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The Lure of Pokemon GO and What It Means for Small Businesses

IMG_2597Pokemon GO has taken over.
The augmented reality mobile app and game that launched a few weeks ago has seen phenomenal growth rates, with engagement rates surpassing Snapchat and a higher percentage of daily active users than Twitter!
Armed with a smartphone and a sense of adventure, Pokemon GO users have made the streets and parks of America an extended playground with people actively searching for prized Pokemons to capture. I tried the app with my kids, and we spent hours running around outside capturing Pokemon together. It was a way to connect and engage with them in a fun activity that offered a competitive and physical activity, bridging both the digital and real world. It’s part nostalgia and part scavenger hunt, and has captured the imagination and the attention of both young and old.
The initial bump of usage has been surprising, and many suggest that it will likely be a passing fad. However, you cannot dismiss the appeal and possible opportunities it offers small businesses with a physical location that can capitalize on the attention by drawing customers to their doors.
In a recent piece entitled “3 Simple Ways to Pokemon Grow Your Business,” Dave Kerpen and the team at Likeable Media lay out three suggestions on how small businesses can leverage the popularity of Pokemon GO:
1. “Lure” Your Customers Through the Door
Provided your place of business is near a PokeStop, you can draw foot traffic to your doors by creating a “lure” to attract more Pokemon for 30 minutes, all for less than $1. Businesses can set up lures within the app, and start seeing the traffic roll in. I can certainly see where an insurance office or independent financial advisor could use a lure to draw attention and possibly new business at a very affordable price point. It couldn’t hurt.
2 . Pick a Team (or All 3 Teams) 
Once you reach a certain level on Pokemon GO, you have the option to be part of one of three teams, each with their own name and color: Instinct (Yellow), Mystic (Blue) and Valor (Red). Dave suggests that small businesses can create special offers for teams and promote them on social media to help draw more traffic.
3. Use Social Media Content and Ads to Incite Pokemon Excitement
Part of the fun of Pokemon GO is how it has captured our attention, and while people are talking about it and participating, this is a good time to leverage social media content that is relevant and engaging and tied to Pokemon fever. Targeted Facebook ads can play on the search theme of the game, and you change the copy to reflect the kinds of products and services you offer. For example, insurance providers can relate the search of a Pokemon to the search for better insurance coverage.
Who knows how long the hype of Pokemon GO will last; however, what it has illustrated is how quickly a new application can grow in both adoption and utilization. This could only have happened now with the proliferation and widespread use of mobile technology. Once again, it’s an opportunity even for “traditional” industries and businesses to challenge the status quo and rethink different approaches to draw attention and people to your business.
P.S. Go Team Mystic!
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Hearsay Social Named One of Gramercy Institute's Most Valuable Partners in Financial Marketing

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 3.21.50 PMThe Gramercy Institute, a leading global network for senior marketers from the world’s leading financial institutions, recently released its 2016 list of 20 Most Valuable Partners in Financial Marketing and Hearsay Social is honored to be included.
“In 2016, financial marketers must engage with true strategic partners in order to effectively compete,” explains Bill Wreaks, CEO and Chief Analyst of the Gramercy Institute in a press release. “Understanding which partners provide real value through true partnership can make a tremendous difference to the achievement of marketing success.”
Members of the 2016 judging panel included senior executives from several Fortune 100 firms including:
Renee Baker, Sr. Manager, Marketing & Investor Relations, Aberdeen Asset Management
Jeffrey Kochie, Vice President, Marketing, Blackrock
Jacqueline Quasney, Senior Brand Manager, Personal Capital
Erin Meijer, Director, Thought Leadership and Content Strategy, Guardian Life
Amy Jackson, SVP, Content Marketing, Bank of America
Amy Sokotch, SVP, Media, Citibank
Francie Staub, Director, Digital Marketing, TD Ameritrade
Bryan VanDyke, Managing Director and Head of Digital, Morgan Stanley
Phillip Wang, SVP, Brand & Advertising, Wells Fargo Bank
Unlike many awards programs that allow companies to nominate themselves, the Gramercy Institute program requires submissions from clients at a financial brand who either currently or had at one time worked with the nominated company. Nominators provided an assessment of each nominee’s value to the financial firm’s marketing success, its innovation, its customer support levels, and its ability to delivery on expectations.
At Hearsay Social, one of our core team values is to put our customers above all else, and we’re both proud and humbled that our 130-plus enterprise customers consider us to be critical partners to their long-term success and growth.
For more information, check out the Gramercy Institute’s announcement.

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#HSonAir Podcast: The Rise of the Omnichannel Advisor

Screenshot 2016-02-12 11.32.25In Episode 75 we invite Gary Liu (@garycliu), VP of Marketing at Hearsay Social to talk about the rise of the Omnichannel Advisor and the impact that it will have on the financial services industry.  We discuss how the convergence of social, mobile, and digital technologies are rapidly changing consumer behaviors, preferences and expectations and what financial services professionals need to do today to stay competitive in our evolving digital world.
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.

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#HSonAir Podcast: Happy New Year 2016!

Untitled designIn Episode 72 we welcome Alissa Dos Santos (@alissadossantos) as the new co-host of the podcast and announce exciting changes for the show in 2016. Together we share our expectations and hopes for the new year as well as tips on how to keep your resolutions.  We’d like to thank all our listeners and guests who have participated in the show this past year and wish you all a very Happy New Year!
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.
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#HSonAir Employee Spotlight Series: Eli Menaker (Marketing)

EliIn episode 30 we introduce Eli Menaker (@EliZelig), Online and Email Marketing Manager at Hearsay Social. In our discussion we explore Eli’s role in promoting the Hearsay Social brand with clients and prospects, how he leverages technology to make a connection, and thoughts about the Predictive Social Suite we announced in Mid-February.  We also riff about Alaska, Ultimate Frisbee and the Serial podcast.
Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @EliZelig using hashtag #HSonAir.  Use the hashtag to ask questions, make comments or suggestions. If you have a question you’d like answered on the air, send an email to: OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.

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Interview with Rohit Bhargava of the Influential Marketing Group

rohitbhargavaIn episode 26 we interview Rohit Bhargava (@RohitBhargava), founder of the Influential Marketing Group, trend curator, and expert in helping brands and leaders be more influential.  He is the author of five best selling books on topics as wide ranging as the future of healthcare, building a brand with personality, and why leaders never eat cauliflower. Rohit has advised hundreds of global brands and is a Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University.
Today, he joins us to share insight on his latest book “Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future”, now available on Amazon.com.  The book is fifth in a series exploring how to use the power of non-obvious thinking to grow your business and make a bigger impact in the world.  We think you’ll enjoy the entertaining insights Rohit provides and the lively conversation that follows.  Please join @VictorGaxiola and @RonnyKerr in the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
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Interview with Alicianne Rand of NewsCred

aliciannerandIn episode 25 we interview Alicianne Rand (@AlicianneRand), VP of Marketing with NewsCred (@NewsCred) one of Hearsay Social’s content partners.
In our discussion we explore how content is being created, consumed and shared by brands and individuals as well as look at how marketers need to evolve their approach to gain new audiences and remain relevant.
Join the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @RonnyKerr on Twitter using our hashtag #HSonAir.
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Review of the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

Screen-Shot-2014-12-16-at-15.52.28In episode 19 of Hearsay Social On the Air we review the main themes explored at the Digital Marketing in Financial Services Summit in New York. In addition, we provide our commentary on the recently released Putnam Investments Advisor Survey on Social Media use.
Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr using hashtag #HSonAir
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The Internet of things and other 2015 trends you need to know about

key15As a special holiday treat, eMarketer is sharing a complimentary report entitled Key Digital Trends for 2015.
The report is broken up into three distinct sections. First, it describes the the five key trends in consumer behavior and technology adoption that every marketer needs to know about. Next, it delves into five buzzy technologies that could possibly gain traction in 2015, but are still unproven. Finally, it plainly calls out the areas that “are more hot air than hard reality.”
Here’s a brief outline of the findings:

Five key things you need to know about 2015

  1. ‘Responsiveness’ will rule
  2. Mobile search will surpass desktop
  3. Programmatic will move beyond digital display
  4. The Internet of things will become a thing
  5. Cross-device targeting at scale

Five things that might get big (but might not)

  1. Wearables: not quite ready to wear
  2. Mobile payments? Wait until next year
  3. New life for social commerce
  4. Will content marketing sputter?
  5. Cord-cutting: still more hype than reality

Five things you won’t need to worry about

  1. The desktop
  2. QR codes: not the next big thing
  3. Social TV: the conversation is pretty quiet
  4. Baby boomers: going bust
  5. Privacy? Security? Yawn.

Learn more by downloading the full report and exploring additional resources below.
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Disrupting the buyer journey at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

Digital Marketing SummitLast week we participated in the first Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit held in New York. Although the organization has held successful events in Canada, this was the first time it had brought the Summit to the U.S. as well as the first time that Hearsay Social participated as a sponsor.
The two-day event focused on challenges, opportunities and trends facing marketing professionals in financial services. Attendees representing wealth management, asset management, banking and insurance heard from industry thought leaders, influencers, and their peers in a number of sessions covering everything from 2015 trends to social media to gamification. Zeroing in on the marketer’s experience, the Summit brought to light the value of digital technologies to promote the brand and build awareness. Compared to other conferences I’ve attended, I found the conversations and themes more macro and strategic than tactical and field oriented.
Here were some of the main themes from the Summit:

Disruption

The key word of 2014 and this summit was disruption. It’s become clear to marketers today that the increased volume of potential marketing channels is challenging the way brands position their products and services to address their market. With the increasing number of mediums, cutting through the clutter of white noise is getting more and more difficult, and attracting consumer attention is requiring more creative approaches.
In his presentation, “Blending Heritage and Innovation,” Bryan VanDyke (Executive Director, Head of Digital Strategy, Morgan Stanley) shared that digital disruption shows no sign of slowing, affecting everything from how we buy travel and pay our bills to how we consume media (newspapers, music, movies, and television). The financial services industry will not be immune to these digital disruptions and are being challenged to adapt.  He suggested that firms consider adjusting by providing the following:

  1. Global presence: Be everywhere, always on, on all devices, service all needs.
  2. Be personal: Be relevant, actionable, and clear respective of your audience.
  3. Be insightful: Be thoughtful, holistic, visual and easy to grasp.
Hearsay Social booth at Digital Marketing Summit
Michael Gardineer manning the Hearsay Social booth at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

Digital is not just about technology

Digital is not just about technology because it’s more importantly about building connections with your customers. Firms getting caught up in technology challenges are overlooking the value in establishing a strong strategy first and then proceeding with a methodical approach that’s aimed at strengthening relationships.
In his presentation, “Strategy Considerations for Digital Marketing Transformation and Innovation in Financial Services,” Bill Barrett (Managing Director and Global Head of Digital Marketing, BNY Mellon) challenged participants to be disciplined in their digital adoption, and suggested 10 tips to follow:

  1. Develop an achievable strategy
  2. Ensure executive sponsorship
  3. Socialize with key internal stakeholders
  4. Seek out advocates in all areas of the company
  5. Listen to your audience
  6. Start from scratch if necessary
  7. Avoid “design by committee”
  8. Don’t believe everything you hear
  9. Don’t take on too much at once
  10. Keep experimenting

In essence, Bill provided a blueprint for the process marketing teams should follow when carefully adopting digital strategy: note, for example, that he specifically says in step one to develop an achievable strategy, taking into account the challenges an organization may have at the onset wanting to tackle too much at once.
Bill also reinforced how marketing teams must be mindful that their strategy needs to be flexible and nimble in order to adapt to changes recommended by consumers and internal stakeholders. If your brand is everywhere, especially in the minds of your consumers, you might as well take advantage of that by listening to their feedback and experimenting.

Alicianne RandThe buyer journey

Consumer buying behaviors are changing, and the products and services they buy are being influenced more and more by marketing and front of the funnel activities. In her presentation, “Content Marketing for Financial Brands as Publishers,” Alicianne Rand (VP Marketing, NewsCred, @aliciannerand) shared how content is core to who we are and how we live our lives. On average, we are exposed to 5,000 marketing messages every day, and we are being conditioned to tune out the noise. When you consider that only 0.01% of banner ads are ever clicked and 85% of TV ads go unwatched, how can you compete for the attention of consumers?
The fact is we choose what matters and is relevant to our lives, and today 70% of B2C and B2B purchase decisions are made before a buyer even speaks with a sales representative, according to Alicianne. As a result marketing departments are taking on more responsibility and accountability in the buying journey than ever before.
To cut through the noise, marketing departments must modify their approach with social media and other scalable digital technologies to personalize the experience and make the content more relevant to the individual consumer. Alicianne suggested that we challenge the old way of doing things with a new approach:

  1. From brand-led to value-driven: It’s all about consumers’ needs and the value proposition the brand can provide. Don’t constantly talk about who your company is and why it matters; instead position your products and services around the challenges they solve and the time or money it saves.
  2. From ad campaigns to always-on brand newsrooms: The 24/7 digital cycle is forcing brands to let go of traditional campaigns and instead leave the digital door open at all times. This is especially true for global brands that have consumers in every time zone. Social is always on, so having a presence isn’t enough if you don’t have the resources to support the ongoing conversation that is taking place. Airlines have been some of the fastest to adapt to their global customer needs both in availability and support in real-time
  3. From demographics and target audiences to the individual: Access to big data and insight data is making it easy for the brand message to be personalized to the individual needs of consumers as opposed to the general messaging to a single demographic. Targeted digital advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads has made this process much easier leveraging the data users provide to provide a more laser-focused delivery.

To conclude, we are undergoing a digital transformation that is affecting how we market and position the value that brands add to the market and to individual consumers. This is forcing brands to question their traditional methods and embrace the opportunities that digital technologies provide to connect with the right customer, at the right time, with the right message.
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