Tag Archives: social media

Marketers Value Social Media for Both Branding and Customer Acquisition

A study by Wildfire Interactive found that social media tracking and measurement tools help companies determine benefits and value as well as promote client retention.

As marketers include social media as part of their overall strategy, 97% agree that it provides benefits and value to their business.

In a survey of more than 700 marketers worldwide, 88% of respondents told Wildfire Interactive, a social media marketing software company, that social media helps grow brand awareness. Social media also benefited marketers by allowing them to engage in dialogue (85%) and increase sales and partnerships (58%). An additional 41% of marketers said it helped reduce costs.

Charles Schwab is one company that sees the benefits of engaging in dialogue with customers via social media.

“It has opened up this whole public communications channel, where we can get great feedback,” said Lindsay Tiles, director of corporate public relations at Charles Schwab, in a December 2011 interview with eMarketer. “We’re trying to get people out of the mindset that social media is just for pushing your messages out. It is about communicating, but it’s also about listening.”

While marketers look at the overall benefits of social media, they are also drilling deeper to determine the value of Facebook fans in particular. Among respondents to Wildfire’s survey, 44% said Facebook fans are valuable because they help with new customer recruitment. Additionally, 18% said Facebook fans have higher conversion rates and another 18% noted that they make more frequent purchases.

While these softer metrics are proving valuable for marketers, there is still room to prove solid return on investment and other business results. Of those surveyed, 24% said they measure the ROI of social media by looking at increases in revenue. Additionally, 38% said they count increased “likes,” comments and interactions on Facebook.

Marketers know how social media can influence and add value to a company, but by bringing these specific metrics and benefits to the forefront, they will be better able to prove the importance of this channel going forward.

Original Article

Checking In Is the Least Popular Smartphone Activity [STUDY]

Checking in to locations with geosocial services like Foursquare is the least popular activity among smartphone users, finds a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.

While more than half of the smartphone owners in the survey of 2,277 adults report accessing social networks, sending photos and viewing email, just 12% of smartphone owners say they use checkin services.

Geotagging updates to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are also fairly uncommon. Just 9% of Internet users and 14% of social media users say they include their location with their social posts.

Smartphone users are much more likely to find directions or search for recommendations, with 55% of respondents saying they use similar services.

The relatively shallow market penetration of checkin services is not surprising. In November, Pew released survey results showing 4% of online adults use location-based services and only 1% use these services on a given day.

Even though the new study focused exclusively on mobile checkins, as opposed to including online checkins that may occur without a mobile device, the percentage of users didn’t jump. Five percent of mobile owners (including smartphone owners) say they check in.

Checkin services are not mainstream, but does that make them all hype? Or could there be a twist — like location-based gaming — that could win them a spot on the average smartphone?


Predictions for “Interactive Marketing”

Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of articles detailing the spending forecasts of individual marketing sectors, and whether spending in each respective sector is expected to increase, decrease or stay the same in the next 5-10 years.

However, I just read a study from Forrester Research that put the predictions in a different light. It forecasted the total combined spending of all these different marketing sectors. Forrester calls it “Interactive Marketing”—the combination of search marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing, e-mail marketing and social media.  It emphasizes the idea we have been focusing on – the importance of incorporating all elements into a business’ marketing mix, not just one.

The study predicts Interactive Marketing spend to reach nearly $77 billion by 2016—just as much as television ad spend is today. This is huge.

It’s been fun following the transformation of marketing in the past decade. Seeing the total interactive marketing spend shift from solely traditional channels to online channels, mobile channels, alongside traditional channels really legitimizes the growth that interactive media has gained in such a short amount of time.

It’s important to pay attention to these kinds of forecasts to see the direction marketing is heading in the future so businesses can plan their budgets accordingly. Marketers can no longer ignore the changing marketing budgets or eliminate a particular marketing tool right off the bat just because they’re hesitant to change the way they’ve always operated and delve into something new and unfamiliar.

Interactive Marketing has proven itself now. It isn’t just about the television and print ads anymore. Yes, they’re still going strong, but with the emerging importance of customer loyalty and new mobile and social technologies playing a huge role in marketing efforts today, we can see how integrating different media into a marketing mix can significantly contribute to a business’ success.


Retailers Place Hopeful Bets on Social Marketing

According to survey data from Forrester Research Inc. and Shop.org, retailers will spend more this year on Facebook and other social networks.

Nearly three-quarters, or 72%, of retailers plan to spend more on marketing via social networks this year than in 2010, according to survey data from Forrester Research Inc. and Shop.org. Only search marketing—this includes paid search and search engine optimization for natural search—beat out social networks for anticipated increases in marketing spend in 2011. 75% of retailers plan to spend more this year on search marketing.

The results come from the annual State of Retailing Online survey  conducted by Forrester Research Inc. for Shop.org, the online retail division of the industry trade group National Retail Federation. The first wave of the two-part report, released today, is based on a survey conducted in March and focuses on marketing, social networks and mobile commerce. The second section of the report will cover other aspects of online retailing and be released in the second half of this year.

The survey, conducted in March, includes responses from 68 e-retailers, including web-only retailers, multichannel retailers and manufacturers who sell online to consumers. Survey respondents reported a 40% average increase in 2010 web sales compared with sales in 2009—a hike skewed upward by a 79% increase among the manufacturers in the survey. (The 40% increase compares to 2010 online retail sales increases of 11% reported by Forrester, 14.8% by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and 9.8% by comScore Inc.)

Despite the anticipated spending increases, social networks account for only a small part of marketing budgets—2% of the $5.5 million average marketing budget among the retailers responding to the survey. And only 29% of respondents say social marketing has helped grow their businesses.

Still, 18% of respondents say that a social network presence was among their top sources for acquiring new customers—tying social networks with e-mail marketing for fourth place among customer-acquisition techniques. Search engine marketing led that list with 90% of respondents, followed by affiliate marketing with 49% and organic traffic at 44%.

When asked about their attitudes toward the value of marketing through social networks, the largest group of respondents, or 82%, say they are pursuing social marketing strategies because “this is a great time to experiment and learn more about what they can do.” The next-largest group, 62%, say the returns on social marketing are unclear; and the third-largest group, 61%, say the primary benefit of social marketing is “listening to and better understanding our customers.”

When asked specifically about the benefits of marketing through the Facebook social network, brand building is cited by 40% of respondents; listening to customers, 37%; getting new fans or Likes, 16%; building the lifetime value of existing customers, 6%, and customer acquisition, 1%.

Original article found at: http://www.internetretailer.com/2011/05/03/retailers-place-hopeful-bets-social-marketing

Loyalty, Social Emerging Mobile Opportunities for Retailers

Retailers are adopting mobile strategies that go beyond simply trying to drive mobile commerce, with loyalty, engagement and relationship building a significant focus for many.

While driving transactions is an important goal of mobile marketing, the fact that consumers carry around mobile devices all the time and, increasingly, these devices offering immersive media experiences, makes them important marketing tools. Executives from several retailers and brands offering products and services to consumers who spoke last week at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2011 conference May 12 in New York provided important insight into how brands are using mobile to connect with consumers.

“Mobile is really the ultimate connector for us,” said Dan Fine, director of digital experience at Target, Minneapolis, MN, at the conference organized by Mobile Commerce Daily. “If you think about the mobile device, it’s about being wherever your consumer is and that becomes connected – and that is really powerful.”

Target is using mobile to help make it easy for consumers to get done what they need to get done, Mr. Fine said.

HSN’s overall mobile marketing strategy is driven by the fact that mobile devices are highly personalized, per Ed Deutscher, director of technology at HSN.com, during a presentation at the conference.

Mr. Deutscher pointed to HSN’s extensive use of video in mobile and how this has helped make mobile the brand’s fastest growing channel. The HSN iPad application, for example, enables users to watch live streaming video, 15 channels of category specific content as well as create their own customized channels.

“We’re looking for ways to engage with consumers via mobile and providing the HSN experience wherever they want,” he said.

“We want to use our mobile apps as an engagement tool but, if at the end of the day, consumers are compelled to buy, that’s great.”

Mobile integrates with loyalty
Going forward, St. Petersburg, FL-based HSN is looking to social media to help it enhance its efforts to drive engagement and customer activation in mobile.

“We truly believe there is an opportunity in mobile for us to find ways to group customers into affinity groups where they can take advantage of sharing content such as product information and reviews,” Mr. Deutscher said.

Sunkist’s Daily Diet app.

Los Angeles-based citrus cooperative  Sunkist doesn’t expect to get into mobile commerce any time soon because of the medium’s limitations when it comes to delivering the tactile experience that consumers look for when they are buying citrus fruits.

However, Sunkist does have an active mobile program that focuses on building loyalty, engagement and awareness.

Sunkist is using mobile to help educate consumers about the many uses of citrus fruit. This includes providing education, usage tips and nutrition information via SMS, a daily diet app and a mobile Web site. The brand promotes the program in-store on its fruit display units.

Education tool
“We are trying to teach people to let them know that there are a ton of uses for lemons,” said Julie DeWolf, director of retail marketing at Sunkist.

Loyalty and building new relationships are also key elements in restaurant chain Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s mobile strategy.

The chain has a partnership with Foursquare to help it build relationships with regular customers by offering rewards based on how many times they visit a specific location.

“For customers who are coming in two or three times a week, the manager should know them and our program with Foursquare helps because it is a conversation starter,” said Jamie Miller, brand marketing manager of Carrabba’s Italian Grill, during the Mcommerce Summit.

The chain also uses SMS to help it build engagement by sending messages that ask customers questions such as what they want to see at the restaurant and their favorite dishes.

In addition, Carrabba’s is using its loyalty program to engage with customers and tell them what is happening in the mobile space.

Tampa, FL-based Carrabba’s is also looking for more ways to bring together its loyalty and mobile efforts.

“The next logical step for us is to involve more CRM and integrate with the needs of consumers in the mobile space,” Mr. Miller said. “We’re already doing a excellent job of this in the online space, but evolving it for the mobile space is the next logical step.”

Original article found at: http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2011/05/16/mobile-important-engagement-tool-for-retail-brands

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