Thoughts on Twitter

October 5, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

The Enigma That is Twitter – 09-30-2011

September 30, 2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.

Of all the social media communications channels I invest time in, Twitter is the most enigmatic to me.

I use it and find value in posts from both followers and those I follow. At the same time, I encounter quizzical looks from friends who think I am somehow child-like and time-wasting to be spending time writing updates that are always compressed, sometimes cryptic and on occasion in-decipherable.

I’ll admit to a few things:

Twitter presents the constant temptation to become a one-way broadcaster of self-promotional messages. All I can say is resist, resist, resist! In real life, people don’t fall in love with others who talk about themselves constantly. Why should it be any different online?

I don’t always engage in conversations. Because there is such a thing as “real business” to attend to, I can’t sit and watch the stream all day, responding promptly to replies, DM’s (direct messages), and other comments. Thankfully, there are some really great tools to help you manage your social medial channels and I use one of the best, Sprnklr. I do respond to just about everyone, but with timeliness that is often suspect.

I’m not consistent. Social Media muse @TheDudeDean told me long ago to tweet consistently. I do my best, but there are gaps. This week is an example, with cross country air travel and day-long meetings cramping my Twitter style. I acknowledge this but don’t necessarily apologize. We’ve got to have priorities and Twitter should not rule your life.

I read an article this week, which mused that Twitter could be destined to “occupy a niche as addiction to few and irritant to many.” I’m quite comfortable with this reality and take it into account when recommending communication strategies for clients.

It is not mandatory that every customer-facing marketing strategy incorporate Twitter,

Foursquare, or even Facebook. While it is absolutely right for some, others will find it a waste of time and resources.

If your customers are all online, talk to them through that medium. If they are sitting at the kitchen table reading their mail, you better find your way to that venue. Usually it is through a mix of several channels that you can create customer engagement. The big challenge is to identify which ones matter and to prioritize their importance.

To sum it up, there is wisdom in discerning between “everyone is doing it” and “I need to do it.”

Sounds like Twitter material to me!

Discussion questions:  What do you think of Twitter as a business and personal tool? How, if at all, do you use it? Do you see it evolving as a retail communication tool?

My post:

I started using Twitter for the two purposes I continue with today.  One, I post links to my own JAM with Mike twice-weekly email of quotes and accompanying editorial.  Why?  Really because I can, through a simple link on my Constant Contact email server.  Does it do anything?  Probably not, but it is painless so I continue.  Two, I subscribe to several people who post quotes that I find interesting and subsequently use in my writing.  I do not engage in ongoing conversations and see no personal value in bothering my “followers” with inane posts of my random thoughts or mundane activities – nor do I understand those who do.

The good news is that millions do use Twitter to constantly tweet every little thought that occurs to them.  Why is this good news?  There is a burgeoning use of twitter feeds to predict future events, from the price of a stock, to the profitability of a new movie or product, to the outcome of an election.  While not infallible, researchers are finding that like Wikipedia, the Twitterverse tends to separate out facts from fiction with often remarkably accurate predictive value.  There are some really interesting articles about this you can find on Google – or via a Twitter search, of course!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  The Enigma That is Twitter

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Staying curious allows senior leaders to stay connected to mulit-cultural trendsetters

July 21, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Youth and Age in Corporate America’s Cultural Dichotomy 07-21-2011

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the About Marketing Solutions blog.

Corporate retailers, are you ready? I’m going to ask you a difficult question.

Is your age outpacing your organization’s relevancy?

The topic begs discussion when recognizing that, generationally and culturally, half of all Gen Z consumers (46 percent), and 40 percent of Gen Y and Gen X consumers are multicultural. Conversely, 66 percent of boomers and 80 percent of seniors 65+ are non-Hispanic white.

Commenting on my recent discussionon strategic relevance, Dan Stanek, EVP of Big Red Rooster, replied, “Innovation is more difficult when leaders are much older than the target market and do not understand how they operate.”

Is he right?

Generational and cultural skews represent significant challenges for a lot of today’s senior executives. If they want their companies to remain relevant and in demand, they are tasked at this particular point in marketing history to not only shed traditional views and ways, but to learn to understand and address cultural diversity in younger generations.

The sharper minds in corporate America are already in sync with the country’s age and cultural trends:

  • Pamela El, VP of marketing at State Farm told Ad Age back in 2009, “I think industry-wide, as America becomes more multicultural, you will see more ethnic insights across the board. I think we’re seeing it already, but I think we’ll see it two-, three-, four-, five-fold going forward.”
  • McDonald’s USA Chief Marketing Officer Neil Golden stated at the 2010 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, “It’s very clear that African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American consumers set the trends and McDonald’s has found it more valuable to apply these segments’ preferences to the overall marketplace than to apply overall preferences to these segments.”
  • Coca Cola’s CMO, Bea Perez, kicking off this year’s Nielsen Consumer 360 conference, noted, “We know that 86 percent of the growth through 2020 for Coca-Cola’s youth-target market will come from multicultural consumers, especially Hispanic, and focusing on this segment is critical to the company’s future growth.”

These are the exceptions, however. The gap is wide between the multiculturally influenced Gen X, Y and Z markets and the bulk of U.S. corporate retailers who can’t “see” the relevance in educating their game to new consumer market trends.

In mid-June at the Consumer 360 Conference in Miami, Nielsen’s CEO David Calhoun exhorted attendees to spend 65 percent of their time figuring out their Hispanic opportunity.

“The story here is that within the next five years, multicultural clients will drive 86 percent of the total growth on spending at retail and, if you look at growth without these groups, you are only addressing 10 percent of the growth,” added Nielsen’s SVP, Claudia Pardo at the same conference.

Discussion questions:  Do you agree that “innovation is more difficult when leaders are much older than the target market?” To what extent do generational and cultural disconnects exist within retail organizations and brands today?

My post:

Innovation is difficult for most senior leaders, but not simply due to age or ethnicity.  The problem is a general lack of curiosity.  The tendency for most is to lean on what has worked for them in the past.  One cannot approach today’s consumer trends, which are clearly multi-cultural, with yesterday’s thinking.  And yet most do just that.  To remain relevant and effective, senior leaders must stay curious and immerse themselves in all the rich cultural happenings available on social media and other sources, including their own employees who hopefully mirror their consumer base.  If you do this, you can stay current, interested, and passionate about your consumers.

Further, the cultural diversity of today’s trendsetters varies by region and must be addressed as well as the macro trends.

Remain curious, utilize research, and listen intently to the readily available voices out there and senior leaders can remain effective no matter age or ethnicity.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full article at Retailwire.com:  Youth and Age in Corporate America.

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Influencing Word-of-Mouth Marketing

April 11, 2008

DISCUSSION TOPIC:  Friends and Family Seal the Deal

TOPIC SUMMARY:

If you want to influence a consumer’s purchasing decisions, then it’s almost always best to get to their family and friends first. If you can convince family and friends to recommend a product or service, then you’re a long way down the road to making the sale. But how, just exactly, do you get friends and family to make a recommendation? That is the grail that most marketers seek and few find.

According to ZenithOptimedia, word-of-mouth (WOM), specifically those recommendations from family and friends, ranked highest in purchasing influences in the firm’s Touchpoints ROI Tracker study.

Discussion questions:  How do brands that generate positive word-of-mouth and personal references do it? How is it that (any brand you’d like to identify) is able to generate recommendations from family and friends when others do not?

My post:

The only way to generate positive word-of-mouth and personal references is by having a great product/service delivered in a manner that exceeds customer expectations.  Companies cannot manufacture referrals and positive comments.  When they try, it is usually disastrous.  The way to have engaged customers is through engaged employees.  If companies want positive word-of-mouth and referrals, they must start by focusing on their employees.

That said, there are tools that companies can use to analyze, if not influence, the dialogue.  The growing influence of social media outlets like Facebook, YouTube and others provides companies with both a way to analyze current word-of-mouth opinions and a means to react to any negative perceptions.  Used wisely and sincerely, communication through these portals can provide a company with good intelligence and a platform for customers to speak out.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

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Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/12886    

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Mixed race and the effect on marketing

April 2, 2008

DISCUSSION TOPIC:  How should mixed race affect target marketing plans?

TOPIC SUMMARY:

A recent article in the New York Times entitled Who Are We? New Dialogue on Mixed Race discusses a consumer segment that we don’t hear about much: people who don’t neatly fit into the five racial buckets now being used by the U.S. Census.

According to the article, “The old categories are weakening … as immigration and the advancing age of marriage in the United States fuel a steady rise in the number of interracial marriages. The 2000 Census counted 3.1 million interracial couples, or about 6 percent of married couples. For the first time, the Census that year allowed respondents to identify themselves as being two or more races, a category that now includes 7.3 million Americans, or about 3 percent of the population.”

It’s not yet a big segment, but it’s one that’s growing in terms of visibility and identity, in part fueled by the mixed race heritage of Senator Barack Obama.

Though some choose a multiple race identity, others tend to stick to a one-race label; the decision of choosing a racial identity is often a deeply personal one. According to the article, racial identification “is influenced by how and where they were reared, how others perceive them, what they look like and how they themselves come to embrace their identity.”

Discussion questions:  Have the old racial categories become irrelevant? What are the implications for those companies that are specifically targeting specific racial groups with a marketing campaign?

My post:

From my observations and experience, issues surrounding race tend to diminish with higher education and income levels.  The more people understand others people and feel comfortable about their own financial status, the less likely they are to seek labels to insulate themselves against “others”, based on race or other definitions.

I believe the rich dialogue brought on by both Senator Obama’s and Senator Clinton’s candidacies is beneficial toward getting our country to move beyond race and gender stereotypes.  I am optimistic that we are on the right track in this regard.

The marketing question will, in turn, become moot as cultures mix together both via interracial marriages and simply through proximity.  The focus should always be on listening to what the customer is saying and observing what they are doing.  That is always the recipe for marketing success.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

http://www.osoriogroup.com/

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Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/12862    

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Social Network Ignorance

March 18, 2008

DISCUSSION TOPIC:  Marketers Don’t Get Social Networks

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Social networks are all about relationship building. Yet marketers are continuing to use mainstream advertising ploys – including hammering home messages – in targeting the medium rather than just having conversations.

“Frequency of message is not the idea here,” Rick Murray, president of Edelman digital, told Advertising Age. “Frequency of contact is.”

Charlene Li, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed that marketers haven’t seemed to figure out that this is a channel where consumers actually want to be spoken to.

“[Consumers] are asking questions on these sites that go unanswered,” she said. “You can’t ask for a better environment. And what do marketers do? They say nothing and put up another ad.”

Discussion questions:  What’s the difference between mainstream marketing techniques and efforts targeting MySpace and other social networking sites? How should mainstream advertising be tweaked to work on social networking sites?

My post:

Few retailers or brands have taken the time to research how to best use the social networks for marketing efforts.  Therefore, most efforts have been to slam their regular mainstream marketing onto these sites – a huge mistake.  Retailers and brands would do well to research the many quality “how-to” sites for social networking entrepreneurs. These sites provide excellent lessons on how to write compelling content for blogs, social networks, etc.  Key points:

  • Remember: These are conversations not ads. Talk, engage, but don’t sell.
  • Who will do the postings on blogs, MySpace, etc.? They must speak with an authentic voice, aligned with the company’s voice.
  • Can you commit to regular updates? If not, don’t start.
  • Have you prepared for the inevitable complaints and bad comments about your brand/product?
  • Give stuff away. The way you gain trust with your audience and get them to buy your product eventually is to prove that your stuff is worthwhile. This method is used to great advantage in information marketing and should be utilized in product marketing.
  • Test, test, test, and test some more. This medium is continuously evolving and the best are always looking to tweak their approach.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

http://www.osoriogroup.com/

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GO TO THE FULL DISCUSSION AT RETAILWIRE.COM:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/12828  

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Thank you for visiting my blog!  Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings.  Comments are the life-blood of any blog and I appreciate yours!


IKEA irritates the Danes

March 18, 2008

DISCUSSION TOPIC:  Translating Retail Success Across National Borders

TOPIC SUMMARY:

There is yet another potential impact of importing and exporting that retailers are now starting to consider. Boasting 273 stores attracting some 583 million customers each year, IKEA, for example, needs to be aware of what people think and feel.

Both The Independent and The Daily Telegraph in the UK reported that Danish customers of the Swedish shop are less than happy with what’s being offered for sale or at least with what the products are called.

IKEA’s products tend to have names rather than numbers, a situation that has recently caused complaints from customers in Denmark, historically a rival of IKEA’s Swedish-based empire. According to The Independent, complaints have been made about some of the names chosen. Apparently those with Danish derivation are used for some of the retailer’s less salubrious, or lowly, products such as doormats, rug linings and toilet seats, for example.

Discussion questions:  Is the IKEA Danish experience unusual in the arena of global marketing? Where do retailers go to acquire the cultural education required to open without incident in new international markets? Is there are retail company or brand that you think best epitomizes how to go about expanding globally?

My post:

International expansion of brands and retailers always creates the potential for cultural missteps.  IKEA did not purposely named their products with names that would offend Danes.  Using names for their products vs. numbers requires them to either use different names in different countries, or choose to not care if one country has an issue with a name that is fine everywhere else.  

When a retailer or brand expands into a different country (or even a different state) it is incumbent upon them to do some due diligence in the new location, particularly regarding marketing and branding methods.  It would not have been a significant issue to rename a few of the IKEA products for the Danish market if indeed some of the names are offensive.

Examples of brands and retailers who have expanded globally effectively include McDonalds and DFS Galleria.  McDonalds offers key products like the Big Mac worldwide, but then adds menu items that relate to the local populace.  DFS Galleria, the Hong Kong-based purveyor of luxury brands in gallerias and airport duty-free locations throughout the Asia Pacific region, pays close attention to how each nationality communicates and shops.  In-store signage, associate language skills, and marketing efforts all support this.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

http://www.osoriogroup.com/

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GO TO THE FULL DISCUSSION AT RETAILWIRE.COM:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/12829  

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Top Marketers Keep Spending

February 5, 2008

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RETAILWIRE DISCUSSION TOPIC

Top Marketers Increasing Ad Budgets – 2/5/08
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TOPIC SUMMARY:

The economic news of late hasn’t been great and many companies are expecting a tough row to hoe ahead, but top consumer product marketers are increasing or maintaining ad budgets instead of seeking cuts, according to AdAge.com.

Some national brands are increasing spending in an attempt to hold back a push by private label offerings and maintain consumer equity until the economy picks up again.

Discussion questions: Do you expect that most companies will look to increase or maintain marketing expenditures this year? Why? What will higher or lower marketing expenditures mean for companies/brands when the economy improves?

My post:

Economic downturns are always an opportunity for strong companies to grab market share by maintaining and even increasing marketing spend.  Marginal players will likely be unable to reduce spending elsewhere to be able to avoid reductions in ad budgets.  They will suffer as a result. 

The impact of store brand growth is also a factor – particularly as the stronger retail players also step up their ad budgets to grab market share.  The big CPG companies will keep up ad spending, but need to do so in a way that engages the consumer.  This will mean stronger investments in direct, electronic, and social media – not just more print and TV/radio.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

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GO TO THE FULL STORY AND DISCUSSION:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/12737

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Thank you for visiting my blog!  Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings.  Comments are the life-blood of any blog and I appreciate yours!