Consumers Don’t Trust Mobile Marketing…Yet.

18 Jul

A recent online study by TRUSTe, a privacy management and solutions provider, reveals that consumers do not really trust mobile marketing.

The 2012 U.S. Online and Mobile Privacy Perceptions Report surveyed over 2,000 American adult smart phone users were polled. The participants were unbiased, mainstream consumers not employed in advertising or marketing capacities. One of the most interesting results of the study is the number of end-consumers aware of behavioral targeting now versus year ago during a similar survey. Over 70% of them did not like it and did not want to be a part of it.

When downloading apps and other mobile applications, consumers are skeptical about sharing personal data, partly because they are so attached to their phones. In this study, 20-30% of the consumers in this study take their phones to bed with them, and location targeting is a major concern among mobile users.  Since the mobile device goes with consumers everywhere, they do not want to be tracked and targeted that way.

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Despite overwhelming wariness when a brand targets via mobile, consumers were given more information as to exactly what data was being disclosed and how it would be used by mobile marketers—for example, to provide relevant offers and personalized experiences—roughly 20 to 30% became more comfortable with the technology.

Building trust with a consumer is of the utmost importance, so marketers need to be upfront with consumers if they want to establish that trust. For starters, it is important to provide a privacy policy that consumers will actually read – a short, basic on that is simple and not just a cut and paste of your general online privacy policy. Nobody wants to read those on a mobile device!  

In general, people/consumers love mobile, but they want to feel comfortable, so the key is to provide the choice of consent so that they feel they are in control.

Guy Kawasaki’s Tips for Building Social Media Influence

15 Jul

A few weeks ago, I attended a webinar for work that ended up being much more beneficial than I expected. So I want to share some tips that are sure to either solidify your social media marketing instincts or enlighten you. At his June 26th Vocus webinar, Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s former chief evangelist, presented 10 principles for building social media influence from his recently-published book APE. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have made marketing to large audiences easier, Guy says – as long as you can stand out as an influential voice.

Here are Guy’s tips for building social media influence:

1. Start yesterday. If you wait for the launch of your company or a product to start using social media, you are too late. It is better to have established a reputation and relationships before launching a company or product because people can trust you and know what you have to offer.

2. Find the right social network for you. Each social media platform has strengths and weaknesses. Here’s how Guy breaks down how people use the most popular social networks: Use ones that help you achieve your goals.
Facebook – Connect with people you already know and share personal things.
Twitter – Blast out personal perceptions, such as a comment about the long line at Starbucks. Not much integration of pictures and video.
Google+ – Meet new people who share your passions.
Pinterest – Curate interesting things. Not suited for every industry.
LinkedIn – Promote yourself for job-finding purposes and business development. Also good for content development.
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3. Make a great profile. Guy compared a social media profile to the website Hot or Not, where people glance at a snapshot of a person and judge their attractiveness. To be more appealing, delete your default avatar and use a high-quality headshot. Be wary of having too much in the picture. Tell your story in the background images, while observing the rule of thirds. The bottom of your profile is acts as a social media resume where people can see who you engage and what you’re interested in.

4. Curate and link. Producing high-quality content on a regular basis is difficult. Instead of stressing about writing or producing something new, create value by sharing other people’s interesting content.

5. Cheat! Find and share stories that are already trending or are on the verge of trending. But determine why the source posted it. For example, if they posted it to get more followers, reshare it – or if the aim is to get views for a video, embed it onto your blog.

6. Restrain yourself. A marketer’s social media goal should be to share good content, not only to do self-promotion. Guy uses the NPR as a model for how to provide content. NPR provides so much valuable information that when it comes time for them to promote its fundraiser, people will send money or at least tolerate the interruption. Guy recommended doing self-promotion once in 20 posts.

7. Add bling. Add eye-catching images and video to your post. Ensure that the pictures and the video appear big enough in your posts. If you have to, take the time to resize it. “(The messages) without bling, the ones without pictures or video, aren’t going to get nearly as much attention,” Guy says.

8. Respond! Even if you provide bling, you still must engage people. Often brands want to promote, but they don’t want to engage. When you post, people will watch to see if you engage your followers or if you are just doing one-way blasts. Respond – even if it is simply a “thanks!” it encourages follow up and more posts.

9. Stay positive or stay silent. Though it is always better to take the high road, Guy says he sometimes has a tough time with this piece of advice. If engaged in a tense social media exchange, remember amateur boxing. After three rounds, the fight ends. For example, you post, someone attacks, you respond and that’s it. Even if you are 100 percent correct and outline your ideas properly, your reputation could take a hit, and it is not worth it.

10. Repeat good stuff. When it comes to Twitter, feel free to repost something several times. Guy says he often quadruples his tweets, sending them every eight hours, up to four times. Having so many of the same tweets is hardly a disruption because of the ephemeral nature of the medium. However, posting it four times gives Guy the ability to reach a wider audience. An easy way to tell if you have repeated too much? Monitor the engagement of the tweet. If the number of retweets and clicks remains steady each time, you’re good. If it drops off, you probably tweeted it too much.

Usher & Samsung Smart TV Fight in the Street

4 Jul

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Popular R&B singer, Usher, has a new song that is being promoted in conjunction with Samsung new product, Samsung Smart TV in as short film that debuted Friday, June 14, 2013. The short film garnered 14 million views last week when it debuted online. It has already gained another seven million views this week, bringing the total views to 21 million views. The film has also inspired 14,752 Facebook shares and 1,300 comments (The Drum, 2013).

The 2:28 minute film promotes not only Usher’s song, but also Samsung’s Smart TV in a not-so-subtle collaboration of entertaining fight scenes and a plot that quickly draws viewers in to watch. The video features two Ushers in a face-off, as “down-to-earth” Usher seeks revenge against his “celebrity” alter ego after fame destroys his relationship, and resembles a movie more than a traditional advertisement. With moves that seem to be inspired by the movie The Matrix, fight scenes between the two Usher alter-ego’s ensue, ultimately ending in Usher reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend. With a cliffhanger ending, consumers are left undoubtedly hoping for a part two to go viral soon. While there is speculation that Samsung and Usher plan to issue subsequent webisodes on YouTube to keep the momentum going, it seems that it will be difficult to top the success of this short marketing film. Only time will tell if Samsung releases a sequel or more.

From a marketing standpoint, the short film is by-the-book excellent. The film quickly sparks viewers’ interest with a surprise fight scene, includes conflicting characters and has filmatic qualities with structure. While the video tells the story of Usher’s song it also cleverly incorporates the Smart TV’s unique “Motion Control” technology (The Drum, 2013). For example, the film starts with Usher looking at photos of himself and his ex on the Smart TV monitor, using the motion controls to zoom in. And later, viewers watching live news reports of the Usher battle use the different innovative functions of the TV like alerting the volume and navigating the menu through motions. Even some of the Usher fight moves were choreographed to be moves that consumers can also use on their Samsung Smart TVs.

Films that subtly sell products have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among celebrity joint ventures, in which both the celebrity and the product both benefit. This is an example of how traditional marketing rules are changing. Celebrities and corporations are teaming up to make the most of advertising budgets and capitalize on mutually beneficial relationships. By tying two big names together, less money is needed to create a buzz and spread news about something new. I don’t think there is any unethical about it. Consumers should understand that there really isn’t anything these days without a hidden agenda or marketing message behind it.

Lowe’s Reaches Out to Women with Creative Blogger Network

1 Jul

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These days, my husband and I spend more Saturday mornings at Lowe’s than not. It’s amusing to me because as a child, I absolutely dreaded going to Lowe’s with my dad. But somehow, he always guilted one of my sisters or me into going with him, giving us a line that went something like this: “Everyone always loves going to the mall or grocery store with Mom. How come no one wants to hang out with Dad at Lowe’s?” The man had three daughters – what did he expect? Poor guy. I digress, but the point of my story is that as a new homeowner, I now love going to Lowe’s. I consistently choose it over Home Depot, mostly because of the excellent customer service I receive, but recently, because of all the cool creative options they offer online, especially Lowe’s Creative Ideas.
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My favorite piece of Lowe’s sustaining marketing campaign is the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Creators & Influencers blogger network.. It works like this: Lowe’s (or its social media agency on its behalf) identified 25 bloggers that meet content and point-of-view criteria. These bloggers are compensated with a gift card each quarter and, in return, publish their project ideas and how-tos and link back to Lowe’s. The blogger network is a social media extension of Lowe’s free quarterly magazine, which is the company’s content marketing tool. The exciting thing about this network is that it is geared almost completely toward females. Lowe’s is no longer someplace where we should feel intimidated!
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Check out this fantastic female targeted TV spot for Lowe’s Creative Ideas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK6w1_D1GdE

While Lowe’s may be shopped by the full spectrum – contractors to DIYers – this area appears to target confident women who tackle their own projects around the house. This blogger network is comprised of 25 women who dream up their own projects and make them happen. Out of the 25 bloggers it appears that five Lowe’s Creators target Latina DIYers.

A blogger network not only extends the reach of the host brand, but personalizes the experience for the user. What’s special about this effort from Lowe’s is that it is beyond the network of blogs sharing traffic, the group is creating content for the Lowe’s content marketing effort. Content marketing is “the creation of storytelling material that attracts readers, viewers and listeners to a brand.” It is a mutually beneficial relationship for Lowe’s and each blogger. This is a smart strategy for Lowe’s for at least these reasons:

1. People trust other people – we tend to trust other people (word of mouth) over traditional advertising

2. Promotes authenticity – if another individual can do it, I can do it.

3. A personal approach – consumers find a blogger they identify with by design style, lifestyle or another variable and this lends a one-to-one relationship vs. one-to-mass

4. All roads lead to Lowe’s – bloggers use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc to drive their own traffic and all of these ultimately lead to Lowe’s; #lowescreator is the thread

This social media tactic – a blogger network – elevates Lowe’s traditional branding tactics because it layers on the personal part of doing projects. Sure, Lowe’s can be the most convenient place to buy materials or it can be the most cost effective – those are the basic expectations. But, what brand inspires me and propels me to take action on my never-ending to do list? What brand empowers me with the confidence and know how to complete a project? Those are the consumer desires that Lowe’s satisfies by employing socially recognized individuals. Using social media as the power to build one-to-one relationships, these 25 bloggers lend personality to a big, corporate brand.

Hey Dad – I will go to Lowe’s with you any time you want to… guilt trip no longer necessary. Love ya, Bud. 😉
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“Unofficial” Brand Blog vs. Official… Complimentary or Competition?

27 Jun

I don’t know about you, but I love me some Tar-jay. Going to Target takes up a great deal of my personal time – and budget. I often find myself searching for reasons to go to Target, and reasons to stay in the store longer. I have always been aware of my slight obsession with the big red bull’s eye, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered just how many other women have the same affliction. A simple Google search of Target will pull up countless personal blogs dedicated to the store, but one in particular stands out and shares remarkable similiarities to the official Target blog.
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Target Addict is the unofficial blog for Target, covering all things Target including the latest in store products like clothing, to shoes, makeup and home goods. The Target Addict blog capitalizes on posting posts links to current Target promotions and even includes links to coupons and internet deals, serving as a one-stop shop for Target consumers. Target Addict highlights the newest and most exciting offerings at Target, making it easier for Target shoppers to see the best and most exciting products the company has to offer.

The running theme of the Target Addict blog appeals to Target’s number one shopper demographic, women age 20-40. Blog posts focus on product, clothing, and style reviews. The Target addict blog compares Target brand merchandise to that of more expensive designer brand products, slanting content in a way that encourages shoppers to buy at Target instead. The author of the Target Addict blog provides links for consumers to share her blog posts with their own communities and conducts Target product giveaways for followers of her blog. She is an admitted Target addict, claiming that her obsession is about the Target lifestyle, not just Target products.

The Target Addict blog is quite similar to the official Target Style blog, “On the Dot,” in content. Both have product reviews and promotions of current items in-store and online. However, it is obvious by looking at the official Target “On the Dot” Style blog and the unofficial Target Addict blog is that the official is more design based and professionally done with pure Target branding elements. The official blog also incorporates professional opinions from the corresponding industry while the unofficial blog relies on providing recommendations and feedback from a strictly consumer standpoint. The unofficial blog also seems less professional and more pieced together without a cohesive branding element besides simply including the bright Target red.

Here is a recent post from the Target Addict blog regarding a new Target organic grocery brand:
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This additional information about the new organic grocery brand offered at Target is not something Target or the official Target blog makes available to consumers. Target Addict explains to consumers that Target has three separate grocery brands that are meant to appeal to separate types of shoppers and explains what makes the products organic versus traditional. This is the kind of information consumers would like to know, and this is how the Target Addict adds value to the Target brand. While the official Target blog builds upon brand equity and imaging, the unofficial blog can tailor messages specifically to consumers while also building brand trust in a friendly and down to earth method.

The information from the Target Addict blog is what consumers truly think about the products sold at Target and adds a human element to the brand. I think both the official and unofficial blogs add value to the Target brand and complement one another well. It would be excellent if the official Target blog could somehow combine the two and make one super-Target blog, incorporating consumer and branded content at once.

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As marketers, we know that our technological world

11 Jun

As marketers, we know that our technological world is changing more quickly than anyone could have expected, and it can be increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest and most impactful industry opportunities to promote our businesses. Keeping up with the most relevant ways to reach our target markets is an increasingly integral part of any business. And as people’s thirst for information becomes more instantaneous, it becomes increasingly important for marketers to take note of, and capitalize on, emerging and new media trends. The web, and notably social media, has opened the door to countless new ways to tweak the craft of marketing, and now the most important part of marketing seems to be knowing how each method works and if it is the right one for a particular situation, product or place. 

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It is a job in and of itself to keep up with emerging media methods, as it is to participate in the craft of marketing and communications. I am hoping that this blog will put me in touch with fellow marketers in search of the next big thing in media – and that we can share war stories, information and advice – to make our double jobs just a little bit easier.  The thrill is in the search and discovery of the seemingly endlessly emerging new media.   Here’s to a thrilling summer!