Earlier this year, 5 million people bought the newest iPhone in its first weekend of availability. Last year, more than 11 million Harry Potter fans bought an opening-day ticket to the final installment of the popular movie franchise. Neither of these tectonic cultural movements registered anywhere near the turnout of a U.S. presidential election, which saw 125 million voters cast their vote (give or take – I think some folks in Florida are still waiting for their turn). Election Day offered keen insights into the culture of our country, not the least of which are the most effective marketing strategies of our social networking world.
Marketing has always been a part of elections and reflective of the technology of the day. From the original campaign buttons William McKinley used during his 1896 presidential campaigns to the whistle-stop tours along U.S. railways throughout the 19th and 20th centuries to the judicious tweets from President Barack Obama leading up to his re-election, leveraging innovative marketing tools to win big is as ubiquitous as kissing babies and shaking hands.
In 2008, then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama gathered an immense number of micro donations through social media, which he rolled over into effective traditional marketing campaigns. In 2012, he wasn’t alone in complementing traditional marketing with more cutting-edge tactics. Republican challenger Mitt Romney employed similar voter outreach and made it a much tighter race than John McCain’s organizers had during the previous election by fumbling opportunities to incorporate new marketing strategies.
The sooner businesses embrace the lessons presidential elections teach us about mixing traditional marketing strategies with newer ones, the farther ahead of their competition they will be. While newsletters, direct mail, brochures and advertisements allow you to deliver your message, social networks like Twitter and Facebook become tools that allow your business to present its casual, relaxed and human side.
New media is built around interaction within the community. Let your supporters work for you. President Obama generated both money and interest by presenting a call to action that involved his supporters spreading the word. There is no better recommendation than that of someone freely and willingly putting you in front of people you might otherwise not have touched.
We’d love to hear how you’re absorbing new marketing strategies into your traditional ones? Tell us about it in the comments section.
When it comes to websites, small is in. Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, most people spend more time cruising the Internet on their phones than they do making calls. Companies are responding by creating mobile versions of their websites, making it easy to check your credit card balance, order dinner or book a vacation from your phone.
So, should your business create a mobile site? If so, what should the site include and, more importantly, how much will it cost? Read on for our crash course on all things mobile. (more…)
Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, passed away yesterday. We knew this day was coming (as did he), but I don’t think anyone knew it was going to be so soon.
Jobs’ innovation pushed the boundaries of what we thought computers could do and the way we interact with technology as a whole. As an Apple fanboy, I love the new gadgets and the rate at which they push their own technology.
Take a good look at your website as if you’re visiting it for the first time. What do you think? Does your website lack visual appeal or flair? Does it contain information that no longer applies? Does it look fuzzy or out of focus? If so, your website could probably benefit from a web designer’s expertise.
Here are some telltale signs you need a new website:
If your website includes an intro page with a picture, graphic or intro video, you might want to consider a revision. Your customers are skipping this page. What’s more, Google and other search engines look for keywords on your home page to determine where your site will fall in search engine rankings. A business’ home page should describe the type of company it is and its core capabilities. There is no need for an intro before entering your site.
Your website should be centered on the screen. Most modern websites use all available space on the page and center the site’s contents. Your website could be outdated if the words are hard to read and generally located on the left of the screen, leaving lots of space on the right.
The purpose of your website is to inform and educate. If your website includes outdated information or excludes new products or services, what are you accomplishing? Consider who’s visiting your site and what they’re there for. You’re only going to frustrate visitors if they can’t find the information they’re searching for. It’s also a good idea to proofread, and then proofread again.
You really know a website is old when you see a picture from the ’80s and ’90s. If your logo or graphics are fuzzy, you might want to consider an update. Simple revisions like adding sharper pictures or revising your logo can improve the overall look of your website.
If your website was developed more than five years ago, it’s likely to be outdated. Advances in technology have made websites more powerful and user-friendly than ever before. Social media links, mobile versions, apps and the ability to instant message are among the more popular advances in web technology.
Your website is…
- The first impression a customer gets of your company
- The front line of your business, like an additional employee
- A validation tool for vendors and customers
This is one area where you don’t want to cut corners. A knowledgeable web designer is able to bring out the best in your company. With color and graphics, they can produce a work of art.
Circle the following that apply:
- You are texting on your iPhone while you’re looking at Facebook.
- You are checking your iPhone for texts, posting on Facebook and surfing your favorite websites.
- You are listening to your mp3 player, checking your phone for texts, writing a message on Facebook and surfing multiple websites.
- You have a short attention span.
- All of the above.
Having trouble concentrating? It’s little wonder with how much multi-tasking we’re all doing today. Too bad there’s not an app to take the edge off the tech buzz. It’s only a matter of time before someone invents one.
In The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, author Nicholas Carr purports something I’ve long suspected: The Internet is diminishing our capacity for deep contemplation and reflection. I touched on this topic (in a hurry, of course) here. Cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking and superficial learning are the prices we pay for having access to instant information, Carr maintains.
As he points out, we skim Web pages, skipping from one to another at a fast pace, all the while not really absorbing much of anything. In the meantime, verbal SAT scores, which measure reading and writing aptitude, have declined over the past decade as Internet usage has skyrocketed. I doubt the Big Bad Internet is all to blame for this trend, but it may have contributed to it.
If you’d like to exercise your brain a little, try plugging in a little less often and spend time reading (you can groan now) a quality newspaper in print, such as The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, as I saw my fellow “L” riders doing yesterday. Many of the stories are long and if you can train yourself to stick with them to the end, you might just minimize your online, insta-read habit.
Are you whining, “Why can’t I read them online?” I don’t think reading the papers online provides the same benefit because there are too many embedded links and other distractions that tend to pull you away from the task at hand – focusing.
Focus? What’s that? I’ll get back to you after I look at my Twitter feed, my RSS feeds and my Facebook account and check the 25 e-mails that I just received.