Marketers Must See the Bigger Picture with Mobile

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Mobile marketing is connecting consumers and brands at a very basic level.  With the recent explosion in mobile devices usage, consumers have the ability to search, purchase, and connect any time and any where.  Tablets, smartphones, SMS texting, Bluetooth devices, and apps are rapidly changing consumer behavior, and brands are struggling to keep up. Just think, not long ago “mobile marketing” referred to the magnetic signs applied to your car!

What do consumers want from mobile?  Well, it boils down to convenience.  In an article posted on Mobile Marketer, author Mickey Khan suggests consumers have six wants when using mobile technology:

1)    Ease

2)    Search capabilities

3)    SMS updates and offers direct to their phones

4)    Ability to browse for information

5)    Identical online experience

6)    A rich multi-media experience on tablets

While consumer needs appear simple, mobile marketing is still a relatively new media and there are many considerations for marketers. It is complicated, and should be viewed as a part of an overall integrated marketing strategy – not separately.

In an effort to quickly deploy mobile marketing, some brands have miss-stepped and probably wasted valuable time and money in the process. A recent Forbes article by Ian Lurie noted that creating a separate mobile site is a mistake, and offers a more efficient suggestion.  A mobile-friendly website should leverage the main domain, but utilize what is called “responsive design,” in which the site can resize and modify navigation based on the viewer’s device.   Lurie challenges marketers to completely re-think their existing mobile strategies, stating that while marketers may invest significant resources into a mobile strategy, they often fail to consider how it should tie directly to their brand’s internet strategy.

Emerging media continues to challenge marketers.  Mobile marketing is no different, and requires them to take a step back and view each new platform as it relates to the bigger picture.

Do you have an example of a brand successfully deploying its mobile strategy? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

Viral Marketing with a Plan!

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Images of dancing chocolates, barking dog chorales and weeping Olympians bombard us on a daily basis.  Sometimes the brand association is obvious, sometime it isn’t.  Are today’s marketers over-using the concept of viral marketing?  To answer this question, we must first understand what viral marketing means.

Through the use of new media, powerful buzz-building activities help accelerate word of mouth among consumers.  Savvy marketers have learned how to integrate paid and earned media to leverage the power of buzz building across multiple platforms for maximum results. For example, equate the speed at which word of mouth spread pre-Internet to the speed at which it occurs today.  This demonstrates why marketing practitioners must carefully orchestrate their campaigns to include a viral component with the goal of adding value to the brand.  Said differently, creating a viral campaign just for the sake of it doesn’t guarantee success.

Ad Age conducted a review of the top viral advertising campaigns of 2011.  The Fiat 500 “Life is Best When Driven” campaign, listed at number four, harnessed the celebrity power of Jennifer Lopez.  The image of lovely Jennifer Lopez driving around in a sporty little car went viral.  The campaign, which consisted of paid and earned media, launched in September of 2011 and had reached 27.4 million views by the year’s end.

Fiat sales, however, are not exactly soaring.  When savvy viewers figured out that the Lopez spot, which played heavily on Lopez’s New York roots, was actually shot in Los Angeles, the Chrysler Company drew unexpected ridicule.  Some viewers actually characterized it as one of the worst car advertisements they’d ever seen.  Ironically, this drove the video’s page views even higher. Do these results speak for themselves, making this a successful viral campaign? Did the campaign add value to the brand?  I would argue that this is an example of a viral campaign that backfired.  The design was intended to add value, but in the end, it actually harmed Fiat’s brand and de-valued its name.

Social media guru Seth Godin notes, “Viral marketing is an idea that spreads–and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.”  Godin further states that viral marketing only works well when you plan for it.    Check out this Adweek article to see what they consider the best viral marketing spots so far this year.

My own advice on this topic: When you are planning a viral campaign, make sure that the “what” you want to spread is actually the “thing” consumers will pass along.

Get to Know the Hippest and Hottest Bluebird in History

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The bluebird is everywhere these days. You can find it on the Internet, installed as an app on all sorts of electronic devices, and placed prominently on a variety of print material. Who would have thought just a few years ago that the little blue Twitter bird would become such a pop icon of the twenty-first century?

If you’d asked me four years ago if Twitter would still be around today, I would have told you absolutely not and that it was probably another fad. Boy was I wrong! Today Twitter boasts 24 million users in the U.S and experienced a 31 % growth during 2011.

My Emerging Media course assignment this week involved researching Twitter and assessing the benefits of buzz building through social media. As a result, I proceeded to take the digital plunge and downloaded the bird so I could set up my “handle.” Now that I am being fed relevant information from my chosen brands , I will admit I should have done this a long time ago.

The lingo of Twitter has always been a little intimidating to me. Fortunately I discovered some great resources and training material on the Twitter website. I was able to navigate easily through the plethora of material, from a glossary of Twitter terminology to a handy search feature.

For those of you who are just getting started, I created my own top five must-know definitions for new Twitter users:

Tweet – A tweet is simply the 140 characters used in your post. You can actually say quite a bit with that, or you can use it to link to a website or blog.

  •  Hashtags – A hashtag is actually a way to categorize messages by typing a # symbol in front of keywords or phrases.
  •  Retweet – A retweet is when you share a post with your followers.
  •  @Replies – This feature is used for an update posted by clicking the Reply button.
  •  Handle – Your Twitter handle is your username and the accompanying URL. For example, Twitter.com/LaVonneBrown.

Are you ready to join the Twitter revolution? Visit the Twitter help center for yourself, where you can find learn more about the basics of Twitter.   Don’t miss out,  start tweeting today!

When the Internet Goes Down…

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The little router box in the basement of my home went dormant this week. A silent hush came over the house and signs of panic appeared on the faces of my two teenage sons. Had it been a planned outage we would have been more prepared. This unfortunate incident resulted from an unintended consequence during a landscaping project in the backyard and we had not planned for such a catastrophic loss of connectivity.

The silence suddenly broke and some possible solutions to the outage were proposed. We could create a digital “hot spot” with our cell phones. Or we could ask the neighbor for the password to their wireless connection which shows up in range of our home. Of course, those were the solutions posed by the teenagers but mom and dad had other ideas. We could go for a walk, read a book and go outside to view the evening sky afterwards.

In an article posted on the Huffington Post earlier this year, author Britney Fitzgerald builds a case for some good old fashioned “plug pulling” by parents to relieve some of the constant exposure to digital devices among teenagers. Fitzgerald provides further insights into a recent survey conducted by Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit advocating media knowledge for both parents and children.

According to the survey, a vast majority of American teens state that social and other digital communications are a daily part of their lives. While teens today are exposed to nearly constant digital stimulus the survey concluded that most teens are fortunately still in overall good emotional health. The survey also state that 43% of the teens who responded would like to disconnect from the internet occasionally.

Fortunately for my children, they had no choice but to disconnect this week. As a family, we realized how much we rely on our digital connections and what  a nice change of pace being “digitally disconnected” could be.  Going forward, I will make a greater effort as a parent to require days where we do not use the Internet.