Thank you for reading my blogs over the past 9 weeks.  Throughout the past two months I have learned many ways that companies are reaching the consumer and their strategies will continue to evolve throughout the years. As new marketing strategies come about, traditional advertising such as newspapers are becoming less relevant. While I read two newspapers a day, many people look to other media outlets such as the Internet to stay informed. With this being said companies must stay ahead of their competition and connect with the consumer through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. As you know from my past blogs I am not a fan of social media, however it is a great way for companies to reach consumers on a personal level. Anyway, thanks again and bye for now.

 

Robert Snell

While many people think that Coca-cola targets Hispanics to grow its brand, they are actually targeting Asian Americans. When visiting the website www.thecoca-colacompany.com, there is a picture of an American Asian woman drinking a bottle of coca-cola. Not only does the Coca-Cola company market successfully to this market, the company policy about diversity is “According to the 2006 Employee Insights survey, 96 percent of associates agreed that the Company has established diversity as an important component of its business strategy. The Coca-Cola Company came in at No. 4 on The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list and performed well in two DiversityInc specialty categories — Top 10 Companies for Recruitment & Retention (No. 5) and Top 10 Companies for Asian-Americans (No. 6).” (Coca Cola) The Coca-Cola Company believes in its marketing to Asian-Americans and practices in its business culture. 

While Coca-Cola also markets to African-Americans and Hispanics its website is geared to grow the Asian-American market where they are known to have the most purchasing power with household income of $56,316. With this being said Coca-Cola realizes that this minority group has the biggest return on investment.

Furthermore, they have done an excellent job at reaching their goal and have done so ethically. It is also noted that three quarters of Asian-American adults have gone online and that is much greater than Hispanics at fifty percent and African-Americans at forty-three percent. (Post)

The website also has a link that has a history of the Delicious Happiness which in the mainland of China is interpreted as the word for Coca-Cola. Coca Cola sold bottles that have both Coca-Cola and Delicious Happiness on them in 150 Countries during the Beijing Olympics. This form of commemorative packaging is very creative and marketed perfectly on their website. Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics was a very big move into getting more market share of the Asian-American market. “We used the (Beijing) Olympic Games to transform our business,” said Scott McCune, Coca-Cola’s vice president of worldwide sports and media. “Coke was the No. 3 brand in China, and we believe it will become the No. 1 brand. The marketing behind the Olympics will be accountable for that.”(Mickle 2008)  

Some may argue that building a brand in China is not growing the Asian-American segment, however it is noted that 70 percent of Asian-Americans were born in China. It is also noted that 50% of Asian-Americans polled reported that they used Tylenol as their leading brand while only 9% used Advil. The response from these Asian-Americans was that while they lived in China, Tylenol was the leading brand and Advil had not yet made a presence. (Woods 2000) Therefore, for Coca-Cola to increase their brand position with this culture they must be number 1 in China and that is what their intentions are.

 

 

Mickle, Tripp. September 1, 2008. Beijing Olympics costs worth it, sponsors say. Retrieved on 9/7/2009 from http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/5990

Post, R. (2009). Understanding your consumers: Emerging media users and minority user concerns. Retrieved September 8, 2009 at: www.ecampus.wvu.edu.

BMW Car Company did a fantastic job using the creative advergaming medium to introduce the latest version of their M3 sports car. The release of the very first M3 was in 1986. The fourth and most recent version was released in 2007. BMW needed to find a way to market this new model that would really grab the attention of BMW enthusiasts. In doing so they created a freeware download of a driving course simulating the experience of being behind the wheel of the brand new M3. BMW engineers collaborated with Blimey! Games and 10tacle Studios to develop an extremely realistic “driving” experience for the game player.

The prospective buyer or strictly a gamer would simply visit a website such as gamershell.com to download a free version of the BMW M3 Challenge.  From there the player can decide to use a joystick, mouse or steering wheel to manipulate the car on the screen. The player is able to select the color and other details of the M3 options that they would like to use during the game. The simulated track is a famous German race track called Nurburgring with very realistic detailing on the screen. Single and multiplayer modes are available on this PC game. Because of this, the marketers were able to offer a worldwide online competition leading to eventual big prizes for the M3 Challenge World Champion and other competitors. The main advertisement for this PC game experience is a visual image of shiny silver M3 in a black and white background. The verbiage above it states, “Are you up for the challenge?” and below that, bright yellow words inviting the viewer to, “COMPETE NOW!”

Since 2007 there have been 211,860 downloads from just one website alone. (www.gamershell.com) The challenge can also be downloaded at http://www.fileshack.com, just to name a few. The general need addressed by the efforts of the campaign was to reintroduce the M3 model and create a sense of excitement about the release of the new version of this already famous sports car within the BMW family. Not only were they looking for a creative way to create buzz but they were looking for a very interactive approach. By offering an incredibly realistic computerized experience they beckon a following of not only BMW enthusiasts but sports car fans and general gamers, alike. Going one step farther than the traditional advertising approach of only seeing a car commercial on television, this interactive visual driving challenge invites the user to become an active participant rather than merely a passive viewer.

The main reason the marketing team for BMW was successfully able to communicate their message via a medium that falls in to the category of private and impactful, is that the customer can play on their own personal computer. It is the player’s choice to compete privately in the comfort of their own personal space or venture out in to the arena of worldwide competition in what is literally a global racetrack challenge provided by the marketers of the M3 campaign – prizes for the best international drivers and the Championship title awaits!

The overall consumer experience using this approach is that of a surreal, hands-virtually-on experience. Viewers who simply watched a demo of someone else experiencing the challenge on YouTube commented on how “cool” it looked. Out of 182,340 views, 165 ratings were posted averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars. 173 comments were made, majority positive, about how and where to download the M3 Challenge due to how enticing the brief demo was. Basically, the official BMW M3 Challenge provides a superior quality demonstration of driving around a famous racetrack that the average consumer may never have the opportunity to really drive on. Also, many virtual participants may never have the opportunity to drive a real BMW. If it leads to a sale great – if not, it will most certainly lead to a memorable, action filled experience.

 

For a glimpse of the BMW M3 Challenge you can visit: BMW M3 Challenge Youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEU-itKCFBY&feature=player_detailpage

The NBA is following the NFL’s lead on social networking sites such as Twitter.  The NBA announced last month that the NBA’s new policy will treat social-networking commentary in the same manner as comments made in the traditional media, which means that anyone in the league can be fined or otherwise sanctioned for posts via Twitter, Facebook, etc., that are deemed over the line. (Stein) Social networking sites have been caused a lot of controversy for the NBA since their start. Last year Charlie Villanueva tweeted during halftime of a Bucks game about his playing time. Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban was fined $25,000 for tweeting about the inaccuracies of the officials during a Denver Nuggets game. Afterwards he tweeted that no one can say that you can’t make money from twitter because the NBA does. Another Twitter issue came out when Kevin Love, a rookie for the Minnesota Timberwolves tweeted about executive Kevin McHale leaving the organization before it was announced. I will say that again…a rookie was breaking news for the team. This is a problem.

While the NBA’s policy will not be as strict as the NFL’s, each team has the ability to make them stricter. Cuban does not worry about his team and the social media policy. He says that as long his player do not vent or talk about team business then everything will be fine. Just like anything else, there must be rules. With this being said, if all players and personnel understand the ramifications of their actions, social media sites will not cause any stir. However, if not policed and followed closely then there will be issues.

 

 

 

Stein, Marc. Source: NBA to unveil poliy this week. 9/27/2009 retrieved by Robert Snell from http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4508595

A new application called Monocle is an Augmented Reality that is becoming more than reality for marketers. Imagine walking down the streets of New York or Ft. Lauderdale and using your cell phone to find the nearest Irish Pub. This is done by using the GPS and compass features as well as the high speed internet. “You’re walking down the street, looking for a good place to eat. You hold up your cell phone and use it like the viewfinder on a camera, so the screen shows what’s in front of you. It also shows things you couldn’t see before; brightly colored markers indicating nearby restaurants and bars.”(Metz) Monocle is considered the ‘formal feature’ which adapts the iPhone’s camera view with ratings of bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. This sort of application will be a whole new way for small-medium size companies to reach the consumer.  Bring up your iPhone and search for a chicken salad and the TGIF logo will pop up with the distance and way to get there. If you don’t have time to travel to TGIF, you can check the reviews of the closest restaurants and the application will guide you there.  This is just the beginning for Augmented Reality. A 3D version is currently in the works.

 

 

 

 

Metz, Rachael. 10/6/2009 ‘Augmented Reality’, no fantasy. San Diego Tribune.

Paranoramal Activity’s buzz was far from normal. The low budget horror film that cost $15,000 to make brought in more than $7.9 million its first weekend. Paramount chose to work with San Diego based company Eventful to market the film. Paramount’s goal was to create a word of mouth campaign and Eventful was the company that could ignite it. The company is well known for its “Demand it” tab where consumers can request musicians to play in a particular city. Performers such as Tim McGraw and Kiss have used Eventful to gauge the market. To date over 80,000 musicians have used Eventful’s services. (Freeman) Eventful is on artists Facebook and MySpace pages so customers can vote there. In Paranormal Activity’s case the San Diego based company promised to release the movie nationwide if it had 1 million consumers “Demand it”. According to CEO Jordan Glazier it’s exciting when fans get to participate and it encourages loyalty which leads to the viral, word of mouth marketing. Paramount also limited the release to select cities which created a higher demand. When consumers are not able to get a hold of product, they seem to want it more and this is a classic example. According to Paula Peters, a San Diego State Marketing Professor, social media is gaining more traction as a way to reach the young consumer who may be more skeptical of traditional marketing techniques. With this being said Paramount hit a grand slam with their choice of marketing companies.

 

 

Freeman, Mike. 10/13/2009. Who’s behind the buzz for new horror film? Local Internet firm. San Diego Tribune

In this day and age consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for information about companies, brands and products. It is estimated that over 70 percent of viral marketers report that increasing brand awareness is one of the most successful areas of their social marketing campaigns (Jupiter Research, 2007). Currently Facebook is the Web’s leading social networking site with over 250 million active users (Facebook.com). Companies are capitalizing on this tool and computer maker Dell is a big advocate of Facebook. According to interactive marketing agency Rosetta, 59% of the top 100 retailers are using Facebook. The way I look at it is if you are not on Facebook, then you are missing a key marketing tool. When Michael Dell took back the reigns as CEO in 2007, his strategy was simple….to give Dell’s web strategy an upgrade. With this being said he focused on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. What is the purpose of Dell Facebook links? Simple! To listen to Dell’s most important asset, the customer.

Dell has dedicated 42 employees that spend their workweek engaging with customers online. Dell is focused on interacting with the consumer and continuing to sell the Dell brand and customer service if they are not actually selling PC’s. “One important nugget: Those potential customers spend 99% of their time on the web doing research and just 1% actually buying. So the company has tried to dial down the hard sell and become – or at least appear to become – more helpful.” (Fortt) The idea of being online with Facebook is that the company will connect more with the consumer and irate consumers will be less apt to complain to the whole Internet when they can get help from the company. While visiting Dell’s Facebook page Kara Krautter which is a Dell employee answers the question “How do you handle your detractors within Facebook (i.e. Boycott Dell group)? If the group or page is just saying negative things about the company, we often don’t engage since it’s a rant. But, if the creator or members have a specific customer issue or have posted some incorrect information about us, we will engage to set the record straight and/or try and resolve their issue.”

By engaging with the customer on specific issues Dell has lowered its negative sentiment towards the brand from 48% in 2006 to 23% today. (Fortt) This again has been done with Dell’s adaption of Facebook as a social networking tool. Dell also uses Twitter, YouTube, instant messaging, Flickr, and IdeaStorm as additional sources to build their brand. In the past Dell was known for lousy customer service, now they are building positive relationships with even their harshest critics. This strategy is very similar to that of Barnes & Noble and Borders book stores where they put coffee shops and chairs inside their stores with the strategy of keeping the customer engaged so the chances of making a sale increase. It is ideally the same thing that Dell is doing on Facebook for they are engaging with the consumer. Objectively speaking Dell is doing all the right things through Facebook and other social media sites. By lowering the negative sentiment of the brand they are increasing the possibility of the consumer choosing Dell over the competition. This is ultimately the goal.

 

 

References: Bewick, Benjamin. 5/29/2009 Engagement Strategy…Digital, The Work of Dell. Retrieved by Robert Snell on 10/11/2009 from http://pulsosocial.com/2009/05/29/engagement-strategy%E2%80%A6digital-the-example-of-dell/ Fortt, John. 9/4/2008 Michael Dell ‘Friends’ his customers. Retrieved by Robert Snell on 10/11/2009 from http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/03/technology/fortt_dell.fortune/index.htm Malykhina, Elena. 9/3/2009. Dell Powers up First Global SMB Unit. Retrieved by Robert Snell on 10/11/2009 from http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/technology-finance/e3i295a6fb278def9389ae8e2ed33a7b4e1?imw=Y