Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
By Ben Laube
Developing and representing your brand effectively on social media is one of the most important tasks to consider when jumping into social media marketing. By doing so, you bring brand awareness and cohesiveness to your audience to build familiarity and trust.
Representing your brand on social media is fairly simple as long as your business has its ideals and image secured. On multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you’re able to upload cover photos. It’s important to use the same concept of design in each cover photo for visual brand cohesiveness.
Though some dimension variations of the photos have to be taken into consideration due to the sizing limitations of each network, having the same graphic concept will help people remember your brand. It’s called “Social Branding.” Make sure your logos are consistent across the profiles, as well.
Ensure your brand’s voice
The next step is ensuring your brand’s “voice” is heard throughout the text of the page, as well as in the posts. If you’re a financial brand, you shouldn’t be using slang terms and Internet abbreviations such as “LOL and “JK.” Establish a voice that clearly defines who you are and the culture of your company. Remember, social media is essentially your online persona and face; let it represent who you are.
Having a cohesive social content strategy is another facet to strongly consider. What are you posting? How often are you posting? Are you posting the same content to specific profiles? Take a step back and decide how and what you want to post. Social media is about being social. You never want to bombard followers with promotion after promotion after promotion. Ask them questions; find out their opinions. Engagement is key: talking at your followers rather than talking to them is the quickest way to lose your following.
With the vast array of social networks out there, it can be a bit confusing as to which ones your brand should be on. You have to think strategically, and find the best fit to represent your brand.
Many companies now believe they have to be on every single platform, but not every platform is right for every business. Here’s a quick rundown of the top platforms, what they do, and how they can be utilized by all brands:
Facebook: Facebook is basically the home base of all social media today. No matter the industry, your business needs a Facebook Page to interact with your customers and build a relationship.
Twitter: Twitter is the popular microblogging (140 characters or less) platform that allows users to reach out to others and find people with the same interests easily. It’s also a fantastic news outlet to syndicate your brand’s press, ideas and thoughts to the world.
Google+: Google+ is essentially the Google version of Facebook, but does have great collaborative abilities such as Google hangouts. Google Hangouts is a new messaging, video, chat, file sharing platform created by Google which is great for collaboration. In addition to being free unlike other services (Skype), Google Hangouts integrates well within your other Google apps and allows you to easily share information. Also, all Google+ posts are indexed by Google and show up in their search results.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the professional social media hotspot. This is where you can represent yourself and your business in a professional manner, building connections and further expanding your company’s outreach.
With those four main social networks being utilized by all brands, there are other popular platforms that many not suit every brand.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a fantastic way to share and explore creative ideas and visuals. However, if your brand isn’t a visually heavy concept; Pinterest may not work for you.
Instagram/Vine: Instagram and Vine are the mobile social network sensations that rely strictly on pictures and videos. If your brand doesn’t produce images, products, etc – these networks may leave you with lackluster results.
Now that you’ve chosen your networks, your social strategy and how to represent your brand online, here are few tips to ensure a positive social environment for your audience.
1 – Engage your followers with contests, questions, comments or provoking thoughts.
2 – Post on a regular basis
3 – Choose what type of content is most appropriate for your brand, and limit the confusion of posting anything and everything
1 – Over promote yourself. Remember, if you were talking to someone face to face and all they did was promote their business to you, it wouldn’t go over well. The same goes for social media. There is a healthy ratio we like to follow of 60% Conversation/Engagement and 40% Promotion. A healthy balance to keep your followers interested.
2 – Over post. It’s great to share quality content on a regular basis, but don’t post every hour. Remember, these posts show up in people’s news feeds and can be seen as “spam.”
3 – Don’t trash/criticize other brands on social media. It’s important to keep your brand’s online reputation and image seen in a positive light. Trash talking your competitors will only hurt you and turn your followers away.
About the Author:
Ben Laube is President and Founder of POLR Marketing, a growth marketing technology company. To learn more about POLR Marketing, visit www.polrmarketing.com
For more insights into social media and tech best practices, take-aways from top brand execs from Google, Bing, Huffington Post among many others, not to mention the wisdom of Apple co-founder and Mac creator, Steve Wozniak, consider joining hundreds of others at the region’s largest annual digital conference, the Digital Summit in Atlanta, May 20-21.
Monday, April 7th, 2014
So, you’re thinking about boosting your business through a loyalty program. How do you establish a successful one?
Randal McCoy, CEO of Atlanta’s GetOneRewards offered Yahoo Small Business these tips:
First: Consider what rewards you will offer. Instead of just giving away freebies, make shoppers work for their reward by giving up information, buying something or visiting a store.
Second: Start with a basic, the punch card. Most of us have carried punch cards from one business or another around with us (I have one from a second hand bookstore and another from a Subway shop). They have drawbacks (a customer has to have the card with them, but if the incentives are good enough, they’ll hold on to them).
Third: Make employees and customers aware of the awards you’re offering. Make sure your employees know how your program works and what they must do to make it work. Also make sure your customers know about it.
For more about GetOne Rewards, see our previous story: Atlanta’s GetOne Rewards takes loyalty programs digital
For insights and instant take-aways on digital marketing, SEO, design and much more from thought-leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs from top brands such as Google, Bing, the Huffington Post, and many others – including Apple co-founder and Mac inventor Steve Woziak, consider attending TechMedia’s Digital Summit Atlanta May 20-21. It’s the largest such gathering in the region and features more than 100 speakers.
Monday, August 26th, 2013
Get ready for action: best-selling author and e-commerce marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk returns to keynote the 2013 Internet Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center November 12-13.
Vaynerchuk, called “the king of social media,” rocks an event crowd with his powerhouse energy, sharp humor, and non-stop insights into how to market using today’s tools.
Vaynerchuk had the audience with him at IS 2012 as he explained his concept of the “Thank-You Economy,” the title of one of his best-selling books.
A massive cultural shift
Social media is part of a “massive cultural shift,” and marketers better pay attention, Vaynerchuk told the crowd that packed all three ballrooms at the Internet Summit that year.
He grabbed the audience with a funny but take-away laced talk that filled the Twittersphere with praise for his performance. He speaks primarily from actual experience with his highly successful winelibrary.com site and his own social media marketing, not from theory. His message regarding social media is that engagment, not sell, sell, sell, is the key.
“But no one wants you to pound their commercial down their throat on their Facebook page,” he said the 2011 IS.
“Most businesses are not good at social media and they make the same mistake a 19-year-old dude makes talking to a woman the first time. They try to close in their first conversation.”
Vaynerchuk has appeared on numerous national television programs as a wine and marketing expert, including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Today Show, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Dr. Oz Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN’s Your $$$$, and CNBC’s Power Lunch.
More than 100 thought-leaders headed to Raleigh
He’ll join more than 100 other speakers at this year’s event, the premiere digital marketing conference in the Research Triangle.
Other speakers confirmed for this year’s Internet Summit include:
Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of reddit and author of “Without Their Permission.”
Brian Herd, Director of Southeast, Twitter. Herd, who began his career at Yahoo in 1990 won the firm’s “Super Star” award in 2001 and is currently responsible for all Southeastern revenue and business relationships for Twitter.
Simon Heseltine, director of Audience Development, TechCrunch/Huffington Post/AOL. Simon and his team are responsible for organic search, social and training across all AOL properties, including TechCrunch, HuffingtonPost and AOL.com. Heseltine spoke about “Search and SEO,” at the DallasSummit, another TechMedia event, last year.
Duane Forester, Senior Product Manager, Bing. Forester has 15 years experience in search and social and is the author of How To Make Money With Your Blog and Turn Clicks Into Customers, through McGraw-Hill.
Those are only a few of the speakers already confirmed. See the full list here.
Register early for the best event rate and reserve your seat. The event, which draws 2,000, generally sells out.
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Which digital marketing tactics work best in the travel industry? For clothing retailers? For selling vehicles? In media and entertainment? A new survey by Lyris, Inc. (LYRI), conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), shows differences in digital marketing strategies and consumer preferences across industries. The survey also indicates what consumers want from brands in different industries and what is influencing their purchasing decisions.
The EIU industry survey executive summary can be viewed here www.lyris.com/EIU.
Travel: Email Ranks Highest for Initial Product Introduction
- For initial purchasing decision for travelers, email ranks the highest channel of influence (37%).
- Cultivating influencers is a leading marketing objective (20%), likely due to personal referrals among travelers, which has the largest influence at final assessment (31%).
- Strategies have shifted from disseminating messages across multiple touch points (reduced from 32.5% to 15%) toward conducting deep analysis of consumer data (from 17.5% to 30%); 87% deem data analysis very important or moderately important.
- Marketing executives cite repeat purchases and value of the transaction as moderately or very important (85%). Not surprising, given 77% of consumers seek travel price comparisons.
Clothing Retailers: Consumers Want a More Tailored Shopping Experience
- 66% of consumers say that many personalized messages are annoying because “attempts at personalization are superficial.”
- 71% of consumers said they receive so many messages that use of their name no longer makes a difference. However, when they receive a message that includes details of previous transactions or other personal details, 25% say they take it more seriously.
- 75% of consumers seek information about pricing/promotions through branded digital channels over third party sites; not surprising, considering the clothing retail market is very price driven.
- Expanding/diversifying the customer base has grown in priority to 33% compared to 24% five years ago.
Banking: Big Focus on Customer Retention
- As banks try to regain trust, customer retention is now cited as the top marketing goal (42%), a significant jump from 23% five years ago (and much higher than the all industry average of 28%).
- 6% of consumers prefer to engage with banking brands using mobile apps, which is double the all-industry average, yet investment is less than in other industries.
- Banking lags behind other industries in moving beyond personalization to individualized offers, with difficulty interpreting Big Data cited as the biggest obstacle (44%).
Automotive: Among Top Users of Consumer Data Analytics
- Automotive is the most advanced industry in integrating different sources of data and in predictive analytics.
- Among automotive executives there is an increased emphasis on individualized offers (up from 13% five years ago to 50% today – 10% higher than all-industry average which is 40%), most likely as a result of the high value of the purchase.
- Social media/blogs rank second highest after websites and personal referrals for purchase influence; automotive is also the most invested in branded social media, with 45% of respondents citing a 25% investment of their budget.
Entertainment: Trailing Other Industries in Digital Marketing Investment
- Online channels are seen as the most important, yet surprisingly executives are investing very little in branded social media pages (56% invest only 1-10% of their budgets) and similarly for mobile (66% invest only 1-10% of their marketing budgets).
- Marketing executives in entertainment have increased their focus on retaining customers and investing more in deep analysis of consumer data (from 20% five years ago to 27% today) and, subsequently, marketers are also presenting more individualized offers (cited by 46% of executives, up from 26% five years ago).
Media: Takes Shotgun Approach to Awareness with Reduced Investment in Consumer Analysis
- 45% list the ability to use data analysis to extract predictive findings as a key marketing skill. However, the importance of conducting deep analysis of consumer data has fallen by 7% over the last five years.
- Email (28%) is the second preferred method for consumers to engage with brands in the media industry, subsequently, 12% of marketing executives spend 76-100% of their budgets on email.
- 74% of media marketing executives say online channels have gained importance for building brand awareness, which could explain why disseminating messages across multiple touch points is their most important marketing strategy (38% today, compared to 21% five years ago).
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
If you write it, will they really come? Today’s marketing directors and VPs know they need to create regular blogs and eBooks for their marketing programs and SEO, but with increasingly shrinking resources, where do you start and how do you keep up a pace that makes a difference and helps drive traffic? And equally important, most people understand blogs, but how do eBooks fit into the marketing mix?
“Simply put, ebooks are an evolution of the old white paper, but they’re way more user-friendly and not weighed down with lots of data,” says Rachel Christianson, director of fulfillment at social media marketing company HipLogiq. Christianson works with HipLogiq’s customers to produce eContent and manages a team that produces more than 250 blogs and eBooks a month for clients. And, she helps patrol opportunities on Twitter to help distribute the pieces directly to interested customers.
Driving leads, meeting goals
“Blogs and eBooks are an active aggressive part of any campaign, and clearly play a strategic part in driving leads and meeting strategy goals,” says Christianson. “One of our clients is currently yielding a 28 percent conversion rate on their offer landing page solely from traffic coming in from the blog. Another is yielding a 46 percent conversion rate on their eBook downloads coming from blog traffic alone. In fact, their entire HipLogiq campaign, including Twitter conversations, blogs and eBooks, has generated 824 leads.”
“These days, when people have a question, they turn to the internet,” Christianson says. “When someone has a question, Google answers it with your eBook or blog. You aren’t directly selling your product or service, but providing help around a topic related to your industry, therefore instilling brand loyalty. It’s a great way to get consumers to take a closer look at your product or service and try it.”
Whether you’re working on a blog or eBook, remember Christianson’s easy five:
1. Crisp, concise content. In the age of tweets and text messages, people are looking for information, and they want it quick. Make sure your blogs don’t get too lengthy. If you have more info to share, consider the way you format it. Make it easy to find information throughout if someone is just skimming your text.
2. Lists, tips, how to’s and questions. The HipLogiq team has found that blog posts and eBooks formatted in these styles receive more views, shares and “likes” on Facebook. Think of these as the modern day self-help manual.
3. Clear call-to-actions. Readers have read your content, now what? You must have a clear call-to-action to get them to take the next step. For example, “Liked what you read? Contact us for more info” or “Want to learn more, sign up here!”
4. Personality. Your content should have a “voice.” And that voice should reflect the personality of your business. You don’t want there to be any disconnect.
5. Relevant content. Sure, you may have an opinion on the latest election, but if your business isn’t politics, you shouldn’t talk about it. Make sure your content aligns with the overall goals of your business.
To help with topics, Christianson says to put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Someone is at home trying to fix a leaky sink, and they jump online looking for a step-by-step do it yourself. A quick Google search might bring them to a tool company’s website that has a library of home repair eBooks. Or a hospital might have a web section with eBooks on different health topics.
“Hard copy manuals and brochures will probably always be around, but increasingly, a large number of customers are migrating to online resources,” says Bernard Perrine, CEO and co-founder of HipLogiq. “And if you aren’t online, you are missing those customers. Blogs and eBooks give businesses an easy way to connect with customers online. If someone hits Google, Facebook or Twitter with a question, your brand needs to be poised, ready to provide information.”
Friday, July 19th, 2013
By Marsha Friedman
Recently, a colleague asked me, “What was the most rewarding mistake you ever made in business?”
It’s a great question, and I quickly had an answer for him because it was an incredibly painful mistake. However, it proved to be an invaluable lesson that has served me well in the years since. I’m sharing so perhaps you can learn it the easy way.
The lesson: Don’t ever stop marketing because you think you’ve reached the point where you don’t need to. And, secondarily, believe the old adage that warns, “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.”
There’s a story, of course.
Years ago, my public relations company connected with a large publishing house that served many prestigious authors. The first few of its authors we accepted as clients had such successful campaigns, we quickly became the publicity firm of record for this publisher. I thought we’d tapped the mother load! The publisher kept a steady stream of clients flowing to us, and eventually, they became about 80 percent of our business.
We were so focused on delivering for these authors that we became much less focused on getting our company name out to prospective new clients. We slowly stopped marketing. Our newsletters ground to a halt. We didn’t waste time networking. We quit our efforts to get the same publicity for our company that we get for clients. Why bother? We didn’t need new clients!
We had a whole basket full of beautiful perfect eggs and we were happily skipping along with it.
And then … it broke.
The publisher ran into some serious problems with its investors and the business came crashing down. And guess who almost went with it?
Our eggs were cooked.
Terrible but powerful experience
Faced with only a few clients and no prospects, we got busy fast and cranked up the marketing department (me!) again. It took awhile to regain the momentum we’d lost but, thankfully, we had a side business that could help pay the bills in the interim. Slowly but surely (this was before the age of social media, which really speeds things up), we built up a new list of prospects and clients – only this time from a diverse array of sources.
It was a terrible but powerful experience that demonstrated very clearly: No matter how great things seem to be going, you never stop marketing. It needs to be a constant hum because if that hum stops, you know there will be a big problem ahead.
I stopped marketing because I thought I had all the clients I needed. Over the years I’ve seen others make the same mistake but for different reasons. Here are a few:
One great publicity hit is a really bad reason to stop marketing. I’ve talked to people who believed if we could just get them on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (before 2011) or “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” that was all they’d need. They’d be done. Yes, a big national show can give you a tremendous launch, but you won’t keep soaring unless you do something to stay in the public eye. I guarantee you, there are plenty of people you never heard of who got their “big break” and then disappeared because they stopped marketing.
Most of us won’t get those huge hits – and that’s not a reason to stop, either. I haven’t been on “Oprah” but I often hear from prospective clients that I or my business was recommended to them by someone I’ve never met and don’t know. That’s what good, sustained marketing does. It may not always create fireworks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working for you.
Yesterday’s story is old news. Look for fresh new ways to stay in the public eye. The publicity you get today can continue to work for you online, but eventually, it’s going to be old news. We encourage our clients to post links to their publicity on their websites; it shows visitors that they have credibility with the media. But if those visitors see only publicity and testimonials that are five or 10 years old, they’re going to wonder why no one’s been interested in you more recently.
Just as I put all my eggs in one basket by relying on one source for clients, it’s also a mistake to rely on just one marketing tool. Maximize the reach of the publicity you get in traditional media by sharing it on social media. Put a blog, or other content you can renew and refresh, on your website. Write a book. Do speaking engagements (for free, if necessary). Your audience is likely not all huddled together in one corner of the world. To reach them, use a variety of marketing tools.
Whatever it is you’re promoting – your business, your product, your book, yourself – keep the momentum going. If you want people to know you’re out there, you have to stay out there.
Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3 p.m. EST. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman.
Monday, July 15th, 2013
While many new markets related to technology show slowing growth year over year, that is not the case with mobile advertising, according to new research from Mintel.
The Mintel study shows that three in four (76%) of mobile web users in the US have seen an ad in the past month, including 91% of 18-24-year-olds and 83% of those aged 25-34, a total audience of about half (49%) of all adults (when those without smartphones or Internet access are taken into consideration).
“Typically, nascent markets related to technology show slowing growth each year,” says Billy Hulkower, senior analyst, technology and media at Mintel. ”
However, in the case of mobile ads, consumers will still be acquiring their first smartphones and tablets through 2015, suggesting that sales growth deceleration will not occur at the same pace that would be seen for a hardware market—instead, sales may accelerate further as the audience for mobile media expands.”
As you might expect, the ads most commonly viewed are banners. About half of the 18-34 olds saw mobile display ads in an app, banner, or mobile game, and about four in 10 also saw a video ad or heard an Internet radio ad in the last month.
That actually sounds low to us. If you use a streaming digital radio service such as Pandora, you’re likely to hear an Internet radio ad every time you tune in. And many online videos run their ad roll before you can see what you came for, so they’re increasingly common.
Mobile: where the most desirable consumers are
“The majority of adults and teens now own a smartphone, including more than three-quarters of the youngest adults and highest-income groups. Advertisers may feel squeamish about the personal nature of the phone and its small screen size, but it is now where the most desirable consumer audiences lie.
“Growth is likely to continue rising rapidly as more consumers adopt both smartphones and tablets, with the late majority boarding these hardware platforms for the first time.” Billy Hulkower said.
Furthermore, it seems mobile couponing in particular presents a clear opportunity for driving sales via mobile ads. About one in six adults (18%) have redeemed a mobile coupon, including over 20% of respondents from households with more than $100K in annual income.
Want to increase mobile ad viewership? Mintel says giving mobile consumers free access to streaming media or apps that usually require a small fee can potentially boost ad viewing substantially. More than one in four (28%) mobile web users are willing to receive ads that support free usage of a mobile app, with this sentiment distributed somewhat evenly across age groups (albeit favoring 18-24-year-olds where the willingness increases to 34%).
Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
While digital advertising ranks second only to TV now and is critical to any comprehensive marketing effort, many advertising and marketing pros apparently don’t understand digital ad costs nearly as well as they do TV.
Tarrytown, NY-based SQAD, which reports and forecasts real cost advertising data, conducted a survey of ad and marketing pros that revealed a majority (58%) could correctly identify the prime-time TV show with the higherst 30-second ad price (American Idol), but three quarters could not identify the website category with the highest cost per thousand in 2012 (Finance/insurance/investment).
Most of those polled thought the Entertainment category had the highest CPM, but it actually is less than half the CPM of the Finance/insurance/investment category at an average of $9.50 vs. $22. The Finance/Insurance and Investment category features notable sites such as CNNMoney, Bloomberg.com, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
“We are finding that many ad buyers are still in the dark about how much they should be paying for display ads, despite the proliferation of online advertising over the past decade. The opposite is true with broadcast advertising,” said Neil Klar, CEO of SQAD.
There is a solution to this, SQAD suggests.
“The industry needs to make display ad costs more transparent so advertisers can make the right the marketing decisions.”
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Just a few short years ago, business gamification was practically unheard of. Before 2010, barely anyone searched for the term on Google, and it’s still not in the dictionary. But that doesn’t mean you should say, “gamifi-what?” and move on with your life. The fact is, business gamification—or the use of gaming elements to drive, measure, and reward high-value behaviors by customers or employees—is becoming a go-to strategy for a rapidly growing number of companies. It’s here to stay, and it can help your organization reach new heights.
“Games have been played for millennia because they’re fun and people enjoy them,” says Kris Duggan, coauthor along with Kate Shoup of Business Gamification For Dummies® (Wiley, February 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1184-6693-3, $26.99). “Today, that love of games is being leveraged by smart businesses to boost customer loyalty, employee performance, sales, growth, and more.”
Specifically, explains Duggan, business gamification uses elements like points, achievements, levels, leaderboards, missions, and contests to drive desired behaviors. All of a sudden, promoting a brand becomes fun for customers, and sharing troubleshooting solutions with fellow consumers is an engaging challenge. Likewise, employees actually enjoy training instead of seeing it as a chore, and they’re motivated to work harder on a day-to-day basis.
Feed the craving
“Like anyone else, your customers and employees crave attention, recognition, approval, and rewards,” comments Duggan. “With gamification, you feed this craving, and in the process convert customers into loyal fans and employees into highly effective collaborators and advocates.”
Here, Duggan shares ten examples of websites and apps that feature smart—and successful—gamification:
eBay (www.ebay.com). eBay has long used a points system that enables users to show their status on the site. The success of this system, which goes so far as to issue badges to the “best” sellers, has effectively demonstrated the importance of reputation as a reward to both buyers and sellers.
“As you probably know if you’re an eBay user yourself, these are key game mechanics,” says Duggan. “In the future, look to eBay to gamify more aspects of its site to make it even more engaging.”
Foursquare (www.foursquare.com). Foursquare is a free mobile app that enables you to “check in” at various places and share your experiences there. As you do, Foursquare rewards you with points and badges. You might even get special deals, such as a discount off your bill at a restaurant or a freebie for bringing your friends.
“You can use Foursquare to get recommendations for what to do next,” shares Duggan. “And if you check in at a given place enough times, you may become its ‘mayor’—which can bring with it its own set of privileges, such as a special parking place.”
GetGlue (www.getglue.com). GetGlue is a little like Foursquare…except that instead of checking in at their favorite restaurants, shops, and such, GetGlue users check in while watching shows, listening to music, reading books, or engaging in other entertainment-related activities.
“In return, users get relevant recommendations, exclusive stickers (like badges), discounts, and other rewards, such as goodies from their favorite shows or movies,” explains Duggan.
Mint (www.mint.com). Mint.com wants to help members get a handle on their finances, and it uses subtle gamification—primarily in the form of progress bars and fun feedback—to make it happen. Members can also post details about their financial goals online to increase their chances that those goals will be met.
“This site is a great example of a less-overt form of gamification,” points out Duggan. “There are no badges or prizes, but the game mechanics in place are effective nonetheless.”
MuchMusic.com (www.muchmusic.com). MuchMusic, Canada’s MTV equivalent, gamified its site with its MuchCloser program. Members of MuchCloser get points for doing all the stuff they normally do on the site—watching videos, reading blogs, leaving comments, sharing content, and so forth.
“As the points pile up, users unlock rewards and trophies and become eligible for prizes and giveaways,” says Duggan. “The most active users are flagged as key members of the MuchMusic community.”
Nike Olympic inspired sneakers.
Nike+ (www.nikeplus.nike.com). Nike+ is a fitness-oriented service that enables you to log your physical activity using a mobile app or other Nike gear. When you do, you earn NikeFuel, which is a super-cool alterna-word for points.
“As you earn more NikeFuel, you unlock awards, trophies, and surprises—not to mention a banging physique,” Duggan points out. “And if you’re in the mood to brag, you can share your accomplishments with your friends and with other Nike+ members.”
Recyclebank (www.recyclebank.com). Recyclebank gives members points for engaging in “everyday green actions” such as using less water, recycling, making greener purchases, using energy more efficiently, or even walking to work instead of driving. For even more points, members can take online quizzes about ecology and share information from the site with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and mobile applications.
“Users can redeem points for goodies such as gifts and flowers, books and magazines, health and beauty items, and music with participating local and national partners,” adds Duggan.
A Samsung Android phone
Samsung (www.samsung.com). Samsung’s social loyalty program, Samsung Nation, makes excellent use of gamification to recognize and empower the company’s most passionate fans. When you join Samsung Nation, you can earn points, level up, unlock badges, and gain entry into various contests and promotions by performing such behaviors as watching videos, commenting on articles, reviewing products, participating in user-generated Q&As, and more.
“Top users appear on the Samsung Nation leaderboard, and an activity stream keeps users up to date on the site’s goings-on,” says Duggan.
sneakpeeq (www.sneakpeeq.com). A retail site, sneakpeeq offers discounted goodies including gourmet foods, home products, accessories, apparel (from big labels like Kate Spade and Puma to smaller brands), and more. The twist? The site is gamified to make shopping more fun.
“The more you buy, share, love (similar to liking an item), and peeq (viewing an item’s price), the more badges and rewards you unlock, and the more incentives and surprises you receive,” explains Duggan. “Leaderboards make the experience more social and competitive, kind of like throwing an elbow at a sample sale.”
Xbox Live (www.xbox.com). First came Shakespeare with his “play within a play.” Now there’s Xbox, with its “game within a game.” That is, Xbox, itself a game platform, uses elements of gamification…within its games. (Is your mind blown yet?)
“Specifically, users can earn achievement points, referred to as gamerscore, by performing specific tasks or actions in a game,” Duggan shares. “This gamerscore is separate from the player’s score in the game itself and is a way of conveying the player’s reputation across the platform, including its social spaces.”
“Smart use of gamification is a big win for everyone,” concludes Duggan.
“Once it’s put into action, it helps customers enjoy interacting with companies. The more they’re recognized and rewarded, the more loyal they’ll be…and the more your organization will grow.
“According to Gartner, Inc., by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application,” Duggan adds. “Some experts even project that the gamification market will grow to $2.8 billion by 2016! So don’t wait—get in on the gamification action now.”
About the Authors:
Kris Duggan is the coauthor of Business Gamification For Dummies®. He is a thought leader of innovative ways to incorporate game mechanics and real-time loyalty programs into web and mobile experiences.
Kate Shoup is the coauthor of Business Gamification For Dummies®. She has written more than 25 books, has cowritten a feature-length screenplay, and worked as the sports editor for NUVO newsweekly.
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
BizBash, a trade media for event professionals, has named its 2013 list of the most innovative brands in events right now.
Driven by an understanding of the value of events and how experiential marketing tactics can maximize consumer loyalty and revenue, these brands are breaking new ground and challenging others to follow.
“Standing out in the saturated world of experiential marketing is no easy task, but these 10 companies found innovative ways to attract attention to their products. And this list isn’t just about naming the buzziest brands—we looked for companies that actually saw results,” said BizBash executive editor Anna Sekula.
The top 10 innovative brands in the industry include:
1. Target: One of the most visible brands in event marketing, the retailer continues its reputation for innovative events and engaging marketing tactics.
2. Coca-Cola: The beverage giant stays in the spotlight by sharing the attention with events seen around the world—and keeping its marketing message global.
A Samsung Android phone.
Samsung: The mobile division of the Korean electronics maker stormed onto the scene in 2012, using a series of experiential marketing tactics to build awareness for its smartphones.
4. Xbox: The debut of Halo 4 was one of the biggest media launches of 2012 with a marketing push that included flying a massive glyph over London.
5. Red Bull: The company brings its brand identity to life with daring, high-stakes activations.
6. Dos Equis: The beer brand’s ongoing ad campaign has made an indelible mark on the marketing landscape.
7. Nike: The athletic equipment giant develops products—and hosts clever events—that foster a strong sense of community among its fans.
8. Univision: The media company built a new event team in its 50th year.
9. Ford: The auto giant staged a buzzy multimedia campaign to introduce the 2013 Fusion.
10. Warby Parker: The online eyewear retailer is using quirky marketing tactics to make waves in the retail industry.
The full story on the most innovative brands and innovative people can be found at bizbash.com/innovators-2013.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Year-over-year smartphone traffic for apparel, health and beauty and home goods brands saw huge increases in smartphone traffic and orders, according to Branding Brand, a mobile commerce platform to major retailers.
Compared to May 2012, the Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index shows the following year-over-year gains for the 18 clients tracked during both periods:
- Smartphone visits increased 102%
- Smartphone orders increased 104%
- Smartphone revenue increased 103%
In May 2013, mobile devices generated one-third of total online visits (20% smartphones; 13% tablets) and 17% of all e-commerce revenue (4% smartphones; 13% tablets). iOS continued to dominate across all categories.
“Desktop’s piece of the e-commerce pie is shrinking,” said Chris Mason , Branding Brand co-founder and CEO. “We are excited about the implications these numbers have for our clients, not just online but also in-store. Traditional commerce models no longer apply.”
These figures also show that the mobile commerce sector has heated up much faster than the Internet alone did. Mobile provides considerable and increasing juice to ecommerce and digital marketing.
While many people still only occasionally use desktop and laptop computers, nearly everyone old enough to leave the house alone has a mobile device or two. Here at the TechJournal, we’ve seen a fair amount of evidence that tablets are even more shopping/marketing friendly and consumers are using them in growing numbers.
The complete report, along with accompanying images, is available at http://www.brandingbrand.com/data.
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Marketers are realizing that digital media is critical to any successful campaign today. At $9.6 billion, first quarter 2013 digital advertising revenues in the U.S. hit landmark numbers, according to a survey conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC U.S. as part of the ongoing IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report. The figure is a 15.6 percent increase over the $8.3 billion figure reported in the first quarter 2012.
“Consumers are turning to interactive media in droves to look for the latest information, to connect with their social networks, and simply to be entertained,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “This first quarter milestone clearly illustrates that marketers recognize that digital has become the go-to medium for all sorts of activities on all sorts of screens, at home, at the office and on-the-run.”
“Internet advertising revenue continues to exhibit double-digit growth, even as the business matures,” said Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics & Measurement, IAB. “This is an accomplishment that can be attributed to growing recognition by marketers that digital advertising is a critical part of all marketing in today’s world.”
Shift to digital continues
“These record-setting Q1 numbers are consistent with the continuing shift to digital and reflect the type of growth that the internet advertising arena has been seeing year-over-year,” said David Silverman, Partner, PwC U.S.
The attached chart tracks first quarter ad revenue since 1996; dollar figures are rounded.
The IAB sponsors the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, which is conducted independently by the New Media Group of PwC. The results are considered the most accurate measurement of interactive advertising revenues because the data is compiled directly from information supplied by companies selling advertising on the Internet.
The survey includes data concerning online advertising revenues from Web sites, commercial online services, free email providers, and all other companies selling digital advertising.
The full report is issued twice yearly for full and half-year data, and topline quarterly estimates are issued for the first and third quarters. PwC does not audit the information and provides no opinion or other form of assurance with respect to the information. Past reports are available at www.iab.net/AdRevenueReport.
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the W20 Group, a cluster of digital communications companies, will present Identifying and Connecting with Your Influencers, the fourth topic in the five-topic social media webinar series.
The webinar will help small business owners learn how to engage with people who can influence their online reputation and gain value through social media tools.
Word-of-mouth is becoming increasingly more important in driving purchases. Consumers care about what other consumers think, so they spend more time researching products and services online. Influencers who have the widest reach have the potential to sway their community.
Research has shown that 65 percent of top U.S. brands reported participating in influencer marketing.
The Identifying and Connecting with your Influencers social media webinar for small businesses will be held June 5 at 1 p.m. EDT. To register for the webinar, visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/502343024182324736.
The webinar will cover:
- Understanding the importance of influencers;
- Finding the right tools and methodologies to identify your influencers;
- Learning some basic techniques for engaging your key influencers; and
- Focusing on growing your future influencers.
WHAT: “Identifying and Connecting with your Influencers“
WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT
HOW: Space is limited. Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/502343024182324736 .
The maximum threshold for this webinar is 1,000 participants. If you’re unable to participate, a link to the webinar will be furnished at a later date.
The topic for the final webinar in the social media webinar series is:
- Getting Started with Mobile and Location-based Marketing (June 26 at 1p.m.).