This paper is my analysis of the case study, Online Marketing at Big Skinny. My discussion includes solutions to the following questions: (a) what should be the CEO's bigger priority generate new customers to the site through search engines, or focus on engaging customers through social and interactive marketing? Is it one or both? Please provide your logic and justification; (b) evaluate their Sponsored search strategy are there keywords for which you would encourage them to increase the bid? Lower the bid? Back up your thoughts with some analysis of the numbers; (c) is there a role here for content marketing/storytelling and earned media/PR?; and (d) how effectively are they using Social Media to sell wallets? Think about it in the context of the class we did on Social Media and the article about successful Social Media Strategies and Measuring the ROI of Social Media. What measures would you use for success in addition?
Online Marketing at Big Skinny
Big Skinny is a wallet business owned by Kiril Alexandrov. It was launched in street fairs through in-person sales and its expansion was fueled by retail distribution, wholesale tradeshows and print advertising (e.g. billboard-style ads, postcards, and half-print ads in motorcycle, car, and style magazines). Because of the big aspirations of achieving the maximal growth of the thinnest wallet business, Kiril opted to online marketing and together with his wife Catherine, they designed Big Skinny’s website, www.bigskinny.net. However, problem arisen with his online marketing plan as an online promotion glitch occurred in which most of the wallets sold online were given away for free (i.e., 4,000 orders with invalid coupons, hence, cancellation of orders that ended up with zero or near-zero prices). This made Kiril to rethink his online marketing campaigns.
What Big Skinny’s CEO Should Focus On
The overwhelming response in Big Skinny’s online store (4,000 people who ordered wallets online) suggests that its consumers were ready to purchase the firm’s wallet online. Does this also suggest that there Kiril should not focus on drawing new consumers through search engines, and instead should concentrate on catering the needs of its existing customers by engaging them in social and interactive media? Or should Kiril focus on both? Below is my analysis.
Drawing New Consumers to its Website through Search Engines. Search engines provide the users the access to large database of web pages. It is considered as the best means for searching information in the web. In relation to Big Skinny marketing, the relevance of keywords to the primary product of the company will obviously link new customers to the website. Likewise, Kiril should make Big Skinny website more user friendly and functional to generate lead and increase the conversion rate. In effect, this will attract prospective customers and retain existing customers.
Engaging Existing Customers through Social and Interactive Media. Kiril’s use of social media initially involved posting of filmed/recorded testimonials of his previous customers in the Customer Love section of www.bigskinny.net as well as maintaining a wallet blog that features blogs on selecting and purchasing the company’s wallets. But because Kiril observed limited viewers who accesse their website, he then opted to use AddThis website applet that enables Big Skinny to be shared in different social media systems like Facebook, MyScpace, Twitter, Digg, and more once a user clicked the widget. Kiril also have utilized and maintained Twitter feed and Facebook page that served as venues for satisfied customers to engage with Big Skinny and be informed of upcoming promotions and related events.
Aside from the social media, Kiril also have thought of incorporate interactive components in www.bigskinny.net to engage the customers. The use of interactive wallet guide based on users’ choice of aesthetics and lifestyle will encourage the company’s existing customers to engage more on Big Skinny and even invite newbies to the website.
Kiril Should use both! Big Skinny CEO should use the search engines to attract new customers and the social and interactive media to engage the existing and satisfied ones. Customers nowadays are becoming more web-oriented and they have been combining the use of social media and search engines when making online purchase.
Big Skinny Search Strategy
The Click Through Rate or CTR relates the number of clicks that the Big Skinny ads/keywords have received and the number of times the Big Skinny ads/keywords was shown (also called impression). A high CTR suggests that web users have found your ads or keywords relevant and helpful. In relation to the keywords used for Big Skinny like “thin wallet” of which Kiril had submitted high bids, he could still optimize the keywords used to lead to sales (increase conversion rate).
Keywords to Increase the Bid. Kiril could increase bid on the keywords “world’s thinnest wallet” since the associated CTR is 15.04% which only suggest that users have found the keywords as relevant and helpful. Likewise, the CEO could also increase the bid for “ultra thin wallets” that has CTR of 8% and a conversion rate of 11.11%.
Keywords to Lower the Bid. Keywords to lower the bid is suggested to include “leather wallet” with CTR of only 0.84% and conversion rate of 2.91.
Role for Content Marketing/Storytelling and Earned media/PR at Big Skinny
There is a role for content marketing or storytelling at Big Skinny. Content marketing is one way of attracting and connecting to the customers. It tries to seek or request the participation of customers. As emphasized by King Fish Media (2012), a good storytelling or content marketing is the most crucial piece in the marketer’s toolkit, especially in the social media platforms. This would imply that an impressive and engaging storytelling of content will eventually lead to the purchase decision by the customer.
Likewise, earned media or public relations pertains to good publicity with the sue of promotional campaigns apart from the traditional media like advertising. Earned media are publicity that is usually obtained from editorial influences and often take the form of editorials, news, shows and polls.
These tools can be of big help to Kiril in conceptualizing new online marketing campaign for Big Skinny.
Effectiveness in the Use Social Media to Sell Wallets
As to the question of how effective is the company in the use of social media in selling wallets online, I can say that on the scale of 1 to 4 (4 - highly effective, 3 – very effective, 2 – effective, 1 – not effective/ineffective ), Big Skinny is rated as 2. Kiril’s use of the social and interactive platforms have, in some important ways helped the company maintain its customers.
In relation to the discussions in class about social media and the Successful Social Media Strategies and Measuring the ROI of Social Media, it would be beneficial for the Big Skinny if its CEO will engage in social strategies the will enable both its prospective and existing customers to create and enhance relationships, that is long-term relationship with the company. That is, it’s time for the company to use integrated relationship marketing.
If Kiril would be able to do so, then its success could then be measured using social media ROI. When we speak of social media ROI, we are not referring to the typical business return on investment. Social media ROI covers not only the dollar value of investment but also consumer investment. Consumer investment in turn, involves the customers’ number of visits in the website of Big Skinny as well as the time spent in using the applications (e.g., exploring the blog and other interactive components) of the website.
Cision (2011). Earned media, owned media, and the new marketing mix. Accessed from http://se.cision.com/Global/Cision_Whitepaper-_Paid_Earned_and_Owned_Media.pdf.
King Fish Media (2011). The right content at the right time. King Fish Media, LLC.
_____________ (2012). From Storytelling to sales. King Fish Media, LLC
Morris, M. R., J. Teevan, & K. Panovich (2010). A comparison of information seeking using search engines and social networks. Accessed from http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/154558/icwsm10.pdf.