By Ben Lies, MBA Class of 2012

American express has just launched a brand new program that they refer to as Sync, Tweet, Save. The way this program works is you sync your eligible American Express card to your twitter account, then tweet any specials that come across your twitter feed from American Express, partner retailers, or even friends, that have #Amex prefix in them and the special will automatically be loaded to your card and show up on your statement as a credit. (Check out the video below or visit the Sync American Express website for more details and to sign up.)

This really is an incredibly innovative and effective use of social media. By requiring that their customers tweet the special in order to obtain the discount American Express is getting exposure to an extended network of people that they may never have reached using traditional methods. According to Mediabistro in the first 48 hours of this program there were over 2000 tweets. This demonstrates the viral nature of this type of promotional program. As more and more people sign up and start tweeting the reach will grow exponentially with very little effort by American Express.

The other major benefactors of this program will be the partners of the program that include Best Buy, Dell, FedEx, H&M, McDonalds, TicketMaster, and Whole Foods. Anytime one of these businesses wants to announce a special they can just tweet it through this program and it will instantly reach thousands of people with very little effort. This program not only benefits American Express and the partner businesses but  the customers themselves also see a benefit in the form of discounts and convenience.  No longer do people have to clip or print out coupons or even show a digital coupon through their smart phones. All they have to do is Tweet. This really is a win-win for all parties that are involved.

This type of promotional program really shows how online and offline marketing and commerce are merging. As technology continues to improve and businesses come up with innovative new uses for social media and other technologies the lines between online and offline will continue to blur and we will inevitably we will drop the distinction between e-marketing and marketing.

Discussion Questions:

What do you think about losing the E from E-Marketing? Is it really inevitable? Are we becoming so integrated with technology that the line is no longer distinguishable?

Although not specifically addressed in this post the mobile web and mobile phones are no doubt an integral part of this program. Do you think that a program like this could survive without the use of a mobile platform? Would people be as likely to tweet if they had to do it from a laptop or PC?

Are there any other forms of media out there that would be as efficient as twitter is with this type of program? Why or why not?

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By Ben Lies, MBA Class of 2012

Last year, K-Swiss introduced a new advertising campaign that is, well, unorthodox to say the least. The shoe company has completely distanced itself from political correctness and a focus on spokesperson “role models.” Instead, the company enlisted the egocentric, foul-mouthed, bad boy, fictional character and star of the HBO series Eastbound and Down, Kenny Powers (played by Danny Mcbride) to be the face of the campaign and of K Swiss shoes.

In the debut of this campaign, the crude yet magnetic Kenny Powers was simply a spokesperson appearing alongside real K-Swiss Athletes to promote the brand. The brashness of this campaign is overwhelmingly evident right from the start. In the first video, Powers is in a meeting with K-Swiss Executives complaining about an underwhelming encounter he had with a transgendered prostitute. Although some may consider this campaign to be distasteful and crude, the success it experienced speaks for itself. Some of the campaign’s stats are listed below:

  • The videos have received millions of views online, including one million on FunnyorDie alone
  • Resulted in a 1256% increase in Facebook fans
  • Landed K-Swiss atop the “biggest buzz” list in the industry trade Footwear News
  • K-Swiss reported a 250% increase in online sales after the campaign was launched

Because of the campaigns success, Fastcocreate and countless other marketing blog outlets have covered the story.

The incredible success of the debut campaign spawned a second campaign that is just as raunchy as the first, but instead of just a spokesperson Kenny Powers is now portrayed as the MFCEO. For those of you who may not be familiar with the famed Kenny Powers take a look at the video and you will become quickly aware of what the MF stands for.

This video instantly went viral. According to Viral Blog, the spot experienced 500,000 views in its first 10 days. The real genius behind this campaign is not only the viral video, but the fact that it is a completely integrated campaign featuring clips, print, a microsite, billboards, social media, mobile, and events. (see campaign creative agency 72andSunny for details and examples).

The website, social media, and mobile advertising are built to engage customers, and not just merely expose them to the ads. The platforms feature soundboards, ringtones, videos, sweepstakes, and of course instant ability to purchase the shoes online. Apart from being a fully integrated campaign, it also was used as a three way co-branding vehicle to promote not only K-Swiss but also Eastbound and Down and Danny Mcbride – an up and coming actor who started his own production company, Rough House Pictures.

These two online campaigns featuring Kenny Powers have been so overwhelmingly successful that, according to sharethrough.com, K-Swiss is launching a third campaign to coincide with the third and final season of Eastbound and Down. I guess all we can do is sit back and wait to see what kind of antics the MFCEO of K-Swiss embarks on next.

Questions for Discussion

Interactive customer engagement is becoming more and more important as our web browsers, and lives, get filled with an increasing amount of clutter and distractions. Do you think that the amount of customer engagement this campaign offers is enough? Do you think they could do more? if so what?

As branding goes K-Swiss may be taking a risk using a spokesperson like Kenny Powers. How do you think this campaign will affect the brand’s image in the eyes of its customers? Will it be positive or negative in the long term? Do you feel this may be a re-branding attempt? Why?

This campaign has attempted to utilize mobile platforms to reach its customers. Do you think that mobile advertising is appropriate for this type of campaign? Because it is a primarily video-based campaign, do you think mobile use will create frustration amongst the audience?  Is there a platform that would be more appropriate? why? (Visit 72andsunny for an example of the mobile platform advertising)

By Lindsey Dietz, MBA Class of 2012

In week nine, we are required to turn in a short paper examining a unique and innovative digital media campaign. In order to help us get thinking about this I wanted to introduce one of my favorite viral campaigns. This is an oldie but goodie!

Burger King (BK) decided to market their TenderCrisp chicken sandwich since they were commonly known primarily as a burger supplier and wanted to increase market share. BK hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky to help them develop a marketing campaign to increase awareness and sales. The campaign idea was to expand their slogan “Have it Your Way” to include chicken. Historically people associated the slogan with having a burger your way. The campaign was designed to make customers aware that you can also have chicken your way. From this rational the subservient chicken campaign was born.

In April 2004, the campaign went viral with the launch of the subservient chicken website. The website predominately features a video screen with a man dressed in a chicken suite standing in the center of a living room. At the bottom of the screen is a field for text and a submit button. There are prerecorded videos of nearly 400 different commands that the user can ask the chicken to perform. If you type, unusual or unethical command the chicken will approach the camera and shake his finger “no” at you.

I encourage everyone to spend some time experiencing this groundbreaking work at http://www.subservientchicken.com/pre_bk_skinned.swf

We have discussed objectives in class regarding campaign success and the metrics used to evaluate e-marketing. Below are some of the reported results of the online campaign.

Statistics from an e-marketing case study show:

  • First day of release the site received one million hits
  • First week the site received 20 million hits
  • March of 2005 the site had received 14 million unique visitors (less than one year after launch).
  • March of 2005 the site it received 396 million total hits
  • Average time spent viewing the site is estimated at 6-7 minuets

The site and online strategy appear to be a wild success with countless creative awards and amazing online activity. Success from online viral campaigns have to translate into business success and tie directly into business goals and objectives. The questions that the business executives at Burger King really wanted answered are: Did the online success translate into increased awareness of the TenderCrisp sandwich? Did it create increased sales? Did the campaign increase market share? The online metrics can be successful without meeting the goals and objectives of the organization as a whole.

Sales statistics from 2004-2007: Info from http://www.viralblog.com/viral-cases/subservient-chicken/

  • One month after launch BK reported sales increased an average of 9% a week for the Tender Crisp.
  • BK reported ‘double-digit’ awareness growth of the TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich by 2007. (Site was not taken down)
  • BK reported a substantial increase chicken sandwich sales.
  • BK reported the TenderCrisp did sell better than the Original Chicken Sandwich.

The cutting-edge creative and lightly branded campaign were a success based on the online metrics. In addition, the online success appears to have met the objectives of the strategy to increase sales, awareness and market share. The campaign was successful despite some critics claiming the BK brand was not identifiable enough. Many awards were received for the creative and success of this e-marketing campaign and it will likely go down in history as one of the most successful early viral campaigns.

What do you think?

Does the creative deserve this notoriety?

Do you think the branding was visible enough to drive BK sales?

What are your impressions of viral marketing as a tactic for e-marketers?

By Lindsey Dietz, MBA Class of 2012

Cambodia has a strong tourism industry despite its troubles past. A temple complex outside of the city of Siem Reap is a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site. Angkor Archaeological Park stretches over 248 square miles. UNESCO claims the area is “one of the most important archaeological sites inSouth-East Asia.” The area contains ruins and temples from the Khmer empire dating from the 9th to 15th century. Some of the notable temples include Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm.

Ankgor Wat

Ta Prohm

The presence of these temples has created a renewed interest in the region and a vibrant tourism industry. The influx of tourists has created an array of new businesses opportunities including restaurants, hotels, handcrafts, transpiration and guide services. Locals in Siem Reap can complete a four-year tourist degree and certifications to become guides. The question becomes how to reach international audiences as an independent local guide.

The cost of internet in Cambodia is high and the prices for website development are extravagant. One of the students in my marketing class in Cambodia spent $6,000 on a basic website with few design elements. This may not seem that high but when you consider that nearly 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day it is outrageous. Only the wealthiest citizens can afford to develop a website. The costs are high because the market for web design is so low. Few people have the expertise to develop websites and they command a significant premium. However, the need for locals to reach out to the world is increasing with tourism despite the financial restraints. Economic constraints is one of the elements adding to the digital divide in Cambodia that I discussed in my previous blog. In addition the global nature of the tourism industry requires locals to access their customers. The customers for most Cambodian tour companies are online.

I was a tourist for a week while I was in Cambodia. I spent my days touring ruins and pretending to be Laura Croft from Tomb Raider. Yes, I looked ridiculous but it felt great to use my imagination to become a well armed and beautiful explorer. My travel plans were developed by a friend so I didn’t actually do the due diligance of finding a guide service on my own. However, I would have use a google browser to search one out. I was lucky enough to have been set up with a guide through word of mouth. A friend of a friend had recommended someone for me.

My guide in Siem Reap, named Darith Touch, understands the significance of a web presence and saved enough money to have his own website developed. His web address is http://www.smiles-of-angkor.com/. Strange thing is, I didn’t know about his website until I was already in Cambodia on a tour with him. This defeats the purpose of his site in my opinion but Darith is ahead of the game with a website as most guides work through a larger service or hotel recommendations. Darith is at a disadvantage because he is not backed by a larger organization and is competing with some wealthy established players.

Darith Touch, Tour Guide

Darith is a fantastic guide that wants to increase his clients (sales). His website is a way for him to do this. Darith has no educational background in web design and has had no knowledge of analytics, search engine optimization or even search preferences of international clients looking for a guide service or planning a trip to Cambodia. He has never had the opportunity to take an e-marketing class as we are doing now.

I would like to help Darith with a website evaluation, suggestions and perhaps insight into an e-marketing plan. Darith is a fantastic local English-speaking guide that is competing against large international organizations for business with no budget. Our expertise are invaluable to him. Please help me by providing feedback on his website and suggestions on how to increase web traffic. We have a great opportunity to put our knowledge to work.

What design elements on Darith’s website are positive? What may need to change?

What are some examples of objectives for Darith’s e-marketing?

What should his e-marketing strategy be?

 

By Lindsey Dietz, MBA Class of 2012

I recently traveled to Cambodia as part of my final capstone project for Portland State University’s MBA program. I was responsible for developing and delivering marketing curriculum for a group of social entrepreneurs from five different countries. The difficulty of this project was creating curriculum that could be applicable across multiple geographies, cultures and economic situations. This was compounded by the fact that each student had a different style of learning and educational background. You can learn more about my work and the reason for the trip here http://impactentrepreneurs.wordpress.com/author/lindseydietz/

Lindsey Dietz and Class in Cambodia

I missed two weeks of our e-marketing class on this wonderful adventure including the discussion that covered chapter four of our book. The topics covered that week included global markets, the digital divide and emerging economies. The chapter highlighted Cambodia a few times. In order to understand Cambodia’s current developmental state it is important to know a little more about the history, specifically the last 40 years. Please note that this is unpleasant to read.

History: In 1975, the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), commonly known as Khmer Rouge overthrew the Cambodian government and established control. At the time, most citizens didn’t even know the regime change took place. The Khmer Rouge held radical beliefs and wanted to transition the country into a rural, classless society in order to the end economic disparity and exploitation. In order to meet these goals they evacuated the cities and moved nearly two million people in to the countryside to begin farming and manual labor. Most people were taken without anything but the clothes on their back. Many people starved and died during the forced labor.

In order to establish a classless society the new government banned schooling, privet property, money, religion, free markets and anything that differentiated individuals. Public and private transpiration was abolished and all non-revolutionary entertainment was forbidden. Schools, government buildings and religious sights were turned into prisons, death camps or stables. Anyone that didn’t comply was considered a traitor and sent to one of the prisons where torture and death was often a result. About 300 mass graves are scattered around Cambodia where the government executed traitors. These areas called the “killing fields” are a reminder of the not so distant past.

Skulls from the Cambodian Killing Field

From 1975 to 1979 when the Khmer Rouge party was overthrown nearly 30% of Cambodia’s population died from disease, starvation and the government. This is roughly between two and three million people. The surviving population was plagued by mental illness and severe post traumatic stress. In addition, the country was left with millions of mines that had been scattered by the Khmer Rouge party, and remnants from the war between Vietnamand the US. The rebuilding efforts will take generations. To learn more about the history and genocide trial for remaining Khmer Rouge party members please visit http://www.cambodiatribunal.org/history/khmer-rouge-history

Today: Some important statistics for digital marketing in Cambodia from the CIA World Factbook:

  • Roughly 73% of the population is literate (2009)
  • 358,800 telephone landlines. This is partially due to the danger of unearthing land mines.
  • Cell phone use is about 8.1 million (roughly 60% of population in 2010) and growing. Cellular technology has allowed Cambodia to leapfrog technologies bypassing landlines.
  • 5,452 internet hosts (2010)
  • 78,500 Internet users (2009).  Less than 1% of the population but growing due to cell phone use.

The history of the country plays a significant role in digital development. The impact of the Khmer Rouge regime significantly impaired the economic, educational and digital progress of the nation. Expats and international organizations from around the world have moved into Cambodia to help reestablish schools and facilities. Despite internet being available in the cities, most citizens don’t have enough education or money to use the services.

The digital divide is pronounced in Cambodia. I sat at a restaurant in Phnom filled with international aid workers from developed nations. Most of these expats were typing away on their laptops. When I looked out the window at the river, I could see anglers from a local village that use substance farming and money from the fish to survive. The economic division and digital divide is visible everywhere.

Traditional fishing in industrialized area

Traditional Fishing in an Industrialized Area

One of the organizations helping to close the gap is aptly the named Digital Divide Data (DDD). I was actually at the DDD office during my week of teaching. The organization aims to provide education and IT knowledge to talented disadvantaged youth in developing nations. They currently have facilities in Cambodia, Laos and Kenya. DDD is a social enterprise business that provides business process outsourcing (BPO) such as digitization services to local and international clients. They are a social enterprise because of the recruiting and hiring practices. DDD provides money for higher education to their beneficiaries while employing them to do digital services. DDD is one of the only IT services organizations in Cambodia and is successfully training a new generation of digital users.

Inside DDD

How important do you think education is in the development of digital services?

Have you had any experiences with the digital divide at home or abroad? What were they?

What do you think of DDD’s efforts? 

By Lindsey Dietz, MBA Class of 2012

SMW is an emerging trade show in its third year that takes place in 21 cities across the globe. The purpose is to discuss and share emerging trends in the ever-changing landscape of social media. The discussion spans across diverse industries, technology platforms, cultural and geographical areas.  This year, the overarching topic is the global impact of social media and how it drives social, political, economic and even cultural change. SMW is owned and operated by a New York based strategy firm called Crowdcentric Media LLC.

Social Media Week

Nicky Yates of Crowdcentric Media wrote the introductory post to kick off SMW12. The post – which can be found on the global blog alongside daily updates from SMW12 – informs interested readers on ways they can follow and engage in the discussions taking place at SMW12. Attendees and fans can engage in the following “social” activities, to provide and receive real-time updates during the event.

  1. SMW RealTime: A data aggregation dashboard that gives up to date tracking and trending information regarding the show.
  2. Twitter: Individuals interested in the show can follow and interact on Twitter. To make it a little more interesting, each SMW host city has its own twitter handle. They are competing for attention and engagement. You can get involved!
  3. Social Media Week Live: Live streams of the content being offered at the shows from different cities.
  4. Social Media Week Blogs: There is the global blog located on the main SMW website and city specific blogs written by college students and editorial staff.
  5. SMW Mobile App: The app is available in six languages and makes it easier to engage while on the move.

Social media are tools for customer engagement. In our e-marketing class we drilled down to define engagement and how it differs from conversion. Engagement uses interactions and relationships, which are qualitative, pull strategies. Social Media Week is all about engagement and metrics. Crowdcentric Media is focused on engagement for SMW12, and is likely measuring successes based on the level of engagement created.

What metrics are they likely using to measure engagement?

Which of the five following activities described in the blog are engagement tactics? Why do you think so?

Based on the dashboard information provided with SMW Real Time do you think they are successful at generating engagement?

One of the videos created for SMW12 is “Future Hipsters.” This is a funny video depicting a group of social media gurus in 2062 reminiscing about the good old days. Check it out for a laugh:

The End of Free Advertising on Facebook?

Posted: February 8, 2012 by mtfliang in Uncategorized

By Michael Liang, MBA Class of 2012

After Facebook filed for its IPO last week, online media advertisers and marketing pundits shifted their focus on Facebook metrics such as enormous user growth and user size, to advertising sales – a more useful metric for measuring value. It wasn’t until last year that Facebook began to charge customers for advertising and turn their ads into a revenue generator. For several years, advertisers were able to set up fan pages for free, where consumers could “like” or “subscribe” to companies or products they wanted to support or follow.

A Gordmans Store

An example given in the article follows Gordmans Inc., a Nebraska-based retailer that started a free page to engage with their customers online. As Facebook added more features and components to its site in 2011, Gordmans’ page content started to fade out of most “newsfeeds,” as Facebook users shared more content with each other. Gordmans’ media manager, Veronica Stecker, said she was rarely seeing posts from Gordmans in her own newsfeed. Stecker decided that she would move Gordmans from providing an “information-only” platform to building more interactive communication tools. She decided to start buying Sponsored Stories – introduced by Facebook last year – a move which generated a substantial increase in click rates. An unpaid story typically generated between 16,000 to 18,000 clicks, whereas Gordmans’ latest sponsored story generated 118,000 clicks.

Example of a Sponsored Ad, which they must have paid a premium for because I reloaded Facebook 10 times and that ad was at the top every single time.

Currently, Facebook offers different levels of advertising, ranging from less expensive banner ads to more expensive Sponsored Stories with premium placement, Most of the $3.71 billion in revenues that Facebook generated last year was attributable to advertising revenue.

Questions for class discussion:

–       Do you think Facebook’s change to its advertising offerings will cause an advertising bidding war between companies vying for premium ad space, where the big players will once again drown out the smaller ones? Why?

–       If you were in charge of marketing for your company, would you advertise on Facebook? Would you pay extra for banner ads or Sponsored Stories?

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970204662204577199460106172008-lMyQjAxMTAyMDAwMjEwNDIyWj.html