Marketing in the Making

Marketing; Thoughts and Questions

Facebook To Twitter And Back Again

Lately, I have noticed a lot more of people interchanging Twitter and Facebook lingo.

Initially, it was the “@” symbol when speaking at somebody, which Facebook eventually integrated into their platform. Now people are using hashtags on Facebook…and actually in every day speech. I wonder if Facebook will now be incorporating the “#” to their platform. I mean, they are changing enough as it is, why not just tack this on as well?

Even if the platforms do offer different things, social network vs. micro-blogging, their affects on the general public clearly are crossing over. There is no direct line. The trends are passing from one platform to another. Although, I do feel like it is inevitable, I am not sure if I am ready to edge it along. I am still a sucker for the originals of Twitter and Facebook. I still even prefer hand written things like to-do list or calendars than electronic ones. But even with that the new forms are really exciting.

Are you using hashtags on Facebook?

Apple Marketing

Every website that I have gone onto in the past week or even two weeks has been related to Apple. First it was the new iPhone 4s and then Steve Job’s death. This is completely understandable.

The vast majority of the Facebook statuses and Tweets I have seen in these past few weeks were related to Apple in one way or another. This speaks to the impact that Apple has had on the world. Yes, Apple engineers have come up with truly innovative products which have pushed our imaginations, but at the same time, the marketing that went in to these products and this brand is unbelievable.

Apple is an incredibly recognizable brand (Top 50 in the world from BusinessWeek). Even if they are not as recognizeable as some of their competitors like IBM or Intel, they have been able to do something that no one else has in the past. They have introduced computers to the “non-techy” market. Prior to the sleek look which Apple introduced, computers were mainly associated with those who lived and breathed technology basically.

I am not very tech-savy (although I would consider myself a little better off then most), so Apple products such as the MacBook and iPod Touch (both products I own) make me feel good (and like I know a little bit about technology). Apple did an amazing job at integrating many types of people into their systems as well as showcasing that.

Their advertising became iconic. Do you remember their iPod commercials (see above)? They were huge. Then the Mac vs. PC commercials. Who has never seen one? I have to admit that part of the reason I loved those was because I love Justin Long, but they were also funny and captivating. Apple understood the importance of consistency in their advertising. They also understood their customers. They kept themes going and developed them, rather than constantly changing. They also connected to their customers.

What do you think about Apple’s marketing efforts?

Steve Jobs truly did a great job leading such an innovative company. Even with him gone, I still believe the company can continue to do great things.

A Tweet Here, A Tweet There

Recently, for one of my classes this semester, my professor created a Twitter account for the class to interact with. I think this is a great idea, for a few reasons. As Management students, I think it is important that everyone learns how to use Twitter and its possibilities. So many people are judging the platform without even understanding the platform. In addition, using this for classes allows students to easily ask questions and teachers to more easily send out information for the class and any other interesting items.

The only problem I do see with this at the moment is not only relevant for this class but companies using Twitter in general. Because everyone puts out so much information, the feed moves very quickly so a single tweet can be lost very easily. Even if the tweet is incredibly valuable, the only people who will see the tweet will be those looking at their feed at the time it was tweeted.

How can and is this problem resolved?

There is actually a lot of research about when is the best time of day to tweet. Take a look at The Social Media Guide and Predictive Marketing. If you read these, you will notice that it tends to be around 9:00/10:00AM and Noon. And this makes sense. At the beginning of your day, when you first get to work when you are getting comfortable you check to see whats new and then around lunch when you are taking a break and want to check out lunch specials.

Of course, this is assuming that your target audience is working a full time job. As students, for a class Twitter account, it is a little different. I would say that the best times would be in the morning, when we first wake up (around 9:00AM) and in the evening, around 7/8:00PM after dinner and before we start our homework.

At the same time, it is understandable that you will not always be on hand to tweet at these times and that is why tools such as Hootsuite have come in so handy. Hootsuite allows members to schedule Tweets and Facebook posts whenever you want. This way, you don’t need to actually be on to post. This is exactly how companies are able to post at all hours of the day. It makes it easier to actually reach your target market whenever they are on, rather then you having to be awake then to do it. Luckily, the basic service is free, so we can all use it.

 

Belated Anniversary

I believe this post is a bit overdue but believe it or not, I have had this blog for over a year. I seem to have missed the one-year. I want to do some reflecting…

But, first of all, I want to say thank you to all of you who take the time to read my blog.

I started out with lengthy posts which I learned from speaking to people and general blog statistics, that over about 300 words may be too long so I have been trying to cut my posts down ever since. I also learned that when you post pictures of common images like a world map or a thanksgiving turkey, it skews your blog view statistics. The images show up in Google image searches and when people click on them, I can’t tell if they are actually looking at my posts or just the image.

The next important aspect is comments. Comments mean the world to me. I love getting any and all comments and especially those from complete strangers. It means I was able to reach somebody new and encourage thought and conversation outside my circles. Going along with comments, whenever I get a new subscriber to my blog, I have a mini celebration. It means you look forward to my posts and want to be updated about whenever I post something new.

I already know a few things I need to work on for the coming year. Here are my resolutions:

1. Post more frequently (Lately I haven’t been doing the best job at posting on a consistent basis)

2. Interact with other bloggers through commenting on other blogs and referring to other blogs

3. Post more about news-worthy topics and commenting on events in the news

And last but most certainly not least, thank you again for taking the time to read my blog and comment on it. If you haven’t commented, I encourage you to do so. I would really like to hear all of your thoughts. If you have any suggestions for me as well, please don’t hesitate to tell me!

Happy Birthday!

Today was a day of birthdays. It was my brothers birthday and Mashable’s. I know what you were wondering, “what did you do for your brothers birthday?” Good question! We went to this really good barbeque place called Redbones in Somerville. It was amazing! I definitely recommend it if you are ever in the area.

Oh, was that not the question you had in mind? I guess you would rather read about Mashable (except for my brother–he was my first subscriber).

In light of Mashable’s birthday, I thought I would share some things I have noticed. For those of you who don’t know what Mashable is, it is “The Social Media Guide” and it has everything from news about technology, social media and design to jobs. In short, it is my go to website (After email, Facebook and Twitter of course). I recommend checking it out every once in a while just to stay in the loop. You can even follow it on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

If you have a Twitter and follow a lot of Marketing agencies and even companies from other industries (like me), you will notice how a lot of them will post something about the same article and many times it will be from Mashable. Now, I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with that. It just makes me realize how we are still all very new at using social media for marketing. We are filling our pages with the same information as the people down the street.

It makes sense. It is time consuming to leaf through thousands of news sites, article, images and anything else that your followers may find interesting. But in the end, leafing through all that, I believe actually pays off. The key is finding an efficient way to do that. And that is where we are today.

What do you think?

Google+ vs. Facebook

Google+ finally made its debut at the end of June and is slowly becoming available to more and more people. I just got it a few days ago. The invites are coming out in slow waves (not Google Waves!) as Google continues to test it out.

I have had the chance to play with it and am still trying to get used to it. I find myself consistently comparing it to Facebook. The first large question I approached was the concept of “the wall”. I was trying to figure out if you could actually write on somebody else’s profile. You can choose who gets to see the post, as well. It can either be a single person, an individual circle, multiple circles, multiple people or everyone. This is done by clicking in the space below the Stream title, where it says “Share what’s new…”. You can also tag a person in a post which makes it a little more like Facebook.

One of the major differences I noticed is Google+’s use of circles. With Facebook, you have the choice to either limit who can view your profile to some people and not others. But Google took it one step further. They made it possible to split up all of your friends into groups and through that, choose who can see what you share.

Even further, Google+ has a “Hangout” feature where up to ten people can participate in a video chat where they can utilize chat and YouTube features at the same time. I think this feature is truly excellent however there are still some kinks. Once these kinks are ironed out, I think it could be really amazing

Take a look at this article on Technorati about Google’s Social Media Marketing Plan. They say that it was one of the first steps in bringing Facebook and Twitter to the table. Google hopes to encourage these platforms to open up their information to Google indexing. Facebook has rejected them and Twitter just recently rejected them. To me this is interesting and a little disheartening. What does this mean to you?

At the same time, Google is definitely creating a buzz and limiting the number of invites is making the network that much more special. I hope that it doesn’t end up like Buzz and Wave and just flop. It has the potential to beat Facebook but not right away. Such a strong following like Facebook has won’t disappear overnight. Google+ means stepping out of our comfort zone and learning something new which is not an easy thing to convince someone of.

It is true that there currently is not any advertising or companies on Google+ yet but I wonder how long that will last. Facebook started out that way as well but it was just a matter of time. Companies will be looking to follow the crowd. Google makes money off of advertising and it is only a matter of time before Google+ will need to prove that it is a viable venture for Google.

Even with all this, I don’t see myself deleting my Facebook account any time soon.

Color in Advertising

About 2 years ago, I wrote a paper for my Freshman English class about color in advertising. I think it is pretty interesting and have chosen to share a little bit of it with you. Enjoy.

The above image illustrates some emotions elicited from these colors.

When walking down the street, all the colors visible on signs and objects have a reason for being there. A sign with an advertisement about recycling or improving the planet will usually be green to elicit ideas about nature and cleanliness. Advertisements like these will either catch one’s eye or it will not. But, what is it about an advertisement that catches one’s eye? Is it merely the wording, the colors or the mixture of everything? When everything is put together, the final product will most definitely have a larger impact and be more meaningful to the consumer. However the impact of color is great, and can make the difference between a best selling product and a bankrupt company (Verlodt 2001, Connections Magazine). The impact color has on consumers’ perception of the advertisement is large enough to alter his/ her overarching opinion of the advertisement alone, and even the brand as a whole.
• A single color can cause an advertisement to change completely.
• The mood elicited by an advertisement and those present prior to the advertisement’s presentation have important impacts on ones perception of the   advertisement and brand in general.
• The colors depicted in an advertisement are intended, ideally for the target audience.
• The placement of such colors in an advertisement also makes a large difference in the impact on the consumer.

The Business of People.

What is L.L. Bean known for? Yes, they do sell outdoorsy equipment and clothing but there is something even greater. Their customer service. From grade school up until high school everybody always had those L.L. Bean backpacks with their initials on them. Every year they got a new one, and in a different color too! (These backpacks certainly last longer than one year, but everyone seemed to be getting a new ones so often.)

If you buy a product from L.L. Bean and it rips or breaks somehow they replace it and don’t make a big deal about it. Because of this strategy and their great attitudes, Business Week has awarded L.L. Bean second place in their second annual list of Customer Service Champs Other well known companies with customer service rated in the top ten include Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and JetBlue Airways.

The key thing you always learn when working in…well every type of business is “the customer is always right”. The vast majority of companies may teach this rule but few actually follow it. With out customers or clients, you would not have a company. When a customer has a good experience at a store or with a certain company, he/she is more likely to pass on the recommendation. That good recommendation may only reach a few people but as we have all seen and heard, bad news, gossip and experiences travel much faster and to even more people.
Take the United Airlines example from the summer of 2009. The airline damaged musician Dave Carroll’s guitar during transport and refused to take responsibility. Carroll took to social media to get the word out and created a video on YouTube, that went viral entitled United Breaks Guitars The airline’s lack of response and poor customer service caused more damage and money to combat the issue than a simple smile and apology would have done.

Customer service can make or break a company. We are in the business of people and so, in the end, our job is to please them.

Word of Mouth Marketing is Not Dead

The most valuable way to get the word out about your company and/or event is through word of mouth. It has been a long lasting successful tool. According to a study by Yahoo! in the end of 2010, word of mouth as a marketing tool still proves valuable in passing along that all important message about your company.
The study also pointed out that although social and new media in marketing is growing, when people are discussing the brand, they reference the company website more often than the various social media platforms. To me this makes sense, since the most concrete information needed about a company will be primarily on their website. However, social media has played a role in assisting word of mouth.

Yes, you can still turn to your friend down the street and ask about where is the best place for some clam chowder, but social media allows you to get more opinions and options. Your friend down the street only knows maybe a few places, versus asking your friends on your social media platforms through a simple tweet or status can give you back even more places to choose from. Having this ability to ask so many people so easily gives you a better chance to find what you are looking for. Why would you trust these people? Because the idea of your friends on these sites is that you have built a connection and a relationship with them that provides you with a reason to trust their recommendation.

Word of mouth marketing is what I believe, as well to be one of the most valuable marketing tools available and luckily cheapest as well. The key then is to find the right people to pass the word on to…but I will leave that up to you to discover.

Repeating Styles

Many of the clothes that my mom wore when she grew up seem to be back in style. I see them in the stores today. Even styles from my generation are beginning to repeat themselves. Leggings? I remember wearing those back in elementary school and now they are back!

How do companies view this? Does this mean that if the styles can come back in, the advertising for them can too? I don’t think so. The advertisements have to be fitting for the current culture. Even though the style is the same, that doesn’t mean that the culture is the same. With this, I want to point out that advertising has to be up to date with the current culture including everything from advertising tools to style and slang.

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