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Tough Marketing in a Down Economy? Target Minority Groups

It’s wise to continue to market in a down economy.  Doing so will grow your brand while others shrink.  A study that was performed during the recession of 1989-1991 showed that companies who increased their advertising grew by 15% to 70% during the recession while their competitors, who cut back on advertising, experienced a drop in sales that ranged from 26% to 64%.  There’s no reason businesses can’t benefit from marketing during our current recession.

Marketing to minorities specifically is wise in a down economy because it seems a brand will get more bang for their advertising buck.  For example, one study showed that Asians, African Americans and Hispanics all view the media (specifically TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet) as more influential in their purchase decisions than the Non-Hispanic White market does.  This means that it’s more effective to target one of these minority groups than it would be to target the general market during a down economy.

The same study as above showed that “African Americans and Hispanics have a more positive attitude toward advertising and marketing than Asians and Non-Hispanic Whites.”  Thus, not only do the 3 largest minority groups in the U.S. allow the media to influence their purchase decisions more than the general market, but 2 of them think positively about the advertising they’re seeing.  By focusing on consumer groups who think positively about advertising, you eliminate the common disdain that most people feel for advertising which will allow your marketing message to get through easier.  Trying to overcome the majority’s negative perception of advertising is a major hurdle that seemingly doesn’t need to be jumped when targeting 2 major minority groups.

One industry that comes to mind that should definitely focus on multicultural marketing is the cell phone industry.  It’s a constantly evolving industry and one that touches nearly everyone’s lives.  Cell phones are tethered to nearly every Americans hand these days.

This industry should specifically target African Americans and Hispanics primarily because of their affinity for technology.  Regarding cell phone technology specifically, 44% of African American and Latino adults are smartphone owners, where only 30% of non-Hispanic whites are.  And both African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to use their cell phones for things other than making phone calls such as using the internet, playing games, or viewing multimedia content.  Minority groups are avid cell phone users.

The cell phone industry should also target African Americans and Hispanics because of their strong family values.  It’s likely that if a group places a lot of value on their family connections, they would also place a lot of value on communicating with them.  Cell phone companies can use this angle to show features of the phones that can enable its user to communicate in various ways with their family members.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in New Media

 

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Marketing by Word of Mouth? – Finding the Right People to Spread the Word is Crucial

Online word-of-mouthWhat’s the main reason we as marketers use social media platforms?  To get people to talk about our brands right?  We want them to talk about our brands because word-of-mouth is such a powerful source of influence on purchase decisions.  In fact, word-of-mouth is the number 1 source of information that influences purchase decisions; more so than websites and customer reviews according to a report from Experian.

With word-of-mouth being such an important marketing tool, it’s important to know who will be the most likely to provide the most influential word-of-mouth through social channels.  According to Josh Bernoff, vice president of Forrester Research, people use social media differently, and therefore some will be more likely to spread the word about your brand than others.  The labeling of different classes of social media users Bernoff calls “Social Technographics” which relates to ones demographics and psychographics.

There are 6 different technographic classes; going from those who are the most active users of social media at the top of the list to those who are the least active on the bottom:

  • Creators – They publish their own blogs and web pages; upload their own video and audio content; write their own articles etc.
  • Critics – They post product reviews and ratings; comment on others blogs; contribute on forum’s etc.
  • Collectors – They vote, “share,” “retweet,” “like” or “favorite;” they use RSS feeds; they tag web pages etc.
  • Joiners – They have joined social networks and social media sites and maintain their profile and visit them often.
  • Spectators – They read, watch and listen, but don’t contribute to the conversation.
  • Inactives – They have social profiles but don’t do any of the above.

Targeting the “creators,” critics” and “collectors” is usually your best bet for spreading word-of-mouth about your brand.  But how do you know who they are?  Forrester Research was kind enough to make the tool below to help you find out.  First click the image to go to the tools web page, then simply select the age range, country and gender of your target audience and the tool will show you what percentage of them are “creators,” critics,” “collectors” etc.  You’ll be able to see which technographic profiles should be targeted in order to use them to reach that specific age group and gender.

Forrester's Social Technographics Tool

This tool gives you a high level view of who your influentials are based on their technographic profile.  Now all you have to do is figure out which social media platforms to engage them through to get them talking.  This is a different topic in and of its self though.  (I’ll give you a clue; a good place to start is Quantcast.com).

Word of mouth is powerful if you can find those who are willing to talk.  This tool is a great place to start looking.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in New Media

 

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Facebook vs. Twitter – Which is Better for Marketing?

social-marketing-twitter-vs-facebookBusinesses of all kinds are jumping onto social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter these days.  Even funeral homes!  (Not really sure what they would be posting about – don’t think I want to know.)  It makes sense though because social sites are where we spend a lot of our online time these days.

If you’re a business, you need to think of your marketing goals and objectives first before choosing a platform.  Some may be better for your organizations needs than others regardless of how many potential consumers are found on them.  This is because they all have their advantages and disadvantages.  Regarding Facebook and Twitter specifically, you’ll see that many of Facebook’s advantages are Twitter’s disadvantages and vice versa.

Facebook’s Advantages and Twitters Disadvantages

There are 4 main advantages to using Facebook for marketing.  First, Facebook’s sheer number of users.  Facebook has 901 million monthly active users where Twitter only has 140 million monthly active users (“active” being the key word here).  Facebook can obviously give a company access to more potential customers.  Also, the more people a company can access through a sharing system like Facebook, the more potential word-of-mouth about the brand.

Second, Facebook is now the most popular social networking site in the world.  Based on an annual study of 136 countries regarding social network usage, Facebook is the dominant social network in 127 of them.  Facebook’s 901 million active users aren’t solely in the U.S. and a few other countries; they are in 127 different countries!  This may not matter for many small to medium sized businesses who may only work locally but for those international companies, Facebook can be a one stop shop for reaching all their markets.  Twitter doesn’t have the international reach that Facebook does.

Where social networks are used in the world

Third, the frequency with which Facebook’s user’s login.  Forty-one percent of Facebook users log in daily where only 27% of Twitter users do.  The more often a user logs in, the more potential they have to be exposed to your brands message.  The more often they’re exposed to your brands message, the more likely they are to take action on it (buy, donate, volunteer etc.)

The fourth main advantage of Facebook for marketing and Twitter’s fourth disadvantage is based in Facebook’s unrivaled ability to increase interactivity with consumers.  Both Facebook and Twitter offer the ability to include videos and photos in ones posts but Facebook also offers quizzes, polls, games and other means of interactivity.  Interactivity increases the time that a user spends with a brand and their brand message.  Many of these tools can also be very sharable which can make them viral and push the brand message further than the brand could by itself.

Twitter’s Advantages and Facebook’s Disadvantages

There are also 4 main advantages to using Twitter for marketingFirst, Twitter followers are more likely to buy from the brands they follow.  Sixty-seven percent of Twitter followers will buy from the brands they follow where only 51% of Facebook fans will.  Isn’t this one of the main reason a company would use social networks? – To have people buy their offerings?  Twitter gets things sold it seems.

Second, Twitter followers are more willing to recommend the brands they follow.  Thirty-three percent of Twitter followers regularly recommend the brands they follow to friends where only 21% of Facebook fans do.  There’s nothing better for a brand than having perpetual access to a large group of active brand advocates who actually sought your brand out (more on this next).

Third, Twitter is more of a “pull” medium where a brands followers are the ones that are likely to seek them out and initiate a conversation.  Brands on Facebook on the other hand usually have to use “push” marketing tactics where they make third-party offers to obtain fans.  An example of this is when Bing employed Zynga to offer “Farm Cash” rewards to “FarmVille” fans to entice them to become Bing’s fans.  Pull is always better than push as pull means the consumer sought your company or brand out on their own.  This means they’re already interested.  Push marketing requires the brand to “push” an offer or ad in front of the consumer to get them interested.  This can degrade the value of that base, since the offer is disconnected from the brand.

The fourth main advantage of Twitter for marketing and Facebook’s fourth disadvantage is that tweets get more clicks.  Tweets with embedded links get 19 clicks on average while Facebook’s shared links only get 3 clicks on average.  Clicking is interactivity; clicking can lead to viral sharing; clicking can lead to sales.

Privacy Issues

There are many ways that Facebook and Twitter can infringe on one’s privacy.  Here are 2 main ones.  First, a branded message can be imposed on you unwillingly.  On Facebook, not only are we forced to see ads in the sidebar but at times, a friend who may be a fan of a brand will respond to one of the brands posts which will then be shown on your wall.  The same happens on Twitter.

Second, games, quizzes external widgets and other websites that allow you to sign into their site with your Facebook account, though they may notify you of the information they will be seeing, sharing and storing, they are forcing you to choose between privacy and using these entertaining and handy features.  The word “choose” is key.  We “choose” to give up our privacy but it’s the fact that we must give it up to use these features that makes privacy an issue.

Though Twitter doesn’t have games and quizzes, they still give access to their users private information if the user wants to use the tools mentioned above like Facebook does.  Facebook offers some privacy controls that may deal with this but many users don’t enable them or they’re hard to find or the wording is skewed so they don’t understand how the control works.

Social networks are gaining users by the minute, so the pressure to use one is mounting.  Although, depending on your business, you may not need to use one.  If you choose to do so, be sure to choose the right one for your needs.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in New Media

 

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