Trade me jumps on the e-commerce bandwagon

In this installment of Michael Carney’s Marketing Week:

  • Trade Me gets with the daily deals programme
  • iAds steam ahead in the US
  • The BBC begins what might be a new paradigm for paid content online
  • Social media reaches the tipping point
  • RIP, Independent
  • What will this year’s most popular sales and lead generation strategies be?
  • Get your names in the hat for the third Social Media Marketing eCourse. And there’s even a new option available for the ‘time-poor’.

Trade Me adds Daily Deals

The only question we want to ask is “what took them so long?” Last week Trade Me announced that they’re soon going to launch daily deals on their homepage. Daily deals, popularised in this country by 1-day.co.nz and its competitors, are discounted products offered for a fixed price, but only for a 24 hour period (after which new deals pop up). They’re the hottest thing in e-commerce today, mostly because they tap into these basic shopping urges:

  • Limited Edition (only a small range of products available)
  • Really sharp discount (although in reality this isn’t always the case)
  • Gotta buy now (only available for 24 hours – or while stocks last)
  • For those in the know (you’ll only find out what’s on offer if you’re on the mailing list or visit the site on the day)

All in all, a potent cocktail. Volumes can be huge for really popular items at real bargain prices. So now Trade Me is getting in on the bandwagon, tapping into those trillions of eyeballs that scan the Trade Me homepage every day.

The official Trade Me announcement notes that this is a new section that won’t affect other categories. They’re looking for suppliers who wish to market their products to over 2.5 million registered members. It’s open to everyone, but there are some conditions:

  • Your product must have mass appeal and be offered at a substantially discounted price
  • You must have an excellent feedback record on Trade Me
  • They’re looking for large volumes of new products, so minimum stock levels may apply
  • Like auctions on Trade Me, costs will be commission-based plus credit card processing

If you have surplus stock to clear and want to do so quickly, send an email to [email protected]

iSpend on iAds

Apple has taken more than US$60m in bookings for its new iAd mobile advertising network, weeks before its scheduled launch on 1 July.

The service, which will offer advertising inside mobile apps, initially on the iPhone and iPod Touch, is trading on its promise of combining the emotion of TV advertising with the interactivity of internet advertising. Apple claims the deals it has already secured represent almost half of the total forecasted mobile ad spend in the US for the second half of 2010.

Apple has attracted brands including Unilever – which said that it would be running a campaign for Dove for Men – AT&T, Best Buy, Campbell Soup, Chanel, Citi, Nissan, Walt Disney and Turner Broadcasting. The new mobile advertising platform is designed to allow app developers to create in-app advertising. Currently anyone who clicks on an advert in a downloadable app is bounced out of it and on to the advertiser’s webpage. In accordance with its usual iPhilosophy, Apple will sell and serve the ads, and developers will receive 60 percent of their iAd revenue.

No word yet on any iAds in our neck of the woods, but someone, somewhere down here, will surely be planning their next AXIS-winning entry.

And, in other Apple news, Farmville, the scourge of Facebook, is coming to the iPhone & iPad. Farmville is a runaway phenomenon on Facebook, chalking up more than twenty million visits every day as users flock there to harvest crops and feed animals. Now a large chunk of that misplaced attention threatens to migrate to the iSuite. Be afraid.

Paid Content: New Paradigm Under Construction?

Latest development on the paid content front, as news sites around the world consider locking away their content behind paywalls: BBC News (the website) is planning to flag links that go to paid content.

Here’s the official word from BBC News web editor Steve Herman:

“As the [UK] Times moves into online subscription and others consider the options … there is likely to be a changing landscape with some sites and stories behind paywalls, some not, and some which are in between – a certain number of visits or part of an article free, all depending on the user’s individual circumstances. Some said they’d like us also to flag links which require subscription if you follow them. That is broadly the direction we are going in. We will, where practical, aim to tell you if the link is going to a subscription site. Our automated Newstracker module, for example, should be able to do this and already signals when registration is required.”

What’s of particular interest is that the Beeb is actually planning to link to paid content with a caveat, rather than simply ignoring stories that aren’t freely available.

In the past, the few paid content providers that have existed out there (in particular, the Wall Street Journal) have often been excluded from news aggregators and search engines such as Google because their content hasn’t been readily accessible.

If this new BBC News policy becomes a new standard for online linking, the whole dynamic of paid content will become much more viable: instead of losing public visibility by switching to paid content, news sites will remain linkable (and thus able to benefit from passing mention in other articles) as well as searchable. What, we wonder, will Google do?

Social Media Reaches The Tipping Point

Social-media use in the U.S. has reached a tipping point, according to eMarketer estimates, as more than half of US web users log onto a social network at least once a month.

Where the US goes, can New Zealand be far behind? Actually, no, not very far at all. The World Internet Project’s New Zealand results indicated that by August/September last year 48 percent of our fair citizens were already social network users. Nine months on, we can expect to have passed the magic halfway mark ourselves.

So at least half of us can now be found hanging out on social networks. Should marketers be there too? Absolutely, notes eMarketer, channeling the results of a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm. According to their data, 33 percent of US Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.

And plenty more social network users are talking about brands online. Whether it’s good news or bad news, if it’s hot it spreads in milliseconds across the social networks. An unfortunate example? On September 26, 2009 Kraft launched the glorious new Vegemite iSnack 2.0 in the quarter-time adbreak of the AFL Grand Final. Before the adbreak was even over, tweets of death were resounding across Australia and thence across the world:

NO! Vegemite cream cheese product CANNOT POSSIBLY be called “Vegemite iSnack 2.0″. Bad joke or most epic FAIL in FMCG branding history” – tweeted by downesy I said “do you speaka my language?” She just smiled and gave me an iSnack 2.0 sandwich. #vegefail – tweeted by jmappellekim. On the rather more positive side, a recent Nielsen/Facebook joint study showed significant uplift in advertising recall, Awareness and Purchase Intent amongst those brands “liked” in Social Media.

Nervous yet? Worried about your brand? Or just eager to take advantage of the added value if fans ‘love you’ socially? It’s time to upskill yourself on social media – it’s too late to be an early adopter, but now would be a good time to start getting yourself socially adept.

If you’re time-impoverished, sign up for our 21-Step Social Media Programme. Otherwise, check out our full seven-week ecourse, now in its third series release of 2010.

Farewell to The Independent

Fairfax Media has just announced a significant change to its business journalism portfolio. Sadly, its business newspaper The Independent will close next month.

However the impact will be lessened by the transfer of eight of the paper’s Auckland journalists to Fairfax’s Businessday operation, which provides business news to Fairfax’s metro newspapers the Dominion Post, the Press and the Waikato Times (as well as to Stuff and its own Businessday.co.nz website).

Despite the best efforts of its founders Jenni McManus and the late Warren Berryman, The Independent never achieved the critical mass of readers and advertisers necessary to survive and thrive; yet its unique brand of investigative journalism gave the publication impact well beyond what the raw numbers might suggest.

By all accounts, The Independent was never self-sustaining; it was fortunate to have been bankrolled for most of its existence by Cavalier Carpet founder Tony Timpson (awarded a gong in last weekend’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to New Zealand business), who believed in what Warren and Jenni were doing with the publication. His ongoing patronage was essential to the continuing existence of The Independent, especially when its contentious editorial content ruffled establishment feathers.

Fairfax Media (owner since 2006) was never going to be that sort of media proprietor, a ‘Citizen Kane’ publisher tolerant of quixotic editorial crusades and never mind the revenues. And yet The Independent could reasonably have hoped to become this country’s equivalent of the Australian Financial Review, the paper of record for business transactions (even despite the inconvenient existence of the National Business Review).

It might have worked, Fairfax certainly had the resources, and the connections. Alas, that pesky recession and global financial crisis killed a lot of dreams — and, at least in our view, meant that it became economically unfeasible to devote more time and resource to the publication.

RIP, Independent. You will be missed.

Prospecting & Lead Generation: Survey Results

Chief Marketer recently released results from its first survey on prospecting and lead generation, conducted at the end of 2009, which asked 1,000 US marketers about their strategies and tactics for turning up sales prospects this year.

As is often the case (though not always wisely), almost half of the respondents (48.6 percent) said their main customer aim in 2010 will be to generate new leads, although one quarter of the response said they will concentrate on retaining the ones they’ve got.

Two-thirds of respondents suggested that they concentrate more on customers’ lifetime value rather than attempting to make a profit out of them from the first transaction; this good intention was unfortunately philosophical rather than actual: more than half those interviewed don’t track customers’ lifetime value by channel, making it somewhat difficult to hold the focus on their avowed longterm goals.

Discounts were the big lure in economy-ravaged 2009, with 92.2 percent of marketers favouring this as the most used prospecting offer. Amongst the drawcards planned for business-getting in 2010:

  • 94.9% Information Content (eg White Papers, Webinars)
  • 93.7% Extra Services
  • 93.0% Free Shipping
  • 92.9% Entertainment Content (eg ringtones)
  • 91.5% Contests or sweepstakes
  • 89.0% Discounts
  • 88.1% Gift With Purchase

Whether marketers can actually hold themselves back from price-cutting in 2010 remains to be seen. Asked specifically if higher-value incentives will be required in 2010 to bring in fresh prospects, almost half the survey said no, but nearly a third hedged their bets and said the answer is still uncertain. Taken with the “yes” vote, that’s a large proportion of marketers who believe that finding new customers may get even more costly this year.

When it comes to what they’ll do more of in 2010 to uncover leads, survey respondents are undoubtedly thinking social and online. More than half expressed interest in deploying web strategies to draw prospects, and almost three out of five said they intend to pursue social marketing.

Overall, respondents are pretty equally interested in using social connectivity to define their brand image (51.7 percent) and in creating customer relations that may lead to sales conversions at a later date (50.3 percent). Only about a third said they use social media as a tactic to drive traffic to their web site, and only 13.5 percent said they market products directly in social media, whether through e-commerce or clickthrough ads or apps.

Those relative proportions hold for all revenue segments. But it’s interesting to note that a higher proportion of small companies (54 percent) are using social media in the hope of turning friends or followers into future shoppers.

If you’d like a copy of the Prospecting Survey results, you know who to call.

Course SM-3: Social Media

Thankfully, with all this talk of social media, the third Social Media Marketing eCourse is soon to get underway to help smooth the journey. Close to a hundred marketers are currently on or have completed the seven-week ecourse and the feedback has been gratifying. Check out the course structure, what you’ll be learning, how much it will cost you and sign up details here.

Of course, not everyone can spare the time for a full-scale course, even when they can complete it in their own time and at their own pace (as is the case with our ecourse). We’ve had a number of enquiries from marketers who just can’t spare the time right now. For them, and for the many others amongst us who are time-challenged, we’ve put together a 21-step Social Media Programme which we’re releasing in about a week. And in one of those oh-so-clever marketing coincidences, we’ll be launching on 21 June.

The 21 Steps Social Media Programme covers:

  • Signing Up and Looking Around the Social Media networks
  • Picking Your Team and Assigning Responsibilities
  • Defining Your Initial Social Media Numbers
  • Defining Your Target Audience
  • Choosing Your Target Audience Hangouts
  • Identifying the key Social Media Influencers
  • The Art of Listening
  • Reviewing Your Competitors’ Social Media activities
  • Setting Your Social Media Objectives
  • Selecting Your Social Media Strategies
  • Choosing Your Social Media Personality Type
  • Planning Your Tactics
  • Deciding on Your Social Media Schedule
  • Building Your Content
  • Optimising that content for Social Sharing
  • Start: Just Do It
  • How to Get Traffic
  • Measure Everything (at first)
  • Adjust as Required
  • Benchmark against your planned numbers
  • Review and Renew

Those on the programme will receive a daily email for 21 working days, giving out manageable bite-sized chunks of information to guide you on your social media journey. The 21 Steps Social Media Programme is available for $147 plus GST – and, as we tend to do, we’re offering an Early Bird special of just $97 plus GST for those who sign up and pay by 5pm, 14 June.

Credit card payment is via PayPal, through here. If you need an invoice first, or want to pay by direct bank deposit, just drop us an email.

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