Archives For Digital Marketing

90 million Americans are classified as obese. Many people can be described as professional couch potatoes. A study led by kinesiology researchers at the University of Tennessee, found that the average adult takes just 5,117 steps per day–barely half the daily steps recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General.

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Gym memberships increase right after the holidays but by mid-March attendance is down. Many people start fitness programs but lack the willpower to make it a regular habit. Can technology help? Wearable devices that monitor every footstep and exercise milestone allow people to keep track of their own fitness activities like never before. The devices track steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. Companies like Fitbit, Nike and Jawbone are enhancing users’ workouts through analytics, encouragement and the ability to share your accomplishment with friends through social media. These devices try to make fitness fun and interactive. It is the intersection of health and technology.

The Consumer Electronics Association says the sports and fitness category is a $70 billion annual business in the United States. Fitbit has emerged as the leader in the fast growing digital Health and Fitness category. The NPD Research Group says that Fitbit has 77% of the market for full activity body trackers and 50% of the market for digital fitness devices. Most experts predict rapid growth in this category over the next three to five years.

Fitbit was founded in 2007 by Eric Friedman and James Park. Friedman and Park realized that sensors and wireless technology had advanced to a point where they could bring amazing experiences to fitness and health. The company’s initial product, the Fitbit, was released in September 2009. It was the first wireless wearable fitness device for the mass consumer market. Fitbit’s offering has expanded to include several products including the Flex, Zip, One, Force and Aria. Their products are stylish and available in a variety of colors. Fitbit is sold at Best Buy, Dicks Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Target and REI to name a few.

Fitbit’s mission is to empower and inspire people to live a healthier more active lifestyle. Their goal is to design products and experiences that fit seamlessly into your life so that you can achieve your fitness goals whatever they maybe.

Can Fitbit sustain its amazing growth? Wearables have become part of many people’s daily lives. Are these products a passing fad or a product category that will grow for years? Will smartphones through apps add this functionality and kill the category?

Have you tried Fitbit or another wearable fitness product?

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American Express OPEN Forum is a great example of successful Content Marketing. In his book “Epic Content Marketing”, Joe Pulizzi defines Content Marketing as the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly define and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable consumer action. Content marketing is a strategy that focuses on the creation of a valuable experience.  American Express understands the importance of a brand publishing useful content for their target audience. They have become a “trusted authority” for small business owners.

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OPEN Forum is an online community of small businesses hosted by American Express. Members use OPEN Forum to exchange insights, to get advice and expand connections. Open Forum helps business owners make smarter decisions. The mission of OPEN Forum is to provide small business owners information, education and connection. OPEN Forum is a community with content at its core.

OPEN Forum was launched in 2007 as a digital home for live events where small business owners gained valuable information while networking with each other. In 2008, during the middle of the recession, OPEN Forum established itself as a blog for small business topics. OPEN Forum partnered with industry leaders such as Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan and Ann Handley of MarketingProfs to post expert content. This approach helped OPEN Forum build credibility. The idea for Small Business Saturday came from this community.

The site’s content provides useful information that small business owners want and need. Popular topics include productivity, business management and finance. The site is aimed at small business owners who are time pressed and in constant search for ways to improve their business. The site focuses very clearly on their needs with insightful content in multiple formats such as videos, infographics, blog posts, articles and audio. It also attempts to be helpful with practical tools, how to content, marketing tips, and latest industry forecasts. The site has user-generated content but also content from publishers.

American Express has seen positive returns from OPEN Forum. American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States. American Express OPEN Forum has over 1 Million monthly unique visitors. 85% traffic comes from unpaid sources as readers share the content with their own social networks, bringing back more visitors. Their number one goal to drive people to small businesses. They understand that if small businesses keep growing they will be successful as well. The business goal is to increase brand awareness and sign-ups to AmEx products, American Express intentionally do not publish self-promotional content.

I believe that there are several great lessons to be learned from the American Express OPEN Forum initiative:

  • Understand the needs of your target audience
  • Have a clearly defined content mission
  • Provide valuable and useful content that helps your audience
  • Don’t use content to sell, establish yourself as a “Trusted Advisor”. 
  • Leverage experts outside your organization to provide relevant content.
  • Commit for the long haul – Content Marketing is not a campaign but a long-term effort to engage your audience.

Can you think of other brands who are doing a great job of Content Marketing?

Burberry is a brand with a strong heritage and a modern approach to digital marketing. This combination has given the brand a distinct competitive advantage in the fashion industry. Burberry was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. Burberry is most famous for its trench coat which was designed by its founder Thomas Burberry. Its distinctive tartan pattern is one of the most widely copied trademarks in the world.

By the mid to late 1990’s, Burberry had come to be seen as tired, stodgy brand that put its signature checkered print on far too many items. In 2001, Christopher Bailey joined the company as creative director. Bailey is credited with leading a turnaround of the Burberry Brand through product design and digital marketing.

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Burberry has reinvented itself as one of the most forward-thinking fashion marketers in the world. Burberry has seamlessly integrated digital into everything that it does. Digital is not an afterthought its the way Burberry conducts business today. Its digital focus has differentiated the brand and moved it ahead of its fashion competitors. In 2009, it was one of the first fashion houses to live-stream a runway show. It’s also been known to tweet images of a new collection before a show, effectively giving its Twitter followers a glance at the line before front-row celebrities and high-powered editors get one. The commitment to social media has changed its production schedule. Burberry is one of the few brands that allows consumers to buy clothes immediately after models walk down the runway in them.

Efforts such as “Art of the Trench,” which features consumers wearing the iconic trench coat, and “Burberry Acoustic,” which features collaborations with British musicians, are examples of how Burberry integrates digital. The brand is not afraid to experiment with new ideas. The latest is “Burberry Kisses”, developed in partnership with Google, which lets users capture a print of their kiss on a smart phone or webcam and send it in a digital letter to the object of their affection. Burberry does an excellent job melding the digital and physical world.

Burberry has 16.1 million Facebook fans and 2.1 million followers on Twitter and other impressive social media stats. Luxury Fashion Brands downplayed the internet in the beginning, believing it would cheapen their image, Burberry is now seeing its fastest growth in online sales as it embraces social media and blurs the boundary between its physical stores and the digital world.

Can you think of another heritage brand that has successfully embraced the digital world?