Ma’am, Your Phone Number Please

It was girl’s night last Saturday night and when our group of four walked in to the busy, downtown Omaha restaurant Roja we knew there was going to be a wait. As I prepared to tell the hostess my name she caught me off guard when instead she asked for my phone number…

I immediately passed the responsibility on to my friend and gave them her phone number. For two reasons: one) I was thrown off guard and two) I figured there would be future marketing messages and I do not live in the area. Now, after some research and experience this new emerging phenomenon of “no wait” text seating is great!

According to Gere (2013), here is how an app called No Wait works:

  • When a diner enters the restaurant, the host inputs the customer’s name and mobile phone number into the iPad running the NoWait Host app.
  • Within seconds, the diner receives a text message showing the wait time for their table.
  • Smartphone users may also see their place in line through a link inserted in the confirmation text.
  • Guests are then free to visit neighboring establishments, allowing them a “Wait Where You Want” experience.
  • When the table is ready, the diner receives a text to return to the restaurant to be seated without delay.

If most metropolitan areas are trending like Omaha and Des Moines, there are often restaurants built near small stores and boutiques in outdoor small mall like neighborhoods. If Gere (2013) says over 37 billion hours are spent waiting in line every year in America, than No Wait can only benefit every one, every store owner and every community. These stores that are located near long-wait, popular restaurants will gain traffic while people wait.

Plus, there is the added benefit of collecting phone numbers for future marketing messages. According to Table Ready (a similar app to No Wait), “Table’s Ready may also utilize stored personal information to automatically grant you “VIP” status at restaurants that you visit. VIP diners are identified to restaurants to enable them to offer preferred service to repeat or first-time customers.” Perhaps a free drink upon arrival or appetizer would be granted to these VIPs. I get excited and call “rock star parking” loudly when I find a close parking lot, imagine the gloating when you feel like P. Diddy walking in to Applebee’s because they know your phone number and you texted while riding in the passenger seat on the way over.

Have you been asked for your phone number for no-wait seating? Did you make an unplanned purchase at a nearby store during your wait? Would you be hesitant to share your number?

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Hold on to the ‘Net’, stay ‘Neutral’

So, there it is. This controversy and ongoing debate over “Net Neutrality” is real and its results will affect each and every one of us. According to Shontell (2014), “Net Neutrality’ prevents providers like Verizon and Comcast from dictating the kinds of content you’re able to access online.” If this neutral playing zone was not enforced by the Federal Communications Commission, more commonly known as the FCC, it’s likely that you would see more Fox Sports content than ESPN content depending on your service provider.

How is this fair? It’s not and it would likely defeat one of the greatest benefits of marketing through emerging media channels. Emerging media is effective because it allows marketers to reach an audience “which is highly desirable, segmentable and motivated” (Reed College of Media, 2014). Audiences are flocking to the Internet in higher numbers for research, socializing, games and information for similar reasons…they can find what they’re most interested in without muddling through stacks of books and pages on pages of unrelated content.Where in paid digital advertising, the choices of the marketer often are matched to the preferences of the consumer (especially with the growth of retargeting); an end to “net neutrality” would allow service providers to act in their own self-interests.

According to Valdes (2014), “In January, a landmark legislative decision was made regarding net neutrality: The D.C. Court of Appeals struck down portions of the Open Internet rules that ensured telecoms played fair.” The FCC sees telecommunication services (i.e. Verizon, AT&T) and information service providers (i.e. Comcast, Windstream) as fundamentally different and have chosen not to regulate Internet “information” providers.

Mistake? BIG TIME. If you enjoy access to any piece of content you prefer to see at any particular time and your preferences, like mine, change often it’s time to start paying attention. If you have a small or medium-sized business and have found success using your small marketing budget efficiently on the Internet, it was time to start paying attention yesterday.

Ending “Net Neutrality” is good for no one but the two or three companies who are big enough and rich enough to take advantage of regulation and closed possibilities.

The DL on DSP advertising: Programmatic is Problematic

Do you feel like you’ve been followed by ads while online lately? You have and it’s not as scary as you think. Emerging media has allowed marketers to gain access to consumer data, to get to know more about you and to serve you ad content you likely actually care about. It’s a win-win situation.

Much of the access to this data comes from demand-side-platforms or DSPs. DSPs provide marketers access into vendor-neutral real-time bidding ecosystems. In English? DSPs are behind-the-scenes programs connecting your profile with the advertisement a marketer has decided they want you to see. DSPs are removing much of the manual process, decreasing costs and increasing effectiveness becoming a “must-have for next-generation agencies and brands“, according to MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadski.

Some believe that programmatic ad-buying is the future and the will remove all manual processing eventually. In her blog Delightfully Digital, IMC student Kaitlyn Reeves, highlights AOL One, a shift in AOL’s strategy to provide programmatic advertising all under one umbrella platform. In reality, AOL is joining the DSP market and taking on many large companies with more experience, more access and more customers. In the DSP market MediaMath, Turn and DataXu finish No. 1, 2, 3, respectively.

Although those who are behind these DSP programs may believe it so, the manual process is not going anywhere. “The industry is so siloed,” according to Centro CEO Shawn Riegsecker, that it will continue to be necessary for face-to-face interaction to sell and explain results of these campaigns. Until enough trust and understanding can be built between businesses and media companies where the business says “here is my budget” and “this is who I want to reach” “I trust you”, the manual side of online ad buying will remain.

 

Is Real-Time Marketing the Real Deal?

In my previous post, I analyzed an example of real-time, user and event prompted marketing with Lowe’s re-launching an ad campaign to coincide with the NCAA® Final Four. Today, I get an eMarketer email telling me that only 14% of marketers are making real-time marketing a priority in 2014. Is real-time marketing hot or not?

Through the use of emerging media, primarily social networking, it is possible for real-time knowledge of current events, trending topics and up-to-the-minute updates. Real-time marketing is pinning in on these happenings and creating a social post, video, blog, tweet or image connecting it to your brand. According to Topsy (2013) these messages garner results:

 

  • In 2011, Ford purchased the Charlie Sheen made-famous #Winning to push its latest Focus. For the effort? 2,630 tweets and 6.2 million exposures
  • In 2013, Mini Cooper struck the U.K. horse meat scandal with some wit pushing exposure to over 8.5 million over an extended few days
  • Also in 2013, MasterCard reacted when DOMA was overturned expanding exposure to 43.4 million in just one day

 

The numbers are staggering and there is no doubt that real-time marketing pushes your brand and extends your reach to more users across social networks. But, does it move the dial on more important metrics? According to Kerpen (2014), “if your goal has anything to do with increased sales, retention, awareness or customer loyalty, consider tactics that work toward adding value to your target audience and consumers as a whole.” Kerpen argues that real-time marketing is more a battle between brands to be first, be relevant and be top of mind than it is to reach the metrics mentioned above.

Although real-time marketing may not have direct impact toward measurable success metrics and only 14% of marketers say it is a top priority; it is a practice that is hear to stay. “What you have to do as a brand and an organization, is be able to produce content on a regular basis and make it timely and relevant” (Nudd, 2013). This is the true essence of real-time marketing and although they may not say it is a top priority, I guarantee you that it is on every marketer’s radar in 2014.

Lowe’s Calls for the Assist from Twitter Customers

The best commercial of the NCAA tournament just got better. Here’s what we have been seeing:

By listening to the Twittersphere, Lowe’s uncovered several customers relating to the commercial through their NCAA basketball brackets falling apart as the games progressed. Lowe’s playing off consumers’ reactions and interpretation of the commercial will run an updated spot tonight during the NCAA Final Four. Here’s what we will see:

Listening is the key to making social media work for business. Ogilvy & Mather (2011) found that those exposed to multiple formats (i.e. social media + TV) were more likely to make a purchase within the next week. Think about the impact if consumers using social media impacted the TV message?

Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li call it the Groundswell. In the Groundswell book they describe the power of social phenomenon that social media has created. Customers are already talking about your products, your services, your employees and, like with Lowe’s, recutting your YouTube commercials. Consumers are in control of the conversation and companies must be ready to engage with, reply to and redirect within the conversation that has already started.

Standing ovation Lowe’s. Standing ovation.

Still emerging after 100 years…

Pew Research recently came out with a new study showing that of the 64% of American adults using Facebook, nearly half (30%) use the social network to keep up with news.

20140328_Socail_News

(Mashable: Petronzio, 2014)

In fact, the above graph shows that more and more users are using social networks to get to keep us with news. This trend will continue to grow and news media companies recognize it, many are working to adapt to it.

My employer, the Des Moines Register, has been investigating, writing and distributing the news for over 100 years. Over the past few years the company has stretched creativity, advanced technology and made investments to adapt to the continually changing demands of our audience.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 7.55.17 PM

 

In 2014, a new tablet, mobile and desktop site have been launched to deliver the Des Moines Register in a fully integrated, interactive and consumer-driven way. Recognizing socially driven news, you’ll see the new platform is constructed around quality images, more video and each aspect shareable through the social platform of your choice. It’s an interactive, consumer-driven digital magazine with the local, investigative and breaking news consumers want.

 

Screenshots_2014-04-02-19-53-00We’ve seen the importance of images increase with the growth of social media, in Facebook platform updates and the explosive launch of Pinterest. A second Pew Research study shows 36% of all U.S. adults watch news videos online. The importance of this investment is clear and I write this post not out for boasting, but from pure excitement for the future.

The growth of a socially integrated world is ironic as it increasingly becomes more social through screens alone, but it’s exciting. The media companies willing to take risks, make investments and continue to find ways to distribute desired news and information to the audience seeking it out will strive.

 

 

Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans. We can get frank recommendations from other humans instead of from faceless companies.   – Francois Gossieaux

Humbling use of Emerging Media to Support a Cause

I’m not going to say much in this post, because this use of emerging media speaks for itself.

 

 

“Woman’s Day #throughglass” is a public awareness effort. It is not endorsed by Google, but caused an everyday occurence often unseen to go viral on National Woman’s Day (March 8, 2014)

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, get in contact with your local association against it for help. You’re not alone. They will help.

Shopping On the Go: Mobile Commerce

E-commerce is growing at a pace twice that of in-store retail sales with the growth of mobile and tablet ownership. Consumers can now shop anywhere any time. According to eMarketer (2013), 16% of retail e-commerce sales came from mobile last year. Has mobile e-commerce become a requirement in retail? Yes, in most cases it is essential to consider a mobile optimized shopping experience for your customers regardless the size of your business. According to Madrigal (2014), Goldman Sachs estimates that by 2013 e-commerce will be roughly a $626 billion business.

So, how do you succeed in mobile without really trying?

Think of your mobile consumer’s experience and profile. Where a desktop consumer may have sat down with time to browse, research and explore multiple pages; a mobile consumer has less patience, wants to see options and details on one screen and make their purchase in as few clicks as possible. According to Roggio (2014), Google looks for mobile pages to load in less than one second. “To deliver the best experience and keep the visitor engaged, our guidelines focus on rendering some content, known as the above-the-fold content, to users in one second (or less) while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background” (Roggio, 2014).

Perhaps, the biggest challenge to mobile e-commerce is the need for personal information. Not only is it often frustrating with fat fingers like mine; but also time consuming with navigating in and out of the keyboard to enter personal information on a mobile device. Anyone’s phones think you want your first name capitalized each time you enter it? Not when I’m typing in my full email sir phone, not then. Personal information in itself is a challenge as 88% of consumers consider at least one industry a threat to their privacy (Value of Digital Identity, 2012).

Make the buying process simple. Roggio (2014) suggests social logins from Facebook, Twitter, or Google and alternative payments (like PayPal) can improve a shopper’s mobile e-commerce experience. Filling in several fields of personal information with one click, as well as feeling comfortable only re-sharing information that’s already been shared with another site an individual trusts makes these social logins universal trust gates. Building trust and transparency with consumers is critical in e-commerce, an industry where sharing personal information is necessary.

From small and medium size businesses to large multi-product goliaths such as Amazon, consumers are moving from windows to small mobile screens. Don’t miss out on your share of the billions…begin to think mobile.

May the ‘SalesForce’ Be with You

SalesForce.com “the enterprise cloud leader” seeks to provide “social and mobile cloud technologies – including CRM applications – to help companies connect with customers, partners and employees” (SalesForce.com, 2014). With over 1 million users, Salesforce.com has created a Success Community designed to work as a social network. Success Community extends Salesforce.com’s knowledge base availability tenfold by extending the invite to its users for providing knowledge of their own. Users are able to interact in the following ways:

  • Post questions, concerns and product feedback
  • Answer peer’s questions, address concerns and comment on feedback
  • Peer to peer file sharing
  • Browse official documents (i.e. guides, how-to videos, articles)
  • Contribute development ideas
  • Provide feedback and vote on contributed ideas
  • Extend your product through apps developed to compliment SalesForce

What SalesForce has been able to do with Success Community is leverage conversations and interactions of their users, a critical attribute in emerging media. By leveraging these conversations and interactions, SalesForce and others are able to listen.

“Any time you want to know what other people are saying about something that has to do with your business, social listening is a quick and easy way to find out.” (MeltWater, 2013)

SalesForce can monitor the Success Community and make real-time adjustments to major problems with products, plan development updates from ideas growing in popularity, as well as promote positive comments in marketing materials. This benefit is a primary reason emerging media has grown so quickly and continues to do so rapidly. Consumers don’t want to hear one-to-none ways that a product is good from a manufacturer; they want to hear from individuals just like them in one-to-one communication who have used the product and had a positive experience (or a not so positive experience).

By creating the Success Community, “there’s no longer a need for separate, transactional partner and customer portals, each creating separate copies of customer and partner records and separate sales and service cases to manage” (Henschen, 2013). Instead, it’s leveraging the power of emerging media to bring all of these separate conversations in to one platform to connect employees, management and customers in to one system. According to Henschen (2013), “within Communities for Sales, companies will connect exposing sales channel analytics, sharing leads and registrations and connecting experts inside the company with partners looking to improve product understanding and sales.”

Other businesses have begun and will follow in creating platforms like SalesForce’s Success Community. Bringing the mass amount of data, ideas, development suggestions and feedback surrounding a company in to one system is valuable in improving efficiencies, quality, customer relations and other aspects which in turn will make for further success.

‘CarpeDM’ seizes Des Moines to make the most of life, work and community

Screenshot_CarpeDM Home Page

I’ve recently relocated back to my home state of Iowa and begun working in the Des Moines, IA community. Being in a new role and new city it is important to me to begin making connections and finding ways to get involved. To my surprise, I was directed to a fully developed, integrated online community as the leading resource for finding information, building connections and getting involved.

‘CarpeDM’ [DM standing for Des Moines] was created by the Greater Des Moines Partnership as an outlet for finding “all the Central Iowa amenities you are looking for, both personal and professional”. On the site you can find out any thing you’d be interested to know about living, working, staying active and being involved in the Greater Des Moines area. Impressive, right? Even more so, the site has been linked to LinkedIn allowing for easy social connections and the ability to voice your opinions, thoughts and expertise about various topics. It is actually encouraged to choose something you have knowledge of and a passion for and make it known that you are a resource on that subject.

“There has long been online community activism, just as there has long been online city government services. But getting the two to meet has often proven elusive” (Smedley, 2013). This emerging trend is growing in bringing the two together through niche online communities where users can meet online, share passion of topics and city and meet offline to develop stronger organizations, movements, activism…you name it. Cool, right?

Drew Meyers in his blog The World is Global Baby argues that these online communities will in turn encourage users to physically relocate toward these niches they find. Meyers points yet again to a recent article in Wired where according to Srinivasan (2013):

“People are meeting like minds in the cloud and traveling to meet each other offline, in the process building community – and tools for community – where none existed before. Those cloud networks where people poke each other, share photos, and find their missing communities are beginning to catalyze waves of physical migration, beginning to reorganize the world.”

Meyers (2013) suggests cities should pick a niche. In time, every niche community will have a specific city known as the “hub”.

Looks like my [current] city has at very least joined the integration of online and offline connection building. Perhaps this is also because they’ve chosen a niche, or fallen in to one, with young professionals. The Business Journals named Des Moines “Best Midwest City for Young Adults” in 2013. Although ‘CarpeDM’ covers information, activities and involvement across all ages; I can’t help but feel the idea was sparked to draw in more of the YP audience and continue to grow that particular niche for involvement within the community.