Kodak targets approach with Excite.ca

A year ago, it was just banners and buttons.
Today, Kodak Canada - like many traditional advertisers (see Cdn Net ad story, page D1) - is taking a much more integrated approach to its online efforts. It is developing a relationship with portal broadband leader Excite.ca that allows it to target different audiences with different creative.

A year ago, it was just banners and buttons.

Today, Kodak Canada – like many traditional advertisers (see Cdn Net ad story, page D1) – is taking a much more integrated approach to its online efforts. It is developing a relationship with portal broadband leader Excite.ca that allows it to target different audiences with different creative.

‘Prior to this, we weren’t really doing that much online at all,’ says David King, director of e-commerce for Kodak Canada. There were some online stores set up for a few Kodak dealers, but the company’s overall awareness efforts were put into the more traditional areas of TV, print and radio.

The company shifted its attention after its agency, Ogilvy Interactive, did an analysis of the company’s online strategy and made recommendations that took better advantage of the medium. First, it designed content, creating a photo center on the Excite homepage where users can edit and manage their digital photos (they can have them uploaded from any Kodak dealer). Next, it zeroed in on two very different target markets – 18- to 25-year-old technologically obsessed males and 30-something mothers of two or more kids – and, with the help of Excite’s content pages, regularly creates promotions and advertising to suit the respective audience. Lastly, it improved the online dealer experience by tying it all into the Excite page, with the appropriate links from anywhere else on the site.

King says that, so far, the results have been impressive. A recent four-week buy-one-get-one-free promotion, featuring a compact PC camera, sold 60 units – and this was a deal only available to online Excite users, according to King. Meanwhile, an online contest, conducted through the portal’s contest page, attracted 16,000 entrants, of which 40% opted in to future communications.

In a sense, this endeavor is a massive testing ground for Kodak. Every six weeks, the company launches another promotion and uses a number of offers on various channels to measure effectiveness, he says. Each wave of activity is also designed to use different online tools. The current wave, which started October 1, backs off from banners and buttons almost entirely, and will instead focus on targeted e-mail blasts, with a list generated from the online contest.

The sheer number of executions, wherein new creative goes online every six weeks, is a little onerous, to say the least. ‘Just coming up with different offers can be challenging,’ says Jamie Martin, account supervisor at Ogilvy Interactive. Never mind the fact that creativity counts. The agency has already managed to scoop several awards for its simple animated Adventures of John online campaign, which targeted net-savvy 18- to 24-year-old males. ‘It was intended to cut through the online clutter,’ says Martin. The stick figure concept, wherein John bragged about meeting some models, yet didn’t have the camera to prove as much, was developed by the overall agency before Ogilvy’s interactive division became a distinct area, according to Martin. ‘I’d like to take credit for it, but I can’t.’ The Flash movie launched from a standard banner ad. The campaign had a viral marketing element as well, according to Martin, in that the short black-and-white spot could be sent to a number of friends. ‘We got some great feedback,’ he says.

The main challenge for the agency, according to Martin, is adding Kodak into what it describes as the necessary components of any online information portal: content, community and commerce. ‘If you’ve got these three things, you have a pretty good chance at creating a gathering place for people online,’ he says.

Over the next six months, Kodak is hoping to continue building its database through its promotional offerings on Excite.ca. ‘Ultimately, the plan for anyone marketing online should be to start establishing those one-to-one relationships,’ he says.

There are still limitations to using the Internet for online branding and information, says Kodak’s King. ‘It’s still somewhat of a challenge to say ‘If we spend a dollar online, it results in X amount in sales.’ ‘ However, he recognizes that having an online presence – particularly through more innovative measures, such as building relationships with other Web sites – can have branding implications that go far beyond online sales.

‘We’re looking at increasing our [online] spending next year,’ he says, adding that next year’s budget will be roughly 50% more than this year’s.