The old order of marketing and advertising is falling by the wayside. The future of advertising is not tomorrow, it was a few years back. And if your company is not on it now, you are way behind the curve.
There are examples all around us of the new way to advertise. Some big (and fashionable and cool) companies are doing it. They are laying the foundations and showing everyone how it is done... Let me repeat that: They are showing everyone how it is done! Yet 95% of the companies see it but do not copy or follow or, well, maybe they "just don't 'get it.'"
These businesses are like dinosaurs. I reckon that when that huge-a*sed asteroid hit the earth several millions of years ago, the brontosaurus were standing there and, weeks and months, after the temperature had dropped dangerously low, they began to think, "Gee... It's getting awfully cold..."
Do you think the dinosaurs thought, "Maybe I'd better move to where it is warmer?" Nah. They didn't. It may or may not have helped. But certainly standing there and doing nothing, or doing the same thing they had always done, wasn't a good option.
My God! If I had a few dollars for every company I see everyday standing, there doing nothing, or doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I'd be a millionaire! (Maybe only a million yen because I hate going outside too much, but you get the idea!)
The old way of advertising:
Talk to people in suits and give them money. They run a full-page advert in a newspaper. It says, "That's a great place to eat steak. It is soooo delicious!" Cost of this advertising: $5000.00 or more.
Joe Happoshu sees the ad. You see the ad. Do you go there? Nope. Why? No one believes this sort of advertising anymore.
The new way of advertising:
Your friend at the office says to you one day, "Say! Have you tried that new steakhouse on the corner? It's really good." Do you go there? Yes. you do. Why? Because you believe your friend. Cost of this advertising: Zero.
There's an old saying: "Credibility is very hard to get. It is even harder to buy."
So why does your company continually try to buy credibility?
The new way of marketing is to build a reputation by using organic methods to spread the word of mouth. Organic means that we use Social Media and blogs and we tie up other (cool) companies and make a mutually beneficial marketing programs that are very low cost and gets the word of mouth buzzing. It must be organic; it must make sense to the public... People interested in one aspect of the marketing will be drawn to another if we fit the pieces of the puzzle together correctly. And bloggers (that people like your friend in the office read) write about you.
Sure, sure... Your company and staff (and your advertising agency) pay lip service to blogging and Web 2.0 and 3.0, but if you were to actually sit them down and explain to you a concept like Web 3.0 I'd wager a donut that they can't do it and I'd wager a year's worth of donuts that they DON'T do it.
The problem with most Japanese companies is their advertising people are so stuck with the old way of doing things, they just can't get their head around concepts like Web 3.0... Web 3.0!? You kidding me? Look at most company Internet web pages and you'll see that they are stuck with Web 1.0 concepts. Concepts that are nearly ten years old!!!
As a funny aside, I was mentioning to someone how it is a waste of money to buy advertising on the Internet to have a paid ad at the top of the page for results for a Google search. The guy told me that they were spending ¥2 million yen (about $25,737 USD) per month on that.* Inside, I cringed. I told him that he could do the same thing for free (it requires effort though) and he told me that he "had a good engineer." I told him that there is a big difference between an engineer and a blogger...
Stop for a second and think about that logically! Thinking that an engineer could be good at advertising and marketing is just laughable if you stop and consider it... If you are running a big company and spending a big budget on SEO or banners ads for top results on Google searches, then I ask that you do, STOP RIGHT NOW and think about that for a few seconds!
You have an engineer running your advertising and marketing promotions for the Internet? Quick questions? Do they blog? Do they Facebook, Twitter or do any other Social Media? And, the killer question; This person is in charge of your company public image and face on the Internet; would you be comfortable with that person speaking in front of a crowd of, say, 1,500 people? No? Then why in the hell do you believe this person carte blanche for the Internet where there are 500 million people?
Sounds pretty dumb, doesn't it? You'd be surprised at how often I see this everyday. In fact, this is not the exception, it is the rule. Any questions why business is down?
The new way requires ideas, creativity and effort. It doesn't require geeks who have poor social skills or huge sums of money to be thrown to wonks with stale ideas or your own company marketing people sucking a lot of air through their teeth.
They require ideas and creativity. Here's one I arranged last year:
A major pizza chain wanted to promote their New York pizza and their new online ordering system. They've asked me for ideas. I have given them many so far. This was the idea I gave them this time:
Order a pizza online and get the chance to win a vacation for two, business class to New York for 5 nights in a 5-star hotel.
The pizza chain got a great 2-month campaign and visibility and buzz at no cost to them (I was paid a small coordination fee). The airlines? The hotel? They got their name, photos and advertising on 17.5 million flyers delivered to people's homes; 7.8 million menus inserted into newspapers; 3.8 million direct mailing to subscribers of the pizza chain; 250,000 flyers on boxtops delivered with pizzas to customers homes; top page visibility on the pizza chain web page which receives over 12 million unique views per month. And write-ups in major Japanese magazines as well as a huge buzz campaign on Twitter and Facebook.
Cost to airlines and the hotel? Zero. Simply the cost of providing the gifts.
Not only did all three of these entities enjoy a great promotion that was organic (Makes sense, right? Everything is New York related) This campaign ran for two months. If you do an Internet search for this campaign in Japanese you'll will find over 606,000 results. Those results are almost all bloggers and mentions on Social Media about the campaign.
If any these entities arranged this promotion through Dentsu or Hakuhodo, it would have cost them at least $100,000. I arranged it for about 1/20th that price.
This campaign did not require any email registration or any actions by the end users at all. They didn't even need to order a pizza! All they needed to do was go to the website and become a member of the online ordering service that the pizza chain has started. No purchase necessary.
In spite of the fact that nothing was necessary to join the contest, purchase or enroll, the pizza company had over 16,000 direct email inquires from end users. Throw that in with the word of mouth promotion from innumerable bloggers and Tweets and you have a killer promotion. That is an awesome result!
Am I bragging? Well, thank you. Yes, I am.
Is your company missing the boat? If you are in Japan, I'd wager that you are. It is funny that Japan is so technologically advanced yet we find that so many companies do not take advantage of all the tools available.
Is is laziness, fear or the hesitation to take responsibility? I'm not sure but some people are really blowing it for their employers. Don't believe me? Here's a recent article that talks about how a whopping 40% of Japanese companies don't even use Twitter. Of course, Twitter is a small part of the puzzle (and, actually, a very minor piece of a bigger puzzle) but the fact remains that such a high profile FREE media is not being utilized by Japanese companies shows that this is just the tip of the iceberg of a bigger problem.
Are you going to do something about it? Or is sucking air through teeth the best way to get the job done?
* = Advertising strategies do need to change with the times. Internet click ads had a click through rate of 3% when the idea was fresh and new in the 90's... By 2003 it was down to .28% ... Today? Last I saw, about two years ago, it was something like 0.07%.... And yet, it is still one of the most expensive methods to advertise. Go figure.