Archive | September, 2011

Econsultancy Holds Digital Marketing Events at Leeds Digital Festival 2011

September 29, 2011

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Econsultancy, one of the UK’s leading source of training for digital marketing professionals has decided to run three digital marketing events as part of the Leeds Digital Festival in November.

The three events are, “Fast Track Digital Marketing”, “Creating Great Video Content” and “Finding a Job in Digital Space”.

In addition to these events, Econsultancy will also offer a complimentary Video Strategies Best Practice Guide to all the Leeds Festival attendees.

Vivien Underwood, Training and Operations Manager at Econsultancy said; “Leeds is a vibrant digital city and we’re keen to offer more events in the region. The Leeds Digital Festival is a great initiative which has given us plenty of opportunity to show local businesses what we offer and provide the Leeds digital community with the necessary knowledge and resources. We’re thrilled to be involved throughout the month long event.”

Sessions take place as follows and can be booked through the Econsultancy website:

  • Fast Track Digital Marketing – 7th-8th November, £695 for Leeds Digital Festival attendees. Course leader: Tim Tucker
  • Creating Great Video Content– 9th November (8:30am-10:30am, including breakfast). £30 per person. Led by Stefan Aquarone
  • Finding a job in the Digital Space – 23rd November (2pm-3:30pm). Free to all. Led by Andrew Thomas, with a panel session including academics, industry professionals and an Econsultancy representative.

For more information, visit, http://econsultancy.com/training/in/leeds

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Nokia’s Gift Giving Vending Machine

September 27, 2011

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Considering the recent downfall that Nokia has been experiencing in the smartphone market, Nokia has come up with an innovative marketing stunt to salvage some damage.

If you happened to be in Skypark Glasgow last week, you would have had a glimpse of the “Nokia Gift Machine” and probably even had a chance to grab your free gift.

To get the prize attendees of the social media week had to open Foursquare on their phone, locate the Nokia Gift Machine, check-in using the #NokiaConnects hashtag and share to Twitter.

This is really a good use of Twitter and for sure we would be seeing more of such activities happening in future. Imagine if a free candybar counter is established in front of malls where parents whose kids have been good throughout the shopping time get a free candy or free school accessories for students who have scored good grades.

The ideas are endless and possibilities are huge. But for now, kudos to Nokia for the concept.

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Microsoft Brings Bing Deals

September 26, 2011

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On September 23, Microsoft launched a desktop site for its daily deals aggregation service Bing deals that features more than 200,000 daily deals from deal sites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Tippr, Zozi and Gilt City and merchants such as Nordstrom, Target and Zappos.com.

The market for deal sites is increasing tremendously and with the last move by Google launching Google Offers.

Microsoft is no different. It displays daily top deals based on where the person is located or what they have searched.

According to Comscore, the deals seeking audience grew by 24% last year and Microsoft aims to tap this growing audience market. According to Microsoft, Bing Deals will help provide people with more targeted deals and reduce deal spam faced by users with non-stop irrelevant deals that they keep getting in their mail.

The deal market is already very saturated with big competitors such as Yipit, Savings.com taking the bigger market chunk. However, Microsoft claims that Bing Deals offers the feature of filtering the deals by retailer, location, keywords and category thereby filtering out the irrelevant deals.

It would be interested to see how Bing Deals gives a competition to Google Offers. At the end of the day, the number of users using Bing and Google is what will matter. Bing has just 14% of search market share compared to 60% of Google which will be tough for Microsoft to make Bing Deals a hit.

Users interested in using Bing Deals can either go to home page of Bing from their desktops or m.bing.com from mobiles.

Have you tried Bing Deals yet?

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Have Your PPC Ads Lost the Charm they Once Had?

September 24, 2011

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PPC ads unlike SEO are very dynamic. If not optimized with the changing trends and time, they will become ineffective and fail to generate conversions as they used to.

With the changing consumer trends and new technologies, it becomes very important to review the old ads and update them to make them more trendy.

Here are some of the tips that can help you make your ads more attractive and increase the number of clicks:

  • Market Research – Observe, Listen and Learn. In today’s consumer driven market, it is very important to keep your eyes and ears open and listen to what the social users are saying. People tend to search on net and read reviews before they take upon any buying decision. So, read and understand your target market and customize ads accordingly.
  • Make Copies Worth Clicking – The market has become so competitive that unless you don’t have something eye catching, people will not even look at what you are saying and discard it like redundant noise. Write something that can instantly catch reader’s eye, compelling them to click on your ad. Just don’t study your competitor’s ad and made a similar ad copy for yourself. It is a very high chance that even your competitors might not be doing it right!
  • Have An Offer, Why Not Share it? If you have an offer that you have currently, then definitely put it in your ad copy. People are often looking for “free shipping”, “cheap rates”, “discounted rates”, etc. You can always made your offer text bold thereby making it more prominent than the rest of the text.
  • Include Keywords – If people are seeing your ads for the keywords that they type, then why not reiterate it in your ad copy as well so that they really know that this is something that they searched for and should click. You can also use Dynamic keyword insertion in your ads to customize the ads for each keyword.
  • Use Custom URL’s – It is a common practice to display the home page URL in the ad copy. But, using custom display URL in your ad copy can generate more clicks for you. Tell the users that this is what you are offering and not a generic page.

Hope you can use these guidelines to generate better ad copies and more clicks. Good luck!

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One Voice is Noise, Many is a Chorus – Case Study of Best Buy

September 22, 2011

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When it comes to futuristic marketing strategies, there are many companies that have excelled themselves. Coco Cola, Heineken Beer, Ford and Google Labs are just to name a few. To add to the list, we now have Best Buy, an innovative Fortune 100 $50 billion consumer electronics retailer with over 1500 retail locations across USA, Europe and Asia.

One of the very old and established consumer electronics retailer, the company has considered the knowledge of its employees and power of people as one of its biggest assets.

In it’s recent innovative move, Best Buy came up with a platform called as “My Customer” which aims at unleashing the voice of its 100,000+ employees to share their learning from daily interactions with customers. Since it started in July, this platform has been a big success for the company.

What makes this idea very successful?

Every company has employees who have many insights and ideas to solve the problems and grow the company. Especially in a retail store, where employees are the ones who interact on day-to-day basis with the customers, they know the customers best. When it comes to solving store problems, or creating strategies that can improve the store efficiency, these employees would be in a better position than the management who rarely interact with the customers.

Now considering a real time issue in a store which the employees of the store solved in the best possible way in real time. If this information is gathered and analyzed, it could give information on bigger problems and issues that could be addressed by all other stores and business units throughout the company. The key is to improve customer experience not just in one store at one time, but across all the stores all the time.

Another major benefit of “My Customer” program is the transparency that is created between the employees and the management. It is very common that employees are asked for feedback about the store and what they would like to do to improve the performance. Once the feedback is submitted, the employee is rarely made known that what was done with his feedback. With this system, an employee is able to provide all the information they know about their customers in real time which in turn is funneled to the right teams by a dedicated team thereby creating a transparency between the employees and the corporate.

One of the key benefit with this approach is that the solution that would take months to get approved by Corporate and then get implemented, was now possible to implement in few days at the local stores.

One such example was given by Best Buy, highlighting the benefit of this program:

The pilot district noticed that customers were leaving the stores due to not carrying Apple products.  When the store leadership realized the amount of employee insights on this subject, they created a strategy to address and approach these customers when asking for Apple.  As a result, the store was able to convert many of these Apple-seeking customers to PCs after realizing that many of the key features and benefits were available in most PCs.  Revenue within that district increased 10% within 30 days as a result of the strategy.”

Any marketer would see that this is an effective, yet very simple program. The employees are happy that they can contribute something valuable in addition to their daily jobs and the management is happy that their revenue and customer satisfaction is growing.

Key lesson – Never underestimate the power of employees, they have wealth of information that could be used by companies. All they need is to devise a way to harness that knowledge in the best possible way.

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Google’s Zagat Acquisition – What It Means for Search Marketers?

September 21, 2011

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Zagat, one of the pioneers in user-generated content who provided a platform to write and publish reviews for restaurants has now been acquired by Google.

In spite of being a pioneer, Zagat couldn’t survive amidst the other startups like Yelp. But well, Google saw the potential in owning this user-generated content website which goes well with it’s Google Places services.

Google had already removed all third party content from Places pages and now it will publish only reviews from Zagat. So what it means for Search Marketers?

  • Local restaurants who are already using Zagat, well this is really good news for them. Those that are not using Zagat, this is the time to get some reviews there as now these reviews would be displayed on Google Places. Encourage the customers to write reviews on Zagat. I personally feel that with Google’s name attached to Zagat, popularity of Yelp and Urbanspoon would be reduced.
  • Considering the strong credibility Google holds, Zagat’s reviews will now become more important. These reviews would be fed into Google Search, Google Places and even possibly Google’s Hotel Finder.
  • Zagat also has  a strong presence in mobiles with its review app available for almost all the handsets. With Zagat’s review app and Google’s localized search, we could see potentially a very useful application.

With the combination of Zagat’s reviews, Google Plus and local search, Google can deliver personalized recommendations of hotels based on the user’s preferences.

One of the point made by Zagat is that their reviews are different from the other review websites. They claim that the reviews are of higher quality than the ones published by its competitors as they are written by verified users and reviewed by their staff members.

With a company like Google who keeps pressing for quality content, this deal is a very thoughtful and useful one. After social networking, hotel reviews, only time will tell what Google has planned next….

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WKD Commercial of 2011

September 20, 2011

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I have seen many beer TV ads, but this one tops the humor score.

Watch for yourself and comment on what you think.

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PayPal Unveils Google Mobile Wallet Rival

September 19, 2011

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PayPal has unveiled a new payment technology that it claims will be a one stop method for merchants to engage with customers at the stages of their shopping cycle.

PayPay’s new technology will have many useful features such as:

  • Location based offers
  • Flexible payment options accessible from any device
  • Integrated local search
  • Loyalty and reward features

Scott Thompson, president at PayPal, wrote on the company blog, “Let’s be clear about something – we’re not just shoving a credit card on a phone.”

Shopping today is happening everywhere, 24*7. People prefer to be able to buy things anytime, anywhere. With the growth of consumer driven markets, it is very important for companies to come up with solutions that the customers want.

With this technology, PayPal expects to bring a revolution in the way people shop and pay.

The launch date for the service is not yet announced but more details will come in the coming months.

In May, Google came up with its mobile wallet services and on the very same day a lawsuit was filed against it by PayPal for stealing its trade secrets.

PayPal accused Google and Osama Bedier, former PayPal employee, of misappropriating PayPal business secrets by disclosing them to its rival Google.

Let’s see what Google has to say to this new technology of PayPal.

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