DRTV Lessons from Successful Brand Launches

As seen on DRTV

By George Leon, Chief Strategy Officer – Hawthorne

Original Publication: New Media and Marketing 

Date of Publication: January 23, 2019

When it comes to capitalizing on direct response television (DRTV) advertising, some of the best advice comes from privately held startups valued at over $1 billion. That’s because they’ve seemingly mastered the use of TV advertising that directly engages consumers, from launch to growth.

Successful brands like Experian, Dollar Shave Club and Peloton have used DRTV precisely because it is particularly effective for launching and building brands. They appreciate the fact that you can directly engage with consumers by displaying toll-free numbers and/or website URLs and asking them to take specific actions. They also like that DRTV works across all potential consumer touchpoints, is highly measurable, and makes good use of data. And DRTV seamlessly integrates with their entire portfolios of advertising and media channels, including digital, offline, mail, email, radio, print, etc., yet can still be can be customized, targeted and segmented across all those channels.

Brand Strategy

In a recentwebinarhosted by the Data & Marketing Association on the basics of DRTV and its expanding role in brand marketing, I had the privilege of talking with champion unicorn marketer, Nick Fairbairn, who is Chief Marketing, Growth & Revenue Officer for Go. Previously, Fairbairn was Senior VP of Marketing at Le Tote and VP of Brand Marketing at Dollar Shave Club.

In our discussion about DRTV, we covered everything from messaging to the importance of metrics. I recommend you listen to the full webinar, but I’ve pulled out what I think are the top takeaways:

As seen on DRTV

1. Take a portfolio approach
It’s gotten harder and harder for brands to earn market share from traditional TV approaches. Because the more common approaches are losing steam, brands need new ways to capture customers’ attention, and DRTV delivers. But don’t forget you can’t shift to a new medium and forget the rest. You have to build and maintain a portfolio.

DRTV is anchored around accountability performance and measurement, and provides for greater customer targeting and segmentation across all channels. That’s why it is becoming a bigger part of brands’ omnichannel campaigns. But it isn’t – and shouldn’t be – the only part.

I asked Fairbairn for his advice regarding the portfolio approach, and he stressed that dependencies on one channel, such as social media, can spell trouble. “What happens when the algorithms no longer work? Or what happens when the creative stops working? In some of these digital channels you have one second to tell a story. In television, you can tell a little bit more of a story. And you can drive response at the same time.”

2. Know your audience
DRTV’s strong data component is driving its growth. Data helps you identify and target the customer, right-size your message for the customer and also pick and choose the right channels and right devices. That’s critical, because the customer journey has expanded.

The good news is DRTV is rooted in strong data, and that data can be used to sharpen your knowledge about current and potential customers and determine the best channel or channels work best for which audience and which marketing campaign. It’s no longer one customer one channel, now it’s one customer multiple channels and multiple devices.

Fine Tune Your Message

3. Fine-tune your message
Once you know your customer – and again, take full advantage of data to best understand their preferences – it’s time to think about your message. The data can help inform not only the message, but its optimal length and form (short or long) and the right cadence of ads. And how customers consume messaging? You’ll need to consider everything from television to the internet and all the way down to radio and print.

With DRTV, you can take a message and customize for the audience and the channel. That’s important, because the customer journey has expanded. They have choices and are driving their own experiences, and DRTV can help you craft the right message, the right frequency and right channel.

4. Get creative with your creative
Stop the customer before he or she gets up from the couch and walks away. And if you’ve fine-tuned your message (see #3) it’s easier come up with a show-stopping opener. Keep things simple, straightforward and succinct, too.

One question many brands ask is whether to uses a spokesperson. Sometimes, it makes sense. But using spokespeople can be costly and sometimes overtake your message or your brand. Don’t forget the power of testimonials, transformation tales, and imagery.

Fairbairn had some powerful advice about blending visual messaging with audio in DRTV ads, and I couldn’t agree more.

“It’s not just about audio,” Fairbairn said. “People always say to me, ‘You already said it in the spot, so why show it on screen? But there is something about queuing the two pieces together to increase the retention of the message.”

Finally, never end your DRTV advertisement on a weak note. Carefully consider your call to action and brand placement on the screen.

Many common brands have their roots in responsive TV integrated with digital executions. Their strategies and tactics provide great learnings and will provide a great roadmap for the next, great brand launch.

Hawthorne helps brands efficiently target new customers, improve cost per acquisition, optimize customer lifetime value and drive consumer response to key retail outlets or corporate locations. Contact us to learn more about our expertise by  Contacting Hawthorne.

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro Recognized As A Winner Of The 2018 Finance Monthly CEO Awards

CEO AWARDS 2018 Winner

CEO AWARDS 2018 WinnerJessica Hawthorne-Castro is CEO of Hawthorne, a leading Los Angeles based advertising agency specializing in analytics-driven campaigns. As CEO of Hawthorne, Hawthorne-Castro has been recognized throughout the professional community as a leader in the marketing revolution of advertising where art meets science. The company specializes in analytics-driven campaigns and offers a complete service approach that includes media planning and buying, analytics, campaign management, strategic planning and award-winning creative development.

She joined Hawthorne 11 years ago as VP, Operations & Clients Services, before being named CEO in April 2014. Under her leadership, the 30-year-old advertising agency which was a pioneer in accountability in advertising, has achieved superior financial performance and was on the Inc. 5000 list and is a Certified Women Owned Business®.

Hawthorne is recognized as a champion of accountable advertising, garnering billions in sales and 500+ creative awards for Fortune 500 clients. In 2017, Hawthorne won 59 creative awards for its work on an impressive roster of clients including 3M (Command, Post-it, Scotch- Brite), Audible, BLACK+DECKER, Dyson, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Hoover, L’Oréal, PETA, Transamerica, United Healthcare and more.

As Hawthorne’s leader, Hawthorne-Castro instilled a complete service approach that includes media planning, buying, analytics, campaign management, strategic planning and creative development. The agency features advanced techniques such as brain mapping, neurolinguistics, adaptive content and pixel tracking to understand consumer reactions and exceed client needs.

Hawthorne-Castro has also focused on quality of life for employees. As a certified a Certified Great Place to Work®, her initiatives include providing wellness opportunities, and provides training for personal and professional development for employees at all levels. Hawthorne-Castro’s leadership has created a dynamic workplace that offers advancement for all. Survey data from Great Place to Work® 2017 showed more than 90% of employees feel the company offers a great atmosphere and opportunities. Hawthorne-Castro has recruited a diverse base of employees that enjoy above-average compensation and avenues for personal and professional growth; forward-thinkers are rewarded for exceeding client expectations.

As a thought leader, Jessica is a contributor to industry publications and panels offering insights on key industry trends. She has published bylines with Forbes, AdAge, AdWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, American Marketing Association, and more. Jessica has also been recognized with a long list of accolades for her career accomplishments, including: “Women to Watch” for the “Marketing Hall of Femme” Direct Marketing News (2017), “Women’s Summit Awards Nomination” by Los Angeles Business Journal (2016 & 2017), “Woman of Influence” by L.A. Biz and Biz Women (2016), and “Female CEO of the Year in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations” from CEO World Awards (2015). She was also honored as Marketing EDGE’s “Rising Star Award” (2015), “Top 40 Under 40” by Direct Marketing News (2015), and semifinalist in the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Greater Los Angeles (2015 & 2017).

Prior to joining Hawthorne Direct, Hawthorne-Castro was a TV literary agent with William Morris Endeavor, one of Hollywood’s top, full-service talent agencies, where she identified and negotiated opportunities for shows airing on all major networks. She also packaged key elements necessary to develop shows with executives from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, HBO, USA, Bravo and others, and assisted the creators of numerous toprated programs.

Hawthorne-Castro is an active member of her professional community and has prioritized company culture and corporate social responsibility as a member of the Forbes Agency Council, an invitation-only organization for senior-level executives in public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. In September 2017, she joined the DMA ECHO Board of Governors, the elite group behind one of the most coveted prizes in marketing. Jessica is a participant in TED International, TED Women communities and Vistage International. She is also a member of Young Presidents’ Organization, the global platform empowering more than 25,000 members in more than 130 countries. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son.

12 Planning Strategies to Keep Your Editorial Calendar on Track

Author: Forbes Agency Council

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: July 28, 2018

Creating content has quickly become one of the core activities for most brands’ marketing teams. Blog posts, social media, videos and other assets serve to establish a company’s expertise while building trust and interest with their current and potential customer base.

As the demand for unique, original content continues to grow, the best way to keep up is a solid, well-organized editorial calendar. Whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or a formal project management tool, planning out your content in advance can help you stay on top of long-lead deadlines for “evergreen” pieces. Here’s how 12 Forbes Agency Council members recommend preparing for those deadlines on your editorial calendar.

1. Build A Strong Backbone, But Leave Room For Flexibility

Start by brainstorming a list of most asked questions. This should be the backbone of your content. Strong content answers questions people are searching for and will draw them to you as the expert answering their questions. Make room in your calendar for flexibility to pivot with pop culture and industry breakthroughs. The top priority is to bulk up your calendar by scheduling strong content. – Katie Harris, Spot On Solutions

2. Get Specific

Staying on top of your editorial calendar is a key component to content marketing success. Create content topic lists, assign internal content and topic ownership, and include specific publish dates on the calendar that aren’t just rough estimates and that targets a specific target audience. Be specific. – Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc

3. Plan A Timeline That Covers Every Phase Of Your Campaign

Start out with the date range you need to go “live” with the campaign. Back out from there to plan for all phases of the campaign and parallel developments that include other departments/dependencies. Give yourself extra days if there are any review phases from third parties. Finally, publish your calendar to all parties and make sure there is agreement and accountability to adhere to deadlines. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, hawthornedirect.com

4. Create A ‘Dream’ Calendar And A ‘Necessity’ Calendar

Many times, brands start by creating their dream content calendar, with lots of new content being generated constantly. That’s great, but there needs to be another calendar that defines which of those deadlines and pieces of content are absolutely necessary for a campaign to work. Then, start by making sure you make everything on the “necessity” calendar, and if there is more time, do the rest. – Rafael Romis, Weberous Web Design

5. Engage Influencers

It’s a fact of business: brands get busy. If the team isn’t able to churn out enough quality content on a consistent basis to fill an editorial calendar, engage influencers to produce high-quality (and authentic) content to repurpose on your brand’s social channels. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group

6. Have A Defined Editorial Process For Responding To Timely Events

Editorial calendars are tedious and out of date the minute they are written. A defined editorial process, however, gives you the flexibility to create content in the moment, reacting to or even initiating timely conversations. A focus on process and speed will let you plan for spontaneity. – Jerrid Grimm, Pressboard

7. Track Short- And Long-Lead Deadlines In A Well-Organized Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are key and also a great visual representation of the timeline and content that needs to be prepared and published in time for editorially relevant milestones like company launches, holidays or seasons. Focus on overlapping content angles so that your content stays fresh and you are addressing both short- and long-lead deadlines simultaneously. – Sara Shake, Mad

8. Repurpose All Content

Users consume content differently on all platforms. Focus on creating evergreen content that can be repurposed and added to over time. Be sure to distribute that content throughout all social media platforms. As you learn to leverage the distribution of your media, you will see it is easier for you to fill in your editorial calendar. – Breynan Hammons, Innvio

9. Share The Process

Content creation should be shared, not siloed. Involve multiple people by creating a process and having stages in place. Having deadlines to pass the project to others for editing, proofreading and design help keep the author on track and accountable. This helps keep larger projects, like whitepapers, on track and moving forward, rather than waiting on one person. – Nicole Mahoney, Break the Ice Media

10. Plan, Measure And Refine

The most successful content marketing efforts start with a strong strategy, careful planning and are hyper-focused on your buyer persona. Invest time to be thoughtful upfront, and map specific content types, themes and placement for the full year at once. At the beginning of each new quarter, review the performance to date and refine your content planned for the rest of the year accordingly. – Keri Witman, Cleriti

11. Diversify Your Subject Matter Expertise

Implement strategic plans for long-lead cadence and themes to ensure each post serves a purpose. Whether it’s entering the conversation around a holiday or making sure you’re diversifying subject matter, being able to see the road ahead is key to measure success and audience interaction. Line up executives in advance for appropriate thought leadership to grow value and awareness. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing

12. Understand Your Overall Editorial Philosophy

While content marketing is powerful for brands, too many companies focus their attention on the form factor of publishing and not enough on their overarching philosophy. If you know the philosophy or ideology you want to share, you can look for events and opportunities that enable you to instantiate your philosophy. This will allow you to create content that’s more authentic and valuable. – Hamid Ghanadan, LINUS

How Voice Technology Is Changing The Way We Work

How Voice Technology Is Changing The Way We Work

Author: Forbes Agency Council

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: July 27, 2018

How many times have you set a reminder, sent a message or searched for the answer to a question, simply by speaking into your phone? Voice technology, combined with built-in AI assistants like Siri and Cortana, have made these situations commonplace, and it’s changing the way we live our daily lives.

But voice technology isn’t just useful in the consumer realm: Businesses can — and already do — greatly benefit from the ability to give commands, look up information and dictate notes using just their voice and a smart device. Here’s what nine Forbes Agency Council members believe the future of voice technology in the workplace looks like. How Voice Technology Is Changing The Way We Work

1. Improved Internal Information Sharing

IBM Watson has been building customized voice applications for the enterprise. Think: Being on the factory floor and having access to all of the company’s intranet, process documentation and HR documentation, all without lifting a finger. Making information accessible to everyone will help all levels of the organization to be more efficient. – Dan Golden, Be Found Online

2. Increased Productivity Through Multitasking

Being able to ask simple questions, set meetings, timers, reminders and more, without stopping what you’re doing can be incredibly helpful, and already is. Alexa is a key office tool for me today, ensuring I keep track of action items and to-do lists, and reminding me of upcoming meetings. – Molly Mulloy, Crafted Communications

3. More Free Time For Administrative Executives

Voice assistance has the possibility of freeing up valuable time for administrative executives, allowing them to shift their focus to higher priority to-dos on their list. Inputting meetings on calendars, sending quick texts and other similar tasks will be replaced with voice technology. – Priscila Martinez, The Brand Agency

4. Greater Control Over The Work Environment

It is predicted that by 2020, 30% of all web searches will be screenless, and within four years, shopping online by voice-only is expect to reach $40 billion. While I am working through my emails, I use Alexa to replenish snacks by ordering from Amazon, get restaurant recommendations, search for the latest stats and change the office temperature. I can also ask Alexa to answer my calls. – Alannah Tsimis Sandehl, IDM Brand

5. Automation Of Mundane Processes

Alexa for business utilizes simple voice commands to control the equipment in the room, set up meetings without issues, and save time in the corporate world. It also can report to the IT department about broken printers, etc. Looking longer-term, I feel one of the biggest value propositions of voice assistants will be the ability to automate mundane processes. – Imran Tariq, WebMetrix Group LLC

6. Streamlined Workflows And Reduced Communicative Friction

Google has already introduced the ability of voice tech to schedule appointments, impacting our daily processes. Soon we’ll be able to say out loud, “Schedule a meeting with Tom at 2 p.m.,” and done! Between emails, instant messages and endless office minutia that can take time out of our day, voice tech will soon be an invaluable tool for streamlining general workflows and reducing friction. – Bernard May, National Positions

7. Greater Insights Into The Consumer Mindset

Aside from the utility of audio assistants in the workplace, which could be used to book meetings, manage to-do lists and send messages to colleagues, voice technology could help marketers get in the mindset of consumers by exploring voice search results and popular Skills/Actions. Voice gaming, for example, could be used as a model for how consumers will navigate website content by voice. – Nina Hale, Nina Hale / Performance Digital

8. Easier Documentation And Note-Taking

Every company needs some degree of process documentation, standard operating procedures and long, tedious written forms of communication. Yet, no one ever has the time to write them, so why not say them using voice technology? It’s easier to edit something than to write it from scratch. – Brooke Weller, iProspect, San Diego

9. Uniquely Human Jobs

Voice has already started to make its way into the workplace to improve worker efficiency. Dictation allows you to take real-time detailed notes during a meeting so there are no discrepancies. Cortana helps you search, schedule appointments and set reminders. When used effectively, technology will allow the worker to focus on strategy and creativity, the elements that make us uniquely human. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, hawthornedirect.com

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro Receives Multiple Leadership Honors

LOS ANGELES, July 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hawthorne, a leading Los Angeles-based advertising agency specializing in analytics-based campaigns, today announced that the company’s CEO, Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, has been recognized with three significant industry honors: she has been named winner of the 2018 Finance Monthly CEO Award, has been honored in the CEO Today Business Woman of the Year Awards 2018, and is a nominee for the 2018 Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Council & Awards.Jessica Hawthorne-Castro

“It is a great honor to be recognized not only among my peers, but by the industry for the efforts our team has put forth on behalf of our clients and our organization,” said Hawthorne-Castro.

Finance Monthly’s CEO Awards celebrate the success, innovation and strategic vision of CEOs across a wide variety of sectors and industries globally, with a key goal of rewarding those firms and advisers who have demonstrated peerless accomplishments within their sector. CEO Today’s Business Women of the Year Awards are dedicated to recognizing the achievements and leadership of women in business, and those who are a driving force behind their business while also driving the agenda of equality for women within their business and beyond. The Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Council & Awards honors achievements by powerful women who make a difference throughout Los Angeles.

In addition to these latest honors, Hawthorne-Castro has also been recently recognized in the following: “Women to Watch” for the “Marketing Hall of Femme” DM News, “Women’s Summit Awards Nomination” by Los Angeles Business Journal, “Woman of Influence” by L.A. Biz and Biz Women, and “Female CEO of the Year in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations” from CEO World Awards. She was also honored as Marketing EDGE’s “Rising Star Award,” “Top 40 Under 40” by Direct Marketing News and as a semifinalist in the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Greater Los Angeles.

Hawthorne-Castro has been recognized throughout the professional community as a leader in accountable advertising where art meets science. Today, the company garners billions in sales for their Fortune 500 clients and has received more than 450 creative awards, winning 59 in 2017 alone. The company specializes in analytics-driven campaigns and offers a complete service approach that includes media planning and buying, campaign management, strategic planning and creative development. Hawthorne is also a Certified Great Place to Work®, and was on the Inc. 5000 list.

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, SSPR

kweckerly@sspr.com

(330) 858-5149

If You Want To Humanize Your Brand On Social Media, Try These 10 Tactics

Forbes Agency Council

Author: Forbes Agency Council

Original Publication: Forbes

Date Published: June 3, 2018

The reason channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are so successful is because they encourage two-way conversations with customers. If you want those conversations to be successful and ultimately lead to conversions, you have to remember that people want to talk to other people, not faceless businesses. That’s why it’s in your brand’s best interest to show your human side in social media interactions and posts.

We asked a panel of experts from the Forbes Agency Council how to humanize a brand on social media. Their best answers are below.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Strike The Right Balance Between Personality And Professionalism 

Be real. Show yourself in your “personal” element while out on the job, giving back to the community, traveling and working with friends. But always remember to be appropriate because things will live online forever. It’s important to strike the right balance. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castrohawthornedirect.com

2. Show Some Character 

Brands often fail to captivate their audiences when they try to play things too safe. Don’t be afraid to show some humor at appropriate times or take a stance on some relevant issues. While there are always lines you shouldn’t cross, keeping things too sterile and not showing a personality doesn’t help you connect with consumers. – Greg Kihlstrom, Yes& Agency

3. Be Consistently Unique 

Every person has a unique voice and character that contributes to their overall personality – this is true for brands, as well. A consistent brand voice can do a lot to support the image you want your brand to portray. Not to mention, it can have a positive impact on the kinds of conversations you are having with your audience, making them feel like they are talking to a friend, not just a brand. – Alannah Tsimis Sandehl, IDM Brand

4. Be True To The Voice And Tone Of Your Brand 

The key to humanizing a brand on social media channels is authenticity and consistency. Staying true to brand voice while communicating with your audience honestly and openly is paramount. Audiences don’t want to see their favorite sneaker brand posting boring, sales-heavy content, just as they don’t want their bank posting cat memes. – David Harrison, EVINS

5. Define Your Brand’s ‘Personality’ 

Humanizing your brand on any digital asset is giving life to your brand. First, you should decide its personality. What kinds of things would your brand do, eat or listen to if it were human? Where does it hang out? Who are its BFFs? Where would I see your brand on the weekend? At a concert? In the mall? Let your brand “date” its followers. That means real interaction, all the time. – Jennifer Barbee, Destination Innovate

6. Go Behind The Scenes 

Your followers want a window into your brand. That is why they follow you. They want to see the culture of your company, people and what your day-to-day looks like. Make sure to mix professional or staged images with lifestyle shots and a look behind the scenes. If you have a set theme or look for your Instagram page, then utilize the Story feature to give your followers a true look at your company culture. – Meredith Xavier, The Ligne Group

7. Embrace Storytelling 

“Storytelling” is such a buzzword this year. Brands are getting smarter about humanizing messages across all content, whether it’s posted on their own site or on a social media channel. This is a trend to really embrace on social media. Tell your followers a story – something to which they can relate. – Matt Bowman, Thrive Internet Marketing Agency

8. Show Off Your Team 

Strong brands attach loyalty not just to their products or work, but also to their teams. Your audience is interested in more than your work and thought leadership pieces – they also want to know about the people behind the brand. Behind-the-scenes videos, birthday celebrations, fun outings and team bonding activities are all great ways to show off your culture and connect with your audience. – Nicole Mahoney, Break the Ice Media

9. Have Real Humans Respond To Customers’ Posts 

A simple “Thank you!” for a positive comment will go a long way. More detailed responses to actual questions or complaints will be even more successful. For brands that are really concerned about how they’re perceived by consumers, invest in a team of humans who understand your brand ethos, products and services to manage social pages. – Jeffrey Kamikow, Cross Audience

10. Stop Posting Like A Marketer 

Avoid using industry slang, formal sentences and third-party language. Social media is all about creating dialogue and building relationships. Create posts that are conversational in nature and use “you” and “me” phrases. Act like you are talking with your neighbor and post content in a way the creates that environment. Be human. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions

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

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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

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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