Tags: network

Do Memes Belong in Your Online Marketing?

Do Memes Belong in Your Online Marketing?

Beyond • November 10, 2011

Trends have influenced the world for ages, but it is their method of distribution that is always changing. Now with the internet so prevalent in everyday life, trends are able to spread faster than ever. Memes are a part of a new (relatively) online phenomenon that is enabling trends to spread like wildfire across the internet and beyond. USA Network, which televises popular programs such as Burn Notice, Law & Order and WWE Monday Night Raw, teamed up with digital marketing agency 360i in an effort to engage its viewing audience by leveraging the meme concept. To help promote the premiere of Psych, the comedic drama that just kicked off its sixth season, the cable television network encouraged fans who were invited to the screening of the premiere episode to use the hashtag “#pineappling” when sharing photos on Twitter. This particular meme ties into the actual pineapple itself, a common Psych theme that sees the delicious fruit making an appearance on almost every episode of the hit show. The pineappling meme produced solid results for USA Network as 360i reported that hundreds of fans have used the hashtag since the premiere, while the original post that introduced it on the Psych Tumblr generated more than 400 likes and reblogs. Having access to millions of Psych fans in the social media space helped the team of USA Network and 360i make an interactive and exciting affair out of the show’s season six premiere. What’s up with Memes? A meme is essentially a social concept or cultural symbol that makes a viral impact of sorts. Similar to a virus, it spreads from one person to the next, with propagation being its main source of life. In decades past, memes were carried by word of mouth. These days, they travel via email, social media and other channels associated with the internet, with some sites completely dedicated to the recognition, classification and generation of memes. A perfect example can be seen in the memorable TV ad Wendy\'s originally aired back in 1984. When presented with a wimpy looking burger in the commercial, the consumer, portrayed by actress Clara Peller, wanted to know one thing: “Where’s the beef?” In this case, the meme of course is “Where’s the beef?” The popular catchphrase has gone on to be used in television programs, magazines and various other media outlets to this day. Memes can also encourage interaction, as is the case with pineappling, and a controversial pastime known as planking. KnowYourMeme.com says that planking started in 2006 with the “Lying Down Game,” but its origins can be traced as far back as the 1993 motion picture The Program. Whereas the vast majority of memes are harmless fun, planking in particular can be dangerous. Advocates of the pastime have been strongly promoting safety since a man from Australia plummeted to his death this past May trying to plank on a balcony. Memes in Your Marketing So what’s the verdict? Should you use memes in your marketing or not? That is totally up to you, but with the right execution, there is certainly a lot to gain. Okay, you may not have millions of Facebook fans or thousands of Twitter followers like a hit cable TV show, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them work to your advantage. Whether it’s a captivating advertisement or catchy slogan, the ideal meme is something people can easily latch on to and want to share with others. From where we stand, they are perfect for the company wishing to make a viral splash. Bear this in mind, however, that if you attempt to use previously established memes in your advertising, it may end up dating them worse than if you’d never tried at all. Memes are spontaneous, and some of the most enduring have arisen by accident, or even contrary to the original item they intended to promote.


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The Fallacy of Pursuing Social Media Friend Pyramids

The Fallacy of Pursuing Social Media Friend Pyramids

Beyond • July 7, 2010

Through the recent period of exponential growth in social media, many email marketers have been mesmerized by the pursuit of logarithmic friend pyramids, where each new level expands the customer base by an order of magnitude. Unfortunately, as social networks mature, marketers are finding themselves hitting demarcations based upon the inability of any social media participant to manage boundless friend lists. A Friend by Any Other Name The prototypical stereotype of the computer nerd is the chubby bespectacled couch potato sporting a Star Trek TNG four-pip command jersey while crouching over his lapped Core i7 Gulftown (overclocked to 4.73 GHz on Peltier) in his parents\' darkened basement - hardly the paragon of social clique popularity. However, in the new world of social media, this very geek likely commands a throng of \"friends\" numbering in the hundreds or thousands - a veritable Lindsay Lohan of cyberspace. The Limits of Evangelization It turns out that the quotation marks around \"friend\" are the critical component necessary to fully comprehend this customer. If we utilize the \"friend\" definition currently applicable to Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media galaxy, our nerd certainly is a prime target for our email marketing efforts. If our fine geek becomes convinced that our iBlivet is the best aide to widgetization available, this is one customer who can be counted upon to metamorphosize into a rabid evangelist and will likely single handedly move more iBlivets among his friend horde than 30 seconds on the Super Bowl. Or at least it\'s supposed to work that way. The reality is that many social media participants are starting to lapse into fuzzy inactivity due to the overwhelming online noise to signal ratio. They are realizing that it is simply not feasible to vividly participate in the minutiae of hundreds or thousands of other lives. The novelty is definitely wearing off, and friends lists throughout the social mediaverse are undergoing a massive cull. This drastic filtering is tending to leave only the personal face-to-face friends in the real world, which in the case of our particular nerd is… no one at all. Participation Incentives Are Dwindling Email marketers have been long pursuing the pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow, and some have experienced outstanding success. As the medium matures, however, we have to come to the realization that bigger is not necessarily better and that the integral value of voluminous friend swarms may actually be a negative factor. Customers with burgeoning friends lists are beginning to suffer from dwindling participation incentives. This trend is actively devaluing the social network itself as well as the archetype of the “trusted endorsement.” When the endorsement is proposed from an acknowledged, accredited, personally known peer, it certainly carries considerable weight. But sooner or later the social media participant is going to start wondering who the heck is this nerd, why is he pitching this, and is iBlivet compensating him for this glowing testimonial? Beyond Milieu Stakeholding Any customer’s ability to maintain active participation in social networks across communities and branding is limited at a threshold that is far below the optimum level desired by the stream of marketers who wish to engage them. Simply maintaining a social media presence in 2010 and beyond is not sufficient for brands to achieve their marketing goals. The brands who were quick on their feet and were able to conglomerate key groups of customers early on have been able to win the territorial claim battle, but there is much more to social media success than mere milieu stakeholding. Enduring brand success can only be achieved in the social media ecosystem when a fair and valid exchange is offered for the customer’s time and focus, through an expectation of receiving real, premium value. The email marketers who are able to distinguish themselves in the social network arena through unflagging, meticulous and honest dedication to the welfare and satisfaction of their individual customers will continue to prevail. The ones who get caught up in pursuing illusory friend pyramids will undoubtedly crash and burn.


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How A Social Networking Face Person Can Boost Your Email Marketing Results

How A Social Networking Face Person Can Boost Your Email Marketing Results

Beyond • February 15, 2010

The explosion of social media has created the profession of blogger-participant, a fully interactive \"face person\" who represents your brand\'s appeal as an integral part of an online community and acts as an extension to your email message. And yes, you need one. Social Media Is Changing How A Generation Interacts The online social networking world evolves at breathtaking speed. Twitter has been the media darling for the past few months, and now some web pundits are already declaring it a \"has been\": The fascination with learning what some Hollywood or sports star is having for breakfast in usually badly misspelled 140 character Tweets was bound to wear off quickly. Regardless of the ups and downs of Tweeting, social networking as a whole is not just showing signs of greater permanence than any of its parts, but actually seems to be profoundly modifying the entire personal interactions of an entire generation. Social Networks Are The Ol\' Skool Marketer\'s Graveyard Any social phenomenon this powerful and far-reaching has to be evaluated for its promotional potential by savvy email marketers. Some have plunged in with disastrous results as they have neglected the primary caveat of social networking marketing: Converse, don\'t advertise. Ol\' skool marketers who see the millions of people on social networks as Nielsen couch potatoes have completely missed the point. Social networks are not passive veg-out receive-only parlors, but full-duplex send and receive participatory arenas. When you are engaging in a conversation with a valued friend or associate you don\'t just read commercial scripts at them, you literally \"engage.\" The key to success in any social media setting is participatory engagement just like a conversation. The social networking participant seeks information of unquestioned value from you, not just your bland, discordant presence. Since your goal is to position your brand as the hub of a mushrooming conversation, you must begin by the establishment of your unassailable credibility not only as an acknowledged expert in the sector, but also as a pleasant and friendly participant in the community. A Blogger-Participant Social Media Face Can Boost Your Brand You may have all the knowledge of your field yet be a stilted or imprecise communicator; you may have a short fuse with the nihilistic criticism you\'ll receive from the tiny but irritatingly vocal minority of \"online conversation vandals\"; or you may simply not have the time or the inclination to put in the hours needed to fully engage a community. That is where a professional blogger-participant can be of unparalleled value. This individual will become the social networking face of your brand, and provide not just unidirectional blogging support, but actually: answer questions launch initiatives respond to opportunities comment on others\' content integrate seamlessly into online communities. Consider this individual as the personal, even one on one, outreach extension of your email message. Blogger-Participants Must Be Not Just Trained, But Motivated A blogger-participant must be trained to understand your brand inside and out, not just with shallow mottos and tag lines, but with a thorough appreciation for the benefits it can provide. It may sound a bit too \"touchy-feely\" for traditional marketers, but the social networking face of your brand has to be convinced that not only will they derive benefits from your promotion (a positive reputation plus a paycheck) but that the individuals they are interacting with will derive pure benefit as well in every sense. Of course a blogger-participant can go sour on you as well and thus must be meticulously selected and scrupulously monitored. The damage they can do to your brand is at least equivalent to the benefits they can provide. They must be professional, maintain a steady frequency and volume of comment, stay cool under pressure, and be totally committed to a format of friendly chat versus hucksterism. When you get the right social media face, your brand will certainly notice the difference.


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The Convergence Of Email With Social Marketing

The Convergence Of Email With Social Marketing

Beyond • December 15, 2009

The hot topic a few years ago was \"convergence\" of interactive mediums like the internet and passive audience mediums like television. Well, it seems that convergence has come and gone, and now online marketers have to face yet another convergence: this time one between conventional email marketing and social networking promotion. Email = Formal, Social Networking = Casual Social networking\'s growth may be considered inverse to that of email, as the 140 character twit gradually replaces many users\' formal inbox. However, the two paradigms will generally continue to co-exist and settle into more sustainable forms. Social networking will gravitate towards the more casual, sound-bite type of applications while email remains the formal long-form, comprehensive vector. Social Networking Adds Value To Email Marketing The primary reasons why a marketer should aspire to have their email converge with social networking is to take advantage of the value that the networks can bring to the success of your program. Personal endorsement: When your customers display your message in their own spaces, it constitutes a personal endorsement to their social circle. This is the 21st century equivalent of word of mouth, the perennially successful marketing process. Reader involvement: By encouraging interest in your brand within a social context, your message will be seen to be relevant and thus will be anticipated when it shows up in the inbox, making it far more likely to be acted upon. List Building: Attracting new participants to your email marketing program increases your email list by gradual accretion. Beating the SWYN Automaton Odds Much has been written about how SWYN (Share With Your Network) is replacing the far less successful FTAF (Forward To A Friend), yet it is not sufficient to simply toss in a few social network links at the bottom of an email. Your customers are not automatons who can be relied on pushing a SWYN button the statistical average of 1.75% of times received. The reader has to find the information compelling and relevant enough to be motivated to share it. What does the message contain that is shareable, not overall but to that specific individual and their social circle? Is a sportscar group going to be more interested in a special discount on a GPS system or on a dishwasher? Your message has to have exceptional merit to be deemed worthy of sharing. A daily barrage of $5 off this hard drive today replacing yesterday\'s sale of $5 off its stablemate will only desensitize the reader. In order to get excited enough to share an offer, your customer has to be wowed by it. Successful SWYN emails contain truly exclusive \"insider-only\" content and are measured in a frequency of months, not hours. Logic & Relevance Are The SWYN Keys The networks listed in a SWYN feature need also be made relevant. If your message regards a special discount on maternity wear, does it need to have a link to Digg, a site that deals in primarily technology and political news? The placement of the SWYN is important as well. Why line them all up like neglected little soldiers at the bottom of the email when they can be integrated in a logical and relevant fashion within the message itself? More than ever before, marketers have to walk a mile in their customers\' moccasins and embrace their individual motivations. Successful marketing historically began as a conversation, then became a \"one-to-everybody\" spot on Ed Sullivan or the SuperBowl, and now is back to being a conversation.


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How Email Marketing Will Evolve In 2010

How Email Marketing Will Evolve In 2010

Beyond • November 24, 2009

The trends we likely will see in the 2010 will include an increase in catering to the swiftly changing choices of individuals who can determine where, when, and how they read messages. With the continuing proliferation of computer-cell phone crossovers, the traditional paradigm of the \"computer user reading email\" will apply less and less in the future. Capturing A Fleeting Consumer 2010\'s consumer is on the go, and the email marketer must keep up with their changing lifestyles. The savvy email marketer of 2010 will provide a selection of information channels such as RSS feeds which the customer can select, or better yet, are pre-selected for them based on their individual preferences. The customer of 2010 demands relevance, thus the \"batch & blast\" and \"spray & pray\" techniques of the past will become totally extinct. Enabling the customer to shape and manage the incoming communication is a key point to this relevance. Quality will continue to trump quantity, and email marketers who are able to comprehend lifecycle and trigger behaviors will benefit greatly. Your Customer Is Your Friend, Not Your Target It will be ever more important to build consumer trust through total transparency and provide for their opt-in preferences. Once they are welcomed, then expectations must be fulfilled, and keep updating to fit their requirements. If the relationship sours, there should be valid alternatives to unsubscribing, again in order to suit the client. As many as 7 out of 10 individuals are long term opportunities, so the commitment to providing customized information in 2010 and beyond must be for the long haul. Drip campaigns can produce a three fold greater CTR, thus will become one of the primary B2B vectors in 2010. Say It In 140 Characters 2010 has been touted by some as the year that email will evolve into a multitude of innovative forms, overtaken by the explosion in communications channel choices and preferences such as: mobile applications & SMS webinars, webcasts & podcasts RSS feeds social networks ...and of course Twitter. The Twitter phenomenon is extremely important in the development of any email marketing campaign in 2010, as the generation which has been brought up on texting is about to enter the workforce: bringing with them their terse, dense, short word blasts, or Tweets. Providing a successful marketing message in 140 characters or less will prove to be the great art of 2010. A 2010 Viral Email Pandemic Given that more than 50% of the entire human race has a text-capable mobile telephone, the potential for this medium dwarfs the conventional \"email on a PC\" market. Therefore, the email marketer of 2010 must provide messages which render properly on full browsers, mobile browsers, and the basic text screens of the low-end cellulars. A pandemic of viral emails can be expected in 2010 as email marketers must develop new ways to encourage their recipients to pass along to family, friends, and their \"extended family\" in social networks. It will be increasingly important to ensure that these messages can be customized by the \"pass-alonger\" by providing capabilities to have endorsements or comments added. The basics of proper email marketing will become even more important in 2010, thus behavior-based customization of messages; creative low pressure subject lines; clear, display-flexible, user-focused email design; and genuine personality bordering on hip quirkiness, will be the keys to success in 2010 and beyond.


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Benchmark Email Integration with Twitter and other Social Sites

Benchmark Email Integration with Twitter and other Social Sites

Beyond • September 30, 2009

If you now want to share your Email Campaign on twitter, you can now do so with our new feature. You can Select the \"Send to Twitter\" option in the \'Email Creation\' Step. If you check the auto-tweet option, we will automatically post a link to Twitter when the campaign is sent. In addition if you use the Send Immediately option, you can then immediately share the URL on Twitter. You can also share the campaign email URL on other social networking accounts Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.


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Adding Social Sharing Links to Your Email Campaigns

Adding Social Sharing Links to Your Email Campaigns

Beyond • May 18, 2009

In Benchmark Email, you can now add links to let your subscribers share your campaigns via twitter, myspace, facebook, digg and other social sites. To enable this feature, 1) Go to Step 5 of the Email Creation Process 2) Enable the \"Add this newsletter to the Benchmark Email Community\" option 3) Enable the \"Share this message with others:\" option 4) Save as Draft or Schedule Delivery of your Email Campaign. Now when this campaign would be delivered, your subscribers would be given additional options to share your campaign on social networking sites.


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Boost your email’s visibility with the Benchmark Email Community!

Beyond • April 20, 2009

Once you\'ve sent your email and added it to your custom archive, did you know there\'s another easy way to drive Web traffic to your email or newsletter? The Benchmark Email Community gives you yet another opportunity to put your email online so everyone can find it. Post your email or newsletter in the community and Web surfers can find it via search, social bookmark, Twitter, Facebook and more. . How do you do this? It\'s easy! In the last stage of the email campaign creation process, you\'ll be given two options: add your email to your archive and/or add it to the Benchmark Email Community. Click on the Benchmark Email Community option. Once you\'ve done that your email will be given a permanent Web address and you can name your email, add tags and even send the URL to your customers. We\'ve even added social networking and bookmarking options. Once your email is up in the community, you can: Send the link to your email page via myspace or Facebook Send out a Tweet via Twitter with a link to your email or newsletter Social bookmark your email or newsletter URL through Digg, Delicious and more Use Stumbleupon and Technorati to boost your page views Sign up additional subscribers who find your email in a keyword search Allow people to vote for your email as well as comment on how good it looks Through the Benchmark Email Community, your email has a life far beyond the time it lands in the inbox of your subscribers. This permanent home on the Web gives you a load of opportunities to drive as many people to your email or newsletter as possible, empowering you to sign up new subscribers, bring in new customers and even sell your products or services.


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