Sunday, September 23, 2012
Without question, we currently stand on the advent of a new type of marketing. It works off of the permission based marketing that was coined in 1999 by Seth Godin. (Godin 1999) However, the technology that has come into usage today is at a minimum, remarkable. This is said with a caveat however, and that caveat will be that the first large company (i.e. Oracle, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo!) and others who have a heavy interest in data mining will eventually take a good hard look at taking over the industry from its current state of the wild, Wild West, to that of a well-organized machine.
This research intends on analyzing several facets of a business new to social media marketing. First, utilizing Google analytics, we will examine the traffic, “likes”, “followers” unique visitors to the web site or web store that we design, Facebook, Twitter, LinkeIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, MySpace as well as other smaller social media platforms. We will then analyze the actual amount of foot traffic that comes into the physical store, the amount of new referrals to the store and the amount of increased revenue that can be immediately connected to the campaign.
This paper will then research permission marketing email campaigns through companies such as Constant Contact with coupons, events and rewards similar to what Groupon advertises. The research will cover in-depth the results of the permission based marketing campaign.
By adding an online scheduling application to a Facebook page, a business can accept reservations for appointments, at a certain time and with a certain service provider within the business. They then can only reserve that time by placing a major credit card into the site, secured by PayPal. The amount of appointments that are then kept will be compared to the amount of appointments not kept prior to this campaign.
There will be a total of over 100 different analytical observations of various aspects of the success, or failure of the social media marketing campaign. Currently, actual viewers of TV conducted by companies such as the Neilson Rating utilize an extremely cross section of the population to make a decision for the executives at the media companies as to who pays attention to what. Companies such as Google Analytical, Hootsuite, Onlywire and several others can analyze exact measurements of page views, unique visitors, time spent on various pages, postings, tweets, re-tweets, etc. This information will be used in the future to predict the viewer’s options as it is live, real and exact as it is configured by an algorithmic formula that does not take into consideration socio-economical information and other characteristics that can alter the scores. In fact, the analytics can determine not only gender, but ethnicity (if disclosed), age bracket, sexual orientation, education level, income level, etc. The list goes on. No such metrics exist now in media in its current stage.
This paper will take a look at the pieces as they exist now, and as a whole as they will eventually become in the next 5 – 15 years.
Currently, there seems to be a platform for every type of small business advertising campaign that exists. The problem is, they are extremely small, often do not interact with each other and can be cumbersome in advertising to a consumer as their public relations department (if exists) and their marketing departments are under-skilled and usually have multiple hats to wear within the company. That leaves the consumer or the ad agency to decipher what is right and what is the wrong solution for them. Of course, each company brags that they are the most cutting edge and have the best product.
An example of this is an online scheduling calendar for hair, nail, tanning salons and other companies that can take appointments. Having this solution offers the business owner many reasons. For a cost of $100 - $150 per month, they can put their entire staff on the schedule, which staff member can perform which services, when the services are available, when the service provider is available, how much the service costs and much more. With the calendar, the consumer sees a blank calendar (those appointments that are still open) and can book accordingly their service. They then register with a credit card (run through PayPal) and it holds their appointment. When they show up, they can choose to pay in cash and the hold is released, however if they do not show up the missed appointment is charged. I have seen shops whereas they report that more than 90% of the appointments made are kept. They will also receive an email and an SMS message reminding them of the appointment, as will the shop owner and the service provider. In addition, should they wish to maintain a standing appointment, they can do so at this point. For $150 per month, the lack of a receptionist taking phone orders is a mere drop in the bucket to the increased revenue, but equally important the talk of the town that the shop owner receives.
This is one of dozens of innovative concepts that are being sold, that interacts and can be placed on a blog, website, and Facebook or Twitter page with no programming skills whatsoever. In the interest of time, this paper will not discuss all of the available components that currently exist nor those that are in development.
Purpose and Goals
The small to medium business runs this country. The medium to large corporations are well capitalized and therefore deal primarily with enterprise solutions. The question will become, will it be smarter to take the risk of selling a very large enterprise solution vs. that of selling hundreds of thousands of affordable smaller scaled solutions.
In reverse, large business runs small business. I remember in the early 1980’s when the largest IBM plant in the world located in Poughkeepsie, NY decided to outsource, downsize and cut its workforce by up to 40%. This didn’t just affect the IBM worker however. Homes were placed for sale in droves, dramatically creating a glut of supply on the market and causing property values to plummet. With a dropped property value comes a dropped tax assessment and therefore government and school districts were forced to cut back. The Ford and GM dealerships across the street went from selling 100 new cars per month, to less than 10. Without selling cars, the dealer had no need for many of their employees. Those employees who stayed home no longer patronized the local hot dog wagon, and he in turn had to close his shop.
The relationship of large and small business is staggering. In the case of social media, it is as easier, softer way to disseminate information at a dramatically reduced cost. Not only is it cheaper, it is incredibly faster. A bomb blowing up in Beirut may take CNN up to 2 hours to get it on air, while a normal person with a smartphone can post it on YouTube within seconds. From their blogs are created and the world is now instantly connected to the bomb blowing up in Beirut.
Businesses will run cheaper because of social media; they will have a quicker and cheaper access to supply chain demand, getting their products quicker and with less effort. Those times of having to go to a specialty store for your business needs are now left to the Internet. The cost of that online store is cheaper, they have fewer employees, no rent or utilities and now only have to worry about fulfillment. If they can’t handle it, as was the case of Toys R Us in the Christmas holiday season of the early 90’s, they found out that being a good toy retailer did not make them a good toy online retailer. That is why to this day, Toys R Us has their entire fulfillment outsourced to Amazon, who specializes in this type of thing. If not for the immediate decision to move to Amazon, Toys R Us was effectively done online. Sure, they took a huge black eye as their fulfillment was able to get their products delivered by late January for the previous December holiday, but they recovered quickly with the help of Amazon. This philosophy was discussed in depth by Harridge-March (Harridge-March 2008) who discussed in detail relationship marketing as well as direct marketing.
Supporting Forces: As bandwidth becomes cheaper and faster, so does the tools and applications that run upon them. Chain supply demand will become a totally automated process and human intervention will be totally removed from this element, further reducing costs.
Educational: The American public is still not versed in their knowledge of social media marketing compared to what they will be in 15 years from now on. And only those with extra time and a bit of the savviest players will take advantage of it. “Effective social media measurement should start by turning the traditional ROI approach on its head. That is, instead of emphasizing their own marketing investments and calculating the returns in terms of customer response, managers should begin by considering consumer motivations to use social media and then measure the social media investments customers make as they engage with the marketers brands.” (Hoffman and Fodor 2010)
Technological: Social Media in its current state would be the equivalent of me to buy a car from Ford; I would have to buy the seats from their manufacturer, the engine from theirs, the transmission from them and so on. That would be a preposterous idea because I can walk into a Ford dealer and they did that already for me. The future of this industry is walking into a dealer and being able to turn a key and start the engine.
Economical: To obtain the proper solutions, multiple vendors would be involved and therefore a higher cost. Under the proposed solution, we have a one stop shop as opposed to the a la carte shop that exists. This is why the data miners will take over this industry in 15 years and make social media marketing a household name. Everyone will expect that they can do their food shopping, their auto shopping, turn on their home alarm remotely (already exists) as well as perform every other task that requires face to face confrontations and/ or a drive in a car to perform meaningless but necessary tasks.
Big business is already realizing this. I would love to watch my favorite key note speaker give a lecture on my favorite topic – albeit in the privacy of my own home. WHY do I need to fly somewhere and spend the money on food, airline, hotel and take the time and aggravation to travel when the entire 90 minute presentation can be done while I sit in my favorite recliner, in my pajamas eating a bowl of popcorn?
Societal: Society has just begun to accept social media as a toy with only some seeing its benefits of a business model. This will change as education of the subject and business schools teach the different marketing techniques that just didn’t exist even 5 years ago.
The Florida Virtual High School currently has over 100,000 students enrolled. It is state mandated that any student have the option of going to a virtual school or a brick and mortar school. (Marley 2012)If they should choose the virtual school, they still can play in the band, on the football team; go to dances, all of the social aspects of going to school. Therefore, when it becomes time for higher education, which is going to be ahead of the STEM curve globally when they opt into virtual higher education?
Global: What happens in the U.S. will without doubt happen globally, it is just a matter of time. There will be a push and shove of whose stock prices outperform others, but this will be done so in a manner that will only give benefit to the consumer. Think of the student in Ethiopia who has no access to higher education, but AT&T, Verizon and European wireless carriers are building 4G towers as fast as they can. Is it possible that one day that we will sit in a virtual classroom with a student in Ethiopia, in Argentina and in Utah? There is little doubt that the onset of all social media will be global and shared as Internet bandwidth becomes cheaper and in many countries, offered as a free service of the government (which is should be).
Challenging Forces (risk)
Economical: The concept of social media marketing may never gain ground due to its relatively high cost now, therefore being unattractive to the bigger data mining companies.
However, the economic risk will without question be undertaken as our giant corporate partners have many R&D dollars to spare.
Societal: Society may reject the concept of doing business a new way and want to do business the way their grandfathers did it years ago. Although this is possible, I am also going to reject this potential as the 16 year olds of today will be the 30 something’s of tomorrow, and THEY will dictate how business is run.
How will we approach it? – On a long learning curve that will prove to be equally exciting as it is harrowing. I believe that many of us will jump in head first and learn to swim while we are in the water for the first time. From our mistakes, we will create our futures and perfect the industry.
Model – I will use my current model that I have already in place in my licensed corporation. I will grow it, adding new concepts daily, making changes on the fly and staying ahead of the curve.
Analytical Plan – I will utilize the free Google Analytical tools to show several different cross sections of how their business is or is not improving. Unlike how TV ratings are derived, the demographics of social media use will be deep, greatly varied and more accurate.
Anticipated Results – that for the next 5 years, the first people in the pool will be the leaders. After that, the Google’s of the world will snap up our experience and expertise and have we run this on an enterprise level. The larger companies will dominate all of social media, but at a very affordable cost and with good value.
Conclusion – The conclusion is simple. Social (Emerging) Media is here to stay; at least that’s what it states on the Colorado Technical University advertisement for emerging media. It will stretch into every facet of our lives as we know it, changing industries along the way and rendering others useless. We will have new methods of doing business on a small and large scale and we will find that in 20 years ago, that what we now use spreadsheets for and programs such as QuickBooks, we wonder how we did all of those calculations on hand written ledgers. I even remember in the beginning of my Doctoral Journal, one of the professors was in her late 60’s and she said that it took her 7 years to get her PhD. I look at the tools that I have now such as ProQuest and wonder how it didn’t take her 17 years to complete.
Godin, S. (1999). Permission marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers, Simon and Schuster.
Harridge-March, S. (2008). "Direct marketing and relationships." Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing 2(4): 192-198.
Hoffman, D. L. and M. Fodor (2010). "Can You Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing?" MIT Sloan Management Review 52(1): 41-49.
Marley, B. (2012). "The Investigation of Virtual School Communications." TechTrends 56(4): 26-33.