We interrupt your life to bring you this

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago…

Twitter. 140 characters. 340 million tweets per day. 500 million followers. Overwhelming. It is the ultimate in, “Get to the Point” communications and the ultimate panacea for short attention spans. It has become THE source of real time data. Even then, although many sign on, many sign off. About 47% of followers are no longer active on Twitter, according to ExactTarget. They leave because there is too much clutter in their world of communications. 52% of Followers stop following brands because the messages are too boring. This is not a good start, but having a Twitter presence can have significant benefits for a brand.

Let’s look at the profile of a frequent follower on Twitter. According to Edison Research: one third is between the ages of 25 – 34; they are more educated and have higher incomes than average; they are early adopters of technology. They are voracious consumers and contributors of online information. They will follow a brand on Twitter for the usual reasons – real time deals, promotions and sales, being the first to know and of course, that exclusive content that “club members” always have. We have seen them before. They are ME, but with a twist. Not only do they say, “What’s in it for ME?” but, they say, “What’s in it for ME Right Now!” For this article, let’s call them Digital ME.

So, while the passive users of Twitter continue to decline, the active users continue to grow. Digital ME are the users that you want. Digital ME wants to know more about the personality of a brand. When it finds out, Digital ME is a very influential distributor of information. In fact, much like Facebook that we discussed earlier, this is your real target in the world of Twitter. Digital ME, the influencers are 79% more likely to recommend brands they follow. ExactTarget has a phrase, “What happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter.”

Again, like the Facebook approach, try to link Digital ME to your permission-based email subscriber activity. Offer exclusive content or promotions on the email account for the Twitter followers. Constantly link your multimedia activity for higher returns.

Follow Michael and the Allegra team on Twitter: @allegra_ca

Next week: Marketing The Tangibles… Now, how about something we can really get our hands around?


Social Media: Fans, Friends and Cascading Media

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Facebook is a party. It is not a trip to the mall. Facebook is a doorway to family and friends. We bring our pictures and all kinds of information about us to the party. We share. We play games there, connect to old friends and make new ones. We review our past and we plan our futures on Facebook. It’s fun. According to a recent ExactTarget study, 30% call it their “guilty pleasure” It has become an alternate life, a place to kill time, an escape. It is a place of serendipitous discoveries where we discover things we were not even looking for. It has been called the “default social community” and most of the community says that marketers are not welcome. Period. Yet…here’s the rub, the ultimate tease, according to a Nielson study in 2009, 90% of the Facebook community trusts product recommendations from Friends. We are not allowed in, but, but, if we can get there, then Oh Boy, Look Out. We are on a rocket ship to marketing nirvana.

So, focusing again on ME. When ME goes to Email, Google and LinkedIn, ME takes their wallets. That’s the trip to the mall. ME is going to shop. ME is looking for deals. If ME met and Liked You at the Facebook party, ME might look you up if you gave ME a deal. 58% of Fans expect this according to ExactTarget. Remember, just because ME Liked you at the party, it doesn’t mean you have permission to call ME. If you start constantly calling (marketing to) ME without permission, then ME will drop you. 44% will Unlike you if you post too frequently. The question remains: How do we get ME, that we met at the Facebook party, to Like our company and visit us at the mall and shop with us?

First, be entertaining when you are at the party and every time you call. Remember it’s a party. ME is there for fun. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not ME it’s you. A recent report, “The Power of Like” a collaboration between comScore and Facebook, talks about how social marketing works. It states that accumulating Fans is only the first step. The next step is accumulating Friends of Fans and thus amplifying the marketing message. They talk about Fan Reach, Engagement and Amplification. Once the brand has been seen on Facebook, presumably for this discussion from “paid media” (an ad), it then attempts to Reach its Fans via the News Feed and their Brand Pages. If it is “entertaining” enough, Fans become Engaged and they talk to their Friends about the brand. This is “earned media” and thus we have Amplification. Yes, it’s all about gossip. One Fan talks about the brand to a Friend and that Friend talks to another Friend etc. etc. So, although an initial brand Engagement rate might be just 1%, it is Amplified to a factor of 10 or more. It cascades.

That’s the theory with some supporting data. The author, Andrew Lipsman was reported in Time Business on August 7, 2012 as stating that there was still not enough data and that the process will play itself out over the next couple of years. Right now, it appears that the stock market has decided not to wait. It’s hard to sell products at a party when people only attend for fun.

Of course, the next step in cascading Fans and Friends of Fans into customers is to seek permission for one to one marketing via ME’s favourite digital marketing channel – Email. You, know, the shopping channel. One more step in cascading media.

Next week: We Interrupt Your Life To Bring You This… Just In From Twitter One Minute Ago!


Social Media: The Twilight Zone of Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 
Check out the introduction to this old TV series, The Twilight Zone. So what do you think? Does this represent marketing’s journey into the world of Social Media? Using the key of imagination unlocking the door to another dimension, one of sound, sight and mind into a land of shadow and substance of things and ideas. Crossing over into The Twilight Zone. Well, If your answer is yes, there are many marketers and financial analysts that would agree with you. The highway behind us is littered with the bodies of those who have tried and failed, but the good news is that some have succeeded. Let’s see why. “The key of imagination unlocking the door to another dimension” or we might say, “Two guys in their parent’s garage fiddling with the internet”.

I like the first version better, but the second speaks to the reality of social media. The other reality is that these social media vehicles rise and fall with amazing speed. Think Digg, Friendster, MySpace and Napster as some of the names from the past. Today we are witnessing the following companies drop in value from their initial public offerings: Zynga down 81%,Groupon down 77%, Facebook down 45%. On July 2, 2012 Microsoft took a $6.1 billion dollar write-off of aQuantive, the online advertising company it purchased in 2007. It has never made money for Microsoft. On the flip side we have Google up 80% and LinkedIn up 130%. Here we are with the “shadow and substance of things and ideas”.

Some good news facts are: Syncapse Social Trac Report states that 28% of fans are loyal users and that
the average fan is 41% more likely to recommend the company. 48% of people aged 18 – 34 check their Facebook when they wake up. The Hubspot March 2012 report on the State of Inbound Marketing states that 65% of companies have acquired B2B customers through LinkedIn and 77% of companies have acquired B2C customers through Facebook. In a 2012 social media study comScore reports that Fans and Friends of Fans spend about 2x as much on average in Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Who will survive and who will not? Why do some make money and stay in existence while others lose money and eventually disappear and why should you care? The answer to both questions is: ADVERTISING. Some sites do this well and some do not. People on some sites accept advertising and people on some sites do not. You want to be on a site that implements advertising well and that people accept the advertising. In other words, ME accepts YOU.

Reflecting back on our many discussions about ME and you will recall that ME has a firm grip on the channel changer. ME controls the conversation and they are not giving that up. If the relationship falls apart, it’s not ME it’s you.

Here’s a tidbit for you: the July 7, 2012 issue of the Economist magazine quoted a representative of Moonbeam Development (yes, you read that right – two guys in a garage again) that used the company Leadbolt to PUSH ads into people’s mobile notification bars without their consent. They received death threats. How’s that for a tight grip on the control of the conversation for you? That is a world of crazy. So how do you win in this environment? One word: PERMISSION.

As pointed out in our discussion about Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires PERMISSION. It also requires respect, empathy and relevance. Content is king. As Lyris pointed out in their November 2011 report, email and social media are the only two permission based channels. You don’t just barge in with your offer. They are not the “interruption based advertising” of TV and radio. The psychology of this seems not to have hit home with the advertising crowd. In their pursuit of the social media gold rush they see lots of targets (i.e. potential customers) gathering on a site and they deploy the old “push” style advertising that they are used to, the “spray and pray” method of marketing. Successful marketing in the social media world is achieved today through content and cascading media.

Next week: Social Media…Fans, Friends and Cascading Media


The Best of Both - Cross Channel Marketing

Allegra Michael Grant

 

 

 

In this discussion, our goal is to build and sustain communications with customers/clients through the use of direct mail and email, two very effective marketing channels. For this, we have a two pronged approach. First, you now know that direct mail is the most acceptable initial contact method, but did you also know that when they receive direct mail, 43% of recipients prefer to respond on line? That’s the second prong. So why not give them the chance to do so? Why not obtain their email address with their permission?

Now, why would ME give a company their email address? Well, for self-interest of course. When ME provides a company with an email address it expects to receive something back. Something exclusive. Something unique. Something very few other people will ever get.  They don’t want just some newsletter. They want membership to a special club that’s all about ME. They want to know things before anyone else. They want special pricing. They want the moon, the stars and the platinum card of special treatment. Give them that and they will stay. Ignore them and they will leave. It’s not ME it’s you.

Your direct mail piece should offer them a special place if they provide their email. So, if you have a promotion, then ask them to sign up for an additional discount and more exclusive information as it comes available. One way to obtain this information is through the use of a PURL (personalized URL) campaign or even a GURL (general). This directs them to a custom landing page where they can sign up for all that special attention you promised.  You could also direct them to your web site, but you had better have a very obvious sign up page for them and the site better look good. Either way, try to obtain information on what they would like and then make sure you pay attention. Remember you have to know all about ME and when you communicate, talk about things ME likes. If you don’t then they will leave. In fact 41% of them will leave if you send irrelevant messages. Content is King. Boring just doesn’t cut it in a relationship. It’s not ME it’s you.

If you are wondering if there is some information to back this up, well here’s something from recent ExactTarget studies of email subscribers:

  • 93% of online consumers are subscribers
  • 81% of these subscribe because of a promotion
  • 88% of online consumers check their emails daily
  • 58% of online consumers check their emails first and then 11% check their Facebook (!?)

The kicker – 66% of respondents have made purchases as a result of email marketing (April 12, 2012)

Here’s another interesting one for all you Facebook fans – Millennials are twice as likely to subscribe to Email (56%) for deals as they are to search for deals on Facebook (28%).

Yes, even that very mobile tip of the iceberg group of society, the Millennials prefer to use emails when searching for deals. It’s not ME it’s you.

By the way, for all you retailers out there, did you know that 77% of consumers would like to receive confirmation, thank you and retail receipts via email? Ever been in an Apple store? Did you get a paper or an email receipt?  Imagine, people want to give you their email address so that you can send them their receipts. For the most part, these are people you do not even know. They are customers. How can we make them clients? Now, also image that you ask them if they want to subscribe to your email communications for future exclusive benefits. One more time, it’s not ME it’s you – well it’s up to you anyway if you want to keep the relationship going.

One more parting thought. Do you know the third most common activity amoung smart phone users? It’s Email. Yes, Email strikes again.  Every day first they talk (87%), then they text (77%), then they email (66%).

So, the link is unbroken. From Mail to Mobile.  Email is the thread.

 

Next week:  Mobilizing for Marketing