Is Technology and Data Spooky?!

Let’s be real. Technology is getting creepy. It’s the scary teacher from grade school that somehow always knows what you’re doing even when she isn’t even looking at you. It seems to be watching our every click spanning the vast universe of the Internet. Companies are focusing on developing technology that processes all of our data to make inferences that could help them turn us into customers, or more importantly, into advocates for their brand. Recently, a brand we’re all familiar with, Netflix, held a competition that rewarded a million dollars (no one we knew won to note) to the group that could create an algorithm that could create better movie suggestions for their members.

It is becoming more and more noticeable to all of us we know; the advertisements on Facebook are generated by endless data based on your profile and pictures posted. Did you notice if you’re wearing a certain brand or piece of clothing that you’ll somehow get an ad with that same information in it? It’s all about targeting, but that’s almost scary targeting! (They’re watching you)!

We have now a developed generation that focuses on individuality, and this evolution inspires us to publicize ourselves on social platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, among others. The science behind this data as stated above is rapidly growing due to the high demand of how to use it despite how complicated it is. Going back to the Netflix competition, out of the thousands that entered their competition, only two teams were actually able to create algorithms that improved movie suggestions by ten percent. Acquiring data is easy, but making successful inferences from all of that data is the hard part. But even the smallest improvement can make a large difference by using data properly, which is why companies aren’t afraid to invest.

We’ve been thinking about that a lot on our end here at B Culture Media. How can we help the industry understand what to extract, or more importantly, what to put in place to make that extraction of data all the more usable from the get-go? And, how can we help them understand to the ‘T’ what their target audiences’ want so that all those ad monies are spent wisely. We feel it’s a bit like being Beauty from “Beauty and the Beast” and you have all of this amazing food enticing you to “be their guest”, but instead of that cute dancing cake, now it happens to be advertisements for billions of things you can put into practice to give you lots and lots of data…but, at the end of the day, what does that all translate into? Sales? Growth? Advocacy? What are you Mr./Mrs. X Brand actually searching for?

That’s what makes us understand that we’re circling around back to the technology/data days that existed before the Internet craze started. We need to fully understand the depth of a business, what they need to accomplish, and put into place strategies and metrics to ensure that the “cool” marketing recommendations using innovative technology will actually help an entire organization meet their business goals. Big data is useful, spooky targeted ads are useful, but you have to understand first as to why it’s useful and what you want out of it. I mean, of course besides tracking traffic to a website and the numbers of fans on social channels… those are easy!

@natbdold

@claudiavon

Advertisements

iPhone 4S vs. iPhone 5: Is It Worth It?

Apple junkies have been lining up to get their hands on Apple’s newest release of the iPhone: the iPhone 5. While other companies have mocked Apple’s following regardless of the specifications, functionality, or price, simply because it has an apple on the back, there are many legitimacies to the latest update as well. Here is a comparison of the 4s and 5.

iPhone 4

  • Width: 2.31 in
  • Depth: .37 in
  • Height: 4.5 in
  • Weight: 4.9 oz
  • Display: 3.5 (diagonal) Retina display
  • A5 chip
  • 960×640 resolution
  • Siri
  • 8 megapixel iSight Camera
  • FaceTime Camera: VGA- resolution video
  • Apple earphones
  • 30-pin connector
  • Standby battery life: 200 hours
  •  Up to 16GB available on Apple.com

iPhone 5

  • Width: 2.31 in
  • Depth: .3 in
  • Height: 4.87 in
  • Weight: 3.95 oz
  • Display: .4 (diagonal) Retina display
  • A6 chip
  • 1136x 640 resolution
  • LTE3
  • Siri
  • 8 megapixel iSight Camera
  • FaceTime Camera: 1.2MP photos
  • FaceTime Camera: 720p HD video & backside illumination sensor
  • Apple EarPods
  • Lightening connector
  • Standby battery life: 225 hours
  • Up to 64 GB available on Apple.com

So, is it worth it? I still have my iPhone 4, but at a social media conference this weekend, a co-presenter of mine did indeed already have the 5. Watching him show off some of the new features, the what felt like and looked like skinnier and easier to maneuver display, and the speed, I would advocate, if you can afford it, and you utilize your smartphone more often than your tablet or laptop, go ahead and upgrade. If you can’t afford it, it won’t hurt you too bad to have to wait a little bit longer to upgrade.

The neatest feature that I witnessed, and you have probably seen touted on some of Apple’s newest television commercials, is the panorama picture display. Not sure the practical use for it, but I still enjoyed it. Plus, the speed. Some argue that the speed of the iPhone 5 will rival your home’s Wi-Fi! Which, it’s that is true, is just another step toward smartphone domination.

Did you upgrade to the iPhone 5? If so, what do you think of it compared to earlier versions? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section below.

@BCulture_Matt

Bic for Her: Satirical Backlash

 

Remember the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt fad that swept across the Internet a few months ago? It all started with a fictional review on Amazon.com that claimed the shirt had mysterious powers to attract women. The comment was satirical, as many find the shirt ugly. Turns out, it became so popular, the factory producing it had to work overtime to fill all of the orders.

Well, a similar story has developed on Amazon.co.uk’s website in regards to “Bic for Her” pens. Let’s address the issue first. Why does Bic feel the need to make pens for women? Are they ergonomically designed for daintier hands? Have women had trouble writing for some time now and a product has never suited their needs? No. Hence, the backlash.

We’ll see if these reviews affect the company and its sales, but maybe take a step back and see if half of the world’s population may find your grasp for more profits patronizing.

Here’s the US version. Browse some great comments. Here are my top three. Enjoy!

  1. “Oh. My. God. I’ve been doing it all wrong. There was me thinking I didn’t need to worry about whether my writing implement sufficiently reflected my gender. Thank you so much Bic for showing me the error of my ways. Perhaps Bic will also bring out a new range of pink (or purple) feminine spanners, screwdrivers, electric drills and angle grinders so that I can carry out my job as a bicycle mechanic without further embarrassing myself? Luckily my male colleagues have managed to keep their disapproval of my use of their masculine tools to themselves. I’m so ashamed. And re-educated as to my place in society. Thanks again Bic!”
  2. “I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.”
  3. “My 17 year old daughter seemed DOOMED to attending a public university, but I bought her a pack of these pens and now she’s been accepted to Yale! Now when she meets a nice young man to marry (the ONLY purpose for a woman to attend college) it’ll be one with an Ivy League degree! Thank you Bic!

 

@BCulture_Matt

 

The Power of a Mature Fanbase

Social media is one of the most vital customer development and customer relations programs for any consumer focused company today. As online purchasing and consumer technology advances, people are turning to online communities for brand education, recommendations, purchasing and customer service.

While marketing is used to drive people to the online communities, the communities themselves are designed to do so much more.  Companies that spend the time, budget and resources to develop a mature fan community are able to reach out to their consumer base instantly. Every fan interaction implies endorsement to their online network. It is faster, more efficient and has more impact than any mass media effort.

First, let me start with defining what a mature community is. A mature community, in my opinion, does not mean you have the most fans out of all of your competitors. A true mature community is more about quality than quantity.

It means the majority of your fans are engaged with the brand on a personal and active level. You are able to post educational and brand focused content and it excites your audience. Your page is full of user-generated content.

Users are more than users – they are advocates! You have a good base of fans that will share your content and aren’t just a fan of your page because you are offering a discount upon “Liking.”

A mature community provides:

• Vital consumer and customer knowledge – providing very honest and engaging insights into your customer base instantly using polling, post and web apps.

• A very effective customer relations/care platform – where customers will come to engage your brand directly through social media. This reduces expensive call center engagements.

• Virtual sales force to pre-educate and qualify customers for online sales.  Providing direct access to enriched content, consumer reviews and recommendations prior to making a price value decision at your online store or retail environment.

• Develop consumer advocates who will carry your brand to their entire network. If your current fan base contains 9000 fans, that means you have a combined network of over 1.6 million that will receive a brand impression with every post (each fan has an average of 180 friends in their network). With an average of 1 per day that is over 48 million direct impressions monthly for your brand. Much more cost effective than a print ad!

An enriched, mature community is vital to your future marketing efforts. Before you have a strong branding campaign you should have a strong online community in place to support the brand messages.

@beadiful4you

STATISTICS: What You Need to Know About Your Audience

The Social Habit II (The Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Study 2011) was released last week by Tom Webster, Vice President, Strategy of Edison Research.

It covered a wide range of new media and Internet marketing results. We have highlighted some of the most important for you to know, in our opinion.

MOBILE

56% of frequent social network users own smartphones, and 64%of frequent social networks have used a mobile phone to update their status on one or more social networks.


BRANDS

One in four social network users knowingly follow brands, products or services on social networks. For those who use these sites and services several times per day, this figure increases to 43%.

-Amongst those who do follow brands, products or companies on social networks, 80% indicate that Facebook is the network that they use the most to connect with companies.



E-COMMERCE

-Nearly a quarter of social network users indicated that Facebook is the social site or service that most influences their buying decisions.



The Social Habit 2011 by Edison Research
@beadiful4you

View more presentations from webby2001
Source: The Social Habit II: The Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Study 2011

Customer Service is the new Marketing!

Customer Service and Marketing
The title pretty much says it all! Seriously, just think about it for a second…

Social marketing IS so popular with brands because it breaks through all of the barriers that we were challenged with regarding traditional marketing. Traditional never let us communicate with our customers after that commercial went out or that billboard went up. Now, social is evolving into a true customer based community of referrals and advocates for your brand. It is the ultimate gold mine for marketers and brands. You have to figure out how your brand fits into this gold mine though. What is your niche? I don’t mean product niche, I mean communication niche.

The one niche that is proving to be more and more beneficial and demanding to brands is customer service. Customers not only expect to be able to find you online and with their mobile devices, but expect to be able to get real-time information and questions answered by their favorite brands. Real-time, constant communication that is broadcasted to hundreds of people with direct links to your products – ultimate gold mine!
Get Satisfaction logo
I am an advocate of Get Satisfaction – a popular site that brings customers to one place to ask questions and provide feedback about a product or brand experience. I listened to a podcast recently (DishyMix) on which they discussed the value of customer service and how it is turning into a marketing tool for online brands with the CEO of Get Satisfaction, Wendy Lea. She said some pretty insightful things that made me realize how powerful customer service is not only to your reputation, but to your online reach efforts.

How is this tool going to help you in your marketing efforts? Here’s how:

1. Be where your customers are! “Never have there been so many online customers (50,000+ on Get Satisfaction alone)…this is a big opportunity that the average marketer has NEVER had till today.” – Wendy Lea

2. Show up when your customers are searching to buy. Facebook and Twitter now gets pulled into Google results when searches are performed. The days of paying for a PPC campaign or sponsored links are soon over. FREE organic promotions are being pulled in directly from your customers. How much more genuine can you get? Not through a traditional print ad!
Interacting with sites like Get Satisfaction and other social sites improved your SEO dramatically. “Consumers should be able to find you easily, no matter how they are searching. Customers start their interactions in search. You need to think about how to get customers to start sharing ideas about your brands…” – Wendy Lea

3. Bring all those communities and conversations into one place.Get Satisfaction is another layer to the social strategy… (Facebook, Twitter being some of the others) Our platform pulls all those layers together to bring it to one “hub.” This gives marketers a great chance to listen, learn and to provide more ways of support [and promotion]…” – Wendy Lea

Quick Note: Get Satisfaction allows brands to filter the conversations so customers can report a problem or give praise easily. All communications can also be pulled into a CRM system and divided throughout different departments within an organization to really create data-driven solutions.

4. Identify brand advocates through engaged communities. Who knows, you might have a NY socialite talking about your Boutique and you had no idea. Leverage their social networks to promote your next opening to. Provide some insider information (new collections, when discounts will be available) to reward them for their participation. Trust me, it will go a long way and open channels to new customers that you might have never been able to reach.

However, this is an ongoing effort. Once you truly start leveraging tools like Get Satisfaction and incorporate it into your online marketing strategy, you MUST maintain it. There is nothing more damaging to a brand than putting up a profile to reach fans/customers and not interacting. It is a big slap in the face to those who took the time to reach out to you.

Quick Note: Get Satisfaction offers free and paid subscriptions with a tiered service offering. A great tool that is provide with their Grow – Integrate packages is the Facebook app. You can now enhance your customer reach by adding this “community” conversations into Facebook where opinions spread like wildfire! You can learn more about their product by clicking here!

@beadiful4you