Budget Migration: Going Digital Without Impacting Your Brand

March 24, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Hey, Kids. I didn’t have lunch, but I sure hope you did because it’s time for another meaty session! This time around we have Jason Ferrara moderating speakers Beverly K. Thorne, Pattiann McAdams-Russell, and Crispin Sheridan. My interest is piqued because they’re all unfamiliar faces.  I like new people.

And, uh, we’ll just jump into it, eh? Lack of food means no witty banter from me. Must conserve brain particles.

Up first is Bev. She’s from Century 21. Hmm, why is she at an SEO conference? Maybe she’s lost? No, she’s not. She’s going to share some stories. They don’t, however, come with warm milk. Bummer.

The Big Decision – Going Digital

  • Evaluate your brand recognition and preference.
  • Study your ROI on traditional advertising vs online.
  • Socialize your decision with all key stakeholders well in advance of implementation. [Werd.]
  • Proactively engage the media.

They started off looking at what their brand preference was. They’re trying to refresh the brand. They also discovered that their brand awareness is almost universal (97 percent), which is pretty cool. I wish my brand awareness was 97 percent. Maybe I’d have more Twitter followers. [coughLisaBaronecough]

Bev shares with us that from 2007 through 2008, their online advertising yielded a 237 percent increase in leads and a 62 percent reduction in cost per lead year over year.   Brand awareness is important, but at the end of the day, they want to generate leads. Online is a far more targeted and efficient way for them to get leads. They wanted to get smarter and sharper. Don’t we all?

Socialize the Benefit with Stakeholders

  • 87 percent of homebuyers use the Internet.
  • Online marketing enables a more targeted approach to the consumer.
  • Track effectiveness and rapid response to maximize ROI.

They positioned themselves as a leader getting off TV just like they positioned themselves as a leader being the first to get on TV.  In 2009 and beyond, it’s about targeted media buys (Path to Your Dreams sweepstakes), national PR, social media (grass roots, bottom up messaging), display/SEO/SEM, etc.

They spend money to get their “content”, aka listings, on as many sites as they can. She’ll be spending 90 percent of her budget this year online. Social media is exploding for them. They’re using BlogTalk radio, as well.

Next up is Pattiann. She’s with Avon.  Their brand is 122 years old. She says when people think of Avon they think of “ding dong”. She means ding dong like a doorbell. I…thought she meant it another way.  I’m a bad person. Moving along.

Speaking of ding dongs, Avon sells more units of lipstick in the US than any other company. I’m sorry! We also hear that Avon reps outnumber the army. This is all very terrifying to me. We should just sent Avon reps into battle. I bet people would think twice before messing with us! [It’s not my fault. I haven’t eaten. I’m getting silly.]

It took her SIX years to convince execs to change their strategy. They now have an online story, people can email each other and get direct deliveries.

Online Marketing Goals

  • Grow customers
  • Grow representative leads
  • Use the online channel to RVP to improve activity.
  • Use segmented content to drive CTR and user experience.
  • CRM/emarketing tools to drive Representative productivity.

The Avon brand is relationships. They weren’t trying to say to go online and that you couldn’t have a relationship online.  The online was allowing them to have multiple and much more frequent relationships with people. Careful. That’s how boys get in trouble. [nods]

She thinks this is only the beginning of what Avon can do online. Lipstick, FTW?

Next up is Crispin.

Their challenge has been to take the brand they’ve built up very quickly offline and  translate it online.  Their budget shift was a gradual change. The role of online has been not only in their awareness but in demand generation. The key thing for them are leads and pipeline (how many deals are close to closing?)

The shift has been happening most significantly over the last two years. It gained velocity last fall in response to economic realities.

The Brand Online

Overcome fears of digital’s impact on the brand

  • Leadership is very diligent in ensuring that brand standards were translated and maintained for digital activities.
  • Planned out in advance to avoid surprises.

Brand Control Issues Online

  • We’re very custodial about brand identity
  • We ensure that all of marketing understands and supports brand standards
  • We all monitor activities


  • Templates for emails; landing pages; integration with Global Web Team Online Marketing Services & syndication packages.
  • Images/ Logos – image library integrated – exceptions need approval. Make it easy to follow.
  • Opt-in management – key for us – our brand respects permission

If you file your trademark protectors with the search engines, people will come out of the woodwork to say they were bidding on your terms and now they can’t. People are afraid of that step so that don’t trademark their brand terms. You can trademark your brand terms and then whitelist certain people who you’re okay with using your brand.

Measurement: Effective and impact of digital efforts


  • Online: Web analytics tools
  • Search: Enterprise Keyword Optimization System
  • CRM: SAP CRM & SAP Bi tools and Business Objects, an SAP Company

And that’s it for us. Two more sessions left to go. Stay with me, folks.

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