As a marketer, being able to measure your work is always important. But it isn’t always that easy nor is it always done. According to a 2013 online study of 1,000 U.S. digital marketers by Adobe Systems and ResearchNow, 76% of survey respondents believed measuring marketing performance was important, yet only 29% felt that they were doing it well (FulcrumTech, 2014).
Social media is an important part of digital marketing and being able to measure its success is just as vital. Marketers struggle with measuring social media ROI. In Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Report, 37% (about 1 in 3 of the respondents) agreed that they were able to measure the ROI of their social media activities. This was up from 26% in 2013. Fortunately, we are seeing some improvement with an 11% increase year over year, but it simply isn’t enough and it isn’t fast enough.
In the mentioned Social Media Marketing Report, 88% of marketers want to know how to measure the ROI from social media. While the number of fans and followers is a start, marketers should be paying attention to engagement. How close is your brand to your community, how many comments do the social assets receive everyday? How many of them are being replied to? What is the social sentiment of the brand? While positional equity is determined by quantitative measurements such as number of likes, fans, shares, etc., relational equity requires more refined measurement as it is determined by the kind of responses or feedback on your posts/photos/videos/infographics (for example, thank-you messages, messages of encouragement, positive shares, etc) (Forbes, 2014).
Storytelling has long been a great way to convey a message. Marketers are taking advantage of this opportunity in their digital marketing. Brands have begun to realize this, and increasingly including this in their communication. Advertising, as we know of, is undergoing a massive transformation, especially in this digital age. The product is taking a backstage while the story forms the main protagonist (Naidu, 2014).
Why does digital storytelling work? When people are being told a story, the language processing areas of the brain are activated along with other sensory areas being used to experience the story. “Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different and the result is persuasion and sometimes action.” (The Guardian, 2014).
A great example of digital storytelling is the Guinness Empty Chair Commercial.
Digital storytelling, when done correctly, can convey a brands message in a more impactful way than traditional marketing. “The idea is to connect with consumers using stories about them, stories that related to them and stories that celebrated them” (Naidu, 2014).
Word of Mouth (WOM) is the oldest and most valuable form of marketing. It’s how people originally found out about products and services before there was print and TV advertising. Even today, consumers still rely on WOM. “According to a new study from marketing firm Lithium Technologies, one third of Americans said they don’t trust advertising to give them information about a product or service they are interested in buying. More than two-thirds of the respondents in the U.S. said they were more receptive to recommendations from family and friends than to online advertising, the study found” (Tadena, 2014).
Marketing’s Role in WOMM
“WOMM is word of mouth marketing, and it’s an art and a science, that really savvy practitioners use to drive conversations and earn recommendations. It’s about companies/brands/products being so interesting and wonderful that people want to talk about them” (Fanning, 2013). It’s about creating buzz! In a recent study conducted by WOMMA and AMA, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. However, only 6% say they have mastered it (Whitler, 2014).
So if marketers believe WOMM is effective and consumers value it, why isn’t it more of a focus for marketers? “The problem is that for the last few years, marketers have been focused on “collecting” instead of “connecting.” In other words, brands are too caught up in collecting social media fans and they are forgetting to actually connect with them” (Whitler, 2014). Marketers need to now focus on the three E’s: Engage, Equip, Empower. WOMM should take place both on and offline. It’s about connecting and driving conversations!
Mobile Marketing is broadly defined as including advertising, apps, messaging, mCommerce and CRM on all mobile devices including smart phones and tablets (MMA, 2014). With so many people who have mobile devices, mobile marketing is a great medium for marketers.
There are several advantages of mobile marketing.
- Instant Results
Unlike some marketing mediums that could take weeks or months to view results, most mobile marketing provides immediate results. Mobile users are likely to be carrying their phone with them, so they are likely to receive a mobile message when it’s sent. Because of the instantaneous results, tracking and analyzing can also happen quickly which allow for understanding user behavior and making adjustments.
Because mobile platforms connect directly with specific users, it allows for a more personalized interaction. “Using this benefit, marketers can even start a direct dialogue with the user, getting instant feedback via SMS” (Viswanathan, n.d).
- Mass Communication
According to Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults have a cell phone and 58% have a smartphone (Pew Research Center, 2014). This allows mobile marketers to reach a wider and diverse audience. Using GPS and Bluetooth technology, mobile marketing also provides the advantage of geo-location and sending location specific messages to users.
- Mobile Payment
What more could a marketer ask for than an instant transaction! No need for waiting to get a computer or go to a store. The global market for mobile payments is forecast to grow about threefold by 2017 to some $721 billion worth of transactions, with more than 450 million users, according to research firm Gartner (Reuters, 2014).
It’s amazing how much has changed in just the past 10 years as it relates to the Internet. It seems like dial up Internet was just yesterday and now we can access the web from just about anywhere. “In 2014, the global number of internet users reached a total of 2.4 billion, and is expected to rise to 3 billion by 2015, with growth mainly being contributed by emerging markets” (Digital Portal, 2014).
Leading Countries by year-on-year Internet user growth.
“By the end of 2015, the number of Internet users worldwide will have soared up to 3 billion meaning that 42% of the world population will be connected, a massive increase from 17.6% in 2006” (Digital Portal, 2014). What a difference 9 years has made. Internet growth can be contributed to advancements in technology, growing youth population, and rich Internet content.
Increased Internet usage has had a profound affect on the growth of digital advertising. “U.S. interactive advertising revenues for 2013 hit an all-time high of $42.8 billion, according to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report for the full-year, exceeding broadcast television advertising revenues ($40.1 billion), for the first time ever” (iab, 2014). This is a great indicator as to where marketers are focusing their efforts and the potential reach that it has. “Digital marketing generates large reach and many possibilities to create impact across consumers’ purchase consideration processes, both critically important to advertisers as they seek marketing investments that have value” (iab, 2014).
2014 Internet advertising started with record-breaking highs. “Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. reached $11.6 billion for the first quarter of 2014, marking a 19 percent increase over the same period in 2013” (iab, 2014).
The following chart highlights quarterly ad revenue since 1996; dollar figures are rounded.
This week’s lesson on using emerging media to enhance a brand, as it relates to company websites, couldn’t have been timelier. The organization I work for has given me the thumbs up for a new website. I must say I am eager yet scared. I’ve done website re-launches in the past and realize that they are a big task. But working with a great graphic designer or design company can make the process so much easier.
We are in the process of evaluating design companies. But where do you start, what questions do you ask and what should you look for in a design firm? “Start by looking at websites you enjoy visiting, and that appear to have a good community and engaged following. Does it say at the bottom of the website who designed and programmed it?” (Jarvis, 2014). I also researched web design firms that specialized in our industry (non-profits). I reviewed each of their websites and looked at their portfolios. After deciding which ones I liked, I started with introductory phone calls. “You want to make sure you understand how they communicate, since they’ll be responsible for visually communicating your online business. Do they talk in technical jargon or Star Trek references? Are they clear about what they can provide for you? What is their process?” (Jarvis, 2014). For me, having phone conversations gives the initial vibe of synergy if that company would be a great fit or not. Communication is key!
Here’s a list of important questions to ask before you hire anyone:
- Can you provide a list of five references I can contact?
- Do you do this full-time and how long have you been doing web design?
- What is your process?
- What is the typical budget range for your projects? How are payments broken down for projects?
- What is the typical turn-around time for your projects?
- When can the project be started?
- What do you need from me before we start?
- Do your clients see a return on investment? Do you have proof of increased conversion rates or goals being achieved after you’ve done a redesign?
- Does the price include making the site mobile friendly?
- Will the site be supported by retina screens?
- Do you custom design or use templates?
- Who will own the website design when it’s paid for?
- Do you offer maintenance or training or post-launch support?
- Who is the contact person and who is doing the work? Is anything outsourced or subcontracted out?
Since the initial phone calls, we had more calls and some web presentations. Each company is aware of what we are looking for, our budget and timeframe. They have each submitted proposals for the job.
From the designer’s perspective, the proposal could make the difference between winning and losing the job. “A compelling proposal requires more than a jumble of clichés and a nervous estimate of costs. It needs structure, organization, and joie de vivre” (Peretic, 2011). The proposal should, at minimum provide the client with answers to a few fundamental questions:
- Who are you?
- Why are you bidding on this project?
- What do you propose to do?
- When will it be done?
- How much will it cost?
As of today, we are reviewing each proposal and hope to make a decision within the next few weeks.
As with any marketing efforts, reaching your target audience is the ultimate goal. Marketers must know who their audience is and how they should be marketed to. Different audiences, whether based on race, sex, age or other demographics, have varying preferences. They each consume emerging media differently.
Brands need to understand how their audience consumes media and how to best market to a diverse group of individuals. To be successful, we must understand, respect, and embrace the diversity of American consumers. Minorities make-up a large percent of buying power in the U.S. “In the 2010 Census, just over one-third of the U.S. population reported their race and ethnicity as something other than non-Hispanic white alone (i.e. “minority”). This group increased from 86.9 million to 111.9 million between 2000 and 2010, representing a growth of 29 percent over the decade” (U.S. Census, 2010).
Methods to reach ethnic minorities:
- Feature minorities in staring roles, not just in the background.
- Seek the opinions of people who hail from the culture you are targeting.
- Be sensitive to nuances in language.
- Show the diversity of each group.
- Learn about their heritage.
(Creative Strategy in Advertising 10th Edition, Drewniany, & Jewler, 2011)
Social media is a great emerging media tool to reach a diverse audience.