Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Video: Social Media Marketing

CM Comment: Came across this video on YouTube. It's an entertaining, simplified overview of how to use social media.

Per-Message Fees May Kill The Business Model For SMS-based Marketing

CM Comment: Something to keep an eye on as the casino industry looks to mobile as a marketing channel.

April 2, 2009: summarized from Marketing VOX -- 24% of consumers who have received a mobile-based offer respond to such messages, according to a July survey by the Direct Marketing Association. Given that more than 2.6 billion text messages are sent every day in the US, mobile boasts the broadest reach of any mobile channel.

Text messages are also the most effective: 70% of consumers that responded to a mobile marketing offer responded to a text message, compared with 41% who responded to a survey and 30% to email offers, the survey found.

Still, many consumers are held back by price. Marketers, too, have to consider the potentially high cost of sending text messages. Advertisers and aggregators don't find the messaging business model viable, panelists said - and they are hesitating mostly because of the per-message fees.

Carriers have not done much to support the growth of the mobile marketing channel, the panelists said. One of the only breaks they've received has been from Verizon Wireless, which told SMS aggregators it will not impose an additional 3-cent transaction fee for every outbound SMS message sent to its subscriber base, preventing the cost from doubling or even tripling.

Other panelists agreed. "SMS is great when you weave it in as part of your overall mix, but it's not incredibly exciting as a stand-alone," said Eric Harber, president/COO of HipCricket, which said some of their larger brands, Jameson and Nestle, are increasing their investment in mobile this year. If you think of a pyramid - the bottom foundation layer is SMS, because it has the broadest possible reach and you don't have to change behavior because they're already doing it, he added. Then layer the mobile Web or WAP on top, for richer engagement, then on the very top rich customized apps.

But in the long run, mobile marketing will progress faster than the internet, some panelists noted. Mobile analytics are able to show and demonstrate ROI, which is super important, Harber said.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cfvx25

Social Networking: Connect At MGM Foxwoods

April 5, 2009: blog post from Comptropolis.com -- I'm not sure how many of you have heard about MGM at Foxwoods social networking site, Connect. The network launched back in November and four months later, there isn't much happening on the site. The discussion section of the site is a basic forum and currently boasts 7 whole threads, the last one was posted on over a month ago. The blog section, which should be a prime place for MGM to connect with customers hasn't been updated in almost two months. Even direct questions to MGM are left unanswered.

The group section is just as disappointing. There are a total of 9 whole groups ranging from "Why Macs are Cool" to "My clothes all smell like nasty casino smoke" Most of these groups are made up of the same two profiles: Admin and BlueEyes, whose profile states that he's a marketing consultant currently in Connecticut.

As for how many people are in the network, a whopping 67 total. The main page only shows the 10 latest members, but currently all of them as pictureless, bare bones profiles.

Have any of you even heard of Connect? It seems like MGM hasn't done anything to market this site, wouldn't it be easier to make a Facebook fan page for the site?

Blog at: http://tinyurl.com/dbj4p9

The Right Data Makes Marketing More Effective

CM Comment: Found this one to be particularly relevant ... especially liked the distinction of "hits" vs. "engagement."

March 30, 2009: summarized from Ad Age -- When it comes to analytics, few know the space like Avinash Kaushik, which is why we took your questions to him. He's the author of "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day," a prolific blogger at Occam's Razor and Google's analytics evangelist, where he proudly claims the tagline "Data-driven decision making uncomplexified."

Ad Age: Analytics sounds complicated. What should I be looking for?

Avinash Kaushik: There is no pat answer; it really depends on what your business needs. Here are some examples: E-commerce sites should look at bounce rates, revenue, days and visits to purchase, and conversion rate. Blogs should measure RSS-feed subscribers. Newspapers (or other content sites) should monitor length and depth of visit. Facebook should consider visitor loyalty and recency.

You'll notice one common thread is my focus on behavioral metrics. That's key. Far too often marketers tend to focus on aggregated "quantity" metrics (visits, page views, unique visitors, etc.). They're great, but at the end of the day, they fail to provide much guidance or insights. Behavioral metrics focus on measuring behavior of customers on your site, and that behavior has tremendous insights.

Ad Age: What's the biggest mistake most marketers make when it comes to analytics?

Mr. Kaushik: Two big ones: First, they focus too much on tools and collecting data. A few years back, I created the 10/90 Rule. If you have $100 to spend on decision-making on the web, then spend $10 on tools and $90 on people. Marketers underestimate the investment required in big brains to find insights. (The 10/90 rule was created before there was Google Analytics; now with free analytics tools from all three search engines, I suppose I have to change the 10 to 0.)

Second, they concentrate on aggregate metrics that aren't actionable and focus on acquisition (visits/visitors) and not enough on outcomes (increased revenue, reduced cost, increased customer loyalty).

Ad Age: Are video-heavy, rich-media sites affecting the importance of certain metrics?

Mr. Kaushik: Absolutely. We used to live in the world of hits. Then we moved to page views. Now we are moving to "interactions." ... The actions of your website visitors are measured. Play, pause, next, send, forward, click, etc. -- each is a "vote" by the customer to engaging in some kind of integration with your web experience.

Ad Age: What should I do about where my traffic comes from?

Mr. Kaushik: Traffic sources allow you to understand where your traffic comes from -- and if you pair it up with an outcomes metric, like conversions, leads, job applications, then it tells you who your BFFs are. They also help you understand a little bit more about customer intent, or what motivated the person to come to the site. From search, for example: What were they looking for, using keywords?

Ad Age: What about measuring buzz or brand advocates?

Mr. Kaushik: At the moment, "buzz" measurement is just "hits" from the early '90s. How often was your name mentioned on Twitter? That's a good start, but we need significantly more progress in understanding tone and texture and sentiment before we can make these metrics more meaningful.

Ad Age: And the other metric du jour, engagement?

Mr. Kaushik: I'm a fan of measuring customer behavior that represents engagement. For example, I visit BBC.co.uk about 200 times a month -- it's my primary source of news. To the BBC, that's engagement. Now use the same analogy for Microsoft Vista. I have visited the Microsoft website about 25 times in the past four days. I'm eternally frustrated because I can't find the one thing I need to get fixed. That is not an engaging behavior. There is no universal, golden formula to measure engagement.

So I say, don't sexify; simplify. The BBC website is measuring the fact I'm visiting its website 200 times a month. That metric is called visitor loyalty. Let's call it that, not engagement.

Ad Age: What metrics should we focus on in recession?

Mr. Kaushik: Only the one that focuses on the website's customers and adds immediate actionable value. Now is not the time to sit around and think of all the things you would like to analyze; it's the time to focus on all the things you should analyze.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cqc5u9

Content Becoming Crucial In Customer Engagement

April 2, 2009: summarized from PR Week -- Engagement is still one of the most highly sought metrics, particularly as it relates to digital dialogue with consumers. But many discussions around it focus on how the customer is engaging with the brand, not the other way around. As social media platforms have developed and multiplied, the focus has shifted away from finding ways to provide more and greater information to customers and toward more aggressive efforts to get customers to take action and be active participants in the experience that is being created.

Other marketing disciplines can lay claim to the kind of direct response activities that spur customer action or generate databases of information that can be analyzed and marketed to down the line. And engagement in, say, an online competition or social media site doesn't alone equate to sales.

A 2008 article in the Harvard Business Review, titled "In E-Commerce, More is More," helped to articulate the difference. Over a period of four years, the researchers conducted an analysis of more than 1,700 e-commerce Web sites. They also interviewed customers and managers in the US, Europe, and Asia.

They found that consumers want content, information on the products, and services that interest them. They also discovered that the top 25 companies that met this criterion were consistently outperforming the rest of the industry.

It is important to remember that tracking true engagement isn't easy and can't always be measured in e-mail addresses and click-throughs. There is still great value in delivering content and information that informs and pleases as well.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cp789k

Unfriending Dad On Facebook: The Generation Gap Meets The Digital Divide

CM Comment: This one is a fun read, and gets you thinking. 30 years ago the generation gap was defined by music ... today it's defined by social networking.

March 20, 2009: summarized from The Seattle Times -- Last week I was reprimanded for being engaged, but here's the rub - I wasn't.

I was only Facebook-engaged, which is like joking-engaged or lying-engaged. My friends know I'm not really engaged. My Facebook fiancée is under no illusion that I am actually planning on marrying her, but it sure looks better to be Facebook-engaged than Facebook-single with a capital S.

Everyone knew I wasn't really engaged. Everyone, that is, except my father, who joined Facebook recently, immediately looked at my profile and proceeded to have a minor conniption fit over the phone due to what appeared to be my scandalous engagement and my concealment of it.

After much assurance that the engagement was a sham, the absurdity of the situation set in. I have friends who claim that even their grandmothers are computer-savvy, who Twitter all day long, who believe that technology makes their lives easier. But last week it occurred to me that despite its ubiquity, technology doesn't really simplify much of anything. It actually creates problems and complications where there weren't any before.

Take relatives on Facebook. It's inherently awkward to reject your aging great-aunt's friend request - after all, such a rejection could mean a feud until said great aunt kicks the bucket - but it is also inherently awkward to allow said great aunt unfettered access to your personal life.

So what do you do? Do you reject your aunt, risking awkward run-ins at family gatherings for years to come? Do you "limited profile" that woman, knowing she will wonder why there is so much white space where your wall should be? Or do you welcome her with open arms to your inside jokes, your profanity-peppered status updates, and photographic documentation of every bad choice you've ever made, not to mention that most dreaded of dreaded topics - your relationship status?

Forget the dangers of employers checking out your Facebook profile. Relatives are a far graver threat!

Since Facebook opened its doors to the wide world beyond university communities, older adults have increasingly logged on. According to the Internet marketing research company comScore, visitors to Facebook over the age of 35 increased by 98 percent between May 2006 and May 2007, and the number of visitors ages 12 to 17 increased by 149 percent during the same period. But this influx of new users is not without its complications - after all, Facebook was not originally intended to appeal to these demographics, and changes to the Web site's original setup have been minimal.

Does it really make sense to open up a social tool that is primarily designed for college students to everyone, without making fundamental changes to it? It's not that Facebook shouldn't be for everyone; it's just that with very few changes to the system, things get complicated.

What do you do when the kids you used to baby-sit for start friending you? What about your younger siblings? What about your cousin who competes over everything, including cleverest religious status? All joking aside, these questions are real for most young adults on Facebook, and there is no clear answer to them.

But last week I got mine. My father's rocky entry into the digital age forced me to make a choice. It wasn't so much that it bothered me to have to explain that very few people on Facebook are actually married, although it did, and it wasn't so much that my profile has its fair share of questionable photo albums and questionable wall posts, although it does.

What it all came down to was that while it's natural for those of us who grew up digital to have a digital component to our friendships and relationships, and a digital representation of ourselves on the Internet, my relationship with my father has never had one. And it hasn't needed one.

So that evening, I did the unthinkable - I unfriended my dad on Facebook.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cj79bc