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Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Gets ‘Real’

Marketers already understand the value of building relationships with top spenders, but the power of the consumer runs far beyond his or her own wallet.

In fact, a recent study found that Millennials (people between the ages of 18 and 32) are more influenced by word-of-mouth than their advertising-reliant Baby Boomer (ages 49 to 67) counterparts. To reach this tech-savvy, yet advertising-averse generation, progressive marketers will make 2014 the year of a renewed focus on word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM).

Why WOMM?
Consumers are becoming immune to the online rants of self-proclaimed industry/product experts, thanks to the saturation of social media with marketing messages. The power of offline, interpersonal relationships and influence once again reigns supreme. Simply put, people are more likely to buy what their friends buy–and those friends with real sales influence typically aren’t the 500-plus Twitter followers filling their online worlds or even the biggest spenders in your customer pool.

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Instagram Inks Ad Deal With Omnicom Worth up to $100 Million

Deal Gives Omnicom Media and Creative Agencies Access to Instagram Paid Ad Program

Instagram has inked its first major ad deal with an agency, and it’s big.

The photo- and video-sharing site is rolling out a paid advertising program with a year-long commitment from Omnicom to spend up to $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The arrangement means that users will start seeing ads in their streams from brands that work with Omnicom’s media and creative agencies, including Omnicom Media Group, the media agency network that spearheaded the deal, and creative shops within the holding company likeBBDODDB and TBWA/Chiat/Day. Omnicom’s media agency network houses PHD and OMD.

Omnicom and Facebook, which bought Instagram for $715 million in 2012, confirmed the partnership but declined to comment on its terms. Instagram said it has a community of 150 million active users, with more than 60% from outside the U.S., and 55 million photos loaded daily.

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‘SNL’ Is Reclaiming Its Turf via Social Media — Just in Time

If we take online comments as a scaled down version of the world at large, it’s clear that 2014 global society is divided on three main topics: religion, climate change and which cast ofSaturday Night Live was the best.

As it stands, SNL has muscled through its 39th season amidst heavy criticism surrounding both a lack of cast diversity and a sketch model that, at times, seems to ignore contemporary culture. As clutch cast members Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen, along with writer John Mulaney, departed before the season’s start, the obvious question was whether or not a largely young and inexperienced cast could carry the show to new heights.

When the 2013-2014 cast was announced, it included two members of the YouTube sketch sensation Good Neighbor (a third member joined as a writer). At first, it seemed the show was simply refilling the hole left by “digital short” masters, The Lonely Island. With the season more than halfway over, however, it appears the move was slightly more strategic.

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How Ant Colonies Foreshadow the Future of Facebook

They call it “the anternet.”

In 2012, Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon, Ph.D., discovered that the behavior of harvester ant colonies mirrors the fundamental Internet technology known as Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP.

TCP controls the flow of information online by preventing data transmission bottlenecks and the Internet from coming to a mighty, screeching halt. Basically, when fewer people are online, information return is faster. When more people are online, it slows.

Upon observing the scavenging habits of harvester ants, Gordon found that ant colonies are controlled by the same concept. After discovering a large supply of food, more ants leave the colony. When food is scarce, the number of foragers is restricted.

In his New York Times bestseller, Breakpoint, author Jeff Stibel reflects upon the similarities between the Internet and biological networks like ant colonies to make predictions about the future of social networks like Facebook.

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Twitter Taps Data Giant to Connect Dots Between Tweets and Store Purchases

Now that advertisers are starting to spend real money on Twitter, the pressure is on to prove that those investments deliver tangible results. Twitter took a step in that direction today by announcing its partnership with the data giant Datalogix to gauge the impact of tweets — both paid and organic — on sales for consumer packaged goods marketers.

Datalogix and Twitter find the correlation between tweets and purchases by matching email addresses that have been scrambled — or “hashed” — to ensure users’ anonymity. Twitter users provide an email address when registering their account, and Datalogix collects emails through loyalty programs. (Datalogix has a similar deal with Facebook to connect users and their purchases.)

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Silver City Is First in New Mexico to Proclaim June 30 as Social Media Day

Silver City may not be the biggest city in New Mexico, but it is the first to officially proclaim June 30 as Social Media Day.

Silver City Mayor James R. Marshall signed off on the proclamation at a Town Council meeting last week, a month after event organizer Abraham Villarreal submitted the request.

According to Villarreal, the city’s small size is exactly why it needs events like Social Media Day.

“When you’re a small community, finding ways to connect is important,” said Villarreal. “It’s an international event so we’re able to connect with other enthusiasts.”

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WOMM Has the Power to Quickly Build Up or Tear Down the Reputations of Products, Services and Organizations

Although many brand stories are shared offline, word of mouth can also spread very rapidly through social media. In order to leverage the power of WOM brands need to understand the dynamics of this intangible and often elusive form of marketing.

Building Trust

Trust lies at the core of every strong personal relationship – the same goes for relationships stakeholders have with brands. The driving force behind consumers’ desire to share positive stories about organizations is the trust they have in the products, services and people associated with those entities.

Trust is not built overnight. It’s nurtured over time with every customer, vendor and employee micro-interaction. The simple fact of the matter is that stakeholders see through brand hype and the only real way to build trust is make a promise and deliver on it. The classic example is customer service. Organizations need to make sure they meet or exceed the service expectations they’ve created with customers – falling short on these types of basic brand promises will result in the wrong kind of WOM.

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Marketers Remain Cautious Despite Consumer Sentiment Uptick

Many Hold Spending in Check, Say Economic Indicator’s Rosy Report Doesn’t Match Their Metrics

confidence game

Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

U.S. consumers are feeling pretty good right now — as good as they have since the pre-recession days of July 2007, according to one recently released key measure. But many marketers are unconvinced that the so-called new normal is about to be replaced by the old ebullience.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index posted a nearly six-year high this month. Its increase since November 2011 is stronger than any since the early 1980s, when the U.S. emerged from back-to-back recessions.

History shows the index is not to be taken lightly. It accurately predicted the last five recoveries and last two recessions (lagging behind the prior three it didn’t predict). Nor is it alone in flashing green. The Dow Jones Industrial Index recently reached a high. The unemployment rate, while still a steep 7.5%, has been steadily declining. And housing starts rebounded the past year, particularly in recession-ravaged California. All this comes despite a 2% hike in the payroll tax and federal budget cuts in recent months.

So why aren’t marketers jumping for joy? Many have other metrics on their minds.

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The Truth About Reddit

The Benefits of Neglectful Ownership, Where Gawker and BuzzFeed Get Their ‘Inspiration,’ and More

1. Reddit has become, simply put, mainstream media.
As noted in Ad Age recently, Reddit closed out 2012 with more than 37 billion page views and 400 million unique visitors. Even people who don’t check the so-called social-news site regularly — or at all — constantly experience the Reddit Effect because …

2. The mainstream blog media is almost ridiculously (even pathetically) dependent on Reddit.
Reddit has a state-of-the-art-circa-1998, text-centric user interface, but its critical mass and core upvote/downvote system has allowed it to become a sort of real-time cultural Zeitgeistometer. A post that captures the imagination of Reddit readers (aka Redditors) gets upvoted and then speeds to Reddit’s home page (and/or the home pages of Reddit’s major topical verticals, e.g., reddit.com/r/worldnews, reddit.com/r/funny, etc.).

And then an hour or two — or 12 or 24 — later, there’s a really good chance you’re going to see that popular Reddit post repurposed on Gawker or BuzzFeed. Well, the silly or controversial stuff, at least. (The random nerdy/newsy topical stuff that Redditors upvote — like last Wednesday’s front-pager about chickpea farming — tends to stay in the Redditverse.)

 

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LinkMe Displays Texts, Social-Media Alerts on Your Wrist

Move over, Apple and Samsung. While two of tech’s biggest companies are reportedly developing smart watches, startup LinkMe has already gotten a head start.

LinkMe is a Bluetooth-enabled device that lets users view incoming text messages or social-media alerts on their wrist. They send a message with their smartphone via an app, which in turn, will be displayed on LinkMe.

“It’s that simple — in meetings, in class or when you have your hands full, you’ll be able to receive the messages that matter to you most,” according to the device’s Kickstarter page.

Users can also customize notifications, choosing a set of characters that LinkMe will display to denote a particular person or situation, its creators said. Currently, each prototype has 125 LEDs in its display.

LinkMe has raised just over $23,000 of its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter, with 28 days left in the campaign. If $140,000 is reached, the startup said it will also add vibration capability.

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