According to ExactTarget’s Marketers from Mars study, 33% of consumers want marketers to invest more in email, 24% want marketers to invest in the brand’s website, and 22% of consumers want marketers to invest in creating a better Facebook experience.
- 36% of consumers with a smartphone, and 49% of consumers who do not own a smartphone, prefer to interact with a brand via email
- 49% of consumers have made a purchase as a direct result of an email marketing message
- 93% of consumers subscribe to at least one brand’s email, remaining consistent compared to 2010
- 31% of consumers with a smartphone, and 26% of consumers who do not own a smartphone, prefer to interact with a brand on Facebook, making it the second most common place consumers look to connect with brands online
- 58% of consumers have “Liked” a brand on Facebook, a 20% increase since 2010
- 21% of consumers report they have made a purchase as the result of a message they saw on Facebook
- 46% of consumers on Twitter follow brands to receive advanced notice about new products
- 12% of all consumers follow a brand on Twitter, a 7% increase since 2010
Marketers’ preferences for these media channels are exponentially higher, likely due to their affinity toward experiencing new technology before it becomes a consumer trend. So before I reveal the stats on how marketers use digital media to follow brands, why not jump in and tell us how you use digital media?
Do you prefer email from a brand? Do you actively follow any brand on Facebook? Do you use Twitter to get the latest offers from a brand? Please comment and let us know.
Though unsure where they’d like to go to college, students have a lot of opinions about how schools should – and should not – try to recruit them.
A panel of high school students at the recent AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education provided interesting perspectives of how they wanted to be contacted as they progressed through the college search process. They all noted that in their junior year, it was fun to be initially bombarded with brochures and “lookbooks” from a wide variety of colleges. But as their academic interests and lifestyle preferences solidified, they were more focused on schools aligned with those traits.
In their junior year, students reviewed everything that became available to them, but they advised “Don’t contact me in senior year if you haven’t already contacted me. It’s a waste of time.” They are also very eco-minded(ecological and economical), bristling when they received lookbooks from unfamiliar schools with no chance for consideration.
Their media consumption was a bit surprising… since most major surveys report different characteristics. Perhaps it’s the difference between those seeking higher education and those moving directly into the work force.
In terms of direct mail, high school students looked forward to opening correspondence and literature from colleges and universities. As they progressed in their recruitment, they had a less positive reaction to communications that appeared too late in the process or were not aligned with their desires. They especially reacted poorly to personalized mail from unfamiliar schools, reporting that the volume was overwhelming at times and patience ran thin with each “excessive piece.”
University websites didn’t fare too well with the entire group, who were dissatisfied with the combination of too much information and poor navigation. Many couldn’t find an “apply now” or “learn more” button and left the site with no contact. As a result, that school fell off the consideration list. But they did value websites that included a cost estimator.
Another complaint expressed was that “every college has class outside,” referring to an overabundance of website photos depicting an unrealistic scene. Also, the website needs a “fast facts” page: number of students, acceptance rate, etc. This group of college prospects did, however, acknowledge that websites provide their parents a means to participate in reviewing the consideration list.
They consider their Facebook accounts personal unless you are invited in. Otherwise, you are an intruder. Their chief concerns are:
- They don’t like schools filling up their newsfeed.
- They want a line between school and personal life.
- They think schools are trying too hard. School’s use of language and tonality is inconsistent with the rest of Facebook.
As a result of these violations, students are now changing their Facebook IDs to avoid college stalking.
But students gave high marks for creative use of social media. Using YouTube as a virtual campus tour excited them, for example, as long as it was authentic and not canned or overproduced.
- Email works, but students should be able to unsubscribe if schools send too much information or if they lose interest. These messages do break through if a school is high on a student’s consideration list, and it’s good for following up.
- Postal mail is fine — it helps students segregate familiar names from unfamiliar.
- Personalized mail is also fine, but only if it’s truly personalized to a student’s interests.
- Send quick facts and ask for permission to follow up. Not doing so might put your school information in the garbage can.
These students have been accepted to various colleges and are making final determinations. What they all have in common is that none of the final set of schools are the same as the initial set they thought they’d be attending. Along the path of self-discovery, their needs or priorities changed. What cemented the relationship in most cases was the campus tour, and they cited the following components for campus tour success:
- Passionate ambassadors
- Best speakers
- Strong interaction with students
- Specialization toward academic interest
- Quality of lookbook
- Virtual campus tour as the initial tour would be acceptable, but it must be natural and genuine
If you or a relative are going through the excitement of choosing between colleges and universities, please share your experiences with us.
This time of the year brings out a sleigh full of consumer insights based on actual shopping behavior that delight marketers’ understanding of today’s consumer. Noted below are a few stocking stuffers as gleaned from Experian Simmons and Acxiom during the current holiday period:
- Forty-five percent (45%) of holiday season emails are being opened on mobile – up slightly from the just prior to the season.
- Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday saw major increases in both online traffic and email volume. Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 6% in 2012 versus 2011, and Cyber Monday traffic increased by 11%. Likewise, email volume was up 23% on Thanksgiving and 29% on Cyber Monday.
- Led by Black Friday offers, campaigns with offers in the subject line made up almost 30% of all campaigns sent this past week.
- For the week of 11/17/2012, visits to Cyber Monday websites increased by 259% compared to last year.
- Describing your brand as ‘Best’ in the subject line leads to the highest open and click rates for gift guides.
Forty-two percent (42%) of US adults have purchased gift cards in the past year.
And here is the answer to that annual question “What is this year’s hot item” based on search queries:
- Cyber Monday capped the weekend off with a 30% jump from last year, showing retail peaks at roughly 11:23 a.m. EST.Monday was a great day to use company time to get your shopping done. Good news is, many were not using the company network to tie up traffic as there was a tremendous shift to mobile browsing and more importantly mobile shopping/commerce ( 2X over last year).
- With over 7% of holiday retails sales attributed to some form of tablet purchase, online user experience will be all about touch-based navigation.
- While mobile is shifting online behaviors, consumer adoption of mobile payment services is also rising. PayPal reported a 200% increase in transactions through this past weekend.
What here surprises you?
Branding was the primary presentation topic of the day at the recent American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education (#amahighered). However, the B-school roundtable revealed some meatier issues that kept those marketers up at night. The 50 or more in attendance voiced concerns were varied, yet many were shared. This infers there is not one central issue to rally around, but rather a variety of challenges facing today’s higher education marketer, especially in business schools. I believe many of these issues are directly transferable and relatable to other university colleges and schools as well.
The following top issues were almost equally distributed in importance and urgency:
- Lack of direction from university leadership.
- Not changing programs to keep pace with student needs or technological advances. This related to courses of study as well as teaching method.
- Under resourced and under budget to meet the expectations of internal constituencies. This was voiced by both centralized and decentralized marketing departments.
- Changing school name affecting branding and name recognition.
- Changing skill set requirements with existing staff skill set especially with social media and mobile marketing influences.
- Defining, obtaining and analyzing metrics (what’s working, what’s not).
- What happens to the lead when it’s handed off to admissions, referencing lead nurturing.
- 30 second elevator pitch; being prepared to talk to prospective students or influencers in a non-campus setting.
- Consistency in messaging across all schools and colleges within the university, especially with regard to brand guidelines.
- How to maintain database inclusive of segmentation.
- Mobile site or app – when and how to choose.
- Social media analytics – establishing KPIs, measurement methods.
- Branding was last on their list of concerns.
CBD Marketing will be addressing each of these concerns in upcoming blogs and e-newsletters. Please feel free to comment and help our fellow higher education marketers move their brands forward.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declared the 2012 Olympics held in London the “social games” whereby spectators, fans, families, friends and teammates can participate through social media, texting, blogs and good old-fashioned email.
Get your smartphone, tablet and laptop fully charged and get ready for an onslaught of following, liking and sharing of athletes you likely don’t know along with their international fans of every language.
No more remote on my lap; there’s no room! I will have too many e-comm devices buzzing and blinking on my lap and vying for my attention to watch the actual sport itself. The IOC has taken social media participation very seriously by establishing IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines.
How interesting you make these Olympics Games depends on your satisfaction level of how deep you want to immerse yourself into the social media aspect of watching sports. NBC Sports network and the official NBC Olympics websites have their own Facebook and Twitter feeds. TEAM USA really goes the distance with a micro site for news, photos, videos and links to the Facebook page and Twitterfeed for every one of the 38 sports TEAM USA is participating in, even Field Hockey. (I will be following @USSailing Team).
And if that doesn’t keep you busy, many of the renown participating athletes as well as former Olympian medal winners will be tweeting. By the time these games are over, you will be as exhausted and euphoric as the athletes themselves.
Here’s a partial list to get you started:
NBC Network @NBCOlympics
TEAM USA: @USOlympic
TEAM USA US Sailing: @USSailing Team (Other sports are patterned similarly. Visit their website to find team pages and Twitter handles.)
It took great insight, drive, effort and insistence across geo-political borders by the IOC to create a social media mandate like this. No doubt, the driving force was to deepen the level of engagement with these games by enhancing the spectator experience.
Some may cringe at the thought of “This e-textbook is brought to you by…” as it connotes academia selling out, or inferred influence on editorial. However there may be appropriate opportunities for marketers’ or advertisers’ presence that actually enhances the learning process and the quality of the e-textbook.
There are three conditions that must occur for this co-existence of academia and marketer, in order:
- The marketer’s product or service must have direct relevance and provide enhancement to the e-textbook subject or course work.
- The marketer’s product or service must have a direct and obvious benefit to the student/reader.
- The marketer must respect the learning environment. No hype.
Let’s explore these conditions a bit further to start some conversation and gain agreement for this seemingly at-odds arrangement.
The properties of the modern e-textbook device includes a wifi connection. As more e-textbooks become more like a web page than a static reproduction of a textbook, more opportunities for embedding, linking and downloading via the internet exist. This was more fully explored as a ContentHub in 2012: The Year for e-Textbooks. The marketers’ participation in this is as subject matter experts lending their proprietary knowledge and expertise through the dynamic content of an e-Textbook. As more marketers provide true thought leadership through research and practice, their data and analysis become real-time, up-to-the minute research or case studies shared as webinars, white papers, videos or live guest-chats.
A mechanical engineering class may benefit through the use of a company’s video demonstration about a product or process they are studying. An online chat with that company’s engineers would supplement the professor’s expert opinion – an online guest lecture of sorts. From a marketing perspective, the student’s one-to-one exposure to a leader in the industry creates a meaningful and lasting impression that could lead to a variety of future actions, including that of supplier, employer, or partner. And in this era of high competition in all business sectors, this gives the participating company an advantage.
Students studying marketing or advertising courses could be exposed to the latest successful case studies inclusive of all media in use: newspaper, magazine, radio. TV, banner ads, outdoor, etc. In an industry that breeds change, the student would see tremendous value with readily available samples, data, videos and links that static e-textbooks could never provide. Agencies providing this information have a huge opportunity to not only advance the industry but also be viewed for their expertise. Those agencies participating by providing unbiased expertise may see a future Chief Marketing Officer select them for future work based on this educational relationship.
Looking to the future, as e-textbooks evolve they will act more like websites, a ContentHub of activity around a topic, and education-savvy marketers will derive direct branding benefits by becoming suppliers to the e-textbook market. Animated demonstrations, white papers, community discussion, expert online chats, archived presentations, webinars and guest lectures. The reference section could be a listing of active links to those information sources cited within the content sections which would provide ongoing value.
And I suppose there may be room for one relevant “ad” that could appear as the last page in an e-textbook. Headline: “Back-up batteries available at…”
Marketers, do you see the opportunity? Weigh in on this and let us know you’re approach.
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