IMARKETING REPORT 04.24.02: Branding With Low Traffic, Kids & Media
>> "He who laughs last, thinks slowest." -The Jacobyte 17-Apr-02

Good morning Execs,

In my ongoing pursuit of perfection
for this publication, I am going as far
as tweaking what day and times during
the week I should send this out to get
maximum readership. Based on the
response from a late report I sent out
two weeks ago on Tuesday, Mondays
are clearly not the day people like read-
ing all this. But what if Wednesdays
are better? You let me know. Thanx.

Trustmark organizations like TRUSTe
suck because they charge us to let us
use their trust marks. And those fees
keep them in business, so it's also in
their best interest to bend the rules
to keep us happy, like they did with
Yahoo two weeks ago when Yahoo
changed their privacy policies. But
last week, the publishers of Consumer
Reports launched "a new service to
rate sites and e-tailers' disclosure of
privacy and advertising policies".
Ain't that beautiful? These guys have
been sticking it to government, shady
business practitioners and advertisers
since 1936, and their dreaded consumer
voice will now make these "trust pimps"
rethink how they make the internet
safe for me. The beauty of the new
Consumer Reports service is that
consumers pay to access their con-
tent on who's being dishonest or not,
so it isn't dependent on large corporate
sponsors to support it like TRUSTe is.
You may question whether consumers
are interested in this sort of content,
and that the free-to-consumers TRUSTe
will work better. Just remember, CR
has been around since 1936. Not that
age matters, but if consumers didn't
want it, then why is it still around,
causing ruckuses?

1. BRANDS&INSIGHTS: Banners Brand. Goody.
2. CONSUMERFOCUS: Whatsamatter With Kids Today!
3. MEDIA&CONTENT: To Charge or Not To Charge?
4. MGMT&OPS: How to Lose Your Most Loyal Customers

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1. BRANDS&INSIGHTS: Banners Brand. Goody.
One of the big topics last week was
testing the effectiveness of banner ads
on important branding metrics such as
brand awareness, unaided recall, and
willingness to buy on consumer packaged
goods from Nestle Purina and Unilever.
These studies, involving a 50,000-person
panel, proved that banners work and
supposedly (hopefully) will prompt
consumer goods advertisers to spend
more online. But one interesting finding
in this study is that these metrics were
different based on how many impressions
a person would be exposed to ranging
from one to ten. Which could be inter-
preted that the only successful online
media buy is one in which millions of
impressions can be delivered. Duh!
branding works best when repetitive.
But how do you justify low traffic even
for a branding campaign?

BOTTOM LINE: It all depends on
what kind of traffic you have. If you
have a very broad-based, general aud
and not that many of them, my sugges-
tion would be to niche-up. Find your
strong content and specialize in it. If
you're already doing that and have a
loyal following coming to your site for
very specific content, and you have low
traffic, then you don't have anything to
worry about, b/c your traffic may be
low, but it's so focused that advertisers
can't reach your audience any other way.
Now, lets say your aud also uses other
sites like Yahoo. They're still more
susceptible to your ads b/c they actually
prefer your content. I don't need no
stinking study to confirm this, it's just
a matter of fact.

READ MORE:,,12_1011431,00.html

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2. CONSUMERFOCUS: Whatsamatter With Kids Today!
Kids, 6-12, are HUGE online these days.
As one of the last frontier still not fully
explored b/c of their lack of purchasing
power, Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, &
Univision have seriously stepped up their
efforts at providing quality content at this
group. Their goal is to "edutain", limit ads,
and license the hell out of their properties.
And the internet is a crucial part of this
strategy b/c it seems kids don't differen-
tiate online from TV media like adults do.
In fact, TV programming is so integrated
with their respective websites, that ratings
and traffic have been going up.

BOTTOM LINE: Even at this target
audience, content matters. Programmers
and content developers have worked
hard to produce content that is so relevant
and meaningful to youngsters, that no
details were left un-thought of, including
making content kids AND parents love.
But what makes this an interesting
consumer focus piece is that the consumer
is actually being considered more than
an advertiser. Since there are still ethical
issues involved at blasting ads at kids,
and yet, everyone still wants to target them,
content pubs have had to come up with
a whole new rule book at reaching this
aud. Even Spanish-language Univision-
owned, Galavision has carefully bulked
up their kid content to keep Spanish kids
(who typically watch more TV than their
English-speaking counterparts) deeply
engaged with their brands.


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3. MEDIA&CONTENT: To Charge or Not To Charge?
Guess what? claims
to have 2MM paying subscribers to its
"nostalgic" service. That puts it on track
to make $70MM this year. It didn't do
any IPOs, only got $15MM from VCs,
and has been around since 1995. What
happened? They claim that they have
always treated their business like a mag
business model, rather than a broadcast
one, where they generate revenue from
multiple sources rather than just ads, and
one in which the content that they provide
is unique, and not devalued by giving it all
away for free. Wow, how revolutionary.

BOTTOM LINE: If you're a regular reader
of this newsletter, I'm not telling you any-
thing you shouldn't already know: that
offering your consumers a good experience
with quality, niche content, and strong
community is the only way to build an
online brand. And in order to make it
profitable, charge re-occurring fees for it
all. But wait, what about this thing called
repurposing? It works for advertisers,
but do your consumers even want it?
When the content is given away for free,
or offered to a completely different target
audience repurposing should work.
(By the way, repurposing is making
broadcast programming available on
channels or media or times where/when
it is normally not available. It has been
used online to spontaneously create new
sites.) When consumers have to pay
for it, repurposing obviously devalues
the content. (Just think of MP3s. Who'd
continue to to pay the same price for CDs
when you can download only what you
want for a fraction [or less] of the price?)


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4. MGMT&OPS: How to Lose Your Most Loyal Customers
First, restrict access to your content
from anyone even remotely looking
like a troublemaker. Then alienate
loyal users by telling them, "we know
it's not your fault, but we don't care
because you could be a troublemaker".
Then argue with everyone because
you're right. Follow these three simple
steps to your business strategy, and
you're on your way to f**king up your
brand. Well, this scenario may not
affect the likes of very beloved brands
like Google, but its the approach they're
taking to select users with a group of
IPs believed to be responsible for "auto-
mated queries", that most hated of on-
line marketing tactics where search
engines resources are soaked up by bots
trying to improve site rankings. Well,
Google will have no more of that, even
if it means restricting access to people
that don't do that and have Google as
their homepage when they get online.

BOTTOM LINE: Never let techies
manage your company's relationship
with its customers. What kind of
bullsh!t is that? I understand that
Google wants to make sure that all
their millions of users enjoy their ex-
periences using their technology, but
to not be able to manage this strategic
business decision better is just bad biz
practice. You see, internet cable access
works by allowing users to always be
connected to a vast network, owned by
the cable company you're paying for
access. Sites then think that all of the
computers accessing its website from
this cable company are actually just two
or three, depending on how many servers
the cable company has in place to access
the web. So, naturally, when Google
restricted access to one of these computers,
it inadvertently restricted access to many,
many more. But what bothers me about
the way they handled it was their brusque
message to users, "We are not accusing
you personally of having violated our
Terms of Service. You are most likely
an innocent victim of someone else's bad
behavior. We're really sorry to have had
to take this action."


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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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