Tag Archive: marketing

  1. Marketing to Generation Z

    I am getting married soon and my ten-year-old bonus child (we like that better than “stepchild”) plays Minecraft like I played Pac-Man.  Except I played in an arcade with tokens.  He plays for free.  In our living room.  On a computer.  While on FaceTime with his friends while they battle strangers from around the world.

    Welcome to Generation Z.

    We have gotten to know Gen X, are still learning about Y, and now we have to dig into the Z’s.  I’m already exhausted…ZZZZZ.

    From Boomers to GenZ we all have a context different than the one before us.  So, who are these little Z people?  They are our entire K-12 population.   They are the core of youth marketing and, of course, future leaders of the world.  Some call them “divergent” because they really are different.  In the words of Dr. Christina McCale they are “diverging from everything most of us have ever grown up with, taken for granted or assumed was normal.”

    So how do we describe these Z’s?

    • Highly connected having had lifelong use of communication technology.
    • In the US, the most racially diverse of any generation.
    • They have redefined celebrity in such places as YouTube and Vine.
    • In a world shaped by 9/11 and Columbine, they have a strong sense of social justice.
    • At home, they are raised by statistically older parents.
    • In the workplace, they will expect flexibility.

    What does this mean as it relates to marketing?  Don’t underestimate them.

    While these kids with their faces buried in iPhones appear to be antisocial and poor spellers (LOL, JK, Bae), teens today are more like adults.  They know more than we realize and they expect to be treated like adults, whether we like it or not.  Their access to information and their ability to process everything is changing the way we teach and learn.

    If this is an important target audience, don’t try to “dumb down” your marketing.  Know their channels and learn how to speak to them on their turf.  This generation is arguably the most multitasking in history; therefore consider creating cross-platform campaigns that increase awareness through a variety of mediums.  (84% of Gen Z has admitted to browsing the Internet while watching TV.)

    Be aware that they are very likely to share opinions about experiences with your brand, so remain sincerely engaged with this audience.  What they care about most is finding and sharing the best stuff in the world.  They are not just customers; they are curators.  Don’t squash their conversation about you, join in!

    Generation Z

  2. Apple Commercial: The Relatable Approach

    Perhaps you’re a skeptic of the latest Apple commercial, and with as much attention as Apple has received, you’re not alone if you’re second-guessing their motives.

    The hit commercial has been viewed more than any other video posted on Apple’s YouTube account. In fact, it has more than doubled their second highest video, one that introduced the new iPhone 5.

    If you haven’t experienced the Apple commercial yet, take a gander. For many families, the setting is familiar: a teenage boy appears to be attached to his iPhone 5s during key moments of a family holiday gathering. The video concludes with quite a heart-warming twist as the teenager reveals that he was secretly recording their family get-together, a scene that subtly highlights various Apple products. For many, the sentiment is shared that moments like these should be lived rather than recorded; advising that users should not be glued to their devices in lieu of spending time with loved ones. So what were Apple’s intentions?

    By provoking the all-familiar emotions of their audience, the video has become a highlight of conversations as evidenced by the hundreds of Facebook shares it has received, ultimately giving Apple the exposure they were seeking.

    Simply put: Apple cemented itself as a holiday household name.

    Besides the relatable storyline, Apple proved to be the company that is all-inclusive for their customers. To capture and display a touching family Christmas, the boy was able to incorporate four of their products within this commercial:

    iMovie
    AirPlay
    Apple TV
    iPhone5 s

    The video was recorded on the iPhone 5s, iMovie was utilized as an editing application, AirPlay was used to stream the video to the Apple TV device, and the video was viewed with the comfort of a family-room setting. Given that all of these products are available at the average consumer’s fingertips, viewers are not only familiar with the storyline, but they see themselves as capable of capturing similar magical moments.

    To give a recap of how well the Apple commercial performed from a user standpoint, Ace Metrix provides analytics based on polls taken by users. As seen on the graph below, Apple’s Christmas commercial scored high in the “like-ability” category.

    Apple commercial Analytics for likeability, watchability, relevance, information, attention, change, the harris' holiday commercial, ace metrix

    Analytics for the  Apple commercial provided by www.acemetrix.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Apple succeeds because they relate the content to their consumers. By allowing users to see themselves in the shoes of the commercial characters and by subtly flashing the Apple products that capture such a moment, consumers walk away with a greater appreciation of what Apple products offer to consumers – re-livable family moments.

  3. Want to Rank Highly on Google? Think Responsive Web Design.

    As more and more websites and web pages are launched and refreshed, Google continues to index and rank them according to the rules of the company’s ever-evolving algorithm.  When new technologies or user challenges emerge, Google sometimes gives marketers some guidance on how to increase search visibility.

    The explosion in mobile web browsing has presented just such an instance for Google to help marketers reach their customers.  Consumers are increasingly dependent upon their mobile phones to help them research and interact with companies with whom they might want to do business.  A family on a road trip, for example, might lean heavily on their mobile devices to navigate roadways, find a Starbucks, choose a restaurant, or post a hotel review.

     

    responsive web design

    Responsive web design ensures that your site works well on any screen and helps your site to rank well on Google.

     

    Google is quite mindful of this and has altered its search ranking methodology to encourage and reward those marketers who make this mobile experience as helpful to users as possible.  In multiple instances, Google has encouraged web designers to embrace responsive web design in their efforts to do this.

    We touched on the merits of responsive web design several months ago because of the efficiency factor.  One of the key benefits of developing a responsive website for a company is that it allows them to streamline their content management efforts:  a company need only add/edit/delete content one time in order for the change to materialize across the mobile, desktop, and tablet versions of the site.  This was a huge efficiency gain for some marketers who were having to maintain three separate versions of the same site.

    Google’s recent guidance is now implying quite clearly that those sites who embrace responsive web design are likely to be rewarded in the search rankings.  And while there are countless numbers of search ranking factors, ensuring that your website is responsive appears to be a very important one.  If search results are particularly important to your business, be sure to check for its ability to adapt to multiple screens.  Your users will thank you and so will your bottom line!

  4. The Best Free Marketing Tool You Have

    This brief (approximately 90 seconds) video is a quick but important exchange between Seth Godin and Tom Peters on blogging and its marketing power. In it, Peters calls blogging “the best marketing damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude” he’s ever had and ironically notes that it happens to be free.  If you are contemplating a blog or content marketing strategy, maybe this is the last nudge you need to move forward.

     

  5. Michael Dell’s New Red Laptop

    Dell got a fairly bad rap a while back its treatment of famous blogger Jeff Jarvis. Dubbed “dell hell,” it has become a case study in how bloggers can have a true impact in commerce.
    Fast forward almost three years and Dell has really turned the tables in many respects. An item in the Wall Street Journal tells a pretty cool story of Michael Dell getting the blogosphere to work for him in an effort to launch a new product. I think this is a very good example of social media coming full circle within a corporation.

  6. Social Networking’s Gold Rush

    The New York Times has an interesting article today about social networking and its next phase. Most have followed the meteoric rise of social networking sites like MySpace.com, FaceBook, and others. They became so very popular when users discovered that they could not just read content, but congregate with others around the content, communicate with others about the content, and in some ways actually become the content. Advertising dollars and investment capital have quickly followed.
    At this point, it seems like countless sites are trying to figure out how to tap into the social networking phenomenon (and capital pool). You hear fairly often that we’re going to be “the MySpace of X” or “the MySpace of Y.” While this isn’t necessarily a bad goal, I wonder how realistic it is.
    The article in The Times brings up two good points. First, it’s tough to convince users to join a social networking site when there are few other members; starting from scratch has even proven difficult for Nike’s Joga.com. Second, it is inconvenient for users to go through the registration process for more than one or two of these sites.
    It’s almost a necessity for every corporation to be thinking about social networking and how to integrate it into a marketing and/or customer service strategy. But I think that most would do better to explore joining existing ommunities instead of creating new ones.

  7. Google: Getting to the Top

    Almost every day I entertain the question of how one can snatch a number one listing on Google for a particular keyword or keyphrase. As anyone who has worked with search engines know, this is not at all a simple answer. There are too many variables to consider in terms of industry, stature in the marketplace, target market, and longevity. My typical tact is to try not to give a definitive answer (because, often, one does not exist) but to help clients think about how Google functions and how it might work for them. Similar to the ‘training versus educating’ line of demarcation, the first step toward Google success is learning how to think about it.
    In my conversations with clients, I try and help them think through several concepts related to how Google functions with a Web site and how it assigns rankings. Many of the mechanics of Google are trade secrets (think the Coca-Cola recipe) and unknown by anyone outside of a select few employees. There are several widely accepted principles, though, that guide search engine marketers in how to cozy up to high Google rankings.
    For the sake of simplicity, let’s think of these accepted principles in two categories:
    1. On-site factors: Google takes a look at the content and structure of your Web site to determine how relevant it is to a particular keyword or keyphrase
    2. Off-site factors: Google looks at the greater Internet (factors external to your Web site) and how it relates to your site
    Once you understand this delineation, you’re on the way to understanding higher rankings. Let’s take a look at some of the invididual principles within each of these categories.
    On-site factors
    1. Google cares about your content, how original and genuine it is, how often it is updated, and how many times a particular keyword/keyphrase is used.
    2. Google looks for specific, descriptive tags (called META tags and TITLE tags) and the keywords therein.
    3. The presence of a site map (similar to an outline) within your Web site denotes structure, organization, and a specific hierarchy to Google.
    4. Google evaluates your site to determine how structurally sound (i.e. strong coding) your site is as a measure of its relevance.
    5. Google can’t often interpret images and FLASH content, so the site must contain a balance between readable text and graphics.
    Off-site factors
    1. Google counts the number of sites that link to yours.
    2. Google determines how relevant/important those linking sites are; a link from a heavily-visited site is more valuable than a link from a site with little traffic.
    3. Google looks to see how long your domain has been existence and in its database; as a rule of thumb, domains with longer lives are seen as more legitimate.
    4. Google evaluates the text within incoming links as a way to characterize what words are associated with your site.
    5. Google looks to other closely-related sites like a corporate blog or other affiliated site as a way to determine how relevant your site is.
    This list isn’t meant to represent a be-all / end-all. Anyone who tells you that they have such a list is likely exaggerating (or violating a Google patent protection). It hopefully is, though, a start toward helping you to strategically think about Google and how to find your way to the top!

  8. Keyword Research & Search Engine Marketing

    Many of the marketers and business owners that I speak with are highly interested in being highly ranked in search engines–especially Google. Many have gone to the trouble of performing some surface level research on the basics of search engine success: things like meta tags, title tags, and incorporating keywords and phrases into the site’s text.
    But one of the key issues that is surprising to people involves keyword selection. I have found that those keywords and phrases that you assume will be successful are often not. Using software tools, we often explore the real data reflecting the words/phrases that searchers are using and how often they are being used.
    I’m usually surprised when I look at the search volume of various terms (which I assume to be popular) in contrast to those phrases which are similar in nature. For example, I once saw that ‘personal injury law’ didn’t have close to the level of search volume as ‘auto accident attorney.’ Humans search differently than that of the marketer’s perception. Keyword research is essential to search engine success.
    Brian Clark has a great piece on his blog describing the art of keyword research and why it is important.

  9. Google Image Search

    Most businesses are very interested in being at or near the top of the list when a user searches for an associated or relevant term on Google. Many users often use the ‘Images’ search within Google to look for various images, logos, or photos. Chris Pearson has an interesting post about the trends he is seeing regarding this delineation. Marketers should be aware of the increasing popularity of image search. Designers and developers should take note of the importance of using specific terms within the ALT field of image tags; the more descriptive, the better.

  10. A blog about refrigerators?

    Businesses still scratch their heads when thinking about how to build a blog for their business. It’s often challenging to think about how to connect your product to the interests of consumers.
    Let’s say you make or sell refrigerators. You might say, “who would ever want to read a blog about refrigerators?” You might stop there and then dismiss this whole blogging thing altogether. Not if you’re refrigerator-maker Sub-Zero.
    This company, maker of ultra-cool refrigerators/freezers of all types (who can forget Owen Wilson bragging about his “twin Sub-Zs” in the movie Meet the Parents) decided not to make a blog about refrigerators (how many refrigerator enthusiasts do you know?). Instead, they recently created a blog about taking care of wine. I bet we all know several wine enthusiasts.
    The blog is pretty cool–and sound from a marketing standpoint. It focuses on that which is of interest (wine) and then subtly touts that which protects that interest (their product). I think it’s a great example of corporate creativity and corporate blogging that truly connects.

  11. Ford Motor Bares its Soul

    I was told today about a new blog/community site launched by Ford Motor Company. The site is called Bold Moves. As many know, Ford has been struggling uphill in terms of sales, profitability (or lack thereof), and stock price. This kind of circumstance is very tough on an organization of this size and scale; trying to turn around a company this big is a monumental challenge.
    This new site appears to be a site for employees, customers, analysts, and otherwise to truly communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is compiling news feeds from different sites that are both positive and negative toward Ford. Most noteworthy, though, is the series of video documentaries which literally take you into company meetings, conference calls, and insider conversations.
    What’s so intriguing about this whole concept, as you’ll notice, is that Ford is letting it all hang out. It’s putting out very negative information about itself…negative analyst comments, negative press, and negative customer feedback. They’re attempting to be very transparent–acknowledging the difficulties they face in an effort to truly turn around the company. You see small companies taking this path fairly often, but not so many in the corporate/publicly traded setting.
    It should be interesting to see what kind of impact it has. If nothing else, I think it is a great device for the Ford employees to stay abreast of the changes/tactics so each one has an understanding of how that should apply to them as individuals.

  12. All the news that’s NOT fit to print…

    Many agree that blogging is really changing the face of journalism. One of the best things about journalists (especially columnists) who blog is that they now have an outlet to publish more content that isn’t necessarily appropriate for their regular column. I subscribe to an ESPN column by Bill Simmons (The SportsGuy) and I get immediate notification of when he publishes a new column or news-bite. That alone is pretty convenient.
    But take The Orlando Sentinel’s ‘Taking Names’ column by Scott Maxwell. His blog gives him a place to talk about each day’s column and to share stories about the column that a reader would find interesting. His recent coverage of ‘Lynum-gate’ has given readers a chance to see how the column has evolved…and to learn more than the column could ever hope to reveal.
    Want to see a good example of this? Check out one sports columnist’s case in point about Will Ferrell not always having a sense of humor!

  13. How do you tell a customer from a click?

    Microsoft is asking this question in its campaign to win advertising dollars from Google. The campaign is built around a recent study by Web analytics specialist, WebSideStory. The study compares major search engines/portals where pay-per-click advertising is utilized. Surprisingly enough, Google comes in dead last among major search engines in terms of the percentage of conversions derived from its pay-per-click ads.
    The possible explanations are pretty interesting. WebSideStory commentary on the study suggests that portals (where rich content and hand-holding are prevalent) appeal to a more purchase-hungry demographic. Google, on the other hand, is built upon a foundation of simplicity and speed; perhaps this audience is less inclined to buy. More likely, however, is the rising prevalence of click fraud: pay-per-click’s dirty little secret (which isn’t so secret anymore).
    For those who don’t know about click fraud, check out the Wikipedia entry for a quick explanation. Mark Cuban has a pretty good take on how big the problem is becoming. Intuitively, my hunch is that Google takes the biggest hit from click fraud because of its size and reputation…almost the same way that Microsoft is the largest target for viruses/worms from would-be hackers. Apple fans have always bragged that they’re better at virus protection than Microsoft; not much of a claim, though, when the overwhelming majority of viruses are written for Windows–not MacOS.
    What does all of this mean? Things are clearly heading toward the pay-per-acquisition model instead of the pay-per-click model. Google appears to be testing something along these lines that would limit click fraud severely. I have a hundred questions in terms of how this would be implemented, but I love the direction.

  14. Information as an Incentive

    For a customer, information is an incentive. An asset.
    I received an email from Brooks Brothers today inviting me to visit the firm’s Web site to learn how to tie various tie knots. The presentation is well done. It’s built in Flash, is animated, and very user-friendly. It motivated me to go because I have always been curious about various tie knots. There was something in it for me…and the incremental cost to Brooks Brothers was virtually nil. I didn’t buy anything today, but perhaps I will in the future.
    A marketer can use information to get a prospect to do something. I wonder why more marketers don’t use it more often.
    Most ads I see focus on what’s in it for the company, not what’s in it for the customer. Take this week’s (6/26/06) issue of Time Magazine. I had it on my desk and picked it up to do a quick poll. Of the first twelve ads in the magazine (from Apple and Land Rover to Edward Jones and LG), all had Web site addresses. But the calls to action were about them, not me. One told me that the site would help me find their store (so I could give them my money). Another told me that the site would explain to me how well the product performs (so I could be convinced to give them my money). Several offered me the very exciting prospect of ‘learn[ing] more’ or ‘find[ing] out more’ (so I could give them my money, I’m sure).
    LG, maker of HD televisions, would be better off offering me some sort of information. How about this: “Confused about HD? Please visit our Web site to download your free copy of Consumer Reports’ comparison report on different television projection types.”
    Edward Jones, investment agency, would get a lot more mileage out of me with an information incentive. Perhaps something like this: “Curious about saving and investing? Log on to our site today to see the top 10 investing mistakes that baby boomers are making today.”
    Creating and uploading this information costs nothing to these companies. Creating the impression that it’s ‘all about them’ (and not about me) does.

  15. Netflix RSS

    I’ve noticed recently that Netflix is using RSS feeds for a number of things. Most interestingly, the company is allowing customers to subscribe to new release announcements. It makes it easier for customers to stay active with their accounts–a sure issue for customer retention.
    Many tend to assume that RSS is just for blogs. It’s important to remember that it can be used for a number of different applications beyond just blogs.

  16. PapaJohns Targets the Tech-Savvy

    I am a Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber and enjoy the commercial-free content when I’m on the road. I heard an ad today for PapaJohn’s Pizza and its online ordering system. The commercial makes mention of the fact that satellite radio subscribers are ‘tech savvy’ (I’m paraphrasing here) and directs them to a special URL to try out the online ordering system (which I wrote about some time ago). Seems like a pretty smart media buy to me. Naturally, those who are early/eager adopters of satellite radio technology are more than likely going to be open to ordering pizza online. I think it’s a very sensible business tactic and would imagine that the conversion rate would be better than that of a parallel effort implemented on terrestrial radio or some other traditional medium.

  17. Big/Small Company Blogging

    The St. Pete Times has a pretty interesting (and accurate) article about the different ways that small and large companies are approaching corporate blogging. Small companies seem to be embracing the medium faster than larger companies who seem to be taking more of a wait-and-see approach. It seems natural, though, in that larger companies have Sarbanes-Oxley issues, more bureaucracy to contend with, and–frankly–more to lose. The article describes attitudes in the business community which are consistent with what I see lately within small (more aggressive) and large (more hesitant) companies. Thanks to Josh, who is quoted in the article, for the tip.