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Incentivized Advertising Raises Brand Awareness

When we were kids, the promise of a gold star or a sticker was all the incentive we needed to do our very best on a spelling test. As we grew, the incentives did too, a higher allowance for keeping your room clean, then a higher salary for doing a good job at work.

So it’s no wonder that consumers are willing to give a little more of themselves to a brand, as long as there’s a prize at the end.

SocialVibe and KN Dimestore recently conducted a survey to discover just how helpful incentives can be. They placed interactive ads on sites such as Causes.com and Pandora and on games like Farmville. Visitors were asked to play a branded game or take a survey and in return they’d receive an appropriate reward. For Farmville it was game credits, air-time without ads on Pandora and donations on Causes.com.

Bloggers Miffed by the Old Bait and Switch

A few weeks ago, a select number of food bloggers were invited to take part in a special event hosted by celebrity chef George Duran. The event was to feature a “a delicious four course meal” at an exclusive, underground Italian restaurant. They would talk about food trends, sample good wines, and though it wasn’t mentioned, promote a new product.

Bloggers aren’t dumb. Everyone who accepted the invitation knew that it was for PR purposes and they all expected a pitch. What they didn’t expect was a bait and switch and their reactions captured on hidden cameras.

The entire stunt was to promote Marie Callender’s frozen dinners. The bloggers, after talking extensively about fresh ingredients, natural foods and even food allergies, were served boxed lasagna and pie.

Most B2Bs Spend Under 5% of Revenue on Marketing

Everyone knows you have to spend money to make money, but in the B2B world, that spend is only around 5% of the make.

According to numbers from eMarketer, the majority of B2B marketers say their spend is equal to 5% or less of their company’s revenue. But even though the numbers are tied together, 35% of marketers said they didn’t report their financial contributions to senior management. 33% said they don’t even track their return on investment.

If we talk strictly about smaller B2B companies, it’s easy to see why they aren’t tracking and reporting — because it takes too much time and time is an even tighter commodity than money. There are plenty of tools online to help you gather stats but connecting those stats to income is the tricky part.

Google to Surfers: Let’s Get Small

This week’s “seriously?!?” moment, goes to the folks at Google who obviously spent some of their downtime listening to the classic Steve Martin stand-up skit, “Let’s Get Small.” That’s the only explanation I can find for this maneuver.

Google has purchased and will soon bring online g.co. Yes, g.co. In the near future, when you type g.co, you will be taken to a Google page. No one knows what page, but it will be a page in the Google family, so you know that you’ll be well taken care of.

Why? Because Google.com is too hard for people to remember. It has too many letters, not to mention that pesky “m” at the end. It’s going to be much easier for people to remember to type g.co (because unlearning to type an “m” after co is so simple) and then from there, they can navigate to where ever they really want to be.

Women Want Solutions, Men Only Want the Very Best

He’s won trophies for his game face alone. He is the life of parties he’s never attended. Sharks have a week dedicated to him. He’s the most interesting man in the world and he’s right on point.

According to a new chart from comScore, men respond to commercials that makes superiority claims while women prefer to see solutions to their problems. It’s a sad, sexist state of affairs but we’ve seen the evidence on our TV screens for years. Female oriented commercials taught us how to remove ring around the collar, get a full serving of vegetables into our kids without a veggie on the plate, and look years younger and pounds thinner.

Commercials aimed at men promise faster cars, prettier women, adventure, and excitement. As unbalanced as it is, it’s hard to find fault when it’s a system that obviously works.

Chick-fil-A Turns a Made-Up Holiday into a Marketing Bonanza

Tomorrow is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A, which means you can score a free lunch if you show up at any location dressed as a bovine beast. You might think that only the most dedicated fan would go that far for a free sandwich, but last year they served more than 450,000 “cow-clad customers,” and they expect to top that this year.

Granted, not everyone went whole hog. Some people came with cow-spotted t-shirts or paper ears, but even a partial costume is enough to earn you a free entree.

Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s senior vice president of marketing says,

Online Ad Spending Predicted to Top 50 Billion in Five Years

Are you spending more money on online advertising? If so, you’re not alone. According to new numbers from eMarketer, almost every category of online advertising is growing and will continue to do so into 2015. At that time, they expect the market to hit 49.50 billion.

Search still claims the top spot for dollars spent, but video is the fastest growing format. The old fashioned banner ad is still climbing and email is the only category that slipped.

Who is benefiting from the rise in online ad dollars? The big five, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL and Facebook. eMarketer says that combined, they’ll claim 68% of 2011’s total online ad spending. That still leaves a nice chunk for smaller ad network and individual site buys which eMarketer recommends as a way of staying connected to a specific industry.