The End of DigiMark2.2

Digital Marketing has taught me a great deal about how marketing is incorporated on the Internet and the best methods for doing so to reach your target audience. I have learned about a variety of useful topics that I am sure will be helpful in my future career in marketing. From search engine optimization to mobile applications to content marketing. One of my favorite topics is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a natural way of attracting customers to your company through different methods including blogs, social media sites, videos, and so on. This concept seems to be incorporated into several of the other topics covered in this class which helped in understanding the whole idea.

HootSuite Certified Professional

Not only did I learn about many interesting topics, but I had the chance to have some hands-on experience with digital marketing. First, I received a basic understanding of coding through Code Academy. Coding is an essential skill to know, even as a marketer. To understand and be able to write basic codes makes it easier for marketing professionals to make quick changes and communicate efficiently with coders. Second, I become Hootsuite Certified. Hootsuite is a social media management site where you have the ability to access and manage all of your social platforms in one place. This saves marketers time and energy from signing in to each individual platform to update the site. Third, I had the chance to become certified for Google Analytics. This is a useful tool that enables you to track and analyze the effectiveness of your social networking sites and mobile applications. And finally, I learned how to write a blog and promote it in order to gain traffic.

Below is a snapshot of my stats for this blog. I had a word count of 7,297 words.

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EdgeRank – How to Reach your Audience

EdgeRank is an algorithm used for Facebook, deciding the order in which relevant content will appear on a user’s Newsfeed. So how does this algorithm determine which content is relevant to a specific user? There are three factors that play a role in this process: affinity, weight, and time decay.

  • Affinity is your relationship with users, meaning how often you interact with different users.
  • Weight is the amount of priority given to a certain type of post (status, link,  video, photo, etc.) and the interaction from other users (comments, likes, etc.).
  • Time decay is based on how old the post is. The older it is, the less likely it will be to show up in a user’s Newsfeed.

This is just a basic outline of how the EdgeRank algorithm works, it is a much deeper and more detailed process then I have explained. The most important aspect of this algorithm to keep in mind is that relevance is key. A user’s Newsfeed will be filled with content that they have interacted with in the past; whether that is a certain person or a certain post-type. Knowing this will aid businesses in increasing the reach of their posts.

Businesses need to remember that Facebook is a social network, a place where users go to communicate, share, and discover. For a business to improve their performance on Facebook, building relationships with your audience is essential. Engage users with interesting content that will encourage them to interact with it. Post regularly in order to maintain a presence, but  in a respectful and timely manner (don’t be annoying). By focusing on the three factors of affinity, weight, and time decay from the algorithm, it will increase the likelihood of your future content appearing in your audience’s Newsfeed. Market research, such as trial and error, is a great way to figure out what work best with your specific target audience. Try different post-types and different content to see which ones get the most interaction.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, wrote a negative post regarding the EdgeRank algorithm Facebook uses. He claims that Facebook is overcomplicating their social network by filtering the content that appears in user’s Newsfeed. That our Newsfeed does not need to be more engaging and efficient because it is simply a place where people go to kill time. Cuban wants to be able to reach his entire audience for his Mavericks page without having to try to fall within the parameters of the algorithm. Not only does it limit the reach of his post, but it confines businesses to using Sponsored Posts which can be costly. Cuban is not against Sponsored Posts, but he believes that they should be used to aid regular posts in improving their odds of reaching the audience.

Mark Cuban has a point. Facebook is a time killer for me and their is not necessarily a need for filtering content. Out of my 410 friends on Facebook, I probably only talk to 10 of those people. If something were to appear on my Newsfeed that I did not want to see, it is very easy to unlike or unfriend that page or person. However,  Cuban is bitter about the fact that he is no longer able to advertise for free on Facebook. Majority of the posts on the Maverick’s page include promotional content along with their game and player updates. Facebook users, myself included, do not want to be spammed. If I were to like the Maverick’s page, I would want to see updates about the team not constant advertising. Yes, I can easily unlike their page but then I would not be able to get updates. Facebook posts should be interesting and engaging for the users.

Co-Creation: Involving your Consumers

Co-creation is about involving consumers in the ideation phase of a new product or service. To contribute, evaluate, and refine concepts in order to enhance them. The value of co-creation is that it creates customer loyalty. Giving the opportunity to contribute to the process of creating a product or service aids in increasing product success because the ideas generated will have a higher reflection of consumer needs and wants. This also provides a competitive advantage for the company. The main purpose of co-creation is to improve product quality, reduce risk, and increase market acceptance.

The consumers that are typically willing to participate in co-creation include the following:

  • Innovators – early adopters
  • Lead users – reflects general needs of people in the future
  • Emergent consumers – applicable intuition and judgment
  • Market mavens – knowledgeable about products, places to shop, and etc.

There are several factors that play a role in why certain consumers are more willing to contribute to the process of co-creation which include financial rewards, social benefits, technical knowledge gain, and psychological factors. This being said, to encourage consumers to partake in co-creation it is best to increase the benefits it provides them. Another way to stimulate co-creation is to reduce the costs of participating, meaning time and effort, for the consumer.

A few factors that inhibit co-creation include the following:

  • Secrecy concerns – possibility of exposure to competitors
  • Ownership of intellectual property – who owns the idea? May create legal entanglements
  • Information overload – deciding which ideas are good and bad

Quirky and Kickstarter are examples of companies  participating in co-creation. Quirky is a place where people are able to submit their ideas for a new invention. A few hundred submissions are selected to be designed, and then a few products from those designs are actually built. Kickstarter is a place where people are able to vote for ideas with their money to become a “backer.” These backers are offered rewards, such a unreleased versions of the new product.

Mobile Payments: The Digital Wallet

This world is becoming more and more digital as we develop new technologies. We use our mobile devices to do basically everything, including making purchases.

Mobile payment is an alternative way to use a credit or debit card. It gives the user the ability to pay directly from their mobile device using an application that stores their account information for a particular card. There has never been a need for mobile payments, however it is convenient and fits in with the digital lifestyle that is becoming more prominent. It removes the concept of physical payments such as cards and cash, and creates a digital wallet. Currently, more than 20% of payments are being conducted using a mobile device.

There are different forms of mobile payments such as Google Wallet, LevelUp, and Square. Google Wallet uses a “tap and go” feature, in which the user simply taps their phone to the terminal after entering their pin number into their phone. For this transaction to take place, there needs to be a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip to communicate between the phone and the terminal. The users account information for any particular card is stored on the application. Google Wallet allows many different types of cards to be stored, including debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards. LevelUp, similar to Google Wallet, uses a QR code that is scanned by the business. This application is not only quick and easy for the consumer but it provides marketing data for the business. They are able to target the users for specials and get them to come back. Square is a mobile payment for the business side of things. It is a credit card processor that lets anyone accept credit card payments by using a card reader that attaches to the phone via the audio jack. The only problem with the first two mobile payment concepts, Google Wallet and LevelUp, is that for those to work the business needs to have the right equipment to accept those forms of payment.

Bitcoins

Bitcoin is a digital currency used to buy goods and services online. It is a way of eliminating the middle man, the bank. It decentralizes trust, there are no closing hours, there are no regulations, and it is difficult to counterfeit.

Bitcoins take mobile payments to a whole new level, and seems a little futuristic.

To be able to access everything and anything from your mobile device is convenient; to have everything in one place makes life easier. From accessing your calendar, communicating with people, checking the news, storing files, making purchases, and keeping track of your money. This shows just how digital our lives are becoming.

Mobile Websites and Applications

Most of society, including myself, keep our phones within reaching distance of ourselves throughout the day. It is not only a quick and easy way to communicate with our friends and family, but it also provides an instant and endless supply of content including information, news, and entertainment. Based on research conducted by Performics and ROI Research, people except to be able to use their mobile devices for the following:

  • Banking
  • Order food
  • Make a restaurant reservation
  • Check public transportation schedules
  • Book travel and check-in for travel
  • Make a doctor’s appointment

So what does this mean for companies?

Companies need to be easily accessible on mobile devices. Applications and mobile websites are both useful functions in reaching your audience. Apps are typically used for better navigation in which they provide more engagement, functionality, and faster service. Websites are used for searching and quickly finding information. It is important to note that it is not enough to just have a standard website; it is important to develop a specific mobile website. Standard websites are not as compatible with mobile devices, given that they are set up for use on a bigger screen. Creating a mobile site that is simple to navigate and gives quality experience to the user is a way to optimize your digital presence. The design of the application and mobile website are important. Using the fact that mobile devices have a smaller screen is a great way to highlight and focus on what features are the most important for your users.

With a mobile device, it is important to engage the users with participation. The Starbucks app is the perfect example of this with their reward system, or better known as their Gold Card. Users are able to keep track of their card balance, easily reload their card with a touch of a button, gain stars with every purchase, and quickly find the nearest Starbucks location. This app is engaging, informative, and rewarding. As you make a purchase, you can watch as a star appears; meaning you are that much closer to earning a free drink! The features on this app gets users to buy more because you look forward to earning another star.

Personally, I am a frequent user of the Starbucks app. With my debit card already entered into the application, I simply push the reload button and type in my password to transfer more money to my card. This is convenient for me as a customer (and frankly kind of dangerous for my bank account), and beneficial for increasing sales at Starbucks.

The Usefulness of Database Marketing

Database marketing is the process of gathering, identifying, and analyzing significant consumer information (both for customers and potential customers) from all sources in order to drive strategic marketing and sales decisions. Information may include name, address, transaction history, and so forth which is stored in the company’s databases.

In the article ‘An Introduction to Database Marketing,’ it provides four reasons why a company should use database marketing.

  1. To improve profitability
  2. To increase sales
  3. To improve communication with your audience
  4. To improve product development

With databases you have the ability to learn many insights about your customers, which makes it possible to effectively select a target audience and allocate resources. Furthermore, you are able to compare customers’ value to the company and specialize offers for customers. Overall, databases are quite useful in improving efficiency. From predicting if a woman is pregnant to predicting the next big Hollywood blockbuster.

After reading a few articles about how companies are using their data to better their marketing strategies, I feel as if with enough analyzing that the possibilities are endless (of course, I’m sure there is some limitations).

Target. Andrew Pole was working as a statistician at Target when he created the pregnancy-prediction model. It is a model that is based upon the buying habits of woman that can determine if a woman is pregnant. With this information, Target can send those pregnant woman ads for baby supplies in the hopes to gain more loyal customers.

Orbitz. This online site has the ability to determine what type of computer operating system a customer is using and will display hotels based upon whether it is a PC or a Mac computer. Higher priced hotels are placed higher in the results for a Mac user because based on their data, Mac users typically spend 30% more a night on hotels.

Starbucks. Huge amounts of data are provided with their loyalty cards that they are still unsure exactly what to do with yet. Although, they do use card information to send out offers to their customers based on purchasing behavior.

Hollywood blockbusters. With databases, the movie industry is able to predict whether a movie would be profitable based on different variables including genre, rating, cast and release date. To do this, they are analyzing past data patterns and current data patterns that are readily available, and then improving the business performance based on those results.

SQL + Marketing = Efficiency

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the language used to communicate with databases in order to access and manipulate the data.

With the knowledge of SQL, marketers no longer have the need to rely on developers to help them with this process of extracting and manipulating the databases. It essentially speeds up the process at which the marketers can learn and execute marketing strategies since they are able to handle every aspect with little to no assistance. Marketers are able to devise, develop, launch, and analyze their marketing campaigns.

It is becoming more important for marketers to have both a breadth and depth of skills, especially technical skills, because employers are looking for well-rounded people. For a marketer to not only understand what needs to be done, but to also be able to implement these actions themselves is ideal. They want someone who will be able to handle situations on their own. To the employer that means hiring one less person, saving the company money.

Barnes & Noble is currently looking for someone to fill their “Analyst, Database Marketing-SQL” position at their New York office.

The responsibilities of this job include the following:

  • Identify and execute new programming and marketing opportunities, based on customer behaviors and attributes.
  • Develop new email programming based on customers activity or inactivity.
  • Analyze email and direct marketing campaigns, and suggest strategies to improve performance.
  • Assist in design, development, and execution of periodic and ad-hoc reporting.

As you can see, the responsibilities included pertain to both marketing and technical skills. This job entails being able to fully understand and strategize how to market to your audience and also being able to write the SQL statements in order to obtain the necessary data to do that.

This is important for their business because they want fast results. Not having to rely on a developer to get the SQL statements done saves hours and possibly even days; valuable time that the marketer can be using to work on marketing strategies. Speed is important in a growing business; to be able to keep up with your consumers and your competition.