It’s a Mobile World

Mobile marketing is the act of targeting customers through their mobile devices. This is an important channel for marketers to pursue because mobile usage has recently surpassed desktop usage. Consumers currently use their smartphones to do research: they’re “show-rooming” at department stores to compare prices and they’re looking up local businesses while they’re on the go. Everything is being done in real time to yield the best money and time saving opportunities. Considering the importance consumers place on their mobile devices, marketers should see the value in utilizing this channel to enhance brand awareness and grow their market share.

Mobile is becoming one of the most direct and easiest ways to reach out to consumers. The majority of smartphone users are within reach of their devices 24/7. With the surge of mobile usage, marketers have the opportunity to appeal to broader audiences in a more cost effective manner. Mobile marketing can also help companies gain new customers, get existing buyers to return more often, and improve profit margins. It is a good channel that has the power to differentiate brands and improve ROI (return on investment). Overall, mobile offers marketers a way to simplify mass communication to a broader audience than traditional marketing channels.

There are some downsides to using mobile marketing. The biggest issue facing marketers is privacy issues. Marketers need to make sure that they obtain consent to advertise (email, SMS, etc.) to consumers as well as logging their stats. How often and when should marketers contact consumers? These questions should be carefully evaluated on the mobile platform because “spamming” people can develop negative sentiments towards a brand. Also, mobile can be a hard channel to make user friendly. Navigating on smaller screens can be a headache for some consumers. Marketers need to make sure to go the extra mile to make their mobile sites friendly for all devices. Even though there are some hoops to jump through, the pros of mobile marketing far outweigh the cons.

http://www.redbox.com/

An example of a business doing a successful job with their mobile marketing is Redbox. Their red kiosk boxes provide movie rentals to consumers at various locations (generally local supermarkets and fast-food restaurants). Redbox runs a couple campaigns but they do a good job with mobile SMS. The company asks consumers to opt-in to receive text messages from them. After accepting, Redbox sends personalized SMS messages to users. The information shared varies from new releases to promotional offers. Redbox also attempts to gain an idea about their customer base by requesting demographic information (asking for time zone, zip code, etc.). The company can track customer interaction by logging the usage of promotional codes. Redbox also has an email club, however, the SMS campaign gives customers an immediate call to action, which encourages customers to spend more money and rent more often. SMS messaging is a great way to target all mobile consumers, not just those with smartphones. Because of this, I think that any company looking to improve their marketing ROI should experiment with an SMS mobile campaign.

Resources:

http://mobiledevices.about.com/od/additionalresources/a/Advantages-And-Disadvantages-Of-Mobile-Marketing.htm

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/peteschauer/2015-08-09/importance-mobile-marketing-2015-infographic

http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2012/01/23/what-is-mobile-marketing/

From Sending Tweets to Posting Loops: Enhance Your Marketing Strategy with Twitter, Vine and Periscope

Twitter can be a great marketing tool for businesses by enhancing their SEO, improving conversion rates, and developing brand awareness. The social media site fosters rapid fire, concise information sharing, making it an easy way to interact with a broad variety of people. The more profiles and websites a business is on, their SEO improves. Businesses can use Twitter to communicate with their clients. It is a valuable tool that can enhance customer service because brands can monitor what people are saying about them as well as ward off any negative brand awareness. Negative experiences with products or services can be addressed on Twitter and the two parties can work towards a solution. Lastly, Twitter proves to be a great place to create buzz about a brand and grow its awareness. Because of the vast user base, the site promotes relationships. If your business wants to gain new leads, a Twitter account can help earn some acknowledgement and develop potential sales. Overall, if your business isn’t on Twitter, you’re missing out on a valuable social media channel that has expansive possibilities.

When maintaining a Twitter account for your business, it is important to use a casual, friendly tone in all tweets and not just give information. The best Twitter accounts are about people, not organizations. They become popular by providing excellent customer service as well as sharing interesting articles and links. Target has a great Twitter account. They are actively posting fun links and sharing current promotions. Music fans can rejoice because Target pairs up with a lot of artists to provide customers with exclusive content. Recently, Target partnered with One Direction and offered a limited edition cover of their latest album. The band tweeted to followers “US! Head to @Target to grab your limited edition covers of the boys & complete your collection! ..then show you did!” This is a great way to collaborate and engage customers on a new level.

Visit Target’s Twitter Account Here

In addition to using Twitter to develop their brand awareness; they use their Twitter account to foster customer relations by giving followers an inside look at special releases and they go a step further by re-tweeting and sharing real consumer photos and hash tags. On Target’s Twitter homepage, their bio includes a direct way to contact them with guest service questions. This shows that they truly care about their consumers and they want to hear feedback and concerns. With all of the holiday shopping going on, they urged followers to tweet photos of their Black Friday trips and hashtag #TargetHaul and #BlackFriday.

The only pitfall of Target’s Twitter strategy is that they seem to be trying to sell products a little too much in their feed. I’m aware that they post these things to attract people to their store for exclusive products and savings, but Target is so much more than just a department store. They give money to schools and non-profits all the time. Target often donates product or gift certificates to guests on Ellen DeGeneres show so why not bring those aspects to the Twitter feed? I would enjoy seeing how they give back to the community in 140 characters or less. I think that they could easily share some highlights of their involvement and truly show the world that they truly care about people, not just products and sales.

Another growing social media platform is Vine, a 6 second video sharing website. It is a rapidly growing network that has a young demographic (most users are 13 to 25 years old). Vine can be used by marketers to share unique content with consumers. By posting short, creative DIY videos about their products they can gain potential customers and create more awareness about their brand. Marketers can also focus on developing “behind the scenes” clips to show the public what their business is really about.

AirBNB is doing a great job using Vine to share the core beliefs of their company. They love travel and they want to help people get out there and see the world. AirBNB developed a four-minute film composed of various six-second videos that was actually featured in the 2013 Sundance Festival. Some of the clips were submitted from real AirBNB users.

Visit AirBNB’s Vine Account Here

The newest social media platform is Periscope. It acts like a “live TV station” allowing users to broadcast content anywhere in the entire world on a live stream to others. With the current direction of social media, video is king. This fast growing format is a great place for marketers to share new product releases as well as host live Q&A sessions. Periscope is very new but it has already proved itself to be an invaluable asset to broadcast information to prospects and customers. Quora, an answer generating website, shares some great examples of businesses that are currently using Periscope to their advantage. They mention that Madden, a video games series, is using behind the scenes clips of sports players and sharing them with fans via Periscope. This is a really smart business move for the video game company because it shows that they really care about the players and want to make their product more interactive. Their periscope account shows an authentic approach to their marketing efforts and is sure to draw more awareness for their brand.

Resources:

http://www.cio.com/article/2380667/twitter/14-ways-to-use-twitter-to-market-your-business.html

http://www.fastcompany.com/3019652/dialed/6-of-the-most-creative-clever-uses-of-vine-in-marketing

http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2015/12/05/what-is-periscope-and-how-can-you-use-it-for-business-video-streaming/2/

https://www.quora.com/What-companies-and-brands-are-using-Periscope-well

 

 

 

 

REI: More than just a big box store

I am a huge fan of REI. In general, I think that the business has a great mindset; they want to make getting outdoors fun and easy for people. Their employees are very knowledgeable and they have a great return policy, what more is there to love? Their Facebook page proves to be a valuable asset to the business. Not only does the business maintain open lines of communications with users, but their page shows a lot of valuable information to potential customers. Using GPS technology, REI’s Facebook page displays the closest locations as well as a 1-800 number and a link to their website. The content is very rich and powerful. Their wall is full of beautiful photos from REI as well as user contributions.

The most recent promotion that REI ran wasn’t a campaign to sell anything to customers. In fact, it was the complete opposite. This Thanksgiving, REI did the unthinkable-they closed all of their stores on Black Friday and paid their employees to get outside. They welcomed the public to do the same and developed a following with the hashtag #optoutside. Their Facebook page shows great contributions from customers from the adventures on Black Friday. By choosing to opt outside this past week, REI showed that a love of the outdoors is what really matters, not fanatical shopping trips to spend, spend, spend. I think that this campaign was iconic and will hopefully continue in years to come.

Visit REI on Facebook

My favorite Instagram account that I am following is Osprey Packs. They are the best because they show great content and actually re-post user content. They aren’t directly trying to sell to their followers-they simply post photos that focus on the beauty found in nature and reflect on their love for the outdoors. It is really amazing to see some of the remote images captured. What is even cooler, is that I know that the people in those photos got to those breathtaking locations with the help of the Osprey product line. Again, not every post has their product but it is nice to know that they stand behind getting outside and exploring.

They have a link on their Instagram page that routes users to a Chacos contest “The more The merrier.” It is great to see these businesses support each-other as well as the love of the outdoors.

Click here to view Osprey’s Instagram Page

Of all the emerging social networking sites, I think that marketers should pay close attention to Instagram and the potential it provides via their paid advertisements. In its early creation, Instagram only allowed certain companies to advertise with them. Over time, it has grown and more and more companies are hopping on the bandwagon. What is great about advertising with Instagram is that the post has a truly native feel. It is seamlessly integrated into a user’s feed but the only differing quality is that instead of a time stamp, the ads read “sponsored.” As a user of Instagram, I find that these ads spice up my feed and generate more potential interests. As a marketer, I think that this is a great addition to a growing social networking site and I hope to see more companies successfully utilizing it.

Social Media Policies and Disclosures: How to Save Your Company in Today’s Online Society

In today’s mobile driven society, it is critical for companies to consider implementing a social media policy. Why? It’s important because employee actions made online reflect the business they work for regardless of the post content. Whether it’s a tweet made off the clock about how much their job sucks or an inappropriate Instagram post while on the clock, an employee’s social network posts can have negative repercussions for their employer. According to an article on WERSM (we are social media), “16% of employees admit to posting negative things about their company on social media.”[i] This may seem like an insignificant number but when you consider that over 90% of people trust peer recommendations, this small percentage can lead to a negative company image. Companies should have a social media policy because it can help promote ethical behavior in the workplace as well as after-hours.

A concrete example of how employee social media posts can negatively affect your business can be seen by the 2009 Domino’s Pizza video made by some of its workers. The viral video displayed a couple workers in the Domino’s kitchen performing grotesque, unsanitary actions on food items before putting them under the food lamp for delivery. Even though the employees claimed that it was a prank and the contaminated food was never served to customers, the restaurant was forced to close down by the Health Department until it could meet proper sanitary requirements. Not only did this video reflect poorly on the company and cause revenues to slip by 1 to 2 percent that quarter, but the employees faced severe charges and lost their jobs. It was a lose-lose situation that could have been avoided if the employees had a clear understanding of what was expected of them on social media and if they were provided with other outlets to voice their feelings. It is also important to have a policy in effect to legally handle issues if they arise.

Even though The National Labor Relations Act grants all employees the right to discuss their working conditions, this doesn’t mean that employees have free reign over their social media content. As an employer, a social media policy should be gives employees a clear understanding of what they can and cannot share online. It should also clearly define illegal activity such as trademark and copyright infringement.[ii] In order to hold employees responsible for their online posts, social media policies should also include a section that describes the consequences of negative social media behavior as well as how to maintain open lines of communication online. A social media policy should reflect the company’s values and how they want to be viewed by the world. It should be presented to employees in a down-to-earth manner so that they can understand how their actions can affect the company. Educating employees on how they should act on social media has more benefits than just avoiding the subject. It’s like having Internet insurance policy for your company- your coverage might not be enough but what is important is that you have it. At the end of the day, people will post whatever they want to social media but at least having a social media policy can potentially sway them to shy away from negative comments relating to your company.

In my opinion, the single biggest legal issue impacting social media marketers today concerns disclosures. The Federal Trade Commission mandates that all forms of advertising must include accurate product descriptions and that their promotions must be honest. This means that marketers “need to disclose any bias on their promotional materials.”[iii] Also, it is a deceptive business practice to “buy” social media fans and followers.[iv] Paid endorsement also tends to be a little grey when considering sponsored athletes, bloggers, vloggers, etc. According to FTC guidelines, disclosures have to be made clear and conspicuous when someone is receiving product or support from a business. If an individual is getting paid to endorse a product, there must be clear disclosure so that readers understand the business relationship. Contests and sweepstakes rules also require disclosure. A specific example regarding disclosures is the FTC and Deutsch L.A. settlement that concerned the agency’s illegal promotion of PlayStation Vita. Basically, they failed to disclose a bias with their Twitter hashtag #GameChanger and encouraged their employees and public to tweet positive statements about the hand-held gaming device. This was a violation of the FTC’s disclosure policy as the brand failed to have a full disclosure about their intentions on the social media platform, Twitter. Marketers can learn from this discrepancy and make sure that any marketing promotion involving a third party has clear disclosure. Hashtags as short as #client, #ad, or #sponsored can save marketers a lot of steam from the FTC.[v] Overall, when in doubt, use a disclosure.

[i] Villy. “How Negative Social Media Comments Affect Your Employer” 17 Nov 2014. Accessed 21 Nov 2015 <http://wersm.com/how-negative-social-media-comments-affect-your-employer/&gt;.

[ii] Akitunde, Anthonia. “Employees Gone Wild: 8 Reasons You Need A Social Media Policy TODAY” 15 Aug 2013. Accessed 21 Nov 2015 <https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/employee-social-media-policy/&gt;.

[iii] Castillo, Michelle. “FTC: No, Agencies Can’t Ask Staffers to Casually Tweet Nice Things About Clients” 4 Dec 2014. Accessed 21Nov 2015. <http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/ftc-no-agencies-cant-ask-staffers-casually-tweet-nice-things-about-clients-161755&gt;.

[iv] Manna, Joseph. “Tips to Avoid Legal Issues in Social Media.” Accessed 21 Nov 2015 <http://www.infusionsoft.com/blog/tips-avoid-legal-issues-social-media&gt;.

[v] Beck, Martin. “FTC Puts Social Media Marketers On Notice With Updated Disclosure Guidelines” 12 Jun 2015. Accessed 21 Nov 2015 <http://marketingland.com/ftc-puts-social-media-marketers-on-notice-with-updated-disclosure-guidelines-132017&gt;.

#LikeAGirl Phenomenon

Always, a feminine products brand from the Procter & Gamble Family, ran a social media campaign to change society’s gender stereotypes. According to a survey, 72 percent of girls feel that they are limited by societal expectations. The campaign was developed to break these negative ideas about being a girl and develop confidence in females everywhere, especially those on the verge of puberty.

The first installment of the #LikeAGirl campaign was launched on YouTube. This video achieved over 85 million global views from more than 150 countries. Six months later, the company aired a 60 second version of the video during the Super Bowl. According to CNN, this championship game attracted an average of 114.4 million viewers, which provided a record-breaking audience for the ”Like a Girl” ad. The advertisement also broke another norm; it was the first time that a feminine care product was advertised during the Super Bowl. It spurred a hash-tag #LikeAGirl that saw tremendous response. By utilizing both traditional marketing and social marketing, Always created a campaign that resonated with women everywhere. In fact, it was deemed the top digital campaign of the Super Bowl based on an Adobe ranking system of social network mentions.

The creative strategy behind the video is marvelous. Documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield joined Always to produce the “Like a Girl” ad. Throughout the brief commercial, she asks individuals to perform a task (run like a girl, fight like a girl, throw like a girl). How the older generation displays these activities differs drastically compared to the young girls who are asked the same thing. Whereas the post-pubescent people are shown tossing their hair and light-heartedly committing to tasks, the young girls do the complete opposite. They run at full force, aggressively throw punches, and use all of the strength in their tiny bodies to toss an imaginary ball. Throughout the short ad your heart melts. You resonate with the older generation and start to ask yourself when you learned this behavior. When did “being a girl” translate to “half-assing” activities? When did it become an insult? Most importantly, why do we accept this derogatory language?

As a marketer, I would deem this campaign as the best of social media because it received such a huge following. It was able to show heart and encourage change for the good of society. I think that this is what most marketers strive for but they often fall short. Thanks to Always, women around the world now feel empowered. Not only did the campaign boost the confidence of females, but two out of three men that have watched the “Like a Girl” video report that they will reconsider using the phrase as an insult. This campaign was successful because it showed that everyone has the power to break negative views. Regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age, every individual can change perceptions and this was documented by the countless social posts using #LikeAGirl.

References:

http://www.dandad.org/en/case-study-always-likeagirl/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/03/why-like-a-girl-is-so-important_n_6598970.html

http://www.people.com/article/like-a-girl-always-ad-unstoppable

http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/02/media/super-bowl-ratings/

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-girls-are-unstoppable-next-phase-always-girl-campaign-165784

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/02/always-super-bowl-ad_n_6598328.html

Always has released a new video to add to their campaign. It plays off of the previous idea of breaking negative female perceptions. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhB3l1gCz2E