Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Renowned (pin)interest in Marketing

Yes, I have to admit it, I fell for Pinterest. 
Like millions of other people I couldn't resist to the prospect of a 'new' social media website. I tried avoiding it at first, but then got an invitation from a friend and decided to give it a try. By the way, did you know that it's actually 2 years old? Go figure!
I'm using it for fun and, surprisingly enough, also for some practical reasons. You can have a look at it here: http://pinterest.com/franbrazzorotto/
Basically it does exactly what normal bookmark services have always done, but in a fancier way, with a lots of cute pictures. 
Humans are very visual beings, so I think the founders of Pinterest must have simply taken a relatively old web concept - bookmarking - and pimped it with the power of visual help. A very smart thing, because this website is taking off big time!
I've been using bookmark services such as Delicious, and then of course, Google for years now. I find the latest one a great way to access my stuff anywhere in the world and from any computer.
But even if some of these services have moved towards a more modern approach of bookmarking (for example Delicious is now dividing random links by categories so you can go and explore them and add them to your own link library), it's still just a list of links - and it can get confusing if you're not a tidy freak (I'm not!).

HOW THEY WORK

This is a simple and short explanation of how bookmark services and Pinterest work.

  • Bookmark services allow you to save the link of the page, which then you can re-name as you please and save it in a specific folder/list. PROS: The concept is great, you get to go exactly to the page you're interested in, whenever you want to, without having to waste time looking for it in the entire website. CONS: On the other hand you only have a list or more to work with, so if you're like me and sometimes save things in a hurry without giving the link a detailed description, you'll find yourself with a million links and no idea what they're linking to! So you'll end up wasting time browsing through old, stray links, checking what they're all about, and sorting them.
  • Pinterest allows you to add and save objects (images and videos) on a 'moodboard' you can rename however you please. PROS: Not only then you save a specific image on the page, but you also keep a link to the original website you've taken the image from. You can have all the boards you like, detailed or random, it doesn't matter, because they're FULL of lovely images that help you understand exactly what you've saved and why. You also get to describe what you've pinned, if you need information for future reference. CONS: although you still keep a link to the original website (if you pin the thing first, and not if you re-pin somebody else's image to your own board!), you don't get to keep the exact location of the image on the website, which can be quite annoying, especially if it's a product you want to buy successively. However you can also add the exact link in the image description. Finally, you need somebody to invite you in order to join the Pinterest community. Posh! not.


PINTEREST AS A MARKETING TOOL

Now let's talk business. Like every social media website out there, Pinterest can be used to promote and market your products. I mean, if Foursquare does it, why can't Pinterest?
Here are some very valid points why you should consider using it for your products

  • Traffic to your website/blog is mainly driven by well-thought keywords and images. If you're selling items that can be displayed, then a website that's based on visuals is what you need!
  • 'Pinning' is quite simple and straightforward, so once a picture has been pinned to a board and included under a category, it's very likely it will go viral FAST. It's a matter of 're-pinning' and from my personal experience, that's quick and enjoyable to do!
  • Always from the publicity point of you, I'd like to present a personal case. I randomly found on Pinterest a picture of boutonni√®res for the groom, and re-pinned it on my 'wedding board' along with other wedding-related ideas I liked. I then went back to the board and managed to trace the image to the website Etsy and to the seller. I contacted the seller and bought the boutonni√®res and some other stuff and - been happy with the service -  successively re-pinned the products on my board with the exact details of the seller - for people who might have been interested. The images have been re-pinned by other people who found the products interesting and inspirational. So, isn't it pretty great and a no-brainer?
  • Watching what are the products that are getting 're-pinned' the most will quickly give you an idea of what people like in that particular market, at that particular time. Bye bye boring stats!
  • It's so, SO, easy to connect your boards and products on Pinterest to your FB and Twitter accounts - that's integrated social media business.
  • Let's remember that social media is not about direct selling, but liaising with old and potential customers. You can create funny or personal boards making your company more 'human'. Why not adding pictures of your stuff, office, or of events you're organising?
  • Follow and like other people's boards within your market/product category. They'll notice you more!
  • Create an interesting visual campaign! It's all about images! Look at these campaigns for inspiration:  http://mashable.com/2012/03/23/pinterest-marketing-campaigns/
  • It doesn't infringe copyright, so when you pin something you're not giving up any ownership rights, but of course Pinterest reserves the right to use anything you might pin.
  • You can easily track what has been pinned from your website/blog by going to the following link: http://pinterest.com/source/YourWebsite.com/ The more you check and like images taken from your website, the more you'll boost your presence on the net! Also you might be interested in connecting your stats via Google Analytics, if so please check the following link: http://mashable.com/2012/03/13/pinterest-track-traffic/
That's it for now, but stay tuned, I'm always on the look-out for new amazing marketing-related topics! 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ipad, tablets and all that Jazz

As a tech-lover, I must admit that my curiosity for new, sparkling gadgets has pushed me more than once to consider buying a tablet, or let's admit it, even an Ipad.
Now, I'm not really a Mac fan, in fact I've been a Windows lover and user since the 80s! Yes, I was one of those kids who played with DOS games and stuff in my early years.
When the Ipad first entered the market I wasn't particularly impressed. Looking at it from a student point of view (at the time) I couldn't see a market, or even a use for it.
You want something small? Use your smartphone; you need something bigger? Then use your laptop.
Why would you use a screen with no keyboard? I know I wouldn't!
So that was my point of view, and it has been for a while.
Now that I work in publishing, and more precisely in marketing and sales, I've realized why a tablet could be indeed very useful.
I'm not a sales agent myself - although I really hope to give it a go sooner than later - but I work closely with them and I have to prepare their sales material so they can do their job properly and sell lots and lots of books around the world.
I've seen them running around with bags full of print-outs, covers, mock-ups, blads, AIs and whatnot. 
It's easily understandable why many customers won't allow a sales agent to spend hours with them in order to purchase books. They see many of them (both agents and books) every month, therefore they need to be impressed, and quickly!
So I've recently started to create power point presentations. HA! Isn't it innovative? No? I know.
Usually (at least that's what I would do if I was a publisher) a presentation should be provided by the  publisher, but in my case that doesn't seem to happen very often. So here I am spending hours creating a ppt presentation for each single publisher (both for Spring and Fall, of course)!
It might seem like a waste of time, but trust me, it seems like many customers around the world have been very impressed! Most worth of note is taht the amount of material the agents have to carry around with them now is a quarter of what it used to be last year! It's great to travel light, you know! (Anyhow, I still think this is quite a waste of time and that publishers should provide them to their sales team).
So as a professional I think the tablet are a good invention, you see?
If I was a sales agent I would use one of those fancy apps like Keynote and easily prepare lots of different presentations (by month, by topic, customised for particular zones), and look efficient, modern and prepared. Customers would be impressed both at the fancy presentation - which could mask any bad products -, at the tailored series of products I'd show them - sign that you know who you're dealing with, and at the efficient ratio between number of products and time of the presentation. 
There would be no need to take out a laptop, connect it to a projector and so on. Everything would be right under your nose, ready to be shared with apps like Mighty Meeting, or to send the order to your inbox without having to use pen and paper.
Now I get what these lovely shiny gadgets are all about: they're about business!


I definitely want one!


Now...who wants to hire me? ;)