Will you sell your shopping soul for a discount?

It is estimated that more than 25% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, which resulted in $72 billion in mobile commerce revenue in 2013.  In fact, in 2014 52% of Thanksgiving Day website browsing happened on a smartphone or tablet.  So it is no wonder that companies are placing increasing amounts of emphasis on consumer tracking through mobile devices.

What makes mobile tracking so intriguing to marketers is the connection that consumers have to their mobile devices.  87% of American millennials indicate that they have their smartphone within arm’s reach, day and night.  For marketers that means that through the use of geotracking and other mobile application methods a company can know the exact movements and habits of a consumer.  In the short time that location-based tracking/targeting has been capable, the number of companies utilizing its benefits has grown rapidly and is now being used by over 60% of advertisers.

While a majority of consumers do not like the idea of being tracked through their smartphone, there are exceptions to every rule.

A 2014 study of 500 American adults indicated a drastic shift in support for in-store tracking if they were able to receive rewards and discounts.  For marketers this means that if they creatively position the benefits of their mobile application, that the potential data that can be collected on those actually shopping their stores are limitless.

However, there are some ethical concerns that marketers must take into consideration.  Even when consumers choose to download the mobile application, activate the Wi-Fi, and accept the terms and conditions, that does not mean they are aware that they may be tracked and their information may be sold.  Studies have shown that if a consumer fully understood what information was being tracked, and how that data was being used 77% of consumers indicated that in-store tracking was unacceptable.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere between the cost and benefit for the consumer to being tracked, while still allowing marketers the much needed data to better the shopping experience.  It is a fine line, and will be one to track in years to come as technology advances and becomes more integrated into the daily operations of consumer’s lives.


Is Big Data a Big Deal…

Big data marketing word tag cloud illustration

(Israel Valley News)

So what is big data anyway?  Big data is more than just the the information that can be collected about consumers and products.   It is also the compilation, storage, and analysis of this data.  The difference between data and big data, is that the data in big data sets are too large to be analyzed using normal analytics software, like Excel.

Traditional media accounted for roughly $500 billion in advertising during 2011, and online media has only accounted for about 10% of the marketing spend worldwide.  However, with the growing presence and capabilities of big data and popularity of social media, digital marketing budgets are increasing.  Big Data is having a big impact in more than just how/where to make media buys.  It is proven to have an impact in customer engagement, customer retention/loyalty, and marketing optimization/performance.

A company can collect all the data it wants to, but without goals and analysis the numbers have no meaning.  With so many metrics and measurements available, the key for any company is to line up what they are measuring with the campaign and company goals and mission statement.  From there data can be analyzed and evaluated based on goals that are set for the specific campaign.

Big data is definitely a big deal, and is going to make an even bigger impact on marketing in years to come.

There is nothing “Free” about social media

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“We need to do more advertising on social media because it’s free” is a comment that all of us in marketing have heard at some point.  I don’t know about you, but it just makes my skin crawl, and is completely false.  Social media is definitely an essential component to the marketing mix, however, nothing about social media marketing is free.  To effectively incorporate social media into the emerging marketing mix, it takes dedicated personnel who can have two-way conversations with followers, create original content, and perhaps most importantly evaluate the metrics.

In order for social media posts, and all marketing, to be effective, they must be seen by the target audience.  However, new algorithms within the various social media platforms are making visibility, and engagement much more difficult.   Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have algorithms in place that directly impact the likelihood that a post will be seen by consumers.  But no need to worry, those chances can improve if companies pay to boost their posts, just another way that social media is not free.


Facebook posts by the user’s friend or family member receives higher priority on their news feed.  Additionally, Facebook users will also not see as many “your friend has liked this post” postings, which will have a big impact on marketing.  This is not a big deal for the followers that are active with a specific company.  Those posts will still receive priority posting on those news feeds.  However, companies are left paying for posts to reach new audiences and new followers.


Content on Instagram no longer appears in chronological order.  Instead it appears in the order that Instagram feels that a user will be interested in the post, the relationship to the person posting, and the posts timeliness.  This really puts the pressure on creators to focus on quality content, over the pure quantity of content.  Organic reach, like Facebook, will greatly decrease with the new algorithm, which forces marketers to pay to boost posts.


Twitter allows users to choose if they want their timeline to be effected by the new algorithm that does not necessary display tweets in chronological order.  If a user chooses to use the new algorithm the timeline is ordered based on the “while you were away” tweet ranking system.  Some users feel that this new algorithm breaks up conversations, and is confusing because each time the timeline is refreshed the order of tweets changes.

So as a reminder social media is not free, and as algorithms continue to change, the importance for working social media into a campaign budget is going to become even more important.

Out Of Home Advertising – The Options Are Limitless

To all those that know me professionally, or personally, it is no surprise that I love video board displays, and get really excited any time I can geek out and talk about them.  When people think of LED video displays, their first thought is often the ones in sports venues.  However, LED displays are part of our everyday lives, as billboards, and can have a major impact in our marketing campaigns.  In fact, marketing campaigns that fully integrated out-of-home advertising (OOH) are proven to boost purchasing intent by 13%.

My favorite type of OOH are billboards.  However, no longer is a billboard just a static wallpapered on graphic that cannot be changed.  More and more billboards are becoming LED video walls, that can do more than just display a static image.  Today’s digital billboard are able to interact with the company and with the consumer in real time.  This is primarily done through the use of RSS feeds and dynamic content.  RSS feeds allow companies to integrate content like scores, weather, and real time countdowns to their digital display.  While Dynamic content allows for feeds from social media, text messages, and images to be incorporated in real time.

Here are some of my favorite interactive digital billboards.


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Through tweeting with the #CokeMyName hashtag Coke would share the interesting name facts on its billboards within 2 minutes of receiving the tweet.

NetFlix Daredevil

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Followers were able to tweet with the assigned hashtag for the character of their choice, and at the end of the day, whichever character had the most tweets would do “physical harm” to the other characters.

With advances in technology, billboards and OOH are able to be as creative as the person designing them.  What are some of your favorites?

How many is too many…what social media platforms should your company use

In many ways digital media has enhanced the marketing mix and made life easier for marketers (Solomon, 2013).  However, the endless options that web 2.0 makes available for marketers can also complicate the mix.  There is a seemingly endless, and growing, number of social media platforms available that companies can be using to engage with consumers.  In 2012, 93% of B2B companies were using social media to market their companies, and 100% of the Interbrand Top 100 companies are active on at least one social media outlet.  Therefore, the question is no longer if a company should be engaging in social marketing, but instead the questions are: On what social networks should our company be involved, how often should we be posting, and what content should we post?

Define Campaign/Company Goals

Perhaps the most essential stage in identifying what social channels to use is the definition stage.  All effective companies and marketing campaigns have a mission statement.  This mission statement will drive all campaign decisions, especially pertaining to social media where the options for engagement are endless (Kaushik, 2010).  Additionally, the mission statement will help identify the appropriate target audience, strategy, and campaign strategy.  Essentially, all decisions on the social marketing mix should circle back to the company and campaign goals.

Identifying The Target Audience

With so many digital media channels available it is virtually impossible, and pointless, for a company to be involved and active on all platforms.  Social media is based on real Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 3.45.32 PMtime conversations, they are best thought of as social communities, instead of media outlets.  Therefore, making it extremely important for a company to know where their “friends,” the target audience, are hanging out.  In 2015 there were over 2 billion active users on social media.

When looking at the 11 social communities outlined in the image, Picture1 Web 2.0 has changed how people are communicating with one another, and how companies can connect with their target audience.  The charts also illustrate just how cluttered these spaces can be, which makes it even more important to know in which communities the target audience for the company/campaign is engaged.

Demographics are an effective way to categorize a target audience.  As illustrated by the Pew Research Center charts below, each social community appeals to different demographic groups.

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When considering only age at the close of 2014, of adults in the United States, the variation in social community is evident.

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Due to the difference in engagement on the various social communities, it is important for a company to select the appropriate social community. While there is not a magic number or formula for selecting the correct social platforms on which to be engaged, it is important to be involved and socializing in the same communities as your target audience.

Key Books to Read

Kaushik, A.  (2010).  Web Analytics 2.0: The art of online accountability & science of customer centricity.  Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Solomon, M. R. (2013).  Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being, (10th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

How many screens do you use?

It is now estimated that 87% of people who are watching TV are also interacting with a second screen simultaneously.  Sports and event viewings (like the Grammy’s) are two of the top types of shows where consumers engage in second screen consumption.  The traditional television viewer is on a steady decline and as younger generations are becoming active consumers, the number of traditional viewers will continue to decrease.  It is now time for marketers to start thinking outside the constraints of traditional marketing and traditional viewing experiences, and start embracing the second (and perhaps third) screen viewing experience.

Roughly 72% of American consumers have a smartphone, and the concept of multitasking is on the rise.  Time Warner Research Council reported that viewers were 1.3 more engaged when watching live television if they were able to interact with relevant social media at the same time.  The TV series “Game of Thrones” experienced a 20% increase in viewer engagement when the show incorporated an enhanced digital experience through the HBO Go app for viewers.

When marketers mesh relevant content to the show into a second screen experience, advertisers are optimizing content and time to the best of their abilities.  This could be done through a specialize Smartphone application, various social media platforms, or even text messaging programs (think about talent based shows like “So You Think You Can Dance”).  Though second screen experiences brands have an opportunity to truly engage with consumers in real-time, two-way conversations, which strengthens brand loyalty, and builds rapport.

Here are some of my favorite examples of second screen experiences:



Big Brother is always watching….

Gone, or almost gone, are the days of the static wallpaper style billboards where one company occupies the messaging on the billboard and that cannot be changed without extensive man power.  Billboards can now be turned into games

donation hot spots
 and even advocacy centers

An advocacy group in the United Kingdom used facial recognition along with wireless Bluetooth technology to demonstrate how not turning a blind eye to domestic violence can change a person’s life.  The facial recognition software makes the bruises disappear as more people view the billboard, and if you look at the billboard your face appears on the billboard as well.  Viewers then receive a text asking them to donate to the fight to end domestic violence.

Eye tracking technology is going to allow marketers to know exactly what people are looking at and how it impacts purchasing.  Instead of marketers drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of an advertisement, website, commercial, or product design based on focus groups and recall tests; eye tracking allows for real time monitoring of what consumers are viewing.

As a marketer and technology geek I find eye tracking and facial recognition as an amazing development with endless possibilities.  However, as a consumer I find eye tracking, facial recognition and text messages sent to me because I am passing a certain billboard extremely creepy and an invasion of my privacy.  What are your thoughts or experiences with interactive billboards?

Oh the places the Internet will go

As a high school teacher, and the aunt to three young nieces, I can say with certainty that our world and especially our youth are more “connected” than ever before.  My mind is blown by the fact that my niece, who is not even two years old, is the reason I had to put a passcode on my iPhone, because not only did she know how to press the button, but how to swipe right and select apps.  My older nieces have been communicating with family via Skype for as long as they can remember, they are 8 and 5.  Perhaps what is most amazing is that social media, video chatting, and internet mobility are a completely normal way of life.  In fact, to my high school students it is considered a necessity.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.44.09 PMOf the world’s 7.18 billion people in August of 2014, it was estimated that roughly 2.95 billion were active internet users, and 2.03 billion were active on social media.  However, even though the numbers have started to plateau with the growth of internet access, it is important to note that it is still growing.


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According to a Pew research study in 2015 there were over 3.17 billion active internet users worldwide.  Additionally, over half of those users were active users of Facebook, in addition to other social media outlets.

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However, from a marketing perspective it is not only important any more that people are accessing the internet, but instead we must pay attention to how, when, where, how long, and why they are accessing the internet.


While the amount of time spent consuming digital media is increasing from year to year, so too is the number of varying devices that the media is being consumed upon.

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Marketing is more than just about TV commercials or internet banner ads in today’s ever evolving digital world.  This blog is going to explore some of the emerging media trends and how they are impacting marketers today and future implications.