The final part in the five part series.
The final part in the five part series.
Part three of five.
Part two in the five-part series.
PR Newswire examines the field of emerging media in a five part presentation. Part one of five.
(NOTE: Material originally written for graduate level course work.)
I find myself quite thrilled with the topic of week 8’s discussion because my new employer finds itself on the verge of a large digital marketing push. I find myself fortunate to be a part of this new journey and one of the main goals of the new push will be affirming our place in the mobile marketplace. Our industry is international safety equipment so it’s imperative that if customers were looking to purchase our equipment from any place in the world, at any time, a mobile interaction must be of the highest quality. I have chosen three of the measures that I believe all interact together and to harness one, you must harness them all.
Measures of Attitude
As our lesson notes, “Some of the most common types of measures used to examine interactive marketing communications are measures of attitudes. These measures evaluate the consumers’ overall feelings, thoughts or opinions regarding executions. (2013)”
I find this to be absolutely crucial in regards to mobile media. Measuring a potential customer’s attitude is measuring their first impression of the interaction. This initial emotional response, this attitude, dictates the rest of the current interaction, as well as any future that may take place. Certainly, a negative attitude toward a mobile interaction will lead to negative behavioral responses. Negative responds, generally, do not lead to positive ROI out of the interaction.
For many companies, the initial mobile interaction with a potential customer is a pop-up ad during a free app, or game, or website so right away, the goal of that ad should be to create a pleasing, welcoming attitude from the viewer. (From personal experience, this means do not make your ad a :45 second video in a free, dingy game.) Only by creating an initially appealing interaction, does a brand have any chance of that viewer turning into a customer.
Measures of Intensity and Quality of Interaction
The previous measure ties into this one as initial reaction and judgment has a direct influence on the quality of the interaction. As our lesson describes it, “one of the goals of interactive marketing communications is to make the intensity and quality of these interactions comparable to those of face-to-face. Specifically, consumers should feel that the online experience is efficient, individualized and accessible. (2013)”
If your brand does elicit a positive response from the viewer, then you have successfully delivered unto them an efficient and intense interaction. It means your message didn’t bore them, didn’t go on too long, was relevant to their interests at the time, and was aesthetically pleasing. This is all very important because as common knowledge goes, click-through rates are at less than .10% of viewers in front of whom the ads are presented.
But where I believe this measure plays its biggest part in mobile, to quote our lesson, ” If a Web site can convey relative product information that helps in evaluation and eventual purchase behavior, that is product diagnosticity. Two key themes of product diagnosticity are visual control and functional control. Visual control allows consumers to manipulate Web product images as well as to look at products at different angles and distances; functional control refers to online product trials. Both aid in consumer decision making, as they help shoppers compare and contrast products. (2013)”
One of the ideas that my employer has discussed with me as we move forward, is an interactive app that allows our potential customers to build customized safety equipment diagrams and quote sheets based on their specific needs. In our industry, these machines are dozens of feet in all directions and thousands of pounds so the most visually interactive purchasing method we can deliver, the better off we will be for it.
Measures of Behavior, Usage, and Gratification
“Click through rates, hit rates and click streams are derived from cost metrics commonly used to measure online behaviors. However, recent research suggests that these measures may actually examine inattention to advertising instead of the effectiveness of advertising. Instead, measures of behavior, usage and gratification have been proposed as a way to measure the effectiveness of interactive marketing communications. Studies have shown a correlation between the measures discussed below and click through rates, hit rates and click stream. (2013)”
The previous measures directly lead into and correlate with behavior and usage, especially with my employer as acting example, as behavior and usage measures delve into overall and lasting enjoyment of the interaction. To use our possible mobile application as an example again, it could potentially hit four of the biggest behavior measures:
Web Site Entertainment
I’ve always been a firm believer in info-tainment as a legitimate form of advertising (perfect hand-in-hand with social media and emerging media, advertising disguised as interaction). In our field, having the possibility of engineering and construction and mining customers getting wrapped up into the aforementioned app, would absolutely create immediate and future, and hopefully repeat, interactions because the app will have hit so many behavioral triggers.
Mobile measures do require a different focus as things are on a much more immediate scale. A brand’s ad, or app, or interactive message in anyway, must be instantly grabbing, pleasing, not overwhelming, and non-intrusive. Certainly, a task far easier said than done but the brands that are able achieve such a feat will easily have the positive ROI and metric increases to show such an accomplishment.
P.I. Reed School of Journalism, WVU. IMC 619: Emerging Media & The Market, Lesson 8: Measures of Effectiveness in Emerging Media. eCampus. Retrieved on March 6, 2013 from http://ecampus.wvu.edu.
(Note: The content in this post was compiled for a report for a graduate course through West Virginia University. This blog has no affiliation with Rotoworld.com and the content below should be regarded as educational and informational.)
Rotoworld.com is a fantasy sports website powered by the national powerhouse NBC Sports and provides up-to-the-minute sports news (with an emphasis on the fantasy ramifications) for all of the major sports across the country. The site has been utilized by fantasy sports players for over ten years to acquire the information necessary to compete in their leagues with regards to news, line-up changes, injuries, and weather.
The information is free on a basic level, with premium content for all of the sports being charged as a one time fee—generally in the $25-$40 range depending on sport and information package—which provides the fantasy player season-long, in-depth information and suggestions/recommendations. Currently, Rotoworld.com utilizes the three large backbones of the social media landscape: Facebook, Twitter (extensively), and the blogging sphere.
With regards to current use, Rotoworld.com utilizes Twitter the most extensively and successfully. Rotoworld.com provides fantasy players access to six fantasy baseball tweeters, four fantasy football tweeters, six for basketball, and five for hockey. It’s baseball feed has over 36,000 followers, football over 58,000, basketball over 14,000, and almost 5,000 in hockey. Despite its solid Twitter base, the Rotoworld.com Facebook page has only 5,7000 likes. The blogs are slowly gaining more popularity but despite its affiliation with NBC Sports, still do not compete with the likes of ESPN and other conglomerate sports sites.
There is an opportunity here, with a growing sports brand and un-biased fantasy sports news service, to utilize a strong, forward-thinking social media campaign to rank Rotoworld.com as an elite service. With over 100,000 combined followers on Twitter, the social media hole that is the Rotoworld.com Facebook page is apparent and nonsensical. The service and products that Rotoworld.com provide are entirely online and digital, thus, their digital communities should be at their peaks at all times. The opportunity to grow their social media platform, from their all ready solid online presence, could be what puts the brand over-the-top.
ESPN, 8 million+ Facebook likes. Fox Sports, 775,000+ Facebook likes. CBS Sports, 105,000+ Facebook likes. Rotoworld.com, 5,500+ likes. The competition and the numbers look dire when comparing Rotoworld.com to the powerhouses of sports and fantasy sports coverage on the main social media vehicle known as Facebook. While it cannot be denied that Rotoworld.com provides coverage that can compete with the other resources, as shown by the faith in the brand by NBC Sports with their acquisition of the service. Despite what presents itself as a daunting up-hill climb to reach the echelon of the fantasy sports elite, gaining ground through social media can be extremely effective and extremely immediate. Online re-branding and increased awareness is now something that can be looked at in monthly terms instead of yearly.
With a re-dedication to connecting all online vehicles, the social media and digital hub of Rotoworld.com can be as inclusive and extensive as any fantasy sports site on the internet.
By interweaving the Facebook page with Twitter updates, and profiling top blog responses across all vehicles, and promoting interaction, giants like ESPN and Fox Sports who simply can’t make their online resources fully interactive because of sheer size and numbers, are at a disadvantage in creating a true user-driven and user-involved community.
With Rotoworld.com’s substantial viewership as a backbone, the groundwork is laid out for creating and developing a self-sustaining and fully immersing digital environment. Allowing consumers to use the site’s paid services across social media platforms is one such idea.
As a brand and company that has its home online, Rotoworld.com happens to be one that requires a bevy of social media success to increase its ROI, paid subscribers, and content sharers. Rotoworld.com currently utilizes Twitter and blogs as their primary means for social media interaction. The channels presented here, after being researched, are believed to provide other positive avenues for Rotoworld.com to accomplish its primary goal in a crowded sports marketplace: increase engagement with the target market to create brand loyalists.
The first channel that should be utilized is having a sophisticated and immersing Facebook page for the Rotoworld.com brand. A quick visit to Facebook and a search for Rotoworld will present a Facebook page that, at first, appears to be a suitable landing page for the brand. Upon further inspection, one finds broken links to Twitter or article feeds, an inability to pick a particular sport in its integrated news feed, and very little conversation. For a site partnered with NBCSports, one of the largest broadcast brands in the world, to have only 5,100 “likes,” is detrimental to increasing its online presence and awareness.
As a new study presented by Samantha Murphy at mashable.com reveals, “About 50% percent of consumers think a brand’s Facebook page is more useful than a brand’s website, a new study suggests. Market research company Lab42 — which surveyed 1,000 social media users about how they interact with brands on Facebook — found that consumers are viewing a brand’s Facebook presence as more important than ever. In fact, about 82% of respondents said Facebook page is a good place to interact with brands. (2012)”
This clearly shows that a concentrated effort must be underway to improve the interactivity and rich content of the Rotoworld.com Facebook landing page, considering half of the brand’s potential readers and subscribers may not visit the actual site first. As noted, there are links to Rotoworld.com partner blogs and Twitter accounts but the content must be seamlessly integrated into the Facebook page. There must be an ability to access various sports. An incentive program should be implemented for users to upload/post their own content, which leads to more user-to-user linking, “liking,” and news feed shares. There is no downside to a professional, immersive Facebook page with Facebook’s current social media position.
A secondary online social media channel that would benefit the Rotoworld.com brand is using the social network Delicious.
Shannon George of Lifed.com describes the social network as, “into a category of social networking sites called social bookmarking (others include Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and a host of others). You can use social bookmarking to collect, tag and share links to content on the Internet. Depending on what you’re into – tech news, fashion, travel, cooking, or quantum physics – social bookmarking can be the most effective way for information junkies, bloggers and self-described content curators to find and disseminate the latest and greatest web content. (2012)”
The positive to creating and focusing on a business account on Delicious is that “Social bookmarking incorporates tagging, which has a search engine-like function – except with social bookmarking, results are delivered based on tags made by other social sharers like yourself, rather than by search engine algorithms. For anyone who aims to drive traffic to their website using the methods of search engine optimization, or SEO, social bookmarking sites like Delicious are an essential piece of the puzzle.
By bookmarking your valuable website content (articles, white papers, blog posts, infographics) on Delicious and tagging it with relevant keywords, you can create backlinks to your website which will increase your clout on search engines like Google. (George, 2012)” The downside to using a network like Delicious is that it still is not an “elite tier” level of social network so much of the brand’s success on that platform, is reliant on the site’s ability to grow into a social media giant. This should be a more long-term focus for increasing awareness and interaction than short-term.
The third channel that needs to be addressed is increasing the brand’s mobile content and the user’s ability to easily access their desired information. As it stands, Rotworld.com has four mobile applications: an RSS news feed, a fantasy football draft kit, a fantasy baseball draft kit, and an app that links to all of the brand’s blogs. A focus needs to be put on incorporating all of these features that Rotoworld.com readers and subscribers love, into one “umbrella” app.
For example, with the Rotworld.com online page, a user has to have an account to access their draft kits (the pay services of Rotoworld.com), but after logged in, preferred sport and/or drafted players get priority in the news feed, making it personalized to the specific user. Not only do you need two separate applications downloaded to see both of these brand features, there is no connection between the two and nothing mirrors the actual site.
To compare, a similar sports brand like ESPN has a mobile application that is a streamlined and user-friendly version of the full website, allowing users, through one application, to access: ESPN the Magazine articles, fantasy sports and line-ups, full player statistics, every sport, sports pictures, box scores, and anything else an interested user would want to find online.
George, Shannon. (2012). Beyond Facebook and Twitter: Other Social Sites to Consider. Lifed.com. Retrieved on March 2, 2013 from http://www.lifed.com/beyond-facebook-and-twitter-other-social-sites-to-consider
Murphy, Samantha. (2012). 50% of Consumers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page More Than Its Website [INFOGRAHPIC]. Mashable.com. Retrieved on March 4, 2013 from http://mashable.com/2012/09/24/facebook-brand-page-value/
In yesterday’s post, we discussed the importance of brand loyalty and the struggles it faces as we move forward into an ever-increasing marketplace in which consumers’ expectations are based around the best possible value with only regards to price.
It’s not as though the consumers are to be blamed for the change. The explosion of eCommerce allows companies to business in more affordable, more efficient ways than ever before. Traditional retailers, your cornerstone brick-and-mortars, can’t compete head-to-head without adapting.
Even with that said, adaptation might not be a legitimate option for some brands so their reliance on brand loyalty and repeat business is of the highest importance. It’s why Apple products can continue to cost the consumer more than most of its competition but continues to thrive and trump its foes.
It’s why people are willing to pay $5.00 for a single hot beverage.
Brands like Apple, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Wal-Mart have the advantage of a built-in audience dating before the eCommerce boon. But what about the brands attempting to leave their digital footprint right now? How can they compete?
Here are a few ways that brands can establish a loyalty among a consumer base, to at least diminish the chances that people leave simply because they find a competing product at a much lower price.
The feeling of exclusivity
I would venture to say that most people don’t buy a $70,000 car because it drives so phenomenally better than vehicles in the $30-$40,000 range. Let’s be honest. People want the brands they wear, and the brands they drive, and talk about, to say something about them.
Whether it be for status or a sub-culture that they’re currently infatuated with, in a consumer world, consumers are defined by the brands they purchase and interact with. There is no greater power than the feeling of exclusivity.
Roll’s Royce. American Express Black. Any airline’s elite status club. These all say things about the individual and there is a certain belief and status associated with these iconic brands: “I’ve achieved a level that most everyone else cannot.”
Of course, not every brand, especially in the world of eCommerce, can set a level of exclusivity strictly for the wealthy, but consumers merely want to feel as though they are a part of something that not everyone has access to, at least not right away.
The more exclusive the feeling, the more individualistic the consumer feels. And there, you have created a loyalist.
Show your customers you care about their business and appreciate them for choosing your brand over any other. No marketplace utilizes this idea more-so than that of credit cards.
Each card brings its own reward system to the fight, whether offering better cash-back programs or travel accommodations, each is vying for your signature (and your debt!).
It isn’t just credit cards as hotels and airlines are nefarious for waging battle against competitor’s programs. We see it today with convenient store chains. Grocery stores.
And the numbers don’t lie, this stuff is important. A 2009 study conducted by marketing and publishing research firm COLLOQUY showed:
1.8 billion memberships in US loyalty programs
That’s 14 per household
44% are estimated to be active
57% of respondents participate in loyalty programs
The first thought companies get when they are being under-cut by competitors is to find parts of the manufacturing process they can alter to reduce cost. If they cut a corner here, they can save a dollar there. Get rid of this feature, save $xxx amount.
But if consumers are hunting, and willing to pay for, quality first, and as their priority, then you must keep that quality consistent and their level of expectation on par with what it has been in the past.
Or risk losing them.
My loyalty to Apple is an example of this facet of building brand loyalty. It certainly isn’t the exclusivity. The iPhone 5 topped 5 million units sold on launch weekend, alone.
Mine stems from years of successful relationships with the level of quality of their products. I I have owned two Android phones and have had hardware issues with both. I have gone through half-a-dozen laptops.
Yet my iPhone, my years of iPods, and my iPad have never failed me. Not once. It’s a level of quality I have yet to find in another arena of technology that I use so consistently. And this is just one consumer’s experience. Apple possesses as many die-hard brand adorers as detractors.
Interaction and feedback
Arguably, digitally, this important aspect in building brand loyalty is the one that companies have the most control over these days. With social media, and the growing field of mobile ‘everything,’ people are more connected to one another and to purchasing than ever before.
They are connected 24/7. Because of this, it is important than consumers are able to find the information or answers they want when it it is convenient for them. Social media allows brands to interact with consumers in their comfort zones.
No one enjoys walking through a store and being bombarded with shark-like sales representatives at every turn. If consumers feel pressured, their fight-or-flight responses kick in and your likelihood of achieving the sale has diminished greatly.
But what if they were able to receive an answer to a pressing question, by tweeting it to a brand and receiving a response online? What if they could receive important updates, news, and promotions in their Facebook feed?
We are throttling into an age where consumers have all of the power, and it’s important that they feel as though a brand really values them as a customer.
And why shouldn’t they?
If your brand won’t, odds are, the consumer can find a dozen others that will.
We, as consumers, all have brands that we are undyingly faithful to. Whether it be the silver apple or the golden arches, or Coca-Cola over Pepsi, there are products and services in our lives where we simply will not choose anything else. This is referred to as brand loyalty and it is one of the keys to a brand’s long-term success.
Have you ever stopped and considered why you are loyal to a particular brand? Price? Doubtful. Generally, the brands we are committed too, and rave about to friends and family, are not the most affordable.
Status? Does what we purchase define us? Are we loyal to a brand to show off? To say, look at me world, I can afford such and such.
All of these, truthfully, are valid reasons why consumers stick to certain brands over others. It’s why Chevy owners and Ford owners despise one another. It’s why someone won’t step foot inside of a Burger King.
But is it something deeper? Brand loyalty exists when a company is able to make an emotional connection with a consumer beyond the artificial product. Bluntly, brand loyalty is achieved when product A elicits feeling B.
For example, my loyalty to Dunkin Donuts stems from memories, fantastic memories, that just so happen to be associated with the brand. I remember, vividly, one Sunday—I had to have still been in high school at the oldest—my father and I going to a New England Patriots football game in the frigid cold. We left early in the morning, a grey haze over everything, and empty roads.
We went through the drive through at Dunkin Donuts, I got a hot chocolate and a donut and my father got a coffee, and we spent the drive enjoying our hot beverages and talking about anything we could think of. I don’t believe we stayed the entire game because it was just too cold, but that’s besides the point.
Dunkin Donuts created a brand loyalist out of me that day because whenever I see their logo, or purchase their product, I am reminded of great memories. It’s why I won’t buy Starbucks. I have no connection to them.
It’s why you see people with Monster energy drink tattoos and Harley Davidson tattoos. The brands are associated with aspects of the consumer’s lives that truly make them happy, and give them something to be passionate about.
It seems a bit long-winded but it’s of vital importance in today’s marketplace. Name a product and you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors all vying for your business (and repeat business!). The brands that are able to build loyalists achieve two distinct results:
Life-long repititive business.
Word of mouth advertising.
If a brand is able to create a loyalist, they have basically created a living, talking, passionate advertisement.
The reason this is so important in today’s growing market is because we have turned into a best-deal-seeking consumer entity. The economy is still reeling so price still trumps actual value in many cases. Everywhere we turn on the internet we can find a better deal under-cutting a previous deal, an unbelievable sale that will end in thirty seconds, etc., etc.
Lauren Maillian Bias, a Forbes marketing contributor, had to this to say about the conflict of online shopping and brand loyalty:
“The Internet enables people to be as leisurely or proactive about researching a purchase as they want before actually making the decision, countless websites offer hard-to-turn-down time sensitive discounts to drive sales, price comparisons are at consumer fingertips, and ‘flash sales’ perpetuate an online shopping trend encouraging fickle consumer buying behavior in today’s market.”
This is an excellent point as outside of a few brands, I, myself, do look for discounts, as we all do. Even so, there are still products I am willing to spend the extra money on, as alluded to earlier, because of that subconscious connection they’ve established.
“The online shopping trend conditions consumers to only make a purchase if there is a deep discount. The result is a value obsessed economy where consumers have no incentive to be loyal to any particular brand.”
In tomorrow’s post, we will go over steps a brand can take to get around the bargain-hunting mindset and establish loyalty in hyper-competitive, cut-throat digital market.
Gone are the days where, as a marketer, you can rely on pasting an advertisement somewhere and hoping you’ll reach your desired audience. Gone are the days where television viewers had to sit anxiously through the commercials and be exposed to the desired content. There is DVR. There are subscription services.
With the internet, there are millions of websites fighting one another. It’s more important than ever to put the right product in front of the consumer.
A trend throughout these posts will be the consistent reminder that digital media, whether mobile or in the traditional sense, is the current and certainly the future marketing landscape. It is more affordable than traditional means of advertising, more user-friendly which means more businesses can control their marketing on their own, and farther reaching.
As this infograhpic shows, the trend is anything but a fad.
The more people connected, the more companies are going to flock to the sources of those connections to try and get customers. With the ease of digital advertising as mentioned before, there is very much an over-saturation in just about every market where there are digital brands.
Retail. Wal-Mart. Target. Sears. Kohls. Macy’s. JCPenney’s. K-mart. Amazon.
Music. iTunes. Spotify. Wal-Mart. Target. Amazon. Slacker radio.
Electronics. Best Buy. Wal-Mart. Target. Amazon. Sears. eBay.
Those were spontaneous examples but one thing is certain: huge retail chains have large market shares in eCommerce, and what they don’t have, is swallowed up by the digital-only behemoths like Amazon. For smaller private businesses, or mid-market niche chains, competing directly with these large foes will spell only disaster. Mass production trumps any other possible advantage.
Except for one. Target marketing.
There is not a necessity to compete with the large retailers if you’re able to efficiently target your specific market. Localized promotions, specified search engine optimization targeting precise keywords and tags for your market, networking with possible related interests to encompass reaching preferred target even if they don’t expect it.
It’s about knowing your customer, knowing their behaviors, their desires, and then putting your message where they’re going to be.