Adventures in Mobile Marketing

It’s Saturday morning and the Madison Farmer’s Market is calling to me… I ponder the mass of people who will attend, the sights and sounds – and the potential for mobile marketing opportunities. Don’t you?  OK, most likely not.  As a marketing student however, I am well aware of the shift to mobile marketing and wanted to dig a little deeper.

 Did you know?

  • The trend of consumers who own mobile devices (smartphone, tablet) continues to rise
  • More people own a mobile device than own a toothbrush
  • Despite these facts, in 2013, companies spent less than 1% on their mobile marketing efforts
  • Those brands cited for most successful use of mobile marketing include: Starbucks (App-based marketing, engagement, and payments), McDonalds (Instagram sharing initiative), North Face (location-based), Chipotle (gamification), and Ikea(App-based inspiration and shopping) to name a few.
Business marketers today need to assure they are following this trend to mobile by marketing to mobile.  If a business isn’t on the same field as their consumer, how will they play the game?
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Courtesy of mobile-marketing-blog.net

Watch This!

This video from Social/Mobile Eric Qualman and Jamie Turner really drives home the importance of mobile marketing. The Farmer’s Market attendees are carrying their mobile devices, not sitting in front of their laptop (or desktop).

Pros and Cons of Mobile Marketing

Pros:

  • Instant Delivery – and (almost) instant results.  70% of mobile searches lead to action within one hour
  • Ease of Use – Screens are small, keep content design simple
  • Convenience –  Messages can be changed almost instantly
  • Portability – Mobile marketing can be easily shared between consumers
  • Reach – With more mobile devices on the planet than people, this seems obvious, but worth mentioning

Cons:

  • Privacy – Marketers need to respect user privacy and only market to those who’ve opted-in
  • Platform Diversity – Not all mobile devices are created equal. This diversity will cause challenges
  • Navigation – Let’s face it, it’s not always easy for a user to navigate on a small device.  Design of simple, user-centric messaging can solve that issue
  • Reach – no everyone is mobile.  If your target market isn’t, mobile marketing isn’t a good idea.
Marketing in the mobile arena makes sense for both marketer and consumer. Marketers can provide relevant, timely content to consumers who crave it most.
 

So, what’s next?

If you’ve watched the video above, and watched the trend emerge, it’s clear that consumers are mobile.  The trends that intrigue me most these days are location-based marketing, geo-fencing, and use of beacon technology…creepy and fascinating at the same time!  I’ll save discussion of those topics for another post…for now, I’m going on a little adventure to the Farmer’s Market.

@Twitter for #BusinessMarketing

Why Twitter?

As part of a social media marketing campaign, marketers can use Twitter to:

  • Reach

    As Twitter admits, Twitter (and its users) are everywhere! There are over 271 million active users, from almost every country in the world.

  • Engage

    Users follow businesses on Twitter; they want to hear from brands…these consumers are ready and willing to engage with a brand. Isn’t that a marketer’s dream?  Twitter allows a brand to show its brand personality and build relationships with its followers.

  • Target

    Marketers can be very precise in reaching their target audience based on brand followers, geo-targeting, user interests, keywords, gender, device use, and even through TV engagement.  The #hashtag has become a very powerful tool for tracking trends and creating buzz.

Best Practices for Business

There is a long list of best practices listed on Twitter’s website. A few of them are listed below:

  • Create Tweets that resonate – be interesting, creative, trendy and informative
  • Keep Tweets Short and Sweet – don’t feel the need to use all 140 characters. K.I.S.S.
  • Tweet often – some experts say 3 – 14 times per day
  • Use the tools – use @ and # to reply, engage, and inform

Who’s Doing it Right? (In my opinion) and Why?

  • @Charmin – “potty humor” – this brand engages its audience with humor and wit – check ’em out!  Charmin takes a serious, private topic and pokes fun at it.
  • @Oreo – frequent tweets with a variety of creative brand messaging.  Who doesn’t love and Oreo (and Milk, of course)?
  • @Starbucks – can 6.74 million followers be wrong?  Starbucks encourages brand engagement and provides relevant, meaningful, creative content.  As a brand, they also re-tweet alot of follower comments…very engaging!

Facebook – The Search for a Company Who’s Doing it Right

This week’s Adventure in Education led us down the path of Social Media Networking.

Following a week-long immersion into several social media platforms, students were asked to call out a “Best Facebook Page.”  Although I have not looked at every Facebook page, I’m going to give a shout out to American Girl – here’s why!

From a social media marketer’s perspective, I think AG is doing so many things right.

Here’s the top 4 things I like about the American Girl Facebook page:

1.  Consistency – American Girl Facebook Cover Photo mirrors the American Girl website, and also their current catalogue cover. This very important cross-channel-visual gives consumers confirmation that they are still engaging with the American Girl brand. In addition, the iconic “inner star” logo is utilized as the profile picture.

AG2.  Engagement – This week, American Girl hosted a live chat between their Facebook fans (all 1,046,967 of them as of today) and Project Runway designer, Kini Zamora.  Kini recently designed the winning outfit on the American Girl-themed Project Runway episode (another clever marketing partnership, by the way!) American also frequently holds Facebook Sweepstakes.

Kini

3.  Drive to Social – American Girl drives their already social customers to one of American Girl’s newest social ventures, Pinterest (13,473 followers).  AG offers sneak-peeks into the new Holiday products for followers.  In addition, take a look at the interaction between two consumers on the image below; that’s my 4th point.

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4.  Community – If you take a few minutes to peruse American Girls Facebook page  posts, you’ll find that as a company, they don’t have to post replies very often.  American Girl has a very loyal base of avid fans and consumers who are well-versed in the AG culture and product line. Note the example above:  A consumer comments that they “don’t see anything new” as they expected.  Rather than AG posting an immediate reply, another consumer chimes in.   There are hundreds of examples like this on the AG Facebook page.  The AG fans are loyal to their brand!

If you were wondering, yes, American Girl is also on Instagram (24,065 followers).  This is a new addition to their social network and makes great sense from a marketing perspective.  Their customer demographic certainly uses Instagram regularly – good work, AG!   Again, you’ll see that they’ve taken the time to create consistent cross-channel marketing.Instagram

Thanks for taking the time to check out these weekly posts.  Come back next week for a bit of info on Twitter!

Social Media – Ethics and Legal Considerations

As social media growth outpaces social media rules and/or regulations, challenges arise daily.  This week we’ll look at a couple of social media dilemmas in the form of some questions posed to our class.

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Should companies have a Social Media policy for employees?

I believe that it is acceptable and prudent for a company to include a social media policy as part of the employee handbook.  This policy should be carefully created for the purpose of guiding employee use of social media in the workplace or on corporate social media sites.  The goal of the policy should be to protect the company’s IP and maintain a positive corporate reputation.

These videos show some graphic examples of workplace misuse of social media using Vine.  In scenarios where users record Vine clips in a workplace, the public and/or competitors can certainly get an intimate look behind the scenes of a company – wouldn’t you agree?.  This type of behavior certainly puts a company in a very vulnerable position of losing trade secrets or damaging their reputation.

Are employees protected from voicing work concerns in social media?

It depends.

A February 11, 2014 article in the Philadelphia Business Journal brings to light a couple of recent examples of employer-employee conflict on this topic. On the flip side, flagrant misuse of social media will most certainly lead to dismissal. As an employer, I think it is acceptable to ask employees to be mindful of their social media behavior (just like their social behavior), especially as it relates to corporate IP and reputation.  However, a company cannot mandate what an employee says on social media, nor can they terminate for such reasons in many cases.

The Fine Line

In reviewing articles on both sides of this very sensitive topic, I’ve concluded that employers need social media-use polices for their own protection.  According to the NLRB, the following points are important for employers with consideration to employee social media activity:

  • Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
  • An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.

In summary, we all must be mindful that social media is a way to make an impression, not only for today’s employers, but for tomorrow’s potential employers.

Your comments and opinions are welcome!!

And the Nomination Goes To…..

This week’s Social Media class assignment tasked us with nominating a social media campaign which deserves a “Best of Social Media” award. My nomination?

Red Bull Stratos – “Mission To The Edge of Space”

On October 14, 2012 the world witnessed Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, being lifted by a helium balloon 24 miles into the stratosphere.  Upon reaching the desired altitude, Baumgartner climbed out of the capsule, said a few words, and began his free-fall and parachute toward earth.

The results of this leap couldn’t be predicted, Felix would live (or die) while the world watched.  In the end, Baumgartner lived, and according to the Red Bull website, he “broke several records including:

  • First human to break the speed of sound in freefall with a top speed of 843.6 mph or Mach 1.25
  • Highest freefall from a distance of 127,852 feet
  • Longest-distance freefall “

Marketers Perspective and Insights

Red Bull, maker of the highest selling energy drink in the world, sponsored this extreme and very successful event.  Red Bull’s target audience is young males 16 to 30 years of age who enjoy living life “on the edge.”  Their audience enjoys extremes, whether it is extreme competition, extreme sports, or extreme gaming.

From a social media perspective, the campaign was a huge success both scientifically and from a brand marketing perspective.  A few stats from the Dachis Group (now Sprinklr) report:

  • According to a report posted on October 23, 2012 on Sprinkler.com there were over 1 million unique consumer actions which occurred on the day of the jump.
  • Two million (yes, 2,000,000!) new accounts subscribed for Red Bull updates due to Stratos.
  • Consumer engagement experienced a 400% jump in the length of time consumers engaged with the brand. Consumers weren’t just “liking”, “pinning”, or “tweeting“, they were watching…for a long time in today’s world of short attention spans.
  • There were 50,000 distinct links shared regarding the Stratos event.
  • 61,634,000 impressions were generated across social channels.
    Fact 6: image from Sprinklr.com post

    Fact 6: image from Sprinklr.com post

    For more great reading on the success of this campaign, click here!

Personal Thoughts and Perspective

I must admit that in October 2012, I was quite unaware of the impact and scope of the event.  And of the power of social media, for that fact.

Although I am far from Red Bull’s target market, I stopped in my tracks that day and watched every minute of this event, from balloon inflation to post-jump interviews.

I was engrossed and totally engaged with this brand for more time than I’d like to admit.  Somehow, this campaign broke through my thick wall of media tolerance with “hooks” like these:

  • the fact that this event was being held 65 years to the day when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time in a piloted aircraft
  • the story of Felix and Joseph Kittinger II working together to break the record for highest altitude jump.  The record was (and still is) held by Kittinger who was Baumgartner’s mentor and mission control primary contact during the jump
  • the fact that I’d had my very first (tandem) skydive two months prior to this event

And yes, in case you were wondering, I cried at the end.

The Red Bull brand certainly made an impression on me that day…and earned this nomination!

2 Pros, 2 Cons of Corporate Blogging

2 Pros, 2 Cons of Corporate Blogging

The decision to launch a corporate blog site should not be a spur of the moment decision.  The benefits and challenges must be carefully considered; this brand presence will represent you not only to your loyal fans, but to casual visitors.  Readers of your blog are not only visitors to your site, but to other sites who may link to your content.

First, the Pros

  1. Brand-building – Blogs can be great tools for brand-building by creating brand awareness, attracting new customers, and building stronger relationships with existing customers.  Blogs can also aid in creating higher SEO, which results in greater visibility for the brand.
  2. Minimal Technology & Minimal cost – At their core, blogs are pretty low-tech and reasonably inexpensive to build.

Then the Cons

  1. Content – Your blog content needs to reflect the needs of your audience.  The content must be engaging, creative, relateable, and relevant to the needs of your consumers, It must be refreshed consistently to keep traffic and interest flowing.
  2. Time-consuming – Creating content sounds like it would be easy, but it requires planning, organization, creativity, and a great deal of time in order to do it right.  If you don’t have the time and talent resources to do all of the above, a blog is not a good idea for your business.

So, should you build a blog for your company?

Here are some additional resources which might be helpful in weighing the risks and benefits of this powerful tool and making the decision which is best for you and your business.

Source: Creative Commons

Image source: Creative Commons

3 Quick Tips to Building a Successful Corporate Blog

3 Quick Tips to Building a Successful Corporate Blog

Meeting the needs of consumers and solving their problems is the focus of a marketer.  It is also important to build relationships and establish a brand presence that delights and engages your audience.

Here are three tips to consider when building, developing, and maintaining a corporate blog.

1. Make Your Blog an Extension of your Brand

Your blog should be an extension of your brand.  It should be part of your overall integrated marketing plan.  The blog should part of your social strategy, with the same voice, look, and feel as your main web and/or brick-and-mortar presence.  Every part of your consumer-facing brand presence should be “seamless,” like the Zillow site and its social presence mentioned in my past blog post.

2. Content Matters

Reach your consumers with relatable, relevant information.  Create and maintain engaging content that will keep them coming back.  Moreover, when they return, make sure there is new, fresh content on a regular and consistent basis.  Allow yourself to think outside your own website, if necessary, and provide links to relevant information that might be relevant.  Your blog should include information your consumers crave – listen to them.

3.  Speak to consumers, not at them

A blog isn’t your platform for pitching your next big thing. Show readers your brand personality and work to build relationships.  Rather than showing them what you want them to buy, give them something they need – inspiration, tips, encouragement, and the like.  To illustrate this point, here’s an article by Doug Kessler, founder and creative director of the marketing agency Velocity, which illustrates a poorly run blog by a major tech company.

Of course, setting up a corporate blog will take a great deal more time, research, and effort than these 3 tips.  You’ll also want to assure your blog is credible and ethical as it represents who you are as a company. For further information, check out this article on business blog pros, cons, and best practices.

photo obtained from Creative Commons

Zillow Blog – My new “BBF”

Not just a home-shopping tool, it’s a partner in all-things homey.

Zillow has a blog and has become one of my new BBFs (Best Blog Friend). Over the past few years, I’ve been casually home-shopping using Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and a number of real-estate agents.  Having become more aware of corporate blogs over the past several months, I took some time to notice and explore this blog site from both a consumer and marketer perspective.

My personal “consumer insights”

  • Zillow provides one-stop solutions to most of my home-related needs. From finding a home to financing it, to making it my own, this blog has it all.
  • In the Tips and Advice section, Zillow is watching out for me as a consumer. Here’s a great article which shares some thoughts on potential hidden expenses of home-buying or ownership.
  • Market Trends offers great insight into housing trends and mortgage rate fluctuation.
  • The Home Improvement blog posts and visuals are appealing, inspiring and engaging

Marketer insights

  • This blog site offers a great corporate presence and is incorporated directly in the company website.
  • The blog posts are interesting, engaging, and very relevant to the needs of the consumer.
  • The site has several posts a week on a variety of home-related topics.
  • Zillow is social. They have incorporated their marketing into several channels including: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn.  By using the same cover image across all of these sites, Zillow has done an excellent job in their IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications)

Thank you, Zillow!

In summary, Zillow and its blog have become a great resource in my search for a home.  The site has been working for me as a real estate salesperson, a home decorating consultant, and a financial advisor all-in-one.  AND it’s available 24/7 – who could ask for more?

Milwaukee Polo Club – A Beginner’s Guide to attending a Polo Match

Milwaukee Polo Club – A Beginner’s Guide to attending a Polo Match

meet the Polo Ponies

Pre-Match Lap

 

If you enjoy live-action and love horses, attending a outdoor Polo match will be a very rewarding adventure.

Here are 5 quick tips before you go!

 

1. Visit the Website

There are several home games in the summer, typically on Sundays.  Milwaukee Polo Club does a great job of keeping their website up to date with schedules and changes.  Take a look at the site before you go!

Polo in Action

Polo in Action

 

2. Pack a picnic lunch

Food (hot dogs, chips, etc) and beverages are available for sale, but carry-ins are acceptable too.  Pack cheese and fruit, sandwiches or some snacks.

 

3. For up-close views, bring your binoculars

A polo field is the size of twelve football fields, so having a pair of binoculars could enhance your experience.  You are going to enjoy the match no matter what; there’s always something to see!

Polo Ponies working hard

Polo Ponies working hard

4. Fun for Families

If you arrive early, you’ll be able to back your vehicle right up to the field.  Bring a blanket or chairs and set up your own viewing area.  Being next to the field means even those who can’t get around very well with have a front row seat.  No bleachers required.  Between periods (called chukkars) there are sometimes activities for the kids.

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Stomping of the Divots – an important part of the day!

5. Get Involved

The Polo announcer does a great job of offering a play-by-play commentary of the game as well as providing tons of  fun facts about the sport.  Want to know a little more about polo before you go?  Check out this site!  During half-time all spectators are invited onto the field for the traditional “stomping of the divots” – don’t miss it!

 

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Score!

 

Photos for this post were taken by me at the July 27, 2014 Milwaukee Polo Club vs Iowa’s Powder River Ranch match

Milwaukee Polo Club is located at N75 W30343 County Road VV in Hartland, Wisconsin
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The “End”

Adventures in Education – Blogging for Beginners – 8 Tips to BE a Great Blogger

As mentioned in my Bio, aside from traveling I am a student.  Here’s a post for my Social Media Writing class on being a great blogger.  Enjoy!

Blogging for Beginners – 8 Tips to BE a Great Blogger

So, you think you’d like to blog? 

Let’s explore 8 things you’ll want to Be to do it right!

  1. Be Informed

Do your homework.  Understand the difference between essay writing and blog writing.  Read blogs of others to get an understanding of how they look and feel. Read articles about blogging to get an understanding of terms  such as scannability, hyperlinks, SEO, and inverted pyramid writing.  Immerse yourself in learning how before diving in.

  1. Be Concise

The best blog posts are short and to the point. Use simple words, short sentences, and short paragraphs. Use an active voice in your writing. Make your goal 400 words or fewer.

Choose words carefully; cutting out unnecessary oneslike these.

  1. Be Credible

It is important to use links in your blog in order to support facts you’ve stated.  You’ll also want to avoid grammar mistakes to maintain your writing reputation and credibility. Proofread and spell check your post before you click publish.

 

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  1. Be Visual

Pictures can tell a story too.  Use pictures relevant to your story to keep your reader’s interest.  Spacing, headlines, and whitespace in your posts will break up your text and make your blog posts scannable and easy on the eye.

  1. Be Yourself

Consider your audience.  Choose a topic that interests you and write to them about it.  Your writing will reflect your passion for a topic and grab your reader’s attention.  Write in a positive, upbeat tone.  Share your story from your unique perspective.  Let your personality shine through!

  1. Be Consistent

Be predictable when it comes to the timing of your posts.  If you plan to post daily, do it.  If bi-weekly is more your style, do that.  Your audience will come back if you have more to say and they know you’ll be there for them.  Choose a schedule that will work for you and commit to it.

  1. Be Found

Use titles and headlines which catch the eye of both your readers and Search Engines.  Use an SEO analysis tool to choose headlines which have the most impact.

  1. Be Ethical

Above all, do the right thing.  The world of social media writing allows us to freely share our viewpoints and stories. Here are some great thoughts to consider.

Blogging can be fun and rewarding, but is it for you?  If you have comments or questions, feel free to comment below!

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