Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Facebook Marketing: Consumers As Friends

LM Comment: A great summary of how brands should be thinking about Facebook.

October 9, 2009: summarized from MediaPost -- As Facebook passes 300 million active users, it is quickly becoming the favorite engagement-marketing and communications platform of brands. On Facebook, consumers and brands are friends. The notion of consumers as friends is inviting to brands, yet most marketers are still somewhat unclear what this really means and how they should approach this friendship. The simple truth is that a successful friendship takes work; it takes investment from both parties, and just as in real life, friendships on Facebook are cultivated through experience over time. For brand marketers, this equates to: (I) listening to and understanding consumers' wants and needs; (II) creating experiences that consumers actually want to engage with; and (III) making sure to communicate consumer-centric value to consumers on a regular basis.

(I) What does it mean for brand marketers to listen to and understand consumers within Facebook? Listening to what's on consumers' minds, entering into meaningful dialogue, and making consumers feel valued. Tactical examples are:

a. Analyzing consumer comments against posts made by the brand via the fan page wall.
b. Entering into brand product or service-related discussions.
c. Taking consumers' pulse through polls and acting on the data being gathered.

(II) What types of experiences do consumers want to engage with on Facebook and how should such experiences be executed? Experiences that entertain, giving consumers the opportunity for fame and winning prizes, and providing tangible value work best when executed directly into the brand's fan page to provide a seamless flow for consumers within the branded environment. Tactical examples are:

a. Entertainment: collaborative games and branded content experiences.
b. Interactive promotions: contests, sweepstakes, competitions, and reward-driven games.
c. Value-driven: activities focused around the value provided by the brand's product or service and branded virtual gifts.

(III) What is a consumer-centric communication strategy and how often should it be executed on Facebook? A strategy that focuses on only communicating items that are relevant and actionable. Brand marketers should not communicate with consumers just for the sake of communicating -- communication needs to be genuine and planned out in timely intervals to touch on general brand marketing efforts. Tactical examples are:

a. Dialogue focused on engaged consumers
b. Two-way discussions revolving around brand features and benefits
c. Announcements of events, sales, giveaways, promotions, and the like

In the end, it all comes back to doing as one would in real-life friendships -- listening and understanding each other, engaging in fun experiences together, and making sure to keep communication relevant for both parties. Friendships are two-way streets. A brand is more likely to get what it wants by creating an environment wherein consumers are valued and receive value. By cultivating friendships, brand marketers can turn consumers into brand evangelists in any social channel.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/2hWCzG

Foxwoods Offers Its Own iPhone Application

October 14, 2009: summarized from The Hartford Courant -- Early this year, casinos discovered that Apple's iPhone could be a liability: In February, Nevada gambling regulators warned that one iPhone application could help blackjack players count cards.

Whatever the Apple smartphone's risks, Foxwoods Resort Casino has decided that it offers benefits, too — namely, a way to reach people and offer some mock gambling.

Foxwoods' free app, which must be downloaded through Apple's iTunes program, lets users play an electronic slot machine and offers tutorials on table games available at the casino. There's no actual money involved.

The app serves primarily as a marketing vehicle, one that offers virtual tours of the casino property, for example, and gives users access to a telephone hot line for making inquiries and reservations.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/4iKTVN

Why Email No Longer Rules…

October 12, 2009: summarized from Wall Street Journal -- Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over.

In its place, a new generation of services is starting to take hold—services like Twitter and Facebook and countless others vying for a piece of the new world. And just as email did more than a decade ago, this shift promises to profoundly rewrite the way we communicate—in ways we can only begin to imagine.

We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.

Why wait for a response to an email when you get a quicker answer over instant messaging? Thanks to Facebook, some questions can be answered without asking them. You don't need to ask a friend whether she has left work, if she has updated her public "status" on the site telling the world so. Email, stuck in the era of attachments, seems boring compared to services like Google Wave, currently in test phase, which allows users to share photos by dragging and dropping them from a desktop into a Wave, and to enter comments in near real time.

Years ago, we were frustrated if it took a few days for a letter to arrive. A couple of years ago, we'd complain about a half-hour delay in getting an email. Today, we gripe about it taking an extra few seconds for a text message to go through. In a few months, we may be complaining that our cellphones aren't automatically able to send messages to friends within a certain distance, letting them know we're nearby. (A number of services already do this.)

But the speed and ease of communication cut both ways. While making communication more frequent, they can also make it less personal and intimate. Communicating is becoming so easy that the recipient knows how little time and thought was required of the sender. Yes, your half-dozen closest friends can read your vacation updates. But so can your 500 other "friends." And if you know all these people are reading your updates, you might say a lot less than you would otherwise.

On Facebook, you can choose to see updates only from certain people you add to certain lists. Twitter users have adopted the trend of "tagging" their tweets by topic. So people tweeting about a company may follow their tweet with the # symbol and the company name. A number of software programs filter Tweets by these tags, making it easier to follow a topic.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/Ckf2o

Coupons Via Cellphone: Whipping Up the Impulse Buy

October 15, 2009: summarized from cnbc.com -- To date, the concept of receiving coupons on your cell phone has been more theory than practice. This is despite a resurgence in coupon use and an increasing dependence on cell phones.

But with the focus on mobile coupons as a marketing tool on the rise, is the industry heading to an inflection point? A new Harris interactive survey, released today, suggests a significant number of consumers would like to receive advertising on their cell phones that they have requested, based on their location.

“Opt-in mobile marketing has an enormous potential if done responsibly and is specifically focused on the stores/restaurants that matter to each consumer,” said Alistair Goodman, CEO of 1020 Placecast.

These findings are important to 1020 Placecast as the company has designed a system to use digital marketing on the Web and mobile devices in an attempt to drive consumers to go to specific locations.

Using their systems, a restaurant or retailer can send an alert to a customer’s phone whenever the person is nearing its location.

This type of technology is even more impressive when one considers how many purchases consumers make on the fly. Even in this age of careful spending 9-in-10 Americans have made an impulse purchase when they were out shopping in a store based on a sale or a special that was going on around where they were, according to the Harris survey.

Among adults who own a cell phone, nearly a quarter — some 22 percent — make this type of purchase at least once per week or more often. And, if you slice the data even thinner, you will see 27 percent of the women ages 18 to 44 will make an impulse purchase once a week, however, 31 percent of men in this age group make impulse buys.

Of course, the company’s model is only one way marketers are attempting to penetrate the mobile coupon market.

Leading online coupon distributor Coupons.com, recently entered the fray. The company has developed applications for the Apple’s iPhone and other devices to help consumers sort through coupons and pair them with their grocery lists.

In addition, Coupons.com is trying out a system that allows shoppers to browse through coupon offerings at its Web site, then load the offers on to a key tag. Once at the store, shoppers can wave their key tags over the scanner during checkout in order to get the credit.

Both companies caution this is still early days for these technologies. However, with the number of smartphone users on the rise, coupled with the yet untapped interest, there may be significant opportunities for a technology that is simple enough for consumers to understand and appreciate.

Still, at this time, the reality is there is still more buzz about mobile coupons than people actually using these offers. But as retailers look to hone in on how they can improve relationships with their customers it seems the demand for this type of service is there.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/3S1Ps4

Research Report: Think Entertainment - Social Gaming

LM Comment: A good report on where Internet/social media is heading.

- Daily Active Users (DAU) for the top 10 social gaming companies has increased more than 5X over the last six months, driven by the viral nature of these games, aggressive marketing campaigns by a few gaming companies, and emergence of a few new genres of games, most notably Farm and Aquarium games.

- The popularity of gaming on social networks is evident from the fact that 20
of the top 25 applications on Facebook are games compared with 16 of the
top 50 applications six months ago.

- There is a clear pick up in indirect pay, i.e., users paying for the virtual
currency by opting for advertisers' offers (lead generation for marketers suchas Netflix, Blockbuster, etc.) or taking online surveys.

Social Gaming

Growth of Rio’s Social Community On Twitter Awards Up To 500 Followers

LM Comment: Definitely one of the more proactive twitter campaigns that we've seen in the gaming industry.

October 15, 2009: summarized from Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino -- Starting October 15, Rio is giving away a plethora of prizes to its Twitter followers, with one lucky winner receiving a VIP New Year’s weekend package.

Designed to communicate and connect, Rio’s new social networking campaign kicks off with a promotion awarding up to 500 two-night hotel packages to lucky followers who include #riovegas in their tweets. With a goal of 20,000 followers by December 4, the promotion will reward existing fans as well as encourage new followers as more prizes are awarded as follower numbers grow.

Up to 500 followers will win a two-night stay at Rio (subject to blackout dates and availability), with prizes awarded periodically as the follower count of @riovegas grows. If the follower count hits 20,000 by December 4, 2009, a grand prize VIP Rio New Year’s package will be awarded to one lucky follower. The grand prize package includes a four-night stay including airfare credit for two people ($500/person), limo transportation to and from McCarran airport, two tickets to Penn & Teller, dinner for two at the rooftop Voodoo Steak and admission to Voodoo Lounge with bottle service on New Year’s Eve, admission for two to the Chocolate Lounge at the Rio Wine Cellar, plus additional dining and spa credits.

For a complete list of contest rules and regulations, visit www.riolvsocial.com.

Social media savvy consumers can stay on top of the Rio’s happenings at www.riolvsocial.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/riovegas and on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/riovegas.