Why Bitmoji is the Ultimate Example of Marketing Personalization

Ghostbusters Bitmoji

Avatars and Marketing Personalization

When social media sites change their algorithms one of the reasons provided is making the user experience more “personalized.” Providing a unique and individualized experience has been at the cornerstone of recent marketing. To find an example of marketing personalization, you need look no further than your inbox. Emails with personalized subject lines had “29 percent higher unique open rates and 41 percent higher unique click rates” (source). Then there’s Siri and Cortana who function as everyone’s personal assistant.

Bitmoji-taco-boutitA popular mobile app Bitmoji has taken personalization even further. The app enables users to create an avatar of themselves. This cartoon-like image is customized every step of the way from choosing your face shape to eye color, body type to clothing options. Once created, the custom Bitmoji is integrated into the user’s phone as a keyboard add-on and can be sent through text in lieu of standard emoticons. Your Bitmoji character then enjoys a whole host of experiences and connected phrases. He or she can “LOL” for you or tell a friend “On My Way!” The user interaction is exciting because if one takes the time to create their own character, it almost eerily resembles the user.

If this all wasn’t exciting enough, Snapchat recently integrated Bitmoji into it’s native app. Not just as stickers for photos (and that functionality does exist) but also for use in the chat. Here’s the fun part: if the person you are chatting with also attached their Bitmoji app to Snapchat and the chat window is open . . . the characters can interact with each other. They can high-five or dine together. Naturally, anything Snapchat seems to take off. This recent merger took down servers and took the app offline.

Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel and supermodel Miranda Kerr integrated Bitmoji into their engagement announcement. As for marketers and brands . . . there’s already some Bitmoji integrations. From designer name clothing options to movie and TV tie-ins.

Personalization is Here to Stay

What Bitmoji and the Snapchat integration teaches marketers is that personalization isn’t just becoming the norm, it’s becoming one of the solutions to overcoming the ad avoidance and ad-block culture. Facts and statistics don’t lie, marketing personalization is here to stay.


Create Effective Facebook Ads

Posted in social media marketing
on June 22, 2016
facebook tiles

I have been an advocate of Facebook Ads for years. Mainly because the platform enables marketers to target people and their interests as opposed to long-tail keywords associated with traditional PPC. The platform has grown into a robust delivery network with different ad options including interactive carousel ads and a new exciting option: an Instagram ad placement—even if your business doesn’t have an Instagram account!

Analysis of Successful Facebook Ad

One of my favorite marketing campaigns I have had the pleasure of working on is USF Pre-College: summer programs for high school students. With a small budget for paid social I knew I needed to get the most of our my ads. Luckily for the 2016 campaign I was able to review several years worth of previous Facebook ads and analyze what worked best in the past. Normally I would segment the audience into two of our buyer personas: teenagers and their parents. This year I went all in on the parents targeting.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown:

Individuals living in FL
Age 37-65+
who are Parents with Teenagers (13-18 year olds)

The Facebook ad ran from March 2 to May 31, 2016. It was run through the native Facebook ads platform. To be clear no organic results mixed into the ad— it was not a boosted post and didn’t showed up on the page’s timeline.

Facebook Ad

Here were the awesome results:

Spend: $1,997.11
Conversions: 198
Cost per conversion: $10.09
Conversion in this instance is defined as a landing page form completion.

As you can see in the ad above there were 240 shares. Most of these shares were parents tagging their teens. It created a conversion about summer opportunities. The ad spoke directly to the parent with very specific action-oriented words “sign up,” “plan” and “learn more.” The ad imagery directly matched the associated landing page.

Most of the comments requested info on scholarships or dates the programs run. Commenting back as the page, each of the messages were answered and often offered a way to contact our office for additional questions. This engagement and customer interaction was exciting and helped me as a marketer understand the customer’s exact concerns and need.

USF Pre-College 2016 is already up and running successfully. Several of our programs have filled to capacity and started a waitlist. This Facebook ad was only a small part of the marketing for this program and continues to be a team effort. I’m hopeful that this exiting offering will flourish for years to come.

Use Marketing Automation to Improve Internal Processes

Posted in marketing automation
on June 14, 2016
marketing automation

When you think marketing automation it’s easy to assume that it is applied to your B2B or B2C contacts, leads and subscribers to urge them to take action. Actually, marketing automation can also be applied internally to notify stakeholders of certain actions. Plus, it can be used after a conversion as a follow-up for customers when additional documentation is needed.

Marketing Automation and Internal Notifications

Many marketing automation platforms have email notifications built into the functionality of their forms. This is great for marketers but tells non-marketers little about the origin or background regarding the form completion and its purpose. Simply adding a stakeholder’s email to this form without explanation could cause issues.

An option that offers an additional layer of detail and branding opportunity is adding an internal notification. In HubSpot, this requires a few steps:

1. Create a new branded email (see example below) and use personalization tokens pulled from the form

2. Save the email for automation

3. Tie this email to a new or existing workflow

4. In the workflow add action > send internal email > enter internal contact’s email

Hit save and test out the functionality. Think of the possibilities. The internal email could say,

“Hi <important person>,

Just wanted you to know <contact.name> filled out a form asking for more info about <XYZ>. They’ve self-identified themselves as a <title of contact>. Would you be able to reach to them for a follow up? They’ve receive <type of offer associated with form> maybe you could call them at <contact’s phone number> to discuss their next step in <achieving world domination>.”

When simply being CC’ed on a form isn’t enough, try out HubSpots internal notifications. Customize them to your marketing automation heart’s desire!

Marketing Automation for Post-Transaction Use

Marketing automation can also be used after a sale or for those of us in education, an “enrollment.” Here is real life example: Ann, a member of the recruitment/sales team was contacting customers individually to obtain required documentation (consent/health forms). We have over 100 hundred customers/students each summer in this particular program. So as you can image that’s a lot of phone calls, emails and time spent tracking down documentation.

I knew there had to be an easier way using marketing automation. First I created a branded email with links to the required forms (saved for automation). I added anyone who successfully completed a registration form to a list. Then connected that list to a workflow which triggered the automated email requesting the forms.

As a result that email ended up having a 79% open rate. Which drastically cut down on the time Ann spent reaching out individuals to request the forms. This is proof that marketing automation can save considerable personnel time.

Why You Should Follow Industry Leaders in Marketing

Posted in marketing leadership
on June 1, 2016

Everything I know about marketing, I learned through on the job training, a handful of marketing courses and by reading the blogs (and listening to the podcasts) of industry leaders in marketing. If you’ve had the opportunity to attend a marketing conference you’ve probably been in awe of some of the speakers. How they live and breath marketing and always seem to know what is on the cusp of a new and exciting trend or platform.

My first marketing conference was Social Fresh EAST in 2012. It was here where I found out about an up and coming social media site that allowed users to pin pictures of items they wanted on digital boards. At the time is was only accessible by invite—you had to know someone to even login to see the platform. Of course, you might have guessed, that platform is now the mega trafficked social sharing site: Pinterest. It was also the first time I would ever hear the word HubSpot, a marketing automation platform I would come to use daily in my professional life.

Amazing how one two-day event helped introduce me to thought leaders I still follow today like Jay Baer marketing consultant, speaker and author and Scott Monty marketing genius (formally with Ford Motor Company). Industry leaders are not the be all end all when it comes to marketing expertise, but they certainly have fantastic insight.

Me with Industry Leader Marcus Sheridan

Me with Marcus Sheridan at Inbound 2015

A couple of my favorite marketing leaders and speakers:

Marcus Sheridan – https://www.thesaleslion.com/
Mitch Joel – http://www.twistimage.com/blog/
John Jantsch – http://www.ducttapemarketing.com
Jonah Peretti – https://www.buzzfeed.com/jonah
Amy Porterfield – http://www.amyporterfield.com/

Marketing strategists and teachers:

Jason Keath (Social Fresh) https://www.socialfresh.com/
Nick Cicero (Delmondo) http://delmondo.co/
Michael Stelzner (Social Media Examiner) http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
Jon Loomer (Advanced Facebook Marketing) http://www.jonloomer.com/

Inspirational, leadership and business acumen:

Simon Sinek – https://www.startwithwhy.com/
Tony Robbins – https://www.tonyrobbins.com/
Brene Brown – http://brenebrown.com/
Sasha Strauss – https://twitter.com/SashaStrauss

If you have the opportunity to see any of the above speak, pay attention and take notes. Follow them on Twitter or add their blog to your current RSS reader. These are quality experts who influence me and other marketers in a myriad of fields. Stay in the know with this crew and you’ll never feel left behind again.

Marketing for the Higher Education Vertical

Posted in higher ed marketing
on May 30, 2016
higher education marketing

Many public universities have operated under a kind of Field of Dreams assumption, “If you build it, they will come.” This theory is now being tested. Sure there has always been competition at the Ivy Leagues and privates to win most prestigious. But, state universities know they can’t compete with the likes of Harvard and Yale. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s we saw a rise of for-profit colleges, many online, many with outrageous tuition costs.

The for-profits siphoned some of prospects away from public universities. Especially preying upon those that fall outside traditional age/profile of postsecondary students.

They promise big career advancement with the premises of pay now (or finance big time), take easy courses, gain later. The gains came for very few. Luckily, many predatory for-profit colleges have become the target of new legislation. This is a step in the right direction.

People are wary now, educating themselves before they enroll. Even the most legitimate of schools are being questioned. Prospects are no longer making their education decisions blindly. They seek out facts and demand answers. All immediately. Usually through an internet search.

This is when marketing comes in to help lend credibility and make sense of all the options. The value of a college degree is still critical but navigating the options has never been more challenging.

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
― Socrates

Marketing for the higher education vertical is certainly demanding. It is our job to connect with stakeholders who are less aware of the road blocks associated with low budgets and high expectations. Sometimes it seems that the competition is already ten steps ahead and so it’s your job to not only catch up but surpass. All ASAP, please and thank you. Your client will vary too. This client could be upper leadership within your department, from another department on campus or even a student organization. The role of a marketer in higher education is one that receives minimal praise and a huge burden of responsibility.

Speaking from experience, i’ve literally been informed: If this program doesn’t go from 0 to X enrollments, it will be cut. Now, what’s your plan? Right, sheesh, no pressure. Welcome to marketing in #HigherEd.