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Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.


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Target-Neiman tie-in: Does it hit the spot?

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UPDATE 12-09-2012: A visit to a Fairfax, Va., Target yesterday shows Weinswig may be correct about Target’s poor in-store execution. I went into the store with the Target-Neiman collection in mind but not as part of my primary objective. (“Get kitty litter!) Even so, I saw only a single stand-alone piece of in-store signage related to the collection. My visit was lengthy and covered much of the store’s perimeter, but I never encountered the collection. Even worse: I didn’t see any signage that would have directed me to the collection.

BEGIN ORIGINAL POST: Target-Neiman The Wall Street Journal reports the Target-Neiman Marcus holiday tie-in (#Holiday24) is a disappointment, citing slower sales despite high-powered prime-time advertising and the muscle of social media. (Indeed, this writer learned about the partnership via Foursquare and Twitter before seeing any of the ads on television.) The article then goes on to compare the 50-gift cross-collection with the Missoni Madness of 2011.

But are the analysts comparing apples and oranges?

Reps for both retailers say so, noting their partnership was to created for the duration of the holiday season — not just a one-day sale. And to avoid the resells on eBay and other auction sites — a problem with last year’s Missoni promotion — customers are limited to five of each item.

A report by Deborah Weinswig, the Citibank analyst cited in the WSJ report, was quoted in the Dallas Morning News, laying blame on the disappointing sales on poor in-store execution. Weinswig surmised that based on Twitter chatter, all of the first day’s action was online, and the brick-and-mortars’ inventory could certainly be sold online. Reps for Target told the WSJ the placement of the collection in the back of the store was on purpose, designed with the hopes to increase traffic in other areas of the stores.
 

 
Whether the collection is red-hot online or in-store, the fact is: It’s cute, it’s affordable, and the partners can celebrate the brand awareness the promotion has created for their brands and the designers.

Check out how Target and Neiman promote the collection on their respective websites. No matter the framework, the collection still works, transcending the retailers’ consumer bases.

(Screencaps by J. Barrineau. Sources: Foursquare, Target.com and NeimanMarcus.com. 2012)

Me on Get Glue: The one movie I’ve waited for all year

 
… I think we can all agree we’ve all moved on since Gigli. We’re checking into Argo with 880 viewers on opening night — not because of Affleck’s awesome wig but because it was history, baby.


Text messaging turns 19: A timeline from Tatango

Tatango, a Seattle-based SMS marketing company, has put together a nifty timeline that looks at key moments in the history of text messaging. Of particular note: texting’s role in American Idol season 2 in 2003 and lewd texts that Brett Favre admitted sending to reporter Jenn Sterger.

 

History of Text Messaging Timeline
Source: Tatango SMS Marketing


Checking in at Bon Chon Chicken

My better half has reviewed a place that he says “might — might — be the best fried chicken” he has ever tasted. It’s Bon Chon Chicken in Fairfax City, a popular South Korean restaurant chain that specializes in KFC — Korean fried chicken. If you want to know more about the food, check out his review, which will leave your mouth watering.

I have not experienced this chicken of all chickens, but — as the marketing student who never seems to sleep — I am interested in the store’s efforts at social media promotion.

Still fairly new in the neighborhood, Bon Chon’s Fairfax store is getting a little bit of play on foursquare (13 check-ins) and Gowalla (five check-ins). On Yelp, however, a 35 customers have offered comments, most of which are favorable. (The word “addictive” is used a lot.) The Fairfax store is also on Twitter (@bonchonfairfax) and Facebook. Curious to see what its Facebook fans have to say, I tried the FB page listed on the menu — facebook.com/BonChon-FFX — but I didn’t find it until I went to their Twitter feed and found it here. (The path listed on the menu doesn’t point to Facebook’s Pages.) Despite the confusion over the Facebook Page, I easily found their Facebook Places page, which has only four check-ins. That’s not to say there’s no “conversation” about Bon Chon, though: On my husband’s page, the mere mention quickly sparked seven comments and four “likes.”

Take that, Colonel Sanders.


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More on foursquare vs. Facebook

Emma Barnett of the UK’s Telegraph talks to foursquare chief Dennis Crowley about the location-based network’s 7-month-old rivalry with Facebook’s Places. Crowleys says Facebook’s no threat to foursquare, which saw a 3400% growth in 2010.

Crowley tells The Telegraph:

We offer a fundamentally different tool to Facebook Places. Facebook is very good at offering its users tools for sharing things online. We are good at facilitating activities offline, once a person has shared their location online. Our primary aim to get people outside and doing more stuff.

I’ll buy that. But I wonder, if Facebook isn’t a threat to foursquare, what about Google?

EARLIER: A Business Insider graph looks at foursquare’s growth.

A foursquare post claims 7.5 million users now, and as Business Insider points out, that’s more than double their number of users when Facebook’s Places launched in August.

What location-based platform are you using?


Twitter by the numbers: An eMarketer report

Research firm eMarketer gives us a peek at its new report on Twitter usage, which offers some juicy predictions for marketers.

Among findings shared in the report summary:

  • 14% of all U.S. adult Internet users will be using Twitter in 2013
  • Twitter usage rate among 18- to 29-year-olds is double that of the 30-to-49 group
  • A revised 2012 forecast that says 24.1 million U.S. adult Internet users will be on Twitter. The previous forecast had predicted Twitter would reach 36 million.

The whole report will cost you $695, but the summary itself includes some not-insignificant numbers. It’s definitely worth checking out.


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The 10 Most-Buzzed-About Brands at SXSW

I hate that I missed this yesterday! Better late than never, I suppose.

Mashable reports that Ad Age and People Browsr joined forces to determine the the 10 most-buzzed-about brands at SXSW.

The top 10 with no surprises:

  1. Mashable
  2. Twitter
  3. Google
  4. FourSquare
  5. Facebook
  6. CNN
  7. GroupMe
  8. Tumblr
  9. Microsoft
  10. Instagram


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More 411 on foursquare 3.0

I actually got to leave the house last night after spending two days spring cleaning, and as I checked in I was pleasantly surprised to see foursquare 3.0’s revamped specials listing includes an expanded radius! The specials weren’t limited to a one or two blocks  — specials as far away as 4 miles were listed. Even better: There were more listings! At one check-in, I had 19 specials pop up.

It seems more area businesses are taking advantage of the foursquare Merchant Platform — and they’re getting more creative with the offers. A nearby auto repair shop was offering a Check-In Special for foursquare check-ins that are linked to Facebook. (Way to expand your reach, folks.) RadioShack is offering a Newbie Special (20% off for first-time check-ins), as well as a Check-in Special that promotes a Mayor’s Special. (The improved analytics will tell them if this two-pronged approach works.)

Among the new deals spotted on foursquare in the Fairfax, Va., area:

 
ABOUT THIS SERIES: As a marketing student interested in social media’s role in promotion, I record specials that I see when I check in on foursquare. For me, it’s fun to see how businesses are using it to court customers, which merchants are catching on — and which ones aren’t. This project is mostly to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, so stoppers-by might be bored. Googlers, if you’re looking for information about MAC’s Wonder Woman cosmetic line and foursquare offer, here’s the post.


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@foursquare revamps Merchant Platform with 3.0

As foursquare continues to expand and upgrade, the location-based social network is stepping up efforts to court businesses and their customers with an overhaul of the foursquare Merchant Platform

According to the company’s blog, businesses will find that foursquare 3.0 offers improved analytics, and a variety of new “Specials” — Friends, Flash, Swarm, Newbie — that are aimed at attracting new customers.

The Friends and Swarm specials find strength in numbers, mining the “more the merrier” sentiment: Customers can check in with friends or a large group and get a deal. Playing to the “me first” instinct are the Flash Specials, offers for the first players checking in after a certain time. The seemingly standard Newbie Specials are for first-time check-ins, and then there’s the plain-vanilla Check-In Special that may not be limited to first-time check-ins. For businesses looking to reward existing customers, merchants can still offer Mayor Specials, as well as Loyalty Specials (e.g. “Free coffee after 10th visit!”).

The post announcing the new specials has some very cool examples of what businesses are doing, as well as a sneak peek of the new dashboard. At the time of this writing, the post had 13 comments, including one that succinctly declares the platform upgrades as “cool.” Foursquare’s leaders at can rest easy now.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: As a marketing student interested in social media’s role in promotion, I record specials that I see when I check in on foursquare. For me, it’s fun to see how businesses are using it to court customers, which merchants are catching on — and which ones aren’t. This project is mostly to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, so stoppers-by might be bored. Googlers, if you’re looking for information about MAC’s Wonder Woman cosmetic line and foursquare offer, here’s the post.


On the road with @foursquare

Although I’m opposed to texting and driving, I must confess that I will check in on foursquare when I’m at a stoplight. It’s not the best habit I’ve ever had, but I’ve had worse. As a result of these check-ins, I’m the mayor of at least three intersections in the D.C. metro area.

Watch me soar! Today, Tysons Corner! Tomorrow, the world!

I’m just kidding. I’m not destined to take over anything other than my 3-foot-by-3-foot faux cubicle at work. Perhaps this is why I play for mayorships on foursquare: I need a goal to boost my sense of self because I’m not finding the challenge anywhere else. So I’ll play foursquare when I’m stuck in traffic on the road to nowhere, and sometimes I see nearby deals that are nearly as odd as the check-ins themselves.

Most recently when I checked into “Behind this slow-ass Toyota,” I saw a nearby deal at The Metropolitan at Lorton Station. I had thought this was a restaurant, but upon further investigation — conducted in front of a computer, not in traffic — I found out it’s an apartment complex — one of a chain, in fact. Foursquare players who check in and leave a “gracious tip” can earn extra entries in a monthly gift-card giveaway. A few more searches and scrolls told me this special is available at several Kettler properties in the area, including the Fields at Merrifield, which I found during another poorly timed stoplight. This is a special obviously designed for residents who know what the properties are, not a particularly wide audience.

Another recent deal I spotted while stuck in traffic: 5% discount with the first check-in at Merrifield Oriental Rug on Dorr Avenue. Although I firmly believe small-business owners should avail themselves of all of social media’s marketing opportunities, I have to wonder whether foursquare would reach this store’s demographic. Maybe. I’ll hope so.

I’m also curious as to how many responses Inova Urgent Care Center in Vienna has received for its special. They’re offering a free “blood pressure tracker wallet card” for first check-ins. This is another special targeted to a very specific group — a much older group than those who would be psyched by the free music Old Navy is offering for check-ins.

In non-traffic-related-check-in news, a recent visit to Tysons Corner Center showed no new deals other than those I reported last time. The store managers there need to step-up their location-based marketing efforts. Wired-in kids with lots of Mom & Dad’s discretionary income run that mall and they’re checking in. If I were running a shop there, my store’s name would be all over foursquare. It’s easy, it’s free and you can’t afford not to do it.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: As a marketing student interested in social media’s role in promotion, I record specials that I see when I check in on foursquare. For me, it’s fun to see how businesses are using it to court customers, which stores are catching on — and which ones aren’t. This project is mostly to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, so stoppers-by might be bored. Googlers, if you’re looking for information about MAC’s Wonder Woman cosmetic line and foursquare offer, here’s the post.