Assessing Ello and Emerging Social Media Sites For the New Year

Recently, tech blogs and trendsetters alike have been talking about Ello, a new social media site designed to serve as an alternative to Facebook. In many ways, it seems preposterous that a company would try to challenge – or even potentially replace – Facebook, which is by far one of the largest technology companies in the world. What you might find fascinating, however, is that Facebook’s key target demographics tell a bit of a different story – one that leaves us pondering whether or not the site may eventually be headed in the same direction as Friendster, or a quite possibly, a “pre-Justin Timberlake” MySpace.

When I joined Facebook, which by now was approximately eight years ago, it was the quintessential online social media destination for users in their 20’s and early 30’s to communicate with one another. Rarely would you find a parent with a Facebook account of their own, and, in terms of other social networking options, there were a few, but none were so communal. Facebook served as a landing place for all my friends – including those from many different social circles – no matter how I knew them. Times have most certainly changed with emerging social media, and with the rise of Ello, who knows? We might just end up seeing an exciting new shift in the way people access this type of online networking.

Most bonafide marketers understand that today’s “young people” aren’t as present on Facebook, and given the host of other options, they’re more likely to spend a bulk of their time visiting Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat. It doesn’t take a seasoned marketing professional to know that it takes a lot of bandwidth to be everywhere at once. This is one of the key reasons why these days, my peers are generally only active on social networks in which they associate meaning to their daily lives – and, they remain active on forums where people with similar interests tend to gravitate.

Personally, I follow a lot of comedians and comedic actors and actresses on Twitter, which is the perfect venue for crafting short, funny “witticisms.” On the flip side, Facebook is relegated to keeping in contact with a wide circle of friends, while LinkedIn assists me in maintaining professional connections, and growing my network. I access Instagram and Pinterest daily, but other accounts such as YouTube, Foursquare, Google+ and Vine tend to go virtually untouched and oftentimes, unmaintained.

As a digital strategist, my Orlando advertising agency’s social media team and I truly don’t envision that Ello will succeed in becoming the new “Facebook alternative.” As recourse however, I am placing a pretty firm bet on that notion that it may eventually attract communities of its own – communities made up of Facebook users who may feel as though Facebook is not the best social media site to serve their varying needs. This might be as a result of its use of data manipulation, or perhaps, the addition of an advertising component, or simply, that users may find their personal news feeds to be disinteresting. Whatever the reasons – and there are many – we’re seeing something much larger at play here.

[quote]In creating and maintaining a social network, it’s important to know where your audience spends a majority of its time.[/quote] If you look closely enough, you will see that users practically canvas the web – they’re accessing sites of all types. There are entire social networking sites that are geared specifically to peoples’ interests and ideologies. Often times, it may simply consist of a message board of people who are interested in topics deemed otherwise obscure, such as “hula hooping culture” or “18th century songwriting.” Topics that might not resonate with most of us, but as the moniker goes, “if you build it, they will come.”

In a similar vain, crafting and maintaining these social networks has a great deal to do with formulating a community, and marketers can utilize this lesson in helping to propagate such communities around their products. Specific audiences may be on Facebook because there’s nothing better, but I’m certain that if you attempt to present them with a dedicated forum – one that speaks directly to their area of interest – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to watch as the population of that social networking community flourishes. As a result, members have the opportunity to create connections both online and off. One such example is Fitocracy, an online forum for self-proclaimed “fitness geeks.”

I’m a firm believer that Facebook is here to stay, although with many of the above concepts in mind, the site’s following may have the potential to shrink. This is particularly true as its users find more specialized social networks where they can connect with like-minded people (and not necessarily individuals that they know personally in the real “offline” world). By keeping in mind that a successful social media strategy isn’t limited to the most popular social networks, brands can essentially begin to seek audiences in these not-so-mainstream avenues – which, in turn, might allow them to develop more authentic connections to their own customers.

Looking for digital expertise on how to best navigate the social media landscape? Contact us today to form a partnership to chart your course!

Why Customer Tracking Programs Using Data Mining Are A Win-Win

In today’s fast-paced, technologically charged environment, it should come as no surprise that every company we interact with – whether digitally or in-person – is collecting information about us. The team at BIGEYE’s Florida marketing agency knows that the more apps we download, the more time we spend perusing websites, and consequently, the more frequently we utilize rewards cards, the more we’re allowing the companies we interact with to increase their knowledge of us. The overarching purpose: to better understand how we use products and services produced and proffered by these businesses. For many years, this process, called data mining, was mired by privacy considerations. After all, how much about my purchasing habits do I really want a large, national brand to gain access to? With a little forethought, the answer has become much clearer: the more these companies know about us, the more capable they are to cater to our needs.

Before an influx of digital tools made it easier to gain insight into consumer behavior and purchasing preferences, businesses had to do quite a bit of “guestimating.” For example, it might be safe to assume that you sold 10 cupcakes over the course of a week if your inventory confirmed 10 fewer cupcakes than you had at the start of the week. But, what does that really tell you about who you sold those cupcakes to, and when during the span of the business week they were sold? This is where a well-defined loyalty program comes in.

When companies are aware of the exact products that you’re purchasing, and how often your transaction history includes these items, programs are better tailored, offering the goods and services that align best with your buying preferences. For instance, if your retailer knows your preferred toothpaste brand, then you’re probably a prime target when that brand comes out with a new floss or toothbrush. The retailer can offer you a discount that you’ll actually use, and as a result, you may end up with a fabulous deal on an innovative new product.

While this two-way street of business to consumer benefit has been standard practice in the marketing world, it’s taken on a new life in the age of big data. Using another retailer example, this is why Amazon is better equipped to recommend books that I might enjoy – after first becoming familiar with my current penchant for non-fiction, or why Facebook is able to directly target ads toward me – all based upon websites that I’ve visited previously.

[quote]There is a point-of-sale challenge, however – this data is much more difficult to capture during the customer’s in-store experience.[/quote] From an online perspective, Amazon has the benefit of being able to share products with its users that may be of interest to them – both while shopping and throughout the checkout process. On the flip side, while at a brick-and-mortar store, by the time you’ve reached the register, it’s often too late. As a result, retail businesses must strive to capture this data using other means. Here’s a sneaky little secret: logging-on to a store’s wifi, or accessing their app while you’re visiting a retailer, your consumer data – including your movements – may be captured, allowing for discovery of those merchandising displays that may have caught your attention.

Further developments in this space include data processing cameras that help map consumer preferences, including capabilities such as customer identification, with additional technology to recognize consumers each and every time they return to the store. While 77% of consumers claim to find this type of in-store tracking intrusive, what they may not realize is that they’re already being tracked through online purchases, mobile phone and social media usage, and many other daily activities. So, why should the in-store exchange be any different, particularly if it results in improved services and enhanced customer experience?

Yes, retailers are seeking personalized information about their consumers, just as the old adage of “knowing your customer” implies. Truly, however, most are really interested in obtaining these purchasing details primarily so they may create an unparalleled consumer experience – one that is more enjoyable and efficient shoppers, whether online or off. As a result, and in congruence with the resurgence of rewards programs, customers benefit from additional discount offerings, free samples, and other services targeted toward these uniquely personalized needs.

Need assistance in reaching prospective customers by employing an effective tracking program? Contact us today to partner together to score BIG returns for your business!

The Changing Nature of SMS Marketing for Businesses

Throughout your day, how long do you go without sending or receiving a text message? While I’ve been putting this post together, I’ve already sent six texts… and it’s only 8:30 a.m.! It’s no wonder marketers are starting to truly understand the value of reaching customers via text. Alongside messages from people you care about, it’s becoming increasingly common to also see messages from brands you care about.

While it has long been the norm for radio stations and TV programs to encourage communication via text, the team at BIGEYE’s Orlando ad agency has noticed that mainstream brands have been reluctant to catch up. And it’s likely due to the heavy reliance on email marketing, or a simple failure to understand how a short text can portray as much information as other forms of marketing. Think about it: People receive dozens of promotional emails each day, and some of us even opt to keep those promotional message divided into “tabs” so we don’t have to be inconvenienced by them while we’re perusing more important messages. And, as far as using Facebook as a marketing tool, businesses who invest heavily in social media sometimes learn that only a small fraction of their total followers have actually seen their posts.

SMS Marketing is the one realm where businesses can send messages and know with a matter of certainty that the reader will receive the message. In fact, it’s this thinking that has prompted the new iBeacon, which pushes text messages to peoples’ smartphones when they’re near a store that has a beacon housed therein. Many people expect this to become a mainstay of technology, unlike QR codes, which are used heavily abroad but haven’t taken off in the United States.

For many people, text is the preferred method of communication. [quote]I even have a friend whose voice mail says, “Don’t bother leaving a message, because I won’t listen. Just text me.”[/quote] Unscheduled phone calls have become invasive, and instead they opt for text as a primary form of communication. So, it should be no wonder that people are feeling more comfortable than ever receiving text messages from the companies they adore.

In fact, SAP reports (registration required) that 64% of consumers think businesses should converse more with customers via text. Further, of the people polled, 76% said they were more likely to read a message sooner if it were a SMS instead of an email, and 70% thought SMS was a good way for the business to get their attention. For some consumers, SMS is more useful in providing “peace of mind” about identity and data, which is something to understand given a current climate of recent data leaks and hacks.

This all makes a SMS strategy sound rather impressive, doesn’t it? If you are considering investing in SMS, there are a few things to remember, like even though it seems as if everyone you know has a smartphone, as of January 2014, only 58% of adult Americans had smartphones – many people are still relying on “dumb” phones that might not automatically read website links. Of course, the specifics of your SMS plan will involve researching and understanding your target demographic and understanding their mobile usage behaviors.

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For more ideas as to how your company can effectively integrate an SMS strategy, please contact us today to learn how our Florida ad agency can help you!

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Know The Top Tips for Financial Institution Marketing

With so many tools, webinars and publications available for marketers within the financial services industry, it’s often difficult to sift through the clutter to figure out the most “essential” strategies for bank marketing success. However, some strategies do stand above others, and these tried-and-tested outreach methodologies can create sizable success within your financial institution. That’s why BIGEYE’s Florida marketing agency is offering a few highly effective tips to help increase your bank or other financial service’s ROI.

Develop a Strategy Prioritization Matrix

The first step to success in the financial realm is prioritization. A Strategy Prioritization Matrix can help you to determine the most strategic projects to help your business get the most “bang for its buck.” Create the matrix by listing the impact on the X axis (high or low) and the ease of implementation on the Y axis (hard or easy). Then, within the matrix, classify potential projects in one of four buckets: Quick Wins (High Impact, Low Effort), Must Haves (High Impact, High Effort), Low-Hanging Fruit (Low Impact, Low Effort) and Money Pits (Low Impact, High Effort). Your matrix might look something like this:

Strategy Prioritization Matrix

This will help clarify those areas requiring the greatest focus. For most banks and credit unions, the Quick Wins will be of highest priority, as the ROI impact is highest, and the strategy is easy to implement.

Implement a “New Mover” Customer Acquisition Strategy

Prospective clients that may be relocating to your area will likely be in search of a local bank. Depending on a potential customer’s degree of wealth, he or she may also need other financial planning services such as estate planning or wealth management. Creating a strategy to deliver your message into prospect’s inbox will assist in the growth of your audience. Of course a direct mail customer outreach campaign is only portion of the process. It’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure that yours is the first financial services company to reach these potential clients, including the development of efficient on-boarding processes. For many financial service providers, these outreach efforts can prove to be “Quick Win,” as outlined in the matrix above.

Invest in Digital Retargeting

According to Wagner dos Santos, BIGEYE’s senior director of marketing and strategic planning, retargeting is often the most effective and efficient acquisition strategy on a cost-per-account basis. It’s also a good way to capitalize on a person’s interest, as retargeting is only triggered after a person visits your site or clicks on your content.

In many ways, digital retargeting can successfully work in tandem with direct mail efforts, as one banking business achieved a lift of 40% after pairing digital retargeting efforts with a direct mail campaign.

Collect Insights for Iterative Improvement

[quote]Email marketing is still one of the leading ways to reach people, even in spite of significant levels of email glut.[/quote] When your business can tailor communications to send the right message to the right individuals through segmentation, it significantly improves the chances that the prospect will convert (as compared to a general email blast). Be sure that in all financial services relationships, you’re not only collecting email addresses, but also analyzing customer profiles so that you can provide information that is relevant to their individual banking and financial needs. Through surveys and new account processing, you can grab significant information about your customers that you can then use for future marketing and outreach efforts. And, through iteration, you can continue evolving your campaigns and strategies for optimal growth.

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Need more ideas for effective ways to reach potential audiences with your bank or financial services marketing? Contact us at our Orlando ad agency, and we can help you tailor your customer acquisition strategies to help generate the most ROI for your business.

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Why Automobile Companies Must Understand Mom Marketing

It’s a movie cliche we’ve seen a million times: a woman goes to purchase a car, but gets swindled by a sleazy salesman because she supposedly doesn’t know her way around a car. Regardless of whether this was ever an accurate depiction of women’s role in the automobile purchasing process, this is certainly not the case today. To draw on another cliche: the times, they are a-changin’! So, automobile marketers need to embrace mom marketing.
A new report from Cars.com shows that 73% of moms consider themselves to be the sole decision-maker in the vehicle shopping process. And, it makes sense — after all, if you’re going to have to haul Sammy and Stella from soccer practice to swim team to ukulele lessons, then it’s important to make sure you’re able to do it safely and comfortably.

In the era of smartphones, tablets and lightweight laptops, it’s easy to research a car from anywhere with an Internet connection. And, granted that I can spend close to an hour trying to find a good restaurant on Yelp, I can also spend far more time trying to find the right vehicle to meet my needs.

However, the team at our Orlando ad agency has noticed that when you see TV ads for new cars, they’re nearly always marketed toward men. But if moms have so much influence on the car purchasing process, doesn’t it make sense to try to court them through marketing, too?

In viewing a compilation of Superbowl car commercials, I noticed that not one of them featured a female driver. Whether this is more of a response to the automobile marketing landscape or simply just the Superbowl demographic, it still seems strange. After all, of the 111.5 million people who watched the Superbowl, 50 million were female.

Yet for some reason, these car companies don’t seem to care as much about attracting moms. It’s interesting because moms tend to have a lot of say in most major purchases across the spectrum – we’re not just talking about cleaning supplies these days. The purchasing power of millennial moms is estimated at $170 billion. And, if moms are making the car-buying decisions, then why are these companies trying so hard to sell to dad?

Car companies that decide to market to women would have an upper hand in trying to lure their business, since as it stands right now, there is so little competition in that space. And, we’re not talking about trying to sell women on light pink minivans with extra compartments to keep makeup. Women need cars to be useful and practical.

Moms tend to be more concerned with safety and durability, and with all the new safety features the car companies are introducing these days, there’s no reason they shouldn’t think about moms in the marketing process. They also care about gas mileage because lugging children around can put a lot of miles on a car. Focusing on these benefits is a terrific start in helping reach the mom market.

[quote]Women make up more than half of the world’s population, and drive at least half the cars on the road.[/quote]Car companies are already installing the features that make moms happy. As such, the team at our Orlando marketing agency thinks these companies should spend more of their dollars trying to reach moms, who more than ever, are in the driver’s seat in making automobile purchasing decisions.

Contact our team of mom marketing experts today to uncover ways to reach this powerful target audience!

Here are the Tips for Comprehending Consumer Behavior

Imagine that I owned a store next to your office, where you would occasionally drop in to buy candy. Imagine I were to tell you that you could buy some candy today for full price, but that you could come back tomorrow and all the candy would be 75% off, chances are you’d wait until the next day to buy that candy (unless you were seriously craving some Hershey’s Kisses!). After all, you can save a lot of money that way, so it seems like the rational thing to do.
However, the entire story changes when the dates matter. Imagine I told you that candy would be cheap tomorrow, February 15, because it’s the day after Valentine’s Day. If you were standing in the store on February 14 because you hadn’t already gotten your partner a gift, you’d gladly pay full price.

While it seems technically irrational, it’s a matter of understanding the emotional needs of a consumer. A person isn’t necessarily always driven by the lowest price —there are so many competing factors that brand managers need to take into consideration when they try to comprehending consumer behavior.

Luxury brand managers are able to do this with expert finesse. People will often irrationally spend money on impractical items simply because of the prestige that comes with owning such a product. Think of a wedding ring. People are willing to pay so much for diamonds because of the symbolic representation of what a big, beautiful ring implies.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to be a luxury brand to be able to capitalize on human emotions. People purchase Nike shoes because they feel inspired by the brand, the brand’s image, and the brand’s commitment to improving individuals through athleticism. Or, a person may choose Coke over Pepsi because of the element of nostalgia that comes with purchasing a Coke.

[quote]The good news is that by tapping into consumer behaviors, you can also learn to influence their purchasing habits.[/quote]The team at our Florida marketing agency sees this as the entire rationale behind marketing —how can we convince people to spend their dollars with us? The best way to know where to start is to explore differentiation, which means creating and defining a distinguishing characteristic about your business and highlighting it.

Brands with a defined point of view tend to see more success than competitors. Think about any brand you love and think about why you choose it over alternatives: it might be that it’s cheaper, it tastes better, it’s more convenient, or it simply looks more interesting. Emphasizing what sets your business apart from others is the best starting point to build a bigger strategy for your brand.

From there, you can design marketing campaigns around that distinguishing feature. Taking into account these human emotional behaviors, you can create a campaign that’s aspirational, inspirational or just funny —these are all types of things that might encourage a person to use your item or service over a lower-priced competitor.

For more information as to how you can use customer insights to create a marketing strategy, contact our Florida ad agency for a consultation.