I was at the ExactTarget’s annual Connections conference on Tuesday. It was a great learning experience listening to the talks given by @kyleplacy and @scottdorsey on the state-of-the-art marketing technologies. I paid special attentions (selective attention maybe) to the role that social media plays in digital marketing. Here, I would like to reflect some take-aways from this conference. These points are by no means comprehensive enough to cover the topic of social media marketing, but rather elaborations on the notes I took at the conference.
Brand co-creation is a marketing strategy that tries to achieve amplified branding impacts through engaging consumers. The emerging of social media changes the landscape of marketing, from segmented and passive consumer groups to connected and active consumer groups. This shift is similar to the idea of “context collapse” as discussed in class, as the connectivity and transparency of social media breaks the barriers between different social/consumer groups. By leveraging the power of social media, marketing can be much cheaper and more efficient for the companies and enjoyable for the consumers.
Does the following screenshots look somehow familiar? Are you also part of the co-creation process?
TOMS encourages customers to post traveling photos with their TOMS shoes in the photos, and Shutterfly asks you to invite your friends to personalize and get a free photo book while you get a 50% discount. When you think about these events and many other out there, you will be amazed by how these events can bring companies thousands of clicks, transactions, brand awarenesses, and storytelling-style advertisements. All you need to pay is some free photo books and let you do the work for them. Also, use of the hashtags (#) makes the brands more recognizable, and makes it easier for companies to gather and analyze the data.
Coming closely with brand co-creation is the personalized experience – individuals create unique experience interacting with the companies through the co-creation events facilitated by the companies. This helps to create stronger bonds between customers and the brands. Another perspective to see personalized experience is from the big-data point of view. By acquiring more and more information through social media, companies are able to deliver more personalized, and context-awared information to customers. Relevance driven by data is the key to create this kind of tailored experience. That is also what we talked about in the first week of class: “data is the internal Intel”. Data is a core value of social media.
Based on a Gartner’s report, by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones. The change of market is not only manifested as the increased quantity of mobile devices, but also on consumer behaviors: based on another report from Gartner, worldwide mobile transaction values will reach $235.4 billion in 2013, with a 44% increase from 2012, with an expected 35% annual growth between 2012 and 2017. All this data is suggesting an important marketing as well as UX-design lesson: whenever a social-media campaign is planned, usage through mobile devices should be primarily addressed.
It was amazing to see how user/customer experience can be enhanced by these digital marketing approaches. This not only helped me to better understand the business behind social media but also provided me with a new perspective to look at UX.