CES 2011 Trend Rundown

By Lauren |

Perks Consulting recently went to CES and we garnered a ton of insight from it. Here’s a high level overview of what we learned:

Forecasts from CES for 2011 see the global and north american/US market growth in the double digits. The FCC made an announcement and commitment statement for spectrum.

Biggest product innovations:
1. Ford fully embraces a digital and integrated lifestyle with the announcement of electrification.
2. Motorola makes a big come back with Atrix, Motoblur Cliq2, Xoom and Droid Bionic.
3. Samsung has innovation across the board w/ big contributions via tablet PC and thin bezel super flat screen 3D TV.

Key Consumer Electronics Trends to Watch
1. Tablet Market
2. Smart phone mass adoption
3. 3D TV growth and consumer video cams

More on this to come in a detailed blog post soon.


Ask an Expert

By Perks |

Meet Felicia Moeis,
Managing Director at Girls in Tech NYC

Q: What does experiential marketing entail?

A: Experiential marketing takes a savvy and management oriented professional that is immersed in the cultural trends and developments of all things digital, media-related, and lifestyle oriented. My experience has been incredibly diverse with work in the entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, consumer research and tech industries, providing a range of valuable insight into the intersection between each of these realms and their unique culture.

Marketers must be able to thrive on making sure goals and projects are achieved between multiple people, groups, and organizations with sensitivities to the nuances and priorities from each party. These psychographic details sometimes make or break the underlying attitudes towards a project or the community being fostered. With Girls In Tech NYC I manage a team of volunteers to support promotional efforts, social media initiatives, and produce events. Given the organization’s broad mission, it is imperative to always keep a toe in a variety of discourses and dialogues, especially with technology’s far reach in new and fascinating capabilities.

As the Assistant Producer for Perks Consulting on Vator Splash NY and TEDxTribeca Women, I look to make sure all details are considered as it relates to the promotional plan as well as the day of event logistics. Especially at Perks, we take special care to ensure we are taking all of the different audiences into consideration as we work with media partners, sponsors, venues, industry influencers, speakers, VC’s, founders, start-ups and many more.
Connect with Felicia on LinkedIn.


Optimizing Your Twitter Presence

By Perks |

As the world continues its transition to the digital space, the majority of companies have realized that social media is an essential piece of the marketing puzzle, Twitter being a key player. The site has experienced exponential growth over the past couple years, with 23.5 million unique visitors per month being reported in February 2010. While Twitter still has a long way to go to catch up to Facebook, it has proven itself as a powerful force in the world of real-time communications.

In order to take advantage of all it has to offer, we’ve come up with a key list of tools below:

Personalizing Your Presence

  • In addition to maintaining a wide database of pre-made Twitter wallpapers that you can simply select to install on your account, Twitbacks also allows you to customize a background of your own. This website specializes in helping you create backgrounds featuring a left-hand column that may include your social networks, links, photos, an extended bio, phone number and more.
  • MyTweetSpace is a user-friendly site that offers badges, fancy graphics and themes to help you personalize your Twitter presence. The standard backgrounds with badges are available for $5. In addition, the site offers backgrounds specifically customized for your business for a $79 fee.

Growing Your Account

  • Known as the “Twitter Yellow Pages,” Twellow allows you to search for people on Twitter in specific categories, such as: Real Estate, Green, Football, Teachers, Fashion Design, etc. You can also register yourself on the site and select the category, or categories, that you fit in best.
  • Nearby Tweets is a fun application that enables you to plug in your city, and see who is tweeting in your geographical area. While the standard public Twitter stream is bombarded with up to 12 million tweets per minute, Nearby Tweets gives you a microscopic view of who is saying what in your own community.

Platforms

Tweetdeck for desktop

  • Tweetdeck is a popular Twitter publishing application that is available in both desktop and mobile versions. Having just topped 15 million downloads as of July 2010, theservice sends out approximately 4 million tweets and status updates every day. The value in Tweetdeck comes in the ability to customize your personal Twitter experience by creating different columns, groups, scheduled tweets and searches.
  • Formerly Tweetlater.com, Social Oomph is a desktop-based application that is preferred by many due to the extensive number of features that it offers. The free version includes: scheduled tweets, keyword tracking, direct message inbox purging, extended Twitter profiles and the ability to save and reuse message drafts.

Analytics

  • Twitalyzer is a free service that provides a high-level overview of where you fall in the Twitter-scape and how you are making an impact. When you sign in using your Twitter account information, the site generates a report that shows you your impact, engagement, clout, retweet ratio, follower statistics, personality and more. Twitalyzer also provides a section with recommendations for you to create a bigger impact on the site.
  • TweetStats is a tool that allows you to take a broad look at how many tweets you are sending out monthly, daily and hourly, going back to the first tweet you sent during your first month on Twitter. Once you plug in your username, you will be provided with graphs and tweet clouds that offer an inside look into how you are using Twitter.

Things To Do Before Re-designing Your Website!

By Perks |

Re-designing your website can be a good idea if it has looked the same for years. It can also be an excellent way to reach new markets and attract new customers. We have listed the key factors to consider before starting the process of modernizing your site that will help you increase your chances of getting more leads, increase conversation and overall revenue.

  • Don’t skip the strategy.

Strategy is the foundation and holds all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Ask yourself; What do you want to achieve with the website? What do you want the user to do when visiting the site? No matter if the website is for a company, product, or service, a solid strategy must be implemented prior to design. When outsourcing the website project to an agency, having a deep understanding of the business structure and ability to differentiate the business’ value is essential. By uncovering how the primary objective of both your business relates to the new website, the designers will be able to visually translate the business’ mission, vision and philosophy.

  • Something Old, Something New.

Research the latest technology and the potential challenges and obstacles of selecting specific programs and platforms. For example, part of your team may be intrigued by a Flash website. However, what they may not know is that most mobile devices do not support Flash, making your site not easily viewable from anything other than a computer. Luckily, there are alternative solutions that are functional, visually pleasing, and that don’t involve loosing any potential new customers.

  • Check out the current state of your website.

What pages are getting most visits and how long are visitors staying? Do most users leave your homepage after 3 seconds? How can you change this? This is all important information that will be a decisive factor for the success of the website and the business. Look at the analytics of your site. Setting up certain accounts will aid you in tracking analytics, stats and set future goals for the website.

  • Content audit.

If the site has not been updated recently, there will most likely be some outdated and irrelevant content. See if there are better ways to present your content like video, sliders, and/or in pdf format. Analytics will be beneficial here to understand the user and how you can reach them more effectively.

Make sure you’re asking yourself and your employees the right questions so that your site ends up serving your best interests and contributes to the growth of your company.


The Pepsi #Promise

By Perks |

Last week was New York’s Internet Week, a seven-day span of events, panels, sessions and meetups held to celebrate the city’s thriving internet community. The Perks team attended a number of activities during the week to learn more about how the industry is inspiring and leading business. One of these included a panel with Bonin Bough of PepsiCo, hosted by DigitalFlashNYC.

During the DigitalFlashNYC panel, Bough outlined the details of the “Promise of Pepsi” and the brand’s dedication to social and environmental change. In early 2010, Pepsi announced a series of commitments focused on health, nutrition and the environment. For many consumers, one of the most noticeable changes has been “the world’s first compostable chip bag” for the brand’s SunChips product. In addition, The Pepsi Refresh Project is giving back to the public by providing grant money to individuals, businesses and non-profits with ideas that provide a positive impact on our community.

According to Salman Amin, the EVP Sales and Marketing at PepsiCo, “The Promise of PepsiCo is based on two ideas: that we can achieve our business goals while making the world a better place and that our impact is only made bigger and better through collaboration with other companies, organizations and individuals.”

We look forward to see what other initiatives PepsiCo introduces to continue realizing its Promise and thank DigitalFlashNYC for sponsoring and organizing this event.


Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile

By Perks |

Did you know that a new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second?

LinkedIn is a popular social networking site for those seeking to learn about new job opportunities, to connect with co-workers, to research companies in their industry and to find the right people who can help advance their business goals. A LinkedIn profile is based around your resume and the platform of the network is concentrated on the magnitude of professional relationships. LinkedIn offers an advanced view of how your network is laid out and the breadth it carries, making it easy to find people who are connected to you by only two or three degrees of separation.

There are many tools that LinkedIn offers far beyond simply signing up and adding your job title. If you haven’t recently taken the time to explore LinkedIn, below are some additional ways that you can leverage your presence on this growing social network:

  • Take time to thoroughly fill out your profile

A LinkedIn profile that is 100% complete will vastly improve your personal SEO. For many people, a LinkedIn profile is the first result that pops up when you Google their name, leading this to be the first impression that anyone researching you will see. A complete profile includes a photo, professional summary, education, three of your most recent positions and three recommendations from your contacts.

  • Join relevant Groups

There are hundreds of Groups on LinkedIn for every interest, industry, hobby and expertise. Some Groups are open to the public, while others require an administrator to approve you to be a member. Explore the options on the Groups Directory to find those that are relevant to you. If you can’t find a Group that is just the right fit, you can even start your own and invite other contacts to join.

  • Participate in Group discussions to stay engaged

LinkedIn Groups feature a discussion tab in which you are invited to pose questions to fellow members, advise fellow professionals and even learn about new business opportunities. This is also an outlet for you to ask questions of your own, interact with others in your industry and expand your network. If you come across someone in a Group who could be an asset to your work or your business, don’t be afraid to reach out and add them as a connection. Send a personal message with your invitation and pat yourself on the back for being proactive in expanding your network.

  • Don’t automatically delete the weekly update emails

All profile and status updates are automatically aggregated into a weekly update email that’s sent to all your connections. These emails provide an inside look into what your network is doing, what groups they’re joining, who they’ve added as contacts and what new positions they may have taken on. Gain valuable face-time in front of your LinkedIn contacts by updating your profile on a regular basis and answering questions posed by connections or Groups.

  • Share content and news

We often look to our connections on Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader for news and updates. LinkedIn should be considered among these as a resource for business news and highlights from people in your network. Share blog posts, industry news articles, job queries, and upcoming events you’re planning to attend. You can also link your Twitter or Facebook updates to automatically update LinkedIn, but be wary of oversharing information that may be seen as spam on this professional network.


Should Interns Run Social Media Campaigns?

By Perks |

Incorporating social media into your marketing efforts is essential in this digital world. While some businesses have decided to embark on this on their own, by assigning the task to their marketing department, others have turned to what they consider to be the most cost-effective solution – hiring a summer intern.

From the perspective of the Gen Y population, a “deep understanding of social media” or “experience launching viral digital campaigns” is what they do on a daily basis – updating their Twitter statuses every 5 minutes or creating new groups on Facebook.

Source: Business Insider

Image: Business Insider

Sure, these students may claim they are “Social Media Experts” because they know how to upload a YouTube video or follow a Twitter hashtag. But, they may not possess the essential communication skills and strategy experience that are required to move your social media efforts forward.

Below we have listed some of the pros and cons of hiring a college intern or relying on rather than sticking with an external agency.

Pros

· If you are looking to bring on talent at the end of the summer, a summer intern is a great excuse to give someone a trial run before handing over a contract

· Summer interns can provide valuable insight if you are launching a campaign or your company target market is the 18-24 age group

· Low budget

Cons

· College students know how to chat with their friends on Twitter, but they often forget the purposes of managing this for a company rather than for fun

· Students may not be committed to your company the same way that an agency is, especially if they are not getting paid or receiving minimal compensation

· Agencies have worked with numerous companies with various needs, therefore they have familiar with best practices and understand what works better than someone who has only played with social media for personal purposes

· Summer interns require quite a bit of training to educate them on your company’s messages and core values

Interns are great assets for any business, but after you have spent numerous hours, endless effort, and invested valuable resources on building your brand online, it can be risky to leave a public media channel open to someone who is unfamiliar of the foundation of your company. Social media is your company’s face to the world. Make sure you know this face, and most importantly, that the face knows you and your company.


Blogging for Business

By Perks |

Until recently, blogging was seen as more of an extracurricular activity rather than a corporate marketing tool. However, in the age of SEO and thought leadership, blogging can now be an effective and fun way to promote your company, share recent events and create a platform on which to share your personality.

A mediabistro Blogging panel that we recently attended got us thinking about what we value in a corporate blog and how one can be leveraged to promote marketing efforts. Below are some tips if you are looking to start or grow your blog:

  • Streamline your content. Select a clear and consistent messaging strategy that is in line with your company’s industry and communications goals. Consider what those interested in your schedulecompany may want to learn more about and how you can promote your company’s expertise through insightful, related content.
  • Create a posting schedule. The most frequently visited blogs are those that are constantly refreshed with new information to keep readers engaged and interested. Whether you decide to post twice a week or every day, create a schedule and stick to it.
  • Vary post lengths and styles. You don’t have to write a 1,000-word, research-heavy article every time you update your blog. It’s ok to incorporate quick thought pieces with longer, thought-provoking posts. If you’re so inclined, you can also add videos and photos to spice things up and add life to your blog.
  • Talk to your readers. While it’s important to keep in mind that you’re representing a company on a corporate blog, it’s also nice to know that there’s an actual person behind the words. Make sure your blog has a space for readers to comment. Use the comment section to build a relationship with your readers by responding to their questions and thanking them for reading.
  • Be an authority. Any blog, especially one you are using to enhance your company’s online presence, is the perfect place for you to demonstrate that you are an authority in your industry. Write with confidence and stay on topic.

If you want to check out some companies that are doing a great job at corporate blogging, here is a list of 15 blogs that are on the right path. Enjoy and good luck!


#4sqday

By Perks |

A year ago, we never imagined that there would be an entire day dedicated to a social media application. However, Foursquare Day, which took place last Friday, April 16, was the driver for more than 150 parties across the globe, celebrity swarm appearances (Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore stopped by the NYC event at Hotel on Rivington) and special offerings at hundreds of businesses in locations from Mumbai to Miami.

The origins of Foursquare Day are a true tribute to the power of social media. The idea was generated by an optometrist named Nate Bonilla-Warford, who mused on an open forum that because the number four squared equals sixteen, 4/16 would be the perfect day to celebrate the Foursquare phenomenon. With only three weeks to prepare and market the concept, Foursquare Day became official and was launched globally.

The impact of Foursquare Day? On Friday, there were 550,000 total check-ins on the mobile location-based application (adding up to 9 check-ins per second at peak) and 20,000 new users signed up for the free service. Even people who had never heard of Foursquare or hadn’t the slightest idea how or why they would use it could be found waiting in line for the rooftop parties and spillover events. Talk about a shining moment for the Foursquare founders and hard-working team.

Check out pictures from the events across the world on Flickr or on the Foursquare Day Facebook fan page.


Application Sensation – Marketing Your Brand Through Mobile Applications

By Perks |

When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the idea of a branded mobile application on a high-quality Apple product quickly caught the intrigue of marketers across the world. Although the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone to allow branded applications, it sparked the rush for every company to out-do the competition with the most engaging and unique application to appeal to an audience constantly seeking stimulation and entertainment.

iPhone Applications

Since the original iPhone made its début, the number of mobile apps in the iTunes store has increased by leaps and bounds. An InformationWeek article from April 6 stated that 2010 would see the number of mobile application downloads increase to almost 6 billion applications, up from 2.4 billion downloads in 2009.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t just include applications designed for the iPhone – there are now thousands of apps available for every type of smartphone on the market. And with the introduction of the iPad and competing tablets, this marketing medium will only continue to thrive, especially as technology allows for more and more advanced features.

Have you considered creating a mobile application for your brand? The positive brand equity that comes with a properly executed application could definitely make it worth your while. But there are a number of considerations to review before pushing ahead blindly to create a mobile application just because it’s what the competition is doing. It’s important to take a strategic look at what you can do to make your application as relevant as possible to your audience.

A CNN source was quoted saying “At the heart of apps that have been successful and that will continue to be successful are apps that are practical and allow people to do something that they weren’t able to do before.” In addition, you want your application to be one that properly resonates with your brand and keeps the user engaged.

When thinking about building an application for your brand, consider:

  • Will this augment your customer’s experience with your brand?
  • What level of engagement are you looking to achieve?
  • How will consumers relate the application to your brand?
  • What value is this application providing to its users?

Many brands have been successful in creating mobile applications to enhance customer experience in a way that can’t be achieved through static webpages. Restaurants and amusement parks, such as Disney World, have created apps that allow visitors to upload line wait times in real-time. Yahoo! created a fully functional application for Fantasy Football season, which let customers trade players and make adjustments to their fantasy teams up until kick-off.

Consider how to translate the services that your business provides into a value that consumers can benefit from when they’re on the go. Given the huge number of applications in the iTunes store today, how will you stand out from the competition? Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and challenge your vision of what might be involved in the best application that you can possibly create.

And if you want to take a peek into the future, check out these predictions of the Top Consumer Mobile Applications for 2012.