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Watch out Groupon, LivingSocial is Gettin' Social

Last week a friend of mine sent me the daily deal from LivingSocial ' one of the many daily deal websites I'm already signed up for ' which offered consumers a $20 Amazon gift card for $10. For those living under a rock, LivingSocial ' like Groupon ' specializes in daily deals where users are able to sign up for discounts at their local businesses which typically range 50-75% off normal prices. Groupon did something similar this past August when they partnered with Gap offering $50 of apparel for $25. Consumers all over ' including myself ' took advantage of this great nationwide deal that ended up selling 441,000 in a single day generating $11 million in sales. Now that's a good chunk of change for one day! On January 19th LivingSocial took this same marketing approach when it featured a deal for Amazon. Funny thing is ' it didn't come from Amazon, despite the e-marketplace's $175 million investment into LivingSocial last month. Yes this 24 hour deal that sold over 1.3 million cards came from none other than LivingSocial themselves. What's more is if you got three new customers to purchase the limited-time special, you got yours for free! WHAT!? Crazy, right? Why would a company want to lose money and pay out of their pocket? While LivingSocial may not have generated large sales on this deal, that doesn't mean they weren't able to profit. The deal ' that operated in 170 markets ' introduced thousands of consumers to LivingSocial. The result ' not only does this raise brand awareness in the daily deal space, but also helps grow a subscriber following who will become customers of their local daily deals. Although I did not partake in this deal ' looking back I should have ' I couldn't help but notice the buzz surrounding it. Not only were my friends and co-workers talking about it, but it's all I saw on my Facebook newsfeed! People were posting the deal like crazy! Despite the fact that I didn't purchase this deal, I did go ahead to send it to numerous friends and family members who I knew would be all over it. And guess what? They purchased it and forwarded on to their friends and family. The deal generated so much hype that it even became a top trending topic on Twitter. '?¦Now that's good word of mouth!

What's New In Social Media This Week...

Let's see what's new in social media this week'?¦ Facebook now allows business' to unmerge their page with Facebook Places. Apparently, the number of Facebook friends you have may be linked to the size of your amygdalae. Facebook accounted for 8.93% of all US visits in 2010, beating Google who had 7.19%. This holiday season: 5% of people were influenced by social media when buying gifts 19% were influenced by promotional email 14% used phones to access retailer website Only 2% purchases gifts using their phone Fun News ' the first Groupon marriage proposal has resulted in a 'YES!'?

What's New In Social Media This Week...

Let's see what's new in social media this week'?¦ Facebook now allows business' to unmerge their page with Facebook Places. Apparently, the number of Facebook friends you have may be linked to the size of your amygdalae. Facebook accounted for 8.93% of all US visits in 2010, beating Google who had 7.19%. This holiday season: 5% of people were influenced by social media when buying gifts 19% were influenced by promotional email 14% used phones to access retailer website Only 2% purchases gifts using their phone Fun News ' the first Groupon marriage proposal has resulted in a 'YES!'?

  • 1 min read
  • January 7, 2011

What's New In Social Media This Week...

Let's see what's new in social media this week'?¦ Facebook now allows business' to unmerge their page with Facebook Places. Apparently, the number of Facebook friends you have may be linked to the size of your amygdalae. Facebook accounted for 8.93% of all US visits in 2010, beating Google who had 7.19%. This holiday season: 5% of people were influenced by social media when buying gifts 19% were influenced by promotional email 14% used phones to access retailer website Only 2% purchases gifts using their phone Fun News ' the first Groupon marriage proposal has resulted in a 'YES!'?

Happy Couponing

As lights go up and holiday parties grow near, I enjoy getting into the holiday spirit. One thing that happens this time every year is that my inbox starts filling up'?¦not only with warm holiday wishes from friends and family, but also with greetings from some of my favorite retailers. Subject lines such as '10 best gifts for under $100'?, 'Deck the Halls with 25% off + free shipping,'? and '12 Deals of Christmas'? are like little presents delivered straight to my inbox. However, these deals also make me slightly anxious as I consider how to take advantage of each of the offers. I think to myself,'? will I get a deal like this after the holidays? Should I use this coupon? Should I wait for an even better deal?'? According to an exclusive Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of U.S. consumers, approximately 85% predict that they will spend the same or less than last year on holiday gifts, and 30% of consumers will purchase presents for fewer people. This online survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that people are cutting back in a number of ways, which has led to an increase in coupon use over the last year.  Whether they are delivered to your inbox, via snail mail, or clipped out of the Sunday paper, coupon usage is predicted to increase even further.  Out of those respondents, 25% reported that they have used daily discount sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and Buy with Me; a new category of coupons that has recently exploded onto the scene. However, marketers should proceed with caution before jumping on the coupon bandwagon. SymphonyIRI Group data shows that coupons are not necessarily driving incremental sales, but more so offering discounts to those consumers already planning on purchasing the products. So, the '30% off all outerwear'? coupon J.Crew sends out will most likely be used by the consumer who has been eyeing that peacoat and is waiting for a sale to purchase it, not by a first time consumer to the retailer. Today I received a coupon from Ann Taylor Loft in my inbox for 40% off of my entire purchase in-store or online. I might have to make a stop on my way home!  If you've spotted any recent must-use deals in your inbox, post them here!

Happy Couponing

As lights go up and holiday parties grow near, I enjoy getting into the holiday spirit. One thing that happens this time every year is that my inbox starts filling up'?¦not only with warm holiday wishes from friends and family, but also with greetings from some of my favorite retailers. Subject lines such as '10 best gifts for under $100'?, 'Deck the Halls with 25% off + free shipping,'? and '12 Deals of Christmas'? are like little presents delivered straight to my inbox. However, these deals also make me slightly anxious as I consider how to take advantage of each of the offers. I think to myself,'? will I get a deal like this after the holidays? Should I use this coupon? Should I wait for an even better deal?'? According to an exclusive Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of U.S. consumers, approximately 85% predict that they will spend the same or less than last year on holiday gifts, and 30% of consumers will purchase presents for fewer people. This online survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that people are cutting back in a number of ways, which has led to an increase in coupon use over the last year.  Whether they are delivered to your inbox, via snail mail, or clipped out of the Sunday paper, coupon usage is predicted to increase even further.  Out of those respondents, 25% reported that they have used daily discount sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and Buy with Me; a new category of coupons that has recently exploded onto the scene. However, marketers should proceed with caution before jumping on the coupon bandwagon. SymphonyIRI Group data shows that coupons are not necessarily driving incremental sales, but more so offering discounts to those consumers already planning on purchasing the products. So, the '30% off all outerwear'? coupon J.Crew sends out will most likely be used by the consumer who has been eyeing that peacoat and is waiting for a sale to purchase it, not by a first time consumer to the retailer. Today I received a coupon from Ann Taylor Loft in my inbox for 40% off of my entire purchase in-store or online. I might have to make a stop on my way home!  If you've spotted any recent must-use deals in your inbox, post them here!

Marshall McLuhan: The Original Social Media Guru

'Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.'? - Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964. In 1964, Marshall McLuhan became the first person to popularize the concept of a global village; an interconnected world made possible by rapid advances in technology. His insights were revolutionary at the time, and laid the foundation for the way we think about media, technology, and mass communication in today's digital age. Interestingly enough, while we have the technological means to be global, I would argue that today's millennial consumers use these technologies more to focus on themselves as well as the local realm ' and marketers and advertisers are taking notice. While today's consumers are invested in global and philanthropic causes and do stay on top of world news, millennials are more generation 'Me'? and 'what's going on around me within my circle'? than any other generation in history. In certain respects, Marshall McLuhan was the original social media guru; he understood the innate human need to connect with one another and share. Today, hundreds of millions of people live a large part of their lives online, myself included. However this trend has not turned entire generations into anti-social zombies. Instead, social media and mobile communications are fueling mass-connectivity at the local level, as consumers (especially millennials) use these technologies to connect with family and friends, and learn about local happenings and events in their area. A significant portion of marketing campaigns today include a social media component to drive engagement, increase participation and create a more memorable all-around experience -- again, 'global village'? enabling technologies for local activation. Consider Groupon Inc., a Chicago-based Internet-coupon service. The company was founded in 2008 and in merely two years, has accumulated more than 35 million users in >300 markets worldwide. The site offers consumers the opportunity to purchase unique products and/or services in their local area at a discount rate. The company has done extremely well because: A) consumers enjoy partaking in social activities such as social-commerce, purchasing products and services as a group B) Groupon's local offerings are relevant and actionable. Looking ahead to the New Year, I look forward to the launch of new technologies, websites, and applications and the ways in which marketers/advertisers will harness these mass-communication technologies to promote socializing within one's extended network in the local sphere.

This Week in Social Media

What's new in social media this week?  Check it out: Google may be in talks to buy Groupon ' then again, there was a rumor earlier this year that Yahoo was going to buy the website, which turned out to be false. Diaspora, the new 'Facebook alternative,'? is sending out invites to a select group of people for testing.  The website has raised tens of thousands of dollars in funding. Thanks to a privacy backlash at Facebook, Diaspora has been pitching that it is a more private alternative and allows you more control over who sees your information. Facebook founder, Chris Hughes, has launched Jumo ' a social network that helps like-minded people work together for social causes. ReSearch.ly, the Twitter search engine, give brands insight into micro Twitter communities by allowing users to search tweets around specified keywords. Once the search begins, tweets are shown in the application and the user can filter the stream by several factors. In the spirit of the holiday season, this post would not be complete without a mention of NoradSanta! This year people everywhere can monitor Santa's flight courtesy of Norad and Google Maps.

Everybody's Buying It!

Three goals that will be discussed at every annual board meeting and will consistently be objectives for marketing departments everywhere: 1) increase sales, 2) acquire new customers, and 3) establish brand loyalty. One method that aims at meeting those three goals, is something I like to call, 'social buying.'? To explain, sites such as Groupon and BuyWithMe, which continue to grow in popularity, are exactly what I'm talking about. If you are unfamiliar with how they work, it goes like this: Each day they put a ridiculously discounted offer on their website Each offer comes with a minimum number of people that need to 'purchase'? the deal If that number is reached, the 'Deal is on'? If that number is not reached, there is no deal (nobody gets charged for anything) Typically the offers are less often for a specific product, and more for a credit toward a local service or business in multiple markets across the country. As an avid user of both of these sites, I can attest that the deals are well worth it. A $25 gift certificate to the local bar/restaurant around the corner for $10, a paintball outing for half-price, a one-hour massage for more than half-off of what it would normally cost ' these are a few examples of the offers that I have purchased from these sites. It's that simple. The overall idea is, the offer will be enticing enough to get a bunch of consumers to purchase the deal and get them through the door (acquire new customers). Once there, the hope is two-fold. Hopefully, the consumer will spend more than the amount they have a credit for (increase sales). Lastly, the consumer will hopefully have such a positive experience, that they will tell everyone they know and continue to come back in the future (establish brand loyalty). Recently, Groupon took its daily offer to a whole new level. Instead of a local business, Groupon had an offer from a national store you may have heard of before ' Gap. Users who purchased this deal received a $50 in-store credit for only $25. The deal was purchased by 441,000 users, which if you do the math, comes out to over $11 million in sales. For Gap, this means that close to a half-million consumers are going to be heading into their stores, looking to spend at least $50. While not every Gap Groupon will be redeemed, it is anticipated that those customers who do use it, will spend more like to $75 to $100. And since Groupon states redemption rates are on average upward of 80%, that's a lot of cash money. Expect the concept of 'social buying'? to continue to grow in popularity, especially as more and more national brands start to get involved. In the past five months alone, Groupon's subscriber database has grown from 3 million to more than 15 million. But what's next for in this world of social buying? I think these sites should tie in a social media component that allows users to connect with other users to share in each other's fun. But, only time will tell'?¦

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