How Tesco used QR Codes to increase online shopping

I love it when clever people come up with simple ideas that change the way the world works. This example we will look at today is a subway advertisement that turned a South Korean subway into a supermarket. The execution is so simple. Life size banners that display supermarket brands with QR codes on each item. Scan the item and get them delivered to your door by the end of the day. The idea was sparked by the need to create more sales without opening more stores. After extensive research into the market Tesco was able to see the opportunity to utilise smart phone technology to increase its online sales potential. The consumer will take to this idea because the technology is so simple (inSouth Korea at least) for them to use. The concept works becuase it relies on redundant QR code technology to execute it.It also works because it make an intangible internet experience tangible through the physical advert. This example from Tesco paints a clear picture of the shifts that retailers are going to face in the future: The retail industry can expect powerful competition from online sales channels. Especially if these channels are connecting with consumers in such tangible ways, like in subways while I wait for my train. Brands are still important to consumers. Make sure you make those brands visible to the consumer. Note that there are still a number of juices to choose from displayed on the “shelf”. Convenience is king! Make sure this...

Social Media Coaching for Executives and CEO’s

Learn about social media management in one-on-one or team executive coaching. Social media has become the most exciting shift in communication that business is currently experiencing. This shift spans across generational boundaries and has made a more convenient lifestyle for people as the socialize on the internet. Over the past year I have had the privilege to coach executives from Mr Price, The South African Presidency, the ACDP, Southern Sun, Three Cities, TomorrowToday and a number of Non Profit Organisations. The key areas that we cover in social media coaching are: How to use social media platforms? How does this affect my business? How does this affect people? How can I make the work for me? What makes social media coaching sessions different from social media workshops. The coaching sessions encourage conversations that speak directly to your needs or concerns One-on-one coaching can be done on your schedule (we can even do them over Skype if its more convenient). For more information please contact workshops@mikesaunders.co.za.

How valuable is your website in B2B purchasing decisions?

The invention of social media and blogging has left a big question unanswered in the online marketing realms. Just how valuable is a company website in business to business purchasing decisions? Well it seems that they are very valuable but not neccessarily influential in in the three stages of purchasing. This information comes from the Buyershpere report which I believe shows great insight into the platforms neccessary to create business to business sales leads from the internet. A Summary: How important is your company website? When looking at buying business services there are three stages of the purchase that have been identified: Identifying and defining the need Indentifying potential suppliers Final selection of the supplier In all three stages a company’s website was the primary channel used to gather information, even more than web searches. In stage one industry press, word of mouth and events were next in line as channels used to identify and define the need for the purchase. The company website in this case has the opportunity to establish brand, share product details and specifications and add value to the different purchase stages. the interesting fact that rose oot of the study though was that the company website had very little influence on the conclusion of each stage. The effect of social media on business to business purchasing decisions It’s all about influence! Every stage of the purchase cycle revealed that  social media channels and word of mouth were the primary influential channels that influenced the decisions...

New Keynote on Social Media – Consumer 2.0

I am happy to announce that almost a years worth of ideas and concepts are neatly wrapped up in my latest keynote presentation. Consumer 2.0 The past ten years have seen the world move closer and closer to a digital existence. The boomer generation confidently lead to way by integrating our lives with electronic banking, business intranets and cellular phones while Generation X and Y have continued the journey into blogging, instant messaging and social media. This digital life has not replaced the real “person to person” lifestyle but rather enhanced life to be more convenient and dynamic. Electronic banking opened the door to convenient banking and social media made relationships easier to manage. Does this mean that everyone is moving to using these new technologies? In our experience no, instead people are adapting to those technologies that matter to them. This has lead to a more complex consumer who is using various communication tools in their own way. Making it more difficult to engage with the consumer – regardless of their generation, income level or intelligence. The level of a consumers digital savvy will depend on how and when you could connect with your consumers and whether they will appreciate your presence or not. At the end of the day you have four questions that need answering: How does this influence the way we do business? How has this changed the consumer? How does this influence your reputation or brand? What do we do now? Consumer 2.0 is a...

Is social media changing the way we watch TV?

There are big questions about the longevity of TV alongside the competition of online media. Online video content has become so popular globally and in even in South Africa there seems to be a love for video content. Recently YouTube has broken into the top 5 most visited websites by South Africans. So the question has become – is TV on the way out? I would argue no. It seems that TV programs are actually experiencing an increase in viewership. So why is this happening if people are obviously spending more and more time online? I would like to suggest that social media is shaping a new way of watching TV and that rather than phasing out TV it has chosen a symbiotic relationship. Here are a few quick thoughts about how this works: 1) Social media helps promote TV Social media is often used as an outlet to express watt important to us. When people are excited about important TV episodes/programmes they will use social media to share their enthusiasm. The last Survivor episode, an important rugby match and the chilean miners rescue are all examples of TV being shared in excitement on social networks. Once this excitement is shared more people are exposed to the TV event taking place and the potential of more people ‘tuning in’ increases. 2) Social Media adds a new layer of engagement Once the game is on and people are sitting around the beloved box there is often a conversation that begins. It...

Email Marketing: Breaking the stigma of SPAM

Spam is everybody’s worst nightmare, yet for some strange reason email marketing is still a very effective way to connect with customers and stakeholders. It must be said though that not just any email campaign will get through to the mind of your intended audience. In email marketing there are two primary elements that will decide the success of your campaign: The strength of your database Anyone can build a database of emails. The first prize though is to build a database  of people who have chosen to receive your email. We call this “permission based marketing.” A “permission based” database is more likely to read and respond to your email while a non-permission based database is more likely to see your newsletter as spam and therefore ignore it. Interestingly enough, people generally don’t unsubscribe from newsletters but rather choose to ignore the email as it seems too hard/time-consuming to actually unsubscribe. So if no one has unsubscribed from your list – that’s not necessarily a good thing. Your newsletter could still be ignored. Our advice is to use a database creation strategy that builds a permission based database rather than simply emailing everyone you can think of. In email marketing quantity means nothing, in fact it could lead to increased ignorance from your customers. The quality of your content This is the part that people will hopefully read. Make sure that it is scannable and that your important content is placed in the “hotspots” of the email (Hotspots are...

Social Media can’t fix everything

I read an interesting article on Groundswell which highlights a very important aspect of BP’s current social media nightmare and what they should do about it. Basically the suggestion is to do nothing and actually fix the problem of the spill. In fact all BP’s resources should be focused on this one problem. In the same way not every single negative piece of  social media press can be solved with social media management. You may need to throw all your energy into fixing the problem. An example would be a public dissatisfaction with the level of service received at retail outlets of a major brand. The dissatisfied public have chosen to ‘vent’ on their favorite social media platforms and as a result their message is spreading like wildfire. A literal PR nightmare. You can respond to every single comment and produce all kinds of interesting media into the social realm, but if the root of the problem is not fixed then the bad social media press will continue. My advice (and Harvard Business’s Advice) is to tackle the actual problem first and train your employees to deliver greater service levels to your customers. Once the actual problem is solved, return to your Online Reputation Management and build a campaign/message around how you have dealt with the problem and how your customers can now visit the store and experience better service. This positive experience (subsequently felt by the customer) may make it onto social media and their opinion will be heard...

Coaching the South African Presidency in Social Media

Over the past few months The South African Presidency have been speaking about improving their communications to the South African public by getting involved in social media. In fact, I found out over twitter that this was a topic of conversation on 5fm a few days ago. I can confirm all the hype now after I sat with Mr. Vusi Mona, Deputy Director General: Head of Communications, from the South African Presidency. Over coffee at the King Shaka Airport we discussed the strategy to implement this new communication vehicle into the The Presidency. I found Mr. Mona to be incredibly insightful and passionate about exploring social media management. Mr. Mona had this to say about our consultation session together: “Thanks Mike. I derived lots of value from our discussion.” I am looking forward to serving our country in developing their new social media communication strategy.

Mike Saunders and Barrie Bramley talk about Social Media

I spent last week in Johannesburg and had a chance to chat to Barry Bramley about social media in South Africa. Barry has since put our conversation down on a podcast which captures a few clear points about social media management. Bearing in mind alot of the content here is just my opinion but we looked some case studies, why social media is important, how I launched my consultancy, the most important asset to social media and B2B marketing online. You can download/listen the podcast here

Building a platform to generate non-profit funding

Steve Wirth is a full time missionary with Youth With A Mission based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is involved with the training, equipping and ministry in the area of Prayer, Intercession and Worship and is also a huge fan of coffee and a song writer and poet. In essence Steve is a non profit entity who relies on funding from people who support his ministry. Steve faces many of the same challenges that Non-Profit organisations face in raising funds and communicating with their interested supporters. The most important tool on the internet that Non-Profit organisations need to adopt is blogging. Blogging is the perfect platform for keeping your audience and proud supporters up to date with your project. In addition, a blog can double as a website and a place where people can offer financial support. The key is to remind people about your vision and to show progress with your projects. In some cases (like with Steve Wirth) you blog can even be used to show a bit of your personality. www.wirthacupofcoffee.com includes reviews on music and coffee which are Steve’s passions in life. The campaign developed for Steve Wirth included establishing a blog and training him on how to manage the updates and implement good SEO practice. Then we have ensured that the blog is the centerpiece of all his communications by linking all the blog updates through to Facebook, Twitter and a monthly email marketing campaign. Essentially Steve needs to concentrate only on his blog...

5 Fudamentals of a Good Internet Marketing Strategy

A good internet marketing strategy will include these five fundamental elements: Marketing Research Marketing research needs to take place before the campaign begins and continuously thoughout the campaign activation process. If the correct metrics are not in place you are in danger of creating the wrong kind of return. Even worse, you may not generate any return on your campaign. Facebook has done a very good job in providing its Facebook Insights on pages created in Facebook. These metrics can provide valuable information to the campaign and its return. A Willingness to Change All this research is available all the time. Some of it is even available in real-time. My suggestion when building your marketing strategy would be to identify your marketing decision maker and make sure that they are integrally involved in the strategy. You can make changes to your internet marketing campaign almost instantly, why not take advantage of this flexibility and make sure that your team is ready and willing to make quick decisions to activate intuitive marketing ideas as soon as possible. Clear Project Management There is nothing worse than a strategy activation where the team involved in carrying out the campaign are unsure of their responsibilities. Put someone in charge of making sure that all the task happen at the right time and make sure that everyone is clear about their responsibilities. Internet maketing campaigns often have alot of small but vitally important tasks that need to take place and these can easily fall through...

Measuring marketing effectiveness with Facebook

Facebook has recently announced new analytic measurement platforms that will make it easier to justify the marketing power of social media management. Facebook Insights: The new and improved insights platform for measuring the activity on your Facebook pages has added a few interesting points: 1) How many people have hidden your updates from their Live Feed? 2) Which websites refer people to your Facebook page? 3) How do people find out about your Facebook page? In additional to these new statistics and the information already available it is now becoming easier to make calculated strategic decisions about how to market your brand inside Facebook

Marketing Warwick Junction

Today we launched a website with a simple aim to sell tours around The Markets of Warwick. Warwick Junction lies on the edge of the Durban’s inner-city and is the primary public transport interchange in the city. On an average day the area accommodates 460 000 commuters, and at least 6000 street vendors. Given the confluence of rail, taxi and bus transport, this area has always been a natural market for street vendors. The Markets of Warwick includes between 5000 and 8000 vendors trading in 9 distinct markets. Currently this is the only informally structured market in a public space of this magnitude, and thus establishes itself as the single most authentic African market that South Africa has to offer. I was intrigued by the business and enjoyed working on this project because they seem to have found a niche in tourism that I have not seen yet. The tourism element is only a small part af a great vision for the founding company Asiye Etafuleni. I would encourage you to check this out and learn a bit more about the project. Even book a tour around the market (for a mere 50 bucks!). A note on strategy On a strategy side, due to time constraints, a full internet marketing campaign will be put into affect at a later stage. So the initial efforts were best spent in creating a simple, easy to use website that drove people to booking tours. The website also shows additional information for those looking...

Is Facebook getting bigger than Google?

A few weeks ago I wrote on the Ideat blog that Facebook had the potentional to become the King of the Internet. This was highlighted by the fact the Facebook had been the most visited website in the US a week or two earlier.More recently Facebook has become the most popular searched brand in the US. What has become more interesting is that in South Africa 82% of the online population are on Facebook and 74% of the population are actively involved in social networking.  In March we also saw the launch of Google real-time search in South Africa, which brings social media updates into Google. There are also develoments, made by google, that mean you have better search potential in Google if more people are following you on twitter. What is taking place is a fundamental shift in the way people use the internet. People are choosing to network, search, discuss, aggregate and understand the internet through social networks, of which Facebook is the largest. This has meant that Google has had to go to the social networks to get the information that people are intesteted in. So the question: Is Facebook getting bigger than Google? What about in a South African context? What do you think?

What on earth is a Facebook Community page?

The biggest question I am asked as a social media coach has been “what should I use to promote my business? A page or a group?” Well now we have something new to consider: Facebook Community Pages What it looks like and why have one? A Community Page looks and feels exactly like a normal Facebook page but it has a slightly different purpose. The page is meant to be used for all the unofficial band, brand and business pages that are out there. Facebook seems to be trying to bring a more official status to a Page by letting the unofficial pages have their own platform. What’s so different about it? Basically the biggest difference is that when these pages gain popularity they have the potential to be handed over to the Facebook community. This will mean that the community page will start to look like a wiki about the page topic. Why not just use a group? My personal opinion is that Facebook is trying to phase out groups but there is no proof for that other than my gut feel. Another thought would be SEO. Groups on Facebook are not indexed by Google. So if you would like to start a community of people and wish that community had a search engine presence then a Community Page is they way forward. The other thing to remember is that pages provide user statistics. So your community page could provide some interesting insight into its users. Allfacebook makes a...

Harboring a healthy skepticism for the internet

I was thinking about the opportunity that exists on the internet the other day and I started to think about how many people have jumped into the internet and failed dismally. I think that this has happened because of a disregard of the hard work involved in running an internet marketing campaign or online business. So many people speak to me about this amazing business idea that involves developing a small website and then sitting back and watching the money roll in. Unfortunately the internet does not work like that. I wish it did, but it doesn’t! It takes hard work, dedication, persistence and and innovative mindset to stay ahead of the pack. At time its even important to maintain a healthy skepticism for the internet and its possibilities. Just to keep us on our toes!!

Forget teenagers! Generation X use social media in South Africa

Bizcommunity posted an interesting article the other day that spoke about the Friendship 2.0 study that was commissioned by MWEB. The study showed a very interesting statistic: The average age of Facebook users in South Africa is 33; MySpace is 32; Twitter and YouTube come in at 31; and the youngest in the survey is MXit with an average age of 27. These findings dispel perceptions that social networking is for teenagers only. Unbelievable! That means that people on Facebook, Twitter, MXit and YouTube could have more decision making power than we think. We may need to start changing the way we market to these networks because we may be missing the mark completely. Generation X are the ones we can meet with social networking. Very exciting news! One question is begging though? Where are all the teenagers?

The key to driving traffic through social media

Content is the key!!! I could stop writing now because it is that simple but I would like to expand on this a little more. The content that you create for your social media campaign will determine the success of your campaign. In creating content for your website it is important to look at a number of factors: The internet habits of your audience The media consumption of your audience The cultural and social background of your audience A good understanding of your audience is the key to creating and executing a content strategy that will engage your audience and encourage the desired response online. If you would like to find out more about social media management and creating a content strategy that will impact your target audience online click here.

Breaking through the clutter on twitter

Twitter has millions and millions of user profiles. Each profile is doing its best to promote their message to their followers. As you can imagine this has become a fairly competitive place to promote yourself. Lets look into a few tips to help your twitter to break through the clutter of tweets, twits, twerps and retweets. 1) Get focused A profile with a single focus always generates a higher following. Even better, a focused profile attracts a specific audience interested in your topic. Meaning that your potential for meaningful engagement and lead generation is higher. 2) Brand yourself Part of branding yourself on twitter is deciding on your focus but once this is established bring your focus out in your profile design. Custom designed profiles give a more authentic and professional appeal. This often will cause people to feel better about following you. A brand audit will help to. 3) Search optimise your bio Once you’ve decided what you’re about, make it clear in your bio. People search for keywords when looking for people to follow. Much like search engine optimisation you need to make sure that your bio clearly uses your industry keywords. What good is a clever sounding bio if no-one is able to find your profile. Dan Zarella’s book provide some interesting information that bio’s that include the words “official, founder, expert and author” tend to have more followers than those that don’t.

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