Mobile Payments

People always have their cell phones on them. And as stated in my prior post on mobile advertising is a growing industry. Even businesses are incorporating the use of mobile devices in-store by accepting mobile payments. What?! People’s smart phones are now being used as credit cards. Through different apps, such as LevelUP, Google Wallet and Square, people no longer need to carry a physical credit card on them.

Benefits of mobile payments:

  • Lower costs
  • Increase transaction speed
  • Collect customer transaction data
  • Increase Revenues

According to Juniper Research, global mobile payment expenditures are currently at $240 billion dollars, and are projected to reach $670 billion by 2015!


Different mobile payment apps:

  • LevelUp
    • LevelUp uses QR codes to indirectly (to keep credit card information secure) store users payment information that can be scanned by merchants
    • Benefits: richer experience for customers, including a reward/mileage system. Also doesn’t charger the merchant a processing transaction fee and can run virility campaigns for companies
    • Drawbacks: not every merchant uses LevelUp
  • Google Wallet
    • Google Wallet stores credit card information in its application, and a customer needs to enter their pin and scan tap their Android phone against the terminal to make the transaction
    • Benefits: used in some big retailers such as Macy’s, Walgreens, CVS and Old Navy
    • Drawbacks: limited reach only compatible with newer Android phones that use Sprint as a carrier
  • Square
    • Square requires users to input their name, credit card number and a picture of themselves, used for identification purposes at the time of the transaction
    • Benefits: extra security for users, and can be used on almost any Android and Apple phone
    • Drawbacks: Not all merchants use Square


While the payment apps allow merchants to gain insight on their customers, there are a few issues with mobile payments:

  • Not all merchants use mobile payments
  • No one really needs them
  • Require merchants to purchase extra hardware necessary to process transactions


Size matters: Big Data

Significant data (big data) can be derived through customer analytics, giving organizations insight on their audience’s online traffic and behaviors. This information allows digital marketers to optimize their tactics and personalize their users’ experiences.

Marketers’ main goal is personalization – being able to provide customers products and offers that represent their needs. Forrester’s white paper Use Customer Analytics To Get Personal (for Customer Intelligence Professionals) lists the analytical techniques used in personalization and popular applications of web personalization:



Benefits to using customer personalization

  • Customers are acknowledged and served appropriately (through knowledge of past interactions)
  • The ability to offer relevant content and offers to enhance customers’ experiences and promote customer loyalty
  • Increased customer retention, and new customer acquisition
  • Increased returns from growing customer base

The New York Times article, How Companies Learn Your Secrets, is a story about how through the use of analytics, marketers discovered that “new parents are a retailer’s holy grail.” It is hard to change a person’s brand loyalties and buying habits, but new parents are overwhelmed and preferences can be easily swayed.

The article explains how “timing is everything. Because birth records are usually public, the moment a couple have a new baby, they are almost instantaneously barraged with offers and incentives and advertisements from all sorts of companies.” One of Target’s statisticians was able to predict when women were pregnant based off of their purchases. This was an advantage for Target because they could personalize offers towards women during their pregnancy, beating their competitions’ offers they were to receive after the birth of their child.

The Wall Street Jounral’s article, On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels, is another example of a company turning information into insight. Orbitz, an online travel agency found that “people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels.” Orbitz started personalizing offers towards Mac users, who would be shown “different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors.”

Even Obama’s 2012 campaign used big data, to come up with the probability of swaying votes one way or another. With this information they were able to personalize the campaign and capitalize on their digital marketing. Read more about it in Time’s article, Inside the Secret WOrld of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win and the Wall Street Journal’s article Crovitz: Obama’s ‘Big Data’ Victory.

i-use-big- data

SQL: Learn to Communicate with Databases

What is SQL? SQL, (sequel) or Structured Query Language according to Vault Analytics, “is the de facto standard coding language that is used to communicate with databases.” Or it can be thought of as another important coding language to know in the marketing industry. SQL communicates directly with databases, and through codes it can extract specific information. Running SQL queries are an easier, faster way to manage and filter through data than Excel.

How does SQL work? The article, Learn SQL The Hard Wayexplains how SQL understands the fields of tables, and can find data based on the contents of the fields. All SQL operations are based off of four general table commands:

  1. Create – inserting data into tables
  2. Read – query data in a table
  3. Update – change data in a table
  4. Delete – remove data from a table

Benefits of knowing how to leverage SQL:

  • Differentiate yourself when applying to jobs
  • Need to understand to execute projects
  • Speeds up process of finding information
  • Can better analyzing information and identify relationships within data
  • Fix your own problems with websites
  • Can create and execute your own marketing campaigns
  • Can communicate better with developers, designers and analysts

SQL 300

Living in a digital age, marketing now has large role online. And as a marketing student, learning technical skills that are applicable to the marketing field are important for me to know. Moz’s article Every Marketer Should be Technicalexpands on the importance of having technical skills. Moz suggests the following are important technical skills to know:

  • Databases & SQL
  • Web Technology
  • Web Development
  • Web Design & UX
  • Copywriting
  • Analytics
  • Forecasting/Statistics
  • Excel
  • Technical SEO
  • Content Platforms
  • Email Technology
  • E-Commerce Technology


AB Testing

“Why is Digital Marketing so fantastic? Because everything is trackable and since everything is trackable, everything is also testable. Basically, you never have an excuse to have a crappy landing page, or email campaign or banner ad because of A/B testing.”

– Mark Staton

So what is A/B Testing? According to Optimizely A/B Testing: is a simple way to test changes to your page against the current design and determine which ones produce positive results. It is a method to validate that any new design or change to an element on your webpage is improving your conversion rate before you make that change to your site code.” To perform an A/B test, Smashing Magazine’s Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing explains it as” [having] two versions of an element (A and B) and a metric that defines success. To determine which version is better, you subject both versions to experimentation simultaneously. In the end, you measure which version was more successful and select that version for real-world use.” The overall main point of AB testing is to gain insight with the goal of increasing conversion


The A/B Testing Process:

  • Decide your goal – what are you testing?
  • Select a tool for the job – you can set up A/B tests in two ways
    • Replace the element to be tested before the page loads
    • Redirect to another page
  • Set a conversion goal – using code (e.g. javascript) you can program what characterizes a successful test for a visitor, and track the success rates, like reaching a “Thank you” page after making a purchase.

Do’s and Don’s of A/B Testing


  • Make sure that you understand how long you should run your tests – If you end a test prematurely, your test will have been a waste of time and will have potentially lost very insightful and valuable information.
  • Be consistent on which visitors see what. Preventing bundlers (showing a user a different price or different promotional offer) can be done with your tool – using a mechanism or algorithm that keeps track of which visitors have been exposed to which variations.
  • Keep A/B test treatments consistent throughout your whole webpage. If testing the color of a sign-up button, make sure the color is changed not just on your landing page, but across all your pages.
  • Frequently perform A/B tests. The more tests you perform, the better your website will be!
  • Treatment Rampup: instead of splitting up your testing 50/50 between your users, gradually implement your treatment on your test market (e.g. 99.9%/0.1% to 99.5%/.05% to 97.5%/2.5% etc.) This avoids introducing potentially bad problems to a larger audience. 


  • Always test your variation and control at the same time – there can be extraneous factors that happen one week that don’t happen the next, which can affect results.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions – “Statistical confidence” tests determine the significance of test results, telling you if they are important or not.
  • Don’t take regular visitors off guard – test new visitors to avoid confusing your returning visitors.
  • Don’t let emotions overrule test results – sometimes the results aren’t what was expected, but remember that you are testing for improved conversion rates not aesthetics.

So why use A/B testing? A/B testing considers affects on traffic. It shows what works best with your customers with quantifiable data. This allows you to optimize and personalize your website, making it about your customers, making you more likely to succeed.


Paid, Owned, Earned and Shared Media

It is known that consumers nowadays are more aware of being targets for advertisements, and often ignore them. Although they are still popular, marketers have been finding ways around direct advertisements. Using inbound marketing, content marketing and social media marketing, businesses are able to engage customers with different methods that are less invasive, more interactive and still get their message across, and achieve the ultimate goal of building an audience. When people think of traditional media promotion, most people think of paid, owned and earned media. Well what are they exactly? Here is a table from Sean Corcoron explaining the different types of ‘traditional’ media: Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 12.01.29 AM

Owned media is the channel that has the most control, is versatile and allows for high customization. Paid media is paying a third party to reach their previously accumulated audience. Its primary goal is awareness, bringing traffic to your media. It is beneficial because it is immediate, and the message is controlled and reaches the market. Earned Media: allows communication between you and your customers, which not only builds relationships, but also provides feedback. It builds trust, and is free advertising. The negative is that it can get out of control, and doesn’t have a concept of scale.

The primary differences between the three are the content control, and how you’re getting your audience. Today, marketers do not think knowing the difference between the three will be as beneficial to the development of your digital strategies. Instead, according to an article by Steve Kerho, some believe that digital content development and management should be considered through the terms paid and shared media.

Shared Media: media that is shared between the marketer and the consumer, ultimately taking away the divide between earned and owned media. This brings up the idea of user-generated content (UGC) and how consumer should be able to contribute to the content that is created on different channels. Customers want to have a voice in media channels, and want to be able to contribute. A good example is Starbucks’ “My Starbucks” page on their website. My Starbucks is a platform for customers to submit their feedback and ideas for new products, services, and offerings. This allows customer engagement and interaction between the company and the consumers. Consumers now have higher expectations about how they should be able to interact with brands.

Paid media is ‘touchy’ form of marketing, because many look down upon the use of “cookies.” Cookies, are not the kind you eat, but according to Mark Staton, “pieces of code that track your online behavior.” This makes paid media a controversial form of marketing because some think it is invading people’s privacy. An article by Ad Age goes into detail how the European Union started regulating cookie usage, and explains how your every move online can be tracked. For example, Amazon uses cookies to track your past purchases and to recommend new products, Netflix uses cookies to recommend you new movies, and without cookies this wouldn’t be possible. Google would give you search results in wrong cities!

cookies patrick star

Now what happens if cookies become regulated everywhere? Ad Age‘s answer is through native advertising. Native advertising is advertising content that doesn’t look like advertising. This is beneficial for businesses because “users are more likely to respond positively to marketing tactics that don’t look like advertising – but instead take the form of the rest of the content on the website or platform.” This marketing tactic is engaging, builds an audience, and people aren’t necessarily aware they’re looking at an ad.

hide and seek cats

The down side of native advertising is that it is very time consuming to create rich content, and it takes time for it to produce results. Although sometimes difficult to produce engaging content, a good example of well executed native advertising is Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed has rich and captivating content, along with advertisements that most users are unaware of. In the following screenshot of a Buzzfeed page, you can see the article about PlayStation, and then the ad for Sony Entertainment circled, and also makes multiple appearances along the right side of the page:


It’s apparent that marketing has taken a digital turn. People see over 3,000 advertisements daily whether they are aware of it or not, and the Internet only increases this number. Social media has sponsored posts all over the pages, friends are frequently sharing content on various social networks.

Social Media: A Whole Bunch of Donuts

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, are all common social media platforms you might be familiar with. What is social media? According to Moz social media is “a way for people to communicate and interact online.” Here are social networks explained through donuts:

social media explained in donuts

There are three types of social channels:

  1. Owned – blogs, forums, homegrown social networks that are owned and fully under your control instead of having a page on a parent platform
  2. For Rent – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr – having a presence or a portion of a channel on a parent platform
  3. Occupied – no ownership of any kind – for example forums or communities sites that can be changed at any time

So why is social media important for businesses?

  • Customers are on social media – get closer to them and reach more people
  • Potential to build valuable networks – opportunities to make lasting and scalable relationships with customers
  • Promotes customer advocacy and loyalty through continuous and positive engagement
  • Abundant amounts of information can be derived from what customers share on social media – provides valuable customer feedback
  • Customers are actively looking for and sharing information, recommendations and entertainment
  • Helps build an image for your brand

Here are some infographics from Moz, that further show how involved people are on the internet, and how prominent social media is in people’s lives. Therefore proving why it is necessary for business to have an online presence to be successful.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the world's 3rd largest (after China and India) and 3.5x the size of the U.S. population. 75% of brand 'Likes' come from advertisements.  72% of online adults use social networking sites.92% of companies use social media for recruitment.9 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook each month.

Twitter is adding 300K users per day.
Customer advocacy is the best kind of marketing for a brand. According to Moz, “advocacy is the nirvana of social media.” Having continuous and positive engagement with customers builds relationships, earning customer advocacy. Advocacy isn’t something that can be bought, it has to be earned. This is important for a brand because it shows the company is doing things right, and doing things so good that people want to share and talk about it with others.
Whole organizations can benefit from the feedback that social media can offer. Here’s how:
  • Content Creation: there should be 3 types of content made for customers
    1. Learn & Improve – content that optimizes workflow, usually through education or assistance
    2. Explore & Discover – content that produces ideas and community – content that is creative and might offer new ways to use your product
    3. Question & Answer – content that meets customer support needs and provides solutions to users problems
    • Examples of content:
      • Adjacent content – relevant topics that your audience are interested in
      • Tips & Tricks – content that makes customers’ lives easier
      • Responses – share ideas from other people
      • Non-promotional company information – personalize and humanize your brand – if your company does volunteer work, etc.
      • Job openings – people actively search for jobs online, take advantage of it, social media is a perfect channel to do so
      • Jokes – humor based on your brand’s personality – this can be a tricky one because jokes may not be appropriate for what your brand embodies, and may come off as offensive. Use with caution!
  • Customer Service: often people complain on social media versus contacting you directly. By listening and engaging with customers, you can prevent those angry status updates or posts
  • Product Development: “If I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – Henry Ford
    • Create beta/tester communities – group of power users in a online community where they can talk, engage and network in conversations you facilitate, offering insight on your brand
    • Listen for competition – listen for product feedback, analyze attitudes and identify problems, and for what customers are saying about the competition
    • Measurement – get insight on products through analytics and traffic of social channels
  • Human Resources: social media can motivate employee engagement, assist in recruitment and support retention.

When deciding on how to frame your business case, consider these questions:

  • What are your objectives?
  • What problems are you solving?
  • What is rationale?
  • What resources will this effort require?
  • What type of investment is needed?
It is important to keep in mind your brand personality, what your brand stands for, your differentiating factors, value proposition and defining brand elements. Sometimes things go wrong and there has to be some crisis management. For example, US Airways accidentally tweeted an inappropriate picture in response to a customer. You can further read about that recent incident in this article from Forbes. When dealing with crisis management, Moz provides a short and sweet infographic of the the stages to be aware of:
social media crisis management
more friends facebook southpark gif
southpark finding new friends gif

Authority Rules: Content Marketing

6It’s not about what you sell, but about how you sell. With the access to abundant amounts of information, potential customers are proactive in the search process. More often than not, they already have framed companies and their competition. Consumers value information over advertisements. With content marketing, your company becomes the media – by using good content to inform people rather than to sell, enables people to get to know, like and trust your brand, ultimately reaching the main goal of building an audience. People want to learn before they buy; being the resource of knowledge gives you the opportunity to generate authority within your industry.

There are three main aspects of the content marketing process – content, social and search. All three are important and interconnected; social and search results derive from content.

  1. Content – Providing valuable information that speaks the language of your audience – needs to influence them to use your solution to solve their problem
  2. Social – Distributing content by word of mouth publicity helps improve ranking – provides natural links, gains quality and relevance signals
  3. Search – Making content available for Google to decipher and reach the “right people” – improves your ranking and increases traffic

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 6.54.20 AM


Authority Rules. Authority is defined as “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.” According to Brian Clark, from Scribe Content in The Business Case for Agile Content Marketing, “people want to do business with the foremost authority in the field because it makes them feel more satisfied with their choice.” Authority is educating prospects of your core competencies, letting them get to know, like and trust you. Being an authority, like inbound marketing, gets the prospects to come to you, engaging them with your content and solution to their need.

The potential customers’ intent makes the difference. People who are looking for something specific are more valuable than those people who are just browsing social media. Therefore, targeted search traffic is preferred over random social traffic. If someone is specifically searching a product or service, there is a purchase intent. By educating them, there is the opportunity to turn transitory traffic into loyal customers.

The internet is a platform for direct marketing, allowing businesses to directly communicate with and build their audiences. Clark states, “the job of any smart marketer is to enter a conversation that is already taking place, and channel existing desire for solutions and benefits onto a specific solution.” To do this effectively, marketers need to understand how their desired audience think, feel and view the world.  They need to be able to communicate to them in a way they understand, optimizing the level of trust they have in you. The following diagram shows the levels in Circle of Trust, with the obvious goal of obtaining repeat customers and clients (they are your advocates).

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 7.36.23 AM

Redbull is a perfect example of content marketing, becoming the media. The company has built their brand and become an authority figure around excitement, energy and extreme sports. You can find Redbull on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and they even have their own magazine. Not only is Redbull on every form of social media available, they also have accounts for different states or regions. Redbull even has college campus reps, that go around handing out Redbull, especially during finals week!

One thing that really reaches out to the audience is Redbull’s “Red Bulletin” Magazine, that focuses on sports, people, art and culture. They turned it into an the iPad app, allowing more audience interaction, offering videos, animations and exclusive content. Redbull does an excellent job providing good content in order to get a lasting audience.

redbull mountain bike

Content marketing is important aspect of inbound marketing. You need to identify the need, and in order to attract and keep an audience you have to offer something of value. Whether it’s information, or engaging and interactive content, it is necessary to make your product or service the chosen solution to their problem. By doing this, you become the authority, which makes you the go-to for your product or service.


If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen… #DigiMark2pt3 #FirstPost

MARI SETIJONO — born and raised in the greater Seattle area, I am grateful to call the Pacific Northwest my home. Currently a senior at Western Washington University, I am working on obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus in marketing and a minor in communication. Can I stay in college forever? Just kidding, get me out of here… (just not back to my parents’ house)

This quarter I am enrolled in Digital Marketing, with Mark Staton, PhD. I am stoked to be taking this class; I have heard nothing but great things about it! Last year I had Staton as a professor for Principles of Marketing and he undoubtably was one of my favorite professors, which is also the primary reason why I wanted to take this class. His teaching style really appealed to my learning style, and with his use of case studies and examples he made everything applicable to “real life.”

In today’s and age, media is immensely integrated into our lives. To the point where “six out of every seven people in the world have Internet access,” according to Google’s Squared Online’s 2013 infographics on social media engagement. How dependent people, myself included, are on the Internet is almost frightening. “If you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen.” Hashtag, hashtag hashtag. People’s lives are exploited on the internet. Stalking people on the internet through social media is a daily occurring, nonchalant thing. What did you do for spring break? Oh wait, why did I ask? I already saw it all online.

facebook stalking gif
There are massive amounts of information that can be derived from Internet usage, and through analysis of web searches, key words, transactions, etcetera,  companies can learn or predict almost anything. For example, Target predicting pregnancies. Kind of creepy, huh? But brilliant! Which is also what makes this so interesting!

Because of this, I am really looking forward to learning more about digital marketing. More specifically, obtaining the technical skills, becoming Google Analytics Certified. This is also exciting because it was heavily talked about in Principles of Marketing.

With this rate of data analysis, look at what ordering pizza has the potential to be like!

Article: Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Marketing Jobs in the 21st Century

Through the analyzation of five different metropolitan areas, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, this article differentiates skill and knowledge requirements for entry-, lower-, middle-, and upper-level marketing jobs. This deemed to be a very insightful article, because I and I’m sure many of my fellow classmates are nearing graduation.

An overall summary of the research findings were that advanced technical skills were a high requirement for all levels of jobs. It was interesting to learn that many of the skills necessary were not in the “marketing curriculum.” This also made me grateful for Western’s marketing program because I have learned about the importance of search engine optimization, pay-per-click and analytics — and am really hoping to expand that knowledge through this class. Marketing is not just advertisements, there is a lot more behind it. Where does market research come from? Analyzing data and behaviors.

This brings me back to the Target article. Through the use of analytics, they can predict consumers’ buying behaviors, and also analyze the company’s behaviors as well. With such information, marketers can distinguish purchase patterns and consumer’s purchase processes in order to predict future needs. It was very interesting to read that during pregnancy is the perfect time to try sway consumers out of their habits. You can learn almost anything about people through the analyzation of information. Having a technical skill set can really distinguish one in the job market.

Article: Forrester Interactive Marketing Forecast 2011 to 2016

Interactive marketing such as, social media, mobile and email marketing, online video, SEO (search engine optimization), and PPC (pay-per-click) are becoming the major player in advertising in comparison to traditional marketing tactics through mediums such as, television, direct mail, magazines, radio, newspapers and telemarketing. The article states that in 2016, it is predicted that $77 billion dollars will be spend on interactive marketing in the United States, which leads to be 35% of all advertisement spending.

This further shows how integrated different forms of media are in our lives. Referencing back to Squared Online’s infographics, an average of 5.2 hours are spend on social media globally. I’m also in a Communication Media Studies class, and we had an ice breaker to get to know the rest of class, by asking each other about our media involvement. Not a single person in the classroom grew up without a TV, and not one person didn’t have any social media platform. The majority of the class consumed more than three hours of social media per day.

I really enjoyed the statistics this article provided. It was dense with information, but the numbers and graphs really put the importance of interactive marketing into perspective. The importance of interactive marketing for a business is crucial. Companies need to have an online presence.

It is interesting to think how much goes into a good website, or good ads. When using Google, people generally don’t think about how the top search results get there, but most web-surfers would agree that the top results are always the cream of the crop. And then you learn that it was all on purpose, it was planned. It is a strategy. Either someone paid for the the ranking, or added some special words into their website for it to show up more. It’s almost as if it’s a crazy mind game. (Marketing is so cool)

google search rank meme

Article: State of Digital Marketing Talent

The gist of this article under my interpretation was basically “You are what you eat.” The  marketing industry is what it is made up of. Listed I have summarized the seven main findings of digital marketing talent discussed through this article in my own words:

1. There’s a digital marketing talent gap – Employee’s do not live up to employer’s expectations in all skill areas.

2. Employees are lacking necessary skills – Technical skills are important skills to have in the Marketing field. More specifically, knowledge of analytics, mobile marketing, and  marketing automation are needed.

3. It’s about who you know – With a large talent gap, it is deemed a hard task to differentiate between employee candidates. References will get you jobs.

4. Inadequate employee training leads to miss opportunities – Without established programs, organizations investments through their employees don’t result with substantial returns or benefits.

5. Inconsistency throughout an organization hinders the business as a whole – Because there are no industry-wide standards, businesses need to be clear and consistent through their expectations and requirements for employees, and their assessment criteria on these expectation and requirements. There needs to be a mutual understanding on clear and concise goals.

6. Have a good attitude – You get what you earn. Not everything is handed to you, and if you work hard, and are open minded it will eventually (hopefully) pay off.

7. Digital education programs need to be implemented for marketing students – the talent gap needs to bridged. What is taught in school should be applicable to real life.

After reading this article, I was sure happy I am enrolled in Western’s Marketing program! College is increasingly getting more expensive, with the goal of obtaining knowledge and skills that will (or at least should) help me in life. The main point of this article was that there is inadequate talent. Whether it be graduate students who didn’t learn the skills, or the organization isn’t teaching the skills,  there are skills lacking.

To tie all three articles together, digital marketing is the new “thing.” And more importantly the technical skills that contribute to digital marketing are crucial for the industry.

ron burgandy meme