05/23/2014

What Happened in Social Media This Week

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 10:36 AM

Mobile

How to Market Your Mobile App from Social Media Today

As millions of apps are being created everyday, it is important to understand various strategies for getting people to download your app. This article talks about using blogs, or as they the author calls it “Social Blogging,” as a method to generate leads and downloads for your app.

It's all about the content. Awesome content plus the influence of social media equals increased pre-qualified traffic. Increased pre-qualified traffic brings you leads. It's a simple formula really, and it's something I call social blogging.

Direct to Brand

It Is Time for Brands to Bring Their Social Media Home from Social Media Today

As brands become more and more familiar with social media, do they have need to hire someone to run their socials? Do they need to find bloggers to write about their products or do they have enough following online now that they can do it themselves? 

Back to the public side of social media and the continuing evolution. As companies participated more and more in social media, content became key. We started to see the rejuvenation of terms such as content marketing. The challenge with content marketing was just that. Mass marketing of company content generated volumes of company messages that became an avalanche of mass marketing content flooding social media.  Consumers started to ignore a lot of the messages, but also it was harder and harder for brands to break through the noise to be heard.

Facebook

The Condiments Come Out On Facebook This Memorial Day from Social Media Today

A fun article looking at our favorite condiments and their social media push on Facebook in honor of Memorial Day.

Beloved condiment A.1. made a big announcement last week; it’s breaking up with steak and it’s doing it publicly, on Facebook. After 50 years together, A.1. is removing the “steak” from its name with its “For Almost Everything. Almost.” campaign, just in time for the Memorial Day kickoff to grilling season. I took a look A.1. and others to see which cookout condiments are lighting a flame on Facebook before the big holiday.”

Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Purple Cow Social Media Marketing Strategy from Social Media Today

The purple cow marketing strategy refers to being eye-catching. To being that thing that sticks out in a sea of ordinary and regular. So what are the exact steps to creating a purple cow social media marketing strategy?

  • Study all there is to know about your business, your competition, and social media.
  • Explain all the above information you have collected to someone willing to listen. Teaching material to others is a great way to make sure that you clearly understand the material (though you might have to buy them a dinner for boring them for so long).
  • Take time to think about how all this information is connected.
  • Once you come up with several bad ideas (yes, you will have a lot) then you are in the right mindset for your purple cow to “hit” you.
  • Keep working on it until you come up with your purple cow (even if it means extra long showers and meandering Sunday drives).

Mashable: Increase brand visibility by 200 percent

Provides tips, advice,  and insight on how companies should display their web content to increase brand visability.

Smart leaders see design as an investment, keeping it in mind and on paper even in the earliest stages of business planning. Others wait to learn the hard way just how important it really is. Today's audiences expect more — good design isn't a luxury, it's a given. It's a first impression — one you can't afford to mess up.

Mashable: Golden Circle

The Gold Circle includes the 5 key steps to insightful marketing. Steps are about making the brand insightful and inspiring rather than just selling it as a product or service.

Connect with your customers first by expressing the why of your story. Tap into the emotional side of things - your mission statement, or reason for being - and begin to educate or build awareness from there. Let them know why you do what you do. Then, and only then, let them know the how and the what you do.

E-mails

Mashable: E-mail Fundamentals

This article talks about remembering the fundamentals of e-mails and how important they can be to keeping customers. Details in this article include remembering to have a hosted version and pre-header copy.

Email continues to be a medium in which marketers can work their magic, but that's part of the problem. HTML is more flexible than it was 10 years ago, and responsive design allows for variable designs that render content in a more predictable fashion. But because of that, many marketers spend time ringing bells and blowing on whistles while the basics are overlooked.

Huffington Post: E-mails Core to Marketing

This article talks about other tips with e-mail. Such as the importance of strong headings because impressions are everything due to the fact that most people read e-mails mobile now.

Email not only has a high ROI, but shoppers who come to a website via email marketing, shop more and spend more according to the recent Forbes article, "Why Email is Still More Effective Than Social Media Marketing." The acquisition channel growth chart, recently published on the Vertical Response Marketing Blog, confirms the success of email marketing in new customer acquisition, reporting it as the second leading channel for customer acquisition growth, just behind organic search.

Twitter:

Huffington Post: Optimize your new Twitter Profile

This article five tips how to enhance twitter profiles for businesses. Tips include having interactive header photos and pinning tweets that promote the company’s mission and emotion.

With this new focus, you might consider treating favorites in a different way. One idea is to use them as social proof for your brand. Favorite the recommendations, testimonies and positive blurbs from your customers and fans, and transform your favorites tab into a board of brand high-fives.

04/16/2014

From Color to Texture to Patterns: The Vibrant Look of Today’s New Houseware Styles

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 1:18 PM

This blog post represents the first in a series of posts from Stacy DeBroff’s recent visit to the 2014 International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago. From the latest gadgets to the rise of glorious color, Stacy captures the latest trends we’ll soon see emerging in our own homes.

Trends abounded throughout the 2014 International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago, and one key trend couldn’t be missed – color. It rippled all through the entire show – in everything from appliances to gadgets – and everywhere we looked, we saw how vibrant color will soon jump enthusiastically into our homes.

Housewares

For so long, kitchen colors ranged from black to white to stainless – but in 2014 these shades will be replaced with deep blues, oranges, vibrant pastels, and the color of the year, Radiant Orchid. A wall of Keurig Brewers in hues from red to yellow to orchid emerged, and a gorgeous palate of color gave an unexpected jolt to mixers and knives alike.

Moreover, bursts of color popped up on the tools and gadgets we use every day – from water bottles to knives to kitchen shears to whisks – turning formerly utilitarian devices into show-stopping design elements.

Tired of ho-hum kitchen gadgets? Many designers took the 2014 color trend one step further, showcasing eye-catching patterns on household gear. Does your spatula look like this?

In addition to color and pattern, we also saw texture emerge as a design element in everything from cookware and appliances to flatware and water bottles. 

This combination of color, texture, and pattern offers the potential to elevate our tables, countertops, and kitchens far beyond our imaginations – as well as add a bit of sparkle to our next family gathering.

Stay tuned for more Housewares trends!

03/31/2014

New Research into the Military Consumer Offers Insights into this Emerging Demographic

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 2:16 PM

Military Family

Today Mom Central Consulting – along with our partner, MilitaryOneClick, a premier online resource for active duty military, reservists, veterans, and their families – released a joint research study of more than 400 military family members that offers new insight on military families from a consumer perspective – including what drives their purchasing decisions, impacts their retail preferences, and motivates their shopping habits.

Research respondents included spouses of active duty and retired personnel, as well as Moms of military service members, with near equal representation from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S Air Force. These findings shed new light on shopping behaviors, retail preferences, travel habits, and big-ticket purchasing decisions of military spouses and Moms – and revealed an array of insights on what motivates this demographic when making consumer choices.

The research study’s top-line findings include the following:

Military Families Focus on Value, Brand Offerings

More than 90% of families base their shopping decisions on whether or not a business offers a military discount, and nearly 70% of families said they would travel upwards of 15 miles to shop at a store that offered a military discount of between 10% and 20+%. 

In order for military families to take advantage of special pricing for service personnel, brands need to fully communicate their discounted offerings. Military families, too, can look to build strong relationships and ongoing engagement with brands as a way to find out about current and upcoming consumer offerings for service members. 

Top Retailers Figure High on Shopping Radar

While many military families shop for groceries from on-base military commissaries, nearly 80% will travel off base to shop at leading retail stores when making other purchases for their families.

For 79% of these families, they’ll bring along coupons when shopping, with 68% of military families using both online and print coupons.

A Preference for Purchase – for Both Cars & Homes

When in the market for both homes and cars, military families strongly prefer to purchase, with 95% of families choosing to purchase vehicles rather than lease. In fact, more than one-quarter of military families look to purchase a vehicle in the next year and their top choices include SUVs, trucks, or four-door sedans. However, they remain evenly divided when it comes to buying a new or used car.

These same families also extend their quest for consumer value to car purchases, as 81% of families prefer to purchase a car from manufacturers that offer a military discount.

Similarly, 65% of military families own their own home, compared to 35% who rent. Just 12% of military families own multiple properties. Many family members surveyed do not currently live in military housing – just 16% now live on-base – and only slightly more at 18% would prefer to live on a military facility.

Family, Destination Trips Top Military Families’ Travel Agenda

Military families typically spend their lives far from close relatives, and over 55% look to visit family one to two times each year. These families also seek relaxation and rejuvenation through destination vacations to resorts or amusement parks, and nearly 60% head out for vacation time one to two times per year.

Even with the importance of family travel, value factors in significantly as more than 80% of military families seek out vacation destinations offering a military price break, and nearly 90% of families opt to stay at hotels offering similar discounts. Moreover, half of all military families will plan their travel based on the availability of discounted pricing for service members.

A Rising Consumer Demographic

We’ve long known that Moms direct their families’ purchasing decisions, but we’ve now gained new perspective into this powerful American consumer group – learning what resonates with military families and what most influences their consumer choices and brand affinities. To further illuminate the emerging strength of the military consumer, we teamed up with MilitaryOneClick to connect military families with brands, and we’re excited to have a strong group of military influencers eager to engage with brands in social media campaigns.

To obtain the full list of research findings or to learn more about reaching the military consumer, please connect with me here at stacy@momcentral.com.

03/10/2014

Attributional Modeling and Its Role in Illuminating Social Campaign Results

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 11:36 AM

Last week, I listened in on a webinar hosted by the team running the Corporate Social Media Summit. The panel, Turning Social Data into Actionable Intelligence, caught my attention as the overwhelming mega social data piece seems removed from our daily social campaign work, and all that we hear about it in trade magazines involves a tremendous amount of head-shaking over how to even begin to make sense of it all. The panelists -- Natanya Anderson from Whole Foods and Emi Hofmeister from Adobe Systems – offered up brand-focused insights that drew me into further strategic thinking, delving, and research about attribution modeling.

So first, here’s my trend spotting. Brands ultimately need to find ways in which social data can inform their businesses about their customers, their processes, their outlook, what paths to go down, and other specific ways to tie back social elements to important business goals. By doing so, senior brand leaders become convinced to spend more on social, and rely on it to drive key business objectives. I also spoke with Emma Weisberg, Founder and CEO of Blinkbuggy, Inc., and formerly of Google, who agreed that although there’s not one correct approach, brands need to track social against real business outcomes and gain a greater understanding of the role social plays along the path to purchase.

But this raises the thorny issue of how to generate meaningful and actionable insights from the mountains of data available. Brands daily collect thousands of data points from all the key social media platforms on which they’re active. Combing through it conjures up an image of a vast junkyard or vista of trash-pile mountains, donning heavy gloves, and trying to find something useful leftover. This stands in stark contrast to a seasoned advertising market, in which standardized and perceived objective measurements (thanks to Nielsen) have become the widely accepted norm. Emma concurred, saying that no data set proves perfect, although ways exist to get at the data in a more effective manner.

Often, when dealing with the C-suite, top executives at brands face the conundrum of how to value social media efforts and the customer relationship-building that engaging on social can build. Hence the endless discussions, articles, debates, and ambiguities around measurement that have dominated social media engagements over the past few years. Yet outside of counting numbers — from clicks, likes, shares, retweets, forwards, views, to coupon downloads — there’s been no emergent, industry- wide standards for connecting these numbers to priority business outcomes for the brand. 

Marketing executives, senior brand management, and CEOs feel that without clear linear tracks of causation, they cannot loop social to specific business outcomes, such as driving more retail sales or seeing a two-fold increase on customer spending for those who engage with the brands in social. This leads to a perception of a murky swampland when it comes to social media spending: we do it because everyone else is; we do it because our customers now expect to find us and engage with us on social media platforms; and we do it because we hope that it helps with core business goals such as increased sales, building customer loyalty, answering brand detractors, making product and process improvements, getting widespread distribution of deals or coupons, coming up with new offerings in our product development cycle, and fielding customer issues and complaints.

Amid a sea of social data, brands find themselves strapped for the people and resources to take advantage of all these tools and data. Natanya Anderson, from the social media team of Whole Foods, shared, “I just need to find the time: I have more social data than I know what to do with!”  While Natayna’s Whole Foods team gets tons of customer feedback and questions, and have used this to drive insights such as “Of all these potential innovations in our stores, what’s most interesting to you?” her team needs to understand social far beyond the comments.  So what’s lacking? From Natanya’s perspective, time and a person steeped in their business to really understand the data and the social media spaces it’s coming from, and to generate actionable insights from it for senior management about how it relates back to their specific business goals. Assuming buy-in from senior management to spend on social, her biggest challenge involves attributing social to how it’s really driving the business. Natanya illuminates her quandaries: What questions should you even be asking the data? What do you want the data to tell you about the customer path? How does the data relate to the whole customer journey? How do our social efforts and tactics drive downstream to our consumers?

Natayna shared that the rest of her company did not understand the power of the data the social team has and the success of social. Many people did not have the context to appreciate it, so her team took a big step back to evaluate two to three pieces in their business to show how a small subset of social data can be useful. They now issue a weekly report of the top 10 Facebook posts across the company (the brand has 600 Facebook pages as they’re hyper-local, with individual pages hosted by each store) in order to start teaching store management about what works best on the local level. Thus, a simple set of social data turned into quick wins that are easily digestible by leaders and other key stakeholders in their business. Learning? Set up your priorities and use these to frame the efforts you’ll put into specific reports. And use this same perspective when evaluating whether a new potential tool, analytics, or partner will fit into the brand team’s priority framework: Is this an outlier? How will it help tie into our broader storytelling? Ultimately, the social team at a brand has to convince other business units to look at their data and content generated by data insights. Natayna’s team has learned to make it highly visual, interactive, and frankly, a bit of fun – as you end up marketing the social data internally. Over time – just like people build a relationship with a brand via social – internal brand teams come to trust the social team’s data and then become more willing to view content.

Blinkbuggy’s Emma Weisberg agreed that if an organization has the ability to bring someone on board who’s fluent in Google analytics and other related technologies – and view the cost as an ongoing business expense – it can be in a better position to move toward attribution modeling. This approach can work more easily at larger organizations that have the wherewithal to prove out an investment as smaller organizations simply may not have the staff resources.

Emi Hofmeister, Senior Manager, Product Marketing from Adobe Systems, went on to describe the three buckets of social data brands have to draw upon:

1)    Listening data: All the mentions, sentiment of those mentions, finding of influencers on specific platforms – which can be used to generate insights on what your customers talk and care about; what search terms you should market on; which platforms should you be targeting.

2)    Engagement Data: Likes, comments, retweets – all of which prove very powerful in the social realm to help a brand decide upon tactics: such as which posts are more effective; which platforms do your customers most want to engage you on.

3)    Attribution data (“This is the unicorn everyone’s looking for”): When both of the above types of data get tied to something well understood in business. Like a brand’s web data or direct response marketing (DRM) data, how can a brand draw correlations from social?

Moving from engagement data to attribution data proves key for brands to truly evaluate what they want out of their social engagement. It moves thinking beyond the numbers of social specific successes to the broader causational relationship to business goal successes. Attribution data answers questions such as: How well does social drive sales? How does it help improve brand sentiment overall? Did the brand get what they most wanted out of a campaign?

Brands need to figure out how to ask the right questions to get at the heart of how their social strategy drives their business strategy overall. Key questions start emerging from the vantage point of attribution modeling:

  • How does social play into the customer cycle with the business?
  • Are there alignments between likes and shares and the broader range of key consumer actions?
  • Do the people who touch social end up spending more than other customers in the overall customer journey (contrasting how much revenue did social drive from last click).
  • With each action or campaign, what do you want to achieve, and how can you rally the right resources within the business to help you gauge your goals and evaluate the data?
  • How do your interactions in the social space drive your business goal?

Attribution model development aims to shed light on how different consumer behavior on each of brand’s social media platforms translates into business goals, such as conversions and sales. Through experimentation with different tactics on different platforms, and sorting data accordingly, attribution modeling aims to get at the heart of the effectiveness of social engagement on specific goals of a brand.

So what’s the challenge? It’s the profound difficulty of sorting through data to piece together a causation reveal: if a customer likes our brand on Facebook, does this mean they’ll buy more of our stuff? Stay loyal longer? Comment positively about them? This means overlapping social data to a specific consumer behavior across time – from data points either completely unconnected or involving information missing to the brand.

02/20/2014

Is This Clever? Or Another Example of Locker Room Humor?

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 3:04 PM

This past weekend, the Austin ad community gathered for the ADDY Awards. In the evening program, GSD&M ran the following ad:

closeup GSD&M Addy Award Program adDo you get the joke? Neither did we, at first. We needed our good friend Mary Dean at Kicking Niche to let us in on the secret:

In case you are not currently an adolescent boy, the visuals in the coupon ad are shorthand for male masturbation.

This is an ad by GSD&M that ran in the local ADDY Awards show and is meant to make fun of how self-involved ad people are. Which is fine. We love laughing at ourselves. But this joke only includes men.

This little ad speaks volumes about the male-dominated culture that still reigns within creative departments practically everywhere. It assumes boy humor is the only humor that matters.

This is especially relevant considering:

GSD&M does some fantastic work. They have been a sponsor of The 3% Conference and this past October, they even sent an executive from their Diversity team to the conference in SF.

On their homepage they describe themselves as really nice people who work with “companies who stand for something and companies that want to transcend their categories and be a positive force in people’s lives.”

We agree with Mary: "It’s time for GSD&M to walk their talk. And that means raising their standards of what a good, funny ad is." Unfortunately this particular ad fell short and in doing so "(it) speaks big truths about how our industry thinks of women... especially female creatives."

For Mary's full post, please click here.

02/13/2014

How Influencers Impact Retail Lift

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 8:34 AM

Today, influencers continue to spark brand passion and loyalty. With social media fueling the Rise of the Informed Consumer and enabling Moms to tap easily into first-hand recommendations from trusted advisors, we see now the increasingly powerful role influencers have on retail lift.

2014 How Influencers Impact Retail Lift

2014 Social Media Trends

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 8:33 AM

Between evolving platforms and the emergence of branded currency, the social media marketplace continues to unfold. As 2014 gets under way, Stacy DeBroff offers insights on 5 key social media trends making an impact on the consumer landscape.

2014 Social Media Trends

2014 Influencer Marketing Trends

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 8:32 AM

In today's rapidly changing marketplace, influencers continue to shape consumer behavior. From the Re-Emergence of Content as King to the Rise of Visual Influencers, take a look at 5 leading trends in influencer marketing that will come into play as we move further into 2014. 

2014 Influencer Marketing Trends

02/04/2014

Google's Strong Arm Tactics To Create Google+ Relevancy Fail

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 9:04 AM

Googleplus-iconSince mid-last year, I’ve been talking about this being the year that Google will strong-arm their way into creating Google+ relevancy and try to breathe life into this social platform which up to now has proved not much more than a social media wasteland. Many of us joined Google+ out of an obligatory sense of platform participation and post links there with a vague hope that by doing so we can up Google’s organic search engine results for our blog posts. We experimented with Google Hangouts for everything from spokesperson appearances to mini-debriefing sessions, but the results seemed rather lackluster. Then at the end of last year came the mandatory sign-in to Google+ for YouTube comments – basically lassoing the millennials into forced subscription, along with any other commenting fans.


But that proved not quite enough, as the Google+ platform became a mandated permission gateway rather than a vibrantly engaged platform of its own. Looking into its arsenal of conquering tactics, Google in a surprise move next serves up Google+ as a mandatory gateway for Gmail. Sign-up for Google+ if you want to keep that free email account you’ve had for years. Worst yet, say goodbye to any semblance of privacy, as Google turns on a feature by which any Gmail user can by contacted by anyone of Google+ who’s added you to their circles- without them even having to know your Gmail address. Google came up with a new setting that assumes you want to receive emails from people in their circles, extended circles, or anyone on Google+. These messages from extended connections appear in your Gmail inbox with a flag that message came in via your Google+ profile. You can opt out, assuming you pay attention to digging into your settings to turn this new built-in feature off. Which likely happens the first time you get an unwanted (aka spam) email or event invitation in your inbox from someone you don’t know or don’t want to hear from.

And all this creates quite a surge of user sign-ups and traffic for Google+, but not an iota of enthusiasm or vibrant engagement. In all the work we do with brands, no one’s bursting forth at the strategy table starry-eyed over a Google+ campaign. Plus, I’ve yet to hear someone tell me about an update they learned about me from Google+. There’s still no one really home there- and in its blunt, aggressive moves to pass traffic through it’s door it’s become more of a train station with comings and goings – a way station to get to where you really want to be -- and not the family room hangout on which they’re pinned their stock growth aspirations. They'll just have to go over to hangout on Pinterest for that.

01/31/2014

Google's Juggernaut of Relevancy

POSTED BY Stacy DeBroff AT 3:57 PM

In 2014, Google will create a juggernaut of relevancy. From the Hummingbird Algorithm to Google+ as the gateway for # searches & YouTube comments, Google makes a push toward relevancy in 2014.

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