I was wondering on what to blog for this last post and at the same time saw a post on Mashable, saying that ‘Twitter Users Are Way Bolder Than Facebook Users’. According to Mashable, the phrase “Follow me on Twitter” seems a lot more common than “Friend me on Facebook“. This made me wonder; which one is more popular to users: Facebook or Twitter?

One more interesting question came up and it is; marketing wise, which one is better?

Based on a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies, provided by Mashable, 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are likely to recommend brands they follow and concerning purchasing persuasiveness, consumers  are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook.

Based on this study, it could be asserted that Twitter is a better marketing tool. However, statistics may differ from product to product or service to service. Moreover, according to Mashable, the study also found that “many consumers across a wide variety of demographics have negative perceptions of brands that aren’t even using social media”.

Both Facebook and Twitter, has become a very powerful marketing tool not only in favour of businesses but is actually a great demand from customers. More and more customers are using these social websites and they are expecting businesses to be on these social platforms.

As to the question of which one is more powerful than the other, on a fair note, I would not say than one is better than the other, but, it could be claimed that both websites despite having many similarities are still very different from each other. When assessing which social media marketing methods and platforms are the most useful for one’s business will highly depend on how businesses use them to create value and commitment.

Below is an example of how IKEA’s Facebook campaign; a successful and clever strategy which has been able to grab attention, demand response and be memorable:

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Posted: May 8, 2011 in CRM
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CRM can be defined as being the strategic management of relationships with customers, involving appropriate use of technology (Frow et. al 2011). The aim of CRM is mainly a system that can provide a means for retaining individual loyalty, and eventually creating sustainable competitive advantage. For CRM to work efficiently a business must fully understand the changing nature of the customers.

However, it has been noted in several cases that, service providers, often in the name of CRM, take advantage of customers in unfair ways. According to Frow et. al (2011), this particular practice can be termed as being the ‘dark side’ of CRM. They further assert that, ‘deliberate dark side service provider behaviour may result from malicious intentions or sometimes may occur through poor understanding of CRM. The result is service provider actions that deliberately set out to abuse and exploit customers’ (Frow et. al 2011). There is evidence that dark side practices are widespread and appear to be growing. According to McGovern and Moon, (cited in Frow et. al 2011) “many companies infuriate customers by deliberately binding them with contracts, bleeding them with fees, and confounding them with fine print”. They also observe that certain industries including mobile phone service providers banks, video stores, book-purchasing clubs, car rental companies, health clubs and credit card companies seem especially prone to “dark side” behaviours. Often, service providers find it profitable to confuse and mislead customers into making poor purchase decisions through use of complicated and detailed rules and conditions of sale. Common practices include confusing usage rates on mobile phones, high penalties when customers exceed credit limits, overdrafts, and payment deadlines or fall short of minimum balances in bank accounts. As a result, customer are disappointed and as a result, this contributes to them stop using the product or service (Frow et. al 2011).

Since the use of popular smartphones, such as the iPhones and the Blackberry, have become so popular, to address this particular issue, Mashable proposes a mobile App “invoking a branded icon on the touch screen of the smartphones, which already knows who the person is and can provide the best personalized solution to their service problems, which is no doubt a more pleasant experience than interacting with an automated call menu or waiting for the next available representative”.

However, the creation of such an application is very complex. But considering the fact that customers are using these new technology devices more often, businesses should seriously recognise this change in behaviour of customers and think of having such an application as being the next big step to new CRM systems.

References

Frow, P, Payne, A, Wilkinson, IF & Young, L 2011, ‘Customer Management and CRM: addressing the dark side’, vol. 25 no. 2, pp 79-89, Journal of Services Marketing, Emerald Group, viewed 8 May 2011.

How can we not talk about this exclusively worldwide media covered event?

On the 29th of April 2011, Prince William married Miss Catherine Middleton, making them the “Duke and Duchess of Cambridge”.

This event attracted an audience of 2 billion people worldwide, making it a record for a live broadcast. But what is the main reason behind that? The last Royal wedding was in 2005, and at that time, Facebook was barely a year old, YouTube was two months young and Twitter didn’t even exist.

But today, according to Mashable, ‘millions of people have been Tweeting and Facebooking about the Royal Wedding, and millions have chosen to enjoy the pomp and circumstance through live streams and mobile devices’. Hence it’s safe to say that Kate and Will’s marriage is the first Royal Wedding of the social media era.

According to recent statistics provided by Mashable, Webtrends has revealed that people have been constantly talking about the Royal Wedding. Mashable also pointed out, based on analysis provided by the web analytics company, that ‘people have sent 911,000 tweets in the last 30 days, or just a little more than 30,000 tweets per day, which accounts for 71% of the buzz Webtrends tracked. For comparison, there were approximately 217,000 Facebook status updates and 145,000 blog posts about William and Kate’s big day’. Below is a video on ‘The Royal Wedding and Social Media’, showing how the Royal Weeding attracted 2 billion people compared to other mediatized events:

In an attempt to communicate the merits of their products or brand, advertisers have often chosen to use endorsement as a promotional strategy.

McCracken (1989, p 310) provides a clear definition describing celebrity endorser as “any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement”. It is generally asserted that getting a celebrity endorsement is a tried-and-true, simple-to-implement way to maximize advertising effectiveness. Endorsement strategy is expensive, but it is assumed that the strategy always yield stronger ties with viewers and, eventually, greater sales.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes celebrity endorsement can result in negative publicity that has nothing to do with the product or brand. For example, the celebrity’s private life may impact in such a way that influences and damages the promotion campaign (Van der Veen 2004). A very good example of such a celebrity is Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods’ private life issues made such a scandal that to counter the effects of his negative endorsement on their brand, Nike chose to adopt to address his “mistakes” in their ads rather than the products that he was supposed to be promoting.

Below is the Video Ad ‘Did you learn anything’ of Nike:

Hence, it can be said that although the potential benefits of using a celebrity endorser are considerable, so are the costs and risk associated with it. Celebrity endorsement is big business and any marketers who choose to use a celebrity, have no control over his or her future behaviour and reactions (Jain 2008). Therefore any negative publicity about the celebrity can reduce the appeal of a brand which the celebrity endorses. Marketers must find the celebrity who can best fit and represent the image of the product and its meaning. A celebrity, who is linked to positive information, has a greater possibility to reach to its target consumers. While on the other hand celebrity with negative information, reduces the trustworthiness of the celebrity and its relationship with the brand.

While linking celebrities to a product or brand, an important point must be considered and that is, whether the message and meaning is being transferred to the consumers and also to ensure if it is being transferred in the correct way. This is very important so to get maximum advantage of using the celebrity and achieving larger awareness, hence making the endorsement strategy an effective marketing tool.

What next from Apple?

Posted: April 4, 2011 in Marketing
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Nearly a month after the launch of the iPad 2, the rumors on a probable new born within the Apple family are on. According to the blog Mashable, it is more likely that in the near future, the rumours on the iPhone 5 would turn out to be true. As always, bloggers are speculating about the new product’s features and usefulness.

According to Sarno and Tony, “Apple is the ultimate example of how to introduce a product to market” (2010, p. 6). Till now no other corporation has been able to play with the curiosity of the public like Apple has. Apple’s main strength is its ability to use viral marketing strategy as a means to promote its potential products. Apple understands customers’ needs, hence its branding strategy with a focus on customers’ emotions.

Prior to the announcement of the coming up of a new product, Apple always starts with some untraceable leaks. ‘Then, as the rumors build to a crescendo, Steve Jobs announces the product and how it will change the world — but, crucially, does not make it available. It means we only have his words and pictures of it to go on for months before it arrives, which is a powerful way for Apple to set perceptions before the public can make up its own mind by using the product and for critics to pan or praise it’ (Sarno and Tony 2010, p. 6). A realistic example of this is on the famous online video site, ‘YouTube’, where all sorts of videos have been uploaded about the prospective product which has incredible new features.

APPLE can be said to have a very dynamic strategy, whereby it focuses on innovation and continuous improvement of its products. The organisation does not only commit to continuous innovation and improvement but also exceeding customer expectations.

Let us wait and see what’s next…

References:

Sarno, Tony, 2010, ‘Apple is the ultimate example of how to introduce a product to market’, APC, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 6-6, Color Photographs, EBSCOhost, viewed 03 March 2011

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