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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Marketing or Hustling?

Posted Friday, October 17th, 2014

I’ve been running an online marketing business for the last 4 years and sometimes marketeers are the most infuriating people to work with and be involved in meetings with. There’s a whole load of technical terms being thrown in that I don’t understand and people who have clearly got into the job because it seemed like an easy option when they had to make a career choice.

I see a thousand weird and wonderful ideas that people dream up to launch a new product or what they would do if they were marketing a startup, few of them ever execute their wild plans and many give in when they don’t appear to be getting any response.

The last couple of weeks I’ve sent out so many emails without responses that I checked with the web developer whether my emails were working! The intention was good I thought- contact app devs who were in the app top charts for photography and video that had an editing video app or downloader app and suggest that we could cross promote each other’s apps. I got one response from about 50 emails but I now have a lead. Was that good or bad marketing or the right attitude to not give up?

I’ve had to accept that much of my efforts at this stage will be noticed by very few, or no one. I’m tweeting, posting on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Medium, YouTube videos and posting on Google+ and even one like/comment/share sends me in to a fit of excitement. I have to tell myself that these things will grow, you sadly can’t start the tornado from day one, it all starts with a gentle gust of wind! So again, is that marketing that requires a special skill or just the right attitude to keep going when it makes no sense at all to do so?

 

 


What we’ve learnt about Apple from their new iPhone 6 launch

Posted Friday, September 26th, 2014

Apple claim to have shifted approximately 10 million iPhone 6 and 6plus combined. That’s a huge number in it’s first week and has been accompanied by the media sensation and long queues that we’ve come to expect

But what has the recent launch shown us about design, marketing and technology?

Design:
Apple’s phones have been designed consistently thinner since their original release and for the first time they’re big. Jobs famously said that consumers didn’t want large screens but the recent releases seem to suggest that Cook disagrees as a result of the demand from their customer’s demands. When I recently spoke to an assistant in the Vodafone shop 6 months ago she claimed people were selecting their phone devices on size so it has been no surprise that apple have responded accordingly.

Marketing:
Apple’s keynote is a major tech event which generates its own hype but interestingly problems have come since the event. The keynote was dogged by poor viewing, the servers were struggling to stream the event and for the first 20 minutes it was dubbed in Mandarin. Since then people have criticised the forced download of U2’s album, the bendy iPhone 6 plus and bugs with iOS8. Frankly, these issues won’t effect sales and nor have they deterred me in any way to order the iPhone 6 but it shows that life is never silky smooth even for the world’s coolest brand, voted by cool brands.com

Technology:
Each new iPhone release has major upgrades which improve the running and functionality of the phone but if you ask a consumer what the difference between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, I bet all they will say is size! Interestingly, iOS8 and the iPhone 6 are according to Apple the most significant upgrades since their first phone. As someone who takes  a keen interest in the upgrades and how it will effect my startup BeBirbal I’ve noticed that users will find taking pictures and videos will offer more options and iOS8 makes it a much easier to search for websites and apps.

To be honest whatever Apple offered with a new phone it’d be snapped up but I do feel that recent upgrades are an improvement to the user and even developers. We know apple are cool even if they do make some major mistakes, such is the extent of their customer loyalty. They’ve delivered what was expected, a slickly designed device with some fantastic technology and a strong message which covers any cracks.


5 Reasons Every Business Should be on Snapchat

Posted Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Snapchat is the newest social tool that lets you share photos and video, or “snaps,” with the bonus of adding drawings or captions to whatever you record. Here’s the catch: Snaps disappear after a few seconds, and the sender gets to choose how many seconds messages will be visible before they self-destruct. The concept basically blends photo and video texting with the age-old tradition of sending notes with disappearing ink.

What’s the appeal? Less pressure to be perfect than on other platforms such as Facebook, where content is more permanent. It’s a simple way to share simple things, and in a world where every social media lover has to become their own personal public relations guru, Snapchat offers a stress-free way to say — whatever. Here are five reasons your business should utilize the app:

1. People use it, and they’re going to keep using it. Snapchat first caught on among high schoolers, but now college students have checked in to the craze. The app, designed by Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy as part of a class project, launched in Apple’s app store in September 2011. By October 2012, the company tallied its billionth snap. The company is estimated to have more than 30 million users as of December 2013, although they’re coy about sharing the actual number.

Scoffers might wrinkle their noses and shrug Snapchat off as another passing phase. But skeptics were momentarily silenced in November 2013 when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg offered the infant startup $3 billion in cash and was promptly turned down. Whether you’re keyed in to Snapchat or not, Facebook knows Snapchat’s hot, but Snapchat knows it’s even hotter.

2. Prove you’re a “cool” company. If you hadn’t heard of Snapchat before Facebook’s stunning $3 billion offer (or before you started reading this article), you’re not alone. That’s part of what adds to the inherent allure of the app. The number of users is growing exponentially, but it’s still new enough to make those who use it “in the know.”

The Snapchat frontier is still wide open for adaptive marketers who are ready to start exploring. Those who hit the ground running will have the biggest impact, plus the chance to define the ways marketers will use an emerging genre. Can anyone say, “Innovator Award”?

3. You’ve already built the audience on other social platforms. Snapchat is part social hybrid and part revolutionary, but adding it as a marketing platform doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. After all, what about all those Facebook fans and Twitter followers you worked so hard to collect? Does Snapchat mean those metrics have an expiration date? Not at all. Existing social platforms can remain healthy even as they drive fans and followers to explore a new sharing tool with you.

Incentivize your audience to join you on Snapchat and you’ll not only gain an instant audience on an emerging platform, you’ll find a whole new way to interest them. Offer mobile coupons, the chance to take a sneak peek behind the scenes, and the promise to deliver hot brand news to Snapchatters before anyone else, and fans will follow.

4. Embrace a new wavelength of messaging. Remember when YouTube grew in popularity and politicians began to realize the simpler, less professionally-staged videos were ranking better with audiences than pristinely polished ones? Savvy marketers are realizing the same is true of Snapchat. The app is supposed to be less-than-perfect, and that’s why people love it. The bonus for businesses is that you have the chance to kick your shoes off at the edge of the dance floor and have a little fun.

5. This is the new world of advertising. Traditional radio commercials were zapped by satellite radio. Television ads were nuked when digital video recorders careened on scene. And now, even digital recorders are being outrun by instant streaming. Mute buttons, spam filters, pop-up blockers — all are ways audiences keep slipping through marketer’s fingers.

What if people actually wanted to engage with your brand? What if, instead of ducking behind junk settings and filters, people actually pushed a button of their own free will to watch your brand in action? Snapchat introduces a groundbreaking forum, one where people are interested in what you have to say and offer.

It may still be new, but it represents the new age of advertising.


Apps to get excited about in 2013

Posted Friday, May 17th, 2013

With thousands of new apps being released daily, it takes a lot to stand out. We’ve downloaded and tried five apps that are creating a buzz and offered our thoughts. Lets us know if you agree….

1. Wanelo

The new… Pinterest
Pinterest allows you to drool over pretty things on a photo-bulletin style site that tells your followers what you’re drooling over. Wanelo (short for “Want Need Love”) takes the photo-bulletin style design that has made Pinterest so popular and made it more practical. Click on one of the freshly styled images and the site redirects you to an online shop, where you can purchase what you’ve just added to your wishlist.

Verdict: 2/5 but that’s only because it’s heavily biased to fashion that doesn’t suit me but may well appeal to younger people

2. Vine

The new… Instagram
The app encourages you not to just take a photo, but to film a three to six second clip, and posts it on a loop.  With GIF-based memes everywhere online, the app is a smart and user-friendly way to create your own; whether that’s for promoting a Hollywood blockbuster or just you taking a sip of your beer.

Verdict: 3/5 I think it’s a great tool and could be very useful for lots of puposes but it hasn’t had the uptake you’d expect which suggests it’s not particuarly popular with tweeters

3. Snapchat

The new… Whatsapp
The photo messaging app is on almost every twenty-something’s smartphone and if not, then they’re all talking about it. The app lets you send photos with added captions and doodles – but the killer function is the ability to set a time limit of up to ten seconds for how long recipients can view their photos for, after which it is deleted from the recipient’s device and the company’s servers.

Verdict: 4/5 snapchat has grown quickly and whilst it took me some time to grow a fondness for it, the number of my contacts and facebook freinds who have joined in recent weeks has been huge. It’s a simple app, easy to use and a lot of fun- what more do you want from an app?

4. Tinder

The new… Chat Roulette
The app will show you people in your area which you can either anonymously like or pass on. It then lets the other person know and if your profile tickles their fancy, they’ll like you back and you can begin chatting within the app. You can take it from there…

Verdict: 4/5 I discovered this app in San Francisco when it had just been released and it had a huge immediate uptake. It’s been much slower in the UK but it’s a great app for people a little nervous about using sites like POF that throws you in the deep end

5. #music

The new… Spotify
After the launch of Vine, the second  new app from Twitter is generating a lot of excitement in the music industry.  The app has integrated recommendations that show which artists are trending as well as up and coming musicians.

Verdict: 3/5 potentially I think this app could be huge but right now it’s not quite there yet- maybe because I’m not willing to accept that that my suggested list includes Janet Jackson, Nelly Furtado and Emma Bunton (busted!). A great way to discover music and like you can preview music in the app. Definitely one for the future and it’s rating is likely to increase


The Utilization for Social Media for Business

Posted Friday, June 8th, 2012

Making a business become profitable is a very hard concept for business owners. Just couple of decades ago, having a good product to sell and having a good advertisement campaign was usually enough for success and for profitability. However, times have changed, as it has become more difficult than ever to be competitive in a world where every person on the planet has become a potential customer who can buy your products and services.  Thus, as a result, you need to be more vigilant, so that you can be competitive in a world where every company has become your competitor. Nowadays, instead of using classical modes of advertisement and expansion, you will need to use the internet as it has become the major mode of advertisement in the world. Internet is a special entity of its own and as a result, you will need to make sure that you use special social media interactions in order to make sure that you can remain competitive.

Social Media for business has become the main trend of business expansion for potential customers. In fact, currently it can be said that most potential customers do their due diligence on various products and services by using social media business criteria. For example, when a person is interested in a particular company, then usually the first place that they look is the company website along with its Facebook page. Then, sometimes users will use Twitter updates as well as YouTube videos on the products and the services. Once the customer is satisfied that the products and services are suitable, then that company’s products and services will be sold.

Hence, social media for business has become a very important criterion for success and as a result, if you own a company, you will need to have some sort of a master strategy for dealing with social media for business. Management of social media business modules can be a full time responsibility, as you will need to use full time for best results. You will also need to use the help of professional companies which have become experts in managing the social media business tools for best results. Social Media in Business has become a very important sector, which has redefined the way in which internet marketing has been done. This way, you can make sure that your business will achieve the greater height that is required.


Why you don’t involve your company in social media…..

Posted Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

At SWARM we’re trying to preach the good word of social media. To us it makes perfect sense that you should immerse your company in this modern, fashionable and highly effective form of PR, Marketing, Advertising and Communications. So we can list reason after reason why you SHOULD be on social media but we thought we’d address the concerns we’re confronting in meetings and explain why these aren’t motives to stay away from social media at all!

I don’t like it… …I don’t have a profile.
You might not like social media but your business’ target audience does! 50% of the UK population are on Facebook and 20% have a Twitter profile. In fact it’s not just that they have a profile, 15 million people in the UK login to their Facebook profile every day.
Your company can’t ignore the fact that despite your personal belief that it’s people making strange updates and spending too much time on the platforms, it is where people are communicating with each other and surely you’re business wants to get involved? Don’t miss out on the conversation!

What if people say negative things?
Whether you like it or not people will always have an opinion and often they’ll want to share that with people on the social networking sites. This is NOT a bad thing. In fact it gives you the opportunity to manage your online reputation. Where in the past, most criticisms were spread across the internet on forums and various sites, with the rise of Facebook and Twitter, you have the opportunity to monitor what people are saying and most importantly contact them and make sure any problems are corrected. In fact it shows that your company is on the ball and responding to feedback. Make sure that if you do enter social media you’re monitoring your profiles regularly and responding carefully- it’s even worse if you’ve created profiles and then not replying to comments or mentions.

There are so many sites I don’t know which ones are best for me
Following on from the last concern, you have to decide which social networking sites will best benefit your business. Pick a couple which offer the best return and stick with them. Don’t spread yourself thin because you’re less likely to keep on top of it and if there are comments that need attention, you’re more likely to reply if you have fewer profiles to check. If you’re starting on social media for the first time, start with Twitter and Blogging for six months for instance and then assess whether it’s beneficial to move into Facebook and LinkedIn if it fits your strategy.

I don’t understand it
If you want to keep your social media management in-house then there are plenty of webinars, articles and blogs on social media and the best ways to use it. But in the most case, we explain why you should be on social media, the benefits and the returns  and we talk you through it. We’ll outline the basic principles of social media and it’s our job to ensure your business gets the best from social media.

Stay in contact with SWARM on Twitter

 


Social Media Strategy- some thought before will provide results after.

Posted Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Getting your social media strategy right before you launch your company on the social networking sites is so important. There’s no hurry, everyone on Twitter and Facebook will be around tomorrow and there’s nothing worse than a company who obviously has no clue about what they’re doing.

If you were to begin a new marketing campaign you’d take the time to sit down and discuss the best method to target your audience and what the most effective message is. There’s no reason that social media is any different. In fact, if there’s no strategy in place, you’ll quickly forget why you’re on social media in the first place and without any targets, you won’t know what you’re trying to achieve. Approach social media in the same way you would any marketing campaign, if not take it more seriously because it’s possible your company could achieve greater exposure than any of your previous campaigns.

Here are a few pointers to start with- go through the questions and have a think about how you’re company will respond to each question and how it’ll effect your time on social media. Don’t just dive into the social networking sites expecting to acheive all the wonderful stats that you keep seeing, it takes time, effort and structure. You didn’t really think it was going to be that easy did you?


Beyond Viral: How Successful Marketers Are Embracing the Social Web

Posted Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Just as early television shows were essentially radio plays shot on film, the earliest attempts by online marketers mimicked the worlds of television and print. While banner ads and pre-roll commercials are still with us, of course, a new generation of marketing professionals and companies are exploring techniques more native to the web: multi-platform marketing campaigns that encourage interactivity.

Marketers who take advantage of the Internet’s unique capabilities have the potential to build increasingly engaged customer communities. Here’s a look at three major trends.

1. User-Generated Content Contests

Doritos hosted its first Crash the Superbowl campaign in 2007. Like a lot of big companies, Doritos bought a commercial slot for the Superbowl, but instead of hiring a production company to make a 30-second spot, Doritos turned to its consumers. “Grab your camera and create your Doritos commercial,” the company advertised. Anyone could create and submit a spot. These spots were put to a vote online, and the finalists received $10,000 and the winning spot ran in the very expensive Superbowl slot.

More than 1,000 people submitted videos, and Doritos generated a lot of attention for the campaign, ranking high in a number of surveys that tracked buzz and impact of the Super Bowl commercials.

These kinds of campaigns are very popular on the Internet at the moment and they range in scale. SolidWorks, makers of computer-aided design (CAD) software, worked with the design firm Small Army to build a campaign that involved its very active community. Christine Washburn, VP of marketing at SolidWorks, says, “We wanted to do something that would involve them and be very visible for new potential members of the community.”

Small Army came up with Let’s Go Design, an interactive web series. Users submit design ideas in response to challenges proposed by the show. Ideas are voted on and ultimately incorporated.

What works: Activity and participation around the brand.

If users get involved, they can win. And the voting structure generates even more activity. Washburn reports that SolidWorks’ “web traffic is up by a factor of four in comparison to previous campaigns.”

When this doesn’t work: Your brand doesn’t carry either the same kind of mass appeal as Doritos or the committed fandom of SolidWorks.

Branding consultant Lisa Merriam wrote a case study of a failed contest campaign by a company called Levia. It tried a campaign similar to Doritos, asking consumers to submit a video about the healing power of light.

Doritos is a mega-brand [with] millions and millions of passionate consumers. And Levia®? You probably never heard of it. Levia® is a device that uses light to treat psoriasis. The set of people who suffer from psoriasis and who have heard of Levia® and who have the technical know-how to produce video and who care enough to come up with winning concepts about light’s power to heal is an infinitesimally small set of people — certainly not a crowd.

2. Making a Consumer Community

Marketers have jumped on the relatively recent explosion of online communities. If customers have the ability to talk to one another, why not create an incentive and a space for them to talk about your brand?

One way to accomplish this is to offer customers something they might actually do in real life. Marketing agency Movement Strategy, for instance, recently created an online forum for two of its NBA clients, the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. The site — NuggetsVsKnicks.com — operated during an actual game between the Nuggets and the Knicks, giving the fans a place to cheer on their team (and trash talk the other). By integrating with Facebook— users cheered by “Liking” their team — Movement Strategy was able to give a real-world analog to the digital interaction.

What works: Campaigns that encourage community among their customer base can really help to build loyalty.

When this doesn’t work: When the campaigns are lazy.

It’s not fair to say that most company Facebook Pages don’t work, but often the conversations there offer a relatively low level of engagement. Contests, questions and announcements all encourage participation from the customer, but not necessarily participation with each other.

A lot of brands use Twitter contests in a similar way. A few years ago Squarespace(), for instance, gave away an iPhone() a day to anyone who mentioned Squarespace in a tweet. While this kind of activity can generate a lot of buzz, the actual customer engagement in the brand is low — the equivalent of dropping your business card in a fishbowl.

Even worse is when Facebook and other social network integration is used as a gimmick. Last March, Absolut sponsored a short film by Spike Jonze, the director of Being John Malkovich. The film, titled I’m Here, was designed to be shown on the web. Before watching, the viewer is first walked through an invitation process using Facebook Connect. The friends you invite are cleverly integrated into an introductory cut scene, during which, you “enter” the theater to watch the film. Their photos appear on the VIP passes of other people in the theater. The whole thing works to give you a sense that you are watching this film with people who you know.

Except in this case, the experience stops there. As soon as the film starts, the connection to your community ends. The introduction has nothing to do with the film itself and instead feels tacked on and gimmicky. Absolut hinted at what could be done but didn’t actually do it.

3. Choose Your Own Adventure

Perhaps the most exciting development in multi-platform interactive campaigns is the ability of the customer base to participate in and affect the outcome of a story.

At Blogworld 2010, Ford announced an online marketing campaign to promote its new Focus. The campaign, called Focus Rally, pits six teams against each other in a reality-style adventure game where the viewers make the important calls for the participants.

“It’s a little bit like a choose your own adventure here, but the people at home were choosing the adventure for these players. It’s kind of cool how interactive the show is going to be,” says Focus Rally producer Neal Konstantini.

Specifically, the Focus Rally competitors must rely on the network capabilities of the car and their social networks to solve challenges. “[I]f you’re in Albuquerque and you’re stuck and you run out of gas,” Konstantini explains, “you’re going to have to get on Facebook and tell your network, ‘I’m stuck. I need gas. Help me.’”

What works: When the web is integrated into both a compelling storyline and effective brand messaging.

When this doesn’t work: When you expect interaction to be what solely carries the campaign.

“It’s not enough to be interactive,” says Michal Ann Strahilevitz, associate professor of marketing at Golden Gate University. “It has to be truly compelling, engaging and persuasive to the target market. If you build it, they may or may not come.”

Choose your own adventure campaigns build off the Internet’s potential as a story-telling device. These kinds of campaigns “require the audience’s presence and participation in order to be complete,” says Mike Monello, co-founder and executive director of Campfire, an advertising agency in New York. Monello was one of the creators of The Blair Witch Project and used viral Internet distribution before there was a name for such a thing.

In a recent campaign that Campfire created for the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week programming, the team produced a series of videos about famous shark attacks throughout history. Like Absolut’s promotion of I’m Here, Campfire used Facebook Connect to personalize users’ experience of the site and videos. But whereas Absolut’s choice felt tacked on at the end, Campfire accessed users’ Facebook information to build a personalized shark attack for the visitor. It integrated personalization into the branding and the storytelling.

“Telling stories is one of mankind’s most enduring traditions,” Campfire explains on its website. “Our increased connectedness has only made spreading them faster, more pervasive, and more effective.”


Social media helps drive purchases

Posted Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Customers accessing an online store via a social media site are 10 times more likely to buy something than other users, claims new research.

Marketingmagazine.co.uk, 29th June 2010

 Social media: undervalued as marketing tool says new research
 The research by Payment provider Sage Pay (PSP) has revealed that whereas 7% of all visitors to an online store make a purchase, a significantly higher 71% of visitors initiated via social media will click their way to the transaction section.

The study showed that while online retailers may be good at attracting consumers to the website in the first place, only a minority will be converted to customers.

It suggests such businesses develop stronger marketing tools to make this conversion, and adds that social media marketing such as advertising on Facebook is an undervalued tool, as it is highly effective.

Simon Black, managing director at Sage Pay, said: “Flitting from site to site, it takes a lot to entice today’s shoppers. Once they’ve arrived in an online store, they might sniff around and put a thing or two in the shopping cart – but even when they have typed in their credit card number, there is still no guarantee that the sale will be closed.”

Black added: “The modern shopper often looks for reassurance from a positive review, a special offer to make it more affordable, inexpensive delivery options and a quick, easy and secure way to pay.”

The study also reveals that despite the findings, just 5% of online marketers polled believed that social media was the most effective communication channel.

Speaking at the Cannes Ad Festival last week, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell likened social media to “letter writing” and suggested it could be “polluted” by attempts to monetise it.

This idea was rejected by Keith Weed, the new chief marketing officer of Unilever, who said it was “word-of-mouth on steroids” and could be harnessed by brands.


England woes to hit retailers

Posted Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Brands are facing a black hole in their finances as a result of England‘s lacklustre performance in the World Cup.

Marketing, 22 June 2010  
 According to the British Beer and Pub Association, each England game brings an additional £10m to £15m of revenue to the industry, depending on the timing of the match.

An extra 9m pints were sold during each of England‘s first two World Cup group matches, meaning the industry will be hit by a serious loss of incremental sales should the team go out against Slovenia today or in the first round of the knockout stages.

Supermarkets could also lose out on similar sales boosts. Asda said it sold an additional 1.3m burgers during the first two days of the tournament. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s and Lillywhites have both already slashed the cost of England merchandise.

‘In the short term, if England crashes out, it is likely a lot of this won’t sell and there will be huge discounting,’ said Ken Parker, co-founder of sponsorship specialist Discovery. ‘The success or failure of the team could have huge consequences for the economy. It could make or break businesses.’


 
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