The Cherry on Top

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When I first came to digital marketing I was pretty nervous. After all I don’t even have a Facebook, so you can understand this feeling of being under prepared. We were assigned to read an article talking about how undergraduates are under prepared because of what we learn in school. First of all, I’d like to say, yes! Thank goodness for someone finally pointing that out. Textbook definitions haven’t gotten me anywhere in life, and that is what I have learned in my marketing classes. This was finally a class to bridge the gap between real life and marketing class. A no bull-shit class. It’s about time.

Not only have I learned plenty of technical skills such as coding and Google analytics… but I think the main thing that I have learned is where marketing is headed. I now have a better idea of what a position in marketing would entail. For those of you who don’t know, in August 2014 I will have a degree in accounting and marketing. My dream job would be working with fashion or makeup and that is where marketing comes in… but accounting is where the money is at (Plus I need to buy my first pair of Louis Vuitton shoes). I have no idea what I am going to do when I graduate, but I think this class has given me the confidence that I could keep a job in marketing. This class provided me with actual applicable knowledge, something that college classes don’t often do. I feel like I can also apply the digital marketing that I have learned to market myself online better. After all, even for accounting I will need to market myself. I have a better understanding of where things are headed in the future, particularly marketing in this digital age. I might actually start a beauty blog which I have been thinking of doing for quite a while, with some of the skills I have acquired from this class. Regardless of what I end up doing with my future, I feel more prepared for the real world. And that is saying something! 

Over the course of 9 weeks abbeedecsesznak.wordpress.com :

  • ·         Has been viewed 475 times
  • ·         Has been commented on 5 times (C’mon people… We can do better than this!)
  • ·         Has 19 blog posts on it
  • ·         Has 13,792 words on it
  • ·         And of course…has taught me a lot.

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The cherry on top of an insightful quarter was becoming Google Analytics Certified. Woo! Go Abbee! Check it out:

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Of course I owe it all to Professor Staton. Thank you🙂

Flirting with Creepy (Literally!)

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I have always said that I don’t mind Google tracking me. It makes shopping much easier. Sephora (I’m a total makeup junkie) will recommend items according to what I looked at. So heck yes, to the new mascara that lengthens lashes that showed up on the side of my screen.  However;  the amount of privacy concerns that social media has generated does concern me and I am starting to rethink my position. There is so much to be concerned about. After all, it’s my information: I should choose how and with whom I want to share it.

Let’s talk statistics- after all they do most of the talking:

  • 33% of consumers were concerned with companies having their behavioral data
  • 40% of consumers said they stopped completed a transaction online because of something in the privacy policy
  • 25% of internet users have no idea what cookies are
  • 66% of users who are not online said they would be more likely to use the internet if their personal information was protected online (Okay now, how many users aren’t online these days? I know my Grandparents aren’t but c’mon! Of course they aren’t. I don’t think the fact that their personal information is safe would really make much of a difference)

Can privacy really be a competitive advantage to some? As our society becomes increasingly less concerned with privacy and more into tracking for marketing reasons, it is quite possible to see how privacy could be a competitive advantage to some. For example:

  • Mozilla allows its users to disable third party tracking all together
  • Apple began requiring apps in its operating system to get permission before tracking their customers location, looking into their contacts
  • Microsoft turns on, by default, an anti-tracking signal in its Internet Explorer Browser

Maybe tapping into customers data increases revenue… but perhaps what customers really want is PRIVACY, and that is where all the new revenue is at. Speaking of privacy, let’s talk about a new app called Snapchat. I’m sure ya’ll have heard of it. All the waitresses at my restaurant use it, and that’s why I first got it. Now all my friends have slowly trickled it and we use it to communicate. It’s just so much more fun when you get to include a quick photo of yourself. My little brother just entered his freshman year in college. Of course as soon as he got to college, he got a Snapchat… (hmmm… let’s think about this- a freshman in college living in the dorms…of course he got a Snapchat!) In fact, Snapchat is the reason this blog is taking me so long to write. Well apparently it was some bros at a frat house who came up with Snapchat (surprise, surprise). Snapchat was promoted with young women who were smiling “devilishly,” but it worked. Of course, Snapchat might have had a sexual connotation to it, but it has become such a mainstream app that clearly Snapchat is also a fun way to send photos without them being online forever.  And that scares more than college students trying to send naked photos, it scares families who don’t all their family photos online, and it appeals to those who want to send ridiculous pictures but don’t want them spread around or always available for others to see. Photos that are posted online may have an infinite life online, and that is scaring everyone. In fact, 57% of app users have either uninstalled an app over concerns about having to share their personal information, or declined to install an app in the first place. Snapchat is genius, as it has enabled us to share photos that don’t have an infinite life online. Consumers have started to pick up on the idea of privacy and demanding their rights to privacy. Snapchat is just a miniature step, but mind you, it’s still a step, in this movement for social media privacy.

Let’s talk about what makes apps so that they don’t cross the line:

  1. Transparency- I took an ethics management class over the summer and transparency is a big factor into whether something is ethical or not. With that being said I think that transparency is huge when it comes to privacy and sharing personal information. Be up front and no lawsuits will come about. Well no promises.
  2. Consent- In order to share personal data you must get consent. If you don’t have consent you are doing something you have permission to do. Otherwise you aren’t. Enough said.
  3. Social Element- Sharing information with those who are only in that persons circle. Sharing information with others who are friends of friends is not keeping information within someones circle. By having a way to categorize this circle you are able to control privacy to some extent.
  4. When users leave let ’em leave- Delete their profile and information. Don’t keep it. I think that is simple enough.

Keeping things between decent and creepy can be hard, especially for dating apps. Perhaps you have heard of Blendr… a location-based dating app for straight people. Let me just intercede for all the women and say that this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe I’m just old fashioned and don’t believe that this would ever turn into something real… but then again romance isn’t always the fairy tale story that little girls dream about. After all, my parents met via a dating service… Yes, a dating service. No location based dating app. No internet. A service. The service set you up on ten lunch dates with different guys. They told you where to meet, the name of the person, and what time. That was it. No pictures. No biographies to chose from… the dating service took care of that. And there is something to be said about that. If pictures are popping up on your screen such as with Blendr, by human nature, you are choosing the most attractive people to talk to and therefore you are missing out on things that bond people together in long-term relationships: EVERYTHING ELSE. Looks are good for short-term. Personality is better for long-term. So of course this is not really a dating app but more of a hookup app, after all it’s location based and that is creepy enough. If any women is okay with letting guys know where she is and that she is single and therefore will be going home alone, then I just don’t know what she is thinking. While decent men might not mind the creepiness, it is surely not my cup of tea. Location based dating apps are creepy. Period.  I don’t care if the women consent to giving away their location, and a picture… these apps have crossed the line. The tech world may be making strides, but that doesn’t mean that these strides are all positive.

Apparently Tinder, earlier this year, had exposed the physical location of its users for at least two weeks but possibly months. However the privacy issues with Tinder don’t stop there. It is possible to fool Tinder into making a match with someone who isn’t interested and in doing so exposes the users email address. Let’s just say one thing: don’t use a location based dating app. Just don’t.

Just because it’s so entertaining here are some other creepy dating apps:

  • On the Rebound- This app alerts you when you have a Facebook friend that you have been crushing on gets out of a relationship. So you can be there for her to cry to (Who are we kidding?).
  • Cloud Girlfriend- You guessed it you can create a cloud girlfriend and take her on dates. After all “It’s free, unlike your last date.”

Well now that I’ve covered privacy and apps, let’s move on to Facebook. If you guys have been reading my blog you know that I don’t have a Facebook (after all who has time for that). But that rant is for a whole other day. Lets have a little chat about why Facebook is so popular. Well for the overall picture it provides individuals with emotional support. Who knew? Oh wait I think we all did considering that everyone has a friend who is emotionally unstable and is constantly posting status updates to the annoying point. I know what your thinking, she doesn’t have a Facebook, so how does she know that? All my friends have Facebook. My best friend used to spend hours on the computer consoling this guy she knew in high school about life because of his depressing status updates. Exhausting. Yes. Time consuming. Yes. Facebook is a portrayal of one’s ideal self. They post only the photos they want others to see. They post status updates indicating the person they want to be not the person they are. And heck, who has time for that. Apparently tagging friends in Facebook photos is related to having more close friends. Facebook fills this gap within ourselves that we are missing. Therefore Facebook is just putting a band-aid on the real issue. Humans crave companionship, they need connection. Facebook gives human this feeling of friendship, social support, and emotional support. The real question though is if this feeling that Facebook provides is really taking care of our needs?

 

References

8 Seriously Creepy Dating Apps. (n.d.). Yahoo Shine. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/8-seriously-creepy-dating-apps-192100662.html

Apps: It’s Time to Talk About the Creepy Factor. (n.d.). Business Week. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-13/apps-its-time-to-talk-about-the-creepy-factor

Dating app Tinder is still exposing personal information. (n.d.). Quartz. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://qz.com/150839/dating-app-tinder-is-still-exposing-personal-information/

FEBRUARY 3 , 2012 Why most Facebook users get more than they give. (n.d.). Pew Internet. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/pew-facebook.pdf

Overwhelmed and Creeped Out. (n.d.). The New Yorker. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/02/dating-app-for-women-that-isnt-awful.html

Privacy Statistics. (n.d.). Databases in Cyberspace. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~eroberts/cs181/projects/databases-in-cyberspace/statistics.html

Snapchat and the Erasable Future of Social Media. (n.d.). Business Week. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-02-07/snapchat-and-the-erasable-future-of-social-media#p5

http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~eroberts/cs181/projects/databases-in-cyberspace/statistics.html. (n.d.). NY Times. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/technology/amid-do-not-track-effort-web-companies-race-to-look-privacy-friendly.html?_r=1&

Growth Hacking is Going to Murders Traditional Marketing: Are You Ready?

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Have you ever heard of growth hacking? Well that was me just a short time ago! The whole point of growth hacking is to hack your growth. I know, I know, duh! Growth hacking is merging engineering, product management, and marketing into a focused effort to grow a customers user base organically. This means taking advantage of opportunities that others haven’t. Growth hacking is using unconventional tactics to acquire customers faster. This differs from inbound marketing as inbound marketing is creating content that brings customers to you which is just a small piece of growth hacking.

A growth hackers lives, breathes, and sleeps with “growth” in mind. This is a growth hacker’s only goal: to grow. Startup’s are mostly looking for growth, and therefore use growth hacking, however; this will eventually be found in larger organizations as well. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Growth hackers don’t need to be programmers
  • Growth hackers can be marketers
  • Hacking doesn’t imply anything unethical (I know that you were worried)
  • Growth Hackers are very analytical- analytics will give you the TRUTH and for growth hacking knowing the truth is vital for success and to shift the focus of the growth hacker
  • Growth Hackers are also right-brained as they must be curious, and creative
  • Growth hackers are obsessive. That’s right, obsessive. This means they keep trying and don’t give up. Over and over again. So yes in this case: obsession =🙂

Let’s talk about growth hacking…the quick version:

  1. Growth Hacking starts out with a product market fit which means a product that is designed to fit a specific and critical need for a well-defined audience.
  2. After you have your product market fit you need to find your growth hack. Hacking means taking advantage of loopholes. This is definitely a new and quite interesting idea. Tim Ferris is given as an example of someone who used growth hacking by putting parts of his book on Bit Torrent which in return helped him sell 250,000 copies of his book. On a little side note, Tim Ferris is awesome- my little brother and I read his book and incorporated some of his crazy tips into our lives (and by crazy I mean intriguing). This means that growth hackers try tons of ideas, and discard ones that don’t work right away.
  3. A growth hackers job is to develop a product that people want and therefore people jumping on-board should be pretty easy. Testing, and data-based creativity helps a product go viral.
  4. You need users to stick around. In order to retain users, the best way to get honest answers is to interview your existing users. Your existing users will tell you what they want to be more engaged and who knows better than the source themselves? By reducing turnover, you save lots of time and money that would be spent to attract new customers.
  5. Keep improving efforts using your data!

The growth hacker’s funnel consists of 3 phases: get visitors, activate members, and retain users. This funnel allows you to allocate your energy into places where you have weak conversion ratios.

There are 3 P’s of getting visitors:

1. Pull- Give them a reason to come to you.

2. Push- Push them towards your product. Ad’s are an example of this.

3. Product-Have a damn good product. The end.

To activate members you need to get their email, get them to create an account, get them to read something, get them to buy something, get them to comment on something, basically get them to do something having to do with your product/site.

To retain users KEEPING your users happy is really the bottom line. There are all kinds of ways to do this.

Okay, okay, okay… I’m getting to the part where we talk about more specific ways to do growth hacking. Different growth hacks include:

  • Site speed- If your site isn’t loading quickly, then you have a problem. Personally, if a site doesn’t load I hit the back button. In this busy world, who has time for a slow site speed? The answer is no one.
  • Social proof. Social proof. Social proof. (I thought if I said it three times you would get the hint😉 ) We are only human and this means that we need reassurance, convincing, and all that other stuff that people look to other people for.  Social proof can be:
  1. Testimonials- I could go on and on about testimonials. I am truly a shopper at heart and I am always looking at testimonials to see what other people are saying. After all if other like something, it must mean I will too!
  2. Logos- Using logos of your biggest clients. This always works… not to bring up my shopping habits again, but I must say that when a site has logos at the top of the page, of all these shows and magazines that says the product has been mentioned on air or won awards in magazines, I think to myself, dang this really must be legit. You can also use logos of products or services that your product works with.
  3. Customer statistics- By showing others that people have been signing up right and left, you are convincing others to sign up. You can also display the number of twitter followers, email subscribers, or Facebook fans you have. Humans are actually such simple creatures, we just want to know others are doing the exact same thing to feel okay about it.
  4. Case studies-Tell your customer’s stories.Remember the key to case studies to to state the customer’s problem and how your product was the answer to that problem!
  • On Ramp Programs- You need to turn a new customer into a loyal customer.
  1. New User Experience-Give new users a unique experience that helps them start using your product. Give them a step by step process to get started, or a quick tour. Make your product less foreign to them, it will help. Trust me.
  2. Email Drip Campaigns- When you get someones email you should send them a series of emails that get sent to them on a defined schedule. This allows you to build trust between you and your customers and you can introduce them to features of your product.
  3. Barebones Home Page- Make your home page simple and just leave the essential elements. Too much clutter will turn people away, and the home page is where all users will eventually land when deciding whether or not to use your product. The quote for my life is “Go big, or go home.” Basically don’t do anything half-ass… but sometimes simple is better and I am willing to admit that for a home page. Too much clutter turns me away… It’s just too much!
  • Product Integrations-This is where the GENIUSES outsmart everyone. Airbnb integrated with Craigslist fantastically. Integrating your product into an existing and successful product helps jump start things for you. There are still problems such as maybe your integration works today but that doesn’t mean tomorrow that it still will, and what if the integration doesn’t work as well as you thought it would, it might be too late to back out.
  • Viral Loops- A viral loop is when you start with 10 customers, and then they bring more than 10 customers to you, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Building a viral loop that actually works is extremely hard. Actually let me rephrase that… Building a viral loop that a actually works is nearly impossible. For it to work, virality has to be a fundamental part of your product. A good example of a product that has virality built into it is Groupon.

So why growth hacking? Well its cheap, effective, and practical. Who doesn’t want all that? If you aren’t a business looking to growth well it still pays to be informed. This is going to be the era of growth hacking and as a consumer, you will start to see applications and products that have products really designed towards the customers. This is because with growth hacking, marketers are involved with the creation of the products from the very start. Growth Hackers aren’t hoping for the best with the product, but busy looking at analytics and making changes accordingly. For marketers, knowing about growth hacking is extremely vital. This is good news for those just entering the field (such as myself). Marketers who have gotten extremely comfortable with traditional forms of marketing, are either going to have to move over, for people who are well informed about growth hacking, or learn these tactics. That’s right y’all,  traditional forms of marketing are quickly becoming more and more obsolete. I always say get ready for a wild ride. And I always mean it. But with a name like growth hacking, you better believe it’s going to be even more of a wild ride. So throw everything you know before about traditional marketing (well maybe not everything) out the window, bring your creativity and lets get to this growth hacking stuff.

 

References

@andrewchen. (n.d.). andrewchen RSS. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://andrewchen.co/2012/04/27/how-to-be-a-growth-hacker-an-airbnbcraigslist-case-study/#

Aaron Ginn’s Thoughts. (n.d.). What is a growth hacker?. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.aginnt.com/growth-hacker#.Uou-cuKCWSo

Growth Hack Your Way To Success, Like Facebook, Twitter, And LinkedIn Did | Fast Company | Business + Innovation. (n.d.). Fast Company. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.fastcompany.com/3020363/dialed/growth-hack-your-way-to-success-just-like-facebook-twitter-and-linkedin-have

Mashable. (n.d.). Mashable. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://mashable.com/2013/09/02/growth-hacking/

RIP: Here Lies Traditional Marketing, Here Comes Growth Hacking. (n.d.). Business 2 Community  RIP Here Lies Traditional Marketing Here Comes Growth Hacking Comments. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.business2community.com/marketing/rip-lies-traditional-marketing-comes-growth-hacking-0655860

The 6 Best Growth Hacks to Get Customers Without Having to Pay for Them. (n.d.). The 6 Best Growth Hacks to Get Customers Without Having to Pay for Them. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/the-6-best-growth-hacks/

The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking. (n.d.). Quick Sprout. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-growth-hacking/

hypebot. (n.d.). ‘hypebot’. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2013/10/ryan-holiday-on-traditional-marketing-growth-hacking-and-music.html

Growth Hacking is BS…Its All Just Marketing. (n.d.). Layered Thoughts. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.layeredthoughts.com/startups/growth-hacking-is-bsits-all-just-marketing

EdgeRank: What Being Dead Actually Means

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I’m sure all of you know all about Facebook. After all, if there is anything that the majority people know about it’s Facebook.

  • There are 1.5 billion active Facebook users (Holy SHIT!)
  • There are 4.5 billion likes generated daily
  • Five new profiles are created every second (Uh huh, while you read that five were created)
  • Average time/ user spent on Facebook is 20 minutes

Okay you get it…. We all know about Facebook! You are probably wondering what the heck this post is about. Well EdgeRank is a algorithm for Facebook that sorts posts in user’s feeds. Facebook users spend up to 40% of their time in the news feed and if that doesn’t catch your attention, as a marketer, well I just don’t know what will. As a marketer, it is extremely important to know how this algorithm works to understand how it can negatively or positively affect you.

The goal of Edgerank is to filter the News feed so that so that people see only high quality posts. But what does high quality mean? That is exactly how Facebook came up with its algorithm that helps determine what high quality content is for each individual person:

There are three important components of Facebook’s algorithm:

  1. There is an affinity score between viewing user and item’s creator. If you send a friend regular Facebook messages and visit their profile frequently then you’ll have a higher affinity score for that user than an old acquaintance.
  2. There is a weight given to each type of Edge. A comment has more weight than a like does.
  3. The last factor in this equation is time. I think this is fairly obvious. The older the Edge is the less important it becomes.

You multiply all these factors for each Edge and then add the Edge scores up and you have an Object’s Edgerank. The higher that is the more likely your Object is to appear in the user’s feed. I know what you are thinking… blah… blah… blah… Let’s put this into words that we can all understand a little better.

Here are some things that get your content into user’s news feeds:

  • Post Regularly- Post new content on a regular basis so that your new posts will replace your old posts as they go off the news feed.
  • Post Photos- Users are more likely to interact with photos or videos and if you want users to interact with your posts well then you MUST give them what they want.
  • Encourage Engagement- Offer contests or questions in order to get users to engage with your content more
  • Only Post Clean Material- I would like to think that this goes without saying but….I’ll say it anyways. One bad post can ruin your reputation and so badly that it can’t be cleaned up. So avoid posting anything that could be seen as spam or against Facebook guidelines.
  • Build Credibility and Trust- You want users to interact with your your content and if you can show your users that your content is credible and truth worthy then you have a good foundation.

I bet you had no idea about EdgeRank. Heck I didn’t. But then again I don’t even have a Facebook so I would be the last to know. You are probably thinking how can she write about digital marketing if she doesn’t even have a Facebook? Well, let me explain this for a minute. Facebook is a simply waste of time for me. I do not need to see what other people are doing, who I rarely talk to nor who I regularly talk to. If I want to know what someone is up to I will contact them and not with Facebook.  And besides, without a Facebook I can use all my extra time to learn more about digital marketing!😉

This whole algorithm on Facebook was brought about because of spam. Facebook user’s were getting flustered with all the spam and were hiding posts. Others are convinced that Facebook brought about this new algorithm because they are trying to encourage page owners to to buy “promoted post” advertising. However, when Facebook tightened up its news feed, it lost revenues from Zynga video games, which significantly took a toll on Facebook’s payments revenue.

Not to put any names out there, but billionaire and owner of the Mavericks team, Mark Cuban, lashed out at Facebook for its algorithm, angry that now he will have to pay to ensure his fans receive his message. It’s not that I don’t like Cuban, but from the articles I read, I don’t really like him. He has made it clear that his team is going to be moving more towards Twitter, or Tumblr, or Myspace. Well that’s hilarious… Twitter… okay sure at least until they switch things up to sponsored content. But Tumblr or Myspace? Umm… Does he honestly think that is going to be better for him than Facebook with this algorithm. Dude, come on! Considering that Facebook has it’s own financial pressures along with other social media, sponsored content is the future. Sorry Mark Cuban! Out of everyone that would understand you’d think that this businessman would. Na, Mark Cuban is just another self-centered billionaire who doesn’t want to spend a penny to reach his users. Facebook has it’s users in mind with this algorithm, which is the right way to go about building a business (take notes Mark Cuban).

Now that I got that off my chest, let me talk about what I’ve read about EdgeRank being dead. Don’t confuse EdgeRank being dead, with this whole idea that Facebook has dropped this algorithm idea. It’s just that filtering the content in news feeds has become much more complicated… all the factors talked about above are still used but other factors are also used; meaning that EdgeRank, the specific algorithm talked about earlier, is indeed DEAD.

New factors are being used:

  • Relationship settings between Facebook users is a large factor in determining what you see in your News Feed as you can go in and label each friend as an acquaintance, or close friend.
  • Post types is another factor that determines what goes into your News Feed. If you always engage with photo content then you will more likely see photo content.
  • Now that users are able to mark posts as spam or hide posts this is also a factor in what will show up in user’s News Feed.
  • Story bumping also changes everything, as now time decay is less of a factor. Story bumping allows for popular posts to be seen in your News Feed even if it was posted a few hours ago.

This new system takes into account 10,000 different factors. This new system is adding more real-time signaling to help decide what goes into user’s feeds.

These days user experience is key. If you have read my post about the new Google you remember that their main focus is the user. Well Facebook joined that club (which I might add is the right club). Facebook now uses new data-analysis techniques in conjunction with their growing piles of behavior data to predict what people want to see. Facebook doesn’t care if marketers can’t keep up, after all, like I always say: “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” That was to you Mark Cuban.

Let me know what your opinion on all this is. Have you had experiences with this? Have things changed recently with your news feed?

References

EdgeRank Is Dead: Facebooks News Feed Algorithm Now Has Close To 100K Weight Factors. (n.d.). Marketing Land. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://marketingland.com/edgerank-is-dead-facebooks-news-feed-algorithm-now-has-close-to-100k-weight-factors-55908

EdgeRank is Dead, Long Live Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm!. (n.d.). Search Engine Watch. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2291146/EdgeRank-is-Dead-Long-Live-Facebooks-EdgeRank-Algorithm

EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce That Makes Facebook’s News Feed Tick. (n.d.). TechCrunch. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/22/facebook-edgerank/

Facebook Should Keep Suppressing Mark Cubans Mavericks Page. (2012, November 12). Wired.com. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://www.wired.com/business/2012/11/mark-cuban-wrong-on-facebook/

Facebook has apparently replaced EdgeRank with something much more complex —              Tech News and Analysis. (n.d.). Gigaom. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://gigaom.com/2013/08/16/facebook-has-apparently-replaced-edgerank-with-something-much-more-complex/

Hey Mark Cuban Of Course Facebook is charging you. (n.d.). Business Week. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-15/hey-mark-cuban-of-course-facebook-is-charging-you#p2

Menu. (n.d.). blog maverick. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://blogmaverick.com/2012/11/19/what-i-really-think-about-facebook/

News Feed FYI: Showing More High Quality Content | Facebook for Business. (n.d.). Facebook. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from https://www.facebook.com/facebookforbusiness/news/News-Feed-FYI-Showing-More-High-Quality-Content

The Buffer blog: productivity, life hacks, writing, user experience, customer happiness and business.. (n.d.). The Buffer blog productivity life hacks writing user experience customer happiness and business. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://blog.bufferapp.com/understanding-facebook-news-feed-algorithm

The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics “ Updated October 2013. (n.d.). Zephoria Inc.. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://zephoria.com/social-media/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics “ Updated October 2013. (n.d.). Zephoria Inc.. Retrieved November 14, 2013, from http://zephoria.com/social-media/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

Co-creation: Reclaiming Your Voice as a Consumer

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Do you remember that ugly sweater that your Grandma sewed for you (I’m being honest. It was ugly!)? Well do you think that you would of liked it better if you had some say in it? I mean if you had helped pick the color, the style, the fabric. I can’t speak for you but I can admit that the sweater wouldn’t of collected as much dust if I had some kind of input in it. Think about your Grandma as a business and you as the consumer and, in a nutshell, you have co-creation.

You have probably heard the term co-creation, and perhaps you have heard of crowd surfing…. but what’s the difference? Let me explain.

Crowd surfing is:

  • Open forum
  • One-to-many activity
  • People creating a good idea for you
  • Making the assumption the crowd is capable of the total answer
  • Winning is the award
  • Crowd is working independently of the internal creative team
  • Winning ideas are accepted

Co-creation is:

  • Participation is limited to diverse crowd which can include industry experts
  • One-to-one activity – there is a commitment to between parties to co-innovate, or co-produce
  • People working with you to create a good idea
  • Making the assumption the crowd is capable of inspiring the total answer
  • The process of engaging the customer is the reward
  • Internal and External teams work together
  • Consistent issues become the inspiration for further development

Co-creation is much more of a collaboration, as the consumers help play a role in the value creation. Value can be defined as the interaction of the following three variables: specific customer needs, the attributes of a product or service, and the overall cost. The needs, attributes, and costs should be across all the five processes that customers take part in: buying, using, selling, integrating multiple products, and co-creation. So why is co-creation such an attractive approach? Well….

  1. Ideas will better represent the customers’ needs
  2. Product development will then meet those needs
  3. Increase likelihood of new product success
  4. Gain a competitive edge
  5. Improve product quality
  6. Reduce risk
  7. Increase market acceptance
  8. Efficiency and effectiveness

There is one company called Quirky who uses co-creation to generate customers ideas into products to be sold on the market. The way that Quirky works is at first people submit their ideas to Quirky. Quirky roughly receives 2,000 ideas a week. Out of the 2,000 ideas, Quirky sends a few hundred to design and has a design meeting every week. From the designs they then pick a few products to build. All community members give their input along the way such as price point, and color. When a community members idea is used they get a percent of the sales. Quirky’s products are sold to 35 countries and in 3,500 retail locations. To those who come up with the original idea, Quirky gives a lifetime royalty of 30% of online sales, and 10% retail sales.

I don’t know what you are thinking, but I’m starting to wonder how expensive this is for Quirky. I mean sifting through all the ideas, on top of paying all the community members for the pieces of the idea, not to mention paying for the main idea sounds ridiculously expensive. I never would have thought that this business model would of worked but it sure as heck did. Quirky doesn’t have to have a large research and design department because its community members do that for them. The team at Quirky can make money as long as tens of thousands of items are sold. The question is: how likely is that? Well that brings us right back to square one in which I talk about the fact that you have designed the product through your customers input and therefore you have a leg up on what your customers needs are and how to meet them. This is sounded good, isn’t it?

Some of the best inventions by Quirky include: a bendable power strip, rubber bands with hooks to fasten around things, and a product called the Pluck, which separates the egg yolk from the egg white (If you are still eating the whole yolk, c’mon people, it’s 2013, you might want to look into how much healthier egg whites are).

I guess I feel like co-creation is really getting into your customer’s heads. I did not mean that in a sketchy way either. Clearly, your customers are the answer to everything, so why not start that process from the very beginning? Social media has made communication with consumers painless and inexpensive.

You are probably thinking so then why don’t more companies use co-creation if it is all that it is cracked up to be. Well…

  1. Co-creation involves transparency from the firm. Ideas that may of been secret become public information to consumers but also competitors.
  2. Co-creation can raise questions about the ownership of intellectual property.
  3. Co-creation can lead to information overload.
  4. Co-creation may provide ideas that the firm is unable to use.

Hijacking is one of the main challenges customers face. For example, Henkel, a detergent manufacturer ran a contest in which consumers could submit innovative packaging ideas. However; instead of receiving valuable ideas and information; Henkel was bombarded with negative ideas. McDonald’s set up a twitter campaign to promote word of mouth but became a way for consumers to bash the chain. This can be very rough on companies especially McDonald’s in which everything submitted was for the public to view. Although, I have strong opinions on McDonald’s and haven’t eaten there in over 10 years, I still have sympathy for them. The tweets included tweets about being hospitalized after eating the food, and the food being made out of the same thing as yoga mats; and I think its pretty obvious how much of negative effect something like this could have on a company.

With co-creation there are some main things to keep in mind:

1. Brand Reputation-Strong brands need to protect themselves as allowing consumers to play a role in value-creation can actually have a quite negative consequences. Companies should weigh the the potential for misbehaving customers to undo previous efforts of the company to create a strong brand reputation.

2. Demand Uncertainty-Companies usually ask for customer input when conditions are shifting. However; during this time consumers are more likely to have no idea about what they want. For example, Porsche had lots of negative feedback when it announced it was going to release an SUV but still released the SUV, which ended up being a success. Customer feedback can be inaccurate and therefore companies can make the wrong decision.

3. Too Many Initiatives- Many people will submit ideas repeatedly giving the company a false idea of what the consumers as a whole really want.

The truth is we can sit here and talk about all the possible downfalls of co-creation but there are downfalls to nearly all different methods. In my opinion co-creation has some of the larger payoffs. Co-creation puts customers in the drivers seat and after all isn’t that what the customer wants. Keeping the customer happy is what is going to give companies higher sales and thus keep companies happier.

Vision critical has just recently launched a co-creation tool called IdeaHub. Clients are able to use this to tap into customers brains to get ideas for new product development. Members can submit ideas via text (which if you have followed my posts is important these days), email, audio, or video. Others are catching on, the question is: are you?

 

References

4 Stupidly Simple But Wildly Successful New Inventions. (n.d.). Business Insider. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/quirky.pdf

Co-creation Is Key to a Successful Agency-Client Relationship. (n.d.). AdWeek. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/co-creation-key-successful-agency-client-relationship-153397

Co-creation: A new Source of Value. (n.d.). Co-creation. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/co-creation.pdf

Consumer Cocreation in New Product Development. (n.d.). Journal of Service Research. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/cocreation-journal-of-service-research.pdf

Daily Research News Online. (n.d.). no. 18077. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://www.mrweb.com/drno/news18077.htm

How Raising $291,000 On Kickstarter Nearly Killed Underwear Startup Flint And Tinder. (n.d.). Business Insider. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/flint-tinders-kickstarter-success-business-insider.pdf

Is Crowdfunding Good for Investors?. (n.d.). The New Yorker. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/currency/2013/10/is-crowdfunding-good-for-investors.html?utm_source=www&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=20131031

Power of Crowd is in Co-Creation, Not Crowdsourcing. (n.d.). Innovation Excellence raquo. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/08/26/power-of-crowd-is-in-co-creation-not-crowdsourcing/

September 2013. (n.d.). Understand the Perils of Co-Creation. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://hbr.org/2013/09/understand-the-perils-of-co-creation/

The Rise of Crowdsurfing. (n.d.). Wired Magazine. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/the-rise-of-crowdsourcingc2a01.pdf

Mobile Payment Systems Are Definitely Not the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

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With all that you can do on mobile these days, nothing surprises me anymore. After all… we do have our mobile phones within an arms distance from us 24 hours a day (Just FYI I do not fit into this category; I have a job and therefore can’t be around my phone for my 6 hour shifts). Mobile payments have been creeping up on me though. My dad and I started a business selling water bottles at farmers markets (I know… I know…. water bottles are so random), and we used to process credit card payments on our phone. Therefore I am very familiar with that side of mobile payments. What I’m not familiar with is the other side of mobile payments (For instance, going to get lunch at a burrito shop and paying with my mobile phone). The real question that I think intrigues me, is in what way will this make my life easier and after all, isn’t that the only way this mobile payment stuff will stick? Or maybe we are so enthralled with technology that just paying with a mobile phone is exciting enough in itself? Well in that case I would think that mobile payment will just be a short-lived fad but maybe just maybe the benefits will provide an incentive to use our mobile phone to pay for our lunch.

Google Wallet uses near-field communication chips which are built into certain phones operating systems. These chips will then communicate with credit card terminals at retail locations, swapping your payment information that you have entered when you set up your account. Retailers that use Google Wallet include: Walgreens, Macy’s, and Old Navy. Square has a retail app in which you can also upload your name and a picture of you, along with your credit card information so that when you buy something your name and picture come up and the retailer can check to make sure the picture is really you and then completes the sale. Okay so I’m confused… exactly which steps are simplified when mobile payment is used? If a sale is less than $25 you usually do not have to sign if you use a credit/debit card. So you are still reaching in your pocket and grabbing either your phone or your card. With a phone, however; you have to open the app and click a command, whereas with a card you can just pull the card out and swipe it. What if your phone is acting up? How in the heck is mobile payment any faster? And while I’m ragging on mobile payments, how is Square protecting your card from theft? In my opinion, I think Square’s use of the photo and name can make theft almost painless for the crook. If ya’ll didn’t know by now, I work as a waitress to pay my way through school (do NOT, seriously DO NOT, get me started on my waitress rants). Well I am now paranoid about giving waitresses my credit card to take and swipe because it is so easy for them to write down the credit card number, expiration date, and CVV code on the back. So if someone has all this information then it is easy for them to program this information into their phone but provide a picture of themselves. With this use of the picture, showing I.D. for large purchases becomes totally obsolete. But in what universe is this a good thing? I mean it just provides an incentive for crooks.

I’m also one of those people who likes personalized advertising and doesn’t find it annoying. I really am a shopper at heart, and so when I visit Sephora.com and look at some makeup and then visit another site and other makeup pops up on the side I usually do look at it. After all, advertisers then do the shopping for me practically. It’s really just a time saver. So the thought of businesses being able to collect more data on me and my personal habits through these payment apps, doesn’t bother me in the least bit. I don’t mind having a personalized coupon sent my way at all. But one thing to ask is: it really useful to the consumer, or are we just helping businesses do their job more effectively? Businesses get to collect valuable information on their customers, and avoid payment processing fees, therefore have more money and information to grow their business. And from the business owner’s perspective mobile payments are great. According to CUNA, more than half of US smartphone owners use their phone for at least some type of mobile payment. Which to me is just plain crazy, as for consumers it seems like such a hassle to pay with their smartphone rather than a plastic credit card.

Let’s run break apart some of the pros of mobile payment systems:
For consumers:
• Convenience- You don’t have to carry your credit cards around any longer. In my opinion not carrying a credit card around is not an inconvenience to me at all but perhaps to others it is. But what if you run out of battery on your phone and because you don’t have your credit card you can’t buy yourself some lunch.
• Security- You can password protect your information so if your phone is stolen or lost then your information is secure. But haven’t we all heard of hackers? It is not hard to hack through a password protected phone. So does a password really protect your credit card information? I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.
For businesses:
• User data- You can gather data from your customers and use this data to effectively grow your business. I will not argue with that one.
• Paperless Receipts- I suppose this could be a pro for consumers as well. Paper saves money and the environment so it just depends how much of a tree hugger you are. But really paperless receipts is something that was long ago used via email. These days’ retailers ask you if you want your receipt emailed or even texted to you to save paper. So maybe it makes it easier to automatically send a paperless receipt but it can’t be that much more convenient.
• Cost-As of now costs are cheaper as businesses can avoid payment processing fees but eventually carriers are going to want to get involved and will start charging hefty fees to merchants, which could end up costing the consumer .

To me it seems like almost all of the pros are cons. When I was reading about it there seemed to be controversial information on all the benefits and disadvantages of mobile payments. I’ll let you decide whether these are pros or cons of mobile payments. As I think everyone can offer their own perspective on what they consider a pro or con of mobile advertising. Leave a comment below and let me know what your opinion on mobile payment systems is.

Let’s see what consumers say about mobile payment systems:
• 77% say their biggest concern is security
• 6.9% say their biggest concern is battery life
• 6.4% say their biggest concern is how confusing it is to use
• 5.1% say their biggest concern is having not enough rewards or bonus features
• 4% say their biggest concern is the inability to track a budget

In the U.K. homeless are now accepting mobile payments with their new iZettle solution. A street newspaper, sold by the homeless, now accepts credit card payments because people don’t carry cash any longer. And if consumers trust their card details to homeless people because of the technology maybe we really don’t have anything to be worried about security-wise. I’ll let you decide that one for yourself. Just remember that if cash is becoming so obsolete that even homeless people aren’t messing around with it, then we really might be in trouble.

According to The-Ultimate Guide To Mobile Credit Card Processing Report, 40% of small to medium sized enterprises now accept payments with mobile credit card readers. And 16% of small to medium-sized enterprises plan to adopt mobile payment devices in the next 12 months. I think businesses are trying to jump on this fad as they see technological advances taking place in every aspect businesses and therefore they are not hesitant to jump on the bandwagon later learning that maybe it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. One thing is for sure, mobile payment services, are definitely not the best thing since sliced bread.

While I’m on this tangent about mobile payments, I want to talk a little bit about bitcoin. Bitcoin has been in existence since 2009 and isn’t controlled by any authority. The currency has been used on the black market, but is now being accepted by legitimate businesses all over the world. As long as the internet stays on, bitcoin will be there, as it’s the platonic currency. In fact a Seattle-based mobile grilled cheese truck just recently started accepting bitcoin. According to these cheese wizards, there has been two bitcoin sales per hour, which is much more than they expected. Heck that’s way more than I expected, so I could see why they would be surprised. According to CBC news, “once you move your money into the cloud why would you ever go back to putting your money in the bank?” All I had to read was that bitcoins might become a very useful tool for various illegal activities including child pornography, trafficking, and terrorism. And if that doesn’t scare you then I don’t know what will. Have you seen any signs in businesses that say they are now accepted bitcoins? Leave a comment and let me know. I sure haven’t!

References

16% of small firms set to adopt mobile payments. (n.d.). Bobsguide. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.bobsguide.com/guide/news/2013/Nov/5/16-of-small-firms-set-to-adopt-mobile-payments.html
Bitcoin May Be the Global Economy’s Last Safe Haven. (n.d.). Bloomberg Business. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-28/bitcoin-may-be-the-global-economys-last-safe-haven
Bitcoin virtual currency hitting the mainstream – Technology & Science – CBC News. (n.d.). CBCnews. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/bitcoin-virtual-currency-hitting-the-mainstream-1.1312022
Inside LevelUp, powering Bolocos mobile payments. (n.d.). Boston. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.boston.com/business/innovation/blogs/inside-the-hive/2012/12/18/inside-levelup-powering-boloco-mobile-payments/A1c3wdLL3TGzqrHn5dX6ZP/blog.html
Marketwired. (n.d.). Marketwire. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/levelup-launches-connected-apps-1844976.htm
Mobile Payments: Security Concerns Trump Convenience. (n.d.). BusinessNewsDaily.com. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5399-mobile-payments-security-concerns.html
Now accepting bitcoin: Seattle-based mobile grilled cheese truck. (n.d.). CoinDesk RSS. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.coindesk.com/now-accepting-bitcoin-seattle-based-mobile-grilled-cheese-truck/
Now accepting bitcoin: Seattle-based mobile grilled cheese truck. (n.d.). CoinDesk RSS. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.coindesk.com/now-accepting-bitcoin-seattle-based-mobile-grilled-cheese-truck/
Smartphone as a spending tool. (n.d.). Boston. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2012/07/26/the_smartphone_as_a_spending_tool/
Starbucks Touts Mobile Adoption. (n.d.). MediaPost Publications 11/01/2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/212547/starbucks-touts-mobile-adoption.html
Stockholm homeless accepting mobile payments with iZettle solution | MobilePaymentsToday.com. (n.d.). Stockholm homeless accepting mobile payments with iZettle solution | MobilePaymentsToday.com. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/article/221447/Stockholm-homeless-accepting-mobile-payments-with-iZettle-solution
The Pros and Cons of Mobile Payment Systems. (n.d.). Squeaky Blog RSS. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://blog.squeaky.com/2011/05/the-pros-and-cons-of-mobile-payment-systems/
Wires, C. (1970, January 1). Twitter’s Jack Dorsey: A tech titan who plans to reinvent world of commerce. CNN. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/28/business/jack-dorsey/index.html
World’s first bitcoin ATM opens in Vancouver – Technology & Science – CBC News. (n.d.). CBCnews. Retrieved November 5, 2013, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/world-s-first-bitcoin-atm-opens-in-vancouver-1.2286877

Database Marketing: Avoiding the Awkward First Date

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Let’s imagine that you just got asked on a date by someone who you’ve been pining after for quite a while. You Facebook stalk him and find out that he loves the Denver Broncos (Go Broncos!) and frozen yogurt. He picks you up and takes you to dinner, and you can see that he doesn’t seem that interested. He asks you what you like to do on weekends, and you tell him that you like to watch football especially your favorite team, the Bronco’s. The date starts to pick up and he seems more interested, after dinner he asks if you want to do something else and you suggest frozen yogurt. At this point he is starting to feel like he has found his soul mate (I mean c’mon now, no one else has loved both the Broncos and frozen yogurt!), and before he walks to the door at the end of the night, he asks you on a second date. The fact is you just personalized this date. Was it creepy? Perhaps. Did it work? Of course, after all you got a second date! Well this in a nutshell is database marketing. Database marketing is when you use databases of customers/potential customer’s data to create personalized communications for marketing purposes.

I don’t think I have to go into depth about why personalization works. A large part of marketing is about establishing a relationship between your customers and the brand. Personalization helps establish this relationship by helping the customer get better recognition, get relevant offers and experiences, thus helping the customer feel as if the brand knows them. This helps the organization benefit from increased customer retention, and increase returns on investment.

But where to start? Well here are 5 good steps to help start personalization and build a relationship between you and your customers:

  1. Prioritize what to personalize- I know, I know so many choices!
  2. Estimate customer’s expectation of personalization- Customers expect a large degree of personalization and it is a good idea to have an idea of what this expectation is BEFORE you start
  3. Distinguish between known and unknown attributes- If you are relying on analytics then it is necessary to take known attributes to help establish unknown attributes
  4. Understand how complex the analytics are-Where ever the firm is at with analytics and technology adoption allows how sophisticated the firm can get with analytics
  5. Choose the interaction content- This is the channel where the firm or customer initiates a contact

The Obama campaign is an incredible example of database marketing done fantastically. Obama’s use of “big data” is what won him the campaign. The Obama campaign sent out emails to supporters to join a ticket dinner in June. Different emails emphasized different people attending the dinner, and emails were sent according to the data. This means that some emails mentioned that Mariah Carey would be there, others mentioned the vogue editor, and some talked about the second fundraiser being held at the dinner that night. Multivariate tests were used to identify issues and positions that would change undecided voters to vote for Obama. The Obama campaign used cookies to track its supporters, and thus develop a campaign that was personalized to each voter-telling them exactly what they need to hear to sway their vote. Well the fact that Obama even used “big data” to win the campaign is genius enough. The team started back in 2008, and I think that Obama certainly put more than just  hard work (also a big brain) into his campaign and deserved recognition for taking things to the next step.

A major problem that occurs with so much personalization is crossing ethical lines or coming across as creepy. There are some situations where it seems as if the firm was flirting with the line between acceptable and creepy. Target is a good example of this. Target was able to narrow down 25 items that allowed them to assign a pregnancy score to each customer. Target was able to then entice husbands and the pregnant women to buy baby –related products and then would push them to buy other things like groceries, clothing, and toys from Target as well. Well this sounds like a genius marketing plan, it just might be too genius. A man in Minneapolis came into the Target store with coupons for baby items addressed to his daughter, and angrily confronted the manager. The manager of the Target store apologized, and the next day when he called to apologize again the man admitted that he had talked to his daughter and she was indeed pregnant. I think this story captures the whole essence of personalization in marketing. Target was so good at using personalization to market towards pregnant women that they were able to uncover a teenager’s pregnancy before her Dad was. At the same time this brings up the important question of is there a point where a line should be drawn.  I think that this Target case is important in emphasizing that there is a large difference between Amazon and its recommendations and Target sending baby coupons to those with a high pregnancy score. Having a baby is such an emotional, intimate thing, and I think that when marketers try to become too involved too early there are some ethical lines that are potentially being crossed.

Let’s get into this a little bit deeper and talk about what I mentioned before which is: big data. Big data is using huge data sets and using analytics to better target customers.

  • The value of big data is supposed to increase drastically from $18.1 billion in 2013 to $47 billion by 2017. Insane, right?
  • There is supposed to be a 60% increase in marketing analytics over the next 3 years
  • 3 billion people create 8 zetabytes of data
  • 71% of marketers will implement a big data analytics solution in the next three years (3/4 of marketers!)

So whether you are going to be one of 71% implementing the big data analytics solution or the consumer who falls for all this personalization, one thing is for sure, big data is the new way of marketing, and for good reason. After all if you could bypass the awkward first date, wouldn’t you?  

References

Crovitz:Obama’s Big Data Victory. (n.d.). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/obamas-big-data-victory-wsj-com.pdf

How companies learn Your Secrets. (n.d.). New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/how-companies-learn-your-secrets-nytimes-com.pdf

The Benefits of Big Data Marketing (Infographic). (n.d.). Business 2 Community  The Benefits of Big Data Marketing Infographic Comments. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://www.business2community.com/infographics/benefits-big-data-marketing-infographic-0652195

Use Customer Analytics to Get Personal. (n.d.). For Customer Intelligence Professionals. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/19212-use_customer_analytics_to_get_personal.pdf

Mobile Marketing Might Just be the Bee’s Knees

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Mobile marketing. Blah. Blah. Blah. You’ve heard it all before. That you need to take things mobile. That mobile is the next big thing. The real question is have you listened? Well lets talk. Let me tell you why it might just be the bee’s knees.

These statistics on mobile might help peak your interest a little bit:

  • 300,000 mobile apps have been developed in the past year
  • 90% of all mobile searches will result in a purchase or visit
  • 50% of all mobile searches in the restaurant business will result in a purchase
  • 3/4 of people will use their mobile phone for shopping
  • 52% of people say that a poor mobile phone experience will make them less likely to purchase from a company
  • 75% of people will abandon a site that doesn’t load in 5 seconds
  • 67% of people use their smart phone browsers to pass the time when waiting around
  • 90% of all home buyers use mobile phones to search for houses
  • Retailer apps with store modes get 500% more interaction with customers then stores without mobile apps
  • 80% of consumers use their smart phones to shop in one way or another
  • 29% of mobile users are OK with scanning QR codes to get coupons

So the next question is what is stopping you?

If you haven’t quite hopped on the mobile train then you should figure out what is stopping you. If it is the fact that you think mobile advertising is less reliable: you are wrong. I don’t mean to be harsh…but get the facts, people, GET THE FACTS! Geo-targeting is actually more reliable on phones. This is because Google sets Geo-targeting for desktops based on the IP address and the location of interest in the search queries themselves. However, for mobile devices Google also uses GPS, Wi-Fi networks, and cell ID towers.

Is it due to the fact that you feel as if you don’t have the budget? Well think again. Google has a free mobile website tool called GoMo, and there are plenty of other free tools to help make a mobile site without spending lots of extra money.

So how do you get started?

1. Decide what you want to go mobile with. What do you think mobile marketing can help you achieve?

2. Look at it from the consumers perspective. This helps you establish how mobile can change things for your target market.

3. Segment. Pinpoint distribution to different segments.

4. Use DIY tools to save money.

5. Build a customer loyalty club. Do this by capturing your customers data through marketing activities and other transactions.

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

So now you finally realize that you should start going mobile… what next?

Well now think about whether you are looking for an app or mobile web for your business? Mobile web allows for quick bits of information while an application allows for offline usage, better navigation, and deeper immersion.

Some of my very favorite examples of mobile applications include:

  • Colorsmart by BEHR- This application allows users to take a picture of a room and choose paint colors and palettes. It then is able to estimate the total cost and recommend a store near you. This is so fantastic. I need to get this app. I really do need to do some painting.
  • Chipotle- This application allows the user to order from their smartphone. They are able to select the nearest Chipotle, customize their order and enter their payment information and then just go and pick up their order. I am a die-hard Chipotle fan. If you didn’t know Chipotle is from Colorado and that is where I grew up, and there Chipotle is like part of the culture. I am not kidding my brother used to go to Chipotle every single day.
  • Jones soda- This app allows users to customize a soda label with a photo, flavor, and customized label. It then allows them to make a purchase of this customized soda in a pack of 6 or 12. This is engaging, but also allows for customers to purchase their customized soda’s.
  • Merrell Go Barefoot- As barefoot running became increasingly popular Merrell launched a product line called Barefoot. The app allows users to slowly work there way into using the Barefoot shoe. This app has 40 days of workouts, exercises, and challenges to eventually be able to run 1.5 miles in the Barefoot shoes. This app is wonderful as barefoot running can be really dangerous to your body, and Merrell was able to design a program to ease the body into it, while marketing their product.

Building your own app can be quite a challenge. With these tips on how to design a mobile app for your business you will be able to avoid some costly mistakes.

  • Make sure there are just a few tasks. My usual phrase, “Go big, or go home” does not apply here. This allows for larger buttons, and a better visual which is what is important on a mobile app.
  • Get the word out about your new app! If you have a large web presence then let your customers know about the app via the website. Also continually check up on your mobile app reviews and ratings. This will help attract new customers.
  • Design your app so that it is something that you customers will want to use consistently, and make the app engaging so that you can re-connect with your customers. Make sure that you provide reasons for your customers to engage such as coupons, and other rewards.
  • Make it easy for mobile app users to submit feedback to you, and also listen to feedback. You are trying to create long-term relationships with your customers, and in doing so allowing your customers to have a voice is crucial.

I have run across some great tips for mobile marketing. The first one is to balance your performance goals, while still encouraging participation. Merrell’s app does a fantastic job at doing this. As it encourages many to participate in training their bodies to be able to run barefoot, while promoting their Barefoot shoes as that is what the program is designed to do. The second is to make sure to think local with mobile marketing. BEHR’s app does this well as they include the nearest location to purchase paint. A one-stop-shop to look at colors and to see where to get the paint is easy and allows for the customer to go straight to the store and make a purchase. Another good tip is to Switch your budgets to mobile. If the statistics above didn’t convince you, well then you are a lost cause. No really, switch the marketing budgets to mobile. And of course last, but not least, make sure that all channels provide a seamless experience as customers expect nothing less.

So what does the future hold? Well many think that text message marketing is the next big form of mobile marketing. This is because EVERY single phone has at least two functions: calling and text message. There is a 98% opening rate which would be higher than emails. However; consumers would still have to opt-in and the opt-in rate in unknown. Personally I think text message marketing would just be more noise that we would filter out. I get my hair done every month and a half at a fancy salon (who uses all natural products). Somehow I opted into getting text messages, and every month or so they send me a $20 off coupon. So I wait till I get the coupon to call and make an appointment. If it was email I will admit it would take me a week to open and I would forget. However; if it wasn’t a coupon for $20 off, I would of already opted out of text messages from my salon. After all, emails started out as communication between parties and now everything in my inbox is advertising. If text messaging went in that direction I would start calling all my friends (and I hate talking on the phone).

 

References

10 Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Businesses. (2013, October 29). CIO. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.cio.com/article/742129/10_Mobile_Marketing_Tips_for_Small_Businesses

Blog. (n.d.). SEER Interactive RSS. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/smartphone-advertising-myths-debunked

Classic Guide to Mobile Advertising. (n.d.). Mobile Marketer. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/classic-guide-to-mobile-advertising.pdf

Mashable. (n.d.). Mashable. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://mashable.com/2013/10/27/mms-mobile-marketing/

Mashable. (n.d.). Mashable. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://mashable.com/2011/09/12/branded-iphone-apps/#gallery/13-branded-mobile-apps-that-enhance-products/50bdeca1b589e452f7000ee1

Mobile Marketing for Local BusinessWhy Local Business need Mobile 3. (2013, May 24). YouTube. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-oHhAbG2tQ

Mobile Website vs. Mobile App (Application): Which is Best for Your Organization?. (n.d.). Mobile Website vs. Mobile App (Application) “ Which is Best for Your Organization?. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from http://www.hswsolutions.com/services/mobile-web-development/mobile-website-vs-apps/

 

 

SQL: If You Can’t Take The Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

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So you want to learn about all the things that you didn’t know you needed to know? I have a new one for you: SQL. What is SQL? SQL stands for Structured Query Language which allows you to access and manipulate databases. Okay so manipulating databases… that sounds interesting and like it could be potentially helpful. Let’s talk about what SQL allows you to do:

  1. SQL can execute queries against a database
  2. SQL can retrieve data from a database
  3. SQL can insert records in a database
  4. SQL can update records in a database
  5. SQL can delete records from a database
  6. SQL can create new databases
  7. SQL can create new tables in a database
  8. SQL can create stored procedures in a database
  9. SQL can create views in a database
  10. SQL can set permissions on tables, procedures, and views

RDBMS is Relational Database Management System and is the basis for SQL. All data in RDBMS is stored in tables, which is a collection of related data entries that consists of columns and rows.

Well this is nice. You learned something about SQL but what about putting that knowledge to work…. SQL can help you:

        i.            Determine the interests that are most highly correlated with your customer base

      ii.            Determine products which are most highly correlated with those interests

    iii.            Determine demographic differences between different site signups

    iv.            Analyze future sales based on first purchase

      v.            Find % of members who make a purchase right away

This is all extremely helpful information to those who want to have a more targeting marketing strategy, as it helps better target potential customers, as well as increase the speed of which a marketing campaign can run.

Who is using SQL? Companies who are ahead of the game and want to get answers and get them fast. SQL allows you to communicate directly with the database and therefore get helpful answers fast. In fact, many companies make sure that all their marketers are extremely familiar with SQL to ensure that their marketers can work at triple the speed.

Okay so all this talk about all these things that marketers need to know to get a job in the field…. talk about INTIMIDATING. On top of that now companies want us to be able to work at triple the speed? Well isn’t this just something to look forward to. Of course if you want to have a successful career then be ready! As they say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Learning SQL will help make a marketers life so much simpler. Of course you are probably thinking that there are IT people for that. And of course that is true, and I am not telling you to go learn everything you possibly can about SQL but what I am telling you is that it will help marketers with analytics, as well as email marketing programs. As a marketer it’s always best to understand as much as the marketing process as possible and that’s what SQL will do. SQL will put another piece of the marketing puzzle together for you. This allows you to better understanding of all parts of the campaign including the outcome as well as help to design it. I think it will be important if you want to get a job, keep a job, and be successful. And after all isn’t that what we all want.

 

References

Marketing: What are the use of SQL in Marketing?. (n.d.). Quora. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://www.quora.com/Marketing/What-are-the-use-of-SQL-in-Marketing

SQL SELECT DISTINCT Statement. (n.d.). SQL SELECT DISTINCT Statement. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://www.w3schools.com/sql/sql_distinct.asp

The Moz Blog. (n.d.). Moz. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://moz.com/blog/every-marketer-should-be-technical

Why Every Start Up Marketer Needs To Learn SQL?. (n.d.). The App Entrepreneur. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://theappentrepreneur.com/why-every-startup-marketer-needs-to-learn-sql

Why Every Startup Marketer Needs to Learn SQL. (n.d.). Udemy Blog. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from https://www.udemy.com/blog/learn-sql/

Why Learning SQL Will Change Your Life | Marketing Analytics Blog. (n.d.). Marketing Analytics Blog  Why Learning SQL Will Change Your Life Comments. Retrieved October 24, 2013, from http://vaultanalytics.com/marketinganalytics/2012/10/why-learning-sql-will-change-your-life/

AB Testing: Lipstick or no lipstick?

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Last weekend my roommate and I went out downtown to the bars. As we were getting ready she said to me, ” I am going to see if more guys hit on me if I put on red lipstick tonight. Last time we went out I didn’t wear lipstick.” We went out, had fun, and when we got home she told me about all her adventures. Turns out the red lipstick was a hit. This would be an example of AB testing in the real world. Well there are several factors that make this little experiment inaccurate… but it helps you understand the gist of AB testing.

AB testing is when you have two versions of an element and you are testing both versions simultaneously to figure out which one is going to generate the best results. There are several things that you need to know about AB testing before you proceed:

  1. Make sure to isolate one variable. This is very important because if you only change and test one variable then the results will be attributed to that one variable and that variable only. If you change multiple variables then you won’t know which change in variable generated the best results.
  2. Use a large enough sample size. The larger the sample size the stronger the results will be. Remember that you should also have a timeline and having an extremely large sample size will only detour you from using the results of the AB test to incorporate the variable with the best results right away.
  3. Eliminate confounding variables. This means split testing. For example half your visitors see the blue button and half see the red button. Or in the case of emails sending the emails at the same time. In my red lipstick example, there were many extraneous variables that could of skewed the results. Such as there were more men out at bars the second night, or the fact that she was wearing her hair differently.
  4. Don’t give up. Many AB tests need to be ran in order for there to be a result. So do not give up.
  5. Know how to figure out the CORRECT conclusion. Don’t let your hypothesis sway the true results of the AB test. Many times it is the variable that is least expected to outperform that ends up as the best option. This means that you need to figure out if your result is statistically significant or not before thoroughly examining the results.

The next question is where can you use AB testing? There are plenty of applications where AB Testing is not only extremely helpful but may actually be necessary in order to help generate the results that you are looking for.

  • Layout and page design
  • Headlines, opening paragraphs, & photos
  • The sales funnel

So lets go back to fifth grade science? You remember the scientific method for testing? Well of course you do… but lets review just in case.

  1. Pose the question. What are you testing?
  2. Create a hypothesis and a prediction
  3. Test your hypothesis. To do this you must design the AB Test.
  4. Analyze the data. Find out which version helps achieve your desired results.

These steps will help you conduct your AB test effectively.

So what do I think about AB testing? AB testing is going to help you reach your goals and is very effective at doing so. It has been called the most effective way to turn “clicks into customers.” So why wouldn’t you conduct AB testing? You wouldn’t. Oh geez did I just used a double negative. What I am trying to say if you have any brain at all then you will use AB testing and start turning “clicks into customers.”

 

References

A/B Testing is Key to Unlocking Your Websites True Potential. (n.d.). Business Bee. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from http://www.businessbee.com/resources/marketing/ab-testing-key-unlocking-websites-true-potential/

Gotcher, M. (n.d.). A/B Experimenting: Perform Tests That Cannot Be Ignored – Business 2 Community. Business 2 Community – Building Deeper Business Relationships Through Engaging Communities. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/ab-experimenting-perform-tests-cant-ignored-0634507

New Marketing Optimizer for WordPress Plugin Released . (n.d.). Press Release Services – News Release Distribution Services – PRWeb. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11131529.htm

Sherbin, M. (n.d.). Create a Content Optimization Advantage with Performance Testing – Business 2 Community. Business 2 Community – Building Deeper Business Relationships Through Engaging Communities. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/create-content-optimization-advantage-performance-testing-0624418

The Ultimate Guide to AB Testing. (n.d.). Smashing Magazine. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/the-ultimate-guide-to-ab-testing-smashing-magazine.pdf

Your company needs a champion for A/B testing (not ab testing) | VentureBeat. (n.d.). VentureBeat | Tech. People. Money.. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://venturebeat.com/2013/09/10/your-company-needs-a-champion-for-ab-testing-not-ab-testing/