Monday, January 30, 2012

The Socialization of Business: Your Dirty Little Secrets are No Longer Secrets

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

In this post, Brian Solis talks about socialization and how our dirty little secrets are no longer secrets. This he wrote in his blog in September 2010 but here in India when we are just about starting to take social media and conversations of our consumers seriously, the thoughts below are tremendously relevant. Read more below.

Conversations do not fall into a black hole never to be heard again. And, there is no event horizon preventing their escape.

The social effect is more powerful than we realize. The truth is that if one voice or a chorus of voices finds the right audience, not only will businesses realize that conversations are taking place, they will find a miraculous cure for deafness. And rather than merely reacting, they’ll take the position of leading situations and opportunities.

Social networks are pervasive and it’s where over half a billion people share experiences and seek and offer direction.  The conversations that take place within them are amplifying from sporadic mumblings to thunderous roars. Suddenly businesses find that their dirty little secrets that were once imprisoned in semi-private phone calls, emails, and enlivened through trouble tickets now live in the readily public view of existing and potential customers and the people who influence their decisions. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
Sound familiar?
I was told, “We’ll show up from 2-6 to fix your service problem,” but they didn’t. Not only that, I took time off of work and wasn’t even given the courtesy of a phone call that they would not show up. I HATE xx company. I’m done.
This airline sucks. When I check in, I was told, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do about bumping you off this flight or losing your luggage.” Really, well not only did you just lose a customer, I’m going to go out of my way to ensure that no one I know flies you again.
Why do I have this phone if I can’t make phone calls. I don’t care if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, fix the service. I don’t need to hear, “experiencing dropped calls? We’re working on that…but it’s quite normal. What? Your neighbor received a complementary MicroCell because they’re a valued user and your not? We have no idea who sent that unit. We are not aware of such a program.” Yeah…I googled it and guess what I found? Now I’m pissed.
As consumers climb the ranks of social hierarchy, they earn prominence with every new connection they make. Suddenly what was once a simple social graph of friends, families, and peers, is now a market transforming network where the nodes dictate the stature of your brand at any given time. All it takes is for enough of these conversations to align as well as index in search to organically shift impressions and opinions that fundamentally differ from what you push. While both impact decision making, at some point, the myth of control is shattered and the shock of reality materializes a view that is as surprising as it is promising. Depending on the jolt that shakes someone into reality, it boils down to either “aha” or “uh oh.”

If Ignorance is Bliss, Awareness is Awakening

2011 looms on the horizon and here we are still debating whether or not social media is worthy of more than simply relegating casual participation on the world’s leading social networks.

Social media is rich with the very people who are equalizing the landscape of relevance and influence and as such, it creates an exclusive ecosystem where peer-level attention and engagement is not a given right, rather an earned privilege. To succeed in business here requires the recognition of new opportunities combined with the ability to take action. Focusing on the uncertainties that stem from any combination of fear, ignorance or stubbornness guarantees a steeper incline in the uphill battle that surely awaits. Underestimating the role your brand plays in social media inherently alienates you from connecting with the influential and hyper-connected consumers who define a real-time, real world. As it is, very few companies today are positioned, let alone optimized, for embracing the methodologies that scream for attention and personalization.

From CRM to sCRM to Engagement Management

No one department owns social media. While many of the examples we see highlight what’s possible in marketing or customer service, the reality is that social media demands nothing less than the complete socialization of the entire business. Every division and nuance of business as usual transforms to business unusual as once closed roots between consumers and brand representatives now open to two-way interaction, co-creation, and collaboration.
Even though no one person or group owns social media, it begins somewhere. As such, the path of social media within the organization as well as its scenery and duration is largely defined by who the champion is and where they reside within the company.  The traffic, toll booths, road closures, and dead ends that lie ahead are dictated by the prevailing culture, infrastructure and philosophy set forth by executive management. For years, technology was built around the philosophy of the business to support a top-down, inside out approach to the market. Now social media introduces the need to support a bottom-up and outside-in system to respond and adapt to the needs of a very different type of business ecosystem.

A Blueprint for Social CRM (sCRM) and Brand Relevance

The migration from CRM to sCRM is much greater than the technology required to modernize processes and systems around social media. It is a pivotal switch in principles, methodologies, and philosophies that humanize the business while also ensuring its relevance. This change is not easy nor is it immediate. We face a leadership that must embrace change and change through openness.  The idea of the customer always being “right” now becomes the reality of placing social consumers at the center of business dynamics. This means that listening and responding is not good enough. The ability to listen, adapt and in turn lead, is what it will take for businesses to compete not just for the “now” web, but also the future web.



A Blueprint for Social Engagement (SRM) and Brand Resonance

At the core of social media’s rise to pervasiveness within business is its reputation among decision makers. As individuals, many executives are unsure of how to use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, et al. in their personal lives, let alone understand the opportunity for building brand relevance in a new medium. Opportunity is abundant for risk takers over the risk averse. The challenge is that without an infrastructure that supports social engagement and collaboration enterprise-wide, we inadvertently fuel social anarchy within. I was one of the early voices to make the case for social CRM. And now I’m championing a new philosophical framework for expanding the role of social CRM to support engagement through Social Relationships Management (SRM).



Read more here.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Need for a New Listening Movement: From monitoring to learning


Brian Solis has pertinent points to make about how organisations need to get their act together to listen, engage and adapt themselves to what the customer is saying and wants. He goes on say, "In a time when progressive companies such as Dell and Gatorade are celebrated for their newly erected social media command centers, it is their ability to truly listen and their openness to allow conversations to reverberate throughout the entire organization that serves as a next-generation model for customer-centricity". Read on below.



The market for listening services is rapidly maturing with vendors such as Radian6, Spiral16, Crimson Hexagon, Research.ly, Lithium, Sysomos, and many others improving how businesses monitor consumer conversations and experiences. The wide array of options and capabilities are nothing less than baffling, requiring expert analysis prior to committing any significant investment of finances or organizational resources now and over time. For those seeking top line advice on the differences between many of the top listening vendors, please read this helpful post at SocialMedia.biz.

I’m not going to take this time to preach about the importance of listening nor am I going to focus on which platform will best meet your needs. I would like to explore a very real issue around the enterprise-wide adoption of monitoring systems, or perhaps better said, the lack thereof, and also what businesses should think about as social media becomes increasingly consequential to the organization.

Social media is praised by experts for its promise to open up dialogue between customers and businesses. Perhaps most notably, social media is celebrated for giving a voice to the consumer and eyes and ears to companies for which to see and listen. The reality is that customers always had a voice. Social media amplifies and organizes that voice and packages it as a tremendous gift for businesses ready to earn relevance in a new genre of consumerism. Nothing matters however, if businesses are not ready to learn, engage, or take action based on what they hear.

According to a recent study by Capgemini, 57% of businesses currently monitor online conversations about the brand, products or services. But 20% do not listen at all and another 23% of respondents weren’t sure whether or not the company is listening to online conversations.



Yes, businesses are learning to listen. But what does that actually mean? To what extent are businesses capturing insights, solving problems, learning from recurring themes, and engaging customers and prospects? According to the Capgemini report, the conversions of conversation to action are impressive, but nowhere near their potential.


The majority of businesses polled, 41%, only respond to customers when a direct question is asked. This behavior must shift to full engagement to realize the opportunity that lies before them. Engagement is the currency of relationship building. Those that listen and engage across a greater set of conversations, 36%, are well on their way to building a social businesses. However, there are 20% today that listen and never respond. This is a number that I actually would like to see diminish over the years.

Read further here.

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A summary of Amazon’s business strategy and revenue model.

Amazon represents success in the online world and there has been a lot of discussion about the "how". We came across this very comprehensive review which is worth sharing. 

A good summary of the latest business model initiatives is available in this Amazon annual report summary for 2011. For Q4, 2010:
  • North America segment sales, representing the Company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, were $7.21 billion, up 45% from fourth quarter 2009.
  • International segment sales, representing the Company’s U.K., German, Japanese, French, Chinese and new Italian sites, were $5.74 billion, up 26% from fourth quarter 2009. Excluding the unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 29%.

Read the review of Amazon's biz strategy and revenue model here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Social CRM Needs Clarity

Brian Solis writes an excellent post on Social CRM and what is really happening in that area. Houston Neal converses with Brian on the state of Social CRM. Read more below, and in the link given below. The comments of the readers are of interest as well.

"As the headline implies, even though Social CRM exists as an official category, what it is and what it is not is blurry and hotly debated. No, it doesn’t need a new definition. And, no, it doesn’t need new leadership. sCRM, and now “social enterprise” as categories could however, benefit from clarity around what it is they’re solving for, which companies actually provide solutions against those objectives, and ultimately, how everything works together for the benefit of customer engagement and relationships.

Think about the vast array of vendors selling social media solutions for a moment. Many of them are positioned as Social CRM or sCRM tools, but when you examine true capabilities versus stated positioning , you will find that many vendors are in fact stronger players in social media management (SMMS), social CMS, listening, collaboration, intelligence, and conversation management.

If you think about this from a business perspective, it’s almost impossible to identify which vendor is truly qualified to deliver against the goals of a new social CRM system.  Decision makers have to spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to sort through what is true and what is simply good marketing. Often, they must recruit experts to help survey the landscape and qualify vendors.

Earlier in the year, I met with Houston Neal to discuss the state of Social CRM, where it’s headed and where it needs to go. As you can see, I believe that 2012 is the year when we finally start to accurately segment the market while better defining what Social CRM really is and how businesses need to think and rethink their approach to customer relationship management.

So, no. This is not a post to redefine sCRM. Nor is this a post to argue about nomenclature. This is an attempt to bring clarity and alignment around real world business problems and vendor capabilities. More importantly, in 2012, I hope to see greater movement toward solving for the business issues that software and social media cannot fix. It’s part technology and part philosophy. Because, in the end, it’s about relationships."

Some of the questions that the conversation touches upon are as follows:
  • Do you think a true social CRM suite exists in the market?
  • What type of applications do you think would make up a social CRM suite?
  • What trends are you seeing in the market, both in terms of product development, and general market activity?
Read more here

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The Mobile Marketing Value Exchange




Scott Forshay, creator and editor of mobi.luxe writes brilliantly about mobile marketing and the concept of concept of a mutual exchange of value, in www.briansolis.com. Read more below.

Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful, productive relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance through scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ valuable time and information. Without the perception that value has been exchanged for value, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited attempts at interaction on the part of the consumer will spell the end of the relationship – perhaps permanently.

In the early stages of mobile marketing, the value exchange was almost exclusively defined through promotional-based marketing. Consumers were asked to share their mobile numbers in exchange for coupons. While seemingly primitive by today’s standards, text back couponing remains an effective behavior stimulus for many brands and retailers, but for luxury brands discounting flies in the face of the intrinsic value of the brand. The challenge for innovative prestige brands is defining how best to create a true value exchange with their most loyal advocates while remaining true to themselves and not cheapening the brand in the process of attempting to deepen relationships.

Any value exchange requires the exchange of currency. Whether the currency is monetary, emotional, or informational, it establishes the parameters necessary to define a successful exchange and secures a commitment to future exchanges. With this in mind, an analysis of the efficacy of any value exchange must be measured by the mutually beneficial exchange of mobile currency.

Affluent loyalists of prestigious brands seek greater intimacy with, and priority access to, the brands they most covet. In exchange for priority access, the affluent consumer will exchange premium monetary currency. A mobile campaign touchpoint that directs the consumer to an optimized landing page or microsite featuring a product exclusive to mobile subscribers effectively plays marionette with the heartstrings of affluent consumers by exclusively engaging a prestigious audience with exclusivity and access to product available only to a select audience. Tactics such as these create a successful value exchange whereby a monetary commitment is made by the consumer in exchange for priority access to the brand and the prestige associated with exclusive ownership.

The essence of any coveted brand is the story it conveys. And as Brian Solis believes, “the aspiration it evokes.”

Read more here.

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Mobile App Usage

Luke Wroblewski provides useful data on how Mobile App Usage is increasing. Read more below.

As the number of native mobile applications keeps growing, it's worth looking at how they get used. To that end, here's a few stats about people downloading apps and what what they do with them afterward.
  • Adult mobile users who have downloaded an app to their phone nearly doubled in the past two years – rising from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011. (source)
  • The average iOS device owner will download 83 apps in 2011 vs. 51 in 2010, a 61% increase year over year. (source)
  • The average smartphone user adds just 2.5 new apps per month. (source)
  • In May 2010, only about two-thirds (68%) of adults who had apps on their phones reported actually using them. (source)
  • In March 2011, 26% of all apps downloaded were opened only once and then never used again. 26% were used 11 times or more. Of the remaining 48% of apps: 13% are opened only twice, 9% are opened only three times, all the way to 2% that are opened 10 times and never again. (source)
  • 38% 
iOS & Android users stick with an app after one month. 14% 
iOS & Android users stick with an app after six months. After 12 months, only 4% are left. (source)
  • Roughly half (51%) of mobile owners use a handful of apps at least once a week, while 17% report using no apps on a regular basis. Almost a third (31%) could be called app “power users” in that they use 6 or more. (source)
  • The top 10 Android apps account for 43% of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps. The top 50 apps account for 61% of all time spent. With 250,000+ Android apps available at the time of this writing, that means the remaining 249,950+ apps have to compete for the remaining 39 percent of the pie. (source)

How to Sell $30,000 Worth of Wine on Facebook


Paul Marsden writes in Social Commerce Today on how Winemarket.com.au has been successful in selling AUS $30,000 worth of wine through Facebook. Read more below.

Lot of talk, not many numbers – sums up the state of f-commerce (Facebook e-commerce) right now.  So it’s refreshing that VendorShop Social, a Facebook e-commerce app provider has released some top line sales figures for one of its clients; Australian online wine merchant, Winemarket.com.au, sold $30K (AUS) of goods via its Facebook fan-store over the last two months.
Winestore uses exclusive fan offers to drive fan sales and lock in fan loyalty. One of their best offers was a free case of Stella exclusively for Facebook purchases – they sold 100 cases of wine within hours of launching the offer. Other exclusive offers for Fans included special mixed cases and free delivery.
Chris Small who heads up VendorShop Social, the Facebook store app provider that’s just received a $500K round of investment says, “Based on the experience of stores using the VendorShop platform, there are two key success factors for f-commerce – show your fans how much they are valued by giving your fans something they can’t get through other channels and remind fans regularly about your store and the products they can buy – you’d be surprised how often that is forgotten”.



Read more here

10 Most Read Articles (23rd to 28th Jan)

Here is a helpful recap of the 10 most read stories on AaramShop PRO this week. Happy reading. 
  1. Shopper Marketing is becoming a lot more Social.
  2. Facebook May Account For 5% Of Online Ad Spending. 
  3. Saffola integrates the AaramShop advantages within its site.
  4. 2012 Personalization Predictions. 
  5. More Consumers Embrace M-Commerce.
  6. The end of “same store sales”. 
  7. Mobile Advertising Comes of Age.
  8. The Rise of QR Codes.
  9. Infographic: The Psychology of Social Commerce.
  10. Changes in e-Commerce in 2011. 


The Six Rules of Gamification.

Gabe writes that since the dawn of the blockbuster gamification industry, he has been compiling, distilling and summarizing design patterns and systems. The objective has always been to help people across diverse industries such as marketing, healthcare, education, consumer tech, CPG and others find common entry points to this exciting new design approach. Over the course of the last two years in his strategic and creative consulting practice (called Dopamine) he has worked with dozens of startups, non-profits and Fortune 500s to bring gamification to life. 

While every experience is (and should be) experientially different, there are six new rules that he has distilled from his work. We can use these as an excellent jumping off point for the gamification design process:
  1. Understand what constitutes a “win” for the organization/sponsor
  2. Unpack the player’s intrinsic motivation and progress to mastery
  3. Design for the emotional human, not the rational human.
  4. Develop scalable, meaningful intrinsic and extrinsic rewards
  5. Use one of the leading platform vendors to scale your project (don’t roll your own)
  6. Most interactions are boring: make everything a little more fun 
Read more details on the 6 rules in Gabe's article here. 

The Outlook for Marketing Growth in Key Promotional Categories.

The economy’s still shaky and consumers are still nervous about opening their wallets. But that doesn’t mean promotional marketing gets to take a breather. More than ever, the burden remains on marketers to conceive of, execute and measure innovative and convincing promotions that will ultimately help seal the deal. And these days, they also need to stay ahead of the pack on brand-building efforts in social channels, accommodate users who live on mobile, and keep loyalty programs from fading into the woodwork. Promo talked with promotional experts about what 2012 may bring for marketers and their agencies.








Read more on the Promo Magazine here:

Merchandising Trends: Driving Consumption Through Shopper Marketing

In today’s world of ongoing economic trouble and conservative purchase behaviors, it is the value proposition that is playing a central role in the enhanced shopping experience.  Merchandising is acting as a platform for communicating that value to the consumer.  Establishing and maintaining effective merchandising programs, however, is a daunting task.  The economy is changing quickly, as are consumer behaviors.  And, merchandising technology is changing, too.

One thing is for sure:  To address the constant evolution of the economy and consumers, as well as technological advances, successful marketing programs of the future will be flexible and dynamic, measured and monitored from a variety of viewpoints to enable real-time adjustments that will keep them in synch with the changing CPG marketplace.

Read more here

5 To Do's When Activating Digital Shopper Marketing Programs

Digital shopper marketing tools are clearly enhancing the consumer shopper experience, both for the marketer as well as the shopper. However, the dizzying array of tools available can make it a bit challenging to discern which ones will provide the most bang for the buck for marketers. A new survey on digital shopper marketing from Catapult helped provide the following five considerations when activating these programs: 

1. Leverage the Proven Winners

To-date, only three tools have captured shopper hearts and minds; Self checkout, printed coupons from the Internet, and online circulars, all of which are previously existing tactics translated digitally. These tools are easy for shopper's to understand and easy to use and should be integrated where possible.
 
Brand Examples: Kellogg's, P&G and General Mills all have robust programs on Coupons.com and MyWebGrocer. Publix circular integrates lifestyle images and recipes on the cover rather that just product shots with price.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

ShopSavvy Lets Users Scan Products to Sell


Ryan Kim writes in GigaOM about how ShopSavvy can help users sell over the mobile. Read more below.

"ShopSavvy, a mobile app known for arming shoppers with the ability to scan products to find the best prices, is now giving consumers the ability to scan products they own so they can quickly put them up for sale. ShopSavvy’s SavvyListings enables people to become sellers through ShopSavvy and also enhances the scan results people have for local products by letting them see new and used products from 20 million fellow users.

The new feature takes some of the selling of Craigslist and tries to simplify it through barcode scanning. When a user scans a product, they can choose to sell it, and ShopSavvy creates a listing of the product with a picture, information and category, and even suggests a recommended price. Users add the condition of the product and how much they want to sell it for.

ShopSavvy then includes the product in local searches by consumers, who scan a product. If a user wants to buy a used product, ShopSavvy sends the seller that person’s email address so they can continue the sale and arrange for delivery. Right now, ShopSavvy doesn’t take a commission on the transaction.

ShopSavvy’s CEO and co-founder Alexander Muse told me SavvyListings was the most requested feature from users. He said the company is waiting to see how it fares first, but if it’s well received, ShopSavvy is looking at instituting a buy-back program, which will would likely work with Best Buy’s buy back system for repurchasing used goods. He said the inclusion of SavvyListings makes ShopSavvy a more robust shopping tool and makes it more attractive than Craigslist for buying and selling.

“On Craigslist, if I remember to go to Craigslist, I can find a good deal, but it’s a 20 percent hit rate. If I want to buy that product now, there’s often not a match. But if you scan a product, you’ll find the best deal new or possibly from a ShopSavvy user,” Muse said. “We are trying to take out things that make Craigslist more challenging for selling, like describing and taking pictures. We’re taking the inertia out and putting in price recommendations and give that as a tool.” 

The move also helps ShopSavvy in its competition with Amazon, which also sells used goods. Muse is quick to tout ShopSavvy’s ability to find cheaper listings for products 94 percent of the time compared to Amazon. Muse said the company is taking some of its recent $7 million in funding to layer in more social integration, which can help with SavvyListings by adding more reputation and karma.

It’s still not clear how much people will want to use ShopSavvy to sell, not just buy. But it’s a logical step that gives users an easy way to make some money. And it creates even more value in ShopSavvy’s network of users and helps make ShopSavvy an even more compelling resource for mobile shoppers."

Read more here.

Likes, Genre, Action – Facebook Introduces Clicks to Action


Brian Solis takes us through the latest 'action' at Facebook that will impact how people interact with apps, content, brands, and each other. Read more below.

"Following the official roll out of its new Timeline, Facebook is introducing Actions, a series of new applications that change how people interact with apps, content, brands, and each other. The new apps will extend Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of frictionless experiences based on Facebook’s Open Graph platform, where apps introduce new ways to share your actions with your friends either implicitly or explicitly. With the new Open Graph platform, developers will introduce new Actions and Action buttons that extend the functionality of sharing beyond Likes to now include a dictionary of suggestive words such as “Want,” “Own,” “Read,” etc.

As Facebook states, “Apps bring your Timeline to life.” Two of the first frictionless Timeline apps I experimented with were Spotify and the Washington Post Reader. These apps, with my approval upon installation, automatically sent updates that share with friends what I was listening to or reading. For example, “Brian Solis is listening to ‘Love will tear us apart’ on Spotify” or “Brian Solis is reading ‘Talking with Aung San Suu Kyi’ on Washington Post Reader.” These updates are designed to pique curiosity and motivate people to either click through to the source and ultimately, install the app for themselves.

With the new Open Graph platform, Facebook is going live with over 60 Timeline App partners including, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, RunKeeper, among others. These apps will extend the interests, activities, and accomplishments of people beyond the moment, to create a more engaged ecosystem around you and your interests.

The Achilles Heel of any social network is the state of engagement among users. In-network sharing and interaction combined with external integration between outside sites, Facebook, and the people who share and engage, are critical to the sustenance and growth any network, especially one that is approaching one billion users. The Like button is far too limiting to fuel ongoing discovery and interaction in a maturing social economy. Expectations grow as complacency perpetually looms.


Frictionless experiences are merely the beginning. Facebook is empowering developers to think beyond the Like button. Yes, you read that correctly. Actions are now going to open up a new genre of buttons that share your accomplishments and desires with your network. Initially, developers will introduce action buttons on their Websites to alert friends to a greater variety of interests and achievements.

In the example below, you can see how Recipe Box is experimenting with two words, “Cooked” and “Want.” Clicking either one connects the Website with Facebook, distributing the action, intention and the destination to the Timeline, News Feed and Ticker. Before, a visitor would simply “Like” the recipe, which might invite a reaction back on Facebook. Certainly, it would require a much more manual approach for someone sharing it to say, “I want to try this.” Now it’s as easy a clicking a button."



Read more here

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Online marketing leads to Offline Results.


It’s no secret that companies large and small are using social media to help their business in a variety of ways, including boosting online sales. What some brands might not realize is that social media is a great way to increase offline sales, as well. 

Local businesses can bring in customers to their store locations through geographical targeting online, while buying sites such as Groupon also help to increase customers and offline sales.  The infographic linked below helps illustrate how businesses are using online marketing to boost their offline sales:

Online Advertising Lifts In-Store CPG Brand Sales.

comScore & dunnhumby USA released results of multiple studies measuring the offline sales impact of online display advertising for consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertisers. 

Retail sales were measured by analytically linking the permission-based comScore panel of one million U.S. Internet users to their anonymous loyalty card in-store purchase data provided by dunnhumby USA; no identifiable personal data was disclosed. 

By comparing the in-store brand buying of households exposed to online advertising with that of households not exposed, it was possible to determine the impact of online advertising campaigns. The results of the studies indicate that exposure to online display ads can lead to improved in-store sales for CPG brands.

Read more here

Social Commerce Rule of Thumb: Consistency, Small Steps Lead to Big Ones


Paul Chaney writes about how we are creatures of habit and how that impacts our purchase activity as well. Read more below.

“Creatures of habit” is one way to characterize most humans. We like routines, or if don’t “like” them, at least they are tolerated. Neural patterns get carved into our brains that cause us to act in ways that are consistent, not only with routines, but with beliefs and values.

That same mindset translates into purchase activity, as well. That’s why we fly the same airlines, visit the same websites, buy the same style clothes, eat at the same restaurants, purchase gas from the same stations, etc. To do otherwise would push us outside our comfort zones and into a realm of uncertainty. “Terra incognita” is not a land where most of us care to travel.

That is not to suggest consumers should be mindless dullards when making purchase decisions. As Oscar Wilde said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” However, the purpose of this post is not to debate the value of consistency versus change, but to describe how the consistency rule works, especially as it applies to social commerce.

How the Consistency Rule Works

To explain how the consistency rule of thumb works, let’s say I ask you for $100. There’s a very good likelihood that you will say no. However, if I ask for one dollar, you’re more likely to oblige. Later, if I ask for $100, you’re less likely to object.

It’s a brainwashing technique, really, one that marketers have been using for a long time. Free trials are one example – get something free and there is a chance you’ll continue to use the product.

My favorite example of this consistency heuristic is razors. Companies like Gillette will practically give away the razor along with an extra set of blades to entice consumers to try the product. But, when you visit the store to purchase more blades, plan to empty your wallet! Yet, because you purchased the razor, it’s consistent to buy the over-priced blades.

There is another aspect of the consistency rule of thumb: saying something out loud publicly causes change. When we do something publicly – such as sign a petition or rate and review a product – we are more likely to remain consistent with that particular stance.

Read more about Consistency & Social Commerce here





Infographic: The Psychology of Social Commerce

The infographic below highlights the power and potential of social commerce with some great take away statistics and insights. Six universal traits that have been seen in shoppers and are now being seen in social commerce. Read more below.
  • Social Proof: 81% of customers reach out to friends and family members on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products
  • Authority: 77% of online shoppers use reviews to make purchase decisions
  • Scarcity: 77% of people like getting exclusive offers that they can redeem via Facebook. We assign more value to products that are less available
  • Like: 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on the recommendation of the people they follow(and like) on social networks. We follow those we like and do the things they do
  • Consistency: Purchases made from the brands we trust reinforce our future shopping patterns
  • Reciprocity: We have an innate desire to repay favors in order to maintain social fairness, whether those favors are invited or not
The practical utility of looking at social commerce through the lens of social psychology is that is provides brands and retailers with a strategic approach to doing social commerce.

Rather than deploy social shopping tools based on a whims or sales pitches, the 6 social influence heuristics provide a framework for six distinct shopper-centric social commerce strategies, with their associated tools and which can be adopted and developed based on their fit with broader marketing strategies.
  • The Social Proof Strategy
  • The Authority Strategy
  • The Scarcity Strategy
  • The Liking Strategy
  • The Consistency Strategy
  • The Reciprocity Strategy
Read more here & here


Graphic via Tab Juice
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