Vodafone launched an interesting 'hijack' marketing campaign to counter Telecom's massive launch of their new high speed XT mobile network. On the day of the official XT launch, Vodafone took out full page ads in all the major daily newspapers, giving away a million dollars worth of free calling time.
I doubt they will have gained any new subscribers, but they will have managed to dilute the impact of Telecom's XT launch, and possibly stem the flow of defectors. They have made a powerful statement to the market and to their subscribers that Vodafone is still here and won't take an XT licking lying down.
This campaign is a classic example of how you can leverage/hijack a competitors campaign to gain exposure for your message. It will be interesting to watch this battle unfold over the coming months.
Microsoft has just announced a new search engine that they have called 'Bing'. It's being positioned as a 'decision engine' rather than a search engine (they have added a bunch of smarts that Google doesn't have, for the moment that is).
The official launch date is 3rd June. For more information check out this post.
It will be interesting to see how Google responds. They have a major new product called Google Wave in the wings. Here's a video of the launch (warning: it's very long!).
The gut instinct of business owners in a recession is to cut costs wherever possible. And where better to reduce overheads than to sacrifice the advertising or marketing budget.
The visionary marketer sees this reduced marketing spend as a golden opportunity to leap ahead of their competitors. The lack of advertising clutter creates a perfect opportunity to expose your brand message or product with minimal interference from competing brands.
A study of the 1990/91 recession by McKinsey, revealed that companies that increased their marketing spend during a recession were the only ones whose profits rose substantially when the economy recovered.
According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Hillier analysis of 1,000 companies from PIMS (Profit Impact of Market Strategy) database after the 1990-91 recession showed that companies that increase spending in a recession, recover three times faster.
The long and short of it is - don't cut your advertising and marketing budget in a recession. At least retain your current level, or even better, increase your spend. The benefits will not only be felt in the short term but in the long term as well.
Consumers and customers are still going continue to make purchases through the recession, albeit possibly in smaller quantities. They will buy from someone, so why not show your face and become their chosen supplier? Every sale you make is one that your competitor doesn't, and no sales means they're going out of business fast!
More reading on this subject...
Successful Brand Strategies for the Recession and Inevitable Recovery
What Most Companies Get Wrong in a Recession
And finally, have a safe and enjoyable Queen's birthday weekend.
It's time to renew our Yellow Pages ads again and it got me thinking about the effectiveness of this medium compared to one of my favourite alternatives, search engine optimisation or SEO (also referred to as website optimisation). Sure Yellow Pages can be very effective for certain industries (that's a topic for another post), but every year we have to front up with a lot of money to keep in the forefront of our target market.
For the past couple of years we've put a lot of work into optimising our website for elected keywords and phrases. It's now really starting to generate some meaningful sales and is definitely on a par with our Yellow Pages results. Here's the thing though, it doesn't cost us anything! Sure we had to invest some time, money, effort to optimise the site initially, but as time goes by, the site and it's ranking improves in the eyes of Google.
In preparing your brand or company for the economic recovery, you should be seriously looking right now at how you can get your website to feature on page one (top 10 results) on Google searches. You do need to give the SEO changes time to be indexed and valued by Google.
Google's keyword research tool now offers a filter to display New Zealand search results for the previous month, comparing it to the international monthly average. Previously you only had access to USA or UK databases, which didn't give a very clear idea of actual keywords or phrases in a local context. Confusion with local terms such as "companies" vs "firms" could potentially reduce the effectiveness/relevance of your meta tags.
Now we can accurately determine what the true local search terms are and exactly how many searches occur in New Zealand for those terms. Terms with less than 10 searches in the previous month don't show exact volumes, but it still gives us a good idea of their relative popularity.
I recently returned from a visit to South Africa, where for many years the level of service across most industries, was at best, dismal. This time I was pleasantly surprised to find a huge improvement in service across all touch-points.
I guess the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2010 has a lot to do with it, but the important thing is that I really enjoyed the retail service experience and how special I was made to feel. I now find myself telling everyone that asks about my trip, how great the service was (and not how bad the crime is). Now that didn't cost them a cent, but it sure added value to my experience of the "South Africa" brand. In fact, you could say I'm now a disciple by default.
Never forget that WOM (word of mouth) advertising is the most powerful form of promotion, and it costs nothing to generate, other than a bit of effort and discipline.