The Digital Game of Thrones

gameofthrones

I love articles that reference Game of Thrones. That show is so complex and really shows the politics, delicateness and finesse that comes with war and trying to be on top. So when Mark sent us this article to read on the major tech moguls being compared to my favorite tv show, I already knew it was going to be a good read.I highly suggest listening to the theme song as you read it.

Before I even finished this article, I already had mapped out who was who in GoT terms:

Microsoft: Targaryen family

Google: Stark family

Amazon: Tyrell family

Apple: Baratheon/Lannister family

Facebook: Dothraki (hey I thought it was funny…)

But in all seriousness, the battle of digital dominance has been raging for many years, especially after Steve Jobs (our iron king) died.

The article lays out a world at war, where land is replaced with market share, and battles are fought with advertising.

Turf Wars

The article mentions that just like R.R. Martin’s novel, these top companies have there own corner of the market that they are desperately defending while venturing out to conquer more. Google has been doing well, protecting their search engine market share , being the largest search engine provider in the world. But that isn’t stopping  Apple from trying to create their own type of search engine in order to become “Google-independent”. It’s hard to believe that these two used to be best buddies…kind of reminds you of a certain two.

robert-and-ned-high-dress

The Iron Phone

I think the most visible part of the war that we have seen is over the phone market. Everyone wants to have the perfect phone, the strongest rivalry being Google’s Android over Apple’s iOS system. Microsoft has been desperately trying to join in on this game by means of the Windows phone, but currently it is no where near the capacity of fans the first two have. Facebook and Amazon both are cruising along with these two, having apps on both systems, but that may change with the rumors floating around about Amazon creating it’s own phone. I don’t think Amazon would do well in that market; why try to establish yourself in an over-saturated market?  Especially when they are being pretty successful with their e-reader, the Kindle.

Content Wars

There are a couple parts of this war that need to be addressed.

The article mentions that the biggest competitors in the content war has been e-books. Amazon and Apple both have separate ways of getting content out to it’s customers thanks to cloud services, but Amazon, being known as an electronic marketplace, is dominating the industry, with Apple only taking in 5% of the market share. Apple has been trying to coax publishers over to their side however, by making fees smaller, and giving more freedom to rights as opposed to Amazon.

Next there is content-sharing. Here I believe Google has a bit of an advantage, since they own Youtube, the biggest provider of video content in America. Thanks to their YouTube partnership program, and various advertisement affiliates, they were projected to make $4 billion in revenue in 2012, and grow 20% each year from there.  However there difficulties in monetizing their users has been Apple’s strength, with their I-tunes.

Now you are probably thinking, “Why is Facebook included in this war?” Dothraki guys. They are the largest social network in the world, so once they find a stable way to monetize their users, they will be one of the biggest threats to these companies. They have been doing pretty well too, coming back from a disappointing 3rd quarter and monetizing their users in 2012 with $64 million revenue. My Dothraki comparison doesn’t seem that far off now, does it?

dothraki

Conclusion

It seems as if this battle’s main issue is finding the best way to monetize audiences and pulling them to their side. It feels a bit like high school elections actually, only with a lot more advertisements in your face. So will we see an end to this war, and finally have a new King? The article doesn’t believe it will have an end soon, and I agree. There are too many factors that play into pulling ahead as the leader, and with so many ‘third party’ options, people will stay divided on who they want to do their business with for a long time.

As the battle for the iron throne continues, I will be sitting back, waiting for Khaleesi to come riding in on her dragons to take everybody out. Who that is has yet to be seen, however I feel that it may be Yahoo, they just acquired Tumblr, and we all know how massive that army is.

khalessi

So, do you agree with my family assignments? Have a different idea on the tech wars? Do me a favor; read the full article here, and comment back here on what you think.

NFO: News Feed Optimization with EdgeRank

So I was scrolling through my News Feed when I saw something rather interesting:

newsfeed

As you can see, while I am seeing a post from my friend, I also am seeing a link from College Fashion about Thor 2 inspired fashion. So why am I seeing this? That would be EdgeRank doing it’s thing.

What the heck is EdgeRank?

Edgerank is a fancy algorithm by Facebook that determines what posts are shown on each user’s News Feed. It’s all a part of News Feed Optimization(NFO); a way to make sure that your business’s content is being seen by your fans without having to pay for an ad. Posts are ranked via 3 variables:

Affinity: Your relationship to your users. Now what does this mean as far as rating posts? It means that our posts are based on both personal interactions and network interactions. Depending on how much you interact with a certain user (or page), the more their statuses will show up on your News Feed. Additionally, the more times people ‘like’, share, or comment on your posts, the more likely they will continue to show up on people’s news feeds.

Weight: how important EdgeRank assigns your post based on the post type(text, image, video, etc). If you are posting pictures and videos, those are usually ranked the highest. Things with links are second, and text is dead last. Remember though, it’s all about relevance; if the post has no relevance to a user, it won’t show first thing on their News Feed.

Time Decay: How old your post is. The longer the post is on Facebook, the lesser the chance it will show up in someone’s News Feed. However, this isn’t a black and white type of deal; some users don’t spend every waking moment on Facebook, and only check in every once and a while, so to them, it’s new and relevant information. 

The graphic below shows the nifty equation(brought to you by Batman):

Facebook Edgerank

Since 40% of users spend their time on the Facebook News Feed alone, it’s important that businesses get that coveted spot on a user’s News Feed. Because of this, companies like Post Rocket, are were offering NFO services to businesses, so that they can rank higher on Facebook (granted they closed down August 2013).

Do I Need EdgeRank?

It depends a lot on what your social media strategy is. People have said that EdgeRank is dead, but I think of it like online advertising, it’s simply evolving.  I would like to point out that as the algorithm changes, so does the factors. These three are still included, but there are over 100,000 factors that play into what users sees. But it’s not like Facebook ever changes right?

EdgeRank essentially is protecting it’s users. Users hate spam. So posts about liking pages or checking out companies that show up in our News Feed that aren’t related to us? Yea, that’s spam. And Facebook will make you pay for that (Sorry Mark Cuban). If you want to stay relevant on Facebook, and gain a bigger audience, EdgeRank will be beneficial. The more relevant you are, the more users will like and engage your page, the more viewers who engage, the higher you rank with EdgeRank. In addition to that however, every user  has a unique affinity; so their is no secret hack to get to every possible user you want. So it goes back to strategy. What do you want out of your social media?

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The SQL to your Marketing Education: Becoming a Technical Marketer

You have all finished the basic education of marketing (4Ps, inbound marketing, content marketing, etc) but now it’s time for part 2. It takes more than a fantastic talent for writing copy in order to become a marketer. Nowadays, becoming a jack of all trades makes you stand out more in a line of applicants than anything else. One of the best trades any Jack or Jill marketer should know is SQL.

What the heck is that?

SQL(pronounced like sequel, now my title makes more sense), or structured query language, is a special language that is designed for managing databases, allowing you to run queries, retrieve data, among other things. In other words, it’s the way you are going to pull off database marketing without needing to call in a “tech guy”.

Database marketing is targeted marketing for the new technical age. Think inbound marketing, but a bit more segmented and technical. It is simply using the data you have in your database, running a query of people that fit the campaign you have in mind (so for example, 18-24 year old females who bought something in the last 3 months), and crafting an email, postcard, or whatever specifically for them. Can we say segmentation marketing? It’s brilliant, targeted, personable, and helps you gain more revenue. At Logos, our Email team knew how to do database marketing like a boss, and it showed in our sales reports.

So why are they both awesome? Let’s look at an example: This article talks about how it would be cool to have companies tweet you when they are ‘thinking of you'(i.e birthdays, parent’s birthday, etc). With SQL, depending on how you  structure gathering information from your clients, you can do what this article suggests. You can set up automated tweets on technology such as Hootsuite, pull a query from your sql database for those who have a birthday coming up, and send birthday tweets from your corporation to valued customers. Granted, this may not be your main priority with database marketing and would take a bit of work,  but it is possible.

Still don’t think it’s a big deal? Look in your email inbox. Those emails from brands that seem to know when your birthday is and give you a coupon? They are using database marketing.

Here are some of the ones I found just in my inbox:

  • Menchies-They sent me a lovely birthday email with a free coupon for froyo
  • JustFab-Sent me a free shoes coupon because I hadn’t bought anything in the last 6 months
  • Logos- This was a test email, but it was an email to those who haven’t upgraded a plan in the last 3 months, etc
  • Weebly- Realized I had a site, but hadn’t upgraded yet, so they sent me an email with advice on how to upgrade at a low cost

That’s Cool, but why do I personally need to know this? Don’t we have a Dev team for that?

Putting it frankly, your Dev team has much cooler and more complicated things to do, and if you can take it off their hands, it would be much appreciated. Also, it’s great for your career. To succeed as a marketer you need to constantly be improving on your skills in order to stay relevant to your company. It’s funny because a few years back, it seemed that everyone wanted a specialist; someone who knew how to do one thing better than anybody else. According to Jamie from SEOmoz, you now need to be both a specialist (knowing how to do something very well) and be a generalist (know a lot of different topics) to bring the most value to your company.

generalist

I couldn’t agree more. There is a reason I am a double major in both Marketing and Management Information Systems: it’s because I want to make sure I know how to do technical things such as creating and managing databases, coding dynamic websites, as well as having the tools to be a great marketer. Having the knowledge of both will help me stand out more as a candidate for jobs I want.

Conclusion: Being a technical marketer, is like being a superhero in the marketing world.

 

I am ready to start my Marketing Education SQL! Where do I start?

I highly suggest reading this article, besides further explaining why having these tech skills are helpful to you, it also has a lot of resources at the bottom of the article to get you started. I also suggest looking into basic database design from W3 schools.  In addition to SQL, look into other languages such as  Html ,CSS, and PHP,  because all that knowledge will help support your marketing efforts when it comes to web optimization and targeted marketing.

Do you think the next step for marketing education is learning to be technical? Did you get my SQL joke?  What did you find in your inbox? Let me know in the comments below!

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