The End.

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For a class with no textbook and a somewhat organic and always-changing structure, I learned the most from this class compared to any other. I found this class to be 100% relevant and up to date, unlike many other CBE courses that I feel need to be updated. The classic question, “when are we going to use this un real life” doesn’t even apply to a class like this, because I can confidently apply everything I have learned to a real-life situation in the business world.

If I were in an interview setting, I think it would be important to mention how Digital Marketing is always changing. There is no way that I can succeed in a Digital Marketing career if I am not constantly learning. I would talk about my knowledge of inbound marketing, and how it is becoming a powerhouse for creating loyal customers by giving them an experience, not just a product. I can tie that in with talking about co-creation as well. Knowing the two-way-street fundamentals of co-creation will most definitely help if I am ever working with it. I can learn to identify market mavens, innovators, and lead users to make co-creation thrive.

Another valuable tool that I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about in this class, as well as Marketing 380, is Search Engine Optimization. I think this is very valuable stuff to know, because it is a very confusing and unknown topic to the general public. The more I am able to describe and explain SEO to a customer, the more trust that is built between the customer and business. Hell, I could know more than my potential boss! I can accurately explain how search engines compile results through crawling, indexing, and ranking. A big component to a successful business in this day and age is being searchable, and I am confident that I know exactly what a business needs if it is failing in this category.

Google Analytics is another huge success coming out of this class. I found that I love experimenting with GA and can see myself using it in a future career. I would love to be able to know exactly what can my potential workplace thrive even more through website optimization, to create the most profit.

 

I wrote 8,406 words in my blogs this quarter. My blog is something that I am truly proud of. And I was really excited about the fact that after I would publish a blog post onto my Twitter and Google+, I would actually get retweeted by businesses and other people. Sometimes I would get responses from people and I had some conversations about whatever topic it was. I think I am going to keep this blog up and running and continue to add to it in my spare time, because why not?!

Finding the Right Balance: Using Co-creation for Product Development

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Oh, the things you can do with The Internet. In this day and age, Businesses can acquire the opinions of their products from the most credible source; the people that buy their products. Makes sense right? Customers are now able to be directly involved in the usage of the things that you sell. Essentially, they become co-creators.

Co-creation adds a whole new dynamic to the relationship between producers and customers by engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of value. But co-creation is a two-way street. Managers need to learn how to successfully motivate customers to co-create value, and learn how to monitor progress along the way.

It’s worth mentioning that co-creation is not limited to electronic companies that rely on The Internet to gain feedback. IKEA is an excellent example. They sell the furniture at discounted prices because they encourage you, the consumer, to provide your own means of transportation to take the product home, and then assemble it yourself.

But enough of this bland text, here’s a short video explaining co-creation a little more. Because everything is better when heard from a dude with an accent:

Involving customer creates risks for both the customer and producer. Learning to identify the different risks and understand them is an excellent start to becoming a guru of co-creation:

Privacy – The internet is a scary place. And consumers are more than aware of that. Acknowledging this concern and creating a set of privacy rules can ease a consumers mind and make them more willing to contribute!

Legal – Co-creation creates potential legal risks for both customers and producers. It’s possible to breach copyrights or other property without even knowing it.

Brand – Ideally, consumers participating in co-creation will create value for your brand. Unfortunately, that is a two-way street. Consumers can just as easily diminish the value of your brand. Put some thought into how you want your customers to view your product, in order to inspire positive growth.

Effort – Once again, co-creation is a two-way street. It often requires greater effort on both the consumer and the producer when compared to traditional market interactions. It’s a cooperative relationship, and you need to consider what both sides want out of that relationship.

Those are just a few examples to think about. In general, co-creation isn’t as easy as it sounds. But there are plenty of motivators out there to encourage it! Innovators are the very first consumers to adopt a new product. Lead users are consumers who face needs that will eventually be general in the marketplace, but face those needs well before others in the marketplace. They will be more motivated to participate and position themselves to help solve any problems. Market mavens have information about many products, where to find them, and other facets of the market, and are likely to engage in discussions and respond to other consumers. Every business has access to these types of consumers, and it’s all in the hands of the business and consumer to connect and harness the true value of co-creation.

Chances are, you have seen co-creation in action and you may not have even realized it. For example, you may have noticed these Coke machines popping up in restaurants everywhere:

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Coke calls this the Freestyle Machine. This new generation of fountain dispenser offers more than 100 drink options. You can mix and match different flavors to your hearts content and create whatever you want. It’s a big shift out of manufacturing and into equipment innovation to enable consumer co-creation and customization. This individualized consumer experience is how Coke is marketing their product to Millennials. They have raised the bar even further by creating a mobile app to along with the Freestyle Machine so users can share their creations with the world.

Involving customers in the design and delivery of products and services can be a cost-effective way to meet the demand for constant innovation and improved customer experience.

So is co-creation the future? The benefits include low-cost innovation, and unique and personalized customer experiences. As well as improved customer relationship management, and productivity and efficiency gains.

Co-creation, however, carries risks. Customers might not be equal to the required tasks or willing to perform them. Employees might not appreciate the shift in responsibility or find that the co-creation strategy makes their jobs more demanding. A business must focus on the creation of value, to avoid destruction.

What’s cash? How Currency is Going Digital

I have worked at Starbucks for almost a year now. Even before I worked there, I had heard that there was an app for Starbucks. I had no idea why people would get a Starbucks app. Maybe to find the nearest store to them using GPS, or access the menu. Oh, was I in for a nice surprise *Digital Marketing Jazz Hands.*

PAYMENT! You can take your physical Starbucks card, register it online using this app, and pay for your drinks and food at any Starbucks simply by scanning a code on your phone. You can reload it in the same manner. You can rack up “stars” for every purchase and earn free items and refills. Brilliant! Starbucks has essentially created its own currency system. Yes, it’s still US dollars, but by registering your Starbucks card and loading cash onto it, you’re guaranteeing that that money will only be spent at Starbucks. Now that is some smart thinking.

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As I mentioned in greater detail in my last post regarding mobile ads, our smartphones are always with us. Dare I say that our phones are with us more often than our wallets or purses. Starbucks found a way to reach into our wallets through a device that is always with us. And Starbucks isn’t the only business experimenting with mobile payments.

I’m sure you can guess who is experimenting with mobile payments, because they’re practically taking over the world anyways. No, not Disney, although they’ll probably take over the world too. That’s right! Google! They call it Google Wallet. You can store multiple cards in the cloud and pay using your mobile device. But enough from me, here’s a short, awesome video explaining it:

A huge point of difference that I see with these mobile payment apps, are the fact that you don’t have to deal with any fees. Credit card companies are all about charging fees for pretty much anything out there. It can be a pain! Businesses especially get hit with these fees. Another app that has seen success comes from Boston, and they’re called LevelUp. They are a lot like Google Wallet, however I think they have taken a step further by creating customizable payment plans. Heres a short video from their Chief Ninja, Seth Priebatsch being interviewed on CNN explaining how this app is different from other payment apps.

The only way that LevelUp makes money is charging a 2% rate on the charging process. Which is nothing compared to the 3-6% that is charged through credit card companies and other means of payment. Not only that, but LevelUp sets up customized plans for each business that they partner with. Not only is it a safer way of paying, but it is cheaper and more personable. With the future of credit cards looking more and more bleak into the foreseeable future, Could this startup turn into a national phenomenon?

It looks like it: Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 12.33.24 PM

This study backs up what many of us could have assumed. First of all, mobile payments are catching the eye of younger consumers. But that is a big shift in interest when we are talking about a $5.5 Trillion marketplace. And from what it looks like, businesses in many different realms are still in the planning process, or performing trials on mobile payments. Starbucks may seem to stick out above the rest currently because of their implemented mobile payment system, but things are looking to get a bit more crowded as more and more businesses make the shift. Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 12.49.43 PM

Mobile payments hav moved from science-fiction to reality. It creates ease of payment and increased security. And because it utilizes a device that we keep on ourselves for the majority of every single day, it can be used as an efficient tracking method. There are several key players providing a variety of mobile payments technologies, so we will see how the shift to mobile ends up paying out. Whatever the outcome, both consumers and businesses will see success when making and accepting mobile payments becomes more convenient.

Marketing Goes Mobile: Are Mobile Ads Worth it?

This may come as a surprise to you, but almost all of us have cell phones now. 

Alright, see ya next week! 

Ok, lets get a little more serious and throw some numbers in here! Recent studies have shown that over 90% of adults now own a cell phone. When you look at adults under the age of 44, it jumps up to a whopping 97%! 

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The graph says it all. There is no doubt that in this day and age, there is a rising importance in the use of mobile phones, and mobile marketing. It is a unique niche that brings a lot of interesting complications to the table. A recent study by Mashable predicts that mobile advertising will be a $41.9 billion dollar business by 2017. So, the question remains: Are mobile ads worth it? 

$41.9 billion dollars certainly seems like a lot of money. More money than I could shake a stick at. Even if it was a really really big stick. But when you add the fact that in 2013, TV and print ads generated $196.5 billion and $110 billion respectively, $41.9 looks like nothing. 

A large segment of marketing that has always been slow to adapt to digital marketing specifically are those in the consumer packaged goods business. I mean it makes sense when you think about it right off the bat right? If CPG advertisers had no proof that digital marketing could greatly improve the growth of their products, why spend money on it? Once again, the numbers speak for themselves. 2/3 of CPG advertisers and their agencies plan on increasing their spending in mobile advertising over the next 12 months, according to a semi-annual survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions that includes more than 1,200 people directly involved in how ad budgets are allocated. A mere 2% of the more than 1,200 people said that their mobile ad budget will shrink. 

What I believe is the most powerful quality of mobile advertising, is the fact that we always have our phones with us. It is always on, and always sending and receiving data. Lets face it people, we love our smartphone. It has become an integral part of our lives. Watching videos, surfing the web, accessing the myriad apps available to download at our fingertips. Oh, and making phone calls too I guess. To go a little more in depth, heres a quick video to show a little more about we as consumers use smartphones to become smarter shoppers. 

Mobile devices are being integrated into our daily lives. According to a 2012 Life on Demand study conducted by Performics, 71% of smartphone uses use apps and the mobile web for banking. 64% ordering food. 55% making restaurant reservations. 51% check public transportation schedules. 51% book travel or check into a hotel. 50% make doctors appointments. As phones are becoming more and more of a reliance, these channels can be used to engage users in a more participatory manner, which involves marketer adapting old philosophies. 

Embracing social and mobile participation are keys to successful online mobile marketing. Mobile phones are already an integral part of a consumers purchases. 60% of participants search how to use a product post-purchase, 56% share a photo post-purchase, and 44% comment about a purchase on a social network after buying. This begins to remind me of inbound and content marketing, where creating a participatory marketing campaign will almost always pay it’s dividends and increase in value as it matures (What is Content Marketing?). 

There is a lot you have to think about with mobile advertising when compared to almost any other kind. Mainly, there are many different mobile platforms out there. It is important that a seamless experience is created through all channels and devices. Location is another challenging factor. One in three mobile users use location in their search queries, so location-specific keywords must be kept in mind, as well as hours of the day that draw higher mobile traffic. 

All of these factors to think about all rely on one thing though: Money. I believe that mobile advertising is worth it. And we are just beginning. Dedicating a mobile budget is a crucial step in ensuring a successful mobile marketing campaign.

Cut Out the Middle Man: Why Using SQL is a Must

So, you want to run an analysis on some data in your system. You send it down to the developers downstairs, and wait.

…And wait..

 

….And wait..

 

Here’s the real question: Why wait on something that you could do yourself? SQL (Structured Query Language) enables you to query, manipulate, and communicate with your database. In order to be a valuable analytics professional, knowing how to use and leverage SQL is a must. You’ll no longer have to deal with the hassle of programming data into Excel, which sounds great on its own!

A marketer that knows how to run analytics.. Sounds like an unstoppable force in the business world!

Here are some basic commands within SQL that can be used by marketers to derive important data:

Select — output you want to see (needs to be from the tables you’re accessing)

From — tables you need to access to get the data

Where — how you need to join or link those tables. What other conditions you want to have met

Group by – think of this as combining your data based on a similar value… it’s like filtering in a pivot table

Order by – arrange my data in this order

Limit – only send me X rows of data

; — all sql queries end in a semi-colon

Want to put these commands to good use and learn how to use SQL? W3Schools has created an awesome tutorial that takes you through it step by step!

One of the most popular SQL programs is called MySQL. Facebook, Zappos and Google are just a few examples of companies that utilize SQL to run their online business. mysql-logo-1

What I take away most from SQL, is the fact that anyone can learn itIt doesn’t cost a thing, and you can learn how to manipulate data like a badass on your own time! As a marketing student hoping to find a job sometime soon, I know that SQL is a valuable tool to know.

Technical Marketing: How Knowing SQL Will Benefit Your Career

The Digital Marketing World

In today’s marketing world, sitting down with a scotch and creating a marketing pitch doesn’t work anymore.  All marketing today is now derived from data.  With the help of developers and IT professionals, marketers analyze the data and create marketing plans based on that information.  However, that common situation forces the marketer to rely on one to a few people.  What if you could cut out the middle man?  Well now you can by becoming a technical marketer.

Technical Mktg Blog Post_026

source: http://moz.com/blog/every-marketer-should-be-technical

Understanding programs like Excel, Access, and SPSS will help you analyze data.  But even going farther and learning languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL will make your wheel house of skills something to be reckoned with.  If you know all of these, you could create an entire marketing campaign, run it, and analyze it entirely by yourself.  No IT professionals to help you access and research the databases, no developers…

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Test until you find the best: How A/B testing can optimize your website

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Digital Marketing is all about webpage content. If there was a method where you could discover the most optimized version of a website you created, wouldn’t you want to try it out? Yeah.. That’s what I though. This is A to B testing. 

The term isn’t tricky. A to B Testing simply means testing two different versions of something next to each other and recording statistics based off of what you are looking for. Whichever version is more successful, you use! The stats you test and observe really depend on what you are looking for. Sales, conversion rates and bounce rates are a few of the stats that can be easily traced. According to “The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing” written by Paras Chopra, every A/B test is different, but tends to include similar elements like:

-The call to action’s (i.e. the button’s) wording, size, color and placement,
-Headline or product description,
-Form’s length and types of fields,
-Layout and style of website,
-Product pricing and promotional offers,
-Images on landing and product pages,
-Amount of text on the page (short vs. long)

There are two usual ways to set up an A/B test. If you are testing a single element on your page like a button or banner, you can use a program like Google Website Optimizer that will automatically switch users between different variations of that button/banner, and data will be recorded for each version. Secondly, if you’re looking to test an entire page, you can create two different URLs and A/B test between them both. Your tool will automatically redirect people to one of the two pages, and data will be recorded based on the results from the traffic on each page. 

Here’s an example. Awayfind wanted to test the conversion rate on their website based on this banner. Customers were diverted evenly to one or the other, and results were recorded. 

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In this particular test, Version B increased sign-ups by 38%, which brings me to another piece of advice regarding A/B testing; don’t go with your gut. Some of the results you’ll find may not make sense. For example, in my opinion, I would have bet money that version A would have created higher traffic because I think the design looks better. But the data doesn’t lie. Version B took the cake because the headline is shorter, the subheading was designed to pick out some key features in bold. It may not be as pretty, but it delivered results. 

A/B testing is an excellent way to optimize your website to create the results that you want. And it is limitless! Test and test and test until you find exactly what causes consumers to interact with your website.