Here, Mr. Mayar talks with Advertising Age about emerging media trends and how marketers should measure their efforts in emerging media.
MediaWorks: One of your areas of expertise is e-mail marketing -- do you think it can survive in a multichannel world?
Vipin Mayar: E-mail absolutely will survive it, for many reasons. There is a place for e-mail where it is permission-based, where it is relevant, where it is unobtrusive, so you are not constantly bombarding [consumers]. The fact is, e-mail doesn't cost anything, so you will always be able to make it part of your mix. You just need to be smart about it with these guiding principals. I would use it in conjunction with other mediums -- never by itself. I would use e-mail to point people to a website, or maybe to remind them of some offers they've received through direct mail.
MediaWorks: What's working well in e-mail marketing?
Mr. Mayar: Let's take the automotive industry. They have a very well-defined purchase process. We know that part of the purchase process is doing research on the car and on the choices you have. We also know that consumers tend to do that online. They will buy through a dealer, but the research is done online. So you can provide some very rich experiences. If you are a high-end car, you can spend a lot of time creating a high-end experience. I've seen [marketers that allow consumers to] configure a car online, and then, after capturing the person's name and address, you can follow up by e-mail to remind them to go to a dealer for a visit -- actually connect them to a dealer.
MediaWorks: You also study trends in emerging media. Besides the rush of adults to Facebook, what are some other online trends happening?
Mr. Mayar: Gaming is a very interesting trend. Conventional wisdom says that online gaming is a younger audience, male dominated. While that is true, gaming is growing really quickly among women, as well as in the older age groups. And the amount of time that is being spent on online gaming is pretty mind-blowing.
MediaWorks: How can marketers use that information?
Mr. Mayar: Marketers are still reluctant to jump into emerging media. You can give them statistics, but they are looking for proof points that it actually did work, that it actually did deliver an experience that caused the consumer to increase their preference of the product.
MediaWorks: How has MRM worked with clients to help them embrace emerging media?
Mr. Mayar: MRM helped build the emerging media lab for IPG [Interpublic Group of Cos.] in L.A. We typically take clients to the emerging media lab to first create the right ambience. Then we do creative brainstorming on 10 or 12 different things they could be doing. It is very unusual for us to walk away without someone sending us some pilot [funding] for emerging media. For example, we may come up with a long-form video to be put online, or do mobile short clips and put advertising in them. Because if you have value-added content and you put your marketing message inside the value-added content, consumers still feel that experience was engaging. And in that process, they also remember your marketing message.
MediaWorks: What are the metrics marketers should use to gauge the effectiveness of campaigns in emerging media, like social networking for instance?
Mr. Mayar: There will be some that are similar to the metrics used in traditional media. Probably the most important metric is the cost-per-objective. Your objective might be to have someone click on something that takes them to a place. It could be the cost-per-interaction, so you could look at the entire interaction and create cost across it, or it could be cost-per-conversion, which talks about taking the people from the click to buying a product or service with you. The second metric is one of coverage -- especially with new media. What percentage of the population are you reaching for [with] the medium? What percentage of your target population are you reaching?