So What’s New?


New Media and the Diaries of an Angry Shopper

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 29, 2008
Tags: , ,
This image is from iStock.com

This image is from iStock.com

There’s a sucker born every minute… wasn’t this a quote by the Ringling Brothers? I think I can identify with that right now after my 10 hours of marathon shopping yesterday. I have always looked forward to the day after Thanksgiving for shopping. The sales, the deals, the thrill of the hunt, and finally the kill. Consumers love to feel like they got a good deal. It makes them feel like good stewards, that they somehow out smarted the store. They have warm fuzzies and a feeling of good will to all mankind. Well, almost all mankind, we may exclude the person who stole our parking spot, tried to run us over with their car, or the took the last perfect gift in stock. We have all been there.

Right now I am outraged, tired, used, and abused. I have no feelings of goodwill towards these stores at all. In this era of consumers tightening their wallets, we expect more form the stores to give us reason to shop there and spend our precious, limited money. The ads this year gave me and my family no reason to go very early. I still went, after all it’s tradition right? I remember when items were on sale, you had a good chance of the item actually being in the store, that they didn’t sell the two they had in stock to the first two people camped out in front of their door at 4am. Don’t worry, I will tie this post into new media somewhere.

I got suckered into using coupons this year, I LOVE coupons. My own mini shopping pass to buy the gift of  my choosing. Spend $50, get $10 off, Save 15% off your entire purchase, Bucks, Points, VIP Passes. Armed with my minions of coupons I was really to make some good deals. However, where is this microscopic fine print? “I’m sorry but cashmere sweaters are excluded from that coupon”, “I’m sorry but this brand of purse is excluded from that sale”, “I’m sorry but you were 40 cents shy of getting the $10 off deal and no it is to be used towards one item only not the entire purchase”, “I’m sorry but the price listed on the DVD isn’t the sale price, the sale price is 4 cents off, therefore you are 2 cents short of using the $4 off coupon”, “That 40% off coupon can be used in the store, but yes we know the online price is $30 less than the in-store price so you really save nothing”, “I’m sorry but that coupon does not work with gift sets”. This happened to me several times yesterday and today. I feel like I was taken advantage of by dozens of retailers yesterday. They may have gotten more money out of me, but what did they really get? A customer who is critical of sales, deals, and coupons. I think I’ll just get people gift cards and let them hunt from now on.

Ok, so what does this have to do with new media. Now that I feel better after my diatribe, I’ll tell you. The best deals this season were through new media. On some websites you could sign up for RSS feeds that let you know up to the minute deals online at various stores. Stores have also become to smart to let shoppers buy Black Friday deals from their own computers on store websites at 4am, you just need a fast connection speed to get the deals before the run out of stock. There are several Black Friday blogs letting you know the store deals weeks before the ads come out in the paper. They also held contests and stores offered exclusive deals on some of these sites. Email marketing was also big. I had dozens of deals in my inbox everyday. The best deals I got were through the internet. Free shipping, 40% off and 30% off.

This holiday season, traditional marketing is out and new media marketing is in. In order for this consumer-retailer relationship to work. The consumer needs to feel like they got a good deal even if they didn’t. I usually love buying gifts for the people I care about and having bad feelings towards the purchase and the stores is not good for the consumer, retailer, or the economy. Perhaps next year, my shopping will be at home, on my computer, nice and warm without tired feet.

EDITED: Edited to say I spoke with my sister the day after typing this and she had a 10% off coupon good for any item in the store that wasn’t a door buster. Turns out every item in the store was a door buster item!

What Potential Does Advergaming Have For Marketers?

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 27, 2008
Tags: , , ,

image of game from the iPhone Store

image of game from the iPhone Store

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this day finds you healthy, happy, and full!

As mobile phone technology grows, the interest in advergaming by marketers is growing as well. Companies and brands are forking over the advertising dollars as fast as they can to capture the hard to reach youthful market through advergames. Many companies are already using this media: Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, and even presidential candidates from this past election. The Barack Obama campaign appeared in some Electronics Arts video games on the XBox 360 where “early voting has begun” billboards and signs appeared in the games.

In-game advertising has increased revenues 200-500% estimating to reach $732 million by 2010. In the near future, the in-game advertising will be in the form of video ads in between segments for trial versions of the game. When the user pays for the games, the ads would be removed.

Game developers have the challenge of placing the sponsored ads in the games without it being too distracting to the players of the game. There is also the issue of the games draining the battery life of people’s mobile phones. However, phone manufacturers such as Apple, Sony, and Google are trying to compensate by offering in-game ad networks on their phones. Since more people are users phones than their computers these days. Advergaming has a promising future for marketers.

Advergaming is not entirely new, however, the first games were sponsored by Chef Boyardee, Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, Gap, Reebok, and Samsung were distributed on floppy disks! Naturally these games are widely accepted by kids and young adults. When polled, gaming came in first over TV and the internet as the most fun entertainment.

It will be interesting to see how this media grows over the next few years and where the technology is heading.

For more reading on the topic of advergaming, please see these articles:

Smartphones Could Fuel Surge in Video Gaming. Beth Snyder Bulik, November 12, 2008

Dunkin’ for Advergaming. Justin Davis, January 16, 2006

Marketers Say They Win With In-Game Ads. Laurie Sullivan, October 20, 2008

Ads to Turn Casual Gaming into Major Revenue Stream. Marketing Vox, April 4, 2007


The Untapped Potential of Mobile Marketing

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 24, 2008
Tags: , , ,

phone-applebeesI never thought very much about mobile marketing until I researched the topic this week for class. I have a cell phone, however I just recently moved to civilization. Before, we lived out in the country with no cell reception. I personally have not received a mobile marketing message, but now I see the great possibilities that mobile marketing has to offer.

Today phones are used for far more than just as a phone. In 2005, text messaging was up to 7.5 billion from users up from 2.5 billion the year before. Text messaging is expected to create over $4.6 billion in revenue. The reason why? Because more than 95% of mobile phones support text messaging and over 62% of users use this feature of their mobile phones. (Becker, 2005)

The demographic most receptive to mobile marketing would be teens and young adults. In 2005, more than 500 billion text messages were sent and received and by 2010, it is projected to be more than 2.3 trillion. Teens and college students spend so much time text messaging that their communication skills are at risk. (Barker 2006)

Mobile marketing can greatly expand the e-commerce industry. Currently, e-commerce revenue is $204 billion and expected to increase to $335 billion by 2012. Also, there are 3.3 billion mobile phone subscribers as opposed to 1.3 billion internet users. These statistics show that there is a lot of untapped potential in mobile marketing. Applebee’s will get a jump on the competition since currently only 42% of retailers currently even have products available for view on mobile phones and only 15% of them offer mobile e-commerce capabilities. (Cisco, 2008)

Marketers have to be careful though not to irritate their customers. By 2008 it is expected that 89% of marketers will be using some form of mobile marketing. However, results of studies have indicated that up to 80% of cell phone users would be willing to change cell phone plans if they receive unwanted advertising on their mobile phones. Consumers do seem willing to trade off a little inconvenience and privacy for freebies like ringtones, music, and wallpaper. Consumers also welcome advertising from products or companies that they opt-in to receive. The key is to get consumers to opt-in to receiving the marketing material. How do we accomplish this? By getting the consumers to not only op-in but be eager to receive the marketing message or by getting them to do the marketing for you by actively participating in the mobile marketing. In Steve Smith’s article, “Off the Hook”, he gives examples of consumers doing the marketing themselves through picture taking contests or by voting for their favorite contestant on a TV show. He states, “Give the mobilistas reasons to use technology the way they want to use it.” (Becker, 2006) (Chappell, 2006) (Chappell, 2006) (Smith 2006)

I think over the next several years as mobile technology continues to increase, we will be seeing more and more e-commerce capability. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to order a pizza from a mobile phone and pay for it? Or even order dinner for your family from a restaurant like Applebee’s from your car. We are a civilization on the go and the convenience of having a computer on hand with you wherever you go offers many opportunities for marketers.

For more reading on the topic of marketing, check out these sources:

Technology Leaves Teens Speechless.

Mobile Marketing Research Priorities: Roadmap to Engaging the “Connected Consumer”. Marketing Science Institute 2006)

Research Update: Unfolding of the Mobile Marketing Ecosystem: A Growing Strategic Network.Mobile

Marketing & Opt-In.

Reach the Mobile Consumer.

Child Oriented Websites…Unethical or Just Good Fun?

istockphoto_5930832-little-girl-using-laptop3

– image from iStock.com

Are using websites to advertise to children unethical and harmful? I really don’t know. After spending some time reading about this topic and reading what others have to say, my answer would be… that depends on the site and what the goal of that site is. The site I studied was http://www.poptarts.com. This website was fun for kids and adults. They have winter themed games and craft ideas. A good way to kill a few hours. I also visited Nestle Quick’s website, Crayola’s websites, and Barbie’s as well.

I think that you have to be careful when you advertise to children using websites. If your main motivation is for making money only then I think the idea shouldn’t be done. If the purpose is to stimulate creativity like Crayola or Lego, with a side benefit of brand awareness, then I think your on to something.

Some of the websites I went to were so cluttered with ads that it was information overload. One thing I was impressed with was on the Pop Tarts site, after a few minutes went by they turned the games off and told you to get up and go play outside. They also had a brief statement at in their intro that said playing on line was fine but so was playing outdoors or something like that. There was no ads on the site and they only briefly mentioned a new flavor under their News section. You feel like the site is good fun and not necessarily advertising.

Overall, there are a lot of dollars being spent advertising to children. In 2006, $1.6 billion was spent to market products to children and teenagers. The government and food company coalitions are trying to regulate advertising to children. The groups allow companies with “better-for-you” products that have a target audience of less than 50% children to advertise to them. Or is it 25%? What defines a better-for-you product anyway? No one seems to know and this is where the regulation falls down. Several companies have taken it upon themselves to make healthier products or marketing changes. These companies include: Campbell’s, Kellogg’s, Burger King, Hershey, and Coca-Cola. Other companies are also starting to gear their marketing efforts toward mothers. Kellogg’s has been trying to make their Pop Tarts product healthier without success. Kellogg’s spokesman Kris Charles states, “If we can’t do it, we will shift the target for that product to adults, whether it’s moms or whomever makes sense.” (Clifford, 2008)

Another article I found discussed the role of psychologists in helping companies market to children. The article states that when children were asked what they wanted to be when they grow up, it used to be answers like a nurse or fireman. Now the answers are whatever makes enough money for me to buy the things I want to buy. A big change of focus onto the material. Do children believe that having things or whatever they want will make them happy in the end? (Clay, 2000)

So what type of consumers will my children grow up to be? I am not sure, however, I would be hopeful that marketers have their best interest at heart instead of their wallets… or is that wishful thinking?

For further reading on marketing to children, check out the following links:

Advertising to children: Is it ethical? (Clay, 2000)

Tug of War in Food Marketing to Children (Clifford, 2008)

Consumer Privacy, Where Do You Draw the Line?

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 17, 2008
Tags: , ,
picture-155

images by iStock Photo

In this unique digital age, consumer privacy is more relevant than ever. For decades consumers have put up with the junk mail that fills out mailbox. We got used to that and threw away what wasn’t relevant to us. We then entered the era of computers and everyone had at least one email address. I know I have five right now! Every time we give out our email address, we set ourselves up for junk email in the form of Spam. They say that the response rate is really high for SPAM, however, I think these statistics are warped, I know I have to “open” an email just to delete it. I can also think of a number of times I have accidentally clicked on a link.

Our telephones, until recently, have been a form of annoyance when telemarketers call during dinner or at 10pm on a Sunday night. The Do Not Call Registry came out a few years ago an now we live in peace, at least with our phone. O, but then we got cell phones and now I have to pay for every incoming advertisement that makes it’s way to my inbox. This type of advertising does not sit well with me. Why should I pay for someone to advertise to me? Also, with my cell phone, they are now talking about using the GPS device on my cell phone to send me messages and ads that are relevant to where I am physically located. So now my advertisers know where I am.

Now, companies like DoubleClick want to track where I go on websites, what I purchase, and what I say online to others. They take the information I have given in various locations and combine it with other databases and create an in depth profile on me and my behavior. Due to the backlash, DoubleClick is no longer considering this database. Apprarently, even if you just go on a website that has their web tracking software, you would have been tracked without knowing it.

The web tracking is not only on internet sites but on social networks too like Twitter and Facebook. Jonathan Fields wrote in his blog about an experience with JetBlue. He saw William Shatner getting onto a JetBlue plane and he made a post about it on Twitter. Within a few minutes he gets and email from a JetBlue employee making a joke that JetBlue was on Priceline afterall. This creepd Jonathan out that he was being tracked on Twitter by JetBlue. After a few emails back and forth with the employee, he found out the employee was trying to connect with today’s consumer through social networks. Mot people thought this was cool, others thought it was creepy.

Companies today have a lot of information available to them about their consumers, they need to respect their consumers and give them a little space. Some of the above practices are either unethical or borderline unethical. I anticipate that next we will all have GPS devices tracking everything we look at and everywhere we go. I will look at a sweater and instantly an ad will pop up in my eyeball or something like that.

For further reading on these topics:

Teaching Temperance to the “Cookie Monster”: Ethical Challenges to Data Mining and Direct Marketing

Is JetBlue using Twitter to Spy on its Customers… or Blow their Minds?

In this Data-Mining Society, Privacy Advocates Shudder.

Social Networking, Data Mining, Media and Privacy.

Behavioral Targeting: A Tricky Issue for Marketers.

What Makes a Great Blog and how do I get people to read it?

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 9, 2008

blogimage– image from istockphoto.com

After reading about blogs all week, I decided to try to piece together some information on how to write a good blog and then to get people to read it!

1. Write consistent articles with good content that is interesting.
2. Become an expert on something, have a niche blog.
3. Make your blog visually interesting using a well designed layout, but don’t overwhelm your readers with

too many visuals. This can make it look too cluttered.
4. Have guest bloggers write for you to break up the monotony.
5. Get a MyBlog Log widget from Yahoo and start using.
6. Have your blog get pinged every time you update it using pignomatic.com
7. Submit your url to RSS feeds.
8. Join a blog network.
9. Comment on other people’s blogs.
10. Add your blog link to your emails signatures, website, and business cards.
11. Update your blog regularly but not several times a day as this will overwhelm your readers.
12. Highlight your best content.
13. Encourage feedback from your readers.
14. Hold a contest.
15. Poll your readers.
16. Find out what your readers are looking for.
17. Send a personal message to first time commentators.
18. Make relevant blog entries.
19. Link to other blogs of the same topic.
20. Use keywords that would be easily searchable.

For more information on this topics, please refer to these articles:

25 great tools/plugins to improve your blog.

5 Ways to Advertise Your Business Using Blogs.

Blog Promotion, Miscellaneous Blog Tips.

Traffic to blog – 5 fun and fast ways to drive traffic to a new blog within 24 hours.

Are blogs like sooooo 2007?

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 5, 2008

For this week’s assignment, we were asked to find and “unofficial” company blog. We were to describe the blog, analyze it and give examples of posts and comments from readers. I had a really difficult time finding a good blog.

Finding a good blog seems like an easy task right? First of all we love to write about ourselves and the things we love. Plus we love to read about things we love or hate. I found many many blogs out there, however, their newest post seemed to average in 2005. Obviously these suffered from blog mortality.

So, what leads to blog mortality?

• The blog suffered from over zealous post syndrome

• The blog topic became obsolete like the unofficial floppie disk blog

• No one commented on the blog and the author gave up

• Everyone else has a blog on the same topic

• The blog was negative

• The blog was poorly written

• Offensive material

• Boring author

• Too many distractions/clutter

• Blogger doesn’t comment back to others

• Lack of images/graphics

• Change of author

• Author is tired of hecklers or offensive comments from readers

• Blog takes too much time and effort and author suffers from blog fatigue

• Author got tired of having to be funny and witty

• Blogs just aren’t cool anymore

References:

Boutin, Paul (2008, October). Twitter, Flickr, Facebook make blogs look so 2004.

Powers, Michael (n.d.). 34 reasons why readers unsubscribe from your blog.

Going Digital…

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 3, 2008

In most major cities now regular printed billboards are being replaced by digital billboards. There are over 700 digital billboards now with 450,000 different “faces”.  Digital billboards provide outdoor media companies with a lot more revenue since they can rent the same billboards to several advertisers. Anticipated revenue for 2009 is 9.1% or $2.65 billion. These billboards can also be used for public service announcements and Amber Alerts as well. Unlike other forms of media like radio and TV, there is no mute button or changing stations with these forms of advertising. To see a video example of these billboards below.

The Chicago Transit Authority is experimenting with digital bus billboards equipped with a GPS system that will relay pertinent advertising to passing cars and pedestrians. More of these roaming billboards will roll out in 2009.

However, are these digital billboards safe? Some law makers are concerned that digital billboards can be a distraction to drivers by either being too bright or that drivers stare at the billboards longer waiting for the screen to change. However, many states have laws that make digital billboards safer for motorists.

Sign cannot be animated, have moving video or scrolling. They need to display for 8 seconds before changing screens. They must not have animation between screen changes and the change must be done within two seconds. They also have to adhere to a certain brightness, which is different in the day time as well as night. Each state can have different regulations though. In some cities the billboard owners are negotiating with cities to remove a certain number of billboards in exchange for one digital billboard, making fewer distractions on the road.

Digital billboards are also making their appearance at shopping malls pictured here.


I think that digital billboards are here to stay and will slowly take over the landscape.

Harry Potter Moving Photos are Not so Far Fetched?

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 2, 2008

With the invention of electronic ink, having moving picture like in the Harry Potter movies may not be very far off. Esquire released its 75th Anniversary issue with an electronic ink cover. This process uses wafer thin layers of ink that act like circuit boards. Eventually streaming video will be printed onto paper packaging materials. These inks are 90% more efficient, environmentally friendly, and can be powered by solar energy!

Another product that uses electronic ink is Amazon’s Kindle. The “screen” looks like a printed page, There is no glare off a computer screen so it is easier on the eyes. Thousands of books, magazine, and newspapers are currently available for download onto this device. No wires or computers are needed. A demo can be seen online here:

Another company that is making great breakthroughs plastic electronic displays is Plastic logic. This flexible plastic device can change pages by swiping your thumb. No paper is needed. This technology can save millions of trees in the very near future. You can see it here:

With newspaper subscriptions going down at alarming rate, these types of inventions are the future in electronic ink technology and can help the newspaper indsutry. No ink, no computers, no trees. They are environmentally friendly and just plain cool!