2013 International Spa Association Conference and Expo Recap

International Spa Association 2013

In order to look and really try to understand what was going on at the International Spa Association Conference and Expo, which will now be referred to as ISPA, I took a look at what happened both before and during the expo this year. The theme this year was “Grow”, and it was shown in a few different ways, there is the flower imagery that was used throughout some of the platforms, but not truly integrated into their Pulse magazine, or their ISPA Exposure Guide. Hidden in the Pulse magazine here, there is some of the flower imagery, but I would have expected an image on the front cover since this was the main event mentioned on the cover. Also, while the Exposure Guide showed the same color scheme as the flower imagery and the website, there were no flowers which was a little surprising. Some things that were also used for branding was the #GrowYourWorld hashtag, it was occasionally used. For the most part though, the event could be tracked through the #ISPA2013 hashtag.

They have a website, a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Blogger page. The conference took place from October 21-23 in Las Vegas, Nevada and was attended by a lot of famous speakers and businesses. Starting on October 14th the ISPA social media information and publicity really began. Some sites were utilized a lot better than others, while some were cross posted to various platforms keeping the branding and message consistent.

Social media was used as a way to both inform their guests about upcoming events, and registration times; as well as including pictures of what was going on behind the scenes.

Here is a shot of behind the scenes work that was happening on October 20:

ISPA prepThis was one of the many images that was posted both on their Instagram, Twitter and their Facebook. This image was great, and by cross posting it to the 3 various platforms it made sure that there was a lot of different viewings. I think when they used information such as what was going on behind the scenes and what various events there were to look forward to, it was a great use of social media. The usage of Instagram was really an integral part of the campaign since it gave people who weren’t attending a view of what was going on at the event. I will say, I think there could have been a lot more photos from the event. There were only a couple images of speaker or groups at the conferences, and almost no pictures of the booths. I think this was definitely a missed opportunity since visuals have shown to be such a great way to get engagement. The pictures from their Instagram simultaneously posted to their Facebook and Twitter page. This one picture got 31 likes and 4 comments on the Instagram page, 42 likes and 4 comments on the Facebook page, and 1 favorite on the Twitter page. Throughout the event it is easy to see that the best engagement occurred on the Facebook and Instagram page, bringing concrete evidence that visuals work the best on those two platforms. What I find interesting about the consistency of feedback and engagement on Facebook and Instagram is the fact that there are over 7,000 Facebook followers, over 4,000 Twitter followers, but only over 200 Instagram followers. This really exemplifies how impressive the amount of engagement that they are getting on Instagram. After the event, and during, they requested people share their pictures with #ISPA2013, and they created a page on their website here, with everyone’s pictures. I think that was a really nice touch and it gave people the opportunity to share their experience at the conference.

ISPA twitter The Twitter feed did not receive a lot of engagement, as I had previously mentioned. There was a wide variety of posts during the days, which makes sense since Twitter is usually used to keep things up to date. I don’t know if maybe there was more than one person managing the Twitter feed, but I did notice that sometimes the #ISPA2013 hashtag was used, while other times it was forgotten about. I can understand if this only happened when there was a lot to say in that one tweet, but it occurred randomly throughout all of the days. Twitter was used for a variety of reasons, there was a lot of reminding on Twitter. Such as, “Attend tomorrow’s last General Session w/ keynote Bill Rancic to learn how to think like an entrepreneur. It’s a can’t-miss event! #” or “Get your morning workout in with Lawrence Biscontini during the final Greet the Day on the Expo floor from 6-7 am!”. I think these are great ways to let people know about what is going on, and it gives people who can’t attend a snapshot of what is happening. Another use they made of Twitter was to give thank you’s to people who were speaking, which is nice but would have been better if they could have integrated the persons own Twitter handle into the tweet. Instead of, “Attend tomorrow’s last General Session w/ keynote Bill Rancic to learn how to think like an entrepreneur. It’s a can’t-miss event! #, there should have been more, “What a great first day! Looking forward to seeing speak on business on Wednesday!”. I don’t know why Twitter handles weren’t used, the last tweet I quoted was actually a retweet from someone attending the conference. I think using more Twitter handles would be appreciated by the people who want their own name out there as well. On the plus side, they did retweet any tweet that had their #ISPA2013 or #GrowYourWorld. To me, this is HUGE since so many companies completely ignore people when they are mentioned. It has actually become one of my biggest pet peeves, so the acknowledgement and retweet definitely made the Twitter feed stand out. Since the event ended, that is the biggest thing that they are doing, finding any tweets they missed and making sure they retweet them.

International Spa Association 2013 FacebookWhen it comes to the Facebook page, as I previously mentioned, there was a lot more interaction and engagement. I think that some of the posts were really great reminding people about events, and sharing supplemental information to guest speaker’s speeches as well as saying thank you to sponsors. I am a little surprised that more of the sponsors weren’t mentioned. I don’t know if maybe that was because there was more than enough marketing at the event that listed all of the sponsors, but if each sponsor has a Facebook, they should all be listed. While every company is focused on their own publicity, it is always good to have your name brought up by other people so you aren’t always promoting yourself. I am sure every sponsor would have appreciated a “shout out” that linked back to their own page. Other Facebook posts were about speakers and provided information about the speaker and gave people the ability to learn more if they wanted to. I did notice though that only a few speakers were mentioned. There were actually over 30 speakers at the event, and I am sure each one would have appreciated a little blurb on them and what they were speaking about and when they were speaking. I think this is a missed opportunity to share more things to enhance the experience. If you want people to sit and listen to them talk, why not promote that more and give them a reason to sit and listen? After the event, there have been many call to action posts requesting pictures from the conference as well as asking for posts for their blog about people’s experiences.

International Spa Association 2013 Pinterest board

The Pinterest page is seriously lacking, there are only 24 pins on this page when there is such an opportunity for so many more. First of all, I don’t know if every single speaker was pinned, but if they weren’t they should have been. Also, every single booth and company in attendance of the event should have been pinned as well! What a missed opportunity! Whenever someone is a part of a big conference such as this one, they should be listed everywhere possible. I think they did their sponsors and speakers a huge disservice by not pinning them to this board. It would have made their board look better and more complete, as well as help with SEO.

ISPA blogThe blog was a little disappointing, when I envision a blog on a big event such as this one, I am picturing daily if not twice daily posts describing what the day will entail and what can be expected, or what people can look forward to. There was nothing posted during the expo. While the post that was made on October 14th, seen below was very informative, and posts before that were informative and helpful as well, there should have been much more posting during the event. Also, there could have been an in-depth recap of the event, but there has not yet been one which is not really a good sign either. Usually if a recap hasn’t been done by now, things start to get forgotten and missed when someone actually goes to write a new post.

The YouTube channel had a lot of videos from the past, and really only added one video during the time frame from a speaker, saying that it is Volume IV, while not posting any of the other volumes. I think this is a big misstep on their part since they should really keep consistent posting when it comes to images and videos, I know that images are always a lot easier to upload since they are snapshots, and with a video there may be editing that they have to worry about, however I think more should be added to the channel by now, since it is already 4 days after the event.

International Spa Association LinkedIn ProfileWhen I looked at the various pages, I was interested in the fact that a LinkedIn profile was being publicized as a place to be followed. I thought this was a great way to have businesses and people link up professionally after they both connected to the International Spa Association. I was shocked that I didn’t see more activity about the expo. With over 500 connections I though this would have been a great place to include articles and informational pieces about the speakers, sponsors and award recipients in order to really get more information out there. I recently learned that having a great headline with a lot of keywords is a wonderful way to get seen more and recognized more often, but the headline is fairly lackluster and so is the rest of the profile.

All in all there were some wonderful parts to the social media campaigning, and some lackluster ones. I will say that they fact that ISPA attempted to stay on top of 8 different platforms is commendable. However, they probably would have been better sticking to just a couple and consistently doing them really well. I think it is really great that they made a point of recognizing everyone who reached out to them and used their hashtags, it is a great way to make people feel as though they are being listened to and heard and it is a step that so many companies miss these days.

Candy, Pets and Martha Stewart- A look at what works..

social-platformIn the past few weeks we have learned a lot about different ways that brands have taken control of their marketing. Some brands focus more on social media, while others integrate social media into their other marketing strategies.

The three companies I looked at are MandM’s, Martha Stewart and Petco. I have had experiences with all three which is why I chose them.

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MandM’s Black MandM Contest

MandM’s does a great job keeping up with the seasons and updating all of their websites to reflect the times as well as have marketing with their products in print and in person. Their YouTube page has lots of views, their Instagram has really funny photos for the fall, and their Twitter is fairly up to date. They consistently use the hashtag #mms which has created enough of a following that people have taken it and begun to use it themselves when they have pictures with various products.

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Ms. Brown MandM’s Twitter Page

Part of the integration method that they are using is combining different contests through various social media channels. For instance, on the left they posted a contest on Twitter that had a picture that linked to Instagram in order to drive traffic to that platform.

The way that this company uses all various forms of marketing between different social media platforms as well as marketing on products, in magazines, and in grocery ads is a well thought out strategy.

The next company I looked at was Martha Stewart. This brand is constantly working in various areas of improvement and updating their various social media platforms consistently. The way Martha Stewart integrates between the magazines she puts out, as well as all of the products she is selling, is a well thought out plan.

Martha Stewart uses various hashtags such as #MarthaStewartCrafts and #MarthasHalloweenHunt. Both of these allow other people to use the content provided as well as insert their own information to answer the riddles and connect back to their own Twitter.

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Martha Stewart’s YouTube

Another platform that they are using incredibly well is YouTube, the way that they connect their TV programming into clips on YouTube.

What Martha Stewart posts in her magazines is also mentioned on the website as well as having the ability to connect to her Apple apps for iPad and iPhones. The brand also allows you to subscribe to emails and receive daily messages on new posts.

The fact that she consistently uses the same themes in her work and stays up to date makes a big difference in her marketing. People know what to expect, they know that if a holiday is coming up there will be new content to look through for ideas on various items.

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Petco’s Facebook

Lastly, I looked at Petco for the ways that they reach out to customers. While you can sign up for emails, they also send you mail and you can sign up to receive coupons and discounts on items in store and online. Petco reaches out to customers and potential customers in different ways, truly showing how they integrate all of their marketing tactics.

Across all of their social media platforms they do keep consistent imagery and various campaigns. For instance, right now they are focusing on their Star Wars Halloween costume collection as well as timing it for their Halloween “Make a Scene” contest. They use their various social media platforms to cross publicize the contest and let people know what is going on. One thing they don’t do is use consistent hashtags. I was a little shocked about this, it seems as though creating a #Petco hashtag would be a simple enough thing for them to follow, but it is the customers who are using that and not the actually company.

Truthfully all of these companies have taken the time to stay up to date with their campaign strategies as well as making sure that they don’t only focus on social media. Something to constantly remember is that the best marketing is still face to face communication and word of mouth. Which is why even though all of these companies focus on social media they also make sure to have outreach to customers in other ways. Through product placement and sales, emails, social media, and mail.

Push and Pull Marketing

After all that we learned this week, I believe that push and pull marketing work together to increase people viewing both social media sites as well as websites. Push marketing is great because it allows a company to do what it is there to do, sell. It allows for honesty in a time where having integrity and believing in a company or product may not always happen. It also is great for a consumer since push marketing sometimes involves an incentive of some kind. Whether it is a free item with purchase, a discount code for a coupon, or early entry into a sale, no matter what the consumer is winning if it is a product they are interested in. Lastly, push marketing is a great way to ensure that the people who are viewing your site and signing up for your emails want to be there. If they don’t they won’t sign up which will save you time rather than have people use fake email addresses and getting bounce backs.

However, people don’t always want the hard sell, and that is why pull marketing is also great. With pull marketing a company has to work for their end game, whether it is for someone to buy a product or just sign up for a newsletter. Pull marketing forces companies to look outside their comfort zone and offer different pieces of information to get what they want. It is a great way for a company to teach a consumer something different about what is going on with their brand, for instance as a social media maven, I post a lot of different blogs and articles on my page so that people can take that knowledge and learn something on their own. Also, it allows consumers to decide if they want to take part in the marketing or not. Consumers make the decisions, and people like to make their own decisions instead of having their email taken unknowingly.

I think the two concepts work together by finding consumers who are interested in your product or company and by allowing consumers to be in charge of their own news feeds or what emails they receive.  Professor Rhoads spoke in her lecture about the drastic difference between how many people visit a Facebook or Twitter page and how many visit a website. I believe that is extremely true since companies that don’t sell on their website don’t always have interesting information on there to grab a consumer’s attention. Integrating website information with social media feeds is essential to direct traffic between the two.

jcrew

One company that I think does a great job integrating the two marketing concepts, is J.Crew. They do a fabulous job of not only having an interesting Facebook page, but also of directing their consumers back to their own website. For instance, their Discovered collection shows a bunch of special items that they have selected and when people want to look at them further, they choose to go to the site. This way, even though a consumer may want more information, they have to get it themselves and it isn’t always a hard sell.

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Another thing that J.Crew does is have their own blog. This is a great way for their consumers to follow up with what the women or men in the office believe are the greatest trends. It is also a place for individuals to get free fashion advice from people they want to style themselves after. Once you look at the blog and find an outfit you like, it is up to you to go back to the site and purchase the different pieces to create it.

The second company I looked at is Chanel. Looking at these two companies makes me think that fashion truly lends itself to great push and pull marketing.

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Chanel is considered high fashion or haute couture, yet for someone who wants to stay in touch with what is going on with them, there is a Facebook page filled with videos and information about photo shoots with celebrities as well as images like this one that link to their Chanel News site that gives information about different events happening around the world as well as the ability to subscribe and receive all of this information at your email. Another prime example of using the push and pull marketing method to put information out there in an interesting way and allowing the consumer to decide whether or not they want to take the next step and receive more information.

Why I Think Old Navy is Getting it Right

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Old Navy is a company that I believe is handing social media and brand strategy in a very effective way. When it comes to reaching out to customers, they send emails consistently letting people know about sales and upcoming products, as well as staying on top of different forms of social media. On their website, when you go to their page, there are consistently happy pictures and images while still constantly allocating a section right on the home page that gives a coupon code, or sale information.

Another way they emphasize their branding is by using the picture shown above on both their Facebook page and Twitter page. Using the same pictures across various platforms is a great way to maintain ease of identification for users. This way people know what company they are looking at very quickly.

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Old Navy stays up to date with various information on Twitter by posting anywhere from 1 – 4 times per day. Some Twitter posts, are more well received than others. I screenshot a picture to the right of what is one of their most popular recent tweets. It got 50 retweets and was selected as a favorite, 100 times. It is promoting a sale, while also promoting a new style. This is one of the ways that Old Navy is keeping their customers engaged in their Twitter feed while also letting them know what is going on in their stores.

This week we read an article by Stephanie Schwab that spoke about branding. I think that of the things she speaks about, the branding voice really resonates with Old Navy. The tone that is used by Old Navy is consistently bright and cheery while being informative about products. The character is friendly, warm, and directed to women throughout all of their sites. The purpose is clearly to sell and the language is always simple. I believe that Old Navy uses Stephanie Schwab’s concepts wholeheartedly.

oldnavypinterestThe concept also extends to their Pinterest page. While Old Navy still strives to sell their clothing, on Pinterest they are also reaching out and showing their customers different ways that they can use their clothing in their lifestyle. This shows the company in a different way. Instead of always selling to the consumer, they are now also showcasing their items and other items and how consumers can use them in their life.

All of these different things are why I think Old Navy is doing a great job reaching out to customers. They have a consistent brand and are working on reaching out to customers in various social media platforms.

Classic Marketing v. Social Marketing

This week we have been looking at the differences between classic, traditional marketing, and social media marketing. I think that there are strengths to both kinds of marketing but I think that as more people are coming into the digital age, social media marketing is the way of the future. While there are people who still look at magazines and newspapers for their primary sources of information, more and more people are looking online for things such as watching TV or keeping up with what is going on in the world. I think some classic marketing campaigns, such as billboard ads or subway stations have a place but shorter online ads should be incorporated into a marketing campaign as well. Should companies stick to just one way or the other? No, I truly think that companies should maintain both levels of marketing, possibly with an emphasis on social media, since companies are able to gain more traction and react to customers better. Scheduling campaigns is great, and when people can schedule using social media as well as traditional formats I think that is the way to success. I looked at Old Navy since they are a company that is doing well.  They  are running a long range campaign where fans send in pictures in football gear from Old Navy and send it in with the hashtag, #ONSuperFan.

oldnavyfan

This campaign is a great way to ask for customer interaction and have customers come back and look for their pictures. While doing that, customers will see new content that has been posted including sales that are going on or new outfit ideas. Old Navy is really doing a good job at interacting with their customers, including responding to complaints.

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Here is a screenshot of customer complaints and how Old Navy customer relations employees respond to different complaints.

I think Old Navy is a company that not only has great campaign ads, but is also handling customer communications amazingly well. They respond to customers quickly and try to handle any and all complaints. I think in the way that Old Navy is handling their marketing, they are more successful with long range ad campaigns, as well as customer communications. I think the transparency of quick interaction that handles customers problems publicly is much better than communication that is done behind closed doors.

All in all, while scheduling ads does well in a classic and traditional format as well as spontaneously through social media, customer communications are really done  better in a fast and public fashion. This way customers know that a company is reliable with immediate interaction.

Google V. Facebook

When first looking at the question of who is bigger on a social scale, Google or Facebook, I initially wanted to say Facebook since when I think of interacting socially, it really is the first thing that leaps to mind. However, while social was originally considered interaction between two or more people, it is now a growing force that encompasses many different pieces. Due to the ever changing nature of being social, I do think that Google might actually be the winner. The reasoning is simple, even people who have sworn to stay away from Facebook for various reasons, still use Google. Google is talked about on a daily basis, from which picture it is using that day as a search box, to people asking for information and saying, “Will you Google that for me?”. While Facebook is wonderful for many things, keeping in touch with friends and family, keeping a watchful eye on frenemies, or just wanting to see what is going on with past classmates, Google is something spoken about constantly. Facebook can be deemed something of a guilty pleasure. A lot of people just use it for “Facebook stalking” and because of that don’t necessarily have the human component of being spoken about. Some people upload information occasionally, while others never upload it at all. Another growing complaint I have heard is the frustration levels of people who don’t understand how to really use Facebook to its fullest extent and because of that stay away from it at all costs. On the other hand, since Google hasn’t changed its format, and it is fairly user friendly, no one really complains about it. Even 80 year olds know enough about it to ask for help finding information in “The Google”. While I think that Facebook is truly revolutionary for allowing people to stay connected, I just don’t see it having the massive social impact that Google does, online and out in the real world.

As far as advertising is concerned, according to Young (2010), “The change that Google has wrought on advertising cannot be overstated. It forced a paradigm shift for advertisers, moving their decision making away from targeting demographics and mass audiences to connecting with individuals in a much more relevant way.”1 Once it became apparent that Google was here to stay with the innovative way it was helping people find products or resources that had the best keywords, it created a dynamic change in the way people looked at their websites. Instead of keeping a website stagnant, they began to be updated consistently using different words in hopes that a product or resource would become the best match. Due to this, I really think that Google is more effective when advertising. It allows more companies to be found in one setting without allowing someone to buy their way to the top. Instead it focuses on what the consumer wants and needs. For these reasons I think Google is way ahead of Facebook when it comes to both being bigger on a social scale and when it comes to being effective on advertising.

 

1 – Young, Antony. “Google And Facebook.” Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 29. Print.