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The 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing Blog

Best practices, training and innovations in Digital Strategy.

Poll: Celebrity endorsement in advertising… It does not always work!

November 26, 2012 – 1:34 pm

Luxury brands are spending every year millions of dollars hoping to be able to engage as many fans as possible in as many ways as possible via as many channels as possible.

For instance, the famous Louis Vuitton brand had a $10 million advertising agreement with Angelina Jolie. With such a powerful celebrity endorsement, everyone would expect to automatically be an amazing success. But it depends on the way this tactic is approached.

The first question that everyone should ask himself is if the celebrity endorser is credible for a given product or category. Angelina Jolie is quite credible for Louis Vuitton – she is an icon of fashion and glamour and it’s not too hard to imagine her wearing Vuitton products by choice. James Gandolfini would be credible for cigars – it doesn’t require a whole lot of imagination to see the Tony Soprano actor smoking a Montecristo. Now if we change the roles, there will not be any relevance into this approach. So…is the celebrity endorsement cost-effective? Campaign budgets vary, and the situation is the same for celebrity price tags. But as a general matter, the kind of celebrities that could make a difference are not cheap at all.

To find out an answer to the question stated above, Adweek/Harris Interactive recently conducted a poll about celebrity endorsements in advertising, and the results are as follows:

  • 77% of respondents claimed that “when a sports star, movie star or other celebrity endorses a product” they are no more or less likely to buy it.
  • 14% stated they are less likely to buy.
  • Only 4% stated they are more likely to buy. What’s more, these results were remarkably consistent across age groups and gender.

Of course, this poll, as any other opinion survey takes into consideration three big assumptions:

a) that respondents are aware enough of their, often subconscious, mental processes to assess their reaction
b) that they will openly admit  their views; and
c) that their stated views are predictive of their actual behavior

In other words is the celebrity endorser credible for a product category? The answer is simple: not always. For instance, if we take into consideration categories such as perfume, liquor or fashion, celebrity endorsements can bring a lot in terms of credibility while if we refer to financial services, a Hollywood star will never have a positive impact simply because he is not a finance specialist and second because he does not represent the portrait of a potential customer who may need such services.

So, what marketers should do first is to analyze the advertising tactic from different perspectives and be very cautious regarding who is going to endorse the respective product or service because the category and the celebrity are chosen wrongly, then even if the company spends $10 million it may not bring any brand capital.

The following infographics speak for themselves:



The power of marketing language: when it is time to say “STOP”!

September 21, 2012 – 12:36 pm

The rising popularity of social media represents a real opportunity for many businesses with one condition: to be used in an intelligent manner in such a way to boost their brand.

With millions of people chatting, sharing pictures and networking, companies have a real chance to use these platforms to pitch their products or get their customers’ feedback. If companies do know how to use these social platforms in a correct manner, they will arrive in a position where their customers will create/produce the advertising ads for them and then share the new media products with their friends. All these – for free.

But what happens if something goes wrong?

What happens if there is too much creativity and things get out of control?

It is very important to understand that same tools that can bring your brand to a point it has never been before, can carry many risks that sometimes can be unpredicted.

For instance, Toyota Matrix -   the advertising company that worked for this client decided to create an innovative social media campaign with real-life elements… Unfortunately, no one knew what this “high-end creative process’ would lead to. Basically, their concept was based on the famous MTV show (Punk’d). According to the plan, a prospective buyer of a Matrix would single out a friend to be the target of a prank. This may be the perfect scenario for some free marketing across social media channels.

Things got out of control when one of the targets – Amber Duick, received a series of emails from a fictious British soccer hooligan (Sebastian Bowler). He told her in the emails he would come to visit her and will bring out his pit bull as well. One of these emails contained a fake bill for damages made by Bowler in a hotel room. According to the information Duick got, the soccer hooligan had left as contact information her email address.

The consequence was easy to guess… Duick filed a lawsuit of $10 million.

To defend themselves, Toyota and their advertising company considered the claim as being “”entirely without merit adding that Duick had already granted her permission to receive e-mails and other communications from Toyota.

While the plaintiff was terrified – according to her lawyer, the next question is….had the email specified the entire process was an advertising campaign? If so, the woman would not have been so scared….

Again, beyond creativity and beyond any kind of sophisticated strategy it has to be about marketing language!

This is one of the situations when it makes a difference of $10 million (damage that can be counted) but the brand damage as a whole cannot be estimated because it is reflected not only in social media (number of impressions or other variables) but also in sales.

This is the story of ‘Your Other You’ campaign that failed because the language was inappropriate and because no one took into consideration that such an approach is so unpredictable and consequently, marketers have to be very careful when they judge any kind of approach as being creative –crazy –not interesting-risky. In other words, this is a part of marketing where focus groups cannot really help just like new scripts for a indie movie. You cannot predict, you cannot test your customer’s taste – you risk a lot. This being said, do not put additional pressure on your campaign by trying to pass over the edge but rather create a positive context and engage your prospective customer into it rather than building a real life situation that is turning into a sinister joke…..


The customer you are looking for, you already have

September 20, 2012 – 9:22 am
Damjan Dano

The latest research done by Adobe Inc. and their Digital Index section of the website shows that the Pareto principle should not be forgotten and still plays a valuable role in the business planning process.  The research outlines that 41% of online revenue comes from returning (customers who have already purchased something twice on your website) and repeat purchases (post-second purchase visitors that buy more stuff), who represent only 8% of total visitors to your online store.

The research states that in the US, only 1% of shoppers actually make a purchase, but more then 75% of retail marketing budgets are spent on search and display advertising to attract these type of visitors, not to bring or to increase the brand loyalty with the repeat purchasers.

The lesson from the report is to invest in brand loyalty, to make sure your current customers are satisfied and are coming back or referring you to their social circles, before you go and spend money chasing new customers that most likely will not convert. Tools like e-mail marketing, social media strategies and loyalty promotions and even simple thank you notes are the channels that should be used to target your valuable customers.


Digital Nation and Multi-Tasking – Impact on Marketing’s Language

September 10, 2012 – 7:56 am

Social Media has changed the way people think, the way people react, the way people communicate and the way companies brand themselves. For many, it is an integral part of their overall business, PR, and CRM strategies as well.

Moreover, Social Media has changed the structure of the brain itself by becoming an addiction. Addiction forces new generations to function in a self inflicted multitasking learning environment. For instance, studies have found that students studying at Ivy League Universities have problems with their capacity to stay focused on a single task. This leads to misunderstandings, disorganized memory and lack of capacity to think clearly. This has made reputable professors ask themselves if they are just unable to prepare capable-thinking students, as the quality of the learning process has been decreasing.

According to a recent study in Korea, children are spending 50 hours/week playing computer games. This sort of behavior is considered a psychiatric disorder. The Korean Government decided to support the creation of schools to treat computer addiction, where children having such issues can stay for 2 weeks and partake in a free training. This issue is part of a broader problem – multitasking syndrome – which is generating constant interruptions. Consequently, the ability of students to focus single tasks are hampered.

Brilliant students from top universities that are concentrating on multiple fronts the same time “by profession”, have been asked if they were able to perform well while multitasking, and their answers were positive. The actual experiment on them showed otherwise: the capacity of the brain while switching from task to task modified their capacity to stay focused.

Technology has changed the way new generations are thinking, communicating and behaving. In another experiment, listening to one stimulus while watching another unrelated, led to reduced brain activity when compared with listening or looking alone.

Of course the first question that comes to one’s mind is “What does this have to do with marketing?” It’s up to marketers to position a brand in an efficient manner, especially for this target.  This may mean that marketers should start working closely with psychologists /sociologists to understand people’s behavior according to demographics and psycho-graphics.

How will digital marketing adapt to this? This market has different potential and has to be approached differently – not in the same manner this audience was targeted 10 years ago.

Not only is Technology changing and improving itself, but it also changes people and the structure of the society from a relational perspective. Marketing has to change the platforms of their message and adapt to consumers by the way it structures its visual stimulants and language. This is most easily likened to the “elevator pitch”.  Attention has to be caught in the first moments otherwise you risk the distraction from another element. The challenge is an alternative form of getting the customer to understand your brand or product in under 3 minutes, or some may argue less (when distraction typically occurs).

In other words, the new generations, coming from Ivy League Universities or not, change the perspective of the education process itself, change the way technology repositions its newest devices and most importantly, change marketing’s way to address messages (language and platforms).

Do you know what is the common asset of all these? The brain itself….


Drowning in e-mail? You’re not alone.

February 14, 2012 – 7:41 pm
Damjan Dano

Another awesome infographic on the topic of e-mail communication, developed by the Boomerang for Gmail tool that helps you schedule an email to be sent later.

The infographic shares insights from 5 million analyzed e-mails and explains that the average e-mail user received 147 messages every day, and spends around 2 hours on e-mail daily. Which is a lot of time!

Many other interesting details worth reading are included in this graphic:

Couple months ago I’ve read an interesting and controversial article in the news about a former French finance minister, now CEO of Atos Origin, one of the largest IT companies in France, who gave it’s employees 18 months to adapt a practice of not communicating via e-mail.

After the deadline, the company will only communicate via phone, IM chat and in person communication.

The decision by the executive Tiery Breton was made after analyzing over 200 company e-mails and concluding that only 10% of the e-mails are valid and useful, while the rest are distraction. They also concluded that employees are spending from 5-20 hrs a week only on e-mails,

What’s your opinion on this topic? It’s certainly an interesting discussion. How do you handle e-mail?


Twitter @the next level: CRM

August 15, 2011 – 3:48 pm

Through the evolution of the business and practice of social media, it has become an efficient to not only to promote your business online, but to practice consumer relationship management (CRM).

Let’s take a look at Jet Blue’s Twitter account, and see how they’re approaching the situation.

By just reading the brief profile description, Jet Blue lets you know the purpose of their Twitter account and how people should approach interaction: “Have a question? Follow us and let us help!” The number is users increased for every passenger that has to report a problem. He or she knows that any question that may have regarding the airline and their services are a tweet away. Twitter grants the possibility of a direct response. As many have learned from experience, emailing a company representative does not ensure quick results. As quick, on-the-spot interaction is the very point of Twitter, people are likely to bring their problems to this forum for an easy answer. It also helps that Twitter is highly accessible via phone for many. Twitter as a CRM becomes efficient for both consumers and the company.


Having a look at the structure of each tweet Jet Blue publishes, we see that it is uniform. This allows followers to feel like they’re following the company and not individual workers, who they may or may not feel connected to. You will notice the “digital voice” in all tweets are the same; also creating brand consistency.


With more than 1,600,000 Twitter followers, Jet Blue uses Twitter to create brand awareness and manage public perception by accommodating their clients in the digital sphere. Jet Blue like many brands has adopted the philosophy – “go where customers are”, and use it highly effectively. This puts brands awareness and CRM all under one roof.


This marketing strategy has affected Jet Blue positively. It poses the question “Why not fly with an airline that really cares about me, the passenger?” For implementation purposes, responding to messages each day is involved and time consuming. However, in the long term, Jet Blue has decided that building customer loyalty far outweighs any monetary investment this strategy requires. Jet Blue’s Twitter becomes not only the place to go to have your questions answered, but to share the unforgettable moments of your trips and holidays. A company trusted will always win battle of customer loyalty.



Multi Channel Funnels in Google Analytics

July 27, 2011 – 12:44 pm

Google introduced a promising new feature in Google Analytics that shows a set of reports that will help marketers understand which marketing channels customers interact with prior to a conversion on your website. Conversion path data includes interactions with many media channels that include clicks from paid searches, clicks from organic searches, affiliates, social networks, and display ads. This presents a clear view to the marketer and shows consumer behavior, helping him to understand the various channels which bought the traffic to the website by the way of clicks that turned into real conversions. This feature is known as Multi-Channel Funnels.

Multi Channel Funnels report how previous referrals and searches (organic/paid) have contributed to your sales. Once you know which channels produce the highest conversion path, channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, press releases, e-mail newsletters etc, you can focus on enhancing the successful funnel. The Multi-Channel Funnel gives marketers useful reports to know which channel contributed, how often they contributed, how long it took between the initial channel click and conversion and the channel path that is followed most frequently to conversion.

From the Google website:

Multi-Channel Funnels reports are generated from conversion paths, the sequences of interactions (i.e. clicks/referrals from channels) during the 30 days that led up to each conversion and transaction. Conversion path data include interactions with virtually all digital channels. These channels include, but are not limited to:

  • Paid and Organic Search
  • Referral Sites
  • Affiliates
  • Social Networks
  • Email Newsletters
  • Display Ads
  • Custom Campaigns that you’ve created, including offline campaigns that send traffic to vanity URLs

Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics


Blueliner Manages COSSERP Website Design

June 22, 2011 – 3:28 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

Coss Systems has led the optimization of manufacturing since 1992.  Their software enterprise system, COSSERP, takes inventory of your production chain and offers a wealth of tools for product planning, work orders, scheduling, along with data collection.  COSSERP’s ability to integrate software across platforms is the key to paying dividends in streamlining production across industries.  Despite the rapport that COSSERP built with small and mid-size manufacturers, management wanted a new website design to reach a higher customer base.

Blueliner helped COSSERP design a site with a crisp interface and drop-down navigation panels to hold content for the rich array of services.  The solutions section offers an Adobe brochure for instant download to be shared at team meetings for brainstorms.  COSSERP’s ability to mine data has allowed it to stand out.  The website also has sharper photography to further illustrate their range and depth of services for manufacturers.

A client whose balance sheet felt the positive return with COSSERP talks here:




Special Promotion For Marketing ROI Webinar on June 29th!

June 21, 2011 – 3:54 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

Blueliner has an exclusive interactive marketing webinar coming next week. We are offering a 50% off discount of the $199 retail price. That’s correct. You will pay $100 instead of $200 for this two-hour session filled with insightful, unique content to drive your ROI!   

Wednesday, June 29th at 1:00 pm should be marked on your calendar. Blueliner CEO Arman Rousta, for the first time, will hold a two-hour web series discussing the architecture behind an ROI strategy. This methodical process involves budget planning, leadership delegation, cost forecasting, and designation of key performance indicators (KPI) for digital marketing strategies from mobile to search. Your company will see results regardless of industry.  At the conclusion, your business will have a clear road map regardless of size about how to leverage your business toward maximum performance.  

Blueliner Marketing, LLC has been lauded by other companies for the ability to leverage internet marketing technology for a proper ROI. Our accurate measurements with sophisticated web analytics and search engine optimization speak for themselves through client testimonials.

I highly recommend this workshop to entrepreneurs and freelancers.  When registering for the webinar, enter this code (blueliner-ny-11) at the checkout to receive your discount. Click the button below for more details.



Saturday Blueliner Newsminer

June 18, 2011 – 12:13 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

Hello everyone. I had a couple work items yesterday afternoon which prevented me from posting the weekly digital media wrapup. Thus, I present to you a special Saturday edition. Let us begin with the who, what, when, why, and how.   

1.  The Webby Awards

I didn’t have a chance to watch them, but I heard this year was one of the better editions.  It took place here in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom. They also continued the tradition of acceptance speeches with five words.  Here is a good synopsis of the event. The headline link is a portal to complete video coverage presented by YouTube.

2.  RIM Not Producing Spring Blackberries

Investors came down on the Canadian firm this week after sluggish data on earnings for the last quarter.  They also worry about RIM’s ability to maintain standing in the mobile marketplace.  Android phones and the new iPhone are scheduled to launch in September with upgraded OS servers while RIM plans to continue pushing older devices which have struggled to gain sales traction.  RIM executives feel that their products will produce juice for developers. The cup dryeth for others.

3.  Apple Trying To Shut Down Venue Recording

Many of you know that in the blogosphere, the video of a live concert experience is the new cassette recording. It can be shared in real-time as opposed to being found through tertiary sources like a music vendor or shop.  Apple is looking to earn a patent to stop all that.  According to the headline from Mashable, the motivation lies in avoiding copyright infringement with major content distributors.  The article makes an interesting suggestion that Apple could charge users a fee for recording in a public concert space.  If scaled, it could change the video sharing experience for everyone involved.

4.  The History of Email

This morning, Mashable had an infographic depicting the history of email as a communication tool.  You can view it above in the piece. According to the release, email networks existed in the public sector for a decade before the term was coded.  Some people today wonder about the future of email with the continued development of video content and social media outreach.  Quality marketers believe that email remains an effective measurement of customer preferences and tastes.  It also offers the widest platform to debate and discuss objectives of the day. Viva email!

5.  Senate Reviews Digital Privacy Mandate

From, the Senate is looking to revise a 1986 law for modern times to protect the personal data of the public. This law, named the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, has a clause where Internet users have more protection when data is stored locally.  The article also touches on law enforcement obtaining a search warrant before obtaining data records for a criminal investigation.  Other Acts are being debated in Congress now between Republicans who refuse to budge an ounce, forcing Democrats to seriously weaken mandates before submission. Corporations, as we know, need to step up their security encryption policies before the government does it. And fast. I’m talking to you, Sony.

That’s the Blue news on this Saturday at midpoint. Enjoy.