Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

The Top 7 Things Newspapers Need to Do to Survive

 

My newspaper crystal ball

My newspaper crystal ball

I was having coffee the other day with my friend Tim Loughran, general manager of Centro de Richmond, a Spanish-language weekly produced by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  The topic was how newspapers will survive and thrive during a time which does not seem to favor them.  That same day I noticed Jon Newman’s piece on the future of newspapers. All of this got me thinking, “what is the future of newspapers?”

 

As you’ve probably noticed, newspapers and their holding companies are struggling to ride out the current economic storm and some have resorted to filing bankruptcy  to stay afloat while others are shutting down completely.  I’ll blame the economy as the primary culprit for the current situation, but it’s no secret that newspapers were struggling before the current downturn.  In fact, they have been thrashing around for more than a decade trying to find a profitable business model in the digital age.  So far they have failed to find one.

Newspapers are frequently their own worst enemy.  I have a journalism degree and I’m aware of the struggle between those on the publishing side who are trying to pay the bills and those on the journalism side who constantly worry about the Chinese Wall dividing publishing and editorial.  Perhaps this is a valid struggle, but if the newspaper shuts down in the middle of the struggle, who wins? Certainly not the readers.  In this environment, the journalists and the publishers need to finally come together.

But that’s a relatively small thing compared to this:  When newspapers began publishing digital editions online and (for the most part) giving their content away for free, they sent a strong message to their customers that will be extremely difficult to take back.  Here’s the message:  “The price paid for subscriptions and newsstand copies are to cover the cost of the newsprint and the distribution.  The content itself does not have any value and that’s why we’re giving it away it for free online.”  I’m sure this is the last thing newspapers wanted to communicate, but that’s in fact what has happened.  It may be possible to stuff that cat back in the bag, but it’s gonna be tough.

Newspapers are “media” companies, but you wouldn’t know it.  Newspaper philosophy works like this:  Hire some reporters and editors and have them develop some content.  Hire some ad sales peoples and have them sell some ads.  Combine the editorial and the advertising (separately of course) into one nice looking publication and deliver it.  Do it again tomorrow.  Maybe it’s those daily deadlines that have blinded newspapers to the reality that every media company must know:  The number one job of newspapers is to connect people to the world around them.  Newspapers connect readers to their community and they connect advertisers to their customers.  The better newspapers understand this, the more successful they will be.  Newspapers are not the only ones guilty of not understanding their business .  Ad agencies often think their job is to create memorable ads and PR agencies may think their job is to crank out pithy press releases.  In fact, their job is also to connect people.

Unfortunately, newspapers have completely missed the boat when it comes to utilizing technology to connect people.  Bloggers, social media and niche media have steadily siphoned off consumers and advertising revenue in a game that newspapers were well poised to win.  That’s because “new media” understands what “old media”  seems blind to.  Connecting people is where the real value is derived.  

Here’s what newspapers need to do to survive.

1.  Jump on the social media bandwagon.  Newspapers are the medium best positioned to connect people who are interested in similar topics.  Social media “microsites” for local communities, for business, for sports, for real estate, etc. will help build the newspaper’s brand while establishing a sense of community among its readers.  Advertisers will surely follow.

2.  Embrace the bloggers.  Bloggers know that their post is only half of what interests readers.  Reader comments are the other half.  Newspapers still don’t understand this and relegate comments to micro-print at the bottom of an online story if they allow comments at all.  Comments and feedback are valuable content.  Why not highlight excellent comments by dragging them into the body of the story instead of relegating them to no-man’s-land?  Why not enlist well known bloggers to lead the discussion?  The fact that readers care enough to comment should be welcomed and celebrated and will help keep interest in the story going long after it’s publication.

3.  The 24-7 news cycle is killing newspapers.  If you know the newspaper business, you know never to pitch a story to a newspaper reporter after about 3pm, because they are often on deadline for the next day’s edition.  Reporters filed once a day and that was it.  That’s changing quickly as online editions try to keep up with breaking news, but it’s still deeply ingrained into the business.  Reporters need to report the news faster and worry less about the polish.  Newspapers need to deliver the news faster in non-traditional ways.

Speaking of non-traditional delivery of the news, here are some suggestions.

4.  Twitter:  Many traditional media outlets are now using twitter to promote stories that have already been written, but they need to use it to deliver the news as it happens in real time.  Forget the links, just send out the tweets until the story has been written, then link to it.

5.  Mobile devices:  The fact that Hearst is launching a wireless e-reader hints that they don’t “get it.”  I can read the news on my iPhone just fine, thank you.  Give me an app fine-tuned for your publication and I will download it and even pay for it if it’s a good one.  Create mobile websites for your advertisers so the content can be linked to the advertising.  Utilize text messaging to deliver editorial and advertising content to readers who are accessing your content on any platform.

6.  Audio:  Every news story of substance should be bundled with advertising into an audio file for download onto an MP3 player for listening in the car or anywhere else.  Webacasters are already creating content for niche audiences that are available live on their websites or can be downloaded for later listening.  

But besides content delivery, this is what’s most obvious and most lacking among newspapers.

7.  Newspapers need to become a marketing partner.  For many local businesses, newspapers may be their only advertising vehicle.  But few newspapers do more than just take ad orders.  Newspapers should be helping their advertisers by hunting for new ways to drive those customer relationships.  Why not offer a free “marketing audit” to make sure Joe’s Lamp Shop is following marketing’s best practices?  Why not offer seminars to businesses on social media, mobile marketing and all the other ways they can drum up business.  And have a product to offer in these areas.  Newspapers have a special and unique relationship with their customers which they must exploit.

Newspapers are the king of content.  They need to be the king of all media too if they are going to survive and flourish.

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Filed under Blogging, Daniel Durazo, iPhone, Mobile Marketing, PR, Public Relations, Uncategorized

Public Relations Trends for 2009

 

My Crystal Ball is Ringing and It's for You

My Crystal Ball is Ringing and It's for You

Some of my fellow bloggers have been banging out PR trends for 2009, so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon.  And since I now have two weeks of insight into this New Year, my predictions will no doubt be far more accurate than theirs.

 

Here’s my list:

The Gatekeepers Look Scared

One of the most challenging things about media relations has always been coming up with a creative pitch you think the media will like, getting the media’s attention long enough to pitch it, hoping they like it enough to run with it and then praying the media doesn’t run to a water-main break instead of covering your media event.  But for today’s PR pros, there are numerous avenues around the Gatekeepers and directly to your target audience.  As the media continues to feel the financial pressure of a downturn, the Gatekeepers will become more scarce.  Become fluent in all the ways to reach your target audience and you’ll still be able to do your job regardless of the Gatekeepers.

This isn’t your Father’s Public Relations

On a similar vein, the changing media landscape is changing our business.  We now need to be fully conversant in media relations tools that didn’t exist 5 years ago.  Social media, mobile media and the like are great ways to start conversations, and after all we are in the conversation business. Think about all the ways you can start conversations with your target audiences and develop resources to navigate those channels.  Get aboard or get left behind.

The World is Changing, Change with It

In the past, “diversity” was frequently given lip service while business was conducted as usual.  No more my friends.  The demographics of this country are changing rapidly and the Obama Administration will be the face of a New America.  Hispanics will continue to grow in population and increase their economic and political clout.  Other ethnic and racial groups will become energized and outspoken about having their place at the table.  Design outreach strategies for these groups or suffer the consequences.

Global Warming Heats Up

Despite economic turbulence and see-sawing gas prices, Climate Change as a critical global issue is here to stay.  The incoming administration has made it a priority and PR pros need to be able to tell a positive environmental story about their company or client.  The best organizations will design proactive environmental programs that make it easy for their PR folks to communicate effectively to target audiences.  

Back to Basics

Despite the increase in tools and technology relevant to our business, there is no substitution for effective communication.  While the look and sound of that communication may change, one thing that doesn’t change is the critical need to make yourself understood by your target audience.  Effective writing doesn’t just mean good mechanics, it means communicating effectively so that the message is received and acted upon.  Good communicators are hard to find, treasure them.

Research and Measurement are Necessary Evils

Too many organizations and clients today want to do things on the fly or on the cheap.  Unfortunately, when you shoot the gun without aiming first, you will often miss.  The way to take aim is to conduct research on your issue, your product, your audience, your message, your media and so on until you develop a communications strategy that you can have confidence in.  Similarly, measurement must be done to determine if goals were reached (assuming you had measurable goals in the first place) and then adjust your strategy based on your findings.  Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to research and measurement.

Doing Less With More

I’m a stickler for doing things right, but at the end of the day you can only do the best you can with the resources you have.  That’s why it’s so important to find creative ways to harness the resources to do the job right.  Internal resources can often be begged and bartered, external vendors are more willing to strike a deal to get some work.  Don’t be afraid to be creative or haggle when it comes to marshaling resources.

SEO Needs SOS

Search engine optimization isn’t just for web heads anymore.  Nearly all of your target audiences will seek out information about your company by using a search engine.  All of the great PR in the world won’t help if the search engine results are not flattering, are inaccurate or point to a competitor.  PR people need to be vigilant about their organization or client’s search engine results and take action when necessary.  SEO strategies frequently span PR and web disciplines, so talk to your web colleagues today so you’ll be ready tomorrow.

Social Media Changes Everything

Social Media has created a tsunami of change for traditional media.  Newspaper circulation and ad dollars are plummeting while tech savvy consumers get their news from the web, from cell phones and from non-traditional sources like the blogosphere (because that’s the way we bloggers roll).  Networking sites like facebook and LinkedIn have created social and business networks that are radically changing the communications landscape due to their insular nature.  Many media consumers now feel they have everything they need within their network platforms and needn’t venture out to get anything else.  I can get a job, post a job, keep up with friends, keep abreast of current events and even buy products and services, often without going far from my network.  Finding ways to intersect and disrupt social networks without intruding will increasingly become a sought-after area of expertise.

Those are my Public Relations Predictions for 2009.  Feel free to put them to work for you.

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Filed under Blogging, Climate Change, Green Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Multicultural Marketing, PR, Public Relations, Uncategorized

Short codes may save traditional media

 

Struggling

Struggling

Thanks to Jim Washok at OTAir for sending along Nielsen’s “The Short Code Marketing Opportunity.”

 

This is a great primer on how marketers are using Common Short Codes or “short codes” for text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messaging to build awareness, drive relationships and even sell products using mobile devices.

If you’re interested in the short code marketing opportunity, I suggest you take the time to read Nielsen’s report.

Some of the things that jumped out at me are:

The average number of text messages eclipsed the number of phone calls for wireless subscribers in Q4 2007 and the gap continues to widen.

A case study for Ashley Furniture shows one example of ROI on a text message campaign:  For every $1 spent on the campaign, $122 was generated in revenue.

Hispanics and African-Americans recall text-message ads almost twice as often as whites, making them an excellent target for text campaigns.

But what really interests me the most is the opportunity for traditional media (TV, print, outdoor, radio) to use text as an immediate call to action and to build interactive relationships with their viewers, readers or listeners.  Traditional media, particularly newspapers, have been hit hard by the current advertising slump and text campaigns are a great way to add value to advertisers and capture a database of loyal customers.

Nielsen found that radio station ALICE 97.3 KLLC-FM in San Francisco had logged more than a million transactions to its short code in Q2 2008 by listeners making requests, entering contests and chiming in on surveys.  That’s an excellent example of how traditional media is using text campaigns to build relationships.

As traditional media, particularly print, continues to struggle, short codes may prove to be their salvation.

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Filed under Daniel Durazo, Hispanic marketing, Mobile Marketing

I love my iPhone more than I love you

 

iphone_weightlifter4Today I was multi-tasking, downloading Apple’s new version 2.2 software for my iPhone (google maps street view looks great) on my iMac, while reading my friend and colleague Tony Scida’s blog on my MacBook

 

Tony’s got a great new post about the opportunities that marketers have to create branded iPhone apps and ride Apple’s very long coattails.  He’s got a point.  Apple is hot and now is the perfect time to jump on that bandwagon.  As mobile marketing guru and OTAir honcho Jim Washok likes to point out, iPhones are carried by the “12 million most important people in the world.”  Or at least we iPhone owners like to think so.  Those are exactly the folks who should be carrying your brand in their back pocket.

Coincidentally (great minds think alike), Jim also has a new post on the power of “Appverts,” an application designed to promote a product, service or brand.  He skillfully points out the futility of creating appverts without appvertainment or appvertility value.  

All this eye-phone lovin’ got me thinkin’ about how much I do love that little deck of cards crammed with interactive goodness and who-knows-what.  How did I live my life before I had it?  How did I ever update my facebook and twitter accounts while lifting weights before?  How did I suffer through another “shoot me now” meeting without the diversion of killing tiny little zombies on my screen? How did I ever check live sports scores on the “sly” while chillin’ with my shorty?  I didn’t. And my life sucked.  But not anymore.

Yes, it’s true.  I love my iPhone more than I love you.

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Filed under Daniel Durazo, Mobile Marketing

Radio Drives Mobile

 

Mobile Driver

Mobile Driver

Recently, my work in the radio industry and my interest in mobile marketing have crossed paths.  

 

Thanks to my colleague Doug Zanger at Small Plate Radio, I’ve found myself in several radio industry posts. I’m on the radio jury for the London International Awards, I’m the moderator for the Radio Suits group on the radiocreativeland talent pool and I handle media relations for the soon to be launched Good Radio Stories, an online PR service showcasing the charitable acts of radio stations across the country.  GRS is a Radio 2020 project commissioned by the Radio Advertisers Bureau, National Association of Broadcasters and HD Radio Alliance.

The more that I play in the radio world (I have a broadcast journalism degree) the more clearly I see synergies between radio and mobile marketing.  As I pointed out in my post “Drive to Mobile,” one of the best attributes of mobile marketing is the ability to “capture” an audience no matter where they are or what they’re doing. 

Where people can often be found is listening to the radio in a car, at home, at work or in someone else’s store, gym or drycleaner.  Radio therefore is a perfect medium for Drive to Mobile because it is ubiquitous and can be accessed from anywhere (just like mobile phones).

This fact is not lost on mobile marketing providers.  Companies like HipCricket and Spark Network Services offer radio stations turnkey mobile solutions to further relationships with listeners and provide stations with an additional revenue stream.

HipCricket has also just signed a deal with the Spanish Broadcasting System to build loyalty groups via text. I know from my work in the Hispanic market that Hispanics are a great target for text campaigns.

When it comes to building Drive to Mobile campaigns, radio is a terrific medium.

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Filed under Hispanic marketing, Mobile Marketing

The Birth of “Drive to Mobile”

You may be familiar with the term “drive to web.”  It refers to any activity that drives someone to log onto a website.  In marketing, this is done through a variety of media vehicles.  A television ad, a radio spot, a newspaper ad, a billboard or even an airplane dragging a banner at the beach, may include a url in an effort to “drive” the targeted audience to a particular website.  The internet itself is the best drive to web medium because the intended target is already on the web and simply needs to click a banner, button or link to be directed to the desired website.

I’ve been working on developing mobile marketing strategies for clients and potential clients and have recently spoken with a couple of vendors in that space who have walked me through the mobile landscape.  

The mobile marketing industry is set to explode.  eMarketer says mobile is today where web was ten years ago.  They predict that global mobile message advertising will be a $14 billion business in 2014, up from $2.5 billion today.  Strategy Analytics expects worldwide mobile advertising spending to more than double from 2008 to 2009, increasing from $1 billion to $2.4 billion.

Given the huge potential of mobile advertising, it makes sense to develop strategies to “drive to mobile,” just as we have developed strategies to “drive to web.”  While all of the options used to drive to web can certainly be used to drive to mobile, there are two advantages that mobile marketing has over other types of marketing that can and should be exploited.

First, mobile marketing is the perfect opportunity to tap into micro attention spans (guilty!) and engage people wherever they are, no matter what they’re doing.  If I’m driving, sitting in a stadium waiting for a sporting event or show to start, or even just eating lunch, my options to respond to a marketing message are limited.  Typically, I’ll do nothing, hoping that I remember the message at a later time.  With mobile marketing, stadium sitters will see a message on the jumbotron inviting them to text a word to a “short code,” a 5 or 6 number text address, and then automatically and immediately receive a coupon, enter a contest or be directed to a mobile website.  The upshot for the consumer is immediate gratification, something we all love.  The benefit to the advertiser is that there is no lag time between exposure to the message and the time when action is taken, a lag time that may cause the target to lose interest or forget the message entirely.

Second, mobile marketing is perhaps the mother of efficient marketing communications.  Most marketers are forced to blast their messages out day after day in the hopes those messages will just happen to intersect the consumer making that infrequent decision to buy a car, find health insurance, look for a new job, search for a house, etc.  Because advertisers are using a mass market approach to find a needle in a haystack, most of the marketing effort is wasted and the process is incredibly inefficient.  Mobile marketing allows advertisers to push messages only to those consumers who are in that searching mindset and then (this is the cool part) provides that consumer with an advertisement that they can then carry around inside their phone indefinitely, referring to it when the buying decision is upon them.  Oh, yeah.

Drive to Mobile:  You heard it here first.

UPDATE:  A new study from Nielsen Mobile finds that text messaging is now more popular than calling. Cell phone users report that they are sending nearly twice as many text messages per month than they are making calls.

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Filed under Daniel Durazo, Mobile Marketing