Posts Tagged ‘Online marketing’

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

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?