OMR (Online Media Relations) specialises in International Search, Social and PR.

What better time to embrace online marketing than now?

Posted: October 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Online PR | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

If you’ve ever needed concrete proof that online marketing really is the way forward, the latest PwC/Internet Advertising Bureau report should do exactly that.

Online advertising spend has now hit a record high of £2.26 billion, driven largely by increased investment in social media and video by FCMG companies.

In the first half of this year, brands spent significantly more money marketing themselves through online mediums than on TV, showing the uptake of internet advertising is showing no signs of slowing.

Online advertising now accounts for 27 per cent of the market share, with 58 per cent of its revenues derived from search marketing, 23 per cent from display ads and 17 per cent from classified.

IAB chief executive Guy Phillipson described the growth of video and social media as “spectacular”. If online marketing continues in its popularity, it’ll definitely be the best way to advertise your business.

Social media is allowing brands to engage with their customers in a way they couldn’t previously, which is leading to vastly improved customer service. The way people use the internet is changing and in order to cash-in on your customers, you need to have an evolved way of thinking when it comes to advertising.

While people obviously still watch TV, they increasingly spend time online and this is the expanding market which you need to take advantage of if you want to widen your customer base.

Social media allows both you and the consumer to spread the message of your brand so it’s important to harness online marketing tools in order to boost your business’s performance.

Online advertising is only going to become more popular over the coming years, so it makes sense for you to push hard towards the digital age.

Online retailers missing a trick with social media

Posted: June 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Online PR | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Window dressing may not be the darkest of arts, but even a casual glance at a shop front will tell you just how much work goes into attracting customers through the doors. The work doesn’t stop there though, getting people inside isn’t even half of the job and a lot of effort goes into setting out the store in a manner which is welcoming, conducive to further browsing and, of course, makes sure people buy something.

It’s acknowledged throughout the retail world that engaging potential customers is crucial, which makes it surprising this realisation hasn’t crossed over to the online world in the same way. According to research by industry analyst Verdict retailers are failing to integrate their online stores with social media leading to a missed opportunity for greater engagement and the sales it can lead to.

Even small changes, such as embedding relevant YouTube content on a website can help make users feel more at home, the company found.

Charlotte Woods, an analyst at Verdict, said: “Retailers have the ability to attract increased levels of traffic to their online stores by using social media to create entertainment destinations which consumers can get excited about. As a result, retailers have the ability to create retail theatre online.”

Which all sounds very grandiose, but there’s no need to have an all singing, all dancing site to boost engagement. After all, Amazon, one of the most successful online retailers around manages to boost interaction without going over the top. As anyone who has purchased anything from the site will know, the opportunities to review and rate items are plentiful and as well as increasing the amount of time people spend on the site, it also allows the company to send out those often uncannily-accurate predictions.

Social media is the window dressing and store layout of the online world, and no self-respecting retailer should ignore it.

What can Barack Obama’s White House tell you about your online marketing campaign?

Posted: June 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Online PR | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

The internet has made everything easier. Whether it’s tracking down news content, doing your shopping or marketing a new product it’s simpler when you do it online. However, it also presents its own challenges, especially when it comes to the relationship between businesses and their customers. With so many ways to automatically keep track of consumer behaviour – be it click rates, search volumes, page impression and so on, the danger is that those directing a firm’s online marketing efforts actually start to forget that behind every number on a spreadsheet there is a person. Once that happens, things can start to go wrong as the business misjudges what it existing and potential customers actually want.

So how can this be avoided? Well, the White House might seem like an unlikely source of marketing inspiration but in this case it seems to be leading the way.  At the start of this month its hugely popular Twitter account – it has more than two million followers – essentially asked “how are we doing” and linked to a short survey about its Twitter feed and social media habits in general. (The actual message was “How’s the @whitehouse account doing? Things you like? Things it could do better?”)

The survey asked the sort of things you’d expect – how often do you use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc but also went further, using the popularity of the White House feed to monitor awareness about the Obama administration’s other Twitter accounts. It also provided a chance for people to provide feedback on @whitehouse both in terms of the number of tweets it posts and the sort of content they’d like to see.

Of course, with so many followers it’s going to be impossible to please everyone all the time, but with the information it gathers the Obama administration will be able to ensure its social media campaign is as effective as possible by ensuring it meets the needs of as many users as possible.

The lesson is simple – customers are much more than a series of metrics and their opinions should provide a vital part of any campaign, whether it’s off or online.

By simply taking the time to ask “how are we doing” businesses can ensure consumers will listen when they look to get their marketing message across.

Facebook left red faced after Google smear

Posted: May 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Online PR | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

According to the saying any publicity is good publicity but that doesn’t seem to ring true when you’ve been caught out trying to smear one of your rivals.

Over the last couple of days it has emerged that PR firm Burson-Marsteller had offered leading US newspapers a number of comment pieces criticising Google for its approach to privacy issues. Although the search engine giant no doubt has questions to answer when it comes to the issue, eyebrows were raised concerning the source of the articles.

Why, people wondered, was a top PR firm so keen to put the knife into Google? Speculation raged about the identity of Burson-Marseller’s client before the Daily Beast unmasked the culprit – social networking website Facebook.

With the cat out of the bag, the PR company held its hands up and admitted that it had indeed been working on behalf of the social networking site, quickly adding that such smear campaigns were not its usual way of working and it should never had taken the contract in the first place.

Both contractor and client were left red faced and moved into damage limitation mode, with the former pulling out of the deal and the latter claiming it hadn’t meant to launch a smear campaign but just wanted “third parties” to “verify” there were privacy concerns about Google Social Circles.

Whatever the motivation, the fallout has left the pair looking decidedly underhand while Google, hardly whiter-than-white on a number of issues, has ended up looking positivity hard done by in comparison.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that it’s better to focus on making yourself look good than your rivals look bad. Or, if you’re being cynical, that it’s better to stab your enemy in the front rather than the back.

Your social media strategy should be no joking matter

Posted: May 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Online PR, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

social media jokeOn Christmas day in almost every house in the land just before the first forkful of turkey is crammed into an eager mouth those gathered round the table will pause to pick up a small slip of paper which until moments before had been encased in a decorated cardboard tube. Paper in hand they will then address their fellow diners by reading the words printed on it and by doing so tell the worst joke to have passed their lips all year, knowing full well they are unlikely to elicit anything more than a groan from their captive audience.

Christmas cracker jokes are right stinkers and everyone knows it, so why do people tell them year after year? The reason, it seems, is inclusivity. The jokes are so bad and so simple that everyone listening will be able to understand them so no one will feel left out because the punch line went over their head. Put simply, it’s a form of bonding and no one would deny humour, good or bad, is an excellent way to bring people together. However, as anyone who has even told an inappropriate joke at a dinner party will tell you it can also be divisive.

Perhaps the most expensive example of this phenomena befell Gerald Ratner who, with a couple of misplaced gags at an Institute of Directors gathering, managed to wipe £500 million off the value of his company, nearly driving it to the wall. A jeweller by trade, Ratners was renowned for its competitive prices but when the then chief executive jokingly let others in on the secret of his success things quickly went wrong.

“We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95,” he told the IOD.

“People say: ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say: ‘Because it’s total crap.’”.

It was a joke and not one that was meant to be heard by anyone other than those present in the room at the time, but the press ran with it and the company was all but ruined overnight.

However, 20 years later it seems companies still haven’t learned that not everyone will get the joke. Just today Manchester City FC published a “bluffer’s guide” to supporting the club, purportedly aimed at the legions of new fans it expects to attract in light of its recent “successes” on the pitch.

It’s supposed to be light-hearted, but unfortunately a large number of City fans found it patronising and embarrassing. It’s not hard to see why. Rival supporters on the other hand saw it as an excellent chance to taunt a club which seems increasingly unpopular with neutrals.

No doubt the article has generated thousands of views, but if that has come at the expense of angering fans (or customers if you’re being cynical) then it can only be harmful to the club as a brand.

Worse, the advent of Twitter and social media means it is even more likely that the meaning of such jokes will be lost somewhere along the way. In fact, the reaction to the bluffer’s guide was so strong Manchester City’s head of digital was forced write a second article explaining the thinking behind the first – never a good sign.

The timing of the piece is also highly questionable, coming as it does just days before the team will attempt to win their first major trophy in 35 years. Had it been published on April 1st the response may have been more positive.

As with Ratners, the lesson here should be simple – jokes can easily backfire and end up causing more problems than you ever imagined. For this reason alone they are usually best avoided. Unless they’re really funny. Like that one about two nuns in a bath.