Applying SMART Goal social media marketing objectives

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Specific: I find that it’s imperative to be “specific” when it comes to goals and especially objectives.  Not only is this extremely important to those developing and following a marketing plan, unless you “specify” exact goals and objectives, it makes it nearly impossible to engage and track the communication plan.  A general marketing statement would be something like, “attract more visitors to website.  A specific statement would be, “During each quarter during calendar year 2016, increase visitors to health.mil by 5%. Making your goals and especially your objectives specific–translates in eliminating confusion about whether or not you’ve accomplished the goals via your objectives.

Measurable: Not being able to measure goals certainly makes it next to impossible for me to provide viable reports to my supervisor as well as other stakeholders. Also, I can’t make any conclusions that a program is successful unless I have set measurable goals.

Attainable: Continuing from the “measureable” topic, it’s no use setting a goal that would be too hard to reach. Sometimes you’re going to undershoot, or even overshoot goals but hitting that sweet spot will come in time.  The key is that you’re at least attempting to make realistic improvements. You also have to take into consideration what type of budget, resources, manpower and time allotments you have to support the plan. I recommend to always beginning a goal on the lower side until you can see how the operational tempo is working in lockstep with goals and objectives so you can make needed adjustments.

Relevant: This is where you need to be heavily involved and informed on overall business goals. It does no good to have a lofty goal that really has little impact on you company’s bottom line.  This is where your reputation and relevance to the executive team can be a make or break.

Timely: This is just ensuring that goals need to have a time frame associated with them to leave no room for ambiguity. It also enforces accountability. I think I mimic what many other communication managers do and go with quarterly as well as overall annual goals and objectives.

Step up Your Game with Social Media McD!

week 4 logo

As much as I adore McCafe and drink it every day, in analyzing McDonald’s website it falls within the status quo. To make matters worse, for a commerce powerhouse with an annual revenue last year of $27 billion, I’m really not lovin’ McDonald’s lackluster mobile applications. The main impetus for the strict assessment is by comparing the outstanding efforts of companies that lack the massive PR and Communication resources of McDonald’s but nonetheless do the best push/pull marketing with what resources they do have, especially in the mobile application arena.

(Rhodes, 2015) Other ways to get people to your website is to:

  • improve SEO
  • submit to directories and yellow pages
  • put your website in signature and in all twitter feeds
  • blogging (fresh content; key words with categories and tags)
  • Make crowdsource requests;
  • push via email

Mobile Phone applications

There is no argument anymore to validate why a mobile app isn’t important in the promotional landscape. “In May of 2013, 56% of people owned a smartphone; 2012 there were 1.2 billion app users across the globe with number expected to grow to 4.4 billion by 2017; 56 billion smartphone apps and 14 billion tablet apps were downloaded in 2013; and 80% of mobile time now is spent using apps. (Kent, 2014)”

So how exactly does McDonald’s fall short with the McD app (1 million downloads) and the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin it” app (500k downloads)? With 47 million customers daily, the number of folks that have downloaded the app is small. This could be because of no mention of the apps on their website. When opening the McD app., at least 15 different push offers appear– such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) food and McCafe ice coffee. Unlike the website, The McD app does point out the free McCafe Rewards program and Mondays featuring free small coffees. Another push window appears when tapping on the BOGO offers for the need to sign-up/login. Once a person is in the store, all they have to do is tap their McD app to “pull” which offer they want and show it to the cashier within 2 minutes. Besides being able to use offers, the site implores pull options to find the closest McD as well as enter special offer codes you may see on other media sites.

week 4 big mac

The McDonald’s “I’m Lovin it” app is almost a complete waste of time and features the same restaurant locator but is completely pull measures for career info or leaving feedback. The comment/feedback feature is one of most long procedures ever experienced by requiring and exhaustive 15+ prompts just to leave a comment. Being a commerce powerhouse, McDonalds should have the best bells and whistles possible on their mobile app. There also aren’t any social media links on any of the mobile apps, even though the website lists at the very bottom the page pull options to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Tumblr.

Successful apps are useful to the brand’s core demographic, entertaining or enhance the product experience in some way. So what are some good examples that other Forbes darlings are using?

“Starbucks recently updated their app to add shake-to-pay and digital tipping features as well as a purchase history feed. This app has led to mobile payments quickly making up 14% of in-store transactions for Starbucks. The Walgreens app takes prescription refills to another level by just scanning the label, and when it is ready to be picked up, the app will send a text message alert. It also features a “Steps” section that earns you points for walking, running, and tracking your weight. Other features include Pill Reminder, Pharmacy Chat, and weekly coupons. The Chipotle and Domino’s app allows users to easily order a meal on the go. Similar to its online ordering system, Dominos features the pizza tracker, where users can watch their order through every step of the process. The Zappos app stands out for its comprehensive approach to customer service. Many of its features were recommended by customers, including product videos, social sharing, saved searches, and notifications for re-stocked items. It also has a dedicated customer support line to easily get problems resolved. (Kent, 2014)”

Another McDonald’s direct competitor with a little more oomph in their mobile application is Taco Bell. “In 2014 the food giant ran a mobile ad campaign promoting their new “Happier Hour” nation-wide. The visual advertised a $1 drink specialty that was available from 2-5pm. It also included a variety of ways to keep a user on track with actually participating in the offer. In the ad, you could choose to have Taco Bell remind you at the start of Happier Hour (by adding it to your calendar app), to remind you when you were physically nearby a Taco Bell, or share the information with a friend by sending them a funny gif. (Adler, 2014)”

Push/Pull Techniques with Sharing/Social Buttons

“(Temin, 2014) There aren’t many places left where organizations can have total control over what is said about them, especially on the internet. But corporate websites can still provide a center of control, continuity and clarity of message. A website – compellingly done – can capture a brand, and encapsulate its positioning for all to see.”

To drive traffic to its website, McDonald’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest would be considered more pull and “soft” push by simple small banners to connect to the website or social media cross channels. Very rarely do their television ads, print or outdoor ads push traffic to the website. Below is an ad to get a free Big Mac but it’s only for a regional McDonald’s website on Long Island, N.Y. (limcdonalds.com). As soon as you reach their site, they have a great push floating banner that list upcoming opportunities to meet Ronald McDonalds.

week 4 limcdonalds

Fresh content present?

“As part of IMC, the website is one piece, the hub to see the whole brand offering. If you want to get people to your website for engagement write fresh content; stagnant content hurts your search engine rankings. (Rhodes, 2015)”

Congrats McDonalds! I applaud your fresh promotional offer from Feb. 2 through Valentine’s Day where random expressions of affection can be redeemed as payment for food. According to the Huffington Post, “Winners will be randomly selected at pre-designated times at participating McDonald’s locations, and a McDonald’s employee will instruct them to perform a “random act Lovin’. The company will announce the “Pay with Lovin’” campaign in a commercial slated to air Sunday during Super Bowl XLIX.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ojg9DDyUwM

Future Branding Recommendations

As Ammunition Groups Robert Brunner puts it, “Branding is a gut feeling and you can’t explain where it comes from.” I agree with Brunner and it’s just a gut feeling that whatever strategy McDonald’s is using, especially in the social media arena is lacking. Maybe that was one of the reasons McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson was fired this week. “I think that it’s very fitting that they’ve selected the chief brand officer,” he (Christopher Rowane, a portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel, which owns roughly a million shares of McDonald’s) said. “This is really where we’re seeing a little bit of a vacancy in McDonald’s. They’re trying to really find their brand to be able to drive same store sales growth. (Reuters, 2015)”

Create a Plug-in, Template or Widget or offer other free service. “Having a specific free service that is useful and intuitive could attract a plethora of users. A widget or plug-in is a design to enhance a platform. It is designed to entertain or make life easier for users. Keep this in mind when developing. For example, you can make a WordPress plugin or Joomla template. Make sure people know who made it and where they can find your website. Heaton, 2010)”

Here are a few recommendations I offer to boost McDonalds IMC presence, especially in the much needed social media realm:

  • It’s not a question of being more aggressive, it’s giving customers a better experience. There should be no reason in the world that you can’t order McDonald’s food online, a delivery service wouldn’t be a bad option as well.
  • Add a “Payin’ & Lovin’ it” option to the mobile app.
  • Consolidate the two mobile apps into one.
  • Have an actual online video or photo contest with Vine or Instagram, just to name a few!
  • Integrate more promotions via social media in the U.S. that are only offered internationally such as the “save the sundae cone” campaign in Malaysia.
  • Make getting feedback a priority in an effort for improving the customer experience. To keep expected negativity as part of an improvement process–this can be a dedicated customer service phone line where customers would receive incentives for all suggestions and commentary.

week 4 rm

Come on McDonald’s, your traditional media presence is good but beef up your social media game and make me love you even more—it’s never too late!

References

Adler, B. (Nov. 18, 2014). These Five Brands have the Best Mobile Apps.

Athavaley, A. (Jan. 29, 2015). McDonald’s CEO Thompson Leaving after Tumultuous Run.

Brunner, R. Brand Consistency for Website Navigation, Social Media and SEO (Slideshare.net, 2011) 

Heaton, C. (Nov. 18, 2010). 50 Ways to Get Your Site Noticed

Kaufman, A. (Jan. 30, 2015). McDonalds will soon accept hugs as payment. 

Kent, E. (April 16, 2014). There’s an App for that: Creating Your Brand’s Mobile App. 

Rhodes, J. (Jan. 26, 2015). Websites: Push and Pull Marketing. MMC 5006 Lecture. University of Florida.

Kessler, S. (Oct. 6, 2010). 13 Branded Mobile Apps that Got it Right.

I’m Lovin’ the McCafe Way!

mccafe-header

I love coffee and am proud to be among the energized coffee brigade who totes a cup everywhere. I won’t just drink any swill and approach a cup of coffee like a wine connoisseur.  Throughout the years I have found many good roasted brews of the brown elixir,  among them are Starbucks (naturally), Tim Horton’s, Caribou and Dunkin’Donuts.

But my main java love affair is with McDonald’s McCafe…but it wasn’t always this way.  Before the launch of the McCafe line in 2007, I considered McDonald’s coffee the worst in the nation. It wasn’t until I received a free McCafe through the ever popular Monopoly promotion that I broke down and tried it and from that point I was infatuated. Unfortunately, soon afterwards they got rid of my main squeeze–the cappuccino, so I quickly shifted my allegiance to the latte by stopping by everyday to pick up my sweetheart.

In the fall last year, McDonald’s sweetened the pot by launching “McCafe Rewards” where you get any free large or medium McCafe after purchasing five. (It’s actually only four purchases because you also get a sticker from your free McCafe as well!)

mc d best on fb and twitter

McCafe Integrated marketing channels  

As our course lecture (Rhodes, 2015) points out, “Integrated Marketing Communications must have synergy, ubiquity and generally seven memory recalls to act upon a new brand–so the more channels you are on, the more apt this will happen. Harnessing this all together in a campaign is key.”

It’s no surprise that McCafe has a widespread presence on just about ever social media channel due to being the baby of brand powerhouse McDonalds. (Radice, 2014) “Create content that is Snappable, and immediately resonates with your followers. Look at brands like McDonalds and their effective use of Snapchat for inspiration. Not only do they know where their market is hanging out, but they know how to cross-promote that content on Twitter for a winning combination.” McCafe has a presence on popular channels such as Pinterest, Vine and Instagram, and here is a good cross section of others and how McCafe is being promoted:

McDonalds.com – The McDonalds website is adequate in information but interestingly doesn’t say anything about the current Reward’s Card promotion or any other in-store promotions.  This could be because not all franchises run the same promotions.  I would also consider the site inadequate in showcasing the latest buzz on their social media channels.

Facebook.com – The Facebook page has 55,500,869 likes and showcases the latest “I’m lovin it” twitter feeds as well as youtube videos and scads of customer generated photos.  The Super Bowl is trending now with a massive amount of customers sending in McD Seattle and New England fan pics.  Strangely, no mention either of any promotions such as McCafe Rewards.

Twitter – Twitter is really where McCafe shines.  Unlike the McDonald’s website or Facebook, McCafe has its own stand alone pages.  One of the funniest McCafe Twitter campaigns is replacing famous movie lines with coffee  . The McCafe twitter site also features many other extras such as rewarding some of the best tweets with a month’s worth of free coffee.

McCafe twitter rewards

YouTube – There are many McCafe good videos such as Fung Bros McCafe Comedy. Because McCafe actually originated in Australia and had an international presence before the line came to the U.S., there are many international videos featured. There is also a media presence in the television news industry recently comparing McCafe with some of the other big challengers.ABC News Starbucks vs. McCafe.    

Tumblr – McCafe has a pretty good size presence on Tumblr with various accounts featuring many photos and videos of them enjoying McCafe products around the globe.

mccafe product line

McCafe’s Future Trends

McCafe and their social media presence involves a major marketing campaign that begins this month as McCafe products begin peppering the shelves of most major supermarket retail chains. According to Adage.com (Schultz, 2014), “McCafe, with its widespread brand awareness, might offer Kraft a better opportunity in the premium category than Gevalia. Kraft lost Starbucks and needed a brand in the premium segment.”  Kraft along with powerhouse McDonalds takes a shot at becoming a top player in supermarket sales although it’s still up against very formidable competition.

McCafe Customer Service

As Young (2014) points out, “Brands such a Starbucks have been built through user experience and word-of-mouth. The consumer pathway is the base of the marketing effort.  Even though I’m enchanted by the McCafe products and impressed by their social media presence, what makes me a super-loyal customer and advocate is McDonald’s in-store customer service. For a food chain eatery that churns out megatons of burgers, fries, Happy Meals and the (ingenious) .99 for any large beverage (hello sweet tea fans!) I’m amazed at the personal touch I receive every time I walk into a McD.  I want to give a special shout out to Rose Hill Alexandria, VA McDonald’s Store Manager Jose Pena (below) and his staff for customer service that far exceeds any other food and beverage experience. All the employees know me and oftentimes begin making my order before I even put it in, just like a loved one being able to finish your sentences. Ah, the love affair continues!

rosehill mcD

References

Radice, R. (Dec. 4, 2014). Visual Marketing Strategies for Today’s Top Social Networks. Retrieved from http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/visual-marketing-strategies-todays-top-social-networks-16429/

Rhodes, J. (January 2015). Week 3 Lecture: Integrated Marketing Communications. MMC 5006, University of Florida.

Schultz. E. (Dec. 5, 2014). Kraft gives McCafe Rollout a Big Marketing Boost. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/kraft-give-mccafe-rollout-a-big-marketing-boost/296117/

Young, A. (2014). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. Pages 31-41, 101, 102, 104-106. Palgrave Mcmillian, New York, N.Y.

The Family Relation Dynamics of Traditional and Social Media

week 2 tradtional and social media

Everyday we watch, read, and listen…and have the option to speak. When comparing traditional to social media marketing, there is nary a soul alive that doesn’t see how social media marketing is completely trumping the traditional media venues, much the same way a computer dominates a typewriter.  Not only has fast-paced technology completely altered the marketing landscape, the traditional communication nuclear family has been shaken to its core.

Before you think I’ve completely thrown out the “old uncle” with the bath water in lieu of the “teenage niece gulping downing energy drinks,” let’s hold on a second. Direct mailings, print, radio and television traditional marketing has efficiently served the business world in the timeframe it solely dominated the scene and as the saying does, “for every season–there is a purpose.”

I’m all about seeing the Internet through the eyes of Captain Kirk, Even though William Shatner tickled my fancy in elementary school—let’s go with that deliciously brazen Chris Pine version and the quest to “boldly go where no smartphone has gone before!”  But like a fine wine, I prefer nightly sipping on television, and breathing in standard talk radio while hustling out and about in the DC metro area.  I also don the well-worn comfy classic media bathrobe on Sundays while drinking coffee with that sweet feel of leisurely turning those nostalgic Washington Post newspaper pages in my happy-overworked hands.

Direction of Communication Marketing

It all boils down to traditional and social media being family.  Despite the generation gap, family takes care of each other.  Grandpa started the business, dad took over and now junior is at the helm.  As generational marketing naturally evolved, many challenges were overcome such as the one-directional classic media format transforming into finely tuned multi-directional interactivity media.

Holmes (2007) comments that the strongest proponents of the importance of interactivity are the ‘second media age’ theorists (Gilder, Poster, Rheingold) who bestow it with emancipator meanings in contrast to the one-way architecture of first media age. Traditional media of newspapers, radio, television and cinema are viewed as repressive, controlling, subordinating and an attack on individuality itself. New media, in contrast, are seen to place the control of meaning-making back into the hands of the individual.”

There’s little argument that the continued direction of sophistication in marketing communication is on the rise creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers and constituencies.  As McGoldrick (n.d.) aptly mentions, “What once was a low-cost channel seeking simple results such as Facebook “likes” now is a more polished discipline: one that builds by word-of-mouth through complex interactions and enables a better understanding of who influences whom and how tipping points are reached.”

Scope of Marketing

Classic media was limited to zeroing in on specific target audiences and markets as best they could to optimize results.  Social Media is available to just about everybody.  Even though social media marketing is still like shooting fish in a barrel, at least the ammo is cheaper and the range potential is more far reaching. With the mass amount of consumer big data available, the scope of marketing appears endless to exploit the richness of targeting based on data.

(Young, 2014) “As traditional media has digitized, so has the availability of data and the ability for media planners to capture and respond with increased granularity.  Outcast Media, a digital media company that sells video advertising atop fuel pumps across gas stations throughout the United States, is now working with advertisers to run video ads based on a profile of the user’s credit card.

A good example of the integration of traditional to digitized media is when apparel manufacturer Patagonia shocked the system in 2011 by running a full-page ad in The New York Times with the provocative headline: “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” In the ad, readers were prompted to go online and sign a two-part pledge to reduce consumption and waste by buying items only when needed, repairing them when they break and recycling products at the end of their useful life. The buzz online was fortified by coverage in top outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post and The Guardian. The campaign aim was to reinforce Patagonia as a high-quality brand that offers durable, long-lasting products.

The kinship of media integration

In his book “Twitter is Not a Strategy,” J. Walter Thompson Asia CEO Tom Doctoroff explains how integrating the traditional and digital branding is the best strategy for brands. Digital age, he contends, is enabling consumers to be much more empowered in terms of how they engage with manufacturers and brand messages and how they provide feedback, so there’s a more dynamic interrelationship between consumer and brand than there was in the past. (Abulashivili, 2015).

Within the old and new media family integration, for the first time our consumer cousins came to the reunion and responded by triggering a mass dialogue — adding the speaking element to what we all do well as a family, gather on the sofa and watch, read and listen.

References

Abulashivili, M. (Jan. 16, 2015). Tom Doctoroff Touts Intergrating Tradtional, Digital Branding. Retrieved from  http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/241853/tom-doctoroff-touts-integrating-traditional-digit.html

Holmes, D. (2007). The Fallacies and Fortunes of ‘Interactivity’ in Communication Theory.  Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association, Volume 8.

McGoldrick, B. (n.d.). Tradtional vs. Social Media. Retreived from: http://www.fticonsulting.com/global2/critical-thinking/fti-journal/social-vs-traditional-media.aspx

Young, A. (2014). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital ERA, Palgrave McMillan, New York, NY.