All That I Have Learned In My Digital Marketing Class

Aside

What I’ve Learned:

  • In-bound Marketing:

“The process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.”

  • SEO:

Search Engine Optimization is all about making sure your online website is easy for users to find and understand what your company is about and how it’s content is beneficial to you. In order for people to find your website, it must be easy to find by search engines and therefore understand your webpages’ content. This is not easy to do, because search engines still don’t understand online content the same way as humans do. SEO makes it easier for search engines to do so.

  • Social Consumer Journey

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  • Content Marketing

Content Marketing is about producing content that solves some problem, or addresses a desire that the audience, you are targeting, expresses. It is becoming the best way to build your brand’s awareness, preference and audience’s trust, without selling them a sales pitch.

  • Importance of Earned Media

Earned media is a way to get your brand into free media through means “permanent word-of-mouth” instead of paying for it through advertising.

  • Beginner Coding

Basic HTML through CodeAcademy.com

  • A/B Testing

A/B Testing is nothing more than experimentation. You have two versions of the same element and you subject both versions to experimentation, and in the end decide which version was more successful

  • SQL

Instead of doing a lot of mindless, time consuming tasks, we can write structured queries to find the information we seek lost in pages and pages of data. It enables marketers to learn and execute initiatives faster and realize more relevant, interesting information to help with targeting efforts, more accurate numbers of users interacting online with business offering, determine your target market’s interests, etc.

  • Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics leads to more effective marketing since you have a better understanding of customers’ shopping habits, but also personal habits, found through databases.

  • Mobile Marketing

Dependence and relevance of smart phones is rising and is changing the face of advertising. According to Nielsen, smartphone penetration in the U.S. is now over 60%, drastically altering previous perceptions brands and marketers had about mobile marketing. It needs a priority and a key part of every brand’s advertising strategy. Marketers need to adapt to the different optimizing uses of each tablet, mobile device, desktop and the more innovations to come. That means optimizing their ad campaigns to align with the different ways people use them. Advances in mobile payment technology will also have a big impact on advertising costs. 

  • Mobile Payment Technology Advancements (i.e. Square)

Square enables a virtual exchange of cash and good, reinventing the way transactions are completed with ease.

  • Co-Creation

“Co-creation adds a new dynamic to the producer/customer relationship by engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of value.” In the Internet age, with social media and other customer-relationship management platforms on the web, businesses are now able to listen directly to their customers needs and improve their products and services accordingly.

  • Edgerank:

“Edgerank is an algorithm used by Facebook to determine where and what posts appear on each individual user’s news feed in order to give users relevant and wanted content.”

  • Growth Hacking

Growth Hacking reverses the order of marketing and product development. The best way to describe Growth Hacking is best said by one of the early “Growth Hackers” of Twitter, Josh Elman: “Growth hacking recognizes that when you focus on understanding your users and how they discover and adopt your products, you can build features that help you acquire and retain more users, rather than just spending marketing dollars.”

  • And lastly, Google Analytics

I am now Google Analytics certified GAIQ and ready to apply my basic knowledge into my job if necessary. All I need is the data, and I’ll go from there.

 

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Online Privacy Concerns, Decreasing Consumer Trust

Wake up! Educate yourself before releasing private information over the web. 
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Chief Privacy Officer of Microsoft, Brendon Lynch, explains consumers’ growing concern over web privacy: “Increasingly, people are concerned more about privacy as technology intersects their life.”

This idea of web privacy is something that is becoming more and more of an issue today. Ten years ago, no one would really be too concerned about the consequences of not securing your web content usage or the idea of businesses gaining access to your personal data. But now, Google and other Web platform companies have the ability to track users’ locations and activity on the web, more effectively target users with relative advertising via search and email histories and even gain access to their contacts.

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Last spring, Microsoft launched a marketing campaign declaring that consumers are being unethically targeted by Google with its targeted advertisements based on email and search-related histories. They termed this being “scroogled” by Google. Microsoft just released an anti tracking signal in its latest version of Internet Explorer browser to ensure users that Microsoft is working hard to protect consumer information. Google refutes this declaring that Microsoft’s campaign was “intellectually dishonest”, and that Google has secure privacy settings ensuring that the consumer information is protected.

A Business Concern: Be Privacy Friendly

Companies, especially internet browsers, need to have secure privacy systems in place so that users feel secure releasing their personal information, even be okay with disallowing “cookies” (third party tracking software) if that makes users feel more secure using your service. That’s what Mozilla, an underdog internet browser, is in the process of allowing users to disable “cookies” altogether. This could potentially set the web browser apart from competition and give it a competitive advantage over other search engines. And as privacy concerns continue to arise, this will put Mozilla a leg up, ahead of the competition.

Implications Regarding Social Media 

The “persona” you create online through different social media platforms (i.e. your personal blog, work-related blog, Twitter account, LinkedIn professional account, Facebook, Instagram….just to name a few) can be customized and altered enough to create the ideal image of yourself achieved using different platforms. But, is all this information secure?

With all your personal information easily found on multiple websites, it is easy to “creep” into other peoples’ business. We do it without even realizing we are doing it. At the bus stop on the way to school/work, out to dinner with friends, sitting on the couch with your significant other, at a social event, etc. It is almost invading our personal relationships, because instead of conversing with each other, our attention can be easily dropped to look at a new notification on Facebook.

Does this impact our social capabilities? Are we going to one day be more comfortable with non face-to-face contact and uncomfortable with actual in-person communication? Are our interpersonal relationships forever changed by advances in technology?

How to protect yourself

  1. Educate yourself on how your preferred web browser is tracking your web activity, and make sure it is secure. Click here for references.
  2. Customize your privacy settings on every social media platform you are a part of.
  3. Explore your options regarding anti tracking software.

Hack Your Way To Growth: Building Your Company Virally.

What Is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking reverses the order of marketing and product development. The best way to describe Growth Hacking is best said by one of the early “Growth Hackers” of Twitter, Josh Elman: “Growth hacking recognizes that when you focus on understanding your users and how they discover and adopt your products, you can build features that help you acquire and retain more users, rather than just spending marketing dollars.”

How Is This Different Than Traditional Marketing?

Growth Hacking is focused on one area of marketing: growth.Traditional Marketers care about growth too, but have a more broad focus on other marketing efforts such as strategic planning, management of the marketing team, managing vendors, etc.

Growth Hacking is particularly important in the early stages of companies, especially Start Ups. Early on, the most important focus is growth, establishing and gaining a user base. Growth Hacking can ensure virality is embedded at the core of its product offering.

Gaining users by starting at the level of product development.

Driving users and clients to your product, not the other way around.

Retaining users, optimizing and then upselling.

Its inexpensive

Ways to Growth Hack and Get More Users

…without having to pay for them!!

  1. Speed up your Home Page’s loading time to be under two seconds. This may increase your conversion rate to up to 15-20%, directly increasing your customer growth and wallet.
  2. Include Social Media Proof at every stage of the customer-building process with testimonials on your site (Home Page, Landing Page, Account Signup Page and Thank You Page). This “proof” will reassure people that your products/services are good, as well as encourage them to become customers. Use of logos of clients, media sources, customer statistics (including Social Media followers) and case studies are all ways to assure prospects of the validity of your marketing message.
  3. Implement “On Ramp Programs” in order to keep as many customers as possible. A New User Experience such as a guided navigation or “tour” of your website or Email Drip Campaigns, a series of scheduled emails, with a 3-1 ratio valuable content-to-other offerings. 
  4. Cut the clutter out of your Home Page. Because of the complexity of customer services, products and other calls-to-actions found on companies’ websites, by making your Home Page less complicated, you will quickly see much more growth. Take Groupon, for instance:Screen shot 2013-11-18 at 8.00.36 PMThey make their Home Page very easy for the user to navigate and sign up upon initially landing.
  5. Integrate and Optimize Your Product to build your user base exponentially faster than doing so from scratch. Pick a big platform (Apps, Social Media, etc) and integrate your offering into it. For instance, Spotify integrates its service through the Facebook News Feed. Screen shot 2013-11-18 at 7.33.12 PMAirbnb effectively integrates with Craigslist by allowing people to share an Airbnb listing, with no public Craigslist API! This quickly increased their visibility, and was a win-win for both sites. Check it out!Screen shot 2013-11-18 at 8.42.35 PMPretty cool huh?
  6. My personal favorite, Instigate Viral Loops. You will see ridiculous growth. Viral looping works like this:

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The idea is that 10 customers will bring in 10 more customers. That is the marketing power of the internet and social media today. The more customers you get, the more they bring in as new customers.

Growth doesn’t have to happen by paying for every customer you acquire. By using these ways to “hack growth”, you can substantially increase the profitability of your marketing efforts.

 

Facebook’s News Feed: Engaging or Not?

Think you’re popular on Facebook? Your Klout score is one way to measure your online influence on social media, however there is a mathematical tool that social media leader, Facebook, uses to sort posts in users’ News Feeds.

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Why do we care? 

Well, as marketing professionals are quickly realizing, a business’s engagement with customers on social media is vital to its success. So understanding how this “algorithm” works is important; that way you can ensure that your content is popping up on the right users’ News Feeds, so that you have optimal impact. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

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That’s right. Facebook’s users are spending 40% of their time on just the News Feed itself. 

How to improve your position on others’ News Feeds

Look back to the three variables that make up the algorithm shown above. The two that marketers need to focus on are:

  1. Affinity: a user’s past interaction with your company’s Facebook page, including clicks, likes and comments. Edgerank makes the assumption that if a user interacted in the past, and more recent the better, then they have an interest in your content and therefore your posts are more likely to show up on their News Feed. 
  2. Weight: an individual post’s priority, based on type. A post has a certain “hierarchy” of influence: pictures and videos are the most engaging, and therefore take a higher priority. Links, plain text and statuses are of lesser importance and will have less weight. A user’s interaction with posts also takes weight. Comments rank higher than likes. 

The last variable is Time Decay: This one you don’t have much influence over. It simply means that the longer a post has been active on Facebook, the lower in the News Feed it will be ranked. 

Relevancy also plays a HUGE part in this algorithm. As marketers we are all very aware of the importance of placing compelling content that is relevant to our prospects. Recently announced by Facebook here, organic posts on Facebook are now being scored based on how relevant it is to individual users. So the more relevant your message is to the user, the higher in rank it will appear on the News Feed. 

 

This seems like a “noImage-brainer” to me. In my experience on the internet, I am constantly being pushed unwanted content, whether in the form of advertisements or posts in my News Feed. This clutter has made me less engaged in Facebook as I was, say two years ago. This may also be due to more social media platforms to choose from today, but I also think it has a lot to do with a mass loss of interest in the content shown on the News Feed. Maybe this improvement in the content shown on the News Feed will increase Facebook’s relevance in users minds, and rank it higher as a social media network.

Thoughts?

Tell me what you think! 

The Value of Co-Creation

A recent article I read introduced me to the idea of greater value creation by businesses partnering with their customers called co-creation. According to the article, “co-creation adds a new dynamic to the producer/customer relationship by engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of value.” In the Internet age, with social media and other customer-relationship management platforms on the web, businesses are now able to listen directly to their customers needs and improve their products and services accordingly. This partnership, in essence, benefits both parties.

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Quirky Crowd Invention

One young man “distributed the power of influence” by asking the world to submit their new product ideas, and Quirky will select one and make it become a reality. Newly graduated from high school, he founded Quirky, an organization whose core relies on the idea of product co-creation. Watch this short video from Ben Kaufmen himself, explaining this concept.

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Here is Pivot Power, a bendable power strip that is the most successful Quirky products ever sold, with 495,436 sold from around the world.

Benefits of Co-Creation in New Product Development

  • Improves product quality
  • Reduces risks upon introduction into the market
  • Increased market acceptance
  • Relationship-building, customer engagement and satisfaction

Negatives:

  • Secrecy concerns
  • Information Overload
  • Production infeasibility
  • Increased customer expectation: This networked world increases customer expectation of company’s offerings.
  • The Crowd-sourcing effect: With increasing technological advances, the barriers that once existed that set professionals’ work apart from amateurs are being broken down. This is because of the networking power of people. It’s almost like outsourcing, except that the general public/businesses can now essentially “buy” cheap labor off of networks of “hobbyists” posting their work on public sites for near-to-no cost. This is severely decreasing professionals’ profits whose business relies on selling their work to other professionals/companies.

So, what do you think?

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SQUARE: The Newest Tech For Smart Phones

 

 

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In last week’s blog I wrote about how the rising dependence and relevance of smart phones is changing the face of advertising. But what’s also significant is how mobile devices and tablets are changing the face of commerce too.

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and chief executive officer of Square, a new technology that lets you accept credit cards with smart phones, has recently struck a deal with Starbucks, whom is now receiving over 1 million mobile payments per week now. Watch this quick video here with CNN, explaining the dynamic Starbucks Square partnership.

With the abundance of rewards gold card members at Starbucks, members can now pay for their coffee without pulling out their wallet. After ordering, they can simply open their Square App on their smart phone, click on Starbucks, scan the bar code on their phone with Starbuck’s scanner, and the transaction is done. No need to carry around the gold card anymore. This easy way of payment has been a huge success but it is not the only this that the Square App can do.

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Square enables a virtual exchange of cash and good, reinventing the way transactions are completed with ease. Small business owners are using the Square credit card reader to not only complete their transactions efficiently using a smart phone or tablet device but the Square Wallet to also track their merchant data. Friends and family are using the newly launched service called Square Cash to exchange money using the App or email. This eliminates the hassle of withdrawing exact cash to pay your friends and family back etc.

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I don’t know about you but this way of paying is much more appealing than always carrying around your wallet and having cash on me in case someone tries to pay for my lunch. Being fairly new concept, this weekend I downloaded the Square App on my iPhone and it sent me a free card reader in the mail! I am thoroughly impressed by it, this “digital wallet” is already becoming very useful for my lifestyle. But don’t take my word for it, give it a try.