Category Archives: advertising

The Solar System of Strategy: Earth is Social

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With the emergence of new media and technologies, marketers have an opportunity to reach consumers at multiple touchpoints throughout their day, week, month and year. However, contrary to many belief’s, it’s not enough for a brand to just be present in a space such as social media. A brand must execute tactics under a well thought-out strategy in order to succeed.

It seems like there’s a strategy for everything, though. A social strategy, a brand strategy, a content strategy, a campaign strategy- the list goes on. Well, that’s because there is. And if there weren’t, account people, like me, would end up pulling their hair out. Strategies are wonderful. They allow us to stay grounded in an industry where the only creative constraints are ourselves. It allows brands to remain efficient, consistent and dynamic.

But which strategy trumps all strategies in a marketing plan? I think of it like a solar system. The sun is the brand strategy, the one thing we must not stray from. The brand strategy is at the center- all other strategies orbit the brand strategy. Without the brand strategy, the social strategy would not exist.

Where does a social strategy fit in? It sits  92,960,000 miles from the sun, has only one moon and is the only planet with proven life. That’s right, social strategy is Earth. Social media has given brands the opportunity, for the first time ever, to form two-way communication with their audience. It is no longer a print ad, a radio spot or a billboard. Brands can now have conversations with the communities that matter most. It makes sense because Earth is all about interactions, cultures and communities. A social strategy is an important part to a brand’s marketing plan because social media empowers consumers and humanizes brands. Without the sun, however, Earth and many life forms would sadly die (too soon, dinosaurs?).  If you build a social strategy without relating it to the brand strategy, it will fail. On the flip side, a weak brand strategy will hinder even the strongest social strategy.

The three most important takeaways of The Digital Advertising Insight Summit Series

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This year, Milwaukee-based advertising agency Laughlin Constable and Marquette University partnered to bring marketing professionals, students and faculty the First Annual Digital Advertising Insight Summit Series. Although there were many speakers from the client side, agency side and publishing side, there were messages that resonated in most presentations.

  1. Simplicity: We live in an era where instant gratification is the status quo. We consume a ridiculous amount of content everyday, and most of the time on multiple devices at a time. Marketers must keep the experience simple and memorable. Marketers compete with thousands of content producers fighting to gain the attention of target consumers. Without simplicity, we risk losing that attention. Marti Gahlman, Director of E-Commerce and Digital at The Master Lock Company, put it nicely: simplicity through complexity.  Digital can be perfectly simple on its face, but is immensely complex under the surface. Vast amounts of data and analytics allow marketers to polish the experience for every user.
  2. Data: It wasn’t long before Spider Man quotes hit the microphone. “With great power comes great responsibility” Dennis Jenders of Laughlin Constable said. And it’s true, especially regarding data and analytics. Marketers must invest in solid data analysis and measurement tools in order to stay ahead of the game. Everything in digital is measured- that means that you must not only be equipped to pull those data, but it is also critical to be able to read and understand the data. I would argue digital is a wasted investment without the proper data analysis in place.
  3. Content, content and more content: The power and importance of content was a point in almost every presentation I saw. The lines between earned and owned media are becoming more and more blurred, according to Molly McKenna, Director of Public Relations for McDonalds. With content, marketers can reach consumers with real, genuine messaging that builds brand loyalists and advocates. Casey Flanagan, Senior Account Planner at Laughlin Constable, provided a simple, yet potentially overlooked insight- content must be searchable and sharable. A brand with Mona Lisa-status content will fail if it doesn’t give users the ability to simply search and share it.

The opportunity to attend the Insight Summit Series was invaluable. I heard from a number of incredibly intelligent marketing professionals with multiple perspectives on digital advertising. The knowledge gained surpasses most lessons that can be taught in a classroom, and it provided a great opportunity to network with potential employers.

My only regret: I didn’t major in Economics.

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