Posts Tagged ‘marketing’
Target announced this week that the retail giant will be putting QR codes on toys this holiday season in an effort to battle Amazon and encourage online purchases (while in-store). They plan to showcase the season’s top 20 toys, each of which will sport a QR code that lets consumers buy them online and have them shipped direct to avoid the hassle of a product being sold out or not available in-store.
QR codes are becoming more and more mainstream as the use of smartphones and overall consumer competency continues to increase. Theses codes are prominent in print advertisements, billboards, television ads, and even t-shirts and many other mediums. Facebook recently announced that 40% of its active users, or 400 million people, currently use mobile devices to access the site; Twitter says that half of all usage of its site comes from smartphones. As more and more people are on the go and more connected to their mobile devices, how are you seeing the adaptation of QR codes being used with brands?
Below I will outline the Top Five Ways to QR Code the Right Way:
1. Make sure that utilizing a QR code makes sense
Before you hop on board the QR code craze, make sure that the addition of this technology to your marketing campaigns coincides with the marketing objectives.
2. Decide what medium to use
QR codes are not restricted to simply web-based content. You can utilize codes for text, email, contact information, videos, mobile-optimized landing pages, etc. Select which medium makes the most sense for your campaign, and provide an incentive for the user to scan the code. You must focus on creating a unique user experience that they can only get via the QR code.
3. Take users to a specialized location (that is mobile optimized)
Provide an incentive for users to scan the QR code by taking them to a (mobile optimized) location that they couldn’t normally access. We suggest a specified YouTube video that is only accessible from the link in the code, or a landing page. It is hugely important to make sure that customers have an easy and good experience with your content, and making it mobile friendly is the first step.
4. Make sure the link is traceable
Utilize a free service such as bit.ly, Google Analytics or a paid option like Omniture to create a unique link for the QR code so you are able to measure how many people scan and view the code.
5. Test, test, and re-test!
Once you use an application to generate a QR code, it is imperative to test the code through numerous apps and mobile platforms to make sure it is working correctly. Avoid making the most common mistake in using QR codes!
Last year, Heinz put QR codes on ketchup bottles in US restaurants to promote its new environmentally friendly packaging. When scanned, the code took users to a mobile site where users could win prizes by answering ”green” trivia questions.
Heinz reported that more than 1 million consumers scanned the codes.
How are you seeing QR code success stories from brands? Let me know if the comments section below. Also, please scan the QR code below to connect with me on LinkedIn so we can continue this conversation!
Can a search platform really change your web browsing experience? Until now, many would say that search has been a means for them to simply find their desired results, but this may soon change with the introduction of Yahoo Axis; a new visualized search and browsing experience connected among all of a user’s devices. The new platform functions as a browser plug-in for PCs and as an application on iPad and iPhone with an Android version to be launched soon. Yahoo announced and launched Axis Wednesday.
But really how is Yahoo Axis different from other search platforms? Yahoo has seamlessly connected the search and browsing experience to be based on a visually personalized search experience. Users can search the live pages of the top ranked results for the search query and horizontally navigate the pages within the Axis window, deleting the process of clicking links and hitting the back button to return to results. The results displayed for the user do not follow conventional search algorithms; they are personalized by calculating clicks and time on underlying sites into the Axis search results. The effects of this and how a search engine optimization agency will adapt remain to be seen.
As shown above, the search results are visually shown and navigated in a horizontal format. Currently Axis only displays the top 20 ranked results for the query, and rationalizes this format because users typically only browse the first two pages of search results. Because the new search is so visually stimulating and in a horizontal format, it proposes the possibility that users will begin to browse results longer than before. This stands the possibility to impact how companies and Internet marketing companies aim to rank and optimize web content to attract users, due to the visual depiction of the web page influencing the user navigation.
At this point, the Axis user interface is clean and attractive with its use of a black background, simple search query, and vivid page examples. At this point there are no ads, but as search engines typically seem to eventually foster advertisements this may open up another channel for pay per click internet marketing.
The culmination of innovations that Yahoo Axis incorporates makes it an “outside the box” option for searching the web. This new interesting, different, and highly visual experience may change how people search the web. Let us know your thoughts on this new platform.
After a much anticipated wait, Apple announced yesterday the innovative new features the iPhone 4S has to offer. From a lightning speed dual-core processor, to over 200 new software features, to a voice activated assistant who learns to understand your exact wants and needs, the iPhone will once again take us into a new world of technological advancement. So what does this mean to marketers? In a nutshell, the iPhone will be more advantageous and more essential than ever before, and the new iOS software will be hard to pass up – resulting in an expansion in market share.
Siri App and Its Ability to Understand Consumers
Some people may be familiar with the Siri App, which has been in the improvement stage for the past 18 months at Apple. Bringing the consumer a natural language processing assistant capable of responding to text messages, finding ideal restaurants proactively, and even helping to set reminders and schedule appointments, without even leaving your pocket (via Bluetooth).
This voice activated assistant not only understands what you say, it knows what you mean. For example, if one was to ask Siri “Where can I find some good breakfast cafes nearby?” Siri would respond, “I found a number of breakfast cafes near you.” It would then proceed to generate a list of possible cafes to choose from.
If your business is in that location, this new application serves as a strong advantage for your company against competitors. Although, it is not yet stated to what degree Apple will give developer’s access to the Siri API, but
if and when this happens, third-party applications will be able to push their company to its target market through this innovative form of mobile marketing.
3 Price Levels Will Expand iOS Market Share
In efforts to remain ahead of the Android market, Apple had to be wary as to how they would introduce the upgraded iPhone 4S. They decided to remain in line with their current pricing level for the 16GB version and 32GB version at $199 and $299, respectively. Apple is also introducing for the first time a whopping 64GB edition, priced at $399. In order to drive up iPhone market share, Apple is offering the 3GS version for free with a two-year contract, in addition to purchasing the current iPhone 4 model at a mere $99 (8GB).
With an increased market share, marketers will find it easier to focus solely on the iOS platform in order to allocate their dollars and mobile marketing efforts adequately. We can then assume those contemplating switching to the Android platform may be deferred, due to the increased attention for the iOS platform.
The Siri app and subsequent market share expansion, are only two of the defining highlights of the new iPhone 4S. We are anxious to see what Apple will come out with next that is sure to help us, as marketers, reach our audience in more innovative ways than ever before.
The simplification of the Google AdWord Keyword Tool, as expressed in the article, “R.I.P. Google Keyword Tool. Long Live SEO!“ creates a burning question to marketers who rely on this toolbar: How does this change our process? Many have been questioning Google’s agenda behind this vast transition and it seems that monetary influence seems to be the driving factor behind it.
With other search engines like Bing and Yahoo gaining popularity, perhaps it would make sense for Google to restrict its vast inventory of information. “Commercializing” the keywords available to users may simplify the average users experience, but it greatly changes the way marketers go about retrieving SEO information. With less AdWords data available, advertisers are forced to buy more Adwords and this hurry to buy will undoubtedly cause the cost to increase even more.
According to the Google blog (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-approach-to-how-we-work-with.html), the purpose of the newly implemented AdWords Keyword Tool is to help advertisers become more proficient and strategy-focused. Google’s new AdWord Certification Program requires advertisers to display their knowledge and capabilities through more challenging certification exams. These exams will match agencies with Google Certified Partners based on their needed criteria. Finally, Certified Partners have access to the new preferred AdWords API Pricing, which agencies must apply for and be accepted to view the Adwords API. Google emphasizes that advertisers should not be concerned with increased cost, but rather to experiment with new strategies and expand on the resources they already have.
It looks like marketers may just have to utilize other databases as well as Google Adwords Keyword Tool such as WordStream, Trellian and WordTracker to obtain the information and research they need, since the tool now limits results. Google could be controlling what we, the user, have access to because that way, they will make more profit. A large concern for a lot of users is the strategy that Google seems to be implementing, which gains control of its users and their capabilities as researchers. Whatever the motivation for this drastic change, it definitely changes the way online marketing will function in the future.
Although Dean Loudermilk still teaches the semester long class at Emory University, Social Movements and the Media (the basis for the presentation): let’s just say it wasn’t your average college class last night! We had guests from Atlanta, attendees ranging over 20 class years and even a Cornell Alum who eagerly signed up to get in on the action too. Well, seems like everyone had the right idea, as the talk was spectacular—funny, futuristic and engaging all at the same time. It seemed as if everyone was laughing on cue, but really, it was just a good speech coupled with some racy images that boasted a broad appeal.
The event, hosted on November 11th at MTV Studios by Emory Alum, Ellen Albert, was from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., but it seemed like the crowd didn’t want to leave! We had a wonderfully diverse group of 30 guests. A surprising amount of men actually showed up to listen to the talk too, which was, even in the event description but more so in actuality, largely focused on feminism in advertising. Dean Loudermilk began by plowing through the history of various different social movements and their effect on the media, but guests became overwhelmingly engaged during the saga on feminism, which was presented in conjunction with commercials and ads. The presentation spanned the gamut of brands—beginning at Dolce & Gabbana, critiquing Virginia Slims and ending with oomph on Maidenform Bras.
At one point, an Emory Law Grad, Marni Galison, was so intrigued by an ad and Dean Loudermilk’s interpretation of it that she interrupted mid presentation to play devil’s advocate. In older Virginia Slims marketing, a lot of feminists hated the “You’ve come along way, baby” campaigns. Marni, after vehemently denying smoking, exclaimed: “Is there any cigarette ad that feminists do like?!” Her point, essentially, is that, if they inherently don’t like the product, they certainly will disapprove of the ad. But, we did see some commercials that feminists happened to be fonder of—for a sexy 45 seconds, I recommend checking out “The Diet Coke Break” on YouTube.
Regardless, thanks to Marni, the tone was set for an informative and inspiring feminist advertising debate post presentation. The group finally concluded, with Dean Loudermilk’s guidance, that feminism in advertising moves in waves and eventually always comes full circle. Last night, we learned that only 16 percent of people in senior advertising roles are women! So, who is really spurring the innovation here? Our best bet is that it stems from men in high positions with slight interferences by politics and presidential administrations. Keep your eyes peeled for the future because, just like with the Reagan and Clinton administrations, we are certain to see a new wave of advertising with the “Change” advocate, President Obama.
What do you think?! Tell us below and check out the EAAvesdropping blog.
Marketing is a very important and specialized element to growing a business and differentiating yourself from the competition. I didn’t used to think so. My background is originally in finance. I used to think marketing was just some common sense piece of the puzzle that any intern could handle. Boy was I wrong. Much of the “wisdom” I now have comes from making mistakes and following the wrong instincts.
Being in the Internet Marketing business, I have also spent time analyzing other companies and reviewing their internal strategies from the outside looking in. This exercise has lead me to gain a more keen understanding of how some of the seemingly “best” mid to large size companies out there completely miss the mark when it comes to marketing. Here are some basic things that business owners should avoid:
The Good Old Marketing Fallback: Maybe you used a specific marketing strategy 5 to 10 years ago and it worked very well to drive leads and sales. Maybe you haven’t even really used “marketing” in years because times have been great and all your business comes to you. But now times are tough and you realize you need to reach out to your customers more. Their behavior seems different. They are price comparing and actually seeking opportunties outside of your brand. Looks like its time to turn on the marketing again, right?
In this situation, business owners often revert back to the same strategy they used years ago. Just because direct mail and billboards did wonders 10 years ago does not mean that you should use the same marketing plan. Design a plan that will define and address immediate business goals. If you do not have the in-house expertise to put this together, seek advice from colleagues that have a more current marketing plan to see whats working. Doing a competitive analysis will also give you great insight into what others are doing to drive new business. Don’t however make the mistake of assuming your competition is getting it right either.
Branding and Creating “Awareness”: I have seen some business owners who seem satisfied with their marketing plan because THEY see their ads and assume everyone else is seeing them too. Not only do they assume that others take notice but they assume that others are responsive to the message. This can be referred to as “ego” driven marketing. A business owner should never assume their big billboard ads and fancy print ads are channeling new business. This was easier to get away with in a good economy. Owners did not scrutinize marketing dollars as much and therefore assumed their expensive print ads had something to do with their sales. Maybe they did, but maybe not…how would they know. How can you truly measure an ad campaign like that?
As business owners wise up and move away from startegies that are not measurable, they seek more cost effective methods that can be supported by true analytics. Enter Internet marketing and online media. Marketing is much more that creative brand awareness. Your loyal customers are most likely aware of your competition, but something called them to choose you and something is keeping them loyal to your brand. Do you know what that is? You are doing something right, just make sure you know what it is and how to translate that into a marketing plan.
Push Advertising: Push advertising and messaging is alright as long as it is combined with true inbound marketing. Inbound marketing, or better yet, inbound Internet marketing, is about getting your prospective customers to come to you. Consumers are constantly expsoed to media of all kinds and therefore we must stay on top of the methods that are curently working to engage people and build trust.
Consumer behavior has changed in large part to the economic conditions. People want to trust the brands they surround themsleves with. They want transparency and honesty. They don’t want to just hear your pitch anymore. They will seek out the truth by asking their peers, going to their online social networks, or looking at rating and review sites. Great online inbound marketing starts with SEO, blogging and social media. These elements build online visibility and better yet trust among your audience.
Hiring a Consultant too Soon: It is common for large brands to have a full inhouce marketing team. But is the team really on the same page and using the same strategy? Big companies will sometimes have an Internet marketing team, a PR team, and content team, and a general marketing team. It is quite common for the PR team to have no idea what the Internet marketing team is doing. When things are disjointed like this, it is best to put an internal communication plan together before bringing in an outside consultant. This will ensure that there is a team working towards the same goal when new marketing plans are put in place.
Planning without Analyzing: There is no point in putting a plan together that will most likely cost you a lot of money if you haven’t really analyzed the problems. Business owners need to define the true goals behind what they are trying to accomplish because it will affect how a great Internet marketing strategy is built. For example, search engine optimization isn’t just about going after keywords you think are relevant to your industry or terms you see your competition showing up for. It takes many factors into account that include basic marketing, customer behavior, competition, business goals, financial goals, conversions, etc. Spend the appropriate time analyzing the situation before design the marketing plan. It will save you money in the long run.
Marketing is gradually becoming more democratized. Brands all over the world are running ad campaigns designed by their most loyal customers. They are engaging customers and letting them get involved in shaping the brands they love. So is it really that these customers are so loyal and love the brand that much, or is more about people being passionate about their lives and the products and services they choose to surround themselves with?
Either way, who really cares. Brands are defining who their true advocates are and allowing them to have a voice in shaping the future vision (or at least some ad campaigns). For example, Mercedes-Benz solicited the car owners to send in photos of themselves with their beloved and used them for their ad campaigns. They received thousands of photos!
KFC ran a contest for consumers to come up with the next commercial and the winner ran at during prime time TV. Coors Light ran a similar contest in Canada. Of course sometimes these contests are geared to film majors and marketing professionals but most of them are truly meant for consumer participation.
So why are brands redefining the way they marketing?
“Push” style advertising and messaging is on its way out. At least for a while. As new generations emerge, new technologies are embraced, and the world brushes off the dust (that is still settling) from the recession, consumer behavior is changing completely. People want to be heard and they want to know who is behind the brands they love. This is of course why Internet marketing and social media are some of the fastest growing “marketing” strategies out there. Its because it really isn’t marketing – it is customer interaction and conversation. Social media is not a conversation, it is where a conversation happens. Brands need to encourage their advocates to speak out. The strongest possible foundation for any company is one where the customer plays the biggest role in messaging.
Companies often fear losing control when deciding whether or not to let customers on the “inside”. The fact is, companies don’t have control over the conversations that are happening online, they never did. It is better to embrace it and get involved than ignore it. That only leads to disaster over time.
I was watching A Rod on the news morning admitting his steroid use and it got me wondering how this news would have been different 10 years ago. 10 years ago when the Internet was a baby, this news would have been released and people would read it in the paper that day. Now just this morning it was reported that over 200,000 blogs already had commments about the story and over 200,000 people already voted about their thoughts on the story on ESPN’s website. Twitter was rampant with people commenting on the story. Our world has completely gone online. My question to our readers today is, “Is your business online?”
The average marketing budget is now pushing close to 40% online for many large companies however some industries are still lagging behind. Some old school companies still think they will get more out of one $100,000 weekend ad in the paper than they will in an entire year online. Wake Up People! Print is Dead! Regular Advertising is Dead! The world is online.
If you are not running a full scale Internet Marketing campaign for your company and performing search engine optimization, you are missing out. I spoke to a massive company yesterday with thousands of clients and been around for 50 years and they have never once even tried email marketing. How does this happen?
Companies get stuck in their ways and they are afraid of change. What worked 10 years ago will not work anymore. CEO’s need to wake up and start placing more of their advertising budgets online. It is 2009, not 1999 and I am sick of it people not embracing online.
I urge all companies to consult a top Internet Marketing Company such as Internet Marketing Inc and start thinking about new ways to promote their company and their products and services.