Resources for Creative Marketing Pros | December 2012

December 4th, 2012 by SabrinaM No comments »

Resources for Creative Marketing Agencies

marketing

In my quest for knowledge of all things in the realm of creative marketing & advertising, I have come across some powerful websites and books.  Working in the digital age is exciting.  There are frequent “disruptions” that give marketing professionals something new to learn and use for clients.  I will create a new list of resources every quarter.  Please post your favorite resources in the comments or email them to sabrina@sapplica.com.

WEBSITES

Hubspot.com

Ad Age – Agency News

Social Media Today

Ad Week

Marketing Profs

Inc.com – Sales and Marketing

Entrepreneur.com – Marketing

iMedia Connection

My Agency Connect

BOOKS

The Marketing Agency Blueprint by Paul Roetzer  – Book

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Have a great day!

Sabrina Martinez and the Team at My Agency Connect

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Five problems that Social Media could solve

May 14th, 2010 by SJacob No comments »

Social media as we know it has continued to evolve. With every conference or social media exhibition that you visit or participate, you’ll see how many social media and web application challenges now have compelling and viable solutions.
Whether it is to find and keep in touch with online friends or for the latest social media news, we seem to have incorporated social media into every aspect of our daily lives. With so many solutions on display, here are five of the “cannot seem to get away from” problems that social media and web applications still have yet to successfully address:

Online Search Excess:
Online search remains largely disconnected from the social web, even though Social Media and Search have had an intertwined relationship in their emerging development. Try browsing Facebook to doing a Google search, and you’ll barely see the influence of the social web on the results that get delivered. There are tools that let you crowdsource the search process, but we’re only beginning to see the incorporation of socially-produced knowledge into our primary search tools. When Google search knows what I want to see based on who I’m friends with on Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare — and more importantly, who I pay attention to i.e., collective, friend-filtered, collaborative search — then it will get interesting. Meanwhile, you’ll continue to sift through pages of irrelevant search results.

Contact List Confusion:
Lets say you sign up with a handful of social networks and web services — think Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare — and you’ve got multiple lists of contacts to manage in each place. Most of these services let you import contacts from at least two of the others, and even do repeat imports to find friends who’ve recently signed up for a service you’ve used for a while. However, you get the most out of each of these social tools when you take the time to update your contact information, organizing them around different contexts and level of closeness within the relationship. Having said that, work has yet to be done to keep your Twitter lists in sync with your Facebook lists, or to create LinkedIn relationships that reflect your contact information in Gmail. With so many networks and contacts to keep organized, no wonder we are unable to have a fully satisfying experience with any one network.

Information Highway Overload:
RSS started as a way to aggregate all the streams of content we found online, but today we’re more likely to be drowned in a river of feeds — not to mention e-mail, texts, updates, multimedia messages etc. We’ve got great tools for creating, finding, organizing and viewing content, but very little to help us sort out and manage the volume of information that is now available online. The challenge of information overload and attention management isn’t just a technical problem, there needs to be some better tools that would address this issue.

Brand Fixation:
Now that social media is this major force to be part of in marketing, big brands have moved in to seize the opportunities for brand and relationship building. From destination sites to heavily-branded fan pages on Facebook and other networks, social web is transforming into an immersive advertisement. Marketers, social networks and consumers have a stake in finding new ways to create value for site sponsors and advertisers, without eroding the authenticity and trust that are essential to the success of online relationships and social networks.

Lack of Social Concern:
Designers and developers of social media and applications represent the gatekeepers of what is rapidly becoming the world’s most influential medium. Yet only a sliver of that brain power is trained on the world’s pressing environmental and social problems. That miniscule portion has generated some interesting experiments and examples of how social media can bring about social and environmental solutions and be a catalyst for social change. However, we’ve yet to see any evidence that social media will deliver on its world-changing potential. Finding and deploying compelling, scalable models for social and environmental innovation online may be the social web’s toughest challenge — and it’s most crucial one.

If these challenges are still unsolved as social media and applications continue to evolve, it is because few of them are amenable to a strictly technical solution. Design, strategy and most of all social analysis will all be needed to find answers to the problems above.

20/10 vision of Social Media for 2010

January 2nd, 2010 by SJacob 1 comment »

Looking forward to 2010, we will see another important shift in the social media landscape. One of the most powerful potentials of social media is for it to not only connect people online, but facilitate connections offline as well. In order to achieve continued success in social media, many things have to happen; applications that blur the line between the web and real work, best practices for return on investment (ROI) are just a few. As companies embark on their 2010 planning, here is a glimpse of what we think is yet to come.

vision

Beyond Marketing and Communications

There’s only so long that companies can justify the time and resources that social media engagement requires without creating specific goals and refining their methods to achieve those goals. Social media has created a new layer of influencers. It is the understanding of the role people play in the process of not only reading and disseminating information, but also how they in turn, share and also create content for others to participate. The best companies will let go of their message and control of gate keeping in social realms and trust it with their employees to carry forward.

 Mobile movement

With approximately 70 percent of organizations enforcing strict social network usage, sales of smartphones have been on the rise. It is very likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. Therefore, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social network of choice. As the technological barriers come down, people will increasingly use their phones on-the-go to access social networks, search, read content and find location-based information. eMarketer predicts that by 2010, mobile subscribers to reach 4.9 billion worldwide, which is more than twice the amount of internet users. Mobile is the future of social media. It will be interesting to see how social media and ecommerce develop into “social commerce” as that will create increased opportunities to engage consumers any where at any time. Now how ready we are with social commerce is yet to be seen!

 Time to go local

Social Media will continue to strengthen in 2010 as brands and organizations redefine their approach to utilizing it as an engagement medium. Social media will help brands “Go Local” and “Go Global” simultaneously. Corporations will use unique viral pieces and social media campaigns to drive growth and create brand awareness in Europe and the Far East while teams will use a similar approach to strengthen their connection within the local community. This year we will see an increase of small businesses using social media to communicate with customers and propsects. Social Media has leveled the playing field for local businesses. With the right strategy, they now have the opportunity to compete with the big wigs.

 Convergence

In 2010, we will see convergence and usage of social networks unlike any other. All social media sites will continue to add applications and connectivity between each other. Early adopters like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will continue to dominate and lead as communities will continue to grow at a faster rate. Social media will become less and less “social”. Social networks have identified the importance of personalization to sustain continued interest. We are already starting to see more and more social media programs become less about appealing to everyone and more about appealing to individual needs

 ROI becomes increasingly important

Return on investment on social media activities has been challenging to most companies in 2009. According to some surveys, only 18% of companies say they saw effective return on investment from their social media activities while the other 72% report modest, no return or inability to measure the ROI in social media. However, this will change as the ability to provide ROI in hard numbers will become a baseline business requirement in 2010. We can expect to see a significant increase in both hard, analytical measures (followers, visitors, page views) as well as brand-centric measures (sentiment, reaction, buzz). While all these non-financial factors are very important, ROI does not live there. This year data on hard financial impact will be tied directly to social media campaigns and specific social media budget line items designed to save money in the overall marketing budget.

 Social Media Monitoring – Essential component?

2010 will see a huge shift in the adoption rate of social media monitoring. It is surprising is that some companies have yet to realize the power of a single voice online. No matter who it is, one person can make/break/affect a brand significantly. While no monitoring solution is perfect, that is by no means an argument for not listening. The existing technologies are based on keyword-match type approaches and offer little over manual searches. The game changing applications will be the ones that can understand what is being said, infer things and take actions and notify accordingly. The tools are going to evolve quickly as our customers drive that process.

 Girl Power

Women play a very big role online as revealed by studies in 2009. Women make 85% of all consumer purchases and have really utilized social media channels to create, express and build relationships. Social networks have about 50% female members, and it is women ages 35-55 who make up the fastest-growing population on popular sites such as, Facebook.  Women will become both a sought-after consumer segment as well as drive business strategies for social-media-connected companies.

Social Media is having a phenomenal impact. LinkedIn has changed how we network, Facebook and Twitter changed how we engage with our audiences and You Tube, and blogs has changed how we publish content. Social media as we knew it has changed. By this time next year, it will have become fully integrated into everything we do online and offline. By next year, we will no longer speak about social media technology but about what we’ve been able to do with it.  2010 should be a great ride as we take the next big steps!

Honda has done it again!

October 16th, 2009 by Social Beth 1 comment »

The car company has been the first to create viewer interest using Facebook as its new marketing tool. Honda has very creatively constructed an advertisement to direct viewers to their fan page on Facebook rather than to their official company website. The basic message of the commercial holds true to the fact that brand recognition plays a significant role in how cars are purchased around the world.
In this age of Social Media Marketing, Honda has found a very unique way of grabbing viewer attention simply by relating to them through what they call ‘The Experiment’ on Facebook. The fan page simply asks the viewer to click on a button if they know someone who loves a Honda. The company’s simple idea has led close to 140,000 members to the site so far.
The innovative advertisement has been designed in a way as to communicate a two-fold message. First, the ad has embraced the idea of Facebook, in the way they portray each individual linking with another through the ownership of a Honda. Second, the company has challenged the audience to connect to the brand by recollecting a contact that owns a Honda. The automobile mogul achieves the task of relating to a socially connected generation while marketing their brand in the process. While other car manufacturing companies have sought more traditional methods on facebook fan pages, Honda has led viewers by building awareness and thought for the brand with one simple question. Even companies like Jaguar were less creative while BMW failed to even try.

honda_new

Compared to other automobile brands leveraging social networks, Honda is the only company to direct their viewers from their televised ads to their fan page. The company’s unique approach has not only been informative in letting users know they exist on social networks like Facebook but have also used a format like no other automobile retailer. The actual question of brand recognition has driven viewers to understand the popularity of the brand while Honda creatively led individuals to become fans on their company page on Facebook thereby greatly increasing their social fan base and brand attractiveness. A simple fan page tied together with a basic idea has definitely led to more positive brand exposure and increased visibility for Honda keeping it one step ahead of its competitors…… as always.

Why women use social networks more than men?

September 6th, 2009 by Social Beth No comments »

Recent studies have shown that women make up majority of the active Facebook users today. The numbers continue to rise as women race ahead of men in their utilization of social networks today. Why is this?

Well, women in general are very social in nature compared to men. In other words, women generally tend to enjoy being socially active and keeping up with friends and family on a regular basis. In today’s society we see women continue to move forward through social media in the way that they network and socialize with others. Unlike their male counterparts, women enjoy interacting with others either by catching up on their day or discussing a specific event, spending time with family or friends is a good way for women to stay in touch with those near and far. Moreover, social networks make it easier for women to keep in touch with old friends and colleagues which is also a great reason to network using social media.

Facebook Usage

Facebook Usage



Being able to connect at the time convenient to them may be the reason why more women seem to enjoy bonding using facebook. Many women who stay at home for different reasons such as child birth or rearing are usually deprived of social interaction most of the time. Facebook and other social networks make it easy for such women to catch up with friends and family, allowing them to social in a way that was impossible before. A new mother who may have to wake up several times through the night would truly enjoy signing on to facebook to check on friends or updates at a time convenient to them. This helps such women to stay connected with loved ones as well as to socialize with others in the privacy of their own home and on their own terms.

Moreover, women usually find meeting new faces in person more intimidating compared to meeting a person online. Being able to chat or message a friend on Facebook can be more convenient and comfortable to do for most women in general. Interaction through the use of social networks can also make disagreement and rejection less painful. Thus, more women may choose Facebook for social interactions that are more suitable as well effective without any compromises. On a different note, women may also find it easier to meet and network to find their right match among the millions of users on facebook and other social networking sites.

Finally, women is general are considered to be the social bees of society and the backbone of almost every social affair. It is in their nature and their genetic makeup to interact with all those around them. We see these social bugs in our grocery stores, in our workplaces, our families and just about any place else. Therefore making women everywhere the best candidates for today’s social networking groups like facebook and many others.

Social Media for Marketing…. are you in?

August 10th, 2009 by Social Beth No comments »

In recent times, Social Media has become the most prominent form of communication for both individuals and businesses alike. This new form of direct and open communication has allowed users to share information through the use of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. This new age of instant messaging and blogging has lead to a breakthrough in how businesses market and communicate with potential and existing business consumers.

In recent years, companies are looking to invest big money in hopes of reaching millions of consumers through the use of blogs, chats, message boards, tweets and so much more. Social media has been effective in allowing companies to form relationships with existing customers and tending to their needs in a personal manner, a task that was previously impossible. More importantly, businesses are also able to market, to achieve more brand exposure, through social media marketing. Reaching a vast number of viewers is every company’s basic marketing goal and is accomplished to its full potential when done through the use of social media.

In this new day and age, building a presence as a company is as simple as learning to use social networking sites to get there brand publicized. Most businesses are using these networks to accomplish their core marketing tasks of reaching and educating potential consumers while informing current users about updates through the use of social media. The actual act could be as simple as creating a business profile and broadcasting pertinent information in a creative and interesting format to generate interest and eventually lead customers to their company website. However, the center of the task involves  staying current, keeping tabs on consumers views and monitoring or responding to customer feedback, which is the key to overall marketing success.

Apart from simply marketing to the millions of social network users, social media offers so many opportunities for companies to meet the needs of present customers, partners, and others. A business relationship requires a company to market its product to potential consumers while continuing to be in touch with existing customers and making sure that they are satisfied. Social media is a great and simple way to help businesses stay connected with their current customers without much effort or resources. For example, an employee from a company could easily note his customer’s needs simply by chatting with him/her on Facebook. Also, companies can always read blogs to see what customers are saying about their product in real time and address the need instantly, allowing companies the ability to focus on customer relationships in a whole new light.

 In new age methods of advertizing on the web, the heart of the fact still remains true, that the customer should always be happy. The use of social media has changed how consumers can respond and share their views about products or services using social media. For example, an unhappy customer could start a blog and lead other possible consumers to read their views about why they should or not purchase a certain product. This form of feedback has given the customer the power to easily sway views in favor or against a particular brand, in a way previously unattainable. An unhappy or happy consumer could very easily share their opinions about a service with millions of other individuals in an instant that could make or break the deal. This is why it is very important for companies to listen to their customers and to always make sure their needs are met. A happy customer could be doing all the necessary marketing for the company only when they are content with the product or service. Moreover, customer ratings for a particular brand can directly impact the opinions of millions of viewers and therefore holds the power to change the future of a business.

Unlike conventional methods, social media has opened a whole new means for businesses to maintain relationships with new and existing consumers with ease. In this relatively new platform, both the business and the consumer hold equal power to contribute their views using social media, making it easier to listen and market to customer needs, as a company. Finally social media and marketing form a dynamic connection in being able to share and display information in a unique way while staying ahead of traditional methods and instantly reaching the core market, a few million at a time.

So, regardless of where you are in the process of participating in this eco-system, social media is here to stay as a formidable tool. You are either in or out!!

How has social media grown to include all age groups… unlike the past

July 16th, 2009 by Social Beth No comments »

The expression of speech is the most powerful gift that allows an individual to directly hear or convey one’s most pressing thought of the moment, in a way that describes freedom.  Social Media has opened doors for individuals across the globe to be able to connect, interact and communicate, freely, with friends and family in the most casual and accepting environment previously unknown. The power of this media relies on the belief that ‘When you have something to say, someone is always there to listen.’ No matter the time of day or the topic of discussion, users are able to both receive and share information in a very candid and open setting. This new media serves as a whole new channel for individuals, anywhere in the world, to articulate themselves unlike ever before.

Until recent years, communication has almost always been a one way street. Individuals could only receive information with the inability to receive or impart their views in such an organized and instant manner of communication. Previously, printed materials would take excruciatingly lengthy stretches of time to respond to readers’ views and concerns, eventually losing the initial power and essence of the original message. Moreover, television sets everywhere continue to dominate households even today, but have only force-fed ideas and perspectives to viewers, while failing to hear their concerns at hand.

The web, however, has set a new standard for communication through emailing, chatting, or blogging; where the audience now has a voice. Moreover, the world of social media holds no boundaries or restrictions to the abundance or variety of information exposed to readers, across the globe. This new media has brought people together, regardless of nationality or language, into a single unbiased setting where people can reach out, learn and communicate with one another directly and effectively. Thus allowing ideas to be sent and received from both ends, making the process a two-way street for all those involved.

Users all over the globe are now able to meet in a digital world to share ideas, thoughts and so much more, making this earth truly, “a small world”. The presence of social media has fueled people not only to voice their individual beliefs but also to focus but also to respond to people of all ages from places unknown. More users are drawn toward social media simply because, regardless of age, individuals are eagerly accepted to participate. Unbiased by one’s age or background, the audience of social media, from a 90 year old grandmother to a 15 year old high school student, will always be valued for their sincere thoughts and passionate ideas. Individuals everywhere seek friendship/company and a place where they feel they belong in spite of their current stage or age in life. Now, this statement speaks volumes about the potential and strength of a social media and can only be interpreted as communication that is truly unbound and limitless in every way possible.

A businessman expressing his skills, a grandparent extending out to her grandchildren, a friend chatting with a old buddy, a lonely woman surveying her future life partner are all scenarios of people from different age groups and stages in life that are reaching out to social media to meet their personal or business needs in a way once considered impossible. Nothing can bring the world closer than the possibilities available on the web through the use of social networks today. They have been created with highly complex programs and applications to fulfill the very basic and ever-growing need of man today, which is the desire to express him candidly, freely and without constraints.

Twitter 101

June 14th, 2009 by Social Beth No comments »

Twitter is the product of a generation obsessed with reality TV or the happenings of today and the now. In other words, people enjoy divulging in the details of others, from the simple basics to the bigger events on an ongoing basis. For example, receiving several little updates or micro blogs informing followers about little happenings throughout the day can seem more interesting than the single general update of the week seen on most social networks.

From the beginning, Twitter has always sought to stand out among its competitors. When other social networks preferred to clutter their sites with an avalanche of information, Twitter chose simplicity. Their sign in and profile page were designed in a way to demonstrate the company’s focus, the user, and its purpose, micro blogging, without room for much else. The creators elected for a network that would strive to be plain to see and easy to use for all users, simply for the purpose of ‘twittering’ about things or events that were important to them.

Unlike most social networks, Twitter offers a different system for staying connected with those you already know or would like to know. Twitter talk, known as tweets, is all about answering the one simple question, “What are you doing?” This question could be answered once or several times during the day, allowing users to tell their story instantly and as it happens, and therefore, offering their greatest asset. Individuals from all over the world have been able to connect to this social network to give their followers a quick update (or several short updates) on a particular event, instantly. For example, Using Twitter, CNN was able to update its followers on the latest information about the day’s breaking news. Or users could give their followers information about the coolest happenings at their favorite concert as it took place.

Twitter has also been the first to connect cell phone devices with their application, which has revolutionized the way people communicate with one another through social networks today. This option makes it convenient for users to update their status and inform followers on recent events or simply stay connected. This remarkable feasibility could also come in handy for businesses as well, allowing them to stay in touch with clients and offer feedback when necessary, thus permitting the user to have full access to their profile and status.

Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has brought something different to the traditional setting of blogs and how people interact today. Although a fairly new comer to the social network arena, Twitter has become the favorite of many as the number of users continues to soar daily. The ability to update user status with ease and speed of delivery has given users the control to broadcast information more effectively and instantly. Moreover, individuals sharing information from their phones using Twitter have proven to publish news faster than TV or other news sites simply because they were there –is unbelievable. Such Twitter blogging power can only serve us well as we crave our daily dose of reality life through today’s world of social media.

Ning Network Applications… powerful, different, meaningful…. Special.

May 15th, 2009 by Paul Paturi - Founder and CEO No comments »

Now that we have deployed our apps on Orkut, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster and iTimes, we are getting ready to go-live with Network apps on Ning. Thanks to our friends at Ning we are part of the beta launch of Network apps scheduled to launch by end of March.

Are Network apps on Ning really special? Is all the hype about empowering Ning users with feature righ experience realistic? Well, we sure think so.

First off, Ning in itself is a very special container since it is literally a conglomerate of a multitude social networks and experiences. It is expected that there will be close to 1.5 million social networks serving up billions of page views daily by the end of 2009. Another stat to keep in mind is that Ning networks are created with a specific interest and purpose. It’s not like you have just added yourself to one of the other networks only because you received an invitation from someone you know. People create and join Ning networks driven by a specific interest and purpose.

How are ‘Network Apps’ on Ning different? Ning Network Apps are installed by the Network owner and run at the network level as well as the user profile level. This means that an app installed at the Nework level is available for users at their profile level automatically. What is more powerful is the fact that Applications can now be tailored to meet generic as well as specific needs of Ning Social Networks. Ning Social networks are in a way special interest groups. Unlike other social networks where it is hard to design and deploy applications that provide meaningful and serious value to end users, on Ning Network apps it makes it that much more simple since you can design and deploy an app that is apt for the target audience.

So, if you are thinking of a great social container to deploy applications, we sure recommend Ning to be your first stop. If you have applications running on other containers, get on to Ning in a jiffy. We have. Sapplica is part of the Ning Network apps beta launch. We are launching ‘Citizens Voice, ‘Super Chat, Social Pledge and ‘Flinkit‘ on Ning.

OpenSocial apps can help marketers promote their brand through social networks

November 13th, 2008 by Paul Paturi - Founder and CEO No comments »

For a change, I will let excerpts from my interview do the talking…

Social Apps and Product Promotion