Embracing Emerging Media

The last 8 weeks of this course has been extremely overwhelming but undoubtedly an extremely learning experience and opened my world to Emerging Media which was limited to only social media till I explored more about IoT, Voice- Search Assistants, Wearable Technology to name a few. Today we have access to not just information but digital marketing tools that are convenient to use and can also support marketing to develop and implement creative plans based on the findings.

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Image Source: Smart Insights

The research, discussions, writing assignments and the lessons led me to explore in detail some of the key aspects of Emerging Media which as a marketer I plan to consider and implement whenever possible while developing a marketing strategy. While all the different aspects are key in context to a successful 360-degree communication plan, but there are few areas which I may have overlooked before but intend to consciously consider in future. These are as follows :

Data Security & Data Privacy – Include more communication to the target audience on how as an organization, we intend to protect customer data and value them. At the same time, communicate clearly with transparent and easy to understand disclosure on how the customer will have opt-in and opt-out choices in receiving

Internet of Things– Explore different opportunities to take branding through the IoT route. Explore opportunities with Smart Cities, Smart Parks, Smart Shopping Malls, Smart Events, including business networking or conventions where B2B branding can be initiated through smart kiosks that help locate booths, events, or schedules etc.

Live Streaming – Live video streaming of webinars, events, product launches, user/ customer experiences, communication during crisis situations would play a key role in any communications strategy.

Voice- Search Enhanced Content – Content creation that is voice- search optimized along with local search enhanced through long tailed keywords. While in Business to Business communication, voice- search is yet to the momentum, however, the focus on content creation should be after a deep understanding of consumer pain points that they often come across, which in all likelihood is what the consumer is going to ask a voice- search assistant about.

Emerging Media Analytics – While a gamut of emerging media routes and channels can be incorporated into branding initiatives, but it is also important that how these routes are going to be measured for impact analysis forms a crucial part of the entire strategy. Clear impact analysis and measurement through several analytics tools have to be defined in the plan.

A huge thank you to my classmates and Professor Marisa for sharing their views, examples, and insights, which helped me embrace emerging media that today forms an integral part of any IMC strategy.

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Globalization of Emerging Media

For global brands getting into an emerging economy or a new geography is always a deliberation of whether to invest in the amalgamation of the local environment or stay with its global positioning.

With emerging media bringing the world closer, and cultural melting pot seeing existence in the virtual world, marketers’ job of  global brands’ messaging has got a little bit easier especially among the internet- savvy, educated urban societies of the world irrespective of the country. A majority of the brands which may not have been launched in  particular geography may already be building a brand recognition, thanks to the global audience being exposed to trending topics in social media. Globally consumers are more connected than ever, and mobile devices are increasingly becoming a way of life for the upper middle class in developing economies. A 2016 Nielson report came up with some interesting facts on the trends of mobile usage in different geographies where Asia- Pacific seems to be the leading user mobile devices for purchases. In a study by Experian in 2013 in China, it was found that “The most common tactics in use are SMS campaigns (with 71% of marketers using this tactic), m-commerce (64%) and mobile-optimised websites (60%).” 

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Source : Nielson

The reach of social media and mobile marketing is no more limited to developed economies but rather touching the lives of people in remotest of places. In rural and tier- 3 towns in India, smaller brands who sell basic smartphones predict that this group will make up 60% of the mobile phone market thus increased the potential of penetration of emerging media in the rural environment.

So while before the age of social media ALS Ice Bucket challenge would have been limited to the western world, but it was due to social media it reached Philipines, Taiwan, Srilanka, India and many other geographies that one may not have quite expected.

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Siri, tell me about “Voice-Controlled Search Engines and SEO”

It was fun playing around with Siri. As an experiment, Siri_Screenshot.pngI tweaked my question on finding activities around Atlanta that are good for kids and here are the findings.

Note how the search results are different for the same question asked but the way it has been structured is slightly different. The moment I did a voice search with “around Atlanta” the search result was more generic and the first four results didn’t even have Atlanta in its result. This is probably because of the way the voice – search results content has been developed, which is probably more optimized for “in Atlanta” than “around Atlanta”. Atlanta has metro- Atlanta area and suburbs and thus it is not uncommon for residents to search for things and events around Atlanta. The take away from this experiment was that brands need to adopt and implement very strategically planned Voice- Search optimized content that would rank high in voice- search results – relevant to the searches conducted by a consumer.

Voice Search Engine Marketing is as critical today as the traditional SEM. Many companies launched their voice-search  assistants almost simultaneously, and the adoption rate of these assistants were pretty fast. A 2015 study by MindMeld found that Siri had the highest number of users as the primary voice assistant followed by OK Google.However, I still remember when Siri landed up with search results which had no relevance to the original search made. There was an urgent need of accuracy fix in voice search results. According to an article in C-Net (2014), Google Now had an accuracy of 86% for all questions answered that it heard correctly, while Siri scored an 84%  – which was a big improvement since most of these assistants had an accuracy that was hovering around 70% around 2010. And today Siri enjoys an accuracy of 95% (the highest among its competitors), while Google Now an impactful improvement in search result accuracy that stood at 92%.

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Source : Search Engine Land.

Voice- Search engine has come a long way in a very short period of time and for marketers -there is no choice other than adopting it at the earliest.If a marketer hopes to draw traffic based on information that’s within the public domain there is  a need for a very focused and sustained strategy. In a study conducted by Stone Temple Consulting, it was found that of the 850,000 search queries Google supplied direct answers to 42,160 of them using “public domain information,”. With the increased “direct answers” expectation in the search result, a marketer has the daunting task of continuous optimization of their content for voice- search to receive the desired effects.

How Social Media could kill Consumer Relationship.

Yes. There is no denying that social media is building a level of consumer relationship that would have been unimaginable. Relationships are real time, personable, and in most cases extremely engaging.

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Source: Adweek

Social media is transforming CRM, with increasing expectation from brands to be more involved and responsive. One in four Facebook and Twitter users feel brands should respond to their complaints in social media in an hour! With this level of engagement, it is not impossible for social media to actually kill a brand’s relationship with its consumer. Here’s how –

Lack of synchronized social media presence : Consider this. You have one brand under one parent company but have multiple social accounts in multiple social networks. There are high chances you will miss conversations. Thus it is important to synchronize teams with social media presence, with proper assignment of teams to handle the different categories of customer relationship and customer service.

Enhanced Social Media Management Process : There will be different levels of consumer involvement or complaints. An organization should have a structure and process that does not delay the responses. Teams that are assigned to manage different categories should also have a seamless response management approval process.

Integrating CRM system with Social Media : Imagine if a customer who has a complaint on social media, and the social media team doesn’t have a system to track if this customer is one-time or a regular customer? 66% of social media users expect same day response to their inquiries, thus integrating social media platform with CRM system is almost unavoidable if you want to be able to be able to link consumer social profile with consumer information, to continue to build that relationship with the loyal customer who is also on social media and is engaging with you.

Lack of Real-time engagement during a crisis : This one can be the ultimate suicide for any brand when it comes to customer relationship management. The Home Depot’s “closed-door crisis management” during its security breach did not help the brand. There was no engagement on social media in real – time which could have been a huge opportunity for The Home Depot to address its customers directly.

A Hootsuite report states that only 36% of consumer who sent an inquiry through social media reported having their issue resolved quickly. Deloitte maps the customer journey very interestingly where (for most consumer product category) the following are the key milestones in their journey, and where social media engagement could thus play a huge role in the final decision.

  • Finding Inspiration
  • Browsing and Research
  • Selection and Validation

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Thus there is no way a brand could afford to miss any possible gaps that have the potential to kill the brand just because of  lack of a proper social media management strategy.

Privacy and Security in IoT environment. How can marketers address and respect consumer concerns?

While discussing IoT and its possibilities of adding value to businesses, one major concern that was highlighted was consumer privacy and concern. Almost 44% of all Americans are concerned about their personal information getting stolen from their smart homes that would lead them to be hesitant to buy smart devices. It estimated that that less than 10, 000 household can generate 150 million discrete data points every day according to a Federal Trade Commission report – “Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World”. An AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights Report that surveyed 5000 enterprises found that only 10% of the 85% enterprises who are in the process of deploying IoT devices are confident that they could provide security against hackers.

With such alarming scenarios, it becomes extremely critical for marketers to respect privacy and security concerns of consumers while using data to develop strategies, as well as address the concerns in those strategies. While there is no way a company can prevent 100% prevention from a security or privacy breach in IoT environments, but what companies can do is to educate and prepare customers as much as possible to mitigate risk.

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Source : TRUSTe

 

A responsible marketer could include this as a crucial part of their IMC strategy by including various initiatives to reach out to consumers –

  • Determine Objectives of Data Collection : While marketers can be super motivated and excited about data, it is almost mandatory to ensure that data be collected with an objective in mind. Let’s face it – we do not need all the data. If a marketer has clarity on the marketing objective, followed by identifying specific requirements of data, and avoid data collection that has no relevance to the objective, there is a high possibility, the marketer is contributing in safeguarding a consumer’s personal data. 87% of consumers (Source :TRUSTe) are concerned about the type of information collected through their smart device – thus making it important to keep data collection relevant.
  • Content Marketing Initiatives: Develop and share detailed tips and guidelines, from experts (hackers, programmers, developers) to prevent security and privacy breaches. These content may be disseminated through various channels regularly irrespective of whether a breach has occurred or not.88% of consumers want to control the data being collected from their device thus educating consumers about the existence, and the importance of opt-in culture is also very valuable.
  • Social Media Engagement : Engaging consumers on social media, and educating them on security and privacy breaches, and actions to be taken on real time can provide a sense of trust and confidence about the brand among consumers.With 85% of consumers wanting to understand more about data being collected, their brand trust and loyalty would me more towards the company that takes initiatives to educate them.
  • Paid messaging on IoT environment concerns : Nothing works like educating consumers – existing and potential. Not only they value the brand as an expert, but there is a sense of confidence and trust built as well. Billboards, advertisements, sponsorships in areas of IoT environment privacy and security are some of the great ways marketers can educate consumers about the brand.

The more a marketer goes to the root of the IoT threats and concerns and understands consumer anxiety about IoT adoption through devices and solutions, the better equipped they would get to address them.

Why should Small Business think mobile?

It has been predicted that small businesses will see a major push towards digital marketing and this shift would empower businesses to reach potential customers better than it has ever done. While small businesses may already have realized the need and moved towards web presence and social media, there is a considerable gap in having a mobile presence. Here’s why small businesses should consider mobile marketing – NOW!

  • The opportunity of appearing in mobile searches is higher in the local area when mobile users search for similar business. If the small business’s website or blog is mobile responsive – the chances of appearing in a search is higher. It is estimated that 97 percent of Internet users search for local good and services online, and 3 out of 4 people have found a business online and contacted them. This serves as a perfect lead generation.
  • Easy payment options through the use of mobile will enable potential customers to draw customers.
  • Small businesses cannot afford to miss out on reaching the huge potential consumer segment between the 16-35 yr old range.Social media presence through mobile-only platforms like Snapchat and Periscope can boost the branding to a huge extent. 41% of 18- to 34-year-olds use Snapchat, according to the company.while Periscope has 10 million registered users according to Teen Safe, that primarily targets the 16-24 yr old age group. And of course, this is besides the potential from other social media platforms which are accessed through mobile as well to a large extent.
  • Promotional push to sell strategies through mobile are more prone to attract customers than the traditional print coupon mailers in mailboxes. Consider this – how many times have you actually saved print coupons that land your mailbox and how many times have you used coupons you accessed from your mobile? Statista predicted mobile coupon will see 126.9 million users in 2016 vis a vis 112.5 mn users in 2014.You don’t want to lose out those opportunities!

Mobile Marketing for small business is not merely an enhancement but a must implementation to tap a market that is moving towards mobility at a speed we never predicted!

 

Facebook@Work

So you can officially log in to your Facebook account at work ! Facebook launched its business edition last month – Workplace, after an 18-month beta testing, and has been adopted by 1000 companies already.

Facebook has kept the pricing pretty reasonable (with 3 months free trial) with $3 per user for the first 1,000 active users followed by $2 per user for the next 9000 active users, and $1 for each additional user. Some of the key features  include unlimited photo/file/ video storage, unlimited project group and team creation, live video streaming, secure collaboration between companies, integration with a number of identity providers for user authentication.

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Source : Fortune

This seems to be a great platform for organizations to connect with their employees and an opportunity for internal branding, communications, and employee engagement. As employee engagement worldwide becomes a huge concern with organizations – with only 13% of employees being engaged worldwide, and 33% engaged employees in U.S., organizations continuously need to find ways to connect with their employees regularly. Workplace could be a useful platform for Human Resource, Talent Development, and Internal Communications teams, to host a slew of initiatives to gauge employee interest and engagement, besides the day to day functioning, organizing and collaborating.

Workplace, is simple to use, and the service is not connected to an employee’s personal Facebook account. Just like the regular Facebook page, Workplace has a news feed that features articles, updates, comments, that can be relevant to certain teams or even the whole company, the Live service can be used to live broadcast organizational announcements, and employees can form private groups and invite business partners (vendors / clients/ partners) who aren’t official employees.

It will be interesting to see how Workplace shapes up vis a vis Slack (who integrated with Salesforce) which has been a popular and successful platform for workplace and team collaboration.