Digital Marketing

Many of you know I had been working on a project here at SNHU going back to 2017. Now that we have a few terms under our belt and data on the success of implementation.. its time to celebrate the MS in Marketing with Digital Marketing Concentration!

Our Marketing Programs here at Southern New Hampshire University, offer so much! I am so proud of the work we have done and feel we are providing our students with experiences that add to their employability as well so many unique opportunities to showcase their learning’s.

Our Masters in Marketing  program is designed with a very strategic approach.

Firstly, We have connected our program to industry

We stay current within industry and business environments; and our courses evolve with the needs of business. We have aligned our programs and courses with skills employers want. We utilize an advisory board of high level individuals in the field to ensure we are addressing current skills gaps in the industry. This Advisory board helps drive discussions around content learners should understand for success in the workplace

2nd We have embraced the importance of Industry Certifications

We have identified opportunities for students to add to their resume through external certifications. We know these industry certifications provide students and their employers with added value.  Within many courses, students will see Certifications and credentials –  and the associations who promote them such as the American Marketing Association, Google, Hubspot, and Hootsuite for example..

3rd Coursework is aligned with deliverables students will encounter in the workplace.

Projects and assignments within the program, are designed to help students make connections between course content and their world. Project-based learning is evident throughout the program, activities are hands on, and meet employer demands. And importantly, Content in the courses is relevant to both students employability and their advancement in the field.

4th Our faculty have extensive real world experience. They are in the field, and can bring those experiences to students in class. These experiences play a huge role in learning and application of concepts.

Visit our program pages here:

Associates Degree- Marketing https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/associate/as-in-marketing

Bachelor’s Degree- Marketing https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/bs-in-marketing

Master Degree – Marketing https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/masters/ms-in-marketing

 

In the master’s in marketing online program, students learn how to:

  • Analyze and interpret qualitative and quantitative data to align marketing plans to an organization’s strategic goals
  • Create integrated strategies for maximizing opportunities through the use of marketing theory and practices
  • Distill information through diverse media to inform, negotiate and persuade stakeholders
  • Develop international marketing strategies that address the commercial, political, legal and cultural environments in a global economy
  • Certify marketing practices comply with legal environments, regulatory standards and ethical practices
  • Manage a brand in cross-functional environments to ensure the creation, capture and delivery of value

Marketing is Important.  It transcends all  borders of an organization.

 

Listen to this Hubspot Podcast, where I detail the above points.

To read it: https://academy.hubspot.com/education-partner-program/professors/jessica-rogers

 

GEN X, Overlooked again

The “Slacker” generation is all gown up, and is a marketers dream.. yet why are they overlooked with the focus going to Millennials?

Generation X has been relatively ignored by marketers, despite their influence and spending power. Baby Boomers and Millennials alike have been a source of media fascination and marketer focus, while Generation X sits on the sideline.

Coming of age within distinct time periods shaped members of different generations in ways that influence values and preferences. Because of these generational differences, marketing strategists would be wise to consult research on generational differences when tailoring strategies to specific age cohorts. Marketing strategists target younger consumers because of their comparative openness and malleability in comparison with older consumers. Yet, what about the values and preferences of Generation X in contrast with other generations, as well as the  brand loyalty of Millennials and Generation X (having some similarities)?

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/

The Myth

Generation X is overlooked in part because of its size, with Generation X (65 million) being smaller than the Boomers (77 million) and the Millennials. Interestingly, the year span for Generation X is less than the typical 20-year span that makes up the other generations, which speaks to its smaller size.

Marketers also have ignored this generation, in part due to its “slacker” reputation that has been perpetuated by cultural references and even within academic research. Other myths about Generation X are that these individuals are cynical, resentful, rebellious, and will buy anything; such myths possibly underlie a lack of research-based marketing attention to this segment. Very few researchers have examined marketing strategy in relation to Generation X, and there are none, to my knowledge, any examining Generation X females in relation to social media use, marketing strategy, or brand relationships other than my own.

Generation X and social media

Researchers have suggested that wise marketing strategists will value research findings over myths and stereotypes about Generation X when developing strategy to attract and retain consumers from this generation. Understanding the values and priorities of a demographic such as Generation X ( females in particular) is essential to segmentation processes, or group-specific marketing strategies . Marketing executives who participated in interviews expressed that segmentation in online marketing was a vital part of any firm’s marketing strategy, and that social media platforms represented an important vehicle for interacting with and learning about different demographic groups.

It is therefore important for researchers to explore social media use among Generation X individuals to enhance marketing effectiveness to this generation.

Social media are an integral part of many GenXers’ day. Neilsen suggests that GenX, not Millenials, are heavy users of social media. Their most recent report showed Generation X spending approximately 7 hours per week on social platforms, with females taking the lead by spending 25% of their time on social media. Marketing to youth, women, and digital natives is a lucrative strategy, given that these major segments have been researched and proven to be highly probable for gaining brand advocacy and because they are the most influential segments in the digital era. It is also worth noting that females tend to be the gatekeepers as to what products and services make their way into the home. This is because of the comprehensive process women typically use to research purchasing decisions, social media included.

The Gap

Marketers have largely ignored Generation X, despite their influence and spending power. This spending power translates into a higher ability to purchase products and services, making this target demographic a valuable audience for marketers. Further, the female demographic within Gen X is a viable focus for academic research, given that they are the main purchase decision-makers for households, regardless of whether they are the end user. It stands to reason, then, that brands need to understand how to effectively create and curate social media content to best serve this segment of the population that is both under-served and has enormous potential.. ..latchkey or not.

 

Research thoughts

In an era of post-truth, where opinions are misconstrued as facts, it is vital for both consumers and brand leaders to be more responsible in generating branded content so as to be more truthful and honest. Social media content allows brands to tell a brand story. Also contributing to this brand story is content created and shared by consumers (Rogers, 2015). It then becomes imperative for both users and brand leaders to create a brand story that would be close to the truth, while at the same time, nourishing the established relationships between brand and customer commitment to the brand.

Results of my recent research provides a preliminary model for the processes of social exchange theory in the context of social media use. Spending power of the consumers has the potential to either make or break a brand. It is ostensible that researchers may undertake further studies in order to achieve extensive knowledge on how the interplay of user engagement and brandloyalty is mediated by perceived costs and benefits, as well as other factors that impact brand content and online consumerism.

From the Archives: Almost any brand can be Pinteresting. Here’s how!

pinterest warning

By Jessica Rogers, {grow} Contributing Columnist

I’m not crafty. I do not scrapbook, do DIY projects, or tackle anything that involves a glue gun.

However, I recently created a “Laundry Room Makeover” board on Pinterest and completed the renovation. Pinterest was a wonderful source for before and after pictures, detailed tutorials, names and reviews of paints, and even lists of where to find the products and their prices.

I must point out many of these, if not all, were not brand sponsored! For example, like other Pinterest users I posted all the materials used in my after photos. This is an amazing opportunity for brands to increase brand recognition by way of social sharing or “pinning.”

This story is played over and over across the globe. Pinterest is the ultimate source for creative (P)inspiration.

Why use Pinterest?

Pinterest marketing specialist Piqora found that one “pin” generates an average of 78 cents in sales. Pins are 100x more viral than tweets and Pinterest Board pages can rank on Google long after the original post.

Like any social platform, Pinterest might not work equally well for all brands. However, Pinterest can be a great way to share valuable content with your target audience and showcase your brand personality.

Pinterest is obviously the home room for the visual content from clothing designers, photographers, and makeup artists. But the platform can be utilized by non-creatives like real estate agents, marketing thought leaders posting relevant articles, even parents posting ideas about home schooling their children. Almost anyone can be more Pinteresting….

Are pins really content?

Absolutely. But keep in mind the importance of  “delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.” Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and of course Pinterest have a specific demographic of users and can be optimized accordingly. What is often overlooked is the importance of relevant and timely content for these platforms.

What should you pin?

  • What does your target audience of client base want to learn more about? What moves them? What interests them? Find pins related to those topics. Become your follower’s go-to resource.
  • Regularly visit the What’s Popular section of Pinterest to see what is trending and what really resonates with Pinterest users.
  • “How to” pins are very popular. Find tutorials your audience can use and pin them, or create your own. Including before and after images.
  • Infographics are a great way to share a large amount of information in an attractive, inspiring way.
  • Do not always pin your own content. If you do pin your own content, be sure to do it in a way that drives users to your website.

Tips for optimizing your pins 

  • Add relevant Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords in your “About” section. Search engines index this page, so use those 200 characters wisely.
  • Utilize humorous of catchy titles to entice folks to follow the board, and include keywords in board titles to make the board more searchable in Pinterest.
  • Curate pins that link back to your website, email opt-in page, or product page/catalog
  • Pinterest is social, so remember to interact and engage with others. Repin, follow, and make comments.
  • I found this Pinterest Master Class to be helpful. It is a series of three videos equaling an hour of content.

via Almost any brand can be Pinteresting. Here’s how! – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow} – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}

*Update: With over 150 Million users, Pinterest is worth a gander. Read more here on the latest stats on this power platform! At the same time I posted my reno on Pinterest, I added a “make me move” price on Zillow…. the rest is history. Full price offer, that led to us building a new home, 2.7 miles down the road.

Photo credit: clasesdeperiodismo via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

From the Archives: 4 Critical Social Media Lessons I Learned From My 4 Year Old

My son just turned 4 and has developed into a kind and considerate little man. Before you say “of course, he is your son, brag much?”, let me support my theory with a bit of fact.  The truth is, I am learning from him. I marvel at what we can learn about connecting on the social web from this little man …

Thank you is just the beginning of the relationship

On his birthday, we had a party for all his friends at a gymnastics place where the kids could bounce around and burn some energy. After the party, not only did he actually thank each friend for coming and for each present, he could recall who got him what afterwards! The staff at the gymnastics joint commented on his awesome manners. A proud Mommy moment and even more proud the weeks following when my son still remembered what each of his friends gave him.

In social it is so easy to show gratitude but often can be time consuming when you have many followers/fans/comments. However, a little “Thank you” goes a long way!

Thank people for sharing in a Tweet, Re-Tweet something that resonates with you, or share a blog post that your followers would enjoy. Pay it forward, be a resource for others and support those around you. Also, know it does not have to stop at “Thank you.”  There have been countless times my son and I have been going into school or a store and someone has held the door open for us. My son politely says (on his own) “Thank you” and then asks me, “Mommy why didn’t they say You’re welcome?”

“Thank you” is just the beginning of a relationship. The doors of communication are now open and you have endless possibilities of what you can do with the relationship.

Stay centered

big hairMy son has the most beautiful long blonde hair, and he loves it! He allows me to trim it but he really wants to have long hair. This is a part of him.

l recently took my son to McDonald’s to romp in the play area (He absolutely thinks this is THE most fun ever). The last two times we went to McD’s he comes up to me with a new friend (once it was a girl the other time a boy) and says, ” Mommy tell him/her I’m a boy!”(because of his hair). No matter how many times he has a “prove your gender” altercation or is called a girl at his own birthday party (yes this did actually happen), it does not phase him. He likes what he likes, and that is it.

Whether you are a person, a business or a brand on the social web, you’re going to get knocked around a bit. But you must represent yourself in one true, consistent voice. You can’t be something you are not. Stay centered.

Patience Pays

My family had been looking forward to the State Fair of Texas all year. My son has big dreams about it and was sure he could ride all the big rides now. After all,  he was 4!

Big TexRealistically, he was just one inch taller than last year, so we were still very limited in what he could enjoy at the fair. This did not phase him at all. He went, he saw, he conquered the same three fun houses and four rides. All day.

He patiently waited all year for the fair, patiently waited to park, patiently waited in many lines to eat, drink, ride rides, and play games.  And then, it was all over in 8 hours.

In social, success rarely happens over night. You must nurture the relationships you make, consistently deliver valuable content, and engage with others in an authentic way. Most of the time, you have to wait to ride the big rides.

Just as it takes time to build a valuable brand, it takes time to build a good social following. Simply opening accounts serves little or no purpose. Don’t give up after one month and you have only 15 followers on Twitter and no one has read your blog post. Just think of the possibilities: communities to be part of, businesses you can work with, folks to connect with, and all of the knowledge that goes along with it.

The Wonder of Learning

Each day my little dude learns at least two new things. How wonderful is that? Life is constantly exciting for him because the world is a wonder.

How can you capture this spirit in your own life? Are you spending time to learn and wonder?

Make it a point in your life to try to always be learning. Social make this so easy. You have a world full of folks on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and G+ willing to connect with you and share new content and ideas.  Many of these connections can be instrumental to you personally and professionally and likewise, you can be very instrumental to them. It can be a very mutually beneficial on various levels.  You must first listen, then engage and take part in the conversation. Identify mentors and learn from them.

This post was not meant to be a page in my Mommy Brag Book. But, when thinking of some of the basics of social, they really do relate back to the basics of a happy life. Keep things in perspective. Be genuine. Be the person you want to meet. And be sure to take the rocks out of your pockets before starting the laundry!

What are you learning from your kids and how is relating to your business?

via Four critical Social Media Lessons I learned from my 4 year old – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}

From the Archives: Social media is saving animal lives

 

By Jessica Rogers, {grow} Contributing Columnist  

Most people read {grow} to see how social media is connecting brands and people … but I wanted to share how it is also connecting people to animals in need, too. In fact, social media is saving lives.

Adopting a pet who has been  abandoned, rescued, abused, or simply unwanted, is a wonderful thing for a person to do. Not only do you get a loving companion who adores you unconditionally, but you get a sense of purpose and true responsibility to this innocent  life you saved from being put down unnecessarily. By also helping via social media, I hope that my “lives saved” tally reaches far beyond the paws I have in my home.

The story of Bit.ly the dog

Last year my family lost two of our dogs due to old age and subsequently began our search for a new pet by visiting shelters every Saturday. Each week we saw plenty of contenders, and then I would go home and visit them on Facebook to see who got adopted, new strays that had been rescued, and the antics the shelter staff would post. This went on for weeks until I was introduced to a beautiful fluffy white dog with a pink nose  who had just been posted on Facebook:

bitly the dog bitly shelter photo

About 45 minutes later we were going home with our newest addition “Bit.ly.”

But connecting people with pets is just part of how social media is helping shelters. Just last month the shelter was able to reunite two stolen senior Basset Hounds from Missouri, Aggie and Clyde,  who were dumped here in Texas!  You can watch the reunion here. My local  shelter has many happy tails, and many not so happy tails of abandonment, neglect, abuse etc. But the point is, they use Facebook. They use it well. With little staff and money, they have managed to pull off consistent stellar Facebook engagement. Some things  they do:

  • Reply to posts within hours to inspire engagement
  • Post intake and adoption photos daily, updates on animals who have been adopted to drive consistent activity
  • Post professional photos of animals up for adoption, some of which are really quite adorable and shareable
  • Promote fund raisers; coordinate volunteer initiatives to get folks involved and posting to the page

Their community is wonderful. There is a lot  of activity, personality, and of course sharing. So why weren’t they on Twitter?

The Twitter connection

One day my son (4) says out of the blue,”Mommy I want a kitten. A black kitten.”  I have no idea where this came from but he never let it go. So we re-started our Saturday shelter visits with a new purpose. I was getting more and more involved with the wonderful shelter pets but noticed there was no Twitter feed. Why wouldn’t they share these animals with people on Twitter too?

So, I sent a Facebook message to the gals at the shelter (we are old friends at this point) and told them I could help them set up a Twitter account, show them how to use Hootsuite, and leverage Facebook posts in this new platform. Easy enough right!?

Not really.

Twitter best practices for a shelter

Well here in lies that pesky problem of time. The shelter needs time to post, which they are already doing and Hootsuite would basically just copy the posts to another social platform, Twitter. But they also need time to devote to building a following, sharing Tweets, and also answering tweets. They simply did not have the resources to do this and asked for my help in setting up and maintaining their Twitter feed.

Some time saving strategies I use, and suggest are:

Set up scheduled backbone tweets. The shelter has many “core messages” they can run over and over on Twitter on a timetable by scheduling through Hootsuite or Buffer. An example would be monthly remiders to followers about donating goods selected from the shleter’s Amazon Wish List.

I like to schedule posts that are pretty basic and not  terribly time sensitive.  The scheduling process is as easy as writing your short blurb, adding the link (Hootsuite and BufferApp will shorten the link for you), click which social networks you wish it to post to, and pick a date and time that you want it to post. There is also the “auto schedule” option that lets Hootsuite choose the most optimal times to post for you. Scheduled tweets can not be the only part of your strategy, but they help free up time to do real time engaging. Don’t forget to add relevant hashtags to help your post be “found.”

Utilize add-ons. Buffer and Hootsuite’s extensions are excellent time savers. The extensions are on your web browser, so you basically only have to click the icon on your browser window when you want to share something as opposed to opening the full dashboard. The shelter might want to use this for any article they run across or even YouTube video that is relevant to their audience. You can choose to post immediately or schedule as described above on Hootsuite and BufferApp as well. You can post to multiple platforms.

Utilize Twitter’s mobile App. I have the Twitter app on my phone (of course) and can toggle between my accounts and the shelter account. This is great for live Tweeting.  The shelter might be able to utilize this at off site functions, of course while utilizing appropriate hashtags. You can also check any mentions, messages or the like while on your smartphone.

While this list is by no means inclusive, it may help you get started with organizing your social media efforts when you don’t have much time.

I hope that through a few  minutes a day of my Tweeting I can help someone find that perfect pet or a shelter animal find their forever family, like “Marlo” or “Roxie” who have been at the shelter for 276 and 236 days respectively. Eventually, I am sure the shelter will be able to take over tweeting, but for now I enjoy it.  My ROI is knowing that I might be able to save one animal life.

And, in case you were wondering, here is “Bit.ly” with our new addition “#hashtag” the black kitten:

bitly the dog

Do you have any experience using social media to help with animal causes? I’d love to hear your story in the comment section!

via Social Strategy for the Dogs. How social media is saving animal lives. – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow} – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}

Theory vs Research: A Symbiotic Relationship for Digital Marketers Part 2

stock-624712_1280Please see part one of this post here. Then, resume part 2!

The Relationship Between Theory and Research
Science occurs in the context of discovery and/or testing (Strong, 1991). Ellis and Levy (2008) suggest a well-defined research problem is an essential starting point for effective research. A well articulated research problem will impact everything from the formulation of hypotheses, methodology, the literature review, and the conclusions. This research problem should integrate both concepts and theoretical perspectives of the existing literature (Ellis & Levy, 2008). Theory driven research allows for the researcher to gather interrelated concepts that will guide research, determining what things to measure, and what statistical relationships to look for. As we construct theory, we rely on research but we also use our own experiences (Gelso, 2006). Theoretical frameworks are important in that researcher must make an implicit framework more explicit in order to not undertake research with preconceived notions impacting processes, results, or even interpretations of findings.

Theory does play a pivotal role in research. Generally speaking, research contributes to theory in several ways: (a) creation of theory (b) validation of theory; (c) to refute a theory. Wacker (1999) believes there are two general objectives of research, theory building, and fact finding. The purpose of the research will dictate the research process and thus identify the undertaking as fact building or theory building. Fact finding research aims to gather facts obtained via precise and specific conditions, where as theory building research develops though an exiting body of knowledge. Fact finding research makes use of evidence to assess if a relationship exists. Theory building research uses the existing literature to define concepts, identify a domain, explain relationships, and then make predictions (Wacker, 1999).

  • Fact finding research plays an important role as it provides facts and empirical evidence that can later be integrated into theory. Additionally, fact-finding research allows for the investigation of new relationships as it is not limited by existing theory based relationships (Wacker, 1999). New theory development is made possible through fact finding research because this type of research discovers differences in data and explains that data. Theory building research, on the other hand, integrates similarities between studies.
  • Harlow (2009) suggests developing a theory involves some form of testing that theory, therefore theory development and testing are intertwined. Theories help researchers generate additional ideas and further scientific exploration and help to integrate constructs into a cohesive view that might otherwise bee seen as incongruent (Gelso, 2006). Harlow (2009) describes a circular process a researcher follows as theoretical ideas are tested against data, ideas are framed, and retests follow until conclusions can be considered trustworthy. The sciences would be a series of untested ideas and biased perspectives without any controlled empirical research (Gelso, 2006). Interestingly, Stam (2007) suggests that the frequent and methodical use of tests of statistical inference has actually impeded advances in (psychological) theory.
  • Gelso (2006) maintains theory and research go hand in hand and work in a symbiotic way. This cycle is on going, theories are being modified based on research, other theories emerge, new theories then guide additional research and are tested, and the cycle repeats (Gelso, 2006). However, not all researchers believe there is a link between research and theory. Gelso (2006) suggests there are some (within the field of psychotherapy research) who maintain that hypothesis-testing research has hindered discovery. However, Gelso (2006) points out theories help generate hypotheses to be tested. Thus, discovery oriented research uncovers relationships that in turn help form theory that can then be further investigated via testing. In fact, researchers use theories throughout the research process. For example, when coming up with ideas, generating hypotheses, and even interpreting the results a researcher uses theory as well as theoretical constructs. In the case of a failed hypotheses, this would prompt a researcher to revise a theory or mini-theory and thus alter hypotheses for further investigation. According to Popper (1957), a legitimate empirical test is designed to disprove theory.
  • Theory-building is paramount as it ensures a framework for analysis, assists in the development of the discipline, and is necessary in order to apply findings to real world problems (Wacker, 1999). Theory building research also helps find recurring themes across related fields thus increasing the theory’s importance and abstract level (Wacker, 1999). Theory building is very dependent on a comprehensive literature review within the research process. This process gives way to accepted definitions, domains of applicability, previously identified relationships, empirical test, and predictions. The literature search ensures all theory-building conditions are filled. Theory building involves defining variables for uniqueness, limiting the domain for generalizability, logically building relationships for internal consistency and abstractness, and giving specific predictions with empirical support for refutability (Wacker, 1999).

It should be noted that both qualitative and quantitative research contribute to theory. Corely and Gioia (2011) suggest that both types of research contribute to theory in terms of originality and utility. Quantitative research tends to offer more generalizability and greater predictability due to hypothesis testing. However, qualitative research is just as important to theory when trying to understand complex social situations (Gay & Weaver, 2011).

The Future for Digital and Social Media Marketing Research and Theory
Currently there are several social media platforms, and each application has its own characteristics that influence behavior. Smith, Fischer, and Yongjian (2012) undertook research surrounding Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube via content analysis. Interestingly, sentiment varied across social media sites suggesting each social media site fosters its own different characteristics. With social media evolving, there will likely be mini theories that are only applicable to certain settings and certain situations (McFarland & Ployhart, 2015).

It is clear that both theory and research are instrumental to the marketing discipline. Researchers must move beyond applying existing theories to the field of social media marketing. Consideration must be made to reflect on the uniqueness of social media as a communication channel. These distinct features should be used to help theory evolve in the context of social media marketing. The cycle of theory and research ensures the body of knowledge advances through testing, and discovery. With the relatively new field of social media marketing, addition empirical research is essential to establishing applicable theory, and building upon existing theory.

Stay tuned as we next explore the relationship between Theory vs Practice…

The State of Branding: A Reflection Part 2

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This is the continuation of a reflection piece. Catch up by reading the beginning here.

As we discussed, globalization and technological advances have enabled consumers to find the information they desire and share this information regardless of geographic location (Jai Beom, Yoori, & Ryun, 2009). The Internet has made foreign businesses more local, and has given the small local shops the chance to be more global. With this technology, businesses are also able to target markets outside their geographic locations and engage with them for better knowledge of the audience. With the understanding of a particular target market, a brand can select the appropriate tool(s) in which to reach and engage with them.

The Internet has changed the way brands build and maintain their image, improved methods of addressing customer service issues, has created opportunities to brand themselves through celebrities, has created the notion of personal brands, and has revolutionized integrated marketing communications. Review Part 1 here. Globalization and technological advances have enabled consumers to find the information they desire and share this information regardless of geographic location (Jai Beom, Yoori, & Ryun, 2009). The Internet has made foreign businesses more local, and has given the small local shops the chance to be more global. With this technology, businesses are also able to target markets outside their geographic locations and engage with them for better knowledge of the audience. With the understanding of a particular target market, a brand can select the appropriate tool(s) in which to reach and engage with them. The Internet has changed the way brands build and maintain their image, improved methods of addressing customer service issues, has created opportunities to brand themselves through celebrities, has created the notion of personal brands, and has revolutionized integrated marketing communications. Let’s continue with our exploration……..

Celebrity
A few years ago, singer Rhianna was described as being too sexy for the Nivea brand as a spokesperson. The campaign was halted by Nivea, who felt the singers dress, behavior, and relationships did not fit the image of the brand. Many brands are choosing to use celebrities as branding tools by having the celebrity appear in a commercial or even starting their own product line. Halonen-Knight and Hurmerinta (2010) believe celebrity endorsement to be one of the most popular forms of marketing, and should be utilized as a brand alliance. A brand alliance suggests value for both the brand and the celebrities’ personal brand. The identification of the right celebrity for the right product is an essential decision for a brand, and engaging in product endorsements is an essential decision for a celebrity (Halonen-Knight & Hurmerinta, 2010). Both the brand and the celebrity must also take into consideration the potential positive and negative effects endorsements could have on their brand image and brand equity.

Twitter & Instagram- Currently, celebrities Tweeting about certain products or services are being compensated for those tweets, known as sponsored tweets. A celebrity may have millions of loyal followers; for a brand to be mentioned on Twitter by a celebrity it could mean a large percentage of those followers saw the tweet. However, the life of a tweet is very short and may not have the power a long-term endorsement such as a print ad has. Instagram has also let consumers delve into the ives of celebrities. But how much of what we see is real?

Transparency- Brands and the celebrity should address transparency concerns before utilizing sponsored tweets. The more transparent the brand and the celebrity brand are on Twitter, the deeper the connection they will have with their audience. Issues with celebrities have made consumers skeptical about the brands and the celebrities paid to endorse them. Today’s market is impacted by technology and the speed by which news and information travels. Consider Tiger Wood’s situation with his wife and how quickly it appeared in the news and subsequently destroyed his brand. Today’s consumers have smart phones and Internet; therefore, celebrities are in the spot light more than ever. Brands must understand they cannot control the Internet. Using a celebrity for branding purposes requires the brand to be prepared to take on loss of control and individual risks.

Personal Branding

Traditionally branding referred to only corporate and individual product branding. Both types of branding aim to create name, icon, and emotional connections. In today’s society, more and more individuals are exploring personal branding brought made possible in part by social media. The individual brand must be positioned within the marketplace and must be continually reinvented. Differentiation among other individuals is essential in personal branding just as it is in product or service branding. By identifying what differentiates a personal brand, an individual can communicate that to the right audience with the right medium.

Digital Footprints– Blogs, micro blog, websites, and other social media platforms are now being used to illustrate competence and a love of the persons industry. Simply having a resume is somewhat dated in today’s workplace. Individuals are building their personal brands with blogs that they write on their own time for the love of what they do and to share with others. These individuals are also gathering followers who value the content they provide via blogs or micro blogs such as Twitter. These folks are building their networks via LinkedIn.com and branding themselves as professionals in their prospective industries.

Self Reflection– Personal branding encourages the individual to look inwardly to who they are and what they stand for to arrive at an authentic personal brand. The authentic personal branding is based on individual identity, vision, mission, values, self-knowledge, positive attributes, and self-management, rather than presenting an image or brand that you wish others to perceive.

Influence- In order to remain competitive, those building a personal brand must explore LinkedIn as a replacement for the traditional resume. More employees, employers, and recruiters are utilizing LinkedIn and the connections within to link positions with the right candidates. A users profile offers viewers more information about the individual that a resume can. Most profiles include job history, connections, skills, as well as hyperlinks to other sources of information and possible samples of work. With the emergence of personal branding, many employers value this online influence. Such influence, or clout, demonstrates soft skills such as writing, leadership, and organization. Individuals who have large and influential networks (via Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn for example) have the potential to bring something of value to an organization: an audience and potential consumers.

Personal branding will continue to become more important as it separates the good from the great. It will uncover those who work simply for a paycheck and those who work because they have a passion for what they do, are thought leaders, and are influencers in their field. If nothing else, it allows the individual to take charge of their career and seek out connections and share relevant information rather than leave it to chance.

IMC
Technology has made a significant impact on integrated marketing communication (IMC). With the volume of messages presented to consumer sin the form of email, television, Internet ads, social media, and print, brands must ensure the relevancy of their messages. Additionally, brands must address budget issues and allocate the right amount of resources to the right communication to generate a significant return on investment.

Jai Beom, Yoori, and Ryun (2009) suggest the integration of online and offline has led to an increase in the number of touch points for customers both current and potential. Figure 3 illustrates how the core identity of a brand can influence consumers through the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Jai Beom, Yoori, and Ryun (2009) found that each touch point should appeal to each of the senses. Effective use of the various touch points is one way a brand can build a competitive advantage over the competition. With IMC, the brand can coordinate the touch points, the mediums, and the message to create a campaign that caters to all the senses, contributes to the building of a relationship, and ultimately translates into an increase in market share.

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-11-13-32-amJai Beom, Yoori, and Ryun (2009)

Social- Social media as part of an IMC is essential in today’s business environment. A brands target audience is divided among Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. A brand does not have to utilize every social touch point, but should research which tool would increase interaction with consumers. For example, crafts and home decorating audiences are often found on Pinterest, so a brand with similar targets would benefit from sharing their own images of products, services, or designs on the platform. Social media is a great medium to build brand awareness, solicit feedback, and engage with consumers.

Digital- A combination of on and offline tools such as social, brand website (SEO), print, television, and personal selling can make for a very effective IMC program. However, the target audience and budget play a key role in what strategy should be employed. Integrating these tools is a challenge, but necessary to ensure the right brand image is being perceived. All of the tools should send the same message about the brand to the same target audience. An interesting IMC program is the Nike PhotoiD campaign. It allowed users to design shoes based on color photographs taken by cell phone. Customers would contact Nike via text message and PhotoiD would analyze the photo, matching colors in the shots to the NikeiD palette. Then Nikeid would apply colors to a selected design. Consumers could then do a variety of things such as save the image, use it as computer desktop wallpaper, share it via social media, or purchase the shoe. This is also a great example of personalization, yet another trend in branding that has been made possible through technology.

Conclusion
Consumers now have a wealth of information about brands and their competition, making them a powerful force. Customers have so many more choices than ever before. This gives them the power to demand more from businesses. This same new technology that is enabling the consumer, is also giving businesses the capability of initiating multi-channel strategies for communicating with customers. These emerging, real-time platforms such as the Internet, Apps, and other social media channels place new strains on a network’s existing infrastructure. However, they also generate large amounts of data that contain valuable insight into customer behavior and preferences. Specifically, the use of mobile devices and social media is gathering enormous amounts of personal data that can be a real asset to businesses. Unfortunately, there are businesses not making the most of the data available and there are others not even utilizing the platforms to access this data (Rogers, 2012).

Brands must develop an infrastructure that allows for the sharing of information and effective communication. With the use of a variety of social media platforms (such as blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube etc.) brands have a direct line to the end consumer for communicating about their products or services. Consumers are online talking about the brands, and the brands need to listen. If businesses can identify unmet expectations and where the strongest expectations exist, they will be more likely to realize an increase in market share and profitability. In order to do this, they must know more about their customers. Brands must talk, listen, and interact with customers more often and with more relevancy in new and innovative ways. The use of social media platforms is one way to drive engagement and participation to create and nurture relationships with customers and potential customers. This is an exciting time for marketers with the technology available to manage customer information, data, trends, and relationships as well as the new social environment that creates a one-on-one marketing opportunity.

If you have enjoyed this 2 part series, I urge you to explore my past articles. While they are more informal, I think you will find value in the content as the posts speak to the themes within this 2 part series.

Recommended movies for Marketing Students

medium_4683421549 I usually share a list of movies with my undergrads to get them pumped up about Marketing and to see how it infiltrates our everyday lives. Hopefully those of you who are students past and present, undergrad and graduate will enjoy these hand picked Marketing flicks! Those who are not students, but Marketing geeks like me: enjoy! I must warn you that may get a little resistance from non-marketing family members if you tell them these are Marketing related (as I did with my husband). But, I assure you they will enjoy them!

The following are some great movies to request on Netflix, Blockbuster, HULU, or whatever you like (in no particular order):

For trailers of the movies visit My TAMU page on my blog here.

Chef
2014 Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. Great for those who love Social Media Marketing.

Syrup
2013 Amber Heard and Shiloh Fernandez (Note this is Rated R)
A slacker hatches a million-dollar idea. But, in order to see it through, he has to learn to trust his attractive corporate counterpart. This covers branding, image, and perception.

Guilt Trip
2012 Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Julene Renee
As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom’s house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride. Fantastic movie on getting your product to market, and funny!

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
2011 Morgan Spurlock
Very informational, funny, and gives great insight into branding. My favorite!

The Joneses
2009 Demi Moore and David Duchovny
Great example of how we influence each other and how marketers can and do manipulate consumer behavior.

Idiocracy
2006 Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph and Dax Shepard
Not a movie that requires your undivided attention, but I enjoy seeing brand sponsorships for everything and placed everywhere!

Minority Report
2002 Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton
I enjoyed seeing a glimpse into the future in this movie. Keep in mind this was 10 years ago. Pay attention to the personalized marketing messages on billboards.

Boiler Room
2000 Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Ben Affleck and Nia Long
Token FBI/ethics/fraud movie.

The Husdsucker Proxy
1994 Tim Robbins, Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh
A rather comical look (a Coen brothers movie) at running a manufacturing plant. Free on Amazon Prime.

Glengarry Glen Ross
1992 Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin
A movie about desperate real estate agents. Free on Amazon Prime. Available on Netflix streaming.

Tucker: A Man and his Dream
1988 Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau and Christian Slater
Great movie on a man, his product, and going to market. Free on Amazon Prime.

What other movies should be added to this list!? I am always looking for more movies to watch and share with students related to all facets of Marketing (and business)… Please share!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc