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TODD SMITH — Google sprints to Olympic search gold

TODD SMITH

TODD SMITH

Google unveiled a range of new features to help people follow the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which begin last week in Rio de Janeiro.

Users can now more easily find information on the Olympics in search, including details on event schedules, athletes, and medal counts, and can sign up for automatic alerts through the Google app for iOS and Android.

You can also watch event highlights from select broadcasters in more than 60 countries on YouTube, along with mobile live streams from 15 YouTube Creators who have been chosen to cover the games. Google Street View now features highlights and landmarks across Rio as well, including both tourist destinations and Olympic venues.

Google regularly announces features and services tailored to major events. Recently, the company came out with new search tools to help people register to vote in the 2016 US presidential election.

Brands are diving into Olympics like never before

With the Rio Olympics already outperforming the 2012 London Games in terms of sponsorships, expect a lot more advertising online and on your TV sets in the coming weeks — even if the video you’re watching doesn’t look like advertising at first.

Take, for instance, NBC’s hour-long documentary “Kerri Walsh Jennings: Gold Within,” which follows the three-time U.S. Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist as she trains to win a fourth consecutive gold in Rio. The show, aired as a lead-up to the Olympics, was produced by Tribeca Studios, a content arm associated with the Tribeca Film Festival, on behalf of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Most viewers wouldn’t be able to tell that the documentary was made on behalf of Dick’s Sporting Goods, which received a “produced by” credit on the project but doesn’t appear within the film itself.

Four other films produced by Tribeca Studios for Dick’s Sporting Goods and United Airlines follow a similarly minimalist approach. The aspiring Olympians profiled in the three short films airing on ESPN and ESPN2 are Dick’s Sporting Goods store employees, which means there are a couple of scenes filmed while they are at work. Tribeca’s “Destination: Team USA” documentary for United Airlines includes a scene where one of the athletes is traveling and checks in at a United gate.

Jennings and other athletes featured in these documentaries are sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods, which isn’t an official Olympic sponsor. (Dick’s and United Airlines are Team USA sponsors.) Whereas before only official Olympic and team sponsors could run campaigns tied to the games, other advertisers are now able to join in the fun as long as they follow a list of rules set by the IOC.

And advertisers are not only playing ball but also getting more creative. Yogurt giant Chobani, for instance, is also running documentary-style videos and TV commercials featuring athletes like Alex Morgan and Melissa Stockwell. As part of its “Stand for Progress” campaign, Citi is rolling out content across TV, YouTube, Vine, Instagram and other social platforms.

Email tips to make your marketing hit the mark

Marketers should always use email marketing to stay connected with their target audience. Regardless of the different strategies available today, you’ll find email marketing to be integral to your marketing campaign. This is still the leading channel for getting the best ROI.

But email marketing is not a silver bullet. If your email marketing efforts aren’t effective, perhaps it’s because you aren’t doing the right things. You have to think about your strategy and use customer behaviors to turn it around. Here are tips on how to do it, according to a Forbes CMO study:

1. Stop Treating Your Customers Like Nameless Faces

What a lot of marketers fail to grasp is that customers don’t want to be seen as a nameless face. They want to be acknowledged as unique human beings. This is relatively easy to do because all you have to do is indulge in some personalization.

Rather than sending out the same emails to everyone, use the feedback you’re getting to segment your email list. That way you can make sure customers feel like you’re reading their minds.

2. Change The Sales Funnel Based On The Customer’s Journey

The customer journey is becoming more important within the field of marketing. Mapping out the customer journey is about charting the various touch points you’ll come up against. The way customers behave will tell you what content they are looking for.

Combine this with demographical information to customize the sales funnel based on the type of customer you have.

3. Optimize And Retest

You should always be optimizing and retesting your various email campaigns. A/B testing campaigns are easily run from your mailing list provider. You can harvest detailed stats and begin to refine your future campaigns.

4. Give Your Customers Space

It’s true that your customers do want to hear from you. The fact you have a regular email marketing campaign is one of the magic elements boosting your ROI. But there’s such a thing as overkill. Once you come off a great campaign it’s tempting to run the same campaign again in an attempt to get the same results. The chances are you’re going to get diminishing returns.

Define a schedule, based on the feedback you’re getting from customers, and stick to that schedule. If you promise your customers they’ll only receive a weekly email don’t send them more than one email per week. Your welcome email can also come with a form to help customers decide how often they want to be contacted.

5. Don’t Rely On Automation

Email automation is an essential ingredient of every great email campaign. But this doesn’t mean you should rely on it. You should be using it to eliminate the tedious processes that come with crafting an email marketing campaign. It shouldn’t be replacing you in general.

6. Solve The ‘Opt Out’ Problem With A Break

Did you know that 54 percent of the average person’s inbox is taken up by promotional emails?

It’s no surprise to see people opting out of mailing lists faster than ever before. They’re becoming more discerning because they’re tired of so many low-quality mailing lists. Marketers that have this same problem can alleviate it through implementing a break.

Opting down is a better option than giving people the chance to stay or go. For example, you can add a form that allows people to reduce how often they receive your emails. You can still retain your customers without bothering them. It’s the best compromise.

7. Get Ready For Mobile

What companies are learning is that people access the Internet exclusively through mobile devices. All your emails should be optimized for mobile. No matter the device it should automatically adjust itself to fit their screen.

Luckily, optimizing for mobile is easier than ever before. The majority of emailing list providers automatically provides you with optimized mailing campaigns.

Tarnished Mic | Trump’s brand of politics is backfiring

By any branding measure, Donald Trump just blundered through the worst week of any presidential candidate in living memory.

Showing a characteristic refusal to back down from a fight, Trump took the almost unthinkable step of publicly escalating a feud with the parents of fallen US solider, Capt. Humayun Khan, who blasted Trump at the Democratic convention as unfit for the presidency.

And in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t make a military move into Ukraine – even though Putin has already done that by seizing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

In any normal political campaign, these stumbles would hobble Trump’s ability to pass the fabled commander in chief test, in which Americans take their measure of a candidate and decide whether he is fit to lead them.

But no one needs reminding that 2016 is not a conventional political year. Then he refused to endorse Arizona Sen. John McCain, and dragged his feet on endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Did Trump go too far? Trump’s previous feuds and torching of political correctness have not doomed him. In some cases, his behavior has lifted him among voters who believe something elemental about their nation is being taken away and who want a candidate who will blow the political system – and political correctness – to smithereens. But these continued missteps could start to punch holes in the USS Donald – and has certainly badly stained his brand in the court of public opinion.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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