Author Archives: bebtexas

Social Media Marketing

In 2018, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) began to take off and major catastrophes caused online hesitation such as data breaches, interference in elections, and world leader arguments on Twitter.

From small businesses to major corporations, every business needs to have a social media marketing plan. It’s not necessary to have photography staff or a video production studio in order to keep up with the latest social trends. Keeping your finger on the pulse concerning where your clients are and what they are responding to is necessary.

Brand professionalism, voice, authenticity, and trustworthiness matter more than ever.

There have been more than 3,500,000,000 live videos on Facebook since “going live” was first introduced to the platform. Over 2 billion people have watched live videos. This trend is just getting started.

“Stories” are potentially the next stage of social media as we know it.  Mark Zuckerberg stated in January that views to stories will surpass newsfeed views this year.   FOMO (fear of missing out) is a marketing buzzword that is gaining credibility.   200 million Instagram users use Instagram Stories each month.

Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have emerged as the top platforms for video marketing, and audiences are responding more than ever. With the launch of long-form, vertical videos on IGTV from Instagram and continued new options for YouTube Creators, video is evolving fast.

 

A World Without Facebook

I read such an interesting article by The Economist the other day.  It was called; “What would happen if Facebook was turned off? Imagine a world without the social network”

30% of the world’s population (2.3billion people) engage with Facebook every month. Economists estimate that it yields trillions of dollars’ worth of value for its users. Facebook is also blamed for all sorts of social horrors: from addiction and bullying to the erosion of fact-based political discourse. This article outlined some new research that suggests that it may be time to consider what life without Facebook would be like.

Hunt Allcott, of New York University, and Luca Braghieri, Sarah Eichmeyer and Matthew Gentzkow, of Stanford University, published results of an experiment where they recruited several thousand Facebook users and sorted them into control and treatment groups. Members of the treatment group were asked to deactivate their Facebook profiles for four weeks in late 2018. The researchers studied what happened.

On average, those that disengaged enjoyed an additional hour of free time. They tended not to use those additional 60 minutes to flock to other websites or social networks.  Instead they spent time with friends and family or watched television. They also consumed less news, and as a result became less aware of events.  In turn they also became less polarised in their views about events than those still on the network. Leaving the social network boosted self-reported happiness and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

Read the article in its entirety here.

BEB Wins Communitas Award

We are so excited to announce that Business Extension Bureau has earned our first Communitas Award.  The award represents Excellence in Community Service and Corporate Social Responsibility for our Run for Rama 5K.

Communitas, a Latin word meaning the spirit of Community is an international effort to recognize corporate programs involving volunteerism, philanthropy or ethical, sustainable business practices which benefit communities. Presented by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), this several thousand member organization hosts international competitions for marketing professionals involved with the concept, writing, or design of marketing programs using print, visual or audio.

Communitas nominees are evaluated based on the extent and effectiveness of their program. This is an international competition and previous winners include recognizable companies such as MasterCard, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, Toyota, and Vonage.

The statuette symbolizes peace and harmony and was created by the same firm that crafted the CLIOS, Golden Globes, MTV’s VMA, and Academy of Country Music Awards!

The Run for Rama 5K means a great deal to Business Extension Bureau and our “BEB Family”. We are honored and humbled to be recognized for this event which is so close to our hearts.  (click here to learn more)

Monetizing Car Data

A massive amount of data is being generated as privately owned vehicles continue to use sensors and become increasingly connected to each other and to an external infrastructure. Yet while gathering such data is now routine, actually identifying insights that can be monetized is still in its infancy. McKinsey Automotive & Assembly published an interesting report called Monetizing car data. They analyze consumer perspectives on the prospect of accessing car-generated data, and identify the value and requirements of possible car data-enabled use cases. They predict that the global revenue pool from car data monetization could be as high as $750 billion by 2030. Check out the report here.

A Note From Ron Royall 3-2019

There is no place like Texas in March. The average high is around 72°F and it’s Bluebonnet season. If you’re lucky enough to be here during this time of year, I hope you get the chance to go for a drive to see the beautiful landscape.

It’s also a very busy time of year for us at BEB. March means rodeo, and I have worked as a volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo for many years. The organization not only brings some of the best shows and food to Houston, it has contributed more than $75 million in research, grants and scholarships.

Last month, we attended the National Auto Dealers Association convention in California. Later this month, we head for the annual Mailing & Fulfillment Services Association conference in the Woodlands. Also, we will be co-hosting the PIGC annual Graphic Excellence Awards in April. It’s important that we stay active with industry associations which is why we serve on several boards and have staff active on committees and educational programs.

This year, in an effort to better serve you, our operations managers, client services representatives and executive staff are becoming Certified Mail Professionals from the program provided by global think tank and industry giant, Idealliance.

The Certification requires 11 hours of classes covering 28 modules that focus on postal compliance and regulations. This comprehensive training has been challenging and spawned a lot of lively discussions.

To celebrate our 70th year in business we will highlight some of our rich history that will include photos, mail pieces, and newsletters from the past.

Our first features a BEB newsletter that was written and mailed in February 1963. We review the dramatic changes that occurred over that 56-year time span and reflect on several items that haven’t really changed at all! We hope you enjoy.

This edition also includes an article explaining Dynamic Pricing, we define Account Based Marketing, and have a feature about the Russian Post. They have started selling beer at their rural post offices as a way to keep unprofitable branches open and viable.

We included an article called: “Direct Mail Basic Training.” As many of you are working on Easter campaigns, we thought that an outline of the basics may be a handy reference point.
We also review Trigger Direct Mail. This strategy uses data collected online to engage clients offline.

We are participating in the MD Anderson Sprint for Life 5K race again this year. This event raises money for the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Research Foundation.

We got involved to honor our Rama Moore. She worked for my family for over 40-years and lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2017.  We call the race, The Run for Rama.

Last year we raised over $5,000 and had over 30 people who walked or ran in the race. If you would like to make a donation, or join us for this inspiring event, go to runforrama.com or contact us directly.

Be sure to check in with us through our weekly blog or one of our social media sites as we will continue to keep you abreast of the latest industry trends & postal happenings.

As always, thank you for your business and partnership.
Sincerely,

Ron Royall
President, CEO

Trigger Direct Mail

Direct mail garners much higher response rates than digital channels.  Successful direct mail campaigns don’t always have to be large volume.  When creating your marketing budget, don’t overlook small, very targeted mail campaigns to implement throughout the year based on client behavior data.  We call this Trigger Direct Mail.

Trigger Direct Mail integrates multi-channel marketing strategies, using data collected online to engage customers offline. It’s easy to send off an email, but that doesn’t mean you always should.  Direct mail will never land in someone’s spam folder and recipients don’t opt out.

Direct mail has a significant emotional impact that email doesn’t and results in a stronger recall of your messaging. Make an incredibly personal and positive impression by sending a thank you note, or an introductory letter of your staff after obtaining new business. Pictures and words on a printed piece of paper are very powerful.

When consumers visit your website and leave without completing a purchase, chances are that
you have a drip campaign that includes a series of emails to entice them to come back. We know that email automation has a strong impact at recovering abandoned sales. Statistics show that almost 50% of cart abandonment emails are opened.

This is another great time to add direct mail.  Send a postcard with an offer, or mail a small brochure showing a variety of products to entice your buyers back.

Marketing trends show that Millennials expect engagement from brands and
personalization in the printed form is the perfect way to touch your audience.
#DirectMailWorks

 

Wildly Popular Social Sites You’ve Never Heard Of

WeChat

(Chinese: 微信; literally: “micro-message”) is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. It was first released in 2011, and by 2018 it was one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps by monthly active users, with over 1 billion monthly active users and 902 million daily active users. Described as one of the world’s most powerful apps by Forbes, it is also known as China’s “app for everything” and a “super app” because of its wide range of functions and platforms. In addition to China, it is also the most popular messaging app in Bhutan.  WeChat has been identified as one of the few potential competitors to Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

QQ

Another Tencent brainchild, QQ is an instant messaging software service.  It also offers services that provide online social games, music, shopping, microblogging, movies, and group and voice chat software. It is the world’s 7th most visited website.

 

TIKTOK

TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, is a media app for creating and sharing 15 second videos. Owned by ByteDance, the media app was launched as Douyin in China in September 2016 and introduced to the overseas market as TikTok one year later. It is a leading short video platform in Asia, United States, and other parts of the world. In 2018, the application gained popularity and became the most downloaded app in the U.S. in October 2018.

TikTok is available in over 150 markets, 75 languages and has over 500,000,000 active users.

REDDIT

Reddit is a US social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. Registered members submit content to the site such as links, text posts, and images, which are then voted up or down by other members. Posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called “subreddits”, which cover a variety of topics including news, science, movies, video games, music, books, fitness, food, and image-sharing. Submissions with more up-votes appear towards the top of their subreddit and, if they receive enough votes, ultimately on the site’s front page. Despite strict rules prohibiting harassment, Reddit’s administrators spend considerable resources on moderating the site.

As of February 2018, Reddit had 542 million monthly visitors 330 million unique users, ranking as the #3 most visited website in U.S. and #6 in the world, with 57.4% of its user base coming from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom at 7.5% and Canada at 6.3%. Across 2018, Reddit saw 153 million submissions, 1.2 billion comments, and 27 billion upvotes from its users.

Reddit was founded by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. Condé Nast Publications acquired the site in October 2006. Reddit became a subsidiary of Condé Nast’s parent company, Advance Publications, in September 2011. As of August 2012, Reddit operated as an independent entity, although Advance was its largest shareholder.[7] Reddit is based in San Francisco, California. In October 2014, Reddit raised $50 million in a funding round led by Sam Altman and including investors Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, Snoop Dogg, and Jared Leto. Their investment valued the company at $500 million then. In July 2017, Reddit raised $200 million for a $1.8 billion valuation, with Advance Publications remaining the majority stakeholder.

DOUBAN

Douban launched on March 6, 2005.  It is a Chinese social networking service website allowing registered users to record information and create content related to film, books, music, recent events and activities in Chinese cities. It could be seen as one of the most influential web 2.0* websites in China. Douban also owns an internet radio station, which ranked No.1 in iOS App Store in 2012. Douban was formerly open to both registered and unregistered users. For registered users, the site recommends potentially interesting books, movies, and music to them in addition to serving as a social network website such as WeChat, Weibo and record keeper; for unregistered users, the site is a place to find ratings and reviews of said media.

As of January 2019, Douban had 320 million registered users.

*the second stage of development of the World Wide Web, characterized especially by the change from static web pages to dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of social media

BEB Wins All Star Award

We are thrilled to receive, for the sixth year in a row, a 2018 All Star Award by Constant Contact, an Endurance International Group company. The annual award recognizes companies with unmatched email engagements with their audience.  Only 10 percent of the Constant Contact client base earn this coveted honor.  Every year, the bar to All Star status gets higher and higher.

Criteria required to earn an All Star Award include the following:

● High Level of engagement with email campaigns
● Consistently higher than average Open Rates
● Lower than average Bounce rates
● Higher click-through rates
● Use of social sharing features
● Use of mailing list sign-up tools
● Use of reporting tools

Thank you Constant Contact for making it so easy to communicate with our valued clients and as always, a very special Thank You to our clients!

 

Dynamic Pricing Explained

Dynamic pricing is a trend that has taken eCommerce  by storm. Though not a  new concept, many giants have been using it for years and it is becoming more relevant to more industries.

Dynamic Pricing is a strategy in which product prices continuously adjust, sometimes in a matter of minutes, in response to real-time supply and demand.

Amazon is one of the largest retailers to have adopted dynamic pricing; they update prices every 10 minutes.

Dynamic pricing is based on real-time changes to product supply and demand. It takes into account the price fluctuations in the market, monitors competitor activity and individual product demand and supply.
As a result, it gives eCommerce retailers the right data and information that can be used to set optimal product prices and stay profitable despite the price fluctuations.

Monitoring hundreds of thousands of products and keeping an eye on the real-time supply and demand trends is a highly complex and challenging task, beyond the scope of most eCommerce businesses. However, it can be easily managed with the right software. There are many web-based applications designed to monitor, calculate and manage dynamic pricing models based on real-time supply and demand trends.

eCommerce retailers continue to grow at a record pace and with increased competition, they face the tough challenge of maximizing profits while keeping prices competitive. Dynamic pricing is the ideal solution to this problem. If implemented for a sustained period, this pricing strategy can significantly boost overall revenues and profitability.

 

Facebook’s AI Research

Facebook is focused on advancing the field of machine intelligence.  They are creating new technologies to give people expanded ways to communicate. As Facebook puts it; they’re trying to solve AI.
Facebook Artificial Intelligence researchers seek to understand and develop systems with human-level intelligence by advancing the longer-term academic problems surrounding AI. Their research covers the full spectrum of topics related to AI, and to deriving knowledge from data: theory, algorithms, applications, software infrastructure and hardware infrastructure. Long-term objectives of understanding intelligence and building intelligent machines are bold and ambitious, and they are approaching this research in a very collaborative way.  They are actively engaged with the research community through publications, open source software, participation in technical conferences and workshops, and collaborations with colleagues in academia.

Facebook AI researchers work from offices around the globe.  Check out this very interesting video by FB.

Helping the Blind to See