Digital & Social
The Financial Times plans to publish this Special Report on March 07th, 2012.
Advertising booking deadline: January 23rd, 2012.
(Advertising copy deadline: February 16th, 2012)
(We plan to include the following features (please note that this list is provisional):
Marketers might have thought they were in the clear. After a decade of disruption
wrought by the emergence of popular web, corporations, advertising agencies and
chief marketing officers had only recently got their heads around the intricacies of
placing traditional search and display ads. Yet just as the web was becoming
familiar, a new generation of technologies has come along to disrupt the ad
business once again. Led by Facebook and Twitter and joined by behemoths such
as Google, these Silicon Valley misfits are muscling into the ad business and
upending traditional assumptions about how companies should allocate their
marketing budget. Facebook, expected to earn $4bn from advertising this year, is
allowing big brands to talk directly to consumers, and giving small businesses
more granular targeting powers. Google, already the dominant force in online
advertising, has become a leading force on the mobile web. Twitter, meanwhile,
has proven effective at pacifying disgruntled consumers and promoting sales. At
the same time, a host of start-ups are also vying for consumers’ eyeballs, and
companies’ budgets. Just as the web reshaped the advertising world a decade ago,
the new world of digital and social media marketing is forcing companies and ad
agencies to reevaluate where, how and when they engage with potential
2. How to Spend It
With so many new options for digital and social media marketing available, what
is a CMO to do? Which sites are most effective? What is the return on investment
on social media marketing? What is the right mix of search, display, social,
mobile and experimental? And with these new options, does the digital budget
grow at the expense of more traditional print and television advertising? Is there a
formula, or does each company have to find its own right balance? Media planners
and CMOs share their views on what works best.
3. When Good Marketing Goes Bad
More experimentation on the web means more chances for marketers to get it
wrong. And in the fast and loose world of digital and social media marketing, it’s
easier than ever for companies to alienate consumers with an off-colour remark on
Twitter, offensive content that goes viral, or mocking user generated content.
Brands from Pepsi to Pampers to Chevrolet have been put on the defensive after
well-intentioned campaigns have spiraled out of control. These are some
cautionary tales, and some tips to avoid becoming another bad example.
4. The Value of a “Like”
Facebook is hoovering up the lion’s share of ad spend on social media marketing.
Yet for all the interest in the world’s largest social network, measuring success on
Facebook remains an elusive task. Brands boast about how many fans have
“liked” their pages, but how many of those likes do they really convert to sales?
Meanwhile some retailers have taken to selling stereos, movies and flowers on
Facebook. But is this a new channel for sales or merely a passing fad? Marketers
will share their thoughts on what Facebook can and can’t do for brands.
5. Mobile Marketing
Most professionals start the morning with a glance at their smartphone to see what
they’ve missed overnight and end the evening with a final check of emails before
settling into bed. Throughout the day, today’s consumers are glancing at their
smartphone constantly. This burgeoning intimacy with our phones means that
marketers have new opportunities to reach consumers on the go. Through the
mobile web, email marketing, and in-app ads, mobile advertising is proliferating.
But do the same rules apply on the mobile web as on the desktop? What types of
ads are most effective on smartphones? Google is doing a brisk business with its
mobile products and acquisition of AdMob, and Apple is luring advertisers with
its iAd platform for apps. Yet some forms of mobile marketing, such as local deals
triggered by check-ins, have so far fallen flat.
6. Behind the Scenes
Every time a banner ad loads on a website, a complex string of events takes place
behind the scenes. From initial conception of a campaign, to the media planners
who buy the space, to the back end service providers who identify available
inventory and track the ad’s effectiveness, this story will follow the lifecycle of
one banner ad to examine the myriad players involved. Along the way, we’ll get
familiar with the various types of companies that power the most fundamental
actions of the online advertising economy.
7. Social Options
Facebook may take the lion’s share of advertising dollars spent on social media,
but it is far from the only game in town. Sites such as Twitter, Zynga, Groupon,
Foursquare and Yelp provide brands with unique and often valuable services to
marketers. But with so many sites offering new social services, which of these are
worth spending money on? What are the various services each social media
company offers, and which options make sense for what types of companies?
8. Secrets of the Meme
The best marketing is free. And the best case scenario for a brand is one where an
ad goes viral, prompting millions of consumers to share it with their friends.
Having millions of fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter may help. But
creating viral content is a notoriously elusive task. Is the secret to success simply
great content that now gets shared through social media, or is there a way to
design campaigns that go viral? Experts in the field will share their thoughts on
why some campaigns – think Old Spice from last year – are just too good not to
share with a friend.
9. A Day in the Life of the CMO
Chief marketing officers have among the shortest tenures of any C-suite level
executive. The heavy turnover is a testament to the dynamic demands thrust upon
those responsible for a company’s all-important marketing budget. In addition to
managing a company’s spend, the CMO must stay attuned to new opportunities,
the broader macroeconomic conditions, and the company’s own product cycle.
We pick one CMO and follow along.
A recognized thought leader gives their views on the most pressing issues and
how companies and governments should be addressing them.
PLEASE NOTE: Special Reports are written by FT staff journalists and a small
number of selected freelance writers. They will be specialists in the field and already
have regular contacts to update them. It is therefore difficult for an unsolicited
submission to be so compelling that it forces its way on to a writer’s agenda.
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