Browsing articles in "Digital Marketing"
Jan 20, 2012

Why education is a key part of digital marketing

Early cell phone commercials had to explain the features and benefits of cell phones.

These days, everyone and their mom and their three-year-old cousin has a cell phone. We know how the features work. We know what the benefits are. We take our free nights and weekends for granted.

But technology is moving faster than a lot of people can keep up with. Believe it or not, the worlds of social media and mobile technology are still foreign to a lot of people.

There are still a lot of people out there who don’t get social media. And mobile technology like augmented reality or QR codes? Forget about it. A recent study found that most college students have no idea what to do with QR codes. And college students are often early adopters of new tools and technologies.

So what does this mean for digital marketers? It means that education is key.

If we’re going to use technology to distribute messages and share content, we need to educate people and empower them to use these new tools and technologies so they’ll be able to access and interact with our content on their own terms.

Jan 18, 2012

A History of Disruptions in B2B Marketing [Infographic]

Disruption inspires innovation. Social and technological changes have led to major shifts in the way we live, work and communicate.

This infographic, A History of Disruptive Innovations in B2B Marketing, looks at breakthrough technologies and processes that have changed the landscapes of business and marketing.

Looking back on this history of marketing innovations, think: how can you leverage disruption to create positive changes for yourself, your business, or your community?

A History of Disruptive Innovations in B2B Marketing

Thanks to Eloqua and JESS3 for sharing the infographic!

Jan 13, 2012

100 Things to watch in 2012 via JWT

JWT Intelligence recently released their list of 100 trends to watch in 2012 and beyond. The list includes a variety of social, cultural and digital shifts that are influencing the way people interact with the world – and with each other. As the rate of change continues to move at an accelerated pace both online and off, how can we take advantage of cultural shifts to create new opportunities? How do we leverage change to create value?

The video below highlights 10 trends in two minutes.

For a more in-depth over view of 100 trends to watch this year, check out the presentation below.

Dec 2, 2011

Angry Birds Launches “The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio”

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my seven-year-old cousin could not get enough of playing Angry Birds on my iPhone. Over the past few months, Angry Birds have been popping up everywhere — and on everything — from plush dolls to pajamas.

Now Angry Birds and Wonderful Pistachios have teamed up to take their relationship to a new level with the recent launch of The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio, the first fully branded Angry Birds game.

According to Mashable: “The game, which rolled out Thursday morning on, requires a Chrome browser and functions much like the standard Angry Birds games except that the birds are used to crack open pistachios as well as destroy pigs. Though Rovio partnered with 20th Century Fox for Angry Birds Rio in January, a Rovio rep says that in the case of Rio, characters from the movie were integrated into the game. In contrast, Golden Pistachio is the first game conceived from inception with the advertiser in mind. Users will also get the chance to win a total of $300,000 in prizes, which range from free pistachios and Angry Birds plush toys to $25,000 cash. Those prizes will be offered through Dec. 31.”

This is the second collaboration between Angry Birds and Wonderful Pistachios. The first collaboration between the two brands was featured in a September ad for Wonderful Pistachio’s “Get Crackin’” campaign (see video below).

Dec 1, 2011

Wonderful Pistachios leverages digital memes and trends to create marketing content

There’s a powerful feedback loop between traditional media and social media. These days, savvy marketers are tapping into social media memes and trends to create marketing content with a built-in audience and an automatic hook. The great thing about leveraging popular social content for mainstream marketing ads? It’s like leveraging the power of an inside joke – and millions of people are in on it.

Wonderful Pistachios is a strong example of a brand that leverages popular digital content to create marketing content for multiple channels. They’ve tapped into everything from Honey Badgers to Angry Birds to add new twists to their Get Crackin campaign.

After spotting a viral trend, the Wonderful team partners with the original content creators to develop Pistachio-themed marketing videos. The videos are then shared on YouTube and on TV. In addition to partnering with digital stars, Wonderful Pistachios has collaborated with traditional staples like Kermit the Frog and the Peanuts gang.

To check out the original Honey Badger video and the Wonderful Pistachios version, check out the videos below.

Nov 8, 2011

Google launches Google+ Business Pages

Google just introduced Google+ Your Business, a collection of tools and products that will help business owners and brands get closer to their customers. As part of this new suite of features, Google is finally launching Google+ Pages for businesses and brands. Google+ Pages will cater to all kinds of groups and organizations, including: local businesses, nonprofits, media properties, bands, and global brands.

How can brands use the new Google+ Pages?

  1. – Start face-to-face conversations with your audience using Hangouts
  2. – Segment your audience into Circles to share the right message with the right audience
  3. – Make it easier for people recommend you on Google Search and ads with the +1 button

As Google+ continues to evolve, there’s a strong chance that Pages will integrate with other Google properties (like Google Analytics and Google AdWords) to give you a more holistic way of tracking Web activity and conversions to better understand how your social media initiatives impact the bottom line.

A handful of Pages are already available. Check out the following Google+ Pages for inspiration, then head over to Google+ to create your own page:

Note: After the launch of Google+, I co-wrote an article about Google+ implications for brands. A lot of my predictions still seem to be right on track. Visit the Nurun corporate blog to check it out.

Nov 7, 2011

Facebook Timeline

In late September, Facebook announced major changes to the traditional profile. Soon (very soon) the revamped Facebook Timeline will roll out across the network and redefine the concept and scope of social profiles.

So what’s the big deal about Timeline?

Timeline will turn every profile into a visually immersive virtual scrapbook. It will better enable you to continually define, refine and update your life story as represented on Facebook. It will also allow you to highlight the content that matters most to you and celebrate your special moments, memories, and accomplishments by featuring status updates, wall posts, images, videos and more.

Facebook Timeline - Lauren Thomas

Timeline will also allow you to edit your profile all the way back through childhood to the day you were born. So those awkward pictures from middle school can stay where they belong – in the past. And the new Timeline is fun. I’ve been on Facebook for over 7 years now but the new design has me exploring — and thinking about — the social network in a new way.

Facebook Timeline - Lauren Thomas Born On...

What’s the big deal for brands?

The new Facebook updates place an emphasis on content, engagement and experiences. In order to stay relevant to Facebook users, and earn real estate on profiles, brands will have to offer content and experiences that resonate with people – or their content will be relegated to Timeline updates that are hidden from view or Ticker updates that fly by in the blink of an eye.

When the new Timeline features roll out to brand pages, it will dramatically change the look and feel of Facebook Pages by putting content front and center. Brands will have to find fresh new ways to engage by sharing and spotlighting great content and by leveraging the power of branded social apps.

Facebook also announced a slew of other changes. We’ll be seeing updates in everything from the news feed and Insights to an increase in the development of branded social apps.

There’s a good chance that the new Timeline will roll out across the network soon, so keep an eye out for those changes.

What do you think of the new Facebook? Are you looking forward to Timeline or dreading more changes?

Nov 4, 2011

Three steps to leveraging social timing

Last week Jay Baer and Argyle Social teamed up to present a great webinar about the science of timing and its impact on social media marketing performance. The webinar explored post volume (content published to Twitter or Facebook), timing, and engagement (clicks per post per follower). Check out the slideshow above for insights and best practices on social timing for B2B and B2C brands. Then take it to the next level to make social timing work for you.

How can you leverage social timing for your organization?

  1. Experiment and optimize. Use the scientific method to find the social timing that works best for your organization and your audience. Start with a hypothesis, design and execute an experiment and then analyze your results to develop a conclusion. In other words, create a hypothesis (or in plain English, make a guess). Do you suspect your audience might be more receptive to content on Sunday at 4pm? If so,that may be your hypothesis. Once you’re hypothesis is in place, create your experiment and do some A/B testing. They key here is only to change one variable at a time. So if you’re testing the 4pm time on the weekends, share content at the same time during the week (for at least 2 – 4 weeks) and gather enough data to prove (or disprove) your guess. Once you have your data, figure out what works best and use your new knowledge to optimize your timing.
  2. Use a link tracker. Tracking is a key part of analyzing and optimizing. You’ll definitely want to track the number of clicks you receive and where those clicks come from. Ideally you also want to gain an understanding of the user behaviors after the click to find out how your audience is engaging with the content you share and to improve the conversion rates of your social media marketing initiatives. To do this, look into creating campaign tracking codes to use in conjunction with your web analytics tool(s) and/or look into other tracking options or tools like Argyle Social.
  3. Leverage a third-party tool to schedule posts in advance. Scheduling (some of) your content to post in advance will save you time and energy. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want a basic scheduling tool and an Excel spreadsheet to help you plan updates and monitor results. If you have a larger budget, look into tools like Argyle Social, Buddy Mediaemailvision or Shoutlet to help you with creating and managing  social marketing campaigns.
Oct 31, 2011

Digital Atlanta 2011

Presenting at Digital Atlanta 2011

If you’re planning to be in Atlanta between November 7 – 11, mark your calendars for Digital Atlanta, an all-volunteer conference for people who use and appreciate social media, the digital universe, and consumer technology.

Attendees of the conference will get together at dozens of events all over town. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn from great speakers, meet new people, and have some fun. Best of all, it’s a great reason to sneak out of the office and explore Atlanta.

Last year this event was called Social Media Atlanta, and I had the opportunity to co-host #DigitiniATL and to guide a round-table discussion during Non-Profit Day. This year, I’ll be presenting at the Nonprofit Digital Strategy Forum. I’m thrilled to have Blake Canterbury (Founder and C.E.O. of BeRemedy) and Dantes Rameau (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Music Project) joining my discussion table.

BeRemedy uses  social media to connect those in need with those in their community who can help. The Atlanta Music Project, is a 5-day-a-week, after-school, youth orchestra and choir program targeting underserved communities in metropolitan Atlanta. Blake and Dantes have both used social media in innovative ways  to raise funds, build communities and create change. We’ll be sharing tips and tools for using social media for social good.

For more information about Digital Atlanta, visit the website and follow @DigitalATL on Twitter for regular updates. And be sure to grab your tickets!

Apr 27, 2011

Four things marketers and entertainment companies should know about GetGlue

Most of us are in the habit of telling friends (and strangers) about our favorite entertainment. Whether you’re telling friends about the music you love, the last movie you watched, the book you’re reading or the television show you tune into every week, media drives conversations. Now there’s a new way to share updates and information about the latest and greatest entertainment.

GetGlue, a leading social network for entertainment, gives users a new way to share interests online. Inc Magazine called GetGlue “the Foursquare of entertainment.” Instead of checking in to physical locations, GetGlue users check-in to entertainment, activities and ideas. Users can check-in to movies, television shows, books, music, sports, and even topics. GetGlue gives users a different way to share their activities and wear their interests like a badge (or, in this case, a sticker) of pride. Like Foursquare, GetGlue incorporates game mechanics to add an element of fun and encourage users to keep checking-in. Users get points and earn stickers for checking-in, leaving ratings, and sharing recommendations. GetGlue has partnered with 50 major entertainment companies (including HBO, Showtime, AMC, FOX, PBS, and Discovery Channel) to promote content and offer virtual incentives for check-ins. The network is growing quickly and reached the one million-user milestone earlier this month.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what GetGlue is and how it works, here are four things that marketers and media companies need to know about GetGlue.

  1. The power of GetGlue lies in the power of the social graph. Though GetGlue has around 1 million users, the network reaches 30 million people a day. In addition to creating conversations within the GetGlue community, GetGlue allows users to broadcast check-ins to other (more popular) social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The reach and influence of this extended network enable GetGlue users to drive conversations and generate awareness in other networks. For example, according to All Things D: “GetGlue users checked in 31,000 times around the Oscars, accounting for one-twelfth of all tweets mentioning Oscars during the first 30 minutes of the event.”
  2. Check-ins drive mentions. When syndicated to larger social networks, mass GetGlue check-ins can drive conversation and awareness. Entertainment companies are tapping in to this effect in the hopes of driving movie ticket sales and television tune-ins. Movie studios (like 20th Century Fox and Disney) are using GetGlue stickers to promote upcoming releases and to reward users who check in to new movies during opening week. Television networks (like CNN, Starz, and SyFy) are rewarding users who check in to live broadcasts or bestowing “fan” stickers upon users who check in to new shows. Many badges are available for a limited time to create a sense of exclusivity and drive demand.
  3. Check-in behavior provides consumption data. In addition to providing data about how many people check-in to entertainment, services like GetGlue also shed light on how and when people are consuming the media, be it live, online, on-demand, or on DVR. This allows entertainment companies to get another understanding of how many people are checking in during live broadcasts and how many are checking-in during time-shifted or on-demand viewing.
  4. GetGlue topics create an opportunity for brands to connect with consumers at the point of desire. GetGlue encourages users to check-in to topics. This provides another way for audiences to share what’s on their hearts and minds. For example, “Breakfast” often trends in the morning and “sleep” often trends at night. Topic check-ins create a great opportunity for brands and organizations to promote products or services when their offerings are most likely to be top-of-mind for the GetGlue community. For example, charity:water, a non-profit organization, created a GetGlue badge to spread awareness about the global water crisis. GetGlue users earned the badge by checking-in to the topic “Earth Day” on Earth Day 2011. The badge provided a clear call to action that encouraged users learn about the water crisis issue and get involved. By rewarding the badge to users who checked in to “Earth Day,” charity:water ensured that the message would be timely and relevant for the GetGlue audience. Topic check-ins provide countless opportunities to promote services and goods — from breakfast bars to beds — and, in doing so, create new opportunities for brands to connect audiences at the point of desire.

Have you used GetGlue for business or pleasure? If so, what was your experience? If not, what are your thoughts about location-based and entertainment-based social networks?

Being Human Get Glue Stickers

Apr 22, 2011

Backstage Pass: the magic of Macy’s meets the magic of mobile

Macy's Backstage Pass

The Macy’s Backstage Pass initiative leverages QR codes and SMS technology to deliver video content to shoppers’ mobile phones. Backstage Pass delivers 30-second videos that provide fashion tips, information on the latest trends, advice and inspiration. The campaign features tips and advice from Macy’s stars including Rachel Roy, Bobbi Brown, and Tommy Hilfiger. Shoppers can access the content online or on their mobile phones and the campaign gives shoppers a quick and easy way to access information and inspiration at the point of need. According to Martine Reardon, Macy’s EVP of Marketing:

“Macy’s new Backstage Pass is an exciting evolution that brings our stable of fashion experts and designers directly to the customer while they’re shopping in our store, through their hand-held mobile devices. By providing fun and informative video features via an easy-to-use, direct-to-consumer platform, we are connecting and engaging our customer in a personal way that enhances and adds a new element to their shopping experience.”

Macy’s is also sharing educational information (online and in-store) to help shoppers understand what the QR codes are and how to use them to access Backstage Pass content. As part of the educational effort, Macy’s sales associates are wearing Backstage Pass lanyards with instructions on how to use the codes in-store.

Accessing the content is as easy as 1, 2, 3. To get you own Backstage Pass at Macy’s, all you have to do is:

  1. Launch the QR reader app on your smart phone
  2. Scan any Macy’s Backstage Pass codes found in various departments throughout the store
  3. Allow the code to deliver video content to your phone

Shoppers can also access the video content via MMS (multimedia message) by texting Backstage Pass keywords to MACYS (62297).
To ensure a great customer experience for shoppers without smart phones, Backstage Pass in-store displays also direct shoppers to access the content online at

So how does Backstage Pass capitalize on five digital marketing trends and best practices?

Continue reading »

Mar 16, 2011

Twelve free QR code generators

Last week I shared an introduction to QR Codes.. If you’re ready to experiment with integrating QR codes into your marketing, here are 12 free QR Code generators to get you started.

  1. Adobe QR Code Generator
    Adobe offers free QR code generator software that enables you to create QR codes for URLs, phone numbers, or simple text.
  2. BE QRious
    BE QRious offers a QR Code generator that enables you to encode contact information, mobile websites, YouTube videos, social networks, or map coordinates. Registered users have the option to store codes in folders, manage and edit them. BE QRious also shares news about how QR Codes are being used in business and marketing.
  3. Create QR Code
    Create QR Code provides a quick and easy way to generate QR Codes using Google’s Chart API.
  4. will generate a QR code to share text, link to a URL, initiate a phone call, send an SMS, or share a vCard.
  5. i-nigma
    With i-nigma’s barcode creator, you can generate a QR Code or Data Matrix and encode either a link to a website, contact information, or a text message.
  6. Kaywa
    Kaywa generates QR codes to share URLs, text, phone numbers or SMS (text) messages. Kaywa QR Codes are intented for Non-Commercial Use Only.
    Morovia offers a basic QR Code generator that enables users to encode text. This online QR code generator is a free demo of the Morovia QR Code Fontware & Writer SDK 1.0.
    The code generator enables you to encode a range of information, including: website URLs, contact information, SMS, email messages, Google Maps locations, and more. This code generator also gives you the option to customize the color.
  9. QR Jump
    QR Jump generates codes that allow users to quickly and easily jump to a specified URL.
  10. Qurify
    Qurify offers a basic QR code generator to encode text or a website URL.
  11. ScanLife
    ScanLife offers free registration for either a business trial account or a personal account. The free personal account allows you to create QR codes to encode URLs, Twitter profiles, or contact information.
  12. ZXing
    The QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project encodes a range of information, including: contact information, text, SMS, URLs, calendar events, geo location, and Wi-Fi networks.