Let’s Get Ethical

As a marketer, you are responsible for acting ethically so you can earn your consumers’ trust and maintain a strong brand image.

This is especially important in the digital context as ‘digital content never dies‘, and thus has a lasting effect on your brands’ reputation.

According to Trounce, unethical digital marketing refers to anything that results in a negative or unsatisfying customer experience. This could be false or exaggerated claims made by the brand, disruptive advertisements, buying fake reviews, or so on.

Ethics of Data

When collecting data from your customers it is important to act ethically and consider the following;

  • Make sure you have permission (opt-in)
  • Make sure you do not abuse customer privacy and misuse information
  • Do not ‘dehumanise’ your customers and reduce them to just ‘data’ or ‘numbers’
  • Do not try to manipulate, measure or experiment with the data provided

Ethics on Social Media

In Australia, there is a social media code of conduct that provides guidelines for how to responsibly manage your social platforms ethically. This includes;

  • Be transparent and accurate – ensure your messages are clear, appropriate, and honest
  • Have a crisis management plan ready in case your action backfires so you can respond quickly and professionally, and avoid damaging your brand reputation
  • Be respectful and consider how your customers might perceive the messages you are releasing – and how this may affect their view on your brand
  • Be aware of confidentiality – do not breach your customer’s privacy

Another important thing to consider with regards to social media marketing is that branded material on social media must follow the code of ethics, and this includes user-generated comments on your posts.

Because you can be held responsible for comments made by others on your social media if they are false or misleading, it is important to monitor comments to ensure there are no inappropriate or deceiving comments present.

My question though is, could monitoring your customers’ comments be viewed as unethical? And are there any other ways you can think of that ethics plays a role in digital marketing?

 

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Topshop – 30% off all full priced items!

On Saturday night I was scrolling through Instagram and a sponsored Topshop post popped up advertising 30% of all full priced items – and boy was I tempted.

So this made me think, are sponsored posts on Instagram actually successful?

I mean personally, sponsored posts only grab my attention when it’s a brand I know and already have an established relationship – but I have never purchased something based off seeing a sponsored post.

According to the senior social strategist at Kettle digital agency, most of their clients are shifting the majority of their budgets away from Twitter and towards Instagram. This may be attributed to the larger user-base on Instagram as well as the seamless ad integration between Facebook and Instagram.

Statistically speaking, 60% of users have discovered new products through Instagram and of the people inspired by an Insta post, 75% have taken action whether it be purchasing or seeking alternatives.

I won’t lie – these statistics surprise me. I guess maybe I’m just not ‘inspired’ by sponsored posts often.

Further, Bitly suggest Sponsored Ads are successful because:

  • They blend in and don’t disrupt the user experience
  • Instagram offers many call-to action buttons (“Learn more”, “Shop Now”, “Sign Up”) – only available for paid posts
  • Instagram Sponsored Ads runs through Facebook meaning you have access to Facebook’s targeting features
  • Instagram Business Tools – offers an accessible service for SME businesses to promote posts and gain insights on posts

For any digital marketers out there, it seems like Instagram is the place to be. Sign up for Instagram Sponsored Ads to gain access to new customers and increased awareness or if you’re a little scared of committing, try out Instagram’s Business Tools. Either will give you great insights and ROI so try it out!

But as Insta users, have any of you actually purchased something as a result of a Sponsored Post on Instagram? 

Nestlé hires clown to boost employee morale

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Did I my deceiving (and somewhat creative) headline get you to read this?

Fake news. The spreading of misinformation. The power of Facebook shares and unreliable news sources which became extremely apparent during the 2016 US presidential election.

It is an issue that has become so serious that Obama has personally approached Zuckerberg about Facebook’s role in influencing people’s political opinions and overall dissemination of misleading information.

According to Zucks, approximately 99% of content on Facebook is authentic, with a minor percentage comprising of fake news and hoaxes.

This being said, Facebook has since taken action to reduce the spreading of misinformative articles including banning fake news sites from their ad network and providing a tool that offers tips on how to identify false articles – but I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near enough.

So how can you as a marketer tackle any fake news that arises on your brand?

  • Find and address the fake allegations about your brand before it becomes a problem
    • Regularly search for any news that may be circulating about your brand
  • Create a positive environment
    • Maintain a positive brand image by outweighing the ‘bad’ news with the ‘good’
    • The ‘good’ could be reinforcing customer satisfaction by posting positive messages both from loyal customers and the brand itself
  • Avoid sharing any news that is misleading
    • Fact-check all news before posting on your social media to increase your credibility
  • Urge social media platforms like Facebook to enhance their ability to eliminate false articles from appearing

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Are there any other tips to avoiding/responding to fake news that I may have missed? And do you think Facebook is doing enough to tackle to the issue?

Netflix & Chill

If you’re anything like me, you’ve wasted half of the mid semester break binging on Netflix and stuffing your face with chocolate Easter eggs.

To rid the guilt of wasting my week watching a TV show I’m not even sure I like, I have decided to do some research on Netflix’s marketing plan particularly within the Australian market.

In early 2015, Netflix entered the Australian market and launched their first digital-only marketing campaign.

Gone were their traditional practices such as print, television, radio or billboard advertising. Instead, Netflix decided to go 100% digital with their marketing strategy, a move that seems appropriate considering their ‘product’ is an online platform.

Studies show that consumers who have signed up to Netflix as a result of digital media tend to be more loyal and longer-term users than those who sign up through other marketing channels.

This suggests that consumers are changing, and traditional marketing channels are no longer as relevant as consumers now have the power, implying that digital marketers should be focusing more on their online marketing strategies.

Specifically, Netflix’s digital marketing tactics include:

  • Offering a free trial period – people are much more willing to purchase a product they have already tested.
  • Content marketing – by sharing trailers for upcoming shows/seasons and creating humorous posts, Netflix is able to promote their brand without explicitly mentioning their brand.

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  • Data and machine learning – are core to what makes Netflix successful. Netflix uses consumers’ watch histories to personalise the titles that appear in their feed.
  • Mobile-friendly – there is an app for the phone, making Netflix accessible anywhere, anytime (given there is internet).

I believe what digital marketers can learn from Netflix is that consumers are more responsive to digital advertisements and in order to achieve customer loyalty, there must be emphasis on providing content that is relevant and useful to consumers.

But do you think a 100% digital marketing strategy is an effective plan? Or is this dependent on the type of business or other factors? 

Pepsi – you messed up.

Image result for pepsi kendall jenner ad
Image via Pepsi

So I’m sure most of you heard about the backlash Pepsi received on their ad featuring Kendall Jenner.

If you haven’t, basically Pepsi released an advertisement on Youtube earlier in the week where Kendall breaks up a protest by offering a policeman a Pepsi.

This ad received a huge amount of backlash due to its controversial nature, as many interpreted the ad as trivialising the Black Lives Matter movement.

As a result, Pepsi withdrew their advertisement from Youtube and issued a public apology stating that they had “missed the mark” and the purpose was to promote unity and a global understanding.

The point that can be drawn from this example is that people interpret things differently and the point that you are trying to get across is not always what the viewer sees.

Digital Marketing Blunders

The internet is a powerful place to promote your brand, however it is even more powerful at spreading news of your f**k ups.

Marketing blunders are careless mistakes made in your advertising campaigns that result in backlash.

Blunders often occur in cross-cultural situations, whereby your lack of understanding of the local culture results in your advertisement giving off an unintended message. An example being Mazda’s mistake of introducing their LaPuta model in the Spanish market.

Similarly, like in the case of Pepsi, misinterpretations of marketing campaigns can occur when the advertisement features controversial or sensitive topics.

These mistakes often leave a lasting impression on an individual’s perception of the brand and in some cases can lead to a downfall in the brand’s success. Thus, it is clear that marketers must make sure that the material they release does not reflect on their brand negatively especially when their mistakes have the possibility of going viral.

If one thing’s for sure, businesses should steer clear of controversial or sensitive topics and make sure their intended message is clear.

But what do you think – do blunders like Pepsi’s have a lasting impact on your perception of the brand? Is there an advertisement that you saw and disagreed with?

April Fools

Over the weekend, one of the funniest days of the year happened.

April Fools Day.

This year, I noticed a lot of businesses getting involved with April Fools, posting on their social media fake statements on their ‘new products’.

My favorite had to be Ikea’s announcement that they are ‘launching their own low-budget airline’.

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Source: IKEA’s Facebook Page

The funniest thing is the next day I found myself craving some Ikea meatballs – which made me think…

 Is humor the key to being successful on social media? 

According to PsychCentral, humor triggers positive responses and improves an individual’s intellectual and emotional wellbeing.

Everyone enjoys a good laugh – which is what makes humor such a powerful tool. But because it is so powerful, it must be managed effectively.

Keys to effectively use humor on your social media accounts:

  • Understand your audience
    • Not everyone has the same sense of humor – so make sure you’re making jokes that your main target segment finds funny
  • Keep jokes family-friendly
    • Ensure any joke posted on your social media account steers clear of any controversial topics such as politics, religion, gender, anything that can offend people
  • Be ‘human’
    • People are more likely to interact with a brand that is funny and relatable

Marketing implications of using humor online:

  • It grabs attention and makes your brand memorable – a good pun can make a lasting impression and a positive association with your brand
  • It can often leave to posts going viral and increasing brand awareness
  • Can possibly lead to an increase in sales and brand trust
  • There is a risk associated with using humor as jokes can be misinterpreted by people if  it refers to a delicate subject or is worded strangely – thus it is important to ensure jokes are well-written and appropriate otherwise it could backfire and potentially hurt the brand image

But what do you think – is there a brand you associate with being funny? And has this affected your perception of their brand?

Source: Taco Bell’s Twitter

 

Let’s Get Artificial

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Source: https://www.technologyreview.come/s/538401/who-will-own-the-robots/

Artificial intelligence (AI). A phenomenon that is restructuring the way we do business (and the reason there are so many ‘jokes’ about robots stealing our jobs).

 

To put it simply, artificial intelligence refers to the science of making machines behave like humans. It is the growth in technological capabilities that has allowed for higher efficiency and effectiveness of the business operations.

But what is Artificial Intelligence Marketing? 

Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AIM) is a form of direct marketing conducted by a computer algorithms to analyse huge amounts of data to target segments more effectively.

According to Emarsays, the following are central to AIM:

  • Big data – large data sets which marketers can use to analyse and segment the population
    • Ensure the marketing messages are appropriate for each target segment
    • AI has allowed for this process of collecting and analysing this data to be quick and easy
  • Machine Learning – as the term suggests, it is the capability of computers to learn without being explicitly programmed.
    • Allows marketers to understand data and identify any trends or recurrences

Benefits of AI Marketing:

  • Machine learning will enhance marketing functions and increase sales significantly
  • Marketers will get to focus on understanding their customers and the creative aspects rather than data analysis
  • Customer service will be improved as issues will be solved quicker
  • Smarter ads as marketers will be have a better understanding of the market and their ideal target markets
  • Consumers have better searches as Google is constantly improving their search algorithm

All in all, it is evident that AI has a massive impact on the future of marketing. While there is a stigma surrounding AI stealing our jobs, many may argue it is making certain jobs much easier and effective to complete.

How do you think artificial intelligence will continue to affect marketing?

 

UX Design – what is it?

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Source: http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com/

Have you ever visited a website that is so painful to use that you don’t even bother with it regardless of the products they sell?

UX Design a.k.a. User Experience Design is the process of applying proven techniques and features to create a website that is fun and easy to use and matches the needs of their targeted customers (Quirk, 2013).

As stated by Captivate Designs, your website is the first impression you make on your prospective customers. Thus, it is vital to have a well designed website that is tailored to your target audience and overall fun and easy to use!Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 2.57.30 PM.png

An example of  a website I love to use for finding recipes to cook (and also procrastinate) is Buzzfeed. Being a company that specialises in internet media, they understand the importance of having a website that is consistent, easy, and fun to use. In doing so, it keeps their brand relevant and their viewers coming back.

Drawing back to Quirk (2013), the qualities of a good UX design include:

  • Accessibility – is it easy to find? Can you use it on your phone?
  • Desirability – do you actually want to visit the site?
  • Useful – is it easy to use and do I get something out of using the website?
  • Credibility – is it a trustworthy source?

Using my example of Buzzfeed, I can definitely say that their platform is super accessible, easy to use and definitely desirable (don’t lie, I know you’ve done a Buzzfeed quiz on what Disney princess you are too). Whether Buzzfeed is a credible source though depends on what kind of information you’re looking to get out of it.

But anyways, I feel like I’ve rambled on long enough. UX Design. It’s important.

What about you ~ do you have a website you love visiting? And what about the website draws you back in? 

Sources:

Quirk . (2013). User Experience Design. In R. Stokes, eMarketing: The essential guide to marketing in a digital world (pp. 95-112). Red and Yellow.

 

 

Time to get down to business.

Have you ever stressed out about what time you should upload your new Facebook profile picture to maximise your likes? Or timing your Instagram post to capture all people scrolling first thing when they wake up?

Timing has a huge impact on the success of social media posts and it’s something that I’m sure many businesses don’t realise when they post online.

Last year I was a member of a university club where I was in charge of managing and creating the club’s Facebook posts to promote our events and raise awareness of our club. I remember one of my first tasks to do was to research the best time to post on Facebook -which at the time sounded so trivial and unnecessary.

From my findings that the best time to post on Facebook during weekdays is 1pm and 3pm (and sometimes 5pm to catch uni students on their phones on the way home). This is seen in the infographic below provided by the CoSchedule Blog.

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Source: Nathan Ellering, CoSchedule Blog 

The extended infographic provided by Quick Sprout  is definitely worth checking out as well as it outlines the best time to update numerous social media platforms including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on.

Timing is seemingly everything when posting online – the number of clicks, the views, the shares, the retweets, the comments – they all depend on when you post (and of course, the quality of the post).

If a business hasn’t done so already, they definitely should look into the wide array of research conducted on social media patterns and particularly the effect that timing has. Trust me, it’ll make a difference.

But what do you think – do you believe timing really has that big of an influence on the success of a post? And have you noticed any businesses that have failed/succeeded to take timing into account when posting?

 

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