I’ll admit, the first blog that I ever read on a regular basis (and still do to this day) was Perez Hilton. Not the most intellectually stimulating blog out there but  I have since graduated from the trashy, celebrity rag. In all honesty though, I really like blogs. I have a feed readers and I subscribe to roughly 50-75 blogs on topics ranging from PR and marketing to wedding planning and yoga.

Aside from Perez, the first time that I realized you could seriously make a living off of blogging was after reading www.dooce.com. This blog is authored by former web designer Heather Armstrong. Armstrong write about everything from her cute kids to her vicious battles with depression. Her website is well designed, frequently updated and followed by thousands. She has been so successful at it that she and her husband have been able to quit their jobs and live off of this blog. What started off as a “mommy-blog” has morphed into career for Armstrong. While she’s not a marketer per say, she has been a conduit for marketing via the advertisements on her site and the products she reviews and mentions. According to one source, Dooce.com has an average of 300,000 daily readers. Armstrong has secured two book deals and was also featured on Forbes magazine’s list of the Most Influential Women in the Media for 2009 (Karrim, 2009).

After learning of Armstrong’s success I began dreaming about my own blog that would be wildly successful and launch me straight to the top some important list. So, needless to say I was very excited for the opportunity to develop a blog for this course.

However, it was somewhat harder than it originally appeared. Maybe it was the fact that it was for school and I had a set of guidelines to follow. Maybe it was the fact that I also have a full-time job were I write for 8-10 hours a day. Regardless, this experience has taught me that the act of blogging and bloggers are a lot like professional writers of the more traditional sense.

If anything I am walking away from this class with a respect of professional bloggers and Tweeters and Facebook page creators because Web 2.0 and 3.0 are legitimate communications tactics that are being noticed in every space from retail to government. If this is emerging media now, fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight because who knows where we will be one, five or ten years from now.

Armstrong, H. (2009).  About. Retrieved on December 28, 2009 from http://www.dooce.com/about

Karrim, Q. (2009). Web Celebs. Mail and Guardian Online. Retrieved on December 28, 2009 from http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-12-23-web-celebs

There's always something new to learn in the world of emerging media.

Comm law was by far one of my favorite classes in undergrad and this week’s lesson brought back visions of copy write infringement, libel, slander, defamation and all of the other juicy bits of legality that communicators can find themselves in.

However, this time there was a whole new twist. It’s funny to me that it a mere five years ago that I was covering this stuff and yet I don’t recall much if any mention of internet privacy laws. I wonder if my professors were to scared to even touch the topic. Or maybe there really has been a lot of change in the social media world in that time.

Regardless, it makes me feel like I need to start all over again learning the laws and how they apply to these emerging media technologies. However, I suppose it will only be a matter of time before the next technology breaks through so maybe we’ll never be “on top” of it.

I think this calls to mind how important a class like this one is for the IMC Program. Because even if you think you know how to write a blog or tweet, you still have to consider how all of that impacts marketing, our clients and jobs.

For marketers not reading about emerging media day in and day out as a part of a graduate school course,  it’s still important to stay current on the topic.

According to the Associated Press, the restaurant chain Wendy’s is planning to launch a campaign using mobile coupons distributed as text messages.

According to the AP, “customers  who sign up for the promotion and provide their phone number will receive a discount by showing their mobile device to a Wendy’s cashier” (Associated Press, 2009).

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, there are several instances when the use of mobile coupons is preferred to more traditional forms:

  • Introducing new products
  • “Pantry loading” or stock-up sales
  • Promoting Trial Usage
  • Building a database of users
  • Increasing attendance at events

 Additionally the MMA suggests that, in order to be most effective, mobile coupons should be a “pull” media in which the user actively accepts  or declines the coupon.

I’ve only heard about mobile coupons but never received one myself. I’d like to know, have you ever received a mobile coupon?

If so, what did you do with it?

Personally, I think I would be OK with getting mobile coupons from a company that I was familiar with and consumed frequently.

I can see this tactic being promoted really well as a eco-conscience alternative paper/mailed coupons.  However, I can see where others would be annoyed by a mobile coupon. I can also see implications for issues regarding payment and text messaging fees, especially with teens and tweens who may not understand the fees associated with mobile coupons and texting.

Associated Press (2009). Wendy’s to try mobile phone coupons. Newark Advocate. Retrieved on December 28, 2009 from http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20091228/UPDATES01/91228011/1002/NEWS01

Mobile Marketing Association (2007). Introduction to Mobile Coupons. Mobile Marketing Association. Retrieved on December 28, 2009 from http://www.mmaglobal.com/mobilecoupons.pdf.

Over the course of this class, I have been awestruck by the capabilities that social media affords marketers.

Never before in our time has it been so easy to connect, communicate and build relationships with people regardless of oceans, time zones, continents, governments, languages, etcetera, etcetera. 

It’s  really neat if you think about it.

As Mark  Collier puts it, “today your customers are more empowered than ever. Cell phones, laptops, PCs, blogs, and social networking sites are all tools that consumers use to constantly communicate with each other. Even Internet access is no longer restricted to the home or office, as many businesses now offer wi-fi connections, and cell phones give consumers the chance to surf the net on the go” (Collier, 2006).

So what’s a traditionally schooled marketer to do? I think at the most basic level it is the option of sink or swim.

“So, at this point, you have a choice: You can continue using the same marketing methods you have always used to reach your customers, or you can try something revolutionary. You can join them. You can stop trying to guess what your customers are talking about, and instead join their communities and talk to them directly” (Collier, 2006).

Whoa! Hold the phone! What did he just say?

Join them!? Listen to them!  Respond to them! Create changed based off of their recommendations and feedback! This seems like way too much to take on…

“But the good news is that when you join consumers in their space, you begin to understand them. You begin to understand what their wants and needs are, and you begin to “speak their language.” Perhaps just as important, they begin to understand you” (Collier, 2006).

As a marketer there isn’t much more that you could ask for. You have unrelenting, often times unsolicited feedback on everything from product to package design. You also have an almost immediate “fan club” that will stand by you and promote your products.

According to Chris Warner, vice-president of marketing for JackBe small software firm based in Chevy Chase, Md. that specializes in social media marketing, “”Web 2.0 technologies can help you make a virtual community that keeps your business top of mind for your fans and lets your fans help you engage new prospective customers” (Klein, 2009).

References:

Collier, M. (2006). How to Make the Online Community Your Marketing Partner. Retrieved on December 28, 2009 from http://www.marketingprofs.com/6/collier1.asp

Klein, K. (2009). How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Business. Business Week. Retrieved on December 28, 2009 from http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/aug2009/sb2009087_245691.htm

So we all pretty much understand that blogs are a great way for companies to promote their service offerings and conjure up business. Additionally, we all get the idea that what you produce should be protected under intellectual property laws.

However, what if you are writing for someone else? Who takes the credit when the owner is not really the author.

As a part of my job I develop speeches, emails, presentations as well as blog posts for my client. Last week, I sent my client’s holiday message out to his office’s 700+ staff and I was honored when he stopped by my office to tell me that he had received some kudos from the staff. Then I got to thinking….they really think he wrote it.

President Obama uses speechwriters as do most of the leaders in Washington. Speechwriting is one thing but I have always been taught that ghostwriting a blog is a huge no-no.

However, I have been doing it once a week for the past year. It’s not a total shot in the dark thing, I sit down with  him on Monday and discuss what he’d like to talk about. He gives me a frame work and some phrases and I put them all together. I spend a lot of time with my client so I have been able to pick up on his little nuances and idioms, so it’s not difficult but it still makes me feel awkward.

So I was wondering….what are your thoughts on Ghostwriting? Do you think it’s wrong or a necessary evil?

Among the many uses of new media, is the dissemination of important and timely information to the public.  An excellent example of this is the H1N1 virus.

According to Steven Smith of the Boston Globe, “never before has a virus gone viral like this. There are swine flu blogs and swine flu tweets, swine flu videos on YouTube and swine flu groups on Facebook. The arrival of the H1N1 virus, and young people’s vulnerability to it, have forced public health agencies to muster new media with unprecedented fervor. It’s a matter, disease specialists said, of going where the young audience is. ‘They don’t watch the news at 6 o’clock,’ said Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. ‘They’re not going to pick up our pamphlets.'”

One prime example of this is how the Boston Public Health Commission is using viral videos to promote  flu prevention topics:

New media spread the word on H1N1 – The Boston Globe.

Additionally, the BPHC is using Twitter to reach audiences with information on this topic. For example, “No lines, free H1N1 vaccine still available at West Roxbury flu clinic. Hurry. The clinic closes today at 4.”  was a recent Tweet from the BPHC.

Smith, S. (December 2009). New media spread the word on H1N1; Twitter, YouTube messages aimed at public.  The Boston Globe. Retrieved on December 27, 2009 from http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/12/11/new_media_spread_the_word_on_h1n1/

I use an RSS reader to gather and read about 40 different blogs. Every  time I go on to read my blogs, I feel like I find one or two more that are appealing. According to Mack Collier, “it’s been said that perhaps the best thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice. It’s also been said that perhaps the worst thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice” (Collier, 2009)

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there on millions of different topics. It can be difficult for bloggers to get their content to  the appropriate readers. Without conducting an expansive and time consuming search on the internet, it can be impossible for readers to find blogs that they are interested in.

Enter a new tool called Alltop, a website co-created by Will Mayall, Kathryn Henkens, and Guy Kawasaki in early 2008. Alltop aggregates and organizes content from around the Internet and wants to be known as an “online magazine rack” for users.

Not only is this a great breakthrough for blog readers, it can also be beneficial for marketers. Collier goes on to list eight ways that marketers can use this tool to their benefit:

1. Stay on top of  Industry news

2. Improve writing

3. Keep tabs on the competition

4. Improve your own blogging

5. Use it as a feed reader

6. Add your blog to generate traffic

7. Use it as a research tool

8. Use it as a source for your Tweets.

I added Alltop to my bookmarks and plan to use to it to add to my growing list of blogs.

Collier, M. (2009). Eight Ways Marketers Can Benefit From Using Alltop. Retrieved on December 27, 2009 from http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2009/3147/eight-ways-marketers-can-benefit-from-using-alltop

According to Kara Trivunovic , there are four basic motivators for social engagement:

  1. self-expression (displaying or conveying information that expresses ones personality or feelings),
  2. status achievement (something to brag about),
  3. altruism (the deliberate pursuit of the interests or welfare of others),
  4. and self-interest (“What’s in it for me?”).

There you have it!  There-in-lies the impetus for using social media. You can stop questioning and wondering now. Hah! Or not.

One of the aspects of marketing communication that I really enjoy is the strategy; all of the little bits and pieces that make up a successful campaign. Coming up with a mission, vision and goals for a campaign; then a blast email here; followed by a newspaper article there; then how about a personal appearance or public event. I can get caught up in all of that business.

However, one distinction that I think must be made when working in the realm of social media is consumer behavior. What makes people check Facebook a million times a day? Why do some people act shy in a group of more than three people but daring and outgoing as ever on a blog with millions of readers?

Trivunovic  goes on to state that, “we as consumers are integrating social-media channels with how we communicate with friends and family. The challenge of being on the “strategic” side of social marketing means that we sometimes lose sight of how real people use those outlets” (Trivunovic, 2009). It gets back to those four reasons.

So while we marketers are busy being all strategic and stuff, we should step back and take a look at what really motivates consumers to use social media and how we can appeal to their motivations.

Trivunovic, K. (2009). Making Your Email ‘Social-able.’ Retrieved from http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2009/3136/making-your-email-social-able

I’ve learned a new marketing concept  that I’d like to share with you all. It’s called “giving the gorilla the banana.”

Immediate the image of Magilla Gorilla popped into my head but this is marketing concept really has nothing to do with gorillas or bananas. According to author Justin Talerico, “the gorilla is the audience you want to convert and the banana is the reason they clicked your ad in the first place.”

Makes sense, right? As with gorillas and customers, we always want to make them happy. Plain and simple.

According to Talerica, “pare down the copy, the images, the extraneous navigation—anything that could potentially divert your audience from why they clicked and what we want them to do.  The action should be immediately clear when your user lands”

This concept can easily related to the measures discussed in Lesson 8, particularly the measures of efficacy and effectiveness. According to the lesson. “since interaction is an important aspect of online marketing communication, it’s important to tap into how easy or difficult the consumer experience is. Measures of efficacy and effectiveness of interaction tap into whether or not marketing communications have achieved their goals” (PI Reed School of Journalism, 2009).

The lesson goes on to list the commonly used measures of efficacy and effectiveness as:

  • Ease of use
  • Perceived usefulness
  • Web site navigability
  • Online shopping convenience
  • Speed of interactivity
  • Responsiveness
  • Download delay
  • Service quality

Talerico, J. (2009). Give the Gorilla the Banana. Retrieved from http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2009/3175/give-the-gorilla-the-banana

Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, West Virginia University (2009). Measuring the Effectiveness of Emerging Media Promotion Strategies. Retrieved December 16, 2009 from https://ecampus.wvu.edu/webct/urw/lc5116001.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

According to a Neilsen study “Americans 65+ comprise less than 10% of the active Internet.”

While that is not a very large portion of the nearly 108,096,800 Internet users in America, that number is steadily rising and for reasons that you may not expect.

Last month, the same study revealed that Facebook was the third most popular online destination for those 65 and over. The social networking site had more than 7.9 million 65+ visitors last year.

Additionally, a Harris Interactive Poll revealed that more than half (55%) of gay and lesbian Americans read some type of blog, compared with only 38% of heterosexuals.  Furthermore, Gay and lesbian adults also connect online through social networking sites more often than their heterosexual counterparts.

“In several years of capturing trends, we see again that gays and lesbians are not only looking to stay well informed but also to expand their key social, professional, and personal connections online,” said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, a PR firm that specializes in the gay and lesbian market and took part in the Harris Poll. “As companies work to make the most of their advertising budgets in the current economic climate, blogs and social networking sites are an even more powerful cross-section of opportunities today when reaching out to this market.”

Neilsen (2009). Six Million More Seniors Using the Web than Five Years Ago. Neilsen Wire. Retrieved from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/six-million-more-seniors-using-the-web-than-five-years-ago/print/

Harris Interactive (2009). Gay and Lesbian Adults More Likely to Read Blogs and Use Social Networking Tools.  Retrieved from http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/pubs/Harris_Interactive_Witeck_Combs_News_2009_06_09.pdf

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Welcome to my IMC 619 Blog!

I am looking forward to discussing the interesting world of emerging media with you.

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Thanks!

- Chelsea

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