LaunchPad INW

LaunchPad INW is a locally owned and operated social networking site for right here in Spokane.  The founders focus on providing regional business development and networking strategies for their members.  They provide numerous networking and workshop opportunities.  LaunchPad is a great opportunity for local businesses to connect to each other and to their customers. 

To start your LaunchPad INW account, visit this link to sign up.  Edit your profile and start adding local and other contacts.  Be sure to complete your profile with lots of detail,  add and respond to discussions, blog posts, and events, etc. The LaunchPad profile allows for great uniqueness and feel in your profile to really accurately portray your company.  The goal of LaunchPad is to not only connect you to other professionals, but is a great way to extend your brand.  It will  help you get found in the local community whether through word of mouth of through the site.

  1. CONSISTENCY:  Especially for a small business, constant updates are important.  Update your status at least once a day, if not two or three.  Keep the top-of-mind awareness in your followers minds.  Each time you make that status update, your name will appear on their newsfeed…that’s marketing.  Make sure the updates are also interesting.  Ask yourself if you would want to read the post.  The point of the post is to also start conversations…would you have something to say about the update?
  2. FACEBOOK ADS:  Another great way to reach customers on Facebook, is to purchase side bar ads.  Because of all the personal information Facebook has on individuals, it makes it very easy to make the ads target-able to demographics.  Make the ad something that engages the customer.  Maybe ask a question or ask them to “like” your page or product.  This will increase your page hit count.  Also, the advertisements are very reasonably priced.
  3. ADVERTISE IT: Put the Facebook link and button on our webpage.  Put it in your email signature line.  Those customers that are already in contact with you should be the easiest ones to target to also be your Facebook friend.  If you have a Facebook page…flaunt it!
  4. UNIQUE USERNAME:  Claim your username right away!  Make it something easily recognizable for your customers.  The name you want may already be taken, but get creative.  Claim your space!
  5. CUSTOMIZE:  Customize your tabs!  Beside “wall” and “info” all the other tabs are deletable and changeable.  Make sure that they are things to make customers interact with your page.  Display your business all over the page and show that you took time to personalize it.  Add custom photos and videos.  Include things that make your customers want to see what is new!

Living Social

1.3 million people… $13 million in gross sales.  Those are big numbers.  Those are the numbers of Living Social’s latest deal: a $20 Amazon giftcard for $10. 

Living Social is similar to Groupon in that it offers daily deals of discounts of up to 90% at local restaurants, bars, spas, theaters, and more. It is similar also that the deal is sent through an email that one must sign up for.  Then, depending on the daily deal, individuals can choose to purchase the voucher or not.  The big difference, however, is after you you buy the daily deal you are given a unique link to share. If three people buy the deal using your link, then your deal is free.  That’s kind of great news for users.

Living Social’s most recent deal with Amazon was amazing in size.  The site actually had problems with the sheer number of cards to get and the number of responses to send.  Many people simply told their friends about the daily deal…but most of them used social media.  Living Social specifically gives their customers this link so that it is shareable on Facebook and Twitter sites.  Not only do more people buy the product, but more people hear about their budding company.  They specifically encourage your social media friends to make the purchase of the other coupons. 

Amazon won with the recent deal, customers won, and Living Social won great media coverage and scored a lot of new users.  Watch out Groupon, you have competition. 

Read more:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/19/living-social-amazon_n_811077.html; http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/01/living-social-amazon/

Apps, apps, apps

According to recent statistics, by the end of 2011, half of the cell phones in the United States — approximately 150 million devices — will be smartphones. By 2014, the smartphone-app market will total more than $40 billion.  Smartphones and the apps they support are the marketing of the future.  Before, it was websites.  Then it was social media apps.  Now, it is an actual app for your business.

  Consumers do not constantly carry their laptops with them…instead they are constantly glued to their Blackberries, Iphones, or Droids.  People want everything at their fingertips.  Apps are  the way to reach consumers in a high tech generation. 

Popular smartphone apps include games such as Angry Birds, Bejeweled, and The Moron Test and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.     Coupon giant Groupon also recently came out with an app for smartphones.  The New York Times, Pandora, Netflix, and Google Maps have also made the jump.  The Square app lets you accept credit card payments on the go, Yammer is a social project collaboration app, and Chase’s app lets you deposit checks on the go.  Apps are no longer just for entertainment, but for businesses too.

 An app provides easy access to your product while also providing a tremendous marketing opportunity.  Having a downloadable app secures a permanent place  in customers’ smartphones keeping that top-of-mind awareness.  Apps also provide additional income to businesses as many apps are not free for the consumer to download.  Above all, however, they increase the customers’ experience.  Letting your customer experience your business and your product conveniently in the way that they desire from the palm of their hand, makes your customer happy.  And we all know that the most profitable customer is a happy customer.

Old Spice is distinct…in its market of men’s beauty products, for its smell, and lately for its brash marketing campaign.  It began at the February 2o10 Superbowl.  Isaiah Mustafa, a handsome, former NFL wide receiver, appeared in a commercial with his shirt off washboard abs glistening.  He continued on to convince woman that if their man used Old Spice Bodywash that their man could smell like him, even if they could never actually be the sensual Old Spice Man.   Gender stereotypes of diamonds, expensive tickets, and clever humor drove the campaign.  Old Spice’s videos have been viewed over 13 million times on Youtube. 

Their campaign did not stop after the hilarious television ads however.  Five months later, Old Spice’s Facebook announced that “Today could be just like the other 364 days you log into Twitter, or maybe the Old Spice Man shows up at Old Spice.”  Minutes later, Mustafa was responding in almost real-time video to questions and queries as they poured in.  He stood shirtless in the bathroom, abs glistening still, as the crew ran around behind him gathering necessary props.  In the two day special, more than 180 shout outs were produced, even including a wedding proposal.  There were interactions with famous celebrities such as  Ellen DeGeneres and Demi Moore and Apolo Ohno and even Starbucks.  When these celebrities responded to their Old Spice video shoutouts with tweets of their own, their millions of followers also were informed.  It was viral wildfire. 

The Wieden & Kennedy advertising team which produced Old Spice’s advertising campaign purposefully chose and targeted these specific celebrities because of their massive social media following.  They not only had a large reach, but their followers also greatly respected what they had to say about subject matter.  So when they targeted Old Spice with their personal social media, their followers followed.  The social media effect was astonishing — Old Spice’s Twitter followers increased more than 1,000 percent and  600,000 people on Facebook gave its ads a “like” vote.  All this advertising and monumental brand awareness growth?  Free of charge.  Social media, when used properly and creatively, has the ability to make a huge impact.

To do something similar, first find a strong character with a memorable personality and invite people to interact over social media.  Start conversations and interactions.  Ask people to play, and they will tell their friends, and they will tell their friends.  Look for ways to engage celebrities and spice things up with personal interactions.  Social media marketing does not have to be cut and dry from business to customer; start interacting with personal responses that will have customers coming back for more.

Baring All

Airlines everywhere have experienced fierce competition in the last few years, and New Zealand is no different story.  New Zealand Air has decided to set themselves apart from the crowd, not just by their no hidden fees, hip new uniforms, or unique Kiwi experience; but by their advertisements.   New Zealand Air launched a new advertising campaign and in flight safety videos in 2009 that literally bared all.  While the point of the videos was to emphasize that the airline has no hidden fees but charges all in the beginning, it was illustrated by having all the crew members wear literally nothing but body paint.  The stewards, stewardesses, pilot, and baggage handlers only have paint on as clothes.

They bare all. “At Air New Zealand, our fares have nothing to hide,” as the slogan goes. “Which is why the price you pay includes everything — up front.”

These ads have made quite the stir, hitting 2 million views on YouTube soon after they were released; and is apparently the most watched clip to ever come out of New Zealand. 

New Zealand Air has tackled a daring marketing approach here.  While many of their racy ads have been taken of television networks, they remain on public sites such as YouTube for public viewing.  They may make some people uncomfortable or even angry, but people are talking about New Zealand Air.  People are watching their ads and spreading the New Zealand Air name.  After these ads, their brand recognition sky rocketed.  While their strategy was risque, it was just risky enough to cause a stir. They have indeeed given new meaning to the business cliche of “transparency.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/business/global/30air.html?_r=1; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,520301,00.html;

The Groupon Magic

        Groupon has made quite the splash in its short history so far.  Groupon defined themselves as an application that  “negotiates huge discounts—usually 50-90% off—with popular businesses. We send the deals to thousands of subscribers in our free daily email, and we send the businesses a ton of new customers.”  Users can customize the app to recieve coupons for just their location.  Smartphone users can also receive the Groupon directly to their mobile phone.  There is also opportunities to gift Groupon groups to someone.  Overall, Groupon has proved to be a big hit all around.

        This great success can be seen by their $950 million in a recent round of financing.  Financers include Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, DST, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures, according to Mashable.  Groupon remains largely independent, however, even reportly durning down a $ 6 billion acquisition offer from Google.  Apparently, Groupon did not accept this offer because they are already pulling in a net income of a rumored $2 billion a year. 

          Customers love discounts, businesses love customers, and Groupon loves both.  All parties involved are coming out on top so far. Its founder made the 40 Under 40 Fortune list, its rapidly growing numbers made Forbes list, and its customer and base is multiplying daily.  The Groupon magis is here to stay. 

Reade more:  http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0830/entrepreneurs-groupon-facebook-twitter-next-web-phenom.html, http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1010/gallery.40_under_40.fortune/25.html, http://mashable.com/2010/12/03/groupon-google-no/