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Monthly Archives: April 2011


In their 2007 classic, Made to Stick, authors Chip and Dan Heath cite an experiment conducted in 1990 by Dr. Elizabeth Newton, PhD. The experiment was the study of a simple game. Subjects were given one of two roles: “tappers” and “listeners.” The tappers received a list of 25 common song names such as “Happy Birthday” and “Star Spangled Banner” and asked to tap out rhythm of the song (by tapping on a table) to the listener who was asked to guess the song’s name. When the tappers were shown the list and asked beforehand to estimate what percentage of the songs their listeners would guess correctly, they estimated that listeners would correctly identify the song 50% of the time. The results proved otherwise.

Only 2.5% of the listeners were able to correctly identify the song that was tapped. Tappers thought they would accurately communicate 1 out of 2 times. The fact was that they only got their message across 1 out of 40 times.

Why? Chip and Dan Heath refer to this phenomenon as “The Curse of Knowledge.” Tappers knew and heard the songs in their heads as they were tapping out the rhythm. Because they had a pre-set frame of reference, they couldn’t easily recreate the listener’s state of mind. Tappers tapped away assuredly but listeners only heard random tapping gibberish.

We see this happen in our world every day as politicians, teachers, artists, clergy, and business people attempt to reach others with their messages. They have so much internal knowledge of their subject matter that the messages they are “tapping” out in their speeches, brochures, and sales pitches are coming across as disjointed  noise.  And, they simply can’t understand why their listeners and their customers aren't getting it.

The solution? The Heath brothers suggest that we transform our ideas into messages that make sense to people who do not have our frame of reference. However, this can be quite difficult if not impossible sometimes. After all, you know what you know, and its tough to remove yourself from your own knowledge. I might suggest you consider looking to the outside for help. Marketing Communications firms like Force 5 have expertise in crafting your message without an overly detailed frame of internal reference. We’re ready to do the “tapping”  that makes sense to your audience.  Just give us a call.


Why Facebook launched the Send button

Posted on April 27, 2011 by nmcelwrath

Facebook on Monday launched a new way to share content online - the Send button. While the functionality is nothing new, how you share content with friends may change with this new process of sharing. Facebook's goal is to be that "pipe" in which you share more and more information, ultimately learning much more about you so it can deliver specific and targeted advertising down the road.

Let's look at Facebook's point of view for a minute. Why do you share links now? You know someone who would find a use for that content, right? Here's an example scenario: You thought your friend would like this new recipe on a cooking site because she is into gluten free cooking. You send the web address to your friend(s) through the Send button, Facebook takes note of who you send it to, what the link is, the content of the page you sent, and your message. Before your friend knows it, they are seeing ads for gluten free cooking in the right hand column of your Facebook profile. This is exactly what advertisers are after - user relevance. Would you pay more to know that your product or service is being seen by your exact target audience? Absolutely. Targeted ads sell at a premium and Facebook is upping the relevance factor on it's users.

The difference here is that your friends are helping create your interest profiles for advertisers. In some instances, in bulk thanks to Facebook's group features.

What are your views on targeted ads? Creepy? Useful? Reminds you of the annoying eCards from a few years back? Let us know in the comments below - or better yet, "Send" this story to a friend. :)


Where in the world are you?

Posted on April 26, 2011 by dmorgan

Iphone location map

A peek at location data sorted on an Iphone

For the last week, the tech news has been reporting that Apple has secret files on the iPhone that track user location and store it on the device, without the permission of the device owner. It's unclear what the data is used for and why Apple has been collecting it in iOS products that carry a 3G antenna for nearly a year now.

There's no evidence of that information being sent to Apple or anybody else. Even so, the data is unencrypted, giving anyone with access to your phone or computer where backups may be stored a way to grab the data and extrapolate a person's whereabouts and routines.

Soon after this announcement, Microsoft and Android fessed up as well—stating that their devices collected records of the physical locations of customers who use their mobile operating system. Microsoft does say, however, that location histories are not saved directly on the device. That's different from Apple's practice of recording the locations of visible cell towers on iPhone and iPad devices, which can result in more than a year's worth of data being quietly logged. Google's approach, by contrast, records only the last few dozen locations on Android phones.

All of these practices have come under scrutiny by members of congress and several attorneys General of some states.
Note this isn’t the data that you allow to happen—like our Ipad asking whether or not it can use location services to see if I’m close to a gas station. This is data being recorded without permission. To make applications like maps work, of course, it's necessary for a smartphone Ipad to transmit its GPS coordinates to a remote server--and, in exchange, receive nearby restaurant reviews, or driving directions, and so on.

Privacy concerns begin to arise when a unique device ID is transmitted, which allows a company to track a customer's whereabouts over an extended period of time. That’s the privacy issue.

As marketers at Force 5, we’re always interested in how our advertising or marketing campaigns are doing—are they reaching the right audiences, are we getting responses? However, the unauthorized location services on smartphones is going too far. Tracking minute by minute locations is certainly an invasion of privacy. This will be in the news for a while as a good balance of location services for convenience and safety versus invasion of privacy issues are debated. Stay tuned. To read more, check out cnet.com


Mobile Health Seekers

Posted on April 25, 2011 by ddefreeuw

I recently read an article in MediaPost which had some incredible stats on the mobile users consumption of health information through apps and browsers.

  • 38% of cell phone owners access the Internet using mobile phone -- up 52% year over year
  • 55% of cell phone Internet users go online daily from their mobile phones
  • 30% of mobile subscribers use search, 29% use downloaded apps
  • 26% of apps downloaded in 2010 were used just once
  • I think one of the key points of the article had to do with the idea of not just condensing an entire website into an app. Consider the difference of mobile health info seekers and the content which is most sought after (as a proportional of total traffic); sexual health topics (HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and STDs). These users are understandably concerned about privacy, and likely in an urgent and emotional state - make content straightforward, useful and easy to find.

    When creating mobile content we need to follow the same rules as we do with any other media. Define your audience, determine what are they looking for - then deliver it efficiently and effectively!

    We're diving into all kinds of mobile projects here at Force 5 and can help your company make smart decisions about moving forward with mobile content.


    Force 5 Peeps

    Posted on April 22, 2011 by ddefreeuw

    Pups as Peeps

    Happy Easter from the Force 5 Pup-Peeps


    Scarcity, Value, and Counterfeit Facebook Likes

    Posted on April 21, 2011 by butch

    A friend sent me this article from Rafe Needleman entitled, Facebook: Liked to Death.  It appears that advertisers in an effort to gain coveted Facebook Page 'Likes' are offering consumers premiums (or access to content) if they will visit their page and give them their valuable  "Thumb Up."   Sounds like a good marketing strategy ... or does it? 

    I invite you back to Economics 101 where you may have been introduced to the Subjective Theory of Value.   This theory states that in order for something to have value it must be both useful and scarce.  While today, Facebook  'Likes' show monetized value, they are not necessarily scarce or difficult to produce.  Like counterfeit money on a printing press, I can click my mouse and 'Like' as many Facebook Pages as I can visit. (So can the rest of Facebooks 500 million users.)  In fact, it took me just under 7 seconds to 'Like' both Coke and Pepsi on Facebook.  Because I've now 'Liked them both, I've canceled out my vote.   The value of my 'Like' is now zero for both products.  I've thus driven down the monetized value of the 'Like' across the entire Facebook community by injecting the system with 2 counterfeit 'Likes'.  And now no one (including Coke and Pepsi) will ever know what my brown, sweet, carbonated beverage preference really is. 

    Bribing consumers for 'Like' is dangerous to brands because it reduces 'Like' scarcity and thus it's value.  As a result brands may be getting false feedback, which can lead to reduced company responsiveness and reduced consumer satisfaction.  Make sure you check out Force 5 for your social media marketing strategy.  We'll make sure your company's Facebook 'Likes' are real ... not those phony ones.


    DECA's local impact

    Posted on April 20, 2011 by nmcelwrath

    Penn High School DECA Team in December 2010In the business world, preparation is key to many forms of success. Enter DECA (formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America). DECA aims to give high school students the skills needed to enter the workforce prepared and ready for that success.

    What is DECA? DECA is a global high school business organization whose main goal is to prepare emerging young leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Worldwide, over 185,000 high school students are members. (source: deca.org) While DECA's large-scope benefits may be easier to see, local impact may need a closer look. In order to see the local benefits, we need to ask the right questions.

    The following questions were asked of Stephanie McElwrath, the DECA Advisor for the Penn High School Chapter in Mishawaka, Indiana.

    Q. What opportunities are there for local businesses to be involved?

    A. Local businesses can be involved in DECA by being on a chapter business advisory board, allowing students to do projects based on their businesses (and in turn being able to use any information or marketing products created free of charge), sponsoring chapters and judging DECA competitions on the local, state and national levels.


    Q. Why should local businesses get involved in local DECA chapters?

    A. Local business involvement will only make the DECA chapters stronger. Teaming up with these outgoing young people not only helps to give businesses a fresh look at their product or service, but it also can create networking opportunities for the businesses with their target market.


    Q. In what ways are DECA alumni encouraged to be involved and help the community?

    A. DECA is a strong organization and because of that, their alumni are very committed to helped current DECA students.  Alumni are encouraged to help mentor current students, judge competitive events and host DECA students at their businesses.  Because a large majority of DECA alumni attend a 4 year college, alumni can also help current DECA students by mentoring them on what to expect in college, majors, etc.


    Q. What are local DECA chapters doing to help the community?

    A. Local DECA chapters are heavily encouraged to help the community by using their entreprenuerial and marketing skills to run fundraisers that benefit local and national non-profit charitable organizations. These community service projects are done annually by most DECA chapters. With the local integration with the leading youth within the community, DECA stands to not only build invaluable relationships, but improve and strengthen the local economic health along the way.

    If you, or know someone who has DECA experience, tell us your story in the comments below.


    Private-Label Growth. Here to Stay?

    Posted on April 19, 2011 by ddefreeuw

    I recently read an article in Marketing Daily, about the growth in private-label products. No surprise there, right? The figures were pretty compelling with consumers saving 33% off their grocery bills by purchasing all private-label products. I have followed the trend, trying more private-label products than I have in the past. While I haven’t gone all private-label, I have more private-label in my basket now than big brand names.

    The question is will consumers stay with these private-labels once the economy gets back into the comfort zone? My opinion is that some consumers, myself included, will go back to major brand names and some will continue to purchase private-label. Recently, while shopping at Target, I went to purchase Sonicare toothbrush replacement heads. Ok, so I can get 2 of the Sonicare replacements for 24.99, ouch. Or, I can purchase the Target brand at 3 for 29.99. I decide to try the Target brand. Big mistake. One of the replacement heads didn’t work on the handle at all; another broke off completely after the second day. Needless to say, I took them back and purchased Sonicare. The Sonicare brand has value to me, now more than ever, and I can justify paying more for better quality.

    Another example, I bought Target brand baby powder while normally I am a Johnson and Johnson fan. The powder didn’t seem different from one brand to the next – heck, it’s powder. But the lid on the Target brand doesn’t open properly and when I use it I never know what to expect. No powder, a gush from heaven knows where, a small pouf? My life has enough excitement without wondering if the powder will land in my shoes, as I want it to, or all over my black pants. A small detail, but when I am able, I am going back to J and J.

    So the national brands need to keep talking about what makes them unique and living up to their brand promise. Maintaining their distinction will be what compels consumers to pay higher prices for their brand over a private-label.

    If you need help determining or communicating what makes your brand unique, Force 5 can help! We have two certified Brand Strategists on hand and a crew of left brains and right brains to bring your brand to life!


    Going Mobile?

    Listen to this projection…. A recent study by Morgan Stanley projects mobile internet users to exceed desktop internet users within the next few years. (2015)

    Yikes! - - Powerful stat.

    Believe it or not, the question isn’t “Should you go mobile?” but rather “Can you afford not to…?” Here are some more mobile stats for our Force 5 friends to ponder:

    • U.S. is the #1 country using mobile web -- taking up over 30% of the global mobile web market.
    • 87% of mobile users access the mobile web more than once a day, with more than half accessing 5 times per day.
    • Over 50% of males between 18-34 are using mobile media, making a mobile web presence a must for advertisers (and over 37% of females between 18-34.)
    • 85% year over year increase in overall smartphone ownership.
    • Mobile Media Users (mobile browsers, application users, and downloaders) are growing 24% year over year.
    • 80.1 million mobile users browse, use applications, or download via the mobile web.
    • 35% of all U.S. mobile phone users (and 78% of all smartphone users) are browsing the mobile Internet to visit their favorite companies.
    • mobile payments via PayPal are up nearly 650% over the previous year.
    • mobile page views for U.S. retailers increased an average of 388% over the previous year.

    Now, listen to this…

    According to the 2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report from Antenna, 27 percent of American and 27 percent of British consumers that can access the internet on their mobile phone are discouraged from using the mobile Internet by websites that don't display properly or function properly on their mobile screens.

    A mobile website gives your customers and potential customers the freedom to interact with your brand at their convenience. And nothing is more convenient than their mobile phone. Without a mobile site, this great opportunity is lost.

    My friend, Brant Kelsey (Kelsey Design) explains it this way: “Think of your website as a convenience store and your mobile site as a vending machine. Your mobile site needs to have your most popular goods and services front-and-center and easily accessible.”

    I love the analogy. The smart phone is small—the content area is limited so your content must be specific. Mobile users aren’t just surfing-they go to the web for concise and direct content – They have a reason to visit – They find the information and move on. Most importantly, they won’t waste time trying to find information on a site that hasn’t been built for the mobile web.

    If your site hasn’t been optimized for the mobile web, viewers may see content out of order, missing images, links and tabs not formatted—in short…a mess.

    Having a mobile site adds to your contact with the customer—and it empowers them to visit you wherever and whenever they need you. 

    And hey, there’s nothing wrong with being in your client’s pocket. Source: (Marketwire - February 24, 2011) – www.antennasoftware.com


    Un-Marketing by Scott Stratten

    Posted on April 15, 2011 by butch

     I found this video to be a  really helpful explanation of social marketing business strategy.   Scott Stratten, you rock!

    Force 5 would be happy to answer any questions you have about Social Media marketing, just drop us a line.