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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Data collection as a selling pitch for Facebook and consumer privacy for Apple.

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Looking at the Marketplace section of the September 24, 2014 issue of the Wall Street Journal two articles captured my attention. The leading article “Websites Wary of Facebook Tracking” and right underneath it  ” Apple’s Latest Marketing Pitch: More Privacy“.

Marketers love data. They use it to target and segment potential customer and prospects. Data rich with specifics of a customer’s past buying habits, the web sites that they visit even when they are not on social media gives marketers new insight into who is and might be purchasing their products and who they should appeal to. Three months ago, Facebook began to build much more detailed user profiles with exactly that sort of data. How can they do it? Is that legal? Sounds like an invasion of privacy.

When you sign up to use Facebook that sort of data collection is part of the fine print that you agree to. Google does something similar, but they don’t know as much personal information as Facebook, such as your real name, photos, friends… you get the idea. Facebook, Google and Apple all sell adverting, but with key differences. Apple doesn’t monetize your browsing information on your Apple devices, read your email, or mine your ICloud account. It seems that Apple has found a sweet spot with consumers – they are selling privacy. Apple will sell data based on age, gender, home address, ITunes and App purchases but that is it. Apple also lets you opt out, Google and Facebook don’t.  Apple is being strategic in its decisions. Apple’s I Ad group will allow ads on ITunes radio (a free service to the consumer) that doesn’t strike me as that different from watching cable TV and seeing a 30- or 60-second ad.

Privacy is protected not by the American Constitution, but by the Bill of Rights; no less than the first, third, fourth, fifth and ninth amendments. It has been broadly interpreted to encompass many more rights than expressly stated over the years. It will be interesting to see if Facebook finds itself fighting a backlash from users on the same scope as it is with publishers who are deleting its pixel tags from their sites and opting out of Facebook. As these sweeping changes that Facebook is incorporating into its data collection policies become better publicized perhaps it will begin to lose its luster with users. Tim Cook at Apple is certainly publicizing Apple’s more respectful treatment of its customers. Does the American public care if their personal details are monetized? It will be interesting to watch in the next few months.


Weed out the fads as direct sales channels

Monday, October 1st, 2012

A recent article in reports that “In “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers 2012″, Forrester reveals that, while marketers focus on social, it’s not the channel that drives consumers to open their wallets. Almost 4 in 10 new customers who make a purchase arrive at a website via organic or paid search links. Three out of 10 transactions by repeat customers are initiated after interacting with an email from a retailer, 13% after reading an email and 17% after seeing an email and interacting with other forms of marketing. However, less than 1% of transactions could be traced back to social media activity, concludes Forrester, after analyzing 77,000 online transactions over a two-week period.”

In an marketplace that includes sites like Face book. Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram new is not necessarily better it is just different and needs to be evaluated against basic marketing tenets that have been in practice for years as well as by the analytics that cutting age technologies now provide. No matter what is new in the marketplace unless it fits in with your current strategy and marketing plans by allowing you to reach your customer, reach similar prospects by tried and tried methods like segmentation, to initiate and complete some form of call to action and build and understand your customers life time value the new fads amount to just that… new fads.

Our Executive VP of Sales, Dick Weissman, also a very astute marketer often said ” unseen and untold is unsold”. If your customer doesn’t know about your product and they don’t have enough information about why they should consider a purchase then just “liking” something on a web page might help build a brand community but as current research shows it is not a direct sales channel. Being present in social media is not enough. Integrated marketing programs employing print, direct mail, web, email and social media components have been shown to get your product noticed by speaking to the buyer in the language that they best like to listen to. You can move your product into their consideration set and can convert lookers into buyers by grabbing their attention. Companies marketing dollars are being very closely scrutinized and if you are going to spend money on promoting your product shouldn’t it result in sales? Forrester has found that Face Book ads are producing minimal sales where according to a recent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study more than 80% of U.S. households read some or all of their advertising mail. A recent DMA study has found that direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%. One reason why direct mail continues to be a go-to strategy for marketers is that improvements in printing and database technology as well as analytics have allowed direct mail and other offline media to deliver consistent response rates. Studies have found that integrated marketing programs have increased sales to a greater degree than the aggregate rate of return of all their components combined. Just something to consider to increase your ROI.