Thursday, 4 April 2013

Social Media (and digital marketing) isn't rocket science, people!

Marketers are really looking for the same old things from social media and digital marketing as they did from traditional marketing methods, so why should it be treated any different. 

They are looking for:
  • Product lift – be on top of the consumers mind
  • Revenue – increase share of the consumer wallet
  • Brand building – the subtle science of knowing your customer and providing them what they need, when they need it and every once in a while creating that non-existent need – which takes-off and becomes a rage, a success. It is in the domain of building brands that the concepts of loyalty and trust reside – those un-measurable factors which makes marketing the art form it is and keeps it interesting at all times.

At its most basic, from a marketing standpoint, Social Media offers us the insight we always wanted into our consumers’ minds, behaviors and thoughts – the challenge is harnessing it, understanding it and making it work for us. As a recent piece of research about Facebook ‘Likes’ suggests that algorithms can automatically help identify, thus target, users’ personal attributes such as: ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. This is highly powerful in this day and age, where micro-targeting aka personalization and localization, has come to be expected rather than being treated with suspicion by consumers.

A separate research Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report identifies some key factors about consumer behavior and trends that should be applied effectively to make marketing spend work more efficiently. To make the spend work harder, pull marketing – blogs and brand websites – continue to be significantly more relevant in buying influence than any other digital spend. It also identifies that while communities are effective tools, their size is inversely proportional to their effectiveness. This just bolsters the old known fact that deeper relationships are more efficient than having more relationships, that an active community participant is going to be a better brand ambassador than the multitude that signed up just cause they saw an interesting promo.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

RFID technology – combine online with offline

Combining online with offline has been challenging for marketers. For some it still is. In fact, most marketers still see digital marketing and traditional marketing as two separate entities with their own teams, strategies and budgets. What I've wrote before and still emphasises, is that this kind of old-fashioned thinking needs to be get rid off. 

The online environment is constantly changing and so are the opportunities, methods and channels of utilising it. What is still quite new in this environment, is seamless utilisation of online in an offline environment. One way to solve this problem can be answered with RFID technology.

The first time I heard about RFID technology was in the 2010. featured an article with a video about a hotel in Ibiza that used RFID technology:

Even though the concept presented some difficulties and issues, what I found really impressive was that the online an offline environments were very well connected.
So what is RFID technology? Quoting to Wikipedia: «Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of a wireless non-contact system that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data from a tag attached to an object, for the purposes of automatic identification and tracking. Some tags require no battery and are powered by the electromagnetic fields used to read them.» (Read here)  All in all we can find it in our everyday life for instance when use pass to get in office or at factories to check production stage of the product.
In my opinion RFID is a great opportunity for advertising,  promoting and really attracting people to brands in new and innovative ways.
So how does it really work?

(Case by Red Keds Creative Agency)

Range Rover Evoque RFID Eng from Red Keds Creative Agency on Vimeo.

So these are great examples on how to use RFID technology to really maximise your promotion and exposure during single events, but what about using it as a long-term tool? In this next example it is service that is provided the whole season and brings the whole new experience to skiing and snowboarding.

These are not the only cases where RFID technology has been used and I am pretty sure that in near future companies will apply it in a wider range. To get the best return on a digital marketing strategy requires traditional offline methods, and RFID technology for sure offers a great way of combining the two. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Blogging Trends of 2012

In this video I interview by Social Media Examiner, Shani Higgins, CEO of Technorati, shares information on the business of blogging and current blogging trends.  Discover how much money bloggers make and learn more about the opportunities brands now offer bloggers.

Blogging Trends for 2012: What You Need to Know from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:

  • How blogging is intertwined with social media
  • Current trends in who is blogging and where there is growth
  • The state of corporate blogs
  • The average number of blogs bloggers have today
  • How brands are blogging
  • How brands are connecting with bloggers
  • Why probloggers are approached up to a thousand times a week
  • What brands need to know before connecting with bloggers
  • The average salary of bloggers
  • The additional opportunities brands are offering bloggers to make money
  • What’s next for Technorati to improve the business of blogging

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Cool vs. ROI (RyanAir)

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve last updated my blog. There’s really no excuse even though I did spent the last 2 months working, finishing my digital marketing studies, graduating, moving back to Finland and looking for jobs.

It’s been hectic. As an apology, please enjoy this snippet from the Ryan Air calendar :) 

Lot has happened since my last post but I’m still not going talk about Google+  vs. Facebook, Google Wallet or any of the dozens of innovative and creative campaigns that have been launched during the last month or so.

I’m starting again with a soft post about something dear to my heart. ROI in digital marketing.

With all the advice given on how to be the most innovative, creative and extraordinary digital marketer out there, we tend to forget that optimizing everything to perfection might be nice, but not make any difference to your bank account. Well, actually it can but it will be a negative one.

A great example of this in my mind is RyanAir. Their site is probably one of the ugliest out there, with a very low usability. I could hire a 15 year old to do a better job. But that’s not what the site is about. It’s not intended to be a cool visual explosion. It’s meant to convey the exact same thing that RyanAir is all about. RyanAir is CHEAP.

The thing evident for anyone who has ever flown on their flights is that there is a reason why the tickets are the cheapest around. Everything costs extra and the plane is packed with small seats and large people.

The image you get of RyanAir and of the service you get at the airport and in the plane is the same online. You get exactly what you pay for. The site is cheap but an airline competing almost solely on price can’t afford, and shouldn’t put too much money into the site when they can get the same results with the simpler one.  

RyanAir has pretty much perfected their website’s purchase funnel with cross-selling items and services. After choosing the your flight dates you get to the passenger details page which offers a myriad of additional things the passenger can purchase. Passengers have to pay extra for pretty much everything that is normally included in the price of a ticket by other airlines.

These include priority boarding, travel insurance, SMS confirmation, RyanAir approved cabin bag, special equipment, special assistance and method of payment. After booking the flight, the customer is bombarded with hotel and car rental options. These advertisements are specific to the location and date you’re flying so they’re highly relevant. The pricing of the different items and services is also quite low so the hurdle to add them to your purchase isn’t too high.

With ever increasing profits RyanAir is doing something right (besides buy oil with a good price)  and in my mind their approach towards online sales is really helping with that. The whole company’s brand and messages support the image of cheap and that's exactly what they should be doing. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

First Direct's eCRM strategy setting the industry standards high

The former telephone only banking giant has taken the online banking with a storm, focusing on market leading eCRM that has won it various awards for many years running. A quick glance at the website reveals just why this is. 

First Direct offers several different types of channels that enable customers to access their account. These channels include:
            - Internet Banking
            - Mobile Banking and a Mobile app
            - Telephone Banking
            - Internet Baking Plus (compiles all finances under one service)

All the services provide users with an overview and in detailed information as well as demos and video tutorials of the different features. The site in general provides extensive amount of esthetically formatted information on different topics related to banking, investing, insurances and loans. Use of social media is limited to recently launched Facebook page and Twitter account. Lack of physical branches means that the information customers need, has to be clearly written and easily found, which First Direct does well. The over all feeling of the site and it’s extensive amount of different types of content creates a comforting feeling of the reliability of the bank and ease of service. 

Six suggested initiatives for First Direct
Even though the bank is kicking ass at award shows, there are few things it could improve upon.  

1. Social Media
         - Increase the amount of content posted /published through social media
- Seasonal tips (student loan information before semester, travel insurance reminders before winter holidays)

2. “Human” Face to the site
- Take the First Direct style / approach and apply it to a virtual assistant or “Live Help” feature that would enable chatting with a service representative.

3. Extended security education
- Expand the Online Security section to cover sections that are especially meant for the “elder generations” with video tutorials.
- Have an online “Security training course” that will cover the things people should watch out for and cover in detail how people can keep their account safe. (Videos and pictures of different situations with multiple-choice questions)

4. Instructions on how to manage situations in life
- Expand the information sections to cover more detailed information about the different situations in life when people are in need of a bank. Provide customers with more than just content directly related to its services (example Kiboo)

5. Using your phone as a debit card / mobile wallet
- Enable payments using mobile by using NFC. This would enable customers to make shopping more convenient and First Direct to be on the forefront of modern banking as mobile payments become mainstream (source The Guardian)

6. Proper budget analysis software
- Provide customers with a proper financial tool with budgeted expenses weeks, months and years (example Mint). The tool could work as an app that is can be synced with customers’ bank account. Expenses could be categorized (food, gas, entertainment) and customers could make yearly profit estimation.

The profit estimation would calculate customer’s net income and deduct weekly average expenses. An unexpected expense deduction would be made based on customer’s hobbies, interests ect. (skydiving car enthusiasts).

Friday, 10 June 2011

How to measure success in Digital Publishing?

Let’s start by debunking any notions that same metrics can be applied to different companies or even different campaigns and goals in one company. As Kristina Halvorson points out in her book Content Strategy for the Web, the first thing that should be assessed is what constitutes success?

Depending on the company’s goals, it can mean anything for generating sales, driving advocacy or improving lifetime value of existing customers. Once the general goal of the project or strategy is established we can get down to more specific figures. But even with the more specific numbers it’s hard to clearly measure what constitutes success. Benchmarking against previous campaigns run by the company is a good start; also comparing against what your competitors and the industry leaders are doing can help you estimate how successful you really are.

Conversion is of course the ultimate way to measure success but that can mean so many different things. Conversion of what? To start with, measure at least the ultimate goals set for the campaign or strategy. These can anything from making sales, getting people to sign up for a website / fan page or their lifetime value. When taken to the next step, publishers should measure how often newly acquired customers return to the site and how effective the company is in retaining them.

Measuring success is tricky and blindly staring at different KPIs isn’t going to make much difference if you don’t know what a chance something means. When in doubt whether you should spend time analyzing a certain KPI, try asking yourself “SO WHAT?” three times. If you can answer 3 times and see a benefit, you have something worth looking into in more detail. You can use this “analysis” to determine whether a KPI is actually worth measuring or if the change in a KPI is worth thinking about. Trust me, it works!

Cohesive content strategy

Digital agencies have long had content strategists on staff, but a variety of organizations are seeing the need to add someone to their team to be in charge of “the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content,” as Kristina Halvorson defines the job in Content Strategy for the Web,

In her book, Halvorson identifies multiple steps in the content strategy process; first audit the existing content, then analyze, strategize, categorize, structure, create, revise, approve, tag, format, publish, update, and archive.

Key concepts
A review of existing content, how much there is, how well it’s organized, and how accurate and how well it is produced?

Content is much more than text. Multimedia elements such as pictures, graphic elements, video and audio can help tell the story.

Content lifecycle
Content needs to be regularly evaluated. What needs to be refreshed, updated and taken out? A website is in a constant beta stage.

Message architecture
A hierarchy of the core messages that define an organization or brand, which helps content strategists figure out the story they are trying to tell and what content is not related to the brand and is unnecessary.

“Don’t outsource your voice?”
Halvorson has a love hate relationship with content strategies and explains that the decision whether to outsource it or not isn’t that simple.

“On the one hand, that’s a really great quotable line. On the other hand, refusing on principle to outsource content is just impossible for most organizations. If you can’t hire anyone internally to do the editorial stuff, you’re going to have to outsource because you can’t just publish Web content and leave it there. You have to take care of it over time”.