Thursday, April 29, 2010

Expect 2 Connect - its Social Media, Right?

We now have "Like" buttons every where we visit.  People have social icons on their websites, blogs and social media sites.  Brian Solis unveiled his latest brilliance, "Engage" which as he describes is digital Darwinism.

But wait, what is missing?

The Connection!

People have these social icons everywhere which means "Connect with me" but fail to make the connection.  I have experienced this lately with several people that I read their blog, tweets or LinkedIn post and felt that it would be a good connection (because they have these icons on their site with a follow me, connect with me, ect.) only to have them, not respond at all, "don't know you" (oh, you will!) or send an email saying, "remind me how I know you" - you don't yet, isn't this why you have your "connect with me" social icons on your sites?

The tools are simple - Connect with Me - the next step is to Engage with others.  Yes, I know, the word Engage is the buzz word of the moment for Social Media BUT this is the most important part of the Social Conversation.  How you Engage will be the next post.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Strategies are useless without tactics & tools that meet the demographics

From center of Media Research

Social Networking

The percentage of Americans age 12 and older who have a profile on one or more social networking Web sites has reached 48% of the population in 2010, double the level from two years ago.  The new study reveals that consumer use of social networking sites is not just a youth phenomenon. Personal profile pages are maintained by:

* 78% of teens
* 77% of 18 to 24s
* 65% of 25 to 34s
* 51% 35 to 44s
The study also shows that 30% of Americans age 12 and older, who have a profile on at least one social networking Web site, use those sites "several times a day" compared with only 18% one year ago.
For the first time, more Americans say the Internet is "most essential" to their lives when given a choice along with television, radio, and newspapers;

* 42% chose the Internet as "most essential"
* 37% select television
* 14% choose radio
* 5% said newspapers
While television still leads among those over the age of 45, Internet dominates among younger persons age 12 to 44.

45% of mobile phone owners age 12 and older text multiple times a day. Other segments texting several times a day:
* 75% of teens
* 76% of persons age 18 to 24
* 63% of 25 to 34s
* 42% of 35 to 44s
* 37% of 45 to 54s

Thursday, April 15, 2010

SoBe: Hit or Miss with new Marketing Strategy

What do you think: Hit or Miss

The article from AdAge will provide the background on SoBe's new strategic marketing approach. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't be afraid, Let them Speak.

I was first going to title this post, "Do you hear what I hear", but went with the other one because this is what I hear from clients, customers and people in general. One of the main reasons the internet works and was created, is for communication between people! Pure, simple and very effective.

Communication (as defined)

1 : an act or instance of transmitting

2 a : information communicated b : a verbal or written message

3 a : a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior ; also : exchange of information b : personal rapport

As the internet developed and businesses figured out that it was a good platform to inform and sale, they brought with them the same business model of corporate MARCOM that has worked (to a degree) for many years. A one-way model of communication talking at people and utilizing interruption marketing techniques does not work. If you read again the definition of communication there is a disconnect between the definition and business implementation.

In a recent article published by Adage (written by Freddie Laker) he discussed 11 predictions for what Social Media look like in 2012. Most notable was that of how Social Media will require reduced acceptability of privacy concerns (1), Search engines will be different with real time search (3) and Ratings Everywhere (7) businesses will need to accept open communication from consumers on their sites.

Wow, can this all be true. Do we really have to communicate and respond to our customers for all to see? YES!!!!

Now let’s see the new model of Communication:

The new model and most important aspect is the "feedback" to the sender. It is a circular process and one that will be viewed by all. Those companies that do not have this option will run the risk of being viewed as un-authentic and having something to hide. Even our Federal Government will now allow for commentary with a more lenient Social Media policy.

Keys for Social Media success:

• Do not run and do not hide

• Create user friendly accessibility to communicate (via Website & social media platforms)

• Incorporate Google Alerts

• Develop a social media policy

• Engage with your customers - you may actually like them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Experiential Marketing for the Homeless

This was a picture sent from a friend of ours that we had to share because it emulates the essentials of what a true experiential marketing program should contain.
  • Engagement
  • Creativity
  • User experience
  • Natural environmental factors
  • Remembrance
  • Viral
  • Ease of participation
This was one of the most creative experiential marketing examples I have ever seen.  Authentic and real, this man should be hired as a Creative Director.

Experiential Marketing lesson by Forever 21

As Forever 21 continues to rocket into the 21st century, competitors are undoubtedly trying to decode the fast-fashion chain's successful formula.  Low prices? Trendy merchandise that cycles in and out of stores on a daily basis? Super-size stores modeled after the 86,000-square-foot location that recently opened in Cerritos? see image.

Or the fact that all eight of Forever 21's collections are merchandised in separate departments, each with its own visuals. Every current spring trend is covered — tribal ($11.50 belted zigzag tunics), military ($22.80 cropped khaki cargo jackets), florals ($29 baby-floral print lace-up booties) and creative knits ($27.80 crochet dresses).  There's fresh new merchandise every day!

"Forever 21 offers great, trendy merchandise at low prices, and it turns very quickly," said Michael Stone, president and chief executive of brand licensing and consulting firm Beanstalk Group in New York. "The customer likes shopping there more than Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's because of the experience. It's brightly lit, there's merchandise all over, there's a hip and cool aura."

Forever 21 largely bypasses old media, reaching out to customers and fashion bloggers directly launching a Facebook page (now at 747,000 followers), a Twitter feed (73,000 followers) and a blog, the Skinny, aimed at the Teen Vogue set. 

Chief Marketer Linda Chang, states that, "I love it when people come out of our stores being so happy," Linda said. "You go into some places and buy one item, and come out thinking, ‘Should I have gotten that?' But our customers don't have to feel that way. They can spend $100 and get a ton of cute things. Regardless of what the press says, it's the customers who matter. If they are excited, then we are doing something right."

5 Lessons from Forever 21
  1. All about Customer Experience
  2. Constantly changing environment-mechandise, display, lighting...
  3. Create an Atmosphere that represents your Target Market
  4. Incorporate Social Media to continue the experience.
  5. Clearly defined Brand Image-so customers know who you are instantly.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Marketing Budgets continue to shift to Digital

Marketing dynamics have changed dramatically in the last few years with more people spending time online researching, watching videos, playing games and interacting via social media channels.  In order to not avoid potential and current customers, marketers must learn how to be social (actually communicate) in the digital channel. 

Econsultancy and ExactTarget released a new report recently that states digital marketing will account for 24% of overall marketing spend this year, and 28% of firms are shifting at least some of their overall marketing budgets from traditional to digital channels.

The research was based on a survey of more than 1,000 companies around the world, though the majority were based in the US (45%) or UK (33%). Some key findings include:
* Just under half (46%) of companies say they are planning to increase their overall marketing budget, and a further 42% say they are planning to keep this budget the same as it was in 2009. Only 13% say they are planning to decrease overall marketing budget.

* 64% plan to increase budgets for search engine optimization, and 51% plan to increase budgets for paid search marketing.

* 70% are planning to increase their budgets for off-site social media such as Facebook and Twitter, despite admitting to being “poor” at measuring social media ROI.

* Budget shifts will hurt traditional media spending. Just 17% say they are increasing their print media budgets, compared to 41% who are decreasing spending.
           The most revealing question on the
                                        Digital Shift

What extent company’s marketing and advertising rely on traditional (offline) media versus digital marketing?

          7% Very much focused on Traditional Media & Marketing
        30%  Manly Traditional, some Digital
        22% Equal focus on Traditional & Digital
        25% Many Digital, some Traditional
        16% Very much focused on Digital

According to company respondents, the biggest barrier to digital marketing investment is restricted budget for all types of marketing, cited as a factor by 40% of company respondents. But according to agency respondents, lack of understanding about digital is the biggest impediment. Just under half of supply-side respondents cite this as the biggest problem.

Again, it all depends on your products or services.  I will repeat this forever, there is No one marketing solution for all industries or even businesses in within the same industry.  Don't get me wrong, Digital is great - you can track, interact in real time, meet people you may never had the opportunity to meet and the list goes on, BUT, there are also good reasons to use traditional marketing tools.