Monday, November 14, 2016

Get Ready for Generation Z

What if we told you 40% of the population has over $44 BILLION in buying power? In about five years, that could be tripled. Meet Generation Z. That’s the name coined for the up-and-comers following behind the Millennials.

But don’t mistake their proximity to Millennials for similarities. Fact is, they’re blazing their own path, with a more conservative yet more media-saturated approach than their predecessors.

Mere tweens and teens now, their numbers easily hit 60 million, making them bigger than Millennials. Experts differ on their dissection, but most agree those born from 1996 to the mid-2000s fall in the group. They don’t remember a time without social media or smartphones.

Call them Millennials on steroids (many have); call them “the next big retail disrupter” (Women’s Wear Daily did); just call them, because they’re primed with almost unprecedented buying power and influence.

So what do you need to know about marketing to Generation Z?
  • They love social media, but want to fly under the radar. Hence, their penchant for Snapchatting, Whispering and Instagramming, rather than the more ubiquitous Twitter and Facebook. 
  • Their attention span is dwindling – about 8 seconds, according to experts. Lower than any generation before them, and continuing to decrease. 
  • They take a real-world approach, conservative with money (thanks to a very real memory in the 2008 Great Recession) yet more free with money when it comes to expanding their horizons through, say, a safari or tour de Europe. 
  • They LOVE their video – watching twice as much as others. (And 70% of them watch two hours or more of YouTube a day.) 
  • Speed is key – they don’t have time or inclination for deep dives, often multitasking with five screens at a time. 
  • They love emojis, computers and image memes – using them all to communicate. 
  • They tend to be mature and in control, and prefer to be spoken to as adults. 
  • They want to be entrepreneurs and build their own brand. 
  • They want to make a difference, and values matter. They’ll make brand loyalty choices accordingly. 

In short, 8 seconds isn’t just for rodeos – if you’re targeting Gen Z, you’d better be quick, to the point and make it visually appealing. While empowering them, approaching them across platforms and of course offering them the opportunity to engage and express. Want some help getting from Millennial to Z? We speak the language. Contact Randy McDaniels [email protected] or 309-346-7412.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

4 Marketing Mantras You Can Take from Pokémon GO

Going hunting today? If you’re like most of the McTeam, you’ve made Pokémon Go your go-to partner for lunch. And breaks. And happy hour. And…

Less than a month after launch, the game already boasted more active users than Twitter, plus more than 30 million downloads in the U.S. An impressive 87% of people who downloaded it are still playing it. While it seemingly exploded onto the scene, some hard-core strategy went into making this game (augmented) reality – so how’d they do it, and what can we learn?

The gist of the game: It uses augmented reality technology to turn your smartphone into a Pokémon-hunting tool. With your phone map as your guide, you “hunt” Pokémon. The phone buzzes when a creature or potential location is near. Your phone’s camera projects the Pokémon into your real world. Using digital Poké Balls, you capture the creature. At a certain point in the game, you’re asked to choose a team – Blue, Red or Yellow – only three options, making marketing leverage easier.

The game loops in local marketing potential with PokéStops, where players can gather game-playing accessories and tools, and Gyms, where users can take their captured creatures to train and fight others. Real-world landmarks help earmark those spots. Currently, locations are seemingly random, but word is that sponsored locations are on the horizon, so stay tuned. (It’s already happening in Japan.) Other opportunities come from setting off “lures” at your business door. These ingenious, relatively inexpensive digital tools cause Pokémon to spawn at a frenetic pace for 30 minutes. In turn, luring Pokémon trainers – also known as potential customers.

So what can we learn from the Pokémon Go launch? 

They didn’t reinvent the wheel. Pokémon Go uses existing technology in what feels like a completely new way. Your own smartphone, whether iPhone or Android. The familiar feel of downloading an app. Augmented reality, so no cumbersome goggles as would be required for virtual reality. Simple to use, even for the technophobes, creating low adoption barriers. Easy peasy.

They knew exactly who they were targeting. 

Millennials were Pokémon aficionados from a young age, so they were a natural target for Pokémon Go. They loved the cards; they loved the cartoons. Chances were, they’d love a new-age game, especially with the addition of newer-age tech, which we know they love. Boom.

They leverage perceptions. 

While creators say it wasn’t intentional (belied by the word “Go” in the name), Pokémon Go is perceived as a way to pry potatoes from the couch. The fact is, while many of us know we should be more active, actually taking that action is another story. When you can achieve that goal and have a little fun and interact with your local clime? Perfect.

They tapped into nostalgia.

America loves throwbacks right now, so Pokémon was a seamless fit into our psyches. A childhood game made for adults, with a technological touch that builds on the world around us? Natural.

Ready to give your marketing some get up and go? We’re already on the hunt. Contact us today: [email protected] or 309-346-7412.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why Your Website Needs Wheels

Is your site mobile ready (i.e. as beautiful on a phone or tablet as it is on that mammoth desktop monitor attached to a computer)? We could spout all kinds of statistics about why it should be – like nearly 70% of Americans own a smartphone, and 45% own tablets. And 71% of Americans use two or more screens daily to view content. But we thought you’d like to hear it direct from the experts themselves – so we asked our developers what goes into mobile design. Here’s what they said.

Why mobile web development is a great idea

Dave Schuette: “I’m not going to bother looking it up, but I’m pretty sure there are more smartphones than burritos in the United States. Websites look terrible on burritos.”

Kaitlin Hamilton: “It’s 2016, everyone is always on their phones; if you are not designing websites to work on mobile, then you are missing out on a huge audience.”

Favorite thing about mobile web development

Dave: “It forces you to reduce your design to the most essential elements. I enjoy the challenge.”

Jason Geiger: “Knowing that pretty much every site you design is going to be viewed on multiple platforms and trying to figure out how to execute each design best – it forces us to distill the website down to only the necessary elements.”

Biggest pet peeve in mobile web development

Kaitlin: “Having to remember that some of the elements will change/not work the same way as they do on desktop.”

Dave: “Forcing users to download an app instead of just putting the content on the mobile website.”

Not Pictured: Dave, Kaitlin, Jason

Coolest thing you’ve ever done in mobile web development

Dave: “Augmented reality. It accesses the camera on your phone and overlays information over it.”

Something that would surprise the average marketer

Dave: “You can also use your phone to speak to other people.”

Kaitlin: “Hand sanitizer helps remove permanent marker from clothing (nothing to do with web development but still very helpful).”

What’s next for mobile web development

Jason: “In terms of design, designers are going to start focusing on the mobile design first, then building up, instead of designing the desktop first and trying to make it work for mobile.”

Dave: “Websites are going to be designed more and more as 'mobile-first' with the desktop version being the afterthought.”

Let’s give your website wheels! We’ve got the tools you need. Contact us today: [email protected] or 309-346-7412.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Marketing Where They Are

Quick, pull out your marketing plans for the last three years. How many repeated strategies and tactics do you see? Are you simply changing the year or making a couple swaps and calling it good? Or are you moving with your customers?

Today’s consumers are more mobile than ever before and apt to change how they get their information. They’re seeking stimulation and experiences that let them live in the moment – thus the increasing popularity of video-centric social media sites like Periscope and Snapchat. Are you where they are?

Snapchat users view a staggering number of videos – 7 BILLION in a single day. That’s only 1 billion less than Facebook. And it tripled in just six months.

Periscope and Twitter united last year, adding even more emphasis to the power of video. It was Apple’s App of the Year in December 2015 and saw spectacular growth in just nine months – 100 million broadcasts tallied. It hit 2 million active daily users after only four months (Twitter took a year to reach 50,000). Current total: More than 10 million.

Digital video’s popularity has so grown that YouTube’s CEO famously predicted that 90% of Internet traffic will be video by the year 2020. Sites like Yahoo have added video components. Major networks like ESPN and CNN have anted up to join digital purveyors like Sling TV. In 2015 it became official: Users spend more time with video than social networks.

You need to be where your consumers are. They’re in video, and they’re on their devices. How do we know?

  • Digital video watching now accounts for more than 1 hour and 15 minutes of the average adult’s day. That’s up from 21 minutes in 2011. 
  • Millennials watch more videos on devices than any other age group – and more than they watch on TV. 
  • Tablet use for digital video skyrocketed 120% between 2011 and 2015. Smartphone use for video more than doubled. 

So how do you capitalize on this video revolution? By creating engaging content. Developing branded video content. Making savvy media buys that target audiences more granularly, coupled with next-level metrics and measurements.

You say you want a revolution? So do your customers – be there when they find it.

Let’s find your customers so you can hit them where they live – we do it every day, and we’ll locate yours too. Contact us today: [email protected] or 309-346-7412.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Marketing With No Box

More than a buzzphrase, “buzz marketing” first took flight a handful of years ago and is already being taken to new heights. The idea is simple: Leveraging word-of-mouth to drive traffic and increase sales. The executions are where things get interesting, and where any brand can find inspiration:

Solar products company Sungevity set up a solar-powered ice-pop truck that traveled to events to hand out treats and educate on solar panels, complete with mounted iPads giving quotes on energy savings for specific homes. The truck initially toured for 7 weeks visiting 5 states, 37 cities and 60 events resulting in 20,000 high touch interactions. The campaign recorded more than 42 unique media placements and more than 49,000,000 earned media impressions, not to mention a 61% increase in sales leads on the East Coast. Fans can map stops on Facebook and Twitter, and suggest additional locales. The effort has been so successful that it’s still on the road driving sales 4 years after it first hit the road!

Abe Lincoln has helped bring Illinois tourism to life in a series of viral appearances. Mini Abe went backstage at musical extravaganza Lollapalooza to the tune of 1.3M online impressions and 2K social engagements, and participated in a year-round campaign that netted the Illinois Tourism Board the U.S. Travel Association’s award for Best Social Media Campaign. Meanwhile, Big Lincoln took Japan by storm in a series of viral videos, sitting in on a school class, exploring the city streets, taking selfies and more, racking up 200 articles in just four months, plus nearly YouTube 3,000 subscribers and nearly 5M views, plus reaching out with Twitter and Facebook accounts.

To promote their inaugural West Virginia Urban Agriculture Conference, West Virginia State University (WVSU) and West Virginia University Extension Services thought outside the barn, creating an official “spokes-chicken”, Chicken Stu. Sharing his journey from farm to city, Chicken Stu was a logo come to life, tweeting his escapades as he traveled to well-known landmarks, farms and even the Governor’s Mansion. Premiums including t-shirts, bags and posters supported the campaign, along with two short films that followed his trips up to and during the conference. More exposure came from the conference web site, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The results exceeded expectations: 232 attendees (goal: 200), 470 Facebook likes (goal: 200), 107 Twitter followers (goal: 100).

The key to creating any buzz-worthy event is to engage all the way. You’re not just creating customer loyalty, you’re building on customer loyalty to create brand advocates. Creating a relationship that has legs.

The idea is not to think outside the box – the idea is to believe there is no box in the first place. That’s true buzz marketing.

Ready to step outside your boundaries to buzz – we’ve helped countless brands fly; let’s find out how you can soar. Contact us today: [email protected] or 309-346-7412.