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Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority exploring new media & measuring the success of online marketing.

Two weeks after it printed a rather lengthy article on Twitter, Pacific Business News today has an article on bloggers, social media, and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. CLICK HERE or go to http://tr.im/PBNHTANewMedia for todayʻs article. The article also mentions Lezley P. "Neenz" Faleafine of Pono Media. Neenz was described as assisting seven other full-time bloggers that the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) flew down from the continental United States.

The article provides that the HTA recognizes that previous advertising efforts such as television commercials, newspaer ads and magazines simply are not enough. As a result the HTA is exploring new media.

I am a regular listener of Todd Cochraneʻs Geek News Central podcast. Having listened to him repeatedly talk about the analytics applications used to measure the success of online advertising, I was very surprised to read in the PBN article the following sentence, "It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of online marketing." Maybe I am wrong, or maybe I completely mis-understood what people like Todd Cochrane have said in the past, but online marketing, from what I understand, is more reliable than marketing through TV, magazines/newspapers, and radio, none of which have an efficient way of measuring whether or not people read or heard marketing/advertising messages. With online marketing, you can better determine how many people downloaded an audio podcast that contained advertising. In addition landing pages (and I highly recommend checking out the new blog IamALandingPageDesigner.com) can also provide more useful information than print and radio advertising.

At any rate, the PBN article is a great read and provides us with some insight as to one of our state agencies use of "new media." Itʻs definitely worth a read. Comments and clarifications are definitely welcome.

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Comment by Ken Berkun on June 7, 2009 at 2:05pm
This video is directly relevant to the topic...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CqRcCHk_Pc

Ken
Comment by Ken Berkun on June 6, 2009 at 10:07am
I knew this would be controversial, which is why I said I didn't want a pissing match. While it is true that online media provides a stunning array of metrics compared to offline media, you guys are missing my point - there is still no way to measure impact that results in later actions. Everything else you say is true, so I'm going to leave it at that.

Ken
Comment by Derek on June 6, 2009 at 7:53am
Ah Dan! You beat me to the punch. I wrote out a lengthy response (3 pages) last night before going to sleep and thought Iʻd sleep on it, review my response in the morning and then post it. But, you have essentially said, in different words, what I wrote. That being said, Iʻll just post a little snippet of my response

Ken Berkun: What the article correctly refers to is that you cannot measure the how a tweet or a blog post influences a person to decide to come to Hawaii the next time he/she goes on vacation.

Actually, the article is merely informative of what the HTA is doing in terms of adding the use of bloggers to provide “personalized messages.” The article does very little to refer to the idea that “you cannot measure the how a tweet or a blog post influences a person....” In fact, the only time the word “measure” is used in the article is that one statement when Lu (or the article author) writes that “it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of online marketing.” As you know, online marketing is not limited to tweeting and blogging. To the extent that the article provides any substantive discussion on measuring tweets, how Lu measures the effectiveness of her own tweets is puzzling.

In the article, Lu says, “When I tweet, thereʻs 10,000 people reading it.” Did she actually measure that? How does she measure that? Does the existence of 10,000 Twitter followers equate to 10,000 actual readings? If the mere existence of a specific number of followers is the standard for measuring how many people actually read a tweet, then, the wrong method for measurement is being used. This is not to say that tweets cannot be measured. If tweets refer people to another website, that too can be tracked. When I tweet, I use tr.im URLS only because of the tracking function that allows me to get some idea as to the effectiveness of my tweet. But, if people use the wrong measuring method, it is definitely difficult to accurately measure anything. Lu and the article may be correct, but, if they are, it is only in the context of using an inadequate measuring method.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 6, 2009 at 2:19am
Ken Berkun: Do not fool yourself that online measurements are all that much better than more traditional marketing. For instance direct mail pieces may be measured with just about the same techniques, with all the pluses and minuses.
Having worked for years in the web marketing space at places like ValueCommerce (Asia's largest online ad platform) I can tell you with certainty it provides you with much, much more information, context and room for experimentation than traditional media.

Can you present a direct mail piece in three different contexts to the same user with minimal incremental cost and measure the responses based on context, behavior, time of day, etc.? This is not to mention affiliate marketing where you are paying only when a user actually makes a purchase as the result of viewing the ad. How can you beat that in terms of measuring effectiveness? They saw the ad and, as a direct result, they bought the product.

Even with CTX models you have a much clearer indication of interest than "impressions" in traditional media.

In terms of brand awareness, computers are getting an increasing share of people's attention as compared to television and print. If you look at the marketing budget allocations for brand-savvy companies, which we do because of the nature of our business, awareness of this trend is clearly evident.

The statement, "It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of online marketing," sounds bizarre to marketing people because in most cases the opposite is true. Its much more difficult to measure the effectiveness of a billboard. If the author had said, "Its difficult to measure the impact of tweets on brand awareness," or something along those lines, it would be much easier to digest.

Ken Berkun: What the article correctly refers to is that you cannot measure the how a tweet or a blog post influences a person to decide to come to Hawaii the next time he/she goes on vacation.
If the blog post or tweet includes an affiliate link (in an ad or integrated in the content) to an airline or hotel that results in a purchase then you have a very good idea! If it doesn't, its still no more ambiguous than most traditional media. That is why this statement is meaningless at best.
Comment by Ken Berkun on June 5, 2009 at 10:19pm
There are two kinds of marketing - that which you can measure and that which you cannot. Yes you can measure click-throughs but that had better be only the tip of the iceberg (you hope to get more for your more than, say, .05% clickthroughs, you hope for brand awareness).

Click-throughs represent measurable actions taken by consumers. But marketing is far more than this. Marketing (in a simplistic way of putting it) is presenting your product/service to the public and putting them in the frame of mine to take action when they are ready to do so.

What the article correctly refers to is that you cannot measure the how a tweet or a blog post influences a person to decide to come to Hawaii the next time he/she goes on vacation.

Do not fool yourself that online measurements are all that much better than more traditional marketing. For instance direct mail pieces may be measured with just about the same techniques, with all the pluses and minuses.

Let's not get into a pissing war here, the statement is legitimate given the context.

And never forget the old chestnut "I know I'm wasting half my marketing budget - I just don't know which half."

Ken
Comment by Todd Cochrane on June 5, 2009 at 8:33pm
If this sounds snippy I apologize but I have largely realized most of the Hawaii Business to include the Tourism industry is only interested in doing the same old thing over and over.

So far as PBN goes they have never reached out to me:

After all:

If they did their homework they would realize that the CEO of the only profitable new media (podcast) companies aka RawVoice lives here in Hawaii (me). It's funny but how come I am booked solid for the next year with companies in the mainland yet no company in Hawaii has ever called me?

Let's not forget the 4200 independent media creators and 11 networks that my company represent largely on advertising buys and how we are the only company to have continuous sponsor deals since 2005.

Yet no company in Hawaii nor the HTA has ever asked for a meeting.

If they had they may find out how we through a process I call the Trifecta, RawVoice can nail within 1-2% percentage points the effectiveness of advertising campaigns in the new media space. They may also find out how new media advertising campaigns through RawVoice is delivering ROI that is 9x over other campaigns.

Maybe the problem is that we don't have a central office (I work from my Home Office) and the primary RawVoice team of "5" is spread across 5 states.

They probably think most new media folks are fly by night hobbyist. Kinda funny when you consider that we put 100's of thousands of dollars in podcasters pockets each month and many of those folks are making full time wages on a part time basis.

Call me cynical but maybe someday some folks here in Hawaii will wake up and start asking questions to those that live and breath this stuff 24/7
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 5, 2009 at 6:09pm
Derek: I was very surprised to read in the PBN article the following sentence, "It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of online marketing." Maybe I am wrong, or maybe I completely mis-understood what people like Todd Cochrane have said in the past, but online marketing, from what I understand, is more reliable than marketing through TV, magazines/newspapers...(clip)
As Alyssa correctly points out, the efficacy of online marketing is far and away the most easily quantifiable. There is no debate on this subject. PBN should print a correction.
Comment by Alyssa K on June 5, 2009 at 9:10am
Online marketing is totally measurable.

The microscopic and mostly real-time "measure-ability" is one of the biggest advantages it has over traditional offline methods.

- If your ppc campaigns are not performing, you optimize and get rid of ones that don't work.
- If your ad copy sucks, you're not gonna get any clicks so you know you have to change it.
- Even the design of your website is measurable and can be scrapped if it doesn't perform (even if you think its pretty).

That's the whole appeal of online marketing to me. Nothing is subjective anymore. Everything can be judged based on performance. And you can immediately respond if something is not working (or is)!

And that's why it's so beautiful!

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