Final thoughts to Consider.

By listening to social media buzz, businesses can strategically position their brands in the minds of the consumers and in the market. Consumers can buzz about an organization via social media through complaints, compliments, product usage experiences, recommendations, suggestions, comparisons, purchase intention/buying behavior, or even switching behavior.

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Learning about the content and context of these conversations is the first step to building relationships with the consumers, managing the brand’s reputation, generating leads, or engaging potential product ambassadors Plus, isn’t it better for businesses to know what consumers say about its brands before its competitors find out?

Although building buzz is important, perhaps the most important idea in marketing (that comes even before selling) is ethics. Just as in life, marketers must remember the Golden Rule to win the trust and ultimately the loyalty of its consumers.

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This is especially important in the world of emerging media, where innovation and creativity are top priorities. Respect for consumers and their privacy is a key ingredient in the marketing mix.

Social Media is…

Social media is a window to how consumers co-create or re-create a general perception of a brand. It is a rich data mine of insights which when put together like puzzle pieces reveals unlimited possibilities. By listening to social media buzz, businesses can strategically position their brands in the minds of the consumers and in the market.
The World’s Best Social Media Thinkers

Getting Consumers to Talk

How can marketing professionals encourage consumers to talk in a way that will benefit their organization? The absolute easiest way that marketers can do this is to make their brands entertaining, fascinating, and newsworthy. It’s called buzz marketing, people. And with buzz marketing, marketers stop talking at consumers, and start talking to them.

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As we’ve been talking about since Day 1, it’s the simple idea of connecting. Brands connecting to consumers and consumers connecting to other consumers. Who benefits? The brands.

For example, Procter & Gamble created a super-successful video for its Old Spice brand, titled “The Man Your Man Should Smell Like.”

Following its success, the Old Spice marketing team purposefully shared this video not only with persons who had huge followings on social networks, but once shared, their followers told their friends, and the number of viewers compounded exponentially, fervently, and quickly. In fact, Old Spice’s Twitter followers increased more than 1,000 percent, and nearly 600,000 people on Facebook gave its advertisements a thumbs-up “like it” vote.

Plus, it didn’t hurt Old Spice that their choice of actors happens to be tall, dark, handsome, athletic and rich.

Bottom line. If you want consumers to talk about your brand, give them a reason to. Here are 18 ways to do it:

1. Start with your initial or existing base of satisfied customers.
2. Pick a target market you can find.
3. Find the thought leaders.
4. Again, find the influences and give out freebies.
5. Use fake shoppers.
6. Work at a grassroots level.
7. Piggyback off an existing trend or cause.
8. Go to the point of sale.
9. The more unusual and shocking the better.
10. Be completely believable.
11. Make it personal.
12. Create a sense of scarcity.
13. Be bold and extreme.
14. Leverage the Internet, and buzz with blogs.
15. Don’t overlook quality and customer service.
16. Do something innovative.
17. Measure as much as you can.
18. Integrate the campaign with the overall marketing strategy.

Mobile Phones: A Shared Love between Consumers and Marketers

People love their cell phones. Cell phones make peoples’ lives more convenient, organized, and fun. They allow people to connect to the world (and they have come a long way since they were “saved”).

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Marketers love cell phones for these very reasons too (not to mention the simple fact that consumers USE their cell phones, a LOT)—and marketers have indeed given cell phones a place in their world. In addition to traditional ways of reaching customers through mobile methods, such as SMS texts, marketers have been getting a lot fancier recently. They use cell phones to reach consumers in many emerging ways now, including M2M marketing (using mobile-based advertising to drive sales of mobile ring tones, wallpapers, games and videos), online video games, and mobile applications.

Why do marketing professionals love cell phones so much? Easy. They’re highly personal yet rich and simple. Our cell phones are with us every day, all the time. And we don’t share our cell phones with anyone. Anyone except marketers, that is.

Consumers. Get. Messages. On. Cell. Phones.

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And as long as consumers love their mobile phones, so too will marketers.

Evolution of Internet-Based Marketing

Speaking of brand, consumer recognition is key. One way to build brand recognition while increasing web site traffic is through the use of online banner advertisements.

Let’s take a look at our same two examples: Starbucks and McDonald’s.

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vs.

mcdonald's banner

While both Starbucks and McDonald’s sell food products, their brands are entirely different and these banner advertisements reflect that. Starbucks has a simple, elegant banner advertisement that reminds consumers that its coffee is much more than that; it’s an experience that you “pour your heart into.” And for McDonald’s, it’s 8:34am. No special time for much of anything except an inexpensive and convenient McGriddle.

Whether you’re a Starbucks gal or McDonald’s guy, one thing’s for sure: although banner advertisements are great at building a brand, their effectiveness is decreasing. Banner advertisements were quite popular in the 1990’s, but their novelty actually wore off, their purpose got senseless, and they got in the way of people using the Internet for whatever they needed. Plus, bigger and better things entered the world of emerging media, especially mobile phones, which have become much more intimate to consumers than the world wide web could ever be.

We’ll explore that next week.

Building a Brand through a Web Site.

Web sites, such as Facebook, serve many purposes for organizations. Web sites serve as an outlet for consumers to learn about a company and its products. Some consumers may come to a specific web site in order to purchase products online. Perhaps the most important reason for an organization’s web site to exist is its ability to enhance an existing brand.

“…great Web sites tie in with the rest of a company’s promotional communications – the very purpose of IMC” – Dr. Rachel Post

In other words, a web site communicates who the organization is, what it offers, and what the brand promises through its content, organization, and appearance (i.e. the “look and feel” of the web site). Take, for instance, two web sites: Starbucks and McDonalds. Compare the two.

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vs.

mcdonalds

Starbucks’ Web site portrays a relaxing, enjoyable, upscale brand, whereas McDonalds’ Web site portrays a fun, inexpensive, and child-friendly brand. Both sell convenient food, but both brands are vastly different; and each organization’s web site encourages the consumer to understand its specific brands.

Connecting with People, Places, and Things of All Shapes, Sizes, and Colors.

Last week, we introduced emerging media as a new way to connect with consumers. As a perfect example of emerging media, Facebook’s mission, since it began over a decado ago, has been “…to make the world more open and connected.” Today, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, can say that his company hasn’t simply achieved its mission—it’s been at the forefront of the social media Revolution.

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Simply put, Facebook connects people, places, and things of all shapes, sizes, and colors. It so easily does this because almost everyone has access to this type of emerging media. This is partly due to the rapid evolution of technology, coupled with decreasing costs and increasing access, which is ultimately allowing “everyone” to access digital media (even kitties).

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But seriously. The world is becoming more and more diverse. As individuals, we’re living with and working with people who are different than we are. Organizations must embrace this change too, and for them, it’s important for them to cater to everyone’s ever-changing needs if they want to win the business of all types of consumers.

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What are some ways in which organizations are using their websites and other digital outlets to target specific consumer demographics or groups?

Connect with Me.

Emerging media is a way to connect with consumers. And this blog is my way of connecting with you—the world!

Graduate students in West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications program also call this emerging media phenomenon: transformative, interactive, evolving, advancing, innovative, modern, next generation, future, shifting, MAMA (modern and mobile applications), collaborative, individualized, personalized, inspired, adaptive, and connected. The last one is my favorite because it’s so accurate. But whatever we call it, we can’t escape it.

We interact (connect!) with emerging media daily. We live in a world where we, as consumers, are being marketed to at all times and in all places. We wake up in the morning and check our Twitter accounts. We see 3D billboards on our drive to work. We “check-in” when we go out to dinner. We pay for that dinner with our mobile phones.

And all of these examples are relatively new. We’ll dissect what is new (and what is old) later, but now, just know that emerging media is absolutely influencing our world and the products/services we use. The sky is the limit. In the world of emerging media, there are no boundaries.

It’s nice to meet you as we travel this road of endless possibilities in the market. Thanks for connecting with me.
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