Thursday, October 27, 2011

Digital Marketing for the Millennial Generation

Mashable has a great post today on tips for marketing to the millennial generation (17-34 year olds): http://mashable.com/2011/10/27/marketing-millennials-digital-natives/.

I found this post to be particularly interesting as I think that many of the stratgies described as the current best practices for this generation will become (and quickly are becoming) best practices for a much wider swath of the population. As consumers continue to purchase and adopt more digital devices (smartphones, tablets, blackberry for work, laptop for home, etc.) and become more and more plugged in to mobile content, I believe these best practices trends will easily start to extend into the 34-45 year old category and beyond, and certainly to the next generation of children.

Of the particular trends the writer highlights, I would reiterate the importance of the following: an overwhelming degree of multi-tasking, a need and desire for engagement and involvement in brands and consumer products (rather than passively watching TV commercials), the power of social media communities and interactions, the importance of search and SEO, and a constant yearning for the newest and next best thing.

The one trend that the writer touches on and which I believe will be crucial for digital marketers, is the need for curated and condensed content tailored for the particular user. The better digital marketers can figure out a way to provide users with valuable and tailored content, the more successful they will be as we continue to be more and more satured as consumers and the internet becomes more fragmented and overwhelming by the hour. This is underlined by the importance of search but also in tailored advertising content and in particular I believe that digital marketers want to find those sites that are opinion-leaders in curating and condensing news, trends, events, etc. to keep us consumers up to speed. These types of sites, in my opinion, will be a huge draw in the coming years and in the next phase of the internet.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Social Networking Behavior of the Broadway Consumer – Using Social Media Strategy to Discover Your Audience

A September 2009 article on “The Situation,” a blog for entertainment marketers, illustrates an early example of successfully using analytic tools to gain an understanding of a target audience in order to craft a social media strategy. While the article is already outdated in its discussion on whether or not a brand should be on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, its methods for tracking consumers’ social media usage are still applicable to many industries.


The study examines how Broadway ticket buyers differ in their usage of social media and whether or not these users are new audiences or just the same ticket buyers already targeted through other marketing efforts.


The part of the study most relevant to our discussions on analytic tools centers on trying to discover how the behaviors of those social networking users varies from other online users. Using analytic tools, the researchers tracked how users on Facebook and Twitter acted after clicking on a link that directed them to the official Broadway musical website. They compared these statistics against general web traffic to the musical’s websites via regular Internet usage.


Those visitors to the official websites that clicked through from Facebook or Twitter visited 30% more pages per visit and spent 40% more of their time on the page compared to regular Internet visitors. Also, visitors through social networking were more actively engaged in all aspects of the site, checking out information about the cast, the show’s story, and news before moving into the ticketing phase. Twitter was responsible for more referral visits to the official website than Facebook, although Twitter users spent the least time on the website. This is really not surprising considering the very nature of Twitter is speed and brevity. The Facebook visitors proved to be an audience that was looking to learn something new and become engaged, while Twitter users are “all about quick hits of actionable content.”


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Monday, October 24, 2011

Can a tech company surpass big oil?

Recent discussion as to the battle of Apple and Exxon Mobil for the top spot in global company size by market cap has been heating up recently. It's not much of a surprise to many that Exxon Mobil has been at the top for awhile, with the global dominance in energy and oil, and a market cap near half a trillion dollars. But with the rise, especially in the past decade, of Apple's clout on the tech market, many believe Apple can take the top position. Despite the passing of the iconic Steve Jobs, the culture and mindset of the Apple ecosystem can and will continue to dominate innovation, content creation, sales and distribution, and tech device market (including both and hardware & software) for many years to come. The question is if the company is truly worth beyond half a trillion dollars, and if so, what is the true valuation of Apple?

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Consumer Behavior on Twitter Helps Marketing - Study Review

A really interesting study that I came across on Social Quickstarter discusses ten quick facts that you should know about social behavior on Twitter. These quick facts were derived from a more comprehensive study that was conducted by Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey. The study's results are crucial to understanding a brand's consumers on a specific social network such as Twitter and it can allow a company to better target their consumer base in their digital marketing plan.

The most important takeaway from the study is that it found that 60% of brand followers on Twitter are more likely to recommend the brand to other friends, and also 50% of these same brand followers are more likely to buy from the brand. These numbers are huge, and we all know that any increase in customer loyalty is great news for brands. The study analyzed the behavior of 1,491 consumers ages 18 and older throughout the U.S and some of the interesting insights from the study are:

  • Only 21% of Twitter users follow brands on Twitter, and of those, 79% follow fewer than 10 brands
  • When it comes to a consumer’s decision to follow brands on Twitter, exclusivity and access to promotions reign
  • Brand interaction on Twitter is still largely a one-way process
  • While 84% of followers read tweets posted by the brands they follow, only 23% claim to tweet about the brands they follow
  • Twitter users even use Facebook more than users who stick solely to Facebook — 60% of Twitter users use Facebook more than three hours per week, compared with 49% of Facebook users overall

If companies understand the profoundness of these results, they should tailor their social media marketing plan to 1) increase their followers on Twitter and 2) tailor their Twitter campaign to the needs of these consumers through the content, exclusivity, and access to the promotions it provides. For more information check out the study slides below and go to Social Quickstarter by Constant Contact.


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Facebook Advertising uptade

Facebook is currently introducing a new platform for advertisement which differs from all advertisements that were on the social platform before. The very first ad application Beacon of Facebook was clumsy and very inefficient. It showed to all the friends of a person which purchases he made even if those were very embarrassing.

Now Facebook launches new channel for advertising, in particular, it makes the brand pages better and more engaging. Initially Facebook allowed companies create pages of their brands and did not charge anything for it. The idea behind this was that people as well as companies could communicate freely and if brand wants to represent itself as a page and does not want to post any ads, it should not be charged. But instead of creating entertaining and really insightful content on their pages brands were just bombarding their fans and customers with announcements, deals and ads.

From now brands will improve their pages, create better content and communicate with their customers on a new level. They can create campaigns both online and offline and make them viral. Now brands will become friends of their fans and their friends. Companies can send messages and create posts as well as people do. This measure will help brands become more trustworthy, because customers tend to believe their friends online much more than they trust advertisements.

To accomplish this Facebook will used ad units and metrics to both control and measure actions of brands online. Essentially new ad units are advertising messages like those that regular people share in their walls with their friends and set of metrics will help each brand track traffic on their pages and figure out what content attracts the most attention.

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The Social Enterprise

Social media is changing how we connect and share in our personal lives and increasingly in business. Companies get insights to innovate from the chatter on social media platforms, and they use all the various digital marketing channels to better target their customers. Salesforce.com has led the way in introducing the Social Enterprise, which pulls all of the social media benefits together. Their new product, the social enterprise, is a platform that synchronizes their sales CRM, underlying customer service database, online footprint (using their newly acquired Radian6), and Chatter which is their internal social communication platform (internal Facebook for an enterprise). By synchronizing all these various products, it allows companies to become more connected to their customers than ever before, and in turn they will be fully digital end to end. The experience a customer would have is total access across any device, anywhere, and the ability to get the same feeling regardless of when, where, and how they access the brand.

Companies have to create a social enterprise in order to have a strong business model in this digitally growing world. This is also extremely essential in their digital marketing campaigns which will be aided by all the data they pull from online, services, and simply better understanding their consumers and their needs. Weaving a social context into a business is quickly becoming a prerequisite for success. I believe that Salesforce.com has a great product on its hands that many companies will follow, so they need to show the world how powerful the Social Enterprise is to lead the market into the next years of transforming businesses into the new social reality.





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Twitter and ads

According to eMarketer.com, high power Twitter users tend to be significantly more responsive to online ads than lower power users (http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008654). The article showed that people who uses Twitter more than 100 times a month saw more than 1,000 ads, and 20.40% interacted with at least one ad a month. On the other hand, of the users who only logged in between one and nine times a month and saw fewer than 100 ad impressions, only 1.57% the time will they respond to at least one ad. The article further explained ads on Twitter look similar to content on the social network and therefore are theoretically more engaging to users.

What we can learn from the above result is that users uses Twitter as a way to find better deal, both via their own followers and people they follow. To enhance the interaction, marketers should directly offer people who already show interests in the ad and offer them coupon and encourage these group of people to retweet the offer. Perhaps this is an even more effective way to reach target audience than a massive online exposure?


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

QR Codes are the Next Fad in Marketing? Maybe!

Branding in a QR Code: Surprisingly there’s a certain amount of error correction built into QR codes, so some companies have been adding a logo or other design elements into their QR codes (see image below). Just make sure that you test your “enhanced” QR codes before releasing them. A “broken” QR code will frustrate your audience and damage your brand.

I guess we will have to wait and see the fate of these codes, but I believe that QR codes are going to become one of the key integrators that will help bridge the gap between print ads and digital media. Rich explained QR's appeal well in his blog when he said "QR codes can provide additional information, including photos, reviews, directions and event dates and times. There's a certain amount of fun and surprise with QR Codes, so that you can take advantage of a "what's behind door number one" mentality." Whenever I se a QR code I wonder what is 'behind that door'. If you have seen these codes or have used them please share your experiences in this blog's comments. It would be great to learn more about then and the different ways they have been used.

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Can't Touch This?

We've spent a fair amount of time talking about search engines and how Google and Bing command a majority of the market. Small search engines have cropped up in the past but nothing nearly as exciting as WireDoo-- MC Hammer's newest search engine.

Don't worry, I was pretty skeptical when I first read this and thought it was just another rapper trying to have a resurgence in the media. In fact, WireDoo is built on a slightly new concept "relationship searches". Unlike Google or Bing, whose searches are based on keywords, WireDoo is supposed to provide a "deeper" search result. Essentially they are touting it as the search engine that knows really what you are looking for (without you even asking!). So for example, if you are searching for BBQ Chicken recipes in addition to serving you results for making a killer bbq chicken you'd also have search results about decor for a backyard bbq, the best beers/wines for bbq, top ten hot sauces, backyard furniture on sale, etc. To me it sounds like this search engine will give you all the results you need to throw a successful bbq party. Heck, it might even remind you that you arent really ready yet (do you have gas for your grill? do you have a cooler for the beer?).

Needless to say, I tried to give it a try. The site is still in Beta mode, but I've signed up to get a notification when it is ready. It will be interesting to see if this deep search truly performs and surfaces relevant and related content. I'd like to see if MC Hammer can take on the search giants, and maybe have something new to sing about!

http://mashable.com/2011/10/19/wiredoo/

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The age of dotBrands

On January 12th 2012, the internet “real estate” is set to change with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will start taking applications for it’s “top-level domain program” which initially resulted in what we today know as .com, .org, .net, .uk, .ip, etc.

In January, any brand name itself could become a generic top-level down domain extension, supported by an application fee of $185,000, a sufficient justification to have a brand name domain extension the ICANN claims.

The ICANN claims that “dobranding introduces a whole new way to surf the web, enhancing companies’ SEO strategy, heightening protection against interlopers and cybersquatters, and letting brand names serve as web addresses with the potential for a variety of sub-domains.” Marketing Week in the UK has suggested that Deloitte, Canon, Hitachi, Motorola, and Unicef are applying for .brand web addresses.

The website quotes ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom: “ while his organization has established the guidelines and will handle the application process, it is companies’ responsibility to educate consumers about usage. The introduction of a .brand domain is almost like a logo change, and new marketing will need to be done. But I think word will spread pretty fast. You are talking about some pretty major entities in the world that will have their name after the dot and their collective marketing power greatly exceeds that of Icann.”

Fiona Graham from the BBC Technology News also reports that the suffixes such as .car, .think, .coke and .canon don’t have to be roman letters, so for example, they could also be Chinese characters. Some rules do apply - for instance, they must have at least three letters (Icann is holding onto the remaining two letter domains in case new countries are created and require a two letter abridged version).

Dr Jonathan Freeman, a lecturer of psychology at Goldsmiths University in London said that perception will have a lot to do with the dotbrand’s success: "Reassuring consumers is going to enhance the online behaviours and transactions. They'll feel a lot more happy dealing [with] it." Despite this, he anticipates consumers will not immediately take to the new naming conventions.

Understandably, smaller brands are uneasy due to the high price barrier to entry. The entire domain system will also have to advance from its current 200 million names to support 2 billion names in the future. It will be interesting to see how brands will use this to build on equity and how consumers will adapt to changing the way in which they search.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15084318
http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2011/10/21/gTLD-Dot-Branding-Deloitte-Canon-Motorola-102111.aspx

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Radian6 - Social Media Monitoring and Engagement Platform

Radian6 provides the leading social media monitoring and engagement platform for marketing, communications and customer support professionals. It offers several products to enable organizations to get the most from their social media efforts. Companies can use the Analysis Dashboard to uncover the top influencers and trends as well as which conversations are having an impact online. It allows them to monitor and engage with the online community easily. Companies can use it to know who is talking about them and derive more information from what they are saying with the Radian6 Insights platform. It allows them to take the pulse of their brand on the social web quickly and easily. Radian6 has clients from a variety of industries – higher education, technology, healthcare, non-profits, manufacturing, consumer goods, and many more. Their client base spans the globe and includes half of the Fortune 100. Client size ranges from smaller regional businesses to global corporations and all sizes in between.

Cloud computing giant Salesforce.com has acquired Radian6 in 2011 for approximately $276 million in cash and $50 million in stock, net of cash. In addition, approximately $10 million in stock and $4 million in cash will be issued to Radian6’s founders. Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce said "With Radian6, salesforce.com is gaining the technology and market leader in social media monitoring. We see this as a huge opportunity. Not only will this acquisition accelerate our growth, it will extend the value of all of our offerings."

Sources:

http://www.radian6.com/

http://www.salesforce.com/radian6/

http://seekingalpha.com/article/300567-salesforce-com-this-decade-s-most-profitable-short-opportunity


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Friday, October 21, 2011

Measuring Sentiment on Twitter

It is obvious that social media is becoming increasingly important for marketers. A recent Booz & Co. and Buddy Media survey of managers from Fortune 100 companies found that 28% of respondents predicted that social media will be more than 20% of digital marketing spend within three years, 27% predict it will be between 10%-20%, and 32% predict it will be between 5%-10% in three years. By comparison, in 2011 67% of respondents said that social media made up less than 5% of total digital spend.

When asked what they were going to do with the increased spending, respondents answered as expected: creating more content, hiring employees, integrating social media with the overall marketing plan, etc. However, what I found particularly interesting is that 56% planned to use social media to generate consumer insight and 35% are doing so already. Given this, it is important to understand what types of analyses companies can pursue to collect insights from social media.

As a partial answer, I recently came across a sentiment analysis done by Jeffrey Breen, an airline consultant, of the airline industry using twitter data. Mr. Breen used the statistical package R to extract the 1500 most recent tweets mentioning each major airline, and estimated sentiment by counting the number of positive and negative words in each tweet. He then scored each airline based on the number of positive and negative words associated with them and ranked them against one another. His results were surprisingly similar to the monthly rankings produced by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This is just one example of analysis that can be done to obtain insights from social media and I am curious to learn about others.

http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008648
http://jeffreybreen.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/twitter-text-mining-r-slides/

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NY Times wants to deliver Web Ads to the bathroom

http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/08/mirror-mirror-the-new-york-times-wants-to-serve-you-info-as-youre-brushing-your-teeth/


The New York Times wants to create a new bathroom mirror to deliver you the news as well as a daily dose of ads in the morning. As computing and internet access moves away from the traditional computer and into different types of delivery devices it makes one wonder what the next medium for digital advertising will be. TV's, E-readers, Game Consoles, even refrigerators and microwaves are starting to get connected to the internet and I wonder if all these devices will soon start becoming new delivery channels for digital advertising. If internet advertisers think they can target an audience now, imagine being able to advertise skin products to someone who has just woken up and is shaving in the mirror, or grocery delivery to someone who just opened their empty refrigerator. As connected devices become more common I believe that we will see some very interesting changes in the digital advertising space.

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Welcoming Government Interventions, Thank you

3 FTC case decisions in the past three months will greatly affect mobile app developers and compaies.
- Emily Apps: The FTC announced its settlement in August 2011 with W3 Innovations for collecting children's personal information without parental consent. Per the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, companies cannot collect online personal information of children under 13.
- AcneApp: The FTC accounced its settlement in September 2011 with the marketer of AcneApp and AcnePwner for deceptively claiming their apps would treat acne without substantiation.
- Frostwire: The FTC announced its settlement in October 2011 with Frostwire for unlawfully creating a peer-to-peer application that would publicly share personal files stored on a user's mobile device immediately upon installation. This sharing would occur without authorization and violate privacy acts.

I think that all three of these decisions by the FTC are commendable and necessary. Too often the government institutions are considered to be too lax (certain environmental specifications) or overly meddlesome (foie gras ban: seriously? tax payers' moneys were going towards hours of hearings/legal documentation/meetings about whether one should be allowed to sell liver?), but in this case they are spot on. With the changes in technological innovation improving exponentially, the limits are boundless as to what mobile apps will do for us next. Its extremely important that the correct foundations and guidelines are provided - ie, that children are protected, companies cannot falsely claim product results, and privacy is strictly enforced.

My only one dissenting opinon would be in regards to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: the act only protects those children under 13; this means that children in highschool and middle school are not protected?? Should this age limit be at least 16, possibly 18?

source: http://mashable.com/2011/10/21/apps-ftc-settlements/

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The Power of Twitter Followership

Not so surprisingly, when customers follow brands on Twitter, they are more likely to buy that brand as well as recommend it to others. A study by Constant Contact and market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey revealed at 60% of followers will recommend a brand and 50% will actually purchase that brand. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

But the more interesting read for me was about actually becoming a followed company. Only 21% of Twitter users actually follow brands, and when they do, it's usually less than ten of them. Actually about 35% only follow one or two brands. But once, you have a follower, you usually keep them. Unfortunately, most followers only really read what their favorite brands are tweeting as opposed to tweeting about them themselves. There is definitely an opportunity to create a dialogue and gets customers further engaged with brands.

http://mashable.com/2011/10/20/twitter-brands-purchase-intent/

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Google Analytics Launches Flow Visualization

Google Analytics has upped the ante with a new feature called Flow Visualization. Flow Visualization will provide for a much more dynamic and insight-rich Analytics view of a site's traffic.

Visitors Flow will provide a visual representation of how visitors flow through your site, where they go, and where they drop off with the goal of providing answers to key questions on the success of various page initiatives.

Goal Flow gives site owners the ability to define goal steps for users to follow and then track how users flow through and where they drop off.

The goal of these new features is to take what we have discussed in class to a new level, namely to provide advertisers and site owners with more information in a more intuitive and easy to follow format as to how users reach their site, what they do when they are there, and, most importantly, what new site features, promo campaigns, etc. are the most effective.

As advertisers and web site owners, we want to know what we are doing that is working, how users are interacting with our site, where they are leaving, what promotions are falling flat and what are succeeding. By being able to visually follow users' pathways to and through our site Flow Visualizations is likely to become a highly valuable and utilized tool by site owners.

For more information:
http://mashable.com/2011/10/19/google-analytics-launches-in-depth-flow-visualizations/
http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/10/introducing-flow-visualization.html

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Legal Risks of Social Media

According to recent research reports, http://www.kpcb.com/internettrends2011, the popularity of social media has continued to increase. In the US as of June 2011, time spent on social networking sites surpassed time spent on other internet portals. It is no wonder that businesses across all industries continually attempt to be at the forefront of this trend in order to capture the attention of these users. The hospitality industry is no different; although hotel properties were slow to see the impact of the internet on their bottom line, they have since embraced social media: blogging and tweeting about their properties, creating Facebook fan pages and YouTube channels. Perhaps because of this slow response or more likely due to the nature of the interaction with their customers (who usually share vacation information, tips, photos, etc. online) hotels need to more closely monitor the legal implications of their online presence, especially when dealing with social media sites.

How To Manage Legal Risks of Social Media, http://hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/6715/How-to-manage-legal-risks-of-social-media, clarifies some of the new legal risks inherent to social media: an employee that tweets a hotel photo with guests in the background who would rather not be seen at the property, conflict of interest with travel bloggers, navigating the different privacy laws in each region. Of course, these risks are not specific to hotels, however since the inception of social media, hotel properties have traditionally been on the other side constantly suing or threatening to sue other sites. TripAdvisor has been the primary recipient of hotel ire, last year a group of 700 hotels threatened to sue the site for slander, and most recently the site was sued by a hotel that earned the number 1 spot on TripAdvisor’s ranking of America’s dirtiest hotels. As independent hotel properties become more internet savvy, and increase their presence on social networks, they may not have the resources to mitigate the legal risks that they too will face using these channels.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Value of Facebook Fans

Companies are increasingly using Facebook sweepstakes to gain more fans (aka "likes"). In fact, this past March, Expedia launched a sweepstakes that offered more than $1 million in prizes, including five trips that cost more than $100,000. What was the outcome? Expedia gained over 1 million fans. However, in general, the "sweepstakes fan" is looking for something free and doesn't always care about that brand. Therefore, it is now Expedia's mission to turn these fans into valuable customers.

Facebook will provide analytics around fans. It aggregates demographic information to give an idea of where these fans are from and even general age and gender data when there are enough fans. This allows companies to better target the audience they first acquired through the sweepstakes. The challenge for companies is to actually engage their fan base and integrate this into their overall marketing strategy. Looking at Expedia's facebook page, it is now trying to provide value for its fan base including discount to hotels. It is also trying to further engage its base by developing games and curated blogs.

A recent imedia article describes some best practices for campaigns that specifically target fan acquisition. Interesting ideas include developing a polling system for engagement, allowing fans to opt-in to communication such as SMS or email, and even using other types of media such as TV or print to drive to the Facebook page. Ultimately, a fan base is useless unless they become engaged advocates of the brand.

For more tips on how to turn Facebook fans into engaged customers go here:
http://www.imediaconnection.com/article_full.aspx?id=30235

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Universities Utilizing Facebook for Recruiting

Universities are working hard to harness the power of social media to help lure in prospective students and to build school spirit among current students. The number of schools from the survey sample who reported using social media has grown from 61% to 100% in just four years. Clearly, college admissions and public relations staff have discovered that Facebook is an efficient, cost-effective way to not only reach students, but also parents, friends, and family members who hold sway in the college decision-making process.

A recent article on Mashable.com outlines the seven top ways that schools are utilizing Facebook. The strategies range from basic alumni group pages and dedicated groups for admitted students to pages for the school mascot and downloads of wallpapers and decals. The University of Kentucky has gone as far as planting giant wooden symbols on campus that look like the Facebook place markers to encourage people to check in at various campus locations.


Many of the techniques that the schools are using are easily translatable into other business settings. Arts organizations, for example, could certainly utilize the virtual tour programming to create exciting 360˚ tours of their venues to help patrons navigate the venues upon arrival or to show the view from the stage, or other vantage points that the typical audience member never gets to see. As always, it all boils down to getting people engaged and interacting with you through social media networks.


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"Ads are just answers"

Google is repositioning the way it looks at ads with its "answers" project (http://www.google.com/ads/answers/). It built on the idea that "maybe the best ads are just answers" and is broadening their advertising menu. From a marketing perspective, I think google is asking the exact right question: what information does the searcher need to make the best purchase. The factors they've identified thus far (aside from specific products) are video samples, proximity, and recommendations (+1). You can read more about the thought-process behind this new initiative here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/ads-are-just-answers.html.

As a consumer, I think this process opens up tremendous opportunities. Along the lines of the discussion we had on Saturday, I never click the sponsored ads...I just trust the organic search more and the text ads in the sponsor block provide no extra value. Ads with video content or that highlight the number of positive recommendations do create value for the company (a more informative/relevant ad) and the customer (getting me the answer I want).

One question that I wasn't able to find the answer to is, what is the pricing structure for ads with media content (such as video or graphics) since there certainly is a greater advantage to having that additional media.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Branded Captchas

Solve Media offers Type-in ads as an alternative to the captchas that have become so prevalent online. Based on the idea that one of the few times in which we give our undivided attention to any online message is when we type in a captcha, Solve Media has replaced the standard random letters and digits with a brand message. According to a report , http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/159976/, which analyzed several Type-in campaigns, these new captchas appear to be very successful at increasing brand awareness and recall, although more so for Fortune 500 companies than for new brands. What is most interesting about Type-ins is that they are a new type of advertisement and one that is specific to the online experience in that the user is forced to engage with brand message. Perhaps the success of Type-ins will encourage different forms of online advertisements that move beyond passive viewing or the quasi-interactivity of clicking on an online ad.

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Paper-book: where have my good times gone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ

When I was a kid my grandmother was working in a book store in a small city. In my memories this book store was a place like nothing else, a kind of dreamland. I was a big fan of comics and it was so impressive to see all the fixtures full of books. Before looking at the draws page by page and reading the stories, the first contact with my heroes was the book itself. Seeing the books in the fixtures, taking one, looking at the cover, looking inside, taking another one… was my first pleasure. Then I sat in a quiet side of the store, focusing in one book from A to Z, and nothing else around could distract me. During these years I read so many comics like Tintin, Spiderman and the Smurfs. I bought my favorite ones and I was so proud to get them at home. While I was reading my grandmother was talking to the customers about the new releases, sharing her opinion and giving advice's about what to read.

These times are gone. I am no longer a kid, the book store has closed, like many other book stores are doing every day. The sales of books are going down… and the e-book appeared: digital and cold. No more pleasure to touch it, turn the pages, go back and forth. Nowadays we read on the same device as we consult our bank account.

But may-be I am too nostalgic. Have the e-books killed the book stores? I don’t think so. The book stores were closing anyway before the e-books occurred. The e-books represent a great opportunity to get people back to reading more. They give an access to reading to more people, like the ones who live far from the big cities. They give more choice than we can get in any book store. And they allow more writers to be read since it is easier to post a novella online than being “paper-published”.

So Tintin, I am pleased to see you again… in my i-pad. What? You are as well at the movie theatre in 3D?



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Luxury Brands in the Digital Space

Like any other women my age, I have a bit of a taste for luxury brand bags and shoes. Shocker there, right? But I'm also a marketer and interested in how some of my favorite brands play in the digital space. And of course, most of them don't! Fashion houses like Gucci and Prada, which are historically elitist, have an opportunity to push themselves into the mainstream without losing their aura of exclusivity which has been an ongoing concern. Hence, the Digital Marketing Commandments for Luxury as pointed out by mashable.com. It's an interesting and fun read.. My personal favorite is the push towards actually spending time and money on digital media. You can't just repurpose content from a print ad and expect it to work in a social media campaign. Following these rules will help further elevate a lot of these brands by further creating a following and envy.

http://mashable.com/2011/10/11/digital-marketing-luxury-brands/

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Give the Samwer brothers a break

While the whiz kids of Germany, the Internet entrepreneur trio of Samwer brothers have been wildly successful in starting, building, and selling more than 5 Internet companies over the past 15-18 years, they have continued to receive negative headlines because of their lack of comfort in speaking with media, public interviews, etc.

I agree that when they attend events like the annual IdeaLab conference, and other events around the world, they are expected to engage and speak with many colleagues, fellow entrepreneurs, and others in the same tech world. I believe it is a duty, to an extent, to "share" wisdom, experience, and knowledge with community once people have become successful as a method of good karma, and giving back to society. At the same time, I respect that many people - and no offense here because I am an engineer by education - but many of my strong techie friends and colleagues are not very socially comfortable. Their comfort zone is not in front of a camera, in front of a large group of people, or even meeting with shareholders for that matter. And so in many cases they prefer not to waste their time on things that are of not much interest. Rather, they love sticking to what they know and love, which is of course, creating, building, tweaking, and launching new and exciting tech ventures where they can get lost in the projects.

More power to 'em. Stick to what you love !

http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/10/14/oliver-samwer-walks-out-of-an-interview-with-techcrunch/


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Siri and Our Lives

While there was initial disappointment with the release of the iPhone 4s vs the anticipated "5", a few days have given us time to digest the impact that Siri might have on mobile technology. Siri is a voice recognition and assistance solution that's likely to change the mobile landscape as we know it. For example, instead of searching for weather you can ask the device if you need an umbrella, as you would a personal assistant. The device responds, "Rain is not in the forecast." These certainly seems like a natural progression, and it's interesting to note how much we've adapted to technology over the last decade. Certainly the next 10 years will usher in a period in which we better integrate with our electronic devices, and Google may have been one of the first to begin this trend with it's approach to search algorithms. At one level, Siri is the next level of search which has adapted to us (and our common conversational language) versus us adapting to an algorithm. The sky is the limit with this software.

Once you couple SIRI with location services, you essentially have a personal assistant reminding you of places to go, errands to run, as you mindlessly shuffle through your neighborhood. Now your phone is an even stronger extension of your mind. Will Siri isolate us more or enable us to better integrate? Time will tell.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Social Media Perception Gap

A detailed analysis highlights the gap between what consumers want from engaging with brands on social media and what businesses think they want. When consumers were asked about their reasons for engaging with a brand on social media, the top two reasons were to receive discounts or promotions and to make a purchase. When businesses were asked this same question, the top two reasons were to learn about new products and to receive general information. This perception gap illustrates that there is much room for improvement in terms of brands increasing the effectiveness of their social media strategy. In order for brands to close this gap, they should start taking into consideration what their customers want when they engage with them on social media. The report also provides some very interesting insight on why consumers break up with brands.

http://www.briansolis.com/2011/10/i-think-we-need-a-break-its-not-me-its-you/

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How to Measure Results in Digital Marketing

I found this really interesting video (3 minutes) on How to Measure Results in Digital Marketing. Brett Relander of Tactical Marketing Labs discusses the importance of measuring the results of your marketing efforts and provides tips on how to do it.

http://socialmediatoday.com/brettrelander/277233/how-measure-results-digital-marketing

He talked about the importance of Goggle Analytics and how to use to understand the customer behavior, segmentation, searches, keywords and most importantly there demand for your product

I work for a retail company and we use Google Analytics to manage customer traffic and understand customer behavior. We started a Baby products marketing campaign and Google Analytics played an important role to help us measure this digital marketing campaign.

Thanks Mo Khalid

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Online advertising can pay off in-store

While the general rule is that online advertising is less efficient for CPG brands, a new report shows that digital ads help to drive in-store purchasing. This is great news for companies that are trying to crack the code of how to optimize online marketing for in-store payoffs. Coupons are the key driver now but it will be interesting to see how this advertising medium evolves in the years to come.
http://www.bizreport.com/2011/10/cpg-brands-find-online-ads-pushing-in-store-purchases.html

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Translation in the Digital Age

I've often thought that though we consider the digital age to be tied to a "world wide web" the global nature of our communications remains relatively limited. Much of this, of course, centers around the issue of language. Roughly 328 million speak English-- around the same number of people who speak Spanish. Those numbers are dwarfed by the 845 million that speak Chinese and another 460 that speak Hindi. So in the world of digital marketing, how do you get your message out to a global audience?

Smartling is a new tech start-up aimed at helping users translate their digital content into multiple languages quickly and accurately. The company is featured in this month's Fast Company Magazine. The idea of localizing content is not new. However, it's often been more burdensome than many suspect and the potential for Smartling to help digital companies source their translation needs in a cost effective way is enormous.

Of course, what Smartling does not address is whether one message really is appropriate for all cultures. How a company targets their segments is something that must be considered carefully. What engages users in Wisconsin will not necessarily work in Beijing. Still, it's a step in the right direction...

Fast Company Article:
http://www.fastcompany.com/1787015/smartling-ceo-jack-welde-translation-localization

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Facebook Totally Caved To Apple On Its New Mobile Platform


AFacebook announced a huge extension of its mobile platform today, and as long rumored, the company is going to be spreading its payment platform, Facebook Credits, to the mobile versions of all Facebook apps.



This could have been a blow to Apple, giving a way for developers to sell content -- like virtual goods, song downloads, or news subscriptions -- within iPhone apps without having to go through Apple's App Store and give Apple its 30% cut.



Except that Facebook won't let developers use Facebook Credits on the iPhone or iPad.



Here's the relevant bit from a post by Facebook's Luke Shepard that will appear on Facebook's Blog shortly:



Today, we are extending Facebook Credits to support mobile web apps. Facebook Credits is a payment system that provides a safe, easy way for users to pay for your content. The same policies are also extended to mobile web apps, requiring all games to use Facebook Credits as their exclusive payment mechanism. By requiring games to use Credits on both mobile web and apps on Facebook, we offer our shared users a simple and consistent experience when buying virtual goods in games. Native iOS apps and mobile web apps that are running within a Facebook iOS app may not use Facebook Credits. [emphasis ours]



Now we have a pretty good idea what took so long to get the iPad app approved -- Facebook and Apple were probably going back and forth over this point. Apple won.



The updated Facebook mobile platform has a lot of other features for mobile developers that help users discover and spread their apps, and a lot of these features were done in cooperation with Apple.



Bookmarks. When users install a Facebook app, bookmarks to the mobile version of that app will now appear within the Facebook app on iPhone and iPad. If users click on the bookmark, the mobile version of app will be launched -- unless users don't have it. In that case, they'll be guided to the iTunes App Store to buy it.
Requests. Facebook apps will now be able to send requests to mobile phone versions of the same app. For instance, if I'm playing a game on the Facebook Web site, and my opponent is playing on her iPhone, she'll see a notification whenever the app tells her something (like "your move, sucker.")
News feed. When mobile users see an app notification in their Facebook news feed, they'll now be able to tap on that notification to launch the app. Previously, users could see app notifications on the mobile version of Facebook, but couldn't interact with them.
Authenticated referrals. Whenever a user gets one of these notifications on their mobile device, they will be prompted to log in before launching the mobile app. This lets developers deliver a personalized experience.
The updates are available on iOS and Facebook's mobile Web site today, but are coming to Android native apps soon.
Developers can get all the details on Facebook's developer site. Facebook is also holding a Mobile Hack event on October 28 for interested developers.


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Web Start-Up Froth and the Angel Investor

The WSJ published a story titled, "Web Startups Hit Cash Crunch" and there has certainly been considerable buzz about an impending crash. To wit: nearly one-third of daily deal sites have shut down this year, and many other "me too" business models are struggling to gain traction after raising cash.

The recipe for the froth seems pretty clear: a week economy is encouraging many people to take chances funding a start-up, while unpredictable public markets are encouraging investors to chase the next Google or Facebook. The problem is that most investors don't have access to start-ups founded by entrepreneurs with proven track records, since VC firms like, Sequoia, already have established relationships. While a lot of unlikely entrepreneurs are churning out business plans these days - and you never know, your neighbor looking for angel investors might have the next great idea - be very weary of the start-up mania that's occurring right now. Here are some tips for investing in a good start-up:

1) Truly understand the market and business model -- this seems obvious, but a lot of investors get caught up in ideas they don't entirely grasp. Do your homework and make sure the model can be monetized. I see far to many companies burning cash without a plan.
2) Make sure this is a unique model, and not another "Me too" company. While some clones will work or can be done better, the first mover advantage is huge. Just look at Craigslist.
3) Diversify -- most VC firms make 100% profits form just 10-20% of their investments (and don't expect to be seeing a success rate like that without serious connections). It's better to put $20k in 5 companies than $100k in one. Even great ideas, like mobile apps, can fail for reasons beyond anyone's control. The App Store and Google's algorithms can ultimately decide.
4) Vet management -- Lots of people have ideas, but far fewer are able to execute. And make sure at least someone on the team has experience in the market they're entering.

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New Fourquare Feature: Radar

We're in an interesting era of content explosion in the mobile/digital world - as we get our hands on more info, recommendations, suggestions, reviews and deals, it seems that apps are constantely trying to notify us when there's something better or more exciting we could be doing. This trend is continued with Foursquare's newest feature - Radar.
Radar tells you what's going on around you and pushes those notifications even when the app is off. This assumption is that you'll want to be reminded to check out this new restaurant, or that your friends are meeting nearby. Foursquare really needs to get this right, because if the notifications aren't contextual, personalized and helpful, this could be the most annoying app feature I've ever heard of.

As we continue to evolve in the information overload space, it puts the onus on apps/mobile features to really curate content, as opposed to just blasting out whatever the last advertiser told them to.

Check out more detail here: http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/12/foursquar-radar/#comment-box

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Facebook Analytics

http://www.brandingpersonality.com/new-facebook-analytics-tool/

Facebooks new analytics tool, "What people are talking about" is a great way to see how well your fan page is doing. The tool tracks metrics such as number of wall posts, likes, sharing things from the page, answering questions on a page, mentioning your page, and checking out your page. The tool also reports two new metrics that have never been tracked before - "Friends of Fans" which is exactly what it sounds like and "Weekly Total Reach", which reports how many people on facebook have referenced the page in any way, how many other pages have mentioned it and how many things on your page have gone viral.

The tool rolls up all of these metrics into a simple "What people are talking about" score which gives you an overall score on how well your page is doing.


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