Digital Marketing is all about the consumer experience with , accompanied by, and within a brand virtually. From the physical dimension of a brand to its mental associations, its brand equity, or brand essence , down to very granular services or information surrounding its place in a consumer’s life, all can and should be experienced digitally.
One way of considering the full digital marketing mix is to look at as a digital ecosystem. As in any successful ecosystem, all the elements and their inter- relationships support and keep the ecosystem alive, adapting and thriving. And across the digital marketing mix there is a problem if these all remain in silos. The traditional marketing pillars of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention should be applied across all types of digital interactive services or content in that ecosystem as active environmental roles that support the ecosystem. More importantly, they must all be considered as digital consumer touch points, each with an active role to play. In a cohesive or holistic sense these traditional marketing pillars should applied against very activity in standalone website or across a full digital ecosystem ( sites, services, distributed content, social networks, digital media/advertising, email marketing and CRM ) and should always be considered. Conversely , these digital touch points should be supported by other non digital channels ( POS, above and below the line media , on pack) ; a virtual environment needs to exist with a physical counterpart.
While some of the activities, content, or interactive services you have on a site may seem obvious its always good to justify there existence against what your aims or goal are in the marketing mix. No one element is exclusive , all are interdependent just as they would be in the normal sales funnel, and what’s interesting about this is that you can seek to balance activities against the goals and make decisions of what interactive pieces you might consider for the traditional marketing pillars of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention.
What’s interesting today in the more social interactive world is that in the consumers journey along the traditional sale funnel seems to be either accelerated or they can identified anywhere in the funnel a lot quicker. The activities surrounding your he traditional marketing pillars of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention seem blurred. Lets take, for example, Bacardi . In its recent digital campaign to further its association with a night clubbing and dance club lifestyle worldwide, it chooses to be a trusted facilitator in an aspect of that lifestyle, by providing the service of a digital music sharing platfrom . It uses social media by offering aspiration based rewards of free limited edition, 1st to hear, music tracks to those consumers (its digital advocates) that act as a word of mouth spokes-peoples for the brand’s service by being the source of introduction of the Barcardi music sharing platform to their friends and rewards them accordingly. One could say that its the digital equivalent to brands giving away a utility that is associated with or inherent in products consumption. Like a coffee brand giving a branded cup or spoon or something inherently needed with the process drinking coffee. But in the case of Bacardi its wrapped up in a social relationship reward program that only digital can provide at relatively low cost and be highly. What is does is either accelerate the potential for identifying advocates or it even makes a brand advocate out of a consumer who may not necessarily consume the brand or be an MVC. This is not bad thing, who wants to stop a consumer talking about your brand in a positive way whether or not they consumer your brand?
, consumer engagement
, email marketing
Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 6, 2009 in General
, Social Media Marketing
, User experience
You may not know it but Hi5 is the third largest social network in the world polling into position behind Facebook and MySpace. What make its different from the other two is clearly its audience. It has around 60 million unique visitors per month , 40% of whom come from Spanish speaking countries. This makes it the largest Latin American or Hispanic social network . While virtually unheard of in the United States the UK or some of Europe there are reasons to believe that this could change. The key information to be aware of is that more and more people in the U.S. are discovering the site, a trend line that will likely keep bending upward in the next 12 months. What would be interesting to track is whether this new US based audience is ethnically and demographically the young Hispanic and creates a parallel spanish speaking social network the covers the Americas and Spain . As of mid-2007 the Hispanic community in the US, the largest minority group , accounted for 15.1% of the total U.S. population and also since 2000 have accounted for more than half (50.5%) of the overall population growth in the United States
Hi5′ s music and video applications rival those of other, more popular social networks, and Hi5′s mobile app is first rate.
Hi5 won’t be bigger than Facebook by the end of the year, but it will have grown significantly, and it will have given many people an attractive alternative to try out
What will be interesting to observe in the near future is whether the identities of one social network can or will be able cross register with the other using the concept of Open ID.
Tags: consumer engagement
, consumer trends
, latin america
, Social Media Marketing
, social networks
Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 2, 2009 in Email Marketing
As a tactic inside the digital marketing mix, Email’s low cost and effective reach still makes it core component in B2C communications. Given its low cost, email service providers are expecting an increase reliance on this highly measurable and engaging method of consumer interaction. Today Email remains a staple of nearly every digital marketing campaign, while its low cost puts it behind other tactics in terms of spending, its effectiveness should never be under estimated.
Epsilon , a leader in enterprise email services, has just released a study on E-mail marketing metrics that indicates that deliverability rates were almost exactly the same in Q3 2008 as they were in Q3 2006. Open rates and click-through rates dipped during the same period, but only slightly.
This still indicates its viability as a dependable media channel. The optomisim surrounding the industry indicates projections that email , as a media channel continues to enjoy steady and unfaltering growth despite concerns about the declining effectiveness of advertising and the challenging economy Online benchmark and research group eMarketer, estimates spending on e-mail will rise to $488 million in 2009, up from $472 million in 2008. While a small growth in overall terms , it is none the less a growth in a time when other types of media spend are in decline.
Email’s low cost and high ROI shouldn’t make a marketer lazy or complacent, consumer segmentation and personalization add significantly higher increases to the effectiveness of this media and directly impact response rates.
Tags: consumer engagement
, email marketing
Groove Armada and Barcardi Rum deal
There are “No Rules” anymore when it comes to the music industry and how band or musical acts market themselves in the digital age. To underscore the changing ways of doing business and the ability of an act taking control of its music and image outside of the “record deal” - traditionally label based system, Groove Armada’s deal with Barcardi Rum is unprecedented. Its a pure play “Branded Content” deal. The UK based , world renowned DJ and dance music act Groove Armada, has signed an exclusive one year recording, DJing and promotional deal with Barcardi. And it has the music industry pundits questioning whether its a ”Sell Out” or another wake call in the ever evolving era of media portability and its impact on all traditional entertainment media.
In the 21st Century music scene, with music sales down and the internet transferring power to the artists, their options are wide open. In what could be called a symbiotic exchange or promotional deal, Groove Armada gets to be promoted and play to new audiences worldwide under the marketing flagship of Barcardi. It is what could be called a branded content viral or social marketing deal too. Bacardi is the facilitator of content or music sharing, is associated to a “hip act ” and right in touch with core audience and their media and social habits. A four-track EP – the only music to be released under the contract - was launched by Tom and Andy Cato at the Midem international music convention in Cannes yesterday.
The Branded Content – Social marketing deal
The EP will be delivered through an innovative sharing mechanic called Bacardi B-LIVE Share; a pioneering online application encouraging and rewarding consumers who share Groove Armada’s music from the EP with their own online communities. Andy Cato says of the model -
“Sharing music has always gone on. It’s giving music away that’s the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it’s disposable. When you share it, it’s done with love.”
The first track has just been released as a free download for free from http://www.bliveshare.com , Baracardi’s brand spanking new music / promotional sharing platform.
In what is surely an experiment in Social Media and Viral marketing , to get the other three tunes, fans must share the first with their friends, who share it with their friends, who share it with their friends.
To get the second track, the fans and their network of friends must spread the first 20 times through the website. To get the third, the network must share it 200 times. And for the fourth, the first MP3 must be shared 2,000 times in total. The originator or ancestor being able track their spread of music through their social network with a window of six weeks to spread it, after which time all four songs will go on sale through normal digital stores.
The site includes social sharing applications with Facebook , MySpace , blogs , websites , and a call to social email campaigning.
So download your exclusive Groove Armada track “Go” from me
Tags: branded entertainment
, consumer engagement
, Social Media Marketing
, social networks
, user experience
, word of mouth
Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 14, 2009 in General
, User experience
“An emerging network- centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.”
- John Hagel
Web 2.0 is such an amorphous terms that defies a hard definition. In the many years that have been talking about and working in in web development and interactive marketing I would often describe the evolution of the web as generational, heralding each leap in concept from media, content, browsers, systems and platforms as contributing generational stepping stones to where we are today. The hyperbolic change that occurred in the early internet years seemed to have generational change each successive year with competing technologies, media companies and battling it out for a controlling position. When the dot com bubble finally burt in 2001 there was a turning point in the web. The point where after a shakeout the ascendent technologies began to differentiate themselves from the raft of “frothy flotsam ” washed up in wake of the the crash. Perhaps the corporate agendas of owning or controlling the web , the antithesis of its organic and free form, had failed. What was apparent at this time was that new sites and technologies kept on revitalizing the digital space in an open and collaborative way.
While the boom was definitively over the web just kept evolving in open way and the transition to Web 2.0 was enabled by the emergence of platforms such as blogging, social networks, and free image and video uploading, that collectively allowed extremely easy content creation, access and sharing by anyone who had a computer and a connection. The barrier to entry of web publishing or content creation was over and the social voice of the digital consumer had begun its transformative ride over traditional media.
If you think Web 2.0 as simply social networking or just about the technical or geek jargon…. you really need to think again. Every aspect of Web 2.0 is driven by consumer participation, from content, its voice, browser development, technology platforms, and an ever evolving digital life. The most definitive trend and primary direction of Web 2.0 is for users to control the content they create, the data captured about their web activities and their identity and their willingness to participate and socialize collectively. The gradual opening or advances in digital standards have allowed for a common interfaces and integration across content and applications allowing a less constrained environment then had previously existed before. Decentralized in its architecture, participation, and usage, Web 2.0′s real power and flexibility emerges from distributing applications and content over many points rather than having them locked down on centralized or controlled systems. Its is truly becoming a plugin and play open environment for digital interplay between content and devices where the consumer experience of media or content mobility is quintessential.
What is very clear is that the Web 2.0 is not a trend or fad, it is not going way or will disappear, its here to stay. What is even more interesting is that the internet development chatter is about the next evolution , Web 3.0 or the semantic web, an intelligent web based on behavioural understanding of the consumers digital actions. What’s going to be interesting about Web 3.0 and will define just how far it can go will be the consumer privacy laws. There’s potentially an imminent consumer back lash looming in the near future concerning the use of known and personal data points surrounding behaviours.
There are a small number main characteristics that help define web 2. 0 In the marketers world there are a few we should be aware of as these have become part of the mainstream marketing language:
New Media Marketing: a term to describe the building and managing of social networks and online or virtual communities, and extend the reach of marketing to the low-frequency, low-intensity consumer in a cost effective way.
Buzz Marketing: The strategic use of word of mouth, the transmission of commercial information from person to person in an online or real-world environment.
Viral Marketing: The intentional spreading of marketing messages using social networks, with an emphasis of the casual, non-intentional and low cost.
Collective Intelligence or Collaborative Filtering : Essentially what this means is that “users” contributions greatly help build and make the foundation stronger and more popular by adding their content, such as links, comments, forum posts, reviews, rating others, an aggregation of the best work of thousands, then millions of web users (example: YouTube – more comments, more “thumbs-up” the more popularity), and any content contribution really. Without the end “user” the sites popularity goes down – if there is no interactivity for the end user, it’s not collective “anything.” So in short – the site grows organically in response to user activity.
Users Add Value: The architecture of your software development relies on “public” users to add their own data thus adding more value to your application. FireFox, Mozilla , Red Hat Linux WordPress ,(possibly the most used blogging software in the world ) grow in functionality through a network of contributing developers.
“Some” Rights Reserved: Expanding the range of creative works accessible for others to legally build upon and share. The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to just that. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses. These licenses, depending on the one selected, restrict only particular rights (or none) of the work instead of customary copyright, which is more restraining.
The constant Beta: Sites like, Frappr, CafePress, Flickr, FeedBurner…etc. rely on a services evolution or constant improvements and enhancements , New features are packaged up into massive releases, but instead added them on a regular basis as part of the normal user experience.
Rich User Experience: Web 2.0 applications are built of a network of cooperating data services.
When it comes to the driving Web 2.0 technologies we should also aware of:
Aggregation: Bringing multiple content sources together into one interface or application.
API : (Application Programming Interface) A defined interface to a computer application or database that allows access by other applications.
Embedding: Integrating content or an application into a web page, while the original format is maintained.
Folksonomy: Rich categorization of information that is collectively created by users, through tagging and other actions. (cf. taxonomy)
Mashups: Combination of different types of content or data, usually from different sources, to create something new.
Remixing: Extracting and combining samples of content to create a new output. The term was originally used in music but is now also applied to video and other content.
RSS : (Really Simple Syndication) A group of formats to publish (syndicate) content on the internet so that users or applications automatically receive any updates.
Ruby on Rails: An open source web application framework that is frequently used in Web 2.0 website development.
Tag cloud: A visual depiction of tags that have been used to describe a piece of content, with higher frequency tags emphasized to assist content comprehension and navigation.
Tagging: Attaching descriptions to information or content.
Virtual architecture :The creation of avatars (alternative representations of people), buildings, objects, and other artefacts inside virtual spaces.
Widget: Small, portable web application that can be embedded into any web page.
XML : (eXtensible Markup Language) An open standard for describing data, which enables easy exchange of information between applications and organizations.
Open web: The entire space of the World Wide Web open to anyone to access and participate. This has been the initial domain in which Web 2.0 technologies, applications, and attitudes have developed.
Suggested reading Future Exploration network
, buzz marketing
, collaborative filtering
, collective intelligence
, consumer engagement
, consumer voice
, creative commons
, digital life
, digital marketing
, new media marketing
, social networks
, user generated content