Tag Archives: social media

How to Teach Digital Prerequisites for Social Media Marketing Strategies

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This set of slides helps professors teach an important aspect of social media marketing. Specifically, the important prerequisites that must be satisfied prior to planning for social media marketing.  This social media marketing teaching resource covers digital marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, website design and mobile first design.  Marketers must have a strong product offering, a plan for customer service and crisis management along with a website that drive the desired response.  The slides contain videos and case studies related to digital marketing and media.

Digital Prerequisites for Social Media Marketing Slides

These slides accompany Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University press.



Bloglette: Progressive Breaks Through the Clutter

One of the big challenges of brand marketing is to get noticed in the sea of messages aimed at consumers.  This is particularly true in highly competitive markets like auto insurance.  These companies spend billions of dollars to attract customers and compete rigorously for market share.

One way to break through the clutter is to find places where there is little competitive advertising. However, often these vehicles have lower levels of reach than the more crowded spaces. Another method is to encourage people to actively attend to your message.

Progressive is doing both by using the “Capcha” feature in online advertising.  The company in the graphic below is forcing the viewer to re-write the ad message as part of the invitation process on this Evite:


Progressive’s ad on Evite requires the user to type “Switch to Progressive.”

Now this is a pop up shop


This past week walking around in great weather I stumbled upon Nomad.  This is not your traditional pop up shop because it moves.  Located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 21st Street this truck parked and sold clothing out of the back.  You can follow the truck on social media and see the fashion designs on the company website.  Most of the time the company chooses the 5th Avenue location. I guess you can figure out why….

nomad screen

The point is that before social media and mobile it would have been difficult to run this kind of business because people would have trouble finding it.  To get the word out the brand uses Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo and Pinterest. This requires a lot of effort in many social networks.  Interestingly the strategy is similar on each site with hip young people enjoying themselves, but the content is different.  This small truck is creating a lot of visuals for the brand and rather than use a platform to upload the same material, there appears to be a separate strategy for each. Quite a lot of effort for a small brand, which these days really is the norm in attracting a following for the business.

Bloglette: Social Media in India

India is a popular market for contests. For example, Pepsi’s Lay brand of crisps ran the “Guess Whose Flavour” campaign with 6 famous cricket players. Through Facebook or a scanable QR code on the package, the contest asked contestants to figure out which cricket player, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Chris Gayle, Adam Gilchrist or Kevin Pietersen, created each new flavor. The winners won a trip for two to Sri Lanka for a cricket match.  Sri Lanka is a beautiful tropical island on the southern tip of India – quite a nice reward.  India and Sri Lanka 230

Why Social Networks are Cheap


mobile gameResearch in diffusion of innovations provides information about how social networks and mobile technologies are adopted. The data can be used by marketers to help determine the optimum social media tools in which to invest, the trajectory of consumer acceptance of networks and technologies and the usage patterns of customers over time.  However the old methods of charging high prices for new technologies may work for physical products, but it is much harder for marketers to charge high initial prices for social media or mobile applications.  Apple was able to choose a price skimming strategy, introducing the iPhone at a high price and reducing it over time because people really wanted the product and had few similar alternatives. Consumers are used to paying high prices for hardware design.

It is much more difficult for marketers to get away with high prices for software and media because consumers have grown accustomed to getting these items for free.  For example mobile app marketers use a strategy of price penetration, offering the product at a reduced price to attract consumers and raising the costs or fees later on. The app Temple Run is free, but to unlock new screens the consumer must pay more.

Below is the progression of price discounts for the iPhone over time.  Each stage represents a consumer adopter group and shows how the price skimming practice worked for the iPhone 8 gig model.

Table 4.6: Gotta have an iPhone

Adopter Date Price of iPhone
Innovators June 28, 2007 $599 8 gig
Early Adopters September 5th, 2007 $419 8 gig
Early Majority July 11, 2008 $199 8 gig 3G
Late Majority January 6, 2011 $49 3G

Some app designers are able to charge high prices because the consumer base has strong motivation to pay high prices and have the money to do so.  Apple limits the price of apps in the iTunes store to a max of $999.99.  One such app is called VIP Black, which offers special services to high income individuals who must prove their assets before buying.

Here is a link to an article from the UK Telegraph on the Most Expensive Apps.






Venmo Digital Case Study


Students in my principles of marketing course created this video as part of a course assignment. The team first researched and wrote an industry analysis on Venmo, the mobile payment sharing platform and then used the information to make this entertaining and interesting compilation.

A Sick Application


Last night when I was suffering from the stomach flu, I searched Google using the desperate and relatively long tail key word phrase “how to stop throwing up.”  Clearly I was in pretty bad shape, but somehow still thinking of my blog.  I remembered an article  I had read a while back that explained how the CDC, The Center for Disease Control in the US tracks social media for illness to determine outbreaks.  My memory was correct in that the CDC not only tracks flu outbreaks via social media they have even launched a contest to encourage citizens to predict the 2013-2014 flu season.  Here is the beginning of the press release from the CDC:

CDC Competition Encourages Use of Social Media to Predict Flu

November 25, 2013 — CDC has launched the “Predict the Influenza Season Challenge,” a competition designed to foster innovation in flu activity modeling and prediction. The registrant who most successfully predicts the timing, peak and intensity of the 2013-2014 flu season using social media data (e.g., Twitter, internet search data, web surveys) will receive an award of $75,000 and CDC recognition. Full details of the contest requirements – including eligibility rules, how to enter the contest, and scoring – are available via the official contest announcement at https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-28198.

Aside from the CDC there is an app called Sickweather that uses social media to track outbreaks of a variety of illnesses scanning Twitter and Facebook.  The result is an interactive map showing the areas around the country for infections and other health issues.  I thought this was interesting, but not particularly useful for me.  I was quite aware that the stomach flu was going around.  At least three kids in my child’s class had the flu and on Wednesday, my child got it.  It was passed to me in spite of extra hand washing.

Unfortunately even knowing that the illness was present did not make it possible for me to avoid getting ill. The sickweather app might provide some interesting information, but can’t make up for the realities of parenthood.  One area where it may be helpful is in cases of food poisoning.  Sickweather could track names of restaurants that made people sick.  However, publicly posting this information without clear evidence may have its own issues.

The amount of knowledge and potentially predictive behavior is fascinating, though my illness would not have shown up on Twitter or Facebook.  Google likely has the stronger data set given that it includes search information and also social media.

Here is to avoiding illness and keeping up the fluids…

Click here for: The article on Sickweather from the Star Tribune


The Customer Experience and Profitability

One of my favorite podcasts is Internet Marketing by Kelvin Newman and Andy White of Site Visibility.  I have learned so much from them about online marketing, search engine optimization, social media and mobile marketing.  Much of the knowledge I have incorporated into my classes.

This week Andy interviewed Rosie Freshwater of Leapfrogg, a UK company specializing in customer experience marketing.  The content was directly related to my prior blog post on customer lifetime value so I thought I would share it with you.  Rosie talked about how her firm uses customer lifetime value to segment the buyers and then customize marketing efforts for the different segments.

The process for evaluating the segments is as follows:

  1. Mine Google Analytics data to determine buying patterns of your customers and segment them by their value to you.
  2. The value is based on an analysis of how much a customer spends, how often he or she buys and your expenses in serving that person.
  3. Ask each customer a question to determine their level of commitment to your product or service: On a scale of 1-10 how likely would you be to recommend our business to a friend?  Provide the number one reason why.
  4. You now have groups of customers telling you whether they like you or not and why. This information can be used to improve the poor experiences and elevate the good experiences.
  5. Map the optimal customer experience for each segment.

Rosie Freshwater indicated that by using this technique she discovered that if a client offered free shipping sales and profits would increase. For another client she discovered that email was a much more effective form of communication than social media.

In general, social media may or may not be the right strategy for a particular segment.  Like all communications the decision to use a particular media depends on the target market and their level of engagement with the medium. Social media isn’t free and spending on other types of promotions may be more effective and efficient.

In closing the podcast makes the important point for businesses: Grow profitable sustainable revenue, not just revenue.

Here is a link to download the entire podcast.

Thanks to Kelvin Newman, Andy White and Rosie Freshwater.

How to teach social media marketing

Marketing faculty members in business schools learned advertising and media under the old advertising model focused on creating and delivering messages to potential customers in a mass media environment. Yes, there was direct mail and it was very effective for reaching specific targets, but it was rarely the focus of a university advertising course.

In the late 1990’s and into the new millennium the web changed the way marketers taught aspects of marketing such as distribution and display advertising. With the advent of search marketing professors had to again alter their teaching to include key words and pay-per-click executions.

With social media and mobile penetration the advertising world has changed again. Digital advertising now commands the second highest level of ad spending in the US and the rules for advertising have also changed. Marketing faculty should not just add a discussion of digital advertising into their courses because for many brands digital is THE primary medium for communications. To teach digital, social media and mobile advertising effectively, professors have to approach the task with a new skill set.

The good news for business school faculty is that the business aspects of advertising are still key and can be used as a guide for mastering the new platforms. Marketing professors should continue to teach integrated marketing communications strategy.  Lessons can  focus on segmenting markets, setting strong and measurable goals and creating messages that can be delivered to targets to achieve business objectives.

Professors should not be teaching how to tweet, post, retweet, follow or pin. Students already know how to do those things. Instead faculty should teach the strategies for customer engagement, driving sales, reducing costs and building brands.

Should Marketers Buy Popular Key Words?

The Marketing Science Institute publishes a very interesting marketing newsletter highlighting research in social media and sometimes mobile marketing.  In MSI Insights second issue in 2013 they summarize a study by Jerath and Ma titled “Consumer Click Behavior at a Search Engine: The Role of Keyword Popularity” which examines consumer online search behavior.  The researchers found that key words with low popularity were more likely to lead to clicks by viewers on both organic and paid results.  The data suggest that as consumers delve more deeply into examining a purchase the words become more specific to their needs and they are therefore more likely to click on those results.  The implication for marketers is that they should consider less popular key words and determine the likely scenarios for search as consumers get closer to the purchase.  More general, popular key words may play a bigger role earlier in the purchase funnel.