use Social Media Marketing
How should a company go about marketing to a target who claims to be immune to typical advertising and marketing techniques?
Social media marketing is an excellent way to inform and influence scientists and medical professionals. Since recommendations from colleagues are one of the most trusted and valued ways they receive information and make decisions, they are likely to solicit the opinions of a small community that they trust. These professionals are quick to discover that they can greatly benefit from the experiences of others and are often eager to share information. By developing, monitoring and contributing to the right online communities, companies can build trust and awareness more efficiently than most other channels. When social marketing is combined with search marketing, an informative website, and a targeted display advertising program, the results can boost a company’s growth and profits.
Other proven marketing techniques to reach the scientist and medical professional include:
- Appeal to the analytical, intelligent mindset through the use of interactive tools to deliver branding and key messages
- Demonstrate how technical features deliver value through interactive, technical demos
- Provide offers of intelligent information to reduce perceived risks
Used together as a comprehensive strategy, we have seen these techniques work to gain the trust and focused attention of cautious decision makers. One-off efforts will not, however, lead to long-term success. An effective marketing strategy in which each tactic ladders back to support a specific business goal is the best way to build a dependable approach for the delivery of measurable results.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Tom Fornoff.
Tocquigny CEO Headlines Entrepreneur Conference03.04.2010
Tonight, Yvonne Tocquigny, founder and CEO of Tocquigny, an internationally recognized interactive marketing firm, will be the first woman to deliver a keynote address at The Relationship and Information Series for Entrepreneurs (RISE) Conference, whose previous speakers include Roy Spence, John Mackey, and Philip Berber. Tocquigny will share her personal experiences and the challenges she faced in building a successful business from the ground up and maintaining that success for 30 years. The session is the culmination of the conference’s week of events, during which entrepreneurs from multiple industries convene to exchange ideas, experiences, challenges, and resources.
“I am honored to be one of the keynote speakers for this year’s annual conference,” Yvonne said. “RISE offers a great opportunity to bring together leaders and women entrepreneurs within the Austin business community and further cultivate an innovative and inspiring environment.”
Tocquigny launched her creative-based ad agency in 1980. Her work quickly gained national notoriety, and in 1991 she transformed the creative studio into a full-service agency that grew to specialize in interactive development, social media, mobile marketing, database analytics, and a full range of integrated digital marketing campaign services.
As CEO, Tocquigny has consulted clients, including Caterpillar, DTCC, and AMD, on how to efficiently structure and manage a marketing organization that produces the results C-level executives desire. The agency serves a broad range of clients, including Dell Computer Corporation, Regent University, Teradata, Massachusetts Health Connector, and numerous other companies, including startups.
“Yvonne’s experience as a female business leader and entrepreneur will resonate with many of our attendees,” said RISE Co-Founder Suzi Sosa, founder and president of the MPOWER Foundation. “We believe that her strong position and influence is reflected in her innovative ideas and passion as well as Tocquigny’s long-standing history in Austin.”
Additional information about the RISE Conference can be found at riseaustin.org.
The Metrics “Beat”: Telling Your Story Using the 5 W’s of Journalism03.04.2010
Everyone agrees that capturing key metrics is important in today’s ROI-focused marketing environment. But capturing marketing metrics isn’t enough: metrics tell a story, and how effectively they are communicated is as important as the measurements themselves. Too often, busy marketers fail to effectively communicate their metrics to one of the toughest audiences they need to influence: the busy executive stakeholders within their organization. To wit, they fail to effectively cover what journalists commonly refer to as the “5 w’s”: the who, what, when, where and why of their metrics.
Every good news story has the 5 w’s, and usually you’ll find them in the first sentence. Why is that? Because busy newspaper readers scan stories just like busy managers, directors and executives scan their emails. If it’s a compelling story, they’ll read more.
Below is a good example of applying the principles of journalism to communicating key metrics. Count the 5 w’s. They are all there.
“Last quarter, our online lead generation campaign increased qualified sales leads of our key target audience of IT procurement professionals by 50%, contributing to an overall increase of sales of our new software by 10% over the previous quarter, according to an analysis of our Web analytics software and sales data.”
That’s a sentence that can fit into the smallest email window. You can say that entire sentence in the time it takes for an elevator to go up one floor or while your CEO pours a cup of coffee. Can you summarize your key metrics in one sentence? If you can’t, then you either haven’t captured the metrics necessary to tell your story, or you aren’t distilling your information concisely enough to communicate metrics to your busy internal stakeholders. Either way, you have to be able to cover your 5 w’s, or you don’t have the complete story.
Just as reporters have “beats,” like sports, politics or business, marketers report on their metrics. Grab your notebook and pencil, because here are some tips for covering the metrics beat:
- Who is your audience? All marketing metrics begin with an awareness of a single person you are trying to influence. Who is this person?
- What are you trying to measure? No, you aren’t trying to measure page views, impressions or hits. You are trying to measure things like service inquiries, qualified leads or sales of products. You are measuring the effectiveness of your call to action.
- When were the metrics captured, and what time period do they cover? Do they relate to previous metrics, and if so, how? All marketing metrics span a timeframe. Knowing not just when they were captured, but relating them to previous efforts puts the metrics in a big-picture context.
- Where did these metrics come from? What methods, techniques or organization created and analyzed them? The first question a skeptical audience asks is “Where did you get these numbers?” Anticipate it and be prepared!
- Why are these metrics important? How are they relevant to your business? Connect the dots for your internal audience. How did this investment in marketing pay off?
In today’s complex and fast-paced business environment, it’s not enough to capture and interpret the metrics for your marketing initiatives. Metrics tell a story. By applying the time-proven techniques of journalists, you can make sure that your audience understands your message before turning the page.
Why Marketing Has Lost its Clout, and What it Can Do to Get it Back03.03.2010
In 1913, retail magnate John Wanamaker wryly observed that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Nearly a century later, Wanamaker’s concerns regarding advertising still haunt chief executives and chief financial officers (CFOs) across corporate America. With marketing and advertising expenditures for 2005 projected to reach $250 billion in the United States alone, there is increasing pressure to bring those responsible for marketing expenditures to account.
Increasing global competition, corporate scandals and the recent economic recession have forced corporate boards and shareholders to join this call for greater marketing accountability. The era of trust me marketing is over. Marketers must show a clear return on marketing investment by measuring both the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing programs. Furthermore, marketers need to make a clear link between marketing dollars spent and shareholder value added. The pressure for accountability and performance, however, can be unbearable. Chief marketing officer (CMO) tenure is at an all-time low with most marketing executives lasting fewer than 24 months on the job.
Given that the primary function of marketing is to drive profitable sales, common sense would seem to dictate that marketing executives should hold seats at the highest levels of major corporations. However, the opposite is true. Less than 50% of Fortune 1000 corporations have CMOs, compared with approximately 80% that have chief information officers (CIOs) and almost 100% that have chief financial officers. Even for those companies that do have CMOs, their clout within the organization has diluted over the last decade. Some do not even report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO). Corporate leaders are increasingly electing to delegate the responsibility for planning and executing the marketing mix (i.e. product, price, placement, people and promotion) to a myriad of managers and functions rather than consolidating it under a single marketing executive.
There is, whether real or perceived, a wide gap between CEO and CFO expectations and marketing performance. According to a Forrester Research survey, 80% of companies express dissatisfaction with their own ability to establish benchmarks for the business impact and value of their marketing programs. A survey published in the Journal of Marketing Society found that chief executives tend to view marketers as creative and hardworking, yet inconsistent, unaccountable and not value-focused. Marketers tend to concentrate on short-term sales performance and daily operating problems rather than long-term strategic goals. They are increasingly viewed as the people responsible for brochures and promotions. Understanding why marketers have lost stature within their organizations will go a long way toward helping bring marketing back into the core of corporate strategy.
Marketing’s Fifth Wave
The history of marketing can be divided into five distinct eras or waves: production efficiency, salesmanship, market research, product differentiation and customer relationships.
In the late nineteenth century, most companies focused on efficiently producing quality products, building distribution channels and achieving economies of scale. Few companies produced branded products, and marketing was viewed as a cost rather than a valued-added part of production. The person in charge of marketing was likely a trained economist.
During marketing’s second wave, in the early twentieth century, branding became more common and companies focused on personalized selling as a way to reach consumers. The company’s sales manager led all marketing efforts.
Marketing’s third wave was marked by the advent and proliferation of consumer and market research in the 1940s and 1950s. During this era marketers such as David Ogilvy and Lester Wunderman pioneered the concepts of “advertising that works” and direct-response marketing. Research allowed marketers to test which ads received the highest response and direct marketing allowed for better tracking of marketing expenditures.
From the 1960s to the early 1990s, marketers focused on developing product differentiation—through branding and mass advertising—and traditional selling techniques to reach the largest number of consumers possible. This fourth wave may be referred to as advertising’s golden era. During this era, advertising became synonymous with marketing and marketers focused primarily on developing mass-media skills.
Marketing’s fifth wave coincides with the globalization of markets and the birth of the information age. Companies now face increasing competition from an array of global companies offering lower-priced and higher-quality products and services. Companies must also deal with more demanding customers and their increasing expectations. In the last decade, a significant shift in the focus of corporate and marketing strategies has occured. Corporate executives are demanding that marketing be less art and more science. As a result, marketing techniques are becoming more sophisticated. Technology now allows companies to collect a wealth of data that gives insights into customers’ preferences. Software engineers have developed computer simulation models that can mimic and predict consumer behavior. Neuroscientists give us understanding of how the brain makes purchasing decisions and how it responds to advertising. Statisticians use data mining techniques to segment markets with pinpoint accuracy. Marketers can now identify the company’s most valuable customers, understand those customers’ needs and tailor solutions to attract and retain them over the long term. Another technology-related trend is the increasing use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, sophisticated financial systems and Activity Based Costing (ABC) accounting. ABC systems allow management to assign both direct costs and indirect costs (such as marketing) to an activity, product or service. Financial data can now be linked to market and customer data to provide marketers with actionable market intelligence. The tools exist for marketers to be able to track and measure the effectiveness of a corporation’s marketing strategy.
CEOs and CFOs have taken notice and are asking marketers to use these tools to demonstrate short term and long-term return on marketing investments—and, more importantly, to demonstrate precisely how marketing contributes to shareholder value. So, why are not more marketing executives stepping up to the plate and delivering what is being asked of them?
The Knowledge Gap
One could say that CEOs and CFOs are in many ways joined at the hip. After all, CEOs are more likely to have a background in finance than in marketing. CEOs and marketing executives, on the other hand, are likely to come from entirely different perspectives. A major problem is that marketers do not speak the language of CEOs. A marketer will get excited about increasing sales, but will not get much reaction from a CFO without proof that the increase translates into profitable growth. Similarly, a marketer’s presentation about awareness and perceptions will draw yawns from a CEO who is preoccupied with shareholder value.
Most of today’s marketers are consumed with daily operational issues and short-term tactical goals. In most organizations they lack the stature and the skills to formulate and execute the functionally aligned marketing strategies that deliver shareholder value. Undergraduate marketing programs at U.S. universities are still training mass media marketers. They have fallen short of providing marketing students with the know-how to be the successful business executives of tomorrow. Essential advanced courses in supply chain management, strategic planning, manufacturing operations and financial marketing are elective. Unless marketers work at large corporations, they are not likely to receive the on the-job training or the advanced business courses necessary to obtain these skills. Forrester Research is forecasting an increase in demand for marketing MBAs with quantitative skills. However, marketing professionals who leave their positions to attend business school are not likely to go back into the marketing field. And while close to 60% of MBA students from top business schools go on to work in finance and management consulting, only 10% elect to work in marketing. As a result, the task of performing complex analyses and developing benchmarking and performance metrics falls mostly to finance.
Unable to gauge the value of marketing in meeting strategic corporate goals, companies rely on cost-cutting initiatives, increased productivity and acquisitions to deliver shareholder value.
The Value of Marketing
CEOs and CFOs are partly to blame for marketing’s failure to contribute significantly to shareholder value. Marketers may not fully understand the agenda of senior executives. But a more serious problem is that senior executives do not understand the true value of marketing. A survey commissioned by KPMG found that financial executives rank marketing at the bottom of investments necessary to generate long-term growth. Training, information technology, human resources and research and development were all ranked higher.
Chief executives, especially CFOs, must understand that a company’s brand is an asset—an intangible asset—but an asset nonetheless. However, brand investments are typically expensed and not capitalized, which makes no sense. Why capitalize over 10 years a machine that costs $100,000 but then take a marketing branding program that costs the same and expense it over just one year? Under Scenario 1, as shown in the accompanying table, the effect of the machine’s acquisition on the profit and loss statement for one year is only $10,000. Under Scenario 2, revenue has decreased by $50,000 and as a result investment in branding is cut by $40,000, while the machinery investment is left alone. However, as outlined in Scenario 3, the true implications of these investments can be seen only if looked at from a cash basis perspective. When both machinery and marketing are capitalized over only one year, the effect of both investments on cash is the same. But in reality, the useful life of the brand is likely to outlive that of the machine.
Capitalization accounting principles are the main reason why marketing budgets are the first to be slashed when corporations are looking to trim costs. Accrued earnings do not deliver shareholder value; cash does. It is myopic to make investment decisions based solely on short-term accrual accounting implications.
In most companies, marketing budgets are set as a percentage of projected sales or based on an arbitrary increase over the previous year’s budget. When sales decline, finance cuts the marketing budget. But marketing spending drives sales—not the other way around. It therefore makes no sense to indiscriminately cut marketing budgets when sales are declining.
Brand value equals customer value, which equals shareholder value. Brands and customers, not products and services, generate the cash flows that create long-term shareholder value. Consider IBM. Over the last 100 years, the company has transformed itself, selling tabulating machines from the 1910s through the 1930s, the world’s earliest computers in the 1940s and 1950s, mainframes in the 1960s and 1970s, personal computers from the 1970s through the 1990s and business consulting now. The only thing that has remained constant over the years has been its brand. Today, IBM is the ninth-largest corporation in America and generates annual sales of close to $100 billion. Companies like IBM prove that customers and brands, just like other corporate assets, have a lifetime value.
Using logic or citing case studies to argue the need for marketing investment might not be enough to persuade a CEO or CFO. It is important for marketers to work with finance to develop financial models that link marketing investment to future cash flow generation. Assuming the right data are available, estimating both brand and customer lifetime value in terms of cash should not be a difficult exercise. A simple approach would be to use traditional discounted cash flow formulas adjusted to brand-specific risks and variables. Of course, these estimates would only be subjective approximations—but that is true for most investment analyses.
The value and differentiation of a brand in a customer’s mind is stronger and more sustainable than that of a product. Strong differentiated brands will consistently generate, maximize and grow cash flows. They achieve this by commanding a price premium, allowing for brand extensions and licensing, creating barriers of entry, attracting and retaining more valuable customers and reducing the costs of customer acquisition. Only through alignment; a value-focused, measurable marketing strategy; and consistent investment can companies build the assets needed to identify, attract and retain these valuable customers.
How to Bring Marketing Back into the Core of Corporate Strategy
Understand the CEO’s agenda
Ultimately, a CEO’s job is to create and grow shareholder value. Marketers must understand how the corporate strategy will deliver this value and align their marketing strategy to it. They must learn to convey to CEOs how marketing investment results in increased shareholder value. Measurement and cross-functional alignment will be crucial to this, as marketing does not operate in a vacuum. It is important for marketing to develop strong partnerships with other internal functions, especially finance and IT, as well as with external channel partners.
Broaden your skill set
The age of the mass media marketer is over. A marketer who does not know how ABC accounting works, or who cannot estimate the profitability or net present value of a customer, will not be able to have a meaningful relationship with senior executives. Marketers will not be able to protect or grow their marketing budgets if they cannot articulate to the CFO the effect that marketing investment will have on the bottom line. If business school is not an option, there are several excellent financial marketing, valuebased marketing and marketing metrics books and articles that would be very useful to the self-starter (see Further Reading). There are also a number of firms that offer on-site metrics and financial marketing workshops.
Embrace a measured approach
A marketing metrics plan that is based on both financial and non financial measures is vital to the success of a corporation’s marketing strategy. Marketers should identify and develop their organization’s MetricsDNATM—that is, a map of benchmarks and key performance indicators that allow corporations to control and optimize the marketing mix in order to identify, attract and retain customers (see Figure 1). Strategically, marketers should concentrate on aligning measurement across the organization around a few key strategic metrics that focus on customer profitability, customer lifetime value and brand equity. Marketers must use financial metrics to make a direct connection between their marketing measurements and shareholder value. It is also important to make marketing agencies and other partners accountable for delivering shareholder value. Corporations should select agencies that take a measured approach to marketing planning and execution.
Beware of meaningless metrics
Not everything that marketers measure is worth measuring. Measuring can sometimes be prohibitively expensive, with the cost of measurement surpassing its value. Not much is to be gained from measuring the value of Procter & Gamble’s 250 brands on a monthly basis, for example. The cost would be astronomical and the process too time-consuming.
Another problem is that sources of data are often unreliable or nonexistent. Most companies do not possess sufficient historical customer data to make accurate correlation and regression analyses. And data obtained from third-party sources may be dated or not relevant.
Measures of efficiency may be misleading or of little value. A metric indicating a low marketing cost per sale is of no importance if the total cost per sale shows a loss. Similarly, a sudden increase in awareness might be undesirable if the brand’s reputation has just plummeted.
Metrics must be tailored to each corporation’s business model and corporate strategy. Furthermore, over-reliance on metrics may be counterproductive. Marketing will never be 100% science. A marketer’s experience, intuition and strategic thinking will determine the success of a corporation’s marketing strategy.
Embrace value-based marketing
A marketer’s goal should not be to research, advertise and promote a brand. These are just marketing tactics. Rather, a marketer’s goal should be to deliver value to shareholders. Marketers should view customers and brands as the corporation’s most important assets, and they would do well to pursue an investment portfolio approach to managing these assets. That is, marketers should develop and execute strategies that build and grow the equity and value of these assets over the long term (see Figure 1).
Back to the Core
The relegation of marketing from a position of corporate influence to one of dubious importance has been neither sudden nor simple. The decline took place over a century’s time and may be attributed to a number of factors. The situation is not, however, irreversible. Marketing can move back into the core of corporate strategy by taking a proactive approach to understanding, participating in and promoting the corporate agenda of delivering shareholder value, as outlined in this paper.
The Importance of Measuring Brand Value and Brand Equity03.03.2010
Brand value and brand equity represent two different, yet intricately linked, concepts. Brand value is the net present value of future cash flows from a branded product minus the net present value of future cash flows from a similar unbranded product—or, in simpler terms, what the brand is worth to management and shareholders. Brand equity is a set of perceptions, knowledge and behaviors on the part of customers that creates demand and/or a price premium for a branded product—in other words, what the brand is worth to a customer. Brand equity may also be defined as a set of elements such as brand associations, market fundamentals and marketing assets that help distinguish one brand from another.
While measuring brand value has its usefulness, the act of measurement by itself will not make a brand more valuable or less risky. Quantifying and managing brand equity, however, using a customized measurement model, is critical to transferring value to the corporation’s shareholders.
The value of every asset, whether tangible or intangible, can be estimated. Some assets are easier to value than others, and some valuations are more precise than others. Intangible assets, such as brands, often fall in the more difficult, less precise valuation category. While the valuation of brands requires techniques that are quite different from those used to value stocks or fixed assets, the basic principles are the same. First, from a shareholder’s perspective, the value of a brand is equal to the financial returns that the brand will generate over its useful life. Second, any financial returns attributed to a brand must be discounted to account for market uncertainty and asset-specific risks. These two principles apply to the valuation of all assets, not just brands.
Uses of Brand Valuation
For American corporations, brand valuation is a relatively new science. The valuation of brands tends to be more common outside the United States, primarily in Europe, where International Accounting Standards allow for the capitalization of acquired brands. In the United States, brands are not capitalized, making the use of brand valuations far more limited. There are, however, circumstances that will require a corporation to measure the financial value of its product’s brand and/or of its corporate brand.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Rarely will a corporation pay book value to acquire another business entity. The difference between book value and the acquisition price paid is called goodwill. Goodwill is often defined as the value of a business entity not directly attributable to its tangible assets and/or liabilities. Estimating the financial value of a brand helps determine the premium over book value that a buyer should pay.
One of the ways to cash in on the equity of a strong brand is by extending or licensing the brand. It is possible for both the licensor and the licensee to benefit economically from a licensing arrangement. The licensor benefits from a new source of revenue that requires little capital investment.
The licensee benefits by having lower channel, advertising and customer acquisition costs.
While corporations do not carry brands on their balance sheets as long-term assets, financial markets recognize the contribution brands have on shareholder value. Companies with strong brands regularly obtain better financial terms than companies with poor brands. The higher the value of the brand, the better the terms.
Usually, brand investment reviews entail the comparison—across brandsand against competitors—of hard measures, such as sales and market share, and soft measures, such as reputation and awareness. For some brands, it is also important to determine financial value. Brand valuations allow companies to gauge their return on brand investment and to develop appropriate investment strategies across a portfolio of brands.
Market mix modeling is becoming an increasingly popular tool employed by marketers who must make decisions about the allocation of budget and resources. Companies can now more accurately estimate the mix of marketing vehicles required to maximize both budget efficiency and marketing effectiveness. For some companies, brand valuations are an essential element of market mix modeling.
Brand Valuation Methods
Several methods are commonly used to establish the financial value of brands. All of them should establish the future economic benefit of brand ownership, discounted for market and brand-specific risks. The most commonly used valuation models are: discounted cash flows, book-to-market, gross profit differential and relief from royalty. Before reviewing these models, though, it is important to have a clear understanding of the role that risk plays in estimating future financial value. This reflects the concept of risk beta, which can be explained as follows.
Every investment has an expected return, and that return has a certain level of risk, or variance, attached to it. The variance is a measure of the gap between expected and actual returns and is commonly referred to as the beta. In order to determine this variance, a company’s performance is benchmarked against a larger portfolio or market. A market such as the S&P 500 or the Dow is assigned a beta of 1.0. Companies with a beta of less than 1.0 will have low volatility or risk and those with a beta higher than 1.0 will have a higher risk. Regardless of the method employed to value a brand, it is important to first estimate its beta. The right approach would be to use the company’s market beta and to adjust that beta for brand-specific risks. For example, the Altria family of companies may have a low beta, but its Marlboro brand will have a high beta once it is adjusted for legal and/or brand equity risks.
Discounted Cash Flow
This is the most commonly used approach to brand valuation. A discounted cash flow model estimates the value—today—of a brand that will generate anticipated cash flows in future years. In other words, it suggests what the future economic benefit (cash) of the brand is worth today. Anticipated cash flows must be discounted to account for future risks and uncertainty. In simple financial terms, discounted cash flow can be expressed as:
DCF =_ C
(1 + r) t
Where DCF is the discounted cash flow,
C is the cash flow inflow attributed
to the brand,
r is the discount rate or risk factor, and should
be calculated using the brand’s beta, and
t is the number of discounting periods.
The actual formula used may be somewhat more complex. Enough data on cash inflows and risk factors must be compiled and the right set of assumptions must be determined before any data modeling takes place.
The book-to-market approach is used to estimate the value of an asset or brand by subtracting its book value from its market value. Book value is calculated by adding a company’s total assets and subtracting liabilities and intangible assets. Market value is estimated by looking at market capitalization—that is, the value of all outstanding shares. This approach lets market forces determine the value of a brand. There are limitations to this approach, though. First, in the attempt to estimate the value of one of many brands, it is difficult to attribute aspecific market capitalization to it. For example, what is the value of the Tide brand relative to the Procter & Gamble brand? Second, if the company is privately held, this approach will not work because a private company does not have market capitalization. The formula for book-to-market valuation can be expressed as:
bv = m – b
Where bv is brand value,
m is market value and
b is book value.
Gross Profit Differential
For certain product brands, the easiest way to determine brand value is by using a gross profit differential approach. In this approach, the value of a branded product will be equal to the price of that product minus the average price of similar non-branded products. For example, the brand value of Scope mouthwash will be equal to the price of a unit of Scope minus the average price of all other non-branded mouthwashes times the number of units of Scope sold. In mathematical terms this can be expressed as:
bv = (p – n) x
Where bv is brand value,
p is the price of a branded unit,
n is the average price of similar,
non-branded products and
x is the number of branded units sold.
Relief from Royalty
In this approach, a corporation uses the royalty fee it charges to license its brand as a proxy for brand value. In other words, if the company does not own the brand being valued, the company would have to pay the owner a royalty for the right to use the brand. The royalty is based on a percentage of income and is a function of the right being granted and other microeconomic and macroeconomic factors. Once a royalty fee is ascertained, a variation of the discounted cash flow method is used to estimate the actual value of the brand.
Brand equity consists of elements such as the brand associations, market fundamentals and marketing assets that distinguish one brand from another and that influence a customer’s perceptions of or knowledge about a brand. When brand elements are favorable in a customer’s mind, brand equity is considered to be positive. When they are not favorable, the brand equity is negative.
Positive associations of a brand in a customer’s mind are generally stronger and more sustainable than those of a product, assuming that sufficient investments are being made in appropriate brand management. Brands with positive equity will consistently generate, maximize and grow cash flows. They achieve this by commanding a price premium, allowing for brand extensions and licensing, creating barriers of entry, attracting and retaining more valuable customers, and reducing the costs of customer acquisition.
Positive brand equity drives customer value, which in turn drives shareholder value. To leverage positive brand equity, marketers must take a measured approach to identifying, developing and managing brand elements relevant to the corporation and its products. Several marketing organizations offer services and products around the measurement and management of brand equity. Three of them have developed unique approaches to measuring brand equity: Young & Rubicam (Y&R), Millward Brown and Tocquigny.
Y&R: BrandAsset TM Valuator
In the 1990s, Y&R conducted a study that measured brand attributes for 450 global brands and more than 6,000 local brands. From this study, the agency developed a qualitative brand measurement tool called the BrandAsset TM Valuator (BAV). Y&R uses the BAV to measure four brand elements: differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge. These elements are used tomeasure what it calls brand vitality and brand stature, with the results laid out in a grid or matrix. Y&R uses this matrix to identify strong and/or weak brands.
Millward Brown: BrandDynamics TM
Millward Brown has developed the concept of a brand pyramid. Five building blocks, stacked atop each other to form a pyramid, are used to explain why some customers are more valuable than others. These blocks represent—from low customer loyalty to high customer loyalty— presence, relevance, performance, advantage and bonding. The purpose is to move customers from lower to higher levels in the pyramid to increase brand loyalty.
Tocquigny: Brand MetricsDNA TM
Tocquigny understands that no two brands are alike. Therefore, a cookie-cutter approach that uses the same process and that measures the same associations from brand to brand is likely to result in a distorted measure of brand equity. Tocquigny believes that each brand has a unique set of brand equity elements that distinguish it from other brands. These elements go beyond brand associations to include proprietary brand business assets such as trademarks, patents, distribution reach and others. In Tocquigny’s approach, equity elements are identified, weighted and measured in order to determine a brand’s MetricsDNA TM.
A brand association is a specific perception, whether real or imagined, that a customer has about a product, service or organization. For example, someone might associate Enron with corruption and Kia with low cost. For each of these brands, the association elements that must be measured and managed would be different. Enron’s level of awareness would be less critical to measure than Kia’s, for example. In Figure 1, we have listed awareness, quality, loyalty, image, relevance and value proposition as examples of commonly used measures of brand associations. However, the list of elements that one would measure could be endless. What gets measured depends on a brand’s MetricsDNATM—that is, the unique map of brand associations and assets that make it possible to manage and optimize brand equity in order to identify, attract and retain customers.
The elements that drive brand equity go beyond customer associations to include a brand’s business assets. These assets include, but are not limited to, intellectual properties, business processes and distribution reach. For example, it does not matter how many positive associations a customer has of a brand if that product cannot be found where the customer shops. Gillette’s most importantbrand asset is its business process. For Coca- Cola, it is its distribution reach.
Venezuelan Cola Wars: Between 1970 and 1995, Pepsi had a stranglehold on the Venezuelan soft drink market. Pepsi’s investment in marketing had helped it acquire a 45% market share. In contrast, Coca-Cola’s investment of millions of marketing dollars over the years in an effort to wrestle market share away from Pepsi had resulted in a meager 10% gain. Pepsi felt confident that its strong brand associations would make it impossible for Coca-Cola ever to be a serious competitor in this market. But Pepsi’s lack of understanding of its own brand equity led it to ignore one of the most important elements: distribution reach. In 1996, following years of inattention by Pepsi to its distribution partners, Coca-Cola surprised Pepsi by acquiring a controlling stake in Pepsi’s oldest and largest bottling franchise in Venezuela. In just three months, Pepsi’s market share in Venezuela was virtually wiped out by Coca-Cola.
Corporations do not operate in a vacuum. A brand’s equity can be negatively affected by actions taken by governmental and non-governmental organizations. A city ordinance banning smoking will dilute the equity of a tobacco brand. Brands are also affected by competitors’ actions and business strategies. A drop in price by one airline will be become a brand liability for another airline. It is important to assess how market events increase or decrease brand equity risks.
A Measured Approach
Albert Einstein once said “not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that is counted counts.” There are a number of methods that can used to estimate the financial value of brands. As we have seen, financial brand valuations can be useful under certain circumstances. However, it must be stressed that financial measurement alone will not make a brand more valuable. To create value for shareholders, corporations must also focus on qualifying, measuring and managing the equity elements of their brands.
Increased Marketing Effectiveness with Six Sigma03.03.2010
The Power of Six Sigma and Marketing: Increased Marketing Effectiveness
Six Sigma has been adopted very successfully in manufacturing. This has inevitably led to the application of Six Sigma to transactional areas. If Six Sigma can decrease errors and rework on a manufacturing line, then companies will naturally look to it to decrease problems in others areas, for instance, eliminating erroneous invoices, or de-bugging software. Different techniques within Six Sigma’s toolkit apply to different types of business processes, but, broadly speaking, it can be used successfully in a wide variety of departments.
One of the last areas to be touched by Six Sigma is marketing. Good marketers have always used tools to help them crea te effective marketing. Market research in the form of segmentation, audience profiling, branding studies, and creative pre-testing allows the marketer’s job to be based on data and measurement rather than pure guesswork or instinct. Marketers also use other tools, such as sales response modeling and ad tracking, to evaluate the success of marketing campaigns post-launch and ideally apply the lessons of successes and failures to future campaigns.
So, if Six Sigma is about data-based decision making to decrease erroneous and ineffective outputs, then, at the most basic level, are marketers already doing Six Sigma? No. Six Sigma is one specific process and approach to data-based decision making. And it is one that often inspires either confusion or fear—or both—when mentioned in the context of marketing. Some marketers may feel Six Sigma poses a threat to what they do. Others may struggle to see how it can apply at all.
Six Sigma Disconnect
Six Sigma differs from other processes in that it demands high-level executive sponsorship of projects, extensive training of Black Belts (who are trained in all the tools for complex projects) and Green Belts (who receive more basic training for simpler projects), disciplined data collection for statistically-based decision making, and broad-scale participation in Six Sigma projects by cross-functional teams. It also requires documenting the reduction in “defects” and quantifying the clear, measurable financial benefits achieved by improving the process. And, perhaps most of all, Six Sigma is about consistency: creating defect-free products again and again, regardless of the individual employees working to create the final product. This is not how marketers typically operate.
Sometimes non-marketers denigrate the measures that marketers use as “soft” or non-existent. The reality is typically very different than this perception. Marketers have a myriad of information—both quantitative and qualitative—that they use to guide their decision making. It is not lack of data, but rather conflicting or ambiguous data or the lack of the right kind of data that marketers more regularly encounter. Nevertheless, the kinds of data with which marketers work—leads generated, unaided awareness, brand image, and customer loyalty—differ from Six Sigma data focused on product “defects” per million. And marketers often cannot link metrics that they track directly to the ones that matter to executives: quarterly sales, day-to-day share price, quarterly profits.
The very notion of “defects” is a stumbling block for marketers in adopting Six Sigma. Marketers generally think of marketing campaigns on a continuum from not effective to extremely effective and everything in between, but they never think of even the most ineffective campaign as a “defect.” In manufacturing, there are clear measures for when a product is defective, but with marketing, a judgment like that feels presumptive. Sure, goals for marketing campaigns are set upfront, and in a sense any campaign falling short of those goals could be considered defective. However, marketers know 1) how arbitrary many campaign goals often are when they are set and 2) how many other factors impact a campaign’s effectiveness.
Six Sigma is about rigorous control to reveal and eliminate unknown variables that can impact a product. However, most marketers know that there is no way that they can personally control the many variables that impact their campaigns. Sound research will typically contain some margin of error, but budget and timing constraints often require marketers to scale back research drastically or eliminate it entirely. Thus marketers often must make decisions with research that carries an even higher margin of error than they would like or, at worst, no research at all. In addition, product flaws, lack of customer service, and low budgets with inadequate media weight can all inhibit campaign success, much to the frustration of marketers told to focus strictly on campaigns and forfeit any real control over these other critical factors.
Therefore, many marketers have helplessly watched as their campaigns failed, perhaps sighing an “I told you we should have…” to themselves. Jaded marketers then do not want their campaigns measured for fear they will lose their jobs, though they may have sounded the alarm early on that some elements necessary for campaign success were absent. If campaigns will not be adequately funded, if product or service flaws are not addressed, if research needed to understand the market is scaled back or eliminated, who wants to be held accountable for the results? Certainly not marketers.
Six Sigma’s world of “defects” and “control” is not the one that marketers inhabit. This creates one of the reasons that marketing has been slower to adopt Six Sigma than other organizational departments. Marketers simply speak a different language than Six Sigma and are accustomed to using a different set of tools. Six Sigma requires specialized study and knowledge of its own tools, many of which were developed in environments that feel very foreign to marketers.
Furthermore, the success of marketing is typically viewed in terms of revenue growth, not cost containment. While production lines or internal departments strive to increase efficiency to reduce costs, marketers measure their success in terms of topline growth. Therefore, Six Sigma’s mandate to demonstrate cost reduction by eliminating defects does not fit marketing’s mission. What marketer ever boasted about cutting his/her marketing budget?
So, given these carriers, it is not surprising that marketing has not adopted Six Sigma wholeheartedly. But should they? Does Six Sigma offer something that marketers can use to solve their problems? Yes. Six Sigma can provide a framework to address some of the fundamental disconnects between marketing and other divisions within the organization.
The Benefits of Using Six Sigma for Marketers
When companies adopt Six Sigma, executives do so with the understanding that it will provide a framework for consistent improvement that will ultimately impact their bottom line. Oftentimes they do not think of marketing as the first area to apply Six Sigma. But when they see it successfully applied to manufacturing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, human resources, project management, etc., they become “true believers.” And they may not know how it can be applied to marketing, but they certainly hope that it can.
If marketers adopt Six Sigma in this context, they can create broad alignment within the organization about their goals and what it will take to achieve them. Unfortunately, marketers too often work in a silo within the organization—forced to chase completely arbitrary goals and divorced from other departments (product development, customer service, quality assurance, business strategy) that impact their success.
Six Sigma provides a framework and tools that can bring together cross-functional teams, with the backing of executive management, to determine what it will take to make a marketing campaign successful.
Six Sigma underlines the importance of collecting data rather than going with your “gut.” And Six Sigma demands that every project starts with the voice of the customer or those issues that are “Critical to Quality” (CTQs). Six Sigma tends to be behind traditional market research when it comes to techniques and tools for capturing the voice of the customer—this is an area where Six Sigma practitioners can learn from traditional market researchers. Marketers also know that before you can define CTQs, you must define your customer, also a function of sound research. Six Sigma can give greater visibility and legitimacy to marketing research that is too often overlooked by other divisions and executives.
And Six Sigma can help wean some marketers and executives off their addiction to focus groups as the primary method of gathering customer data. While focus groups are invaluable for understanding and exploring customers’ thoughts and needs in a cost-effective way, they should not be used as a substitute for randomly sampled, statistically projectable studies when quantification is needed. Six Sigma requires the use of rigorous statistical methods, elevating the need for quality research data.
Measure Phase—Realistic Goals and Appropriate Metrics
Six Sigma requires that goals be examined—what is realistic? The days of arbitrary goals set in a board room with no roadmap for achieving them should be over. And once realistic goals are set, what are all the factors that need to be in place to achieve them? Six Sigma provides tools in the Measure phase, such as process maps, to determine what inputs contribute to the desired outcome. If the goal is sales, but sales are impacted by inputs outside of marketing’s control, then all of those inputs must be addressed—not just the marketing campaign.
Furthermore, Six Sigma examines the systems in place to measure success. What metrics are available? Are they reliable? This process should open up the company’s databases to measure critical factors that marketers themselves cannot access and to validate whether the information is correct.
Most of all, Six Sigma will ensure that everyone is in agreement on the key metric of success. Marketing cannot measure success in terms of increases in awareness while finance monitors immediate sales increases.
Analyze Phase—Critical Diagnostics
While a campaign is running, the Six Sigma team can come to an agreement about what is going right and what is going wrong. Is the campaign generating leads that are then squandered by the sales force? Are marketers creating foot traffic in stores while high prices send customers to the competitor? Is product being sold and then returned because of poor quality? Through Six Sigma tools in the Analyze phase, such as cause and effects analysis, marketers can identify the factors that are causing performance problems and avoid the finger-pointing of the past.
Improve Phase—Testing and Optimization
Corrective steps can be taken to eliminate the factors that are causing the poor performance in the Improve phase. In a silo-ed organization, marketing looks only at “their” measurements, the ones they collect and control. Marketing looks at customer focus groups, pre- and post-ad surveys, and branding measures; finance looks at revenue, cash flow, profit and stock price. But in cross-functional Six Sigma teams, everyone works together to identify the sources of variance from the expected results. The techniques used and the key measures are agreed upon by the whole team and are tied to executive-level goals. Therefore, everyone speaks the same language and improvements are made wherever they are needed.
Six Sigma provides a framework for experimental testing to make sure that proposed improvements will achieve the desired results. Even without Six Sigma, marketers often test offers, promotions, and messages. However, Six Sigma can provide some tools for experimental designs that can be used very well in test marketing. (Likewise, marketers familiar with trade-off and conjoint analyses are already doing experimental designs in surveys that might be of great interest to Six Sigma practitioners.)
In the Control phase, agreed-upon measures are tracked to ensure that improvements are kept in place. Unfortunately, without Six Sigma, lessons learned from one campaign to the next often do not get “passed on” within an organization. Turnover can erode an organization’s ability to build on past successes and avoid mistakes. Finger-pointing can cause inertia as one division blames another for the failure of a product or campaign while no changes are implemented to correct the problem. Six Sigma requires a discipline to identify and improve problems and document that the improvements are carried forward in the future. This is a great benefit to any marketer who has ever faced the task of marketing a product with no history of what has worked or not worked in the past.
Adapting Six Sigma to Marketing
While Six Sigma provides a common language across the organization, it is not to say that traditional marketing measures—for example, awareness and branding measures—are irrelevant. Indeed, if Six Sigma is looking for specific financial benefits to the organization, it will inevitably have to understand the connection between marketing measures, such as strong awareness and branding, and bottom-line results. Historically, companies that are successful at building strong brands have better long-term performance. However, marketers know that while strong brands make enormous contributions to the bottom-line, branding campaigns cannot be quantified in simple terms like quarterly sales increases.
Six Sigma, through its quest to understand, improve and control the factors that affect performance, should quantify and enhance, rather than challenge, marketing’s contributions to the overall financial strength of the company. Non-marketers in the organization must better understand the key marketing measures that are critical to success. The organization must embrace marketing and integrate it into other divisions.
Six Sigma will also need to be adapted to marketing to account for increases in topline revenue — sales increases, customer acquisition, customer loyalty—rather than being so singularly focused on cost-cutting. Its value should be measured not only by how much it can save a company, but also in how much it can earn a company. And existing marketing research and analytical tools should be more fully incorporated into its arsenal of skills.
The bottom line is that Six Sigma and marketing, while not a “love at first sight” match, are a good fit for a long-term, productive relationship. While they have different backgrounds and languages, they bring about tangible benefits to companies when adapted to work together in a powerful partnership.
Focus on the Right E-Marketing Metrics03.03.2010
Savvy marketers understand that their company’s e-marketing initiatives can generate a plethora of data based on their customers’ interactions with online promotions, Web content and applications. However, most marketers only understand this potential in the most general sense, leading them to focus on the wrong metrics for their business requirements. Worse, Web metrics are often an afterthought to the development of online content and applications, leading to reports that are unintuitive, irrelevant and in some cases simply wrong.
Sure, you can track how many users accessed a product page. You can track how many clicked on the specification sheet. You can break these users down by IP address, country, time of day and how many exited on a page. But do you really need this information? Why?
One of my most memorable conference calls on this subject involved a marketing client, a programmer and me. The client wanted to know which link a customer clicked on to contact the company for more information. This link appeared in three different locations: the header, the footer and in the right-hand side navigation.
Tracking this behavior would have required substantial site programming costs. Essentially, a line of code would need to be inserted into each link on each page on the website. Also, the Web analytics package would need to be configured to track this data, which was going to be voluminous. It would have meant tracking the clicks of 10,000 users a day – users accessing over 250 products.
In summary, this knowledge would have required an investment in time and resources, which had a cost. Exasperated, the programmer finally asked, “What is the key business metric we’re trying to understand here?”
The marketer said that understanding user behavior is important: “We want to know what our customers are doing on the website! Isn’t it obvious why that is important?”
The programmer had a very interesting response to this that I’ve always recalled during general discussions of metrics. This is what she said:
“When I park at the mall, I always park in front of JC Penney. I walk in through the front door of JC Penney, then past the counter that sells watches. Approximately forty-five minutes later, I walk past the watch counter again with a bag full of merchandise.
“If you tracked my behavior like you track Web behavior, you would think that I love JC Penney. But you would be wrong. It’s been over five years since I purchased anything at JC Penney.
“I park at JC Penney because it’s next to the Lenscrafters where I get my family’s contact lenses. I walk in through the front door, go to Lenscrafters, then back out again. I do this several times a year.”
There are a few important points in this conversation. One is that just because you can measure something doesn’t mean that it’s important. There exists a vast universe of online metrics that can be tapped, but just as you prioritize your activities in your busy life based on importance, the Web metrics you track need to be prioritized based on your key business metrics. JC Penney would never stand by their watch counter and count how many people walked by. It’s irrelevant to them. They track how many people buy their products.
Also, tracking Web interactions and interpreting them are two distinct endeavors. Your Web analytics package can track all kinds of behavior, but is it relevant to your business? If there are three links on a given page, why do you need to know which one a user clicked? Are you proposing taking the less popular link away? Would we remove streets in our city if only five cars an hour drove on them as opposed to 500? Clearly, this data needs to be not just reported, but
So, how do you make sure you are tracking the right data? Here are a few tips.
- Make metrics an organizational priority: Within your online marketing team, you might consider appointing a “metrics czar” who is responsible for not just creating reports, but understanding the organization’s requirements for Web metrics. This person should act as a liaison between the data generated by your online marketing activities and the decision makers within your organization.
- Focus on the right metrics: Don’t just generate reports. Understand what decisions need to be made based on data. If you know the nature of the analysis, you can use your Web analytics software tools to their fullest potential.
- Build metrics into project success criteria: When conceiving online initiatives, make sure that developers, designers and content subject matter experts understand the metrics required to measure the success of the effort. Some design decisions have a direct impact on the ability of Web analytics software to capture interactions with data. Identify the key metrics you want to capture so they can be built into a project’s requirements.
One last thing, at the end of the conversation between the developer, marketer and me, we all agreed not to spend any further time tracking which link to the contact form people clicked on each product page. We instead focused our efforts on features that would yield a higher number of qualified leads. After all, the marketer was in the business of selling products, not links.
How Marketers Can Capture and Leverage the Collective Knowledge Within Their Organizations03.03.2010
The Need for Knowledge Management
By not managing their own corporate brainpower,most companies fail to realize the gains that can be acquired from harnessing the collective knowledge of the marketing organization. Finding a way to make knowledge accessible to the company offers vast pay back to individual employees as well as the company itself.
The Net Benefit of Effective Knowledge Management
An effective knowledge management system is comprised of strategy, process and technology, and impacts the organization on a number of levels. When implemented successfully, knowledge management:
- fosters innovation
- improves customer service
- decreases the time it takes to build corporate proficiencies in new areas
- facilitates the process of bringing new employees up to speed
- empowers employees to share knowledge across functional areas
- enhances employee retention rates
- increases revenue through improved efficiency and higher productivity
- increases the organization’s ability to get products and services to market quickly
The Specific Gain for Marketing Organizations
While knowledge management has broad application across various business units, there is a specific gain to be had for marketing organizations—the ability to capture and apply actionable intelligence for the optimization of marketing efforts.
At Tocquigny, we spend a lot of our time on measurement. Our core focus is to provide global enterprises with integrated solutions that are fully measurable and focus on improving business performance. The “fully measurable” part of this promise involves data and information. Every campaign or interactive tool we create has tracking built in to provide measurement data. The “improving business performance” part of this promise takes measurement to the next level—using it to impact future ecisions and optimize campaigns.
Measurement is more than just tracking. It is the smart analysis of data and information that leads to actionable intelligence—or knowledge. Knowledge management enables marketing organizations to systematically capture the
insights gained from measurement and use that knowledge to become better marketers.
The Evolution of Knowledge Organizations
Companies like Tocquigny—and the marketing groups we serve—are knowledge organizations. They derive more value from their intellectual assets than they do from their physical assets. The value of these assets is difficult to quantify because they exist in the minds and collective experience of employees, yet the growth and management of these assets is crucial in such organizations. Even so, knowledge management is rarely accomplished to any degree of effectiveness in organizations today. The following developments have made effective knowledge management an increasingly difficult challenge.
In many cases, knowledge is scattered across an organization, existing on individual hard drives and in the minds of employees. In cases where there are “knowledge base” technology systems in place, they are generally underutilized, or they exist as disparate point solutions that do not take into account the entire knowledge landscape of the organization. If you dig down far enough in these organizations, you may find a great depth of existing knowledge. However, the problem today is that organizations don’t know what they know—and, more importantly, they don’t know what they don’t know. There may be large gaps in knowledge that no one is aware of because there is no way of evaluating collective knowledge or identifying areas that need focused attention.
The Changing Workforce
Changes in today’s workforce only add to the problem. If business professionals from the 1900s were to travel in time to the 1950s, they would notice incredible changes in the world around them—air travel, the ubiquity of automobiles, skyscrapers—all of which would leave them feeling drastically out of place. Eventually, though, they would adjust to these changes and begin to fit in with their new environment. But what if business professionals from 1950s traveled in time to today? They would not notice nearly as much change in the world outside the office—but they would see a corporate environment that is completely transformed. Gone is the notion of faithful employees devoting their entire careers to one company. Gone, too, are the pension plans and job security of the past. Employers have just as little loyalty to their employees as the employees have in return. A successful professional today might work for 5, 10 or 15 companies in the course of his or her career, and large corporate layoffs are everyday occurrences. These fundamental changes in the workplace would ultimately be more devastating to our time traveler than the physical changes that took place between 1900 and 1950.
New Employee/Employer Relationships
The rules that govern the employee/employer relationship have changed. Knowledge workers today view their work as an investment of their time, attention, passion and knowledge in the companies they work for. They expect a good return on this
investment. They expect to learn, grow, be challenged and ultimately come away from their time at a company with a greater level of knowledge and experience than they had when they went in. A knowledge organization has to learn how to create an environment that allows these employees to thrive. The organization must also learn how to capture the knowledge brought to the table by these individuals in the limited time it has with them. The emergence of this entirely new work environment makes knowledge management more important than perhaps any other discipline a knowledge organization can work towards. Employees are retiring, moving on to new jobs, or otherwise leaving the company at alarming rates—and holding exit interviews to try to make sure they tell you everything they know before they leave just isn’t enough.
Using Technology to Harness Knowledge
Technology is an incredibly powerful force in transforming the way businesses operate on every level of the knowledge hierarchy (see Figure 1). On the data and information levels, it provides tracking to gather raw data and systems for storage and
quick access to information. Unfortunately,many companies do not utilize technology beyond the information level. Knowledge, or the actionable intelligence that emerges from analyzing data and information, is often left to float outside of technology
systems as intangible assets in the minds and PowerPoints of employees. Knowledge Management technology can harness this knowledge.
The Role of Technology
Before exploring knowledge management technology, it is important to understand that there are many elements of knowledge management that must be enabled by technology rather than driven by it.
- Technology does not create knowledge.The entrepreneurial spirit is a human trait.Leadership and inspiration are required to maintain the culture of innovation and thought leadership that technology is designed to capture.
- Technology is not a substitute for clear and effective process. Technology can assist the implementation of process, but it is not process itself. Organizations must have clear guidelines and incentives to ensure that knowledge is identified and stored. Technology is simply there to capture the end result of this process.
Comparing Technology Solutions for Knowledge Management
There are many technology solutions that can be force fitted to the task of knowledge management. These solutions are often data/information oriented rather than knowledge oriented. The most effective knowledge
management solutions are designed specifically for knowledge. This chart compares the widespread ad hoc system of e-mail and shared drives with two of the more common technology solutions for knowledge management and a new
emerging technology solution (see Figure 2).
You can see from this comparison that collaborative knowledge management networks work very differently than other common technology solutions. The foundation for these networks is teamwork, collaboration and a flexible organizational structure, enabling a group of individuals to build one common repository of knowledge that represents the collective knowledge of the group. By combining the knowledge of all individuals into one unified system, it creates a sort of collective brain for knowledge organizations— representing more knowledge than any one individual possesses alone.
What Is a Collaborative Knowledge Management Network?
A collaborative knowledge management network is an interactive tool that allows users to work together to create, maintain and share content. This content is made up of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of individual pages, consisting of text, images and links. Each of these pages links to other pages within the network, creating a loose neural mesh of interconnected content that is organized somewhat organically. A page about North America might link to a page about Texas, which might link to a page about oil and gas, which might link to a page about Saudi Arabia.This allows users to browse and edit content in a way that is compatible with the way their minds work.
In addition to having organic connectionsbetween pages, collaborative knowledge management networks allow content to be classified into categories and sub-categories, creating a more formal content structure. There are several ways for users to locate and consume content. They can use the category structure to browse content systematically, follow the natural connections made through links between content pages, or use built-in search functionality to jump straight to the content they are looking for.
In short, collaborative knowledge management networks are the corporate version of public wikis, which allow the masses to create, maintain and share content over the Internet. A great example of a public wiki that has a huge base of users is the Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com). Because of the openness to an unlimited base of users, public wikis have run into problems of content accuracy in the past. These problems are virtually eliminated in collaborative knowledgemanagement network. That is because such a network consists of a closed loop of users working together towards a common goal. The closed loop also fosters greater accountability on the part of users.
Net Benefit for Organizations
A Platform for Sharing. The unique collaboration and organizational attributes of collaborative knowledge management networks provide the ideal technology platform for sharing ideas in organizations. Users can post best practices and compare and discuss alternative ways of accomplishing tasks. Users can add to and improve upon best practices posted by their co-workers. Best practices can be organized in any way that makes sense to users so they can even be re-organized at any time a user comes up with a better way to structure them.
A Platform for Training. As content is compiled in the system over time, it becomes a central, authoritative source of knowledge that can be invaluable for new employees joiningthe organization. Individuals can get up to speed on business, processes and best practices, and they have a living reference manual to help them get oriented to the organization. The collaborative knowledge management network is a great tool for crosstraining employees, allowing them to browse
knowledge across disciplines and learn from their co-workers.
An Integration-Driven Central Repository.The flexible structure of the system allows for linking to external files, tools and data systems. Collaborative knowledge management networks are ideal for storing knowledge, but relational
databases and other data systems still have their place in organizations for storing data and information. These systems can be integrated with the organization’s collaborative knowledge management network, allowing users to follow
links into other systems or, at the very least, reference the data stored in other systems so users are able to locate valuable resources outside of the collaborative knowledge management network. In this way, the tool can serve as an organization’s “card catalog” of data in addition to fulfilling its valuable knowledge storing function.
A Solution for Retaining Knowledge. By creating an effective repository of knowledge, the system allows organizations to manage the increased turnover brought on by the new workforce and thrive in spite of the flow of human knowledge in and out of the organization.
Factors Enabling Collaborative Knowledge Management
When collaborative knowledge management networks are implemented effectively, they are far more successful than other technology solutions. Content in organizations is better when it is created through teamwork. There are
a number of factors that contribute to the adoption and success of collaborative knowledge networks.
Ownership and Trust. Because the responsibility to create, update and organize content rests on the masses rather than a select few, users feel a sense of ownership and theaccountability that comes with that. Content collaboration does not release individuals from personal responsibility. Content areas can be flagged by individuals for monitoring changes. When anyone makes a change to content that has been flagged, the user who flagged it receives an e-mail letting them know what was changed. In sensitive areas, content could be flagged as tentative until approved by the content owner, or editing/viewing could be restricted to a limited user group. Additionally, content that has not been edited for some time can be flagged and the content owner can be made aware of it to act accordingly. In the most effective implementations, users police content themselves and enforce usage standards.
Collaboration. Users work together to create content that none of them might be able to create on their own. One user may start a page on a particular topic without much actual content. Subsequent users who view the page
will then add any relevant content that they are aware of to the page. Additionally, content is kept up to date because the first person to read content that has gone out of date has the ability to update the information. For example,if a product or service has been renamed, the first person to read a page of content on the collaborative knowledge management network that is still using the old name could update the content on the spot.
Ease of Use. Most alternatives for content management involve complex rules regarding who can view, create and edit content. If a particular piece of content is found to be out of date or missing, the person who discovered the problem must determine who has the ability to change that piece of content, contact that person and ask them to make the change, and then wait for it to be updated. In some cases, additional approval processes add even more layers of complexity to the system. By allowing anyone to edit content on the fly, collaborative knowledge management networks eliminate this complexity and make it incredibly easy and satisfying to contribute and update content.
Detailed Tracking. A common question is, “How can a user trust the accuracy ofinformation in the collaborative knowledge management network when anyone could potentially input false information?” In fact, the accountability that is built into the system allows users not only to view the content of each page, but also to examine who contributed it, what they contributed and when they contributed. The content is just as reliable as the person who entered it, and, with the ability to tell who entered what, users can contact the content author if they have questions. If content is blatantly wrong, any user has the ability to roll it back to any previous version—and actions can be taken against the author of the bad content if it was intentionally malicious.Additionally, discussion pages can be provided that parallel each content page with the specific purpose of providing an outlet for discussion regarding the accuracy, organization or other characteristics of content.
Accountability. If users’ actions were anonymous, there would be no accountability for actions and users could engage in content vandalism. But collaborative knowledge management networks should not be anonymous. Unlike public wikis, which are open to nearly unlimited users, corporate collaborative knowledge management networks have a finite user base. Because of this, validation can be required for any user to log into the system, and all actions can be tracked to a specific person. User log-ins can even be integrated with existing security --, so employees do not have to remember an additional log-in name and password.
Implementing a knowledge management solution will take time and hard work—but the long-term benefits of knowledge management are so strong that they can not be ignored. Organizations have recognized the benefits of utilizing technology on the data and information levels for decades. When organizations take the next step to begin utilizing technology for knowledge management, they can create a learning environment as well as establish a foundation for increased
The Quest for Quality - Applying Six Sigma Principles to Marketing03.03.2010
Six Sigma principles prescribe an organizationwide set of processes, standards and motivations to improve performance, create efficiencies, decrease defects and reduce variability. While these principles are traditionally associated with industrial environments, their application need not be limited to that realm. This paper will specifically explore the potential for applying Six Sigma principles to create efficiencies in marketing. This is critical at a time when marketing is likely to perform poorly in large organizations, to wield little influence within them, and to be held in relatively low regard among their leadership. Less than 50 percent of Fortune 1000 companies even have chief marketing officers (CMOs). And in organizations where there are chief marketing officers 32 percent cited their relationship with the chief executive officer (CEO) as the one that most needed to improve, according to survey results published in the September 2005 issue of cmomagazine.com.
By applying a Six Sigma approach, marketing has the opportunity to lay a solid foundation for improving what has, by any measure, been astoundingly poor performance. It is not unusual today to see marketing investments that produces a negative return on investments (ROI), or have a success rate that is close to zero. According to the June 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review, citing data from Copernicus Marketing Consulting:
- 84 percent of programs are second-rate, leading to a decline in brand equity and market share
- 4 percent is as good as it gets for advertising ROI
- 74 percent is the less-than-stellar figure for customer satisfaction
Other measures are consistent with these findings. The Marketing Measurement Association, for example, reports only a $58 return on every $100 invested in marketing. The Marketing Science Institute reports that a 100 percent increase in marketing expenditures yields just a 1 percent increase in sales. And Nielsen reports a 95 percent new product failure rate.
Measurement of performance is one of the five fundamental phases of Six Sigma methodology. And once a company begins to measure marketing performance, it may find, as the preceding statistics suggest, that the results data indicate a negligible return or even a negative return on the marketing investment. This information can be so surprising and disturbing in an environment of rigorous inspection and control that the marketing group may be tempted to sweep this bad news under the carpet and stop measuring altogether.
Increasingly, marketing departments are finding that if they do not take steps to measure their results and create greater efficiencies, the finance group will be more than willing to do it for them—and may very likely respond by cutting the marketing budget. This should come as no surprise, given that finance is the area that has access to a great deal of spending-related data, is focused on tracking and cutting costs, and is constantly working to discover where resources could be better deployed. From the perspective of the marketing department, it would be far preferable to seize the opportunity to set and execute on an agenda for improvement and thereby restore its tarnished reputation within the organization. As Tocquigny Chief Marketing Officer (CFO) Pedro Laboy puts it in the white paper “Why Marketing Has Lost Its Clout… and What It Can Do to Get It Back,” it is time for marketing to “step up to the plate” and prove its value to the larger organization.
With that in mind, let us look at the current problematic state of, and potentially brighter future for, marketing—within the context of the five phases of Six Sigma methodology:
- Define goals and deliverables
- Measure current performance
- Analyze the reasons for defects
- Improve the process to eliminate defects
- Control performance
Today’s marketing organization faces the challenge of defining its role within the larger organization in an entirely new way. Only by doing so may it begin to provide the scope of disciplined processes that will ensure consistent, reliable data is available for evaluation in the quest for improved efficiency and performance. This redefinition of marketing within the organization comprises two important shifts in the positioning of marketing: the shift from functioning as a discrete component to working as an integral part of the organization, and the shift from playing a tactical role to taking on one of increasingly strategic importance.
From Discrete Component to Integral Role
Marketing has traditionally been perceived as a discrete function within the corporation, but its role is really far more encompassing than that. When you consider that brand perception encompasses everything a customer knows about a brand, then it follows that everything that touches that customer is, essentially, marketing. While that may make it a challenge to define exactly what marketing is, this much is certain: There is a growing agreement among C-level executives that marketing should create predictable streams of revenue growth. As part of the enterprise-wide effort to increase customer value and reallocate capital to its most effective use, marketers must set new goals for quantifiable success and find new ways to achieve them. In this new environment of accountability, they must prove marketing operations represent a value center rather than a cost center.
The Marketing Finance Connection and Beyond
With the CMO under increased pressure to demonstrate the validity of marketing expenditures, the marketing function is inching closer and closer to the one area from which, ironically, it has traditionally maintained perhaps the most distance: finance. Historically, marketing organizations have had rather adversarial relationships with finance teams, who have cut budgets and held the purse strings. However, finance is the one department within a corporation most likely to have the data that marketing needs to demonstrate the validity of its efforts and expenditures. It is ultimately the definition of this data and the standardization of data across organizations that will quantify the value of the marketing organizations of the future. And high-quality data will only be obtained through an aligned vision and collaboration with other company functions.
There is the rub: Marketing groups have traditionally operated independently within the larger organization, according to their own ad hoc styles; asking them to form closer, more integrated relationships with other departments and groups is bound to meet with resistance. But there is no escaping the fact that to be successful, marketing departments will have to become allies with finance. It is the only way they will be able to get the quantifiable data they need to prove their worth.
This new need for cross-functional collaboration and deeper knowledge is a new challenge for the CMO. Finance is not the only function blending with marketing. Sales, customer service and even traditionally inwardfacing departments such as product development and operations are finding the lines between their responsibilities and marketing increasingly indistinct. It is no longer possible to define the marketing function using the clear boundaries of the past. Metrics must now be clearly tied to business goals, and the use of metrics must be standardized across the organization, with the primary goal being to provide insight and drive decisions, not to justify marketing programs.
The Groundwork for Six Sigma
Companies that hope to apply Six Sigma principles to marketing must first overcome an array of structural barriers:
- Many marketing departments that have been performing a simple “marketing communications” role are at a loss as to how they can fill the broader, more strategic marketing role that is required to meet the goal of quantifiable achievement. They are staffed with employees trained to create tactical selling tools, which points to the disconnect between the traditional marketing skills of the past and those that are needed to fulfill results-oriented expectations.
- Even when marketing’s role within the organization remains limited to providing materials to support sales or customer services, the larger organization may have unrealistic expectations of what marketing ought to be able to accomplish within that role and with existing available resources. Figure 1, below, shows one company’s wildly ambitious vision of what its marketing department of three (all trained to do little more than produce spec sheets and trade show materials) should be able to achieve.
- The marketing function tends to be siloed into multiple groups—whether according to region, product line or other differentiator— that operate independently of each other. Each works as an individual power unit with its own set of defined goals, processes and standards, and each measures different things in different ways, making it virtually impossible to get consistent data or implement enterprise-wide controls.
- There is no mechanism in place with which to communicate marketing’s goals to the company at large or to seek its alignment with and support for achieving them.
The first order of business, then, is to begin to shift marketing’s role from that of a discrete component in the organization to a widely integrated function. This will require overcoming existing preconceptions about the role of marketing, as well as replacing the siloed mentality with expectations of integrated operations, and implementing mechanisms to connect marketing and its goals with the rest of the organization. Only by doing so may marketing begin to realize a strategic role of measurable value within the organization.
From Tactical to Strategic Importance
Many people today still think of marketing as research, communications and sales support. This is not the type of marketing department that will fulfill the expectations of a Six Sigma organization. The function of marketing within organizations must expand beyond traditional, tactical roles. If marketing is only responsible for communicating the value of a product to customers, it is not operating at full potential and it will fail in producing the process improvements that Six Sigma seeks.
Figure 2 shows the existing competencies of a sample Six Sigma organization’s marketing department, while Figure 3 shows the expectations that the rest of that organization had of the same marketing department. This obvious lack of alignment, coupled with the absence of skill sets to fulfill expectations, must inevitably lead to a painful failure of the marketing organization. It is important to see this as a failure to organize the right people in the right roles.
To expand marketing’s role, analytical and process-oriented skill sets must be available to marketing staff. That may mean restructuring to embrace functions such as business intelligence, research, customer satisfaction, database modeling and data analytics in the marketing organization. The increasing availability of Six Sigma marketing training will also help to provide marketing with the skills to successfully shift its role to increase its strategic importance within the organization.
Before positive performance improvement can be achieved by marketing, both the expectations to be placed on marketing and the methods of measuring the fulfillment of those expectations must be defined. Only then can the marketing organization meet the needs of the company and be viewed as adding value. For instance, rather than producing marketing materials that communicate what the product team dictates, the marketing function must grow into an organization that understands what the customer values most, then help determine what price that customer is willing to pay. Marketers must ask how much it would cost to deliver that value. And finally, they must help determine what the final product or innovation to be delivered to the customer shall be.
Too many times, it is engineers who define the best product they believe they can offer to the customer based upon what they are capable of creating—and who then determine the product cost based upon what they think it would cost to manufacture it. Marketing is left trying to create value for the customer and justify the cost. Great marketing begins with creating value for which the customer will be willing to pay.
This gathering of “Voice of Customer” is one of the highest uses of the marketing function, because it will lead to more relevant allocation of resources. Yet few marketing groups are trained or prepared to handle this task.
Developing—and documenting—data and decision-making processes.
Marketing executives must develop and support a major IT competency in their organizations in order to share information and integrate intelligence across different groups. They must be able to demonstrate proof of performance in marketing. In order to do this, they must have the ability to report on “closed loop” processes. They need standardized data so different products and functions within the organization look at the same information in the same way.
Marketing departments must gain an understanding of what the rest of the corporation expects of them, and especially what the CEO needs, in order to help set overall expectations so that if they are met, the corporation will see positive business growth and success. Any disparity between desired functional capability and the ability to deliver can be addressed by redefining the marketing organization to have fewer boundaries, developing a collaborative culture that embraces other functions in a defined way, and adding the skill sets and technology tools needed to perform the tasks expected. A clear understanding of and alignment on the processes that the marketing function will follow must be in place. The processes by which marketing will share information and collaborate with other groups must be clearly defined.
Once the marketing function has defined how it can best serve the corporation, and once it has gained the strategic role and capability to perform at that level, it is ready to develop and document the processes for handling data and making decisions.
- How will data be managed?
- How will data be shared so that collaboration and efficiency are enhanced?
- What are the tools needed for doing this?
- Which services will be outsourced and which will be handled in-house?
- How does the data from one group dovetail with the others?
- What are the processes for evaluating that data and turning it into actionable intelligence?
These are all hard questions to answer for the typical marketer. A close alliance with the IT and finance groups will be crucial.
Marketing needs the right data to show that it is generating a measurable revenue stream. As part of the process of identifying which data should be measured and how it will be measured, the CMO must, as described in the preceding section of this paper, seek alignment both across the marketing groups and with the other corporate functions. All of this constitutes, to put it mildly, an enormous task. But ultimately, it amounts to figuring out what to measure, measuring it accordingly across the enterprise and getting accurate results.
The Key Question: What to Measure?
In its effort to begin measuring and improving performance, marketing faces the challenge of defining which data exists, where it resides, which data is needed, and how or if the data can be obtained. Across organizations, the quality and consistency of data usually varies. This can make it difficult to assemble a baseline of past spending and performance across the enterprise, because spending and performance have likely been measured differently, if at all. Marketers can begin to address this by identifying appropriate metrics that relate to meeting goals for:
- revenue growth and gross margins
- customer lifetime value (CLV), profitability and cost
- brand awareness and perceived brand quality
- customer satisfaction
- relative purchase frequency
- acquisition rate and conversion rate
Redefining the metrics
Traditional marketers have an abundance of metrics already. The that relate to what the marketing effort amounted to in cost or effort rather than actual results. When collected data is a ratio of cost and effort to results, you have a greater degree of intelligence. The issue should not be what was paid for the marketing efforts themselves, but how those efforts contributed to achieving the overall company goals and to generating new revenue.
ROI used to be the measurement every manager wanted. However, this can be a relatively shortsighted way to view marketing progress, and other more enlightening views are emerging. In measuring ROI, a marketing program is given a time window that defines the start and finish of the effort. Measurement takes place in this window, and this is what is reported as ROI for the program. Usually, program results are reviewed quarterly. This practice of program ROI measurement misses opportunities. For instance, if the goal of the marketing program is to acquire customers, then the acquisition of a customer has a greater overall value than the amount of that customer’s first transaction, even though we may not see the payoff for acquiring a customer for some time.
Short-term metrics versus long-term metrics
By focusing on measuring the lifetime value of a customer instead of the revenue gained from that customer’s first purchase, marketing will get a better idea of the true return on the marketing effort that gained the customer. CLV metrics make it possible to determine the maximum a company should be willing to pay for a customer, enabling marketing to gauge its related costs in a more accurate and forward-looking manner.
Another example of a long-term metric for marketing to report is the defection rate of customers. Given that a 5 percent increase in customer retention can add as much as a 25 percent increase to the bottom line, gauging defection is well worthwhile. Marketers must develop processes to measure it and define its cause. To borrow from Six Sigma terminology, what is the defect in the customer experience that results in defection? It is important because a significant loss of customers can make a marketing campaign that gains new customers irrelevant.
Long-term metrics represent a shift from transactional marketing to relationship marketing—in which the value of the customer relationship is a more valuable metric than the knowledge of a single transaction. This is a more complex metric to determine. There is a valuable role for Six Sigma processes to play in controlling the quality of the analysis. It is that quality of analysis that will determine the degree of real intelligence gained and ultimately affect the quality of the decisions made to execute continuous improvement in marketing.
The Importance—and the Difficulty— of the Benchmark
If marketing is to be measured, there must be past data against which to compare current and future activity. Given that there is frequently not sufficient or reliably accurate data on past activities and past results within marketing organizations, creating a benchmark can be difficult. The task of creating truly accurate and reliable data is exponentially more costly than creating “approximate” data.
Therefore, unless there is a great deal of discipline in the data recovery process, a Six Sigma-driven marketing team may begin with less-than-accurate data and thus produce measurements of dubious quality. In some very large global organizations in which the marketing organizations are “siloed,” there are few accurate and consistent records of exactly what the enterprise has spent on marketing. There is also no common understanding of exactly what defines a marketing expenditure for a group.
Getting around these obstacles starts with asking some tough questions: Where do marketing costs stop and sales costs begin? Is the internal dissemination of product knowledge to engineers, sales people and management considered the role of marketing or IT, or both? Whose budgets should bear the load of the new, more subtle forms of marketing that bleed across an organization, or the costs of research to understand the Voice of Customer (research that will ultimately benefit research & development, marketing and sales)? If data is also segregated into purchase information, billing information, customer service data and other function-driven buckets, there may be nomenclature issues to be addressed so that definitions of what is being measured can be made consistent and useful to all.
Get at the benchmark basics
The most basic requirements for setting a benchmark and enhancing the overall ability to measure are:
- a database of past marketing and purchase activity, which will facilitate the calculation of CLV
- data that provides the ability to segment customers and prospects according to customer needs and purchase patterns
- key drivers of brand equity, the value of current brand equity and the value of relationship equity (this data can be gained through research and calculations)
- benchmark against competitors These are all things that can be known. They may not be easy to attain, given the tough questions outlined in the preceding section, but it can—and must—be done.
Live by the integrity of the data
Excellent marketing demands excellent product positioning and customer targeting. One of the dangers lurking in marketing organizations today is the marketer’s “gut knowledge” of what is true for the customer, who the targets are, what they will respond to and so forth. Unfortunately, many marketers, even within Six Sigma organizations, are still using their instincts to guide major decisions such as those relating to positioning and targeting. This is a Zero Sigma practice. When a marketing group “knows” who its best potential customers are, what they respond to and what types of media opportunities are the most efficient to reach them, without current measurement through research processes, that is a problem that must be addressed.
After the marketer has defined what will be measured to show progress towards a common goal; cleansed the existing data so that there is a uniform, true picture of past performance; created consistent measurement processes across the organization; and developed methods to share the measurement data, he or she will have a good start towards developing the fodder for analysis that is needed to begin to improve processes.
Simply measuring performance will not improve it. Increased marketing effectiveness comes from the generation of insight that leads to actionable intelligence. Having insight into what works and what doesn’t work can mean that expensive mistakes are not repeated and painful lessons are not relearned.
Toward Quantifiable Insights and Understanding
A profound understanding of the customer and the customer’s needs will lead to new business-building ideas that improve the ability to achieve company goals. Gaining such understanding requires aligning the goals of the enterprise organization-wide. To reiterate the lessons of preceding sections of this paper, companies can no longer afford for research to operate apart from marketing, or for branding to operate its own independent silo. Intelligence and data must be easily available for everyone to access. Having a solid process in place along with the tools to evaluate results will make this achievable. Then insights will no longer be merely “hunches.”
Careful analysis of marketing performance, inspired by Six Sigma processes, allows the company to address many difficult, but necessary, questions:
- Which customers purchased before and have not purchased again? Why? Which continue to buy, and why?
- At what point are leads lost? When do they fail to progress to the next sales level and why?
- What are the true “lost opportunity costs” incurred as a result of less effective marketing efforts?
- Where are the “defects” in the marketing processes that result in lost sales, wrong prospects targeted and customers treated inappropriately?
- Where does “variability” occur in qualification criteria for prospects, follow-up, pricing, contract negotiation and service?
- How do we distinguish between productive and non-productive activities? The difference between true analytics and the simple reporting of results is the ability to identify and answer crucial questions whose answers will lead to insight, process changes and increased success.
Learning from past performance
Often, the greatest insights come from observing poor performance, then making efforts to improve that performance over time. These lessons are an expensive form of education. In one sense, they become an asset belonging to the corporation. However, each insight and lesson comes with a price. The key is to learn the lesson once and share the insight so that the corporation doesn’t have to continue to pay for each individual or group to learn it over and over.
This approach of learning the lesson once makes the argument for a corporate memory bank, if you will—a record of best practices and brand history, in the form of a marketing knowledge database—that is easily shared throughout the organization to provide a shared institutional history of lessons learned. If, instead, the intelligence gained through analysis is scattered across the corporation, and hidden in the memories of current and former employees, it will inevitably be lost and have to be regained at great cost. As new staff is added they should be able to access existing historical analysis through the marketing knowledge database and build upon that information, rather than learn old lessons again.
The process for analyzing marketing performance within global organizations must be collaborative in order to ensure objectivity and accuracy, as well as to realize the full benefit of the data collected. The conversations that arise when marketing, sales, product development, finance and IT gather to analyze data are infinitely more productive for the organization than if only marketing was to assess it. Each function can help the others to be more successful in this collaborative arrangement.
Formal cross-functional processes and agreements addressing how and when data will be analyzed are critical to the timely assessment and response to data. When data is processed into dashboards, groups can view tests to help identify the extent of improvement needed in each function to achieve the target results. More insightful cause-and-effect scenarios can be developed, risk analysis can benefit all teams and statistical inferences can enlighten beyond just the topic at hand.
The main benefit of measuring marketing programs and processes is the ability to garner actionable intelligence which can be used to optimize, or improve, performance and processes. As data is analyzed and insights are generated, possibilities for improvement are presented for many areas. Aside from improvements in the implementation of marketing programs, there can always be improvements in tools, technology, processes and skills.
Change is Good
An agile marketing organization will embrace opportunities for improvement, even when they are disruptive to individual work groups (as they almost always will be) and even though they may be more expensive than business as usual. As analytic insights challenge marketing’s original “Plan A,” the staff members who are flexible, open to new ways of approaching problems and eager to try the next idea will quickly rise to the top as the most valuable.
To realize true improvements in marketing process, as new ideas are implemented, testing should be utilized to gauge their value, along with modeling of different scenarios. When approached methodically, marketing tactics can be vastly improved on many fronts. Following are a few simple examples of how performance can be measured and marketing efforts improved.
Customer perceptions (Voice of Customer) regarding brand, product benefits, pricing, customer satisfaction and a number or other qualities can be measured through survey or focus group research. If you understand current perceptions, and you also know what you would like future perceptions to be, that makes it much easier to achieve improvement. Messaging can be improved to make the marketing program more relevant or persuasive, or delivery mechanisms can be improved for more frequent or noticeable exposure to the messaging. (If, for example, surveys show that your target does not respond to email, the program can be improved by simply finding ways other than email to communicate with the target.)
Efficiency can be measured by tracking the number of responses to a marketing program within a given period of time. For instance, if a direct mail program is implemented to promote a product by driving the recipient to a Website for the purchase, it is quite easy to measure the percentage of recipients who went to the Website, and whether or not they purchased once they were there. The higher the ratio of purchasers to recipients, the more efficient the program is in getting the desired response. To improve such a program, the marketer might try a number of tactics to increase the purchase percentage, such as:
- offer development: communicating an incentive to the targets to help motivate them to respond
- target refinement: altering the list of prospects so that those targeted are more likely to respond in the desired way
- message refinement: creating a more relevant, compelling message for the target
Customer Lifetime Value can be measured to determine the maximum a marketer should be willing to spend to acquire a new customer. Once this is known, improvements in budget allocations can be made to increase marketing efficiency. Perhaps more funding should be allocated to meet marketing goals, for example. Knowing the CLV will help determine where the cut-off point should be for marketing spending to achieve desired results. Or, if marketing spending is already high in relation to what is known about the CLV, improvements will have to come from changes in some other aspect of the program.
Targeting efficiency should be studied to understand which potential targets will make the best customers. How many of these customers are there? What are they willing to pay for your product or service? How easy is it to sell to them? Drastic improvements in marketing results can be seen through increases in targeting efficiency.
These are just a few of many methods available for improving marketing performance. Keep in mind that it may be necessary to iterate through the Measure- Analyze-Improve steps until the optimal level of performance is achieved.
When improvements are achieved, it is important to recognize and codify the best practices that led to them. Best practices should be made available via the marketing knowledge database or other appropriate method to everyone in the organization. Controls should be implemented so that best practices are followed and improved upon, rather than reinvented. When improvements to best practices are attempted, they should be documented and analyzed formally to understand why the improvement either did or did not work out. The goal is to continue to improve upon best practices so that performance gets better over time.
The Necessity—and Challenge—of Control
Marketing departments often have a difficult time maintaining a high level of control over marketing activities and the best practices associated with it—to a great extent because there is no one person with this responsibility in the organization. Neither the CMO nor traditional roles such as traffic manager or marketing director can possibly monitor and control all best practices down to the level of individual staff in each marketing group. Global corporations find it difficult enough just to control the use of the brand attributes, with marketers in different silos frequently giving in to the temptation to tweak them to better suit their needs. But as brands become diluted through lack of standards control, the overall success of marketing execution will suffer.
Assigning responsibility and imposing discipline
To ensure control over standards and practices, new roles in global marketing organizations must be developed. These roles must address the responsibility of ensuring that the knowledge gained through process improvement is utilized and that true efficiencies are garnered until a real improvement is achieved. This runs counter to the cultures of many marketing organizations in which people have joined the field because they want to utilize their innate creativity. But the key is to channel that creativity to areas where it will be productive, and to place clearly defined limits on which parts of marketing programs are open for new interpretations.
Another aspect of assigning responsibility and imposing discipline is the need to establish processes and to make sure people adhere to them. Formal training that imbues everyone in the organization with appropriate skills and fosters in them a solid understanding of the importance of the company’s accepted processes falls under the category of control. This goes back to the concept of enterprisewide alignment. The entire team must have a true understanding and appreciation of what the marketing department is trying to accomplish and how its processes support that goal. Training on the importance of data, how to understand data and why the organization should trust the numbers is also important for anyone whose role includes marketing which, as noted earlier, is practically everyone in the organization whose role touches the customer in any way.
Control as a function of risk reduction
The control function of a marketing department can create objectivity in the way marketing dollars are spent, reducing the company’s financial risk. When programs are analyzed and assessed for their effectiveness, the CMO will be able to make much better decisions in support of marketing’s overall goals. A disciplined control of spending that allocates funds towards the most strategically important efforts, and that carefully manages vendors and outside costs, can create significant savings for any company.
The role of control within a marketing organization should also include the implementation of preventative activities. Risks inherent in marketing activities should be evaluated on an ongoing basis, and scenarios should be developed to address how the corporation will deal with them, should they occur. This helps the organization understand what parts of a process should be subject to increased control in order to minimize risk and also to create a timelier response in the event of a crisis.
The addition of control will present the greatest cultural shift for most marketing organizations. For some, it will change many aspects of the work process, and some people will not find this pleasant. However, without controls in place it makes no sense to follow Six Sigma processes through the other areas of marketing. As a company shifts towards operating with Six Sigma principles in place, the control function is one that can be outsourced if needed to usher marketing into new ways of defining and improving what it does, for the good of the entire enterprise.
The New Marketing Organization
The marketing organization of the future will be one that can prove that its activities yield a measurable value to the company. Toward this end, marketing organizations must reinvent themselves to become more aligned with overall company goals and more data-driven in the pursuit of real improvement. The five principles of Six Sigma methodology—Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control—serve as an extremely useful context for marketing’s efforts in this regard.
Social Media Marketing: Unleash Its Potential03.02.2010
Unleash the Vast Potential of this Thrilling Medium
Social media is perhaps the most exciting, fastest-growing innovation in internet usage today, but why should marketers care? You may see how social media can work for youth-oriented products or big-name brands with lots of emotional resonance, but is it something that your company should be using? Maybe you’ve been marketing with banner and search ads for years, but you don’t see how social media really fits in.
Social media can work for your company — if you understand the right way to use it to your advantage.
From Niche to Mainstream
Social media is media that facilitates socializing — that is, it is a two-way communication employed to share ideas and send messages. Social media started in the late 1980s with the inception of the chat room, a forum for users to share their thoughts on a multitude of subjects. Later innovations, such as one-on-one instant messenger software, allowed people to use the internet for quick, to-the-point communications that previously would have required a phone call. The need for longer-form sharing spurred the development of the weblog, or more simply, the “blog.”
But the real explosion of social media occurred in the early 2000s, as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites provided one central meeting place for networking and sharing that could then be subdivided into almost an infinite number of affinity subgroups. These sites gave people the ability to not only communicate, but also to identify, build, and manage networks of relationships among people with similar interests.
In fact, these three networks today have a combined total of more than 268 million registered users, a significant share of the world’s online population. Social media soon expanded beyond networking profiles with the launch of multimedia sharing (sites such as YouTube and Flickr) and social bookmarking (Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon). Each of these applications provided for more efficient and compelling two-way communication, all from the convenience of any device that has internet access.
Initial adopters skewed young, but since 2005 social media has attracted baby boomers in increasing numbers, providing a larger engaged market share and a significant facility for integrated marketing. Today, web applications (such as Twitter) and corporate blogs alike allow for two-way communication between businesses and customers as well as businesses and other businesses.
Virtually everyone in the world who has internet access is a member of the social media community whether they know it or not. You are engaging in social media when rating a book on Amazon.com; when searching for the correct way to clean your computer monitor on Apple’s message board; or when video-chatting on Skype with a prospective client in Dubai.
Target and Talk
Social media offers easy, compelling tools to build and manage relationships. Whether it is targeting future investors or getting back in touch with a high school comrade, social networks have become a standard for managing and building peer-to-peer relationships. In fact, a recent study showed that 74 percent of global social media users utilize social networks to contact friends. This community-building plays an integral role in social media success.
Social media can actually be more targeted and more trackable than traditional face-to-face networking channels. There is a plethora of search and analytics utilities available that makes it easy to identify and communicate with potential customers. These “filter & find” targeting tools provide more dual-sided, educated relationship construction.
When engaging online, people will unsurprisingly self-select the affinity groups they’d fit into. These selections will influence where people spend their time online. For instance, if I were a 38-year-old male IT Director from Boston, Massachusetts, I could potentially fit in to the following affinity groups: Age (Gen X), Geographical (Boston), Business (Information Technology), Interests (Boston Red Sox), Hobbies (Traveling & Sailing). The social media sphere is constructed of distinct communities particularly encompassing engaged, passionate, like-minded people. This aspect of self-selection, and its resulting targeted audiences, makes the channel an exceptionally valuable addition to the marketing mix.
In addition, extraordinarily compelling is the breadth of reach that social media offers. Of an estimated 272 million users of the World Wide Web, 57 percent have joined a social network, making it the number one platform for creating and sharing content. This startling fact proves that this channel offers a cost-effective solution for most marketing, sales, and consumer targeting campaigns. The marketing industry has for years been following the consumer to the places they gather. Instead of following, now is the time to gather with the consumer. Instead of communicating “to” them, marketers can communicate “with” their audience with the goal of building a close relationship, so the consumer will begin advocating for you and your product. If feeling compelled, brand loyalists will write reviews, author blog posts, tweet their assessment, post videos, and more — all about you and the useful good or service you provide. This is the birth of viral marketing.
The World Wide Web never sleeps. As a global entity, you can now market your good or service simultaneously in a dozen time zones. Accordingly, you shouldn’t only be active from 9 to 5 — people are communicating with each other all the time, making countless decisions out of office, especially with the growth of mobile devices that allows internet access anywhere. Showing that you are active during “off-hours” can not only make you more personable, but also increase your chances of active lead generation and networking.
Accessible and Credible
So now you understand what social media is and where it fits into society, but without a proper grasp of the “do’s and don’ts,” your campaign could very well go awry. As previously mentioned, this channel is a two-way street. It was conceived to put two people on the same communicative level as each other.
Converse online as if you were talking with a friend in person. The less robotic and more personal you appear, the more compelling you are. Be yourself, be friendly and approachable, and most of all, invite others into your life and business. This is an incredibly simple tactic, yet widely ignored.
Create profiles on every relevant web community you can and monitor all of them on a consistent basis. Naturally, the more you participate, the more followers you will acquire.
Conversely, react and respond to conversations initiated by others that affect you; for example, if you come across someone frustrated with your business or product, publicly acknowledge the issue and attempt to resolve it. This type of reputation management is actively employed on a daily basis by B2B and B2C companies like Dell, Sun Microsystems, JetBlue, and Comcast Cable on the Twitter social media site. Not only does the irritated consumer feel exonerated, the public resolution creates excellent PR.
Be interesting. The companies that join a social network and talk purely about business and what they can offer the customer miss the central principle of social media. This is not the place for a formal sales pitch, but rather a channel for relationship-building and public communication.
Offer incentives. For instance, Zappos — the web’s largest shoe retailer — has recently offered a special VIP store with free guaranteed overnight shipping exclusively to their social media audience. Companies like Rubbermaid and Sweet Leaf Tea regularly run interactive real-time contests with prizes. Access to a knowledge base, exclusive news, and insights can be just as desirable as promotions and freebees — especially from B2B companies.
Be transparent. Wherever you lend your presence online, use your real name, your real title, and reveal what you do. One would rather converse with Jennifer, Marketing Manager at Company ABC, than just with Company ABC, Inc. This builds interest and trust.
Make it a company-wide effort. Don’t just delegate an intern to man and build your social media presence; associates, directors, VPs, upper-level executives should all play a role in your web strategy. Flood the sphere with your brand and message — not only will you connect with social media patrons, but you’ll also be more optimized for search engine presence. Your blog posts, Facebook pages, and Wiki articles will potentially begin to show up as top results on Google and Yahoo! — further increasing leads and eventually, sales.
- Actively measure and analyze your effort. Tracking your presence, audience, campaign reception, and brand awareness (both quantitatively and qualitatively) will rationally communicate your relative strengths and weaknesses. The accurate analysis of these metrics can result in constructive adjustments within your social media campaign, insuring that your investments in time and money are justified.
Social media represents huge potential for marketers based on its reach, its targeting potential, and its forum for customers to interact in an immediate and personal way with your company. Nevertheless, it should not be employed as a standalone tactic, but it should be coupled with other marketing efforts (on- and off-line). Tocquigny has a thriving all-in-one social media practice that offers strategic planning, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, media buying, and design. Let us take the hard work off your shoulders and cultivate a social media campaign that fits your company and appeals to your audience.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Tom Fornoff.
Five Social Media Marketing Tips10.22.2009
Social media has quickly become an essential part of every brand’s marketing mix. And although demand for its unique power to communicate brand is higher than ever, many have found success to be elusive. Here are five essential steps for developing your social media presence into a thriving, brand-building machine.
Whether related to your business or not, share your thoughts: how to revive the economy; what the new black is; which ’80s star you just shared a cab with; when your new, game-changing product is debuting. The more fascinating and unexpected your stories are, the more your audience will be inclined to share your posts, and the more attention you’ll get. Start with a simple blog, where you can establish a central hub that includes links to your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social network profiles. Giving your audience more opportunities to connect with you means more ways they can share your brand with their network.
Social networks are vaults of valuable information. Your contact list is filled with opinions and ideas that can give you the answer to who, what, when, where, and why your audience makes its decisions. When you listen to what they say, you can forge relationships with your customers; you can also develop lists of relevant keywords to monitor other conversations, so you can learn even more about your audience — and how best to connect with them.
3. Track and measure everything
While there are certainly more in-depth measurement tools, Google Analytics provides a free and simple way to identify and measure your audience. You can track every click on every site they visit, and even the amount of time they spend on each page. The analyzed data will help you determine where your audience is, what they’re looking for, and most important, if they’re ready to consider the goods or services that you’re offering. Through this kind of measurement, you’ll have the opportunity to fine-tune your approach, communicate a more accurate and relevant message, and improve the overall success of your social media campaign.
4. Provide an incentive
The internet is far and wide, and that’s why you need to give your audience a compelling reason to engage with your brand. Contests, sweepstakes, and tangible giveaways can be sufficient, but there are many low-cost incentives that can provide even higher value: exclusive news, unique insights, private product testing, enhanced customer service, or even personalized, one-on-one attention can entice your audience to become loyal advocates.
5. Be transparent
Use your real name and title and reveal your true intentions for networking. Tell the world about your family and friends, your hobbies and recreation time, what makes you tick, and what keeps you up at night. Transparency cultivates trust, so let your audience know when you’re interacting simply to promote a product. And if your objective is to address concerns about your brand, respond to each issue honestly — and listen. Recently, JetBlue used Twitter to connect with its passengers on a deeper level. Through personalized messages, they fielded complaints, apologized for mishaps, and answered questions, all of which led to a boost in customer appreciation and brand loyalty. It just goes to show how openness and accessibility can increase your likability and build a credible, no-nonsense relationship with your customers.
Here at Tocquigny, we have experts who are ready to take your company’s social media presence to the next level.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Tom Fornoff.
Conjoint Research for the Recession01.22.2009
It is official: We are in a recession. Markets are shrinking and wallets are tightening. So if you cannot grow by expanding the market, you have to grow by stealing share from your competitors.
These conditions are perfect for a price war, and it’s probably only a matter of time before it starts — if it hasn’t already. It could happen when a scrappy startup thinks it can deliver at a lower price and still maintain its margins. Or maybe the largest player thinks it can lose money longer than you — and force you out of the market altogether.
So, how are you going to respond? Or more important: Can you avoid the war altogether? Undoubtedly, if competitors lower their prices dramatically, you will lose market share. But how much? And if you respond with a small price cut, how many customers can you retain? Will it be enough to maintain your margins?
Fortunately, there are market research strategies that enable you:
– to predict what will happen in the market if competitors change their price; and
– to demonstrate the impact of various ways you might respond.
To put it another way, carefully crafted market research empowers you to respond with intelligence rather than fear.
Measuring Price Sensitivity
Though researchers have tried numerous approaches to measure consumers’ price sensitivity, it proves difficult to quantify. Consumers are not likely to reveal voluntarily that they will pay higher prices — as consumers, it is their job to get everything at the lowest possible price. Like poker players, they cannot tip their hand too much or they risk losing the game.
Furthermore, consumers are not always aware of their own price sensitivity — or their lack of it. Few consumers think about how much more they would be willing to pay for products or services they enjoy, nor do they consider how much of a price drop would convince them to switch to a less preferred brand. And yet, they make these types of decisions all the time: not in a theoretical setting, but in the context of actually purchasing products.
Price wars are complicated. They do not involve one single variable — such as one price drop — that could be tested in-market; they involve an action and then several reactions among multiple competitors. And they may intersect with product changes. For example, a drop in the price may be accompanied by a cut in the warranty period or the support level, or by making previously bundled services a la carte.
To consider these multiple factors, competitors, and prices in potential scenarios, what we need is a model.
Precisely the kind of predictive model needed can be constructed through survey research. Participants are recruited and screened to ensure they are a representative, statistically valid sample of your target consumers. Then they are given a series of hypothetical purchases to make.
The beauty of this approach is that the purchase decisions are constructed as elaborate trade-off exercises. The consumer simply cannot get the best of all features at the lowest price. Furthermore, the consumer is not required to consciously know or ever articulate his or her price sensitivity. Instead, we deduce the sensitivity by observing the purchase decisions. A hypothetical, simplified trade-off for a purchase might be as follows:
"If you were purchasing a new LCD television, which of the following would you choose?"
None of these
The survey respondent would have to answer a series of questions just like this, but each time the choices would change slightly. Sometimes their preferred brand would get better resolution but at a smaller size; other times their preferred brand would have all the best features — and the highest price — forcing them to either pay more or switch brands. An experimental design creates the series of trade-off exercises. Statistical methods are used to ensure the consumer sees enough options so their preferences can be quantified.
When the consumer is finished making hypothetical purchase decisions, we can analyze their choices to build a predictive model of their behavior. They still may not be able to tell you they will pay $50 more for an additional year of warranty, but based on their choices we could, in theory, deduce just that. That information then enables us to build an interactive tool that will allow us to model various scenarios that might occur in the market.
We typically start by modeling the current market scenario with the current competing brands, their key features, and prices. Then we create a new market scenario. For example, let’s assume your competitor initiates a price drop. We could then observe the change in consumer preference associated with that drop, and model what might happen if you responded by reducing your price. We’re able to estimate changes in share caused not only by changes in price, but also by product changes — such as a lower price accompanied by reduced service.
An example of an interactive tool that models consumer preference based on conjoint data. Specific features and prices of hypothetical products can be altered, showing the overall effect on share of preference for each scenario.
Ultimately, the research will reveal break points in price sensitivity, such as the points at which price sensitivity dramatically increases or decreases, as well as areas of little to no price sensitivity. Hypothetically, we may learn that a 5 percent price drop simply is not enough to send customers to an alternative in significant numbers, but a 10 percent drop will result in dramatic shifts in preferences. We may learn that a competitor’s price drop will impact another brand much more than yours. Or we may learn that dropping your price will gain more customers — but not enough to offset the loss of revenue associated with each sale.
In effect, we show you how to act based on knowledge, rather than react out of panic.
Are You Ready?
Tocquigny has substantial experience in conjoint research and can help build a robust conjoint study, with critical information about what your customers value and how much they are willing to pay. This type of study provides guidance not only for pricing decisions, but also product configurations, bundling, and message development. To get more information about how Tocquigny can help your company, call Peter Moossy at 512.532.2907 or email email@example.com.
Tocquigny Wins Two Awards from Global Six Sigma Organization11.04.2008
AUSTIN, Texas & ORLANDO, Fla. – November 4, 2008 – Tocquigny, ranked the No. 2 interactive advertising agency in the nation by BtoB Magazine, announced today that they received two awards at the 3rd Annual Global Lean, Six Sigma and Business Improvement Summit & Industry Awards Improvement Summit held in Orlando, Fla., on October 15.
Tocquigny won the “Best Achievement of Organizational Business Improvement by a Small Organization” award for deployment of business improvement programs for agency client, Regent University. The agency also received a certificate as a finalist in the category of “Best Project Achievement in Sales, Marketing or Customer Experience.” The Austin-based interactive advertising agency was competing in this category against much larger companies, such as Capital One Bank, Firstsource Solutions Limited and Borusan Power Systems, and the category winner United Airlines.
“As the only marketing firm to be finalists for these awards, we are extremely proud to see Tocquigny’s Six Sigma marketing acumen formally recognized,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO of Tocquigny Advertising. “Our aim is to be the leader in Six Sigma marketing practices, and I see this as a sign that we have achieved that goal. We believe this award is further proof that Six Sigma research methods lead to excellent results far outside the manufacturing realm.”
Tocquigny received the Six Sigma Awards for the agency’s data-driven marketing approach for Regent University. Regent asked Tocquigny to develop a cost-effective approach to acquire new students for their online undergraduate degree program. The campaign began in December 2006, and after applying the five principles of Six Sigma methodology – define, measure, analyze, improve and control – Tocquigny implemented a highly effective search engine and database marketing program for Regent. Tocquigny also introduced rich media advertising to supplement the initiative and increase user interactivity.
Within six months of the launch, Regent University experienced a 250 percent increase in online undergraduate recruits and a 30 percent increase in applications. The campaign simultaneously reduced the cost per acquisition by 75 percent.
“Tocquigny’s Six Sigma approach was a fantastic revelation for our school and enabled us to generate the leads we needed to increase our undergraduate enrollment,” said Tracy Stewart, Vice President of Information Technology at Regent University.
The Global Six Sigma & Business Improvement Awards are given to companies and individuals who demonstrate the most outstanding organizational achievements through the deployment of business improvement programs. The focus of the awards program is to demonstrate to the global business community the real results and excellence that organizations achieve through the successful deployment of Six Sigma and other business excellence programs.
The Global Six Sigma & Business Improvement Awards were judged by an independent panel of esteemed experts in the Six Sigma arena from companies including Ford Motor Company, Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, NBC Universal, Capital One Bank, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Raytheon.
Marketing Strategy Focus Points09.02.2008
Often marketing executives sit around conference tables and debate strategy. Unfortunately, they often debate on the basis of opinion and conjecture. When this occurs, sometimes the debate is settled by the person who talks louder, is more forceful, or has a more distinguished title than others at the table. But occasionally someone stops the debate and suggests what should be obvious — if we don’t know the answers to our questions, why don’t we just ask?
And at first it sounds so easy. Everyone knows that doing research with your customers and prospects can help you develop a clear and effective branding and marketing strategy. But research is more than just asking questions. It is asking the right questions of the right people in the right way.
Ask Yourself Better Questions
Once you decide you need research, there is a natural temptation to jump in and start making a list of questions to ask your customers or prospects. But good research starts with a question for you: What specific decision do I need to make based on this research? This might be:
- What brand positioning will effectively differentiate my product and create loyal, profitable customers?
- What creative executions will resonate with my target audience?
- What price for my product will optimize my profit/market share/revenue?
- How do my customers use my product, and how do I communicate its benefits more effectively?
Clearly planned and articulated objectives will drive the entire research design. Too often this stage is skipped, because it seems too basic, too obvious. But if not done correctly, studies can be completed — at significant time and expense — only to be rejected later as not "actionable."
Case in point: a high-tech marketing executive once gave me a list of things he felt he had to ask his customers. The list was a complicated battery of questions detailing how end users used laptops. How many and what kind of external devices were plugged into the laptop at any one time? What percentages of the time were they plugged in and in use? How did this vary by place (at workstation, in transit, or at home)? The questions were further complicated by the fact that IT professionals were the client’s target purchasers, but only the end users would truly know what devices were plugged in and for how long at home or on the road.
After reviewing this tedious list of questions, which would result in a mountain of data that might not even be accurate, I asked my client the critical question, "What decisions are you going to make with this information?" The answer was simple — it was expensive to continue to place legacy ports on the laptops, and the client wanted to know if some could be eliminated. However, if the study showed, for example, that external disk drives were plugged into laptops on average 28% of the time, this would not to provide a definitive answer on this issue. Based on the decision that needed to be made, I constructed some trade-off exercises to see if IT professionals would be willing to "give up" certain types of ports to obtain lower prices. Not only was the questionnaire ultimately much simpler for the respondents, but also we were able to free up space within the questionnaire to ask other important questions. And, most critically, the results from the study provided a clear indication of the need (or lack thereof) for various ports.
Ask Your Target Better Questions
After exercising discipline to develop clear business decisions that need to be made based on the research, it is tempting to just turn around and ask those questions to your target. But this can also result in research findings that simply are not trustworthy.
For example, let’s say you are trying to promote key product benefits in the marketplace. You want to understand what features motivate the target. You might start out by just asking — is this or that feature important? What about performance? What about price? What about customer service? Invariably, you will conclude that everything is important, and that, of course, consumers want everything at the lowest possible price. Great, you just spent thousands of dollars to learn what you already knew.
A complicating factor is that consumers themselves cannot always articulate why they do what they do, or why they respond to various communications. In addition, consumers understand that part of being a "good" consumer is selecting the product with the most desirable features at the lowest price. However, we know that consumer behaviors are often ruled by unconscious and emotional motivators. Therefore, they may be unwilling or unable to identify their true motivators.
This can be quite obvious when doing communications research. If you ask consumers directly whether they respond to advertising, many will tell you it does not influence them at all. Or they may go the opposite direction and describe the specific type of graphic elements and copy they would like to see in an ad for it to be persuasive. However, the truth is that people remember and respond to advertising that is quite different from the type of advertising they might design themselves.
Carefully crafted research instruments can help to uncover perceptions and motivations by avoiding the direct question approach. Some of the more effective approaches include:
Ethnographic research. This technique involves observing the target when using or purchasing the product in the everyday environment. It "asks questions" of the target without expecting them to answer in a verbal, conscious way; instead, they reveal their habits and preferences through their behaviors.
Free association of products/brands with various emotional concepts. This can help identify triggers and motivators that might operate at a more unconscious level.
Clutter reels and ad recall exercises. These techniques expose respondents to creative concepts embedded in print or TV media along with other advertisements. Therefore, we can gauge how much stopping power the creative has without drawing undue attention to the single concept being tested. Instead, the target experiences the creative in the context of many competing advertisements, simulating the real-life environment.
Trade-off exercises. This technique forces the target to make trade-offs, much as they would in real-world purchasing situations. The trade-offs prevent the target from getting everything they want at the lowest price. It also can quantify the value of various features even when customers themselves are not consciously aware of how they might pay for various competing features.
- Well-designed research instruments and experienced interviewers. Research subjects are more likely to open-up if rapport and trust is created with the interviewer. However, the interviewer must be careful not to subtly encourage or discourage certain types of responses. Experienced researchers are attuned to these issues and employ probing techniques to encourage, but not influence, responses.
By improving your approach to customer/prospect research, you can achieve much more actionable, insightful intelligence on which to base strategic marketing decisions. The key is not just doing research — or doing more of it — but doing it well. And that means asking better questions, both of yourself and your target customers.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Tom Fornoff.
BtoB Magazine Ranks Tocquigny as No. 2 Interactive Advertising Agency in Nation04.08.2008
AUSTIN, Texas — April 7, 2008 — Tocquigny, a leading interactive advertising agency that guides companies to winning business solutions for the digital age, today announced that the April 7, 2008 issue of BtoB Magazine has ranked the firm as the No. 2 interactive advertising agency in the nation.
“Tocquigny did more than just develop strong online marketing campaigns for b-to-b clients,” wrote BtoB Magazine. “The agency increasingly played the role of strategic consultant, helping clients identify and clarify business goals before jumping into marketing efforts.”
Tocquigny specializes in helping companies in transition become leaders in the global digital marketplace. The agency has transformed Fortune 500 giants that are misaligned — straddling the digital fence and going nowhere — into agile, synched-up, profit-making machines. Tocquigny enables companies to become digital marketers using emerging technologies, such as new search engine marketing techniques, social marketing, and digital video — all focused on demonstrating measurable success.
“Our clients are the reason Tocquigny is being honored today by BtoB Magazine as the No. 2 interactive advertising agency in the U.S.,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, CEO. “Our clients’ consistent confidence in our talented management team and staff has provided the opportunity for us to serve as a strategic partner and produce leading-edge, award-worthy work.”
Tocquigny began as a small creative boutique in 1980 and quickly grew into a B2B marketing agency known today for its measurement capabilities, marketing strategy and interactive work. The agency uses a proven methodology to identify and prioritize a company’s business needs, and then delivers winning business solutions that are measured and quantified. Current and past clients include The Washington Times, Dell, MessageLabs, Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, Symbol, Seagate, and AMD
“The BtoB Magazine recognition represents one of the most coveted industry awards and a strong endorsement of Tocquigny’s innovation, creativity, quality of work and success in helping our clients grow,” said Tocquigny. “I place great personal significance on the ranking and what it represents for our agency and employees. BtoB Magazine has clearly validated that the work we produce and the results for our clients are among the very best in the advertising industry.”
Tocquigny has consistently placed on BtoB’s list of top agencies, and for the first time, will be honored as the No. 2 interactive advertising agency in the nation for its strong results for B2B clients large and small.