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Archive for the ‘buzz marketing’ Category

Pop quiz: You own or manage a restaurant. A hotel. A coffee shop. A specialty goods store. A hot dog stand. A bank. A movie theater. A shoe store. A gym. A bodega. A hair salon. A sushi bar. A pub. A public park. A swimming pool. A museum. An art gallery. A city. Do you know who the mayor of your business is?

If you don’t, find out today. Right now. Here’s why: It could help your business grow pretty quickly if you play your cards right. More on that in a minute. First, here’s how to find out who has claimed the title of mayor on Foursquare: (Huh? fourwhat? Hang on. We’ll get to that too.)

The How:

Step 1: Go to www.foursquare.com

Step 2: In the search box (top right) enter your business name.

Step 3: When your business information pops up, look to the right of the screen. You will see an icon labeled “mayor”. That’s who the mayor is.

The Now What:

Find out who they are, and you give them the royal treatment next time they come into your store. Let them know you’re paying attention to a) Foursquare, b) whom is taking the time to check in every time they come into your place of business, and c) who is sharing that information (that recommendation) with their friends on Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook.

Think about giving them a discount or a gift while you’re at it. Set up a “mayor parking” spot outside. Treat them like a VIP inside the store. Address them as “Mister Mayor” or “Your Grace,” when they walk in. It’s up to you. Have fun with it. Give them more reasons to like you. It never hurts to reward kindness with kindness, and remember that it is supposed to be fun and rewarding.

The Why:

If you aren’t familiar with Foursquare yet, here it is in a paragraph: It’s a game played on mobile devices. People “check in” to businesses and other locations, and try to accumulate points. In some instances, they win much coveted “badges” (see some examples below).

In other instances, if they are the most frequent visitor of a location (like your store), they are crowned “mayor” of that location. The game is free, works on a variety of mobile platforms, and players have the option to share their check-ins with their network of family and friends on Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook. It’s a silly game, sure, but it is powerful as well. Here’s why:

1. Frequency – Because checking-in is a game, it is fun. That, in and of itself, is reward enough. Mayorships and badges are also rewards for activity on Foursquare. What it means is this: Foursquare gives people an incentive to visit your store more often, just so they can check in. Especially if you are running a promotion aimed at your store’s mayor. As a business, you can thus easily use Foursquare to increase the frequency of visits to your store(s). That equates to more foot traffic, more mindshare, and potentially more sales. (While they’re in your store, they’ll probably buy something.)

2. Reach – In case you missed it earlier, when someone “checks in” to your location, they broadcast that check-in to their various digital networks. Right now, that is mostly Foursquare itself, Twitter and Facebook. This will probably grow over time. But consider that the average american has what… over 200+ “friends” on Facebook? Think about the power of having a single customer broadcast that they are in your restaurant, in your hair salon, in your pub to 200+ of their friends every time they come in. Now multiply that by ten customers. Now multiply that by 100 customers.

Though not technically “active” word of mouth, Foursquare check-ins are still de-facto endorsement of your business. In other words, it isn’t just a question of exposure. A check-in is an affirmation of endorsement. It might as well say “I am here, and I am proud to tell you all that I am doing business here. Come do the same.” That’s the context of a check-in.

Every time one of your customers checks-in and broadcasts that they are doing business with you, they potentially trigger a visit in an average of 200 other potential customers. (Either existing customers or potential customers.)

3. Yield – Of the three, this one is probably the toughest to achieve, but as a measure of loyalty, yield (average purchase amount) can be impacted by foursquare activity. As frequency of visits increases and loyalty follows suit, it is likely that a portion of your customers will escalate their purchase amounts as well. Loyalty can lead to a higher percentage of wallet share, not just through buy rates (frequency) but also higher price-point purchases.

A word on escalation: Take the example of a bike shop. A casual customer may come in once a month and buy some energy bars, a bike jersey and some socks. As this customer is developed into a regular, they start purchasing all of their energy bars from you instead of buying them from several different places. They may also start jonesing for that new pair of cycling shoes and that new helmet they will soon rationalize they need to replace their “old” ones with. If you treat them well and understand their needs, this escalation may lead to a higher dollar purchase like a race wheel upgrade, a carbon-fiber set of handlebars upgrade, a full bike tune-up, or even a brand new bike to start off the new season in style.

Result: In six months to a year, you could potentially turn a casual customer who only bought low-hanging-fruit items in your store to a loyal customer with a habit of dropping large amounts of cash on premium upgrades with you, instead of blowing them on something else.

Note: You cannot escalate yield if you do not have a relationship with your customer. There is no shortcut here. You have to get to know them. You have to become part of their world. This is not something you can do from a corporate office, or from the back of the store. Someone has to interact with them on a human level – both online and offline.

More thoughts on how to leverage Foursquare:

How your business can use Foursquare is up to you. Use your imagination. Try different things. Be clever. Have fun with it. Perhaps you can work with Foursquare to create badges for your business, the way that Bravo, Starbucks, SxSW, Marc Jacobs and several cities (San Francisco, New York, Brooklyn and Chicago) already have. Here is Starbucks’ very own Barista badge. To obtain it, players only need check in at 5 different Starbucks locations:

Imagine the same thing for your business, or banding with retailers in your area to create a badge players could unlock by visiting 5 of your combined locations. You could work with an organization or with a city even, to help promote your business through Foursquare. You don’t have to do it all yourself.

Perhaps you can also create promotions around Foursquare activity, like flashmobs (using your business and a particular sales event to help customers achieve both all-too elusive swarm badges (50 people checking in together and 250 people checking in together.)

Another fun idea: Procure some Foursquare Merit Badges and ceremoniously award them to customers who acquired virtual badges online (see below).

Whatever you choose to do, start at the beginning: Find out who the mayor of your business is, acknowledge that status, and reward it with warmth and gratitude, if not with product.  Next: Create an account and get rolling. It’s your business. Take charge and participate. Welcome to a whole new world of marketing fun. If you’re lucky, you will beat your competitors to it. (Never underestimate first-mover advantage, especially in the age of twitter & facebook real-time word-of-mouth.)

Footnote: I spoke to two retailers yesterday who had never heard of foursquare. One didn’t know that dozens of customers were already checking into their store regularly, and I added the other’s venue because there wasn’t one yet. Guess what: One knows who the mayor of their business is today, and he has a plan now. The other will know as soon as someone becomes the mayor, and is already working on some promotions. We will revisit these two businesses in a few months to see how they fare.

Also check out Gowalla.com while you’re at it. Very much the same thing, and it too is growing.

Additional reading:

Via Mark Van Baale (@markvanbaale on twitter) – “Foursquare sees another big Domino fall

And this great piece via Mashable on Foursquare’s business analytics dashboard.

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Oh no they didn’t.

“At 36lbs, 33″ long and 9″ wide at the front element, calling this lens a ‘tele’ is like calling King Kong a monkey.”

At $99,000 a pop, I doubt that B&H is going to sell many. And since there are only a few dozen of these lenses in existence, that point is moot.

What I see here isn’t a monster lens, but a brilliant bit of self promotion by B&H.

Well played, sirs. Well played indeed.

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Today is Day #2 of our review of French marketing trend notes for 2008.

(This whole translation business is actually not bad at all. I think I’m getting the hang of it.)

Read the original interview here.

Nicolas Riou (Brain Value):

As consumers grow less and less passive, brands must modify their approach in order to continue seducing them. (…)

Reading consumers is becoming very complex and presents a number of contradictions. We can no longer rely on traditional benchmarks. We forget the term “consumer” to replace it with “individual”. (…)

Consumers, like brands, now express themselves on the internet. In fact, consumers now tend to trust other consumers’ opinions posted on forums than actual brand communications. Power is changing hands. Brands are losing control over their own image but also take advantage of the content creation and associated buzz generated by consumers. Interestingly, some brands are attempting to regain control of this content creation by organizing contests. In 2007, Liebig organized a content creation contest that focused on recipes, and l’Oréal organized an advertising campaign design contest which promised its winners exposure for their work.

Consensus living is starting to gain momentum. Consumers are much more attentive to the way they make purchases and live their lives. Purchases of organic products reflect an trend towards all things natural, pro-health, and the reinforcement of ecologically driven imperatives. People are now much more attentive to traceability, recyclability, and the carbon footprint of products (as it relates to energy consumed during their production, distribution, etc.). This trend towards making products traceable from a to z is currently revolutionizing the food industry. Consumers can now look at a food product’s packaging and immediately see the difference between a kiwi fruit which traveled 20,000 kilometers and a kiwi grown in a neighboring country. This product labeling model is gaining incredible momentum in Japan, notably with mobile devices, and should start showing up in France in two or three years.

Buzz marketing aside, the 360° phenomenon is growing quickly. Consumer touchpoints are multiplying and making use of increasingly non-traditional methods of advertising. Still, these new strategies are not necessarily replacing more traditional marketing methods to inspire emotional attachment to brands. Both as consumers and fans of entertainment we still crave the familiarity of TV advertising and big media.

Interesting how in some ways, the French are a bit behind the US in terms of user content, realizing that the balance of power has shifted, and the use of the internet (hey, the French government held on to the minitel for so long that French adoption of PC’s and access to the internet was delayed for almost a decade)… yet their sophistication when it comes to a) product labeling and the role it plays in helping consumers make purchasing decisions, and b) ecological responsibility, is decades ahead of the US.

The carbon footprint of a ribeye steak? Really? In the US? I’d buy that for a dollar!

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂


Photo by NASA.

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Ah, viral and buzz marketing. Good stuff. Remember the personalized phone messages Samuel Jackson sent out to your friends’ cellphones to let them know about Snakes On A Plane two years ago? Well get ready, because The Dark Knight is taking their guerilla/buzz marketing campaign a few steps further.

Pure genius.

From FirstShowing.net (via Panasonic Youth’s blog):

The Dark Knight’s Viral Marketing Gets Very Real –

Cakes, Cell Phones and All!

A couple of weeks ago we were following the latest viral marketing campaign online for The Dark Knight pretty closely. An online version of the fictional newspaper The Gotham Times arrived and was followed by numerous websites, including a defaced Joker version of the paper called The Ha Ha Ha Times and even a website for the Gotham City Rail with a subway map of the city. This whole campaign is on the other end of the spectrum of the teaser poster – this stuff is absolutely brilliant. I followed up on this whole viral campaign earlier today and discovered I’d missed something HUGE! The Joker has been recruiting, and I mean quite realistically!

After the bevy of new websites came online and messages started appearing where the result was to wait a number of days, most of us lost the ability to keep track of everything going on. Well a few hardcore fans have been keeping track and they’ve got one hell of reward – they’re now members of Joker’s army. This reminds me of the that scene in the Matrix, where Neo gets that phone from the FedEx envelope and it rings right away. Except this is real life folks.

On December 3rd a new page appeared at whysoserious.com/steprightup with a hammer game and some teddy bear toys. Each toy had an address on it located in a number of cities around the US. The note on the game told people to go to that address and say their name was “Robin Banks” (get it, “Robbing Banks”) and they’d get something there. It was first come, first serve, and each location was a bakery. What they were given was a cake with a phone number written on it. Now here’s the best part: inside the cake was an evidence bag (complete with Gotham City Police printing) that contained a cell phone, a charger, a Joker playing card and a note with instructions.


The note read the following:

“Wow. You really took the cake! Now put the icing on it. Call [number] immediately from this phone and this phone only. Do not give this phone number to anyone else.

Let’s hope your fellow goons come through as well as you. Once all the layers are in place, you’ll all get your just desserts. I’m a man of my word.”

When the person called the number, a lady answered from Rent-a-Clown to thank the caller. Apparently she said she knew who the caller was and then after hanging up, they received a text message. It read:

“Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don’t call me. I will call you … eventually.”

If you can believe it, the Joker now has real, live people recruited to his army sitting with a phone awaiting his call. I thought this stuff only happened IN movies, not FOR movies!

Additionally, once all the cakes were handed out, a new page was linked where users can sign-up to receive a free screening pass on Thursday night at 7PM to see I Am Legend in IMAX which will include the first 7-minutes of The Dark Knight that was filmed specifically for IMAX. Another link also revealed the first teaser poster.

My first reaction to all of this: HOLY SHIT! That is the coolest thing I have ever seen in terms of viral marketing! They’ve got people armed with cell phones ready to go out and do whatever the Joker asks. Now I’m just frustrated that I wasn’t keeping up with this close enough to grab the cake and cell phone from Denver. However, now I’m armed and ready the moment another clue comes up (at any time of the day) to head out and be the first one.

This viral marketing for The Dark Knight is really getting quite “real” and I mean that it is really picking up and getting tangible. I can’t wait to see what happens next! There’s still 7 months until the movie even comes out!! Thanks quite a bit to HollywoodChicago.com for the photos and info on this.

The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, is directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) and co-written by Christopher Nolan, his brother Jonathan, and David S. Goyer. The movie arrives in theaters next summer on July 18th, 2008.



Clever as hell.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

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