Does going viral really help sell products?

shipped my pants

Double entendre, an advertising technique used by several this year including K-Mart with their “I Shipped My Pants” ad.  If you haven’t seen it, it is funny yet makes you wonder if it is really appropriate for a commercial. It definitly grabs consumer’s attention thats for sure. I know beween myself and friends we shared and watched it a couple times.  The real question is, did we go to K-Mart, purchase anything, or have them shipped? No, none of the above.  From just this very small sampling, I don’t know that going viral is necessarily selling products but creating a buzz and brand awareness. Two other ads by the retail store were, “Big Gas Savings,” and “Show my Joe.”  Unfortunately in the second and third quarters the retail stores’ sales dropped 2.1%, the ads could potentially be hurting them.  The ads are trying to “re-brand” the company and say that, “Hey, we are back and current,” but inside the stores tells a different story. It is just the same old store with new advertisements. 

Going viral with an ad can benefit a company when introducing a new product, an updated storefront, etc. but the consumer has to see it both places, not just in the ad for it to be affective.


Smarty Pants, I mean, Rings

As if we are not connected enough, the newest accessory to the smart phone is the smarty ring that will serve as notifying us of smartphone alerts. The device can also be used as a watch, timer, or phone finder. Still in the funding process this ring will change the way the smartphone is used, an interesting concept? Or, too much?

Another accessory that is currently on the market is the Samsung Smartwatch, which is similar to the ring, with the main screen displaying the time, weather, and time. The introduction of these devices, to marketers, means that we are continually becoming more and more connected with consumers. They want their information at their fingertips, literally. What they want, when they want, how they want.

This past weekend was jammed packed with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, the First of December and topped off with Cyber Monday.  A big weekend for Small Businesses to make a splash in the community and drive sales in hopes consumers will choose to support the local business over the big box stores.  American Express teams up with Small Businesses to assist with promoting the small businesses via social media, their website, even door mats and bags all promoting the hash tag, #shopsmall. The credit card company also offered American Express card holders $10 credit to their account if they used their card at selected businesses.  The best and most feasible way for the small business to promote the event is through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and e-mail marketing.  Some businesses located in the same shopping plaza offered deals for consumers providing a receipt from their partner store, encouraging those to shop small.

Another way local businesses are able to advertise is through the site and app of Yelp! Yelp!’s tagline is, “Connecting people to great local businesses in communities around the world.”  The business owner is able to log in and track results, even if they are not advertising with the company.  Yelp! has recommendation software that automatically goes through all reviews and choose which ones to promote based on user activity, quality, quantity, and reliability.  All posts can be seen but not all are promoted to the top of the list.  What does this have to do with Small Business Saturday, well, it has everything to do with small businesses and the new way of word of mouth from those you don’t even know.  Those that try different places in town rather than those that only go out to eat a few times a year and then rant online.  But, these review sites are very important to the business owner and so is the information provided, such as, how many views to the business, how many click throughs, map views, menu views, etc.  As Cyber Monday has rolled around we tried a deal through Yelp to offer certificates half off and has been promoted through e-mail marketing, Twitter, Facebook, and on our business page on Yelp.  All of these tie together and allow the small business to be on the same level to an extent to the big box stores down the road.  The results to come…

Cable TV or App entertainment?

My friend found his way to the Craig Ferguson show doing stand-up this past week. Well, his show comes on a little late for me and I fell asleep and missed it. In the attempt to cut costs at home, I got rid of DVR so I went online to find his bit.  The CBS App solved all of my problems. The app downloaded and you are able to watch any episode you choose. I am probably behind times not knowing this but nonetheless, it kicked off my curiosity of why am I paying for cable? As an entrepreneur, and those that work crazy hours, such as my roommate that is a teacher, the TV barely makes it on during the week.  So, why not change the cable plan and switch to Apple TV and stream the shows we want to watch when we have “free time” for free. Sounds great to me. Two days later, I came across an article on Social Media Today with an amazing infographic with the solution to my curiousity.

There are several different options when choosing an App to provide you the entertainment that cable once did. I can see where there is going to be a shift from cable soon.  By comparing costs, depending on your plan, there is a significant savings by subscribing to one of the below services compared to traditional cable.

  • Netflix
  • Hulu Plus
  • iTunes
  • Amazon
  • Google Play

Using Emerging Media to Find Your Next Home

When searching for any product, whether it be a car, home, tablet, or even a vaccum most consumers begin on the internet.  They search, compare, become more educated and connected to their purchase whether it be large or small.  Today I want to focus on the process of purchasing a home. It is a big step, a major decision and a hefty investment not to do a little research and feel comfortable with the process.  The good news is that Realtors are the professionals ready, able and willing to walk you through finding your dream home.  I myself have had my real estate license for several years now and have had the ability to work through the years of gaining more and more technology.  When I started my career the smartphone was becoming popular, e-mail was becoming an acceptable avenue to send and receive contracts and documents, social media hadn’t made its debut to the business world yet, and for an agent to have their own website was what made you stand out to clients.  Today, the growth of technology has made the real estate business easier to go through the process of searching, bidding, and closing the deal.

  • Fifty-six percent of buyers start their home search online, 43 percent found the home they ultimately purchased online (edging out all other sources), and 92 percent used the internet at some point during their search process.
  • Forty-five percent of recent buyers used a mobile or tablet website or application during their home search and among those who did 22 percent found the home they purchased online.

real estate chart

There are several apps available such as Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.Com, for example, to help prospective buyers to search for a home and to research.  Some individual real estate companies have an app themselves for buyers and sellers to use as well and of course a website in which buyers can search for any house in the area.

Recently, I had a client living in California making a move back to West Virginia where their family is.  Their daughter lives in the area so we went to look at houses while her parents were searching online across the country and knocking them off the list as they went through the homes available in their area of interest.  Once we found one they liked, we took an iPad and Skyped with them as we gave them a live virtual tour of the home.  They ended up purchasing the home and didn’t actually step foot in the house until after the agreement was made.  This would have never been possible without emerging media and they would have had to make several trips across the country in which wasn’t feasible at the time for them.

Social Media & Mobile Devices

Who uses what social media and how often? Everyone uses social media to certain extents and different networks for different reasons. I am one of few amongst my friends that prefers Twitter to Facebook because of the information I receive through who I choose to follow.  But, several of my friends now have children, who lead as being the most active on Facebook.  A study has stated that mothers with children under 5 are the most active on Facebook. The age of their children determines that activity level, the younger the children the more active. As the children age the activity level gradually lessens. moms media

Coincidently, 38% of children under 2 use mobile media.  By the age of 8, 72% of children have used a smartphone, tablet, or similar device.  These children literally grow up on social media and mobile media from mom posting photos and updating life events to the child using the mobile device themselves to play games.  There are so many educational apps and apps for all ages as these children progress.  What a change from the way we grew up.  It wasn’t until my senior year of college (maybe Junior) that my friends and I got into texting, let alone social media.  AOL Instant Messenger was our status update, our texting application, our Twitter followers. How times have changed. Kids today that are growing up with mobile media in their hands will never know what it is like to not be constantly connected.

News & Emerging Media

Twitter_News1A newspaper, the radio, and the nightly news on television used to be the only options of keeping up with the world and current events.  If that’s what it used to be, what is the latest trend?  In the quick breath of “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious:” Twitter, Facebook, Pulse, CNN, ABC, Mashable, Anderson Cooper, BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Local media sites and apps, USA Today, The Weather Channel.. Whew! Just to name a handful of Apps and newsworthy companies to follow via social media, TV, or the world wide web.  Multiple screens and multiple avenues are used today to get the news.  What do the numbers say?

  • “Half of the 16% of U.S. adults who use Twitter get their news on the social network”
  • “Twitter news consumers are also younger and more educated than their Facebook counterparts. 45% of them are between the ages of 18 and 29 (for Facebook, only 34% are in that age range), and only 2% are 65 or older (compared to 7% on Facebook).”

As a marketer, knowing where consumers are going for whats important to them is a place to grab their attention for your product or service.  An effective marketing campaing in emerging media is understanding the wants, needs, and desires of consumers and their daily behavior.  On a personal note, I am in the 8% that checks Twitter for my news. But, my main source is the app, Pulse where I get news from sources such as USA Today, Fox, Time and the Wall Street Journal in a fully customizable feed. Just like consumers today with advertisements, I am consuming what I want, when I want, and how I want.