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Marketing Campaign Development: Buy this Book

24 May
Marketing Campaign Development

Marketing Campaign Development

Several months ago, I was pleased to preview some several chapters from a forthcoming book on marketing from a former marketing professor, Mike Gospe.  As someone new to the marketing world, I found his course on “Essentials of Integrated Marketing” very helpful in providing a framework for understanding how to market. I think that before you can map out a marketing campaign, or send out a variety of marketing materials, you have to get down to basics.

Gospe’s new book,  “Marketing Campaign Development: What Marketing Executives Need to Know About Architecting Global Integrated Marketing Campaigns”, outlines in detail the ideas of personas, positioning statements and the message box.  Simply stated, the persona is the client, and all of their attributes.  Example: I’m selling handbags and my persona is Lisa, an 18 year old student who loves fashion but is cost-conscious.  Next, a positioning statement is crafted to better state the brand’s position among its competitors.  So, X  handbags are the stylish, affordable handbag for the young girl who wants to look good while not caring about designer labels. Lastly is the message box, where it is all put together. So, “For the style maven who wants it all without breaking the bank- X  handbags”.

The book goes further into detail and provides real-life case studies so that the reader can see how these exercises have helped Silicon Valley’s top companies succeed in marketing. I gave the book a positive capsule review that appears in the back, but I have yet to read the finished copy. I look forward to doing so very soon.

I Just Plain Love This Ad

4 May
Heineken The Entrance

Heineken The Entrance

Call me old-fashioned, but although I have a DVR, I do still watch live TV.  And I watch the commercials.  Granted, I watch many of them on mute, but occasionally one breaks through the pack of blah blah ads and brings joy to my cynical ad-watching. It also doesn’t hurt that the ad in question is for a beer that I already dig.

So I am talking about the newest commercial for Heineken, “The Entrance”.  Guy goes to a bar, fun and awesomeness ensue- and a Duffy-esque singer sings.  I like beer ads that show people having a great time without resorting to testosterone-fueled debauchery (the peaceful Corona ads on the beach are also great for this reason, though sadly, I hear they’re on their way out).  I like ads that make you feel happy. The party in this commercial is one I want to go to. I raise my glass to the folks at Heineken for approving this enjoyable ad.  Sing it out loud! (Seriously, does anyone know who the singer is or what she is singing?)

A Very Bloggy May

1 May

I started this blog last fall with the intention of writing at least once a week about Web 2.0 and the way it was changing our lives; marketing from the perspective of a budding marketing professional; and my take on issues and news affecting the U.S. Latino community. Those issues have provided me with fodder for very interesting posts, but in the last few weeks the posts have been fewer and fewer. I still have the intention of writing once a week, but I wait for lightning to strike, and then writer’s block sets in. And worst of all, this makes blogging feel like a chore. Which I certainly don’t want it to become.

I like writing, and there are so many topics that interest me.  So I have come upon an interesting solution to revive the blog and get myself into the habit of regularly writing for this blog again.  A May resolution, if you will- one new blog post, every day during the month of May, on any topic of my choosing.  So yes, this will mean broadening the content to whatever may interest me on a given day- politics, both local and national, the economy, health, family, heck, even fashion (I’ve been known to put together a nice outfit from time to time).  I know that every social media expert says that the key to having a successful blog is to hone in one or two areas and sticking to them.  However, this month-long experiment in daily blogging, 30 posts in 30 days, is more about producing regular content- something else the social media experts will tell you is important to building a readership.

So join me on this month of daily writing on what will surely be a wide variety of topics.  Happy May Day!

What Does a Latina Look Like?

9 Apr
Multi-ethnic Models

Multi-ethnic Models

I belong to a group on Facebook where Hispanic online marketing professionals can gather to share news on the industry and debate issues.  One member posted a link to an article in MediaPost about Estee Lauder’s new Idealist skin care line, which is supposed to work wonders with all skin types.  The models pictured at left are the ones whose faces will grace the campaign, and there was a bit of a comment kerfuffle on the Facebook group as to whether Latinas were being excluded from this campaign.  We see no Latinas in the photo. Or do we?

Several commenters rushed to point out that there is no Latina look, and that Latinas can indeed look like anything. Some mentioned that they and their daughters do not look typically Latina, yet they identify closely with the culture. Well, count me and my Mom in that category. My looks are far from typically Latina- my skin tone is something akin to eggshell white- and this is compounded by the fact that my first name is a little less Guadalupe María, a little more Jane. People do not assume that I am Hispanic.  And yet, I am.

Back to the image of the models.  It turns out that the model on the left, Joan Smalls, is Puerto Rican. You can be Latina and black, por supuesto. The model in the center, Constance Jablonski, reminds me of Alexis Bledel, of “Gilmore Girls” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” fame, who herself is Mexican and Argentinean. And the model on the right, Liu Wen, bears a resemblance to Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori.  So all of them could conceivably be Latina.

Many people, we Hispanics included, have an idea in mind of what Latinas look like.  Brown-skinned. Mestizo, looking both a little Spanish and a little Indian. Brown eyes, brown hair. If asked, I would say Mexican actress Kate del Castillo fits the mold quite well. But Hispanic is not a race- it is a loosely defined idea, a grouping for those people living in Spanish-speaking lands.  It covers everything from Dominican Republic to Argentina, and all the lands in between.  Naturally, there will be some variety.  In this country, we like knowing who’s who and what’s what.  Admit it- how many times do you rush to Wikipedia or Google while watching a TV commercial and search for something like, “guy from the Sprint commercial, what is he? Asian?” Faces of ambiguous origin make us uneasy- we need to have an explanation, fast.

Latinas are underrepresented in Hollywood and the mainstream media, which I think explains the consternation of the member of the Facebook group that a typically Latina face was not included in the Estee Lauder campaign.  Yet I think if we broaden our idea of what a Latina can look like, we’ll see that our community is more diverse than we realize. Let’s use a big-tent approach to Latinidad.

DQ Burgers: Trying to Be Viral, and Failing

24 Mar
Viral Video

Viral Video

There is much discussion among marketers about what makes videos go viral. No one quite knows how to put lightning in a bottle, but once you see it, you know it. My favorite viral video? Old Spice Guy. Need I say more? He’s handsome, he’s suave- he’s the cologne-wearing man your man wants to be and your woman wants to be with. He’s a bit outrageous, a bit over the top, yet he knows it.

So what do you get when people try to turn the charm of Old Spice Guy and push it through the ad agency assembly line? You get the cringe-inducing new campaign for Dairy Queen Burgers.  A brief synopsis: tall handsome in a dorky way guy attempts to charm the audience while describing the rather stale brand, then ending on a ridiculous line. Except rather than “I’m on a horse”, it’s “The guitar sounds like dolphins”. The ad is not very creative, and it’s so derivative of Old Spice Guy it hurts. Hence the inducing of cringes.

News flash: viral hits like Old Spice Guy only happen once. There is no formula, like add one part handsome guy and add two parts pithy dialogue to make the young kids swarm to your product.  The old currency in advertising was: take what has worked for someone else, take it apart, and remake it for your brand. The new currency is that you do your own thing and know your audience. So that’s teenage boys and Axe Body Spray; that’s young women and Yaz birth control; it’s middle management and Charles Schwab. So chart your own path, Dairy Queen. Minus the guitar that plays dolphins.


What a Translator Wants

8 Mar

Once upon a time, dear reader, I trained to become a translator.  I studied it intensively for two years, with a translation internship in Mexico sandwiched between both years of study.  Though I continue to accept less than 10 translations a year now that I am a full-time marketing professional, I still am a member of the American Translators Association and the Northern California Translators Association, both of which do good work advocating for translators and promoting professional opportunities.  Translators are used to ranting and raving among themselves about different trends they see in the industry, but for the marketing folks, let me let you in on a few tidbits that the translators would like you to know.

– Translators and interpreters do different jobs. Below, at left, you’ll find an interpreter at work:



And below is a translator at work.



See the difference? Visual aids make things so easy. Translators render written text from one language to another, usually with a computer, often from home, and more often than not, in one’s pajamas. Interpreters, on the other hand, work with spoken language. Person A says, “Me duele la panza”, and the interpreter then says to Person B, “My stomach hurts”. And then Person B, usually a doctor, diagnoses Person A, usually a patient.

Translators use dictionaries, glossaries, translation memory tools, and often work with an editor while completing a large translation. They must have strong writing skills in their native language (translators always translate into their native language). Interpreters must know both technical knowledge (i.e. legal terminology) and slang, and be able to interpret it fast. Strong memory skills are a plus.

Lastly, I’d like to discuss a term that seems to have entered the marketing lexicon recently.  It makes my blood boil, so let’s just deal with it now: transcreation.  Somewhere along the line, someone came up with the idea that translation refers only to the literal translation of one word to another, whereas text that requires some adapting or reworking is not translation- it’s transcreation.  Translation refers to ALL types of translation, even when puns, jokes, double entendres, slang, legalese and other types of language that are tricky to translate are involved.  Transcreation is a fancy new name for something translators have always done and continue to do- use their knowledge of the source language to produce a readable translation in the target language, communicating the same idea. Punto.

Las Nuevas Reglas de la SEO

1 Mar
Content Farms

Content Farms

Cuando habla Google, la gente escucha. Y hace poco, el gigante de los buscadores ha dado a conocer unos cambios de su famoso algoritmo. Hay dos cambios significativos que se implementarán próximamente: aumentar la importancia de la “búsqueda social”, y penalizar los sitios que recopilan contenido de otras fuentes (en inglés, content farms).

Los internautas están compartiendo enlaces a través de las redes sociales cada vez más; es probable que la primera vez que viste un video popular o leíste algo sobre una noticia importante, fue a través de Facebook o Twitter.  Por esta razón, Google ha decidido dar más importancia a los enlaces compartidos en las redes sociales. Esto está vinculado a la búsqueda personalizado; es decir, si el buscador conoce tus gustos y lo que sueles buscar, también conoce quién en tu red personal comparte noticias que lees.

¿Qué significa la nueva importancia de la búsqueda social para los que trabajan en el marketing?  Es otro indicio de que el aspecto social del internet no es un modo pasajero.  Google está intentando mejorar sus resultados para que sean cada vez más relevantes. Por lo tanto, lo que compartes en Twitter, Flickr u otra red- aunque, por el momento, no Facebook- puede llegar a más gente, y vice versa. La idea es que si todo el mundo está hablando del tema en Twitter, debe de ser relevante.

La otro nueva noticia es que Google ha modificado su algoritmo para que sitios con contenido original valgan más que los sitios que sólo recopilan contenido y enlaces de otras partes.  Quizás hayas buscado cómo hacer alguna cosa- por ejemplo, “cómo hacer ejercicios para los brazos”.  Y los primeros resultados son sitios con más anuncios que contenido.  Tienen mucho texto pero pocas imágenes. Un ejemplo de uno de estos “content farms”- literalmente, granja de contenido, donde se cosecha contenido poco relevante- es Algunos han quejado en el pasado de que Google no haya podido distinguir entre los buenos sitios y los malos sitios. Eso acaba de cambiar.

Ahora los sitios que tienen poco contenido original son penalizados en los buscadores.  Alexis Madrigal, de The Atlantic, comparó el nuevo algoritmo con el viejo, utilizando un servidor de la India y uno de Estados Unidos (el cambio solo se está realizando en EE.UU.), y vio que los resultados para Estados Unidos eran mucho mas relevantes.  Entonces, esto nos recuerda lo que muchos ya han dicho: reina el contenido. Mejor dicho, reina el BUEN contenido. Si el sitio está diseñado únicamente para aprovechar los buscadores y no para ayudar a los seres humanos, será penalizado. Esto representa buenas noticias para los que usamos Google en nuestra vida diaria; me he quejado antes de los sitios que no proveen nada útil.  Google está buscando más que los términos de búsqueda; ya está buscando calidad.  Me interesa ver cómo van mejorando el buscador para estos fines.

SEO for Humans

1 Feb
What Are You Looking For?

What Are You Looking For?

Have you ever searched for something online and then been surprised that the first few results are not relevant at all? Let’s take the old dark chocolate example. For whatever reason you want to look for milk chocolate online- you want to learn about the health benefits, or you want to buy some for your sweetie. Do you find the most useful site at the top of your search results? Perhaps. But the fourth search results is this.

On this site, I have no way of purchasing chocolate or finding out about the purported health benefits of chocolate. I just see the word chocolate repeated over and over. So the people behind this page at Wisegeek have managed to create an image-free, text-heavy site with no relevance whatsoever to the human searching for chocolate. But they have managed to work their way up the search engine rankings, right behind Wikipedia and Hersheys, so it’s all good.

This is what happens when web designers take the almighty SEO- that’s search engine optimization, folks- above the needs of real human web users. As someone who has taken courses in SEO and who dabbles in it occasionally at work, I sympathize with those trying to do their best to improve their website’s search ranking. There are myriad ways to improve a site’s design so that it is more search engine friendly. At the html  level, title tags and image tags can be renamed. I cringe when I see a site’s title tag that simply says “Home”. Little things that are done behind the scenes help. But when it comes at the expense of the user experience, you may have a high search engine rank, but a high bounce rate. Visitors will find nothing of value on your site, and leave.

Though I look at some aspects of the online experience through a marketer’s eyes, I mostly look at things through the eyes of a web user. Someone who searches for movie times and hunts for good, local news sites and laughs at Lamebook. As a web surfer, I appreciate what we marketers call “sticky content”. Namely, write good, interesting stuff that makes me want to stay on the site. And come back. In the end, that is more valuable than keyword-packed, image-free, useless sites taking up valuable bandwidth.

Las Empresas Latinoamericanas y Los Medios Sociales

20 Jan
Las Redes Sociales en Latinoamérica

Las Redes Sociales en Latinoamérica

Hace poco, leí que las empresas latinoamericanas están atrasadas en su uso de los medios sociales- y esto, a pesar de que los internautas en la región se están conectando a una tasa increíble.  En una conferencia reciente, Alexandre Hohagen, el Director General de Google para Latinoamérica, sostuvo que “Latinoamérica seguirá siendo la región que más crecerá en el mundo en el uso de Internet, tanto si el acceso es mediante computadoras o teléfonos móviles”. Se ha discutido mucho sobre el auge de los medios sociales por los jóvenes en Latinoamérica. ¿Y las empresas de la región? Aún no han aprendido integrar los medios sociales en su estrategia de marketing.

La empresa de investigación de mercados Burston Marsteller acaba de dar a conocer los resultados de un estudio que muestra lo siguiente:

  • Solo la mitad (49%) de las empresas latinoamericanas con altos ingresos tienen una cuenta en redes sociales, comparadas con 79% de las empresas globales.
  • 39% de las compañías están en Facebook (54% a nivel global)
  • 32% de las compañías tienen presencia en Twitter (65% a nivel global)
  • 25% de las compañías tienen cuenta en Youtube (50% a nivel global).

Sin embargo, las compañías que se comprometen en redes sociales son muy activas.

  • 86% de las cuentas corporativas de empresas latinoamericanas se mantienen activas (se actualizaron por lo menos una vez en la semana anterior a la investigación), lo que sugiere que estas empresas entienden la importancia de conversar en redes sociales de forma regular.

Cinco datos que nos indican mucho.  Los datos muestran que los latinoamericanos- sobre todo los jóvenes- están accediendo al internet, y las redes sociales en particular, a una tasa fenomenal. Para llegar a ellos, utilizar los medios sociales simplemente tiene sentido.  Entiendo el miedo que uno puede tener frente a una tecnología nueva. Titubear. Esperar. !No sé usarlo! ¿Para qué usarlo? Yo dudaba mucho el poder de los medios sociales para hacer que una empresa o una marca conecte con sus clientes potenciales y actuales. Antes.

Pero los tiempos han cambiado. Los medios sociales no son una tendencia pasajera. Quizás la red sea distinta de país a país (Orkut en Brasil, hi5 en el Perú y la Argentina), y quizás la red social de ayer no tiene la misma popularidad que antes (de Friendster a Myspace a Facebook a….). Pero el uso de las nuevas tecnologías para crear una identidad, para conectarse a los demás, para compartir ideas y opiniones, para obtener información- ese cambio es definitivo.

Entonces, una vez que uno se dé cuenta de su importancia, ¿cómo utilizarlos para conversar y responder a los clientes- los “fans” (o críticos) de uno? Mi consejo sería simplemente comenzar. Y escuchar.

The Three Social Media Lives of Me

10 Jan
The Three Social Media Lives of Me

The Three Social Media Lives of Me

I have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and boy, they could not be more different from the others.  When managing social media strategy, we often have to stop and remember that different people use social media differently. My 10 year old second cousin and my 78 year old great aunt are both on Facebook, and both use it differently.  Yet it is often instructive to think of how we use social media ourselves.  Different purposes call for different media- a retail giveaway may work best on Facebook, whereas a survey of industry professionals would be ideal on LinkedIn.  Similarly, I have been thinking recently of how I use social media personally. Each social network breeds a different persona.

When it comes to LinkedIn, I have a fairly open door policy.  If I meet someone at a professional function, I will gladly offer to connect with them on LinkedIn. Former classmates, business contacts from old jobs, previous coworkers, and those “potentials” who I hope to do business with. It’s a fairly open door policy, although I have been asked to be introduced to connections, so I know it’s important to not connect to total strangers.  I don’t think of privacy at all when on LinkedIn. I also feel free to boast on the site- if I have received a degree, been published, or am attending a conference, I say so.  In that sense, for me at least, LinkedIn is uni-directional. I promote myself professionally, let people know what I’ve been up to, and search for professional contacts. The version of myself that exists on LinkedIn is a professional dynamo that interacts little with others.

The me that exists on Facebook is much different. Professional accomplishments have no place there- I would feel too embarrassed bragging to my friends and family.  I am often acutely aware of appearing to brag or overshare on the site, so I try to keep status updates and photo sharing to a minimum- only the really good stuff, folks.  I feel that the site is much more about sharing- I see what my friends, old and new, those I see every day and those I haven’t seen in years, are doing, and so we interact. While I am hesitant to share details that are too personal, Facebook is possibly the one social site where my personality truly comes out.  Granted, I hold back because, when you have 200+ friends, not all of them will be close friends, and I shy away from controversy (I would love to post more political observations, but I have received feedback from conservative relatives and far left friends, and I have now learned that I just don’t want to go there. Ever.). But even this tendency towards being diplomatic is a hallmark of my personality. So Facebook is more or less where the “real” me resides online, along with a host of friends, family and acquaintances.

Now, although I hesitate to share political opinions on Facebook, since almost everyone I know is on there, I feel a bit more free to express myself, briefly, on Twitter.  The social media life I conduct on Twitter has the freedom of anonymity.  My real name and picture are on my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, but Twitter is pseudonymous.  A handful of my Twitter followers have met me in real life and know who I am, but many others don’t. I’m just the user with a Tapatio bottle for a face. The anonymity is freeing. Political opinions? Check. Retweeting corny jokes or gossip news? Check. I really don’t care who knows. The Twitter account is mostly for fun, and I have particularly found that the LATISM family on Twitter- that’s Latinos in Social Media– has been a wonderful community to find- Latinos from all over the U.S., of every social and political bent, reminding me what a dynamic community we have out there. My Twitter use is infrequent- I may check in once in the evenings, maybe once during my lunch break- but I always read something funny, something insightful, and find others to connect with.

Three different personas, three different ways of being online, all in different communities and for different purposes. Our social media experiences are what we make them, regardless of what social networks we use and why we use them. How do you use social media? And are you a “different” person on different social networks?