The Internet of Things: Who Really Owns The Device?

Imagine that you bought an Apple computer, and then Apple informed you that when your warranty on the machine ended, your computer would power down and no longer work.

While impossible to imagine, this reality is happening for owners of the Revolve smart home hub, now owned by Nest. Nest acquired Revolv in 2014, which was one of the early home automation hubs, and soon after the company stopped selling the product.

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While the product was no longer sold, the owners of the devices (as few as they were) could still use the devices to control things like lights, locks, and smart speaker systems. As of May 15, this will change and devices will no longer be connected or supporting, ceasing to work entirely.

This action by Nest brings a new perspective on the Internet of Things. When buyers purchase connected devices that require service and updates to run continuously, who actually owns the device?

To keep these items in the mainstream, companies in the IoT industry must be upfront with consumers about how long the device can expect updates- and then stick to their promises.

As stated in a January 2015 report by the Federal Trade Commission, “Disclosing the length of time companies plan to support and release software updates for a given product line will help consumers better understand the safe ‘expiration dates’ for their commodity Internet-connected devices.”

In addition to privacy and security concerns with the IoT, are these devices really worth the investment?

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Facebook Makes Ad Changes: Goodbye Ad Image Text Overlay Rule

With social media sites like Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube threatening Facebook’s advertising market share, the company quietly made some changes to their ad policies last month, just before releasing more changes this month.

In late March, Facebook made big changes to the ad image rule. In the past, Facebook required the ad to feature no more than 20% text. In fact, they even offered a grid to help companies ensure that their ad would meet those guidelines. Now, marketers can have more text in their photos, but their reach might be compromised if proper guidelines aren’t considered. The new four categories of text overlay are:

Image Text: OK

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Image Text: Low

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Image Text: Medium

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Image Text: High

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Since the goal of all Facebook ads are to have as high of reach as possible, here are some tips from Social Media Today for creating “OK” Ads.

– Remember, any text based logo is counted as text so include this in your count as you’re designing

-Watermarks are considered text as well, even if they’re mandatory or per brand guidelines

-All numbers are also considered text.

To be safe & ensure maximum reach for your image, reserve all of your promotional text for the post itself.

Do you think Facebook should have made a bigger announcement to their users?

 

Siri, How Do I Optimize My Website for Voice Search?

My least favorite saying in business is “If you build it, they will come”. In fact, in today’s rapidly growing digital world, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

As more competitors enter the market and digital media advances, we must continue to find new and innovative ways to place our products in front of our consumers at the point of search. While companies have successfully begun optimizing their website for keywords to increase their search ranking, the increased adoption of voice search has created some changes in the way consumers search.

According to a study from Northstar Research, “55% of teenagers are using voice search every day, and 56% of adults use it because it helps them feel more “tech-savvy.” These searches vary from directions, to text messages, and even help with homework.

 

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(Official Google Blog)

In a world without voice search, SEO used to be all about keywords. Marketers would choose choppy keyword sayings that people would search like “Ford service Pittsburgh” to get their business noticed. Now, with the introduction of voice search, it has increased the use of long-tail keywords and phrases that are more conversational, like “Where can I get my Ford serviced?”

So how can we ensure that our sites are optimized for voice search? Here are some tips:

  • Use long-Tail keywords

With voice searchers using long-tail phrases, you should be using these keywords, too.

  • Discover your customer’s questions and provide answers.

Conduct research to determine what your customers are asking. Content company, Scripted, recommends developing a strategy to create content through blogs, web pages, and social media posts that answers your customers top questions to improve SEO for long-tail searches.

  • Write conversational content.

Use your natural voice when writing content to match the language used by customers when searching with voice search.

 

With voice search usage increasing every day, what steps will you take to optimize your site?

 

Wearable Technology: Capitalizing on New Marketing Opportunities

With an increased focus on improving the overall quality of health & fitness, wearable technologies are on the rise. From FitBits and Apple Watches to Google Glasses and now, even apparel with heart rate monitors and sensors, these enchanted objects offer opportunities for marketers to capitalize on.

This video from Digital Splash Media shares some details on the market forecast for wearable technologies.

According to Wareable.com, The fitness tracker industry alone is set to almost triple to $5.4 billion by 2019. This technology tracks and records the user’s workouts, heart rate, sleep and other health data. This data collected presents an opportunity for marketers of health or fitness products to deliver ads to the user that is helpful and useful to them.  For example, imagine the data reveals that the user runs 5 days a week for a total of 15 miles. Knowing that most runners need to purchase new shoes after 300 miles, a footwear company could begin delivering ads to the user’s smartphone for new running shoes once the runner is close to that max. The customer sees this relevant ad as a benefit to them & improves their experience.

This data also allows those companies to deliver ads at the right time. Most wearable technologies and fitness trackers operate with Bluetooth technology, allowing for geo-targeting. With location-based ads, marketers could deliver a relevant ad at the same time that the customer plans to purchase certain products. This type of ad placement will increase the overall percentage of users that purchase products.

With new technologies being introduced each day, data collection and availability will provide marketers with more ways to offer the right message to customers at the right time.

What use do you see for wearable technology for marketing?

 

7 Social Media Strategies to Grow Your Decorated Apparel Business

Social Media has evolved into a marketing tool that has a real and measurable impact on your business’s bottom line. More than just a wonderful place for brands to have fun (although, you should still have some fun with social), your social media strategy should work in tandem with the rest of your business strategy to grow your sales.

Working with t-shirt entrepreneurs and decorated apparel businesses over the last 5 years, I have seen how a sound social media strategy can create a real advantage for the companies over their competitors. Done right, it can give you a way to generate new customers & engage more with past customers to ensure repeat sales.

Here are 7 strategies to keep in mind when using social media for your apparel business.

  • Post Content Daily

Do you remember what happened on Facebook last week? Neither do I. That’s why posting content daily is key to staying in front of your audience, increasing customer engagement and retention. However, don’t just post to post. Create a schedule of what you want to share to help stay on task.

  • Use Pictures in Your Posts

This is why social media and the apparel industry work so well together. Photos sell & give you a great opportunity to visually show off your t-shirt designs and bold prints.

  • Post Videos, too!

Did you know that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video? Leverage short and long videos to showcase your products or educate your customers.

  • Do More than Sell.

Trust me, I know we are all in sales and want every activity to generate revenue for our business, but resist the urge to make all of your posts about your products, specials or sales. You should always be thinking about what your customer wants to see, sharing things that are interesting and informative to them. Original content is great, but feel free to share relevant content from others, too.

  • Go Above & Beyond with Customer Service

Use your social media for an opportunity to offer outstanding customer service. According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, it costs 4 to 10 times more to gain new customers than it does to keep one. Use your social media accounts to engage more with your customers, support them, and communicate with them.

  • Run Giveaways to Increase Your Audience & Exposure

Create a giveaway campaign that encourages your followers to engage with you & share your promotions. Something along the lines of “share this post to increase your chances of winning” will increase exposure for your promotion and generate more followers. Make sure the message has a powerful incentive to get your followers to share.

  • Increase Exposure by Making it Easy for Customers to Share or Pin Your Products

The average user spends 89 minutes per month on Pinterest. And, with clothes being one of the top subjects pinned, making it easy for your customers to share their favorite looks on all social channels or pin them for later is imperative for increasing exposure.

Of course, these strategies just break the surface on what you can do once you implement your social media strategy. Have you used social media to grow your apparel business? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

 

 

Video Content Marketing: The New 60-Second Elevator Pitch

Years ago when I started into my sales career, I was often asked to perfect my 60-second elevator pitch. You know the one. That perfect, compelling and succinct idea that sold your product and made it the one your prospect had to have. It was a key asset to a sales person. And, when time and attention spans were short, it gave your customer the information they needed to know in a quick, concise package so you could close the sale.

Today, video is a content marketer’s elevator pitch. It’s the future of content marketing.  Naturally engaging, video stands out in an age of information overload where consumers are bombarded by marketing messages and advertisements. It tells them everything they need to know about your brand or product in an easy to digest approach. From improved web traffic to increased conversions, this video created by OotsMedia details some powerful statistics and reasons to why online video is the future of content marketing and we, as marketers, should take notice.

 

According to a study by Cisco, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2016. So how can content marketers make sure their brand rises to the top with effective pitches?

Garry Moran with MarketingThink.com shares these 3 key ways:

  • Use video to tell your story
  • Develop a video content creation strategy with variations of video lengths and styles
  • Create your video content distribution strategy

 

Of course, the first key to starting successful video content campaigns is diving in and getting started.  Are you effectively leveraging video in your content marketing strategy?

Let Me Take a Selfie: Mastercard’s New Way to Pay

With credit card fraud being a top priority for companies like Mastercard & mobile and online purchases on the rise, the search for new and innovative ways to add security to card purchases is always ongoing.

When you make a purchase in a store using your credit card, the retailer can ask for an ID to verify you are the person that owns the card. When it comes to internet and mobile purchases, that same photo identification security hasn’t been possible, until now.

Enter the “selfie”. Yes, I never dreamed of the day that our beloved selfie would find a purpose beyond sharing close up photos with your friends. But, Mastercard has officially announced its expansion of “Selfie Pay” across 14 different countries. The service simply uses the selfie as facial recognition to pay for purchases made on mobile and tablets.

So how does Selfie Pay work?

According to CNN, customers who want to try Selfie Pay will have to download a special MasterCard app that allows them to take a photo each time they make an online purchase. Their face will then be scanned to prove they’re not thieves or hackers. And, the service does more than just scan your face, it requires you to blink when taking the selfie to ensure the cardholder is a live person, and not just a stolen photograph.

Replacing a password or PIN that has been required in the past, the photograph ads more credibility and security to online shopping. As explained in Fortune, this “Selfie pay is intended to ease the process of verifying transactions as consumers make more purchases online and on mobile devices. Plus, it’s thought to be more secure that just punching in a password or PIN. “

This video from Newsy Business does a great job showing the Selfie Pay app in action:

I’d like to tip my hat to the masterminds at Mastercard who came up with a new way to make secure purchases and put up a fight against fraudulent purchases. I think using this app in conjunction with mobile opens up Mastercard to build its brand as a company who cares about its members and gives them a unique opportunity to reach the selfie generation. With the Millennial generation all entering the credit card phase of their lives, engaging with them on a platform where they want to be engaged, through mobile and selfies, lends credibility to Mastercard’s brand. And who knows, these selfies could lead to new card owners and adopters for Mastercard.

What do you think about the new way to pay? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

Death of an Adman- The Takeover of Emerging Media

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Mad Men’s Don Draper could never have imagined the online phenomenon of today’s advertising and marketing world. The smooth words and persuasive messaging of the 1960’s advertising era has officially come to an end with consumers controlling much of the voice and marketing conversation.  Emerging, or New, Media is no longer new. The battle between traditional and digital media is over. And digital has won.

But, most importantly, the consumer has won. Consumers are now controlling the conversation that they have with brands. With mobile, social media, the web, and inventions like DVR, consumers can decide who they want to listen to and when. This has changed the way marketers use emerging media to meet consumers where they are at and to become a brand that they want to engage with and listen to. With easy access to blogs, and the ability to share their opinions through these platforms as well as video, podcasts, and social media at their fingertips, control of the conversation is challenging. Consumers are telling not only us, but the whole world, what they want and what they think about us. While many marketers may see this as a nightmare for brand management, I see this an opportunity. An opportunity to improve our products, our brands, and leverage these powerful voices for testimonials of our quality and service.

Simply put, online is where the conversation is and where our consumers are.  As Luke Sullivan states in his book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, today’s consumers are “simply rejecting media and brand marketers that fail to fit into their increasingly interconnected digital lifestyles .”

If a brand wants to remain relevant with its core audience, it has to understand emerging media, and understand how to use it well. If we want our products or services to be relevant, we have to converse with our audience and encourage them to talk with us, rather than shoving our product messaging down their throats.

We have to be willing to change and quick to adapt to the ever changing digital media world. And most importantly, we have to be the ones who are doing the listening in today’s consumer-marketer relationship. Today’s marketing content is no longer created by suit wearing ad men, but instead off listening to customers online and creating content based on their wants and needs.