10 Places To Look When Your Website Traffic Is Dropping

Author: Forbes Agency Council

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: June 2, 2018

For companies that generate most of their leads and sales online, bringing in steady website traffic is critical. That’s why a sharp decline in traffic sends the average business into full-on panic mode.

While you should be concerned about a sudden dip in site visits, there’s often a logical explanation for it, if you know where to look. Sometimes it’s a simple and fast fix – a coding error, for instance – while in other cases, such as an algorithm change, it might take a bit longer to bounce back. Either way, it’s important to look for the root of the problem so you can fix it.

Ten Forbes Agency Council members explain some potential reasons your site’s traffic may have tanked, and what you can do about it.

1. Tracking Tags

The simplest explanation for a sudden and unexpected drop in website performance is often analytics tags failing to fire. Always check tracking first to make sure website visitors are being accounted for before making drastic changes. Reconciling tracking issues will help mitigate the long-term impact. Additionally, making friends with your IT department will help avoid issues before they arise. – Nina Hale, Nina Hale / Performance Digital

2. The Front End Of Your Website 

 The first thing to investigate after a major dip in traffic is your website itself. Is it actually working? Is there a problem with the domain? Mechanically, is everything functioning as it should? If all that checks out, make sure the critical inbound links are still intact. If the majority of your traffic comes from inbound campaigns, ensure your inbound marketing platform is working properly. – Jeffrey Kamikow, Cross Audience

3. Google Analytics 

When the world is crashing around you, trust the data. Dive into Google Analytics and try to pinpoint where things went south. Think back on marketing tactics you recently pushed live and find the correlation. This should lead you to an internal audit, where you may discover an internal tool is broken or an external force is impacting your site. – Kirk Deis, Treehouse 51

4. Google Search Console 

If you don’t stay up to date on major Google algorithm changes, you’re falling behind. If your site is not mobile-friendly, improperly secured or using outdated practices for SEO, your rankings may be dropping. Check your Search Console, work with your team to fix the problem, and start subscribing to the right resources to avoid this in the future. – Stewart Gandolf, Healthcare Success

5. Traffic Sources 

After confirming that there’s no recent update to search algorithms throwing things out of whack, identify which traffic source has seen the greatest decline – direct, referral, organic, paid, social. After pinpointing the source, work backward to determine what actions (or inactions) could be at fault. Check your content consumption and be sure it is on point with your target audience. – Keri Witman, Cleriti

6. Your Site’s Code 

When we see a sharp decline in traffic, we first check the site’s code. During site changes and redesigns, SSL and 301 redirects are often overlooked, causing Google to de-index the site’s pages and search rankings to drop. The drop in rankings can dramatically decrease visitors. So when building a new site or making changes to your current one, double-check your redirects before pushing live. – Michael Weinhouse, Logical Position

7. The Bigger Customer Engagement Picture 

Don’t panic, and take a step back to see the bigger picture. Perhaps customers are engaging with your website primarily on mobile rather than desktop. If your mobile site isn’t optimized or they are instead using your app, then this could be why. This gives you insight into how consumer behaviors change over time and where they are most likely to engage with your brand. – Preethy Vaidyanathan, Tapad

8. External Backlinks 

A client once had a downward trend in organic traffic. We audited all the checklist items to figure out what the issue was and we were stumped. We then evaluated the search trends of their top backlinks and found that their highest authority backlink had the same drop. To fix our client site, we had to fix the referring site. External forces are sometimes just as important as internal factors. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

9. The Last Item That Changed On Your Site 

When diagnosing an issue, you need to think back to what was the last item that changed. It could be a code push that somehow removed analytics from your site, it could have been a change to content that has caused a decline in search traffic. Did you make a change to your advertising? Sudden declines (or increases) are often traceable back to the last modification (big or small) that was made. – Greg Kihlstrom, Yes& Agency

10. Adblockers 

Check whether you are getting “adblocked” by any browsers, which may be redirecting traffic from your site. Also check on whether you might have had “false” traffic coming to your site from foreign websites, which was then rectified and now has new accurate website traffic numbers. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castrohawthornedirect.com

Autonomous Vehicles Will Be A New Opportunity For Marketers

Autonomous Vehicle

Author: Forbes Agency Council;  Jessica Hawthorne-Castro

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: June 4, 2018

Autonomous vehicles have been at the forefront of innovative thinking and Autonomous Vehicle development for some time now, and automakers are already exploring how they can fit into this new future.

Earlier this year, Toyota announced its vision to transform from a car company into a mobility company, while the Ford Motor Company is creating a reliable future of transportation through a systems-based approach for smart cities. Other automotive companies have pilot programs for autonomous vehicles that will become increasingly ambitious in 2018, reflecting a broader vision of what this technology will be able to do.

The reality is, despite ambitious projects already in the works by Ford, Tesla and BMW, autonomous vehicles won’t be ready to ship to the public for several years. Even with friendly city regulators, the real-world hurdles will take time to navigate, but the momentum is strong.

While the automobile as an ad medium is still in its infancy, marketers are starting to think about the enormous and exciting implications. As a full-service, data analytics-based media agency, we would welcome this additional channel to our cross-channel mix.

A New Marketing Medium

With the advent of self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles comes a new concept for the consumption of content. Vehicles will be the new living room, featuring multimedia surfaces for viewing a variety of media and advertising/branded experiences. They will encompass a 360-degree environment, all from the comfort of your moving living room. Autonomous vehicles will become the new entertainment field, so while consumers are relaxing on their commute to work, they will not only be on their phone and computers, but they will also have touchscreens in the car and projections or even holograms on the windshield with which to interact.

Cross-channel advertising opportunities in this fully immersive environment could combine the offline mediums, where commercial ads would sponsor your video content or streaming TV series; an outdoor/billboard type of environment where a product placement or still ad billboard could pop up before any article or organically flash across your screen as you geolocate near a particular store or brand, and radio spots could be micro-targeted for your demographic and sponsor podcasts and music channels. And of course, there would be digital banners and pay-per-click (PPC) targeting on your computer and mobile devices.

While it may seem like it could be a further invasion of personal space, the in-vehicle experience will actually be more customized with personalized content based on past likes and online activities and histories. Imagine restaurant or activity recommendations made on the fly. The vehicle might even be programmed to take passengers directly to recommended destinations upon opt-in from the passenger. Eventually, the vehicle might even be able to be commanded to suggest a customized day, curated entirely by the autonomous vehicle.

So, what do brands need to consider when they begin to add in-vehicle advertising and marketing to their media mix? The new self-driving vehicles will begin to not only shift the way people look at transportation but also change the way people behave within those vehicles. It will mean a whole new level of personalization to the brand experience where, if an advertisement comes into your car, you could click on the ad and the vehicle could physically take you to where you can personally experience the brand or the offering.

Overstimulation of advertising could obviously be a challenge, where the consumer begins to become numb or tune out the many stimuli. Therefore, just as marketers work hard at adding value today, they will have to continue creating content that is brief and engaging and that the consumer is genuinely interested in.

Looking To The Future

How will the addition of in-vehicle marketing opportunities continue to affect the overall industry landscape for marketers moving forward? First of all, when you consider that the average person today spends about 17,600 minutes each year driving, it isn’t a stretch to think about how that consumer’s time will increase once self-driving cars and other autonomous forms of transportation are the norm. And that expansion speaks volumes about how important a medium in-vehicle could be to marketers in the future.

Marketers will have to continue working with data scientists and technologists on enhancements with geotargeting and using the vehicle as a large beacon to better refine customer segmentation and location. Those marketers who are savvy about creating highly customized, value-added content for their brand that truly resonates with their in-vehicle engaged audiences will be successful.

Hawthorne to Present May 30th Webinar on DRTV (Direct Response Television) Basics

Hawthorne Logo

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hawthorne, a leading Los Angeles-based advertising agency specializing in analytics-based campaigns, today announced the company will host a webinar entitled, “DRTV 101 for Brand Marketers: The Expanding Role of DRTV in the Brand Marketing World” on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 from 1-2pm ET. There will be an introduction to the webinar by Hawthorne’s CEO Jessica Hawthorne-Castro. Hawthorne’s Chief Strategy Officer, George Leon, and Senior Vice President of Marketing at Le Tote, Nick Fairbairn, will serve as co-presenters.

LINK TO REGISTER FOR WEBINAR

Hawthorne Logo
Presentation Will Explore Advantages, Strategies for Brand Marketers Within Today’s New Generation DRTV Realm

The webinar, hosted in conjunction with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), will explore the expanding role of new-generation DRTV in the brand marketing world, and how marketers can take advantage of that expansion. It will offer key insights into developing winning DRTV-focused creative strategies and successful media campaigns. It will also cover how DRTV works in conjunction with other types of media/channels. Attendees will hear first-hand from the DRTV experts the key pain points that DRTV is solving for brands.

Key points to be covered in the webinar include:

  • How new-generation DRTV is effective in launching and/or growing brands
  • When to consider DRTV as part of a marketing mix
  • How DRTV works with other types of media/channels
  • The best DRTV messaging strategies
  • DRTV’s analytics advantage
  • For information about how to register for the webinar, please click here.

 

About the presenters:

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne
Jessica serves as CEO of Hawthorne, a leading technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns. As CEO, Jessica has fostered long-standing relationships with the company’s expansive base of diversified clients resulting from an unwavering commitment to unparalleled service. From creative and production to strategy, media and analytics, Jessica ensures quality and innovation throughout all disciplines of the agency. Her client roster includes 3M, Audible, Armor All, Carbonite, Black+DECKER, Dyson, Gerber Life, L’Oreal, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor, Pella, PETA, Transamerica and zulily.

George Leon, Chief Strategy Officer of Hawthorne
George oversees Hawthorne’s media strategy, execution, analytics and spearheads Hawthorne’s data science and “big data” initiatives on behalf of a broad range of major brand clients. He leads a diverse team of account directors, data scientists, media strategists, buyers and planners who work on a broad range of major brand clients, managing billions of dollars of media allocations and investments. His portfolio of clients includes Angie’s List, BLACK+DECKER, Brother International, Carbonite, Credit One Bank, Dexcom, Dyson, HomeAdvisor, Indochino, It’s Just Lunch, Mars, Mattel, Penn Foster, Philips Electronics, thredUP, VARIDESK, zulily and more.

Nick Fairbairn, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Le Tote
Nick oversees brand and communications, media strategy and customer acquisition, as well as revenue and forecast management. While building a team and infrastructure in his first 11 months on the job, he led the team to scale the company more than 100%. Before joining Le Tote, he served as Vice President of Brand Marketing at Dollar Shave Club. Prior to that, he ran the acquisition marketing group at Provide Commerce/FTD Companies (umbrella brand for ProFlowers, Shari’s Berries, FTD.com and more). He began his career on the agency side with his client roster including Google, Microsoft, eBay, Disney, Visa and more.

Headshots are available upon request or can be downloaded here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/Pa8N5LFhGe

About Hawthorne:
Hawthorne, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With nearly 30 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns. Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations.

As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics. Hawthorne has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands.

Please visit www.hawthornedirect.com and http://www.linkedin.com/company/hawthorne-direct for more information.

Media Contact:
Alexea Candreva
acandreva@sspr.com

Hawthorne’s George Leon To Speak At Digital Hollywood Spring 2018

LOS ANGELES, May 08, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — George Leon, Hawthorne’s Chief Strategy Officer, will be speaking at Digital Hollywood Spring 2018. The session, titled “Producing for Film/TV, Branded Entertainment and Influencer Marketing Programming,” will provide insight from six industry leaders on how brands can leverage creative content to execute unforgettable campaigns.

Digital Hollywood brings together industry influencers across film/TV, brands & advertising, finance & dealmaking, and AR/VR/MR. The event will take place from May 22-24, 2018 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. This session, “Producing for Film/TV, Branded Entertainment and Influencer Marketing Programming,” will be held on May 24th from 12:30—1:45 pm at the Herscher Hall, 3rd Floor, room 303-304. It will also be webcast. In addition to George, who has 18 years of DRTV experience, the panel includes:

  • Mike Gabrawy, Chief Creative Officer, Arclight Films
  • Cameron Partridge, Head of Digital Partnerships, Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a Bill Gates Company
  • Charles Dalaklis, President & CEO, Dalaklis Media Enterprises
  • Kevin Aratari, Head of Business Development, Troika
  • Ceslie Armstrong, Executive Content Producer, Quarter Moon Productions & Noisy Trumpet, Moderator

This year’s Digital Hollywood event celebrates “Cultural Influencers in an Expanding Digital Universe.” The conference will include sessions covering everything from internet TV to cryptocurrency to AR/VR in education. The speakers are an elite group of industry influencers who represent the cutting edge of the “digital revolution” and are at the forefront of their fields.

I am thrilled to be participating on this panel with such an impressive group of people,” said Leon. “Branded entertainment and influencer marketing is where the advertising industry is moving and I look forward to discussing how brands and agencies can integrate these components into their advertising strategies.

Over the past 20 years, George has been involved in every aspect of video advertising from creative development, offer and content messaging, integrated media strategy, media planning, data analysis, forecasting and attribution methodologies covering all channels and devices. He has created strong media relationships with major broadcast and cable networks, ad exchanges, DMPs, programmatic and addressable platforms, aligning Hawthorne campaigns with the right strategy and ROI driven execution. Current and past brand campaign experience includes 3M, Angie’s List, BLACK+DECKER, Brother International, Carbonite, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Craftsy, Credit One Bank, Dyson, Equifax, Gerber Life, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor, L’Oréal, Mattel, Pella, Philips Electronics, Spectrum, thredUP, Transamerica, VARIDESK and zulily.

For more information about the conference or where to register, visit http://www.digitalhollywood.com/.

About Hawthorne:
Hawthorne, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With nearly 30 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns. Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations.

As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics. Hawthorne has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands. Please visit www.hawthornedirect.com and http://www.linkedin.com/company/hawthorne-direct for more information.

Contact:
Kate Weckelry
330-858-5149
kweckerly@sspr.com

Building Your First Content Strategy? Nine Pro Tips For Success

Forbes Agency Council

Author: Forbes Agency Council

Original Publication: Forbes Agency Council

Date Published: May 4, 2018

Forbes Agency CouncilIn recent years, most marketers have taken the cliché phrase “content is king” to heart, making content the core of their overall advertising strategy. Even brand new businesses are aware of the importance of content, but it’s often overwhelming to build your first content marketing strategy from the ground up. How much attention should be given to blogging, social media posts, email newsletters and videos – and what topics should you cover for each?

Fortunately, the experts of Forbes Agency Council have a wealth of experience in content planning, so we asked a panel of them for their best advice. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Think About The Unique Perspective You Can Offer Customers

Too often, companies focus on just what they think is a great representation of their brand or what’s trending. But then content feels inauthentic or redundant. You have to start by identifying what your specific consumers want and what you can provide that’s unique in that area. It has to be something they’re not already getting. Then, map it back to your brand and current trends. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan

2. Focus On Your Brand Strategy First

First, nail your brand strategy: assets, benefits and your reason for being amidst your competitors. Let that be your compass for the team, and the content will flow around it. Your message and engagement will be a lot more consistent. Know your budget so your parameters are realistic. Develop an annual calendar so you’re all on point. If you’re focused, everyone will have a lot more fun. – Sean Looney, Looney Advertising & Branding

3. Follow The News

The content that reaches the widest audience and goes viral tends to be content that maps to the news. The key here is to not just synthesize the news. Rather, offer insight into why something is happening and, better yet, how it impacts your current and prospective customer base. If you follow this formula often enough, you become a go-to source for industry thought leadership. – Ethan Parker, Treble

4. Identify The Specific Goal And Audience Of Your Content

Content is asset development. It’s the furniture in an apartment. I think of content as key artifacts that develop or communicate brand identity through a story. The most important tip is to answer these questions ahead of developing a content strategy: What is the goal of the content? Who are you speaking to and where is the best place to reach them? What content should you create? – Jeeyan Rostam-Abadi, Hawke Media LLC

5. Be Authentic

Let the voice of your content happen organically. Be authentic. Speak to what you know and are passionate about. Go to some industry conferences. As a business owner, you could easily be accepted to speak on panels that cover your industry specialty. Then, connect with an industry trade organization to become a contributing author and establish your thought leadership. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, hawthornedirect.com

6. Capitalize On Your Expertise

Hunker down and figure out what makes your business or startup unique. Is it a niche service you provide? A rare understanding of a particular field? Assess your forte, then plan a content strategy that speaks to your unique expertise. It’s very likely that other businesses are already hungry for some of that knowledge, and delivering it to them as content will prove beneficial to your strategy. – Priscila Martinez, The Brand Agency

7. Provide Solutions To Your Customers’ Primary Business Challenges

I always start with a customer focus. As you dive into a content strategy, think of your customers’ business challenges. Your content should demonstrate your understanding of those challenges and provide clear-cut solutions for addressing them. It should be less about how awesome your company is and more about helping customers and prospects work better, smarter and faster. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

8. Know Your Customer Well

The best way to ensure content marketing will be effective for generating new business is to have a crystal clear picture of your target customer before creating a single piece of content. Every content decision – including format, tone, subject matter and promotion channel – should be based on this specific persona. If you nail this, your content marketing campaign will successfully attract new customers. – Keri Witman, Cleriti

9. Don’t Copy Your Bigger Competitors

A common mistake I see is when new or small businesses create content that already exists on a larger and more sophisticated scale. For example, if you’re a small bank, don’t create content that Chase or Bank of America already covers. Stick to issues that are locally relevant or niche to your products. Then, you won’t be competing with duplicate content and what you do create is more searchable. – Kelli Corney, Mightily

Brand Lift: Why TV Ads Are Key to Marketing Houseware and Hardware Products

Remote Control

Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO

Original Publication: ERA Blog

Date Published: April 5, 2018

Remote Control

Retail product marketers have straightforward goals: attract new customers, increase product sales and improve the brand’s awareness to drive recurring sales for their product or group of products. However, this is a challenging task in the current, tumultuous retail environment combined with a fragmented media environment. Many institutions that built and supported U.S. commerce for decades, like Sears, Macy’s and Toys “R” Us, have had to shut down a significant number of their locations or, in the case of Toys “R” Us, experienced full bankruptcy liquidation. As a result, new media options have pushed marketers to reinvent themselves to keep up with the demands and shopping considerations of today’s retail customer.

We all know that brick-and-mortar retail has been transitioning towards digital executions over the past decade, while companies like Amazon and Walmart are paving the way in e-commerce. The lines separating traditional from online retail are disappearing. But marketers, don’t lose hope, there is still a proven marketing approach for driving retail sales with the right, carefully planned advertising campaign that guarantees ROI.

Advertising is different from what it was a decade or two ago. That said, offline and television advertising still remain key mediums that can build product awareness, engage consumers and sell products to targeted audiences, while also generating “brand lift” (an increase in audience or customer perceptions as a result of an advertising campaign) across the board. And whether we want to admit it or not, having a product appear in the intimacy of consumers’ living room so the large screen TV still makes a strong, positive impression that the brand is thriving and should be a part of their lives.

Savvy marketers today understand the importance of looking beyond sales lifts for individual products and toward increasing positive perceptions for an entire product line. Brand lift is a measure of “stickiness,” and this kind of big-picture approach can help marketers gain better awareness of campaign ROI and can support better decision-making. Brand lift is especially important to houseware and hardware brands because they produce lines of interconnected products, from kitchen appliances to vacuums and smart desks to blinds, flooring and cabinetry. This makes attributes around reliability, quality or reasonable pricing particularly important, because consumers associate these attributes to multiple products from a single company, making it essential that audiences have positive feelings about the brand itself.

The tricky part of measuring brand lift is that it’s basically a reflection of an audience’s feelings, perceptions and intent. These sentiments are tough to measure, whether they are opinions regarding the quality of a product or how likely a customer is to recommend a product to a friend. However, a marketer can measure the delivery of the advertising message across all channels and in the manner it chooses to launch and support a product. This is why TV still serves as the cornerstone for advertising campaigns. TV allows marketers to zoom out beyond “product X” by including messaging and content that speaks to the brand and the rest of the related products in the catalogue with the strongest, broadest audience delivery and single biggest impact across all nonlinear channels. This strategy can boost sales across all channels, extending reach across these channels, including products that are not featured in creative and media campaigns. The need for TV advertising being the sole factor in consumer reach is no longer exclusive. TV impacts all video, and as a result, allows consumers to engage across all channels and devices. TV creates an amplified “wall” of video and sound around the brand and down to the product.

A media model that measures the weight of TV with integrated extensions of reach, the right audience delivery and the right product messaging is the key to success in today’s retail economy. Marketers must test the right markets against control markets to assess the support of a specific product’s sale for select retailers. Those direct learnings should then be applied to extrapolate and forecast retail sales lift nationwide, along with the halo e-commerce sales lift. To effectively measure the impact of integrated reach, a marketer must also incorporate historical and seasonal retail sales data, by product or by retailer, so that sales baselines are established and measured pre- and post-media execution. Optimization should then be delivered and executed weekly to impact POS sales by constantly changing and improving the media strategy. With the right marketing partner, return on investment will be guaranteed for your media campaign.

Consider a houseware product line launched at major retailers, like Walmart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as e-commerce giant, Amazon. For the measurement of the campaign in retail sales, let’s assume it had an equivalent 8:1 media efficiency ratio (MER), and the products in the campaign had more than 1,100 units per Target Ratings Point (TRP). Also, the brand sales lift for the products not featured in the creative went up by an extra 500+ units per TRP. For context, the TRP is defined as 1 percent of the targeted audience (not the total audience) that is reached by an advertisement, and it is a metric that helps us to understand the true impact of TV advertising. In this example, there’s a boost in non-advertised products that is typical of well-executed TV campaigns. Instead of utilizing a high-frequency strategy on smaller, targeted stations to execute longer creative length, the TV campaign was focused on high-value reach, high-profile national cable and broadcast stations driving strong TRPs and audience delivery. With this TV weight, digital messaging through retargeting video and rich video banner ads helped amplify the “wall” of video and product messaging driven by a strong TV execution.

Marketers shoring up their advertising strategies and planning for the year ahead should keep in mind that TV advertising is a strong and reliable driver of brand lift. Armed with the right strategic media, quality reach and frequency, brands can ensure that, just as a rising tide lifts all boats, so does featuring one product to benefit the other products in the line. It’s a rare one-two punch.

How To Effectively Reach Your Audience Through Offline Marketing

Offline Marketing

Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO

Original Publication: Forbes Agency Council

Date Published: April 3, 2018

Offline MarketingA decade ago, deciding which marketing media to invest in was simpler and the outlets far fewer. You basically went with offline, online or a combination of both. Now, with more platforms and distractions, brands need to be smarter and more strategic about their targeting to reach the same audience size that they previously did.

The good news? More media vehicles mean more opportunities to capture and engage an audience. The bad news? The media landscape has become increasingly confusing. It’s complicated and challenging to make strategic media decisions that result in true effectiveness.

In those simpler times, offline platforms like television advertising were a cornerstone medium that could be trusted, especially when seeking to enhance brand messaging. But what is the role of TV in today’s more complex environment where digital dominates?

With the advent of so many new digital marketing options promising return on investment (ROI), many advertisers have thrown larger portions of their budget into the digital arena. This shift came naturally, at the expense of traditional TV, which many grew to consider too broad and costly. From our clients’ experiences, however, smart omnichannel choices still include offline tools, especially TV, in combination with digital efforts to drive higher impressions.

More often, it’s become apparent to me that the smartest marketers will take an omnichannel approach that includes a variety of best-in-class and strategy-appropriate digital techniques and traditional tools. The role of TV is changing, yes, but it still represents a strong marketing medium. Here are three reasons why.

1. TV is in our living rooms and is still trustworthy.

Unfortunately, the advent of online media has brought questionable content sources that don’t adhere to traditional journalistic ethics and practices. The proliferation of clickbait, fake news and less-than-fact-based content has advertisers uncomfortable about the setting in which their online messaging is seen, fearing the lack of credibility in content may rub off on their brand image.

TV, however, has maintained greater credibility in the eyes of viewers and, therefore, advertisers. Some brands are already wisely reallocating digital spend back to offline TV, where they feel there’s more control over the messaging environment.
When evaluating the myriad of specialty TV programming and networks that cater to a variety of tastes and value systems, it is wise to dig deep to truly discover an outlet’s own “brand” before making a commitment. Review programming in-depth, pick up cues from media kits and promotional materials, and take stock of other advertisers on the network. Generally, take the time to get a real sense of what the offline TV brand stands for. Then you can decide whether that setting is a good fit for your brand — one that will strengthen, rather than weaken the image you want to present to potential customers.

2. Offline does double duty.

Offline TV can deliver a rare double-duty advertising performance that many other options can’t. It can increase sales and improve brand image at the same time. And TV targeting is evolving beyond basic demographics like age and sex to reach more specific groups of customers.

Exciting new tools are beginning to deliver real-time performance data on viewer responses to TV spots, especially since response is now more immediate due to the growth of mobile device use. Other new concepts, like addressable TV advertising, allow advertisers to target different ads to different households that are watching the same program to achieve more relevance and impact than ever before.

Best of all, offline TV is significantly important for creating or improving brand image or “brand lift,” and it’s important for affecting how often that audience thinks about a brand over time — known as “stickiness.” As targeting metrics improve, there is more opportunity than ever for advertisers to dynamically adjust future campaigns to increase brand lift by appealing to unique audience pain points, offering solutions that solidify the brand identity and creating lasting resonance with an audience.

3. Offline can precisely target and measure direct ROI on advertising spend.

Offline TV now gives advertisers more precise methods to capture audiences and boost sales, since it is now accessed in many ways — traditional connected TV, satellite real-time broadcast, pay-per-view, on-demand services and streaming on devices.

Different audiences tend to watch TV in their preferred way today, opening the door for advertisers to customize and target marketing messages keenly. Beyond targeting for messaging, cues for customization should also be derived by becoming more aware than ever before of how specific viewers are choosing to have their messaging delivered. A spot that is more likely to be viewed on the big screen in the comfort of one’s own home should have a different tenor, to be sure, than one more likely to be viewed on a mobile device while traveling, for example. Advertisers who can truly tap into the viewer environment and mindset (and the demographic tendencies that drive that environment and mindset) will be ahead of the game when it comes to overall advertising campaign effectiveness.

The newly evolved medium we’ve described can be termed “video advertising,” which amounts to television-type programming and long-form digital video viewed live or through multiple platforms. According to a recent Accenture report, multiplatform TV advertising can have a “halo effect” on digital activities like search, display and short-form video advertising amounting an average of 18% ROI within integrated campaigns.

There can be no doubt then, that TV — especially in its newest forms and when utilizing the latest tools for targeting and measurement — can continue to be one of the strongest weapons in the modern marketer’s arsenal. Those who are wisest will apply TV in all its forms, alongside the latest digital marketing marvels, to achieve supremely positive results in today’s dynamic and ever-changing marketplace.

10 Tips To Follow Now: The Road To CEO

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro
Be a Boss!
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” Estee Lauder

Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO

Original Publication: Ms. Career Girl

Date Published: March 22, 2018

That bit of wisdom from the legendary Estee Lauder has served me well in my journey from career girl to CEO. It’s one thing to set your goal at the top. It’s another thing altogether to create an action plan to make it happen. But it’s never too early to start, and while everyone takes a different path, here are ten essential tips to keep in mind as you make your way forward on the road to CEO.

Start from the bottom.
That is, if you want to make it to the top. Learn every angle of the business, from the most menial position on up. That way, you will really get to know the entire company, and all its strengths and weaknesses. Don’t ever think you’re too good for any job; you must be willing to take anything on, and work harder and longer than anyone else. You need to want it enough to do that, and have the drive to do it all well.

Find your mentor.
A mentor is essential to your success; someone who is an executive or department head whose work you admire. Mentors don’t choose you — you choose them. Find one who can teach you aspects of the business you’ve never experienced — and make it clear you are interested in having them champion you.

Get that degree.
It’s essential to have a comprehensive operations, finance and strategy background and perspective — having this as a basis will help propel you up faster. At some point, if you can, set the goal to get your MBA, ideally as you study part-time while you are working. It may be a rough road to juggle work and school, but learning these principles and then applying them immediately is an intense, invaluable experience.

Work in operations.
If you’re in a specialty role at your organization, determine the right time to initiate a switch to the operations side (at one point, I served as VP of Client Services and Operations). Once you start to work on the operations side, don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard; come up with better and more strategic ways of doing things. But, be sure to do so respectfully, in order to get buy-in – bullying won’t make you any friends or get you promoted.

Be a Jane of all trades.
Jane of All TradesOnce you’re ingrained in operations, offer to take on anything and everything — eventually it could lead you to a COO role. Working as a COO could in turn allow you to proactively ease into creating or managing the company’s mission/vision/strategy. This is essentially the CEO’s role; if they’re not doing it properly, here’s your chance to demonstrate that you can.

Don’t get comfortable.
At some point, you may become fatigued and be tempted to coast, but be patient and continue to work hard and smart. Don’t ever be lazy, rest on your laurels or think something should be handed to you. It will only be handed to you if you truly deserve it and have worked hard for it.

Always exude confidence.
It can be a harsh world out there, especially in a hyper-competitive business environment. Don’t ever expect compliments (high-level executives never get them), but do maintain your confidence, even in the face of criticism. Confidence comes from within; it is typically lower level employees who need constant, positive reinforcement. Your reinforcement should come from you — you’ll never let you down.

Don’t give up.
Tired yet? You should be! But inevitably at some point, the current CEO will move on or retire. If you’ve followed the above steps, at that point you’ll be well-positioned for consideration to take over the company. You may then feel it’s the finish line, but in actuality the journey has just begun. You will now work harder and have less sleep than you ever have in your life moving forward — but the rewards will be worth it.

Learn what the job entails.
Congratulations, you’re now CEO! Be careful – all the old adages are true; it’s lonely at the top. Come to grips with the realities of this ultimate responsibility: you will spend 80% of your time on employee/HR issues, which aren’t part of core business school curriculum — you’ll have to master this on the job. Fostering a positive company culture is also key, and so is conflict management. On top of all this, high performance will be expected in a very short period of time. And next year, you’ll have to top this year’s performance, no matter how stellar. Constant pressure is central to the job. Get used to it.

Never let go of that drive.
Once you’re there, you’ll learn being a CEO is definitely not all race cars and champagne! However, you do have the ability to be a positive influence and example for a lot of people: your employees, their families, your clients, the community. Making a difference in this world is truly the most gratifying part of the job. Let that be the ultimate motivator that drives you to even higher goals and greater heights of success.

So, you think you want to be CEO some day?
Don’t just dream about it. Create your unique path: be strategic, work hard and make every step you take one that fulfills that dream. No doubt, it takes true perseverance to get there. It’s never too early to start now and enjoy the journey!

Jessica Hawthorne-CastroJessica Hawthorne-Castro is the CEO of Hawthorne, an award winning technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for over 30-years. Hawthorne has a legacy of ad industry leadership by being a visionary in combining the art of right-brain creativity with the science of left-brain data analytics and neuroscience. Jessica’s role principally involves fostering long-standing client relationships with the company’s expansive base of Fortune 500 brands to develop highly strategic and measurable advertising campaigns, designed to ignite immediate consumer response.

Hawthorne Wins Communitas Award Recognizing Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility

Communitas Award

LOS ANGELES, March 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hawthorne, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, announced today that it has won a 2018 Communitas Award for its leadership and excellence in community service and corporate social responsibility. The Communitas Awards recognize exceptional businesses that unselfishly give of themselves and their resources to their communities. The award is a testament to Hawthorne’s deep and ongoing commitment to giving back.

“Our judges found that Hawthorne clearly exhibits the spirit of communitas, a Latin word that means people coming together for the good of a community,” the award letter said.

Hawthorne received this recognition as an example of a company that balances social, environmental, and economic imperatives. Hawthorne donates a percentage of its profits to charity, encourages employees to donate time, and serves as an advocate for important causes, such as climate change. One way it does this is through the Hawthorne Community Causes Committee (HCCC). Every Hawthorne office has an HCCC, which is empowered with monthly funds to be contributed towards community needs. The committee is responsible for the selection of worthy causes, including providing support to local and national organizations. Hawthorne employees also donate their time towards specific charities and events they care about, including animal shelters, food pantries, and equal rights organizations.

Hawthorne also received the Communitas Award for its focus on environmental sustainability. Both of Hawthorne’s offices are in Blue Zones communities (www.bluezones.com), which are dedicated to creating healthier cities, states and businesses where people live longer, better. Furthermore, the agency stands as a model corporate citizen out for its work-life balance and strong company culture. It offers a range of wellness benefits, including reimbursement for employees interested in Transcendental Meditation classes, and regularly holds “Lunch and Learns” to enrich employees’ personal and professional development.

“When people connect with something that’s bigger than themselves and actually want to go to work in the morning, the results are clear,” said Hawthorne CEO Jessica Hawthorne-Castro. “We believe firmly in treating every employee with respect and benevolence and extending that ethos beyond our office walls to have an impact on our communities.”

This is one of multiple awards Hawthorne has won that recognizes its company culture and commitment to community service. Hawthorne is a Great Place to Work® and has won hundreds of awards for its creative work, as well as accolades for Jessica’s leadership. The long list of awards validate the idea that excelling in corporate social responsibility is good for business.

About Communitas Awards:
Communitas Awards seeks to honor those special companies, organizations and individuals that go beyond rhetoric and whose commitment sets them apart from their competition. Communitas winners are dedicated to helping the less fortunate in their communities and are changing the way they do business to benefit their employees, communities and environment.

About Hawthorne:
Hawthorne, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With nearly 30 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns. Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations.

As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics. Hawthorne has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands. Please visit www.hawthornedirect.com and http://www.linkedin.com/company/hawthorne-direct for more information.

Contact:
Kate Weckerly
330-858-5149
kweckerly@sspr.com

Hawthorne Wins Public Relations and Marketing Excellence Award

PR & Marketing Excellence Award 2018

LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Business Intelligence Group recently announced that Hawthorne has won “Marketing Agency of the Year” in the 2018 Public Relations and Marketing Excellence Awards. Hawthorne, a creative, technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in data-focused ad campaigns to support business growth for an expansive base of Fortune 500 brands like Gerber, Spectrum and HomeAdvisor

“I couldn’t be happier about this well-deserved recognition for the Hawthorne agency and I’m proud to see that our work has earned accolades from the Business Intelligence Group,” said Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne. “Our focus on a healthy and supportive company culture has allowed our team to deliver top-notch work to a growing list of clients and this award is proof that putting employees first makes for happier clients as well.”PR & Marketing Excellence Award 2018

“We are so proud to recognize the work of Hawthorne,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer of the Business Intelligence Group. “It was clear to all of us that our winners all blended creativity and business understanding to deliver superior performances. Congratulations to them all.”

Other 2018 Public Relations and Marketing Excellence Award winners include work from Ascensus, Bospar, Digital Realty, Globalization Partners, IBM, MercuryGate International, RightEye, Synechron, Varo Money, and Vested.

For more information on the Public Relations and Marketing Excellence awards visit https://www.bintelligence.com/pr-excellence/.

About Hawthorne

Hawthorne, a creative, analytics and technology-driven advertising agency, specializes in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning, buying and analytics, and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns. With nearly 30 years of proven excellence, the agency combines persuasive brand messaging with best-in-class analytic systems to create accountable, high performance advertising campaigns. Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target their consumers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize the lifetime value of a brand’s customers and even drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations.

As a leading analytic and data driven, accountable brand advertising agency, Hawthorne specializes in integrated campaign solutions. The company offers a full suite of integrated solutions with creative, media, digital and mobile services. Hawthorne maintains brand integrity and metrics to efficiently and effectively optimize the results of its clients’ integrated media budgets via leading edge and proven data analytics. Hawthorne has developed successful award-winning campaigns for countless Fortune 500 brands. Please visit www.hawthornedirect.com and http://www.linkedin.com/company/hawthorne-direct for more information.

About Business Intelligence Group

The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry and business award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

Contact
Alexea Candreva
SSPR / Hawthorne
ACandreva@sspr.com

Maria Jimenez
Business Intelligence Group
jmaria@bintelligence.com
+1 909-529-2737