Marketing Gone Mobile

Research shows that while 5.1 billion people in the world own a cell phone, only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. If statistics like this don’t prove that mobile devices are everywhere, I am not sure what does. Our world has changed so drastically in recent years. Technology has advanced at a dramatic rate. Texting, email, and social networking are the new norms of communication, while face-to-face communication has been thrown on the backburner (unless, of course, you’re talking about FaceTime). We are in an era where if you tell someone that you don’t own a Smartphone, you might as well be telling them that you take a horse and buggy to get around because you’ll get the same reaction.

Mobile marketing is the marketing of the future. As is the case with every trend, marketers will hop right on and use this growing popularity of the Smartphone as an opportunity to sell their product. Although many companies have not yet adopted mobile devices as a marketing strategy, you should be expecting that they will within the next few years.

On the other hand, the companies that have already implemented mobile marketing into their plan have definitely benefited from all of its advantages, and they have come up with their own creative ways to use mobile marketing. One example is Starbucks. Their mobile app allows customers to pay for their purchases by simply scanning the barcode on the screen of their mobile device. They do this by using a digital prepaid Starbucks card. This not only makes things more convenient for consumers, but also helps the company pay fewer fees. These fees can sometimes top 2 percent on credit-card transactions. It also helps to make lines move 10-20 percent faster during Starbucks’ peak hours.

It will be extremely important in the coming years for companies to incorporate a mobile marketing plan. It does not need to be as complex as Starbucks, but with the continually increasing popularity of Smartphones, integrating some aspect of mobile marketing will be essential for a company to grow. Keeping ahead of trends is necessary. Mobile marketing is already playing a huge role, and it will only continue to advance.

References

Wells, J. (2012, May 16). 11 incredible mobile marketing statistics. Retrieved from http://www.viralblog.com/mobile-and-apps/11-incredible-mobile-marketing-statistics/

Kharif, O. (2012, Aug 23). Starbucks schools other retailers on mobile payments. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-23/starbucks-schools-other-retailers-on-mobile-payments

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Snapchat with Taco Bell

Taco Bell is a brand that always makes sure to stay ahead of the game when it comes to new and emerging marketing strategies. This fast food chain has been one of my favorite brands to follow on social media for a while now because of their quick-witted tone and their consistency in producing content that is engaging. Now they are among the first to figure out how to take advantage of Snapchat, one of the most talked about mobile apps.

Snapchat is a mobile app that has become increasingly popular within the past few months. This app allows people to take pictures and send them to friends. Why is this different from just sending a picture message? Because the picture only shows for up to ten seconds and can never be seen again after the allotted time is up.

Since May, Taco Bell has been reaching out to consumers through Snapchat. The brand first announced their Snapchat username to consumers through a tweet, letting them know that they would be revealing a secret message via the mobile app the following day. As it turns out, the shocking surprise was the introduction of the new Beefy Crunch Burrito.  After receiving so much unexpected success, Taco Bell continued to interact with customers through Snapchat regularly.

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Within the past few weeks, Snapchat added a new feature called “stories”. This allows people to publish a picture to all of their followers which will be accessible for 24 hours. What’s even better is that these stories can be more than just ten seconds long, and in the end, they still self-destruct. Not surprisingly, Taco Bell has immediately integrated this into their marketing efforts, and they’ve done it in a way that has stayed true to their fun-loving and humor filled brand language. Taco Bell never fails to impress me with their innovative marketing techniques or with their delicious chicken quesadillas.

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(Quick tip: If you’re not already a friend of Taco Bell on Snapchat, you should be. It’s worth it!)

References

Wasserman, T. (2013, Oct 10). How taco bell is exploiting snapchat stories. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/10/10/taco-bell-snapchat-stories/

Viral Video Buzz

There are many different ways that marketers go about generating buzz. Within the past few years, the creation of viral videos has been one of the more popular methods.  One of these videos that captured my attention recently is the Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise video. In this, innocent coffee shop customers witness a man accidentally spilling hot coffee on a young girl. Much to their surprise, the girl sends the man flying up the wall, knocks over tables, and causes picture frames to plunge to the ground without touching a thing. The customers’ reactions are priceless and hilarious. This video was developed to promote the new remake of an old classic film, Carrie. With an October 18th, 2013 release date, marketers for this film were searching for an innovative way to attract a very high volume of attention FAST. Often, remakes do not receive a lot of hype because people feel that there is no way they will compare to the originals. Sony Pictures wanted to be sure that the Carrie remake was unique in this aspect. As a result, they took the necessary steps to get people talking just before it hits theaters.

Why was this successful?

Easy- it had entertainment value and there was a strategic plan involved. There was a lot that went into prepping for this big prank. It wasn’t something that was done on a whim. Everything was perfectly constructed to assure that the event went according to plan. In addition, it was funny. People love to watch the candid reactions of others thrown into outlandish situations that they weren’t expecting. This prank included high quality special effects to make a common human fear come to life, and the outcome went exactly as planned.

Tips for Viral Video Marketing

Nobody can assure that any video will go viral. The only way to prep is to make sure the idea is unique and there is a plan of action. The plan behind a video is the cake, while the content is the frosting. The frosting might be delicious, but it will never be eaten without a cake.  Similarly, the content of a video may be highly entertaining, but without a strategy of development, nobody will ever see it. If you want to make a video go viral, put in the thought and effort that is necessary. Brainstorm, setup, create, and deliver through a suitable platform.

Lessons to Learn from Big Brand Mistakes on Twitter

1) Kenneth Cole

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Surprisingly, this tweet was sent out by Kenneth Cole himself. It’s always good for brands to be quick and play along with trending topics on Twitter, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. In this case, that line was sprinted across. Kenneth Cole definitely won’t repeat this mistake after all of the negative backlash that it stimulated against him and his brand. In the end, he deleted the tweet and apologized. Humor is always a good way to connect with your brand, but you need to be careful when it comes to controversial and sensitive topics.

Lesson learned in a hashtag: #TooSoon

2) Chrysler

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Ouch, Chrysler. Not only was this tweet unprofessional, but it contradicted the entire image of the brand. This one was an accident that was sent out by an employee who worked for Chrysler’s agency. He thought he was tweeting from his personal account, but he was wrong. The company apologized for this tweet and (no shocker here) did not renew its contract with this agency. One man’s clumsy mistake could have caused major damage to the image of this huge brand.

Lesson learned in a hashtag: #DontTweetAndDrive

3) Urban Outfitters

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This tweeter posted a blog accusing Urban Outfitters of stealing designs from other artists. When the company responded, it was vague and it didn’t fully attend to the issue at hand. Just a few hours after the original post, Urban Outfitters had lost 17,000 followers and there were trending hashtags such as #thieves in reference to the brand. Social media and Twitter are fast-paced, and this just goes to show how important a quick response that fully addresses a problem can be.

Lesson learned in a hashtag: #YouSnoozeYouLose (literally- you lose about 17,000 followers)

4) Bing

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Bing thought they were doing a good deed when they created a campaign to help raise money for Japan. Unfortunately, everyone else thought their efforts were selfishly driven. Since the idea behind this campaign was to donate $1 for every retweet, people perceived this as a way for Bing to take advantage of the tragic disaster in order to exploit their brand. There was rapid backfire to this, and reputation damaging hashtags were created about the brand. The company ended up apologizing to consumers and donating the full $100,000. When it comes to making donations, the efforts can’t stem from self-centered motives.

Lesson learned in a hashtag: #DonationNotPromotion

5) American Red Cross

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This tweet was another blunder that was intended to be sent out through an employee’s personal Twitter account. The brand followed up on this accidental mishap with humor and composure saying, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” Additionally, American Red Cross ended up pairing with Dogfish Head, the beer brand mentioned in the tweet, to create a fundraiser and blood donation drive. Now, that’s how you make a comeback.

Lesson learned in a hashtag: #TurnLemonsIntoLemonade

References

Bhasin, K. (2012, Feb 6). 13 epic twitter fails by big brands. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/13-epic-twitter-fails-by-big-brands-2012-2?op=1

Online Shopping Continues to Emerge

Technology just keeps on creating new opportunities for businesses. Right when you think you have mastered it, something new is developed. What is it now? Chirpify! It is a new startup that allows consumers to buy products on Twitter by simply using a hashtag. All you have to do is use the appropriate action hashtag that is assigned to a specific campaign and your order can instantly be processed through a variety of different payments. Here’s how it works:

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Companies can use social media to promote their campaigns and the correct actions one would take to purchase the product through Chirpify. However, another valuable idea would be to advertise using the television as the medium. There are Nielsen reports showing that “nearly half of all smartphone owners claim to use their devices while watching TV” (Popescu, 2013). The multi-screen habit is continuing to grow among consumers. With one eye on the TV and the other on a smartphone, this new way to make Internet purchases is sure to catch a lot of attention.

Popescu, A. (2013, Sept 20). Chirpify lets consumers make purchases with hashtags. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/09/20/chirpify-action-hashtags/

The Throwback Thursday Trend

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With social media blowing up as a trend among so many people, it has naturally become a very popular marketing vehicle for businesses. Of course, we have seen the Facebook advertisements and the sponsored tweets on Twitter, but there’s a new kid on the block now. Instagram has rapidly bloomed recently with over 100 million monthly active users and 40 million photos posted each day (Weissman, 2013). It is no wonder so many companies are competing to find a way to reach their target markets through this flourishing social network.

One of the hottest trends in the social media world is the hash tag, and one of the hottest hash tags is #tbt, also known as Throwback Thursday. This is when people post old photos, and it all started on Instagram. One way that businesses can take advantage of this form of emerging media is to use the Throwback Thursday hash tag. Established businesses can use old images of the company and brand as it was developing, while newer companies can use examples of an old version of a product they are selling. Marketers- get creative, and spark the attention of some new customers with the growing #tbt fad!

Weissman, S. (2013, April 4). 15 stats brands should know about instagram. Retrieved from http://digiday.com/brands/15-stats-brands-should-know-about-instagram/

Getting Personal

The new methods that businesses are using in hopes of gaining loyal customers never cease to amaze me. Nowadays, it’s all about building relationships with customers and making their experience personalized. The main goal that so many businesses are trying to accomplish is to make their customers feel like they have a real connection with the brand. Don’t get me wrong, this is great marketing. However, I’m curious when these attempts to get personal with customers are going start becoming borderline creepy.

Just recently, Delta Airlines gave 22,000 of their flight attendants smartphones. Why? So that they could know each of their passengers on a more personal level. The airline plans on starting out with basic stuff- referring to customers by their names, wishing a happy birthday to flyers, knowing who the most loyal customers on the flight are,  and knowing who the big spenders are when it comes to retail. In the future, however, they hope to build this experience even further. Some of the details that Delta hopes to discover include “a customer’s spending, seat preferences, preferred hub connections, flight patterns, booze choices, frequent-flier mileage use and much else” (Bachman, 2013).

My opinion on the matter is that it’s great! If the flight attendant knows all of this information about me, it makes my life easier. On the other hand, in an age with so little privacy, there are many people who might think that this is taking it a little bit too far. People feel uncomfortable when a company has this much information, and they start to wonder what else they know. So, as much of a convenience this is for myself and many others, there will always be those people who feel that it is being taken too far. This all makes me wonder when will companies begin to ask the question- how personal is too personal?

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Bachman, J. (2013, Sept 6). Airlines are trying to get personal with your data. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/09/06/airlines-collecting-data/