Free online tool helps you create effective marketing campaigns

The executive who just plunked down $50,000 for a new European sedan, the senior couple that spent $5,000 on a cross-country Canadian tour, the worker, stowing away $10,000 in an RRSP contribution yearly and the teenager who’ll splurge on the season’s hottest street wear…

They represent a wide and diverse swath of marketing targets but have one thing in common.

According to various media survey firms, all of them are Internet users.

With three quarters of the population – or more than 19.2 million Canadians – online daily, there’s no question the Internet is poised to become the number one media choice in the country.

But to benefit from the massive exposure the Web offers, marketers need to answer the same basic questions they asked when dealing with traditional media outlets such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines:

• How much effort and dollars should I spend on online campaigns?

• Where do I do it?

• What’s going to be a hit with my target audience?

• What’s going to be my big strategy?

To help get advertisers get more accurate answers to these questions, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) recently developed an online media measuring tool that provides a snapshot of their target audience.

IAB is a non-profit association representing interactive advertisers, agencies, publishers and service associates.

Called the Media Imperative Tool, this free downloadable software will help online marketing insiders gain a better understanding of how heavy and light Internet and TV media usage affects consumers’ tendency to purchase various products and product categories, according to IAB Canada president Paula Gignac.

This tool provides insights into what type of Internet user might be inclined to purchase certain products, she said during a presentation at an IAB annual event in Toronto last week.

Essentially, the tool uses data culled from various surveys and studies conducted by market research firms, NADbank, the Print Measurement Bureau, BBM, comScore Inc. and IAB.

Users can enter queries and the tool will provide graphs on the target audience’s online exposure and habits as well as on the likelihood of its buying products or services the advertiser is marketing.

Reports are also accompanied by text that explains the data.

The tool is available for free, but to pull out the data, users need to subscribe with the contributing market research firms.

Marketers trying to make sense of the online medium are always “playing catch-up”, noted Rob Young, senior vice-president for planning services at PHD, an interactive media agency in Toronto.


Rob Young, senior vice-president for planning services, PHD

He said there’s always a gap between what marketers are selling and what consumers are doing. “In Canada, that gap is about two to three years,” according to Young who helped develop the Media Imperative Tool.

For instance, he recalled how when specialty TV programs became popular with viewers, many advertisers were slow to capture the trend.

Consumers were spending a third of their time watching specialty programs, but advertisers were only investing 15 per cent of their ad dollars in this outlet.

But such cautious behavior, Young said, is typical of the industry. “Advertisers can be a very conservative bunch. They will wait until they’re comfortable with a media and for concrete results before spending more on it.”

Young said the Media Imperative Tool is one of the many applications or combinations marketers can use.

Ideally, the tool should be used at the beginning of the marketing process when users are trying to identify key prospects for the product being advertised.

“This tool helps establish a description of the consumer,” said Young, “what media they use, how they use it, what products they buy, what sort of income or educational background they have.”

He said the tool can also help marketers and advertisers break down the numbers.

“Not only will they get a snapshot of what’s hot today, but also of the changes from five years ago, and what’s up ahead,” according Adrian Capobianco, president of Quizative Inc., a Toronto-based interactive media campaign planning firm.

The tool can help users concentrate on data-backed realities rather than be deceived by online myths, according to Emmanuelle Jug, supervisor for advertising at Teletoon Canada Inc., a Canadian bilingual animation station.

“There’s this notion that the Internet is for the younger users. But data now shows those 18-25 Internet users will carry their habits well into their 50s.”

This, she said, could be a big market opportunity.

“It makes it easier for us to go to clients and show them the trends behind the numbers,” said Alexie Lopez, account executive, interactive sales at Teletoon.

The tools, he said, shows clients how they can monetize the Internet –”not just by putting ads on a Webpage but by using online technologies as part of a business strategy.”

Related stories:

Three magic words that boosted a Canadian firm’s online sales

How to use search engines and advertising to boost your online business and bottomline

GM Canada promotes Pontiac Vibe via Web 2.0 enabled scavenger hunt

Viral marketing fails to infect consumers says report

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