The MGM Grand Group and Marketing the Experience

Most people go to Vegas expecting to lose some money and hoping it lasts long enough to say they had a good time.  There are also some amazing shows there that you won’t really have an opportunity to see anywhere else.

But, unless you pay attention to the digital ads at the airport, on all the digital marquees in front of the casinos or on the trucks driving around you, may never realize that there is more to Vegas than casinos on The Strip or Fremont Street.  There are many fun and exciting activities to do outside of the casino floor, even outside of the casinos.  One can even get discounts for many of these attractions by looking around online or using the Las Vegas Pass.

Walking around Las Vegas you will see many people with their phones out taking videos and pictures and posting to their own social media sites.  This word of mouth advertising is perfect for the big casinos.  These casinos drive experiences.  And more than a gambling experience, but experiences for all ages and interests.  The way they get the word out is through re-posting what the consumers are posting as social media posts, pov videos, and images.

The MGM Hotel Group which owns all of the properties in this review have done a great job getting the word out on social media.  This has been a focus for them over the past four years with a strategy that was formed by Nick Mattera, who oversees all of Social Media Marketing for the MGM group.

To learn more about Mattera’s strategy, check out this link: Social Media and the MGM Resorts

“The best thing we can do is try to understand what the consumer wants. Whether you come to Las Vegas or not, if we can serve you an ad or content that makes sense to you, that’s a good experience. Creating the positive experience is important for us.” – Nick Mattera

One of the things that the MGM Resorts have understood is that everyone doesn’t want to be in the casino all the time.  They have been able to create and sell experiences that gambler and thrill seeker alike will enjoy.  Here are the top 5 that we found:

1. The Big Apple Coaster, New York New York

The roller coaster at the New York New York is pretty amazing, and they will let you ride a repeat time for half price as soon as you’re done. It is fast, with twists and turns and loop the loops.  This roller coaster is great during the day to look out on the city of Las Vegas as well as the desert surroundings.  It is even better at night.  The twists and turns are more exciting and the lights of the strip are quite a sight.  Now they have even added a Virtual Reality experience to the ride giving you a chance to shoot aliens who have escaped from a nearby research facility as they fly over the Strip.

(This one is pretty loud, maybe turn your volume down)

2. VR Gaming, MGM Grand

If you don’t want to walk through the casino to get to the KidZone area for video games, head on over to the MGM Grand on the ground floor (street level).  Walk right in and you’ll run into their VR Gaming area.  There you will find the LEVEL UP gaming lounge where you can spend some quality time gaming and imbibing while waiting for your turn.  You will want to wait for your spot.  Please try this out.  For $50, you will get 30 minutes of VR play time with a group of up to 8 players.

There are four different scenarios you can go through and I am sure they are all just as fun:

  • “Zombie Survival – The team is trapped in a zombie apocalypse, with the undead lurking around every corner ready to attack. Armed with a comprehensive arsenal of weapons, survivors must band together to take down wave after wave of zombies and rebuild safety barriers before extraction by the rescue team.
  • Singularity – Something has gone wrong in a secretive military research space station. While investigating the mystery, teams must battle rogue robots and killer drones through narrow corridors and the zero-gravity environment of space.
  • Engineerium – This puzzle adventure is set in a fantastical world with flying whales, giant parrots and colorful creatures. Players of all ages are challenged to solve physics-based problems as a team to advance along floating platforms high above the exotic planet below.
  • Outbreak Origins – A deadly virus is wreaking havoc on the human population, creating hordes of zombies that are taking over the cities. Your squad needs to do something quick! The dead are walking and a sinister new order is rising from the ashes. Rescue and Attack helicopters buzz overhead, guns ablaze. Amongst all the chaos is a shadow group that seems to be at the root of the outbreak. Who are they? Arm yourself with a variety of weapons; assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles and take advantage of more powerful weapons on your mission to find a cure. Prepare yourself for epic battles…”

(Video of Zero Latency experience in Singapore, which is the same as the MGM experience)

In each game you will get about 15 minutes of instruction on how to use the VR system and get used to the environment with the goggles and headphones on.  Then you walk into a large empty room.  30 minutes of walking around the space, killing zombies, and jeering your friends for having to re-spawn goes quickly.  Knowing it is an empty room is no help as the experience really messes with your head.  You will still hug walls as you walk “up” ramps on the side of a building or jump over a “gap” as you are getting onto a helicopter.  This is an amazing experience and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys gaming and wants to get away while in Vegas.

3. Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay

Also on the South end of The Strip is the shark reef aquarium at the Mandalay Bay.  This is also an amazing experience.  You can interact with the animals in a couple of different ways.  There are feeding experiences with stingrays, sea turtles, and sharks as well as an amazing dive with the sharks.

Diving with sharks can get a little spendy.  But, Come On!  How many people can say that they were in the water with sharks on purpose?!  This is a 3-4 hour experience where you get to spend time with the largest concentration of more than 30 different kinds of sharks.  Plus you get up to 4 of your friends who are too scared to climb into the tank free admission to watch you be a fool around a bunch of blood thirsty sharks.

4. Adventuredome, Circus Circus

Moving onto the north end of The Strip there are two key casinos to hit up for some action.  The first is Circus Circus.  While this hotel and casino is more well known as the place you stay with kids in tow, it also has one or two pretty exciting rides for the adult crowd.

Image result for AdventuredomeOne of these is the Canyon Blaster roller coaster.  On this ride you will get up to 55 mph on the worlds only indoor roller coaster with a double loop and double corkscrew.  This ride takes you through the Adventuredome past all the rest of the people on the Midway.  It is quite an experience!

5.  Thrill Rides, Stratosphere

Finally, there is the Stratosphere.  Here you get to experience Las Vegas’s highest amusement park.  There are 3 rides and one not to be missed experience at the Stratosphere.

Photo of Big Shot, Insanity and X-Scream thrill rides

The first is the Big Shot where you get blasted 160 ft. straight up into the air above the tallest casino in Vegas.  If that isn’t a thrill enough for you, you can try out Insanity.  On this ride, you sit in a chair that is attached to an arm that rotates out over the strip, 900 ft over the strip.  Then it starts to rotate and the chairs swing out, and up, until you are looking straight down, 900 ft, to the little ants of people walking below you.  Don’t worry.  I only saw this break down once, or twice while I lived there.  I’m sure all those kinks have been worked out.  Finally, there is the X-Scream.  This is another short thrill, but you will catapult headfirst 27 ft over the edge of the tower and dangle weightlessly for a bit before being snapped back for another go.

The last, but definitely not least thing to do at the Stratosphere is the SkyJump Las Vegas.  Here you bungee jump off of the top of the Stratosphere and free fall a very long way before you are lowered to the landing pad on street level.

You can book either day or night activities for any of these activities giving a very different outdoor Las Vegas experience.

For more interesting or offbeat content, check out all our fun links:

Is VR becoming hot?

NBA’s Social Media Game Is On Point

While social media doesn’t always add value to your brand (especially not if you are “President T”), the NBA has used a variety of social media platforms to bolster their brand and ratings. It is clear when it comes to viewership the NFL is king, but the NBA’s strong social media presence is helping to close that gap. Impressively, they are doing this at a time when the competitive balance throughout the league is nearly non-existent.

The NFL viewership on a week to week basis is comparable to the NBA playoff viewership. Comparing the two isn’t necessarily apples to apples (the NBA’s regular season is about 5 times longer than the NFL’s) but with the NFL regular season competing with the NBA’s playoffs, there is a sizeable gap to close. To close this gap, the NBA started their social media domination.

What strategy is the NBA utilizing that the other leagues can’t seem to figure out or duplicate? How do they get their players to participate across various platforms so consistently? How do they get the players to be themselves? To behave like they are on an unscripted reality tv show?

They did something the NFL would never dream of doing…

 

The NBA trusted their product… They trusted in the players they pay millions…

In 2016, the NFL started putting restrictions on the social media usage of their teams and players. NFL teams weren’t allowed to post videos of themselves. Contrary to the NFL’s strategy, official NBA twitter accounts post live action throughout games and fans love it. Ian Karmel, writer of The Late Late Show with James Cordon, is a huge Blazers fan and loves the personality their Instagram and twitter accounts have created, “They tweet like a fan, they tweet the way I tweet.”

The ability for the NBA teams to connect with their fans on such a personal level makes it so the fans want to constantly check in on the team’s social media. They want to be a part of the team and feel the connection. When it isn’t the teams creating this connection, the players are out and about doing it themselves…. And the league loves it. Joel Embid recently posted a picture of him moving bricks as part of the NBA Africa Game promotion with the caption “Laying out these bricks before the season starts so I don’t miss game tying shots in the playoffs.”

While Embid is known for being a great trash talker towards others, he turns the table on himself here and keeps fans interested even in the offseason. You can’t take for granted the comfort level Embid and other players feel to poke fun at themselves due to the freedom the NBA has given them across their platform of choice.

As the NBA has watched their popularity grow in correlation with their player’s social media presence, they have begun giving fans even more access. Teams have recently began posting videos of their players arriving to the arena before the game. Fans have the opportunity to see the player’s cars, clothes, accessories, and personalities shine as they walk in to get ready for work. We all can relate to picking out clothes, grabbing our favorite accessories, and walking into work. So seeing the players, who we generally only know from being high-flying, giant humans, doing everyday things makes them drastically more relatable.

How is this all working? Last Christmas, even with a plethora of injuries, ratings were up 39% from the prior year according to SBNation. Local ratings were up across the league as a whole even with the same finals match up happening for the fourth year in a row. Only one team out of the 8 biggest markets actually made the playoffs and ratings were still up. This season we are slowly starting to see a healthy competitive balance again, which should indicate another year of ratings growth.

 

If the NBA continues to be the innovator they have proven to be, the NFL’s claim to being “America’s Sport” could be running out of time.

Want more social media don’ts? Follow the NFL or check out this article

Are you a Social Media “Dad”?

The Necessity of Tailoring a Message for Various Social Media Platforms

How can businesses successfully target online and social media users through digital marketing? It starts with knowing the audience, and how it differs according to what online platform you’re reaching them on.

In our marketing team competition, we noticed a wide variety of engagement levels and responses based on how we presented our content. Below are our discoveries, which provide some insight on how to target users on various platforms.

Twitter & Instagram

The social media meccas for millennials. When posting content to these social media platforms, it’s important to realize that these audiences are looking for relatable posts or products, and not a jargon-laden or cookie cutter advertisement. Influencers on these platforms find success by showing their personality and being real with their followers. When our team posted content on these platforms, it was essential to write captions in a personal tone, add interesting text and visual appeal, and use highly searched hashtags to draw interest from people other than current followers.

We also discovered that specifically, Twitter is a difficult platform to post business related content on. Twitter seems to lend itself to allowing users to showcase their personality (i.e. Wendy’s and Netflix humorous and witty content) rather than promote specific products. Instead, Twitter better serves to deepen connections with users. Leave product and service promotion to LinkedIn and Facebook, where users aren’t looking for the same level of personality to be showcased.

Facebook

With about two billion users, Facebook is a social medial platform that is hard to ignore. While our team’s initial content sparked views solely based on our “inner circles” of friends, moving beyond this group to a more general audience proved more difficult. Additionally, many readers didn’t spend as much time reading business related articles as they did sharing memes. Facebook does have business-related groups and product pages that allow for interaction with users. These groups seem to be an ideal place to post our content, but it was difficult to find success with this strategy, as posts need to be created specifically for different types of groups.

As with Twitter and Instagram, Facebook users look for a personal touch to shine through in posted content. By quickly responding to users who comment on posts, our team could build engagement and nurture additional interactions, which is highly valued on this platform.

LinkedIn

Business related content is best positioned on LinkedIn, as users navigate there to actively seek out useful professional material. LinkedIn’s versatility is evident through the various forms of material that can be posted, from written posts to videos, which are known to significantly increase user engagement and brand awareness. One feature in particular that makes LinkedIn an ideal marketing platform for business content is the Groups feature, a hub that serves as a place to search business related content, post and view jobs, find answers to relevant topics, establish business contacts, and where users can establish themselves as industry experts. This platform serves as a crucial medium for businesses to engage professionals for a variety of purposes, serving as a highly effective marketing tool. On LinkedIn, posts were more successful if they took a professional tone, used hashtags, and mentioned specific companies, as seen below. This drew attention from professionals in the industry, increasing post interactions.

Email Marketing

With the popularity and growth of social media platforms providing access to millions, or in Facebook’s case billions, of users where segmentation and targeting is easier than ever, it’s not hard to forget about email marketing.

While email may not be the shiny new platform or network, it is our opinion if the campaign is well crafted, email remains one of the most effective tools for a wide variety of content. Based on our experience, email marketing works especially well for content with potentially valuable insight or where opportunities are shared. This information can come in many different forms, but common examples are newsletters, offers and promotions, and renewals. Often these messages can feel more personal, as if that letter, offer, or reminder is being shared just with the receiver, and not a larger audience.

More importantly though is having the right permissions, design, and call to action. Once you as a marketer have the necessary permissions you can run A/B tests on your design and call to action to refine your message, and analytics will provide insight into the engagement and quality of the message, making email marketing a still relevant tool for marketers in a social media world.

Final Thoughts

Given the number of platforms and the differences in each, to be successful in the digital media space, marketers must know their audience and consider where and how content will be shared. While many of the social media platforms share users, where we choose to connect with users can change their willingness to engage. For example, an individual that is receptive to a listicle via email, LinkedIn, and Facebook, may not be as interested in the same content on Instagram or Twitter. Furthermore, how the content is shared must also adapt to the platform. Each channel has its limitations and strengths when sharing content. Make sure to play to the strengths of the channel or platform to generate intrigue with your audience. In summary, define the audience you are trying to target, determine where they will be most receptive to the content, and shape that content to the platform being used to reach the audience.

See more content like this:

Charity Miles App Review: Good for Runners, Companies, & the Community

 

Lizard People and the Internet…

Image result for lizard people memes funny

A group of reptilian overlords is controlling the world  through underground dealing and cloaking technology. Able to take on human form, they manipulate the trajectory of human events through political assuaging. They may also enjoy eating pizza in sewers and train in martial arts.

At least, this is the scenario many prevailing Reptilian theories on the subject would assert. You’re first reaction to this may be that it is absurd. You wouldn’t be wrong. But why is it that such absurd, outlandish conspiracies gain traction and dedicated followings. This is the type of virality and loyalty for which most marketing managers would clamor.

Although quirky and unviable, there are key lessons to be taken away from these internet treasure troves of conspiracy theories. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know.

Discovery

Image result for lizard people memes funny

Almost all of these theories are beyond what normal logic would allow as a feasible explanation of the world around us. As such, when confronted with these explanations, people can go through a plethora of mental what-ifs. What if this is the truth and everything else is a lie? If this is true, what else could I be wrong about? What if there is a reason I came across this information?

The preponderance of uncertainty about the theory opens a rabbit hole through which one can dive into uncharted territory. And the experience of this discovery itself holds value. People do not share information that is presumed to be commonly known. People share what they feel could be potentially enlightening. Furthermore, people share what they feel ownership over.

After diving into a chasm and developing an understanding, a bond attaches the conspirator and the conspiracy. Intermingling those identities empowers the individual to go and share the truth.

For social media marketing, the same holds true. Though bombarding the general public with constant advertising can raise brand awareness, nobody feels inclined to share information everyone already has. By targeting select individuals and guiding them through understanding the value of whatever is being offered, you align them with promoting the brand. Folks like being the person who contributes to a conversation. They do not like redundancy.

Clarity

Image result for lizard people memes funny

One of the common traits shared by most conspiracy theories is that they offer an explanation for the unknown and misunderstood. Our world is odd. Many events, tragic and fortuitous alike, occur with any plausible reasoning lacking. Rather than accept that some things just happen, people would rather grab onto something, anything that claims to have an answer. Enter lizard people. Or chemtrails. Or any conspiracy.

Social media ads only have brief windows to secure attention. The few seconds before a user can skip an ad on a video or the rolling sidebar of flashing ads, do not afford much time to convey all value associated with an offering. Therefore, pull people in with intrigue. Chick-Fil-A has recently gone viral after someone discovered that their food boxes can be placed securely on a drink lid with the straw as an anchor. This honestly offers such little value, it would hardly be worth mentioning. But for consumers who wondered what that hole was for and already were familiar with the traditional values of the brand, this was enlightening. If you only have a sparse window for attention, fill it with unknown or misunderstood value about your offering. The learning aspect invites the deep dive. If all other competitors are fighting along the same lines, look for the gaps in value communication.

Build-Up

Related image

The final thing conspiracies get right is the build-up. Most lizard people sights do not start by positing that everyone you know is a reptilian. They start with the premise that lizards exist and people exist and maybe lizard people exist. And as the user seeks more information, the more absurd aspects reveal themselves in corresponding nature.

While we’ve highlighted why it is beneficial to lead with the unknown, it is important to avoid ambushing the consumer. A little intrigue is good. A wall of everything is not. The value of a slow build is two-fold. First, it allows the deep diver time to acclimate to all the new information without being immediately overwhelmed. This is a process and in order to effectively communicate your value, steps cannot be skipped. Second, the slow build offers extended duration. An idea that sits with a user has better retention than a flash bulb that dissipates as quickly as it appeared.

Final Thoughts

I'M NOT SAYING IT WAS THE LIZARD PEOPLE... BUT IT WAS THE LIZARD PEOPLE | image tagged in conspiracy theory,conspiracy guy | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

While none of these concepts are groundbreaking by themselves, the successful implementation has eluded many traditional marketing campaigns. We are in strange times, and often the best practitioners of an art are not who one would normally expect. While this Op-Ed explored some of the value associated with conspiracy theories, please be sure to check out our other content for other takes on social media marketing topics.

Top Digital Trends 2018

http://bit.ly/2OLiqll

Pizza Anyone? Ok Google, talk to Domino’s!

http://bit.ly/2ORE4o5

Simply Connected: Best Business Apps for Online Business Owners (product review)

Running a business requires a lot of work! As busy entrepreneurs fight to stay on top of the ever-growing pile of responsibilities, the growing sea of business apps may just save the day. Here are our thoughts on top rated apps designed for small businesses:

1. Finance: QuickBooks Accounting
RWALKER rating: 4.7/ 5 ****

While the price tag may be a bit steep, QuickBooks stores, organizes, and analyses your small business’ financial data. As a subset of a large, successful corporation, the perks are undeniable, but some users warn that it may be hard to back up data.

2. Scheduling: OMNIFOCUS
RWALKER rating: 4.1/ 5 ****
“Accomplish more everyday”: OMNIFOCUS developers make a big promise, and seek to keep it by allowing users to track tasks, sort by deadline, review completed tasks and sync between devices. Some users feel uneasy by the tiered levels of membership, but regardless, this app seems to provide a very customized level of support.

3. Communication: Pushover Notifications
RWALKER rating: 4.7/ 5 ****

With so many available outlets for social media marketing, busy managers have a hard time syncing notifications across devices and platforms. Pushover is the umbrella solution: offering a sleek interface, reliable service, and integrative features.

4. Point-of-Sale: SQUARE
RWALKER rating: 3.6/ 5 ***

Used by millions of businesses around the world, SQUARE was the original portable point-of-sale system in the USA. Allowing users to accept credit cards without a full brick-and-mortar store setup, this app caters to those just starting out. Like any electronic interface, glitches can happen, but SQUARE has a strong customer support team standing by.

5. Expense Tracker: Expensify
RWALKER rating: 4.5/ 5 ****

Finally, a platform to help make tracking business reimbursements less stressful! Expensify helps users manage expense reports, track receipts, and document tax compliance by providing an interface to photograph receipts, sort expenditures, and provide quick and easy service. While this app can be a huge time saver, be sure to check company reimbursement policy before signing up!

  1. Human Resources: BambooHR
    RWALKER rating: 3.3/ 5 ***

Bamboo HR is the go-to app for tracking applicants, handle administrative tasks, and manage performance reviews and employee schedules from a mobile device. While some feel the device has limited functions, it does allow fast syncing across apps and easy access to company directories.

  1. Social Media Analytics: Sprout Social
    RWALKER rating: 4.4/ 5 ****

Not sure if your social media strategy is solid? Sprout analytics is here to help. This app helps track customer engagement, identify influencers, and all the data that helps develop marketing strategy across platforms. Great for desktop, but also available for mobile devices without sacrificing any functionality.

  1. Employee Tracking: TSheets Time Track
    RWALKER rating: 4.1/ 5 ****

Tsheets brings clocking in and out to mobile devices. Easy to use, this app allows users to clock in and out, even without cell service. Managers can then adjust times, create schedules, track time off, and so much more!

Interested in books? Check out our reading recommendations for online marketing: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/21/net-smarts-a-summary-on-thriving-online-book-review/

NET SMARTS: A SUMMARY ON THRIVING ONLINE (Book Review)

Net Smart: How to Thrive Online

Howard Rheingold, the man who coined the term “virtual communities”, is well known amongst internet scholars and media gurus. His book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, has been flying off the shelves since its first publication in 2012. But what’s the fuss? Are there really tricks to making a business flourish online? RWALKER finds out!:

Claiming to help anyone seeking to “live mindfully in cyberculture”, this Rheingold demonstrates how to use the social media intelligently, humanely, and mindfully while making the best use of online tools. For small businesses the right moves online can make a world of difference, and Rheingold makes suggestions to help participants seem empowered rather than pushy.

Rheingold outlines 5 fundamental digital literacies and focuses on each in turn:

  • Attention
  • Participation
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Consumption of Information (“fake news repellant”)
  • Network Smarts

Throughout the text, he explains the nuances of human attention, and how it can be used to achieve focus through the incoming tsunami of digital information. He defines the quality of content that powers successful bloggers, tweeters, and social media stars. Lastly, Rheingold disassembles ways in which successful online enterprises contribute to the world in new ways, teaching lessons on networks and network building.

RWALKER Says: 4/5 ****

Net Smart is a great read for anyone looking to venture into the world of social media: individual or business. Rheingold proposes theory and action to take your social media activity from amateur to professional. Finally, a conscious inquiry into the power of the digital world to transform the quality and power of our online message!

Rheingold, Howard. Net smart: how to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. ix, 322 p. ISBN 978-0-262-01745-9.

Personal Connections in the Digital Age

While Rheingold builds technical understanding, Nancy Baym proposes a more sociologic perspective of the blooming social media landscape. Personal Connections in the Digital Age produces a compelling argument for the integration of digital communication into personal and corporate practices. But how are we moving toward a more connected era? RWALKER intends to see!:

A treasure trove of social media scholarship, Personal Connections in the Digital Age offers a comprehensive account of just how rising technologies affect our ability to attract, captivate, and retain audiences. This engaging introduction to online communication sets a strong foundation for anyone interested in attempting to understand online communities, networks, or personalities.

While this book is intended to help readers navigate media accessibility across broad audiences, Baym divides the book into 6 chapters, each focusing on a specific type of media outreach:

  • New Outlets for Connection
  • The Domestication of Technology
  • Digital Communication Fundamentals
  • Online Communities and Networks
  • Forming Online Identity/Branding
  • Building and Maintaining Online Relationships

This book offers a fresh view of online communications research, defining diverse roadmaps to success in the digital universe. A mixture of communication, media studies, science and technology studies, sociology, and human-computer interaction, Baym illustrates the complexities of online marketing.

RWALKER Says: 3.8/5 ***

Accessibility in an academic text? Oh joy! Baym does a marvelous job of keeping readers engaged while exploring the opportunities for connectedness that digital media allows. She carefully disassembles communication aided by technology in order to assess our increased inability to navigate social interactions. Offering advice to contemporary social media marketers, Personal Connections in the Digital Age takes an optimistic look at the future applications of digital media to engage and retain audiences. A must-read for anyone interested  in business applications of new media.

Baym, N. K. (2010). Personal connections in the digital age. Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA: Polity.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business

Last on the list, RWALKER takes on Clayton Christensen’s breakthrough text on the relationships between consumers, businesses, and “disruptive” technologies. As the tension between traditional practices and evolving business practices grows, Christensen warns “ignore disruptive technologies at your peril, they are often the standards of the future”. Here are out thoughts:

Focused on change in a business context, Innovator’s Dilemma explores how consumers react to evolving practices, and what happens if companies fail to adapt. Christensen provides a framework for managers dealing with new technologies and cautions against inflexibility in corporate practices.  Innovator’s Dilemma  presents  a case study of electric car technology to communicate how managers should react to threat and opportunity presented by disruptive technologies. Christensen tackles several huge questions in his text:

  • How can great firms fail?
  • Why innovate?
  • How do you manage disruptive technological change?
  • How do you appraise your organization’s capabilities and disabilities?

This book forces managers into thinking strategically about the company’s needs through their responses to new market standards. Through empirical and case studies, this book suggests incremental improvements to better adapt to changing corporate climates.

RWALKER Says: 4/5 ****

This book is quickly finding itself at the top of every technologist and business manager’s reading list, and with good reason. Not your generic business strategy book, Innovator’s Dilemma, builds a greater understanding of the applications and value of technological innovation in any market, and provides suggestion on how to build change into the corporate culture. Christensen has proven that today’s current standards will continue to fade and  be redeveloped, and that markets can be made for quick adoption of disruptive technologies!

Christensen, C. M. (1997). The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

For our take on the best online apps for small businesses, check out our article here: http://socialmba.org/2018/11/21/simply-connected-best-business-apps-for-online-business-owners-product-review/

Pizza Anyone? Ok Google, talk to Domino’s!

With the growth in digital marketing and the impact of social media on everyday life, today’s businesses need to keep pace with the ever changing influence of technology if they want to expand their product sales. Pizza is no exception and Domino’s has strategically invested in this space as they saw the opportunity to increase sales via digital channels.

Some of us remember the days of calling the pizza place, being put on hold, providing your order, sometimes twice – the same one you normally put in once a week – repeating your address another two times and finally confirming the price and the estimated 30 minute delivery time. An hour later, you’re calling the pizza place again for an update on when that delivery is going to show up.

Domino’s solved this problem by allowing customers to save their address, payment info and their Easy Order under their enhanced online ordering platform. The Easy Order was a bundle of information including payment, address, delivery or carry-out order type and preferred store location. The days of agonizing phone orders were gone as customers could reference their pizza profile and place an order in a handful of clicks or within 30 seconds. This was soon followed by the Domino’s Tracker that gave you visibility to where your order was in the overall process.

This groundwork was the foundation for Domino’s AnyWare which was an expanded suite of ordering technology focused on getting more people to order online via the devices and platforms that they use everyday.

Over the last three years, we have seen an increase in innovative options for ordering Domino’s pizza which include:

  • Talking to Dom, an order-taking expert living in the Domino’s app, for those that still want to hear a voice on the other end
  • Sending a pizza emoji via text message
  • Tweeting #EasyOrder to @Dominos
  • Using the Domino’s app on your Samsung Smart TV to place and track an order without missing your favorite show
  • Opening the Domino’s Zero Click app and your Easy Order is placed in 10 seconds
  • Talking to your Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices to place your order
  • Ordering via Facebook Messenger
  • Leveraging Slack to place an order for the team
  • Ordering from your car if you have a Ford with SYNC® AppLink
  • Turning over your wrist and placing that order via your smart watch

The focus on technology and connecting with customers’ daily routines has allowed Domino’s to generate over half of its sales via digital channels and stay ahead of the competition. It has definitely piqued my interest and I look forward to continuing to test out the various options for ordering my pizza.

By now you must be hungry, so why not give it shot and try one of the various options to order a pizza. While you wait for your delivery, click below for our other blog posts.

Lizard People and the Internet…

All the Cool People Make These…

Charity Miles App Review: Good for Runners, Companies, & the Community

As a runner and a not-for-profit professional, I thought that the Charity Miles App seemed too good to be true. I quickly realized that it was an innovative platform that lived up to its mission. 

How it Works

By downloading the Charity Miles App, individuals can track their running, walking, or biking activity and convert mileage into donations to their favorite charities. The app allows for individuals to choose from over 40 charities, which will receive $0.25 per mile run or walked, and $0.10 per mile biked. Individuals select their activity type, enable location services for the app to track activity, and start their workout. When finished, it’s as simple as clicking the finish button, which leads to a workout summary which includes mileage, activity time, and the amount donated to charity. Users can even take a photo of their workout, which will generate an image to promote the apps and activity through social media.

The Positives

  1. Easy to use: it only took a couple of minutes to create a user profile and figure out how to log miles.
  2. It’s a win-win-win: everyone benefits- users, who get to contribute to social causes, companies who get high-impact advertising space, and charities, who receive money from every mile logged.

The Negatives

  1. Lack of functionality: The app won’t be replacing your GPS watch anytime soon. Mileage wasn’t incredibly accurate, and I was unable to pause my activity when at a stoplight.
  2. Missed promotional opportunities: If you plan to share your activity mileage via social media, you can only so right after you’ve finished the activity. This removes opportunities for users to advertise the app and it’s sponsors.

An Innovative Digital Marketing Medium for Companies

Charity Miles touts the ability for sponsors to maintain a captive audience due to the structure of the app/sponsor/user setup. By sponsoring the app, companies can advertise their charitable giving through the agreement to donate $X per each mile logged in the app. Companies can expose app users to a variety of sponsored content, including blog posts, product discounts, and free trials. This structure melds corporate giving and advertising, as sponsorships fund the donations.

Will I Continue Using Charity Miles?

In short, yes. The app is easy to use and is a low commitment option in giving to social causes. As long as you can get past the amount of sponsored content (hey, they are donating money on your behalf) I recommend that you try it on your next walk, run, or bike ride too.

 

Check out related content:

The Necessity of Tailoring a Message for Various Social Media Platforms

Gen Z: Why Social Marketing is Going to Be Even More Important

Move over Baby Boomers and Millennials because a new generation – Gen Z – is taking over the world. But seriously. Never heard of Gen Z? Well, they’re the generation born between 1996 and 2010 and currently are ages 7 to 21 years old. They’ve never known a pre-9/11 America. They’ve never known what it’s like to not have Internet. They may not even know how to use a phone book – or maybe that a phone book isn’t the contacts list on their iPhones.

The U.S. Gen Z population is 63 million strong and growing due to immigration. Gen Z is expected to influence 60% of U.S. revenue by 2025. Although this may seem significant, we should really be looking at China.

In China, Gen Z includes for 247 million children and young adults. And China’s Gen Z is going to a whopping 16% of total global income. That said, this generation has a lot of power, and they don’t even yet have university degrees. So, what makes Gen Z unique? We found four traits that should make organizations think twice about their long-term marketing plans.

  1. Their operating system is technology.

Gen Z-ers are always connected. An electronic device must be in their hand at all times – whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. The more mobile the better as they’re always on the go, but maintain connected. They spend at least 9 hours per day digitally engaged – whether in school or at home. This time is spent gaming, browsing, socializing (such as Instagram and GroupMe), listening to music (think iTunes or Spotify), watching TV (think Netflix or YouTube). Some also spend time creating their owndigital content (such as musical.ly). Additionally, they only use a few apps on their phone.

  1. They are more diverse than ever before.

In the U.S., the majority of Gen Z are non-white as a result of immigration. It is likely that a Gen Z kid has a mom who’s Indonesian and a dad who’s Irish. The kid is interested in not just one activity, but multiple. They don’t just see themselves as a dancer, a chemist, or musician. They have their hands in many cookie jars, so to speak, which makes them feel fulfilled and creative. It’s also likely they will pursue multiple divergent degrees such as biochemistry and theater.

When it comes to marriage, 66% back marriage equality, research firm 747 Insights confirms, and only 80% are currently interested in getting marriage. They’ll follow the path of millennials by not following traditional ideals such as getting married and having multiple kids before the age of 30. Gen Z seems to be the most independent of all generations and seek multiple experiences – such as dating and traveling – before tying the knot with a significant other.

  1. They’re more authentic and care deeply.

This generation seeks to purchase goods and services from brands that “do good” for the world and their communities. They’ve grown up in the war on terror and multiple wars such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They care even more about social justice issues than millennials, who tend to focus on globalization issues and social responsibility.

Gen Z-ers will fight for themselves, their loves ones, their friends, and others if they see them treated unfairly due to gender, sexuality, race, pay, and environmental issues – just to name a few. This generation wants to be a change agent and truly believe they can make a positive impact. They can use their digital savviness and self-assured mindsets to influence via social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram, and Kickstarter.

Technology allows this generation to influence at a global scale virtually, rather than traveling around the world. They are able to create their own personal brands and form their online communities, which have very low barriers to entry. There are no boundaries, rules, or fees (only to the extent of what their content channels allow, of course).

  1. They value relationships over transactions.

Gen Z seeks a personalized shopping experience. As discussed above, they believe brands play an important role in society and are responsible for making it better. Just as this generation create its own content online and inspires others, they expect the same in return from brands they purchase from. They’re also likely promote a brand (particularly online) as a result of a positive customer experience. About half of all Gen Z purchases include a digital element – either through their product search or actual purchase. They are likely to use online product reviews from people they follow and trust online – especially celebrities. They are also likely to participate more in member-only events and loyalty programs that reward them for frequent purchasing.

If you thought Amazon was just a fad, think again. Online shopping is here to stay and grow, funded by Generation Z. Brands should pay special attention to this generation’s purchase patterns as they continue to grow older and become a larger part of our global economy.

Video Games: Live Streaming

Video Games. This is not the first thought that normally comes to mind when talking about a marketing class for a MBA program. Marketing products have many sides, the price, functionality, convenience, life-cycle. The same goes for marketing a video game, showing demos of game-play, focusing on certain market segments, deciding how much one should charge. Though on the other side of this industry is the consumers and within this market is a group of individuals who are trying to make a living by playing the games they love.

Image result for that's the dream gif

In this case the streamers themselves are the product that needs to be advertised. Their market segment is other gamers. The goal is to get as many followers/viewers as one can. There are many ways to make a profit by playing video games. One of the big ones is ‘Live’ streaming, thanks to better technology people are now able to get programs on their computers that will allow you to stream in real time (Live) a game you are currently playing. The three main platforms today are YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. All three are great platforms and allow the gamers to stream their game play for free or, once you have enough followers, for a profit.

 

In the game streaming world there are many ways to make a profit. One way is to get fan donations or supporters. On both Twitch and Facebook, the viewers are able to become supporters where they are paying about $5 a month to as the name suggests support the individual. This is a nice way for the fans to show the streamers support and the streamers in return show they care about them. They can do this by supporter only videos or posts. Some even send out gifts. For example, Tradechat sends out cute stickers.

If we take the top streamers they have anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 followers. If only 0.5% of that becomes supporters, they could be making $2,500 to $7,500 a month. Which is about $15.62 to $46.87 an hour to just play video games live and with the federal minimum wage sitting at $7.50 this is a great idea for those who love playing video games all the time. One Twitch Streamer Disguised Toast revealed how much he actually makes each month. He is constantly within the top 10 streamers on Twitch and from all revenue platforms combined he makes roughly $20,000 a month.

Image result for Cloud raining money

Of course, with every success story there are many more stories of people who did not make it. When considering if you want to go into this field you have to consider the idea that you will get bored, your games will no longer be fun, and there is no guaranteed paycheck.

To be successful one thing is clear. You must be entertaining to watch and get your name out there. A lot of your fame will be through shares and word of mouth from other viewers. One would need to have a marketing strategy for getting more viewers.

To start in this business, one needs to have games people want to watch, a decent system either computer or console, a streaming program, and be ready to stream on a reliable consistent basis. Being a professional streamer can be a tough career path to take. You have to make yourself different from all the others. So how does marketing work when you are the product?

First you must have a love for the games and be pretty good at playing them. No one wants to watch an amateur. Though it is entertaining to see a rage quit, you really do not want that to be what you are known for.

Image result for rage quit gif

Once you have the basics down, this is when your strategy starts. You can get other fellow streamers to watch your channel by watching their channels and supporting others. Have all of your relatives and friends share your streams and have them to ask people they know to do the same.

Once you have a big enough fan base it will become easier and easier for your streams to go viral. Also doing advertising for other companies can help. For example, you can get paid by companies to open mystery boxes or loot boxes on camera. The company will pay you and advertise you to their customers. You can also post to gaming forums about your streams.

Lastly, yes other streamers may be your competition, but gamers are a community and other streamers are your community. Help them and they will help you!

Image result for Gamer Community

Sources:

Chernova, M. (2018, May 16). How to make money streaming: 6 ways to go live and get paid. Retrieved November 11, 2018, from https://www.epiphan.com/blog/how-to-make-money-streaming/

Disguised Toast. (n.d.). How Much MONEY Do Twitch Streamers REALLY Make? (Inside Look from a Top Streamer). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m5P_n5njCQ

Fagan, K. (n.d.). We asked famous YouTubers what it’s actually like to play video games for a living — here are all the perks and drawbacks that come with the job. Retrieved November 11, 2018, from https://www.businessinsider.com/youtube-twitch-video-games-gaming-career-what-its-actually-like-2018-3

Hale, J. (2018, October 10). Here’s A Candid Breakdown Of Exactly How Much Money Twitch Streamers Earn Per Month. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://www.tubefilter.com/2018/10/10/twitch-streamers-earn-per-month-breakdown-disguisedtoast/

Korpi, J. (2017, May 25). How to Livestream on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube at the Same Time. Retrieved November 11, 2018, from https://www.jwplayer.com/blog/livestream-facebook-twitter-youtube/

This Is How To Get More Viewers On Your Twitch Stream. (2017, October 27). Retrieved November 18, 2018, from https://chainstogains.com/how-to-get-viewers-on-twitch/

Video Influencers. (n.d.). How to Make Money on YouTube for Beginners – 5 Best Ways. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb-yWikuPkc