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Tablet: Toy or laptop-succeeding tool?


describe the imageWith Amazon unveiling its Kindle Fire tablet today and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series garnering more than a few good reviews, the tablet is poised to become an established piece of tech rather than an Apple-only gizmo.  While the iPad started the craze, the success of other (but not all) renditions hints at future price slashes and app-tastic innovations.  Touch screens, intuitive layouts and petite proportions have the digital slates on their way to becoming a household item.

 But what type of household device will it be?  Will it be a work-home hybrid like computers and smartphones that serves both professional and personal purposes?  Or will it lean more toward the unnecessary-but-fun luxury category where e-readers, mp3 players and gaming consoles reside?  The jury is still out to lunch.

In June 57, percent of owners polled by Resolve Market Research reported that they used their tablets to supplant laptop applications, including work-related tasks.  These findings might indicate a laptop-tablet battle for computing supremacy, but another study has come to a very different conclusion.  A survey by Citigroup revealed that of 1,800 polled in the U.S. and U.K., 62 percent would purchase a tablet as a new toy or leisure gadget.  Only 18 percent reported they would use the device for work.

Of course these surveys cannot be arranged into an apples-to-apples comparison— the most glaring distinction being that one polled tablet owners and the other asked would-be consumers.  As more companies, like Amazon, enter the tablet club, the market dynamic will continue to evolve; only time will tell if and how the tablet will fit into the tech ecosystem.  

In the meantime, marketers would be wise to keep an eye on the public’s sentiments.  So far tablet ads have focused on versatility and ease of use, but should iPads, Kindle Fires and Galaxy Tabs become common office tools, those themes will need an upgrade.

On a lighter note, Disney’s upcoming Appmates for Cars points toward the toy (albeit awesome toy) category. Now all I need is an excuse to race Lightning McQueen at the office.

Nicole Duncan

When contagious is what you want


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As a common word, “contagious” usually conjures memories of never-ending flues, Hollywood thrillers (Contagion, anyone?) and that guy the subway who sneezed on you this morning.  But in the world of social media marketing, where viral videos, retweets and Facebook likes drive traffic, contagious is key.
Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella, author of the e-book, Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness, recently hosted a Science of Social Media webinar to further explain and promote his research.
Eschewing the “unicorn and rainbow” marketing defaults that are guided by what feels right, Zarrella sought to analyze the efficacy of social media campaigns using quantifiable methods and data.  Many of his findings can be compared to established scientific theories such as gene propagation and evolution.
Here are some of the highlights of his research.  You can watch the webinar in its entirety here.

  1. Retweets are like fruit flies.  Fruit flies reproduce quickly and in great numbers, but they have short life spans.  Elephants, on the other hand, take longer and have fewer offspring, but the have increased longevity. With regard to campaigns, you have to decide if you want short-term virality or long-term loyalty.
  2. Engaging in conversation is not the most important part of a campaign. Zarrella’s data indicates that it’s far more important to share interesting content.
  3. Marketing and zombies are the peanut-butter and jelly of audience reach. A combined relevance exists wherein two seemingly unrelated topics (like marketing and the undead) are popular within a specific group. Uncovering and attending to both subjects makes you more relevant.
  4. Embrace the weekends.  Zarrella maintains that posting content while social channels are quieter, like Fridays and weekends, can help you reach followers when they have more time and less information fighting for their attention.
  5. Kardashian is King… er, Queen. The New York Times has low clickthrough rates while the Kardashians’ rates are among the highest, making them the most influential users on Twitter.  In 10 years, we’ll all be pledging allegiance to Kim, Khloe and Kourtney.

 Perhaps the Marketing Zombies will save us.

Nicole Duncan

The Numbers: Live Stats on Social Media


As a community manager, I often wonder why companies won’t just accept that they need to engage their customers with social media, and why they can’t see that consumers (not just ad people) are using and consuming social media at an astounding pace. Realistically, there are a lot of good reasons for this, chiefly that they don’t see any empirical evidence that the times are changing. This presents a real big challenge to social media enthusiasts like myself, as we are so consumed by trying to keep up with “it” – “it” being The State of NOW, as Jeff Pulver so aptly puts it – that we have a hard time stepping back and seeing it with “client eyes.”

Enter Gary Hayes of Personalize Media, @GaryPHayes on Twitter. He has created this amazing app (below) that is tracking the rapidly advancing rate of people using the social web. Notice this app is updating itself in real time. Could it provide enough evidence of this crazy media revolution that’s so difficult to quantify?

Thanks goes to Chris Voss for blogging it before me and tweeting the link.

UPDATE: 2/22/2010: Just realized I only mentioned the social media counter and not the tabs for mobile and games. Check out those categories with this counter, too!

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