EDITORIAL: Technology boosts marketers' power to promote brands

PlayStation2 launches this week with more computing power in a single games console than was used to run the country's entire national benefits payment system two decades ago.

PlayStation2 launches this week with more computing power in a single games console than was used to run the country's entire national benefits payment system two decades ago.

It's proof, if any were needed, of just how far we have come technologically in recent years. In our homes there are more microprocessors than most of us even realise and in our work digital technology has been the driving force of every new advance in communicating with consumers.

Interactive TV ads, viral marketing, customer relationship management, WAP communications - none of these would be the exciting marketing developments they are without the leaps forward that have been made in communications technology.

In this week's issue you will find the Marketing Connections Awards book of winners. These are the first awards from Marketing to reward the best use of technology in customer communications across an array of disciplines.

All the category winners represent cutting-edge marketing excellence, but one or two are worthy of particular mention. First, in every sense, is our Grand Prix winner - BBC Worldwide's work for Top of the Pops magazine.

Together with its agency Aerodeon, the company devised a powerful and innovative sales building campaign to target the title's core readership of teenage girls. By using a medium that this audience had made their own, text messaging via mobile phones, TOTP was able to create a buzz around its brand, offer an added-value service of pop gossip, build a valuable database of readers through registration, and maintain an ongoing dialogue with them through permission-based marketing. TOTP magazine added 11,500 readers as a result of this complete solution - evidence of what technology, used well, can deliver for marketers.

Elsewhere are examples of how digital advances have enhanced 'old' forms of marketing. In sales promotion, Kellogg proved that it was not only able to identify consumer dissatisfaction generated by its changing the name of Coco Pops to Choco Krispies, but that it had the technology to measure and respond to that feeling. A 'Coco Vote' web site, direct response ads and large-scale automated call handling enabled Kellogg to measure the level of feeling and reverse the name change in line with customer wants - it saw an immediate 26% sales increase.

These are just a few examples of what technology in customer communications can and does deliver. Marketing is proud to announce the winners of the first ever Connections Awards.

Within the awards book we hope you will find inspiration and learning from what we believe are the true business champions of the 21st century.


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