July 31, 2007

One Line Marketing Wisdom

As a person that needs to keep up on marketing trends I read a lot of things, books, blogs and articles. Some of them are good, others not so good, but sometimes I run across things that make me think.

I ran across a blog called A New Marketing, by Matt J McDonald. He challenged marketers to come up with one concise sentence about what marketing is to them, One Line Marketing Wisdom.

Here is an excerpt:
It’s amazing how much insight and information can be packed into one line. So I emailed the bloggers I read, and asked them to submit one line about marketing.
Matt J McDonald of A New Marketing
“Forget everything else—marketing is about making a connection.”

It is interesting to see what marketers think about marketing. They're generally a pretty clever bunch. You might want to read it.

Because I am a graphic designer and art director my thoughts center more around branding. Also I have always felt humans are emotional first and intellectual second, so all things marketing, and branding need to appeal to people's emotions first.

So what is my one line about branding and marketing?

Your brand is your company’s image, designed to create the desired emotional response from your customers, marketing is how you deliver that message.

So think about it, what is your one line? If you think hard, you just might come up with something exciting that you can use to market your business.

July 10, 2007

Thinking Outside the Inside of New Technology Boxes

General Electric’s award-winning One Second Theater commercials target digital video players and MySpace users. Basically, G.E. is hiding commercials within commercials that you can’t see unless you have a digital recording device that will let you view the video file frame by frame.

The invention of digital recording devices, and to a greater extent downloading TV shows, has made it difficult to get people to see (let alone watch) television commercials. I think G.E.’s approach is fun and creative, getting them a lot of attention, but only time will tell if it works.

So, why am I mentioning it here? Because what it really does well is take advantage of new technologies. In today’s advertising market, companies that reach out with new technology look tech savvy and, by association, intelligent. When companies use new technology early and well, they appear as the leader in their industry.

Taken from Myers Media Innovation and Creativity Awards: Grand Award Agency Winner article: Description of G.E’s goals and strategies of the program.
GE once again proved its “Imagination at Work” by launching “One Second Theater,” an innovative new media campaign that, according to a New York Times article “explore[s] media beyond conventional commercials and print advertisement.” The campaign shows humorous scenes from commercials re-edited for digital video recorders, MP3 players and the Internet. The cornerstone idea included DVR users pausing a GE commercial to enjoy the aforementioned content - a commercial hidden within a commercial!
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Taken from the NY Times article: Got a Second? G.E. Has a Quick Message.
DECADES ago, General Electric and its agency, BBDO Worldwide, joined to create a half-hour weekly television series, “General Electric Theater.” Now, in a move that underlines how giant marketers are seeking new ways to reach consumers, G.E., BBDO and two other agencies are introducing an elaborate campaign centered on a version of the series that is 1,799 seconds shorter than the original.
Read More

So, think outside the inside of the box or technology. Digital recorders/players, iPods, SmartPhones, variable data printing with targeted mailing lists, and a world of other technologies can get your message right to the customers you want.

June 12, 2007

Google is giving away opprotunities

Google has a knack for giving away opportunities to make money on the internet. There are many possibilities to set up websites to do things automatically, provide information and just plain have fun on the web.

I have recently been involved in two such projects. One is a site that gathers all the information about Industrial supercomputing into one concise site so you don't have to, if your into industrial supercompters Industrial Supercomputing Forum is a great site for you. The other is a really fun idea that gives information about restaurants anywhere in the US. The site is called The Big Fork and it lets you look up restaurants in your area, or an area you will be traveling to. You can look by cuisine, zip code, name, ranking, what ever you want. I think the really cool thing is you can see what people think about the place, or tell people what you think about your favorite restaurant.

Now both of these sites are trying to make money with their respective ideas, but the cool thing is Google made the technology to do it available for free. Got an idea? Let me know, I have people that I work with that can make it a reality.

May 03, 2007

Ever hear of Eyetrack III?

Have you ever heard of Eyetrack III? It's a study to see where people's eyes go when they read online. Now I'm not trying to downplay the significance of the study, the technology used in the study is amazing, the science behind it is fascinating, but honestly the conclusions are things that I and most other designers have always known. But still it is good to get a gut check on what we are doing, and I still suggest people read the study because it will make you think the next time you look at your ad, or webpage.

Here is how they explain process.

The precise definition, Eyetools, the company that conducted the Eyetrack III study: "Eyetracking is a monitoring technology that determines where a person is looking. Special cameras called 'eye trackers' can watch a person's eye and capture fixations and eye movements with a remarkable degree of accuracy (typically accurate to 1 cm on a standard computer screen) without requiring any special headgear."

This image shows the areas of the screen that peoples eyes spent the most time on, Priority 1 being the most, Priority 3 the least.

Here is who did it.

Eyetrack laboratory testing was performed by Eyetools Inc., a San Francisco, California-based software company that specializes in eyetracking analysis solutions for these types of user studies. The company was founded by Greg Edwards, who was the chief researcher at Stanford University during the Stanford-Poynter Eyetrack II study conducted in 1999-2000.

The section that interested me, because it is a large part of my job, is advertising. Here are some excerpts.

  • The first thing we noticed is that people often ignore ads, but that depends a lot on placement. When they do gaze at an ad, it's usually for only 0.5 to 1.5 seconds. Good placement and the right format can improve those figures.

  • We found that ads in the top and left portions of a homepage received the most eye fixations.

  • Close proximity to popular editorial content really helped ads get seen.

  • Text ads were viewed most intently, of all the types we tested.

  • Size matters. Bigger ads had a better chance of being seen.

Yes 1.5 seconds an ad, not much time to make a point. Left and top is better, this is not true for magazines, but it is for web pages. Text ads were viewed longer than graphic ads. Ever hear the saying a pictures worth a 1000 words? It's true, pictures can be taken in faster than words, so it's only natural people would look at words longer. Still, to a non-designer these things may not seem obvious, so keep them in mind the next time you are looking at your ad, or webpage.

April 30, 2007

Welcome to the YAD blog

Welcome to the Your Art Director or YAD blog. I will be bringing you items of interest to me, Graphic Design, Branding, Marketing and other things, that I hope will help you in your business pursuits.

Here is a little bit about me and what I do, and the way I think about it.

What is your brand?
A company’s image, designed to create the desired response from their customers.

What is an Art Director?
The brand guide for your company, working to keep the visual voice of your company consistent.

So what is Your Art Director?
Your Art Director is 22 years of experience.
Your Art Director is graphic design, web design, marketing, public relations, photography, illustration designed together to work for your company.
Your Art Director is what your company needs to create the desired response from your customers.

Thanks for looking in, and I hope you’ll check back. You can also sign up for the YAD newsletter.

Thanks again,
Kenton Smith
Your Art Director