Tag Archives: #socialmedia

snap whitehouse

I recently learned that the White House opened a Snapchat account, so I checked to see what President Obama had to show our youth. There were two snaps on there. The first featured the President on YouTube with a picture of him on the screen and the other was the VP riding in his limo.  There was no paid media here, just some pictures.

The Republicans, on the other hand, had a budget to put something up on Snapchat on the day of the last Presidential debate.  There was a live channel featured under Stories with pictures of people interacting with candidates – particularly Rand Paul, who is very photogenic on Snapchat, though he didn’t even make it to the big boy debate this time. Paul was an early adopter of Snapchat, but it has not done much for his campaign.  Here is why….

The Republicans have made use of the platform since the first debate and continue to do so.  Just because marketers do something, doesn’t mean that it actually works. It might just be that Republicans have money to spend and no real strategy for spending it.  The reason I say this is because voter participation among 18-24 year olds is traditionally low and those kids are less likely to be Republican voters.  In 2014 about 23% of 18-34 year olds voted in the election, while 59% of those 65 and older did so.

Source: Census Voting Data.

There were some reports in August 2015 that more 18-24 year olds saw the Snapchat coverage of the debate than watched it on TV, but I have yet to find the original article from Politico on this.  Sounds like urban legend to me since these kids are probably not doing either.

To be an effective marketer you need a goal and a clear strategy to reach a target from whom you expect a response.  Snapchat may be useful for certain strategies, but retaining your place on the debate stage may not be one of them.





How do Social Media Influence Attitudes?

Dannon paris

What comes to mind when you think of Chobani?  Now, consider Dannon and what that brand means to you.  The associations you made could lead to different types of attitudinal and behavioral responses and responses in social media.  Perhaps you want a thick Turkish yogurt with clear bold flavors or a more traditional French yogurt?  Maybe you are feeling like a little Paris in your life today?

Encouraging consumers to develop brand associations can help your social media marketing strategy by actually reducing communications costs.  When people have a clear picture in their minds of what your brand represents you don’t have to spend as much time, effort and expense telling them. Not only that, but people may share their ideas and thoughts about your brand in social media matching the associations that are clear to them.  That’s great for your earned media strategy right?

So what is the science behind these attitudinal processes?  Basically it comes down to a type of learning called associative learning or classical conditioning. Market researchers have examined variations on Pavlov’s original research with dog saliva and applied it to consumer salivation.

When consumers develop associations between advertisements and brands two processes may take place: direct affect transfer or inferential belief formation. Direct affect transfer occurs when consumers feel positive about elements in an advertisement and transfer the feeling to the brand. Inferential belief formation is when consumers develop cognitive thoughts about a brand from a communication, which could arise from an association.

When the consumer actively considers the information presented to him or her through a process of elaboration, the person enters into the realm of cognition, the act of learning through thinking and reasoning. Marketers using social sites for engagement can attempt to influence customers through either direct affect transfer or inferential belief formation. Both types of learning and the subsequent attitude formation can take place through social media or mobile vehicles.

For example, Domino’s Pizza wanted to change consumer attitudes toward their product after discovering that people thought the pizza tasted like cardboard. After some soul searching and sincere focus groups with customers, Domino’s improved the product and released a YouTube video discussing their problem and highlighting their solution. The purpose of the video was to change people’s beliefs about Domino’s. On the other hand Coca-cola’s app contest resulted in “open happiness” a mobile app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry that generates positive feelings, but does not provide a specific brand message.

Brands Influencing Attitudes Through Social and Mobile

Attitudinal Response Example
Direct Affect Transfer Attitudes are developed when the individual pairs the positive stimuli in an ad with the brand. Coca-cola creates “open happiness” a mobile app to share positive feelings.
Inferential Belief Formation Attitudes are developed through active thinking and reasoning of the message in the ad. Domino’s pizza releases a YouTube video showing their improvements to the product following customer complaints.

coke happiness dominos

Bloglette: What is Digital Marketing?

Social Media and Mobile Marketing have to be executed in conjunction with a brand’s integrated marketing communications strategy.  That is why as a professor of social and mobile, I really teach digital marketing.  Here is a great map that shows connections and many of the important considerations for a communications strategy.

Digital marketing includes some key strategies such as search engine marketing, search engine optimization, social media, mobile marketing and the often overlooked, but very powerful – email marketing.

Here is a link for the full version and the chance to print the map for your wall:

Hallam Digital Tube Map

digital marketing map large

Shaking it up with Multiple Media

Mixing Television, Social Media, Radio, Billboards, Cable, Mobile Apps, Websites, Bloggers, Merchandise etc.

Marketers can enhance communication strategies with social media or mobile marketing by broadening reach, increasing frequency, encouraging interaction or building relationships. A brand’s strategy can include multiple media vehicles each contributing a distinct element of the message or building upon one another to enhance the communication in some way.


There are some advantages to using multiple forms of media. In a highly cluttered environment it is difficult for a brand’s message to be noticed, so additional formats can lead to more views and increased attention for the brand. Changing the execution of a message can refresh the advertisement and limit potential wear out. A variety of media also provide different means of delivering the message under varying consumer mindsets and moods.

Brands also use multiple forms of media to generate broader reach so more people see the communication. These days target markets are engaging with many devices, programs, web sites, mobile sites and reading material. It is difficult for marketers to get a strong audience in any one place so they reach people using many forms of media. When the marketer does reach the same person again, the wear out effect might be reduced because the medium is different and the person may be less inclined to feel annoyance as the message in a new format doesn’t seem like exactly the same message…again.

Sometimes the target market may not see particular advertising executions because they have not viewed the media format. To broaden reach and increase frequency, brands can distribute their traditional media through social media outlets. For example, many companies upload their commercials to YouTube to increase the number of people who will see them. Marketers can also run versions of print ads on social media sites to build awareness or share news through social networks. Social media can also encourage customer interaction with a brand because of the two-way capabilities of the medium. Customers can ask questions, make complaints, offer suggestions and receive information and advice from brands – an opportunity that doesn’t exist in traditional media. Social media can also offer added value to customers through the sharing that takes place on the network when they interact with other customers. Each form of media has unique opportunities to increase a brand’s overall presence using social media.

Why I am Google Analytics Certified

GA certification

This summer I decided to become Google Analytics certified.  Today I passed the exam!  I have to say it was a lot of work with significant studying involved.  I watched all the videos and took copious notes, which came in handy during the test.  There are 70 questions on the test to be done in 90 minutes. I actually had time to spare and could have looked up more of the answers to be more precise.  The practice tests helped a lot.

Why I am Google Analytics Certified

There are a number of reasons:

1. It is important to understand what drives a social strategy and what actions customers or website visitors take as a result of interacting with social media.  If social does not deliver your desired goals, how much time do you want to spend on it?

2. I am planning to ask my students to become GA certified as part of my course Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategies in the MediaStorm Masters Program at Pace University.  As a result I felt it important to become certified myself.  The good news here is that you can become certified and create a dummy account for practice. You do not have to be associated with a business or have a populated Google Analytics account.

3. As a consultant on digital marketing I have to be able to explain to clients why they should execute certain strategies and solid data make it clear what drives response.

4. I just plain feel good that I am deemed competent in something by Google.  Yes, I have advanced degrees, but practical knowledge is very important if you teach digital marketing.

Go ahead and congratulate me. I have not had to study for a test in years!

Does Twitter Matter?

twitterYou spend a lot of time on Twitter writing pithy statements and communicating with your target audiences. But does what people read on Twitter affect their purchase behavior? One recent study suggests that for at least one product category – it does. A study by Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, Caroline Wiertz and Fabian Feldhaus in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science found that Twitter can influence people’s decisions to see or (more importantly) not see a movie.

Word of mouth via Twitter can also directly affect the revenue from films in their opening weekend.To study the influence of Twitter the researchers collected tweets of reviews of 105 movies in the 24 hours following their releases. They then modeled: 1) the percentage of positive and negative reviews and 2) the ratio of positive to negative reviews. The model controlled for the star power of the actors, the budget, reviews by professionals, ad spending, the strength of the studio and even the rating.

They collected over four million tweets, 800,000 total movie reviews and about 40,000 per movie. Most tweets (65%) were sent between Friday (movie release day) and Saturday at noon. The authors examined the box office revenues from movies and estimated whether a movie would make more money without negative reviews. For example , Nightmare on Elm Street would have earned 8% more money- close to an additional 3 million dollars if the bad reviews were not posted.

Word of mouth is a long-studied area of consumer research and studies suggest that there is a bias in favor of negative information. This means that people give more weight to negative information than positive information. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that people try to limit their downside risk. A negative review of a product provides a greater potential negative outcome (spending money and wasting time on a bad movie) than the potential of the offering (seeing a good movie). Another reason is that negative reviews are typically not expected by consumers, so more weight is attached to them. That is why it is important for firms to monitor their Twitter accounts and attempt to mitigate negative comments.

The authors also identify the phenomenon “the Twitter effect:” the influence on early adopters who rely on Twitter for evaluations of “experiential media products.” In the past there was no opportunity for people to obtain very early reviews of movies, lending added importance to “microblogging word of mouth (MWOM),” another term suggested by the authors of the study.

Henning-Thureau, Caroline Wiertz and Fabian Feldhaus (2015) “Does Twitter matter? The impact of microblogging word of mouth on consumers’ adoption of new movies.” Academy of Marketing Science, 43(3), 375-394.

Pace University, SundanceTV and Media Storm Announce Their First Partnership in Developing a Social Media Campaign

I am sharing a press release on some of the work we are doing in the MediaStorm Masters in Social Media & Mobile Marketing with SundanceTV:

NEW YORK, March 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — As part of Pace University’s Media Storm master’s degree program in social media and mobile marketing, students will take part in developing an innovative social campaign for the second season of SundanceTV’s “The Red Road.”  This represents the first time any television network has partnered with the university’s Media Storm program.  The popular returning show, which premieres April 2, 2015 at 10/9c, is a gripping dramatic thriller that stars Jason Momoa as Philip Kopus and Martin Henderson as Harold Jensen, a local sheriff hiding a dark family secret. The two are forced to coexist amongst rising tensions within their two clashing communities: a Native American tribe and a small neighboring town.  The fates of Kopus and Jensen are tied as the relationship between their communities becomes volatile.

The multi-media plan will include social media strategy, social networks, mobile apps, contests, user-generated content, blogger outreach, paid media, contests, games and experiential elements partially or fully created by Pace University students led by Professor Randi Priluck. Presentations will be submitted via video and, once reviewed by Priluck, will be sent to the Media Storm / SundanceTV teams to choose a winner.  The winners will have the opportunity to have some or all of their projects weaved within the overall social plan for “The Red Road.”

Pace University continues to be a leader in experiential learning, and we are thrilled to see our partnership with Media Storm and SundanceTV take flight,” said Neil Braun, Dean of the Lubin School of Business and former president of the NBC Network and CEO of Viacom Entertainment. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with SundanceTV and provide our students with a truly hands-on academic program.”

As the only Masters Degree in Social Media and Mobile Marketing currently offered by an Accredited Business School, this program closes the gap between academia and employer needs.  “Social media and mobile technology have fundamentally transformed our culture,” said Craig Woerz, founder of Media Storm. “Bringing innovative thinking to clients like SundanceTV through our collaboration with Pace University’s Business School is critical in velocity disciplines like social and mobile media.”

Monica Bloom, SundanceTV’s SVP of Marketing, commented, “SundanceTV is constantly examining new and distinctive ways to introduce audiences to our programming. We are delighted to partner with Pace University and Media Storm on this remarkable program and are excited to collaborate with their students on creative marketing to support the second season of ‘The Red Road.'”

To read the release click here.

Glade’s Social Media Pop-Up Store Strategy

My son and I were walking on 14th street in Manhattan and saw a store front that had a sign reading “What Will You Feel?” There were blue velvet ropes outside, but I suspected it was a pop up store with a purpose.  Here is a mock up of the store front from Glade’s website:

glade store front

Inside the store we were greeted by a young woman who told us that the scent experience was really cool and we would enjoy it, so we entered. The inside of the store looked like this:

glade store inside

There were screens for signing up with our email addresses and comfortable chairs.  In the back of this space was a series of rooms with “feelings” such as energized, fresh, flirty and relaxed. One room had sand and a beach scene, another was air-conditioned with a snow scene, a third had puffy clouds, bubbles and a bed and another had a photo shoot with a ball gown (flirty).  The energize room had egg shape chairs with a virtual reality experience.  We photographed ourselves in most rooms and later were able to retrieve the photos online.

When we left we were given free gifts of sample products such as wax melts, which I learned are meant to go with a special device that melts the wax and releases the scent in your room over 12 hours.  One sample looked like this:

Glade sample

From a marketing standpoint I had to ask myself is this worth it?  I spoke to one of the young women who was working there and she indicated that Glade had a target market of people over the age of 60 and the company, SC Johnson, wanted to attract younger customers.  As such, they embarked on a social sharing strategy with a pop up store.  It would be hard to imagine that a store like this could significantly reduce the age of the target given the reach is pretty limited on a store in this location. In addition, the store front was not clearly marked as a place that one should enter without knowing its purpose. It looked like an exclusive club. Even if all those who entered shared with someone the reach would still be pretty limited and these days breaking through the social media clutter is tough.  Not only that, but the store, staffing and concepts were expensive to run.  What is the ROI on this?  If I were a brand manager at S.C. Johnson, I would want to know.

In the meantime if you are looking for some inexpensive entertainment in the meat packing district of New York City, head to 14th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues across the street from the Apple store and find the signs that read What Will You Feel? Go ahead and walk right in.

Companies Spend on Social, but Can’t Track Results

I am currently spending a lot of time with the CMO survey – a survey conducted annually by Christine Moorman at Duke University for McKinsey.  Though the response rate is relatively low (8%), the data show some interesting trends in digital marketing and social media.  I particularly like the data on marketing spending and marketing measurement. I am using some of this content in my forthcoming book Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategy.

One key piece of research is that companies are increasing social media spending, which is verified by other sources. However, companies are having trouble measuring the impact of those strategies.

Here is the latest data from the CMO Survey on social media spend:

Social media spending is currently 9.4% of marketing budgets and is expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years (see Figure 1). However, the 351 marketing leaders responding to August 2014 survey overwhelmingly report that proof lags spending and only 15% of marketers report their companies can show the impact of social media using quantitative approaches.

What’s the buzz? Companies experienced a 25% percent increase in sales through the Internet in the last year—from 8.9% to 11.3% of sales. There does appear to be a sizable opportunity in reaching customers through the Internet that underlies this spending push. Consistent with this view, digital marketing, more broadly, is expected to increase 10.8% in the next year, while traditional advertising budgets are predicted to decrease 3.6%. In other words, there is a signal in all this buzz.

Figure 1. Social media spending as a percent of marketing budget


The CMO Survey can be found here: CMO SURVEY

As I have said before I love pod casts.  One of my favorites is Mitch Joel’s Twist Image Pod Cast in which he discusses various aspects of digital media with his friends and colleagues.   Last week he interviewed Douglas Rushkoff who is an author and media critic.

The conversation revolved around the corporate ownership of social media and the role individuals play in creating content for big brands.  Rushkoff criticizes both the output and the content creation process because those who benefit from the sharing and the likes are the corporations who host the material and not those who create it.  The original hope for social networking platforms was that they would democratize communications, allowing anyone to share his or her opinion, art or ideas.

In reality social networking has become a means for companies to track individuals and serve them advertising to sell products, rather than allowing for free expression. The problem is compounded when those who create content act to increase their social media presence by playing to the crowd and as a result reducing their creativity. What was initially empowering for individuals is now owned by brands.


Social networks have become mass media with the same goals as television, radio or print.  There is the illusion that social networks serve the greater good, however as Mitch Joel says…’meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’

Rushkoff goes onto explain that free  isn’t always better, citing examples of paid media that have higher quality than user generated content. For example, he mentions HBO and Netflix, two services that deliver strong programming as compared to YouTube videos that individuals create and post.

One danger is that children are growing up in a world where they catalog and share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, talent and dreams without ever considering what it means to “sell out.”  In fact, teens who Rushkoff interviewed, could not define the concept of selling out.

Of course, we are all complicit in our usage of social media when it serves our purposes.  As a professor who teaches social media marketing to students I am well aware of the  paradox.