Monday—that day of the week that gives me hope. I’m always glad to see Monday come around. It’s like a fresh start—much like the New Year. It was snowing this AM as I was coming to work and now the sun is blazing. Makes it kind of hard on the eyes but I’m not complaining!

We’ve been discussing twelve types of new media in my Emerging Media class with an eye towards which may have the ability to deliver effective marketing messages. (And which of these may be a big waste of time!) It seems the consensus is that the most effective forms of marketing communications are those that will allow a relationship to emerge between the consumer and the brand. That being said, it would seem that the most beneficial form of new media would be those that permit interactivity between the two. But what does interactivity involve? Can it be as simple as a consumer opting to receive email communications? Or does it need to be more comprehensive in the form of a chat room, discussion forum or web site? Another question may be just how “interactive” will the consumer permit the brand to be before they become turned off?
When bouncing these new media around in my head, I tried to think about when I would be open to marketing messages and when I wouldn’t. A web site I choose to visit is absolutely an opportunity for a brand to engage me and develop a relationship. Recently I’ve been on a cosmetics binge—the older I get, it seems the more paint I need. So, turning to my good friend Google, I typed in cosmetics and several hits down, I find Sephora. I’ve “heard” Sephora discussed on one of the boards I frequent—so off to Sephora I go.

Now is the brand’s chance to WOW me with an attractive web site where I can easily find what I want and has just the right amount of bells and whistles. After poking around the site, I discover a wonderful feature they’ve included—customer product reviews. Reviews like these are becoming more popular with web sites and to me are a great addition. Target has them, Amazon has them, and the Internet Movie Database, (IMDb) is the first place I go before choosing a movie. My final decision influenced largely by reviews from people like me. There are numerous web sites devoted to simply providing consumers a place to review anything from apartments to the best colleges for partying. I’ve found though, that the most useful reviews are for those specific products I’m contemplating right at that moment. So, if I’m on Sephora checking out their moisturizer offerings, I’m going to read the opinions of other customers before making my final choice.

Sephora has succeeded in providing me with a positive, interactive, brand experience. They have created an informative, easy to navigate web site with just enough bling and have made available customer product reviews, both positive and negative, so that I can make an informed decision. They have many other features available to their customers, too, including opt in email alerts, a “beauty club”, and free samples with every order. For now, they have been successful in gaining my business, however, they must also continue to “freshen up” their site or some other will come along and grab my attention.

Bluetooth technology is another media we debated in our discussion. Can Bluetooth or any mobile media be used to create a dialogue between a consumer and a brand? At first glance, I would have thought, yes. But there are many who disagree and now I can see why. Although I don’t have Bluetooth, I’m not sure that I’d want to be bombarded with messages through the device. Many others feel the same. It seems that the sender would be viewed similarly to those who send spam emails. The only exception may be to those messages sent at the request of the recipient—sort of like emails one opts in to receive. In this case, it may be worthwhile to have the local diner know to alert me when the special is roast beef and mashed potatoes! Or if the shoes I’ve been wanting are 20% off. Do you think it would be possible to eventually have bar codes with the ability to send messages through emails, cell phone texts or Bluetooth? “Hey there, remember me? I’m the navy sandals you saw at Macy’s. I just wanted to let you know that Macy’s is having a 50% off sale and I’m still available!” Maybe we could add product UPCs to a phone file and receive alerts like this. Now that would be pretty neat!

For success, mobile marketing has to have meaning to the consumer, not just some random message sent out simply because one is in the vicinity of the business. I can’t imagine walking down a sidewalk, receiving text  messages from Barnes and Noble, Starbucks, OfficeMax and McDonald’s all in the space of my 10 minute walk. That would seriously turn me off! Send me information I want and you’ll have my attention. That’s how to mobile market.

Bye, Bye for now.