Archive | February, 2013

When Worlds Collide: Traditional and Digital Media

27 Feb

If you haven’t treated yourself to at least a few “Harlem Shake” YouTube videos either a) you’re an Amish Mennonite and you’re probably not reading this post or b) you’ve been on a 6-month-long sabbatical on a desert island, and in that case, welcome back!

Allow news channel KSLA to elaborate on the latest dance video craze to sweep the YouTube world in this brief newscast clip:

Did you see that?! DID YOU SEE THAT?! They DID their OWN version of the Harlem Shake! ::mind blown::

Now, as I’m picking up the pieces of my blown mind, let me elaborate on why I’m so excited about this. I’m not posting this video simply because it’s an amazing and hilarious spin on the Harlem Shake YouTube trend, nor am I purely amused by professionals taking a moment to act a little silly. I’m interested in instances like this because it shows an example of the successful merging of digital and traditional media and the potential for positive viral marketing.

In the past few years, there’s been a rising trend in the cross over of YouTube and traditional broadcast news. This transpires in a couple of standard ways. Occasionally news casts attempt to seem hip and relevant by talking about the week’s funny cat video, which usually just feels forced and falls kind of flat. More often then not, YouTube users turn to newscasts to create video after video of newscaster “fails” and other entertaining mishaps.

However, this time KSLA was in on the joke and in the process marketed themselves throughout the nation with over 8 million YouTube views (including dozens of spin offs beyond this original post) resulting in the type of viral marketing that some stations could only dream of. They turned to YouTube to report on relevant pop culture news and did so in a fun and entertaining way that aligned with the very spirit of YouTube videos, thereby turning their newscast ABOUT a YouTube video INTO a successful YouTube video. It’s like we’re in the MATRIX!

As traditional media seeks to remain relevant in an increasingly digital age, KSLA was a refreshing example of how- when approached in a creative and fun way- traditional news media doesn’t always have to take itself so seriously and can benefit from the viral nature of YouTube by becoming YouTube fodder for the right reasons.

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The Boost in Mobile: Top Retailers Step Up Their Mobile Game

18 Feb

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Mobile is a top priority – or in any case should be- in most retailers’ developing digital strategies. A couple of weeks ago in my Strategic Internet Marketing class we examined an interesting and well-written article by digital media guru Brian Solis entitled “Forget about Social Media for a moment. What’s your mobile strategy?” While the article emphasized the growing mobile market and the rising trend in mobile web traffic independent from desktop web experiences, one thing it seemed to miss from a retailer’s perspective is the low conversion of mobile site visitors. So the question became, if the odds of closing a sale are so low, why should mobile customers matter to retailers?

A report by ForeSee entitled Mobile Satisfaction Index: Holiday Retail Edition shed some light on this very question. As I postulated in class, while mobile isn’t a strong closer in the purchasing experience, it serves as an introducer very early in the digital purchasing path. The results of the study revealed:

“More than half of respondents visited the company’s website as their first step in shopping experience (57%) and were highly satisfied with that interaction (80).”

Mobile sites serve as the first step in the buying experience for more than half of purchasers, making that first step a very important one, because what is the old adage? First impressions are everything! Making that first foray into the brand’s storefront an oh-so-important step not only in the shopping experience, but in the brand experience in general. Who hasn’t gone to a site they love on their mobile phone only to find an unoptimized experience? Isn’t there just a little bit of disappointment and skeptisim in that visit (right before the inevitable bounce)? “Ew, this store doesn’t have a mobile site? ::judgemental eyebrow:: ::closes web screen and goes back to playing Fruit Ninja::”

The second half of the above findings- 80% being high satisfied with that first mobile interaction- is an encouraging indication that large retailers are taking notice of this growing segment and improving the mobile experience for customers. Retailers are beginning to understand that solely concentrating on their traditional E-commerce site (Whoa, remember in late 90s when Internet webstores were cutting edge? Now they’re “traditional”? Hello 21st century!) no longer cuts it in the eyes of the consumer. When they visit a website on their mobile phone, they expect an optimized mobile experience.

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So do we set off the confetti canons and throw our desktop online shopping machines out the window? Not so fast. While the findings of this study are definitely an improvement year over year, even the top 25 retailers are still barely in the B-C range in customer satisfaction. Obviously there’s still room for improvement.

Smaller retailers still have plenty of catching up to do, but studies like this should cause them to take notice. They’re a good indication that by beefing up mobile experiences smaller retailers will meet the high expectations of today’s mobile-savvy shoppers… and avoiding those dreaded judgmental eyebrows.