Do these images look familiar? If so, you have previous experience with ‘cookie data’. As you can see, the consumer must allow or grant the company to have access to this data.
With that being said, as long as there is consent from the consumer it is ethical for digital marketing professionals to have access to this somewhat intrusive data. Keep in mind, individuals have the option to ‘reject’ or open an ‘Incognito’ browser.
Benefits aside; I am very open minded regarding the ethics surrounding a companies right to this information. I understand why some individuals would rather deny cookie access as malicious activity could occur. If that is the case; below I have provided a super user friendly guide that breaks down 7 ways to disable cookies!
Every time you sign up for a website and provide your email, name, or phone number, you’re giving them access to your information. Once you’re on their site they’re tracking your movements. By entering this personal information you’re consenting that they’re allowed to use and track it.
When you’re the owner of a site tracking user behavior can be extremely beneficial. Sites like Google Analytics allow you to access user data and see how long consumers are visiting the site and which pages they’re visiting. This can help a business better utilize their site and create a better user experience. Analytic breakdowns also allow businesses to view what demographic is visiting the most frequently. While this is a more personal analysis it can be extremely helpful in understanding and narrowing down the target population.
Some companies like Pinterest and Uber are extremely secure when it comes to user information. This means that they have a more ethical business model and they won’t abuse customer information by sharing or selling it. When companies follow a specific protocol, as Pinterest and Uber do, I believe there can be an ethical way of tracking user information.
However, companies like Facebook, Amazon, or any mobile service provider, are quite the opposite. Companies like these track user information and collect it in order to sell it to other companies. When information is taken and sold this way all ethical practices are neglected. Unfortunately, a lot of companies seem to follow in these footsteps.
Tracking user information is an extremely helpful tool. This tool can also be extremely misused therefore I do not believe it is an ethical practice. If more privacy laws were put into place user behavior tracking could remain a good thing. However, without these laws, the practice of tracking user behavior is abused and overall unethical.
With attacks coming at a business that could be hurtful on how they are operating, it may be easy to become defensive. This is where social media plays a role in the decision making to be defensive or proactive. Taking that chance to be proactive instead of defensive can make or break the reputation of a company.
A Defensive Response
A defensive response is an impulse reaction to self-protect from harm or threats that can be made from an outsider. There are people who will dislike a company and make it known. It is the companies responsibility to take action and either reply to the attack or let it be. Responding quickly to a comment is important. However, making sure that quick response is made with professional consideration is more important than getting a fast response that is defensive.
A Proactive Approach
Being proactive means that a company or individual takes a professional approach towards responding to individuals who are unhappy. When negative content comes to the eyes of a company it is important to follow the three T approach. Timeless, Transparency, Training. These three things are what will work efficiently to get a proactive response back fast. It shows volume when a company can commit to their wrong doing and make an effort to get things right. This can include stating they are sorry for their mistakes then offering an action such as receiving the store location to make things right.
As a brand having a social media presence is necessary in order to stay relevant. The point of social media is to start a conversation. The saying “all publicity is good publicity” doesn’t always translate well into the online world. Sure people are talking and commenting on your posts, but is this conversation steered the wrong way?
When a company receives these types of negative comments they have a choice about how they would like to respond. One option is to be proactive and try to amend the wrong they did the customer and try to repair that relationship. The other option is to be defensive and prove why you’re right and the customer is wrong.
Here Whole Foods demonstrates how to proactively respond to a customer. Instead of ignoring this tweet or pushing another product on the customer, they offered solutions. By doing this they received a positive response from their customer and strengthened their relationship with their consumer base.
An example of an extremely poor defensive response is that of Pigalle, a restaurant in Boston. Unfortunately for Pigalle their horrible mishandling of this situation caught quite a bit of negative press.
Other than the obvious difference in tone between these two responses the big thing we see here is proactive vs. defensive response. The proactive response errs on the side of “the customer is always right”. Whereas the defensive response is aggressive and distasteful. Proactive responses offer condolences and solutions which creates a positive environment for communication flow. Defensive responses deter customers from engaging with the company and ruin their reputation.
In this day and age, being a brand on social media comes with several opportunities, but also with challenges. Self-promotion and being/staying authentic can be two of those hurdles.
Should popular brands halt their self-promotion tactics in favor of authenticity?
My answer to that question is no, and here is why:
If a brand is “popular” than that means that the company is well known. The consumers are aware of what the brand stands for and the kind of value it provides for them through their products and/or services. By suddenly halting self-promotion there would be a shift in how the brand is perceived by their audience.
It can be argued that the shift could be of benefit, but that shift could also be a hinderance. The change can have a negative effect because their efforts of not self-promoting can be seen as ingenuine. Consumers are accustomed to seeing the brands they follow presented in a certain manner, but when they suddenly change it can cause a peak of curiosity. If that change is not properly done, then it will not be received well either. With that said, self-promotions should not be overdone. They have to be balanced along with other content and effectively used.
Is it ever really possible to be authentic on social media?
I say, yes… for individuals. Not exactly for businesses.
In terms of individuals, being authentic is possible. Although there is a large sentiment of everyone being inauthentic on social media, it does not mean that it cannot be done. Personally, I think that if the posts you choose to put up represent what you regard as your true self than you are being authentic. If those posts are perceived as authentic by others or not, it does not matter. At the end of the day it is up to you to decide what makes you true to yourself. However, a business’ authenticity on social media is a bit more complex. They have to cater to their consumers’ thoughts because their perception of the brand matters tremendously. Furthermore, they have to keep up with the ever changing market and internal company changes. Ultimately, I think that they can achieve levels of authenticity, but not full authenticity.
A strong social media presence is all about resonating with your audience. Every business is guilty of self-promoting, that’s how they get their name and their product out there. But the magic of marketing is promoting your product without your consumer noticing. Some of the most successful campaigns are the ones that push a message and not a product.
Companies like Aerie with their #aeriereal campaign are proving that being real and authentic promotes your product on its own. The goal of this campaign is to create body positivity and self-love. Instead of editing and filtering models wearing their products like most companies Aerie took a stand against unrealistic beauty standards. By using models and customers of all shapes and sizes to show off their product Aerie doesn’t even need to add a promotion. I think Aerie shows the perfect balance of self-promotion and authenticity by pairing their products with a strong message that motivates and inspires their consumer base.
As a brand, your goal is to make sales in order to be successful. This doesn’t mean that your social media accounts have to be flooded with products and sales. For popular, already thriving brands, authenticity should become a key player in how they use social media because it’ll grow their fan base and directly impact their sales. Authenticity on social media is more than possible, it’s proven to be sucessful.
Coors Light’s social media campaign drives consumers to participate on Twitter. What does this campaign do for their company?
Coors Light has been a rising competitor when it comes to their social campaigns. Lately, Coors has demonstrated many interactive campaigns that generates consumer participation while also demonstrating brand awareness. Because of this, Coors was able to get engagement from consumers to be a part of this campaign.
Using the hashtag, #CouldUseABeer, consumers had the opportunity to share a post that could get the attention of the company. This fun interactive campaign allowed for consumers to be creative in showing ways they could use a beer. Sparking creativity and engagement, Coors Light was able to find a way to connect with their consumers. For example, a popular twitter response with 93-year-old Olive Veronesi became popular using #CouldUseABeer.
Behind this campaign, a main success of it was holding a giveaway. When consumers hear “giveaway” they form the idea of “free” products. With a simple request from Coors to promote their company using the hashtag, consumers had the opportunity to win free beer. Overall, the company’s goal to increase brand popularity and sales would have a positive outcome from this campaign.
To many October is the month where the leaves start to change colors and you switch your coffee order from iced to hot. But this isn’t the case for everyone. October specifically holds significance in the LGBTQ+ community. This is different than Pride Month, June, because October is used to observe the history of gay rights and their relation to civil movements.
Starbucks #WhatsYourName brings public attention to an issue many transgender and gender-diverse people face. To some, this can be seen as a very controversial issue which most companies try to avoid. By taking this stance and respecting the chosen name of their patrons Starbucks turned a simple action into an award-winning social good campaign.
This campaign caught my attention right away. Being that it is LGBTQ History month this campaign stood out from the rest because it resonates with so many people in my generation. Watching this video evoked a lot of emotion for me because I never thought about how difficult this must be for people on a daily basis. I think this campaign was so successful because it was supportive and educational. It brought attention to something so many people are unaware of.
Based on the article in Hootsuite it’s clear that this was a mutually beneficial campaign. It won over customers by showing support and respect for a group that often faces discrimination. For Starbucks, this campaign helped them rebuild their relationship with customers that was badly damaged in 2018. This campaign was not only good for their reputation but also for their finances by regaining customer loyalty. While this may have caused some to get their coffee elsewhere it proved Starbucks is devoted to creating an inclusive environment.
I think Starbuck’s goal with the #Whatsyourname campaign was a strategic way to get back into the public good graces which then directly increased sales.
The idea of email marketing was very popular in the early to mid 2000’s. With a new way of outreaching content to consumers the click through rate for email marketing saw its highest rate between 2006-2007. Emails brought new techniques to marketing such as providing personalized content, transactional information, the ability to share content, drive consumer action, etc.
What Happened to Email Marketing Click Through Rate?
Now that present time has opened up a wide range of communication through multiple social media sources and different platforms to display marketing, the click through rate for emails has dropped. Why wouldn’t people still want to receive mail at the tip of your fingers? Because email marketing became overwhelmed with the amount of content being sent to consumers. When consumers now have been bombarded with an email from every which way for every bit of information, people will ended up getting frustrated and ignore their emails.
How Does Email Marketing Take A Turn For The Better?
If a company wants to up their emailing game, there are a couple things to focus on before you end up straight into the trash. Personalization is what catches the attention of a consumer. If an email is focused directly on that specific consumer they will pay more attention to it. Marketing pitches should be made under paid advertising techniques, not email marketing. This is where email blasting has almost killed email marketing. Many email blasts lead to about .5-2% of people unsubscribing every email blast they get. They key to fix this problem is creating a targeted email list for certain ads to reduce unwanted email blasting. Creating a target market per email makes consumer mail feel more relevant to their interests. Keeping email marketing focused on personalized content, transactional information, the ability to share content, and drive consumer action, is where emails can still stay alive.
Email is no longer the “golden age of marketing” like it used to be. More often than not emails get filtered into separate folders like spam and promotions. Some apps even give you the option to unsubscribe if you haven’t opened a companies email in awhile. If the marketing barely reaches the consumer, what’s the point? Unfortunetly, email has taken away the idivualism of marketing. Instead of sending mail that is geared towards you companies are sending the same mass email to all of their costumers.
Email marketing is not always a dead end. Luckily, many companies have found a way to revolutionize the way they send emails. Previously it was stated that companies lose about 2% of customers each time they send an email, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Utilizing promotions, discounts, and clever headlines can optimize these remarketing campaigns.
Through the methods described by Larry Kim companies can use these remarketing tactics to reach responsive viewers. The use of ethical data collection allows companies to filter out what type of emails pertain to each costumer. This approach of targeting individuals with specific promotions like, “we see you left something in your cart here’s a coupon”, is proven to be much more effective. By doing this companies cut out the unnecessary inbox flooding mail that generally annoys costumers. Less frequent, more direct, emails keep costumers more engaged. This engagement means they’re more likely to actually open them and take action. These tactics can help increase engagement and revitalize email marketing, making it a worthwhile investment.