Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Social Media Marketing: Time Trap or Opportunity Magnet?

LM Comment: Beware, this white paper is a marketing flyer for the associated conference. With that said, it contains some useful information.

March 24, 2009: summarized from PRWEB -- A surprising 64 percent of marketers are spending five or more hours weekly using social media sites like Twitter, found the just-released Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses.

"Social media marketing is an engagement with online communities to generate exposure, opportunity and sales," says report author Michael A. Stelzner, founder of WhitePaperSource, "and the real shocker is that experienced folks are investing more than 20 hours each week with social media."

Businesses of all sizes are leaping into the social media pool--and many are well-known brands. Computer giant Dell recently reported a million dollars in sales by issuing coupons on Twitter. Even Ford is using social media to interact directly with its customers.

However, for most marketing pros, social media marketing is a fresh new phenomenon--and it's not just for the young professional. Among the 880 marketers surveyed, 72 percent have been at it for only a few months, and the median age was 40 to 49. "This is a story nobody else is telling," explains Stelzner. "Most marketers know the future is social media, but they aren't sure how their competitors are playing the game."

The leading benefits experienced by social media marketers included:

#1: Generated exposure for the business (81%)
#2: Increased traffic and subscribers (61%)
#3: Established new business partnerships (56%)

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/ccbzbe

Download whitepaper from: http://www.whitepapersource.com/socialmediamarketing/report/

Why E-mail Matters More Than Ever

March 23, 2009: summarized from ClickZ -- Times are tough. Companies are cutting marketing budgets and staff; organizations are looking to do more sales with less upfront investment and fewer people. Recent statistics show that developing an effective e-mail marketing program is more important than ever. There are ways to make your e-mail marketing efforts a key part of weathering this storm.

Be Strategic
Batch-and-blast isn't an effective e-mail marketing strategy. Creating a sound plan for the channel is what will deliver results. Sending relevant e-mail missives, which requires segmenting your list and targeting content, is a key to success. Create relevance and readers will engage with you and be more likely to buy from you.

Be Tactical
Once your strategy is in place, you need to focus on the tactical. This includes frequency and creative execution (copy, design, layout, etc.). Key elements are the sender address, subject line, and snippet copy, along with the preview pane view of the e-mail. I've had some great results with clients, including significant lifts in conversions (leads or sales) as well as opens and clicks, from optimizing the tactical aspects of an e-mail.

Be Smart
Don't delegate your e-mail marketing efforts to a junior person with no e-mail experience and expect great results. Developing an effective e-mail marketing program requires specialized knowledge and skills.

Make Sure Your E-mail Is Delivered to the Inbox
Deliverability is critical to success in e-mail marketing. If some or all of your e-mail fails to reach the inbox, there's little chance those recipients will act on it. Working with a legitimate e-mail service provider (ESP) is one of the best ways to get good deliverability. Assuming your e-mail is making it to the inbox is a mistake. Being proactive will require some budget outlay, but it's well worth the cost.

Test, Test, Test
Designate between 10 and 20 percent of your overall marketing budget to testing. E-mail marketing lends itself to testing, because you can get good results in 24 to 72 hours. If your list is large enough, you can even do a pre-rollout send of test and control versions of your e-mail to a small portion of your list, then rollout to the entire list a few days later with the winner. Not every test will result in a lift in response. But even if you can improve performance only 1 or 2 percent with each test, you'll see your results gradually increase over time. Continually testing increases your odds of hitting the jackpot with a lift of 20 percent, 50 percent, or more.

E-mail is cost-effective and can return great results, but it takes some investment in time, money, and resources to get there. It's your best bet right now.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/c72sh4

Insisting On An iPhone App? Not So Fast

LM Comment: What you might want to consider before jumping into the iPhone craze.

March 27, 2009: summarized from AdAge.com -- As agencies herd their clients onto the iPhone-application bandwagon, brands are happy to climb onboard. After all, what marketer wouldn't salivate at the engagement prospects behind the 800 million games, utilities and entertainment downloaded from the App Store? And with handset makers Research In Motion and Nokia set to launch their own app storefronts in the coming weeks, app fever is sure to get more fuel. But the rush to apps has led to a backlash in some quarters, and a call for more measured thinking around branded apps.

There are reasons for marketers to exercise caution. For all the stellar numbers Apple publicizes, the data on iPhone-app usage suggest a dimmer reality. The average shelf life of an app is limited, with usage declining by almost a third in the first month after use, according to Pinch Media, which has studied iPhone-app usage based on 30 million downloads. By the company's estimate, only about 1% of downloads translate to long-term use -- not exactly welcome news for marketers looking to nurture relationships with consumers.

Plus, the App Store's growing popularity means marketers have to work harder to rise above the din. It's tough to be discovered among the growing array of apps and even harder to sustain a place among the most downloaded. An app needs momentum right out of the gate to ensure discovery. Getting a top ranking requires a lot of downloads in a narrow window that can be anywhere from 24 hours to five days, according to Pinch Media. Six months ago, 10,000 downloads earned a top-25 ranking; today it takes twice as many. (However, brands that reach top-100 rankings on average more than double their daily number of new users, according to Pinch Media.)

The success of the App Store has also focused marketers on the iPhone to the exclusion of other platforms. To be sure, iPhone users are engaged multimedia users, but published estimates put the number of iPhone users at less than 5% of the handset market, and mobile analyst Mark Lowenstein recently told a conference that the most successful apps reach just 20% of iPhone users. That's led some ardent app believers to advocate a broader approach.

Advances expected for the mobile web also have some wondering whether the app world is sustainable. Some say the limelight will return to the mobile web after the app craze levels off, particularly once its capabilities are on par with those of apps, with all their bells and whistles.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/crfyda

Online Casual Games Tops TV in Ad Effectiveness

LM Comment: Note the statistic that casual gamers spend an average of 44 minutes per session at multiple play sessions per week.

March 25, 2009: summarized from ADOTAS -- As marketers and advertisers decide on where to spend their money, they might want to check out the casual gaming industry. In some interesting preliminary data, advertising inside casual games prompted a 48 percent increase in brand awareness, with 61 percent increase in brand awareness with multiple game plays. (Recent studies show that television advertising provides a 9.8 percent brand uplift; Radio 8-10 percent uplift; and Banner CTR have declined to less than .20 percent.)

"If you are looking for engagement, efficiencies and high return on investment online video advertising in casual games delivers all three," said Ty Levine, NeoEdge VP of Marketing. "From the pre-survey to the actual Zappos advertising, we saw a 5x increase in unaided brand awareness where a game included a zappos.com ad in pre, mid and post-roll slots, and that's one brand immersion in the game."

Online casual games demographics include 70 percent female, between 25-54, who spend an average of 44 minutes per session and play multiple sessions each week.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cj3w5f