Jivox Gives Small Business Owners a Leg Up in Online Advertising

February 21st, 2010

The best place for a local small business to advertise for a reasonable price used to be the local newspaper, but with print publications folding left and right, those ads are no longer getting the returns they used to.

While many technology-based businesses are already learning to adapt their advertising strategies to the web, small storefront businesses may be intimidated by the Internet and uncertain how to translate their 2-by-3-inch print ad to that medium.

Enter Jivox, a small start-up company in San Mateo that offers small businesses the online tools to create a good-looking video ad for a reasonable price. Once the ad is created, Jivox takes the mystery out of web advertising by marketing the video to websites that potential customers might be visiting, like their regional newspaper site and other related online media. That means the small business doesn’t need to figure out where their offline customers are spending their time online.

With the dual assistance offered by Jivox – creating the ad in the first place, and then finding the correct audience online – a lot of the mystery of the web is removed, and it gives many of these companies a genuine chance to compete with other, larger companies who can afford to have a whole section of their marketing department devoted to figuring out new media advertising.

The company is run by Diaz Nesamoney, a successful start-up entrepreneur twice before, and this looks like another great offering. He’s already signed on the assistance of CBS and Media-News Group, as well as hundreds of eager small, local businesses who are grateful for a leg up to the big leagues of Internet advertising.

“Just Say No” – to Drug Commercials

December 22nd, 2009

TV commercials for prescription drugs are fairly common, usually tailing out with a brief warning to “ask your doctor if X drug is right for you.”

The short spots often focus on sexual or extremely personal problems, like sexual impotency or restless bladder syndrome. They usually ask a few questions too, like “do you have problems with those intimate moments?” or “aren’t you tired of going to the bathroom several times a night?”

The answers to those questions are getting dangerous, or so say representatives in Congress. They’ve introduced a new bill, called the Say No to Drug Ads Act, which prevents pharmaceutical companies from deducting the cost of direct-to-consumer drug ads as a business expense.

The bill may hope to discourage these ads from appearing altogether. Congressmen are concerned that many people are self-diagnosing ailments using the suggestive language from these ads and insisting that their doctors prescribe the medication recommended by the commercial.

However, that is not the stated intention of the bill. Supporters say that the bill simply hopes to end tax breaks for companies who advertise drugs on television, and that there will be stricter regulations about how they appeal to their target markets so there is no deceptive information given, nor important information left out.

Cars That Still Sell for Sticker Price

November 30th, 2009

There is no shortage of news out there talking about how poor the car industry is doing these days. It is clear that this is indeed the case judging from record-low spending in advertising to the sharp drop in consumers who own cars or are currently shopping for one. People are holding on to their existing cars for longer and holding off serious car shopping overall. 

So it’s a little surprising to hear that Edmunds.com recently reported there are a shocking number of cars out there that still sell for sticker price – or more.

Some of these cars are rarely, if ever, sold below sticker in the entire history of the auto industry, including such movie stars of the car world as the Aston Martin (of James Bond fame) and the Ferrari (which has always spoken for itself). BMW also has several cars that are doing very well in sales – especially those models that only produce a few thousand of each every year.

Beyond the crème-de-la-crème of autos, the other sector that’s doing very well is hybrid vehicles. Both Ford and Toyota have been seeing sticker-price sales of their hybrid vehicles, and they may be assisted by the promise of lower gas mileage and savings at the pump.

Those who are praying the American auto industry makes a rebound can find good news in the General Motors’ Camaro. The car is reincarnation of the classic muscle car, and it is actually selling for above sticker price – as much as $2,500 and more.

Is Television Still Relevant?

November 3rd, 2009

As movies, TV shows, the news, and homemade videos continue to stream free and often commercial-free online, the idea that television is on the way out has occurred to more than a few marketers.

This attitude is reinforced by the recent innovations in social media, which have often been far more effective in conversion dollar for dollar than TV ads.

Yes, there is hope for TV
However, there’s still hope for television, and there’s reason to believe it’ll hold out for quite awhile longer. For one thing, there’s the community factor. There are certain TV shows that people watch as events, such as sporting events or American Idol.

People enjoy being a part of the group, and they don’t want to miss it and watch later. They want to see it now, along with all the other fans.

The problem television is facing is the ability to adapt to the needs of people who do want to watch later. Instead of having those people look up those videos on DVD, some companies are looking to options online for capturing those audiences and keeping TV relevant, like the streaming-video site Hulu, which features full-length shows, movies and – most significantly for television producers – ads.

Television will stick around as long as we feel the need for community, which is probably forever. The question is how it will shape and change around the other new innovations that crop up.

Ads Hide Within iPhone Applications

September 29th, 2009

The iPhone is undeniably a status symbol, but it may also be a marketer’s dream. Several major companies including Burger King Holdings Inc. and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. are using the iPhone to promote their products.

One of the most innovative ways these companies are using the iPhone is through the purchasable and optional applications available for the device. Instead of standard mobile advertising, which can involve a banner ad on the regular screen or a tagline following a text message, companies are now crafting ads that can be disguised as applications.

Users can play games or manipulate images on the iPhone, and the applications can be very popular. If the application is also completely saturated with a company’s advertising, they reach their consumer.

The big challenge? Creating an application that’s compelling enough to stand out among thousands of others. If consumers can get the same game without advertising, they will. It means that companies may be investing some of their marketing budget into figuring out ways to entertain their customers as well as entice them

Best Buy vs. Wal-mart

July 10th, 2009

Best Buy’s getting a quick shot of schadenfreude this year as its major competitor, Circuit City, goes under.

But today’s victor can quickly become tomorrow’s vanquished, and they’re working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen as they come up against a new player in their field – Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart wasn’t as big of a threat to Best Buy until the recent recession started to push buyers to seek better deals on their electronics, even if they had to compromise on knowledgeable customer service and warranties – the things that have kept Best Buy customers loyal until now.

Wal-Mart’s bumping up its selection of televisions, video games and mobile phones, which is making Best Buy nervous that their newfound Circuit City customers may go straight to a new competitor.

With customers nationwide tightening their belts, Best Buy is working hard to make sure they can offer a shopping experience that’s worth the extra investment. Best Buy banks on customers needing the expertise that their customer service reps can offer as they try to figure out which of their hundred new cell phone options is best for them. We’ll see if that’s the sort of experience that money can’t buy.

If not, Best Buy may be defeated before the shine has even worn off its winner’s belt.

Internet TV Front and Center

May 17th, 2009

Most media buyers will tell you that online video is the advertising medium to watch this year.

eMarketer expects web video advertising spending will increase 45 percent to $850 million in 2009, a year when other media are expected to decrease in value.

How many are really watching? According to Rob Norman, CEO of GroupM Interaction Worldwide, “The big issues are who’s watching video online, and who’s making it.”

He goes on to say: “And who’s making the best sense of it from the seller’s side and the people who are owning the inventory and the advertising side. Online video has become a significant distribution for the consumption of regular TV programming, but it’s not yet been replaced by an effective advertising model.”

Big media changes are coming. Sites like Hulu that carry full-length T.V. shows and movies are growing more popular in revenue and viewership. But Hulu is only a small portion of the total online video viewing. YouTube still carries around 40 percent of videos viewed on the web.

“The upcoming upfront will be a witching hour and no one knows yet what the real impact of corporate behavior is going to be,” added Norman.

Syndie Advertising Sales: How They Stay Strong

April 23rd, 2009

Syndication ad sales is one sector doing very well in the advertising market because sponsors are able to represent categories that consumers find necessary despite the struggling economy.

The argument for free Wi-Fi
“I can’t speak for everybody, but we’re less dependent on the industries that are having the most trouble,” said Howard Levy, executive VP of Disney ABC Domestic Television.

“No matter what happens in the economy, people, if they have [high] cholesterol, they’re still going to take a cholesterol drug. And they still have to wash their floors.” Levy added, “I’m not saying that I’m not totally protected in a soft economy, but we’ve been less impacted than maybe some others.”

Why syndicated works
Syndicated programming is attractive to media buyers and their clients for a variety of reasons. One reason emerged from last year’s Writer’s Guild of America strike better than other television programming.

Syndicated television programs usually have shorter commercial spots, so they may be less affected by DVR recording than broadcast programs. But so far in 2009, daytime syndicated shows have been showing signs of struggle in the ratings department.

Is the Economy Affecting Big Ticket Sports Drtv Ads Sales?

March 28th, 2009

Big-ticket sports have long been considered a recession-proof medium, but the economic downturn is having a negative affect on the TV sports marketplace.

The vulnerability of this marketing sector became clear as fourth quarter ad sales were down 15 percent according to several drtv media buyers and network executives. Long-term sponsorship packages have long been like a safety net, practically guaranteeing financial stability.

But as the market becomes more fragmented, the TV market seems to be shutting down.

Industry changes
Financial services and domestic auto have practically fallen to the wayside, although foreign auto has picked some of the domestic auto slack. Hyundai has remained quite active, buying time on a variety of sports. Two good examples of this are TNT’s Thursday Night NBA showcase and ESPN’s college and pro football properties.

Even though profits from the banking and credit card industries are dwindling fast, the insurance sector is still pulling its weight with companies like Geico, Nationwide and Progressive still going strong.

Super Bowl ad spots
The fact is, big sports drtv ad sales is no longer a seller’s market.

Even spots available during the National Football League games are affected by the troubled economy and going for discounted rates. NBC recently admitted that there are still eight Super Bowl spots still available. Currently returning sponsors from last year are Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. General Motors has pulled back as a result of the current auto industry crisis.

Karmazin Seeks Reliable Radio Measurement System

February 15th, 2009

Mel Karmazin, CEO of the newly merged Sirius XM Radio, hopes to change the way radio audiences are measured…though he has no idea of how he’ll do it.

Karmazin knows that having an accurate method of counting listeners could draw more advertiser support and subscribers. He also knows that the biggest challenge with his company and advertisers is getting them to agree on a measurement system that meets their needs.

And Karmazin has learned that finding an alternative method is a Catch-22: “If I spend the money, they say it’s proprietary research and they don’t want t use it. But if I don’t spend the money, then who’s gonna spend the money to do the research?” Mr. Karmazin said during a recent interview at Sirius’ New York Studio.

It is clear, however, that Karmazin can provide media buyers with big audiences. He has automatically than doubled the Sirius subscriber base to an impressive 19.5 million just by merging with XM. There is also a newly merged sales force selling the newly combined audience numbers for top shows like Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, the NFL and Major League Baseball.

Still, Sirius has a long way to go to catch up to its terrestrial competitors. Karmazin admits that fledgling car sales could affect his business. If car sales go down, there are fewer satellite radios going into cars. So far business hasn’t been affected.

The future of Sirius/XM remains to be seen – unless you ask a Howard Stern fan.