Digiday ID’s the most “overhyped” marketing developments of 2015.

Digiday logoWhat were the most overhyped marketing stories in 2015? Media company Digiday‘s brand reporter Tanya Dua has come up with a list of four that she feels fits the bill.  See if you agree.

Apple Watch

Apple WatchDua notes that the Apple Watch was announced with so much fanfare that developers began making apps for it a half-year before the product hit the shelves — including big consumer players like Target and American Airlines.  But sales of the Apple Watch have been tepid at best.  There’s no way the marketplace performance of the product has come even remotely close to the company’s hopse for it.

Thom Gruhler, a CMO at Microsoft, says it well:

“When it [comes] down to the Apple Watch, one big question has still not been answered: Will anyone end up really ‘needing’ to engage with this shiny new technology?  What happened in 2015 was a disappointing start.”

Others appear to be even less charitable. A few are even equating the launch of the Apple Watch with that of another product that was similarly hyped:  Remember the Segway?  Everyone was supposed to end up having one of those — whereas the reality is closer to no one having them, with the exception of a few security cops and a few “trendy” businesses with long hallways.

Wearable Tech

wearableMany prognosticators were expecting that the “big data” promise of using wearable technology for experiences that were predictive and personalized would be fulfilled in 2015.  That’s hardly what’s happened.  According to Dua, wearables have yet to deliver anything like that in any meaningful way.

She quotes Julie Lee, Managing Director of marketing communications firm Maxus USA’s Chicago office:

“Technology, design and user experiences still need to be worked out. Though many companies are making great strides, we continue to watch this space to see if ‘what’s possible’ can truly become possible.  Wearables still hold great potential, but we’ll need to address today’s obstacles before we can become a ‘wearables-first’ market.”

Tanya Dua cites two other developments she feels were overhyped in 2015: Influencer Partnerships and Virtual Reality.

The problem with influencer marketing is when there’s little natural synergy between brands seeking to connect with their consumers more directly. “Authenticity” matters — and too often influencers are rather awkwardly tied to products few people would ever associate with them.

As for virtual reality, the problem is one of practical implementation and adoption by consumers; it hasn’t been happening — mainly due to lack of content and available hardware. Without those pieces of the puzzle in place, marketers simply can’t justify the cost having their brands present in the mix.  Instead, look for this trend to gather more steam in 2017 and years further out, Dua contends.

What do you think? Is Tanya Dua correct in labeling these marketing trends as “overhyped”?  What else would you add to the list?  Please share your thoughts with other readers here.

Take Your Pick: One Super Bowl Ad Spot … or 14 Billion Facebook Ad Impressions

Super Bowl Ad Cost

 

This year a single 30-second ad spot during the Super Bowl TV broadcast will cost a cool $4 million.

And that’s just for the placement alone — not the dollars that go into producing the ad.

The high cost of advertising is directly related to Super Bowl viewership, of course, which is predicted to be north of 100 million people this year.

Still, $4 million is a really hefty sum, even for major brand advertisers.  Just how big is underscored in some comparative figures put together by Jack Marshall, a reporter at marketing e-zine Digiday.

Jack Marshall
Digiday’s Jack Marshall

In lieu of spending $4 million on a single ad spot, here’s how Marshall reported that the promotional money could be spent in alternative ways:

  • 14 billion Facebook Ad Impressions – According to digital marketing software firm Kenshoo, right-hand column “marketplace” ads on Facebook averaged 27 cents per thousand impressions during 2013.  This means that for $4 million, an advertiser could run a Facebook marketplace ad every second of every day for the next 469 years.
  • 3 billion Banner Ad Impressions – In 2013, average online display ad CPMs were running just shy of $1.30, looking globally.  Applying that figure to the U.S. market translates into 3 billion display ad impressions for your $4 million spend.
  • 160 million Sponsored Content Views – The typical charge is ~$25 to distribute sponsored content to 1,000 readers.  At that rate, $4 million would give you 160 million impressions (provided a publisher could actually deliver that many!).
  • 10.8 million Paid Search Clicks – With an overall average cost-per-click of 37 cents in 2013, $4 million would cover just shy of 11 million clicks.  That may be one-tenth the size of the Super Bowl viewing audience … but at least your audience would be actually searching for your product or service instead of heading to the kitchen for more corn chips and queso dip.

These are just some of the comparative figures outlined by Jack Marshall in his article.  You can read the others here.

Marketing clichés are all around us.

no buzzwordsMarketing can be many things.  But marketing without originality isn’t much of anything.

That’s why there’s a desire among marketers to avoid clichés and buzz terminology in sales and marketing content whenever possible.

Still, it’s easy to fall into the cliché trap – and it happens to the best of us.

This is particularly true when the “next new thing” in business comes along every few months and people grasp for shorthand ways to communicate those concepts.

[There:  Perhaps “next new thing” qualifies as a marketing cliché itself!]

Brian Morrissey
Brian Morrissey

Recently, communications specialist and editor-in-chief of vertical media company Digiday, Brian Morrissey, came up with a list of 25 marketing clichés which he feels should be avoided if at all possible.

I’ve gone through Morrissey’s list and have selected ten that I think are particularly baneful – especially in the world of B-to-B marketing.  See if you agree:

Putting the customer at the center.  Isn’t it obvious that companies and brands would be committed to this?  And if not … where was the customer located before?

Having an “authentic” conversation with customers.  Inauthenticity isn’t cool.  Inauthenticity is also what we’ve been trying to avoid for years – or should have been.  There’s really no news in this statement, is there?

We fail fast.  Perhaps it comes from reading too many issues of Fast Company … but what companies do you know that want to slowly jettison a failed strategy?

Blue-sky thinking.  The “sky’s the limit” when it comes to “out-of-the-box thinking.”  Ugh.

Nab the low-hanging fruit.  This cliché has been around so long, there can’t be any low-hanging fruit left!

Dipping our toe in the water.  Trying to put a positive spin on a lack of depth or heft isn’t fooling anyone.

Open the kimono.  Any buzz phrase that conjures mental imageries of a flasher can’t be what we want to communicate.

Curated experiences.  A fancy way of admitting that content isn’t ours.  Besides, the term “curator” hardly sounds contemporary.  Instead, it connotes images of museums, galleries and other places that deal with the dusty past.

Surprising and delighting our customers.  Morrissey contends that this whopper makes brands come off like clowns … and that clowns are silly, scary or creepy – take your pick.

Tentpole idea.  Continuing with the clown analogy, no doubt … but whether it’s a circus or a tent revival, the mental imagery this elicits isn’t particularly apropos.

… And these are just ten terms on Morrissey’s list of 25 marketing clichés.

What about you?  Do you have any buzz phrases that you find particularly annoying – perhaps “thought leadership” or maybe “exceeding our customers’ expectations”?

Please share your nominations with other readers here.

Digital Advertising Growth Forecasts: Rosy Scenarios on Steroids?

Ad spend forecasts lower than projected.Isn’t it interesting how industry growth forecasts for emerging digital segments always start out looking stupendously stellar? Terms like “swelling demand” … “robust growth” … and “tipping point” often accompany these breathless predictions.

And of course, the business media are highly prone to report the news, as it underscores the fact that highly interesting things are afoot in the marketplace.

What’s done much less often is to go back at a later date and compare the growth forecasts to the actual performance.

But digital media company Digiday has done that, and if you think you remembered industry growth predictions that were a bit high on hyperbole … Digiday’s analysis reveals your memory is right on the money.

One market prognosticator – eMarketer – is often cited for its digital ad market predictions. But how accurate are they? Here’s how it forecast annual mobile ad spending in the United States:

 Prediction by eMarketer published in 2008: $5.2 billion in 2011
 Revised prediction from eMarketer restated in 2011: $1.2 billion
 Percent off-target: ~77%

And here’s how eMarketer forecast U.S. annual video ad spending:

 Prediction by eMarketer published in 2007: $4.3 billion in 2011
 Revised prediction from eMarketer restated in 2011: $2.2 billion
 Percent off target: ~49%

Granted, it is a challenge to forecast growth rates in digital advertising activity early on in the developmental cycle. But being off by such a dramatic degree makes the forecasts essentially worthless – and laughably so.

Another phenomenon may be at work as well. Invariably, the initial growth forecasts are too aggressive rather than too timid.

Why? Rosy forecasts tend to spark more interest from journalists, venture capitalists, publishers and others – and hence have a greater propensity to be published. So there may well be subtle pressure to “err on the plus side” when formulating the forecasts.

Digiday’s Jack Marshall poses that question, too, and then writes: “It’s important to think about where new markets and technologies are headed, but the ad industry often gets preoccupied and overexcited with what are essentially just guesses.”

As for the latest crop of (downwardly revised) growth estimates, Marshall adds: “Let’s reconvene in four years for the inevitable update.”

If you’re a betting person, you’d best wager on the revised figures being lower.