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If you stick around long enough in the digital marketing business, you get to read a lot of these types of columns — one expert or another prognosticating about the future. If I had such a talent, my sense is that it would be put to best use in selecting next week’s lottery numbers. Like you, I have no crystal ball. But I have spent a great deal of my career meeting with marketers in search of innovative ways to acquire and retain new and existing customers, build lifetime value, and win back lost customers.

What follows are five digital marketing predictions for 2012 that are a direct result of numerous client and prospect meetings. 

1. The year of the tablet. All of this is likely to occur in the next 13 months:

  • the installed base of tablet devices will continue to grow exponentially;
  • consumer adoption of tablets will continue to accelerate;
  • new tablet devices will enable traditional print units to be displayed effectively;
  • the rising cost of paper, printing and postage will continue to fuel marketers’ desire for more cost-efficient delivery formats;
  • the web makes a comeback in terms of tablet applications; and
  • the App StoreOpens in a new window still dominates, but will have new competition.

 

2. New demands for greater attribution analysis tools and methods. As a result, be prepared for the following:

  • company finance departments will require greater proof and validation of cost efficiency;
  • marketers will demand greater accountability from channels on media plan optimization; and
  • there will be a new focus on integrated marketing proficiency and effectiveness.

 

3. Get mobile … and fast. The following trends around mobile will emerge next year:

  • consumers will spend more time accessing and communicating via mobile devices;
  • marketers will get their websites in shape to reap the benefits of the new mobile economy; and
  • mobile search and advertising will ramp up dramatically.

 

4. Social media grows up. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to social media marketing in 2012:

  • most marketers will aggressively launch a new array of social strategies and programs;
  • growth in social gaming will flatten out;
  • marketers crack the code in terms of turning community building into measurable transactions; and
  • websites will play second fiddle to social media destinations.

 

5. Digital will play a pivotal role in presidential politics. With 2012 an election year, don’t be surprised to see the following:

  • candidates will be smarter about how to use the full spectrum of digital tools at their disposal, following President Obama’s lead when he leveraged social media in building a coalition and donor base four years ago;
  • the battle will heat up in late 2011 and throughout the primary season; and
  • whoever wins the battle online will win the White House.

 

It’s challenging to predict trends in a marketplace that continues to evolve and change as quickly as the digital landscape. I continue to watch for signs that marketers are getting smarter about using the digital tools available to monitor the dialogs they’re having with their customers in real time.

As we watch the tremendous shift in media consumption patterns and the lamentations about the demise of direct mail, my sense is that digital still has a long way to go before it can be viewed as much more than electronic junk communication. It’s our responsibility as marketers to step up and show consumers that we can be trusted with their data. In earning this trust, we must build more meaningful relationships with them.

Of all of the predictions that could be realized, my sincere hope is that a new awakening to the power of the digital tools and strategies within our current toolkit comes to reality. Consumers have been waiting for years.

 

Provided by Al Diguido

Email SpamAccording to Google, spam is either a canned meat product made mainly from ham or irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.  Either way, it’s not something I want to see on my computer in the morning.  And since I don’t think I’m in the minority on this one, it’s probably not something that should be a part of your email marketing.

Enjoy this fun infographic, and make sure to check out the bottom to see best practices so you won’t look like a spammer.  Enjoy!

 

The Evolution of Spam – An Email Marketing Infographic

 

Provided by marketo.com

Why should companies use content marketing? Risk mitigation, lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring are some of the benefits today’s companies are reaping from their content marketing efforts.

How are companies using it? Some of the most popular ways, by percentage of companies, are non-blogging social media (79%), article posting (78%), in-person events (62%), e-newsletters (61%), case studies (55%), blogs (51%), white papers (43%) and webinars/webcasts (42%).

Are content marketing budgets growing? Most definitely, with 51% increasing spending over the next 12 months, 45% maintaining their current level of spending, and only 2% planning to decreasing content marketing spending.

For more facts and statistics, have a look at the the graphic below:

Is Content Marketing Traditional Advertising’s New Rival? [Infographic]

Provided by http://www.marketo.com

Apple’s iPad may well appeal across the board, but what kinds of people are most likely to buy one? Well, someone has done a spot of research and come up with an infographic providing the answer.

 

Whether it’s a barely-talking toddler who seems to be able to know exactly how to operate the thing, or someone in their twilight years for whom desktop computers were always just too darn tricky, the fact is that Apple’s popular iPad appeals to many types.

Data management firm BlueKai took it upon itself to take a closer look at which kinds of people would be more likely to purchase the device. Through its research, illustrated in a neat infographic at the bottom of this page, it found that an iPad buyer is most likely to be male, a fan of video games and a pet owner. It’s hard to find a connection between pets and iPads but it’s likely that it’s those video game players who are helping to push up iOS mobile gaming revenue to record levels.

Falling into the ‘highly likely to buy an iPad’ category are scientists and health care workers, as well as domestic business travelers (keeps them busy on the plane), international travelers (ditto), apartment dwellers, proponents of organic food and vitamin takers.

Other information included in the demographic included comScore’s discovery that 45.9 percent of tablet owners live in households earning in excess of $100,000 per year. Additionally, research by Nielsen showed that 70 percent of all iPad use takes place in front of a television.

The iPad is proving a huge success for Apple, which sold more than 11 million of the devices during the most recent quarter for which data is available. Precisely how many of those belong to male, pet-owning gaming fans isn’t currently known.

 

Provided by Trevor Mogg

There’s bad news and good news about the way consumers interact with brands on social media.

The bad news? When customers complain on social media, those complaints can tarnish your brand’s name for a wide audience faster than ever.

The good news? Just as complaints travel at light speed thanks to social media, so do compliments.

If you think you’re not “on” or “doing” social media, you’re wrong. Your company may not be active, but I guarantee your fans and your non-supporters are there. Because of this, it is the brand’s responsibility to create a social media experience that can turn a dissatisfied customer into a raving fan.

To help your brand do this, here are seven ways to create a memorable customer experience on social media.


1. Give Your Customers a Place to Talk


Some companies are afraid to set up Facebook pages because they allow customers to comment, which means someone might write something negative. It seems counterintuitive, but you should actually wantcustomers to complain on your company’s Facebook page. If your customers are complaining about you on their personal, privacy-protected Facebook profiles, you have no way to know if they’re complaining, much less reach out to them and make it right.

When customers complain on your brand’s Facebook page, you can respond and resolve issues. If you do it right (and get a little lucky), unhappy customers will turn their opinions around and recommend you to friends because of your fantastic customer service.

 


2. Integrate Social Media Into Your Customer Service


Neglecting your social media properties when they’re full of customer complaints is suicide for your brand. It’s like publishing a customer service hotline phone number that no one ever answers. (Except worse, because the whole Internet can see your negligence.)

Don’t open up the floor for complaints without a plan to handle them. Predict the complaints you may get and construct policies for replying to them. You should also plan on responding to fans who compliment you. At the very least, you should thank customers for the compliment. But if you really want to make customers happy, show happy customers your appreciation with coupons or other rewards.

 


3. Activate Your Existing Customer Base


Most brands have more customers than they do Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Start building your social media fan base by reaching out to your current customers — after all, they already “like” your brand in real life.

Think about how you currently contact your customer base and how you can use those communication channels to draw customers to your social media properties. For example, you could run a contest or promotion on Facebook and then include that promotion on your product’s packaging, in your next email, and in any touch point you have with your customers.

 


4. Be Proactive


Don’t just wait for someone to post on your wall or tweet your account. It’s especially easy on Twitter to monitor for mentions of your name and reach out when someone has a problem, even if they haven’t mentioned your account. Set your brand apart by proactively interacting with customers who are talking about your brand, whether you’re thanking them for a compliment or helping them solve a problem.

Think about why your customers use social media sites like Twitter — it’s because they want to “connect” and to have a voice out there. Make them happy that someone, most importantly your company, is listening to what they have to say.

 


5. Reward Influencers


Find the social media influencers for your audience and give them extras. This could be as simple as giving them advance notice of a special promotion, or complex as giving them a free trip and tour of your facilities. For example, check out what Musselman’s apple sauce did for its blogger network. Making people feel special will help turn them into advocates for your brand. Reward your brand ambassadors when they least expect it and you’ll see some pretty phenomenal results.

 


6. Create Compelling Content


Give your fans something of value on your page. For example, Nordstom’s “Beauty Central” on Facebook provides a ton of relevant, useful content. You can do something similar to this in every industry. If you’re a movie producer, post behind-the-scenes photos, and if you’re a bank, write money saving tips. It’s hard to get people to engage with your brand when you don’t have anything interesting to say. Every brand can (and should) create quality content.

Social media can be a channel to make customers or followers feel special, like they’re in an exclusive club with your brand because they follow you. Make them feel this exclusiveness whether you have ten social media fans or 100,000.

 


7. Stand Out From the Crowd


Some of the most memorable social media experiences are created by going beyond text. This can be as complex as Starbucks’s Pumpkin Picture app, or simple as using voice applications to let your brand’s spokesperson actually speak to your fans. The more interactive and engaging your social media presence, the better. In part, social media is a little anti-social because there can be a lot lost in plain text. By giving your fans a true voice on social media, or encouraging participation through photos and videos, you humanize the experience that much more. You’ll be doing so when most of the other companies out there aren’t really participating effectively this way.

 

Provided by Dave Toliver

Manchester-United-nugget14-club-23268192-1024-600

As first reported by Brand RepublicManchester United, the English Premier Football Club has announced that it will launch its own social network for its identified target of more than 500 million worldwide fans. Brand Republic says MU wants the new network to ”drive engagement with the club’s fans and tap into Asian markets, where Manchester United has a strong following and smartphone use is growing rapidly”.

Manchester United has hired SapientNitro, an integrated marketing services company as its global digital agency to handle its digital strategy, digital marketing communications and online experience. Over the past several years, SapientNitro has tackled marketing and technology for clients such as ADT, Air Canada, AT&T, Burger King, Carnival Cruises, Citi, Coca-Cola, Condé Nast, H&R Block, JCPenney, Kraft and Mercedes AMG.

Our friends at Simply Zesty write, “The site marks a huge step for the team, who have consistently embraced social media. No specific features of the site have been revealed, so it’s not clear yet how much the site will act as a replacement for Facebook or Twitter activity. It has been revealed however, that the site will have an extensive video offering, with exclusive behind-the-scenes clips and content from players.”

But wait, why not just use Facebook and Twitter since it’s where the fans are anyways? Simply Zesty points out, “It shows that as companies become more sophisticated in their use of social media, that sometimes Facebook won’t do the job.” My guess? Manchester United wants to leverage its own ad network and sponsorship opportunities for brands. (=$$$)

Interestingly enough, our TNW editor Paul Sawers points out that Manchester United is actually quite low down on the list of Twitter Influence when ranked against other European Football teams, as they have yet to post a single tweet from their official Twitter account. Also, I’m unsure how Manchester United plans to get 500 million fans to sign up for its yet-to-launch platform when it can only convince 20 million out of Facebook’s 800 users to follow it on an existing social network.

Manchester United Liverpool Red Knows Day2 80 1998050 520x390 Manchester United to launch its own social network for 500 million fans

 

Provided by Courtney Boyd Myers