Archive for November, 2015

Finding Inspiration

November 11, 2015

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I just started IMC619 Emerging Media and the Market. This class includes the creation of a blog with a minimum of one post per week. My initial reaction to this requirement was there was no way I was going to be able to come up with ideas for one weekly post, let alone the possibility of more. What I’m finding, however, is that through the class discussions, there are lots of topics that I can write about I hadn’t even thought of before.

For instance, this week we are discussing Fortune 500 companies and how they market to minority populations. I find it interesting that only 4% of these companies have a minority at the helm while minority groups, such as Asian Americans. generate the highest spending (Berman, 2015). Disney has separate websites for English-speaking and Latin-speaking guests. The websites are very different in how they are created with different color schemes and focuses of information.

latin disney

regular disney (Raziuddin, 2015).

While these are just two examples of things that have sparked my interest and will more than likely become topics for my IMC619 blog posts, there are a plethora of others that come from the reading materials as well as the discussion posts from other classmates. The Fortune 500 leadership information is something I found in my own research while the information about the Disney sites came from a classmates post.

My point is that there will be classes throughout your IMC course work that will challenge you and maybe even overwhelm you from the moment you read the syllabus. When this happens, remember to react with a mindset that you CAN do this. Take a deep breath, do your own research and read classmates posts and the responses. I have no doubt that you’ll soon be finding inspiration that you never thought of for posts and responses!

Pam

Reference:

Raziuddin, Sarim. (2015, October, 28). Disney !Aja!. Retrieved from ecampus.wvu.edu

Buyer Beware: The Non-Disparagement Clause

November 10, 2015

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In the age of Yelp and ubiquitous product reviews, consumers may think that they are safe to voice their unfiltered opinion of an experience they’ve had with a brand. Alas, that’s not quite the case.

Thanks (or no thanks) to non-disparagement clauses, companies are allowed to take legal action against customers who post negative reviews if the review could hurt the company’s bottom line. The clauses are currently allowed in every U.S. state, with the exception of California.

non-dispSenator John Thune (R, SD) is fighting for legislation that bans such ‘gag’ clauses nationwide.

“This is really sort of online bullying, when you intimidate and create an atmosphere of fear, that a consumer can’t express their views about a product or service online.”

The flip side of the controversy argues that the non-disparagement clause protects the company from defamation and false allegations that may be detrimental to the health of the business.

So what say you? Are non-disparagement clauses an infringement on free speech? Or are they a justifiable measure against damaging online reviews?

Advergaming or Adverblaming?

November 10, 2015

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This week in IMC 619 we’ve been taking a closer look at advergaming. Advergaming is an online video game that promotes a particular brand, product, or marketing message by integrating it into the game. There are a variety of companies utilizing advergaming as a major part of their advertising campaigns. Some of the companies clearly state that the game consumers are about to play is an advertisement while others don’t indicate that fact anywhere in the game.

Advergames photo

That it is not always clear whether the game is an ad or an actual game is interesting. What is even more interesting is that children have become major targets of food companies via advergames. The end result of this type of advertising is the undermining of the fight against juvenile obesity.

Because this tactic has become such a major concern, “the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is currently able to take action against a company if a game encourages poor nutritional habits, such as excessive consumption or unhealthy lifestyles.” With this in mind, it makes me wonder why a company would even attempt to create something that could potentially be seen as negative. The result of a company being seen as promoting negative eating habits is having its advergaming product banned and turning away parents who care about their children’s health.

The idea that advergaming can have an adverse effect on the market it is targeting leads me to wonder when it is that advergaming becomes adverblaming? Where is the line crossed from one to the other?

Pam

Using social media for qualitative research

November 10, 2015

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Market research is extremely important for marketing programs. Research helps companies develop products and services that meet the needs of their target customers. Qualitative research in particular is useful, because it involves figuring out what consumers think about certain products, services, or trends and why they think that way. Traditional qualitative research methods include focus groups, interviews, and observations. However, social media has opened up new ways to do qualitative research.

As I was searching the WVU e-library for information on market research, I came across an interesting academic journal titled Social media’s emerging importance in market research. The authors point out that traditional qualitative research can be costly. It’s also time consuming; it takes time to find consumers to study and to listen to them. However, social media advancements have made finding and listening to consumers easier.

Social media allows people to congregate at specific locations on the Web and share their ideas with each other. Additionally, many people do openly share their concerns, problems, and preferences on social media. Furthermore, this sharing happens instantly and transcends geography. People can get in touch with other people and even organizations no matter their location or time of day! This presents a great opportunity to directly engage with consumers and learn from them.

According to an article on Chron, the following are some steps you can take to come up with a plan for conducting qualitative research through social media:

1. Identify what kind of information you need to gather. For example, do you want to get consumers’ views on new menu choices, a new product, or website layout?
2. Figure out who you want to gather information from. Do you want to get the desired information from your target audience, past customers, or potential future customers?
3. Once you know who you want to gather information from, you will then need to figure out what social media platforms they “live” on.
4. Create the questions you want to ask. It is best to keep these questions concise and specific.
5. Determine the format you wish to present your questions in. This will partly be determined by the type of social media platform you are using.
6. Monitor social media platforms for responses to your questions.
7. Monitor social media platforms for mentions of your products, services, brand, or even the industry you are in. Many social media sites have search functions to help you with this task.
8. Analyze feedback from consumers to improve your business.

Here is a great graphic depicting the process:


Next time you have to perform qualitative research for a marketing program, think about the opportunities that social media presents!

WVU IMC Takes DC

November 5, 2015

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Long time, no see. Well, sort of.

The obligatory selfie from my hotel room.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I proudly donned my cap and gown and graduated from the WVU IMC Program. Because I wouldn’t dream of missing the annual Integrate Conference, held in Morgantown each spring, I’m still able to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and of course – learn some new tricks from seasoned pros.

That’s why when I heard that the IMC Program was bringing a one-day Integrate Conference to Washington, D.C. on October 27, 2015, the nation’s capital and one of my absolute favorite cities, I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by.

I live in Ohio, the heart of it all, so Integrate DC was a very quick plane ride away. Since 2011, I’ve worked as a Marketing Coordinator for a non-profit organization headquartered in North Canton, Ohio, and one of our programs, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, is housed inside the United States Patent and Trademark Office located in Alexandria, Virginia. Instead of flying in solely for the conference, I was able to stop by our very own National Monument of Innovation, grab some photos for our social media pages and introduce myself to new staff.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office's Madison Building is quiet a beauty, especially with the leaves turning.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Madison Building is quite a beauty, especially with the stunning colorful leaves

In reality – the conference was so amazing, it would have been completely worth the trip on its own! Five presenters, along with their anecdotes and advice, filled our morning with high-quality content.

Speakers for the day were Leslie Schrader, of Ketchum Washington, Michele Bartram of Business USA, Keith Quesenberry of Messiah University, Kurt Kehl of Monumental Sports and Entertainment and last but certainly not least, Eric Asche of Truth Initiative.

Some of the most memorable takeaways for me had to do with earned media, how to turn an old process into a better one, the importance of influencers and so many social media related pointers that I am grateful I took notes. These are all part of ongoing conversations at my job, and because I handle social media for our multiple programs, the words resonated with me.

Following the presentations, we took a short walk over to Ketchum Washington’s workspace, which was unbelievably and utterly epic (my apologies…there are no other words to describe this, I tried). The environment is one that certainly fosters creativity, and the team was extremely proud to show us completed national (and often, award-winning) projects they produced for clients.

We closed the day with a networking event at the HON Showroom. This was a beneficial way to get to know more about the people I had spent the day with and view quite possibly the most amazing office furniture showroom known to man. Can you tell I am fascinated by architecture and decorating?

I ended October 27 with new contacts, new experiences and better yet – a new bank of knowledge.

So, what’s next for me? I’ll be in the Washington, D.C. area November 17 for my organization’s Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo and unless there’s an unavoidable catastrophe  – Morgantown once more for the two-day Integrate Conference in June 2016.

Fun fact: During Integrate 2015, I sent my department leader an email with a high-level idea that came to mind during a presentation. I just had to send it right then, because I knew it was that good. And just this week luck was on my side, as several required pieces aligned seamlessly, and I received word it’s a go!

You never know where you’re next bit of inspiration will develop but as an alum of WVU IMC, I have the resources needed to make the most out of tasks I am given, large or small.