Thursday, May 28, 2009

Discussion Question 3

In this bulletin, I studied the internet marketing strategy of NMHU and compared it with the strategy of UNLV. In comparing these two schools, I found some things that each school really had going for them, as well as some places to improve. Both of these schools are four year schools as well as offer graduate programs and would be competitors in my opinion.
NMHU’s website is very visually appealing to me, especially with the purple backgrounds that make it really stand out with the fonts and pictures. They appear to cater mostly to Northern New Mexico pursuing an affordable education for 4 year or graduate degrees in all sorts of fields. However, they have a major stake in distance education and have centers all across the state as well as a sophisticated online learning environment. There is a specific emphasis on marketing to the Hispanic population of New Mexico. I feel they cater to Hispanics because of our lectures that addressed this, as well as the pictures on their site and programs offered. I recall seeing many focuses on their international programs such as international business concentrations, studies abroad in Mexico and Spain, and also the photos of salsa dancers and students on the site. They use Facebook to reach out to their students which is a nice touch, but they could revamp their efforts to fuel the effect of “viral marketing” to get it to spread like wildfire throughout the student population. I know as an end user of Facebook, I am personally a fan of New Mexico Highlands but have not seen many of my peers who are. There is also no opportunity to place you in a group for a specific center, such as San Juan Center to improve the network and find friends with ease. In their marketing, they do a pretty poor job, however, of reflecting the life on campus and do little to keep its students informed at the start of the site. For example, many universities, such as UNLV, have a student spotlight or the like to show what students are really saying, as well as what is going on in campus news. NMHU could engage their students even more if they had something available like this and would also lure in prospective candidates. For how much NMHU supports its distance learning, it does not represent them well on the site either. It would be nice to find information about instructors, contact information, and other center-specific information. Instead, I find a map and a highlight of the center director and a couple of core instructors. I have faced difficulties in finding anything of much use on the Highlands website, including the Bookstore, degree forms, distance learning specifications (such as what courses are offered in what semesters and availability of online courses), and other important things that I have never had a hard time finding on other learning sites. Overall, I do like the NMHU site a lot but a few small additions and changes could really improve its usability, especially simple things like a quick links bar and a little more information behind the links.
For comparison to NMHU, I looked over the website of UNLV. Although they are a larger school, I still found them to be a competitor. UNLV has a less engaging homepage in the sense of color and layout, but all the important things I am looking for is there and easy to use. For example, there is a quick links bar, degree audit sheets, graduation checklists, course specifications with semesters they are offered, and a convertor for all sorts of courses from many schools to its transfer equivalent for UNLV. This tool alone would have saved me hours of agony in Dr. Rassam’s office if it were available on the Highlands site and would allow potential students to determine what they may have coming into the university. UNLV also introduces a section called “Life after UNLV” that highlights what options are available after school, such as internships, future education possibilities, and other career opportunities. They do not appear to target a particular group of student, however, but seem to reach out more in recruiting those from all over. Perhaps this is because they rely on recruiting from California and so many other neighboring areas since it is not as desolate as New Mexico. They also have more groups for UNLV, including athletics and other subgroups. Perhaps my favorite part of the site, however, is the highlighted area on the instructors for the school. It would have been nice to know a little bit about my instructors prior to the first day of class, as well as give me a background on them that can rarely be shared during crucial class time. They also highlight many activities at the school, as well as have a student life area that shows exactly how things are on campus, giving you an idea of what to expect when you are there. There have been several occasions when I have found myself curious how life is at NMHU-LV but have yet to find an effective means to do so. Overall, I think I gave UNLV an upper hand in my comparison because it had what I have been frustrated to not have on my NMHU homepage, as well as the improvements it could have had on my earlier educational planning. However, the site for UNLV was lacking a lot of appearance related benefits which are increasingly important in the digital age of today.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Blog

I'm going to be posting all the work from this class so that if you are interested, you can check out the other kinds of things we do. Feel free to comment, they would be much appreciated.
Thanks again,

Discussion Question 1

In the article “Frito-Lay Enlists Fiesta Bowl Fans on Facebook,” Enid Burns addresses the marketing methods of Frito-Lay on Facebook, the highly regarded social network site. This company utilized this network to find and document "Race to the Bowl" participants, which was a series of competitions leading up to the 2009 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Frito-Lay used this set of connections to set up two rival groups for the Ohio State University Buckeyes or University of Texas Longhorns of which 12 later competed in events from December 31 to January 5 and also attended the bowl. Frito-Lay began by targeting ten potential schools for the bowl using standard and engagement ads and then focused it on these two schools once they qualified. The Facebook pages generated an overwhelming response and each school had a group where fans can follow progress of each "Race to the Bowl" team as well as network for the upcoming game.

This article introduced the importance of innovative marketing methods for a company looking to gain competitive advantage, as well as engage their target market to the fullest. Frito-Lay has been a sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl since 1996, which is why it is so important for them to be constantly trying something new. In the ever-changing business world of today, companies must be willing to try new things and utilize the channels of communication that are relevant to their users, such as Facebook or other networking sites that are the bread and butter of younger generations. By sponsoring an event that is so publicized as well as making the most of this opportunity, Frito-Lay increases the awareness of their consumers to the brand and reach their target market very effectively through such a focused program tapping only university students of particular schools. Frito-Lay used the network site very successfully by using it as a standalone connection, which seems more effective in bringing them in and engaging them than sending them to a Frito-Lay site. As an end user, it would be very unlikely for me to go to the trouble to link to a separate site, although I would not be opposed to simply adding a group on Facebook. The innovative marketing strategy used by Frito-Lay proved to be very successful and also set the standard for many other organizations in utilizing social network sites to reach their target market. This form of distinct and creative viral marketing through Facebook is increasingly popular and embracing it is becoming a requirement for any successful marketer in the business environment of today.

ClickZ, Jan 2, 2009

Discussion Question 2

In investigating the Webby nominees and award winners, I saw many cutting-edge examples of internet marketing at its finest, as well as some that could use some tuning up. With regard to the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, I evaluated them based on the perspective of the end-user. In this posting, I am the only end user evaluating them, although many others must have found them extremely appealing to make it to the Webby awards.

For the marketing methods that work, I found that Porsche and Mac are companies that definitely have their marketing methods on track. These companies utilize a marketing approach that captures the attention and interest of the viewer immediately using Flash Players to display their product. In these cases, the marketers introduce us to a breathtaking Porsche 911 and a very captivating, dramatic cosmetic look to spark our interest in the site, which definitely works. They are both very user-oriented and serve a purpose for the consumer, such as “schedule a test drive” or “contact customer service” with a phone number and live chat option, as well as find a store. It is also a breeze to navigate the page with various options for page links.

However, the sites Retail-Me-Not and JoshuaBudich were poorly created and extremely hard to follow, let alone comprehend. The Retail-Me-Not site has not been maintained and had numerous broken links and un-useful, unreliable sources without the ability to edit, such as exists in WikiPedia. In the latter site, the colors mesh together and have labels for the figures, but it is nearly impossible to tell what the graphics are supposed to be. Although the concept of the site is very creative, the execution was done very poorly and I can only hope this was not his intention.

As covered in our class discussions, a marketer has about 3 seconds to get the attention of their target market. These ads displayed this importance since two of them hooked me and got me interested in the site, whereas the other two immediately turned me off and lost my interest. This reflects the necessity of marketers to stay focused on what works for their consumers and to never stop listening to and meeting their needs, as well as stay on top of new trends and innovative ideas.

The Importance of E-Marketing

One of the questions I'm sure all of the readers of this blog, as well as the students in this class have asked ourselves is why should I care about internet marketing, and does it actually work in teh real world ? I hope this blog can help to address these questions and show us why we should learn these concepts for our future as marketers. Although this blog will be very fundamental, it should serve to be an introduction to internet marketing for the more in-depth blogs to come. Furthermore,I believe the most important part and single thing I would like to walk away from this class with is the relevance of this course to everyday life. In this regard, I feel everyone is affected by the influence of E-Marketing on their everyday life, and even moreso on their future.

The business world has drastically changed throughout the years. Some of the most important changes are the marketing efforts that drive it, allowing businesses to reach their goals if they are done right. The transition that has faced the most change, however, is undoubtedly the world of internet marketing. Throughout the years, businesses, consumers, marketers, and nearly every member of society has felt the effects of this evolving method in fulfilling customer needs. By utilizing this resource, businesses have welcomed many new opportunities that couldn’t have existed without it. Furthermore, consumers and suppliers in this “digital” age have come to expect these options and are in control of the market. Using the internet and other E-marketing methods is now critical in reaching a target market effectively, as well as doing business overall. Internet marketing is crucial to success because it covers such a large span while upholding a mass appeal. As today’s business environment continues to change, it is essential, if not expected and required, to utilize comprehensive internet marketing to attain or maintain a competitive edge. The endless advantages and effectiveness of e-marketing makes it nearly impossible for any business to turn away.

These forms of media are growing faster than any other and allow companies to save costs, earn more, and increase productivity. The cost to reach of target ratio is much lower than using any other form of media, allowing companies to make much more intelligent financial decisions, as well as make those funds available for other expenses or investments. Marketers have more options available to them by marketing online, including pay per impression, pay per click, pay per play, and many others to determine what is most appealing and effective to their company. Furthermore, consumers have the opportunity to research and purchase products or services at their own convenience, which enables them to generate even greater revenues. Companies are also able to measure their statistics easily and inexpensively, utilizing programs such as analytics as opposed to compiling it all on an organizational level, which comes along with much greater costs. By meeting customer demands through the internet, it has been found that serving customers is significantly cheaper than serving them over the phone. Although it is necessary to incorporate it with an interactive plan, using online resources for customer support, advertising, and sales can save costs as well as free up funds to become even more productive through daily processes and boost sales. One other opportunity for businesses comes from a strange, no-cost source, which comes from social media sites such as Facebook, Craigslist, and MySpace. These also fuel an opportunity for marketers to advertise effectively on these sites, which generally has a higher conversion rate than the typical forms of media. Through the recent changes to internet marketing, this form of media now makes managers even more effective in boosting sales, cutting costs, and increasing productivity in these times of rapid growth, which makes it increasingly important for them to leverage this understanding to boost their success.

Using internet marketing strategies allows companies to effectively reach out to their target market more effectively, as well as expand their audience to an even greater level than with forms of traditional advertising. The cost for distributing information and media is much lower, but also allows companies to reach a more global audience to boost sales even higher. Internet penetration is at an all-time high, with the USA alone at 71.4 %,( Strauss 389). This enables organizations to reach a greater, more specialized consumer base all across the world, as well as build up a greater reliance on this form of marketing. The various forms of internet marketing, as well as its flexibility, enables marketers and other relevant decision makers more control over design, advertisements, development, and other traits to run a truly customer based target market. This form of medium also provides for instant, measurable responses and allows marketers to instantly recognize what opportunities exist for their organization. By using internet marketing, it is possible to refine and target a very specific target audience, and also utilizes niche markets to boost sales to the fullest. By sorting through specific interests or demographics, such as age, gender, geography, activities, or interests, as well as geolocation, it is overwhelming how many options are available by capitalizing on available technologies to reach and expand their target market.

The importance of e-marketing through its various forms is constantly growing and evolving in today’s business world, which is becoming increasingly digital and tech-savvy. The benefits of internet marketing are endless and continue to grow. As the times change, people have come to expect the existence of this form of marketing, making it increasingly crucial to deliver on those needs to foster long-term success. By generating traffic, the visibility of the company is greatly increased. By offering this channel to attain or research their products, marketers and business can also effectively capitalize on their every opportunity. As the importance of this form of marketing has grown, it is also necessary that marketers remain flexible to never stop delivering on customer demand, as well as produce innovative ideas in a time of constant change. It would take an extreme amount of resources, including time, money, and effort, to even compete with the effectiveness of internet marketing. By utilizing this form of targeting their audience, users of this form of rapidly growing media have the opportunity for greater success than ever before.

Works Cited
Evans, Dave and Susan Bratton. Social Media Marketing. San Francisco: Sybex, 2008.
Holahan, Catherine. Businessweek - Advertising Goes Off the Radio (2006-12-07).
Strauss, Judy and Raymond Frost. E-Marketing. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 2008.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking for Anything Particular?