Crowdsource your way to success.

I would probably classify myself as a stage five clinger when it comes to the Internet – I am addicted to it.

Because of this addiction I hate when Optus decides to have their “maintenance days” without a pre-warning as I often find myself quite bored and with nothing to do – anyone else with me? But this unhealthy obsession has actually taught me a lot about companies that utilise the world wide web and what they are able to do with it. One of the things I have noticed is the shift in control from companies to consumers. Companies use to hold the power but because of web 2.0 that power has now been shifted into the hands of consumers.

Digital marketing use to be a one-way conversation, where consumers did not take an active role in their favourite brand’s marketing, but it has since been revolutionised by the services web 2.0 provides. Sharma, Soe & Balasubramaniam say that “web 2.0 functionalities have allowed businesses to implement crowdsourcing for activities that would be better performed by a crowd than any specific pool of knowledge workers”. Consumers are the ultimate stakeholder a company needs to please, so who else better to ask for opinions than them. Companies have been taking advantage of online networks to involve consumers in their company’s marketing decisions – this is called crowdsourcing.

Lego Supporters
Photos courtesy of Lego Ideas

Many companies have used crowdsource marketing for a one-off marketing campaign, but some have also used it as an ongoing feature to their marketing strategy. One company that successfully uses it on an ongoing basis is Lego. Lego has a feature called Lego Ideas that allows customers to share their ideas that could then be turned into an actual product for Lego if it gathers enough support from fellow customers. If the innovation ends up being produced, the creator is rewarded with 1% in royalties from sales of their creation. The concept of Lego Ideas allows Lego to leverage crowdsourcing to their advantage by enabling their customers to design new products for them and test the demand at the same time.

Another successful example of crowdsource being used is Nissan’s campaign for their Juke Nismo car. Nissan allowed consumers to customise and name their one-off version of the car through their social media channels. Users were able to tweet and post suggestions for the types of technology that Nissan should include with the new car. They also used a celebrity and created a contest to incentivise users to participate in the campaign. The campaign was deemed a success as they were able to generate a lot of buzz around their brand with more than 10 million social media interactions between the Nissan and its users.

From these two companies success, WeThinq has dubbed these four steps are a necessity for succeeding in crowdsource marketing:

  1. Set the bar low and make it easy for people to get involved by submitting a simple idea
  2. Include some kind of incentive such as a cash prizes, share of profits or a once-in-a-lifetime experience
  3. Encourage participants to generate interest around the campaign through voting or sharing on social media platforms
  4. Follow through with the promised rewards as participants like to see the finished product with their suggestions

Let me know what your opinions are of crowdsource marketing. Are there any other companies that you know of that have used this in their marketing strategies? What do you think of Lego and Nissan’s use of it?

For the last time,
Leavia

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The perfect combination of on and off.

I’m not sure if it’s just my dentist, but my dentist has a whole array of random magazines; ranging from the latest edition of Cosmopolitan to the 2011 June edition of Top Gear.

I was waiting at the dentist the other day browsing through a couple of magazines to help the pass the time until it was my turn. It was a long wait – you know how dentists are – so I was able to flick through a couple of them and the marketer in me noticed that the ads had started to change over time. The ads in the newer editions started featuring more digital content such as social media and website links, online lingo, references to brand mobile applications, scan-able pages and QR codes. Some of the ads in the older magazine had references to Facebook, their website and on the rare occasion Twitter as well, but that was it.

Photo courtesy of eMarketing

eMarketing found that individuals spent more time on online platforms such as their computers and phones, compared to offline platforms such as radio, newspapers and magazines. With that in mind, it is no surprise that companies have started to change their offline campaigns by incorporating online features to it – this is a smart way of using an offline medium in an online generation. Some may question the use of offline media at all, but Pickton and Broderick stated that a good marketing campaign uses both offline and online platforms to create a consistent message across a range of media to maximise reach, so what better way to do so than by integrating it with each other.

Peanut Butter Snickers
Photo courtesy of Mike Young and Sharp Innovation

One great example is Snickers marketing campaign for their Peanut Butter Squared. As a Snickers and a peanut butter lover, I’m pretty devastated that these aren’t available in Australia. Snickers released the ad on the left in 2011 as part of their marketing campaign introducing the new variation. They indirectly mocked Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups by calling them the “training wheels” to their new product. The ad also had a saying “If you like peanut butter and chocolate, you’ll love peanut and Snickers” as well as their Facebook link. In 2013, they changed the ad to the one on the right which incorporated Facebook’s and Instagram’s like button. The ad continued to mock Reese’s by implying that consumers only liked Peanut Butter Cups but loved Peanut Butter Squared. They utilised the popularity and commonality of social media as a play on words to their saying of ‘like’ and ‘love’. Although this was a printed ad, by integrating online lingo they were able to bring their offline consumers to their online campaign which allowed users to share and like the product on social media – which was consistent with their printed ad – and view what was inside the chocolate bar on their website.

Snickers Peanut Butter Online
Photo courtesy of Kondiment

Let me know what your opinion is of online and offline marketing. Have you noticed the changes in offline media? Do you think offline is still necessary, or has everything transitioned to online? What are some other marketing campaigns that you know of that has incorporated both platforms?

Until next time,
Leavia

Orange? Big data is the new black.

The first thing I’m going to do after I complete my last exam is sign up for a Netflix account.

Photo courtesy of Chip

The only reason why I am yet to sign up for a Netflix account is because once I do I know I will never leave my house again. For those of you who don’t know what Netflix is, it is an on-demand Internet streaming media that houses thousands of movies and TV shows. It runs on a subscription model and charges its users a monthly flat rate fee. It was founded in 1997 and was only just introduced down under a couple of months ago – just a casual 18 year lag behind the rest of the world.

Due to Netflix’s subscription based business, personalisation for its users is extremely important. Members can always opt out of their subscription so Netflix needs to personalise their experience to encourage members to stay with them. With the thousands of titles Netflix holds, it can sometimes be a little difficult for the users to find something to watch so it is important that Netflix puts the right titles in front of the right users to make it easier for them.

Photo courtesy of Cantech Letter

So how does Netflix create a personalised experience for millions of users? With big data. Big data tells Netflix all of this information about its users such as what they watch, the velocity of what they watch, how recently they watched it, the time of day they watched it, the device they watched it on etc. Then they filter through all this data and use what’s important to generate recommendations for each and every one of it’s users. So Netflix will know that one of your guilty pleasures are rom-com movies starring Ryan Gosling and will recommend you ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ after you finished ‘The Notebook’.

Big data is a mountain of crap, and in that mountain of crap there’s this gold. But you have to burrow through the grotesqueness of the mountain of crap in order to find it.
Todd Yellin, Vice President of Product Innovation at Netflix

Photo courtesy of College Humor

Netflix has managed to successfully grow their business over the last six years with the help of big data. Not only has it allowed for predictive personalised viewing, it has helped Netflix create their own highly successful TV show strictly based off the data they had gathered. Their data showed that their users had an interest in content directed by David Fincher and Kevin Spacey so they aggressively bid for the rights of the TV show ‘House of Cards’ because they were so confident in it’s success – and they were right.

Big data is still a fairly new concept and not that many companies have incorporated it in their digital strategies. According to McKinsey, using big data to tailor advertising of specific products to individual profile users through an integrated algorithm can result in an improved ROI – Netflix is a perfect example of that.

Let me know if you have a Netflix account or are thinking of signing up for one. For those of you who do have one; What do you think of the recommendations that they have generated for you? Do you enjoy them? Are they accurate in suggesting the correct things or are they off on a completely different tangent to what you usually watch?

Until next time,
Leavia

Position available; Director of Operations.

As Mother’s Day just passed, I thought a blog post on one of my all time favourite viral videos ‘World’s Toughest Job’ was highly appropriate. If you haven’t seen it yet – you must – but make sure you have tissues on hand because it’s a teary one.

The video was created for American Greetings Cardstore by a marketing communications agency called Mullen. The video was based around the concept of the ‘world’s toughest job’ with the title position of Director of Operations. Although the job was fake, they advertised it online and in newspaper and held real interviews with people who were genuinely interested. The position required absurd responsibilities such as constant mobility with no breaks, a degree in medicine, finance and culinary arts, full availability during the holiday season and offered no pay. By the end of the video, it was revealed that the position of ‘Director of Operations’ was just another name for mothers. The video ends with a message saying “This Mother’s Day, you might want to make her a card” and reveals the company associated with the video.

Photo courtesy of Veronica Padilla

Marketers often set themselves objectives when they release a campaign so they can measure whether or not it was effective. In this case, it was the total number of views and social shares. The video was deemed a huge success – it received 13.8 million total views and 1.6 million social shares in five days. But what defines success for a viral video? Eckler and Bolls said that the success of a viral video is determined by the number of views it receives – the more times it has been view, the more success it has generated. If you were to put a number on it, a video with one million views can be classified as a ‘viral’ video.

There’s no better feeling than the moment something we created earns the attention of the mass public and goes viral. It’s the best form of validation that the wonderful thing we slaved over was actually great and not just ‘effective’.

So here’s a tip for us future marketers and how we can use viral marketing to it’s full advantage. Pagemodo have stated that there are three steps required in making a campaign go viral:
1. Find a topic that reaches a wide range of people
2. Make it fun and heartwarming
3. Engage the audience and get them to join the conversation

This is exactly what Mullen and American Greetings Cardstore did:
1. People often only watch videos that they can relate to or that they enjoy. Because so many people can relate to the topic of mothers, the message being carried through the video was highly relatable to a wide range of people. Many, if not most, have some sort of association with the word ‘mum’ – whether they have a mum or a mum’s themselves.

2. There is a positive link between viral marketing and pleasant emotional cues – whether that is love or humour. The video began with an amusing start when the interviewer was going through all the responsibilities required for the job – as the interviewees sat there obliviously – and finished off with a heartfelt message about the amazing things mums do for their children.

3. One element that is important to viral marketing is the influence it has on an audience in order for them to pass the content along to others. The video had a corresponding hashtag of #worldstoughestjob which was used for social sharing and audience engagement. Also, a hyperlink to Cardstore was added on to the end of the video to encourage users to purchase a card for their mothers.

Let me know what you thought about the video. Did you like it? Did you know it was about mum’s or were you taken by surprise at the end? Are there any other viral videos you know of that are similar to this one?

Until next time,
Leavia

Jetstar knows best.

If there is one company that knows mobile marketing, it is Jetstar.

Last weekend I flew to Brisbane to attend Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour Tour and it was amazing to say the least. My friends and I weren’t able to get tickets to the Melbourne show so we decided to take a quick trip up to Brisbane. We decided to fly with Jetstar and pre booked our tickets months in advance. Being the poor students we are, we decided to choose the cheapest flight which happened to be at 7am – the 4am wake up call was definitely a struggle.

    

Mid way through the one hour drive to the airport, we decided to check-in online on our phones to assure we got seats next to each other. We did a simple Google search of ‘Jetstar mobile online check in’ which directed us to Jetstar’s mobile friendly web check-in service with an additional option to download the Jetstar app. We checked-in with ease and our boarding passes appeared right in our palms a second later via SMS. We were a little unsure whether the text message was all that was required, but customer service reassured us that the text was enough. Once we arrived to the airport we were able to bypass the long queues and head straight to our gate. The gate attendees electronically scanned our phones, printed out our tangible boarding passes and off we went – it was as easy as that!

Photo courtesy of Future Travel Experience

If I knew flying was that simple I would fly more often. I don’t fly too often so prior to this experience I was only aware of the long lines and the long waits. But Jetstar has mobile marketing down packed – mobile friendly websites, an exclusive app and SMS boarding passes. As people become busier and start to have less time, it’s a surprise that only 22% of the top 50 airlines provide their customers with a mobile friendly website – this places Jetstar miles ahead of the game. They have a thorough understanding of the importance and benefits mobile marketing can bring to their company and their customers with the significant growth in mobile usage. Jetstar has delved into multiple innovative technologies to enhance customer value and succeeded. Such features empower customers – like myself – with a more effortless and enjoyable airport experience.

Let me know if you’ve ever used Jetstar’s or another airline’s mobile check-in service. If it was another airline’s, how did it differ from Jetstar’s mobile strategy? What did you think of it? Did it change your opinion on the whole airport experience?

Until next time,
Leavia

It’s always better when it’s free.

I’m sure we are all familiar with YouTube; it is the home of movie trailers, funny cat videos and 30 second ads.

Photo courtesy of YouTube

YouTube currently has more than one billion users from all over the world, so it is the perfect place for advertisements. YouTube places these advertisements as pre-roll ads before the actual video the user has selected to watch. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been forced to watch the ad about the latest Hungry Jacks burger or the little girl named ‘Neesha’. I must not be the only person out there who finds them annoying because YouTube is planning on rolling out an ad-free subscription service.

YouTube is currently a pure play free-for-all video sharing website, but this may soon end as they currently have plans to switch to a freemium model. A freemium model combines free content with “premium” content that is exclusive for subscribers only. The video-sharing site is planning on offering their users an ad-free version of YouTube for a monthly subscription fee. The subscription fee will be a new source of revenue for the company and their content creators. YouTube’s decision would place them head to head with their major competitors such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO which are all running a subscription service.

This is the letter that YouTube sent out:

Photo courtesy of Bloomberg Business

It is not clear if the new model will be available to Australian users and how much it will cost us. Whether it’s a pretty little penny or not, I’m not certain they would even succeed with this new offering. YouTube has generated so much success through their no cost platform by making it accessible for anyone and everyone. A lot of people have gotten use to the ads or found other ways to bypass them because things are always better when they are free.

Let me know if you would sign up for YouTube’s ad-free subscription if it were to come out in Australia. Do you think it will succeed as a freemium model or should they stick to their roots? What are some other freemium models that you guys use on a daily basis?

Until next time,
Leavia

Coachella ella ella eh.

If there is one place I’d rather be right now, it’s sunny state California.

Photo courtesy of Coachella

It’s that time of the year again for one of the largest, most famous and most profitable music festivals in the United States – the one and only Coachella. For those of you who don’t know what Coachella is – where have you been?! It is an annual three-day music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. It is currently held in the second and third week of April and attracts over 100,000 festival goers over the two weekends. The event features both established and emerging artists in a range of music genres including rock, indie, hip hop and – my personal favourite – electronic dance music.

The first time I heard about Coachella was a few years ago through my Instagram feed. Several people that I religiously follow were posting photos and videos with the hashtag #coachella and that was when I knew ‘to attend Coachella’ was going to be one of my bucket list goals. This year is no different. Coachella this and Coachella that – are all over my Instagram feed, but I also noticed it started appearing on pretty much all of my social media. It is everywhere! The more I see it, the more I want to go.

Coachella Social Media Collage
Photo courtesy of Coachella

Coachella have utilised every single internet platform they could think of to build an audience. They have managed to capture festival lovers all over the globe and expanded their target audience beyond the United States. Here are a few social media outlets they have incorporated into the festival for 2015:

YouTube Coachella successfully attended to their worldwide fan base by livestreaming the whole experience on YouTube for all the unfortunate ones who couldn’t make it – including myself. This helps spread awareness of the festival on a worldwide scale and also increases excitement and viewers eagerness to go to the following years festival.

Yik Yak If you haven’t heard of Yik Yak, then you are missing out! Coachella is currently featured on the Yik Yak homepage for all users to see – even if you are across the globe. Because the app is location based, all the Yak’s are from genuine Coachella-ers and allows readers to vicariously live the Coachella experience and know what’s really going down at the music festival.

Coachella app Long gone the days of paper maps and directory boards – digital maps, lists and newsfeeds are the future. Coachella has their very own app to help festival goers have a smoother and more memorable experience. The app features the lineup schedule, food and drinks list, a map of the location and more.

Coachella caught my attention a few years ago and has caught my attention again this year by ten fold. Their strong presence on the world wide web has helped build on their awareness and loyalty as their customer base just keeps on growing each year.

Let me know if you have ever been or want to go to Coachella. Have you been exposed to any of Coachella’s digital marketing campaigns this year? If so, which ones?

Until next time,
Leavia