Marketing

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The Myth About Viral Marketing

The idea that messages go “viral” and diffuse through social networks is now a given in corporate marketing and the culture. But recent research suggests that the term “viral” marketing does not describe what happens most often online. In fact, true viral diffusion is rare, according to Sharad Goel, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. For marketers, this research suggests that it may be time to abandon the idea that viral marketing will frequently lead to, say, tenfold organic growth.

Image courtesy of Flickr user BenLucier.

Optimizing Your Digital Business Model

A company’s digital business model describes how the enterprise interacts digitally with its customers to generate value. If you lack a good digital business model, your customers may leave you behind. This article presents a framework to help enterprises compete digitally with three capabilities: their content, customer experience and platform. The framework is illustrated with case studies of top performers like Amazon, Apple, LexisNexis and USAA and results from an effective practices survey.

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What Do Senior Managers Really Want to Know About Social Media?

A study by the Conference Board and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University analyzed social media usage by senior executives and board members. Its findings offer insights as to why senior staff bring in a consultant or expert to educate staff. A total of 32% of those surveyed said they had done so and explained the reasons why. Many did so to learn about LinkedIn; others wanted to learn about using social media for promotion, developing rules, communication and more.

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Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility to a Cynical Public

Companies are increasingly engaging in CSR activities. But unless companies communicate their CSR achievements wisely to stakeholders, they fear being accused of greenwashing. A study of CSR communication practices in 251 European corporations yields seven guidelines for effective CSR communication. The authors conclude that many beliefs about the risks associated with CSR communication are exaggerated, and that companies that communicate honestly about their activities have little to fear.

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B2Bs Can Be Social Too

A research report titled “The Use of Social Media in B2B Marketing and Branding: An Exploratory Study” studied tech companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia and found that several B2B companies were using social media strategically to position themselves as thought leaders, drive the market, and build key relationships with stakeholders. The researchers found that B2B firms in the U.S. were leaders in this area but found that adoption of these tools by B2B firms is “by no means universal."

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How to Create Brand Engagement on Facebook

Brands have embraced Facebook Inc. as a key marketing channel to drive engagement and brand awareness. The question is whether some brand content creates more brand engagement on Facebook than others. A recent study coded more than 1,000 wall posts from 98 global brands, aiming for a better understanding of how different wall-post attributes impact the number of “likes,” comments and “shares” a post receives. This article offers up the results of that study, for brand managers to act on.

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How to Identify the Best Customers for Your Business

It’s difficult to start a venture that gains traction with paying customers, but it’s even harder to grow beyond certain levels of sales. The original business model must deal with new products or markets. Early leadership behaviors are often no longer viable. Moreover, different customers come with different transaction costs for the seller. This article discusses the importance of customer selection and how intelligent opportunity management can help companies scale their selling initiatives.

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Turning Facebook Fans into Product Endorsers

“If you engage customers,” says V. Kumar, “they go and they get their friends” to try out a product, too. Kumar, of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, explains how companies can find their most influential online customers and enlist them to help promote their brands.

Image courtesy of Hokey Pokey.

Increasing the ROI of Social Media Marketing

Marketers know social media should be a powerful way to generate positive word-of-mouth. If marketers can select the right platform, design the right message and engage the right users to spread that message, their campaign should succeed. One successful campaign — which marketers can look to as an example — took place at Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Creations, an upscale ice-cream retailer in India. By following a seven-step process, Hokey Pokey substantially improved its social media marketing.

Image courtesy of Flickr user amlamster.

What Matters Most in Internet Retailing

Online retailing is the fastest growing retail sector in the United States. The growth is being fed by two forces: (1) traditional retailers getting their “Internet acts” together, and (2) “pure play” online retailers becoming innovative. This article does a deep dive into two groups: online retailers selling popular-brand consumables for the home; and online retailers selling specialty items. The findings have implications both for pure-play Internet retailers and for traditional retailers.

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The Gap Between the Vision for Marketing and Reality

The growing number of chief marketing executives reflects the increasing importance companies attach to marketing. Yet the average tenure of a chief marketing officer (CMO) is three and a half years, well below that of the typical CEO. Both the prevalence of the CMO position and its precariousness give rise to the question,“Has marketing realized the vision to which its adherents have long aspired?” This article asks if that question is an important one — and where marketing goes from here.

Andreas Hinterhuber
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Setting Prices Based on Customer Value

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Andreas Hinterhuber and Stephan Liozu write that pricing scholars lean toward recommending customer value-based pricing. They provide a mini case study of how to use this method to make sure that you don’t leave money on the table.

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Is It Time to Rethink Your Pricing Strategy?

Companies differ in their approaches to price setting, but most fall into one of three buckets: cost-based, competition-based or customer value-based. Customer value-based pricing uses data on the perceived customer value of the product as the main factor to determine prices.

However, implementing customer value-based pricing is not easy. Developing a customer value-based pricing program is a multiyear project demanding executive attention and requiring substantial changes in corporate processes.

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Enhancing Relationships With Customers Through Online Brand Communities

Online brand communities can bring customers closer to a brand, generate “buzz” and enhance brand loyalty. Yet, important as online brand communities are to consumer markets, little is known about the role they play in consumer decision-making. Although the popularity of online brand communities as a means of gathering pre- and post-purchase information continues to grow, knowledge about how to effectively manage those conversations remains scant.

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The Perils of Social Coupon Campaigns

Social coupons have become a popular form of marketing promotion. Businesses such as restaurants, car washes and dry cleaners pitch coupon discounts through Internet sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial in hopes of attracting a new crop of customers. But a poorly designed coupon campaign can do serious harm to a business’s profit margin. While the coupons can generate value for customers and the social coupon service providers themselves, they can lead businesses into a thicket of problems.

Vince Golla, director of digital media and syndication, Kaiser Permanente

Social Business at Kaiser Permanente: Using Social Tools to Improve Customer Service, Research and Internal Collaboration

Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook have helped Kaiser Permanente — the nation’s largest nonprofit health care provider — grow its positive media mentions close to 500% in the last five years, says Vince Golla, who oversees the organization’s external digital reputation.

Image courtesy of Flickr user batmoo.
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You’ve Got Eight Words To Sell Yourself

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 
Do your opening sentences get people to pay attention? When pitching a start-up idea, you need to get to the core innovation right out of the gate. When making any kind of presentation, a counter-intuitive statement, surprising fact or arresting story can get people to put their phones down.

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