technology

2015 – Year in Review

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As 2015 comes to an end, we look back on the top marketing tools, trends, campaigns and more. Building a connection and sharing experiences with consumers, peers, businesses and more were some key themes we saw coming out of the marketing realm in this year. Here were some top trends from 2015.

Video Marketing and Live Streaming:
Live streaming has revolutionized marketing because it allows a company to connect with and learn more about a company, as well as share their experiences with their friends. Apps like Meerkat and Periscope lead the way in live streaming this year, and allow users and followers to share experiences and connect one another. This can help a brand by building a connection with users by sharing experiences through live video. Snapchat expounded on its marketing capabilities by creating the Discover options for brands, as well as allowing users to experience snaps and videos from around the world.

Technology:
Technology is always growing and getting better at anticipating our needs, which means that it anticipates the needs of a company and its consumers as well. According to Nielsen, Facebook, YouTube and Facebook Messenger take the top three smartphone apps. In addition, their study says that Android OS holds a higher market share in the United States with 52.7 percent, while Apple iOS only holds 42.8 percent.

Marketing Campaigns:
According to Entrepreneur.com, the top three marketing campaigns for 2015 are Apple’s “Shot on an iPhone 6” campaign, Glade’s “Museum of Feelings” campaign and Barbie’s “You Can be Anything” campaign.

Apple’s global campaign relied on consumer-created content to show the professional-looking images that the iPhone 6 can capture.

Glade’s pop-up museum started as a Facebook event page promoting “the first museum that reacts to emotions.” The museum and its website had mood filters that users could easily turn into a profile picture on social media channels. The mood filters suggested the best smells for a user’s mood, which made perfect sense when it was revealed that the “museum” was a campaign by Glade. The campaign came under scrutiny for being a “Secret Corporate Art Museum,” but also managed to garner 120,000 impressions, including the mood-based selfie filters. The museum closed on December 15, 2015.

Barbie’s campaign was created to connect with millennial parents. The campaign features a video of girls in various career settings. The videos are unscripted and have hidden cameras to capture how those around them would react, and the careers were chosen based on what the girls wanted to be at the time of filming. The video followed young girls as they became a professor, a veterinarian, a soccer coach and a museum tour guide for the day. The video states: “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.” The brand also introduced dolls with more ethnic diversity earlier this year.

Emojis:
Emojis have taken the texting world by storm. With the launching of multi-ethnic emojis and the hard-fought battle for a taco emoji, these little images are allowing younger-targeting businesses more opportunities to connect with their consumers. Domino’s Pizza, whose digital orders make up about half of its overall orders, announces a “tweet-to-order” system that will allow users to tweet the pizza emoji to @dominos, and an order will be placed! Emojis even made their way into our lexicons. Oxford Dictionaries announced that the 2015 Word of the Year wasn’t a word at all, but was the “laughing with tears” emoji .

Social Media:
Social media connects consumers to their brands and to each other.
Images are ruling communications methods, which put social media channels, like Instagram at an advantage. Businesses should be using these social channels to connect with their followers. Social media is also the easiest and quickest way to get feedback from consumers and engage with them.

Twitter hashtags changed with the breaking news stream. Here are the most-used Twitter hashtags of 2015:
1. #jobs
2. #Quran
3. #ISIS
4. #PrayForParis
5. #LoveWins
6. #CharlieHebdo
7. #JeSuisCharlie
8. #BlackLivesMatter
9. #地震 (Earthquake)
10. #SandraBland

Emails:
Email has continued to be one of the most direct methods that businesses can use to connect with their consumers. Emails help a business share data, deals and information with consumers.

What do you think 2016 will have to offer?

Are you interested in getting started with these marketing tools and trends? Contact La Voz Marketing at info@lavozmarketing.com.

Meet Generation Z

students-99506_640-2Marketers have been interested in gaining younger mindshare with Millennials for years. Millennials, more properly known as Generation Y, are currently the largest generation in the workforce and have become the most researched generation in history.

Now, meet Generation Z. They were born between the years 1995-2015 and are still growing with each birth (a growth rate of approximately 361,000 babies each day, according to census data). Currently, they are the largest generational group in America, making up just under 26% of the total population.

Why should we care about Generation Z? They are just barely entering the workforce, but they are important for companies to understand in order to get a grasp of the future of marketing.
Based on the article “Millennials are Old News — Here’s Everything You Should Know about Generation Z,” by Hayley Peterson and considering a study by Sparks & Honey, a New York-based marketing agency, we can see the influence Gen Z will have on the future. Here are some of their key characteristics and takeaways that could change the future of marketing:

1. They are activists. According to the study, 60% of them want to have an impact on the world (compared to Millennials’ 39%). One quarter of them volunteer, which shows that companies wanting to connect with Gen Z should take part in the activism.

2. They value independence. Being the first group to grow up completely immersed in technology (including YouTube and the internet), they are natural researchers and they are often self-taught through tutorial videos and more. They are accustomed to finding out information about products on their own.

3. They use technology extensively. While millennials grew up using technology, they didn’t have full access to it. Generation Z, however, is growing up completely immersed in it. According to the Sparks & Honey Report, Gen Z-ers can work and multitask across five screens (compared to three screens used by Millennials). This means that content needs to live across platforms and technologies.

4. They have a short attention-span. With the instantaneousness of technology and the Internet, Gen Z-ers are used to receiving an abundance of information at the click of a button. For this reason, it has become difficult to keep their attention on one thing. It’s important to break up content into bite-sized pieces.

5. They speak with images. Emojis and emoticons are taking over their text language and serving as an underlying conversation. This image-speak makes sense to Gen Z-ers and is another reason why Instagram and Snapchat have grown in popularity. If you want to tell a story to Gen Z-ers, make sure to tell the story through images.

If you have any questions about communicating with different audiences and generations, please email info@lavozmarketing.com.

Three Things We Learned from the 2014 CES

Over 3,000 exhibitors gathered at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada to showcase their newest products in consumer technology.  CES is noted as the event of the year, highlighted for unveiling the top designs, features and trends of a whole host of gadgets that uniquely challenge the market.  In 2005, the crazed product introduced at the show was the Samsung i730, complete with Windows Mobile 2003, 3G and even a color display.  The pricey LG BH100 HD DVD and Blu-ray combo player made its debut in 2007, most noted for it’s ability to play both formats from a single disc tray.  A year later Apple launched the 3-inch touchscreen iRiver as the top portable media player, while Phillips introduced its Eco TV.  By 2009 smart phones began to emerge and by 2013 we had already been introduced to tablets.

You’re probably wondering what the hottest products at CES were this year…we were curious too.  Here are some of the hottest new gadgets introduced this year:

Curved and bendable displays –

123(3)_071305231802_640x360Makers such as LG and Samsung introduced high-definition models that curve towards the viewer and designs that are bendable. This innovative new functionality will offer “even more lifelike picture quality with more depth,” according to Samsung’s Executive Vice President of the visual display business. Not only this, both companies introduced displays that are able to bend to the viewer’s liking.

Also introduced by LG was the G Flex Smartphone, offering a curved display which contours nicely to the users face. LG says the G Flex will be available to consumers through AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Solar powered concept cars and built-in applications –

Ford is helping to change the perception of solar powered vehicles with its new Ford C-Max. This sleek new solar car, with inconspicuously placed rooftop panels, can fuel 75% of its trips by just the sun.

BMW also showcased its new ActiveAssist application that turns its vehicle into a nearly driverless-car. The feature is designed to assume control of the car – steering, accelerating and braking as needed (in case of an emergency).

Smartwatches step up theiCMAXr game –

Razer displayed a new wristband called the Nabu, that they described as a “cross between a Smartwatch and fitness band.” Not only can this new kind of Smartwatch deliver text and emails, it can also monitor and record both sleep and activity, with a built-in GPS.  LG revealed a similar device – the LifeBand – which,  in addition to Smartwatch capabilities, GPS and activity monitoring, can control music as well.

We are inspired by these new products and technology trends and look forward to seeing how they can be integrated into business to further increase productivity and efficiency.

Waze – The Latest Mapping, Traffic and Navigation App

waze2Built specifically for the iPhone and iPad, Waze is a fun, community based mapping, traffic and navigation app.  It is designed in a way that allows users to connect with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic, save time and money, and improve everyone’s daily commute. What makes this app unique from others is the collaboration aspect – it helps drivers avoid frustrating traffic or sneaky police traps and allows them to share new routes.

How does it work?  After typing in your destination address, you just drive with the app open on your phone and it passively contributes traffic and other road data. Drivers may also take a more active role by sharing road reports on accidents, police traps, or any other hazards along the way (helping to give other users in the area a ‘heads-up’ about what’s to come). In addition to the local communities of drivers using the app, Waze is also home to an active community of online map editors who ensure that the data in their areas is as up-to-date as possible.

The most recent version (3.7.6) has been released offering voice-based search for addresses and places in 45 different languages, as well as improved settings and enhanced support for iOS7. Being very user friendly, Waze seems to be making an impact in the GPS world by offering a more cohesive navigation system all together.

We are excited to see how this new app performs and grows in popularity!  Thanks to our good friend Julie at Waze for giving us the run-down.

 

Apple Enters the Smart Radio Space with iTunes Radio

In an attempt to gain share in the smart radio space industry, Apple recently announced its decision to launch its own Internet radio service called iTunes Radio.  iTunes Radio is considered to be a cross between Pandora and Google’s new Google Play Music All Access.  This streaming music service allows you to create custom radio stations from artists or songs within your iTunes library of purchased music, which is altered whenever you like or dislike a song that plays on the station.  It is available across all Apple devices and is offered as an ad-supported free service to everyone, or ad-free to those who have signed up for Apple’s iTunes Match service.

itunes-radioGiven Apple’s position as the largest seller of digital music and producer of the most popular mobile devices, the company’s decision to launch its own Internet radio service makes a lot of sense.  However, other companies in the smart radio space don’t seem nervous about their latest competitor.

Take Pandora, for instance, the leader in Internet Radio with over 70 million active monthly users in the U.S. alone.  Pandora’s stock price actually rose slightly upon news of Apple’s new iTunes Radio (this may be because Apple is not entirely focused on taking away the audio advertising market, especially when it comes to local ads, which Pandora targets specifically).

Below is Pandora’s official statement about iTunes Radio, followed by statements from others in the industry such as Slacker, TuneIn, and Stitcher (as found in a recent Venture Beat article).

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Advancements in Today’s World of Home Automation

The world of automated home gadgets is young and exciting, filled with a vast amount of promising new products. In previous years, the “smart” home was dreamt about, shown only in movies and prototypes.  Now, that home is finally a reality with a variety of usable devices, many of which can be controlled from the convenience of a smartphone.  Mashable and CNN broke down the benefits that come with the home automation evolution.

Improved User Experience

Nest Learning ThermostatCompanies that develop household appliances will have access to an incredible amount of data about users and their experiences.  This new data will allow professionals to gather more insight into how products are used in real life and will provide opportunities to create a more personalized user experience.  Nest, the “learning thermostat”, is a great example of putting this data to use.  Users “teach” this proactive device their patterns for a few days and then Nest automatically adjusts settings to save energy based on user habits.

Reduced Costs

Home automation brings the concept of the “smart grid” into consumers’ homes.  Homeowners can control large appliances digitally and have them set to run at the time of day when energy prices are at their lowest.  HVAC systems, like forced air and zoned heating, will be able to work hand in hand within a home to be energy efficient while maintaining a desired temperature.  Additional opportunities for synchronization of systems are being developed that will help consumers save energy and money.

Plant LinkConvenience

In this fast-paced world we live in, it is now all about effectiveness and efficiency.  You can control home security cameras, blinds, check air quality, see if windows are open, unlock your house from halfway around the world, or use GPS to have your heater turn on…all through the palm of your hand.  A product called Plant Link monitors plants’ moisture levels and sends a text to the owner when they need water.  Philips Hue is a wireless lighting system that allows users to control every light in their house down to its color, saturation, and brightness, right from their smartphone.  Controlled through the Hue App, which comes with 17 pre-loaded “scenes,” users are able to use these scenes or create custom scenes, capturing the color from these images and recreating the desired hues throughout their home.

Here at LVM, we find home automation fascinating and are actively learning about what is now possible and will be possible in the near future.  Stay tuned for more updates!