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New Marketing Techniques—Changing the Game

Donna C. Barson

For decades, the tried-and-true marketing methods for personal care products were television, radio and print. Occasionally an offshoot of one of those comes along, such as local access cable television, but typically marketers budgeted dollars and attention to the first three media. They were the whole ball game—but now the game has changed.

Today, there is a virtual explosion of new media—the Internet, cell phones, iPods and video games, just to name a few. As technology surges ahead and consumers adopt new and different ways of doing things, marketers are scrambling to keep up. It is an old adage that you go where your customers are; nowadays, they’re as likely to be watching a video clip on their iPod while walking down the street as they are sitting at home watching television.

Every one of these expanding media sources represents a new marketing opportunity. As you add these to your marketing strategy to complement or possibly replace the tried and true, you will find that some new ideas will soar and some will sink.

Are you bold enough to find out which ones will be successful?

It’s Not Your Father’s Media

According to a recent Association of National Advertisers poll of more than 80 top advertisers, an increasing number of marketers believe that general advertising is no longer the most important component to a company’s overall marketing program. The survey found that just 30% feel that general advertising adds the most value to a marketing program. That is down more than 20 points from a similar survey done just three years ago.

To further reinforce how marketing is changing, Nielsen Media Research recently announced that it is going to unveil new ways to measure how people watch broadcasts. Nielson plans to include consumers’ broadcast habits using cell phones, mobile devices such as iPods, and the Internet—including the use of streaming video.

Clearly, this isn’t your father’s media, with its limited choices as to where to put your marketing dollar.

Eye Opener Blink!

In the time it takes to open and shut your eyes, you could have sent several marketing messages.

That’s the theory behind “Blinks,” which are one-second commercial radio spots inserted between music tracks. Imagine a quick shot of some catchy, recognizable commercial jingle that pops up several times an hour on the radio. Before consumers can rub their eyes, they may be actively thinking about the product, thanks to the subliminal effect.

Captain Hair: Gel Zap! Bang! Jump! Duck! Zombie to the right!

Don’t laugh. Video games are enormously popular. What about a game featuring your product? In game environments, products are not restricted to minutes or even moments of exposure—the product message remains until the game-player is done.

Major corporations already are moving into this field, with all manner of imaginative scenarios in which their products play key roles. A super hero hair gel? It can’t be any odder than a guy flying around in blue tights with a big “S” on his chest.

Mobile Money Off

The heralding of mobile couponing has been heard for so long that it’s hard to believe it will ever happen, but it really may be coming to a screen near you soon. Major marketers such as Hollywood Video, Bath & Body Works and 1-800-Flowers are testing mobile couponing. It’s immediate and linked to an event. For example, a coupon for a specific product hits the screen of consumers’ cell phones as they’re walking past a particular retailer.

According to some reports, mobile coupon redemption rates are more than 20%. This is phenomenal compared to the rather low redemption rate of traditional direct mailing of coupons. Mobile couponing has been so impressive that retail giants such as Target and Best Buy are expected to enter the field this upcoming holiday season.

Have You Heard … ?

Possibly the oldest form of marketing is word-of-mouth. Interestingly, with the burgeoning popularity of such Internet sites as Facebook, Youtube and MySpace, word-of-mouth also belongs in an article about new types of marketing. The Internet finally is becoming what you always heard it would be—an interactive community in which people continuously communicate with each other. Now, the Internet provides even more fertile ground for the forward-thinking marketer. One mention of a product may quickly spread through the whole site’s community and beyond. There are personal care companies currently utilizing people specifically trained to spread the word about products. In the future, such electronic word-of-mouth endeavors could certainly play a significant role in marketing campaigns.

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