Month: June 2013

A Visit to the Mall: Windows Store

This past weekend, I took a quick trip down to Minneapolis for a little shopping and R&R.  The drive down from Winnipeg took just under 8 hours. We left after I got off work, drove through a thunderstorm and by the time we reached our hotel, it was midnight – only to find out our hotel had no power!  So a little less R&R than I had hoped but it was still a fun trip!

Being a marketing nerd, I came away quite inspired by the advertising I saw along the way on the highway, in the city and at Mall of America!  At the MOA, I was quite amused when I saw that the Windows store was conveniently located across from the Apple store. I have seen and experienced the Apple store before (actually, the stores I’ve been to were way nicer spaces than the one at MOA). It was my first time, however, visiting a Windows store.

I was quite impressed!  The entire outer wall was a huge multi-screen display. The colours were clean, their grid style marketing and flat designs were evident in all their advertising around the store and in the window displays.

Mall of America Windows Store Window Display

Windows Store MOA Window Display

Still, I couldn’t help but think how similar the set-up was to another brand we all know… tables and stations were set up in a boardroom-like set up. Devices were available for you to play around with. The staff wore bright coloured t-shirts to stand out from the crowd.  Sounding familiar?

While I appreciate how far Microsoft has come, how hard it has worked to reclaim users, and the different approach they are taking with UX – from strictly a marketing standpoint, I wish they had come up with something different for their stores!  I’ve tested Windows smartphone before and the experience is completely different than the Android (so much more clever if I may say so, even though I am an Android fan). Would’ve liked to see more of that Windows innovation at their store locations…

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We Are All Guilty… of Being Multi-Screeners

All Day ConnectedThe first time I saw this picture, I laughed out loud! Describes me to a tee.  Someone had sent it to me late one night, and of course I was still on my phone. Yep, I was in bed with the lights turned off holding my phone above me.  It made me laugh :D I can be on the computer all the day for work, and all night after work and still want to be on my phone late at night!

Our phones and tablets have become our lifelines in addition to being our communication devices, our entertainment, our diaries, our cameras and so much more! Without a doubt, the mobile trend is growing fast and strong. In terms of media consumption, TV no longer dominates our attention – the time we spend in front of a screen is now split also between our smartphones, tablets, and laptops/PC’s.

A few gems from this useful report on Multi-Screen Usage from Google:

  • 80% of searches conducted on a smartphone are spontaneous vs. 48% of searches on a PC/Laptop are planned
  • Sequential Screening: 98% of people will move between devices  in one day
  • We use an average of 3 different screen combinations each day
  • Simultaneous Screening: smartphones are the most common companion devices
  • 78% of simultaneous usage is multi-tasking, while 22% of simultaneous usage is complementary
  • 67% of users start shopping on one device and continue on another

So what does that mean for marketers such as myself?

As marketers, I believe it’s essential for us to understand that visitors will visit our websites a number of different ways.  The device they access the websites on will depend on the context of their visit – where they are at, what they are looking for and the amount of time they have.

Site content should be optimized for use on tablets and smartphones – whether they are responsive designs or mobile-friendly sites.  Shopping sites especially, have to recognize that the devices might change in the middle of the sales funnel and must aim to make the transition as easy as possible. Content on desktop versions of sites should be optimized for desktop use (given that it is mostly used for research and complex activities) while content for mobile sites should be optimized for speed and convenience (because most interactions initiated on smartphones and tablets are spontaneous with shorter visit durations).

During the design process, marketers have to consider all these facts. It is important to understand the motivation behind site visits  and tailor the content and site experience to meet the visitors’ needs. There’s so much more here to think about – in terms of how it will affect web design and user experience. Lots and lots to learn, that’s for sure! It is a new age of marketing no doubt.  It is the world of the multi-screen – and we are all guilty of it!

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Best of Coca Cola 2013

Coca Cola Open Happiness

I saw a great commercial from Coca Cola a few days ago, and it reminded me of all the brilliant advertising I’ve seen from them this year.  Despite the sometimes bad reputation Coca Cola has (especially in the eyes of nutritionists), I really do admire them for their advertising.  Coca Cola first launched their “Open Happiness” campaign back in 2009.  Since then, everything they’ve done has stayed true to that marketing message.  Their videos, commercials, guerrilla marketing tactics and even their packaging emulate a sense of happiness that makes you feel good from the inside out. Their recent pledge to not target children under 12  is part of their effort to fight obesity in the US and around the world.  With their “Coming Together” campaign targeting obesity, Coca Cola is taking part in bringing about greater change in their consumer’s daily lives while still staying relevant.

Here are a few of the Coca Cola commercials that I love. They’ve been so memorable and so moving, I can’t help but watch and re-watch, and then share. What are your favourite Coca Cola commercials and campaigns?

Coca Cola Security Cameras – reminding us to look at life…a little differently

Coca Cola Small Word Machines: Bringing India & Pakistan Together – reminding us that what brings us together is stronger than what divides us

Coca Cola’s Sharing Can  – because sharing is happiness

Coca Cola “Falling” – because happiness is falling in love! Sweet :)

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Boosting Website Conversion Rates

Boosting website conversion rateOne of the most important website performance metrics for me is the “Conversion Rate”.  Now that you’ve attracted the visitor to your website, you want to turn them into a customer… and to do that, you have to educate them, build a relationship with them and entice them enough to take action on your site.  A conversion can be an online purchase, a contact form or consultation request, a newsletter sign-up, ad clicks or a request for information.

Identifying conversion opportunities is probably a blog for another day but what I find most difficult is optimizing these conversion opportunities. Several of my clients are attracting great traffic to their site but not receiving the leads. Conversion rate is low.

So in my research and experiments on how to optimize conversion opportunities, I have discovered the following:

  • Simple Might Not be the Best: Being too vague does not peak curiosity.  Hiding too much information might deter visitors from taking action if they think there might be a catch involved.
  • Being Too Obvious is Not Good Either: big and flashy buttons or “too obvious” buttons have not worked for me either. I guess it’s never good to speak down to your audience. Oops!
  • Don’t be Afraid to List the Price: sometimes, advertising the price upfront is a good thing. Visitors like transparency.
  • Colours Matter: my mistake was sticking to the company’s colours for the CTA’s. Using unexpected colours (even red) can draw attention to the right spots and urge visitors to take action.
  • Fewer options, Higher Conversions: there should be one good offer (max two). Giving the visitor three (or more) offers to choose from will just overwhelm them. Plus who has the space for that…
  • Test Test and Test: there’s no way to find out what your audience is sensitive to until you try out different options. Conduct A/B Testing (1 variable change at a time will give you the best understanding) and keep track of the stats. Google Analytics’ “In Page Analytics” feature has been really helpful to me in identifying the CTA’s that don’t work and replacing them.

Of course, your website content also plays a big part in your conversion rate. Your content should do its job by building a relationship with the visitor.  Looks like I have my work cut out for me…

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Twitter on the World Stage

Power of TwitterAs a marketer, I tend to look at things from well… a marketer’s perspective.  I see Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks as great marketing opportunities and a medium for engaging with customers and prospective clients. However, with these recent events around the world – the riots happening in Turkey and the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April, I am reminded of the real power of social networking.

The news of what’s happening in Turkey is shocking and very scary. Having lived in Turkey for a few short months in 2011, this news definitely hits close to home.  I loved Taksim Square when I was there, and now it has become a gathering place for protesters.  A friend of mine from Turkey first posted of the news on Facebook and through him, I was able to access sites with live feeds, and many articles that educated me on what and why these events were happening. From there, I went to Twitter where I was able to search for tweets from those in Turkey – both reporting updates and those offered up in opinion. The hashtags #OccupyGezi was first started to rally support to save a park but quickly became a way for people to share their thoughts on what was happening.

I first learned of the Boston Marathon bombings through Twitter – and during the course of the day, I was able to follow along with live updates, see tweets from survivors and bystanders, see the horror of the aftermath in  pictures and follow along in the search for the culprits.  The story came full circle, and in the days that followed, I was able to see the outpour of support for Boston, the tribute sites set up around the city, learn of survivors’ stories and see the many crowd sourcing/fundraising sites that popped up in support of the victims.

It’s hard to deny the real power of social networking. Through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, we have a unprecedented level of access to information: up-to-the-minute updates, photos from the scene but most importantly, the people in the stories now have names and faces. Their stories become that much more real and powerful.  Social media is a powerful tool – and while we might like to laugh at how much time we waste on Facebook or talk about how ridiculous cyber stalking is, we should not forget the role that social media has played in giving individuals a voice, bringing people together and enabling great change in the world.

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