Category Archives: interactive marketing

Etsy & Kite

How Etsy & Kite Add Social Right Into UX

By | apps, customer experience, digital commerce, digital marketing, ecommerce, interactive marketing, social media | No Comments

Social media marketing is more essential than ever in the growing world of digital marketing. As Small Business Trends reported last year, 7 out of 10 consumers prefer a business with a social media presence, which is why companies are continually trying to find new ways to engage in conversation with their audience.

The recent trend is to integrate social platforms and campaigns right into their services, helping them boost engagement and retention in one fell swoop. Instead of trying to come up with the next hit innovation in the field, these two companies are applying the tried-and-tested techniques that consumers love on other platforms, right into their own service for more effective UX.

Etsy Makes eCommerce Social with Crowdfunding ‘Fund’

Fund on Etsy. Credit: Etsy Inc.

Fund on Etsy. Credit: Etsy Inc.

The company that prides itself in connecting creative entrepreneurs with their target customers is expanding into the profitable and viral sensation world of crowdfunding. Taking the idea behind Kickstarter, Etsy hopes that their Fund service will  ““help…sellers [continue to] grow their businesses and create new products. By funding a campaign, buyers can participate in a new product’s journey from initial concept to their front door, while forging even more meaningful relationships with Etsy sellers they care about.”

It’s a genius natural integration that puts the creative marketing aspect right into the eCommerce marketplace, ensuring a full-service venue for their crafty user demographic to reach their strategic goals in the financing and development process. Right now, Fund is in it’s Pilot Program with limited sellers, but if users respond well Etsy hopes to roll out the service to all sellers soon.

Kite is Differentiating Themselves from the Competition Through Integrated Social Marketing

Kite Interface. Credit: Fast Company

Kite Interface. Credit: Fast Company

In the past month, there has been a slew of announcements about new News apps and platforms: from Apple News to Facebook Instant Articles, and the newly announced BuzzFeed News. Among those is Kite, but the difference between this app and the rest is that Kite plans to change the game of searching for reading material by disguising its full service browser-centric service into a standalone social network similar to that of Instagram.

Instead of using algorithms or having users navigate through an infinite amount of search results, the service plans to embrace both types of effective search curation used by other platforms, “social is one and the other is journalistic curation,” Users can follow trusted friends and personalities for easily-digestible reading suggestions from people with similar tastes and opinions they actually care about. It’s the equivalent of getting music recommendations from your credible friend who knows what they’re talking about. The best thing–the app will not redirect you to read in Safari:  it’s a specific browser designed with user-accessibility in mind, focusing on a minimal look that showcases the actual multimedia content right in app because we all know content is king nowadays. They hope to become their users’ primary browser, by focusing on the interactive social marketing approach in selling their service.

Need help integrating your social media platforms into your marketing strategy? Digital Operative can help you come up with the best method to ignite conversation with your audience. Contact our Marketing Team today.

Multi-tool

8 REASONS TO USE CONTESTCORE FOR YOUR NEXT ONLINE CONTEST

By | digital marketing, interactive marketing, social media, Uncategorized | One Comment

ContestCore is the ultimate online customer engagement “multi-tool”. Its most attractive features include ease-of-use, flexible customization options and analytics. We’ve put together a list of the top 8 reasons to use ContestCore as the solution to your next online contest and campaign needs:

  1. Let Your Customers Spread The Word; Your customized contest has a built-in viral sweepstakes along with incentives for sharing, so participants do the heavy lifting.
  2. Full Design Control; No limitations or out-of-the-box templates, just the freedom to design your contest as you want it.
  3. Deploy Your Contest Everywhere; From a Facebook tab, a microsite with a custom domain, or embedding it in another website, all the way to desktops, tablets and mobile.
  4. Robust And Intuitive Dashboard; With your dashboard, you can view the status of your contest, see trends occurring over time and track participation in real-time.
  5. Complete Security And Privacy; With Fraud detection, IP blacklisting, HTTPS and cookie requirements you don’t have to worry about anyone gaming the system.
  6. Social, Social, Social; You will have built-in sharing mechanisms across all major social media channels. Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and even a meme generator.
  7. Responsive; The way it should be. Whether your contest is viewed on tablet, desktop or mobile, your customers won’t have to “pinch and zoom” to participate.
  8. Activity Tracking and Judging; You have full capability to track contest activity. You can track hours, participants, activities of customers, judges and votes.

Now that you know the reasons why you should use Contestcore, check out the 3 unique customer engagement packages created to combine the powerful features along with strategy and marketing support from us, at Digital Operative:

Active Lifestyle

  • Track Hours, Participants, and Activities of Customers
  • Share Your Customers Adventures Socially
  • Co-Sponsor Events That Match Your Strategy
  • Spread Viral Infographic of Results

Brand Booster

  • Develop Target Audience and Brand Strategy
  • Create Brand Loyalty Contest and Rewards
  • Collect Brand Positive Photos and Story Sharing
  • Align With Philanthropic Causes That Reinforce Brand

Product Influencer

  • Empower Customers to Endorse Your Product
  • Cultivate Influencers and Grassroots Ambassadors
  • Launch Viral Campaign For New Product
  • Elevate Unique Product Stories With Content Marketing

To find out more on pricing and features, visit Contestcore.com or email todd@contestcore.com.

Omni-Channel: Unattainable Buzzword or Guidepost to Success?

By | digital commerce, ecommerce, innovation, interactive marketing | No Comments

So you’ve got a client who has a strong multi-channel presence; they have brick-and-mortar stores, a strong ecommerce site that’s optimized for mobile, beautifully designed print campaigns, and a great social media strategy. Now, they’ve come to you to help them connect all the pieces, bring them to that next level integration,  get all the channels speaking to one another in a way that allows them to innovate and create a consistent and connected customer experience across all touchpoints.  You’re going to make them OMNI-CHANNEL!  First of all, pinch yourself, because you’re probably dreaming.

Unless your client is up on the latest trends and buzzwords, they probably don’t even know what “omni-channel” is —let’s be honest, we’re all trying to wrap our heads around it. Additionally, unless you’re dealing with a huge international brand, your client is likely a retailer with some strengths and weaknesses in terms of channels and consumer touchpoints. Some channels may be strong, some may need work, and some are likely non-existent.  These clients are probably more interested in strengthening their weaknesses than in taking on the daunting, seemingly unreachable goal of having all channels seamlessly connected.

In a recent, otherwise well-informed, blog post from bazaarvoice, it was stated boldly —literally in bold font — “Create a consistent consumer experience across every channel, now.”

Right now? That’s easy enough. Done!

The truth is, for most brands that just sounds impossible. If we keep talking about omni-channel in such grandiose terms, we’re going to miss the chance to start taking the appropriate steps needed to help our clients give their customers what they need and want.

Let’s take a step back. What is omni-channel retailing? And most importantly, how do you start helping your clients get there?

Omni-channel is basically an evolution of multi-channel. While good multi-channel retailers create consistent experiences for each of their consumer touchpoints, good omni-channel retailers are able to create single consumer experiences that include several touchpoints, even in a single purchase. For instance, Starbucks has connected their in-store loyalty program with their mobile application. Walmart is also heading the charge, now testing a new feature in an Arizona store which would allow customers to self-checkout with their iPhone. This adds to the many uses of the Walmpart app, which already allowed users to see what’s in stock in various stores, create shopping lists, check prices, etc.

The only way to create these experiences is for the (often completely siloed) channels to share information, and this can present some huge logistical hurdles.  It is important to remember though, that omni-channel didn’t start with the imperative for shared information.  It started with an imperative to create better consumer experiences, and it should continue to be about just that.

It may seem simplistic and reductive of me to suggest that you “start small” or “put one foot in front of the other,” blah blah blah. But in reality, even the largest, most innovative brands started that way.

Think of one interaction that your client wants their customers to have. Maybe it’s just allowing in-store pick-up for online orders.  Work with your client to connect the dots needed to allow this interaction. This alone will probably present several challenges, but at least it represents a clear benefit to both the retailer and the consumer. The retailer benefits from getting online customers in the door to possibly purchase additional items, while the consumer benefits from often free and/or expedited shipping.

Now, repeat with another desired interaction with a clear benefit for the consumer and the client. Once the proper information is shared and the basis is set, ideas that once seemed totally out of reach can actually start to happen.

“Omni-channel” might just be the buzzword of the past year, but the consumer expectation for this type of retailing is growing. As long as you keep it about the consumer and don’t get bogged down in trying to make it all happen RIGHT NOW, it is a lot more achievable that it may have seemed.

If you have any questions about beginning the transformation towards omni-channel retailing, feel free to contact us.

San Diego: Firmly on the Map for Digital Marketing

By | digital marketing, education, events, interactive marketing | One Comment

Location/Time:  San Diego Hilton Bayfront, June 15th

With coffees still close at hand, and having just settled into their seats, the waking 2012 San Diego Interactive Day (SDID) audience was asked to stand up to prove a point.

“Now, all first year attendees, please sit down”.

Over 400 then sat down (including myself), revealing that apparently the San Diego digital marketing community has undergone a baby boom of sorts.  (Digital Operative’s rapid growth over the last year would validate that notion.)

The individual paths through SDID were many.  With awesome speakers lecturing across eight sleek lecture rooms and an ongoing Shark Tank pitch contest, everybody who attended all five sessions absorbed nearly seven hours of spoken content.  The sessions I attended were intimate, casual and fun.  Speakers did not seem to read from a script, rehash prior addresses or stick closely to the agenda, but rather tailored their content to a relevant audience of interested marketers.  Although the stage could have easily been used as a soap box for their company, the great majority of speakers were more interested in sharing about the process rather than bragging about the results.

These were some of the largest ideas presented:

  • The audience is the media.  Involve them in your marketing story.  (Robyn Freye and Eujin Hong)
  • Gamification of the User Experience – Use the Carrot, Not the Stick. (Steve Patrizi)
  • Small brands led by individuals need to just be themselves first to gain lasting social success. (Ryan Berman and panelists)
  • The conversation is the canvas. (Steve Pietsch)
  • Earned Media is the way to go.  It’s cheaper and does more for your brand. (Rand Fishkin)

I’m not going to regurgitate the content that I heard, after all that’s what Twitter is for – just kidding (but not really).  I will say that it was all very exciting and relevant to what we do here at Digital Operative.  I think what I enjoyed most about SDID 2012 was the fact that behind all the brilliant ideas and the lofty titles, whether onstage or off, the tone of the event pointed to a thriving San Diego community of talented and dedicated digital marketing professionals loving what they do and appreciating what each other are producing.  It really was a cultural thinktank event more than a professional money-making event.  And when school was let out, and Happy Hour broke open, the connections and camaraderie were glaring.

Coming away from SDID 2012, I am left thinking about the importance of cultural fit in the digital marketing business world.  What values does your company’s culture rest on?   Here at Digital Operative, I would say some of those values are openness, a passion for knowledge, creativity, iterative processes, innovative technology, getting results and Mexican food.

Sound like a fit?  Contact us today, and we can explore relationships with your business.

Also check out this 360 degree tour of the conference online.

Big three stories of the week!

By | apps, digital marketing, ecommerce, facebook, interactive marketing, mobile marketing, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Though Friday the 13th is generally considered an unlucky day, it is Friday and it can’t really be that bad. Here is the weekly round up of the top tech stories that you can’t miss this week. One story will affect your search engine optimization plans, one will effect your holiday shopping next year, and the final will make you rethink about mobile marketing.

1. Google launches “search plus your world”

Google continues its move to social networking dominance by launching “Google search plus your world”. Now, we all know that Google is the undisputed king when it comes to search, and we have all been watching as they awkwardly try to transition into social networking. It reminds me of when Eddie Murphy was the king of stand up comics and for some reason awkwardly tried to transition into being a singer. We all knew he was really good at one thing, and yet he had to try singing. But I digress. Google is launching “Search plus your world” for Google plus members which should benefit those social networkers who have become part of the Google Plus network. Google search plus your world will enable the user to search across both the wider internet that Google traditionally provides search results for as well as across your social network (Google Plus only). There is a little toggle switch at the top so you can choose between the two if you like. Here is an example of how it works:  you type in something like “Pizza” (My favorite search query) you will get both the traditional results, along with results that show your friends eating pizza, or pizza recipes they share. Here is Google’s video that shows the new social networking features in the search engine. For privacy purposes these social features will only appear if they are shared with you or if the post is public. Additionally Google will add the image results to your search so you will see both the images Google traditionally has in its index as well as images of your social circle. We will keep an eye on it because the Google search plus your world will definitely begin to effect search engine optimization efforts.

2. Consumer Electronics show

The CES is where the latest and greatest in all things electronic are released. If you don’t know what it is, it is basically what happens when a nerd goes to heaven. I didn’t get to go this year, but I did get to read about these great new gadgets:

  • 3D printer – This is just so amazing. Instead of printing on paper it prints on plastic, and the printer bring what is on the computer screen to life. I saw a video and it was able to “print” a flute, a replica of a person, a mannequin head, a toothbrush, and a shoe. Now, I don’t want any of those items per say but the possibilities are endless. I can see this increasingly being used for ecommerce.
  • Lenovo Yoga – Both a laptop and a tablet this is one very cool machine.  It is a laptop that can fold back and become a tablet, or fold over and become a stand to watch movies or TV on. The part that I like the best is that it has both the functionality of a tablet with screen based movements as well the laptops processing power and keyboard. It would be so nice not to need a laptop and tablet separately.

3. Are apps more important than search on mobile?

I saw the link to this article on Danny Sullivan’s facebook wall and thought it was worth taking a read. It brought up some valuable points about how people use and search on their mobile devices as compared to how they use apps on their mobile devices. Some main points that I took away from the article are:

  • Mobile users may be searching the web less than we think and are instead searching the app store.
  • Whereas a mobile website may be browsed momentarily, an app is on the phone and will be opened again and again. This means repeat traffic
  • Consumers interacting with apps show more brand favorability and purchase intent.

Articles like this continue to show that the cutting edge of the digital revolution is in mobile, and the playing field will continue to change

Those are the big three stories for the week – have a great weekend!

Influential puppet explains ContestCore

By | blogging, digital campaigns, digital marketing, Digital Operative, geekery, interactive marketing, video | No Comments

It was a Thursday when BJ and Adam took me aside to their room and informed me that they had a very important assignment for me to complete. The serious looks on their faces informed me that this  was the kind of assignment that separates the wheat from the part of the plant that is not wheat. This assignment would move me up to the big leagues. Opening my notebook, and moving past the pages filled with doodles of hearts and Justin Bieber I began to furiously write down the monumental task that lay ahead of me. My assignment, nay my calling –  was to find a way to find a way to get a puppet to promote ContestCore our new online contest software. It was a difficult assignment – but I knew it was one I must complete. I hit the streets trying all the tricks I knew and was turned down by many famous and semi-famous puppets alike. However just when I was about to give up and my darkest hour was upon me –  I saw him:  Professor Hans Von Puppet. He was  giving a lecture at a local college and knew he was the one. His  professorial jacket, his almost German accent, the way I could pay him to say what I wanted all told me to pursue this puppet. This was it! So ladies and gentleman I present to you Professor Hans Von Puppet giving his thoughts on ContestCore

What I Really Learned in College (about Social Media)

By | blogging, digital marketing, education, facebook, interactive marketing, social media, twitter | No Comments

Everyone is using social media to get their message across; people use it, businesses use it, celebrities use it, and now even universities are using it. The use of social media by higher education institutions is an obvious choice – the main users of social media are young adults, specifically college aged students. These institutions have so much potential to connect with students and really speak to them in an environment where they spend a good portion of their time. The opportunity to attract new students is the most appealing aspect of social media usage by universities. In a study put together by cappex.com, 77% of questioned universities said if they were to have a Facebook account it would be targeted toward prospective students. This account would provide a place to ask questions, get an informal feel for the school, and communicate with the school staff as well as current and alumni students. Twitter is also used in the same manner. Like businesses, colleges want to create leads and meet potential “customers” in real time. On Twitter, institutions can promote their school and track what people are saying about them. Through social media, colleges can create a buzz about events, send out important information, post photos, videos and articles directly to where students are spending most of their time online.

More recently as colleges are discovering the importance and power of utilizing social media, different departments at these institutions are creating their own Facebook and Twitter pages. Thus becoming more specific to reach an exact audience within the student community. For example at San Diego State University many different offices and organizations have their own Twitter accounts such as: the Admissions Office @SDSUAdmissions, the Athletic Department @GoAztecs, general campus news @SDSU_NewsTeam, the Bookstore @SDSUBookstore, the Library @sdsulibrary , the dinning services @SDSUDiningServ, the student governing body @as_sdsu, campus events @AztecNights, etc. With each account having their own audience, the buzz around San Diego State University grows. More information can be distributed and students have the option to connect with exactly who they want to talk to. Social media platforms are quick and easy ways to get the word out.

Social Media 101:

1. Don’t jump in blind. Make sure you research and explore what people are already saying about your school and where you stand in the online world.
2. Combine marketing efforts. Be sure to include urls and information to find your Facebook and Twitter on printed material. A consistent message is important. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. Remember to be social. There is a person behind every user, if you don’t interact like one you will be considered spam. This is not a hard sell, but a way to give information about the school in a non formal setting. Be genuine.

3 craziest QR campaigns ever!

By | digital marketing, Digital Operative, ecommerce, geekery, interactive marketing, qr codes, social media, Uncategorized | No Comments
QR code tattoo

Hurts more than most QR codes

QR codes are everywhere from magazines to billboards to graves (more on that later) and here at DOodles we are wondering: where is the line?  We scoured the Internet to find the craziest, most insane QR campaigns and bring them to you. So put down your smartphone take a look at our list: the three craziest QR campaigns ever!

1. Volley ball bikini QR code

volleyball

Honestly honey, I’m not checking her out – I’m scanning the  code

Though England is not exactly known for their beach volleyball, the sport did gain notoriety this year when it rented out space on the bikini bottoms of pro players Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin. The deal is believed to be in the five figure range (not a bum deal) and also believed to be the first QR codes to be used on in-play sport advertising. All this just when we thought our interest in English women’s beach volleyball couldn’t be any higher!

http://tinyurl.com/dovball

2. QR Haircuts

For my next trick I will read your mind

Looking to replace that tired ‘do? Maybe it is time to get the QR code cut, it’s all the rage in Japan where a shampoo company launched the campaign to showcase healthy scalps. The campaign idea is that the shampoo improves both the hair and the scalp (and he does have a great looking scalp).  The word amongst marketing circles is that the ad campaign was a success and increased brand awareness of the shampoo. We think maybe we will just stick with hats.

http://tinyurl.com/newdoqr

3. Graves

Qr code on a grave

I scan dead people

Names and dates? That is so 1900’s! You can say so much more by simply adding a QR code to your grave. In Japan they  are putting QR codes on graves that give images and blurbs about the deceased.  Like the idea of QR codes on the from beyond the grave? You better be rich in the life –  these  grave QR codes cost around $10,000. They are sure to creep everyone out who sees you standing around graves taking photos.

http://tinyurl.com/dograveqr

We know the line//

After seeing those examples you may be wondering – how do I use QR codes effectively for my business? Fortunately here at DO we have the knowledge, the technology, and the skills that lead to very successful QR campaigns. Examples you say? Check this out:

We recently used QR codes for performance wear clothing company Sport Science. These codes were placed on postcards and handed out at the Outdoor Retailer Convention in Salt Lake City.  Once these QR codes were scanned, they sent people to a specially created web page that collected emails and entered the participants into a contest to win either $100 or $500 worth of Sport Science gear .  The campaign was a great success, Sport Science has a growing email list, and we didn’t even have to wear the Digital Operative QR bikini bottoms! You know the QR code has many uses, the question is how can we utilize QR technology to help you reach your digital goals?

Our campaign didn't stink!

The Old Spice Guy

By | interactive marketing, social media, twitter, Uncategorized, video, viral marketing | One Comment

Incase you haven’t seen it yet Old Spice recently launched a campaign that responds to peoples questions from Twitter, YouTube, and Redditt. The key difference in this campaign is that they use video. Using video allows for Old Spice to leverage the personality of their newest spokesman, Isaiah Mustafa (aka “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like) as well as create the viral element, which has made this campaign so incredibly successful. Sure your company can Tweet answers back to customers, which in most cases is very useful, but to go an extra step and produce videos for each and every response bring the campaign to a new level of personality and customer appreciation. Of course having an amazing staff of writers and a one of a kind spokesman also plays a vital role in pulling off one of the best social media pushes that we’ve seen.

Some of the numbers the campaign has produced so far:

2 Days

180 Videos

5.9M Views

22,000 Comments

More responses in a 24-hour time frame than President Obamas victory speech and the video of Susan Boyle. (Mashable)

Now it’s not known yet how many bottles of body wash or sticks of deodorant have been sold since the launch of the campaign but there are certainly a much larger group of people that are familiar with the Old Spice brand.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Landing Page Design Audit with TheLadders.com

By | digital campaigns, digital marketing, interactive marketing, user experience | 2 Comments

So once in awhile I come across some ads that speak to me and peak my interest. Today I had a page saved to go back and check out. On that page was the following ad from The Ladders. Yeah you know them, $100k+ jobs around the country. Talk about targeted browsing.

Find $100k+ jobs

Find $100k+ jobs

What catches my attention?

  • Find $100k+ jobs in your area – Who doesn’t want a salary at that level?
  • A map of the US – I love my country and this makes it easy to scan.
  • Pinpoints listing titles and salary levels – I can browse to a location that interests me plus see sample salary levels. A kind of buffet for finding a new job.
  • Find a great job now – A simple call-to-action always tops off great creative.

So I click through. (Contributed to the campaign’s click through rate)

I come to the following Landing Page.

The Ladders - Landing Page Audit

The Ladders - Landing Page Audit

Are MY expectations met as user once I land on this page?

  • I can search for 54,749 jobs at $100k+ salary level – Numerical data points add value for users.
  • I see the same US map creative I just saw in the ad – consistency is great!
  • I can search around my own area – zipcode searches are simple for users.
  • I can select my field – filters are good to avoid overwhelming users.

So The Ladders is doing well so far. Let’s take a look at what I didn’t like as a user.

  • Form fields – If they’re not required, why are they there?
  • Personal Information – Why do you need/want my information?
  • 54,749 jobs text should be visually different from $100k+ text as it blends together.
  • Job categories – why are they on the right? Seems random. Why not follow top to bottom form progression, ending at call-to-action with a button?

So I started to fill out the form fields that I thought would get me into some search results, which is really all I wanted to do. Then I get this.

The Ladders - Landing Page Audit w/ Bad Form Flow

The Ladders - Landing Page Audit w/ Bad Form Flow

Dear Ladders UX Design Team and Marketing Team,

Please don’t show non-required form fields and then display a message like the above. I’m leaving your landing page, you didn’t capture any of my information, you left a bad taste in my mouth as a user and I won’t see anymore of your ads when I’m browsing.

So some quick lessons and tips for Creating Landing Pages and Meeting Users’ Expectations:

  • Set expectations – If you tell me I’ll be able to do something, then let me do it
  • Be consistent with your creative – pull in similar elements to continue that user experience
  • Avoid unnecessary form fields – they’re an eye sore
  • Don’t Trick Me – Avoid trying to get users to create accounts covertly – not nice
  • Visual Hierarchy is important – separate important data elements, so they stand out to users
  • Quick Interaction Points – Make it simple and fast for me to perform the action I intend to
  • Smooth Form Flow – Top to bottom is standard, don’t get all creative
  • Testing – Use a tool like Google Site Optimizer to test creative, messaging and form completion to see what actually works … this one didn’t.

I hope these Landing Page Creation Tips help. Keep your eye out for ads that interest you and see if they meet your expectations as user when you click through. Have fun browsing the web!

Like what you see? Contact us for a quote. Get Quote