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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Business is Great! What Are the Benefits of Advertising?

Working in the field of advertising and marketing, I often come across people who don’t understand the benefits of advertising. “Business is great,” they tell me. “So why should I continue to pay money to push out ads when I could be spending money elsewhere?”

You probably already know that the main point of advertising is to obtain-and-retain customers that will spend money with your business. But, assuming you’re a law firm, a consultant, or an ecommerce retailer who does most of your business through word-of-mouth networking and referrals, you may find yourself questioning whether your market budget could be better allocated elsewhere. The same people will tell me that since business is fine, there’s no need to waste money by pushing to get more. Oh, if only that were the case.

If we were to rely on that kind of logic, then you wouldn’t see daily ads from the nation’s biggest brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or Disney. [quote]Business is booming at these companies, and yet they still spend millions of dollars each year to remain in the public’s consciousness.[/quote] So, if business is generating high profits and you’re wondering whether your ad budget should be spent elsewhere, the team at our Florida advertising agency wants you to consider the following:

Are You Concerned With the Possibility of Market Share Erosion? If you’re not advertising and your competitors are, then don’t be surprised if your potential customers choose the company that keeps advertising its lower fees and better results.

Are You Satisfied with the Market Itself? By not advertising, you could be implying that you have little concern that others are offering better services and better deals. This is a sure way to lose out to your competitors.

Do You Worry About Losing Touch With Potential New Customers? If you’ve been in business for a while and aren’t advertising, then you must consider how you going to rebuild your customer base when your target audience outgrows your business or service? By advertising, you can continue the cycle of trying to reach new customers without having to scramble once it’s too late.

Does it Bother You that People May Forget About Your Business? People forget quickly, especially in this age of social media. The more advertising and marketing touch points you have in place to actively engage with potential customers, the higher the likelihood of making these people convert. This is precisely why ad remarketing and site retargeting work so well.

How Do You Feel About Losing Your Existing Customers? The more you can be a part of peoples’ daily lives, the more they’re going to continue to come back to you. This is why advertising, social media, email marketing and direct mail are such effective methods of retaining customers. They have to remember you to want to select you, and when they don’t remember you, that’s when you lose them.

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Need more convincing of the benefits of advertising? Let BIGEYE show you real results. Contact us today, and we’ll show you how happy we’ve made our clients and their customers.

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The reason big companies spend so much money on advertising every year is because they know it works. And, it can work for your business, too. To learn more about the ways that advertising can maintain steady business and potentially grow your revenue, contact the team at our Orlando advertising agency for a consultation. We can help you to navigate the complex landscape of advertising to help achieve the highest return on investment for your company, no matter the industry.

Resort Marketing & Community Management: The ins and outs

For resort marketers, community management can present challenges unique to the industry. A high-end resort has different needs than, say, a massive chain of budget hotels, and as such it’s important to understand the “lay of the land” to reach the correct audience.

While there is no one right way to accomplish this feat, the team at our Florida advertising agency has learned some best practices over the years to increase the reach of your resort.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

1. Know Your Target Audience

Is your resort a “lover’s paradise” or a “family getaway?” Knowing the types of people who would ideally want to stay at your property is the first step to honing your community management efforts, and in turn, ensuring that you’re reaching the right people. Think about this in terms of “pain and gain” – what are people lacking in their lives, and how can your resort help fill that void? Also, tap into what’s happening in the local landscape…I recently learned of a resort that changed some of its marketing practices once it realized that the area was a hotbed for people who enjoyed wind sports like kite boarding and parasailing.

2. Do a Social Media Listening Study

In an era when people so freely volunteer information about their lives, it’s a shame how many marketers fail to tap into this free information to help glean insights about their business. There are numerous tools available for social media listening, but even if you don’t have a big budget, you can look to tools such as Social Mention and Hootsuite to find out about brand sentiment and figure out what people are saying about your resort.[quote]If you think that simply setting Google alerts and paying attention to your retweets and Facebook comments is enough to learn about your audience, you might be surprised.[/quote] Many social media tools are equipped to uncover much more valuable information like audience demographics, plus these tools can reach lesser-used sites like Flickr and Digg.

3. Figure Out Who Your Influencers Are, and Reach Out to Them

If you’ve been a resort marketer for a while, you probably know that there’s no marketing tool as good as that of a happy visitor. Typically, when people have a great experience, they share it on social media and through word of mouth with friends. By identifying influencers, you can find ways to reach out to them, such as by retweeting their photos and engaging with them. Remember, an influencer doesn’t necessarily mean someone who has a lot of followers – a better influencer is an individual with their own ultra-engaged network. Figure out who your brand’s biggest influencers are using tools such as Klout and FollowerWonk. Make sure to follow them and engage with them on social channels.

4. Post Sharable Content

As a resort marketer, you’re in a lucky space because you have significant access to imagery that can help entice people to visit your resort. Sharing these visuals can help plant the seeds to help people make the decision to make a reservation at your property. The reality is that in this day and age, even if your potential customers aren’t necessarily following you on Facebook or Twitter, they will check your Facebook page before booking to gain greater insight —no one wants to pay a lot of money to stay at a subpar resort! Having a good webpage, a high number of positive TripAdvisor reviews, and tons of imagery on your social sites are some of the best ways to entice people to stay at your resort on an upcoming vacation.

Try these tips from our Orlando advertising agency, and get your “community” to book that vay-cay today! Contact us today for more helpful hints, and to schedule a consultation!