Posts Tagged ‘marketing trends

14
Mar
13

Vine’s six-second video new to social, provides marketing opportunity

GAP Vine TwitterTwitter, which currently claims around 500 million total users, recently launched the new video platform called Vine.  This platform allows users to share videos. In social media terms, think of Vine as a combination of Instagram and YouTube.

Vine allows users to create looping videos for friends and family, but the recording time must be six seconds in duration.

According to cognitive research, as humans we can comfortably process 2-3 words and one image per second. A Vine video of 18 words and five images should be your maximum. A six-second video is comparable to Twitter’s required 140 characters or less for a tweet.  Currently, Vine is free, but only available for the iPhone. However, it is making a large splash with fans. In just one weekend, more than 100,000 videos were uploaded to Twitter via Vine.

Many businesses are jumping on this six-second-video-clip bandwagon and are utilizing the tool for marketing purposes. Companies, such as GAP, Topshop and Threadless are using Vine as a platform to shoot short video clips of behind-the-scenes action. We expect to see teasers of larger marketing and promotional campaigns on Vine.

Vine also helps companies to drive traffic to other social media channels by including an essential call-to-action at the end of the video, such as “follow me to Twitter” or “like our Facebook page”. If done well, these clips should emotionally connect to the story, which is a vital component of marketing. Another brilliant marketing aspect of Vine videos is the endless looping, and repetition is key in increasing awareness of a brand or product.

For marketing endeavors, Vine can be a great tool to drive traffic, promote a product, etc., so long as the video includes a call-to-action in the end of the six- second clip.

Will your company be joining Vine to leverage marketing efforts? Do you think Vine will be better over time like fine wine or simply another in a line of social media apps that decline?

A huge thank you to Sarah Shepard for her research and contribution to this blog.

Share your thoughts about Vine with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

12
Feb
13

More than Social Media: Marketing to Millennials

Millennials: They are mobileWhile attending an emergency preparedness workshop last week, there was a robust discussion regarding the role of social media in an emergency. There were two groups of people that discounted social media.

  • First, there were those people that reside in rural areas. They argued that cellular coverage was spotty, 3G and 4G networks virtually non-existent. They needed a more reliable communication method in an emergency.
  • Second, was a distinct generational gap – the Baby Boomers in the room (born before 1964) were unanimous in denouncing the importance of social media.

Interestingly, there was a group of Millennials (born after 1984) in the workshop who were unanimous in stating the power of social media. Full disclosure: I am in Generation X (1965-1984), and in this workshop the Gen Xers were divided about the importance of social media.

The generational gap became an interesting discussion among the small group of marketing professionals. The following are the differences I see in marketing to Boomers v. Millennials.

Category

Baby Boomers

Millennials

Advertising Method Unwelcomed Interruption Engagement
Advertising Content Features and Benefits Sincere Authenticity
Desired Response Reaction Share/Interaction
Desired Result Repeat Users Engaged Participants
Expectations Big Promises Personal Gestures
Marketing Success Consumer Co-creator
Never Return Broken Promise Corporate Shill


Marketers have figured out how to position their products and services to the Baby Boomers. However, for many, it is a new frontier in marketing to Millennials. Here are a few tips:

  • Tablets are currency to the MillennialsCompanies must develop a participation strategy in order to engage Millennials. This is not a quick fix; patience, consistency and long-term commitment are key factors to success.
  • Companies must provide a way to make Millennials look good to their peers. All you need to do is look at the way Apple markets products. The white earbuds of an iPod became an iconic symbol. If you had the earbuds, you were identified as part of the inner circle.
  • Millennials strongly desire to be part of the solution supporting a greater cause. They favor employers who actively support charitable organizations and they purchase products and services from companies that are active with altruistic endeavors.
  • Mobile presence is no longer negotiable if you are targeting Millennials. It is not just access by smartphone; they are also using tablets and gaining knowledge about your company through mobile apps.

All in all, if you want success in marketing to Millennials, you should seriously consider utilizing these four tips. Even better, when combining these tips with a reward program that provides genuine value as compensation for loyalty, you have a winning formula. Because what Millennial doesn’t like ‘free’ compensation.

Let us know your thoughts on marketing to Millennials. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

15
Jan
13

Mobile Marketing Predictions for 2013

Mobile MarketingThe biggest change in mobile marketing last year was the push notification. Sadly, many business owners couldn’t get out of their own way and have started abusing push notification with non-critical updates. It likely started out of desperation, hoping a constant barrage of info will lead to consumer action.  Unfortunately, for push notification abusers that action is usually to uninstall the app. As a reminder, the best practice is to push info that is relevant to the user and focused on meeting their needs.

With the combination of improved near field communications and business owners punished for push-spam (is that a new term? if so…trademark!) we have compiled our list of mobile marketing predictions for 2013.

Mobile Coupons

2013 will see an increase in mobile coupons. For the business owner, mobile coupons are quicker, cheaper, flexible, convenient and always with your customer. Candidly speaking, doesn’t that sound like marketing perfection? With the improvement of near field communications, you can be timely as well. Imagine sending a 15 percent coupon for today’s special to one of your customers, at lunchtime when they walk within 1,000 feet of your front door. OK, now that is marketing perfection.

Loyalty Marketing

Mobile users will demand an overhaul in loyalty marketing. For example, Denver-based Tokyo Joe’s has an addict card for loyal customers. Buy 12 entrees and the 13th is free. I carry around a punch card for what amounts to a 9 percent discount the 7th time my wife and I go to Tokyo Joe’s. What would really be beneficial is if the loyalty card was tied to my phone. It can be a Tokyo Joe’s app or an aggregator app for loyalty programs like Foursquare.

Not only do I want to combine these programs, I also want to streamline my apps. For this blog, I checked the last time I opened a sample of 20 apps. Five of them were only opened once. If the app doesn’t provide me regular benefits, I’ll quickly become app-athetic. (is that a new term? if so…trademark!).

Social Action

The final mobile marketing prediction is a huge increase in apps adding social action widgets similar to the Facebook “like” button. Social sharing is the equivalent of electronic word of mouth marketing. As businesses get better at forging relationships with their customers in social environments, they will be able to run a sophisticated SCRM program (social customer relationship management).

Let us know your mobile marketing prediction for 2013, and if you think this will be the year of fully integrated mobile marketing. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

19
Dec
12

Healthcare Marketing Predictions for 2013

X_Ray_Heart_by_mmattes_GreenBlack1With the major healthcare reform provisions slated to take effect in 2014, less than 13 months away, Weise Communications believes 2013 will be a year of preparing for those changes to occur. As we have spent the last year with physicians, medical practitioners, highly publicized medical facilities and budding health and wellness entrepreneurs, we have compiled our list of healthcare marketing predictions for 2013.

Physicians and medical professionals will embrace technology to enhance the patient experience. We foresee software as a service (SaaS) combining with platform as a service (PaaS) to provide cloud-based solutions that will enhance EMR and patient communications.

Consumers are abandoning PC/desktop computers, the entire medical community will need to adapt to tablets and mobile. 2013 will be the year that the luxury of a mobile optimized website will no longer be optional.

HIPAA for mobile will be a massive concern for 2013, so EMR costs will continue to rise. Mobile will be an extraordinary opportunity for marketers in 2013.

More than ever before, patients are becoming advocates for their own health and wellness. They are relying on sources like WebMD and Everyday Health for information. Also, they are using social media for validation and referrals. There will be more pressure on medical facilities to embrace social media to ensure accurate information is being delivered from a reputable source.

Franchising and licensing will continue to be a business model that ensures affordable and accessible healthcare treatment options. It will also provide an alternative to the increasing amount of government involvement in the healthcare decision-making process.

Let us know your healthcare marketing prediction for 2013, and we’ll plan on discussing how accurate we are at SHSMD 2013 in Chicago. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

 

13
Nov
12

From Ice Cream Sandwiches to SEO

I just got my Android Smartphone firmware and software update to the latest Android Platform called Ice Cream Sandwich. Do you know what was the most noticeable change? Voice-activated Google.

Say What?

I’m serious. I can now conduct a Google search by speaking into my phone. This got me to think about the impact to SEO.  Voice search is not new, iPhone 4S Siri is basically voice activated search. However, with a direct voice activated Google search, I see the popularity of voice search taking off.

One of the interesting differences: when I am typing, I see projected search suggestions. That won’t happen while I am speaking. Also while typing, I am more likely to keep adding modifiers to whittle down my search results. I don’t think that will happen while I am speaking. We tend to speak naturally even when using voice activated software and that will mean a different set of search results.

Also, the accuracy of uncommon searches that are spoken can be challenging. For example, I wanted to search about the General Petraeus Affair, my spoken search result was “general betray us affair.” As I think about it, the search results probably would have taken me to the same place.

One other difference, voice activated users will need to see search results in a more consumer friendly format. I’ll accept fewer results but I’ll definitely need a better idea of where the results will take me.

For marketers, there is one thing I see that will be very important in the future – Video Optimization. All marketers will need to pay close attention to their video descriptions and how it can be shared on social networks. Think about how the video will be searched when spoken as well as keywords for typed searches. With the number of Smartphone users growing and two of the favorite activities being watching videos and sharing them on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, implementing good SEO practices will reap benefits.

Let us know what you think the impact of searching out loud will have on SEO. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

10
Aug
12

PowerPoint Fatigue: Is Prezi a Better Presentation Tool?

3 things to consider before you Prezi

Contributed by Weise Communications Art Director, Nusheen Jafari

Poor presentations can have disastrous consequences. Instead of trying to punch up a weak presentation, you may want to consider a new delivery vehicle. Prezi’s zoomable canvas is a creative alternative to a traditional slide presentation. But with all the hype about Prezi, have you really thought about why you’re using it? Here’s three questions to consider before you use Prezi for your next presentation.

1.  Does your presentation really need to zoom?

It is very important to consider the type of content in your presentation. Only consider using Prezi if you plan on taking advantage of the zooming capabilities. Prezi is not designed to organize your information by pages. You must think outside “the slides.”

Take the infamous U.S. Army “Spaghetti Slide” pictured above. It is a perfect example of a type of presentation that cannot be shown in sequential slides. Although Prezi may not have been able to aid the design of the information, perhaps it could have helped deliver that information in a more comprehensible way.

Prezi works great for visual content. It’s great for showing how ideas are connected to one another. It’s easy to zoom down to one point, and then pan over to the next. Its also good for showing how your points all relate to a bigger picture by simply zooming out to show the entire canvas; for example showing a small city then zooming out to reveal the entire globe. Prezi is also great for showing diagrams and processes. The storyline feature lets you create paths and frames to guide you through a journey.

On the other hand, Prezi does not work great for text-based presentations.  If your content is more than four words per slide, Prezi will distract your audience and give them motion sickness. If you need to include bulleted lists ortext heavy information to make your point, PowerPoint or Keynote is the way to go.

2.  Is control over design important to you?

You must be fluid with your design. If you’re the type of person who likes symmetry, with information nicely aligned and perfectly centered, Prezi will frustrate you. Prezi is all about movement and fluidity, if you understand that from the beginning, you will have a much smoother experience with it.

Keep in mind that it takes more effort to control what people see in Prezi, unlike the perfectly outlined boundaries of the page in PowerPoint and Keynote. Remember, Prezi is an open canvas, not a slide-by-slide presentation. You will need to space things out on the canvas appropriately to control what people see in each step.

3.  Do you have it all planned out?

The most important thing to keep in mind when using Prezi is to develop a plan. Storyboard your ideas and think about its connectivity BEFORE you start laying it out.

The limitation about Prezi is that you really can’t preview your presentation until your done building all the parts. So, if you like to build a few slides, then preview the presentation then go back to building, you are in for a very long process. Once you build your path in Prezi, it’s difficult to edit, especially for the person who didn’t think it through in the first place. It’s also important to understand that once you start building, you’ll discover new techniques and decide to change things. However, as long as you aren’t changing the entire path you should be fine.

Make sure you practice using Prezi first; build a fake presentation to familiarize yourself with its design. Get to know its features before you commit to building a specific presentation in Prezi. Believe me, you’ll change the way you plan your presentation once you’ve experienced it.

If you have other tips that you’ve found successful with Prezi, let us know here. Do you have a great Prezi that you’d like to share? Send us the link and we’ll post it on The Side Note. You can share your thoughts on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

03
Apr
12

QR Codes – Unfulfilled Potential: The Next Big Thing or Robot Barf

The possibilities seemed limitless. QR codes allow consumers with mobile devices to access great content, in-depth information and a higher level of engagement. Yet, companies consistently botch the execution of QR codes.

Back in August of 2010, The Side Note wrote about QR codes for the first time. The inspiration for that article was a Calvin Klein billboard in New York City linked to a video that could not be aired on broadcast television in the U.S. At that time, we saw QR codes as a cutting-edge way for businesses to reach consumers. Little did we know, the Calvin Klein billboard would be one of the better executions of a QR code. It teased to create interest, it clearly identified the sponsor and it delivered content that could not be accessed in another way.

Frankly, the blame for QR code failure lies with marketers. QR codes are simple to use, however the delivery of content requires more finesse and significantly better execution by marketing experts. Since consumers don’t know what the QR code does before they scan it, companies need to reward them for stepping into the unknown.

These errors are frustrating because the majority of these mistakes are the marketing version of basic blocking and tackling errors in football. We’ve categorized errors into three types: stupid, lazy and ignorant.

  • The stupid… the content linked to the QR code is not optimized for a mobile device – this is forehead smacking stupidity.
  • The lazy… businesses use a QR code to direct consumers to their business website – too boring, you have to include more engaging, exclusive and interesting content; Bonus error: if the website is not mobile optimized – that error is both stupid and lazy.
  • The ignorant… simply putting a QR code on an ad with the assumption that consumers know what to do – a friend recently said to me, “These things look like a robot barfed, what do I do with it?”

A little more about the ignorant errors, you would assume that college students would be on the forefront of innovation. Research company Archrival surveyed 500 students at 24 colleges and universities. In the study, Archrival found that although 80 percent of the students owned a smartphone and had seen a QR code, only 21 percent were able to successfully scan the QR code used in the study. A legitimate argument can be made that preloaded software on smartphones with an easier way to scan the codes will increase understanding and if people understand it, they will use it.

However, I believe that the payoff needs to be better. The content someone receives when scanning a QR code needs to deliver undeniable value. For example, give me a discount on something I want. Make something available to me because I scanned the code that others cannot get. Show me something amazing that I can’t see everywhere else. Too often the result of scanning a QR code (assuming I’m successful) is a massive letdown.

Today, I mostly see QR codes sending me to a standard company website. The same website I can get with a simple Google search. This key insight is most succinctly stated in this article from Sean X Cummings, “People will not adopt a technical solution that serves to replace a manual task, if that solution is less efficient than the manual task it replaces.”

Overall, the message to fellow marketing professionals is…step your game up!

20
Mar
12

And it Has Changed…Again.

Just when we all have gotten used to the “new” look of Facebook, the beast has evolved once again.

It seems that Facebook is trying to keep people on their toes with the endless face-lifts, and while most of us struggle to figure out how to simply maneuver to view photos, businesses are using the new Timeline to their full advantage.

How you ask? Here are a few perks of the new Timeline that will get your company ready for the switch:

  • Cover photo and profile image

Instead of just one small image to represent your brand, you can now also use another image as your cover photo. This photo spans the top of your page and is the background for your smaller profile image.

  • Large pinned posts

 Timeline will not allow you to create a default-landing page, however you can manage the posts that appear on your wall.  By moving a pinned post to the top of your wall, you can keep the most important and intriguing information and images in the forefront.

  • Ability to set company milestones

 The Milestone section of your Timeline can update your fans about big events in the life of your company.  People can visually see the history of your company and relate past experiences to themselves and other companies similar to you.

  • Facebook Offers

 Similar to the Facebook Deals seen on the old Facebook format, the Facebook Offers are sent out to your fans via the news feeds.  Not only is this more visible, but it is more personable when they click to claim the offer and it is sent directly to their email.

Whether you are a new company or a mature one, the new Timeline can help to increase awareness of your brand and expand your network.

Give it a go, and let us know how the re-facing of Facebook is working for you, or if you need help adjusting- give us a call!

29
Feb
12

Top 5 Things Learned At IFA Conference 2012

The Weise Communications team is back from the International Franchise Association (IFA) conference in Orlando. The conference was full of highlights, including newest Hall of Fame inductee Jim Amos  and his moving prayer breakfast speech; Bonny LeVine award-winner, SuperWash COO, Susan Black-Beth; the two keynote speeches – one was from host of the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly and the other was New York Times best seller, Guy Kawasaki. There was even an appearance by Shaquille O’Neal, performing a random act of Shaqness on behalf of the Original Soupman. The four-day conference didn’t disappoint. After sessions, roundtables and a host of meetings, here are the top five things Tracy and I learned at the conference.

1. In 2011, there was a lot of discussion about access to financing as the biggest hurdle to overcome for franchise systems to grow. In 2012, financing wasn’t nearly as significant of a topic. There appears to be much more optimism that economy is turning and that the rumored lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35% – 28% will keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

2. Millennials, those born between 1980 – 2000, currently make up 25 percent of US population and account for $200 billion in direct spending. This generation is going to be very important for marketers; here are four considerations when marketing to millennials:

  • They consider themselves health fanatics and live a lifestyle to back it up.
  • They actively support causes and prefer to spend with companies that support causes as well.
  • They are early adopters of technology and avid social media participants – more connections and greater frequency.
  • They create and consume more “word of mouth, mouse and thumb.”

3. Social media in a vacuum is not going to sell you a franchise. Any franchisor that doesn’t believe in the value of social media most likely has the wrong mindset. Social media is not a vehicle to pitch products and services; it is one of the tactics a franchisor should use to develop a relationship with a prospect. According to Jeff Hayzlett, your social media goal should be to engage, educate, excite and evangelize.  Thanks Jeff, your session was awesome!

4. There was a lot of interest in franchise sales lead generation. Despite franchisors overwhelming their business development system with poor quality leads, they kept asking the question: “How do I get more leads?” Weise Communications believes that franchisors should be more interested in the quality of lead they generate rather than the volume of leads. There are plenty of methods to generate volumes of poor leads. If the franchisors were more interested in conversion percentage, they wouldn’t stand for the tactics that waste time. Instead, they would ask, “How do I close the sale?”

5. Veterans are going to be a target and a trend for franchise sales and franchisors should strongly consider participating in Operation Enduring Freedom through the VetFran Program.  For the uninitiated, VetFran is a voluntary effort of IFA members that offers financial incentives to encourage franchise ownership to honorably discharged veterans.

We have a sixth thing we learned, you must be very careful at the passenger drop-off at the Orlando Airport. Cars, taxis and shuttle vans are constantly moving in and out of very tight spaces. It is possible for a person removing luggage out of the trunk of a car to get their legs crushed between their car and a run-away shuttle van. The results of Tracy’s MRI will be in later this week.

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

See you in Las Vegas in 2013.

27
Feb
12

Move over Facebook, there is a new social media channel in town

Pinterest has turned the act of “pinning” into a downright obsession among its 10 million users, providing never-ending pages of images that suck you in and leave you scrolling for more.  Needless to say, this site has taken procrastination to the next level.

Maybe it is the ease of pinning a variety of interests to your own boards that other people can “like” as well, or maybe it is just simply enticing because of the wealth of diverse images at your fingertips.  In any case, the female fan base has found reason to take up pinning as their new hobby.

Not only is Pinterest surpassing Facebook, Tumblr and the like in driving traffic to top websites such as marthastewartweddings.com, cookinglight.com, and self.com but according to The Week, it is doing so at an exponential rate unseen in other social media channels.

Once an image is repined, it is exposed to an entire new circle of people.  A cycle of advertising exposure that is essentially never-ending.

It makes sense, then, that businesses should jump on board this speed train.   And that, my friends, is exactly what is happening.  Because when it comes down to it, this is target marketing at its finest.

Businesses considering Pinterest can:

  1. Create their own pin boards that represent their company and their values. Think past and future designs, products, interesting product uses, ect.
  2. Smaller companies can even go as far as pinning interests that its employees have, making their company more personally relatable.
  3.  Add pin buttons (similar to the Facebook “like” button) to their website so people surfing their site can follow their boards on Pinterest.
  4. Feature new and upcoming products on these boards so the company can get a feel for the popularity based on the number of repins.  In short, it is test marketing without the legwork.

Obviously Pinterest is a great social media channel for any company who is advertising products that can be represented visually (food, magazines, fashion, automobiles, home improvement, art, etc.).   But it doesn’t have to stop there.  For instance, travel agencies can use visually enticing beaches or monuments to capture attention and fitness centers can use images of fit models to make people stop, think and click for more.

When it comes down to it, the basic psychology is this: people want to share their interests, but more importantly they want what everyone else has.  The higher the repin number, the more appealing that product becomes and the more attention it gets.

What do you think about Pinterest and how is your company including it in your social media efforts?  Have you pinned today?




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