The End Has Come

This will be my last required post for my Digital Marketing class. I am glad that I was given the chance to create this blog and try my hand at writing. It was interesting to see how many of my friends were actually interested in reading about what I had to say. I was happy to see that I did gain some attention in the blog world and gained many followers that were not people who I knew.

So what did I learn?

The main take away I got from this class and experience is how important digital marketing is. It wasn’t like I wasn’t already aware of this but I didn’t know to what extent its importance held. Digital marketing has its moment when it is in your face and obvious, like paid search and banner ads.

paid search

You know it exists and you see that it exists. Most of these type of digital marketing can be annoying and people want it to go away. What I didn’t realize was the amount of marketing that is sneaky about being marketing.  For example, lets talk about content marketing.

content marketing

Most of the time there is content marketing people don’t even realize that is advertisement. They are just fun, engaging items that bring the user to your site and you don’t even realize what they are doing.

Digital Marketing and just marketing in general is all about being the puppet master. We use different strategies like, inbound marketing, social media, database marketing,etc… to persuade users to come to our site and buy our products.  This has become a second nature to the users and they are so unaware how much everything has to do with marketing.

sparky-doodles-puppet-master_o_2150535

The skill that marketers need to have is knowing how to relate and draw in all the different people. Personalization is a key factor  in drawing in all different types of users. Supplying different types of content on your blog or on your site allows for people to find something to their liking with your company.  This is why it is extremely important for marketers to not only be creative but to also have technical skills. By having technical skills marketers will be able to help the users even more and they will be faster about it. Research will go quicker and decisions can be made by the marketers with confidence, instead of having to trust what the IT guy is saying. Going through code academy was a great experience in this class and I am happy that I’ve made the decision to learn more and more about coding.

I could go on and on about what I learned in this class but I suggest that you read my past posts to hear more about what I have to say about digital marketing.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that it was interesting to see how many people of my friends would read my blog and  how many new followers I was able to obtain. Well for the last day of my blog I did a bit of an experiment. I’ve been using Klout for a while now  and I was interested in how many people were influenced by me to a point that they would do what I asked.  For two days I asked people to help me out and read my blog. I never expected the results I would get but I got over 728 views in one day.

Capture

Throughout the quarter I had been pretty consistent with my blog. I gained more and more followers but would  only get roughly 20 views per post.  I would regularly post on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I would just tell people they should read the blog but there was no real incentive for them to do what I asked. The fact that in one day I was able to get 728 views, granted only roughly 60 visitors, shows that I do influence a large group of people as long as there is something in it for them. In this case it was helping out a classmate and I promised I would stop giving them a hard time about reading my blog.

This could be used in digital marketing also. Brands want their customers to want to help them out, for example in co-creation. The dream is to ask your customers to do something, doesn’t matter what it is, and they will do it without a second thought. Granted me asking them to read my blog was very simple and easy but just  think if I kept asking small favors from my followers and escalating the level of difficulty each time. If the user gets something out of the favor, whether it be physical or psychological, they will more likely want to help. I’m excited to keep writing this blog and see what I can make out of this.

For the end of this blog I would like to say that I learned a lot and I defiantly got a lot out of this class.

I became HootSuite Certified: untitled

I became Google Analytics Certified:GAIQ

I also wrote 14,775 words with an overall view of 1,315.

Thank you for continuously reading and walking with me through this process.

Advertisements

EdgeRank: Get More People To See Your Posts

Today we are going to talk about how to improve your performance on Facebook.  If you didn’t know all of your posts that you make on Facebook do not show up  in the News Feeds of every one of your fans. This news flash can come to a shock to many and even piss a few off. For example Mark Cuban (Dallas Maverick’s owner) or George Takei (Star Trek Star). Mark Cuban is very angry with Facebook because he doesn’t get publicity for free anymore. Businesses have to pay to reach the fans that have already liked their page. Below is the Tweet and screen shot that Mark Cuban shared out to his twitter fans when he realized he would have to pay $3,000 to reach a million fans.

mark cuban

I mean honestly I think Cuban is overreacting a bit. When I went about researching Cuban I noticed that he gets mad at a lot of people. Facebook just ticked him off at the wrong time but I don’t think he has a valid excuse to be angry. Facebook is a free source for the basic social media platform but they can’t be a charity and need to make money some how. Businesses pay for advertisements everywhere else so why shouldn’t they have to pay for it on Facebook. If branded pages were given free rein on Facebook to push as much advertisement as they wanted for free to every user, then the users are going to get fed up. We don’t use Facebook to get blasted with advertisements and I believe Facebook is just trying to protect the life of the site and the loyalty of their users.

Now your probably wondering how Facebook goes about choosing what is placed in people’s News Feed and what isn’t. Understanding this concept is going to help improve your Facebook performance. Facebook uses this algorithm that they call EdgeRank.

edgerank

You may read some articles that state it isn’t called EdgeRank and there are hundreds of new factors that affect whether your post is shown or not, but I am just going to give you the most important basics. If you would like to read more about the changes please follow this link: EdgeRank is Dead.

As you can see in the picture above, there are three very important factors that you should focus on.

Affinity: This is your relationship with users. The amount of users that have interacted with your page in the past affects how likely they are to see your posts. If they’ve clicked, liked, or even commented on your posts in the past, EdgeRank assumes that they are pretty interested in what you have to say, which gives it higher priority to show in that user’s News Feed.

Weight:  This is how much priority EdgeRank gives to your post, based on the post type. Facebook has a hierarchy of post types, which photos and videos take top priority. Links come in as a second priority and your plain text status are at the very bottom. Interactions with other users , like comments, are more weighty than likes.

Time Decay: This is how old your post is. The longer your post is on Facebook, the less likely it will show up in a user’s News Feed.  Your post is going to be more relevant to users who check Facebook constantly versus Facebook users who only check it once or twice a week because of this time decay aspect.

Now there are four things that EdgeRank checks every time you post and you should make sure to take this into consideration when trying to improve your Facebook performance.

User’s past interactions with the author

          The more you engage with a friend or a page, the more likely you are to see their posts.

User’s past interactions with that post type

If you often engage with a certain type of post you’re more likely to see posts of that type.

Reactions from users who already saw the post

The more Facebook users engage with a post, the more likely you are to see that post.

Amount of complaints or negative feedback

As more users give negative feedback, the less likely you are to see that post.

Now that you are aware of the basics I am going to talk about the 5 most important things you need to do to get into the News Feed of your users.

Post Regularly

timing-facebook-saturday

I have heard and read many conflicting data that states when the best day is to post on Facebook. This is honestly something you need to experiment and play with. Try Google Analytics to study your data. The picture above shows that the end of the week is best time, but once again it depends on your users and business. What I do know is that you should post regularly and mix it up. You want to make sure that your new posts are replacing the old posts.

Post photos

In this society people don’t like to read very much, or at least that is what I have noticed in my experience. Photos are self-explanatory and gain more engagement. Videos are also a great way to bring engagement in and are more interesting than text updates. Images tell a story and the best ones are the ones that people don’t have to wonder and question about.

Encourage Engagement

reader-engagement-meme

Ask questions, create contests, have fill-in-the-blank statements. Do whatever you can do to gain the attention of your users and make them want to participate.  This will bump up your affinity score with the users and will give your future posts a higher chance of reaching their News Feeds.

Keep it clean

No profanity. Complaints about your Facebook posts will harm you way more than you think.  There have been many of times that I have unliked, even complained about a page because of profanity on their site. Make sure to watch for spam so that you can avoid negative feedback.

Focus on quality

FB-meme-300x300

This is not what you want! Quality posts are the most important thing you can do to improve your Facebook performance. Make sure you are consistent as well because you are more likely to receive engagement that will push your posts into the News Feeds on a regular basis. People realize when you are not spending time on your posts and they will punish you for that.

Of course there are many others things you can do to improve your Facebook performance but if your boss asked you to improve your Facebook performance in one month, then focus on the five factors above and keep in mind the factors that EdgeRank looks for. This will help boost your performance and then you can begin focusing on other aspects.

Google+ and Twitter Chats Oh My!

There are two very important items on the agenda for my blog today: Google+ and Twitter chats. I will first begin discussing Google+.

stop-trying-to-make-google-plus-happen-meme

The above meme depicts the feelings of most people I know. I was invited into Google+ in my senior year of high school. No one my age was on the social network and so I never took the time to learn more about it. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year in college that I  re-looked at my Google +. There were more friends of mine on the site but I still saw nothing new. Maybe it is the fear of joining a new network or maybe it is the fact that no one in my social circle is participating in Google+ but I still am not convinced it has much of a future.

From what I can tell and what others  have mentioned is that Google+ has mimicked Facebook, to some extent. They both allow for you to update status’ and the ability to like other people’s posts. You can upload photos and links to other sites. Google+ does have the feature of circles, which allows you to group your friends by your interests but Facebook also gives this ability. You can create groups, pages, and have people with similar interests join on Facebook. The one feature that I feel Google+ has the upper hand in is their Hangout feature.  It is like Skype, where you can video chat with others, but more people can be involved in the Hangout. Also you can share documents and work on them while you are chatting. This is especially handy during meetings. Facebook just happens to have this feature as well but I think Google+ wins this one because you can’t share documents on Facebook.  On top of all of this you can also video chat on your phone through the free Google Hangout app. This is so great when you are in the car or on the go, but have to be in a meeting.

Many would say that a benefit of Google+ is it that you can easily share content across all Google products. Yes, it is great that all these tools are managed in one place but sometimes there is too much of a good thing. I love that I can log into my Google account and have everything at my fingertips but I don’t see how Google+ has benefited it. I would say the main reason I still keep my Google+ is that Google runs everything.  You want to be loved by Google and at school all I ever hear is you want to be searchable.

3ovj5i

Google has created their own SEO ranking signal, Google Authorship.  The better and more content that you post the higher you will get in the ranks.   Though I am not a fan of Google+ and am unconvinced by the articles that spout the benefits of it, I will not be getting rid of it any time soon.  I want to be searchable and I want Google to love me and if that means posting and attempting to interact in a copy cat of a social network than so be it.

Now moving on to the next topic of this post: Twitter chats. Today I had the experience of being involved in a Twitter chat. Before I started I was very confused. First, I had no idea what a Twitter chat was and second I had no idea how to get involved.  My digital marketing professor was very kind to give us the link to a list of scheduled chats: http://tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/. Here you can find all different types of chats that are  going on throughout the week on all sorts of topics. I thought this was incredibly cool because there were so many topics that I was interested in. I found this chat called #BizForum. This was supposed to be a weekly chat with business professionals about trending marketing topics.  To enter a chat you just have to add the hashtag to your comment and you can see all of the  other people commenting. Sadly when I entered this chat it was dead. There was only one other person in the chat room, who just happened to be another digital marketing student from Vermont.

Though I didn’t get the chance to really take part and experience a Twitter chat I am not going to stop trying. I think these chats are great experience and great networking. You get the chance to speak with business professionals without that awkward face-to-face situation. Also while in the chats you can look up the people you are speaking to and get to know more about them, and vice versa.  These are great for businesses as well because they can talk to their customers and build authority at the same time.  You also get to stay informed about what the customers are saying about your company and your brand. This is beneficial because people feel more comfortable saying their feelings behind the computer screen and they feel like you are really hearing them and really care.  This is just another great and fun way to grow your brand, authority, and popularity.

More ways Google+ is mimicking Facebook: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/04/google-redesign-further-mimics-facebook/

Want to learn how to get involved with Twitter chats and the benefits they have for your company? Click below!

How to Participate in a Tweet Chat

5 Ways Twitter Chats Can Help Your Business

Tools And Etiquette For Using Social Media Effectively

Social media is not just for  tweeting your thought of the day or updating your status about the “amazing” lunch you just had, which  you just had to take a photo of. It can  be used to further enhance your business and get your customers more involved in your company than you ever thought possible.

I have never been a “social media guru” and have usually attempted to stay off of the social media “bandwagon” because I never appreciated the value that it can bring to ones image. I was very wrong with this mindset because there are so many different things that can be done with the different platforms of social media and  every business can stand out in a crowd, if used correctly.

The different types of social media that  is out there can be a bit scary to comprehend when you first jump into the online world, but they all follow a similar etiquette when it comes to promoting your brand and gaining leads. Like I have been saying in my last few blogs, it is all about content.

Your content needs to be informative but humanized. Don’t worry about always selling your brand and your product. Give the customers something fun and interesting to read. There are many different tools out there that will help track what your customers are talking about and what they found particularly interesting that your company has shared with them.

Google analytics(http://www.google.com/analytics/) is a great tool that can be very handy when it comes to tracking your blog or your Google+. It is a free analytics tool that will help provide insight into your user’s behavior, the traffic that your page receives, and the behavior on your website. This tool will help you by providing useful data that will help you get to know how you can better serve  your customers.

Pinterest, I feel, is very unacknowledged for its promotional benefits and generation of leads. All a business has to do is pin a picture and link their website to the picture. If you pin it to the right board and promote it to the right audience than you generate many leads. One thing to keep in mind, when it comes to your audience, is the gender that the site is most likely to be used by. For example,  women are five times more likely to use Pinterest than men are, while men are supposedly  more likely to use Google+. By knowing this you can customize your sites to bring in the right type of audience. Pinterest has many tools that you can use to get the fullest advantage out of your boards; Curalate (http://www.curalate.com/) helps measure your pin and board engagement. It helps find advocates and generate traffic. This is a great tool to use because it can  find out what types of pins are becoming popular and what are not.  This tool can also be used for Instagram. Currently in beta testing for Pinterest is promoted pins. These pins work like any other pin,  but have a little icon in the right hand corner. This icon is clicked on by the user and they are given more information about the pin and the company that it came from. What I feel is great about this type of promotion is that it is not pushed into the customers face and the people clicking on it genuinely want to learn more about the product and business that it came from.

This leads me into the next etiquette rule that you should always follow on any social media site: Don’t be pushy. Update continuously but know when to promote and how much to promote. If you tweet all of your information at the exact same time then you are going to flood your customers feed. They are going to eventually get bored and then ignore what you are trying to say.

Boredom-meme-2

There are many tools out there that will help you with the scheduling of your posts. For example, Buffer is a scheduler for LinkedIn. This tool lets you schedule your posts, while also giving you a basic click/reach analytics for all of your pages.  HootSuite ( https://hootsuite.com/) is also a great tool for scheduling your posts. This allows you to post to many different websites at the same time. You can choose to schedule your posts or have them decide when would be the prime time to post a status. Scheduling is extremely important  because you don’t want to post something on your page when no one is paying attention. A fellow blogger, Belle Cooper, and team member of Buffer wrote  a blog about the best time to tweet, post, email, and blog. http://blog.bufferapp.com/best-time-to-tweet-post-to-facebook-send-emails-publish-blogposts

In this blog she stated some interesting facts like, the engagement rate for Facebook is 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays and Twitter engagements for brands are 17% higher on weekends.  As you can see there is a bit of a trend here. More people are engaged near the end of the week, but that isn’t the case for blogs.  Mondays are the highest traffic days for an average blog. Not only should you focus on the day that you are posting but also on the time.  You want to post when there is the most users are one the site but at the same time you don’t want to be lost in the feed. Belle provides more information about the best times to post in the link I posted in the paragraph above.

One last very important rule of etiquette that you should always follow is: stay engaged. Don’t forget about the users and don’t ignore them either. If you allow for your users to comment on your pages then make sure you answer them back. I would answer back in 24 hours, if possible. You want to keep building and maintaining that relationship with the customer and make sure they know that you care about them and what they have to offer your company. If you leave a comment ignored that can result in the loss of a customer, but also make sure that when you do comment back you do it appropriately.

A bad example of responding to customer comments would be the very famous Applebee’s  incident.  Long story short a picture of a customer’s bill was posted on Reddit, making fun of the “10% tip for God” that was left instead of for the waitress. This picture went viral and Applebee’s responded by firing the waitress responsible, for violating the customer’s privacy. People were very angry and felt that Applebee’s was being hypocritical because they post positive feedback from customers on their page.  Negative opinions flooded Facebook and Twitter.  It didn’t get better from there because an Applebee’s employee decided at 2am to respond to the comments. Not only did they respond at that time but they made it a comment and not a Facebook status. They then being tagging people in their comments and ended up arguing with the customers.

114

Applebee’s lost a lot of customers because of this incident and hopefully the employee who did this was fired. If they had responded at an appropriate time with an appropriate message and not have fought with the customers then they may have been able to salvage their image. This just goes to show that you need to make sure you are engaging with your customers in a well-mannered way and at an appropriate time. If you would like to read more about this incident and see some of the customer responses follow this link: http://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/applebees-overnight-social-media-meltdown-a-photo-essay/

There are of course more social media etiquette rules that you should follow but I highlighted the ones I felt were the most important to know. I would like to give a shout out to the people at MOZ. They just put out this very lovely beginners guide to social media, which is filled with techniques and tools you can use to further enhance your social media presence and your business.

http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media

Search Engine Optimization For Dummies

Image

Search engines are a vital part of our lives. We spend every day searching for answers and information to help increase our knowledge but how many of us actually know how it works? Today I am going to teach you the basics of how search engines work.

Search engines have two major functions:

  1. Crawling and Indexing
  2. Providing the answers

What is crawling and indexing you may ask? Well there are little automatic robots called “crawlers” or as some people call “spiders.” You input your keywords to the search engine and these little things will crawl ALL OVER the world-wide web, following links from page to page. Below is a video that shows what these “spiders” would like and do if they were real.

So once these “spiders” find the pages, the code is deciphered and stored into massive hard drives. There are data centers all over the world that hold all of the information, making it possible for users to gain answers in a fraction of a second.

Next the search engine must answer your inquiry. The articles and links that you are given are not pure randomness. The pages that are presented to you have been assigned a score, with the highest ranking ones being the first ones for the user to see. There are very complicated algorithms that are used to establish the rankings, that I will not be getting into,  but relevance and popularity play a large role.

Now you must be thinking “Well how can I use Search Engine Optimization to my advantage?”

If you combine SEO with Search Engine Marketing  (SEM) you will increase the amount of traffic and exposure to your site by leaps and bounds. SEM, as stated in Wikipedia, means:

“The process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. It is also called paid search and sometimes referred to as CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, because most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_marketing

Both SEM and SEO have the same bottom line and goal: To give users information they are looking for. Though SEO is free that does not mean it is better than SEM. They should be used together because no matter you want the customer coming to your website and it shouldn’t matter how.

In my last blog I talked about how inbound marketing is all about the user and how relevant content will improve your traffic. By using SEO and SEM together you are going to gain customer attention. If your website is user-friendly and uses  keywords that are most likely to be searched, then “spiders” will be able to easily find the link to your page when searched for. Whether it is through an “organic” search or through paid links the user will still be seeing your information and coming to your site, thus  improving your traffic. By using social media tactics, like Facebook and Twitter, your links are going to become more popular and  you will become more searchable. I don’t believe you can have a successful website if you do not participate in both SEM and SEO. 

true-story-neil-patrick-harris

If you would like to learn more details about Search Engine Optimization please follow this link: http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.

Below is a link to my blog about inbound marketing, in case you missed it.

(https://tayfranks.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/inboundmarketing/)

#InboundMarketing

Man the team at HubSpot sure do have some great dance moves!  They also just told you all you need to know about what inbound marketing is vs. outbound marketing. Now some of you must be thinking to yourselves “what are the benefits to inbound marketing?”

Inbound marketing focuses on US! The humans!

Marketers want to give us a tailored experience that you just can’t get through television and print ads.  To inbound marketers the customer, their experience, and their feelings towards the brand are the center of the universe.   Inbound marketing has created a two-way communication street that allows for us to tell them what we want and they give it to us. No longer are we looking at the same webpage that everyone else sees but we are looking at a site that knows us and understands us.

For example HubSpot has created the Content Optimization System.

COS HubSpot

Clearly it rocks.  As stated in the YouTube Video  INBOUND 2013 Keynote  the “COS turns your website into your best sales rep.” This website is tailored to different people in the same way and it does this by actually serving relevant content.  For example the first time you go on to a COS website your going to get view A, which is the same for anyone looking the first time. Then the second time you go on the website, lets say as a lead, you are going to get view B. This view is tailored to you and what you have done in the past on the site. Next you become a customer and you are going to get view C, which is going to see you as  a valued customer and try to heighten your experience with complementary items to what you just bought. Of course these views can be different for all types of websites but this is just an example as to how a COS website would work. 

 What makes this even more amazing is the fact that it doesn’t even matter what device you are looking at. The website is going to fit on your phone, your tablet, your PC and still be just as amazing. No more awkward scrolling and sites that are not compatible to your mobile device! tumblr_static_yay

Another great benefit of inbound marketing is how cheap it is! Think about it. Inbound marketing can be used through free social media platforms like: Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Etc… By using resources, like HootSuite, your company can post to many of these social media platforms at one time. These platforms are going to draw in more traffic from all different audiences from all different places. Not only are you spending less and less money but you are gaining more and more traffic to your site. As you can see below inbound marketing continually increases the traffic to the website, some by more than 100%!

how-much-has-traffic-to-your-site-increased-resized-600

Talking about social media, HubSpot has also created a new application called Social Inbox. This is going to help advance your inbound marketing skills. Social Inbox allows for you to watch for leads. Whenever ANY of your leads are mentioned  you will be informed ASAP. Now that is fast! All you have to do is say who you want to listen to, what you want to listen for, and how you would like to be informed. Not only is this great for your company but this is great for the customer and the leads because if they have questions or concerns this website will allow for someone to help you as soon as possible.

One last resource that HubSpot has created to help greater your marketing inbound experience is Signals. Signals allows for you to be updated whenever a lead has done something that you are watching, like changing their LinkedIn or clicking on a link that you put into an email to them. This is also built-in Gmail and in Outlook.

I think that inbound marketing is the future of the marketing world but be aware it takes constant work and you must always  update relevant content that will keep the interest of your consumers.  I wouldn’t throw away outbound marketing, especially the online aspect of it.

Once again I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please comment with any suggestions on how I can improve.

P.S. Below is a link to the INBOUND 2013 Keynote video. If you have not taken the time to get to know HubSpot, please do because they rock.

INBOUND 2013 Keynote: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-InuKlf1bYc

Introductions with a little marketing analysis thrown in…

Hi, my name is Taylor Franks. I am a senior at Western Washington University. I am double concentrating in Marketing and Management Information Systems. To pay for college I work as a cashier at Albertsons and as the Assistant Business Director for the Associated Students. In my free time  I am involved in the IT Leadership program, where we spend the school year planning the annual WISC event and improving the MIS department. I am also the VP of Membership for the Student Marketing Association. I will not graduate  until Fall 2015, which gives me the opportunity to look for internships for the summer. When I grow up and join the real world I am unsure about what I want to do. I like to take opportunities as they are presented to me. . I would like to work in some sort of management position, either in Marketing or IT. I would love to work for Microsoft or Amazon. Maybe one day I will do some sort of consulting.

I am taking this Digital Marketing class mainly because of the feedback I have heard from other students. There has been raving reviews, which is hard to come by with some of the marketing classes at Western.  Also in this society having knowledge of technology and useful resources is the key to survival. This class will hopefully help me advance in my already known skills and teach me new ones. I also am very excited to obtain a Google Analytics Certificate. I heard that there is an opportunity to take the qualification exam at the end of the quarter. I have been meaning to get this certification but have lacked the  motivation.

The main thing I hope to learn and improve upon in this class is what I am attempting to do right now; blogging. I’ve never felt that I had anything to say that was interesting enough for someone to want to read. Being able to share my insights about the marketing world is going to be challenging but fun and I’m very excited.

Well I do believe I have shared enough about myself and it is time to move on to the marketing aspect of this blog post.  I was instructed to read three articles before the start of this class.

Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Marketing Jobs in the 21st Century*

This article was  written by Regina Pefanis Schlee and Katrin R. Harich.  This is  a study about the skills and knowledge required for different levels of marketing positions and how marketing courses need to better prepare their students. The study was done using Monster.com. The requirements and skills were compared for jobs starting at entry-level positions all the way to upper-level positions. Five metropolitan areas ( Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle) were used as a comparison as well. Before going into the conclusions that were generated from this study I would like to say that colleges do need to better prepare their students for the real world. As a college student myself I have had many experiences hunting for jobs that I wished I had been better prepared for. Reading textbooks and writing papers is not the adequate amount of knowledge or skill needed for the real world. A student needs to be placed in a real life situation and marketing classes, like this one, should target toward these skills.

The article mentions that advisory boards  are a crucial element of  business schools and that is defiantly what most of the departments at Western are missing. . Currently I am in the process of creating an advisory board for the MIS department. I feel that these are important because advisory boards allow for students to find mentors in their field of interest and learn the skills that may not be taught in the classroom. This article gives a fair share of data and information about skills and knowledge needed. I am only going to share a few that interest me but I have provided the link, below, in case you are interested in reading more about the findings from this study.

On Table 3 I found it interesting how little the concept of ethics matters in the business world. It is at it’s highest of 13.1% in the entry level jobs but lowers to 4.7% by the time someone advances to management.

Ethics(Rothschild)

With the dog eat dog world we live in now I wouldn’t find this interesting except for the fact that I will be paying money  to sit in a business ethics class this quarter. If ethics have little importance, when moving up the food chain,  than why am I wasting my hard-earned money to take this class? This is supportive in my earlier opinion that marketing classes need to target more towards the skills and knowledge needed in the real world. I’m not saying ethics are not important, they are especially important to me, but students shouldn’t be sitting in a quarter long class about the topic if it has little importance when finding a marketing position. This finding also says a lot about our society and the business world in general but that will have to be saved for another time.

Another finding that was presented in this article was that entry-level job’s require more technical skills than management positions. I agree with this finding and have always been told this from my professors. A book that I read recently,  Haunting The CEO, has a quote in it that says “Early in our careers, we use our technical skills the most, and our management and people skills only a little. When we move into management ranks, our use of technical skills drops while our use of people skills increases. When we move into executive ranks, as a CIO or CEO, for example, our use of technical skills is minimized and even our use of management skills drops.”Hughes, John. (Haunting the CEO. Seattle, WA: Spotless Books, 2011. eBook.)  This supports the findings in the article because the farther we move up in rank the more we deal with people and customer satisfaction. No longer are we coding or working through analytics but instead making sure the customer is satisfied and the employees are completing their work in time.

 US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2011 to 2016**

This article, written by Shar VanBoskirk,  states that by 2016 interactive marketing will be at the same level as television, at least the money spent will be equal. There were many factors stated  about why interactive marketing would increase but the most interesting reason to me was customer obsession. It is stated in the article that firms “Will invest to create customized experiences across their customers’ preferred touch points.” We as a society are becoming obsessed with having personalized items. For example we choose what apps and programs are put on our smartphones. We choose which ones we support and which ones work for us best.  A company can do all the advertisement they want but until they have an obsessed consumer base, like Apple, they will never be successful.  I like that it is all about the customer and the experience they will have with the product.

It is not surprising to read that ” A portion of marketers’ search budgets will move to mobile and social networks as users rely more on non-PC devices and nontraditional search engines like YouTube or Facebook for finding.”  This finding is supported by a study done by ComScore.  Below is a table showing the usage of different sites from 2011 to 2012.

portal use(Mcgee)

As you can see the portal sites raise from 57%, in 2011, to 69%, in 2012. This is a 12% difference. I agree with these findings. Most days I find myself looking up websites on my phone because of the locations I am in. Though this study was done in 2012 it can only be assumed that searches on phones will keep increasing, especially since phones are becoming better computers than PCs.

One point made in this article that excites me is “Marketers will create more relevant mobile ads.”  Every time I have a chance to talk about the ads on my phone it is never in a positive light. I do believe this will increase the level of positive outlook toward interactive marketing. When I am searching something or playing a game I am more likely to click on an ad if it actually pertains to anything going on in my life. If ads were more relevant to each person than we wouldn’t feel like this:

download(Joe)

There were many more forecasts in this article, but I only shared a few. If you are interested and would like to read more I have inserted the link to the article in the Bibliography section. I am now going to move on to the last but most important article.

Another Game of Thrones***

game of thrones(Parkins)

Just to make this clear I have never watched Game of Thrones and so there will be no references to the show in this section. Sorry if I disappointed anyone :(.  There are four main companies that are fighting for the power over the consumer internet: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.  This article was written in 2012 and there have been many changes to the four companies and their strategies. I have included the link to the article in case you would like to read about what happened in 2012. Here I will just be talking about the changes in each company.

Google has been very busy changing up their strategy so that people will focus on their “authority, semantic relevance, and the user experience” (Enge). This strategy change has some positives and negatives. One negative is that the ability to obtain keyword data for users who arrived at websites from a Google search has been taken away. This causes problems for the owner of websites because they are losing the understanding of how users got to their website and the thought process. This can affect the advertising that websites do because they will have a harder time knowing what attracts their consumers.

A positive for Google is the strengthening of their  platform by launching the Hummingbird Algorithm in September.  This allows for Google to understand conversational search queries instead of just putting in keywords. I love this new aspect of Google because I feel more comfortable putting in sentences when searching instead of keywords. Keywords can be tricky sometimes and cause irrelevant results. There is still some work that needs to be done with this algorithm but this has had quite a substantial impact for Google already. Another positive  is that  the Androids for Google has helped their  shares rise over the $1,000 mark. They have not struggled with the advertising switching over to mobile and this has been a great gain for them with the pay-per-click. Here is a link to a video that goes into more depth about the Google achievement. http://live.wsj.com/video/what-pushing-google-shares-to-all-time-highs/D21D8ACD-FA88-4644-8409-E0E431FA5876.html.

Apple has had a quite a year when it comes to phones. They have released the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C. The iOS 7 operating system has had some mixed reviews. I have an iPhone but have yet to make the jump to iOS 7 because I do not like change and I’m very stubborn. I have heard mixed reviews about the new system.  Everything has been changed. The fonts, sounds, icons, etc… have all been changed. When the system was first launched there was criticism because of the bold, bright colors but it has since been accepted and pleases their users. Siri has also been updated to be more “human”.  They have added new  data sources for Siri like Bing, notice not Google… Below is a link that will show you all the new changes with iOS 7: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/17/ios-7-review-apple/

Facebook has not gained the most positive feedback from its users lately. If you haven’t checked your privacy settings lately you better. They have removed the privacy settings of making you unsearchable. Your friends are not the only people who can look for you and the new Graph Search can lead anyone to your profile.

privacy

Another tweak that Facebook has made is the Facebook brand pages are getting less traffic and free advertisement is becoming less available. This is “screwing over the social media marketers.” (Carlson) The number of people who are seeing these posts are declining. I can see why Facebook is making this change because it builds up revenue but they cause brands to lose customers and risk angering them.

Moving to the last company is Amazon. They seem to have little changes since 2012. They have been talking about having drones deliver packages to your house, called Amazon Prime Air. I would have to say this is taking stalking to a whole new level! I would not let a drone come to my house because who knows what else that drone could be used for.

drones

Also let’s think about the jobs that will be taken away if packages are not needed to be delivered by UPS or FedEx. Don’t freak out yet though because these drones are not going to be ready for roughly four to  five years.

A rumor that I have read about is the Amazon phone to be created by HTC. This is likely to happen in 2014 but has yet to be reported on with much detail. I am excited to see what Amazon comes up with.

If you have made it to here I would like to say thank you for reading my first blog post. It was a bit long but I hoped you learned at least one interesting thing. May my blog posts only get more interesting and not as long in the future. 🙂

Bibliography

*http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/knowledge-requirements.pdf

Rothschild, Evelyn. The Thing About Ethics Is, I Have None. N.d. MEME. diylol.comWeb. 6 Jan 2014. <http://diylol.com/meme-generator/evelyn-rothschild/memes/the-thing-about-ethics-is-i-have-none&gt;.

**http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/forrester_interactive_marketing_forecast_2011_to_2016.pdf

Mcgee, Matt. Search On Smartphones Up 26 Percent, On Tablets Up 19 Percent In 2012 [Study]. 2013. Photograph. n.p. Web. 6 Jan 2014. <http://searchengineland.com/search-smartphones-tablets-up-2012-153328&gt;.

Joe, Bobby. Mandatory Pre-video Advertising. 2013. MEME. cheezburger.comWeb. 6 Jan 2014. <http://cheezburger.com/7983770624&gt;.

***http://markstaton.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/technology-giants-at-war-another-game-of-thrones-the-economist.pdf

Parkins, David. 2012. Photograph. The EconomistWeb. 6 Jan 2014. .

Enge, Eric. “6 Major Google Changes Reveal the Future of SEO.” Search Engine Watch. N.p., 30 Dec 2013. Web. 6 Jan 2014. <http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2301719/6-Major-Google-Changes-Reveal-the-Future-of-SEO&gt;.

Carlson, Nicholas. “Facebook Slightly Tweaked How The Site Works — And It Screwed An Entire Profession Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-screws-social-media-marketers-2013-12