Saturday, December 25, 2010

New DROIDX will make blogging easier













I got the new DROIDX for Christmas 2010. I find this device to be truly phenomenal and a huge upgrade over my former Blackberry Storm ll. I like the Andro Blogger application as well. I think this unique application will help tremendously with blogging on the go in 2011.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Media and Entertainment Peaks Consumers’ Interest, but not for Long

Media and entertainment are a big part of our lives. It is often the one thing many of us have in common. Music, sports, technology and television contribute to entertainment within our lives. And for the most part, gaming is entertainment. The popularity of next generation consoles, including Xbox 360 PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, has enhanced the entertainment value through increased social interaction. Millions of gamers load up to play their favorite games every day. In doing so, players engage in live chat or converse over microphones. The growing popularity of games, like the Halo saga, is fueling this need for increased social interaction.

Halo: Reach has received many accolades for its outstanding gameplay and graphics. Halo: Reach is considered a profound and influential game. Mashable.com found the game most impressive. In fact, Mashable.com reported Halo: Reach gaming statistics made available through Bungie.net. Perhaps the most interesting statistic pertains to the fact that gamers exhausted more than 2,000 years in live game sessions within the first week of Halo: Reach being launched. On top of that, some sources claimed Halo: Reach will be the game of the decade.

Understanding the impact of Halo: Reach requires a further understanding about media and entertainment in general. How much buzz do recent released games receive compared to other entertainment options, especially during an event or at launch? Furthermore, does Halo: Reach even receive more online buzz than other major games released over the past year? A quick search using NM Incite’s BuzzMetrics tool offers some insights. The graph below depicts online buzz two weeks before and after a particular event occurred or product launched.
















As we see here, Super Bowl XL IV receives the most online buzz prior to the main event, Super Bowl Sunday on February 7, 2010. Online buzz for the iPad built up prior to launch and extended about a week before dwindling down. In terms of games, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ll receives more pre and post launch buzz than Halo: Reach. The pie graph below shows the trended data above from a different perspective. Similar to the graph above, it looks at the percentage of discussion that each entertainment option receives within two weeks of its event or launch date.
















Here we can see that the iPad receives the most buzz around its official launch, which occurred on April 3, 2010. Halo: Reach receives more buzz than Madden 2011, but it only receives about a third of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ll.

Halo: Reach is a great game in its own rights. It offers a compelling storyline, excellent gameplay and wonderful graphics. Despite its hype, it is clear that Halo: Reach does not receive as much online buzz as other entertainment options, including other games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare ll. It appears to be much more of a middle-of-the-pack entertainment option, receiving buzz levels closer to that of Justin Bieber’s recent album released, My World 2.0. While the longevity of the Halo saga illustrates its popularity among gamers, online buzz for Halo: Reach does not “reach” as high as many may have thought.

Similar to other media and entertainment options, Halo: Reach buzz begins to rise and lower within a week of launch. This begs a few questions. What can marketers do to help create and sustain buzz during pre and post launch phases?

Creating buzz during pre-launch is somewhat easier than post-launch; this is due to the consumers’ anticipation of an upcoming event or product launch. Unfortunately, few products or events take advantage of this scenario. Online buzz for products and events in the trend graph above does not begin to rise noticeably until a week or so from launch. Marketers can help create increase pre-launch buzz by participating in industry-related events (e.g., Consumer Electronics Show), releasing interesting product information at specific intervals, inviting consumers to participate in live demo sessions, creating microsites, identifying opinion leaders and getting them on-board early, taking pre-orders, and turning a product launch into an event.

Sustaining buzz post-launch requires a different set of techniques. Some of the better known approaches include making additional content available at specific intervals post-launch, creating online communities and participating in social media discussion.

Media and entertainment are an important part of consumers’ lives. The growing number of entertainment options means it will be harder for marketers to get their message through the clutter. Implementing a plan to foster and nurture buzz before and after launch should be a key component of any entertainment marketing strategy. Such efforts could help sustain buzz and the product life cycle beyond anticipated timeframes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Marketers Express Interest in Location Tracking Services







Adrianne Jeffries on Read Write Web posted a good read on the growing popularity of location-based services. Jeffries points out several reasons contributing to the growth of location-based marketing, including:

  • Growing usage of mobile devices
  • Excitement around location-based tracking
  • Ability to measure ROI (Return on Investment
Jeffries warns that location-based ads are currently in the honeymoon stage. Consumers and marketers may find location-based ads less appealing over time. While the emergence of the geolocation market segment is exciting, taking baby steps may be the best approach for consumers and marketers.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Old Spice Commercials

Has everyone seen these Old Spice commercials? I think they're hilarious!



You can see more of these on YouTube!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Top Five Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Business Week posts an interesting list of the top 5 social media marketing mistakes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Businesses Look for Ways to Reward Customers using Foursquare

Foursquare is an emerging social media tool businesses are trying to figure out. Two popular ways businesses can leverage Foursquare include monitoring "check ins" and tracking consumers who are awarded the title of "mayor."

There has been some recent skepticism over best practices for taking advantage of Foursquare, especially in terms of rewarding the "mayor."


Unfortunately, only one person can be awarded the title of "mayor" for a particular location at a time. Rewarding the "mayor" of a particular establishment limits the benefits associated with other customers who "check in" frequently. Fortunately, some companies are looking beyond only rewarding the "mayor" of their business though. Many businesses are utilizing Foursquare by rewarding as many customers as possible. This is accomplished by offering discounts to all consumers "checking in." For example, some local restaurants are promoting happy hour discounts for all customers who "check in" between certain hours (e.g., 1PM - 3PM) versus simply rewarding the "mayor."

Do you have any other great ideas about ways businesses can use Foursquare? Feel free to leave a question or comment regarding your experiences marketing through Foursquare.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Can Social Media Save the Day?

Kristi Hines of Social Media Examiner offers some great insight regarding the benefits of using social media manage a crisis. She provides several ways companies can leverage Facebook, Twitter and YouTube when problems arise.

Personally, I think social media is a great tool for managing a crisis as long as a company is upfront and transparent. What are your thoughts on companies using social media for crisis management?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Best Practices for Engaging Influencers

Reaching out to influential people online can be difficult for almost any brand. Fortunately, there are a few steps a brand or marketer can follow to simplify the process. These include:

  • Look at your company, not your favorite blogger - Find out who your top customers are and who influences them first. Also, review internal databases for potential influencers currently doing business with your company.
  • Identify what you can offer influencers - Engaging influencers goes both ways. A company should bring something to the table if it wants to partner with an influencer. Do not worry if you have a small budget. A company does not need to offer monetary rewards; however, be prepared to give influencers the chance to reach new audiences or give them access to valuable information.
  • Consistency is the key - Many outreach programs fail due to marketers desires to meet short-terms marketing goals. Implement long term plans to help foster and develop relationships with influential consumers.

Source: SmartBlog

Do you like these tips? Feel free to leave ask a question or leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Quick Twitter Search Tips

Here are a few good sites for marketers who want to use Twitter search to help promote content:

  • Replyz - This site is still in beta, but makes it easy for marketers to find questions Twitter users are asking.
  • Key Relevance - This tool allows marketers to build tools to monitor Twitter queries.
  • Ice Rocket - Ice Rocket lets marketers review Twitter results in through real-time search.

Please let me know what you think of these Twitter search tools.

Source: PC World

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Should Social Marketers Share Results?

Charlotte McEleny on New Media Age questions whether social marketers should share results. I think Charlotte does a good job answering this tough question. In fact, her response supports what I learned in a recent technology management course in my MBA program. A key takeaway from the course was that companies can profit more through information and technology sharing (e.g., Toyota licenses its hybrid technology to Ford).

Lastminute.com reported that it is aiming for £2m revenue from social media. Charlotte feels marketers need to start being more open about their return on investment, similar to Lastminute.com. Only by making return on investment information public, McEleny argues, will social marketers be able to ensure their industry's long-term growth.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Advertising Age reports Fox selling 80% of Super Bowl ads already. For comparison, CBS sold 70% of ads for the 2010 Super Bowl by September 2009. NBC sold roughly 30% of its Super Bowl ads in 2008 through upfront sales in early June 2008.

Source: http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=144304

Monday, April 12, 2010

Intro to Geosocial Networking for Marketers

Introduction to Geosocial Networking Services

Geosocial networking services let users connect with friends and update their locations through web and mobile applications. Foursquare and Gowalla are among the most popular geosocial networking sites being discussed right now. Two other geosocial services include Loopt and Brightkite.

Online Buzz Trends for Top Geosocial Services











N = 812,634,206 total online messages from discussion communities, blogs, Usenet groups and Microblogs July 1, 2009 – February 28 2010
N = 74,463 for Foursquare; N = 9,859 for Gowalla; N = 5,590 for Loopt; N = 3,775 for Brightkite

Buzz Volume for Top Geosocial Services















Geosocial Services Overview

Foursquare receives the most discussion compared to alternative geosocial networking services. Consumers like Foursquare’s user interface compared to alternatives.

Gowalla’s location-based information is crowdsourced, which has allowed the app to gain traction quickly in places around the world. Gowalla is viewed positively for being available in more locations, but lacks the gameplay and conversationality available though Foursquare. Being able to “check in” is a central concept to most geosocial networking services, and some users feel that Gowalla’s forced reliance on GPS makes “check in” more difficult.
Despite Gowalla’s superior availability, Foursquare receives more website traffic and online discussion because of a better user interface and experience.

Brightkite receives less online discussion than Gowalla, but more website traffic. This is be due to Brightkite’s ease of use. Users may “check in” via text messaging or mobile application.
Similar to Gowalla, Loopt provides a cellphone-based GPS sharing system allowing users to visualize each other.

Loopt offers a unique Journal widget displaying a user’s updates, and photos visually. Loopt has encountered some recent problems with SMS invitation issues.

Limited social interaction is a moot point for most geosocial networking services at this time.

Website Traffic for Top Geosocial Networking Services











Source: Nielsen Net Ratings


Service Comparisons






















Snapshot: Foursquare vs. Gowalla

Foursquare

Points are awarded for “checking in” at specific locations. Users can have their Twitter and Facebook accounts updated every time they “check in”. Users can earn badges by “checking in” at locations frequently. Users may be crowned “Mayor” of a place if they
“check in” more times than anyone else. Foursquare users are able to create “To Do” lists for their private use and add “Tips” for places visited.

Gowalla

Similar to Foursquare, users “check in” from places in their local vicinity. Visitors are rewarded by receiving awards from a “check in”. Items may be developed to for promotional use.
A key feature of Gowalla is being able to track “Spots” and “Trips” (e.g., Nature Hikes or Pub Crawls). Certain users receive an elevated status level, Street Team Elite (STE). Members of STE are given special access to additional features.

Consumer Perceptions toward Geosocial Networking Sites

Geosocial sites are gaining popularity, but consumers feel there is room to grow. Sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla are deemed to be more appropriate for displaying personal information than blogs. However, consumers are looking for easier ways to communicate their whereabouts and personal thoughts on geosocial networks (e.g., SMS). Additionally, consumers are looking for more social interaction.

A small number of consumers express safety concerns associated with geosocial networking. These concerns arise from fear of constantly letting too many people knowing their whereabouts.

Despite Gowalla’s superior technology, consumers currently prefer Foursquare. Consumers’ tendencies to use Foursquare over alternatives are based on ease of use and perceptions that Foursquare is simply more well-known.

Sample Verbatim

"Thanks! I wish there was a way to check in on line or via sms"
http://discussion.treocentral.com/webos-apps-software/225789-what-happend-foursquare.html, 2010-01-28

“However, automatically blogging all my tweets each week picks up a lot of content that isn’t really relevant to readers of my blog e.g. foursquare updates, personal updates about my life and a lot of retweets (which are fine within Twitter but they feel less appropriate in a blog post).”
http://davidlanger.co.uk/2010/01/05/davids-top-5-twitter-weekly-updates-522009, 2010-01-04

“I’m using both and Foursquare has a lot more users, has better info for the places I go (admittedly mostly in SF or surrounding areas, which is one of the cities that it has in it) and is more fun to play.
Gowalla has more cities, forces you to use GPS (made it tough to check in in a few places where GPS wasn’t available) and I don’t like the UI as much (although I admit there are probably some who like it better).
Who will win long term? I think Foursquare will. Why? The gameplay and conversationality of the game are superior. I see people on Twitter talking about Foursquare all the time. “Just became ‘mayor’ of xxxxxx.” I rarely see people talk about Gowalla. The virality just isn’t there.”
http://gigaom.com/2009/10/14/gowalla-vs-foursquare-who-will-win/, 2009-10-15

“Being playing around with the Foursquare the social “location tagging” service and I’ve been loving it…..BUT!
Nobody seems to know what the hell they are doing with it. Other than clocking points and becoming the mayor of your most visited locations I have seen very little sign of social interaction.”
http://smlp.co.uk/blog/2010/01/20/%e2%80%9ccheck-in%e2%80%9d-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs, 2010-01-20

Marketing Insights

Several companies have been able to leverage the growing popularity of geosocial networking sites. For instance, Pepsi sponsored a cause-related campaign that awarded $0.04 to Camp Interactive for every point New York City users added to the Foursquare points leaderboard.















Tapping into the potential of geosocial networking sites is very easy. Some companies already use geosocial sites to remind consumers about products or engage customers.
The Wynn Las Vegas uses Foursquare by engaging with “checked in” guests. Wynn is using Foursquare to help improve the customer experience (Mashable, 2010). Other companies offer special “brand badges” to loyal customers. In fact, Starbucks awards a barista badge to customers who “check in” often. Additional ways companies can leverage geosocial networking sites are listed below.

Marketing Recommendations

• Engage customers who frequently “check in” through a particular geosocial networking service
• Create cause-related campaigns that encourage consumers to participate by “checking in” at certain locations
• Offer recommendations to customers “checking in.” For example, a local restaurant chain may communicate special promotions through Foursquare to customers as they arrive
• Communicate with customers who frequently “check in”; Offer discounts, or coupons to loyal customers
• Sponsor a leaderboard
• Make Facebook pages associated with “check in” locations or special events
• Award customers with special “brand” badges for “checking in”
• Reward frequent customers participating in current loyalty programs (e.g., Kroger Plus Card) with additional value for “checking in”

Conclusion:

Geosocial networking sites are relatively new, but gaining popularity. They are becoming an important tool for businesses. Geosocial networking services may prove most useful in building and maintaining customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympics Buzz Dominates!

The Olympics dominated online buzz compared to the Daytona 500 and NBA All-Star game this past weekend. The Daytona 500 did manage to receive more buzz than the NBA All-Star game on Sunday, February 14, 2010 though.

Sports Buzz Trends












Despite receiving less buzz than the Olympics, Daytona 500 advertisers enjoyed higher brand recall and likeability.



Friday, January 01, 2010

Social Media Predictions in 2010

I spent most of 2009 trying to acclimate myself managing time between family, work and school (I started classes to earn my MBA in 2009.) Unfortunately, I forgot to keep up with my blog. Given that, I want start off 2010 right by adding post to my blog on this wonderful New Year's Day!

The New Year brings lots of hope and joy for many people around the world. Last year's problems and events appear to be in the rear-view mirror as we march forward. New challenges and opportunities will arise in 2010. For me, I want to continue to learn more about the fascinating world of social media.

Social media had its fair share of challenges and obstacles in 2009. Former social media giant, Myspace.com, saw its website traffic lower. But the rise in popularity of Twitter, Google Wave and mobile applications in 2009 will give way to continued growth in 2010. Given that, I have a few social trends I'd like to predict for 2010.

Social Media Predictions in 2010

  • Mobile News Apps will Gain Popularity - Do I really think social media will replace current media outlets (e.g., CNN, ABC, Fox News, etc...)? No! But I do think social media will change the way we receive our news. A declining customer base has led to thousands of newspapers and media outlets closing their doors. Personally, I think media will find new ways to reach consumers in 2010. More mobile apps will be created so consumers can access news content easily from mobile devices in 2010. Additionally, I think media outlets will create apps to help consumers share data more efficiently.
  • Mobile Usage Increases in 2010- Given the current growth in cellular technology and usage, mobile usage will continue to increase. More people will be accessing the internet via mobile devices 2010. (Hey, I had to throw an easy prediction in here somewhere!)
  • Video Blogging Increases and Gains Popularity - You Tube's continued growth helps support my theory that video is the ultimate social media platform. I think the technology is still developing though. You Tube needs to find a better way for consumers to interact on the site (e.g., allow consumers to instant message when logged into YouTube). Overall, I think companies and consumers alike will begin to utilize video more on blogs and social media networks in 2010. If you think about it, almost every successful viral campaign has had a video component. Really, what is "Dove Evolution" without the video? Nothing? Exactly! Online video will be the bees neez of social media in 2010. Expanding the way people interact on YouTube (or an equivalent site) will be the key to longevity.
  • E-mail will become more "Real-Time" - The advent of tools like Google Wave bring a lot of promise to "real time" online discussion. E-mail will become the new "snail mail" by 2020 (maybe sooner).








I hope everyone likes my predictions. I tried to be a little bold, especially with video and e-mail. I simply added mobile apps in so I could get at least one of my predictions right. What are your predictions for social media in 2010? I'd love to hear.