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Is social media driving tech accessories purchases? The answer, at this point seems to be “yes and no,’” according to Chris Ely, manager, Industry Analysis Market Research for the Consumer Electronics (CE) Association, who outlined the results of a new study during the “Tech Accessories in...

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="185" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Lady GaGa concert[/caption]
If you’re a marketer saddled with promoting a dull brand using social media, how do you compete with sexy brands such as Lady Gaga and Coca-Cola? Give your brand the rock-star treatment. Even if you’re not in a sexy industry, you can treat it as such. I wrote an award-winning book on quilting, but you’re never going to see me on “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent.” No one wants to watch me at my sewing machine creating quilts, no matter how amazing they are. Unless you’re a quilter, too. Quilters are interested, and they will watch. But how did I make my content sexier? I produced a music video of 12 quilted table runners I designed over a year and set it to music my son arranged on GarageBand. I gave the audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of my creative process, from original drawings, color palettes and design journals to a tour of finished quilts. How can you do something similar for your industry? Give it the rock-star treatment. Think music video, VIP pass, backstage access, T-shirt and memorabilia. Make your brand fun, place it on stage and rock on. Even if your product isn’t as glamorous as rock music, television or the big screen, treat it as such. Give your audience special treatment, and you’ll see traffic and sales increase. Be memorable. Let your personality and that of your staff shine through, so your brand is approachable and personable. Southwest Airlines flight attendant David Holmes raps the normal snoozer of the flight-safety speech. Passengers not only pay attention but also

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image by ralphpaglia via Flickr"]Social Media Marketing[/caption]
SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. Last week’s poll question: Are your company’s social media marketing efforts centrally run?
  • Yes — one division handles social media outreach for the whole company 63.16%
  • No — different divisions handle their own social media outreach 33.83%
  • Not applicable — my company outsources its social media or doesn’t use it for marketing 3.01%
Having one division handle all social media outreach has some obvious benefits: It’s easier to maintain a consistent tone, it avoids too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen confusion and it allows for specialization. The social media mavens can handle the tweeting

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Infographic on how Social Media are being used...[/caption]
It’s easy to get distracted by trivial social media arguments. Social media experts spend a lot of time hashing out old fights about the best tools and tactics for the same reasons some people  can spend hours looking at new faucets or cabinet doors. The less important something is, the more fun it is to kibitz about, because the responsibility that comes with being wrong is relatively minor. It doesn’t really matter what your kitchen looks like; so long as it is functional, durable and built on a stable foundation, you can have those cabinet arguments worry-free.

Key Answers to Key questions;

The trouble is, too many people have the cabinet door conversation without ever talking about the foundation. The way I see it, there are only seven questions in all of social media that really matter. Of course, they’re pretty big questions. But if you can answer them to the fullest, then the answers to many of your minor questions fall into place.
  1. Who am I speaking to? And don’t just say “potential customers.” That’s a dodge and you know it. Get specific. Think about who you’re trying to reach in terms of both demographics (age, location, income, etc.)  and psychographics (what to they believe? what do they like? what are they worried about?). And remember that the latter often tells you more than the former. Unless you really know, on an intimate level, who are you’re speaking to, everything else you’re doing is essentially guesswork, because audience knowledge informs your answer to every one of the remaining questions.
  2. What do they want from me online? The temptation is often to focus on what you want from your customers — and we’ll get to that — but you’re setting yourself up for disaster if you focus on yourself first. Because before anyone is going to do what you want, you have to give them a reason to care about you first. All businesses, nonprofits and institutions exist to serve a function. You do something that people want or need — or

Failure used to be easier to swallow. Back before “fail” was an interjection, before failure had  blogs and whales and other memes attached to it, before you had to worry about schadenfreude propelling your misstep through all of social media — there was a time when a person could screw up fiercely and still take comfort in the fact that most people weren’t going to notice. Even marketers and media types could rest a little easier. If you put out something terrible, most people would ignore it. And even if people did notice, at least your mistake wouldn’t be remembered for long. Now it seems your sins can live on forever, amplified by the echo chamber of the Internet. Ask Rebecca Black if you don’t believe me. Failure in the age of social media is polarizing. Should we become bland and timid, paralyzed by worry and wearing white flannel trousers? Or should we be bold, knowing that if we put a toe out of line, a cry will go up from some dark corner of the Web, the fail hashtag hoisted like a pirate flag, and we’ll be eaten alive by trolls. “ ’Fail’ is the scarlet letter of social media,” David Griner told an audience at a recent BlogWorld & New Media Expo panel. Griner, director of digital content for Luckie & Co., along with Meshin Community Director Dave Peck, explored a variety of recent social media public relations disasters during their presentation. But rather than being frightened by these mishaps, Griner and Peck said, the

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="243"]Lady Gaga performing on the Fame Ball tour in ... Image via Wikipedia[/caption]
For some time, marketing has been dominated by the theory that the way to success is getting your most loyal consumers to buy more. As a result, it’s become popular for marketing “guru”s to declare the end of mass marketing. There’s just one problem: it’s not true. The best discussion of this reality that I’ve seen recently is found in Byron Sharp’s book “How Brands Grow” (2010, Oxford). Let me share a few of the realities I found in this excellent, and challenging, read. Remember the “80/20″ Rule? It’s Wrong. In the 1930′s an Italian economist named Pareto suggested that 80% of a country’s wealth come from 20% of its citizens. Since then, this suggestion has been applied where it shouldn’t and been turned into a “rule”. (One such rule might be that “80% of manufacturing errors come from 20% of the process” – something that is sometimes true.) In marketing, the 80/20 rule has come to claim that 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its consumers. Marketers use this to claim that the fastest way to increase profit is to convince the 20% to buy more – an idea that glorifies niche marketing and loyalty programs.

In Marketing...there Are Fundamental Problems With the 80/20 Rule.

Sharp analyzed this rule with hard marketing numbers from a large number of client campaigns. Let me note three findings:
The most loyal 20% of consumers drive only 50% of purchases – not 80. The top 20% are the most expensive (in marketing dollars) way to increase sales. I’ve found they are often fully satisfied and don’t want/need more from your brand. Today’s loyal are tomorrow’s disloyal. Sharp documents the human animal’s polygamous brand tendencies – making purchases from a wide range of brands. One result of brand polygamy is that a very large number of today’s loyal customers will be less loyal in the future.
Net out: Loyalists may just be the worst place to invest a large portion of your communication dollars. So How Do Big Brands Succeed? Sharp suggests part of the answer is in the Double Jeopardy Law:
“Small brands have far fewer customers and those customers buy slightly less often.”
So brands that grow big do so by reaching out and expanding their base of consumers. For a taste of what Sharp has to say, see his presentation in this Ted video. Sharp points to Apple as an example. Tech competitors blame Apple success on fanboys. But Apple has become big because my neighbors have iPods, iPhones and now iMacs. (Just look at the vast amount of Apple hardware on airplanes owned by people you’d never expect to buy Apple.) This is true of brands like Nike and even, I suspect a brand who makes loyalty the centerpiece of their marketing like Nordstrom. In a category close to my heart, it’s true for DeWalt drills. Yes, a lot of contractors buy them. But contractor sales don’t make DeWalt huge. DeWalt is huge because suburban garages are filled with DeWalt drills. Doesn’t Social Media Show Niche Marketing is More Powerful? Not when you analyze the total communication picture around social media. “New media success stories” are mostly mass media success stories given additional legs in social media. How so? In most cases, new media’s role is to create enough awareness to get mass media outlets to deliver coverage in TV, print, newspaper, radio, etc… Then, and only then, does the big impact start. It's amazing what a little print can do for a business. If done well, it can drastically change the outcome of any campaign. For two examples look at Susan Boyle’s record sales or Lady Gaga’s massive YouTube numbers – both are the result of traditional media exposure. (Just notice how much print space Gaga gets.) And the recent Old Spice campaign generated

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The current environment for advertising and marketing is rapidly shifting. No longer are companies able to slide by with the basic strategies implemented in the past. With new digital developments changing on a continuous basis, being nimble and adaptable to these new forms of communication will be critical to getting the message effectively to consumers and shoppers alike. Already, we have seen huge changes: * From traditional media to multiple forms of communication * From mass to niche media, centered around specific target audiences * From a manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer-dominated, shopper centric market. * From general-focus advertising and marketing to data-based marketing * From limited Internet access to 24/7 Internet availability and access to goods and services The booming culture of social media is also creating countless opportunities for

Angry Retail Customers Are A Marketers Dream? Can Be...

This guest post is by Daley Epstein, a contributing writer for SmartBrief.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Free twitter badge[/caption]
Whether your a retailer or distributor, when an angry, dissatisfied customer uses Twitter, it doesn’t matter whether he’s a big or little spender  — each post holds the same presence on the Internet, said Rob La Gesse, director of media marketing at Rackspace Hosting.  La Gesse suggests an old-fashioned, yet underused, approach toward social media: Customer love. He offers three things to keep in mind when dealing with an upset customer:
  • Don’t freak out. Costumers aren’t evil!
  • Customers need your help and may need to vent, let them.
  • If your company broke a promise or you have a broken process, its better to have an angry customer than a lost customer.
“If you don’t love working with customers, you shouldn’t be in retail marketing anyway",