Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Marketers Find Web Chat Can Be Inspiring

November 23, 2009: summarized from Wall Street Journal -- For decades, advertisers have relied heavily on sometimes-dated consumer surveys and focus groups to provide grist for their ads. Now, some are using new technologies to scan the Web for key words to find out what consumers are—and aren't—saying about their brands. Then, they are incorporating those findings into their more-conventional research and using them not only to choose the overall themes of their marketing campaigns, but also specific text and photos for their ads.

Once the campaigns are up and running, the companies and their ad firms are using the same Web-scanning technologies to gauge consumer reaction to their messages, and to fine-tune them to boost performance.

Last year, Harrah's Web sites and online ads began to reflect lessons it learned from consumer reviews on travel site TripAdvisor.com. It also started scanning reviews and comments on social-media sites like Twitter and Facebook to better understand consumers' perception of its casinos, hotels and spas.

Working with Ogilvy, Harrah's learned, for example, that travelers tended to chat about the "iconic views" of the Las Vegas Strip from its Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino. As a result, it changed the main picture on its Web site to one that features the Paris, surrounded by other Las Vegas attractions.

Harrah's also discovered that consumers were interested in hotel amenities, such as room size and details of menu offerings and services. In response, it started including such specifics in its marketing messages as the square footage of its suites.

Making such changes in its online ads boosted Harrah's online bookings by a double-digit percentage, says Monica Sullivan, the company's vice president of advertising.

"It is one of those 'Aha' moments, when you think, 'I should have known that all along. Being relevant to consumers is the way to communicate about your brands,' " Ms. Sullivan says.

She adds that Harrah's is finalizing a series of TV, print, radio and Web ads that were inspired at least in part by online research.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/8tyEDe

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