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Seven Questions Kiwi Marketers Must Ask Themselves


23 November 2012


The Seven Questions Kiwi Marketers Must Ask Themselves As They Prepare To Do Business In 2013

Q1. Is your business Mobile-ready?

For the last several years, we've been told each year that "next year is the year of the mobile". Still waiting. That claim has amassed as much credibility as the boy who ran the Wolf viral campaign.

Still -- we should point out that a paradigm just shifted, a tipping point has been reached, a cliché has been sacrificed on the altar of obviousness. According to Statistics New Zealand (October 2012), more than half of New Zealanders are now accessing the Internet via a mobile phone.

Does a smartphone-equipped community matter? What are the implications for Kiwi businesses?

• 71% of Kiwi smartphone users use their phones to send or receive emails (Source: Google/Ipsos OTA MediaCT study May 2012 "Our Mobile Planet:New Zealand"). And smartphones in preview mode show only a limited amount of information from your emails. So if your "From" address and the first 25 characters of your Subject line don't make the recipient want to open your email, sayonara to your marketing message for at least a third of your prospective audience.

• 66% have researched a product or service on their smartphone. If your website isn't optimised for mobile (check it out free here: http://www.howtogomo.com), you just lost a sale. Site loads too slowly? Critical information hidden in a Flash animation? Links too small for peoples' thumbs? Can't read the fine print on the small screen? #fail

• 70% use their mobile to check store locations and hours. Is your store information readily available to a quick mobile search, or would browsers have to swipe their way through several screens (not going to happen) to find anything useful?

• 38% search on their smartphones everyday. Alas, because of the smaller screens, your website now needs to appear in the Top 3 natural search results to capture the attention of those prospects -- otherwise, they'll be whisked away to one of your competitors with a quick finger tap.

• 21% have used their smartphone to compare pricing at point of sale (and 18% have changed their mind about buying from the store as a result). Just getting prospects instore is no longer enough -- now you have to do what's necessary to stay competitive and close the sale as well.

We don't want to frighten you (too much), but it really is time to get mobilised. There are even scarier prospects ahead -- once all NZ analogue television is switched off (by the end of next year), those liberated frequencies will be available for next generation mobile phone usage. More data, much faster, which means that more consumers will go mobile -- and use their smartphones for more and more tasks. Going mobile? Now's good.

Q2. Should you still be relying on "free" marketing tools for your business?

2012 has been a rude awakening for those organisations dependent on unpaid web traffic from the likes of Google and Facebook. Google has been regularly revisiting its search algorithms, aiming to deliver better results to its users and fight off those who would game its systems.

Unfortunately, the Google revisions have impacted on genuine businesses as well as scammers. Recent changes (such as the Penguin and Panda updates) have favoured websites with deep pockets of editorial-style content, a structure not typically associated with corporate websites. Now the latest update, in September, has seen websites whose domain names exactly match popular search terms (previously a useful marketing strategy) suddenly plummet in traffic. Search Engine Optimisation keeps getting tougher.

Similarly Facebook, in its post-IPO quest to monetise its one billion members, has reportedly tweaked its traffic delivery. Blogger Dangerous Minds complains:

Spring of 2012 was when bloggers, non-profits, indie bands, community theaters, photographers, caterers, artists, mega-churches, high schools, tee-shirt vendors, campus coffee shops, art galleries, museums, charities, food trucks, and a near infinite variety of organizations; individuals from all walks of life; and businesses, both large and small, began to detect—for it was almost imperceptible at first—that the volume was getting turned down on their Facebook reach. Each post was now being seen only by a fraction of their total “fans” who would previously have seen them.

But it wasn’t just the so-called “fan pages,” individual Facebook users were also starting to notice that they weren’t seeing much in their newsfeeds anymore from the various entities they “liked”—or even updates from their closest friends and family members. Something was amiss, but unless you had a larger “data set” to look at—or a formerly thriving online business that was now getting creamed—it probably wasn’t something that you noticed or paid that much attention to.

In a widely read—and widely shared on Facebook—NY Observer article titled “Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right,” (emailed to me by a friend, a prominent blogger, with the subject line: “Why putting a lot of energy into building a Facebook presence is a sucker’s game”) PR strategist and social media expert Ryan Holiday succinctly laid out the case against the damage Facebook had inflicted upon its most active users with its recently rolled out Promote “option”:

It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans.

In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.

As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”

In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” [and its newest offering, Facebook Promoted Posts] brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.

So how can you still take advantage of the massive traffic thundering through Google and Facebook? In a word: money. You're probably aware of the better-known part of the 1984 quote by Stewart Brand: "information wants to be free". Now, however, we're starting to see his less-publicised corollary take precedence: [On the other hand] "information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable."

Q3. It's 2013. Do you know where your consumer is?

Don't end up like one of those apocryphal frogs, blissfully ignorant of the slowly rising water temperature. Consumer behaviour has been gradually changing, and if you don't keep tabs on the current status of your customers and prospects, you could end up marketing to them where they used to be, not where they are now.

There are, for example, so many different ways that Kiwis can (and do) watch television programmes:

• immediately after they're broadcast in their country of origin, either via pirated torrent or through legitimate services such as Hulu or BBC iPlayer (however, using proxy webservers that pretend that the Kiwi watcher is actually in the US or the UK)

• on Sky, where that paycaster has first NZ broadcast rights (eg for major sports, blockbuster movies or for shows on Soho)

• via Freeview (terrestrial or satellite)

• via Igloo (once that somewhat-delayed service launches)

• on the major broadcast networks

• online via catchup TV services (eg iSky, TVNZ and TVWorks OnDemand)

• online via Video on Demand services (such as iSky, iTunes and Quickflix)

• via PVRs such as MySky, MyFreeview, TiVo (so you need to allow for delays in viewing your possibly time-sensitive messages, not to mention ad-skipping)

• on demand on mobile devices (pre-announced but not yet launched)

• on gaming consoles

• on integrated Internet TVs

• on video (after the shows have been everywhere else)

• on Google glasses (probably)

• in 3D, via holograms and whatever else tomorrow's scientists can invent

Once upon a time, most Kiwi eyeballs would have been glued to broadcast networks, but (at least for some demographics) that may no longer be the case, especially as the closedown of analogue TV throughout 2013 disrupts viewing habits. Check the latest stats before you choose your medium du jour.

Q4. Have you claimed your Digital Identity everywhere you can?

In many cases it's probably already far too late, but if you haven't claimed your username on the key online services, run do not walk to your nearest computer and stake your claim.

Start with:

• facebook.com/yourbrand (you may have to settle for facebook.com/yourbrandnz or facebook.com/yourbrand.co.nz)

• youtube.com/yourbrand

• twitter.com/yourbrand

Once you've claimed your name (or a suitable variant thereof) at those sites, head to http://namechk.com/, one of a number of sites that will simultaneously check out 150-odd popular sites for your desired username. You won't need to claim them all (unless you're particularly obsessive), but choose key sites relevant to your product category, even if you currently have no plans to use those sites. A brand protected today will spare you blushes (and perhaps cybersquatting ransom demands) in the future.

Q5. Have you identified your category's Key Influencers?

If there's one thing we hear in survey after survey, it's this: consumers trust others more than they trust marketers, at least when it comes to opinions about the merits or otherwise of your own products. That's why we've seen such a dramatic surge in consumer opinions, whether through sites such as TripAdvisor or just informally via Facebook and other social networks.

It's your job to deliver a stunning product or service; consumers will turn to their friends or knowledgeable acquaintances for reviews of that product. But who are those "friends or knowledgeable acquaintances" and can you influence them?

A little word of warning: if your idea of influence includes the exchange of something of value (whether money, a product or something less tangible), the recipient will need to declare it. On Twitter, that declaration should be flagged as the hashtag #ad (as announced recently by the NZ Advertising Standards Authority); in other media such as Facebook or a blog, a longer and more descriptive disclaimer is required. The declarative nature of such an announcement may well dilute the impact of that person's endorsement; better, perhaps, to try and impress them with the quality of your product or service on an unpaid basis instead.

None of this will matter, of course, if you have no idea who those Key Influencers are. In the old days, life was simpler: the primary influencers were most typically journalists. These days, centres of influence could be anybody. Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and if you don't, you're treading on very thin ice), is to identify your Key Influencers and plan a programme to encourage them to think positive thoughts about your products.

Q6. Where's the Garage?

Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, dismissing the flurry of would-be competitors that emerged when he sold the site to Fairfax for $750 million, noted that "we're much more afraid of the guy in the garage than we are of any major corporate competitors". Disruptive technologies or bold new innovations are far more dangerous than marginally-enhanced copycats.

So what garage startups lurk in your future? Where are you most vulnerable? Just take a look at Bebo and MySpace if you think you're too wired to be weak.

Q7. Kaizen or Cruisin' ?

Kaizen (the Japanese term that has come to mean continuous improvement, especially in manufacturing, engineering, and business management) is reflected on a personal level as CPD -- Continuing Professional Development. It's an acknowledgement in the workplace of the need to stay in touch with what's happening in your field. So have you adopted a personal philosophy of Kaizen, or are you simply cruising?

We'll assume you see the merits of Kaizen, especially in the ever-evolving marketing sphere. What topics should you consider learning more about in 2013?

In the marketing industry, according to the APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard (just released by Adobe and the CMO Council), Digital Marketing is one of the most important areas for improvement, thanks in large part to a consumer base that lives highly digital—if not almost entirely mobile—lives.

The APAC study included Australia but not New Zealand; however the findings, while not about us, certainly mirror our own observations about the local market so should be useful pointers for Kiwis as well:

Digital marketing strategies are viewed as key channels to a more customer-centric and responsive organization (52 percent) and enablers to more efficient and cost-effective engagement (51 percent).

However, only 6 percent of marketers working in the APAC region believe they have a very high level of digital marketing proficiency. In fact, the majority (40 percent) feel they either need improvement or are lagging behind. When asked to assess their organization’s position on the digital maturity index, 44 percent of marketers admitted they were still exploring the possibilities, but more than 30 percent believe they are followers or lagging behind the pack.

Ahem. Well, as providers of training courses in digital marketing, we can't argue with those findings. May we respectfully suggest that if you agree that more training in digital marketing is a good idea for 2013, you review our courses (below), incuding our newest, "How to use LinkedIn Effectively".

You should also take a look at the various courses offered by industry bodies such as the NZ Marketing Association (http://marketing.org.nz), and consider coming along to digital marketing events such as the Digital Day Out and the Brainy Breakfasts conducted by the Marketing Association's Network of Digital Marketers (Disclaimer: ye editor is Chair of that august body).

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Is Social Media Finally Taking Its Rightful Place?

There's been rather a feeding frenzy with Social Media over the last couple of years -- it's sometimes seemed that every business has been desperate to get into the medium, whether it's the right vehicle for their industry or not.

Now we're starting to see the first signs of a long-overdue shakeout, the slowly-dawning realisation that Social Media isn't the universal solution. Despite our own obvious interest in the medium as a marketing tool, we'd be the first to insist you put Social Media in perspective as just one of the weapons in your marketing arsenal.

Amongst the first indicators of the normalisation of Social Media: you may have seen the recent headline in the NZ Herald proclaiming that "NZ businesses retreat from social media". The article, reporting on data from the latest MYOB Business Monitor, a regular survey of over 1000 small to medium enterprises, noted that "social media use among New Zealand business owners has fallen over the past year, with only 20 per cent maintaining some form of profile" [compared with 24 per cent in August 2011].

The story goes on to note the generational divide as it applies to Social Media:

• 42 per cent of Gen Y business owners were using social media in their business, compared to 21 per cent of Gen X business owners, 20 per cent of Baby Boomers, and 12 per cent of business owners over 60-years old.

Perhaps more compelling than all of those numbers, however, is an analysis of the industries which are now using Social Media. MYOB (via Christchurch-based The Agency Communications Ltd) kindly supplied us with a breakdown of Kiwi businesses using Social Media, by industry sector:

The largest year-on-year decline in Social Media usage was experienced in the Construction & Trades sector, which effectively halved its social participation. That's not particularly surprising; in many cases, that industry's target constituents are perhaps least likely to be heavy Social Media users.

The industry showing unexpected growth was Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, which grew from 7% to 11% over the past year (admittedly from a low base). Whilst it would be encouraging to believe that the increased adoption of Social Media in that sector was as a result of the rollout of Ultra Fast Broadband, that's sadly unlikely: it's way too soon to see much impact from that multi-year programme. We'll instead theorise that the growth may be due to a previously-under-represented sector now having a social fling.

The three industries that we consider most likely to use Social Media for business purposes all saw year-on-year declines:

• Retail & Hospitality, was 31%, now 25%

• Business and Professional Services, was 30%, now 23%

• Finance & Insurance, was 25%, now 22%

Overall, the MYOB research confirms our own view that "just dabbling with social media" is becoming less appealing. If you don't have an effective social media programme planned out, you'll eventually tire of using the medium just to react to customer queries, comments and complaints. Like any communications platform, social media is only truly effective when you have a plan.

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Give Your Career - And Your Business - A Boost For 2013

We've been regularly asked over the last couple of years whether we offer a course devoted to LinkedIn. Finally, we can say Yes. Allow us to introduce our newest course:

How To Use LinkedIn Effectively - For Your Business And Your Career

New Zealand now boasts 707,696 LinkedIn members, according to SocialBakers, amounting to 21.06% of our online population. Yet far too many of those Kiwi members simply don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively to promote themselves or their organisations.

In response to this need, we’ve developed a course that will show you how to use LinkedIn to best advantage, taking account of the various developments being rolled out regularly by the LinkedIn team.

About the Course

This is a seven-part eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to LinkedIn, from the basics to detailed instructions on how to use LinkedIn to promote your organisation, build your personal reputation, find a job, recruit staff and even make sales.

This eCourse is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular eCourse provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

Course lessons will be provided in seven parts, for participants to access in accordance with their own timetables.

COURSE CREATION AND TUTORING
This “How to use LinkedIn Effectively” programme has been created and is tutored by ye editor, Michael Carney.

WHO SHOULD TAKE THE “HOW TO USE LINKEDIN EFFECTIVELY” COURSE

Any business professional who wants to master LinkedIn, whether to further their own career or to develop their business presence on the world’s leading professional network.

COURSE CONTENTS

Lesson One: How To Set Yourself Up Effectively On LinkedIn

You’re probably one of the seven hundred thousand Kiwis who already have a profile on LinkedIn — but is it just a transplanted CV? We show you how to turn your basic profile into a living, selling document that:

• showcases your unique talents and experience to best advantage

• reinforces your personal brand with a compelling headline that’s the first thing any visitor will see

• highlights your achievements, not just your history

• provides a platform for your future success

Lesson One also covers:

• The most effective ways to ask for recommendations and endorsements

• How to use the principle of Reciprocity to sharpen your profile

• Trojan Horse Marketing and how it can really work for you

• How to claim your name on LinkedIn (and why it matters)

• How to optimize your profile for SEO

• How to use LinkedIn’s Mobile Apps and how you can ensure that your profile stands out on every platform

• The power of an effective profile summary

• How to re-shape your profile to make it sizzle (and show off your best bits)

Lesson Two: How To Use LinkedIn For Business

Once you have your own personal profile up and sizzling, it’s time to turn your attention to your organisation (especially if you operate in the B2B space). LinkedIn has surpassed Twitter as the most popular social medium for distributing B2B content, with 83% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn to promote their organisations. So where do you begin? We start with Company Pages (which were recently redesigned to make it easier for LinkedIn users to find, follow and engage with companies of interest).

Topics covered in Lesson Two include:

• How to use LinkedIn Banner Images to showcase your company brand and really bring your page to life

• How to attract keen followers to your company pages (and what that does for your organisation’s visibility on LinkedIn)

• What you can now say about your company’s products and services

• How to harness social proof to best effect

• Why you must make your updates valuable, relevant and interesting (and what that really means)

Lesson Three: How To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job

You’ve probably heard that LinkedIn is very useful when you’re looking for a new job — but where do you start?

In Lesson Three, we talk about:

• How to use LinkedIn to get the word out that you’re in the market

• How to polish your LinkedIn profile even further, to highlight your best (and most employable) characteristics

• How to find out where people with your skillset are working

• How to check if a company is still hiring

• How to identify new recruits (and perhaps pick their brains)

• How to find out who’s who in your target industry

• How to network shamelessly to future-proof your career

• How to build your personal brand

• How to enhance your Resume with LinkedIn Testimonials

• How to find (and capitalise on) inside connections at potential employers

• How to search the hidden job market for opportunities

• How to use LinkedIn to prepare for your job interview

Lesson Four: How To Use LinkedIn To Generate Business

Can you actually use LinkedIn to create business? Yes, indeed you can, and we’ll show you how. Along the way, we’ll talk about:

• How to use LinkedIn to find business opportunities

• How to Use LinkedIn Groups to build relationships with prospects and attract new leads

• How to decide who you should connect with (and who doesn’t make the cut)

• The power of a clear Call To Action

• LinkedIn Special Offers (and where it’s appropriate to make them)

• How LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search feature can be your very best prospecting friend

• How to use LinkedIn for sales success

Lesson Five: How To Use LinkedIn's Paid Services

You’ve probably noticed that, whilst many of LinkedIn’s services are free, you are occasionally encouraged to buy some stuff there. Reportedly, around 2% of LinkedIn members have paid-for subscriptions. So should you dip into your pocket?

In Lesson Six, we evaluate the pros and cons of:

• LinkedIn paid advertising — how it works, what you can expect to pay and what results to aim for

• The surprising response rates of LinkedIn InMails (and when using them is worthwhile)

• How to use LinkedIn’s Profile Organizer

• The LinkedIn paid account options and what they provide

Lesson Six: How To Use LinkedIn To Promote Your Business

So far we’ve looked at how to use LinkedIn to make sales and build your reputation. But LinkedIn is also an ideal vehicle for promoting your organisation to other businesses.

In Lesson Six we’ll look at the promotional potential of LinkedIn, including:

• How (and how often) to craft status updates that will appeal to your target customers and clients

• Best practices for sending out mass messages and invitations (without being a pest)

• How to use Groups to build your authority and keep in regular touch with your prospects

• How to connect from LinkedIn to the rest of the web, using widgets and plugins and other automated services

• How to share useful articles and resources without overdoing it

• How to add videos and presentations to LinkedIn

• How to use the right tools to manage your LinkedIn content to avoid getting overwhelmed

Lesson Seven: How To Use LinkedIn For Recruiting

We’ve already covered using LinkedIn to find a new job. In Lesson Seven we look at the flip side of the coin — how to use LinkedIn to find the most appropriate candidates for vacancies within your organisation.

In this lesson, we consider:

• why LinkedIn is a fertile ground within which to find perhaps 80% of your prospective employees

• How to use LinkedIn to tap into the most effective recruiting source of all

• The crowd-sourced accuracy of LinkedIn profiles

• LinkedIn’s job-posting facilities (and whether you should use them)

• Soliciting introductions: the appropriate protocols

• How to use LinkedIn to search and compare

TIMING

The next “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” course begins on Thursday December 6. To make allowance for the Christmas Holiday season, we will pause for a three-week break in the middle of the course. As a result, the following timetable will operate:

• Lesson One: Thursday December 6

• Lesson Two: Thursday December 13

• Lesson Three: Thursday December 20
BREAK

• Lesson Four: Thursday January 17

• Lesson Five: Thursday January 24

• Lesson Six: Thursday January 31

• Lesson Seven: Thursday February 7

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INVESTMENT

This seven-part eCourse is available for $497 +GST. However we offer an Early Bird Discount saving you $100 +GST, for bookings and payment received by Thursday November 29. Pay just $397+GST ($456.55 including GST).

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment, which can be by cheque, bank deposit or credit card. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

To reserve your place in our “How To Use LinkedIn Effectively” course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here.

If you would prefer to pay by cheque or bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to bookings@socialmedia.org.nz with your requirements.

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Teensy, Weensy Data

If you're looking for a buzzword to frighten your colleagues, Big Data is right up there with regression analysis and ROI. The accepted definition for Big Data talks about exploiting “data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used tools to process it within tolerable time”. The paradox, of course is that it's too big to slice and dice but the analysis needs to be done anyway. Catch 22mw354DFdf$.

We have our own views on the topic, but first let's see what eConsultancy recently wrote about the challenges of Big Data:

The volume of data we’re handling is growing dramatically, Social media, the internet of things, the mass of data produced by smart electric grids, intelligent traffic systems, etc.

90% of the data ever created has been created in the last two years...

And yes, it’s not just about size. Gartner’s “3Vs” (Volume, Velocity, Variety) are all growing. We’re being asked to process data ever more quickly so we can respond to events as they happen, and that data is coming from an ever wider array of channels, sensors and formats.

Our data is fast and complex as well as big.

So let’s all go out and buy Hadoop, and our problems will be solved. Hurrah!

Not so fast. I can see at least six things that are going to get in the way of Big Data in the typical organisation:

1. Infrastructure

Big Data consumes a lot of technical infrastructure, storage, bandwidth, CPU, etc. And it generates highly variable workloads as it does so.

You need lots of infrastructure at some times, very little at others.Fortunately, the Cloud is made for this. The challenge isn’t technical so much as it’s one of finding a reliable cloud vendor, and of getting the economic model right.

Just don’t underestimate how challenging that can be in the current, rather opaque market for cloud services.

2. Applications

The application stack behind Big Data is complex. Some of it is immature. The Cloudera Hadoop distribution, for example, contains a dozen applications, and some of these are still pretty new.

This creates several challenges: you need to get up several learning curves at once, integrate many tools with your existing application stack, and build a stable operating environment out of these disparate pieces.

3. Skills

You need a deep stack of skills to do Big Data. As well as business specialists (to ask the right questions) and technologists (to tame the infrastructure and applications), you need “data scientists”.

These are the people who understand the statistical algorithms, can drive the visualisation tools, etc. They’re not easy to find. And once you’ve found them, you need to integrate them with the rest of your team, build appropriate reward and reporting structures, and so on.

4. Attitude

Big Data projects operate on a different cycle to traditional ones.It’s not so much “plan then do” as “experiment, learn and evolve”. It requires a mindset that’s attuned to research as much as delivery, yet which is able to temper research with business objectives.

Good Big Data teams will be very tolerant of “failure”. (If 50% of your experiments don’t fail, then you’re probably not testing the boundaries.) And they’ll allocate plenty of capacity to exploring the horizon and trying new stuff.

5. Fragmentation

Most organisational data is highly fragmented. The web team has a bunch of logs. Sales owns some of the customer data.Operations owns some more.

This creates challenges at several levels: syntactic (defining common formats), semantic (agreeing definitions) and political (negotiating ownership and responsibilities).

It also creates data quality problems as no-one’s responsible for the complete picture, so no-one ensures that data is correct, consistent and up to date.

Big Data needs to face all these challenges head on. (As data warehousing did before it. But Big Data has the added complications of semi-structured data and rapidly changing data definitions.)

6. Valuation

You can only do this effectively if you can ascribe clear value to the outcomes, otherwise you have no way to prioritise activity across your portfolio of experiments and investments.

Yet few organisations are able to put clear valuations on their current data, let alone on the fuzzy web that Big Data exposes.

Had enough, already? Yeah, us too.

Instead of trying to cope with the un-cope-able, we suggest that you focus on a few key numbers that make sense to your organisation -- you'll know what they are. Yes, the whirlwind of integers streaming off your Big Data servers does matter -- but only if you're in a position to do something about the numbers you're avoiding crunching.

Make a few forays into the data pool when you have sufficient clarity to at least understand the questions you might ask.

In the meantime, stick with Teensy Weensy Data analyses (heretical though that might sound) and let the uber-giant-super-mega-data coalesce into a black hole within the Oort Cloud until you're suitably equipped.

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Santa Does Digital

That jolly old fellow in the big red suit was perhaps the first in the world to offer 24-hour delivery. Unfortunately, those 24 hours all fell within a single day (December 25, if memory serves), so if you missed the order deadline, you must have been very, very bad.

Kiwi consumers are turning digital themselves this Christmas, according to research from IAB New Zealand, with 56 percent of kiwis planning to Christmas shop online this year.

Why?

• 43% of those surveyed say that shopping online is convenient and easy

• 19% reckon that it's easy to do comparison shopping between products (and between online stores)

• 17% say it's easy to find real bargains

• 17% note that the online space has a wide variety of available products

What will they buy? Books, DVDs and Games top the gift-giving list. Not terribly inventive, perhaps, but hey, there's still a Global Financial Crisis to feed.

Black Friday and Cyber-Monday

Christmas is breaking out all over. The US Holiday season kicks into gear this Friday 23 November (US time), with the shopping spree that is Black Friday. Cyber-Monday, the online shopping equivalent, kicks into gear on (surprise!) Monday.

Is Cyber-Monday a big deal? Check out these figures, as reported by PC World:

E-retailers and brick-and-mortar stores with online storefronts will rake in US$2 billion on Cyber-Monday alone, according to Adobe’s holiday buying forecast for 2012

According to analysis of more than 150 billion Web visits to more than 500 of Adobe’s retail clients over the course of six years, Cyber-Monday sales are expected to jump 18 percent over the same day last year, and have more than doubled in the last five years.

So yes, a bit of a big deal. So much so that Australian online retailers have attempted to copy the phenomenon with their own one-day online shopping event, ClickFrenzy, which ran on Tuesday/Wednesday this week across the Tasman.

ClickFrenzy Problems

ClickFrenzy, a 24-hour online shopping extravaganza, proved too successful, attracting four times as many visitors as expected and crashing the servers for the opening hours of the launch.

Despite the technical snafus, a number of retailers are reporting record sales (though consumers who couldn't get on the site to grab their share of the bargains were quick to Facebook their complaints). According to payment gateway eWAY, the 24-hour ClickFrenzy event resulted in more than A$1.5 million worth of goods sold locally and a 240% increase in daily revenue for many retailers involved.

The ClickFrenzy post-mortem is already underway across the ditch, with the most common criticisms being:

Several technical experts said the Click Frenzy organisers and some participating retailers "used software and technology platforms that were widely known to be incapable of handling the demand".

• Some customers who finally gained access to the Click Frenzy website wondered why they bothered. Many took to Twitter to say the discounts were unimpressive, and better or similar savings could be found online regularly at places like Amazon, ASOS or the Book Depository, compared to 24-hour Click Frenzy discounts.

Overall, though, the consensus seems to be that Click Frenzy was worth doing (perhaps more from the retailers' perspective than if you're a savvy online shopper) and is likely to happen again next year, but (inevitably) with a more robust technical infrastructure.

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For more details of the Social Media Marketing online course, please click here.

The Complete Facebook Marketing Programme

For those who wish to master Facebook Marketing in its entirety, we’ve created a ten-week online training programme which will take you from absolute beginner on Facebook to highly effective Facebook communicator.

For more details of the Complete Facebook Marketing programme, please click here.

How to Prepare an Effective Social Media Brief

Even if you don't intend to become directly involved in social media yourself, you may still need to understand the principles, practices and opportunities of social media -- for example, if you need to brief someone about running a social media campaign. This programme is designed to provide you with the insights necessary to prepare an effective brief.

For more details of the How to Prepare an Effective Social Media Brief programme, please click here.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively - For Your Business And Your Career

This is a seven-part online training eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to LinkedIn, from the basics to detailed instructions on how to use LinkedIn to promote your organisation, build your personal reputation, find a job, recruit prospective employees and even make sales.

For more details of the How to Use LinkedIn Effectively programme, please click here.

Coming in 2013: new courses covering Search Marketing, Online Video Marketing and Mobile Marketing

________________________________________

Snippets

• Pinterest prepares for Brand Pages. Pinterest has started paving the way for brand pages by launching accounts designed for marketers. Last week the social scrapbooking site launched accounts that allow marketers to sign up using business names (rather than requiring a first and last name).

• Kiwis who already buy daily deals online are also likely to purchase gifts for friends and family, according to a recent survey commissioned by daily deal operator GrabOne. That study, conducted amongst 7,177 GrabOne customers across New Zealand (August 2012) showed that 93.5% of those customers have purchased a gift online for family or friends over the past year.

Amazon goes social with brand pages. Amazon has launched Amazon Pages, giving brands the ability to set up pages that incorporate some of the more popular features of Facebook and Pinterest. Brands can customize their pages using one of three templates and can act as publishers when it comes to posting content including images, product pictures and 140-character messages. Adweek via Smartbrief.

• Earlier this month, Skype launched Skype in the workspace, a new online platform for small businesses to instantly connect with potential customers, partners and suppliers across the globe. The free-to-use tool taps into the Skype network, allowing millions of small businesses to promote their products and services to new networks and connections.

• Facebook have just announced some proposed updates to their Data Use Policy, covering how they collect and use data when people use Facebook, and their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), which explains the terms governing use of Facebook services. To review these proposed changes and give feedback before they are finalised, visit the "Documents" tab of the Facebook Site Governance Page https://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance to learn more about these changes and to submit comments before November 28, 2012.

• Latest Kiwi Social Stats (November 2012): 76% of New Zealanders who are online use Facebook, up 7% since 2011, according to a survey by pollsters UMR. Linkedin is the next most popular on 29%, although this is more than double what it was in 2011 (previously 12%). On the other hand, 90% of people who are on Linkedin are also on Facebook. UMR’s monthly Online Omnibus survey also looked at Twitter: 19% of New Zealanders who are online use Twitter, up 7% on 2011; 97% of people who are on Twitter are also on Facebook.

________________________________________

That's all for now. Catch you next time.

Cheers

Michael Carney

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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