Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marketing Strategies

I found it very interesting to learn about all the different strategies and techniques used to market via the internet and other mobile devices, as we are seeing now happen. When I first found out that I was going to have to write a blog I was not very excited about it and was actually dreading the assignment. It was something that I had never done before and I would have preferred to write a paper and hand it in. But in doing the blog, I found myself getting more anxious about the assignment because it was out there for the whole world to see. I was also having a hard time narrowing down to one topic and limiting my research to that topic. This time I would like to talk about the past, the present, and the future with internet marketing. I have found it amazing the number of different titles and measuring techniques that have been created with internet marketing alone.
It is interesting to look at some of the statistics around internet marketing before discussing the different strategies used. The first banner ads used brought back a 30% click-through rate. In 2007, similar ads were measured and they brought back a .04% click-through rate. It is very interesting because a very small number of internet users, 6 percent, who generate nearly half of all clicks. (Strauss, 2009)This is interesting to me because it is something that marketers have to take into consideration when developing their marketing plan. These people are responsible for such a large number of clicks that they are most likely not the target market and create more cost for those using a cost per click plan. So what are some of the different internet advertising formats that have been used in the past and some that are currently still being used?
One of the most important things in internet marketing is keywords. They are important for a number of reasons; they can increase your ranking on a search, attract target market, and could direct consumers to your site. Keywords are registered with different search engines when the webpage is created. Then when a consumer is searching for something that matches some of the keywords provided then the page will be displayed in the search results. Keywords are also often used to determine what advertisements are shown to you when you are on the internet. Have you even notice that when you are trying to book your flight to New York City that you get about 3 different pop-ups from Orbitz, Travelocity, and Southwest Airlines, all with great deals on flights to NYC. Most likely this is because you were using a site that had similar keywords to theirs and then they were able to look at the keywords you were searching (NYC), gather their rates on this specific keyword and then their pop-ups were linked with your computer.
Display ads is a term that is used to define a large number of different formats. It incorporates banner and other sizes, including pop-ups, buttons and rectangles. There is not a standard size for display ads. The ads are pretty much the same as what you would see in a newspaper advertisement. They are not interactive and contain more graphics and white space then text. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has suggested different ad sizes in order to attempt to create an industry standard. (Strauss, 2009)
Another category of advertising formats is rich media ads. These are ads that are interactive, they allow a consumer to click on the ad and they are transported to the advertiser’s Web site. They can also have built in games, have check boxes or drop-down menus to engage the user to search. Many also use flash animation to attract the attention of the user. There are a number of formats that can be rich media, for example a floating ad is one that floats across the screen or above the web page content. Pop-ups and pop-unders are those that open a new window and appear either on top of or below the page the user is looking at. Video ads are similar to banner ads but they display video clips. Also trick ads are those that look like a dialog box, often times they looks like an error message. (Strauss, 2009)These are just a few examples of different rich media formats that are used in internet marketing. I am sure that we have all seen examples of these and in some way we have become accustomed to seeing them and not paying much attention to them.
Next is e-mail advertising, I have talked a little about this in previous blogs but e-mail advertising was a new way for marketers to reach out to consumers. It was the least expensive marketing strategy and allows for advertisements to be sent directly to the inbox’s of their target market. It was also used by embedding a few lines at the end of e-mails that were received by those within their target market. (Strauss, 2009) Following e-mail advertising is mobile advertising which is on the rise and I have discussed in previous blogs as well. This includes sending a message to a mobile device.
As I mentioned before, I and probably many others have learned to ignore the flashing ads as I am surfing the web. Well I think the next move for marketers was to turn to the new “in thing.” Social networks are the new biggest things. Many have turned to Facebook and MySpace for their advertising plans. Facebook now allows for ads to have many different focuses. Before it may have just been a display ad or a flashing now one is able to watch a video, RSVP to an event, take a poll or become a fan. Their ads have definitely become more interactive. There are two major benefits to this; they go viral and the ability to target market. When a social action is taken by the user then it shows all their friends what they just did. (Gold, 2009) So if Mary were to click on become a fan of Victoria’s Secret, then VS would then know that she is a fan of their product and is part of their target market. This use of one click advertising is known as “inline fanning.” Also the ads that are displayed on Facebook while you are looking at your account are focused towards your interests and keywords that are found within your profile. Another type of advertising that is relatively new and seems to be the new upcoming thing is a combination of Twitter and Google AdSense Network. This type of advertising would display Twitter chats and live time tweets onto the Google page. (Gold, 2009)
Twitter offers a number of advertising options. Thomases discusses two formats for leveraging Twitter for advertising. The first is sponsored posting which advertisers and willing Twitter users are linked together. The second is to incorporate tweets into rich media ads. (Thomases, 2009) These are just the formats are there are a number of ways that these could be used to market. The Google and Twitter combo mentioned above is an example of how this technology could be put to use. The attractiveness of advertising on Twitter is that it is low to moderate cost, it is easy to implement, and it is a new way to reach people and to raise awareness. Before a company chooses to use Twitter there must be a mutual trust between the Twitter community and the brand. (Thomases, 2009)If there is not that trust, then the marketing plan could most likely backfire and negative things about the brand could go viral. It seems to me that Twitter is a little more risky than the internet alone. The internet is already risky because people can post and comment whatever they want about a product but the large amount of information on the internet, decreases the amount of people who will read those comments. If a company chooses to use Twitter, they must develop a Twitter strategy. This could include team members who continuously chat with the Twitter community, also follow-through and continuous check-ups on the ads’ progress. I found it very interesting that Thomases commented about companies making more money off Twitter than Twitter was making. (Thomases, 2009) After thinking about it, I was not surprised to hear it and I would not doubt it were true. I think Twitter is in its growth stage and they may be working on getting the name out still. Many people used Craigslist to search for everything including jobs, pets, cars, homes and furniture. Once the name became well known and many were accustomed to using it, Craigslist began adding charges for things such as job posts. I think similar to Craigslist, this may be a strategy that they may using. If they started out as a network that required a fee do you think they would have grown to the size they are now?

Works Cited:
Gold, H. (2009, June 23). Socially Enabled Ads: An Update. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from ClickZ.com: http://www.clickz.com/3634169
Strauss, J. (2009). E-Marketing. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Thomases, H. (2009, June 16). Integrating Twitter into Ad Campaigns. Retrieved June 23, 2009, from ClickZ.com: http://www.clickz.com/3634090

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Behavior of consumers online

I am usually not a person that spends too much time on the internet; well I used to not be. Since being in school I have been spending a lot more time on the internet in order to do research, pay tuition, enroll in classes and even to be in attendance for some classes. I now find myself watching TV, surfing the web and eating dinner at the same time. I will see an advertisement on TV and immediately check it out online which then tends to spark another interest, I’ll usually open up another window and search that online at the same time, all while communicating with friends on Myspace or Facebook. Most of us have grown to use multiple devices at once and often for the same things. You can watch TV commercials for advertisements, look up sites online and check for locations of nearest stores on your cell phone or GPS. So what is consumer behavior like online? What types of behaviors do marketers have to consider and cater their advertisements to?
I think one of the main things for me is the speed at which a page uploads. If it is taking a page a while to upload onto my screen then I am most likely to hit the stop button and go back. This is a challenge for marketers because everyone has different computers, different devices, and different speeds of internet connections. So marketers must decide to accommodate their sites to slower users or faster users. When accommodating to slower users they must lower the use of graphics and aim more towards the use of text, which loads faster. (Strauss, 2009) On the other hand, accommodating to fast uses would pretty much not include slow users because of the time it would take to upload the page. With the transition into mobile marketing I think it would be wise to accommodate both groups and to create a site for slow users and a site for faster users. The slow page would allow mobile devices to connect quicker than if multiple graphics had to upload. It would still be appropriate to create a page full of graphics because of the interest and interaction it would invoke from consumers.
There are different types of consumers online and marketers have to attempt reach to all of them. Some consumers are obviously going to be very direct and go to exactly what sites they want and take care of business. But according to Haejin’s report there is this centaur between traditional consumers and cyber consumers which creates this kind of hybrid consumer who is a combination of traditional and cyber, rational and emotional, wired and physical. There are also 7 types of users that she says fit into this Centaur. Connectors who are those who are new users and do more offline purchasing; samplers are light users, simplifiers are efficiency seekers; routiners are those who go online for information but are not really interested in shopping; surfers are heavy users that spend lots of time online and search multiple domains; bargainers are mostly online for price comparison and are shopping for the best buy; and funsters are those who are looking for information in entertainment-oriented domains. (Yun, 2002) It seems to me that eventually a majority of the marketing strategies are going to be targeted toward online users so it will be important to try to connect with all these different users without being too much of a hassle. Pop-ups are a great way of marketing but they seem to annoy consumers, I know I don’t like them, and pop-up blockers have been developed which seems to have decrease the prevalence of them. I think it is best if a marketer creates a page that is user friendly, interactive (to accommodate “funsters”), price competitive (“bargainers”) and eye-catching at the same time. The competition online is far greater than anywhere else and marketers face a huge challenge reaching out to consumers, establishing their name and accommodating to the needs of all different types of users.
It was shown that worldwide the average user went online 34 times in one month and spent about 56 minutes per session and viewed approximately 1,500 pages each month. (Strauss, 2009) So what do people do while they are online? 92 percent of United States users spend time sending or reading an email and 39 percent of people spend time sending instant messages. This is just the percents of how people connect with others via the internet. Consumers spend time usually doing one of the following: connecting, creating, enjoying, learning, or trading. (Strauss, 2009) Many use the internet for all of them. I know I use MySpace and Facebook to connect with others. I have now created my own blog. I watch videos online. I complete a lot of my research for school online and I use the internet to pay some of my bills. As marketers, it is important to recognize the trend at the time and where people are spending a lot of their time when on the web so that you can focus on reaching out to them in the areas of the web which they frequently spend time. A great example of this is the large number of businesses who have added themselves on Facebook to connect with those in the social networks. Many people like to instant message and I think it would be a great idea for a business to consider instant messaging as a way of communicating with consumers to answer questions and concerns. I think it is more convenient then calling a call center or emailing a concern and waiting for a reply.
Aside from user behavior online it is also very important to consider the user behavior with their mobile devices. When thinking about accessing the internet I know that I and many others still think of sitting at a computer or laptop and accessing from there. Well as I have mentioned many times prior and as many probably already know, internet use is growing on mobile devices and the behavior of consumer is going to be very different from that of online users. It is going to be a more direct way of marketing then we have seen before because it will reach consumers immediately, whenever and wherever they are. Consumers are also going to be able to access whenever and wherever they are. I think it will call for a quicker response and gratification. Consumers are going to want to find what they are looking for quickly and get their answer immediately. This will require marketers to use better keywords and I think brand marketing will become more important. This is because if they know the exact name of a brand that provides the service they are looking for then they are going to be more likely to search that name then to search a general description of the service needed (i.e. printing company). Keywords are important no matter what because search engine are so large and pull from so many different sites that it is important to know exactly what you have to offer and the consumer can pull from that instantly.
The following is a “Did You Know?” video which I found on YouTube which gives different statistics about technology, the growth of technology, the uses of technology and the countries which certain technologies are in high use and expected to grow even more (just to name a few). It is a pretty neat video to check out and it really gets you thinking about how much change and growth has happened in the last 10 – 20 years. I think these facts and stats are great for marketers to check out and consider when creating their marketing plans, designing their websites and developing their target market. The fact that Facebook reached 50 million people in 2 years is amazing and really shows how the internet allows so many people to be reached in so little time. Viral marketing! The opportunities are there and they are endless.

Did you know? (n.d.). Retrieved from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmz5qYbKsvM

Strauss, J. (2009). E-Marketing. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Yun, H. (2002, October 24). Consumer Behavior Online. Retrieved June 2, 2009, from https://www.msu.edu/course/tc/375/lecture%20slides/Consumer%20Behavior%20Online.ppt
Hey all,
This is just another really cool way that a business has used mobile marketing to differentiate themselves from others in the business. The video is a commercial that I actually originally saw on TV and thought I would look it up and post it on my page because I thought it would add to the previous post. The video advertises Nationwide insurance ‘s new app which can be added to your iPhone, which brings up an application of all the information needed if you were ever to get in a car accidents or if something were to happen to your car. You are also able to take pictures of the car and the scene of the accident. Check it out it’s pretty neat idea I must say!

NationWide Insurance. available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3UlbP158hE

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's Next?

Recently I enrolled in an internet marketing class which has opened my eyes to the complex world of marketing today. There is a whole new world of marketing strategies emerging due to the rapid advances in technology. We can recall the days when coupons, brochures, and promotional “junk mail” overflowed our mailboxes. Then the coupons, brochures and promotional items starting overflowing my e-mail account, with the help of spam blockers that the amount of advertisements I receive in my inbox are limited. Although snail mail and email marketing has not yet become completely extinct, what is the next step for marketers to take in order to reach out to their consumers? What are companies other options to reaching out to customers?

To me mobile advertising seems to be the next best option for marketers. Mobile advertising includes cell phones, PDAs, IPods, and many other hand-held digital devices. According to Wikipedia, more than 4 billion of the nearly 6.7 billion people in the world use mobile phones. That is nearly 60% of the total population! 260,000,000 of those people are in the United States. That is a significant number which would allow marketers to reach a very wide range of consumers. There seems to be a high chance that if one does not have a cell phone, they own or have access to some other type of digital device.

Cell phones are a converging technology and many offer common features of a desk top. They offer word processors, spreadsheets, presentation viewers, file managers, messaging technologies, and the ability to connect to the internet. (Sweeney, MacLellan, & Dorey, 2006) So cell phones have the ability to receive data and process it into information that the user can view and understand. Cell phones are not the only merging market that we are seeing today. The market of hand-held devices seems to be growing from all points including MP3 players and digital readers (digital books). Along with the growth of this industry and its technology is the growth in opportunities to market to the users.

So what are some of the challenges marketers face in transitioning to mobile marketing? Are we even ready for mobile marketing? A study reported that 84% of respondents said they would not embrace mobile advertising unless they had the choice of receiving the message. (Strauss, 2009) With mobile marketing, one does not have the choice of when they receive the message, where they are when they receive it, or having the option to delete before opening. Also the cost of the ad is taken by the consumer in text messaging costs. These seem to be some of the concerns many people have as indicated by the results of the study. In order to address some of these concerns, I think cell phone providers and marketers would have to get together to find a way to make the advertising free to consumers and allow options to receiving the messages. One option could be allowing users to set times frames of when they are willing to receive such messages.

Other issues with mobile advertising are that hand-held devices have small screens and keyboards are not the same as on computers. Also it often takes a long time to upload a website to a mobile device. (Strauss, 2009) Mobile advertising has not been embraced as indicated by the limited number of companies that have developed mobile websites, which are designed to fit the small screen and carry less information to decrease the upload time on the mobile device. To me this seems to be an easy step in the transition to mobile marketing. MySpace.com has created a mobile site which allows you to access your MySpace account from your cell phone quickly and easily and without having to stop by a computer. The page does not have as much content or as many graphics as the full version but allows you to check your messages, read and write e-mails, add new friends, find friends, along with many other of the same things that you can do on the full version. Not to mention how quick it loads compared to trying to load all those pictures and advertisements onto your hand-held. I know with my cell phone, which is pretty new and has many features, it takes about 2 minutes to open each page of the full version of MySpace and about 20 seconds to open the mobile version.

Below is a YouTube video which shows how Volvo cars has used mobile marketing to their benefit, within their dealerships. They are using the mobile marketing technology in the place of a sales person. This allows for quick information about the car to be passed to the consumer as well as pictures and other relevant information that could be shared with family and friends in an instant. This also allows for direct marketing to the exact target population they want to promote to. I would assume it would also allow them to collect indentifying information regarding that consumer.

Once again the video proves that the uses of mobile marketing are endless. We now know that more then half the World's population uses cell phones and that many have the same capabilities as a desktop. Now we just need to work on finding ways to make mobile marketing more accepted by society, user friendly and cost free to consumers. It doesn't sound like much work but it will require alot of merging and collaborating of industries and specialties that may have never worked together before. Mobile marketing is emerging but has not yet reached its fullest potential. But you just wait, mobile marketing is coming to a cell phone near you (if it hasn't already).

Strauss, J. (2009). E-Marketing. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Sweeney, S., MacLellan, A., & Dorey, E. (2006). 3G Marketing on the Internet. Gulf Breeze: Maximum Press.

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from List of countries by number of mobile phones in use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use

YouTube.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from Telecom Report-Mobile Marketing in Practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MipLlLzzrgE