Marketing Student Views

Perspectives by GMU Internet Marketing Students


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Acquisition marketing

Blogger: James Clifton

Acquisition marketing is marketing to those who are not existing customers with the purpose of acquiring them as a new customer. An article both agrees and disagrees with this statement. Joanna Lord says “If you had asked me this question a few years ago I might have corrected you and called it ‘customer acquisition’ because that’s where the roots lie.” This is because it was all about acquiring customers and increasing their customer counts. Lord goes on to say that now a days it would no longer be considered “customer acquisition” but rather “acquisition marketing.” This is because it is more than just gaining customers it’s more about acquiring “traffic, engagement, leads, customers, attention, partners, and possibly even companies”(Lord).

What is Growth?

“Acquisition marketing, at its core, is simply driving growth. To be successful you must align your efforts with the growth goals of your company” (Lord). Lord then goes on to mention some points that present challenges.

  1. People like boundaries. People fear change and if you challenge their boundaries they don’t usually like it.
  2. Having too many goals can lead to very few gains.
  3. It’s hard to remain a specialist if you become a generalist.

-This can be interpreted in an example of a small accounting company. If there is a small accounting company that does an acquisition marketing campaign and acquires some clients to manage accounts for but also some clients that you decide you can do financial advising for and with consulting for. This can diminish your specialty of accounting and make you more of a general firm.

These are very relevant points to acquisition marketing. As a company you want to acquire a lot of different thing but you can’t have them all. If you try to gain too much you will spread yourself to thin and might not be able to keep up. For example if you are a small company and you keep acquiring new customers, if you acquire too quickly, your ability to do each project the best that you can might suffer.

Internet Acquisition Marketing

One of the best ways of doing acquisition marketing according to Regali(x) Solutions is through internet marketing. “The obvious goal of an internet marketing campaign is lead generation converting to customer acquisition and retention” (Regalix solutions). This basically means that you have to turn leads into customers. Some of the ways to improve your customer acquisition online is to know the demographics of the visitor. You have to be able to recognize who your prospective leads are and then finish the sale to those leads. “Calculating the number of leads that need to get directed to the website or landing page to make a sale come through would effectively allow you to direct the volume of web traffic methodically through proper use of various internet marketing tools. Furthermore, if too many leads are backing out then it is time to pitch the marketing strategy in a different manner, either by making the deal more attractive or by reworking on the technical issues, if any”( Regalix solutions). The last point is a crucial step that can help you determine the effectiveness of your website. Using the skills we learned in class a company might have to reevaluate their site if their lead numbers and sales generated from it are too far apart.

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Rethinking Acquisition Marketing

Blogger: Christina Chao

Getting a consumer’s attention is one of the most difficult aspects of marketing. In this day and age, consumers are so glued to their laptops and phones and tablets that they hardly take the time to look at the world around them. People are now able to take their friends, books, and music with them wherever they go. This means they no longer need to stare at that poster on the subway or listen to that advertisement on the radio in order to pass the time. The technological advances we have made created a new barrier for marketers… But it has also created a new channel of communication for marketers.

In an attempt to keep up with these technological advances and the change in consumer behavior, companies have attempted to unify their marketing attempts across various technological platforms. In The Truth About Tracking Consumers Across Devices, Joshua Koran discusses the advantages and disadvantages of marketing to consumers across both mobile and desktop devices. On one hand, while increasing frequency of your message is important, receptivity to advertisements changes from device to device. Attempting to follow a consumer may cost more time and money than it brings in. In addition, it may actually be limiting the target audience too much. Acquisition marketing is marketing to consumers that do not necessarily have a relationship with the company. Therefore, tracking actions across devices is not necessary. Koran suggests that cross-tracking consumers is better for retention marketing. Instead, marketing across various devices should take the form of channel-specific marketing, in which techniques are tailored to the specific device the advertisement will be viewed on.

Perhaps the fastest growing channel through which to market is the revolution smartphone or mobile device. Consumers use their phone for everything nowadays, from socializing to working to checking the weather. So how do we get them to stop what they are doing and look at your advertisement? According to Avinash Kaushik’s article, Mobile Marketing 2015: Rethink Customer Acquisition, Intent Targeting, the key to is to “rethink acquisition” and “shift from being an interruption to becoming a persistent part of someone’s life.” Kaushik suggests providing value in an immersive brand experience and gives the example of Skullcandy’s mobile app. While Skullcandy makes headphones, its mobile app does not push its users to buy headphones. Instead, it provides information about activities during which one would wear headphones. It delivers an invaluable experience for the app user, while collecting information and learning about its potential customer. A customer who was initially looking for information about surfing learned about a new brand of headphones. And everyday that the client looks at the Skullcandy app icon, the customer is reminded of Skullcandy headphones. He or she may tell his or her friends about the app and the cycle repeats itself. Though the app is seemingly unrelated to Skullcandy’s product, the company has managed to get their name out there. As a result, Skullcandy acquires a new customer and becomes an everyday necessity in the consumer’s life.

As technology has evolved, so has consumer behavior and the art of acquisition marketing. Getting a consumer’s interest is more difficult than ever. The key is to understand your target audience and the various marketing channels they use. It is learning what they find valuable and delivering it in a way that they can no longer go about their day without it. It is at that point you have gained a new customer and you can move on to the retention marketing stages.


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The importance of integrated marketing efforts

Blogger: Carmina Cruz

Integration is vital for thorough and successful marketing communication within a company. It is a concept that brings all aspects of marketing communication such as advertizing, direct marketing, sales promotion and public relations together to work as a unified cohort. According to the article, “Importance of Integrated Marketing,” integrated marketing brings together all elements of a marketing plan, from newspaper ads to online ads to TV commercials. The article states that one kind of advertisement is not enough to draw in customers. Utilizing multiple marketing channels will catch the customers attention more effectively and will encourage a purchase. The article also states that “integrating all your marketing efforts, it allows for [you] to have consistent messaging across all marketing channels.” If a company does not have a consistent message throughout their marketing channels, their customers will get confused and frustrated. For example, when a customer sees an upcoming sale through traditional media such as sale ads on the newspaper and wants to browse on the company website, but the sale was not announced online, the customer will be confused as to whether the sale is in store only or if there is even a sale at all.

At this day and age, the world continues to use and rely on technology for information- which is why companies must utilize this opportunity try to steer their marketing strategies towards a digital perspective. According to the article written by Fiona Severson, “Integrated Digital Marketing: The Basics,” digital marketing is an evolution in marketing and requires businesses to “synergize their marketing efforts across various media in real-time.” She also discussed a few elements that go into the integrated digital marketing process such as implementing responsive web design so that consumers can access the company website from whatever device they are using. Another element she included was online engagement. A company should use different functions of social media such as taking feedback and asking questions to “diversify the way [you] interact with consumers.”

Companies must break down the silos within marketing communications in order to work effectively and efficiently. They cannot act quickly or make productive decisions, which are essential in marketing. The article written by Lee Odden, “Integrating Digital Marketing & PR – Breaking Down Silos Through Content,” gives an example of integrating digital marketing and public relations through content. Content is the foundation for effective digital marketing and public relations. Public relations drive an extensive amount of content creation from developing messaging strategy to solid content for newsrooms. For digital marketing, content plays an instrumental role in the marketer’s tasks of creating and developing leads and many other marketing objectives. As content is a major factor for both, there are many common ground opportunities for digital marketing and public relations, such as messaging and story, content planning, content placement and optimizing message based on marketing performance data.

Integrated marketing is important in this technologically driven world as it joins each marketing channels together to work cohesively, allowing a company to reach their customers more inventively.


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The importance of an integrated marketing communication plan

Blogger: Scott Bangert

An IMC plan (Integrated Marketing Communication) is essential to any company, especially medium or small sized firms trying to reach their customers. The blogpost, Integrated Marketing Communications: Why Is It So Important? by Renzie, points out the importance of an IMC plan and makes a solid point on why all firms, or if not most, should create and implement an IMC plan. Renzie has five big reasons why an IMC plan is important.

  1. There are more contact points for customers.
  2. There is more specialized media (digital).
  3. The customers are king.
  4. Marketing is now more data-based (digital).
  5. There is more widespread Internet usage.

 

In today’s digital age of technology and how fast the average human processes thoughts, companies need to be able to connect with all their customers through a variety of media and not just stick to the old way of conducting marketing. The biggest aspect is digitally using all available media without breaking the budget.

The second article, Building an Integrated Marketing Plan, by Chief Marketer Staff was very informative about how companies can create an IMC plan and why they need to. The old way of mass communication, i.e. radio, TV, and newspaper, are more costly to use individually and can defeat the purpose of a company’s brand and message by construing it through these mass media outlets. The Chief Marketer Staff asks three very important questions, clarifying the three stages of an IMC plan and how to define the brand for a company’s product.

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you sell?
  3. Why does it matter?

 

These three questions help a company look inside themselves and create an image and brand name for their product or service. This article concludes with three stages of an IMC plan for existing customers:

  1. Simple Segmentation
  2. Advance Segmentation
  3. Marketing Mix Model

 

Answering these three questions, and then defining your brand and purpose and crafting your IMC plan through the three steps mentioned will help any company move more relevant information tailored specifically to existing customers  across all the variations of digital media. The last article, The Importance of Implementing an Integrated Marketing Plan for Your Small Business, by Michael Brito, talks about the importance of an IMC plan and provides examples of how large companies are effectively using their own IMC plan. One of Michael’s two examples is HP (PC Computer Company) and how they allow their customers to personalize their computer during purchase. Michael shows that HP really personalizes the experience of buying a computer by having real people in TV ads and communicating with customers on a personal level. This is how to effectively utilize the digital age by using peoples personal experience and sharing them to the public reaching out to potential customers on a personal level.

Why should anyone buy a product or pay for a service if the company providing them doesn’t believe it’s special or useful? An IMC plan will benefit any company in the digital age of technology. Take time to create one, define the brand, the image and reach your customers.


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The time has come for integrated digital marketing

Blogger: Josue Camsmith

2013: The Year of Integrated Marketing, an article by Chris Horton, describes how the integration of the Internet, social Media, and mobile technologies into daily life has helped shift the power away from producers to the consumers. In order for brands to stay competitive, they have to find a new approach to consumer engagement. They need an integrated digital marketing strategy. This is an approach to inform, persuade, and remind customers about the products and brands by using every element of mass and personal marketing communication. Today’s consumers expect personalization with flawless online user experiences and they want content that informs, entertains, and adds value to their lives. If a company wants to utilize integrated digital marketing then they must be patient. A Businessweek article titled Integrated Marketing: If You Knew It, You’d Do It explains that it takes time for an integrated branding plan to take effect. According to the article the average advertising campaign last about 2.3 years and the companies who are able to maintain healthy growth during that time tend to have campaigns that are more effective. Where as those that struggle to maintain growth tend to change their strategies more often.

Fiona Severson in her article Integrated Digital Marketing: The Basics explains that integrated digital marketing is no longer just a trend, “but rather it is an evolution in marketing.” In order to be successful in today’s “techonomy”, businesses need to incorporate refined marketing strategies. They have to be able to combine their marketing efforts across a variety of media platforms in real time in a consistent manner. Severson states, “Just like everyone else who is ever-present on the Internet, brands are too. Rather than just creating a presence, brands must be a presence.”

It seems what most of these articles have in common is the underlying message that the companies must work hard to maintain their brand; they have to find ways to be consistent in all layers of their business to better provide for the customer. Not only must they provide a product or service that the customer wants but they must also have a web and social media presence, and in an increasing, number of cases a mobile presence as well. Severson in her article also mentions that if you do not incorporate integrated digital marketing then your brand will begin to die out. The brands that prove to be capable will win consumers through awareness. In the Businessweek article, they mentioned how integration is much more than using the same tagline or forcing a message to the customer. Rather, “it requires a powerful, unifying strategy and compelling voice for your brand while having the discipline to lay the strategy throughout all aspects of the organization.”

An effective integrated marketing strategy is what helps makes business competitive in today’s “techonomy”. Not only will it give your brand consistency and value but it will give customers a deeper connection and familiarity to your brand as well, and lead to a better bottom line. Basically, you must form significant associations with the customers who value your brand the most. They are after all the most important and matter the most.


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Web Usability

Blogger: Samir Amroun

There are approximately 739,032,236 websites. According to Jakob Nielsen, a PhD in Interactions Humans/Resources, internet users tend to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit.

As Marketers we should be asking ourselves several questions:

  1. Why would anyone care about what’s on our website?
  2. If he cares why would he spend his time on our website?
  3. How can we facilitate the customer’s access with the desired information?

 

Since the users only read a few words on an average visit, it’s only common sense to say that we should keep the content as concise as possible. Jakob Nielsen’s study claims “that a 58% increase in usability can be achieved simply by cutting roughly half the words on the webpages being studied.”

What do we cut? How do we provide our information?

GOLDEN CIRCLE

Simon Sinek provides some good insight. Every company on Earth is able to explain what they are doing or how they are doing it. But only a very few companies are able to explain WHY they are doing business. According to Simon Sinek this makes all the difference. To him, succesful companies follow the Golden Circle: rules and start their communication by why to end up explaining what they do.

The reason is that people might doubt and argue about the “how” and “what” you’re doing. But it will be harder for them to question your motive if you express it well. It’s also easier for them to make your motives their own.

A concrete example is worth a 1000 words, so I’ll now focus on one of the many website trends, and you’ll see there how a good company works to market its company and its project.

WEBSITE TREND

To illustrate the previous article, here’s Project Loon. It’s project that goes straight to the point with a small video explaining why Google is going for this project and then explains very briefly “what” and “how” they will do it.

WHAT: The content is clear and goes straight to the point. It is then followed by more information about the project.

“What is Project Loon?

May of us think of the Internet as a global community. But two-thirds of the worlds population does not yet have Internet access. Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.” 

HOW: Jacob Nielsen’s study conclude that “users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to ‘jazz up’ web pages.”

For this reason a lot of new design trends rely on the extensive use of visuals such as drawing, pictures and video.

Let’s look at the “how” part of Google’s Project Loon. They don’t overwhelm the user with too much information. They explain briefly and also use very good visuals to give a clear idea of what the text is talking about.

“The Technology

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth.

Learn More.

Then they include a hyperlink to “learn more” if the user wants more information.  Going into detail is important, but not more important than leaving the choice. Some users only want a general idea while some others would want to go more in depth.

Let’s summarize: To gather people around your website, you should emphasize the WHY. You can get them to believe in what you believe and have them lock on. In addition:

  • Keep content as concise as possible
  • Use heading to break up long articles
  • Make hyperlinked text user-friendly
  • Use visuals strategically
  • Use bulleted lists, text formatting, and sufficient spacing


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Satisfying your customers through web design

Blogger: Melody Akins

A Simpler Way Forward for Web Design article by Ogilvy and Mather, describes how accessing the web is now easier than ever.  Capturing what the customer actually wants in a product is becoming more difficult, so it is important to give customers exactly what they want.  According to the recent Forbes article, “5 Common Website Mistakes That Are Driving Your Customers Away”, a common website mistake is overwhelming customers instead of giving them what they need. The article stated, “Instead of packing your website with the 20 different reasons to try your product, focus on three big benefits that you can deliver”.  Based on the two articles, cutting back on unnecessary features is the key to keeping customers happy.

Jennifer Schiff, in her CIO article 13 Simple Tips for Improving Your Web Design states, “The reality is that the majority of visits for most sites begin on a page that is not the home page. Therefore, you need to design the site in such a way that whatever page a visitor lands on, key information is there”.

Design is one of the main factors for having a successful website.  Some important factors mentioned by Ogilvy and Mather, is the screen sizes for a laptop, tablet, etc, having an easy to use navigation scheme and making sure your product has an appealing appearance or feel will attract more customers.  Another thing that was mentioned in the article is that retina-level resolution, wide display and vector-based designed packages (Adobe Illustrator or Firework) should be included in a website. According to Schiff article, “HTML5 is gaining more support on the Web, with search-engine friendly text and the ability to function on many of the popular mobile operating systems without requiring a plug-in. The same can’t be said for Flash.”  Schiff states that it is important to consider not just having a vector-based design package, but which is the BEST one to choose for your website and audience. Customers are focusing their attention faster, more user-friendly packages such as HTML5.

Ogilvy and Mather also mentioned in the article how important typography is when designing a website.  This also relates to the design because having an appealing font will help make the product user-friendlier.  According to Schiff,Choose fonts that are easy to read across devices and browsers. When choosing fonts, keep in mind that people will be looking at your website not just on a laptop but on mobile devices. Some large-scaled fonts may read well on [a computer monitor], but not scale or render well on mobile, losing the desired look and feel.”  Schiff also states how important it is to use a font that is “universal” so the fonts will appeal to a large audience.  Overall, taking advantage of certain approaches and features for your website will help appeal to your customers.