About Eiler Communications &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Social Media 10 Feb 2011 04:20 pm

Small Businesses Have The Advantage With Social Media

When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, small businesses – the 10,500 members of SBAM — actually have an advantage over large corporations when communicating with their customers.

A former editor of Computerworld and a highly knowledgeable social media specialist (author of Secrets of Social Media Marketing and The New Influencers,”Paul Gillin blogged for ShopTab “Social Media: The Small Business Owner’s Unfair Advantage”), he cited five reasons why small businesses should engage in social media.

1. The cheap and often free cost of social media and their ease of use. “To get started, all you need is your computer and an Internet connection. If you’re passionate about your work, it costs nothing to start telling people about what you do,” Gillin said. Anyone can own and operate a Facebook or Twitter account. However, big corporations shy away from using social media for legal reasons, even though it is currently more valuable than traditional media sources.

2. Search engines are the “great equalizer” for companies. “Google doesn’t care if you’re The New York Times or Joe’s Hardware Store as long as you have the best content…A small business with great content on its website can compete with a company many times its size.” Gillin also said blogs that are routinely updated and attract links appear often in Google search engines.

3. Small businesses are personal. “Big corporations don’t have personality; they have brand,” whereas people who work for a small company are the brand, and customers know them personally. This is a huge advantage because “customers relate better to people than they do brands,” Gillin said.

4. They’re the fastest way to expand your geographic reach. After creating your blog, install a free analysis tool like Google Analytics to see where your visitors come from. Gillin said the majority of visitors will come from outside your geographic area because “the Internet is global and hyperlinks know no geographic bounds. What a great way to expand your market.”

5. They’re fun. “Social media is a great way to expand your network of relationships, and relationships lead to business,” Gillin said. “In addition to hearing that your business and expertise are important to others out there, engaging in conversations “will broaden your perspective, give you new ideas and make new friends.”

-Dana Prainito

Uncategorized 26 Jan 2011 11:48 am

Super Bowl Takles Social Media

30-second ad slots in the Super Bowl are highly coveted each year, and sell for millions of dollars. However, advertisers are not adding social media campaigns to accompany their ad slots during the 2011 game to create even more buzz around their product, and for free.

Audi and Mercedes-Benz are leading the Super Bowl social media campaigns. Both companies are relying heavily on everyday people to spread the word about the luxury car retailers in exchange for a variety of luxury prizes.

Audi has already spent $6 million for a 60-second advertisement slot during the game, but will also reap the benefits of free social media marketing. Audi is awarding trips and other prizes to the top-ten social-media users who advertise the company using Facebook and Twitter. Winner are based on creativity and amount of posts, and will be announced by game day.

Mercedes-Benz is following a similar format by launching the “World’s First Twitter-Fueled Race.” Two-person team will compete up until game day to accumulate the most Facebook “likes,” and Twitter “tweets.” The top team will win two brand new Mercedes-Benz cars.

In the age of social media, 30-second ad slots are no longer enough to stand up to the competition. Companies that will profit the most are those that utilize free and viral social media campaigns to their benefit; after all, social media has proven that everyday people are just as creative as the most prestigious advertising companies.

Dana Prainito

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Code of behavior 15 Nov 2010 06:06 pm

What Not to Do On Facebook

The growing success of Facebook has been accompanied by waves of concern over privacy rights and sharing too much on individuals’ pages. Numerous news reports have come out in an attempt to teach people what type of information is smart to post and what is not on their personal page, all to avoid a range of problems such as being fired from a job, getting hacked, and even legal problems. The Huffington Post recently came out with a similar list of “13 Things You Shouldn’t Tell Your Facebook Friends,” which included helpful privacy tips that I had never before heard of, obvious tips, and some that were a bit absurd, bordering on paranoia of the internet. Here are a few from the article:

1. Do not post your full birth date and place of birth. Sounds like simple information, but thieves can actually find your social security number simply from entering your name, birth date, and place of birth. I had no previous knowledge of this threat, and even though I feel comfortable assuming none of my college or old high school friends would want to steal my identity, I did check to make sure that my place of place of birth was not listed. The article suggests posting a fake birth date a few days off of your own to still receive birthday messages. But in all fairness, who wants to receive well-wishes two days prior or post to your actual special day? Not me.
2. Do not use your mother’s maiden name as a security answer. The article suggests not using the question “What is your mother’s maiden name?” because it is the same security question many other sites use, such as bank and credit card accounts. I knew when reading this that my mother’s maiden name is a security answer to my bank account, and sure enough it was also a Facebook security question. I changed the Facebook question immediately. As a college student, I can’t run the risk of anyone gaining access to my small, but precious bank account.
3. Do not post your phone number. This tip may seem obvious to most people, but what many don’t realize is that posting a cell phone number on a group or event page can be just as dangerous as posting it on a personal page. Facebook groups created to collect people’s cell phone numbers after losing or getting a new phone are very common, and very often are set to “Public.” In Facebook terms, this means that everyone on Facebook, and even those not on Facebook, have access to view the page, and therefore your cell phone number. So, if a friend has recently lost his or phone and requests your number, send a private message so your number will remain private from the entire Internet.

As you can gather from this short list, personal security and privacy are nothing to mess with when dealing with social networks and the Internet. Threats range from minimal to very huge with a lot of repercussions. Yet tools like Facebook should be fun; a way to stay connected and in-touch with friends. As individuals using the Internet, we have to recognize the balance between sharing too much information and using it as the social tool it has become. But most importantly, we have a responsibility to self-monitor and censor what we post in order to protect ourselves in such a viral world. After all, what is broadcast out into the Internet remains somewhere in cyberspace forever.

Dana Prainito

About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Biotech 04 Nov 2010 10:50 am

Infuriating!

Breast Cancer Action
You told Eli Lilly loud and clear that they need to stop Milking Cancer, so we went to deliver your message via a billboard in their hometown. Here’s the lesson we learned: A pharma company can increase our risk of breast cancer, but a breast cancer advocacy group cannot get billboard space to let the public know about this public health risk. Because we don’t have the money? Nope. Because the billboard companies in Indianapolis won’t carry this message. Barbara A. Brenner says: “When corporate influence runs this deep, the public should be outraged. We certainly are.”
See press release

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Healthcare 18 Oct 2010 04:22 pm

“Think Before You Pink”

When I was diagnosed 21 years ago with breast cancer the activist within me was ignited. I was shocked that my world was not more aware of this insidious disease that in 1989 1 in 9 was the rate of this disease.

I worked tirelessly with all types of organizations, several in the San Francisco Bay Area as that seemed to be the place where the most noise about the disease was being made. Pat Anstett of the Detroit Free Press introduced me to Elenor Pred, founder of Breast Cancer Action, one of the first activist groups in the country.

My plastic surgeon and I developed hangtags that described how to do breast self-exam (BSE). We contacted bra manufacturers and were told by all that they did not want to alarm women that they might get breast cancer.

Then came the Pink Ribbon and then Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Astra Zeneca the manufacturer of Tamoxifen an estrogen-blocking drug that is routinely prescribed for women post-treatment started Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Astra Zeneca is also the largest producer of PCB’s and Agent Orange.

It is now October and I am surrounded by a sea of pink. There are pink shoes for the football teams, pink pens, purses and even pink rubber duckies. It goes on and on.

I’m certainly happy that the awareness has increased but I question the motives of the “cause marketing.” There should be more transparency and more accountability by the companies that are running their campaigns for breast cancer. Where is the money going? Are they gaining more profits by the sympathetic well-meaning public’s purchase of their products? Consumers need to be encouraged to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions

Some interesting postings on Wikipedia:
Business marketing campaigns, particularly sales promotions for products that increase pollution, have been condemned as pinkwashing (a portmanteau of pink ribbon and whitewash). Such promotions generally result in a token donation to a breast cancer-related charity, while exploiting the consumers’ fear of cancer and grief for people who have died to drive sales.
San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action has renamed the annual awareness campaign “Breast Cancer Industry Month” to emphasize the costs of treatment. Their “Think Before You Pink” campaign urges people to “do something besides shop.” After explaining that some “pink” sponsors are polluting industrial giants or spend more money on breast cancer-themed advertisements than they actually donate towards research or treatment, BCA asks consumers to reflect thoughtfully on questions like, “How much money was spent marketing the product?” or “What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?” This group has particularly excoriated major cosmetic companies such as Avon, Revlon, and Estée Lauder, which have claimed to promote women’s health while simultaneously using known and/or suspected cancer-causing chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates in their products.
I just want to urge people to be cautious and to be looking at and supporting the prevention of this disease whose rates are now 1 in 8.

Public Relations Tools 06 Oct 2010 02:37 pm

Guidelines for Great Networking

Nowadays, everyone is familiar with the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. In today’s business world, networking has become the key to success whether your goal is finding a new job or obtaining new business prospects. But networking isn’t just about knowing someone. To truly be able to utilize a contact you must learn to build a relationship with that person. Here are some networking-building guidelines to keep in mind:

•Start thinking about networking long before you begin your job search. When you meet someone new, try to find out where they work, how they got their job and where possible opportunities might be within the company.

•Networking is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Develop a strategy and set goals for yourself. Decide how many contacts you want to make and target people in fields that interest you. A great way to meet potential employers is through after-work events such as chamber of commerce programs, local business functions, fundraisers, volunteer events, conferences and trade shows. Try to research as much information as possible on the event attendees and bring business cards.

•Once you make a connection, plan out when you’ll contact the person and what the method of contact will be (a telephone conversation, e-mail, lunch, etc.). Follow-up and be consistent. If you have lunch with someone, shoot them a quick e-mail afterward thanking them.

•Don’t underestimate the power of online networking. Meeting contacts online can be very beneficial if you make sure to keep in touch with them. Posting pertinent information or suggesting content and ideas can help get you noticed.

•There’s no telling where a new connection could lead. Networking provides you with the benefit of building a contact base with a variety of perspectives, ideas and advice. Even if your new contact doesn’t lead you to a job opportunity, you may be able to use your connection to gather more insight or information for a project or gain access to useful resources. From a business standpoint, networking can provide you with new sales leads, potential partnerships, opportunities for market expansion and a direct connection with your consumers.

Networking is a skill that takes time and commitment. It’s a way to develop and market your very own personal brand. Remember, as you are building your own network, other people are forming their own connections. By simply adding one person to your network you can become connected hundreds of others. Once you begin networking and building your reputation, you may find that you have become the person that people want to connect with.

Ashley Smith

Uncategorized 29 Sep 2010 02:00 pm

Why the Rest of the Country is Looking at Michigan’s Economic Gardening as a Model for Growth

Earlier this year, 13 Small Business Development Center representatives from 6 states – Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, Louisiana, Delaware, and California – came to Michigan to learn about its Small Business and Technology Development Center’s (MI-SBTDC) technology commercialization initiative. The MI-SBTDC presented its history, tools and processes for assisting technology companies, and its approach to partnering with the state’s economic development and entrepreneurial support organizations. The visitors met with several MI-SBTDC clients and economic development partners in the Southeast Michigan area. Each of the 13 visitors left with a similar impression, summarized well by Clinton Tymes, Director of the Delaware SBTDC – “You are very fortunate to not only have such a strong, innovative and effective program in your SBTDC, but the overall infrastructure Michigan has to support entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the excellent collaboration that exists among these resources is simply extraordinary.”

Michigan does not always receive national headlines about positive impact, but economic developers around the country are learning that Michigan, the state that the recession hit first and hardest, is also the first state with some of the most creative and impactful economic development efforts launched over the previous ten years.

Depending on who you ask, you are likely to get a different definition of “economic gardening” – but most agree that a gardening approach to economic development focuses on supporting and building a fertile environment for a state’s own small businesses with high growth potential as opposed to “hunting” for large companies or “smokestack chasing.” The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is often portrayed as a “hunter,” and this may be due to the sizeable press attention given to each successful large company attraction compared to the many, MANY small business successes that each create a handful of jobs but add up to a significant sum (and often strengthen attraction efforts – think T/J Technologies and A123.) But through its Smart Zone program and the many 21st Century Jobs Fund (21st CJF) programs, the MEDC has demonstrated some of the best economic gardening in the country, and it’s making a difference!

Launched in 2000 by the MEDC, the 15 Smart Zones are designed to cluster the activities and assets of universities, industry, research institutions and local communities to accelerate the commercialization of technologies and foster new ventures and job creation. The Smart Zone program facilitated tax capture from Local Development Finance Authorities, who along with state and county governments and the private sector, fund business incubators, business accelerators, networking and educational events, and financing programs. Each Smart Zone provides a different set of services depending on the region’s assets and initiatives. Emerging technology companies receive consulting from industry experts; microloans and pre-seed investments; discounts on specialized equipment or wet lab space; multiple day intensive business training; access to university student projects and internships; connections to potential customers, strategic partners, management, and investors; and many more services through Smart Zone business accelerators and incubators.

As one example of a Smart Zone business accelerator, over the past year Ann Arbor SPARK provided consulting projects to 64 high growth potential companies, enabling the creation and retention of 185 full time jobs and over $6 million in capital raised. SPARK’s business accelerator also trained 28 companies through 2 sessions of its 2 day intensive “Entrepreneurs Boot Camp” and held multiple networking and educational events for hundreds of entrepreneurs each week.

An excellent example of a Smart Zone business incubator is the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center (SMIC) in Kalamazoo. Playing a central role in Kalamazoo’s vibrant life sciences economy, 25 companies have been launched in and have graduated from or currently reside at the SMIC. The collaborative strength of the SMIC companies brings international attention and dollars to the region. The SMIC was recognized with the Innovation Award in 2006 by the National Business Incubator Association.

Smart Zones actively engage Michigan’s universities and facilitate collaboration with the private sector to ensure commercial utilization of university assets, contributing to Michigan’s economic development. For example, Michigan State University Technologies (technology transfer office) and Business CONNECT (recently established to connect businesses with MSU faculty) are housed in the Lansing Regional Smart Zone’s East Lansing Technology Innovation Center. As MSU President LuAnn Simon said, this helps MSU “to interact with companies and investors in a cutting-edge business environment.”
Similar activities and impact take place in the 15 Smart Zones statewide.

These efforts have all been supported by the 21st CJF, the MEDC’s 10 year, $2 billion initiative launched in 2005 to create a fertile climate for entrepreneurship and begin the transformation and diversification of Michigan’s economy. However, the initiative has also:
-made direct investments in high growth technology companies;
-made indirect investments in additional high growth companies through venture capital firms, banks, and economic development programs; and
-built upon the existing business support infrastructure to help Michigan companies develop business plans, enter new markets, submit successful research proposals, raise capital, and conduct other critical activities involved in growing their businesses.

Technology focused economic development initiatives require a long-term focus by nature and are not intended to be a quick fix. Even so, five years into the 21st CJF initiative, the results are impressive and making an important contribution to Michigan’s recovery. The Foundation for the New Michigan Economy report recently released by the MEDC indicates that the 21st Century Jobs Fund has provided direct support to almost 1,500 companies, enabling them to create and retain 24,407 jobs. 21st CJF programs have been very successful in leveraging third party funds. Over $1.8 billion of third party funding has been leveraged; a rate of more than 4 third party dollars to each state dollar.

The 21st Century Jobs Fund plays an important role in building what just about any entrepreneur will tell you Michigan needs; a stronger financing environment with support available at different stages of a company’s development. The initiative addresses this by creating multiple programs, each with a different sweet spot.
-The Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund (managed by the MI-SBTDC) provides commercialization funding to companies at their earliest stage when they receive federal R&D grants. Thirty companies have been funded with the first $2.4 million of this program, leveraging $17.7 million in additional capital and creating and retaining 230 jobs.
-The Michigan PreSeed Capital Fund (managed by Ann Arbor SPARK in partnership with the Smart Zones) enables companies to achieve or accelerate early sales and/or meet milestones necessary to raise larger, institutional rounds of financing. Forty three companies were funded with the first $9 million deployed by this program, leveraging over $34 million and creating nearly 500 jobs.
-The 21st Century Investment Fund (as well as a few other similar state initiatives) strengthens Michigan’s venture capital environment and has helped grow Michigan’s venture investment community to 16 venture capital firms with $1.1 billion under management. The 21st Century Investment Fund invested in 11 venture capital firms, who in turn invested $33.9 million in 13 companies, leveraging almost $260 million third party capital, creating over 780 jobs.

Several support organizations received 21CJF support to provide technical assistance to growing technology based companies. The MI-SBTDC Tech Team is a national best practice that helped its clients in creating almost 500 direct jobs over the past 2 years. BBCEtc, one of the top Small Business Innovative Research (federal research grants and contracts for small businesses) training and consulting firms in the country, helped its clients bring $80 million in federal research funding to Michigan through its 21CJF contract.

The programs described above are all technology focused. States implement technology focused initiatives because they have high multiplier effects and help keep their economies both diverse and competitive. But there are also several Michigan “economic gardening” initiatives without a strict technology focus. The MI-SBTDC served 15,000 small businesses in 2009, the vast majority of which were not technology companies. The MEDC has partnered with the MI-SBTDC to launch the Manufacturing Assistance Team to assist auto suppliers with their financial management and access to capital, as well as the Growth Group that helps companies with 10 to 100 employees implement growth strategies. The MEDC partnered with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center to launch the Keep Michigan Working initiative. This initiative hired industry experts to assist over 300 Michigan manufactures in creating and implementing plans to diversify into industries with high growth potential.

And not all 21st Century Jobs Fund financing programs are focused only on technology companies. The Small Business Capital Access Program (SBCAP) was resurrected in 2006. This financing program works with banks to extend their ability to lend to Michigan small businesses that otherwise might be considered too risky. The first $2.9 million of state money invested supported the lending of over $80 million to 1,259 companies, resulting in the creation and retention of over 12,000 jobs. More than 20 other states have recognized the success and replicated the Michigan SBCAP. The Michigan Supplier Diversification Fund (MSDF) was created to help manufacturers obtain loans to support diversification initiatives by addressing collateral and cash flow short falls. The first $6.7 million of state money invested in the MSDF resulted in $47.2 million in loans to 7 companies creating and retaining 1,728 jobs. The US Congress has borrowed the MSDF model and included a $1.5 billion national version of the program in the recently passed Small Business Jobs and Credit Act.

And there is much more. Michigan Celebrates Small Business is a growing event that highlights 50 second stage growing businesses, through a partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation “Companies to Watch” initiative. Venture forums such as the New Enterprise Forum and the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium connect Michigan companies with investors. The Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest statewide business competition, in its 10th year of operation, connects companies with mentors, provides business plan critiques from investors, and awards cash prizes. The Kauffman Foundation FastTrac, a 10 week boot camp entrepreneurial training is available to help startups and growing companies with their business plans and company launch, statewide. The Centers of Energy Excellence (COEE) takes the best from both “gardening” and “hunting” models, playing a significant role in the energy storage cluster development that resulted in $5.8 billion investment and the creation of thousands of jobs, and generating early results in wind energy and advanced materials.

Obviously Michigan has a long way to go. We are still among the top states in undesirable economic indicators such as the unemployment rate and home foreclosures. And many entrepreneurs consider their situation dismal and feel they cannot get the support they need. But more and more often, one will also hear entrepreneurs say how amazed they are by the vast amount of resources available in the state. There is no doubt that Michigan’s economic development efforts are working. We just need them to work faster.

Due to the unfortunate reality of the state budget, the 21st Century Jobs Fund appropriations have declined each year since first launched in 2005. The Smart Zone tax capture is not materializing as hoped due to economic conditions. 2011 brings a new Governor and considerable turnover in the legislature. New leadership will bring new ideas, strategies, and tactics which are not only welcomed but necessary. However it’s important that our new representatives recognize that the MEDC is much more than a “hunter.” It has launched and supported world class programs that build our own entrepreneurial successes, create jobs, and diversify our economy so that job growth can occur exponentially, and so that we not as vulnerable to the business cycle and economic shifts. In order for this to happen, we need to continue to invest in these programs that are providing essential support to Michigan’s small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Phil Tepley, Technology Business Consultant, Grand Valley State University

About Eiler Communications &Social Media 03 Sep 2010 10:42 am

Where is Googling Going?

Where is Googling Going?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt had a lot of people’s wheels turning after his interview with the Wall Street Journal, suggesting young people will one day be entitled to their names upon adulthood to escape the uninhibited comments and unsavory photos of their younger years posted on social media sites.

As a young adult studying PR, watching what you post on social media sites was always stressed to me in my communications classes. Some friends of mine use fake names to escape being found on social sites like Facebook or Twitter. But the real question is how can you escape from an image?

Google already has the technology to recognize faces. According to David Petrou, staff engineer at Google Labs, it chooses not to do so out of concern for privacy issues. Since Google has the technology to connect your image to information about you, it’s only a matter of time before it is used on the average individual.

“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” said Schmidt. The real issue is going to be how comfortable our society will be with sacrificing privacy for instant information access. We live in a time where what is posted on the Web can be linked to our geographic location. Apps like Mologogo can be downloaded to your mobile phone allowing you to use GPS to track where your friends are in real time.

Currently, Google has three general areas of business – search, advertising and applications (apps). It is most known for its search capabilities and Google AdWords (a pay-per-click system which allows you to create and run ads for your business quickly and simply). Google also has numerous apps like Google Calendars, Google Docs, Google Analytics and Google Talk.

With technology’s ever-changing nature, Google is looking to find what’s in store for the future of search. However, search is said to be slowly fading into the background with all the social media platforms and mobile phone apps that take users where they need to go without using a search engine. In the interview, Schmidt expressed his to desire to be one step ahead of search by providing users with recommendation technology. “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next,” said Schmidt.

In order to do that, Google would have to collect enough information about you to not only know what you do for a living, but the daily habits of your personal life as well (in addition to tracking your location in real time of course). It’s tough to say how society will feel about mobile technology having the power to direct our behavior. On one hand, you could have your mobile device reminding you to pick up the milk you almost forgot; on the other hand, it could result in a bombardment of targeted ads as you turn every street corner.

Ashley Smith

Social Media 16 Aug 2010 11:51 am

Social Media- Big Tool for Crisis Communication?

It seems every day there is a new installation in social media- whether it be a technological advancement, a policy change, or a different way the platforms are being used. In recent years social media has been used frequently as a communication tool during crises. What if, eventually, social media completely takes over traditional news mediums in crisis communication?

In a survey done by American Red Cross, which asked over 1,000 American Adults aged 18 and older questions about crisis communication and social media, 18 percent reported they would use digital media (e-mail, Web sites or social media) to give information out in an emergency if 9-1-1 was busy.
People aren’t just using social media as a fallback during a crisis. They’re using social media to give and receive information about loved ones. In the Red Cross’ survey, nearly half of responders said they would use social media to let loved ones know they were safe.

This doesn’t surprise me, though. I did a research paper last semester about crisis communication and social media. My findings? Currently, people are using social media as a supplement to traditional news sources during crises. The usage of different news mediums during disasters has evolved over time. On the days following 9/11 in 2001, the Internet stopped working for a period of time because Web sites got so many hits. People turned to the television to get news.

During the Virginia Tech Crisis in 2007, students texted and emailed each other to find out if their peers were okay. In a forum online, students put together a list of names of those who were killed before authorities did. Social media allows people to gather information and collaborate quicker than if they weren’t using it.

During earthquakes around the world in the past five years, people have twittered about the effects of the shocks. There are Web sites devoted to these conversations. At the time of China’s 2008 Sichuan earthquake, people were twittering about the earthquake a good three minutes before the US Geological Survey reported it. Is social media simply the easiest way to get information about crises? On a personal level, it might be.

The American Red Cross survey found that 55 percent of responders would mention emergencies or events on their social media channels. The bottom line is that social media is simply one of the fastest way give out information. Of all of the social media channels, the survey reports that 75 percent of responders would use Facebook to post information in the event of an emergency. This is no surprise either.

Using social media during a crisis isn’t just a fast way to get facts, but it is also perceived as effective. Three out of four responders to the survey said they would expect help to arrive within an hour if they posted a request on a social media website. Granted, social media usage during crisis has negative aspects. The Internet can be used as a Petri dish for false information. For the most part, though, it can be a great way to communicate to with other people. As for whether it will overtake traditional news sources during disasters, stay tuned.

Rachel Krasnow

Marketing &Marketing Communications &Social Media &Uncategorized 16 Aug 2010 11:41 am

Millennial Marketing

The Millennial Generation, aged 18 to 29, is a group that has grown up with technology instilled into their everyday routines. They are Internet junkies, multi-taskers, and demand personalized technology. They want to genuinely connect with others online.

Millennials are significantly different from their parents in the Baby Boomer generation in numerous ways. At cause of these lifestyle and fundamental distinctions, marketers are struggling to accommodate to millennial needs. However, Brand Amplitude, LLC, a market research firm, has launched Millennial Marketing, an online concept that provides a series of tools to understand Millennials and research to explain where the future of marketing lies.

Millennial Marketing pinpoints the generation. They are more diverse than the baby boomer generation and have a variety of needs in technology and communication areas. Due to multitasking, Millennials are consuming more media than ever, and they are more dependent on technology. Ninety three percent of American teens ages 12 to 17 go online; a Pew Research Study found that while using the Internet, 40 percent of US Youth ages 18 to 24 watch TV, 34 percent text, and 29 percent talk on the phone.

More Millennials than baby boomers have enrolled in higher education. Approximately one third of male and 40 percent of female Millennials have had some college education, compared with 25 percent and 23 percent of Baby Boomers, respectively. Yet a college education puts students in debt largely due to student loans.

The average millennial debt is $21,500, and 32 percent of Millennials feel they are “barely making ends meet.” Furthermore, there’s pressure to do well financially, but the recession has made it difficult to so. In fact, the recession has played a role in the millennial spending. Almost half of Millennials say they have changed their shopping habits somewhat, and others are questioning the need for an expensive college education.

It’s pretty clear: Millennials have different values than the Baby Boomers. They have been shaped by the recession and demand a higher degree of engagement pertaining to technology. As a result, marketers need to tailor their marketing campaigns to their different mindsets.

Millennials are price and value conscious, and they hold the products they spend their money on to high standards. They are highly skeptical of advertisements having been exposed to them their entire lives, and they use a discerning eye when it comes to purchases. Doing a quick internet search before making a selection is second nature to Millennials.

Without a doubt, the most significant shaper of the Millennials has been the internet. Something that can be both a blessing and curse for marketers is that the Millennial generation is always connected. Not only do they utilize the internet for product or service information, but as a broad communication platform as well. When a baby boomer has a bad experience with a business, they casually complain about it the next time they see their friends. On the other hand, when a Millennials has a bad experience, they share it with 800 of their closest Facebook friends. So how can brand managers channel insight into Millennial’s different lifestyle and values into a successful marketing campaign?

BrandAmplitude, LLC offers advice on how to connect with Millennials and their unique mindsets. First of all, a brand must be authentic. Millennials see right through false claims. Also, a brand must position itself as a necessity in order to appeal to Millennials. Due to the recession, this generation believes that they are strapped for cash and will be far more likely to purchase things they deem to be valuable necessities.

BrandAmplitude, LLC also recommends using social responsibility to appeal to Millennials. On average, Millennials are more socially conscious than previous generations, and they have been prone to use the presence or absence of corporate social responsibility as a tiebreaker during purchase decisions among similar brands. Millenials care that no animals were harmed in the production of a product or that a percentage of a company’s sales are donated to charity.

A brand that the Millennials can connect with needs to be shareable via social media. Due to the fact that Millennials spend a large portion of time on these sites, a relevant brand to them has what BrandAmplitude, LLC calls ‘Social Currency’. This means that a brand is social media compatible and can be exchanged on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Lastly, BrandAmplitude, LLC recommends portraying a brand as an experience. Millennials are more apt to spend their money on doing interesting things instead of having interesting things. They perceive experiences as a form of personal investment.

Even though the Millennials have strikingly different values and lifestyles than baby boomers, it is not difficult for marketers to reach this target market due to their dependency on technology. Marketers simply have to take the time to understand the Millennials and ensure that they are delivering a message that they will respond to.

Rachel Krasnow & Emily Rozanski

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