IMARKETING REPORT 04.15.02: the BRANDAQ, Your Aud & $$$
>> warning: reading this will improve your understanding of consumers online

Good morning Execs,

If I hear another "marketing expert" say
something like "We really try to connect
emotionally with the kids and find new
ways of doing things", I'm going to barf.
Really, folks, is it that hard to understand
teens that so much verbal diarrhea is
necessary when explaining successful
approaches? Last week, it seemed that
teens were the hot news as companies
shifted execs, magazines re-tooled, and
the success of video games as a valid
form for auto companies to market to
teens were explored in many periodicals
and newsletters. Everyone thinks that
teens can't be reached using traditional
methods and media. Since when did
teens stop being human that they don't
do the same things as everyone else?
True that word of mouth works well,
but are they really that immune to mar-
keting that they're the only ones mar-
keters have to "connect emotionally"
with? I've been working with & reaching
the teen audience online for years and
although we can classify them into
different "interests/lifestyles", they're
all essentially the same: they love to chat
with people. They love interacting. The
reason "marketing experts" don't under-
stand teens is because marketing has
always been a talk-down-to discipline,
rather than a talk-with discipline. That's
why iMarketing works so well, b/c our
approach involves the target audience
every step of the way until they tell us
how to reach them. Still doubting?
Just ask your teen at home how to reach
them, and after they say, "I don't know",
ask them again. They know, but feel
weird being asked since no one ever
does. Anyway, happy tax day!

2. CONSUMERFOCUS: Your Aud & Your $$$
3. MEDIA&CONTENT: New e-ads, Gator reviewed
4. MGMT&OPS: Re-Purposing Your Audience

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Imagine a world where companies paid
you to be loyal to their brand your entire
life rather than spending money advertising
to develop their brand's appeal to you.
Imagine your loyalty actually came with
an exact figure, based on your lifetime
consumption of the brand. Imagine now
that you sold your loyalty on an open
exchange where interested buyers,
tired of reaching you via branding, paid
you what they feel you're worth to them,
and sealed the transaction with a loyalty
contract. Based on your entire lifetime
consumption of various brands, you'd probably
have about $50K in outstanding loyalty
contracts (your worth to all the brands
you currently use). Although it's a low
price to pay for your freedom of choice,
this is essentially the demand-and-supply
battle between brands for the attention
of their consumers.

BOTTOM LINE: This is the world
envisioned by Jeff Belle for Fast Company
Magazine. It's an extremely fascinating
look at branding through the eyes of a
typical consumer that doesn't see branding
like... branders. I believe it highlights the
real importance of branding. As important
as your operations, so is your effort to reach
out to consumers. In a world where you had
to pay the highest bid for loyalty, only the
financially strong survive. Kinda puts a
new perspective on how you use media to
reach only those you think will deliver the
most return on your investment, doesn't it?

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2. CONSUMERFOCUS: Your Aud & Your $$$
Yahoo! has gone nuts. They've re-
cently announced that they're "testing
a plan to charge customers $1.99/min
for phone support". This is right after
having changed their privacy policy to
allow them to sell all member info to
paying marketers, including themselves.
And all of these actions are to "monetize"
their roughly 230 MM UVs/mo by get-
ting them to pay for premium Yahoo
services and making them more accessible
to advertisers. Any business manager
can't blame Yahoo! for taking these
extreme approaches. After all, every-
one is testing their consumers' willing-
ness to pay for their stuff. Excite, AOL,
Lycos, CNET's ZDNET, MSN all have
some sort of privacy statement that
allows them to leverage their audience.
But the question is, do you risk your brand's
equity with your aud for the sake of
making money?

BOTTOM LINE: Everyone from Seth
Godin, former VP-direct marketing for
Yahoo, to TRUSTe, those pimps of online
trust, who have agreed to endorse this
change in privacy policy for the sake of
making money, say its the wrong way
to treat your audience. So then how
can an online biz model be profitable if
it can't do the same thing other media
companies do? The answer to the
question isn't whether you risk alienating
your aud by how you use their data, but
rather in the way you go about com-
municating your policies to them. Yahoo,
in their efforts to wring every cent outta
people like me, seemed to disregard
the trust they built up over the years
just because they could. If you want
to keep your aud happy during a strategic
business change, preserve your brand's
equity by asking your aud what they think
and instituting changes gradually, making
sure you're being transparent at all times.


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3. MEDIA&CONTENT: New e-ads, Gator reviewed
So many new twists to online ads, so
little time to analyze them all. WSJ has
some new "take-over" ad, which supposedly
works really well for branding. CNet
says their new "interactive messaging
units" has recall of about 48%. No won-
der, have you seen the size of this thing?!
Then there are pop-ups that trick surfers
into downloading stuff they don't want.
And now, advertisers will be taking over
your browsers with "a new product [that]
will allow advertisers' logos to appear
behind the toolbar icons on web browsers."
But I think that the most innovative online
ads I've seen have come from Gator.
That's right, those nutty trojan-horse-desk-
top-hijackers have actually done what
I consider to be "content in context".
Although criticized for how they get on
your desktop (usually embedded on other
software people download) and their
lack of quality ads, it's all bullcrap. Not
only did I have the choice to not install
it, but ads only appear when relevant
(i.e. business services ad on business

BOTTOM LINE: Gator works because
they don't take up bandwidth when popping
up. They consistently appear only on the
bottom right hand side of your computer,
and they only show surfers ads for
products that they may actually be interested
in based on the sites they visit. The ads
are all from serious offline and online
marketers and the ad formats are large
enough to be noticed. For all the issues
that Gator has faced, they have a very
good product and don't be surprised if
their technology begins appearing on
computers pre-installed, like Overture
has just announced with HP.

READ MORE:,,BT_CO_20020401_001081,00.html

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4. MGMT&OPS: Re-Purposing Your Audience
Here's a strategy: build an audience, and
rather than sell them to advertisers, offer
them your own products which they have
to pay for. What suckers we've been,
selling our audiences other advertisers'
products when we could be making money
off of them ourselves. You either think
I'm nuts or late to the table, but whichever,
I've seen the light. "...Yahoo's biggest
objective in its new policy was to give it
more freedom to sell its own services
rather than those of its advertisers. Yahoo
has been trying to recover from the slow-
down in online advertising by introducing
a raft of new fee-based offerings, like
online games and expanded e-mail services."
AOL merged with TW for this very reason,
but this bit of strategy got lost in all it's finan-
cial details. It's more apparent now, when
almost 4 out of every 10 ads on its properties
is for other AOL properties. (Don't quote
me on that figure).

BOTTOM LINE: I'm sure you've heard of
repurposing your content so it can appear
on other media or to have the same content
generate rev in diff ways. Well, I propose
repurposing your aud to make you money
from your own premium services. You say
you don't have anything to charge for?
Look closer at your assets, particularly, your
content. Surely, if you're in business, it's
because you provide something someone
else wants. Well, offer them more, and
charge them for it. It's your audience, so
why offer them products they probably
aren't interested in when they use your
brand online? Instead, offer them your
own products and services that are
strategically designed to be more valuable
to your audience.

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Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.


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