Once again “Big Data” is all the rage as enterprises struggle to cope with the data deluge that is exploding across the globe. To provide an illustration of this phenomenon, consider first that, according to Google’s Eric Schmidt, there were five exabytes of data created between the dawn of civilization and 2003 (one exabyte is equivalent to one million terabytes). Now consider that, according to Cisco, by 2016 global IP traffic will reach 109.5 exabytes per month. Companies, organizations, and governments are all drowning in data and the bulk of what’s contributing to this raging flood is user-generated content.
The tsunami of user-generated content has generated an urgent demand for more sophisticated analytical tools in the social media space. This rising demand is bringing the worlds of big data solutions and social media services (i.e. CRM, marketing, and sales) closer together than ever before. In the past two months the software behemoth Oracle acquired the social media marketing platform Virtue and Salesforce acquired Buddy Media. These two will certainly not be the last of such moves. In the coming months, other vendors such as IBM, EMC, and HP will likely make similar acquisitions. As a consequence, social media specialists, especially analytics experts, will need to become much more data-technology-savvy.
The merging of big data solutions and social media marketing platforms is not the only development that will require social media analytics experts to elevate their technology competency. Increasingly the rudimentary manual analytical methodologies of the past are proving inadequate for fully harnessing the power of Big Data to provide strategic insights for social media marketing campaign planning and measurement as well as social CRM, crowd sourcing and sales. At present, the most common approach to analyzing social media data is manual and protracted. It usually starts with a listening tool, such as Radian6, to gather the data followed by dozens of hours of labor-intensive data cleaning. The resulting dataset only yields insights about the relevant conversation – the major topics, the primary channels where the conversation is taking place and the identities of the individuals engaged in the conversation. Understanding the structure of the social network constituted by the relevant conversation requires additional analysis.
Mobile payments are touted as the next big thing in marketing. Brands can instantly access an individual customer’s in-store purchase data and serve up targeted deals. The customer pays simply by holding up his smartphone to the checkout scanner — no digging into the wallet for a credit card, dollar bills or, heaven forbid, loose change.
The Yankee Group estimates that the worldwide transaction value of mobile payments will total nearly $1 trillion by 2014, up from $162 billion in 2010. But then why does it seem that the only people using it are customers purchasing their their double-caffe skinny lattes at Starbucks?
Mobile payments may be a perfect mix of targeted e-commerce with bricks-and-mortar shopping, but the current crop of services is confusing to use for the average consumer.
Consumers’ ambivalence about mobile payments is clear. Only 20 percent of people surveyed by IDC have purchased a product from a store via their mobile phone. And of those who have devices enabled with Near Field Communications — the technology behind mobile purchasing — only 2 percent are expected to use them in 2012.
Marketers have only themselves to blame for this lackluster penetration. The hype has not been backed up with proper education and incentives that make it easy for consumers to use and derive value from mobile purchases.
By Keith Trivitt | @KeithTrivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
Of all the hot marketing trends that have emerged in the past year, perhaps none has garnered more attention — and scorn — than Quick Response Codes (QR Codes). Alternately viewed by brands and marketers as the “next big thing” or a silly and unnecessary gimmick meant to demonstrate brands’ coolness in the digital age, QR Codes have plenty of fans and detractors.
Stepping away from the debate for a moment, it’s worth asking: Are QR Codes undervalued?
That is the question Digiday posed to brand marketers last week in an informative analysis of the state of QR Codes. After laying the groundwork with some interesting stats on QR Codes’ use by brands and their ROI (see below for details), reporter Giselle Abramovich offers examples from three well-known global brands — Coca-Cola, Taco Bell and HP — that have seen success from using QR Codes.
Before diving into those case studies, let’s look at the stats.
According to Digiday, and based data from Scanbuy, a company that provides QR Codes to brands and reports back-end analytics on their use, more than 13 million QR Codes were processed in the first quarter of 2012, a 157-percent increase from 2011. Of the QR Codes it delivers, Scanbuy reports that the most popular QR Code marketing campaigns are delivering video, app downloads and product details. And, not surprisingly, marketers are going gaga over QR Codes; 96 percent plan to use them in 2012.
With stats that strong, what’s not to love about QR Codes? Quite a lot, actually.
Part of the consternation stems from the technology behind QR Codes. Long used in Europe and Asia, where consumers are highly adept at using their mobile phones for regular Internet use and mobile purchases, U.S. marketers are faced with a multitude of providers, none of which use the same platform. The possibilities that QR Codes offer marketers are numerous, but in order to reap those benefits, the U.S. market will have to develop some sort of consensus platform for 2D barcodes. At the moment, the lack of one consistent platform is confusing to consumers, which muddles the overall value of QR Codes. (more…)
By: Steve Goldner | @SocialSteve | Senior Director, Social Media
Social by Design … not a new buzz phrase but, rather, a fresh business imperative.
For years I have been professing that social media is not a tactic but, rather, has to be a way of life for brands. It is not about putting up a Facebook page and a Twitter feed and posting away. Social media must be at the core of a marketing strategy. Yeah, I know … you’ll think someone named “SocialSteve” is likely to say that … how self-serving of me. But wait a minute and hear me out.
The most powerful call to action a marketer could hope for is to have one friend, one colleague, one family member refer to another a suggested product or service. The recommendation comes from an objective source, a trusted source. Let’s face it: an ad is a recommendation from a most subjective source.
Social by Design means putting a brand in the hands of your target audience to produce organic sharing and word of mouth. Social by Design yields brand amplification. Maybe the one brand that understands this most of all is Coca Cola. As Coke has an objective to double their business it looks at programs that are Social by Design. As Coke states it, it is moving from creative excellence to content excellence. Coke calls its content strategy “liquid content,” and looks for its target audience to be the source of brand proliferation.
This video is a must see as it crystallizes what is meant by having a strategy that is Social by Design.
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from an op-ed by Steve Goldner, senior director of social media at MediaWhiz, as published May 16, 2012, in Digiday.
The impact that Google Plus will eventually have on the search marketing industry is arguably greater than its influence on social media. It will ultimately be used to track user behavior at every level and serve up ads based on that behavior to a degree marketers have never seen.
While Google Plus offers favorable benefits for users, there are equally powerful opportunities for agencies and brands. The robust integration of search and social that is built into Google Plus means that there is an added value for brands to establish relationships with individuals. As those relationships build, users will include brands in their social circles. When brands are added to users’ social circles, they will automatically jump to the top of the queue for that group of users’ relevant topic searches.
Google has been the Internet search leader for more than a decade. In that timeframe, it has made numerous attempts at becoming a social media power. Unfortunately for Google, its history in the social space — Orkut, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Google Wave and Google Buzz — has left the impression that when it comes to social media, Google is more Friendster than Facebook.
Many brands and agencies talk a big game about the value of integrating search and social, but Google is taking the first step in delivering a solution. Think about this common scenario: a consumer hears about a product from a friend and his interest is piqued. He wants to find out more about the product, so he performs a simple online search. What happens if a competitor’s brand shows up higher on search? Is there a propensity for the consumer to be diverted to the competitor’s brand? Perhaps. But what brand would want to take that chance?
When Google launched Google Plus, it incorporated what it calls “Search Plus Your World.” The outcome is that search is personalized. Google Plus’ social data is incorporated into users’ Google search results. When Google Plus users perform a search, postings from their Google circles, relevant to that search, appear at the top. For example, if a given user searches for “accounting services” and one of his circle connections has posted or commented about a topic relevant to “accounting services,” that user’s reference appears at the top of the search output. The search is relevant to the user based on his circle’s contributions.
The MediaWhiz team enjoyed a welcomed mid-afternoon break today when professional violinist Richmond Punch stopped by our New York City offices for a 30-minute concert. Punch, who is a professional violinist and Juilliard grad, played a variety of contemporary and classical pieces.
Below is a video snippet of Punch playing a Beatles song, displaying his mix of contemporary with classical violin playing. Check out more of his innovative playing style here.
Earlier this week Twitter unveiled its new Discover tab, which the social network claimed in a blog post will make it “easy to discover information that matters to you without having to follow additional accounts.” The news received a lukewarm reception in the blogosphere with PCWorld calling the changes a “double-edged sword … that involves some degree of privacy infringement — or at least erosion.” Others in the tech media and blogosphere expressed similar apathy about its value to brands and marketers.
To get some deeper insight into what the Discover tab will really means for digital marketers, I sat down with Steve Goldner, senior director of social media for MediaWhiz, and head of the agency’s social media practice. Steve works with a broad range of major clients in developing their social media strategies and campaigns, and he expressed hope for a new level of insight from Twitter regarding what consumers are saying about brands and the ability to more finely target key brand advocates.
Through it all we kept growing and building the core of the MediaWhiz brand: a results-driven digital marketing agency. And that growth continues to be recognized by our industry peers.
Case in point: the 2012 Advertising Age Agency Report, out this week, lists MediaWhiz as the No. 21 digital-agency network in the United States and the No. 73 overall advertising/marketing agency across all divisions, by revenue.
We’re especially proud of the latter as it represents an improvement of 112 places from our 2011 ranking of No. 185. It marks MediaWhiz’s first-ever appearance in the top-100 rankings of all agencies in the Advertising Age Agency Report.
These strong rankings confirm that MediaWhiz’s results-driven business model is a success. They also are a testament to the partnerships we have developed with our clients and the entrepreneurial spirit of our employees.
MediaWhiz continues to evolve with the rapidly changing online media and digital marketing space. Our clients depend on us to manage the complexity of their modern marketing and digital media challenges, and we have grown MediaWhiz to meet those needs.
It’s no longer just about executing search campaigns or optimizing social media programs. Now, more than ever, online advertising success depends upon building integrated online performance marketing programs that take full advantage of the interactions across all digital media efforts.
Businesses face challenges on multiple fronts to effectively market their brands online. The MediaWhiz model — helping clients acquire customers more profitably via expertise in all forms of online performance marketing, including Affiliate, Search, Social, Display, Email and Data Acquisition, and optimizing within and across all digital media channels — is what we believe the future of online marketing and advertising should entail.
We’re proud to be on the vanguard of this new paradigm in online marketing. This year’s Advertising Age Agency Report rankings indicate that MediaWhiz’s work is valuable to our clients and to the digital marketing industry. It’s a recognition we aim to uphold in the months and years to come.
MediaWhiz SEO industry expert John Carcutt is popping up everywhere. This time, at Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas, as a member of an expert panel discussing the relationship between SEO and Affiliate Marketing.
Blogger Stephanie Lichtenstein, creator of the influential affiliate marketing blog, stephanielichtenstein.com had this to say about John;
“Since I know a little more about John Carcutt, I can tell you that he is the real deal when it comes to SEO. He hosts a weekly podcast called SEO101 on Webmaster Radio every Monday. He also has been in the game for a long time calling himself the, “SEO Oldtimer.”
The details of the panel are listed below.
When: Sunday, January 17, 2010
What: Monetizing Blogs for Affiliate Marketing and SEO
Learn to maximize affiliate commissions using blogging, increasing your community, and utilizing SEO.
Kristopher B. Jones, President, Pepperjam Network, A GSI Commerce Company
(Twitter @pepperjamceo) (Moderator)
Drew Bennett, Professional Blogger, BenSpark.com (Twitter @BenSpark) John
Carcutt, SEO Manager, MediaWhiz (Twitter @JohnCarcutt)
Tim Jones, Owner, TheRealTimJones.com (Twitter @TheRealTimJones)
Murray Ross Newlands, Founder, Affiliate Heat (Twitter @murraynewlands)
When: 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Where: Brasilia 1-2 Rio Hotel
Passes: Platinum, Gold
Look for John’s video summary =of his panel session on January 17. Stephanie Lichtenstein will also be covering the session and explore MediaWhiz’s MonetizeIt business.