IDEAS FOR MARKETING AND CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS
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How to write
the perfect creative brief
of the marketing campaign
What you need to know about the new Google
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expert opinion Read insight from the following contributors in this issue:
Welcome to the Winter 2014 issue of Optimize In an age dominated by digital and social media, print is still the best way to show a company you care about their business
s we conclude another year where the ‘trendy’ topics of conversation within marketing circles have again focused on social media, the growth of tablet devices, online strategies and multiplatform campaigns, it has been very easy to overlook the fact that print has returned strongly as an effective way of creating trusted relationships with existing customers and prospects.
Blake Ebel Chief Creative Officer at Fear Not, Blake explains how the ‘traditional’ marketing campaign is constantly evolving.
printed piece is now an eye-catching novelty communication. Having said that, we are also well aware that today’s marketer needs to leverage a variety of platforms and strategies to reach and then engage an empowered consumer. And this issue, once again, is crammed with ideas and insights to help you achieve your business and marketing goals. In our cover story, we take a look at the top 10 marketing tactics, trends and technologies that we believe will come to the forefront in 2014. We also ask a selection of experienced creative directors and account managers to explain how to compile the perfect creative brief, while we look at how the traditional marketing campaign has evolved in response to the emergence of digital and social media.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, in an era where it is very easy to reach out to a huge number of people with just a couple of clicks of a mouse, the delivery of a well-designed and imaginative printed piece shows your audience that you value their business. Second, while the inbox has become increasingly crowded and chaotic in recent years, and as consumers are now bombarded with messaging Roy Waterhouse everywhere they go online, President, Hopkins Printing a well-crafted and targeted
We hope you enjoy the issue and, as always, welcome your feedback and opinions.
Simon Greenland An Art Director at Creative Factory, Simon reveals what he and his team look for from a creative brief.
Shenea Edison A specialist in email marketing and strategy, Shenea talks you through three key tactics for using triggered/automated emails.
12 How To Write A Creative Brief
Ideas, opinion, news and trends.
Two account managers and creative directors reveal what the perfect brief should include.
Executive Editor Cindy Woods
We highlight the key tactics, trends and technologies marketers will be using in 2014.
15 How To Use Triggered Emails
How automated emails can increase sales.
Produced by Fourth Element Creative and The CMO Team
10 The Evolution Of The Campaign
16 What’s On My Mind?
©2014 All Rights Reserved
06 Top 10 Marketing Trends
The traditional advertising ‘campaign’ isn’t dead, but it is constantly evolving.
Three magazine art editors reveal how their jobs have changed in recent years.
Art Director Alan Platten Contributing Writers Tim Sweeney,
Printed and distributed by Hopkins Printing www.hopkinsprinting.com
NEWS | REVIEWS | IDEAS | opinion |
direct Marketing »
continues to deliver
Research reveals that direct mail can still achieve exceptional results in driving response and action – among all age groups.
recent study into consumers’ attitudes towards direct mail reveals that some 79 percent of consumers act on companies’ direct mailings immediately. From Letterbox To Inbox 2013 – an attitudinal print tracking study of 1,232 adults conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) – revealed that consumers view direct mail and other printed communications as essential to their overall experience of brands of which they are customers or in which they are interested. The survey also found that printed direct mail was 10 percent more successful than email in driving consumers to a brand’s website. In addition, 34 percent of recipients claimed they searched online for more information about the featured product or company, while 26 percent kept the mailing for future reference. Here are some more useful findings from the survey:
Printed direct mail is viewed as reliable and trustworthy Respondents highlighted the essential role direct mail plays within their lives as consumers, with 56 percent saying they found printed marketing to be the “most trustworthy” of media channels. n
n Younger consumers more likely to believe that direct mail is here to stay Twice the number of 18-34 year-olds (20 percent) believe that printed direct mail will never be replaced entirely by email, compared to consumers over age 55 (nine percent).
n Direct mail retained for future reference Some 48 percent of consumers surveyed said they had retained direct mailings for future reference, with 17 percent saying that they do so regularly.
n Consumers expect direct mailings One-third (33 percent) say they would have a negative view of a brand that did not offer printed communications.
The 10 Most Successful Direct Mail Industries According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), consumers’ reactions to direct mail can change depending on the sender. However, a high open rate doesn’t necessarily lead to a high response. For example, nonprofit organizations often target donors or other interested parties in an effort to raise funds, but that mail is not always read immediately – or at all. While museums have an open rate of 56.7 percent, only 18 percent of recipients stated they intended to respond to the solicitation. Churches, on the other hand, achieved a lower open rate (53.4 percent) but a higher response rate of 23 percent.
Open Rate (%)
Intend to respond (%)
video marketing mobile and tablet Marketing »
Strategies How mobile phones and tablets are accentuating the TV experience. We may not want to admit it, but whether it’s via our tablet or our cell phone, we’ve become tethered to technology. Now, mobile devices are apparently changing the way we do one of the laziest things in life – sit and watch “the tube.” According to Business Insider, nearly half of all Smartphone users and tablet owners said they have a phone or tablet in their hands while watching television. Many of us use these “second screens” to tell friends what we’re watching, to kill time during commercials or simply to search for more information on whatever we’re watching. Rather than view mobile devices as a distraction from their advertising, media companies have discovered that your phone or iPad can complement their marketing efforts. As you might imagine, it has changed how they communicate to you, the viewer. The timeliness of live broadcasts like X Factor or American Idol, for example, allow the audience to control the outcome through voting as well as learn more about competitors and view more content that doesn’t make it to air. While many of us may agree that election coverage on television networks has enough talking head pundits, more and more space has been devoted to hearing what the voters at home watching have to say in real time via Twitter and other forms of social media. Television networks are joining the fray as well, realizing that apps and online conversation between fans can drive viewer loyalty long after an episode has ended. To take advantage of second screen users, USA Network created a large social media campaign to support the debut of re-runs of the hit show Modern Family in the fall of 2013. The network even sat down with the show’s co-creators and its writers to develop content for second screen users. So why all the effort to connect with a guy eating potato chips on his couch? Advertisers know that a TV viewer holding a mobile device is just a few clicks from a purchase.
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” coco chanel Fashion designer and entrepreneur
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign that you’re not doing anything innovative.” WOODY ALLEN Script writer, actor and movie producer
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL Former British Prime Minister
“Your most unhappy customers are often your greatest source of learning.” BILL GATES Microsoft Founder
3 golden rules for social video An entry level guide to creating compelling video content According to YouTube, more than one billion users visit its site each month, spending four billion hours watching videos. It’s estimated that online video will account for more than half of all online consumer Internet traffic by 2016. Today, consumers have a tolerance of about two seconds for a video to load. The good news: they desire videos that inform them about your product. Here’s how to deliver it to them.
a strategy, 1Have Spielberg
Do you know what you call an online video that no-one sees? A brand exercise. You may have an idea for a hilarious social media video that you believe spreads the gospel of your brand or product perfectly, but before you tackle the creative execution, ask yourself a few simple questions: What is your goal? Who is your target audience? What action do you want them to take? Being prepared sounds trivial, but your goal isn’t just to entertain; it’s to connect with potential consumers. Creating a social video shouldn’t be about what you want to create, but what your viewers want to see.
prepared 2 Beto distribute
Without a plan to distribute your content, you’re likely to overload the YouTube servers. Attaching a hashtag to posts related to your video will allow you to track what people are saying about it and get feedback. Don’t forget to utilize online media who cover your industry. They might publish your video for you. The same applies to print media members and key influencers who are always looking for content to share with their audience. Very often, your retailer partners will be starved for content to post on their own social media channels.
3 Review, review, review
When you land on your creative direction, ask yourself again if it answers the questions you posed above. Does the content direction appeal to your target audience and answer questions they might have about your product or brand? The beauty of online video is that you can develop it to connect on a personal level with a specific audience, making them more likely to view it. Everyone else doesn’t have to “get it.” If you’ve set clear goals around the questions you asked at the beginning, your creative output should align with your objectives. The best part is you’ll be able to measure whether or not it did.
NEWS | REVIEWS | ideas | opinion |
mini interview » stephanie Rogers
How to engage
an empowered consumer Stephanie Rogers is the Executive Vice President of Account Management, Technology & Media at Boston-based marketing firm PARTNERS+simons. She has worked with clients such as Chartis Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tufts Medical Center, General Motors and Nextel. She sat down to answer a few questions on how she works with brands to construct today’s modern marketing campaigns.
Q. Given that marketers are now finding that traditional marketing approaches are no longer resonating with today’s consumer, what messaging can break through?
SR: Relevant content that educates and/or informs can still get consumers’ attention. A steady stream of content distribution can do wonders for your search engine optimization, making it easier for people to find you. Q. Where can companies find enough content to create this steady stream of news?
SR: Most marketers have a wealth of content – or content ideas – already in existence throughout the organization. It’s a matter of finding it and incorporating it into the marketing workflow. Customer service reps have frontline stories, product managers can help
create a white paper or infographic, and conversations from your own social media page can be turned into an article or story. We start with an internal audit of everything our clients have and build a content calendar. Start small and get a feel for your specific audience’s appetite.
“Most marketers have a wealth of content already in existence throughout their organization”
Q. Given this approach, do brands need to think more about campaigns that last a shorter amount of time and can shift on the fly?
SR: The biggest difference today is that companies need to consider context when putting together a marketing program. Today, people
actively seek product info and ask friends/peers for advice. They may be looking for this information at home, on their mobile or at a retail location. For that reason, it is crucial that we consider the context of their browsing so that we can tailor their brand experience accordingly. Someone searching for a store address on their mobile phone will expect and tolerate a different experience than someone who is watching the Masters on TV.
Q. Compared with 10 years ago, how does having an open dialogue with consumers across a number of mediums change how a marketing strategy gets set?
SR: We view marketing as a strategic corporate asset, not just another advertising campaign. That means developing relevant marketing programs that can live and evolve year-over-year, versus season-toseason. To do that, you must regularly measure performance – through brand studies, consumer feedback and traditional direct-response metrics – then adjust accordingly. The tactics will change over time to accommodate new products, channels, or market dynamics, but only through a long-term, dedicated effort to brand building can you truly build brand equity.
The Top Marketing/Creative Blogs You Need To Read AdAge.com
AdFreak Blog page
Looking to keep abreast of what’s going on in the ad industry? This is a good place to start. There’s no shortage of content at AdAge.com. Get your fill of webcasts, research reports, blogs and columnists. You can even take inside tours of marketing agencies in the Agency Digs section.
AdWeek’s blog page touts itself as the best and worst of advertising, branding and design. You’ll find videos of the latest ads and online videos causing a stir, along with short stories commenting on them. Adweek.com covers news, media and branding. It’s also home to a substantial video page that houses interviews with marketing leaders.
AllThingsD.com is a site devoted to technology, the Internet and media and delivers news, analysis and opinion on all of those. In addition to penning solid news features, the deep editorial staff reviews a variety of tech products from iPads to apps. The headline writing is snappy, making sometimes-dry topics easy to read. Check out the video section for succinct reviews of new tech products.
It’s not the Cash Cab, but designers looking to keep up with cutting edge executions in their space will love Design Taxi. The site covers the latest and greatest from the world of illustration, infographics, architecture, packaging, video… and more. There’s even a page where you can create and display your own design portfolio for potential employers to peruse.
digital marketing »
the new google Five things inbound marketers need to know about the search engine’s new algorithm, Hummingbird. Increasingly, websites that appear at the top of Google’s search results are those that have a high number of social signals – likes, shares, tweets and plus-ones. Here are five key tactics to drive your website up the organic rankings.
Make your content useful Appearing at the top of a Google search is no longer just for keyword maestros. Google rewards good quality content. After all, the company’s ultimate goal is to help you find what you’re looking for. “Webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share,” Google says. Useful content is also a proven way to establish an upstanding reputation in the eyes of your users. Most important: keep your content up-to-date and make sure every page has a purpose. The more relevant your content, the more it gets shared and the better you rank.
Make sure you have working, useful links Google doesn’t enjoy stumbling across broken links on your website. In all likelihood, the overall health of your links is a good indicator of how well managed and up-to-date your site is. Broken links also make your site less likely to be shared. Google’s PageRank is one of the ways the company has improved the relevance of search results for users. It assumes that
more important pages receive more links from other sites and works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of the importance of the site’s pages.
Keywords still count Google recently stopped sharing keyword data searches in Google Analytics with websites. Businesses can no longer track how users who come to their site via a specific keyword search interact with their website. While content may be king, remember that people still use keywords to search for that ‘regal’ content. Those words help people learn what you do and what content you deliver. If you provide good content and your keywords reflect your content, searchers will find you and engage with you.
Be prepared to be shared It’s imperative that you make it easy for users who engage with your dazzling content to pass it on. Remember, people share content that makes them look smart, funny and cool. But it’s not enough to create a hilarious YouTube video or write stirring blog posts. Before you create, define the target audience you intend to reach and the type of content they’ll engage with, then map out the channels best utilized to reach them. For starters, include share buttons on your content and make sure your content is viewable on all kinds of devices, especially mobile.
“While content may well be king, remember that people still use keywords to search for that ‘regal’ content.”
Be popular with other sites Google likes the popular kids. As stated earlier, the more places on the web that have links to your site, the better you’ll perform in searches. So how can you ensure that your site is linked to by other, reputable websites? Encourage companies that you do business with to link to your site. It doesn’t hurt for you to praise them on your site as a client or partner. If articles on news sites or blogs mention your site, be sure to let them know that you’d love for them to link to your site.
Fast Company magazine’s website certainly can’t be categorized as a blog. It’s way too substantial for that. Marketers flock regularly to the site because the content – both online and in print – is unique. Fast Company has a way of turning what essentially are case studies on interesting topics into entertaining features that you simply can’t put down.
Saying it delivers “real-world education for modern marketers,” MarketingProfs offers relevant, timely features, podcasts, tutorials and even a short jobs board. There are also sections on professional development and upcoming events. A Pro Membership gets you access to case studies, pro seminars, special reports and their 10-minute podcasts.
If you follow any marketers on Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly come across a tweeted story or two from Mashable. Click on one. Their features are entertaining – hence the social sharing – yet still ultra-informative. Social media, technology, entertainment news…you name it, they cover it, and there’s no shortage of content on the site.
New York-based PSFK.com boasts a wealth of feature stories designed to “inspire creative business.” Their features unearth some of the more original tactics brands are using to promote themselves. They also offer highly in-depth reports on a variety of different media topics, which can be downloaded for $150.
Marketing tactics & Trends for 2014
From the monetization of big data to contextual content marketing to integrated mobile strategies, we highlight the key tactics, technologies and trends that will spearhead the marketing industry in the next 12 months.
Social media evolves into big data
Many companies are already using social media to promote their brands and manage their online reputation, but in the next 12 months marketers will start extracting the data they have compiled through their social channels to boost customer acquisition, enhance loyalty programs and develop better analytics. It is estimated that the big data market will grow at an annual rate of almost 32 percent for the next three years – hardly surprising when you consider that some 2.2 million terabytes of new data are created each and every day. As technology continues to expand, consumers are increasingly interacting with businesses across multiple digital platforms.
Consequently, big data is constantly fluctuating and changing. The ability to extract, segment and analyze all of these diverse data points is the key to driving increased user engagement and loyalty. “It’s not just about collecting data, it’s understanding how to use data in real time and across multiple properties and platforms,” says Mark Gambill, CMO of Vocus, a cloudbased marketing and PR software developer. How it works: If a user registers for your website via Facebook and grants your business permission to access their personal data, you can deliver targeted content that is relevant to their interests, background, and location, as well as prompt them to share their actions with their Facebook friends. In this way, social data leads to relevant, social experiences that drive engagement and traffic, and improve lead conversion.
Optimized experiences for mobile and tablets
With the recent news that tablet sales are set to outpace sales of traditional laptops for the first time, we can safely announce that the post-PC era is well and truly upon us. And when you consider that some 67 percent of people use multiple devices sequentially to shop online, it should be obvious that it’s imperative for companies to ensure their sites
are optimized for mobile, tablet, iPhone and Android devices. All of this means, of course, that marketers need to work more closely with in-house developers and coders to integrate mobile into their overall strategies. While responsive web design will be an important tool for marketers who want to make sure that their customers can easily access information from their mobile devices, we will also see an increased focus on the creation of apps and the delivery of intuitive and integrated services that incorporate the use of big data, social platforms and geo-location technology.
“As technology expands, consumers are interacting with businesses across multiple digital platforms”
The era of the digital wallet gets closer
While Google Wallet, Isis, Square, Lemon and Apple have developed electronic payment, loyalty and coupon systems, mobile
e-commerce has been slow to gain traction among a skeptical public – largely due to the fact that users are confused by the number of options available. However, the trend will accelerate as digital natives go on to become consumers. The companies that can respond to and serve these early adopters will be able to gain a headstart on their competitors. Looking ahead, it is inevitable that Smartphones and mobile devices will become the natural choice for quick, ad-hoc payments, making a robust and versatile mobile payment solution a must for competitive retail. As a result, we may also witness the beginning of the end of the loyalty card as companies start to use customer analytics to segment their best customers and market to them individually.
Sentiment analysis comes to the fore
You only have to look at the continued success of online review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to see that our desire to leave feedback on our interactions with brands, goods and services is not going away any time soon. While a consumer’s honest and unbiased opinion can be an extremely powerful lead generator and conversion tool, the flip side of the coin is that companies need to be able to monitor and respond to negative consumer commentary and criticism. The latest iterations of sentiment analysis or reputation management technology now enable companies to keep negative comments offline while the issue is being privately resolved, while other platforms
track negative reviews and help organizations identify and develop a more strategic plan for resolving the specific issues that are causing them problems.
Real-time media buying takes hold
The synchronization of geo-location, social media and mobile technologies is finally enabling companies to target customers with incentives, offers and coupons at or near the point of sale. Not only does this combination of technologies shorten the buying cycle and force companies to be more flexible and responsive, it also provides a great opportunity to listen to customers, identify trends and monitor purchasing behavior. However, it goes without saying that companies and marketers need to develop processes and programs that will enable them to capitalize on this information. “We will see more marketers taking steps to buy quickly because that is the future of all media buying,” said Bonin Bough, Vice President, Global Media and Consumer Engagements at food manufacturing giant Mondelez.
QR Codes get more sophisticated
Although marketers have liberally used QR codes across a plethora of industries in recent years, very few have tapped into the technology’s full potential. Common mistakes include directing viewers to generic home pages rather than to the specific information they want or have been promised. Max Goldberg, co-founder of social media marketing firm Shmedia, says that QR codes will explode much further once Smartphones are no longer limited by 3G wireless Internet. “Faster mobile Internet will drastically affect the adoption and creativity in the use of QR codes,” Goldberg says. “The codes can lead to a much richer experience because the pipe itself is wider for that experience.”
Content Marketing Continues To Evolve
Creating good quality, targeted content will continue to be a foundation of many companies’ marketing initiatives in 2014. Why? As well as being the most effective way of establishing authority with customers, a recent study revealed that organizations that regularly blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those who don’t. Your content marketing strategy will need to encompass a variety of channels. Here are three new trends:
1. Location-based content delivery
2. Google+ will become a key distribution platform
3. Understand the con-
Expect 2014 to be the year that tech-savvy businesses finally get to grips with location-based marketing. This technology enables organizations to deliver multimedia content directly to the user of a mobile device according to their location via GPS technology. This is a growing trend that has evolved in response to the fact that more than 90 percent of adults have their mobile phones within arm’s reach 24 hours a day.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers are using social media to promote content more frequently than in previous years. Since Google+ is now the second largest social network with over 359 million monthly users, the platform is expected to become an even more important vehicle for content distribution and social sharing. This is largely due to its importance in Google Author Rank and Authorship.
Instead of developing “onesize-fits-all” content for your entire audience, context marketing requires you to identify the key buying profiles among your customers and prospects, and then create targeted content that meets their needs throughout the entire purchasing journey. This high level of content personalization first requires you to capture and understand the individual behaviors of each buyer profile.
cept of content in context
Image-based content will dominate
As consumers become distracted online by an ever-increasing number of messages, ads and emails, it’s vital for marketers to be able to deliver content that is quickly and easily digestible. The rapid rise of social media sites Pinterest, Buzzfeed and Instagram as well as the increased use of infographics in telling complex stories are testament to the fact that image-based content is both popular and commercially effective. In fact, according to Trend Reports, between 65 and 85 percent of people describe themselves as visual learners. This means they digest information more easily by viewing an image instead of reading text. Research has also revealed that the blog posts that achieve the most shares include a selection of strategically placed imagery to break up the written content and to emphasize key points.
Customer retargeting personalizes ad delivery
While retargeting – the tactic of delivering relevant ads to past visitors to your site as they browse the web – has become a common practice among companies looking to squeeze every inch of value out of their customers, the process is rapidly evolving. The latest iteration – programmatic site retargeting (PSR) – analyzes an array of data points to build a PSR score for each visitor that tells them how much to bid to serve that visitor a display ad. Another customer acquisition strategy that will grow in popularity in 2014 is search retargeting. This tactic enables companies to target people – including those who have never visited your site – with display ads based on the keywords they have recently entered into search engines. The technique is highly effective because, as with standard search engine marketing, it reaches the consumer when they are in buying mode. Media buying, however, is only one applica-
tion of programmatic marketing. For B2B marketers it can also be a great way to optimize the content you serve prospects during their first visits to your company site. How it works: Let’s say a user states in his Facebook profile that he’s a baseball fan from San Diego, California with a season ticket to the Padres and is currently in Chicago on business. This is very valuable information for the MLB. First, he is clearly a fan. Second, he can afford to support his passion for the game. Third, the organization knows his exact location. Programmatic marketing enables the MLB to deliver an advertisement to this user in a real-time bidding market based on the aggregate data from his social media profile and online behavior.
Direct mail gets hyper local and targeted
Driven largely by new capabilities in being able to identify and target specific segments of the market, the direct mail industry has progressed
“The ability to segment an audience is very appealing for many marketers”
in leaps and bounds in recent years. As digital printing becomes increasingly commonplace, we’re likely to see companies move away from mass-communicated direct mail messaging toward more personalized communication. And it is digital technologies that have propelled direct mail back to the top of the marketing class. The ability to segment an audience using data gleaned online is very appealing for many marketers. For example, hyper-local and hyper-targeted direct mailings enable retailers and small-to-medium size businesses to target specific local consumers. Because of their proximity, these consumers are much more likely to respond to a special offer than those who live much farther away. So what is the difference between the old and new tactics? In the past, a massmarket direct mail piece sent to, say, 50,000 people would typically generate a one percent response rate. Today, a company can send hyper-targeted and hyper-local mailers to 10,000 people at a much lower cost and achieve as much as a 30 percent response. n
the new “campaign” Contrary to what you may have heard or read, marketing campaigns aren’t dead; they’re just evolving and still a work in progress. By Tim Sweeney
Step 1: Create a pretty print or TV ad. Step 2: Watch your marketing campaign take over the world. Step 3: Count your burgeoning stacks of pennies as your brand also takes over said world. It’s a lovely notion, and it may still work for the gang on the hit TV show Mad Men, but it’s hardly reality anymore. In today’s wireless, multimedia world, where consumers hold more cards than they did even a decade ago, it takes much more than a snappy slogan to captivate the consumer’s heart and mind.
Lisa Harder Owner/Partner of Human Element Communications
Blake Ebel Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Fear Not
he responsibility of the people who buy advertising space for clients used to be to put the right message in the right place at the right time, hopefully connecting with the desired target audience for the best price. “The world is completely different today,” says Lisa Harder, Owner/Partner of Human Element Communications, a team of marketing consultants which specializes in brand and communications strategy. “As media channels have grown exponentially and the consumer has become increasingly empowered by technology, the campaigns of old just aren’t relevant anymore.” In her 12 years in the media and advertising agency business, Harder has seen an enormous shift in how companies craft their marketing campaigns. She attributes this change to a new breed of consumers who demand that brands tell richer stories in far greater depth. For people like Blake Ebel – Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Fear Not, an advertising agency based in Denver – that rising consumer demand for rich
storytelling has created a whole new set of challenges. Not only do consumers decide where and how they will digest brand content, they also decide how much. The rise in Smartphones and the ability to access the web anytime, anywhere has forced agencies and brands to modify their creative approach. “Our job is to find consumers where they are through multi-channel targeting and give them the tools to engage with such brands,” says Ebel, who has led the creative for progressive brands like The North Face, Oakley and Audi. “Pinpoint the consumer, start a conversation and engage with them. We call it digitally infused storytelling.” For brands themselves, this evolving, more intelligent consumer requires the organization to collaborate more closely. That means creatives, media buyers, PR, social media, CRM, sales and customer service all working together. By leaning on these specialized areas for their expertise, a brand no longer needs to tell its story in every media arena in which it plays. Instead, brands are sharing
their story across a number of channels and telling the parts of their story that fit the given medium. “They are letting consumers own and create parts of the story,” Harder explains. “Campaigns become multi-channel experiences that allow the consumer to get as involved, or not involved, as they choose.” That’s where guys like Ebel take over. He stresses that penetrating today’s smarter, more distracted consumers takes creative that is constructed with purpose, relevance, intelligence and succinctness. “It needs to drive interest,” he says. “Multiple touch points with unique messaging helps to build a story that consumers start to care about. What to say to them and how to say it is just as important as where and when.” Due to an increased dependence on digital advertising to execute these multi-channel campaigns, companies have come to expect real-time data that grades their marketing efforts and allows them to quickly adapt their messaging and their audience. Ideally, every marketing organization would have this capacity, but that’s simply not the case. “The brands that are doing this well tend to be larger businesses that have well-established infrastructure and technology in place to gather this data and react to it,” Harder says, adding that many advertisers are unable to supply their media teams with the real-time data to actually make this adjust-on-the-fly capability a reality. If collecting real-time data is not something your small business is capable of, it’s still important to accentuate the assets you have. At Fear Not, Ebel and his small, agile team use their size to their advantage, relying on online tools, social platforms, proprietary data from clients and insights they pull in every day from their own unique lifestyles to craft and analyze real-time data and knowledge for clients. For a brand of any size to build a
campaign comprised of many brand activities, mom’s childhood advice still holds true: look before you leap. Ask yourself what your objective is for each of your executions and how they contribute to your overall campaign. Some of your efforts may be fiveday supporting acts, while others may continue for months, but they should all have specific goals. “Successful campaigns today go way beyond theme or message,” Harder says. “A campaign is a mechanism for a brand to infiltrate cultures. It’s a system of carefully orchestrated brand interactions designed to move people.” n
“Multiple touch points with unique messaging helps to build a story that consumers start to care about. What to say to them and how to say it is just as important as where and when”
steps to the perfect Two senior account managers explain how to write the perfect creative brief while two creative directors explain
our account managers
what kind of direction they need to
our creative directors
produce their best work. By Tim Sweeney
etermining exactly what makes the perfect creative brief is a bit like Indiana Jones’ chase for the Holy Grail – no-one knows who has it or if one actually exists, but if it does, the interested parties sure would love to get their hands on it. While this search for creative brief perfection may ultimately be a fruitless one in the ad world, it’s refreshing to learn that creatives and account execs tend to see eye-to-eye on the musthaves. One thing they all agree on: A good brief should guide creative, not dictate it.
Account Director Leo Hello Design, Los Angeles, California
Art Director Creative Factory, Melbourne, Australia
Director of Client Services Taco Truck Creative, Carlsbad, California.
Creative Director CVS Caremark Corporation, San Diego, California
State the key business and project objectives; establish success metrics Scott Arenstein, Partner/Account Director at Hello Design in Los Angeles, says it’s crucial that the creative team first understands the overall business objective of the project and what success might look like. “This way, once we move into the project, where there might be a really fun idea or creative execution, it becomes easier to align with the initial goals and develop some-
thing that not only resonates but moves the business forward as well,” he explains. While it may often appear to executives and clients that their creative partners measure themselves only on cleverness and originality, the truth is that strong creative talent understands that the ultimate goal is to drive profit. “Great creative meets a very clear set of objectives that ideally can be measured to determine its success,” says Simon Greenland, Art Director at Melbourne, Australia-based Creative Factory. “Design is there to make a differ-
creative brief “Design is so subjective that clear direction is a ence to the bottom line of the business, drive conversions, inquiries and sales; not to look pretty. I certainly want to know right at the outset what metrics are in place to measure how successful the work is.” To refine this process, Greenland is more than happy to see examples of work that the client likes, or even dislikes. “Design is so subjective that clear direction is a necessity,” he says. “It is scary how much money is spent on marketing that simply does not drive any business value beyond basic brand recognition.” In fact, both art directors we spoke to said they want any creative brief to have clear business and project objectives attached to it. “The business objectives can even be listed in bullet points,” said Bryan Torgerson, an experienced Art Director who has worked on CVS and Callaway. “The project objectives should answer why we are doing this, what is the desired result, and also define the outcome.” The client’s desired result should also determine the tone of the initial brief created by the account executive. Is the client looking for an inspirational brand piece or a product-focused execution that concen-
necessity. It is scary how much money is spent on marketing that simply does not drive any business value beyond basic brand recognition”
trates on what makes their stuff better than the competition? “On a brand campaign, you want the creative work to feel a bit more aspirational and therefore develop a brief with a bullseye that is more inspiring in nature,” says Todd Haring, Director of Client Services at Taco Truck Creative in Carlsbad, California. “On a product-specific campaign, especially one with a lot of features and benefits, you want to provide a key point of differentiation that the creative team can really focus on in creative development.”
Keep it short, simple, clear AND interesting As the manager of Hello Design’s digital agency of record accounts, Arenstein tries to develop short, simple briefs that guide the creative team but still leave room for
inspiration. For a campaign supporting furniture manufacturer Herman Miller, Hello’s creative team was given a brief that was just one interrogative sentence: How do we build our email marketing subscriber list? The result was a campaign called “Design For You,” in which five artists were commissioned to create original Eames Rocker chairs that would eventually be won by consumers. A short film documented the process. The campaign was a hit with the press and tripled Herman Miller’s subscriber list. “By keeping the brief short and simple, you can allow room for the team to go above and beyond what your main objective might be,” Arenstein says. Deadline dates, clear primary and secondary messages, relevant market research, budget limits, a defined target audience, and
THE important Information Every Brief Should Include 1. Key business objective(s) The goal when creating any piece of creative work is to deliver on the client’s key business objectives. Great imagery, design and copywriting are wasted if they do not create the outcome the client wants.
2. Internal/external deadlines
a thorough understanding of who the decision-makers will be are topics that both Greenland and Torgerson say they like to see addressed in a creative brief. “I’d also like any detailed research or data,” Torgerson says. “Who’s our competition, what are they doing creatively? What’s the market like? Do we have a point of difference?” The best creative briefs Torgerson receives take the business brief and extract the correct information into the creative brief. “Creatives don’t want to read and look at charts and graphs,” he says. “Make the brief informative and interesting to inspire creative development.” If the account executive understands the business of the client and can answer the questions Torgerson referenced above, the more likely he/she is to develop a succinct brief that aids the focus of the creative team. “I’ve actually found that leaving a brief too broad can hinder a creative team,” Haring explains. “It leaves them without a true jumping-off-point and doesn’t allow them to explore a distinct direction, which leads to unfocused creative that isn’t solving the problem.”
Brief in person rather than via documents In the interest of saving time and avoiding miscommunication, clients should simply give more attention to the creative briefing period. Information often gets
Download your free creative brief template Scan the QR code or visit www.hopkinsprinting.com/creative-briefs to download.
lost in translation when the client sends a junior team member – rather than a decision-maker – to meet with the creative team early in the process. “A lot of briefs contain 80 percent garbage that wastes everyone’s time,” Greenland explains. “It’s the 20 percent that we want and can usually get with a 15-minute one-on-one, which is why I dislike so many briefing docs; they so often miss the mark.” Haring agrees with Greenland that an excessive amount of documents is detrimental to the overall process. If you live and breathe the brand you’re working on, that shouldn’t happen. “A lot of times people really do overthink the brief,” Haring says. “It shouldn’t take an account person or planner the same amount of time to write a brief that it takes the creatives to develop a campaign. And if you can turn around a brief quickly then give back that time to your creative team, they’ll love you. Trust me.” Arenstein always briefs his creative team in person, which inevitably leads to numerous questions – most of which he has prepared for. “By doing my homework ahead of time I can usually answer 99 percent of them,” he says. Like Greenland, Arenstein desires the presence of a decision-maker so that choices don’t get made by a committee; the culprit of many a derailed project. “It can be the client or someone on the project, but someone must champion with clear vision,” he says. When all is said and done, the creative team’s job is take the information provided in a good brief and deliver smart solutions that meet the objectives of the business needs. “The creative team should provide a few solutions that might push the boundaries of the brand,” Torgerson says. That’s why a good creative brief should inform and inspire, rather than dictate.” As Haring says, “It’s called a brief for a reason.” n
It’s important to highlight all key interim/internal deadlines as well as the final delivery to client project deadline. Ensure that the dates are clearly visible and not lost within the main content of the brief where they can be overlooked.
3. Primary and secondary messages Although creative with a single message or focus is usually the most compelling and effective, there will be plenty of times when a creative team has to blend multiple messages into a single piece of copy. Clearly explain the hierarchy of messaging. Don’t let a creative team “guess” at which benefits or messages should take priority.
4. Relevant market research and data Insight into industry trends, competitors, consumer behavior, purchase statistics and product popularity are all crucial pieces of information that can help influence a message or the way in which it is delivered to the target audience.
5. Creative budget Although a creative budget is a fundamental component of any good brief, try to make this budget as detailed as possible and ideally segmented into the different components required to develop the creative – imagery, copywriting, materials, retouching, etc.
6. Key differentiating factor Regardless of whether the key differentiating factor of a company or its product is the same as the key message, it is always beneficial for creative to understand where the product/company sits in the general marketplace.
How to use
“triggered”emails Automated emails, triggered by a customer’s online actions, can significantly enhance the relevance of your email communications and help generate sales. By Tim Sweeney
here is, say the experts, a clear moment of truth when a consumer decides whether or not he or she will enter into a relationship with your brand. In the world of email, delivering those moments of truths that sway a consumer your way is often about timing. Automated – or triggered – emails sent to consumers in response to some type of action or event are one way to improve your timing with potential purchasers. The recent trend toward triggered emails has come at an opportune time, with consumers – in this case, email subscribers – becoming increasingly demanding. Today’s consumers expect to receive more personalized content that is relevant and timely for them, making triggered emails more commonplace. “If I have just added an item to my cart, but for whatever reason didn’t go on to complete the pur-
chase, a marketer can be pretty sure that I am currently interested in that item,” says Shenea Edison, who has more than eight years of experience in email marketing, including demand generation, marketing strategy and execution. “Reminding me to purchase that item or incentivizing me with a special offer will obviously generate a much higher response rate than if the same offer comes several months from now. It has also become easier to execute these types of communications due to email service providers having this function as a standard offering.” Several instances might warrant a triggered email, including: 1. The email sign-up When consumers sign up to receive email communications from a brand, you can safely assume that they are interested in forging a relationship or want further information. That’s as good a time as any
HOW TO MAKE TRIGGERED EMAILS WORK FOR YOUr business
Focus on one type of triggered email at a time It can be a daunting process trying to create triggered emails for all possible scenarios. Start by focusing on one project and expand as your resources allow. Master the delivery of the first triggered email scenario before moving to the next.
to communicate with a welcome email to cement the relationship. “This helps set the expectation of what type of emails the consumer will receive, educate them on the website/brand, encourage subscribing to other channels like social or mobile, and to confirm that their subscription was successful,” says Edison. 2. Abandoned online purchases When a consumer abandons the purchase process, it’s common practice to remind them that the purchase has not been completed. The email might offer assistance in completing the purchase, like providing a customer service number or an incentive such as free shipping or a discount on the order. 3. Post-purchase opportunity During the post-purchase period is the perfect time to send a triggered
email that confirms the order and shipping information, allowing the consumer to track the order. Not only is this good customer service, it’s also an opportunity to recommend additional products that are similar to what has been purchased. “Some additional postpurchase emails include a request for a review, which helps with future purchase conversions, or a guide (or manual) for getting started with the product you bought,” Edison explains. When a customer has been inactive on your website, you may want to trigger an email reminding them to pay you a visit. “If they haven’t responded to your emails for a period of time,” Edison says, “you may also want to make sure your email list is up-to-date and clean.” In advance of a major life event such as a birthday or anniversary is a time period when consumers might be ready to purchase for a spouse or have someone buy them a gift. n
Automated emails can allow marketers to reach consumers at a time when they are most interested in purchasing. Here are three key rules:
Prioritize the point of the purchase cycle It’s important to analyze and understand what timing gives you the best return on your efforts. It might be after an abandoned shopping cart, during the post-purchase period or in advance of a significant life event.
Stay the course and evolve Many brands make the mistake of creating an email communications strategy, then just letting it work its magic over time. “It’s important that your communications are updated to stay fresh and relevant,” Edison says. “An email strategy should include a combination of triggered and scheduled sends.”
What’s On My Mind? The magazine industry is experiencing a period of intense transformation. We asked three senior Art Editors to tell us how their jobs are evolving.
Founder of Boo Creative photo and design studio
Art Editor, Golf World Magazine
Creative Director, Mountain Magazine
“It’s no longer a matter of when magazines will go digital; it’s happening now. Digitimes recently estimated that channel sales of tablets will grow 38.3 percent annually in 2013 to reach 210 million units, topping laptop PC shipments for the first time. Although I haven’t yet had the pleasure of launching a digital magazine, presenting magazine content in dynamic form is something I’m eager to do. The possibilities for storytelling are endless. Often the behind-the-scenes stories are more epic than the main features themselves. The top three digital publishing solutions are Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite, Magplus and Zmags. The above programs
“Very often, the behindthe-scenes stories are even more ‘epic’ than the main features themselves” are InDesign plug-ins for creating tablet and Smartphone apps without the need for programming skills. But that doesn’t mean they are easy to learn. The transition to digital takes creative direction, programming savvy and budgets for creating good multiplatform content.”
“Designers entering the industry today have to be versatile, resourceful and prepared to work quickly” “There’s no doubt that the magazine industry has been turned on its head during the last decade. When I first started out in publishing, we would have two or three designers and several freelancers working on, say, a 180-page monthly magazine. Plus, we’d have a pre-press company handle all of our image prep and retouching work. This gave us the luxury of being able to focus purely on the quality of the design – and nothing else. Today, we are usually working with a smaller creative and editorial budget. As a result, we now have to perform all but the most complex prepress work ourselves, as well as prepare the digital and tablet versions of our titles. The workload seems to grow larger every year. Designers entering the industry today have to be versatile, resourceful and prepared to work quickly. Gone are the days when you would be handed a selection of fantastic images and left alone for a few days to craft a layout. Today, the expectation is that the piece will be ready within hours to review.”
“The magazine industry has experienced a dramatic contraction in recent years. There are fewer magazines on the shelves and, therefore, fewer of us working on them. So we are asked to do more. When I worked at Outside Magazine there were four art directors, three photo editors and three production people. And we were considered a lean staff. I was responsible for the design and production of perhaps 10 to 20 percent of the editorial product. Today, at Mountain magazine, I gather most of the photography (even photographing some myself), make adjustments to the imagery and make press-ready pages. I am designing and producing the entire magazine with a safety net that’s too small to catch a butterfly. But I don’t want to go back. I just returned from testing and photographing bikes in Moab, UT, and I’m currently scheming up another trip for this winter while working on the iPad version of Mountain. Did I mention that I also make our tablet edition?”
“I am designing and producing the magazine with a safety net that’s too small to catch a butterfly”
Each quarter, Hopkins Printing produces and distributes a quarterly calendar and notepad that has been designed for Hopkins Printing by one of our talented design clients. We are pleased to showcase the design by Kristi Vogel, Nationwide Insurance Brand and Reputation Specialist., for our 2014 Q1 calendar project.
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Printing and Imaging by Hopkins Printing • 614-509-1080 Printed on a Heidelberg XL105, 6-color with in-line coating unit Design by Kristi Vogel • Nationwide Insurance ®
Want to receive the Hopkins Quarterly Calendar? Contact your Hopkins Printing Account Executive today or visit www.hopkinsprinting.com/ index.php/optimize/ to place your request.
Printing and Imaging by Hopkins Printing • 614-509-1080 Printed on a Heidelberg XL105, 6-color with in-line coating unit Design by Kristi Vogel • Brand & Reputation Specialist • Nationwide Insurance ®
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The Winter Issue of Optimize Magazine. Ideas for Marketing and Creative Professionals.