Marketing World

Find out what’s happening in marketing & how it may effect you.

Foursquare + Gap + Banner Advertising = Social Commerce?

There's been a lot of hype surrounding Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places lately and it does seem that some smart marketing tactics are starting to come to the fore. Increasingly we are moving towards these location-based social networks and becoming 'mayors' of our favourite coffee shop and receiving free coffees or discounts. Yesterday, I saw a Gap advert on Mashable that takes location-based marketing to another level by 'mashing up' banner ads with links to Foursquare. A series of rotating ads, with pictures of garments appears on the site (for males and females) and you are invited to add the garment to your Foursquare 'to do' list. But not just that. The ads are also location aware and bring up a selection of your nearest stores. When you're out shopping and select the 'Places' button on Foursquare you will be reminded of this and on entering the store you can receive 30% off the garment.

I've got to say this is such a neat idea and makes it easier for us to connect with products and services we see online in an offline world. I've got a feeling that the banner blindness may be disappearing and we will start to see these advertising spaces in a whole new light in the future. Another advantage for retailers/businesses is that once you generate a little buzz or your customers have particpated in a promotion, they are quite likely to broadcast this outcome to friends using social media apps.

Related Articles
Gap Wants You to “Add to Foursquare” in New Online Ad Campaign (Mashable)
Social Media Shopping Ads (Trendhunter)
Gap Campaign Integrates 'Add to Foursquare' Button (Ad Rants)
Gap Integrates ‘Add To Foursquare’ Button In Online Campaign (PSFK)


Beatles Now On iTunes

Today, it was announced that finally the Beatles discography is to appear on iTunes. And for the purposes of research, I just downloaded "Let It Be" to make sure it was true! Whilst this may have nothing whatsoever to do with digital marketing, it has everything to do with Apple. So, I wonder which albums and singles will top the charts over the weeks to come?

Here's what Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Steve Jobs had to say:

“We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes,” said Sir Paul McCartney. “It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around.”

“I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes,” said Ringo Starr. “At last, if you want it—you can get it now—The Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo.”

“We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we’ve had since we launched iTunes ten years ago.”

“In the joyful spirit of Give Peace A Chance, I think it is so appropriate that we are doing this on John’s 70th birthday year,” said Yoko Ono Lennon.


Where Online And Offline Worlds Collide

Nature-plus-dc_38461_1
I have spent the past 5 days in London with my family for the half term break. Whilst there we visited the Science Museum, the National Gallery (briefly!) and the National History Museum. It was at the latter that I saw some of the new touchscreen technology that museums are employing to help youngsters, and the not-so-young, interact with museum exhibits. The recently opened Darwin Centre issues visitors with cards, called Nature Plus cards that allow them to:

save content from selected exhibits to view later online.
Online, NaturePlus offers visitors their own personalised web page at www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus where they can view content they’ve saved during their visit to the Darwin Centre, see further linked information, join our forums, follow blogs and find out about events and citizen science surveys.

In a previous article I asked how tourist attractions could use digital media to keep in touch with their target audiences once they had left their premises. I suppose that the Darwin Centre answers this by making sure that visitors get a truly memorable, interactive experience whilst at the museum and then once they go home they can log on and continue that experience in a digital world. I am sure that we will see a lot more of this going on in museums in the future and I think it is quite an exciting thought.


The Best Digital Marketing Tool

I was just considering what is the most effective and powerful Digital Marketing tool that I use.

Was it Facebook? Nope

How about Blogging? Nope

Or plain, old-fashioned SEO? Nope

Well, what about Google AdWords? Nope

Online PR? Not quite.

Then it must be Twitter? Nope

I thought about it for a little while and can tell you that, based on conversions and conversations, there can only be one winner ..... email. And the app that I use, Outlook 2007. This simple tool, which allows me to write a little bit of text (no images or video) with a hypertext link is critical in all my Customer Acquisition, Extension and Retention strategies. There is no other tool in my 'little' armoury that comes anywhere near it and I think a key element in its usefulness is the fact that it allows me to talk directly (or so the plan goes!) with people. In essence, it's a superb word-of-mouth tool.


Peer-To-Peer Reviews – Helpful or Not?

Last night I spent some time (too much actually!) trying to find an apartment to stay in London. You'd think that in a digital world, with all the information at your figure, tips this would be a straightforward thing to do. Wrong! The ability to search by keyword on Google and use Google Search results or Google Local or Google AdWords to narrow the search down is a great thing. And companies like Hotels.co.uk. Expedia, Bookings.com and Lastminute.com certainly take the pain out of searching. However, the one thing that was designed to help us is the one thing that made this process take so long - reviews.

Let me give you an example. I was almost ready to book an apartment when I decided to check the reviews of the place on TripAdvisor. There were some good reviews:

Tripadvisor-1

And

Tripadvisor-2

But then I came across this one:

Tripadvisor-3

And this one:

Tripadvisor-4

And finally this one:

Tripadvisor-5

The apartments had looked nice on the website and indeed the reviews that I had seen on Bookings.com were favourable. It would seem that the main gripe people had was to do with the apartment block still being under construction and therefore noisy during the day. It also looked like some of the issues were teething problems which probably beset most hotels and apartments in their first few months of existence. Yet, the reviews on this site gave me cause for concern, which ultimately resulted in my going on to look at some other apartments - another another hour or two of fruitless searching.

I suppose that one of the problems of reviews, from your so-called peers, is that many of them are probably not your peers anyway. I have noticed that Americans are far more picky and demanding on these sites than the Brits, the Brits are more likely to pick up on rude staff, Spanish don't worry too much about rudeness but may focus on cleanliness. And so and so on.

There is one thing that this organisation could have done, though didn't, and that was to jump in on the conversation and start addressing people's issues. Websites like TripAdvisor allow management to post responses to bad customer feedback and therefore to try an put right that which they messed up on. By keeping quiet they will allow the value of the brand to be eroded. Here is an example of a manager who has listened and actually seems to do something.

Hilton

And where did I finally book? Well, I went for one of the another apartment run by the same company that received a mixed bag of reviews.


Do you approach Digital Marketing tactically or strategically?

A lot of the work that we do at Marketing Tom Media involves helping clients create Digital Marketing Strategies - either through advising them on training or sitting down with them and working out the detail of the actual strategy. So often I see clients being tempted by some some new, exciting application and want to sign up for it and apply it straight away. You've seen a competitor has a blog and another a Twitter account and feel that in order to keep up with them that you should do so to.

Well, hang fire!

Some of these tools may, or often may not, fit in with the digital marketing or social media strategies of these organisations but may not for yours. A couple of days' back Seth Godin wrote an article - when tactics drown out strategy - and said:

Most of us are afraid of strategy, because we don't feel confident outlining one unless we're sure it's going to work. And the 'work' part is all tactical, so we focus on that. (Tactics are easy to outline, because we say, "I'm going to post this." If we post it, we succeed. Strategy is scary to outline, because we describe results, not actions, and that means opportunity for failure.)

He further goes on to say that:

"Building a permission asset so we can grow our influence with our best customers over time" is a strategy. Using email, twitter or RSS along with newsletters, contests and a human voice are all tactics. In my experience, people get obsessed about tactical detail before they embrace a strategy... and as a result, when a tactic fails, they begin to question the strategy that they never really embraced in the first place.

We often have this discussion on the courses that we run, be they CIM courses or 1-day workshops. Students often say that they saw a great offer by Google (a free Adwords voucher), use their credit and say it never worked for them. Or they hear that MailChimp is being used by all and sundry but it doesn't work for them. Might it just be that they tactical approach is wrong possibly because they haven't properly considered their strategy.

When students do a course like the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing or a level 4 or 6 CIM course with us, they are often presented with a methodology like SOSTAC which gives them a framework for developing successful digital marketing plans. This is what SOSTAC stands for:

  • Situation Analysis
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics <-----
  • Action
  • Control

These frameworks are important as they give you and your colleagues direction (objectives) based on what is happening with your organisation at this moment (situation analysis), let you consider the right audience and channels to market (strategy), help consider the correct tactical tools and offer a mechanism for measurement of your activities (control). Notice where tactics sit - position 4 out of 6 in this framework! But time and time again we see people begin their Digital Marketing activities at this point. So, next time you see an article on Mashable about some new Web 2.0 application or a report from the Guardian about the top social media tools for business, pause and ask yourself whether it fits into your overall digital marketing strategy. If you don't have a digital marketing strategy, you know what you have to do!

Related Courses
CIM Qualifications (These courses cover both strategic and digital marketing issues).


Tourist Attractions And the New Rules Of Digital Marketing

As some who have followed me on Twitter will know, I have spent the last few days down in beautiful Pembrokeshire. It has not been the glorious Welsh summer that we wished for but nonetheless we have enjoyed ourselves. Pembrokeshire has a lot going for it - beautiful beaches, lovely seaside towns, hidden coastal villages, lovely inland villages and countryside and a wide range of activities for the tourist. Wherever you look, there is a good chance that you will find some place that you will never have explored before. 

There are a number of tourist attractions dotted around the area which provide a lot of pleasure to children and adults alike. However, there are some things that I have observed which I don't quite get. Why do most of the attractions still use their websites as an extension of the marketing they have done traditionally?Namely, broadcasting. 

The season for many of these places is quite short, let's say that it mainly runs from Easter through to the end of August and that they will likely generate most of their money in July and August. 

Most of the people who spend their times at these attractions will likely go home happy or possibly, extremely happy. However, what I find quite surprising is the fact that these businesses view their clients in terms or transactions and not as relationships. Let's explore this further in terms of digital marketing.
  • People visit a tourist attraction and pay their entry ticket at the ticket office. 
  • People go around the attractions and hopefully enjoy themselves.
  • Visitors leave attraction and shortly leave the region.
As some involved in digital marketing, I wonder why these businesses cut their customers adrift at the point where they could start begin to develop long-term relationships. At the very least they could be making sure that these [happy] customers are given the tools and encouragement to turn them into advocates or ambassadors who could be spreading the word for them.

The irony is that these businesses are not seasonal in the way they operate - they don't just open up at Easter and close in August. They will operate 12 months a year and be they adventure, attraction or animal-focused something will be going on every day and every month of the year. And this is where I think some of these businesses are missing a trick. They are missing out on the chance to engage with [happy, satisfied] customers all year long and letting them get closer to their businesses. 

Why would they want to do this, you may ask? 
  • Well, by keeping customers in the loop you can teach them more about your business. 
  • You can learn what they like. 
  • You can find out what turns them off. 
  • You can meet their friends. 
  • You can inform them of upcoming events at an attraction. 
  • Give them special offers/incentives. 
  • You can make them feel special.

I think that all manner of Social Media tools could be used for this purpose: Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, blogs, podcasts, videocasts, streaming video and much more. Notice, I haven't even touched on email marketing!

To conclude, by thinking relationships and not transactions, tourist attraction businesses could create better and more sustainable business models. And aside from asking for entrance fees, companies should be asking for email addresses, Facebook profiles, Twitter profiles, etc.

Dell and the Art of Banner Advertisements!

I like what Dell have done with their website. 

I like the fact that people can leave reviews.

I like the fact that people can rate products.

I like the fact that they can offer ideas.

I like the fact that people can help others through their forums.

BUT

I don't like when their banner ads say one thing:

Dell

And their destination pages say another:

Dell2

Am I missing something here?

Lessons in Marketing From Sky

Today, I received a letter from Sky TV asking me whether I would be interested in upgrading to Sky HD. They also kindly informed me that though I may have a HD-ready TV, that didn't mean that I would get high definition channels. The cost for this enhancement of my TV viewing - a  one-off cost of £49, when you take out a HD pack of £9.75 EXTRA a month and stay with Sky TV for another year. This comes after I have just given in to their tempting offer of half price Sky Sports and Movies for 6 months!

Though I won't be giving in to temptation this time, I do like the way that Sky markets to its customers. Invariably customers will be given a very tempting, initial offer of half price Sky Movies and Sports, with a free Sky+ box, for the first 6 months. If you don't wish to take up the offer, you may well get a call or direct mail with an offer at some point in the future.
What  Sky do effectively is to try to move people along the Sky TV customer lifecycle. They never seem to tire of trying to get you to buy into more of their products and services. And, in the main, the products and services are very good and very competitive. It would be so easy for them to sit back on their laurels and generate income off their subscriptions each month. However, they are constantly on the look out for products that may interest their target audience, be it Broadband, phone, or even TV's. Some of these latter products you may not even consider unless you have gone further down the funnel and probably begun to 'trust the company'.
I like the way they market to their customers.
It makes me think of the number of people (clients sometimes) I have met who are more than happy to keep delivering the same products, to the same types of people. These are the sort of traits you find from those who don't challenge themselves:
  • More often than not they have their staple bag of products and services which their clients will buy.They don't consider what else they could be offering their clients.
  • In some cases they think locally. But if you've succeeded locally, there's a bloody good chance that you could sell your products and services further afield, even internationally.
  • More than likely their clients are not fully aware of the full range of products and services the company can offer. I remember someone telling me that the worst thing a customer could ever say to you is, "I didn't know you did that".
  • The company fails to spot new opportunities. These are often in abundance and can be found by checking out your competitors, reading about your industry, visiting conferences and speaking to your customers.
  • It takes its eye off the customer life cycle. Your customer may have bought a camera off you but have you tried to sell them accessories, training, new lenses, etc?

I like to think that I try to practice what I preach. I do look at the products that I offer clients and try and work out how I could offer them new, quality products and services in the future. If someone comes on the eMarketing Award, they will be invited to come on a Social Media or Business Blogging workshop. If they have don't have the time or inclination to develop a digital marketing strategy, I can offer them consultancy.

    The key is not to stand still. Be aware of what is happening around you, what your competitors are doing and offer superior products or services. Sky does it and it has developed a very successful business model.