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Posted on November 8, 2015 by
The use of emoji – small characters used to express emotions digitally – exploded this year, far beyond just smiley faces and hearts from tweens and teens. In fact, emoji marketing is now one of many marketing tactics deployed by major brands and even a presidential candidate. Emoji are so pervasive that social media platforms are transforming to support emoji characters and monetizing custom emoji advertising campaigns.
Instagram explained in April of this year that nearly half of all captions and comments contain emoji. The increase in emoji use correlates with a decrease in the use of Internet slang. For instance, “lol” is waning while – the most popular emoji on Instagram – is on the rise. Given this shift in communication methods, Instagram made possible emoji inside of hashtags, thus rendering them searchable.
Twitter creates custom emoji for major events and did so as early as the 2010 World Cup. Most recently, Twitter delivered custom emoji for the new Star Wars movies – the first of the three emoji debuted in April of this year – and the VMAs this past August. In September, however, Twitter upped the ante with a custom emoji ad campaign with Coca-Cola, #ShareACoke.
In light of this emoji moment, we explored when it is – and when it is not – appropriate to use emoji.
Emoji Marketing Mojo:
The key to successful marketing is knowing your brand and knowing your audience; if emoji characters are on brand, messaged to an appropriate demographic and used in such a way that the message cannot be misunderstood, you will unlock the emoji marketing mojo. Here are a few examples of emoji use done right.
Major League Baseball (MLB) runs up the score in the emoji game with careful control over the medium. To use emoji of favorite players, one downloads the file from the player’s team website. For the final round of All-Star voting this summer, fans tweeted their votes using hashtags that also triggered an emoji of the player for whom they were voting. Dubbed the “Final Vote-mojis,” fans and sportswriters alike enjoyed the new take on America’s favorite pastime. And for a non-digital application, MLB sells t-shirts emblazoned with emoji of the stars of each team. While MLB can’t control how fans will use the players’ emoji, they are managing the brand visual while staying relevant with current trends.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) capitalizes on the emoji trend with its #EndangeredEmoji fundraising campaign. The program focuses on 17 animals that are standard emoji on iOS and Android keyboards. Twitter users start by retweeting the WWF’s announcement and for every endangered emoji each participant subsequently tweets, WWF will earmark about 11 cents for the fund. At the end of each month, each participant receives a tally of all the endangered emoji used and can donate based on that tally. WWF found a fantastic way to highlight endangered species, generate goodwill and tap into financial resources of a broad demographic with a minimal donation request. Plus, who doesn’t love the cheeky monkey?
Emoji Marketing No-Go:
On the flip side, not understanding your audience or straying from your brand image leads to emoji marketing hiccups. Not all brands are hip enough to use emoji, and not all audiences are hip to emoji.
The aforementioned presidential candidate employing emoji marketing received negative feedback when she asked followers to tweet three emoji to describe feelings on student loan debt. Given the trendy take on a serious topic, she came across to some as disingenuous and left herself open to criticism.
To promote a serious research report on the impact of millennials on the economy, “Millennials Coming of Age,” investment-banking firm Goldman Sachs tweeted emoji with a link to the report. The tweet received mixed feedback, and many felt that the bank toyed with trust by mixing frivolous with finance.
Lastly, not everyone understands emoji. Even those who do understand emoji may not decipher the exact meaning of a collection of emoji. Find timely and entertaining examples on Emoji News, a regular feature of The Late Late Show with James Corden. Before you insert your next emoji, check it out!
So, what do you think about emoji marketing? Major mojo or total no-go?
Posted on October 28, 2015 by
The holiday shopping season arrives in a few short weeks and retailers everywhere are shoring up Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing to maximize revenue during the last two months of the year.
The last weekend of November has recently evolved into the biggest shopping weekend of the year. The National Retail Federation estimates that in 2014, 87 million people shopped on Black Friday and 127 million people shopped on Cyber Monday. The NRF recently announced November and December 2015 holiday sales projections, which are expected increase 3.7 percent from last year – including an online sales increase of between six to eight percent over 2014.
With November fast approaching, now is the time to finalize holiday marketing and optimize systems to capture a share of the holiday spend. Here are a few tips on Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing, and beyond, to boost holiday revenue:
Optimize for Mobile: Be where your customers are, when they are there; these days, consumers live on smartphones and tablets. According to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark Reports on Black Friday 2014 and Cyber Monday 2014, online sales set records last year. And for the first time, mobile exceeded PC traffic on Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday accounted for 49.6 percent of all online traffic. Furthermore, Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, up 28.2 percent over 2013. Not surprising, 2015 is expected to outpace 2014 in terms of mobile traffic and mobile sales.
Tip: Don’t get stuck in the slow lane; optimize websites and
e-commerce backend for mobile… ASAP.
Upgrade your Social Media – Marketers and retailers rely on social media as a key channel to reach customers, and this holiday season will be no different. IBM reported trends across Facebook and Pinterest in 2014 and found Pinterest referrals drove an average of $97.78, and Facebook drove an average of $123.44. These referral dollars are expected to increase in 2015, especially with Pinterest’s recent roll out of Buyable Pins.
Tip: Ensure your social media game is ready! For ideas on social
media tactics for the holidays, consider my post on
Bay Business Help, Six Keys to Holiday Social Media Success.
Offer Improved Services: While getting a great deal is the main concern for shoppers, the improved economy means consumers also consider other factors when purchasing, such as:
Savvy shoppers expect near-instant gratification for next-to-no cost. Amazon Prime, among other services, has trained consumers that anything less than fast and free shipping and easy returns are a reason to look elsewhere.
Tip: Don’t lose potential customers with suboptimal service and
slow and costly shipping; surprise and delight your shoppers
with convenience, no-hassle shopping and free and fast shipping.
Think Beyond Black Friday: In addition to the traditional day after Thanksgiving “shopping holiday,” consider Cyber Monday marketing, and beyond. The entire holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday all the way through Cyber Monday now accounts for a significant portion of holiday sales. In fact, 2014 saw a decrease in Black Friday spending but an increase in Thanksgiving Day spending. Cyber Monday has grown in popularity and importance over the last few years, too, and saw an 8.5 percent increase from 2013 to 2014. Experts expect these trends to continue. Some retailers are even already offering holiday promotions to create and capitalize on an extra-long shopping season. One example is Best Buy; last weekend the merchant offered a “Prep for the Holidays” appliance sale!
Tip: As you consider your holiday marketing and promotions, broaden
your thinking beyond the usual major shopping days. Execute promotions
throughout the Thanksgiving weekend and the entire holiday shopping
period to drive sales – perhaps even before Thanksgiving.
Utilize the Latest and Greatest Search Techniques: Ensure your best marketing efforts aren’t all for naught. Write blog posts and create special offer landing pages using proper SEO best practices to always be relevant and take advantage of holiday search traffic.
Tip: Check out our resident SEO expert Kent Yunk’s post on
Holiday Search Campaigns for more information.
Be Prepared: Finally, plan and prepare for all possible outcomes. The holidays are crazy, something unexpected is bound to crop up. Proper preparation serves a business well.
Tip: Read Kent’s essential list of
5 Things to Prepare Your Business For Black Friday Promotions
and Cyber Monday Sales.
Are you ready to maximize revenue this holiday shopping season? What are your favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing tips and holiday marketing musts?
Posted on October 12, 2015 by
Recently, I monitored a conversation about cell phone etiquette in a private online group. Cell phone etiquette is one of my favorite topics, and I wrote about it for BayBusinessHelp.com. If you’re interested, read Mobile Phones at the Dinner Table. Acceptable or Etiquette Nightmare? Anyway, a group member asked a question about the etiquette of someone using their phone while parked in their car. At the time of this writing, the thread includes more than 50 replies.
Evidently, the person posting arrived at a gym’s parking lot and spotted someone in a car talking on the phone. The driver waited for the parked car to exit, but the person did not end the call and did not signal to the driver to move on.
The driver believes staying in a parked car to make a call when others need spaces at a busy gym is rude. In the driver’s opinion, the parked person should have moved the car out of the lot and parked elsewhere to take the call, to open the space for arriving gym members.
The majority of the responders clearly stated they did not believe the person in the parked car was out of line. As a paying gym member with a need to use the phone, many thought the parked caller should’ve remained in the car instead of trying to drive and talk. Others pointed out that if the caller had stayed in the gym, people might have been inconvenienced. Also, the driver never would have known this person was taking up a space for a phone call by staying inside – so why worry?
Only a handful of responses agreed with the driver that the action was rude.
My response to this comment is this… As a consultant with multiple clients and vendors, I must always be available to take calls. Sometimes, my only option for a quiet place to use the phone is in my car. When necessary, I’ll take a call while driving using my hands-free option. However, my preference is to focus on the call and remain in my car while parked. This option is safer for other people on the road and me, and my call isn’t disrupted by road noise… or my occasional outrage at bad drivers. Just kidding. Sort of.
Certainly, I try to pay attention and wave people on if they’re waiting for my spot. However, I may not notice when deep in conversation. I’m not trying to be rude. In fact, my aim is to stay safe and limit my cell phone use while driving.
I believe the parked caller was okay. Cell phone etiquette wasn’t violated, and the space was the caller’s to use as long as necessary.
What’s your opinion? Poor cell phone etiquette or not?← Older posts Newer posts →