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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)


Yeah, but is he the MAYOR of the White House?

The White House posted a blog post Monday announcing their newest social-media effort on the location-based network, foursquare.

The administration’s newest membership coincides with President Obama’s three-day trip through the Midwest to address economic concerns. Last spotted: Seed Savers Exchange on North Winn Road in Decorah, Iowa.


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?


Onion investigation: Facebook as CIA’s most valuable tool

Too funny. Too true. Too creepy.

On Twitter:

Four hundred billion tweets and not one piece of useful data was ever transmitted.

On al-Qaeda foursquare threat:

The people who use (foursquare) are people no one would mind seeing bombed anyway.


DM @politicians: Think before you click ‘tweet’

USA TODAY’s Jackie Kucinich looks at how 140 characters can hurt a political campaign in the digital age. A status update gone wrong can go viral — and fast — and the next thing you know, Politico is reporting your indiscretion and resignation.

From the story with the snazzy headline that I wrote:

The rise of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have accelerated the rate an off-color remark or e-mail can be posted on a news site and in seconds turn into a national story read by millions of people.

Bill Burton, Democratic strategist and former spokesman for President Obama, puts the new dynamic in stark terms: “There is a lightning quickness to the speed at which candidates can build and accidentally dismantle their own campaigns. If candidates don’t figure out their place in the new digital world of politics, they will be destroyed by it.”


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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.


Tweet this: D.C. tops ‘Twitter Towns’ list

Does that headline seem familiar? It might. It’s the headline I wrote for today’s story in USA TODAY. (I did not, however, edit the online story.) Didn’t read it? That’s OK. I’ll recap and link: Men’s Health, with the help of Rodale Inc., is reporting that Washington, D.C., is the top socially networked city in the country!

The exclamation point there is just a result of an extra cup of coffee on a rainy day — not actual surprise. It makes sense that the one U.S. city where reach and influence is everything that every person would be wired in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. (“My 140 crappy characters will change this world! I know it!” ~Insert name of unknown congressman here.)

El Paso appears to be the least wired-in city, with research suggesting that residents have a high rate of job satisfaction. The USA TODAY story quotes psychologist and MIT professor Sherry Turkle who says El Paso residents could simply be happier with their off-line lives.

From the story:

“When people are gratified and fulfilled in their face-to-face interactions, when these satisfy their desire for connection, for gossip, for feeling wanted and plugged in, they don’t need to feel technologically plugged in,” Turkle says.

It’s a shame this story couldn’t have been longer because Turkle touches on a question I wrestle with daily: Would I be so plugged in if I were happier and more connected in the physical world? I think that’s something everyone should ask themselves from time to time, especially as digital networks continue to expand and permeate our lives.

Would we be happier without Facebook? Twitter? Digg? Reddit? Etc.?


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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.