Agency client rosters aren't what they used to be. Not long ago, online media planners and buyers with Web marketing shops had a surfeit of clients, representing a wide variety of industries, to choose from. Many of them were small businesses and start-ups looking to increase their exposure online. Not knowing where to begin, they turned to agencies for marketing advice.
The advent of self-serve online advertising campaigns, such as those offered by Advertising.com and paid search engine programs, has led many of these smaller companies to transfer their Internet marketing efforts in-house. These tools are so straightforward even non-savvy Web advertisers can employ them. The aforementioned agencies are left with client lists consisting primarily of high-profile, big-budget advertisers. And national retailers, consumer packaged goods companies, and businesses operating within the travel and hospitality industries bring with them a host of unique marketing challenges.
One such challenge is determining how to promote the various aspects of a large business online, whether marketing numerous products within a new product line or multiple locations under a hotel chain umbrella. For some, the solution may be to create an individual ad for each product and run them on respectively appropriate sites. But this approach is often costly; even big brands have budget limits.
A case study that was recently brought to my attention provides an example of another approach. In this method for marketing the multiple divisions of a megabrand online, the focus, mercifully, is on streamlining.
The Wyndham hotel and resort chain wanted to increase overall revenue, number of nights booked, and reservation numbers at 20 different Wyndham locations in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Range Online Mediawas entrusted with the project. The agency worked with a limited budget, so it had to be particularly clever about how and where to advertise.
Range Online Media turned to PointRoll, the rich media solution provider whose offerings include mouseover expandable banners and other formats designed to maximize advertisers' allotted ad space. PointRoll has been in business for years. It's recently been enjoying some belated attention from leviathan advertisers now utilizing the formats and the "big three" portals: Yahoo, MSN, and AOL. (Yahoo and MSN already offer PointRoll units to advertisers; insiders speculate AOL will be signing a similar deal within a matter of days.)
This summer, PointRoll launched a redesigned site that showcased its trio of rebranded ad formats, capriciously named FatBoy, BadBoy, and TowelBoy. The Wyndham campaign used FatBoy, the expandable banner for which PointRoll is best known.
It took only four different Flash-based ad sizes (six creatives in all) to feature all 20 Wyndham properties on the agency's list. Each ad unit could be used to promote three to eight hotel properties at once (see an example of the ad campaign here).
According to Cheryle Pingel, cofounder and president of Range Online Media, PointRoll was "an excellent solution" for its big-brand client. "We were able to showcase the offerings of each resort, brand Wyndham as a whole, and create a cool, fun, and unusual user experience," she said.
Andrew Jordan, executive VP of sales and marketing and CMO with Wyndham, had similar praise for the ads. "Because PointRoll lets us broadcast numerous messages in one space, we can now leverage one ad unit with several different property-specific messages.... The cost of the ad space can now be distributed across numerous properties, creating more synergies within our brand while driving our ability to place even more advertising."
The Wyndham campaign ran on Weather.com, which allowed the agency to target the "feeder markets" of each Wyndham resort property. As a result of the creative and ad placement, the client averaged five reservations, 10 room nights, and over $1,600 in revenue each day. At the end of the first month, Range reported the campaign was delivering a return on investment (ROI) of over 88 percent.
Given the many variables involved in campaign planning and execution, case studies should always be taken with a grain of salt; what works for one client may not work for another, even when products and circumstances are similar. Still, Wyndham isn't the only client to have found success with PointRoll ads. That PointRoll's client roster includes Coca-Cola, Absolut, Microsoft, and American Airlines indicates how well its ads can perform for advertisers. Agencies -- especially those with an excess of big-brand clients to promote -- should take note.
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.
March 19, 2014