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Social Media Marketing is Digital

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I read an article in the Times titled “A Google Gold Mine Below the Search Bar” that got me thinking about how I teach social media marketing to my graduate students.  The article discusses the importance and success of product listing ads on the Google search page that come up when people type certain words into the search engine.

A product listing ad is one that has pictures of products and information, often including pricing.  The pictures attract attention from viewers and the prices provide key information directly related to the purchase.  It seems that retailers really like these ads.

So, why bring this up in teaching social media marketing?  The paid search ads are now much more prominent than the organic search results on the page.  In mobile, paid results may be the only thing that a viewer sees in a search because of the small screen size.  Search can be super effective for a strategy because it leads directly to sales and it is very track-able.  Marketers need to evaluate the value of search marketing in the mix and its effect on sales relative to the social media marketing effort.  The analysis would include sales results and cost for a clear ROI for each.

Regardless of which is more effective students of social media marketing must learn general digital marketing in order to make effective decisions for brand communications.

Here is a link to the NYTimes article.

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Protecting Consumers

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As I prepare to teach Consumer Behavior I have been looking for interesting news articles that show how government plays a role in improving the lives of consumers through regulation.  Given the current environment that disparages regulations as unnecessary and useless it is important to highlight how the government plays a key role in protecting consumers, but still allows business development.

Starting with how regulations help protect consumers… just this week a study was published showing that regulations reducing trans fat in foods leads to heath outcomes for populations.  Specifically NBC News reported that “there was an additional 6.2 percent decline in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke among populations living in counties with vs without trans-fatty acid restrictions.”  Here is a link to the video:

Trans Fat Ban Works

On the other hand, the FDA approved home DNA kits for sale in the US, allowing companies such as 23andMe to market their tests for diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers.  These tests give consumers the opportunity to learn potential risks in their health – even when they may not be counseled by professionals.  In this case the regulations were reduced after scrutiny by the FDA.  Here is the link to the video:

FDA Approves DNA Testing Kits

Finally, Amazon will refund consumers whose children tapped apps and rung up fees on virtual products.  The fact that credit cards do not permit children to buy on their parents’ accounts helped set the tone for this decision to protect consumers.  This only came about because the FTC filed a case against tech companies to prevent them from continuing these charges. Once again, the government protects customers via regulations.  Here is the video:

Amazon Refunds Families

Regulations are not negative – let’s call them consumer protections and we can all agree we need a check on businesses when consumers are powerless against them.  That is why we must require the present administration to do its job and let the FDA and FTC do their work.

 

Cobranding in Chile

  
Cobranding is a partnership between two brands that intends to increase the value of each as a result of the association. Both large and small brands have partnered to gain advantages relative to competitors. 

Cobranding can be complicated as when Jeep designs interiors with Burberry patterns. But, the connections can be really simple as in this example of a relationship between a brand of juice and Cartoon Network characters. The stickers make the product appealing to kids without altering the product or packaging. An easy solution for a small brand.

The Digital Marketing Era

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Though faculty still teach the historical aspects of marketing, the standard marketing era instruction must be updated to reflect changes in the corporate world that are now much more fast paced and occur with increasing regularity. Digital marketing affects all of the components of the marketing mix and the integration of digital marketing programs and activities will continue to grow in importance, and contribute to the transformation of marketing practices.

Test Your Social Media Knowledge

 

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How much do you know about Social Media Marketing?

Are you a marketing professional? If so, take the social media marketing knowledge test today and see how much you know.  Researchers at Pace University have developed this test that takes about 10 minutes to complete.  The test covers issues including social media platforms, targeting using social, general digital marketing knowledge, mobile marketing and measuring effectiveness.

Click on this link to test yourself:

Social Media Marketing Test

See Your Score as soon as you Finish.

 

 

Social Media Salvation in 2017

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Though I teach social media marketing and even wrote the book “Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategy” I had been relatively uninvolved in social networking. In my professional life I blogged and posted on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus. However I rarely looked at Facebook and almost never posted updates on my page.

Things are different now. I no longer spend time thinking about marketing or digital media. Instead the country has made such a shift that I now read Facebook posts on politics instead of marketing news and blogs.

The news on our country, world relationships, basic freedoms, the environment and protections for people is scary daily. It is hard to make sense of the policies and plans of the administration and those who support the movement to limit freedoms and put up walls between us and our allies.

Nevertheless, I find comfort in my cadre of Facebook friends, many of whom I have not seen in 30 years. These angels from my past show me that people care and are willing to go the extra mile on behalf of others. Funny, that I find myself angry reading posts about vacations, dinners and day-to-day incidentals. There is so much more going on in the world and we need to stay vigilant.  I know Facebook has been criticized for fake news, manipulating feeds and failing to monitor itself.  However, as pure entertainment and emotional support I can live with some of these negatives.  After all, shouldn’t one read the real news anyway?

So, thank you my Facebook friends for helping me through this tough time. Keep posting, keep fighting your words matter more than you know.

State of Mobile, AI and VR Marketing 2017

 

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I was asked to weigh in on three marketing topics for 2017:

  1. The state of mobile
  2. The influence of Artificial Intelligence
  3. The effect of Virtual Reality.

Here are my thoughts:

Mobile : More Total Interactions

Mobile allows marketers to interact with customers in many places throughout the day and purchase journey. The challenge is how to be available and present when needed or wanted without becoming annoying and irrelevant so people tune you out.

Artificial Intelligence: More Efficient Interactions

AI allows firms to spend time and money on the most valuable customers by leaving the lower level customer service issues to a virtual assistant. Marketers can also use AI to identify and qualify best prospects.

Virtual Reality: More Rich Interactions 

VR provides 360 degree experiences for customers in a convenient location that’s fun and interactive. Marketers can leverage these interactions to provide more value or showcase offerings.

How to Teach Social Media Marketing Efficiency

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Students of social media marketing must have a solid understanding of integrated marketing communications because a social media campaign is typically part of a larger effort to inform, persuade or remind.  Marketers must also provide evidence that a particular strategy in digital media is more efficient in terms of cost.  These days as digital media become more desirable as part of a communications strategy, they also become more expensive.  The new reality requires marketers to examine the bang for the buck they get from digital over other options.  It is possible that television, cable, radio or outdoor can deliver more impressions with stronger response than an organic social media campaign on Facebook that few people actually see.

That is why professors who teach social media should include traditional media measurement as part of the curriculum.  The definitions for traditional media terms such as reach, frequency and impressions are important for students.  Digital terms such as cost per click and conversion rate show how social media are purchased by companies seeking to reach targets.

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One important method for equating media is cost per thousand (CPM). CPM (M represents 1,000) tells marketers the cost to obtain 1,000 impressions or views of a particular message.  It is calculated as:

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The formula is only part of the picture.  Students must also know how much it costs on a CPM basis to advertise in various forms of media.  For example, compare the traditional media costs to the digital media costs in the two slides below.  A smart marketer would consider traditional as part of a good media mix. As you can see the cable CPM is looking pretty good relative to the internet video CPM.

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Students of social media marketing think that social is the answer to everything.  Though social media may be a good strategy, a smart marketer will evaluate all the potential tools in the box to maximize media efficiency.

 

Cuba’s Internet and Castro

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I recently wrote a paper on internet diffusion and adoption in Cuba and thought it would be appropriate to share on the day of Castro’s death. The hope is that Cuba will have the opportunity to share in the world’s communication and add to the important discussions that need to take place as we enter a new time of uncertainty.

Here is the introduction and a link to the full text of the article:

Internet Diffusion and Adoption in Cuba

Cuba is one of the last countries in the world to provide online access for its citizens in spite of the economic advantages that connectivity brings to economies. As the country opens opportunities for citizens to engage in business and potential trade with the United States
grows the Internet could help boost economic output for the country.
The article argues that Cuba’s educated population who have a strong desire to interact with the rest of the world will take full advantage of opportunities that are given by the government.  The conclusion suggests that Cuba is ready.
The results of this analysis suggest that Cuba is poised for Internet growth as long as the government continues to open access for residents. The Internet in Cuba blog by Larry Press suggests that the government may legitimize the SNET, the network that runs from Cotorro to Bauta that the government has chosen to ignore for the past 8 years (Press 2016). There are also reports of proposals from US and non US companies to build an Internet cable between Miami and Havana (Press 2016). In either case, the Cuban government has made moves toward increasing access.