Category Archives: technology

How To Use Collective Buying Sites Like Groupon or Living Social for Events

As a former concert promoter and an event producer for over six years I have had a lot of experience marketing events. My marketing methods are increasing reliant upon digital avenues one of which in recent years are collective buying sites. Collective buying sites can be a valuable tool but they come with some very real costs and risks.

The first risk is to devalue your event. Deals are usually at least 50% off so you are instantly devaluing your regular ticket price. Many times event promoters will use collective buying sites to help when an event is not hitting the numbers on attendance. This can greatly devalue your event as customers that paid full price now see a much more attractive buy. We experienced this first hand when were a little low on signups and used Groupon and Living Social to drive thousands of people to our event. We had to put out some fires with attendees and vowed to our customer base never to do this again as people were (rightly so) put out to see our event advertised at a lower price. The event ended up in the black and was a run away hit but we likely lost customers for future events.

My personal feeling is that collective buying sites shouldn’t be used during the last stages of marketing for this very reason. However when used as an early bird strategy collective buying is a great marketing method. Namely because it relies on every marketers strongest tool: Word of Mouth. We were able to drive over 2000 people to our recent event out of the gate and created a natural buzz about the event before our other marketing hit. This is the right way to use Groupon or Living social.

The costs are that you will give up 75% of revenue with collective buying sites. You must be careful when implementing this strategy. Deals are usually half off and then you often split the revenue off the buys 50/50 with sites like Groupon or Living Social. You can ask Groupon or Living social for more than 50/50 but without a track record with them or a very attractive event they often will not do this split. The other problem is that ticket prices are the lowest during early bird registration. This makes it hard to make enough off each transaction to pay for your efforts on collective buying. One way to remedy this is to make a VIP offer. This will allow you to provide additional value to the consumer by adding in goodies (that shouldn’t cost you too much) like a free beer for 21+ or an extra t-shirt etc in exchange for a higher ticket price. This allows you to get closer to the revenue you were looking for after the fee to Groupon or Living Social. But you don’t have to take my word on the matter check out the below link for a well written article on the subject:

http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/groupon
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Empire Avenue – A Valuable Tool for Networking and Driving Traffic Online

I have recently become a member of Empire Avenue and have been using the site for roughly a month.  I highly recommend this site at it is an exemplary example of advergaming and a very strong networking tool. Although I must admit I was initially hesitant to use the site (as I do not play any sort of online games) it  provided me with a very valuable tool for social media analytics.   There are numerous blog posts that supported this theory (I have included a few in this post).

Basically Empire Avenue is an online game that allows you to buy and sell stocks in people.  The site connects to your various social networks and blogs and keeps track of your activities and awards those efforts with virtual currency (which you use to buy and sell stocks) which is awarded in real time each day.   You also receive virtual currency for purchases in your stock.  My initial experience was a malestorm of purchases in my stock as I crept up the recent arrival leaderboard (they keep score very well) and my stock price rose while exploring the site.  My stock has remained steady (likely due to my relative inactivity online due to the holidays) but I anticipate a large rise in my stock price once I am more active online again.  You can leave messages on other players “wall” when you buy stock and there are numerous communities within the game ranging from common interests to common areas (across the globe). You can easily interact with people all over the world in almost every country.  This allows you with a unique opportunity to market your various online websites, blogs, and  social networking pages and profiles.  You can provide missions which allow for the award of virtual currency to the players that complete them (like liking your Facebook page or commenting on a blog) allowing you to help increase engagement.  It is also very useful for promotion of Youtube channels and to increase subscriptions there and to blogs.  Blog posts I read also touted actual real life deals and clients coming from the game for social media marketers and other types of professionals.  You can also advertise your profile within the game to drive up traffic and your share price.

I  recently sat down with the marketing gurus over at Creatine Marketing (Sacramento, CA  based marketing firm) and found that many real estate professionals (that work with them) use Empire Avenue as a strong marketing tool for their businesses and actually gain many clients from the game.  Likely because of the numerous communities that are available with specific unified interests.  This is just one small local example of the many benefits that I found in the site for networkers online.

I encourage you to check out the site and see what value it can bring to your business or social networking.  If you do in fact do that I highly encourage you to check out the site of a very popular player (below) who gives very good advice on stocks to invest in and is very proactive in helping promote online activities of her shareholders and those she invests in.

Visit Diethylstilbestrol, a DES awareness WebSite. Circle on Google+, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, watch on YouTube, read latest Blog news on DES Daughter Network.

Links to articles on Empire Avenue I found useful:

http://www.chicagonow.com/job-hunting-windy-city/2011/11/empire-avenue/

http://wisemarketing.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/what-is-empire-avenue/

http://empireavenuefans.com/

http://exploringsocialmedia.com/what-is-empire-avenue-and-why-should-i-care/

Article On The Value of Social Media for Non-Profts

I recently read a very interesting article about two of my favorite subjects, non-profits and social media. The article outlined how to gauge the true value of social media for non-profits. Namely how to determine engagement vs. donors and how both are important to a charity. I encourage you to read more on that at the full article linked to below.

http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/nonprofit/what-is-the-real-value-of-social-media-fornonprofits-1080211/

Mobile Coupons by JCPenny

Mobile Coupons by JCPenny
The large retailer JCPenny recently made its first move into mobile couponing by piloting a program in Houston with 16 stores. This is following a trend of successful mobile forays by companies like Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza. The would allow for redemption of mobile coupons at the point of sale (POS). That way as the phone never leaves people’s side it is easier to manage then clipping and saving paper coupons.
Neil Stother, an analyst at Forrester research , stated “”In a down economy, we’ve seen online couponing expand, and this is [a similar] extension to the mobile phone.” (Dillworth, 2009). While fast food and grocery companies have been the pioneers mobile is quickly emerging in other verticals and with the growth of online couponing the retailer wisely seeks to gain traction in that market.
The company has run mobile campaigns since 2007 but this new foray is meant to mostly maintain customer but will also work on awareness and some new customer acquisition. The channel is for younger consumers who do not use coupons. The redemption rate is higher as well being closer to 10-20% as opposed to 0.5% with traditional direct mailers (Dillworth, 2010). The brand acknowledges that it will need to work on training customers for this new foray into mobile.
Source:
Dilworth, D. (2009, September 25). Jcpenny takes coupons mobile. Retrieved from http://www.dmnews.com/jcpenney-takes-coupons-mobile/article/149790/

THE NEW DORK – Entrepreneur State of Mind (Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys Spoof) | grasshopper.com

The SEO Rapper… “Web Design, Best Practices”

Recently was shown a link to this rap. Actually very insightful content that is very well performed. Check out more at the SEO Rapper’s Youtube Channel HERE. Or check him out at his website HERE.

Google’s Favorite Places- Mobile Coupons on Storefront Decals

Google is taking convergence to a whole new level with its new Google favorite places campaign. The search giant added a mobile couponing option to its Google Local Business Center listing. This means that when a mobile web search lands you on a business’s “Place Page,” you can get a coupon that is redeemable straight from your phone (no need for printing). I first learned about the technology when Google tried running it with newspaper ads on businesses. The ads displayed a QR code, a unique barcode that you could scan scan with any of hundreds of mobile devices — including iPhone, Android-powered phones, BlackBerry and more — to take you directly to that business’s listing on your mobile phone. Complete with reviews and contact information. Now the search mogul has launched the same technology for its Google favorites campaign. They are issuing 100,000 decals complete with unique QR barcodes for customers to scan. You can go up to a storefront and immediately find reviews, get a coupon if the business is offering one or star a business as a place you want to remember for the future.

One might find this sponsored text link displayed within a Google search:
Become a Google Favorite google.com/favoriteplaces Get eligible to receive a Google Maps decal. List your biz for free.

Another example of the campaign can be seen on this Youtube video advertising the campaign.

Google’s storytelling really comes into play by incorporating an example of one of the Google Favorites in their Youtube video. This tells the story of an Indian restaurant receiving the coupon and placing it on the window. It incorporates the explorer archetype as it shows couple of guys looking at the sticker then making their dining choice based on the reviews the phone finds on its mobile Google after scanning the barcode. Their use of two technologies to benefit their vast database of businesses helps both Google search and the local business displaying the sticker. I believe that the explorer archetype fits Google and this type of ad campaign works well for that. Using the same elements that made Google the strong brand that it is today, a company focused on exploring and information make this a successful campaign. The interesting thing will be to see if Google resurrects the print version of this technology to further tie in another media and convergence in its marketing.

To read more visit:
Adage Article on Google Favorite Places
Google Favorite Places Article by Gomonews.com
Gomonews.com Article on QR Codes in Print Ads