Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DMAI e-News: Holy Cr@p! Co-op Marketing and the Social Media Revolution

Here is the text of an article written by Compass Media's Scott Crider. Scott, our Vice President of Interactive Media, wrote this article for yesterday's Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) e-Newsletter (published 9/26/11).

Scott will also be speaking on this topic at DMAI's DestinationManagement & Marketing Institute in Tunica, MS on Nov. 7-9. 

We hope to see you there!

Holy Cr@p! Co-op Marketing and the Social Media Revolution

Social Media is the hot topic, but has it really opened up quantifiable new opportunities for destination marketers? The short answer to this question is “yes.” The longer answer is, well, longer.

First, some perspective.

Facebook is nothing less than a stunning force in marketing. Founded just 7 years ago in a college dorm room, the site now boasts over 750 million active users worldwide (Source: Wikipedia). In the U.S., the site is projected to boast over 150 million users next year (that’s almost half of all Americans!).

And it’s not all kids.

Are you ready for this jaw-dropper? That means 93% of adult U.S. Internet users are on Facebook (Source: Hubspot).

Not only that, but U.S. consumers aren’t just dabbling around Facebook occasionally. They’re devouring it daily. A study last year showed that half of all Facebook users admitted they check it every day, often multiple times. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average user spends more than 11 hours per month on the site.

That makes Facebook the biggest “time sink” on the Internet. 

According to eMarketer, Facebook continues to entrench itself into consumer’s daily lives through diversification. No longer is the site primarily for keeping up with who is in a relationship with whom. What started as a “play” social network, eMarketer says, “has evolved into an all-purpose destination that is beginning to replace e-mail, instant messaging, video-sharing, gaming, and other activities that were otherwise scattered across unconnected venues.”

Considering these stats, it’s no wonder that around 80% of all businesses have by now created a Facebook page. In fact, a brand new Duke University survey of 249 U.S. Chief Marketing Officers indicated that, on average, they plan to dramatically increase use of social media over the next five years.

At the same time, though, marketing executives remain confused by social media. Many now have performance indicators built around social media metrics (such as growing Facebook “Likes”) but have little idea how to do so in a way that is strategically sound and deliver a discernable return on the investment.

The Duke University survey seems to agree, saying marketers “admitted they have a ways to go toward integrating social media in their strategy.” On a scale of 1-7, with one being “not integrated at all” almost one-quarter of marketing executives selected “one” to describe how well their company's social media is integrated with the firm's overall strategy.

Back to the original question: Has social media really opened up quantifiable new opportunities for destination marketers? You bet it has. And if you get creative, the opportunities can be enormous.

Let’s talk about an emerging trend in co-op marketing.

Virtually all media companies - television stations, radio stations, newspaper and magazine publishers - now have Facebook pages. They are challenged to continually grow “Likes” and provide innovative, fresh content that engages their audiences. Furthermore, they struggle to integrate their Facebook pages with their main programming and content. 

DMOs can help media companies solve their “Facebook problem,” as one TV executive I know refers to it, and receive tens-of-thousands of dollars worth of free advertising and hundreds – even thousands – of new, targeted, drive market leads in exchange.

How?

Media companies have hundreds of thousands of viewers, listeners, and readers (even millions, depending on the market). DMO’s have destinations that offer consumers attractive travel opportunities. By using Facebook to tie the two together, amazing results can be achieved.

I know of one case study about a DMO/TV Station/Facebook co-op marketing partnership in which the TV station experienced:

-40% increase in Facebook fans
-325% increase in consumer engagement (comments and shares)
-50% increase in monthly active users

While the DMO received:

-506 TV spots
-30 live on-air promotions (news and morning shows)
-25,000 Web impressions
-Over 800 highly targeted leads
-1,200% ROI (total advertising & lead value)

It’s a true win-win situation. And this occurred in a small market in which the TV station’s Facebook page had less than 3,000 “Likes” to begin with. In a large market, where TV stations frequently have 50,000 or more “Likers” to begin with, and much more expensive advertising rates, a DMO could receive many, many thousands of high quality leads and many, many thousands of dollars worth of advertising for a very low investment. 

In a word: ROI. I’m talking ridiculous, over-the-top, downright gaudy ROI.

The key element in this co-op marketing opportunity is a Facebook app designed to process sweepstakes entries. There are several companies around the U.S. that create and license Facebook apps, and some [like Compass Media *] even provide campaign management and technical support.

Using an app, and some creativity and ingenuity, your DMO can be an early beneficiary of this emerging trend. Put together a win-win co-op promotion with a media partner in a key market, and you’ll gain your destination a huge amount of exposure, tons of high-quality leads, and – best of all - a remarkable return on investment.

*Note: This link did not appear in the DMAI e-News edition of this article.

Scott Crider is Vice President, Interactive Media – Compass Media, Inc. in Gulf Shores, AL, and can be reached at scrider@compassmedia.com or +1.251.967.7548

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Get Facebook Timeline NOW

Here at Compass Media, we keep up with the latest trends, and we like to share them with you. Mashable has a great tutorial telling you how you can get the new Facebook "Timeline" feature now. Check it out HERE.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

24th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup Sept. 17


“Get the Trash Out of the Splash” on Sept. 17!

Think about it—all spring and summer long, the Gulf Coast and all her wonders have been giving and giving…seafood, sunshine, good times and memories…Don’t you think it’s time to give a little back?

The 24th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 17 is your opportunity! This Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources tradition on the third Saturday of September helps make sure we stay “Alabama the Beautiful.”
In the past 23 years, 61,513 clean-up volunteers have removed 1,169,844 pounds of trash from 3,917 miles of coast.

With cooler weather, it’s the perfect time to bring family, friends, work and other groups together to “pay it forward”! Summer 2011 has been a record-breaking tourism season, but the flip-side is some have left more on the beaches than just footprints.

So here’s the starting point to get involved: www.alcoastalcleanup.org

Friday, September 2, 2011

Intercept Marketing With Google's Daily Deals

Facebook recently scaled back its efforts in the daily deals phenomenon that Groupon has been so successful with. But Google seems to be pushing ahead full speed. It’s thought that the biggest problem Facebook faced was that it takes a considerable local sales effort to generate the necessary deals “inventory” to make the model work for consumers.

Can Google make it work? They recently bought deals and coupons aggregator “The Dealmap” and started promoting Google Offers on their homepage. This first test, in New York, is said to be leading to more deal roll-outs in more cities soon.

If they’re successful, Google will tap into a lucrative market. Opus Research estimates that the “deals” market generated at least $3 billion this year in the U.S.

At Compass Media, we're watching this closely because it could become a very important local marketing channel in the near future – ideal for intercept marketing for the travel and tourism-related services industry.