Resuscitated

10 03 2010

Guess whose back? So, I knew when I started this blog that I wasn’t going to post every day. And I haven’t posted in well over a year. The blog just kind of sat out here in Cyberland waiting for me to return and revive it. Well, I’ve decided to revive it for my own personal state of mind. I don’t care if people read it or don’t, cause mostly right now it’s going to be for me. I can pretend I am telling people things, even if no one reads it.
I’ve recently discovered the beauty of the podcast. I don’t know why I haven’t even listened to podcasts before. Probably because I don’t really listen to the radio either, because I don’t like people talking interrupting my music. But as some of you know, many of you don’t, I am a member of a message board for my biggest obsession: Disney. The message boards (which are part of the
Dis family) are known as the Disboards. There are tons of Disney fans, and also Disney newbies who are just looking for info about planning their trip to anywhere within the Disneysphere. Everyone is superfriendly, and very helpful. Anyway, as I was wandering around the boards, I noticed the Dis Unplugged board. The Dis Unplugged is the Dis podcast. More out of curiousity than anything, I went into itunes and subscribed, and began downloading some of the past shows. Well, I’ve been listening to it for a few days now, and I am addicted. The folks that do it (podcasters? cast? crew? employees?) are great fun to listen to. I’ve also subscribed to some other podcasts (not Disney related) cause I have decided that podcasts are the coolest thing ever. My ipod (16gig) is literally 100% full (for the first time ever) because of all the podcasts. I know I sound really old, that I have just discovered them. It’s not that I didn’t know the existed, its just that I didn’t get the appeal of them. Now, I do. I talk back to them in the car. Which is probably the most amusing thing about it. Anyway, if you don’t listen to podcasts, I would suggest that you go into your little itunes account, go to the store, and search a topic that interests you. (In addition to my Disney podcast, I listen to a travel podcast, a design podcast (like, interior design), and a book review podcast). Subscribe to the podcasts, which are usually free, and you’ll have an hour of entertainment.





Human Behavior

21 04 2008

It’s been a while, almost two weeks since I’ve actually blogged. Life has been next to hectic, and still is. However, today is my birthday, so I am actually taking the time to do things I enjoy. Before my study marathon tonight….because finals are this week. So, there was an article in the NYT last week that sparked my interest. Human behavior has always been fascinating to me, and it was because of that that I chose to study marketing as an undergraduate. Why not psychology? Well, because I am interested in the parts of human behavior that drive consumer choices. So, who buys what and for what reasons. Marketers study these behaviors in order to know who to market products to and how best to approach them. The idea is called targeting. Well, with all the advances that have been made in research methods, we can take it a step farther and start microtargeting. Microtargeting takes it to a whole new level, beyond demographic, geographic, and psyhographic information. This article was all about microtargeting used by pollsters for political campaigns. *as a side note, political science and business are very separate in college, which I think only harms the spread of new and inventive marketing tactics* Like minded people are targeted not based on age and gender, but instead based on what television shows they watch, the magazines or newspapers they subscribe to, and even the purchases they make at the grocery store. The article points to several specific food stuffs and can pinpoint which candidate you are likely to vote for based on your purchase of any of these items. “For example, Dr Pepper is a Republican soda. Pepsi-Cola and Sprite are Democratic. So are most clear liquors, like gin and vodka, along with white wine and Evian water. Republicans skew toward brown liquors like bourbon or scotch, red wine and Fiji water.” This is a tiny excerpt from the article by Kim Severson. Can you categorize your friends (politically) based on their likes and dislikes?
How does any of this help in a political campaign? Well, there is some debate about how much help this level of microtargeting does help. It won’t help you convince someone that your healthcare plan is better than the other guy’s, but it can definitely help you know where to advertise. Microtargeting is business tool that has just recently been noticed in the world of political marketing, something I choose to think of as social marketing. It’s on the rise, and we are going to see more and more in the coming election. Read the full article here.





Explaining online politics through classic rock « Alex Kellner

14 04 2008

Explaining online politics through classic rock « Alex Kellner
This was an interesting post by my good buddy Alex, and I just thought I would share it.
 





Perez Hilton Doez Charity

4 04 2008

I read Perez Hilton practically every day. I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip, and I am not embarrassed to admit it. And Perez Hilton is the best that I’ve found. I ♥ Perez. But recently (actually, I don’t know how recently, but I’ve noticed it recently) he’s been putting links to donations pages for charities and non-profit organizations. I love the fact that he is doing that, because Perez Hilton gets a lot of site traffic. According to Alexa.com, a website that gives information on websites including traffic, and lists the sites that gets the most traffic in certain countries, Perez Hilton is the 759th most popular website in the US (which doesn’t sound very high, but it really is when you think about how many people are on the internet during the day, and how many different sites they could be visiting). So, I’m glad that he’s posted these links to charities and invited people to donate. Someone made a comment on one post of his where he listed a charity that it was wrong of him to do that because people that go to his site don’t want to dig through the clutter for the gossip. I’ve decided to reply right here to that comment. Ok, A) the website is not hard to navigate. It’s not as if every other link or post is a link to a charity instead of some bit of salacious gossip. I’ve noticed that it is about one a day, maybe two. B) With the constant influx of information, an hour after it’s been posted, the charity link has already been moved to the second page. You’re not missing out on your daily fix. C) It’s a great thing that he’s trying to make that audience aware that there are people out there who need help, and not just the celebers who party too hard. There are real people out there struggling with chronic illness, people struggling with hunger, battling to keep a roof over their head, animals being brutalized, people in other countries being tortured and killed, a rapidly growing hole in our ozone layer, and tons of other things. So, thank you, Perez for doing that. A lot of people appreciate that you are trying to call attention to the fact that there are real problems in the world that we can actually do something about.
That being said, I have a little knowledge of that world. The world of online fundraising for non-profit organizations. And the audience that reads Perez’s website is not the audience that makes donations. It’s not that they don’t care, although research has shown that fewer of them do than older generations, but rather that they don’t have the money to donate. The younger people are, the less likely they are to donate, that’s something that makes sense even if you aren’t in the industry. The demographic of people who read Perez Hilton are under 35, web users, and generally female. Not in the “likely to donate” category. Non-profit organizations who fundraise online know that, and they don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to raise money from them. What’s important about what Perez is doing is cultivation. While his readers today are young, college age people who use any spare cash to buy groceries and pay down college loans, they won’t always be. Eventually they will be in that target audience for donors. By being exposed to these organizations now, the organizations have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with them so that when they do decide to donate, they are donating to their organization. That is the advantage that Perez is giving these charities. Now we can only hope that it will stick.





This is how we do it!

27 03 2008

Oh, I couldn’t resist with my title today. Today, there was an article in the NYT called Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On. I love it! Granted, I am studying political management, and I work online, so maybe I am a little bias. But ok, here goes. This article talks about how young voters get the news. Online. Not only do we get our news online, but we pass it along online. I (sample of one, yes, I know) watch local news in the morning before I go to work, mostly for weather and traffic updates, but I pick up a few pieces of national news. Then, during the day, I read the NYTimes, the Washington Post, and I peruse Perez Hilton (which is a guilty pleasure). If If I have time during lunch or something, I will check out the Ft. Worth Star Telegram to see what is going on where my family lives, and once a week I try to read The Stranger. Most of my blog postings come from something in one of these publications. Anyway, the point is, these are the places I get my news. That and from friends. I probably get at least 10 urls from friends via instant messenger or email a day. That doesn’t even count blog postings that I read along the way. According to the article, there was a study done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press with a “broad look at how media was consumed for this campaign cycle.” Not surprisingly, the results were that more than 50% of the respondents over the age of 50 reported watching local news regularly for campaign news. 39% of 30 to 49 year olds report watching local news for campaign news, but less than 25% of people under the age of 30 report that they do. 66% of web users under the age of 30 report that they use social networking sites, and less than 20% of older users do. 40% of young people have watched a candidate speech, interview, commercial, or debate online. Presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary R. Clinton, and John McCain all have profiles on Facebook where they have numerous friends, friends who translate into young supporters. It isn’t even a new concept if you think about it. It goes back to the old school idea of “word-of-mouth” marketing, or buzz marketing. When we see something interesting online, we share it. In the online world, we call that “going viral.” I am glad that someone is figuring out that online is the place to go to reach young voters. I think we are going to see a big(ger) turnout of young voters in November, and it is because the use of the net for campaigning has expanded immensely in the past few years. I can go to Youtube right now and find a video of Chelsea Clinton’s appearance at Butler University if I wanted to. And share it with a few friends. I’m glad to see young people getting excited about it. Let’s just hope that translates into votes.





Tricks of the Trade

24 03 2008

An article published in the NYT yesterday revealed that one of the earliest shopping techniques is making a comeback. Not that haggling ever really left, but it is definitely not thought of as common practice in any of the places that I shop. This article says that the notion of bargaining down the price is becoming increasingly popular in major retail outlets. According to the article, retail historian from the Harvard Business School Nancy Koehn says that haggling in department stores used to be commonplace, before stores adopted fixed pricing in the 1850s. But with technology-enabled price comparison and online negotiating, the retail salesforce is quietly being allowed more freedoms to negotiate prices with customers. The downward spiraling economy has also put more power in the consumers’ hands when it comes to price negotiating. There are examples of in the article of people who’ve successfully “haggled” down the prices of large and small ticket items, from big screen televisions at well-known retailers such as Best Buy, to things such as rugs and clothing. Koehn blames the “ebay phenomenon.” She says that ten years ago people didn’t like to haggle, and they thought they weren’t any good at it. But using ebay has boosted confidence. I am not sure I agree with her. Bidding for something on ebay is quite different than negotiating face to face with someone. First of all, price negotiations go on all the time. Didn’t today JP Morgan increase they offer to buy Bear Stearns to $10 a share in order to appease shareholders? That’s price negotiating. Paying below sticker when you buy a car. Making an offer on a house. These are all instances in which people are haggling. I was in New York a few months ago, and my roommate and I made a few purchases from street vendors. We never paid what they asked initially. It’s all part of haggling. My confidence in haggling is pretty limited when I am negotiating with someone face to face about a purchase. Whereas on ebay, I have no problem making a bid on something. That being said…is haggling really making a comeback? How far is it going to to? And how is this going to affect the lines at registers? I know I intentionally go grocery shopping late at night because there are few people there. I don’t like waiting in line to buy my groceries. If we have to wait for people to haggle on the price of everything in their basket….would we get home before the milk went bad?
I need to stop and buy some toothpaste on my way home. I wonder if I can get it for $2.50, instead of $3.14. I guess it’s worth a try…wonder how many people I will irritate in the process by trying to haggle with the cashier.
Happy shopping!





The TiVo Giant…

24 03 2008

I have a DVR in my house. Not TiVo, but a DVR from Comcast. As a result, I never watch live television anymore. Well, I rarely do. Although, with my busy life right now, I barely watch anything. I am so spoiled to being able to “zoom” through commercials, that I get irritated when I have to watch them. I usually catch the beginning of the first commercial, and the tail end of the last commercial. I have been wondering for a while now how the advent of TiVo and DVR are going to affect companies that advertise with commercials on television. Actually, I have peppered one of my professors with so many questions about it, that when he found an article regarding the subject, he forwarded it to me. The article, published today in Advertising Age, answers, or tries to, some of the questions I’ve had regarding the effect of TiVo. The study which was conducted over three years, found that new product purchasing in DVR households was about 5% lower than in non-DVR households. This is not a significant enough number to be distasterous for any major brands. Brands that spend 20% of more of there media budget outside television saw no difference. So, are we going to see any changes to the way brands are marketed in the media? I’m willing to bet yes. A 5% decrease in sales in households that have DVRs is not threatening right now. But eventually, DVRs are going to penetrate more and more households. That 5% starts to look “bigger and badder” as DVRs become more popular. I predict more product placement. It doesn’t have the same effect as a commercial, but given the choice of the product being seen, or not…what do advertisers choose? I also think that we are going to see a restructing of how media buys are conducted. I think it will get as detailed as which place your commercial will hold in the 5 minute slot in the second commercial break of CSI Miami. The first commercial and the last commercial should be more expensive, because (as I said) those are the commercials that are more likely to be seen in a DVR situation. How about online advertising? Are we going to see more online advertisements? I think so. People don’t think about online advertising as much right now, but let me state one glaring fact. People are more engaged when working on the computer than they are when they are staring at a television screen. Think of it as leaning back in a recliner, versus sitting at a desk. Even if I am just playing a lame computer game I am more engaged when I am on the computer than when I have the television on. I guess we will just have to wait and see in the months (years) to come.
You can read the rest of the article by Jack Neff here.