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From King Arthur, to Dorothy in her ruby slippers, to the unlikely hero of Professor Robert Langdon inThe Da Vinci Code, legions of characters have found themselves on the quest to uncover the unknown, the solution to the core question of their time. For marketers, the question had fundamentally always been how could an advertisement be crafted so to be so hyper-targeted to a consumer’s wants and needs that it would fundamentally seem as though it were speaking directly to the consumer in question.

And then January 2007 came and Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone – a multi-function smartphone that, through a previously unimagined user experience, enabled consumers to interact with the world around them. This was it. This was marketers’ Holy Grail. We salivated thinking of the potential that this handheld device had – one day, we dreamed that we would be able to target consumers directly outside stores with promotions on the products and services that were only footsteps away! How much more personal could we get than to actually speak to consumers based on the precise location they were in? We waited patiently. Slowly over the next years, we walked along the yellow brick road as a critical mass of consumers adopted smartphones (regardless of the platform), a number of publishers converted their desktop sites to usable mobile versions and technology advanced to allow banner ads to be delivered against an individual’s specific latitude/longitude. And then suddenly in 2012, like a perfect storm, it all started to come together as suppliers started to ping me to present how they had cracked the code and were now able to deliver hyper-local targeting.

Without hesitation, I called up a contact at an international retailer and asked whether they’d be interested in running a hyper-local test with us. Without a second thought, we found ourselves deep in the designs of a test construct whereby we were building geo-zones around 5 stores in the Greater Toronto Area. The plan was that, with the help of a market research firm, we would match consumer (demographic) interests to each of the postal codes found in the 5 geo-zones. Next, we would deliver a banner promoting savings on the correlated products outside each of the stores. For 2 weeks, we gleefully pushed millions of impressions to the webpages that smartphone users were generating in and around the retailer’s locations. The result: click-through rates that were moderately above industry benchmarks (0.57% CTR). It felt as though we had finally made it to Emerald City and ripped back the curtains to discover that The Wizard was little more than a really short AV geek.

We struggled with the results for weeks. What could have gone wrong? Did we not buy enough impressions on the mobile exchange? Was our creative not compelling enough? Was our geo-zone too small? Was our geo-zone too big?

While some truth likely lies in each of our doubts, the real problem with our initial test was that we had somehow moved away from what our original intent had been: to deliver ads that the user felt were speaking directly to him/her. The smartphone users that saw our ad already knew where the store locations were and that the products/services offered were priced at unbeatable price points. Our banners added little value to what they already knew or, frankly, against what they wanted to know at that specific time. Suddenly it all made sense. All of the hyper-local targeting suppliers who had been ringing me were going about it all wrong. By pushing brand messaging to consumers outside retail locations, they were assuming that passersby hadn’t seen the flashing branding in the storefront windows. By delivering hyper-targeted messaging within the brick-and-mortar locations, they somehow believed that the small 320×50 mobile ad would somehow deliver more punch than the flashy promotional offers that stood on the tables in front of the consumer. To truly go about mobile targeting differently and add consumer value, we needed to think differently. We needed to start targeting consumers with relevant advertising when and where they would most want and need the advertised offerings.

With this, we developed the notion of “Lifestyle Zones”: targeting audiences of consumers depending on their location but also their motivations given the time of day and their environmental surroundings.  We sent out 5 differentiated creatives that spoke to varying consumer intentions depending on weather and time. Across the board, they delivered substantially higher than the industry benchmark and our previous test. The banner that we sent to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver’s business districts that nudged consumers to go to the retailer after work to pick up the makings for their dinner that night delivered a 1.03% CTR at 4 p.m. – the exact time and environment when/where consumers were asking themselves what they would eat that night. Likewise, our ad that encouraged consumers to purchase discounted swimwear at the retailer delivered 1.85% CTRs via our hyper-targeted delivery to a small geo-zone built around Canada’s Wonderland, on the hottest day of the year. For full results of our test and our conclusions, download our whitepaper In a Customer State of Mind.

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Last Updated on Friday, 22 March 2013 09:16

For most people, the marriage of music and social media has been a harmonious one. Since the questionably legal early days of MP3 filesharing, the social music industry has matured tremendously, with Spotify, Pandora and iTunes among the more notable success stories.

As social music has evolved, so has social marketing. Getting people to follow, like, pin and buy a brand’s products is now integrated into every smart brand’s strategy, especially brands that target young consumers. With so much content out there, brands strive to cut through the clutter and create an immersive, engaging experience beyond a traditional, one-dimensional print ad. The smartest brands are now putting music to work as part of their social marketing strategy. Here’s how it works.

Most young people like music. And they listen to it a lot. But they are not especially brand loyal, according to a recent study from WSL Retail which found that Millennials (people roughly 18 to 34 years-old) brand hop more than their parents did. They can’t always afford to be loyal: A sale price or a coupon for a competing product is more compelling than a brand name.


Facing this challenge, brands need to figure out how to connect with young consumers in a way that is authentic, powerful, and honest. From the Rolling Stones singing about Rice Krispies to superstar endorsements with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, brands have incorporated music into their traditional advertising campaigns for decades. Now, social music marketing has enabled both brands and bands to find and connect with people in new and compelling ways. It’s not always easy to be loyal to a brand of tissue paper, or to a t-shirt, but once you love a band and its music, it’s hard to undo that.

According to data from William Chipps, author of the IEG Sponsorship report, corporate sponsorship by consumer brands incorporating music into marketing programs was expected to exceed $1.17 billion last year, nearly double what it was six years earlier.

So where are brands investing? The default used to be to sign a big deal with the hottest established artists, think Beyonce and Jay-Z, leveraging their star power to attract consumers. Today, more and more brands are turning to emerging artists so they can deliver something that speaks to the individuality of their consumers. Attaching an artist to branded content is a sure way to guarantee consumers enjoy and remember their experience, and therefore, the brand.

Further, these are the very artists who have the kind of social connectedness that brands are looking for. Emerging artists — who aren’t backed by a label — are by nature entrepreneurial, motivated and skilled at building loyal fan bases through daily communications via social channels like Twitter and Facebook.

Their collective reach is incredibly appealing, according to a study from Music Metric. That's because emerging artists are reaching hundreds of millions of fans who are already engaged and connected with them, and these very fans can activate on behalf of a brand.

So how do you make social music marketing work for your brand? Here’s what has worked for company's like Maurices, Gap, and Diesel. 

  • Push Their Buttons: an “Add This” button was part of every band page for a promotion that clothing store Maurices ran that let consumers and fans vote for a band to perform at SXSW this year. The social button led to an estimated 1.9 million social impressions, in addition to the nearly 150,000 site visits Maurices racked up during the contest.
  • Combine Online and Offline: to celebrate Gap’s 40-year anniversary and “Born to Fit” campaign, nearly 800 artists were selected to play in Gap stores throughout the country – on the same day, at the same time. The campaign was supported with a dedicated micro-site where all of the bands were featured with free music downloads. The viral buzz for the program is to have accounted for nearly 800 million media impressions.
  • Be Irreverent: when the soul of the brand is anti-establishment, the Social Music Marketing program should be, too. Diesel wanted to create a closer connection between Diesel:U:Music, a 10-year-old music support program, and its wildly successful “Be Stupid” campaign. From there came the “Stupid for Music” Cup where emerging bands battled to win prizes like recording sessions and music video production, engaging their fans to go so far as creating fake tattoos to show support. The campaign generated 3,000 pieces of fan-generated content that spread virally to support Diesel’s image of rock ‘n roll irreverence and spread the word about Diesel:U:Music.

By: Panos Panay, Founder and CEO, Sonicbids

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 04:20
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(October 3, 2012) - After a successful launch earlier this year, the Digital Media Summit returns March 19-20, 2013 to Toronto’s Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel. The two-day conference will unite the worlds of social media and interactive marketing to bring digital branding to the forefront and examine successful engagement strategies for brands, business, and media. With thought-provoking discussions, presentations by prominent figures in the industry and an opportune networking environment, attendees will have the opportunity to connect with some of the brightest minds in the digital and social arena. Leading the line-up of programming for Digital Media Summit 2013 are keynotes by: Erik Qualman Called a Digital Dale Carnegie, Erik Qualman is the author of Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. Socialnomics made Amazon's #1 Best Selling List for the US, Japan, UK, Canada, Portugal, Italy, China, Korea and Germany. His latest book Digital Leader helped earned him the selection as the 2nd “Most Likeable Author in the World” behind Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. For the past 18 years Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo, Travelzoo and AT&T. He is the founder and owner of, which PC Magazine ranks as a Top 10 Social Media Blog. Follow Erik @equalman Don Tapscott A thought leader on the strategic value and impact of information technology, Don Tapscott has authored or co-authored 14 widely read books including the international bestseller Wikinomics and its successor, Macrowikinomics, as well as the generation-defining Grown Up Digital. He's an entrepreneur, an internationally sought consultant, the chairman of the innovation think tank Moxie Insight and an adjunct professor of Management at the University of Toronto's Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. On top of that, he's currently heading up four multi-million dollar research programs. Follow Don @DTapscott Cindy Gallop An international business and brand innovator, Cindy Gallop operates at the cutting edge of digital as a web entrepreneur and digital media consultant. Her 30 years of experience in brand building, marketing and entrepreneurialism kicked off with Bartle Bogle Hegarty (whose US office she opened in 1998), has linked her to global brands such as Coca-Cola, Ray-Ban, Polaroid, Johnnie Walker, Unilever and Levi’s, and earned her the title of Advertising Woman of the Year in 2003. She is the founder of IfWeRanTheWorld, a web platform designed to turn good intentions into collective action, one microaction at a time, and MakeLoveNotPorn. Cindy acts as board advisor to a number of tech startups and consults for companies around the world, describing her consultancy approach as 'I like to blow s*** up. I am the Michael Bay of business.” Follow Cindy @cindygallop Ryan Holiday Ryan Holiday is a media strategist and self-proclaimed "Media Manipulator".   As the Director of Marketing at American Apparel, his work in advertising is internationally recognized with many of his strategies often used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Forbes.  After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under the strategist Robert Greene, he went on to advise many best-selling authors and multi-platinum musicians.  Currently contributing to the New York Observer and Fast Company, his controversial first book, Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, quickly became a Wall Street Journal bestseller after Ryan stepped forward to discuss some of his PR tactics for notorious clients such as Tucker Max and Dov Charney and outward manipulation of the media. Follow Ryan @RyanHoliday Registration for Digital Media Summit 2013 is now open.  To secure your place, visit and take advantage of early pricing, available for a limited time only. Additional details and speakers will be revealed as the programming schedule develops.  To stay up to date with news and announcements, visit or follow us @2013DMS. Facebook: Twitter: YouTube: About Digital Media Summit Digital Media Summit is a two-day social media and interactive marketing conference bringing together top executives and visionaries to examine the transformation of business with the growth and innovation of cross-media content. Join professionals from all around the world as they gather to discuss the business of content – from mobile to gaming and social media. With keynotes from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, Arianna Huffington, and many more, the inaugural Digital Media Summit attracted more than 500 speakers and attendees from around the world. For further information, please contact: Digital Media Summit | Bessie Bullard T: 905.858.3298 | E: @2013DMS More
Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 November 2012 05:09