Archives for posts with tag: Groupon

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Groupon’s IPO: We’ve wasted too much time, writing about Groupon’s problems, challenges, opportunities and internal machinations. I’m as guilty as anyone. The IPO filing moved the conversation from pundits to the market. As it should be.

2. Google+: Since we don’t have to focus on Groupon anymore, Google+ gave marketers more fodder to discuss the problems, challengesand opportunities of Google’s innovative social layer. The combination of SEO and a huge user base makes it likely Google+ will be a success. It’s not the new Facebook, but it’s a new Google.

3. Zombies cling to life: Just a few deaths of 2011: The Web, micro site, print, display ads, television (a golden oldie) and radio. I’m glad to see all these zombies looking pretty much alive. Some of them need some drastic procedures to move them back to a real healthy existence, others need a good rehab to reset their mission and vision. Still, they are alive, nobody died and no need to write more obituaries.

4. Josh Williams, Gowalla: It’s good to see a CEO pivot in the right way. He knew he lost the “check-in war” and changed the vision of his company from “I was here” to “I wish you were here.” Check-ins were always kind of stupid: marketing opportunities are limited (Since most people use location-based apps as personal branding tools, the opportunity for businesses to conquest seems minimal), and the user base was even more limited. Foursquare cornered that small opportunity and we’ll see if they can get traction outside of the geek crowd. Gowalla’s mission change to craft the narrative of your life is fascinating. I wish them well.

5. Content Marketing: Let’s be honest here: We didn’t feel needed anymore. People just blocked us out. Banner blindness, DVR, apathy, ignoring our messages. Content marketing gave us an opportunity to go back to our roots of communicating with our customers and prospects without selling. Instead of being the parrot-on-the-shoulder-crazy-colored-blazer-wearing pitchman, we can deliver now messages that make our buyers more intelligent. Beautiful.

6. Steve Jobs: Simplicity and purpose. A powerful vision for all of us.

7. The GOP primary: Some of the candidates remind us of marketing lessons we should never forget:

a. Rick Perry: Never overpromise and under-deliver. Always under-promise and over-deliver.

b. Herman Cain: Always be prepared for everything. You lose all credibility when you don’t know the basics of your profession.

c. Mitt Romney: It’s not good enough to look and act the part. You need substance.

d. Rick Santorum: Brand Awareness is important.

e. Jon Huntsman: If there’s no demand for your product, you need to create demand.

f. Newt Gingrich: Lies only get you so far. And they will always come back to haunt you.

8. John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” We all thought this would change with the digital revolution. Not so fast, friends. Clearly, we still haven’t figured it out and John Wanamaker’s quote will be around for many decades to come. Maybe not, since some claim 90% of advertising is wasted.

9. Mark Zuckerberg: The inventor of the Zuckerberg dance: Introducing new features, protest dances by a minority of users combined with flaming threats of an even smaller minority to leave for good, Mark and his team dance the apology tango, retreating slightly with a waltz and the users go back to do the Facebook Polka. Thanks, Mark, for keeping us all in motion.

10. All the people that dedicate their lives to help people in real need. You have my deepest thanks. You do work that really matters.

Last but not least, thank you to everybody who reads my posts. I feel humbled and quite lucky to have the privilege. Thanks for being here, for making a difference and changing the world.

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It’s pretty safe to say we’ve reached the peak of the group buying hype. (I’m glad.) While this doesn’t mean the end (or death) of group buying, I believe it will give way to a much more powerful of social shopping: tribe buying.

Group buying sites are all over the place: One day they offer a manicure, next day a whale watching tour, followed by 50% off for a restaurant 35 miles and a finger painting classes for 65% off. The wide variety of deals is interesting in the beginning but tired out my attention very quickly. Other companies saw this as an opportunity and provided more targeted offerings:

We will see a shift from group buying to tribe buying

All of us have passion points: Running, wine, travel, books, music. These are just a few of mine. You have different ones. The more specific, the better. There’s no reason to fight for my attention when it comes to passion points. I’m always interested. I always want to hear from you. I’m part of a running tribe, a travel tribe. And these tribes will use their collective power to disrupt the usual e-commerce/customer relationship. Platforms will let customers negotiate their own group discounts. Platforms will be able to communicate with brands to message their demands and brands will fulfill them.

Think about a local wine store. They deliver good wine (with a good story) for a great price. They have a loyal customer base. Very soon, they’ll be able to leverage that customer base to go to supplies and negotiate regular group discounts. More interestingly, they can use the power of their customer base to demand special grapes from vineyards. Vineyards and wine tribes can get closer to each other and match up their needs. Runners can band together as a tribe and demand specific shoes from Nike. Fans can band together to ask a band for a special performance. Readers can ask an author to write about a specific topic.

Group buying was an interesting way to increase demand. Tribe buying will turn the whole demand-supply model on its head.

As usual, slides are mostly visuals, illustrating the points I made during the presentation. You can get the overall idea of my presentation by reading my take on Groupon and my brief analysis of the Customer Experience Impact Report 2010.

There was a bit confusion about Social Buying sites in the overall discussion. I’m very bearish on Social Buying/Couponing sites but very bullish on Social Shopping.

Social Buying/Couponing has nothing to do with social. I get a deal in my email, I purchase the deal and I’m done. Sure, I can share the deal with my Social Graph but that’s about the only social activity in the whole buying cycle.

Social Shopping is the real deal: I can involve my Social Graph by letting them participate in the real-time shopping process. Consumers can connect to their online friends via Social Media and launch a live, co-browsing, shopping experience. My friends can browse products, chat together and get instant advice to make the right purchase decision, trying to emulate the real-life shopping experience. Have a look at this site to experience this idea.

Social Couponing/Buying is an old idea in a new dress. Social Shopping is a new experience. And the future.

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This post appeared first on the MediaBizBloggers site

Businesses always had to deal with one constant: inflation. Things always cost more tomorrow than today, more next year than last year. Getting price increases to offset inflation in costs (wages, commodities, goods, and services) has been a typical problem – but not lately.

The new normal: Price increases are rare and price decreases are common

Deflation is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. It crippled the Japanese economy for more than a decade. Deflation is when the rate of inflation goes negative – less money will buy more value – and buyers wait to buy, expecting that the longer they wait, the lower the price goes. This mindset is now prevalent in consumers. While the collapse in demand in 2008 and 2009 was mostly based on massive over-capacity, in 2010 we’re dealing with adequate capacity combined with a collapse in demand. The problem is, this cause feeds on itself. People are expecting prices to be lower in the future, causing postponement in purchases and constantly fueling the collapse in demand.

It gets worse: The deal society

The Social Web has many benefits but one big disadvantage: It feeds into the vicious deflation cycle: Groupon, LivingSocial, Yelp, BlackboardEats – I could fill pages with names of old and new companies trying to tap into that deflationary mindset. Why spend full price when there’s a deal on the horizon? It happened to me this week: I’m planning a trip to Europe in a few weeks. When the State Department issued a rare travel alert for all of Europe, my first thought wasn’t about my safety. My first thought was: I’m sure the airlines are offering deals very soon. Delaying my purchase by a week or so, leaving money in my pocket that one airline could have used already to invest in new ventures. The inflation of deal sites causes a deflationary mindset: Let me wait for the deal.

My advice: Use deals sparingly. And be innovative.

Don’t fall for the 50% off trap. According to a Rice University study, nearly a third (32%) of businesses say that the Groupon campaigns they ran were very unprofitable. Most consumers don’t spend much beyond the offered deal and very few were converted into regular customers. Don’t hope to convert people looking for deals into loyal customers. Instead, plan diligently:

· Many businesses are seasonal. It’s fun to be in a Hot Air Balloon in New Mexico in the summer, not so much in the winter. Deals during the off-season are expected, no matter if we live in inflationary or deflationary times. Make the deal special so people will find a reason to come back during the season. And pay full price.

· Make the deal more innovative. As a restaurant, offer a special for a bottle of wine, don’t give away the food, the main reason why people should return. Offer something unique: a tasting menu that you can’t purchase normally. A loyalty card that ensures return visits. An added value that delights people.

· And, most importantly: Don’t dilute your daily product. Imagine going to your favorite restaurant, just to encounter long lines, horrendous service and cold food due to the onslaught of Groupons. Most of the deal seekers won’t come back. And your loyal customer won’t return either. A lose-lose situation you need to plan for.

· Last, but not least: Before you go for the Groupon drug, rather innovate your business. Stay firm on your price and the value of your product. But, make the product more valuable, more delightful, more of something people want to talk about. Think more like Apple and less like Wal-Mart.