By Grace Bello
Posted: Apr 7, 2011 12:00am ET
While most companies task their interns with writing their social media messages, EXPRESS CMO Lisa Gavales does a majority of it herself. From our 2011 ANA Brand Conference presented by The New York Times on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, watch Gavales explain how her brand stays ahead of the curve, goes where its consumers are, and listens to its customers via Twitter and Facebook.
Special thanks to Scribe Media for producing this video.
By Grace Bello
Posted: Mar 28, 2011 9:00am ET
A recent Mashable article noted the difficulty in monetizing social media. Specifically, "Cox Media group digital posted an opening Wednesday for a 'Social Monetization Manager (SMM) someone who will focus on a strategy and implementation that will drive revenue to the company's 100+ TV, radio, and newspaper properties."
Meanwhile, we have seen several case studies in which a brand not only got the word out via social media but turned a profit.
Take the New York Jets, for example. Their Ultimate Fan Facebook app, launched in September 2010, "was the first revenue-generating Facebook app to be backed by an NFL team." How does the app work? Facebook fans playing the game can buy gifts with credits and specifically in this case, the Jets leveraged Facebook to capitalize on fans' passion for the team and willingness to share that fervor.
Another company, PETCO, "sent out a promo code to their customers on social media for $40 in free shipping. The person who shared their code with the most people won a $500 PETCO gift card. Forty percent of the sales that resulted from this push came from new customers." For PETCO's customers, saving a few bucks drove them to connect with the larger pet owner community and spread the word about this store.
Conclusion? Yes, you can monetize social media. In order to do so, you will need a deep understanding of your audience, a creative vision, and a way to measure results in order to execute a successful campaign.
Want more information on using social media to raise profits? Snag some tips from our Marketing Knowledge Center.
Posted: Mar 18, 2011 12:00am ET
It seems app developers big and small would rather hitchhike and sleep in a tent rather than miss the opportunity to debut their app at the interactive portion of the South by Southwest conference (SXSWi), which finished up last week. Why do you think that is?
My guess is it's because SXSWi is the hottest place to launch your brainchild. The conference combines music, film, and "emerging technologies" to young professionals. The festivities show that, in a certain sense, their lives truly focus on what's in their mobile device, and not the other way around. (And let's not kid ourselves; it's most likely an iPhone 4, right?) Everything they need to know or understand is in palm of their hand, literally.
These kids know how to play; their devices have the music they jam to, Angry Birds for the train ride home, their work and personal e-mail, their texts and photos from their night of barhopping last week, and let us not forget, Foursquare to show where they are right now: the coolest conference on the planet.
That all said, it shouldn't be a surprise that entrepreneurs presented a bunch of new, social, Foursquare-esque apps. These visionaries hope to enrich the lives of the next generation of marketing professionals while they enjoy the music, movies, and general tech-mayhem of the event. My favorite is Beluga because of its amazing map view, the ability to see where your friends are all at once, and best of all, group messaging. Now you can create your cliques in the palm of your hand while you enjoy the big event together. In fact, the word "click" takes on a whole new meaning, does it not?
Did you attend SXSWi? What new apps have you heard of or seen that you think will change the social media landscape?
By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 12:00am ET
The Social Network, nominated for eight different categories at the Oscars on Sunday evening, details the birth of one of the major social media phenomena--Facebook. So obviously it makes perfect sense that advertisers are taking the social media aspect into consideration when creating their ads for Oscar Night. Let's be honest, we all know that people are not solely glued to their television set anymore--instead people have their laptop in front of them, their smart phone next to them, and their iPad in the next room. And as people are watching the Oscars unfold, they are talking to their friends on Twitter and Facebook and are most likely checking into their spot for the evening on Foursquare.
What better way to get people engaged with your brand then to build in a social aspect into your ad, driving them to your website to sign-up for a deal or pushing the conversation to the brand's Facebook page? Watching the Oscars on Sunday evening has become a social event, where people talk about the fashion and what movie won which award. It seems to me, that now people will also be talking about the commercials--what a great added value for advertisers! What social media platform will you be using on Oscar night?
By Susan Burke
Posted: Feb 23, 2011 12:00am ET
The blog "All Things Digital" reported on February 17, 2011 that the social gaming company, Zynga, which publishes some of Facebook's most popular games, including Farmville, Texas HoldEm Poker, and Mafia Wars, recently announced that its revenue, as a result of sales of virtual goods and advertising, is close to $1 billion annually. According to eMarketer, in 2010, companies saw $826 million in revenue from social games. By 2014, this will grow to $1,526 billion, a 17% increase in growth. And it's not just nerdy teenage boys who are playing these games either. Fifty-three percent of social gamers are now women, also according to eMarketer. (Please click here to view the full eMarketer presentation on the ANA's Marketing Knowledge Center.) These staggering numbers demonstrate what a big business social gaming is becoming.
Where did this boom in social gaming come from? And, are advertisers prepared to start interacting with users through this new touch point? The National Football League, the U.S. Army, American Family Insurance, and Dove have already started doing so. Like mobile, it seems as if gaming is quickly becoming part of today's digital media mix. How are you incorporating gaming into your media planning?
To learn more about gaming, please visit www.ana.net/InsightBriefs to view some of the ANA's best resources on this topic.
By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 12:00am ET
AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, U.S. Airways, and Virgin America will be offering complimentary access to Facebook for the month of February. Flyers can access Facebook courtesy of Ford on any flight that has Gogo Inflight Internet.
How does it work? Once the pilot makes the announcement that personal electronic devices and laptops can be turned on, flyers will be able to get on the Gogo Wi-Fi network. From the Wi-Fi network, flyers can click on the sponsored Ford/Facebook banner and be directed to their Facebook page. The service will only be free for the month of February and will only allow people to access Facebook. Should you feel the itch to check your email, or visit Twitter, you will have to pay $4.95.
After February, do you think you would spend the money to access Facebook, your email, or your favorite blog?
By Duke Fanelli
Posted: Jan 28, 2011 12:00am ET
So, I was thinking the other day about the people I have invited to my upcoming Super Bowl party. It's going to be quite the event! As in years past, I put out the call, and there was no shortage of takers. Then it hit me, I had forgotten to invite my close friends and family. Knowing I had no more room indoors, I quickly found a solution: set up a 60-inch plasma TV on the patio, get a Port-O-John and invite this very special group of friends to almost join the festivities. This would be my way of thanking those that have stood by me in good times and bad. Of course, there would be limits to my largess. None of my "outdoor" guests would be allowed to come inside, and I'd close the curtains and lower the blinds so my "indoor" guests wouldn't be gawked at or disturbed. Oh Yeah, and, since I need to make a loan payment, I'm going to charge each of my good friends $200 as they walk in the door-or in their case, the back yard gate.
In my mind, that's sort of the plan at Cowboy's Stadium for Super Bowl XLV. They are going to take their best and most loyal customers-season ticketholders-and offer them a chance to watch the game outside the very stadium where they would normally be warming a seat. That seems wrong on so many levels.
The goal is reportedly to sell about 12,000 "party plaza" tickets ($2.4 million worth of bring your own lawn chair seating). So, it seems the question now is, whether attending an event where you can hear the distant roar of the crowd, the muffled voice of an announcer, and the distant sound of the Black Eyed Peas the next great marketing opportunity? Clearly, the sponsorship opportunities are limitless. Have we uncovered, or maybe created, a new consumer segment that is satisfied, no actually happy, and willing to pay, to almost make it through the turnstile? Imagine the excitement when this group of 12,000 arrive at their respective workplaces on Monday, February 7, and announce to their coworkers, "I was almost at the Super Bowl". What do you think? Is this an opportunity, a publicity stunt, or a way to help pay for the stadium?
By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Jan 21, 2011 12:00am ET
Let me answer that question for you, "you should be thinking mobile" and here's why. Just this week Starbucks announced that iPhone and Blackberry owners can pay for their purchases via an app. The app works just like the Starbucks card—it will display a barcode and the barista can scan this barcode from your mobile device to pay for your purchase. You cannot pay with a credit card via the app, instead you need to manage the balance of your Starbucks card by adding funds from a credit card online.
Another retailer thinking mobile: Target. Target made life a little simpler with their app—the mobile gift card program. How many times have you forgotten the gift card at home that Aunt Sue gave you for your birthday? Now you no longer need to grab that extra piece of plastic before walking out the door. The app allows you to turn your gift card into a digital barcode on your cell phone (just don't leave home without your cell).
Retailers aren't the only ones showing mobile some love. Online auction mogul, eBay says that "nearly $2 billion" in merchandise transactions took place via mobile devices. The eBay app not only allows you to buy and sell items on eBay, but now you can scan a bar code of an item in a retail store to see how much you can buy it for on eBay.
Can your business benefit from creating an app for smart phones? Of course it depends on your business model, but it seems mobile is the wave of the future!
By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Jan 6, 2011 12:00am ET
Social gaming is the talk of the town, with games like Farmville and Cityville becoming extremely popular on Facebook. According to an online article from Inside Social Games, "Cityville became the largest single app ever on the Facebook platform, with 84.2 million monthly active users." The social gaming concept is changing how people socialize with their friends in the social media space. Do you think social gaming is the next big thing in the online space?
People seem to think so, and businesses are starting to notice. Take McDonald's for example; in Sweden they brought the concept of gaming to a billboard advertisement. The concept: create a videogame that engaged customers walking on the street. McDonald's hired a company to create a videogame that employed McDonald's items like french fries, ice cream sundaes, burgers, and cups of coffee to dance across the digital screen. The advertisement went on to ask people to snap a picture with their cell phone of a menu item, bring into the local McDonald's and get that item for free.
For the duration of the ad, about 300 people brought in images to the local McDonald's. Although they were hoping to engage more people, the concept was picked up all over the Internet and tons of people were talking about it. The gaming advertisement experience was a hit, where else, but online!
By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Dec 17, 2010 12:00am ET
Foursquare was based off of the concept of bringing the element of gaming to real-life. But, how does this work for businesses and marketers?
First of all, it puts your business on the map. Local businesses can offer sales and special rates to customers in their area on a whim—with the simple click of a button. Picture this, you own a local bakery, and have way too many pastries left over as it is nearing the closing hour. Instead of throwing out the pastries, you can run an advertisement on Foursquare for half-priced treats and any of your customers on Foursquare will see the advertisement and be more apt to come in and shop. This is what we call geotagging—the idea that merchants use GPS technology (in smart phones) to build a community at street level instead of global level. Foursquare provides a relatively simple and quick advertising option for local businesses.
So why are customers jumping into Foursquare—because smart phones are the new "it" necessity. With a smart phone you can go on mobile optimized websites, keep in touch with friends on Facebook, listen to music, chat to your followers on Twitter, play a game with the newest app, and even make a phone call. Smart phones are simply a mini computer at your fingertips—and it seems as though almost everyone has one.
Which brings us back to the new sensation of Foursquare—what do you think about Foursquare? Does your company use it, or plan on using it in the future?