Profile for Sale

Over the last several years it has come to light that marketers have been collecting and selling consumer data to data brokers. It was even featured on CBS News & 60 Minutes in 2014 with a groundbreaking story called “The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information.” (CBSNews.com 2014).

For many years companies have been collecting information about consumers by tracking credit card purchases, asking for them to fill out questionnaires for discounts and catalog delivery and collecting their names, addresses and other personal information. Today we are giving up more and more private and personal information and most of us don’t even know that we are doing it. It is being sold to companies so that they can market to us on the web, at home and everywhere we go. It’s not just information about where we shop but also things such as our likes, dislikes, our friends, family and what we don on a daily basis (Facebook anyone?).

So is this all legal? Is it ethical?

According to the E-Commerce Times the data is being used to create psychographic profiles of people’s behavior and habits so that decisions can be made about them before anyone even speaks to them. “As with any powerful technology, the negative consequences of data mining are often the result of its unregulated, ineffective and misdirected use.”

The information gathered is legal but the practices of extracting it and its use are often unethical.

Our data is being collected by so many places it is a collection in motion that we fuel every day by using the internet.

data in one minute

Advertisements

The Power of Google

google_logo_41

Google is a household name in today’s society. If you want to find something on the web you often here people say “Google It”.  So what is Google and why is it such an important part of the Internet? Google is a search engine, it is an advertising medium, it is a social networking platform, an analytics program, and many things to many people.

First there was the search engine; from ARCHIE, to Yahoo, to AOL, to Google (and many in between) places were set up on the World Wide Web to search for information that was being added regularly.  Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization is made possible by having these search engines to index websites.

The History
In 1997 Google had its start as a way for two friends to organize content on the web. They worked together to catalog and index as much content as they could on the web. Their plan worked. Many people started to recognize that the site was returning very relevant results. At the end of 1998 Google was recognized by PC Magazine as the search engine of choice in the Top 100 Web Sites. By 2000 Google has spread worldwide for search and is gaining recognition by many on the web.

In October of 2000 Google launches AdWords, a tool used to create ads on the Google platform. The one strategy will revolutionize the world of advertising and from it will come the fields of Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. The company found a way to monetize search, create effective advertising programs, and track the performance of these ads.

Google Groups helped to kick of the new year in 2001 and became a place for people with like interests to meet online. That same year Google Images appeared as the first site for indexing images on the web. Some other innovative things were created over the next few years at Google.

2002 – Google Shopping

2003 – Blogger was purchased, AdSense created, as well as Google Books

2004 – Google Local, Gmail, Picassa, and Google Earth

2005 -Google Maps, Googlr Mobile, Google Analytics, Gmail Mobile

2006 -Google Finance, Trends, Calendar, Wallet, Apps and YouTube’s
acquisition.

From 2007 to today they have worked hard at updating the existing Google portfolio and have added several more complimentary products with the most important being Google+ in 2011.

Is Facebook Right for Small Business?

Fact: Facebook is the most active of the social networking sites, and it’s growing fast. Today more than 50 percent of registered users access Facebook on any given day. And Facebook is mobile; more than 150 million active users access Facebook via their mobile devices. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook – that’s a lot of “face time”!

In today’s world it is important for businesses to be where their consumers are spending time so it is no wonder that Facebook is a great place for businesses to be. Currently there are over 25,000,000 small business pages on Facebook with that number growing each day. In just one minute so many things happen on Facebook.

Facebook Infographic

As a small business does it make sense to be on Facebook? Of course, as long as you have someone to manage the page for you. Here are six steps to help you to create and promote your Business Facebook.

1. Create Your Page – Add a few sentences to describe your brand, and choose a memorable Web address. Facebook Page URLs appear in the form of http://www.facebook.com/(yourbrand).

2. Share Your Page – and encourage others to share as well! It helps to create content that is short and has a visual component.

3. Make Connections – Facebook provides you with the option to invite all of your personal friends as well as your email contacts to connect to and like your page. The more people who are connected to your brand and actively involved the more your page will grow.

4. Engage Your Followers – This means creating and posting quality content regularly (one to two times per week is a great place to start). Also make sure you respond to comments and messages in a timely manner.

5. Leverage Friends of Fans– When a fan interacts with your Page, their friends will see the activity in their news feed. Creating engaging content encourages others to respond and their friends to see your company.

6. Consider Facebook Ads – You can purchase traditional advertising to get your company placed into users news feeds. These ads can be targeted to very specific types of people thanks to the date that Facebook collects about its users.

So do you think Facebook is right for your small business? If you need more proof that it could be right for you check out these facts below!

Business facebook pages

 

IKEA – To Hack or Share?

Company blogs are often created to help showcase products and services that the company is offering. But whenever a company is big and has a lot of fans you will often see an unofficial blog or two pop up showcasing the products (sometimes even better than the company). Let’s take a look at one of my favorites.

IKEA.

The IKEA Concept starts with the idea of providing a range of home furnishing products that are affordable to the many people, not just the few. It is achieved by combining function, quality, design and value – always with sustainability in mind.

Almost everyone has heard of IKEA, the giant and often time-consuming shop for your home. They have reasonably priced furniture and home goods and their store is set up to showcase the products in use to inspire you and put them to life.

IKEA2images IKEA3images IKEA living rooms

IKEA has an official blog IKEA Share Space which showcases many IKEA products and serves as an extension of their showroom floor. On the blog you will see holiday inspirations, gift ideas, color features, decorating tips and many more.

Happy New Year - IKEA

The company blog is great in showcasing and inspiring but they have another competing blog that probably has as many followers.

Welcome to the world of IKEA Hackers.The site is for modifications on and repurposing of IKEA products. Hacks, as they call it here, may be as simple as adding an embellishment, some others may require power tools and lots of ingenuity. The site was created to put all kinds of design and other ideas using IKEA products into one place. The website started in 2006 and since has become an international phenomenon.

Hack IKEA

Let’s take a look at a cool but simple IKEA hack. Most homes are designed for adults and in such have tall sinks that children can not reach. In comes the IKEA hack, BEKVAM cart for kid’s bathroom vanity. Someone took a simple kitchen cart and cut down the legs, dropped in a sink bowl and boom a kids sink was created. The site is all about creating new things from what already exists.

IKEA sinks

Which of these websites do you like the best? Does one inspire you more than others?

The Hire – A Series or a Commercial?

One of the first companies to really get involved in creating short theatrical films for their brand was BMW in 2001. They created an online series called the hire which laid the foundation and was a big step for branded content.

The BMW film series, The Hire was a series of eight short films produced for the Internet in 2001 and 2002. A form of branded content, all eight films featured popular filmmakers from across the globe, starred Clive Owen as the “Driver”, and highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW cars.

The plots of each of the films differ, but one constant remains: Clive Owen plays “The Driver”, a man who goes from place to place (in presumably rented BMW automobiles), getting hired by various people to be a sort of transport for their vital needs.

Many other companies have begun to create short branded films and have even gone as far as having other create for their brands in sometimes creepy and exciting films. Check out the Nikon Cinema’s featured films which are produced using their own cameras.

What’s Your Digital Identity?

In the past a corporations job on the Internet was done as soon as they had their website up and running. They created a simple digital identity by being present and offering information about their company.

In today’s digital world there are so many other components that are meshed together to create a digital identity.

  • Corporate Website
  • Corporate Blog
  • Facebook Business Page
  • YouTube Channel
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Ratings and Review Sites such as Yelp, Google Ratings, etc.
  • Other Social Media Channels

Let’s take a look at Crate and Barrel and the different channels that make up their digital identity. Since we are about 1 week out from Christmas all of their channels and outlets are running with the same Holiday theme.

Let’s start with the corporate website. Although the design is clean and simple like always you get a feel for the holiday shopping season with Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years tabs and gentle reminders for certain types and prices of gifts.

Crate and Barrel Website

Crate and Barrel also has a corporate Facebook Business page. This page also looks the part of clean and put together with a push for the holiday shopping season.

Crate and Barrel Facebook Page

Let’s move on to YouTube (which seems to be a relatively new channel for them). Here, you see their signature clean look and two short spots advertising their Holiday collections.

Crate and Barrel YouTube

With the recent addition of images and video on Twitter, Crate and Barrel has been able to really communicate about its brand. Keeping true to the Season, they have decked their walls!

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 8.54.45 PM

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 8.55.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 8.55.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 8.55.53 PM

Next on display is their Google+ site. Again the site has the same look and feel. They are also featuring promotions through this channel.

Crate and Barrel Google+ Page

With Pinterest they have created categories to help you get ideas based on what you want to see from gift ideas to candles to room decor and design. They made sure to dedicate the first few boards to the holidays and I am sure that changes seasonally.

The final channel, Instagram, is one that is a visual delight. With the high quality photos and many different ways to use their products it is a nice touch for their brand that is once again featuring the holidays.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 8.57.17 PM

Marketing to Diverse Populations

diversity

If you look at the United States less than 75 years ago you will notice that the majority of the population was white and had some very similar cultural traits. While there were were some black and Hispanic populations it is nothing like today.

140414-infographic-pop-rev_fe5034a798d3fc9e8fa9be877fad6ee1.nbcnews-ux-920-900

Fast forward to 2014 and we as a country are growing in diversity from race to religion to cultural norms. People are now categorized by many groups and subgroups, each of these with their own set of values, beliefs and methods of communication. We as marketers must be aware and modify our way of thinking to include those of diverse populations.

Two notable groups are Hispanics and the LGBTQ community. Each of these groups is much different than your typical WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) of the past.

The Hispanic population is growing at such a quick rate it is expected to be almost as high as the white population in just about 50 years. With the knowledge of the growth of this group it is wise that we as marketers embrace the culture and create content that is relevant to them. A great example of a company doing this is AT&T. They know that the Hispanic culture is not the same as everyone else and they have created a website   using images, language and offers most relevant to them.

The Spanish AT&T Website

The second LGBTQ ( Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite, & Questioning) is another diverse group that has a lot of buying power in the United States. In 2012 alone the projected spending for this group was over $750 billion per year. That is pretty impressive considering that the group only makes up about 3.5% of the total population. Some recent companies that have been focusing on this population include Target, JCPenny, and Honeymaid to name a few.

As you can see just be looking around you, the United States is becoming more and more diverse and we have a responsibility to reach these groups in ways that are most relevant to them.