Are phones the new currency?

I work for a regional bank in Morgantown, West Virginia.  They have contracted with a company that now handles all of our merchant services such as credit card machines, remote deposit scanners, lockbox deposit operations, etc.  There used to be one person per market, most of the time a Branch Manager, that would be the merchant services representative for that market, but not anymore.  The company that we are now partnered with also offers a device that can be linked to someone’s iPhone, iPhone being the only available device currently, in order to accept payments.  The device that the company has developed will slide onto an iPhone and will allow for people to accept credit card payments right onto the phone, the customer will then have the option of obtaining a receipt right there if there is a printer that is available or they will receive a receipt emailed to them immediately.  So, let’s say for example that in Pittsburgh, there is a restaurant that purchases two iPhones for all of its wait staff and then purchases two devices.  Once a customer is ready to pay, the table’s waiter/waitress can walk up to the table, swipe the card right then and there, it never has to leave the customer’s sight, the customer will sign right on the iPhone and they can have the receipt emailed, they do not have to worry about losing it or having it stolen.   More about this can be found at http://www.verifone.com/payware-mobile-enterprise/overview.aspx

This same company is also pairing with Google in order to release an ‘app’ that will allow consumers to pay using a virtual copy of their credit card that they have stored in the app.  This will also work for redeeming coupons or gift cards.  Merchants such as American Eagle, Macy’s, GUESS, and Toys ‘R’ Us are already trying out the new touch plate that will be attached the POS machine already.  More information can be found at http://www.verifone.com/lp/nfc-google.aspx.

Consumers might be a little nervous at first about swiping their card through someone’s phone but none of the information from the credit card is stored.  The first device also goes as far as to tell people where the card was when it was swiped.  So let’s say that someone who is selling Mary Kay begins to use the product.  One of the clients that purchased the Mary Kay products tries to say that it was not them that swiped their card, well the program says that the card was swiped at the next door neighbor’s house when she was hosting a Mary Kay party, she can collaborate on who was in attendance.  The technology is out there, companies just have to be willing to harness and utilize it.

Amanda

What could they possibly think of next?

We can all agree on the fact that advertising and marketing has certainly changed.  I cannot imagine that my grandparents, who are now owners of their own Facebook account, saw this coming.  A college student develops a multi-million dollar company in his dorm room and now it is changing the way companies interact with their customers.  Twitter allows companies the instant updates with their customers and allows those companies to gauge how their consumers really feel about their products or services.

Video games have become a large part of a young person’s life, especially if they live in the United States.  I know that some colleges and universities have even had some trouble in residence halls, trying to get the residents to become involved and really take hold of the opportunities that living in a dorm can present.  Video games are not only for college students who are looking to kill time in between classes but companies have started advertising in video games and developing video games for their consumers  to get more involved in the brand.  Brands are gaining spots in sports video games just as they would in the actual sport arenas.  In some of the driving and racing games, there are billboards and bus stops that are now carrying company logos.  “A study commissioned by NeoEdge Networks, says that video advertising within online games is more effective than TV advertising.”  There is no surprise there.  There is another side of this advertising wave that says that the advertising takes away from the game.  These characters are supposed to be in a make-believe world where they are doing things and having encounters with objects that they don’t in everyday life when a Burger King advertisement is displayed.  I’m not sure where this will lead for advertisers or marketers but it certainly is big business for them.  What do you think?  All opinions welcome.

Amanda

You can read more about the study mentioned above at http://techcrunch.com/2009/03/24/study-in-game-video-advertising-trumps-tv-advertising-in-effectiveness/

Bing and Facebook Joining Forces

Things just get more advanced by the minute and almost scarier.  Let’s say, one of your friends has gone onto Facebook , at some point, and ‘liked’ the new Mexican restaurant that just opened up in your area.  You are looking for a new place to eat Friday night, you search complete a search for this restaurant on Bing and all of a sudden, Bing has displayed your friends that ‘liked’ the restaurant.   Helpful or scary?  I haven’t decided yet.  I am not sure how much I pay attention to what my friends are ‘liking’ on Facebook and I also do not use Bing, almost ever.

Will this increase Bing’s exposure over its competitor Google?  Maybe.  “People value the opinions of their friends, so it makes sense that they’ll value the recommendations of their Facebook friends when it comes to searching…on the Internet.”(Johnson, 2010).   This service will only be helpful if Bing and Facebook advertise this union.  This will not be something that can just appear and then hope that people catch on.  There needs to be something that will draw people to use the search engine in the first place and then something to keep them there.  If they find that the information provided, specifically whether or not their friends ‘like’ the services or products, then they will continue to use the search engine for certain things.  This could be extremely helpful for people who are new to an area and are looking for new things to do or restaurants to eat at.  People like to travel and will occasionally return home and happen to ‘like’ the location on Facebook, this leading to other people finding out about the location and so on and so forth.  What do you think?  Will this combination of social networking and searching be enough?

Amanda

Johnson, A.  (2010, October 14).  Search engine game changer:  Bing and Facebook join forces to deliver social search results.  Retrieved on June 27, 2011 fromhttp://www.kikabink.com/news/search-engine-game-changer-bing-and-facebook-join-forces-to-deliver-social-search-results/

Lemos, M.  (2010, October 18).  Bing and Facebook join forces.   The social search:  found.  Retrieved on June 27, 2011 from http://blog.makeitwork.com/bing-and-facebook-join-forces-the-social-search-found/

Groupon…I’m sorry, what?

I have heard about Groupon here and there.  I have never taken the time in order to explore it but from what I can tell, you sign-up by putting in an email address and then selecting the closest city.  Then there is a coupon from a local business that is emailed to you every morning.  This idea is genius.  This helps the local business as well as people who are new to the area.  It encourages the consumers to go out and try these restaurants or dentists or plastic surgeon.  Email is not the only way to receive the deal of the day anymore.  Now you can register your mobile device and have the coupons directly send to your phone.

As I started researching this site a little more and after the discussions a couple weeks ago about how search engines make money, I began wondering how this site made their money.  I would have assumed that every company that registers with Groupon, pays them as their coupon is sent out.  That is not the case.  Groupon takes a percentage of the sales that are made and the coupon is used.  It says a lot about a company that will provide a service first and get paid second.  They are providing consumers with deals that the designers of Groupon would be inclined to use.  The patent is pending for this site but there are other sites that are similar to Groupon.  There is a site called RueLaLa.  This site sends an email and has designers and designer products that are on sale.  The attractive thing about this website is that it is based upon referral.  So not anyone can go to the website and join, you have to be sponsored by an existing member.  I am curious to know how this affects their business.  The more people you refer the more of a discount you receive and then the more that the people you have referred purchase, again the more of a discount you receive.  Would Groupon be more successful based upon the fact of anyone being able to join or does RueLaLa gain more customers because it is referral only?

Amanda

Twitter

This week, my boyfriend made a bet with one of his co-workers that he could get a celebrity to tweet him.  His colleague, of course, took the bet.  An hour later, he has a tweet from Sara Bareilles.  As the writing assignment this week asked us to explore Twitter, which I’ll be honest, I haven’t ever really done before, I became more and more curious as to what celebrities were tweeting.  I have never been one to read the celebrity magazines or the gossip magazines.  I do not pick up the magazines in the check-out line in the grocery store and peruse the articles before purchasing, I just haven’t ever really been interested.  However, with this new Twitter phenomenon, I am interested in what celebrities are tweeting.  I also have to think that again, just like most things in Hollywood, are they censoring themselves on Twitter as well?  Is this just another outlet for celebrities to advertise exactly what they want us as observers to see?

I would have to say yes only because I could do the same thing.  After all, that is a point of social media.  I decide what pictures to display, what comments to be made, who I’m going to be friends with or follow, etc.  All of this leaves something to be said about who I am, the same way that it would for a celebrity.  Now my Twitter page is not nearly viewed as many times as let’s say Britney Spears or Chris Brown(both somewhat controversial characters in society).

Twitter allows for instant access to what people are doing and in this case, celebrities.  Twitter gives a space where celebrities can bridge the gap between their lives and their fans.  This could be both good and bad.  It allows for instant updates, so if something is leaked to the media or The National Inquirer decides to run a story, this celebrity can create a response on their Twitter page.  It also allows for the celebrities to be themselves.  If the celebrity is mad at the world one day, he/she has every right to go on their Twitter page and express themselves.  This could backfire, immediately.

Twitter is a social networking site.  For some it’s just another way of marketing, still not allowing for the consumer to really get to know the person or the brand.  The people still have control over what is seen by the consumer/fan and why shouldn’t they?

Amanda

McDonalds

Hello fellow classmates,

I know we discussed companies that were marketing to children in our assignments last week but since it was an assignment, I was unable to get everyone’s opinion.

I was torn when writing my paper about whether or not the responsibility was that of the company or the consumer.  There is nothing that says that when a company advertises, a person has to use the service or purchase that product, especially if the consumer knows the dangers of what that product or service could possibly bring about.  Part of the assignment was to decide whether or not marketing to children was ethical.  I have a hard time deciding.  I believe that many members of society have stopped taking responsibility for their actions.  I know this is not supposed to be a political blog, however, I have a problem with the fact that companies have to alter their marketing and advertising tactics because people are not responsible enough to NOT feed their children fast food every day.  I know that children are easily enough persuaded by Happy Meals and the free toy from restaurants but that does not mean that parents have to give into them.

Should fast food restaurants be held responsible for their marketing?  Is it irresponsible to advertise to children because of how impressionable they can be?  Of course, with these questions, I automatically love to play devil’s advocate and begin asking myself questions about whether or not it is ok to advertise cigarettes to children.  Is advertising fast food just as irresponsible as advertising cigarettes or alcohol?  I don’t know.  I will be completely honest, I have no idea.  The obesity rate in the United States is high for children. These risks will cause long term damage among these children, just as smoking cigarettes could.  I would love to hear opinions.  The website I chose for last week’s assignment was mcworld.com.  Have a nice week.

Amanda

 

Leaving the house and not missing a thing…

I believe it was Jerry Seinfeld who made a remark before one of his sitcom episodes, about the ability to record TV shows but the entire point of leaving the house is so that you can step outside of your normal everyday routine and not worry about what is going on in the land of Family Guy, or whichever show it is that you decide to keep up with.  Verizon offers Mobile TV, Comcast is beginning to offer it.  People have the ability to save several shows with DVR.  There are no tapes to be switched, you don’t have to set the DVR to record every week, it can just be set up once and you’re done.

There are some benefits for DVR.  One nice thing about DVR is that you can fast forward through the commercials.  I have read reports about how DVR or TiVo has not hurt the TV advertising movement as much as advertisers were worried about.  There is a blog link attached that has some statistics.  Another nice thing about DVR is that for anyone who has children, being able to bring up any show for their children makes cooking dinner easier, I’m sure.

DVR Statistics Show Promise for TV Advertising

http://www.dontdrinkthekoolaidblog.com/dvr-statistics-show-promise-for-tv-advertising/

Study:  DVR becomes can’t-live-without device

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/32214