Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marketing challenge: What could be smarter than a Smartphone?

 Marc Sokol

Summer break is over, the kids are back in school, and it’s time to put your marketing brain back to work!

If you have teens, as we do in my family, everyone has some version of a smartphone, with multiple functions, capabilities, and in different colors.  Surely you have noticed that almost all teens use their smartphones in a vastly different way than do their parents.  Raised in a telephone and cellphone generation, for me it’s primarily a phone with the added value of email, texting, and all those wonderful apps, many of which I never seem to use.

For my teens, however, it’s not much of a cellphone at all; it’s a texting device.  My nephew even has a voice message that says, “Don’t leave me a voice message, because I don’t pick them up. If you want to reach me, send a text message.”  No apology, just a statement of fact.

Which brings me to the point of this post:  why still call it a smartphone when the phone is largely inconsequential to a growing generation of consumers?

Years back I had a Palm Pilot.  I liked the term, PDA, for Personal Digital Assistant, because that what it was for my different needs.  Droid, short for Android, a referral to having your own robot-like device, also seems an appealing label for a multifunction personal device: one syllable, implying ‘intelligent but at your service’, and not like other words we commonly use.

Remember how iPod replaced the label MP3?  Have you noticed how iPad, Zoom and other words are jockeying to capture colloquial mindshare in the category of Tablet devices?

Is it still a Smartphone if you don’t use the phone?

What would you prefer to call it?  A smarter label defines the category, goes on to shape our thinking and, in turn, our consumer behavior.
  • If just a cell phone or an enhanced cell phone (building off one primary function), then ‘Smartphone’ continues to win.
  • If you successfully brand the product by its look and feel, then ‘tablet’ should remain the defining label in the future.  But notice if people call your non-Apple tablet device an iPad or if they call your iPad a tablet PC
  • If you succeed in branding to inspire aspiration and emotional appeal, then you’ll see ‘Droid’ (my Android, my robot) and ‘iPad’ (or my pad) continue to battle for the language of consumer behavior. 

So what do you call a mobile phone that isn’t used for mobile phone calls?  Surely a creative mind like yours can do better than “mobile device”.

Put your thinking caps on. You could be shaping the future!

Marc Sokol is an organizational psychologist with an eye for how people and teams can be more effective, even in a dysfunctional company. He is part of M Squared Group, a data-driven marketing consultancy. 

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Using Social Media for Recruitment

The face of job recruiting has changed—and it’s not just a little Botox and brow work, either. While newspaper classifieds and employment websites used to be the go-to resources for recruiting, social media outlets have also become key players.

Traditional media can still prove to be a fruitful form of recruitment, however employers are increasingly turning to social media to find new hires. According to a recent research report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 76% of companies said that they do use or are planning to use social media sites for recruiting. More than half of the employers responding said that social networking sites are an efficient way to recruit candidates. 

There are many benefits to using social media for recruitment. Messages sent over social media channels may be perceived as being more authentic or have a higher level of credibility and believability than traditional corporate mechanisms. Also, the relatively low cost of sending messages over social networks may allow your firm to increase the number of messages that it can afford to send. Together, these two factors may result in more effective messages that directly increase quality applications.

Candidate quality is also a benefit of social media recruitment. Those who frequently use social networks may be the highly desirable “early adopter.” These people are engaged and in-tune with the latest trends, are not afraid to learn new programs, and are more technically savvy (increasingly important in our digital world) than other candidates.

Another draw is the link-ability and sharing capabilities of social media sites. It’s super easy for friends to see a job opening post and share it with family and friends quickly. Additionally, presenting your job openings in a creative way allows companies to show more about their personalities as organizations, which in turn helps potential candidates get a feel for whether or not the culture is likely to be a good fit. 

A more honest conversation, company exposure, and attracting certain types of people are all possible when utilizing social media. However there are a few tips to know before jumping in and tweeting your heart out. First, it’s important to recognize and understand the three main social media outlets that are most conducive for recruitment. These sites include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Secondly, it is important to understand the unique audience of these sites, and what to look for when evaluating candidates on social media sites.

The Main Sites of Social Media Recruitment

The easiest way to recruit is to tweet jobs you have available.  That being said, it’s also easy for those tweets to fall through the cracks of the incessant Twitter-chatter. To make your job posting tweets standout you can use hashtags (#). Hashtags are a way to filter, search and find information on Twitter. For example, if you posted “Company X is #hiring! We’re looking for smart #interns,” then someone can search #hiring and #interns on twitter, and you’re company will show up in the results. 

When you find a potential candidate on Twitter, it’s important to evaluate their Twitter skills. Especially if recruiting for a social media-related position, it’s important that the candidate is familiar and utilizes the site effectively. Rather than reading their skill on a resume or cover letter, recruiting on Twitter allows you to see their real-world skill. You can evaluate their activity to see how often they tweet, if there is a good balance between following and followers, how big their network is, and their quality of tweets.

If your company has a Facebook, make sure that it is up to date and relevant first. You can then post job openings for your fans to see on your company page. This is free and gives your fans an exclusive chance to apply. This is a good thing as your Facebook fans are most likely passionate about your company (otherwise why would they be your friend?). What better pool to choose from then a group of brand fanatics and agency supporters?

You can post a job on LinkedIn, although there is a fee associated with this. I would recommend using your network activity box (also known as the status box) to broadcast you’re hiring. It’s free and simple. It works similar to a Facebook status update; “New opening for project manager.  Contact me for details.” When you find someone that peaks your interest, evaluate their LinkedIn profile. How complete is this persons profile? Does it look neglected or incomplete? Do they have recommendations from peers, managers and colleagues? Are they members of relevant groups? Do you have any connections with this person? You want an “expert” in the field, and this is an easy way to tell how engaged they are.

In conclusion, recruiters are increasingly reaping the benefits of utilizing social media sites to fill job openings. And it’s no wonder, when you can gain brand exposure, create buzz, source candidates and evaluate their potential and real-world applicability with social recruitment. 

Ashley Haugen is a Gustavus Adolphus College alumna. She has had Marketing experience working with such organizations as the LOFT Literary Center, the Gustavus Marketing Department and the Ordway Center for Performing Arts. She currently is a PR associate at Axiom Marketing Communications.
 Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quick Repose Codes (QR Codes)

We are constantly in a technological race where it is necessary to keep up and be adaptable to stay ahead of the competition.  Japan has capitalized on setting the trends in technology and once again introduced to the market a 2D matrix barcode that is limitless in the characters of information that can be held on something the size of a postage stamp. 

You might have already seen these on advertisements in magazines, and soon products such 
as coffee cups, cereal boxes, business cards and just about anything you can imagine.  If you 
have not seen these codes, pay attention, the US market is quickly shifting in how they inform 
the consumer and build a community. 

Many companies are now beginning to use these codes to connect their Facebook page to the consumer.  This provides a well rounded community connection and expands your base.  It is a quick tracking tool and a buy-in to your product to generate sales leads.  It will also keep track to what the consumer wants and how you can adapt to those needs. 

The first time I had seen a QR code was at the back of the book, “I Am Number Four”.  I was 
immediately intrigued since the code itself had a science fiction look.  By scanning this code I 
was led to an expanded behind the scenes of the movie and what was next in the series.  

After that experience I began to notice these codes in advertisements and now my company has decided to use a QR code to direct specific customers to a new product launch and its benefits. 

Why are these beneficial?  Here are three Es to keep in mind the next time you are looking to 
reach your consumers. 

1. Efficient 
Saves time for the consumer by providing a direct link to relevant content. 

2. Easy 
Apps are used to scan the QR code.  One scan opens up a portal to information.  There 
are a variety of apps that can be used:  i-nigma, Barcode Scanner and Red Laser. 

3. Effective 
Direct your customer to where you want them to go.  Cost-effective to generate, a code 
can be created through Kaywa.com. Additionally, Google and Kerem Erkan have QR code tools.  Kerem Erkan allows you to customize color and format your codes. 

Currently, these are most popular in the Gen Y and techie markets.  However today, there are 
thousands of people on Facebook who don’t even own a computer.  Do you want to be the bird or the worm? 

Moray Bonneville is a St. Mary’s University alumna.  She graduated with a double major of B.S. of Sales and Marketing and B.S. of Human Resources Management.  Her early marketing experience began at age sixteen as a samples marketer.  She participated on campaigns with MAC Cosmetics, Calvin Klein CK One and Yoplait Breast Cancer for the Cure.  She works full time as an assistant.   

Bookmark and Share