Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The marketing of RSS

Forrester today released two reports on RSS and Marketing, as noted by Charlene Li. And, being one of the lucky ones, I did get both reports (15 pages each, which makes me think that someone at Forrester is into numerology, but I digress), and have read them both.

There was a lot of great information in both, that I think is applicable to PR (yes, it's different than marketing, but there are similiarities and with marketing and communications converging, there are lessons here for us to learn). Also, the executive summaries from both have great information and data points ... mmm, data points. I love data points for pitches.

From RSS 101 for Marketers:
  • Best analogy ever on RSS: Marketers should view RSS as a "build your own burger." At its simplest — just the burger patty — are text headlines. But just as you can customize a burger with all sorts of extras, marketers can jazz up their RSS feeds with other elements
    • Commentary: now, if In-N-Out had an RSS coupon feed, I'd be in nirvana
  • Marketing uses of RSS range from creating feeds to putting ads into RSS feeds
  • RSS does not replace email or Websites
    • RSS has a guarantee of 100 percent deliverability of messages
  • RSS users are information junkies and online shoppers, spending more online than others
  • 57 percent of marketers who were asked "How interested are you in advertising in these emerging interactive channels?"responded with a“somewhat” or “very interested” in RSS, and 64 percent said they were interested in blogs
  • While the usage of RSS is low right now - single digit percentage - it will continue to grow as it get easier, and now is the time to embrace RSS
    • Plus, people might not realize they are using RSS, with My Yahoo or My MSN
From Using RSS as a Marketing Tool:
  • Marketers should not nilly-willy add everything to an RSS feed, and not go into overload
    • Need to have that right balance of information
  • It has to be one-click addition of the RSS feed
  • RSS deployment can be either in-house or outsourced to services, like Nooked
  • Measurement and tracking are important for marketing - and can be as easy as adding a tracking code into the feed URL
  • There are different ways to advertise in RSS feeds, which are being tested
  • Branded RSS readers are another way to market
    • Commentary: Come on Pointcast, where are you?!? You could have owned the RSS reader space with the goodwill and love that people still have for you
  • Now is the time for marketing to get into RSS, while the costs are low and mistakes can be made without major backlash
It's interesting that part of these reports seems to have stemmed from conversations and the panel at Syndicate Conference. During a briefing, Charlene noted that she gets opt-in emails from a clothing boutique she shops at with specials, but unfortunately she usually misses them in her email. Now, if they just offered an RSS feed, she would get the specials... .

If you have the budget, and are in marketing, direct marketing, marketing communications, PR or advertising, go and quickly buy both reports. Now. Right now.

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