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IKEA Hires First Children's Illustrator in Residence to Engage Kids

IKEA has a charming idea to enchant kids with the idea of the family meal—hire a kids' book illustrator to spark their imaginations.
The Swedish furniture retailer's UK team tapped artist Sarah Horne as "illustrator-in-residence" in a first for the brand.
Its Wembley store in London invited her in to collaborate with kids on ways to bring fun back to the dinner table—part of the brand's commitment to make every meal a special occasion and enhance the quality of life at home.
See what happened below.

Departments / Zara Follows Shoppers Into the Bedroom
« on: December 21, 2014, 01:38:33 AM »
Zara Follows Shoppers Into the Bedroom

If consumers can be persuaded to buy new sweaters, jackets, and pants every month, can’t they be persuaded to do the same with bedroom linens and bath towels? Spanish retailer Inditex (ITX:SM)—which operates more than 2050 Zara stores in 88 countries, and is the world’s largest retailer—is extending a fast fashion sensibility to home goods. Almost 12 years after launching Zara Home, the company is pushing to have the design stores everywhere the clothing store operates.

“They are creating a market,” says Cruz del Barrio, head of home and garden research at Euromonitor. “They sell you a lifestyle. It’s very aspirational.” The strategy is gaining momentum as Zara Home’s competitors try to catch up.

Zara Home opened with four stores in Spain in 2003 and now has 420 locations worldwide, including new outposts in Hungary and South Korea. According to Inditex, 26 Zara Home stores opened in the nine months ending Oct. 31—a 6.7 percent increase from a year earlier. Sales at Zara Home have about doubled since 2009, growing at a faster pace than all of Inditex’s brands—which include Zara, Massimo Dutti clothing stores, and a fashion accessories and jewelry chain.

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Inditex, founded in the first half of the 1970s as a textile manufacturer, is building on that experience. (The name is a mash-up of the Spanish words for “textile” and “industries.”) Zara Home specializes in fabric products for every room, from the bedroom to the kitchen. Duvet covers are displayed alongside tea towels and place mats. The home accessories emporiums, located in city centers and on main shopping streets, cater to urban dwellers and workers who can pop in, browse the merchandise, and buy something on a lunch break.

Rival H&M (HMB:SS) has followed Zara Home’s lead. It opened a home design chain in 2009. Swedish retailer Ikea, known more for its furniture and for warehouse-size spaces on the outskirts of cities, opened a store this year in downtown Hamburg. Ikea expects more than half its customers to travel there by public transport or bike. It has announced plans for a similar outlet in Paris. “It’s about convincing you that if you have a green towel and a blue towel that now you need a red towel,” del Barrio says of the growth of home goods. “You create needs for consumers that they don’t actually have.”

Zara Home offers about 10,000 products, including white-and-beige sheet sets (about $16) and wool rugs (about $390). Ikea, by comparison, sells from a catalog of 9,500 items per year, which includes furniture.

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With sales of €451 million ($564 million) last year, Zara Home has a way to go to eclipse the size of its sister brands at Inditex, let alone Ikea. The Swedish company has the largest portion—4.8 percent—of the home furnishings market, forecast to be worth $695 billion in 2018, up from $553.7 billion in 2013, according to Euromonitor. That includes textiles and furniture. Zara Home has less than 0.5 percent, but it operates more stores worldwide.

Zara’s brand recognition offers the company an advantage in a highly segmented market, according to Anne Critchlow, an analyst with Société Générale (GLE:FP) in London. The home furnishing market is “fragmented across online, department stores, even in supermarkets, hypermarkets—all types of different retailers sell this kind of merchandise,” she says. “Fragmentation always gives you a chance.”

Expanding beyond clothes has strengthened the business by tapping Zara’s brand recognition, according to Cedric Lecasble, an analyst in Paris for Raymond James Financial (RJF). “There’s the possibility to build a segment with limited expenditure in terms of promotion and advertising, because the brand is already strong in the given country, so it’s a natural kind of move,” he says.

American Express Expands in Silicon Valley with Technology Hub

American Express is expanding its presence in the heart of America's technology corridor.

The financial services company today announced the opening of a new technology hub in Palo Alto, expanding its presence in Silicon Valley, where its venture capital team already had a foothold.

A new tech team is being assembled to operate out of the hub, which will focus on innovations in big data, cloud computing and mobile infrastructure to advance the company's research and development in mobile payments and the future of financial services.

“Technology innovation is driving the company’s ongoing digital transformation, and our team in Silicon Valley is focusing on core capabilities that we expect to be key to our ability to continue to innovate and move our business forward,” stated Marc Gordon, the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, in a press release.

“By developing infrastructure and frameworks to be used broadly across the organization, the team in Palo Alto will play a crucial role in our global business growth and future success.”

The hub is also home to American Express Ventures, AmEx's VC arm, which signed a 10-year deal for the space according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

McDonald's Trims Menu, Expands Customization to Turn Around Brand

McDonald's has an new unofficial tagline: "We won't do it all for you."

Starting in January, the quick-serve giant will trim items from its bulging menu, including recession-busting Extra Value Meals, as it starts to roll out "Create Your Taste" do-it-yourself digital kiosks across America so customers can build and order their own burgers and chicken sandwiches.

The slimmed down menu and customization moves come as the chain faces its worst financial slump since 2001, and are a key part of the brand's "Experience of the Future" turnaround plan.

McDonald's Extra Value Meals

In an operational acknowledgement that its domestic menu has become unwieldly, the plan is to cut eight items in the new year from a board that offers more than 100 options overall.

The moves, disclosed at the chain's investor meeting this week, amount to the best evidence yet that CEO Don Thompson and his ever-changing roster of top U.S. executives are finally bringing potential solutions to some of the company's biggest problems to the fore.

The chain didn't say which items would be axed, but executives did point out that market tests of the changes have cut drive-through wait times. McDonald's also will reduce the number of extra value meals to 11 from 16 in a further effort to simplify its menu.

The cuts are "not significant in terms of percentage" of McDonald's menu, Mike Andres, recently promoted USA president for McDonald's, told investors. "It is significant in terms of the impact on the back of the line."

BBA Discussion Forum / Samsung Expands Wearable Tech Line with Gear Circle
« on: December 18, 2014, 01:14:24 PM »
Samsung Expands Wearable Tech Line with Gear Circle

The wearable market has been identified a the one to watch for big growth and Samsung is doing what it can to get in before such competitor as Apple make their inevitable big splash. The South Korean tech manufacturer launched a smartwatch this fall, is promoting its Gear VR virtual reality goggles this holiday—and now, it's quietly introducing Gear Circle this week, with a market launch in India.

The necklace-like wireless headset sits around the neck with the ear buds either worn in the ears or connecting in front to make a futuristic necklace.

Using Bluetooth 3.0, Circle connects to a phone or Gear S smartwatch. It alerts wearers to new calls if desired while also playing music—and represents the next step in Samsung's vision of the future of how consumers and technology physically interact.

Samsung's Gear Circle launch video, above, comes with the following pitch:

"Wear it anytime. The unique design of the Gear Circle keeps your music and calls conveniently around your neck. Use touch volume controls to adjust the high-quality wireless sound and the Gear Manager Mobile App for custom sound and device management. Intuitive music and call features, a light-weight, sweat-resistant design, and exceptional battery life make Gear Circle perfect for the long-distance runner to the music enthusiast on the go."

According to India's International Business Times, it's launching with a price tag of Rs. 5,599 ($89).

It also boasts a battery that can handle 300 hours of standby time, 11 hours of talk time, and nine hours of music play time, NDTV reports. This is a move away from the fitness-bands that have so far dominated the wearable market, Gizmodo notes.

According to a new survey from Forrester Research, wearable tech is quickly becoming a massive industry. As it is, 10 percent of Americans have wearable activity trackers, but 45 percent of those surveyed by Forrester say they are “intrigued by the prospect of getting a wearable device.” Meanwhile, 4 percent of Europeans already have fitness trackers and 32 percent are "interested."

In shoring up its wearable tech offering, Samsung is competing with other tech giants including Intel, which recently partnered with TAG Heuer and Italian eyewear behemoth Luxxotica to create stylish wearable tech with top-tier brands.

Volvo Embraces Online Sales, Swedish Roots—and Personal Technicians

Volvo has always cut against the grain of the global automotive industry. Now the company plans to do so again as it shifts to a focus on digital marketing and internet sales, including a new plan to sell Volvos directly online.

It's been a bumpy road for sure for Volvo since Ford owned the brand for a while and then sold at the same time as Jaguar Land Rover several years ago. Volvo barely survived the recession, had to pull back drastically from a US market that once was promising, then found new ownership by Zhejiang Geely Holding of China in 2010.

Geely has infused new capital in the brand, bringing in new leadership, supply capital to revamp its vehicles and giving Volvo a growth platform in China. The brand also announced at the recent L.A. Auto Show a complete overhaul of its product line starting next year.

But none of that is enough to solve the thorny problem for Volvo of still not having enough marketing resources overall to compete with the big guys of the premium automotive market such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and even Tesla. Plus Volvo's dealer presence, sales and brand have deteriorated badly in the once-key U.S. market even during the overall American-market recovery of the last few years.

So Volvo's new plan is to shun some of the traditional auto-marketing venues including most TV advertising and most global auto shows and focus, instead, on setting up an online-sales presence, expanding in social media and making what Volvo sales and marketing chief Alain Visser told the Wall Street Journal would be "massive" investments in overhauling the Volvo website.

"This is a risk," he told WSJ. "But to continue like before is not the right option."

Volvo will boost marketing spending, Visser said, but it will focus mostly on the digital realm, gradually introducing web sales and spending more on digital advertising. "The plan is to have all our car lines in all our markets offered digitally," Visser told Reuters.

Naturally, this kind of talk makes dealers restive. Tesla didn't have a dealer body when it began its direct-sales push in the United States, but the American dealer body has been fighting back anyway. Volvo has about 2,000 global dealers, but about half are in Europe, and its number has been dwindling in the US, where the resistance of traditional retailers to any online sales of automobiles has been strongest and has been facilitated by the dealer body's vast political power, especially at the state level where dealership-franchise laws are written.

Visser asserted that while e-commerce makes dealers "nervous," Volvo doesn't plan to cut its existing dealers out. "We don't see a car distribution network without dealers in the forseeable future," Visser told Reuters. Online sales, for instance, "will still pass through the dealer network for delivery."

Volvo also said that it's going to forego most global auto shows from now on, attending just one major show in each major regional market starting next year: the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month, Geneva in March and Beijing in April. Instead, Volvo will host more of its own events, such as the launch of its new XC90 sport-utility vehicle last summer at an art museum.

Dealers won't be happy about Volvo missing out on the dozens of auto shows that lubricate sales in local markets. But they will be happy to hear that Volvo isn't planning to ask any of them to build city-center showpiece retail outlets like the major luxury brands have been doing in New York, London and other metropolises. "We don't believe in building these big palaces," Visser told Reuters.

Volvo—while under Chinese ownership—also will ask dealers to invest in a "globally uniform lay-out and look and feel," a press release on Monday stated.

Those plans will harken back to the brand's Scandinavian heritage, including "offering customers a drink in Sweden-produced glasses" and serving "Swedish cuisine" in waiting areas.

What's more, customers will be greeted with "sound and smell elements (to) portray a Scandinavian spirit" while "all dealer staff will go through a training program to be familiarized with these new customer service processes and standards. European dealership staff will be dressed by Swedish fashion designer Oscar Jacobsson."

And if that's not enough, the Volvo Personal Service commitment will see the introduction of a Personal Service Technician for each and every Volvo customer:

At the delivery of his or her new car, the customer will be introduced to the Personal Service Technician who will take care of the customer and car throughout the ownership. This programme obviously requires an extensive training and development programme, which is already underway. A number of countries have already adopted the Personal Service Technician concept as a pilot programme and customer satisfaction in these markets has increased significantly. By 2018 all Volvo dealerships around the globe will be offering this service as standard.

As More Banks and Retailers Join Apple Pay, Samsung Steps Up to Compete

Apple started the week off strong by reporting that the list of companies on the Apple Pay bandwagon has grown significantly over the past couple weeks.

Some of the newcomers now supporting the mobile payments platform are SunTrust, Barclaycard and USAA, as well as ten new banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, the New York Times reports. On Friday, Amway Center, the home of the Orlando Magic, will start accepting Apple Pay at many of its retail, food and beverage stands during games.

With these new additions, Apple claims it now supports the cards that represent about 90 percent of the US credit card purchase volume.

Companies such as Disney, Lyft, Uber, Airbnb and Staples have already integrated Apple Pay into their purchasing points, and early adopters such as Whole Foods and McDonald’s have been vocal about their belief in the service’s growth potential.

Whole Foods apparently processed more than 150,000 Apple Pay transactions in the early days after the product’s release, and McDonald’s says that Apple Pay accounted for 50 percent of its tap-to-pay transactions in November, TIME notes.

And although Apple Pay still accounts for a tiny fraction of total transactions and needs to expand its retailer footprint, as Forbes notes, it seems that Apple has generated more traction for its payment service than any competing services from the likes of Google, Verizon and AT&T.

But one tech giant is still getting ready to toss its hat in the ring: Samsung. According to Re/code, its execs have been in talks with LoopPay, a payments startup, on a deal that would help the smartphone maker unveil a wireless mobile payment system in 2015.

Though the partnership hasn’t been confirmed, sources say that protoypes are in the works, and that the technology would allow Samsung phone users to pay in the vast majority of brick-and-mortar stores by waving their phones instead of swiping with a credit card or cash. Evidently, Apple can certainly expect some competition in 2015.

Business & Entrepreneurship / At P&G, Sustainability Has Come of Age
« on: December 18, 2014, 01:07:33 PM »
At P&G, Sustainability Has Come of Age

At first, mostly PR glitz and social media agility helped brands address the growing demand from consumers for more sustainable practices and products. But now, actionable results in environmental behavior are part and parcel of the bottom line.

Case in point: Today's release of Procter & Gamble's 2014 Sustainability Report—its 16th—which shows how the company’s innovation and collaboration have led to tangible results on every level of the company's operations.

Report highlights include P&G reaching its waste reduction goal six years early, earning its pulp certification goal a year early, and growing to 70 global facilities delivering zero manufacturing waste to landfill.

“Our teams are driven to make a significant, positive and lasting impact on the communities we serve through our operations, product designs and innovative partnerships, and this year’s report showcases the results of that dedication,” statedd Martin Riant, P&G Executive Sponsor of Sustainability and Group President, Global Baby and Feminine & Family Care.

P&G also delivered its 7 billionth liter of clean drinking water through The P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW) in addition to providing disaster relief for millions worldwide.

It's been a big fall for P&G in this department. In October, it announced four new 2020 sustainability goals:

1. Reduce water usage at manufacturing facilities by 20% per unit of production
2. Provide 1 billion people access to water-efficient products
3. Double the use of recycled resin in plastic packaging
4. Ensure 90% of product packaging is recyclable or that programs are in place to create the ability to recycle it.

“We continue to improve the environmental sustainability of our products across all aspects of their life cycle—from manufacturing, packaging and delivery through consumer use,” said Riant in a press release at the time.  “We are reducing the environmental footprint of our products for shoppers, our communities and the company while still delivering the quality and performance people expect from P&G products.”

Departments / Honda Promotes Sustainability at Car Dealers—and at Home
« on: December 18, 2014, 01:04:05 PM »
Honda Promotes Sustainability at Car Dealers—and at Home

Honda wants to be at the forefront of automotive brands by expanding its sustainability commitment, which put it at #3 on Interbrand's latest Best Global Green Brands ranking.

Its latest efforts takes it beyond beyond the alternative-energy vehicles, energy-efficient factories and green marketing that seemingly every car company is doing these days. The Japanese automaker's forays into green dealerships and smart home technology demonstrate its willingness to push the sustainability frontier forward within its industry.

As part of an ongoing program that the company says has helped 45 Honda and Acura dealers in the U.S. reduce their annual CO2 emissions by approximately 5,000 tons and cut their cumulative annual operating costs by more than $800,000, Honda's new Green Dealer Guide aims to help dealerships and other commercial buildings with high energy loads become more energy efficient.

Honda's reasons for doing so range beyond just being a responsible environmental citizen. "We have heard through multiple engagements with customers and dealers that this is an important part of the consideration for purchasing vehicles," Ryan Harty, manager of Honda's U.S. Environmental Business Development Office (EBDO), told brandchannel.

The 93-page guide instructs its dealers on how to reduce their energy consumption and save money on utilities as well as show off their own green chops. The recommendations include things like investing in an efficient rooftop HVAC system with advanced controls, installing LED lighting with automatic controls, recycling waste, using native landscaping and putting in high-speed garage doors in the service department to cut loss of heat or conditioned air. Although the guide synthesizes many of the general guidelines that Honda has collected over the last three years, the company also says it's willing to customize a plan for each dealer.

American auto dealers are accustomed to growing demands from car brands to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their dealerships in order to achieve the brand's standards for design and expression, and to expand and train staff to familiarize themselves with increasingly complex infotainment technologies in vehicles. So it's understandable that some automotive retailers—who are, after all, independent entrepreneurs—might balk at ponying up still more capital investment for extra energy-efficiency measures.

What's more, Honda shows them how "a 10-percent reduction in [energy and water] costs is very achievable," Raminta Jautokas, program manager for Green Dealer, told brandchannel. "We understand that these are businesses we don't own, so we have an incentive and a carrot for them. It's a win-win situation."

The guide is the product of American Honda's Environmental Business Development Office (EBDO), a 3-year-old initiative that was established to reduce the environmental impact of Honda's operations and create "achievable pathways to enable a low carbon lifestyle for Honda customers."

Among other projects, EBDO launched Honda's recent Smart Home initiative to show off how energy-management technologies in houses can interface with electric vehicles—a major theme at the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show.

"We want people to have confidence that Honda is a sustainable brand, and has those values, and that's kind of inseparable from the overall brand experience," Harty said. "Honda has consistently been a leader in environmental performance, and people expect that of us."

Departments / Google Promotes Open Standards to Advance Internet of Things
« on: December 18, 2014, 01:02:39 PM »
Google Promotes Open Standards to Advance Internet of Things

Google is reaching out to the academic community to submit proposals for an Internet of Things (IoT) open standards program to be called the 'Open Web of Things.'

The initiative’s goals are to further the development of open standards, facilitate ease of use and ensure that privacy and security are fundamental values in the evolution of the IoT.

"Imagine a world in which access to networked technology defies the constraints of desktops, laptops or smartphones," blogged Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, along with Roy Want and Max Senges of Google Research.

"A future where we work seamlessly with connected systems, services, devices and 'things' to support work practices, education, and daily interactions."

To that end, Google is offering two options:

    Researchers interested in the Expedition Lead Grant should establish a team and submit a proposal outlining a draft research roadmap both for their team(s), as well as how they propose to integrate related research that is implemented outside their labs (e.g., Individual Project Grants)
    For the Individual Project Grants, Google is seeking research proposals relating to the IoT in user interface and application development, privacy and security as well as systems and protocols research

According to Google's Research team, the nascent promise of the IoT will never be realized without open standards and Google specified its interest in "new and unorthodox research proposals."

Cerf was instrumental in building today’s Internet as his 1969 project culminated in the first message being sent from computer-to-computer on the ARPANET which preceded the Internet.

"We plan to bring together a community of academics, Google experts, and potentially other parties to pursue an open and shared mission in this area," the blog post says, a "cross-disciplinary expedition intended to address the complex challenges and opportunities before us as we explore the next generation of systems, services and Internet-connected devices."

Business Administration / The Top 10 Ways to Be a Good Marketer
« on: December 18, 2014, 01:39:00 AM »
The Top 10 Ways to Be a Good Marketer

1. Understand "the public" and marketing.

I imagine most of you reading this have heard of the field of coaching, yet when I spoke on a cruise, not one person in the audience had heard of it. It will always be "new" to someone.

2. Therefore: Marketing 101: By the time you're "sick and tired of it," the public is just beginning to hear about it.

3. Another reason you must repeat and repeat is that open rates are so low, and attention spans are so short.

The average "open" rate for eZines (according to Constant Contact, one supplier), is 48%. Half the people won't open any given thing you send them, so won't have heard your message at all. (Thus the "do it 7 times" rule.)

4. It can be the litmus test of your passion.

Think about your child. Did you ever once get tired of talking about your child, or run out of things to say? Your business must be like that, or else (1) move on, or (2) hire a marketing person to impart that enthusiasm.

5. Or take a vacation.

Getting refreshed and seeing new things breeds creativity. Get a good vacation and when you come back, everything looks new.

6. We create our enthusiasm by creating our enthusiasm.

It takes effort, intentionality and action. It takes discipline. Like love, enthusiasm is an act, not a feeling.

7. Schedule your marketing and sales time for when you're "in the mood."

Most good salespeople I know admit that sometimes they just don't have it, and sometimes -- well, when you're hot, you're hot.

8. Get inspired by reading other people's copy.

Peruse some large apparel merchant, and marvel at how many ways they find to describe -- A BLOUSE! Now, you can do that too! Regularly cycle through websites of competitors to see what's new. Terms, styles, vocabulary, pitches change.

9. Book a brainstorming session with a marketing coach when you get down and run out of ideas.

That's what we're here for. When you're doing it constantly, and for a variety of items, the pump is always primed. Get a website makeover. When the site looks new, so will the words.

10. Listen carefully when your satisfied customers describe your products and services, and, yes, write them down.

They will say things you could never have thought of in a million years, and in their own totally unique way. Testimonials are worth their weight in gold.

7 Steps to Becoming a World-Class Real-Time Marketer

How to Do Real-Time Marketing Like A Boss
1) Determine Relevant Streams
Before you can even consider implementing real-time marketing, you have to identify where conversations relevant to your brand are taking place. Does most of your audience use Twitter? Are they information junkies who can't live without Quora? Do they focus more on the visual aspects of a particular subject and, therefore, are more likely to be active on Pinterest or Instagram? Are they news junkies who dive deep into topics on Digg, Reddit, or StumbleUpon? Maybe they're social butterflies who roll over in the morning and fire up Facebook even before wiping the sleepers out of their eyes.

Understand the mindset of your audience. Understand their social media habits, tendencies, and proclivities. Know which social media neighborhoods they frequent. Quietly become a "neighbor," and observe. Who cuts their grass first thing in the morning? Who takes out their trash in the middle of the night? To help you determine which social network your audience populates, check out this post about  8 questions to determine if a social network is worth your time.

2) Organize the Stream
You can't understand or paint a clear picture of a conversation unless you have all the pieces in one place. From a nuts and bolts perspective, this might mean using a social media monitoring or engagement tool like HubSpot or HootSuite (which integrate with each other, by the way). From a more strategic standpoint, that means having all decision-makers in the same room or, at least, connected in a way that allows you to make quick, agile decisions based on the flow of the conversation. This is exactly what made the Oreo Dunk in the Dark ad possible. The agency and marketing team decision-makers were all in one room, allowing for the immediate conceptualization, approval, and publishing of the ad.

3) Understand the "Stream"
Once you've identified your audience's neighborhood, you have to familiarize yourself with "the stream." And by stream, I mean the flow of content related to a particular area of interest for your brand. This can be as broad as the aforementioned Super Bowl or Oscars, or it can be a much smaller content stream that focuses on an event or particular focus for your brand such as the stream of content surrounding an industry trade show or relevant television show.

Either way, familiarize yourself with the tenor and tone of the conversation. Identify the participants. If the event is scheduled, take a look at past content streams surrounding a prior iteration of the event or topic. In a nutshell, it's like entering a conversation at a cocktail party. You don't simply walk over to the group and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind without politely listening to the conversation first. Listen. Learn. Gain context.

4) Determine Influence and Relevance
While it's critical to determining when, where, and with whom the conversation takes place, the relative importance of the conversation should be of greater interest to you as a marketer. Is it relevant to your brand? Just how "big" is the conversation? Is it idle chatter, or is there a nugget of importance you can latch onto? Does the conversation allow for the placement of contextual content your audience would deem useful, informative, or pointedly amusing?

Again, much like the cocktail party scenario, be sure to identify sentiment. Bathroom humor might go over quite well within a trucker convention conversation -- but not so well in a conversation surrounding the choice of a new pope.

5) Set up Alerts
Once the various streams of conversation have been identified, once the tenor and tone of the conversation have been established, and once the relevance of the conversation has been determined, members of your real-time marketing team and essential decision-makers need to be notified. There are some companies who choose to automate this process, but you can just as easily pass information on to the team via email, text, or chat.

The most important takeaway is that these alerts must happen in real time so your real-time marketing can be implemented expediently. Oreo, for instance, had a "war room" set up during the Super Bowl to monitor conversation, determine its relevance, and react quickly. Had the brand published the Dunk in the Dark ad the next day, it would not have had anywhere near the punch it did during the game.

For popular, annual events such as the Super Bowl or the Oscars, "war room" scenarios make sense. For smaller, more niche events, they may not be necessary. Just make sure every decision-maker necessary is always in the know.

6) Frame the Conversation
Whether you're managing a real-time marketing campaign for your own brand or for another, the conversation must be summarized and framed in a manner that is easily understood by your team, your client, or for that matter, yourself. Framing the conversation brings clarity and helps identify whether or not the conversation is one that lends itself to brand engagement.

Even with an Oreo-like team all in the same room during a large event such as the Super Bowl, concisely summarizing the conversation, its relevance, and the potential opportunity for the brand is a necessary step.

7) Engage
Just as Captain Picard said in many an episode of Star Trek, once everything is properly aligned, once all team members have been properly briefed, and once a direction has been determined, it's time to engage. It's time to pull the trigger. It's time to act on all of the information you have acquired and for you to implement some informative, insightful, or perhaps even witty real-time marketing.

If you've determined the relevant streams, pulled them together into a single dashboard, identified relevant conversations, informed everyone on the team, and framed the conversation in context of the brand, you're ready to act. As Nike would say, "Just Do It." Of course, if you follow these seven steps, whatever you do decide to do will have a much higher degree of success than if you just shot from the hip.

How to Be an Efficient & Effective Marketer (Without Losing Your Sanity)

1) Use data to determine your next projects and priorities.
2) Run big A/B tests, not just incremental A/B tests.
3) Create lists of content ideas.
4) Get a head start with free resources.
5) Use proven time-saving tricks.
6) Eliminate repetition.

Faculty Sections / The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers
« on: December 18, 2014, 01:33:25 AM »
The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers

Most business owners, experts and professionals understand the importance of providing non-promotional, educational content during the beginning of the relationship with a customer.
In essence, content marketing is information marketing, and information marketing is the new currency on the Internet. The challenge is how to translate your information into products with high perceived value.
6 habits of effective marketers The 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Marketers
It’s indicative that every business can now be called an information business because we all need some kind of information to make our decisions, learn how to solve our problems or to help us get what we want in life.
Simply put we want our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs met in order to take actions.
And getting people to take action through marketing is the most valuable skill anyone can learn and master. (Not to mention it’ll also improve your interpersonal relationships and communication skills.)
This is why great marketers focus on communicating the value and translating the utility of the information. Whether the goal is to get the prospect to click on your website link, sign up for your newsletter, join your coaching program or buy your information product, it requires meeting the right balance of Needs versus Wants from the prospect’s perspective.
Done right, you can leverage powerful internet tools to attract pre-interested and pre-motivated prospects that are ready to buy and start a business relationship with you.
Not only will you be perceived as an influential authority but you will gain credibility and trust without having to convince people to buy your product.
So what does it take to be an effective marketer today? Here are six traits of highly effective marketers:

1. Effective Marketers Make No Assumptions
2. Effective Marketers Are Storytellers
3. Effective Marketers Build Relationships
4. Effective Marketers Are Givers
5. Effective Marketers Know Everything Is A Test
6. Effective Marketers Are Laser Focused On A Niche

The Top Three Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015

In the past year, mobile developments have led to the adoption of the Twitter and Facebook "buy" button in limited areas, the rollout of Apple Pay, lackluster Samsung earnings, and the recent announcement of Xiaomi's growing dominance in China.

By 2018, nearly half the world is expected to have Internet access, with the largest increases anticipated to take place in emerging markets. That increase is caused in large part to initiatives such as Facebook's and significant investments being made in infrastructure to establish connectivity in global markets Africa and India, with a majority of connections taking place on mobile.

Moreover, GSMA predicts that by year's end, global connections will reach 7.2 billion (equal to that of the global population total projected by the United Nations).

We are living in a mobile-first world, continuing to drive brands not only to evolve with the rapidly expanding mobile landscape but compelling brands to capitalize on new opportunities and capture the attention of the next five billion consumers in developing nations.

Following are three global mobile marketing trends that we can expect to see in 2015.

Increase in localized content and network. Consumers in developing nations have trouble accessing localized content, as shown in Upstream's "2014 The Next Mobile Frontier Report" (email required) with 20% of consumers in emerging market nations, such as Nigeria, Brazil, China, India, and Vietnam indicating content not presented in the local language as a barrier to entry.

For purposes of purchasing mobile apps, and accessing content such as news and health services, localization is of great importance. As consumers are increasingly looking to access different types of content, taking a localized approach will be crucial to refocusing efforts to grow on mobile in non-Western markets. This will include addressing specific language obstacles, network speeds, and the varying content desires that exist.
Brands reaching consumers via the mobile ads. Facebook's advertising revenue in the third quarter jumped 64% to $2.96 billion—two-thirds of that from mobile alone. There is no greater indication that the power of mobile for brands is bigger than ever.

As more consumers enter the mobile space, reaching and targeting them is increasingly vital, and Facebook has risen to the challenge to provide an outlet to do so. Facebook's approach to emerging market advertising is also a win for brands. Facebook's new mobile advertising strategy bypasses current technological infrastructure issues in emerging markets—namely network speeds—and instead formats ads as missed calls, so consumers' interest with the ad is relayed back to the advertiser. The advertiser then can call the user back and deliver the information audibly.

Facebook is paying heed to the intricacies of advertising methodology in the mobile sphere, and the company is the first step in completely transforming the mobile-ad experience.
Localized payment methods, such as Apple Pay, with service provider partnerships. Payment structures should not pose an obstacle to consumers. As revealed in Upstream's "2014 The Next Mobile Frontier Report," 44% of Nigerian consumers indicate that the preferred way to purchase content is through their mobile operator. In accordance with the need for localized content, localizing payment methods is vital.

Moreover, more than one in five (21%) consumers in developing nations do not have access to credit or banking facilities, making a typical credit card payment service like Apple Pay ineffective. In those nations, Apple Pay cannot be unveiled universally but on a case-by-case basis. Across Nigeria, Brazil, India, China, and Vietnam, 19% of consumers say they would like to purchase mobile content using a credit card and 10% via a debit card. There will need to be more collaboration with local operators with whom consumers have clearly indicated their intent to purchase.

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More than three quarters of the world's mobile phones are located in emerging markets, and that figure is only growing, meaning developing nations are home to the largest mobile growth worldwide.

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