Why Marketers Should Care About a Crowdsourced Driving App

By: Brigette Houghton  Erique L’Heureux

People have always wanted to know the best way to get from point A to point B. As maps are phased out and our cars and driving habits seem more and more dependent on technology, people are looking for the best driving app on the market. But how do you evaluate that? Is it the app that consistently gets you there the fastest or maybe just the one with a funny computer generated voice to keep you company on those long road trips. The answer, in my opinion, is the one with the most up to date data. How many times has your GPS told you to turn down a city street that was closed for repairs leaving you in that terrible state of driving purgatory while the GPS reroutes. With the driving app Waze bad data is a thing of the past.

What is Waze:

“Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute. Waze. Outsmarting Traffic, Together.”

Waze versus Other map apps:

They reason why more people are choosing Waze over other navigation apps is because Waze is interactive with a community.  While these other map apps may get you to your location, they may not tell you how much traffic you will get stuck in along the way. They also might not inform you of police speed traps.  Waze is the app that can do it all and then some.  Waze can give you multiple route options, inform you on how heavy the traffic is in certain locations, can tell you about road work ahead, and can warn you of a police officer ahead! Waze’s maps are constantly being edited by its users as roads are being closed and built in different directions. It can do all of this, and you can also connect to your Facebook friends to see if they are in your area, and where they are as long as they are connected as well.

About Waze:

Waze is a community based navigation app that was created in 2006 in the country of Israel by Ehud Shabtai.  The company was originally called “FreeMap Israel”.  The name did not last long, and two years later they changed the name to Waze.  In 2013, Facebook tried to buy Waze for $1 billion when they only had 36 million users, but Waze decided not to take the deal because they did not want to have to move their headquarters to California; they wanted to stay in Israel. Later in the year, Google offered Waze $1.3 billion, and offered them to keep their headquarters in Israel, but to have some offices in California.  From the time Facebook placed an offer to the time Google placed their offer, the amount of Waze users increased from 36 million to 50 million users.

Levels:

The fun thing about Waze is that by connecting with your friends on Facebook, you can challenge them with the number of miles you drive, and boost your rank within the app.  The higher your rank, the harder it is to remain there though! This aspect of gamification provides a social incentive in addition to the functional one. When users can complete milestones and see how they stack up against others they want to open the app on more of their drives to increase their score.

Metrics:

As mentioned before, Waze allows you to stay connected to your friends, and your community.  If there is a better way to get somewhere, you can edit the map to come up with the better route, and you can share it with the community.  If you are stuck in traffic, let the other users in your area know so they do not have to get stuck in it as well.  And, if you are attending a Facebook event that your friends are also attending, you can connect to Waze and see what their estimated time of arrival is, or you can pick them up along the way.

Waze also has a self-serving ad buying page where businesses can buy “location pins” to advertise their businesses whether they be local or chain businesses.  Waze sells these location pins for $1 per 1000 pins.  Big chain companies like Shell, Starbucks, Wyndham Hotels, Yum Brand, Dunkin Donuts, and AT&T are just a few of the chains that have location pins on Waze.  This may be a risk for Waze because of the fact that these large companies can take advantage of the fact that the location pins are such a small price compared to the rest of the companies expenses. However for companies buying the pins a service that literally directs people right to their front door is indispensable. It solves the marketing problem of location. A small business without the capital to open a store on a main road can buy a pin and have every waze user in the area still know where they are located. A person can travel down the same street every day their entire life and not realize that there’s an amazing business on the next street over. Now with Waze they can! Waze has also introduced another channel of advertising that they call “Ad Takeovers.” This is a pop up that is intended to be unobtrusive to the user while they are driving. Accordingly they only appear before the user starts driving and after they have been stationary for more than five seconds. These pop ups use the location data provided via the user’s phone to target consumers geographically. Brick and mortar businesses can buy ad takeovers so that consumers in their area are exposed to their brand. It wouldn’t make much sense for McDonald’s to advertise to drivers when the closest store is fifty miles away. Waze’s location data eliminates this problem and ensures that business will experience a greater return on investment for their marketing dollars. Waze has also found a way to incorporate other types of data to enhance its marketing capabilities. Dunkin Donuts, who was one of the first companies to adopt Waze’s marketing, uses both weather and time data to tailor its advertisements. In the morning when it is cold they can push ads for hot coffee and in the warmer afternoons they can offer coupons for a sweet frozen drink. This targeted approach further increases the return on investment that marketers will find appealing. The future of Waze’s growth in the marketing will depend on the level of data that they can provide. Users can already sign into Waze via Facebook and the prospect that Waze could add Facebook data into its arsenal could present some interesting possibilities. Marketers could possibly find out the interests of people who are close to their businesses and make it even easier to get people in through the front door.

Risks:

A risk that could hurt Waze is that the app may promote texting and driving; although the app can recognize if you are in a moving car. And if you are, there is a window that can pop up that basically tells you to pull over in order to use the app.  This pop up window gives the user the option to say if he or she is a passenger in the car. The driver does have the ability to bypass this window by falsely indicating that they are the passenger and are capable of safely using the app. It’s a widely known fact that humans really are awful at multitasking and the use of mobile devices while driving has been linked with numerous, needless deaths and even more non-fatal accidents. If there is ever any indication that a driver was hurt or injured while using Waze they no doubt will take a serious PR hit. Any brand that looks to utilize Waze’s marketing aspects need to seriously consider if their brand image is in line with a driving app that could be the center of some controversy.

Alternatively, another aspect of Waze that is steeped in controversy, is the app’s function to identify the location of traffic officers. The same way that users can identify hazards and traffic on the roadway gives them the ability to identify where there are police cruisers parked. The function’s purpose is to help Wazers avoid speed traps which could ultimately lead to a hefty fine. A good idea for those of us who like to get from place to place a little faster than the law allows. But it also disarms and even endangers police officers and their ability to effectively do their job. Police officers aren’t just on duty to ruin our day with a speeding ticket, they’re there to enforce the law and protect society. Suppose that a drunk driver opens up Waze and sees that there is a police checkpoint so he decides to take another route. He endangers himself and everyone around him and Waze has granted him the opportunity to avoid getting caught. Police officers all over the country have already expressed that they want an end to this function. Afterall, people who would otherwise break the law as a rule tend not to do it when they know there are police officers around. Waze has steadfastly neglected to make any statement in response to the controversy surrounding their police function. One can’t be sure if this is because the company recognizes the negative implications and simply won’t address them. The function is very unique to anything on the market and the draw that it provides to consumers is understandable. Download a free app and possibly avoid a two-hundred dollar speeding ticket? Sounds like a good investment to me. But likewise as with the risk of distracted driving brands need to consider the possibility that a PR disaster or even federal regulation could cost Waze its customer base and leave people invested in their marketing out to dry.

Bottom Line:

Marketers are always trying to reach consumers on a more personal level. Big data is the future of finding out exactly who your customer base is and how best to reach them. The location based data that Waze provides opens horizons for brands to completely change the way they bring people into their stores. We could see Waze bringing about the end to those giant inflatable tube men or people who spin signs outside of businesses as the app does all the work for you in bringing customers right to your door.

Twitter as an Effective Social Media Marketing Tool

By: Justin Flory and Matt Kelling

The first message on Twitter, commonly known as a tweet, was published on March 21, 2006 by current C.E.O and co-founder, Jack Dorsey. With many new launches in the next few years for the social media platform, (such as promoted tweets and hashtags) Twitter quickly became one of the most popular social media networks, as it changed the game for traditional media.

In 2009, an airplane crashed in the Hudson River of New York City. Twitter user Janis Krums, also known as @jkrums, picked up on the nearby crash and tweeted out to his followers, “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy” along with a photo of the crash. Without even knowing it at the time, Krums shared breaking news on his personal Twitter account and broke the story before traditional media outlets and organizations even got to it. Krums changed the way news was gathered and proved that Twitter is a successful media and marketing outlet. The rest is history.

While Twitter has become a place where users gather information, listen to others, and engage in conversations, it’s also a place where people keep in touch with their favorite companies, brands, celebrities, and events.  The platform has become a common place where companies can participate in unique marketing initiatives that their consumers can relate to.

To sum it up, Twitter has a short list of key features that connect its users. A tweet is simply just a message that users send out to their followers, or to everyone if their account is public. These messages are crafted in 140 characters or less and might be made up of photos, links, or videos. Users can respond to other people’s tweets by replying and they can share others’ tweets my retweeting. Retweeting enables users to put someone else’s message on their own feed and also allows users to comment or quote others’ messages. Users can acknowledge tweets without sharing as well, as a simple like does the job. Users can direct messages at other users by mentioning them publicly or sending them a direct message in a private inbox.

In terms of similar ideas spread on Twitter, hashtags are simple messages in the form of a word or sentence without spaces. The message is attached to a # symbol and allows users to search for a specific conversation on a specific topic. Popular hashtags appear in the trending topics section of Twitter. The site provides a search forum for users to look up keywords, as well as hashtags and users. Twitter users might also use lists, which are collections of users with similar interests that they can create, subscribe to, or become a member of. While seeing what their followers have to say on their own feeds, users can also scroll through Moments, which are top news stories selected by Twitter.

With over 320 million monthly active users, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have Twitter right at their fingertips. Through Twitter, consumers and marketers can build prosperous relationships with each other. Consumers can engage with brands in both positive and negative ways and users are able to tweet at companies in hopes that they will get a response. For example, many users tweet at airline brands when they’re unhappy with their travels. Often times, brands like Delta and American Airlines have an employee that is able to respond to angry and (sometimes) happy consumers. By tweeting at these consumers, people feel that they are being taken care of by a brand they use or trust. Companies are able to make their brand look good or bad through their responses because of this.

Other than interacting with consumers and building relationships, companies are able to participate in many marketing activities on Twitter. These include customer service, promoted and sponsored tweets, brand building, and promotional efforts. Using Twitter for customer service is done through responding to customer complaints, feedback, questions, or sharing (retweeting), and liking their content. Through purchasing a promoted tweet, companies can target specific audiences to reach more people, both followers and users who don’t necessarily follow the brand. Promoted tweets can help Twitter users become aware of a company, can help drive website traffic, as well as make users more familiar with what a company or brand does. Sponsored tweets are a little different than promoted tweets, as a company can pay someone else (an influencer) to promote their brand.

According to Twitter internal data, “69% of users are likely to buy from a business they follow on Twitter.” Twitter helps consumers decide what they like and dislike about a product or service and then act on it. Through Twitter, companies can create a consistent voice for their brand. This voice might be sophisticated or excited, depending on what the company is selling or trying to get across to its followers. Through a company’s account, customers can see pictures, logos, videos, and more, which teaches them about the company they like or are interested in.

Many companies also participate in putting their own promotions on Twitter. These might include free giveaways, contests, prizes, special deals, discounts, or one-time offers. For example, Applebee’s recently tweeted out to its followers, “Busy? We’ll meet you at the car with Applebee’s Carside To Go. Download our NEW app now & save $5 on your 1st order.” Companies are able to get more people in their door by providing special offers on areas where people will see it, such as on the official Applebee’s account.

Along with these marketing activities, companies also work toward marketing objectives that include building those same customer relationships, launching new products and services, building brand awareness, and targeting new customers. To carry out these activities and objectives successfully, Twitter provides Twitter Analytics for its users, both individuals and companies. Analytics consists of impressions to show how many times users see certain tweets and engagements that show how many times a user clicked on links in a tweet. Along with these features, audience insights shows companies the demographics, lifestyles, interests, consumer behaviors, and mobile footprints of their followers. Companies can use this data to compare their followers with other Twitter users as well. Twitter Analytics captures who is really following a specific company and how they can successfully engage with them on a daily

These lead to marketing tactics and how a company can use Twitter to successfully market their brand on the site. Companies should keep their tweets short and to the point. Users are limited to 140 characters, but the shorter, the better. Companies should use quality photos and videos because this makes their brand look better and more attractive to audiences. People like seeing pictures more than words as well, so these will capture more people’s attention. Companies should also be using relevant hashtags that relate to their brand and messages. They can use hashtags through regular tweets or can even create polls to ask their followers questions. Finally, companies should be connecting with their audience and followers. This involves replying, retweeting, and liking what their consumers and followers have to say. These actions will encourage better relationships and connections among consumers and brand interactions.

Marketing on Twitter can be both expensive and inexpensive, depending on how much a company chooses to bid or spend on promoted tweets, accounts, trends, or ads. Promoted tweets will appear in users’ feeds and can bring increased site traffic or brand awareness. These tweets typically run between $.50 and $2.00 per engagement (per click). Promoted accounts encourage users to follow them, as they appear in the ‘who to follow’ section of one’s Twitter account. These usually cost anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 per follower. A little more expensive are promoted trends, (popular topics) which can cost close to $200,000 per day. Lastly, Twitter ads have no exact price tag because companies are encouraged to bid, but Twitter suggests that companies pay anywhere from $.10 to $23.00 for ads that include advertising methods like website clicks, follower campaigns, or video view campaigns. Either way, advertising on Twitter can be affordable for businesses of any kind, small or large.

Plenty of companies have succeeded with using Twitter as an effective marketing tool. Clean Air London, a non-profit organization, works to better air quality in London. The organization had hopes of increasing brand awareness by trying to reach out to more audiences with their message. They did this by targeting people they thought would be interested and used geo-targeting to reach people across the United Kingdom. They also targeted Twitter users who followed similar accounts like @MayorofLondon and @BBCBreakingNews. Clean Air London ended up getting double the amount of followers they originally had before the campaign started. From this, they found that three times more of users clicked on their links and 20% more users engaged with their posts.

While organizations like Clean Air London have done well though, some companies have failed with using Twitter as a marketing tool. The official Chrysler Autos account tweeted profanity out to its followers and the employee was later fired because of it. In return, the company apologized to its followers for the tweet, but the tweet can still be found all over the internet as a Twitter fail.

With the capabilities to better customer service, target audiences with promoted and sponsored tweets, promoted trends or accounts, and building a brand, Twitter is an effective marketing tool for all companies and organizations. Twitter allows companies to target new audiences, while keeping it interesting with their current consumers. Twitter has proven to help companies with great social media marketing success and continues to do so year after year.

Sources

1) https://about.twitter.com/company

2) http://www.businessinsider.com/update-a-breakdown-of-the-demographics-for-each-of-the-different-social-networks-2015-6

3) http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/social-media-update-2014/pi_2015-01-09_social-media-new_01/

4) https://www.titan-seo.com/newsarticles/trifecta.html

5) https://business.twitter.com/basics/how-to-create-a-twitter-content-strategy?lang=en&location=na

6) https://business.twitter.com/solutions/grow-followers

7) http://www.businessinsider.com/13-epic-twitter-fails-by-big-brands-2012-2?op=1

8) https://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/running/marketing/online-marketing/using-twitter-to-market-your-business/how-your-business-can-avoid-pitfalls-on-twitter

9) http://www.pennapowers.com/how-much-do-ads-on-twitter-cost/

10) https://business.twitter.com/help/ads-pricing

11) http://www.businessinsider.com/how-twitter-was-founded-2011-4

12) https://about.twitter.com/company/press/milestones

13) https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/13-marketing-activities-you-can-do-for-less-than-20-a-day/

14) http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/04/paid-promotion-twitter/

15) http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/promoted-tweets-best-practices/500668

16) http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2015/04/paid-promotion-twitter/

17) https://business.twitter.com/help/what-are-promoted-tweets

18) https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225966

19) http://www.winmarketing.co.uk/business-and-marketing-objectives.html

20) http://www.cio.com/article/2380667/twitter/14-ways-to-use-twitter-to-market-your-business.html

21) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/09/15/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-your-business-on-twitter/#5f9530d4106a

22) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/04/01/how-to-build-a-winning-twitter-strategy-in-2014/#1c26db55fca1

23) http://mashable.com/2011/06/09/brands-twitter-success/#MblGY_GiTPqb

 

Internet of Things (IoT) – Our Future

By: Jennifer Buonarosa

The Internet of Things is one of the hottest topics in 2016 and is being referred to has the 4th Industrial Revolution, the convergence of digital, human, and physical domains.  These internet of things are changing the way we go about our business in our everyday lives.

We can now adjust the heat in our homes from an app on our smartphones, or if we forgot to set the alarm before we left, not a problem – we can set it from our phone. This interconnectivity between things and wireless networks are providing endless options for what we will be able to control remotely.  Connectivity today focuses a lot on home, health and most recently transportation, but analysts are predicting buildings and cities to enter the market as well.

Marketers are loving this new technology, as it is unlocking endless resources regarding their consumers’ purchasing habits. Marketers are able to monitor consumer behaviors more closely than ever before.  They can now see what, when, how, where, and – most importantly now – why we as consumers are purchasing goods and services. Marketers can detect, sooner rather than later, when a product isn’t doing well and can make smarter decisions as to whether to continue with the product.  With this technology, they can also tell if we are looking into a product and if we did not purchase, they can send a notification to our smartphone making recommendations as to why we should proceed with our purchase. They can even go as far as sending us a coupon or promotion about the item to entice us to buy.  This technology is definitely a plus for marketers, but also comes with its challenges.  How are these devices tracked and monitored?  Just about anything these days can be connected to the internet.  Analysts are suggesting that by 2020 there could be 20 to 75 billion things or devices connected. Today it is estimated that there are ten billion connected devices.  How do we prevent this technology from being hijacked and losing all connectivity?  There are also privacy issues as well.  All of these connected devices are gathering information about us: how do we ensure that all this information is safe?

As consumers, we may love the fact that we don’t have to worry about running out of certain items because our apps will advise us when we are running low and reorder them for us with a click of a button on our phones. We can start or lock/unlock our vehicles from an app on our phone. The Apple watch and other fitness devices can calculate our every step and monitor our heart rate and transfer that information to the app on your phone and allow you to track your history. Nest is a Wi-Fi connected thermostat for your home and we can control the temperature of our home from a remote location.  These are a few examples of internet of things that make our lives just a little bit easier everyday.

Are you as a consumer comfortable with all of this technology? Are you ok with all this information being collected about your daily habits?  There are great convenient applications here that definitely make our lives easier, but do they come with a high price for us as consumers?

Sources:

http://www.marketingjournal.org/marketing-and-the-internet-of-things-are-you-ready-jamshed-dubash/

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3026315/internet-of-things/6-critical-issues-facing-the-internet-of-things.html

Complexity or Simplicity in Online Shopping?

By: Hechuan Lou

In “To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple”, Spenner and Freeman (2012) discuss what consumers want from marketers when they go online shopping. According to the authors, marketers think that consumers are web-savvy, and they are good at filtering information in order to get the best deal from the market. By thinking in this way, marketers started expanding the volume of marketing information. However, the authors claimed what online consumers want from marketers is not a large amount of information but simplicity. Expanding the number of marketing messages will make it complicated for consumers to make decisions and push them away from look for alternatives. The authors conclude that marketers should provide simple purchase paths based on consumer’s behavior.

Spenner and Freeman analyzed the reasons why simplicity worked by giving an example of two camera brands, A and B. After comparing their online purchase path instructions, brand B won more consumers as they provided a simple path to make decisions based on consumers’ individual needs. I agree with the authors’ opinion that marketers should understand the consumers’ needs first and then provide trustworthy and simple information and paths to help them make decisions, because consumers are not interested in becoming an expert in a specific area by gaining a large amount of information; they are interested in using the easiest way to find perfect products. It’s very important for marketers to understand this before they develop their marketing strategies. The marketers’ goal is to attract as many consumers as they can, and the key to achieving this goal is to meet the consumers’ needs because customers’ behavior will have a direct impact on the number of products the marketers sell.

How do the marketers satisfy consumers’ needs to help make decisions simple? In this article, the authors analyze three points to answer this question: aiding navigation, building trust, and making it easier to weigh options. I agree with these three points because thry can make sure that the consumers are on the right path that will lead to a positive result for the marketers. However, there is one point I disagree with. The authors suggest that marketers should “build cadres of trustworthy advisers, rather than simply developing recommenders who will push the brand”. I disagree with this opinion because people who are looking for a real product are more likely to trust other consumers’ recommendations rather than a person who they think is on the same page with the marketers. In other words, consumers believe “word of mouth” is better than paid advisors. To illustrate, people like to shop on Amazon.com. They read and write reviews, and the reviews help them make decisions. For example, I recently bought a pair of headphones from Amazon. I saw the pictures that other buyers uploaded and the suggestions they gave, and I decided quickly to buy the headphones. Therefore, when the reviews are positive, customers are more apt to purchase. Otherwise, they will look for other products or even go to other store websites. For example, there is a video on YouTube video, “I made a mistake I bought a Jeep”. After it was posted by an Australian customer, many people commented that they were going to buy a jeep, but changed their mind after watching the video.

In conclusion, the article pointed out that “[m]any brands lead consumers down confusing purchase paths.” By addressing this problem, the authors suggested that marketers should combine the three points above to make decisions simpler. I think with so many online resources day-after-day, consumers are tired of filtering a large volume of messages. Providing a simple and easy path becomes more and more important for marketers and many of them have already started developing their simple paths for consumers.

References

Spenner, P., & Freeman, K., (2012). To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/05/to-keep-your-customers-keep-it-simple

 

Customer Relationship Management: Caring About What Your Customers Think

By: Maria Rabadad

According to TechTarget, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) comprises of “practices, strategies, and technologies that companies” are able to take advantage of in order to analyze their customers’ interactions “across different channels,” such as the “company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials, and social media.” Knowing how the customers use these resources and for how long will provide managers with enough information to know how to tailor their business to their customers. There are a variety of software options available to aid companies in managing their customers’ use of the company’s resources; Microsoft, SalesForce, and Oracle are among the well-known CRM systems. As exciting as it is to know how the CRM systems operate, more information is available in their websites provided at the end of the blog. This blog post will mostly talk about an exercise app that uses the customer relationship aspect of CRM.

The mobile application is called “Zombies, Run!” It is an app that is meant to either introduce non-runners to running or to enhance expert runners’ running experience. Yes, this means that “Zombies, Run!” provides options for their runners to allow accommodations for those who have never ran before…Like me! I started using the running app in January 2016, when I could not run for more than 45 seconds, but as of today, I am able to run 1.1 miles without stopping and have run a few virtual races and am working my way to participating in live races.

What is it?

Zombies, Run! is an immersive mobile application that provides a zombie apocalyptic storyline to listen to as you walk, run, or jog anywhere! You are able to use the app outside, indoors, while cycling, during a race, and anywhere else. While doing an active activity, story runners are collecting supplies, which can be used to upgrade the runners’ bases either online or right in the mobile application. Not only is Zombies, Run! providing a unique experience already, but the creators, Six to Start & Naomi Alderman, also provide customer relationship features that will give each runner a unique experience.

Customization:

One of the main principles of customer relationship management is being able to provide a unique experience to each customer by providing a service that is customizable. Zombies, Run! provides two apps: Zombies, Run! 5k training and the ‘normal’ Zombies, Run!. The 5k training app is for novice runners who have never ran before; it provides guidance on when to train, how long to run, provides different stretches, etc. while the ‘normal’ Zombies, Run! doesn’t give as much guidance but does provide training sessions in completing more advanced races: 10k, half marathons, etc.

5k training customization is not as grand as the Zombies, Run! app. Besides training for novice runners, the app lets the runners decide which music to play, whether to shuffle the music or not, and what type of tracking the app should use to track steps (GPS tracking or accelerometer for indoor/treadmill use; if accelerometer is selected, options of whether the phone will be held in hand, in an armband, or in a pocket show up for selection in order for accurate tracking).

Zombies, Run! app not only provides a greater selection of options to customize each and every run but it also provides in depth storyline. Customization options include:

  • 10k beginner, 10k intermediate, and half marathon beginner training plans
  • Preset interval training, runners are able to create their own training
  • 5k, 10k, 20k races
  • Free run while listening to the “Radio Abel,” a ‘broadcast radio’ with the characters à able to customize the time or distance the characters cut off music to ‘broadcast,’ how to track the workout (step counting, GPS, set a constant pace, or no tracking)
  • Ability to turn on or off ‘Zombie chases’ (zombie chases are when the characters say, “Zombies are catching up to you, run!,” and runners have to increase their pace in order to avoid being caught and losing hard earned supplies)
  • Length of the run can be customized: the shortest run is 20 minutes and the longest run being 60 minutes
  • Selection of music playlist

A lot more features are able to be customized in the running app in order to create a unique experience in every run.

Customer Relationships:

Six to Start & Naomi Alderman, communicate with their fan base through many communication outlets. Being based in London, it is not as difficult for fans around their area to visit them in their office, but they really use social media to their advantage in order to reach fans around the globe: Twitter (specifically), Facebook, Tumblr (their blog), email, and phone. In their Tumblr blog, Six to Start & Naomi Alderman try to incorporate work from their fans, such as advertising fan art and the artists’ pages, asking fans to send in recordings about their running experience to create a mashup to post in their blog, posting about fans’ running accomplishment in their experience, publishing a ‘Community’ blog dedicated especially for fans, and much more community-based publications.

If fans have any issues with the app, there are several ways they are able to contact them for help. A quick tweet through Twitter often results in a fast response from Six to Start & Naomi Alderman, who provide guidance. A help page is also provided featuring FAQs and their solutions, as well as a dedicated link for fans to ask the actors and creators anything (the actors might even record themselves answering the questions!). Offering a way for customers to reach the company in some way to ask for help or for troubleshooting questions is a customer relationship positive; not only will customers receive help but the company will see what they need to improve on either in their instructions or in their products to make it more user-friendly.

Using social media will allow Six to Start & Naomi Alderman to not only reach their audience, but also to also keep track of feedback they receive, giving them ideas on what to change or add to Zombies, Run! This is another important principle in customer relationship management: continually improving the services around the customer’s needs.

Another way Zombies, Run! creates a unique experience is by individualizing their running fan base/ community by calling them ‘Runner 5s;’in the storyline, the runner (you) is called Runner 5 by the other characters. This personalization is what creates a community of Runner 5s in which others who use the app can gather and run together. This customer-relationship is yet another way to create a unique experience with their customers by separating them from other running apps and other runners.

If you are just beginning the healthy journey of working out, or if you are an experienced workout/gym junkie, Zombies, Run! will take you on a journey where you are running in the real world while being a hero in another! Happy Running!

Their Social Media:

The game: https://zombiesrungame.com/

Tumblr/Blog: http://blog.zombiesrungame.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zombiesrungame

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zombiesrungame

Help Page: https://sixtostart.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/200201673-Zombies-Run-

WhatsApp: “Behind the Scenes” Marketing

By: Joseph Sanfilippo and Ronald Zampanti

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that is available for IPhone, Blackberry, Android, Nokia, and Windows Phone. Each phone is able to send messages to each other across this platform. WhatsApp allows you to exchange messages with your friends and family without having to pay for Short Message Service (SMS).  WhatsApp uses the same internet data plan that you would use for email and web browsing, making it free to message your friends since it can be used over Wi-Fi.  WhatsApp’s biggest competitor is Telegram, which is a free messaging app over the internet that prides itself on being the most secure messaging app available.  However, WhatsApp is way more popular and used by way more people globally.

WhatsApp was founded mainly by Jan Koum, but was also co-founded by Brian Acton in 2009.  Jan and Brian both worked at Yahoo! before they created what we know as WhatsApp.  After leaving Yahoo!, Jan and Brian realized how big apps were growing, so they decided to come up with a great app that would make them money.  Jan came up with the name “WhatsApp” because he liked how it sounded a lot like “What’s up.”  In 2014, Facebook officially bought WhatsApp for an astonishing 19 billion dollars, which is ironic because after leaving Yahoo!, they both applied for jobs at Facebook, but were rejected.  As of February 2016, WhatsApp reached one billion users, making it the most popular messaging application, and it is still growing.  At one point, WhatsApp was gaining about a million subscribers every month, and users were sending 30 billion text messages a day.  Despite selling the company to Facebook, Koum still is involved in the app.

When using WhatsApp, you can only communicate with people who have the app as well.  Recently, WhatsApp was made free to download and use whenever you want.  However, WhatsApp used to offer their product free for the first year, and each year to follow it cost $0.99, which was still cheaper than using regular SMS.  In the licensing agreement, it states that users must be age sixteen or older to use WhatsApp.  WhatsApp is mainly used by people who travel and reside in a different country from home for a while.  This app is unique in this way, as customers can avoid international charges that they would incur by using regular SMS messaging to contact their friends and family back home.  The messaging on WhatsApp is all over Wi-Fi, so if you and your friends and family download WhatsApp, you can communicate with each other for free rather than paying the large international messaging costs you would normally pay without the app.  As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can communicate with your friends and families overseas for no cost.

WhatsApp is used just like text messaging. With the help of the app, people can send unlimited basic text messages to anyone who also has a WhatsApp number.  You are also able to send unlimited images, videos, and voice messages on the app.  Just like normal SMS messaging, you can create group messages as well as share your location with your contact list.  The app also features a large number of emojis and symbols, as well as allows you to post status updates so your WhatsApp friends can see if you are busy or not. WhatsApp also offers WhatsApp Calling, which allows you to call your friends and family for free, even if you are in a different country.  WhatsApp uses your internet connection just like it does with its messaging rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes.

The people who use WhatsApp are young; half of users are below the age of 36.  Fifteen percent of WhatsApp users are between the ages of 18 and 34.  WhatsApp is also popular among teenagers.  When looking at the demographic of WhatsApp users, almost half of the adults that use WhatsApp during a normal month are Hispanic.  Also, users are 20 percent more likely to have a household income that is less than 50,000 dollars. WhatsApp sees most of their users in poorer countries around the world, as many of them cannot afford the high prices that can come through using SMS messaging and a cellular plan’s voice minutes. WhatsApp is now completely free to use. Many people, especially those with low household incomes, use WhatsApp to avoid the costs of regular messaging and regular calling.

WhatsApp does not have any advertisements. The creators wanted to provide a service that is not riddled with advertisements. The founders of WhatsApp know people often try to avoid ads and they hope consumers will stay on the app longer without ads.

Businesses can broadcast using WhatsApp. Broadcasting consists of sending bulk messages to WhatsApp users that can include text, images, video, or audio content. Broadcasting was created in 2013 by WhatsApp. It also allows users to send group messages without revealing recipients to one another, which cuts down on the user’s notifications.  This is used by marketers on the app because with broadcasting they are able to reach almost one hundred percent of their contact list, which is their target market. Since WhatsApp is a personal communication app, businesses should be advised to tread lightly in how they market themselves, especially since they cannot make formal advertisements on the app.

Marketers can make their own WhatsApp account using their phone number. They can create their own brand persona or character on the account. For instance, a fictional character was made by Absolut Vodka in order to create interest and engagement. Absolut Vodka wanted to engage young consumers with the brand for its limited edition Absolut Unique in Argentina. So they decided to throw an exclusive launch party but to get in you had to contact the “fictional doorman” Sven, a guy who is notoriously hard to please. The Whatsapp number was released in all Absolut media and advertising and users started sending messages, songs and even indecent proposals to Sven in order to get in.

Businesses have to do what we consider “behind the scenes” marketing. Without the ability to make advertisements on this media platform, businesses have to acquire consumers’ phone numbers in order to deliver any form of content on WhatsApp. Marketers can offer consumers something in exchange for consumer phone numbers. Incentives can range from deals or sales to valuable information. Once a phone list is built, marketers need to produce great content on relative topics in order to keep consumers engaged. Content can be delivered through images, videos, audio recording, or text messages. Speedy customer service is needed of businesses marketing on this website. Messages are generally seen within minutes on WhatsApp, while messages can be seen days later on other social media platforms such as Facebook. WhatsApp has a 70% open message rate, meaning marketers are basically guaranteed exposure to their messages. Marketers can also engage in consumer research with this app. Marketers can question consumers regarding certain things they like, or have them choose between options the brand is proposing to launch. Consumer input is always useful in making decisions.

Sales is a metric marketers can use to measure a company’s marketing objectives. Businesses can determine whether more sales are being made since utilizing the app. The amount of open messages can indicate whether consumers are actually reading and looking at content created by the company on this app. The amount of people directly messaging the company through WhatsApp is a statistic to keep in mind as a marketer. Website traffic based on how many people clicked the company’s website link on WhatsApp is also important.

In countries where SMS messaging (a.k.a. text messaging) is less accessible or more expensive, WhatsApp is widely popular. The app is not that popular in America because of SMS deals. Small businesses and artisans in countries such as India have used the application to communicate directly with clients and finalize sales. In other countries, some businesses have put their WhatsApp numbers on advertisements and websites, letting the public know they can be reached using the application.

Businesses can purchase credit messages to market on this media. The greater the number of messages bought in a subscription, the smaller the cost per message. Five credit messages costs about $178.16, while three hundred credit messages costs $6,427.32.

It costs practically nothing to use this app and it doesn’t require the upkeep of other social networks that necessitate active content production. WhatsApp is simply another avenue by which customers can reach you; all you need is a phone number.

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Why Vine Videos Will be Most Successful For Businesses

By: Olivia Sullivan & Derek Lawton

Vine is a widely known video-sharing app founded in 2012. Vine has been able to attain a competitive advantage by being purchased by Twitter; this allows a vine to spread fast. It enables users to create and share short videos of up to six seconds. The app allows you to start and stop filming so quickly that you can create stop-motion-effect by just a touch of a finger. Currently, Vine has 40 million users and more than 100 million people view Vine each month. Vine is a cutting edge new application that will revolutionize marketing and communication for brands.

Vine has features that allow users to post and share short creative videos, as well as edit them to their liking. Users can see what other people post, share, and even videos they like. This allows users to customize their videos and share them with friends, family, and people around the world. Not only do users gain attraction from current followers, they also gain free publicity when followers tag their friends, or hashtag a word to share their products.

Vine is used not only to share videos with people, but many companies use Vine to advertise their products. With attention spans beginning to lower and creativeness rising, Vine is one of the most effective ways to market a product. People like to see what the product looks like and the features before buying. By companies posting videos of products, promotions, or services, they allow viewers to see what they offer and put the products or services in front of the specific audience they want to reach.

Although Vine is a creative way to get people’s attention, is it enough time for marketers to get their point across? Six-second clips are the perfect length for a brand to keep the customers attention and still create awareness. Marketers can segment by geographic areas based on the user’s location, which will bring out more views from watchers. Vine’s flexibility provides a marketing tool that will complement and enhance a company’s marketing efforts. As mentioned earlier, Twitter purchased Vine, so Vine videos gain more awareness because they can be retweeted. More people have Twitter accounts so the Vine will be sent around faster and seen by different types of people, age groups, or businesses. Along with being creative Vine has the ability to grab someone’s attention without them getting bored or distracted. This is a major issue when trying to market a product. No business wants their commercials to be clicked away from; they want them to grab people’s attention.

Vine is a successful marketing tool because many people get bored seeing commercials, or they tend to get distracted because of how long they are. Most of the time when people watch television, they skip through commercials because they do not want to watch them. The commercials end up being the same advertisement over and over again, so this wastes a company’s money because no one is actually watching their commercial. With Vine, a company can come up with many different videos to display because the videos are only six seconds and do not cost anything to display. This generates a bunch of little ideas that you can make into a video, rather than into a big commercial. The attention span for people has gone down to seven seconds so Vine seems to be the perfect “commercial” or advertisement. Also, new and upcoming marketers are from a generation in which videos and pictures are more effective than words on a screen. No one likes to read articles or newspapers anymore. Even Instagram videos seem to be too long, and they are only fifteen seconds.

Just like many other social media sites, Vine provides users with an explore page. This page is really important because you can search Vines using the account name or hashtags. The explore page also has different categories when thinking about what types of vines you want to watch (for example, comedy, music, gaming, animals, etc). This is good for businesses because they can make a specific Vine that will be easy for a consumer to find. Providing hash tags will also get more people to watch your video. The explore page also shows trending tags, meaning tags that are popular at the moment and show up first. Businesses can also tag their location, which will generate more views.

Vine is all about being creative and that is the meaning of marketing today. How can Vine come up with a way to market something that will be interesting to watch? Vine provides marketers with many tools to edit their videos and many ways to reach their target markets. Vine’s original features included a like and comment button, but they finally installed a ‘revine’ button. Just like retweeting, a Vine can be ‘revined’, which will increase views and awareness. Vine has added multiple new features since it first came out, and that has enhanced the app. Their new features are: their online site where you can watch videos if you cannot access them on a smartphone; the front facing camera so you do not have to turn your hand or have someone record you; new editing tools that provide more ways to get creative; the ability to upload videos from the camera roll; and many more improvements.

There are many advantages of trying to use Vine to market a product, but there are also things businesses need to worry about. Even though people’s attention spans have lowered, are marketers going to have enough time to present their product in six seconds? This is what every business worries about. Marketers might not be able to make their information simple enough for that short of a time. Vine may not be the right marketing tool for a professional business because anything can be put on Vine. Consumers may come across inappropriate content that could make them shy away from a product, or not want to use Vine at all. Vine has changed the age limit for this reason and they also allow user to be private.

The users of this app range from 18-30 years old and it is used by both men and women. There are many “famous” accounts on Vine and those people are called “Viners”. Businesses should take advantage of a viners skill and have them market their product on their profile. That way a company’s brand will get out into the world. This way, if a business has no experience using Vine, they can have someone make one for them, which can also be displayed on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Tapping into the 1% of a platform’s most popular users could mean getting your brand or product exposed to millions of individuals. Virgin Mobile USA teamed up with Brandon Calvillo, a famous viner, to promote “Virgin Mobile Freefest 2013”.

Marketers are starting to use Vine because they can show their products in action. This is helpful for consumers because they want as much information as they can get on a product before they buy it. This will increase the brand’s awareness because people can post themselves using the product on Vine with a hashtag. Vine is also used by marketers to promote themselves and engage with their customers. Businesses can come up with contests, give coupons, or other rewards for making a video about their products and using hashtags.

Many different businesses are using Vine to market their products. For example, Sephora uses Vine to show “How to” videos about makeup application. Dunkin Donuts uses Vine to show the creative possibilities Vine has to offer and how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Also, the way the Vine is presented is a reflection of the brand. The weather channel used Vine to show a ‘behind the scenes’ view of their office. They recognized that their customers may want to learn more about the inner workings of their business and its people. Lowe’s made a DIY, do it yourself, vine about using coffee filters to keep soil where it belongs. DIY vines are also a way businesses market their products and that is another category on the explore page. Creating content that makes that possible can be an effective way to engage and build your audience.

Vine has created a new way for customers and businesses to interact. Businesses are able to create an interesting video and share it on multiple social media sites. For example, they create a Vine, which takes seconds, and by touch of a button it can appear on Twitter. This video can be retweeted as well as ‘revined.’ Vine is becoming a great marketing technique because you are able to catch consumers attentions without them getting distracted or bored.

Vine has truly evolved into one of the leading social media apps despite its competition with Instagram. Vine is continuing to change more and more lives everyday, but if Vine wants to continue to be one of the leading social media apps they are going to have to continue to come up with new ideas.  Vine has always found ways to target more audiences and users. The six second video is great, but giving consumers more options such as photos, compared to only videos, will be a good thing for Vine. Vine is going to have to become less of an entertainment app and become used more to promote business. Many businesses have used Vine in the past, but many have overlooked its abilities.  At this point, Vine is here to stay. Vine has given its users a presence on the platform, and it will continue to give these opportunities to a lot of new talent to be discovered. What’s cool about Vine is that there is new talent emerging every moment. I’m excited to see the continued development of Vine and the impact it will have on society in the future.

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