A snapshot profile of today’s Facebook as a marketing platform

Facebook's High-Wire Balancing Act Continues

Note to marketers who have been investing in Facebook: Fasten your safety belts.

Once again, Mark Zuckerberg is changing the algorithm that determines what users will see in their newsfeed.

Give Facebook credit. They announced some time ago the intent to make social media social again, and the change in algorithm is intended to give more visibility to status updates from friends and family. Positive social engagement should increase as a result.

The ancillary benefit for users is that their newsfeed will not feel bogged down by commercial content. But once again, marketers have to take a hard look at their Facebook spend.

The question: Should brands write off Facebook as a marketing vehicle?

Diosclosure: We make no money off media investments that clients make in Facebook. So our views below are relatively unbiased.

And our view on this is no, marketers shouldn’t abandon Facebook as a means of building brand awareness or community involvement.

Rationale: Mark Zuckerberg is walking a tightrope, balancing a publicly traded company’s need to hit quarterly numbers (which comes from ad revenue), and the largest social media platform’s need to remain committed to being essentially social, not commercial.

We think that Facebook’s decisions will pay off in the long run, and marketers should be reassured by the fact that Facebook literally cannot afford to push out brands altogether. So at least in the short term, there will still be opportunity for brands to market through Facebook.
In the midterm, we continue to watch the multi-year trend of sliding Facebook usership among key demographics.

Advice: Target and Moderate

Our position on Facebook is that while there are excellent targeted opportunities on the platform, our clients should not overinvest in a marketing tactic that fluctuates in reach (and therefore value) and which lacks policy transparency.

If you want to talk further about Facebook or targeted marketing over a beverage, please contact us, and stop by for a beverage.

The 3 Big Problems with Marketing in the Marine Industry

dcblog-keepafloatIf you’re a marketer in the boating industry the thought may have occurred to you that, for all its emphasis on product advancement, the sector as a whole is still stuck in the mud on some very important marketing issues. Here’s our 2 cents and nickel of advice.

1. Viewing the product as an end result rather than part of a larger experience.

Manufacturers at every level – from premium yachts to the smallest pieces of on-board equipment – tend to see their product as an endpoint. This explains the rigid content focus on specs, images that isolate the product, and very little emphasis on how the product enables the end user to have a certain kind of experience.

Our work with Hinckley was a rare departure from this – a website that balanced boat images with environmental backgrounds. The result: An emphasis on a lifestyle aesthetic of which the boat was a key component.

What to do about it: Rethink visual branding. Reacquaint yourself with ingredient branding. And start talking to photographers and agencies who understand how products fit in the world of consumer experience.

2. Homogeneity in ad content.

Flip through any of the major boating mags and you’ll see the same thing month after month: an ocean of blue sky, white hulls and water spray, and blonde women in bikinis stretched out and sunning themselves on the deck.

Boat and product manufacturers need to know this: Effective print advertising is predicated on capturing attention through differentiation – quickly.

The rule of thumb is 2.0 seconds. That’s how long you have to distinguish the ad’s visual presence and enable the reader to create a mental impression of the content. If your imagery and language is indistinguishable from its surroundings, there’s even less possibility the reader will grasp it.

What to do about it: Start thinking outside the boat and the bikini. Experiment with different logo placements in your layouts. Add a new signal color to the brand standards. Start using imagery –photography, illustration, graphics, fonts – that takes a different path from the advertisers you call your competition.

3. Consistency

Consistency is good in advertising – to a point. But a media buy that secures the same ad space over time will have diminished effectiveness. Here’s why:

Consumer preference is a bell curve as it relates to advertised products. Initial exposure, if repeated, will result in awareness and interest.

But repeated reinforcement will peak and decline over time – and overexposure creates perceptions of overabundance and lower quality. Think about the steady frequency with which many low-end consumer products are advertised – fast food, personal injury attorneys, big-box furniture stores. The painful consistency of their message turns their advertising into cheap wall paper.

What to do about it: Change ad creative content frequently. Reconsider your media mix with no sacred cows. Explore online ad placement outside of boating sites. And contact us.

If you’re a marine or boating brand and you’re tired of cruising in the same waters, contact us.