Tags: Advertising, business model, focus groups, Marketing, monetizing, Research, UGC, video
In their new September issue, Fast Company magazine features a fascinating story about the comedy web video business and how it’s almost impossible to make these websites profitable.
They lay out many of the current business models, but I think an addendum is useful. In this post, I will outline a mindset that hurts that industry, what the current business model is and why it doesn’t work, a suggestion to ensure profitability, and the business model that can make an online video site profitable.
First, The Mindset
We tend to think about web videos as a “thing.” It is a product. It is content.
Forget this mindset. If you’re a video producer, web video might be a tangible thing that comes from tangible people sitting around your tangible office. But it’s not.
For your audience, web video is an experience. There’s no actual product for the viewer – the video elevates the spirits or gives us hope or connects us to others. It has more in common with a trip to Disneyland than it does with buying razor blades.
So stop thinking of a video as a commodity and start thinking of it as an experience you provide for your viewer.
Second, The Model
As the Fast Company article points out, the prevailing business model is advertiser-based. This has been the case for most things in the U.S. for more than half a century.
However, the advertiser business model cannot support web video. Consider it: the marketplace is fragmented, niche sites have the most loyal visitors, online is still new to many advertisers, audience has a decreased appetite for ads, and the content (at least on the comedy sites) is oftentimes…edgy, to put it diplomatically.
Even off-shoots of the advertiser model don’t work, such as product placement and sponsored shows. The huge conglomerates that have the money to invest in these small comedy sites only know these sorts of models – give the product away in exchange for some advertiser time.
No matter how many times you throw money at the problem, this business model still doesn’t work.
But that doesn’t mean web videos will never be profitable. (Misters Murdoch and Branson, please have your assistants print out the following explanation.)
Tags: Advertising, Communication, Marketing, online advertising, Online marketing, paid search, Search, SEM, SEO
Most business owners have heard about Google or Yahoo ads and many are participating in these programs. These solutions allow your specific ads to reach your target audience at minimal cost.
So what’s the down-side? Can paid search actually hurt you and your brand?
The answer is a resounding yes. Done right, paid search advertising is one of the easiest ways to increase knowledge of your product or brand. But done poorly, it can cause your marketing budget to hemorrhage and turn your customers against you.
There are two ways that your paid search could be detrimentally effecting your brand.
Tags: Advertising, Amazon, Citibank, Communication, Godin, Marketing, Online marketing, Seth Godin
Update: I’ve received some attention from the post below, but I feel as though I should clarify a few things.
The email from Citibank was lame, but for a huge company, not totally surprising. However, the arrival of this email does not necessarily negate that the company is listening. Toward the end of the post, I make that connection and most of the time, it’s true. In this case, however, I don’t think it is responsible to connect one lame email with a company’s entire attitude.
That said, the moral of the post – companies who fail to listen will be overtaken by those that do – still stands. I believe that will only become more apparent as time goes on. -End update
To fail may be human, but for a company to fail at customer service these days may well be disaster.
You may remember when I mentioned a Citibank ad last week in a post about features versus benefits in advertising. Their print ad was spot-on when it spoke about how Citibank fit into their customers’ lives (plus, who can resist a cute puppy?).
So when I sent them an email noting my complimentary post, I expected at least a quick “thanks!” That’s the response I got from Moosejaw (they even promised to send me some schwag which must have gotten lost in the mail…). So imagine my surprise then almost 48 hours later, they reply with a standard “sorry, we can’t even respond to your email” email.
Tags: Acura, advergames, Advertising, BMW, branding, car, cars, Communication, Marketing, Nissan, online branding, Online marketing, Scion
Written by today’s guest blogger: This is my first post here on the OnlineMarketerBlog. I was asked by our kind host to share some thoughts I have about online branding. By way of credentials, I work in the marketing department of a large national company. I’m a copywriter by training with internet, print, and broadcast experience. And now for the disclaimer: These ideas which I’m about to share are of course mine, and don’t reflect the ideas of this blog’s host or my employer.
I was at work the other day when I came across this Acura landing page. It’s a robust landing page that touts the features of the car. And these types of pages are everywhere. Nissan, Toyota, Honda, GM…they all have them. And they’re all really boring. They do serve a purpose. These sites let prospective buyers learn about and price out a car. But they don’t tell a prospective owner anything about the brand.
And then I started thinking…why don’t car companies spend some of their immense marketing budgets on online branding efforts? The car market as a whole is perfect for online branding. Since cars are aspirational, a branded message speaks directly to how people should feel when they buy a specific car. In a lot of ways the brand message is just as important as a car’s features to a consumer. I tried to think back on examples of online branding in the car market and I came up with two, a Scion advergame and two Nissan Rogue videos.
So where are the online branding campaigns? Is it purely that these companies are focused on the active consumer? Someone who is currently researching new cars? Is it because they are scared that they can’t track the value of a branding campaign?
Tags: Advertising, benefits, Chevy, Chip and Dan Heath, Citibank, Communication, features, Ford, Heath, Made to Stick, Marketing, Online marketing
BG and I were driving to work on Friday when I commented on a radio ad. She said she hadn’t even noticed it and I can’t say I’m surprised. It was a car ad from one of the big companies – Ford or Chevy, I think – and it made me think about one of the most important rules of adverting.
Features Vs. Benefits
In their book Made To Stick, Chip and Dan Heath frequently mention the difference between features and benefits. Features are specific details that made the product unique or special. These are the phrases that the guys on any sales floor repeat ad naseum. Benefits, however, explain how the product fits into a person’s life or makes their lives easier or better.
Tags: ads, Advertising, America, American, Communication, demographics, dignity, diversity, Latina, Latino, Latinos, Marketing, Online marketing
Imagine your job is to market to Latinos. Let’s say it is our job to sell houses to young Latino families. (While you’re flexing your imagination, forget the housing crisis for just a moment.)
OK, so we’re fancy ad execs ready to place these folks in the homes of their dreams. We’ve got two ads to chose from. The first ad features a large, politically-correctish-brownish family laughing the day away. The second ad shows a bright green lawn that was trimmed with sewing scissors and there’s a white picket fence, probably owned by people named Chet and Muffy in a locale that starts with “the” (think Hamptons, Vineyard, etc.).
Which would sell more houses to our young Latino family? What property has the appeal to seal the deal?
Tags: Advertising, Ann Summers, Chip and Dan Heath, Communication, Made to Stick, Marketing, Online marketing, Valentine's Day, White Castle
BG and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. She is vehemently opposed to what she describes as “fake holidays forcing people to buy stupid crap” (gosh, I love that woman). I prefer to say that every day is Valentine’s Day for us and then I giggle.
Last night I was reading Chip and Dan Heath’s great book, Made to Stick. One of their tenants of “stickiness” is the unexpected. But sometimes when ads use unexpectedness or surprise it comes off as “WTF”? They say, “The easiest way to avoid gimmicky surprise and ensure that your unexpected ideas produce insights is to make sure you target an aspect of your audience’s guessing machine that relates to your core message” (pg. 71).
I have seen two Valentine’s Day ads that I think work well with this concept. (Chip and Dan: feel free to correct me!)