Has 2015 Lived Up to the Predictions?

According to Say Daily and Forbes, 2015 was going to be a big year for emerging media.  Listed below are 3 of the top trends anticipated for 2015:

1.) Mobile everything!  If you’re not on the mobile trend, you better get there. The rise of people using mobile-only as their only form of internet will reach 1 billion and brands need to get ready.  The importance of mobile search, mobile optimization, mobile conversation, and mobile ubiquity cannot be overstated.  Also, look out for increased mobile payments including Apple iPay.

2.) Content, Content, Content!  Brands will need to develop engaging and creative content that users will want to read and share.  You’ll want to invest in a great writer who knows your brand as well as your customer.  Also, play close attention to video content.  Using platforms such as YouTube and Facebook take “visual storytelling” to a whole new level.

3.) Data Will Drive Decisions!  In 2015 we’ll see smart media companies adopting data-driven strategies that move beyond just accessing ‘big data’ to actually integrating data into everyday marketing decisions, product development and campaign planning.  Analytic and big data can be combined to increase sales by using more effective marketing and advertising strategies.  Companies will also want to focus on conversation rate optimization where site visits turn into sales.

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Unless you were born yesterday, I think you know at least these three predictions were more than accurate.  So what’s next?  What could 2016 hold for us marketers?  According to Forbes and Click Z, we can look for the following to dominate next year:

1.) Snapchat as a marketing platform

2.) IoT user adoption and data

3.) In the moment advertising

4.) In-app functionality will diversify and spread

5.) User privacy concerns will hit an all-time high

6.) Competition for organic visibility will increase

Snapchat’s Discover Experience

In early 2015, Snapchat launched the “Discover” section of its app, partnering with big name companies to deliver news and content in the Snapchat fashion: video/picture form, quick, and disappearing after it’s viewed.  CNN, Food Network, Cosmopolitan, ESPN, and others update their Discover stories every 24 hours with new and interesting content that can either be skipped by swiping right, or should the user swipe up, he/she will be able to read a full article or watch a full video all within the Snapchat app.

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The companies who have taken advantage of this outlet are able to reach the 100 million + users who are sharing over 700 million snaps a day and viewing Snapchat “Stories” 500 million times per day.  And as you may have guessed, these users are Millennials and even Generation Z-ers.  Reaching this target market in an environment in which they are already active is a gold mine for marketers.

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But Snapchat has touted “this is not social media”, instead, it’s storytelling.  The content is generated by editors and creatives of the partners; opposite of the emphasis being placed on user generated content as of late.  The focus is on creative stories that fit into a platform made for them, not one they have to adapt their work to.  “This time we built the technology to serve the art: each edition includes full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising” says Snapchat’s blog.   Prior to Discover, Snapchat included ads in the “story” section of the app which were priced at $750,000 per day when launched in late 2014, hoping to bring back a “fun and informative” experience to advertising.  The company partners included in Discover now have other options for selling advertisements.  According to re/code, “Snapchat publishers set their own rates and provide a guaranteed view count to ad buyers based on traffic patterns they’ve established in the last few weeks. Industry sources say that on average, publishers are getting around 10 cents a view for their ads, which are seen anywhere from 500,000 times a day to a million times a day. That means publishers are able to command $50,000 to $100,000 a day for their stuff.”  Reminder: The content is only available for 24 hours aka one day.  Tastemade, one of the newest partners on Discover, is sponsored by Coca-Cola.  For this sponsorship, Coca-Cola has approximately 2 ads within the 5-10 segment story for 24 hours.  And what else makes Snapchat’s Discover a must see?  It’s not going to be there tomorrow.  The ephemeral nature of the content keeps users coming back for more each day.  What recipe will Food Network share today?  What play is ESPN ranking the best over the weekend?  What funny picture will Cosmo have for me to send to all my girlfriends?

Do you use Snapchat?  What about Discover?  Do you check out your favorite brand each day?  (Fact about me: I do!)

Should You Make a Facebook Event?

Absolutely, without a doubt, yes.  But, make sure you do it right.  Just because you create a Facebook event and share it via social media does not mean RSVPs will skyrocket.  So, how can you make the most of your Facebook Event in your marketing strategy?

1.)  Target exclusively who you want to come.  Marketing budgets can be tight  sometimes when you have multiple events to promote.  However, by targeting highly qualified users, you will get more bang for your buck.  Facebook has targeting options for boosted posts that can enable you to specifically reach to those who may be interested in your event. Once you have determined your target audience, create ads that are relevant and appeal to them.

2.)  Don’t exclude those who are already fans of your page.  Facebook uses its own algorithms to determine who sees your events, so not every fan of your page is guaranteed to see your latest event.  But, these customers are ones you already know are interested in your content, therefore, they should be nurtured to create more buzz for your event. Create ads for your event and boost them towards your fans as these generate 700% more click-throughs and 400% conversion rates than those of non-fans.

3.)  Include the registration link at every corner.  Once a potential RSVP is on your event page, you will not want to make your registration page link hard to find.  Create a clear call to action and include links in the “details” section of the event.  Remember when a detail section is long, there will be an option to read more and some words will be hidden.  Thus, it is important to include your registration link in the beginning of the details section.

4.)  Use the event wall as a social conversation.  Attendee’s content can be crucial part in generating buzz and expanding reach.  DO NOT only allow Admins to post on the event page wall.  By doing so, you enable RSVPs to interact with your company and each other.  Don’t forget that you are part of the conversation too.  Post pictures, videos, and personal messages that generate anticipation and excitement for the event.  Equally important is using a catching cover photo that will pique interest to those who see your ad.  You may also try generating a contest or free entry to those who share your event or posts.

5.)  Add social sharing buttons to your events page.  Not all your attendees will find your event’s website via the Facebook event.  Therefore, it is important to have easy options for those who register to share the event and their attendance on social media.  Include sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at a minimum.  The more times your event is shared on any social media site, the more popular it becomes, and thus is more likely to get shared again and again.

6.)  Boost your posts.  Facebook has changed its algorithms based on page interaction, which could mean only 8 people see a post you think it great (I know from personal experience, it’s depressing).  By boosting your posts, you are able to target the audience you want and reach more fans and non-fans.  Not every ad needs to be boosted, but by doing a few leading up to the event, you are able generate more awareness than you otherwise would with non-boosted posts.  Even small dollar amounts of boosting can go a long way.

Facebook Events can be a great tool for any company  to help bring more attendees to events.  By actively engaging with the attendees and making registration easy from the events page, companies will be better equipped to get the most ROI from using the feature.

Are Customer Loyalty Cards the Ultimate Marketing Tool?

Every week, I receive an email about my Kroger Friday Free Product.  Of course, I can’t pass up a deal, so I sign in to my account, load the coupon to my card, and continue to browse the sale items in the weekly ad.  Who knows if I’ll remember to buy the free item, that I may not have even needed or liked anyways, next time I head to the store.  However, since my coupons are loaded automatically onto my Kroger loyalty card, I’ll most likely be heading to Kroger to do my once a month grocery shopping.

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But, what I’ve been experiencing lately is coupons, for things I actually buy, in my mailbox!  And, Kroger creates my grocery list in my online account! Like woah, thank you.  However, the more I think about it, the more I’ve realized Kroger is analyzing my shopping habits and producing deals for me.  And because they are providing me with deals I will actually use, I like it.  Is this the ultimate in customer data collecting?

In 2012, Kroger began sending out personalized coupon books to its more than 11 million households registered for a Kroger Plus card.  And, out of all those personalized packets, almost no two were alike.

That means big things for Kroger.  Known as data mining, Kroger is personalizing efforts to get their customers to spend more money.  By analyzing shopping data at stores in which customers already shop, Kroger is able to get repeat and loyal customers by providing offers they cannot refuse.  And these offers, in the form of coupons, are bound to expire, which means customer may visit the store more often.  Kroger believes the individual treatment builds loyalty through customer appreciation efforts, and I agree.

Since I’m most likely going to Kroger anyways to grocery shop, I enjoy the extra rewards and coupons.  What do you think of Kroger analyzing our shopping habits to the extreme?

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Being Present at More Than Your Booth is the Key to Success of a Trade Show

Contrary to popular belief, trade shows are not dead.  But, like anything other marketing technique, they are evolving.  Integrating your social media campaigns and building buzz can elevate your booth above competitors.  Here are my 3 steps to leverage your marketing strategies with trade show opportunities:

1.) Generate buzz prior to the show!  Does the trade show you are participating in have a hashtag?  If so, use it!  Get involved in the conversation.  Let your followers and potential customers know that you will be at the show displaying your latest products and/or services.  Debuting something new? Give the audience a teaser. Post a short video or picture that will get attendees excited.  Giving away something during the show or offering discounts?  Let the people know!  Each of these techniques is sure to build excitement and encourage customers to visit your booth.

2.) Keep the party going during the show!  Stay active on social media during the show.  If you’re a solo exhibitor, schedule posts and tweets in advance.  Post pictures, retweet other attendees, and keep your followers up to date on events happening at the show.  Especially important if your company is sponsoring an activity, stage, speaker etc.  Great publicity for those attendees who are also following along on social media.  Are there influencers you want to come visit your booth?  Give them a shout via social media.  A simple tweet reply from an influential industry leader could do wonders for your brand.  You will want your booth to be an active place and for your followers to see the “hype” you have generated.  Ask enthusiastic visitors and people passionate about your product/service if you can share their photo and/or statement on your social media pages.  Include the hashtag of the show and one for your company.  This features always helps if you have something fun going on at your booth…photo booth, prize wheel, interactive quizzes, games, etc – GET CREATIVE!

3.)  And lastly, you guessed it, don’t let the fun end at the show.  Blog about your experience and let others know about the benefits still available.  You’ll want to follow up with those who visited your booth in a timely manner.  Continue to share pictures and video from the show you may not have had a chance to previously. Reach out to anyone who made a special impression on you at the show and thank them via social media.  Consider sharing positive customer generated content.  Even though the show may be over, the buzz does not have to be. Run an after-the-show special giving attendees who may have attended the show but didn’t stop by your booth additional discounts on products or services just for following you on social media.  That way, next year, or at your next show, that customer will know you’re there!

Remember, a well-attended booth involves many senses and emotions.  Handing out business cards and taking emails is a thing of the past.  Just like your social media platforms, you want your trade show booth to be clever, creative, and attention grabbing.  Attendance may be down at shows, but quality leads are not. Those who attend home shows are well informed and ready to buy.  All they need is a little persuasion from the right professional.  Social media and event marketing are like peanut butter and jelly, they just go together.  Make them work for you!

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Are Consumers Immune to Advertisements?

You may skip this ad in 15 seconds…check email for 15 seconds…skip ad.

Is this you?  Because, it’s me.  I see ads, yet I don’t pay attention to many of them. Is it just me?  Am I not into anything?  Am I immune to advertisers tricks?

There is much debate on how many advertisements we see per day, as the 5,000 rumor has been debunked, argued, and changed to more of a “clutter”.  Hence marketers trying to “break through the clutter”.  However, in this clutter, how many ads do we actually process?  Not as many as advertisers would like it seems.  It would be physically impossible to see and process even 3,000 advertisements per day.  The ads we do “see” (pay attention to), are those that resonate a message with our own desires and interests.  Does it matter if we saw an ad for the PS4 if we have no intention of ever picking up a game console?  Most likely no…unless it’s a well developed, creative ad that strikes an emotional cord – think cute puppies and world peace.  Then, things go viral and everyone views the ad, whether they are interested in the product or not.  Even if companies have a viral ad, do they really affect the purchasing habits of Millennials?  Tricky question.  Millennials are more likely to read reviews and comments, ask for opinions, and use price comparison tools before purchasing, which they consider research and discovering information as opposed to advertising. The I-was-going-to-buy-it-anyway phenomenon questions whether advertisements can be labeled effective if the decision to make a purchase has already been made prior to seeing an ad.  Only 1% of Millennials in a recent study are more trustworthy of a brand with compelling advertisements.

So, how should marketers go about reaching us and keeping us?

Well, companies need to be themselves and engage with us.  Millennials are 62% more likely to become a loyal customer should a brand interact with him/her on social media.  Additionally, we rank quality, authenticity, and value at the top of our lists when it comes to what’s important from a product.  And lastly, it helps if you are us.  Repeat buying rates of companies started by our peer group are growing substantially as we push away established brands that can’t connect with our ever-changing needs and wants.

I wouldn’t recommend ceasing all advertising to Millennials any time soon, however, it is important for a company to evaluate ROI in their current advertising strategies.  Are there other ways to reach out to Millennials that would resonate better and be more cost-effective?  Perhaps, but we will let you know when we find it!

Hello…Is Anyone in the Chat Room in 2015?

This just in: Chat rooms are back!

Yes, chat rooms.  From the early 2000s…s/w/f?

2015 is said to be the year of the chat room renaissance and it’s hard to believe.  However, motives behind the new apps such as Banter, Slack, and HipChat are far different from their predecessors such as AOL and Gchat.  Does this mean a greater, more focused reach for marketers?  For now, we will have to wait and see how the outlets develop, and for which reason people are using them.  But, Paul McCartney seemed to have success when he debuted his single mashup with Kanye West via Japanese social network Line, and reached 10 million users.

Making Business Easier:

Slack and HipChat, which I will focus on for the purpose of this post, are devoted to more team-oriented projects and communication.  Slack, whose tagline is “Team Communication for the 21st Century”, focuses on the importance of real-time messaging and file sharing.  Instead of waiting for emails and meetings, employees, students, volunteers, etc can form “chats” where they are able to accomplish goals by sharing files and adding ideas instantaneously through chat features.  Additionally, users are able to send private, direct messages to other members if information is sensitive.  Another plus, Slack is available for iOS and Android, therefore, all your projects are available at any time.  Likewise, HipChat is a business focused app, allowing employees to bring the office with them wherever they go.  HipChat has many jazzy features including video calling, screen sharing, the ability to let others know what if you’re available, and security.  HipChat is almost a blend of social media and the office.  When a message is posted in a “chat”, use the @mention feature to reach a certain person instead of getting lost in a “reply-to-all war”.

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The Freedom to Use a Moniker:

Do you think you’re the only one in your city who likes romantic novels from the 50s?  Probably not, but you surely can’t tell who else does without some sort of conversation.  Want to talk Harry Potter even though you’re well beyond the targeted age?  Insert Banter and Tags Chat.  For many, the idea of creating an anonymous persona to shop talk about their interests is intriguing and fulfilling.  Banter and Tags Chat allows you to do just that.  Banter will even refer you to chat rooms based on your interests, locations, and the volume of communication in conversations.  Tags Chat’s, the interest-based social network, main goal is to rediscover communication between people.  For so long, social media has been a post to the masses, but Tags Chat hopes to change that by redeveloping relationships between people through common interests – all while being anonymous if you please.

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Do you think these new social media platforms will stick and be a highway for marketers?  I’m thinking yes.  The upcoming majority of the workforce, Generation Y, is eager to have immediate interaction and response.  More so, the importance of being in the office is declining.  Apps such as Slack and HipChat will allow us to continue projects, whether career or personal related, anytime, anywhere.  Additionally, as marketers aim to create engagement and relationships with potential customers, the act of personal communication is of utmost importance.  If chat rooms do strike again, I foresee many marketers taking part to increase interaction with a brand.

Marketing to the 46% of Millennials Who Are “No Religion”

As Millennials become the largest living generation in the United States, marketers will need to shift focus from the previous largest generation: Baby Boomers.  So, what are Millennials into?  Well, they are said to be pretty narcissistic, but also are drawn to luxury, status, consuming, adventure, excitement, and travel. Compared to their parents who place value in patriotism, spirituality, religion, and calmness.  According to a survey by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture at Trinity College, 46% of consumers 18-34 consider themselves “no religion”.  How will this effect marketers? Marketing professionals will need to adjust “old timey” advertisements focusing on family, values, traditions, etc to be more energetic and trendy with the younger generations.  Capturing their short attention spans, is anything but easy, even though they are hyperconnected at all times.  Brands need to think like the consumer and recognize what features of important to each generation.

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But generational gaps aren’t the only things to consider when paying attention to religion in marketing.  Jewish, Islamic, Muslim, Buddhists, among many other religions, all reside in America.  Considering the vast difference in these cultures and religions, it is of importance for marketers to be aware of triggers that could lead to offending potential customers.  For instance, you wouldn’t want to design a marketing campaign for Muslims focusing on pork because eating pork is against that religion.

Diversity and technology will only continue to advance throughout time.  It is imperative that marketers devote resources and attention to the ever-changing cultures to which they are advertising.

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Welcome to the New Age

Retweet, banner ad, like, DM, tumblr, mention, snap…

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Many of the words above, or their alternative meaning, are relatively new to the world.  Marketing has changed so much in recent years due to advancements in technology at lighting speeds.  Because of this, marketers are able to get your favorite brands in front of you more often, at the right time, and with ease.  Emerging media, also known as “new media”, is exploding into a dynamic set of channels with a reach that is more targeted and personalized.  The growth of smart phones and powerhouses Facebook and Twitter, also contribute to how and why emerging media is changing so dramatically.  60% of digital media time is activity on a smartphone or tablet and paid advertising with the big social media sites is becoming ever-so-personal almost merging advertisements to real-time, personal connections.

Throughout the course of IMC 619: Emerging Media and the Market, we will take a deeper look into the utilization of such media on the consumer.  This blog will dive into relative topics of the subject through the lense of a semi-new marketer eager to get creative with the Y Gens.  Welcome!