The Mobile Challenge, Proving that it Works

22 Apr


It seems that all marketers have been hearing lately is “mobile this, and mobile that”. Every day, new studies and statistics are showing that mobile is the fastest growing platform, with over 86.7% of the world having a mobile device per 100 people (mobiThinking, 2013). Marketers are trying to figure out how to take advantage of the mobile trend and find new ways to reach mobile users. All the big players, such a Google, Facebook, and Twitter are trying to find ways to sell ad space targeting mobile users.

There is one problem however, so far, no one has proved mobile advertisements work. Even the geniuses at Google are having issues selling mobile ad space because they have yet to develop a way to communicate the value of mobile advertising. As Google’s Jason Spero states “Until you can show (that tracking connection), they are not going to pay much for it. We are investing heavily in helping people track value” (Isaac, 2013).

However, it is only a matter of time before the next step of the digital marketing revolution, the prevalence of mobile advertisements, occurs. Mobile usage stats are impossible for marketers to ignore, and as soon as someone develops clear metrics on the ROI of mobile advertisement campaigns, the floodgates will open.

Where will we see ads on our phones?

We are already starting to see some advertisements, such as promoted tweets on Twitter (Isaac, 2013), and we will see them on several other platforms as well:

  • Facebook mobile apps will somehow find away to display advertisements
  • Many other apps will also find ways to more effectively display advertisements (perhaps as your search results are loading an ad will appear)
  • Google may find a way for more invasive advertisements to show up while checking your Gmail from a mobile device or conducting a search


Works Cited

Isaac, M. (2013, april 15). The Biggest Challenge for Mobile Ads? Showing That They Work. Retrieved april 22, 2013, from All things D:

mobiThinking. (2013, March). Global mobile statistics 2013 Part A: Mobile subscribers; handset market share; mobile operators. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from mobiThinking:



What is Conversational Marketing?

22 Apr


Before the digital revolution of marketing that we have become to known today, marketing used to be a one-way conversation. Marketers would talk to their target markets about their product, its benefits, and why they should buy it. Businesses controlled the tone of the conversation, and could communicate their product to customers exactly the way they wanted to be perceived. Customers wanting more detail and information had to go directly to the business to find this information out.

However, with social media, blogs and other forms of digital platforms, marketing is now a conversation. Customers can post reviews of products to various websites (such as Amazon), or post business reviews on websites such as Yelp. No longer can businesses hid shoddy service or product flaws in slick marketing campaigns. Listed below are three examples from Chris Silver Smith of

  1. The Kryptonite blogstorm of 2005, after people discovered Kryptonite locks could be picked simply using a pen. (Kryptonite ended up replacing the locks, at a cost of $10 million (Spencer, 2006)).
  2. The infamous “United Broke my Guitar” Youtube video created by Dave Carroll, which resulted in over three millions views on Youtube (Grove, 2009).
  3. 1-800-Flowers received hundreds of complaints on Facebook and Twitter over messed up orders (BENNETT, 2012).

Even with such major, viral examples, many businesses still choose to view marketing as a one way conversation (Smith, 2013). Small to medium size businesses especially ignore complaints on social media, and do not respond to poor reviews on sites such as Yelp. What these businesses are not realising is that online conversation can easily have more effect and influence on a potential customer than a marketing campaign. If someone is looking for locks, and sees a blog post outlining how easily it is to pick a Kryptonite lock with a pen, it does not matter how good the Kryptonite website is, they are not going to purchase that lock.

Small and medium size businesses must be proactive and manage their reputation online. Social media is a start, as Facebook and Twitter allows these businesses to communicate directly with customers. Also, small and medium size businesses need to communicate and respond to customer reviews on sites such as Yelp, to show that they do indeed care about their customers, and to see what aspects of their business need to be fixed.

Works Cited

BENNETT, D. (2012, Feb 15). A Rough Valentine’s Day for Flower Delivery People. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from The Atlantic Wire:

Grove, J. V. (2009, June 14). United Breaks Guitars Surpasses 3 Million Views in 10 Days. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from Mashable:

Smith, C. S. (2013, April 22). Conversational Marketing Benefits Local SEO . Retrieved April 22, 2013, from search engine land:

Spencer, S. (2006, May 22). Aftermath of the Kryptonite Blogstorm. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from

Why is Foursquare dying?

22 Apr


Only a few years ago, Foursquare was considered one of the hottest, and potentially most lucrative, location based social media apps. For those who don’t know, Foursquare is an app that allows you to “check in” at locations, earn points and badges (for example, I would be the mayor of several bars if I ever checked in…..kind of sad), and share those locations with friends (wikipedia, 2013). Foursquare has raked in over $71 million in funding, however, was only able to bring in $2 million in revenue in 2012 (Hall, 2013).  Foursquare also has a heavy debt burden of $41 million (Schwarzberg, 2013)

The reason Foursquare is dying is because they could never capitalize on their niche. Eventually Facebook moved in with the additional of “check ins” to their social media platform, which has forced Foursquare to try and move to more of a business review platform. However, the business review app/website arena is saturated with competitors, and companies such as Yelp already have established presences and business models that work.

Foursquare’s last stand is to sell all its user data, such as user location and behavior data, to companies that will find the information useful. However, as soon as users find out that their data is being sold, a lack of trust in Foursquare could lead to a quick exit of users. Foursquare has tried many things to stay alive, but it appears as though they are on their last legs now, and unless they could find a dynamic way to stay relevant, they are destined to die off.

Below is a list of five reasons why Foursquare has not been successful according to Brian S Hall of

  1. Gamification does not scale: While the gamification features seemed to captivate some users initially, it appears that in the long run, earning badges and being declared king of the local pub was that interesting to users.
  2. The business model remains elusive: Foursquare has tried to be too many things at once, instead of sticking to one core attribute, which has led to direct competition with giants such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
  3. Yelp is better: For business reviews, recommendations, and ratings, Yelp has a better, well established platform that Foursquare cannot compete with.
  4. Better design isn’t enough: A new app format looks good on the surface, but combines too many features which results in a confusing experience for users.
  5. Selling data is not a slam dunk: While Foursquare has a lot of data based on location and users, there is no guarantee that those looking to buy the data will find it useful.


Works Cited

Hall, B. S. (2013, april 22). 5 Reasons Foursquare Is Losing The Social Local Mobile Revolution. Retrieved april 22, 2013, from

Schwarzberg, J. (2013, April 22). Debt woes weigh on Foursquare. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from The Deal Pipeline:

wikipedia. (2013, april 22). Foursquare. Retrieved april 2013, 2013, from Wikipedia:


More Pointless Sh*t? Using Vine Effectively

8 Apr


One of the latest digital media platforms is Vine, a twitter video app that allows users to create at maximum, a six second video clip (Larsen, 2013). With such a short limit on video, many have wondered about the effectiveness of Vine in any marketing efforts. A member of RAPP’s team in London even created a video on Vine with words written on paper scrawling across the screen asking the question, “More pointless sh*te? Discuss” (Grossman, 2013).


Interestingly enough, one of RAPP’s clients (by the way, RAPP is a full service marketing agency), Bacardi, has been one of the first major companies to find a successful way to employ the use of Vine in a substantial campaign. So far most major companies who have used Vine, have done so in a reactionary way, such as Calvin Klein, who used Vine to show a fit male doing sit ups in his Calvin Klein underwear during the epic blackout at the Super bowl.

With such a short time frame to get their message across, many companies have not been able to generate much success on Vine. However, Bacardi realised that the short time frame could work perfectly to display their product in use. Bacardi has created a series of Vine video, featuring six second cocktail recipes, obviously featuring Bacardi as a main ingredient. The Vine video captures the users attention by giving them a reason to watch the Bacardi video, and even a feature use for it.


Mark’s Take

While Vine will without a doubt feature a healthy library of useless cat videos (just like every corner of the internet), the potential for marketers are there. Not every company will be able to use it effectively, as only simple messages will be easy to convey on Vine. As we have seen with many other forms of social media, Vine will also not be a “one and only” source for marketers, but just a piece of the puzzle to what is digital media, and getting a customer base engaged. Below is a list created by Loren Grossman of RAPP on how marketers can successfully use Vine:

1 .Focus on Utility and Authenticity

  • Focus on the core values of your brand.

2. Be Clever and Simple

  • Creativity and simple messages are the key to success on Vine.

3. Be Nimble

  • Quick responses to trends on Twitter, can generate success on Vine.

4. See the whole board

  • Remember Vine is just a small part of social media, and any ad campaign will need support on other forms of social media.


Grossman, L. (2013, April 8). Bacardi Mixes Mobile into Marketing. Retrieved April 8, 2013, from

Larsen, L. (2013, January 30). Vine App Review. Retrieved 8 2013, April, from PASTE:


Facebook Adopting the Hashtag

18 Mar

Why is Facebook doing this?

The wait has been long for some, but finally, Facebook is adopting the hash tag. For those who do not know what the “hash tag” is, it simply is “#”, place in front of a message, which then groups similar messages together. Twitter uses hash tags to determine what is “trending”, and ranks trending topics accordingly. For example #markisthebest, has never been a trending topic on twitter (maybe one day).


As previously mentioned, Twitter has been a huge adopter of the hash tag, as have several over social media mediums, such as Instagram (owned by Facebook), Google+, and Tumblr. Facebook’s decision to use the hash tag function coincides with their new search function called Graph Search (Peterson, 2013). Basically what the hash tag will do for Facebook is make it easier to find interesting topics, and see what is popular.

What does this mean for digital marketers?

A collective sigh of relief from social media managers was heard when Facebook announced the implementation of the hash tag. Why? Now brands can run campaigns incorporating the hash tag across many different platforms. Before hash tags could only be used for certain parts of a campaign (mostly Twitter and Google+), now they could be used for Facebook as well (Peterson, 2013). Marketers will also be able to track the success of their marketing efforts on Facebook by seeing just how popular their efforts are, and where the brand ranks next to competitors.

How to use the hash tag, properly, and some examples of what not to do

Now the hash tag will become an even more important tool for marketers to use. However, even major companies such as McDonalds have messed it up. McDonalds decided to use the hash tag #mcdstories, to try and get customers to talk about their experiences at McDonalds. However, the hash tag was quickly “hijacked” by twitter users who were telling stories about how much they hate McDonald’s food, and everything they stand for (Macleod, 2012). While trying to get customers to talk about your product is a great move, you have to make sure they have something specific to talk about; otherwise the conversation can move off track quickly.

 Image(Macleod, 2012)

Another way companies use the hash tag in their marketing it to see what is trending, and try and use the popular hash tag to generate buzz about their product.  The concept is easy enough, but some companies have really screwed it up, one prime example being Celeb Boutique, a British Fashion site. When a mass shooting broke out at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, the hash tag #Aurora was trending, mostly from twitter users who were in collective shock at what had occurred.  Celeb Boutique decided it was a good idea to try and latch onto the trending topic, reminding the world they have a dress called Aurora, and suggesting that is why the hash tag is trending (Macleod, 2012).

Image (Macleod, 2012)

The key to the hash tag is to keep it simple and relevant to your own product. Generating buzz is great, but latching onto a trending topic which is irrelevant to a marketer’s brand makes a company look lazy and desperate. Keep it relevant and simple and the hash tag will be a powerful tool, across multiple social media platforms. 

Works Cited

Macleod, I. (2012, December 21). The Drum. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from 10 social media fails of 2012:

Peterson, T. (2013, March 15). Marketers Cheer Facebook’s Reported Hashtag Adoptation. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from


Burger King Hacked, Social Media Disaster?

25 Feb
  1. Plenty of tweets about the hacking. The tone of most of the tweets were not negative in nature, as stated below it seemed to be an entertaining highlight of many peoples day (as one user mentioned, it is “sad” that it was so interesting). 
  2. burger king’s twitter getting hacked is probably the most interesting thing that’s happened all day and that’s sad
  3. Burger King handled the incident by getting their own account suspended. As the screen shot below shows, the account was changed to display McDonald’s logos and products, and claims were made that the chain had been sold to Mcdonald’s.
  4. “@NBCLA: Burger King’s #Twitter account suspended after bizarre hacking” clap clap clap
  5. Some even found the incident humorous, claiming it was the hamburgerler’s fault. 
  6. Maybe the Hamburgerler? “Burger King’s Twitter account hacked by Anonymous, now promoting McDonald’s”
  7. Burger King is planning an apology to the public for the incident, in an effort to do some damage control. 
  8. Burger King plans apology after Twitter hack
    Source: AP-Excite


    Somebody hacked Burger King’s Twitter account on Monday, posting obscene messages and changing its profile picture to a McDonald’s logo.

    The tweets stopped after a little more than an hour, and Burger King said it had reached out to Twitter to suspend the account. A Twitter spokesman did not immediately respond to a phone message left on Monday.

    Burger King, which usually tweets several times a week, said it was working to get the account back up. Typical tweets promoted sales on chicken sandwiches, or asked how many bites it takes to eat a chicken nugget.

    But just after noon EST on Monday, someone tweeted via Burger King’s account, “We just got sold to McDonalds!” They also changed the icon to rival McDonald Corp.’s golden arches and the account’s background picture to McDonald’s new Fish McBites.

    FULL story at link.

    Read more:…

  9. Some even tweeted that Burger King should be thanking the hacker, as they gained 20,000 followers in less than an hour while the account was hijacked. 
  10. Burger King better thank whoever hacked their page. Theyve gained 20k new followers less in then an hr O_o
  11. Members on twitter are even hoping to be hacked to gain new followers like Burger King.
  12. Burger King gained some 34,000 new followers having their account hacked! Can someone PLEASE Hack me? LOL
  13. Within an hour of the incident there was already a video posted on Youtube describing the incident. Including the increase in followers.
  14. Lots of news buzz was generated was as well

Mobile Integration: Is it time?

28 Jan

mobile website two

Many retailers have been fighting a losing battle against consumers who have more access to information, primarily price, then ever before. Consumer behaviour has changed due to the advent on the smart phone. Consumers now visit major retailers, such as Future Shop, to see and test the product, only to due a quick search on their phone where they find a lower price, and order it from an online retailer.

Retailers have a choice, either to embrace the changes, or to try and fight them. Retailers, who fight mobile integration, choose to ignore the technology and pretend it does not exist. These retailers continue to operate on the basis that when a consumer enters a brick and mortar store, they intend to make a purchase and will make a purchase there. The belief is sales staff, store layout, and product choices can overcome any challenge presented by mobile technology. However, choosing to ignore mobile technology is a recipe for disaster.

However, some retailers have realised they cannot choose to ignore or fight mobile technology, they must embrace. A sale is a sale, no matter where it occurs, in store or online.  Price tags and displays are being integrated with scan able technology which consumers can scan with their smart phones and pull up product specs, price and other information. Retail giants such as Wal-Mart are adapting price policies to price match prices from any website a consumer to find. In theory it is a win-win at the retailer will retain the sale, and the consumer knows they are getting the lowest price.

mobile website

Some of the adaptation is relatively cheap, such as optimizing websites for mobile use, allowing consumers to view sites easier directly from their smart phones. Email marketing (where many consumers pull email directly from their phones) is also a fairly cheap source of marketing. However, other parts of the technology, such as the development of apps for specific stores, can run well into the millions of dollars with the need for constant updating.

Mobile marketing is a new technology that is here to stay. Retailers must accept the fact that mobile marketing is an essential part of their overall marketing plan and objectives, and must budget for it accordingly. With the nature of mobile technology, the investment may not even result in any definable return on investment, but may be a way for retailers to maintain market share. Retailer who decide to fight and resist mobile technology, and refuse to integrate, will be left behind quickly.