Some Holiday Cheer: Cyber Monday Statistics

Alas, another Christmas season has come and gone. Songs were sung. Stockings were hung. Christmas trees were decorated. Children laughed. Children cried. Parents ate too much. And of course, the sounds of stores opening and closing their cash registers rang from Black Friday to Christmas Eve.

But in the world of cyberspace, a new wave of activity was taking place. Shoppers were staying away from the crowds, and making their purchases from home. Statistics from IBM Coremetrics show that Cyber Monday sales greatly outpaced those of Black Friday, a pretty incredible feat.

In addition, Cyber Monday sales were up a whopping 33% from the year before, with total sales numbers estimated at around 1.25 billion dollars:

The study also showed an increase in sales from mobile devices, a trend I can only see increasing in the future.

What’s my take on all this? That this trend away from the crowds and towards the online shopping sites will continue to increase.

I find shopping malls during the holiday season horrific. Fortunately, eCommerce sites continue to improve both in terms of ease-of-use and product offerings. Today with sites like Amazon, you can buy anything you want online with a lot less hassle than traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. So who wouldn’t want that?

For marketers, this is another chance to remind company decision makers that digital marketing and eCommerce should be high on the priority list.

Mobile Marketing: A Few Things to Consider

A few posts ago I talked about the growth of smartphones in the US. Just as a reminder, smartphones now represent around 45% of all mobile devices in the US. And according to a study by Pew Research, 35% of the US population now owns a smartphone.

Naturally, one of the biggest opportunities for marketers in this phenomenon is the ability to target consumers more effectively. Some of the unique features interesting to marketers include:

1. Portability
2. Personalization and Instant Access
3. Mobility and Wireless Connectivity
4. Location-Awareness

These features allow marketers to know more about individuals and their buying habits. Also, the location-awareness knowledge allows messages to reach people on a local level and show them ads that are relevant to where they are both in terms of location and daily routine. A recent research study by the Mobile Mobile Marketing Association found that around “half of people who noticed any ads while using location-based services took at least some action.” This speaks to its potential.

The issue with all this, however, is that of privacy concerns. Consumers are justifiably uncomfortable with the idea of marketers tracking their moves. They are demanding more disclosure on how information is being transmitted from their devices and its software to other people.

For this reason, the Mobile Marketing Association has released a set of guidelines for marketers. Here is a slideshow of the guidelines:

Or you can see the full PDF.
Personally, I think marketers should voluntarily follow the guidelines. They seems like a reasonable place to start for companies defining their mobile marketing plans.
What do you guys think? Are there any other areas you think should be covered under the guidelines that aren’t?

Social Media Integration and Interactivity: create my tweet campaign for the Galaxy Note

In my free time I often read technology-related news, especially news focused on new mobile devices and software. Naturally, I come across many stories and articles about Samsung, HTC, Apple, Sony, and the like. If any of you follow this kind of news, you have probably heard of Samsung’s newest mobile device: the Galaxy Note.

Two of the most unique features of this device are its unusually large 5.3 inch screen (An iPhone’s screen is 3.5 inches), and its integration of an “S pen”–coupled with Wacom technology–that makes it easy to sketch, draw, and write on the device.

Because of these two features, Samsung decided one way to market the product would be to highlight its benefit of helping people be more creative on the go. To do this, they ran a campaign that integrated the three most commonly used social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

I thought it would be interesting to share the campaign with you, and see if you thought it was effective or not.

Create My Tweet Social Media Marketing Campaign 

The concept of the campaign was to engage 4 artists and have them, using the Galaxy Note, draw digital pictures of ideas people tweeted and post them to the web. The campaign ran for four days from November 22nd to November 25th. Each day featured a different artist.


To promote the event, Samsung Mobile ran videos on YouTube and then posted links to the videos on both Facebook and Twitter.

Here is the overview video. They also posted videos of each particular artist.


In addition to promoting the campaign on their Facebook wall, they created a sub page to host  information about the artists. They also created a gallery of the created artwork once it was finished.


Twitter was used to actually execute the campaign. People tweeted their ideas with the hastag #createmytweet to the artists. The artists then created the tweets and posted the images to Twitter and Facebook. Here is an example of one:

Overall, I thought it was a creative example of how Samsung used Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to execute a marketing campaign.

What do you think about the campaign?

How to Market Mobile Learning Apps?

I work for an ELT (English Language Teaching) publisher, and one of the topics on everyone’s minds recently is how to successfully market and commercialize digital language learning applications.

In our company, there has been a push to increase investment in our digital product offerings. We have been partnering with app developers to create interactive versions of our language-learning courses. Our company–and our competitors–are still unsure on the best way to market these products to schools and individuals.

The majority of our marketing is direct marketing targeting language schools and decision makers in public schools with product samples and face-to-face visits. I am sure we will follow the same approach with digital products, but we also hope to reach some consumers directly, as this market is growing in South Korea .

We also want to test the waters with marketing these products outside of Korea.

I came across this article titled 5 Musts for Mobile App Marketing by Ken Yarmosh.

It lists the five musts as…

1. Build a Splash Page

2. Do a Sneak Peak (with screen shots of the work in progress)

3. Create a Teaser Video  

4. Rally Beta Testers

5. Share Promo Codes with Key Contacts

I agree that we should follow all these steps. The team we have partnered with is already creating some teaser videos to market the product, and I will suggest moving forward with a splash page and promo codes once the products are ready to be reviewed. I have also thought about using Twitter  to build buzz around the products.

This article by also gave some good ideas like email blasts, getting picked up by review sites, and running contests around the launch of each product.

Does anyone have any other good ideas or examples of app marketing?

NFC and Proximity Marketing

One of the soon-to-explode marketing trends that I find interesting to learn about is proximity marketing using NFC technology. NFC stands for near field communication, and it is a type of technology that allows simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in close proximity to each other. It is predicted that the majority of smartphones will include this technology in the not-so-distant future. Here is a brief video explaining how NFC works in a smartphone:

This kind of technology has a lot of implications for marketers. Here is a promotional video from a company specializing in NFC marketing called TapIt.

Today, QR codes are being utilized by many companies for proximity marketing. A recent ComScore study showed that in June of this year, 14 million americans scanned QR codes on their cellphones. A testimonial to the fact that consumers are already very much interested in proximity marketing. But NFC offers so much more than QR codes, and I predict that relatively soon, QR codes will be a thing of the past due to their inconvenient nature.

Here is a an article that describes 6 ways NFC technology could change our lives:

1. Contactless Payment

2. Transportation

3. Health Care

4. Ease of Use

5. Smart objects

6. Social Media

For me, the most interesting use of NFC technology will definitely be contactless payment. Google has recently launched an application for its NFC enabled phones called Google Wallet

This will allow easy redemption of offers, discounts and other marketing tools. And since promotional offers are already easy to distribute through social media, their use will become more widespread with the addition of integration with apps like Google Wallet.

What do you think?

What changes do you see NFC bringing to the marketing world?

Infographics as Marketing Tools

An August 2010 report by Nielson Research shows that Americans are now spending about one fourth of their Internet time on social media sites and blogs. This was a 43% increase from the year before, and it is significantly more time than users spend doing anything else. Here is an infographic which shows how US Internet users spend their time:

Infographics are great because they provide information in ways that people can easily understand. And in today’s information-is-power world, people love seeing and understanding data that helps explain the world around them. They also love sharing this information with their friends on blogs (like I am doing now) and social networking sites.

Since American’s are spending the majority of their time on social networking sites and blogs, one way to reach them is to publish infographics that will likely be reposted on blogs and shared on social networking sites.

For example, by my posting of the above infographic, Nielsen is receiving publicity and gaining brand recognition as a leader in media market research. And since my blog will be read by people who are interested in media research, it is a very targeted market for Nielsen. Infographics are powerful tools because they can communicate a need for a product or service and generate interest for it in a very organic way.

Here is an example of an infographic created by a company called Demand Results. It is aimed at SEOs or people interested in search engine optimization.

The infographic will naturally be shared by those who have interest in search engine optimization, and so it can be a very effective tool.

I believe that once more markets learn how to use infographics, we will see a major increase in them on the web.

Here is a guide for marketers on ways to promote their infographics:

Want to see more infographics? Check out:

Making Social Media Work: Engaging Communities vs. Broadcasting Messages

 (Taken from Social Strategies That Work)

The inspiration for my post this week came from listening to the November 11th Harvard Business Review IdeaCast entitled Social Media’s Untapped Power. The program interviewed Harvard Business School associate professor Misiek Piskorski and Anthony J. Bradley, an analyst at Gartner Research who researches heavily in the field of social media.

Both Piskorski and Bradley had great insights on social media and shared similar philosophies as to what makes social media engagement powerful; they also shared the belief that the majority of large companies don’t understand how to use social media effectively. The overall message: Social media is about engaging communities, and not simply broadcasting messages–something most companies fail to realize.

In Piskorski’s accompanying HBR article Social Strategies That Work, he analyses why many companies fail trying to use social media.

 I studied more than 60 companies across industries ranging from manufacturing to consumer packaged goods to financial services as they ventured into online social realms. What the poorly performing companies shared was that they merely imported their digital strategies into social environments by broadcasting commercial messages or seeking customer feedback. Customers reject such overtures because their main goal on the platforms is to connect with other people, not with companies. That behavior isn’t hard to understand. Imagine sitting at a dinner table with friends when a stranger pulls up a chair and says, “Hey! Can I sell you something?” You’d probably say no, preferring your friends’ conversation over corporate advances. Many companies have learned that lesson the hard way.

The concept of viewing social media as a tool to improve people’s connections with each other makes perfect sense to me: Companies should see themselves facilitators in the social process.

A way for companies to judge their social strategies is to run them against what Piskorski calls the Social Utility Test:

Will the strategy help customers solve a social challenge they can’t easily address on their own?

Piskori and Bradley’s insights confirm similar thoughts I have had about social media. I have always been annoyed or disinterested when companies have sent me non-engaging advertising through Twitter, Facebook, or even over email. I totally agree that the best way to use these tools is to help people do the things they naturally want to do with them: connect with other people.

I mean, it only makes sense. That is why social media became so popular in the first place. People love connecting with other people. So why try and take away from that with one-way communication?

Personally, I find it exciting. As more and more companies learn to use social media in meaningful ways, we all stand to benefit: both as professionals and consumers.

The Smartphone Effect

One of the most interesting things to happen to marketing, and, well, the world, has been the widespread adoption of smartphones by consumers. Smartphones are changing the way we live, play, interact, and ultimately buy products and services.

 IMS research found that smartphones sales will reach 420 million devices by the end of 2011, representing 28% of the total global handset market share. They predict smartphone sales to exceed 1 billion by 2016. That is a lot of smartphones!

 Research by the Neilson group also sheds some light on smartphone penetration by age group in the US:

Furthermore, in overall market penetration, Nielsen’s research shows that smartphones in the US now make up 43% of the market, with Android OS leading in market share at 43%:

 As seen in this chart, the change has been good for some phone manufactures, but bad for others:

As with any major change in consumer habits, there will be winners and loser. And in the same way Samsung, HTC, and Apple are clearly winners in the global handset space, I predict there will be real winners and losers in the marketing space. The winners being those companies who push to innovate and creatively reach their customers on this new platform, and the loser being those who ignore the amazing opportunity smartphones bring to marketers.

 One of my favorite examples of innovation by a company harnessing the power of smartphones has been by TESCO’s HomePlus here in South Korea. The company set up virtual stores in subway stations so busy commuters could shop via their smartphones on their way home from work. Here is a video of the initiative. It’s genius!

Tesco’s subway stores are an excellent example of how forward-thinking companies can capitalize by adapting intelligently to change.

Examining the Power of LinkedIn

There is a lot of talk about how to harness the power of Facebook and Twitter these days, but not as much talk on how to unleash the power of LinkedIn, the business networking site launched back in May of 2003. I know that many people use the site to search for jobs and engage in personal networking, but it seems like LinkedIn could also be powerful for marketers. After doing some research, I can confidently suggest that companies, especially those which engage in business to business marketing, come up with strategies to incorporate LinkedIn into their overall marketing plans.

Thanks to insights from my classmate Marilyn Page, I was exposed to the Emerging Media Research Council‘s website today. While there I came across this great infographic by Aarti Sura showing 3 specific reasons why LinkedIn is a powerful tool for marketers:

Promising site growth, great B2B demographics, and the ability to effectively target ads are all very compelling reasons to get on board.  It got me thinking: How are companies already using LinkedIn as part of their social media strategy?

I searched around to see what other people were saying about LinkedIn, and I came across this great article by Ann Handley on entitled: A Guide to Generating Leads on LinkedIn.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

So how might companies use it to win new business, specifically?

  • Target searches for keywords you’ve identified as central to your business. For PJA, Straface targets “VP of marketing,” specific ZIP codes and company names to identify key contacts to call, e-mail, InMail (send a message via LinkedIn’s internal messaging system) or forward a hard copy of his agency’s portfolio.
  • Track who is looking at your profile and your staff’s profiles. Straface then researches those companies in more depth, identifying their marketing directors and sending out the agency portfolio by FedEx to land on their desks the next day (and again following up with a phone call, e-mail or InMail).
  • Research, or as Straface calls it, do “reconnaissance” work. Watching (via Google Analytics) which domain names visit the PJA site on any given day gives him a clue about which companies might be in the market for a new agency. Back at LinkedIn, he can research the top decision makers to proactively approach–again, via a call, InMail or portfolio outreach.
  • Set up a company page. Setting up your business as a “company” on LinkedIn isn’t going to generate a bunch of leads, but it does give you an opportunity to have a presence on LinkedIn beyond a personal profile to ratchet up your company’s charisma. I like the way you can embed banner images and videos in your company page, as well as feed your blog posts and tweets. You can also feature your products on your page and seek recommendations for them. That’s a kind of social proof that only enhances your credibility.
  • Discern patterns. Notice who’s connected in your industry. In the marketing agency world, for example, there are several key consultants often tapped to help companies with an agency search. Noting that one of those consultants is suddenly connected to several execs at a single company may indicate that the company is poised to begin an agency search. “Which suggests to me that I might want to get my brand in front of them both,” Straface says.
  • Participate in LinkedIn groups catering to your target market in order to engage in conversations with the right people. Seek out groups with lots of activity rather than simply lots of members. (You’ll have to join them to get a sense of the activity.) For Straface, those groups target CMOs and business-to-business marketers. He monitors each group’s discussion posts and responds thoughtfully with content rather than a pitch. The goal is to engage rather than sell outright.”
I found the suggestions to be very powerful. To be honest, I started doing a number of them already in my personal situation. Since I work in education publishing, B2B marketing is very important for us. It helps us secure adoptions for our products, and find publishing and distribution partners in new markets. I have already reached out to a number of ELT and publishing related groups today. I will also talk to my team members at work about creating a company page. I am getting excited about taking steps to realize the potential of LinkedIn.
How about you? Any thoughts on different ways to effectively use LinkedIn? Please comment with your ideas.

Modern Media and Marketing: A Love Story

The ways in which consumers consume, create, and experience media is changing at a rapid pace. The implication for marketers is simple: adapt or risk losing relevance.

In today’s world, marketers who embrace changes in media will find that their impact on consumers can be more powerful than ever. Those who don’t may find their products and brands fading into the history books of yesteryear.

The aim of this blog is to examine new trends in emerging media, and discuss the ways in which they are being used to market products, services, and ideas.

The relationship between marketers and consumers is a kind of love story. Let’s make sure we grow together, and not apart: