My dad + smartphone = confusion: Understanding how different generations use emerging media

Professional marketers know the importance of researching their target age group, cultural background and ethnicity. As such, it is essential to understand what technology is  used before developing a campaign in order to send a message via the appropriate medium. For example, a news paper advertisement would not be as successful compared to a campaign that utilizes social media for those under the age of 18. Pew Research Center has conducted several surveys to differentiate age group’s emerging media usage.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 46% of American adults have smartphones The population with the highest percentage of ownership are the 25-34 year olds at 71% and the lowest are seniors 65 or older at only 13%.

But smartphones are only a part of the emerging media cohort, which includes computers, tablets and game systems. A subsection of the Pew Internet and American Life Project titled Generations and their gadgets, digs deeper into which generation owns what.  Millennials , those between 18 and 34 years old have the highest ownership of cell phones, laptop computers and iPod/MP3 and tie with Generation X, those between 35 and 56 years old, for ownership of a game consoles. As a marketing professional, I would certainly design a campaign to reach the Millennial generation by using mobile media.

Whether it be on a laptop, desktop or iPhone, Internet usage is growing, even for those 65 and older. The Internet Adoption Over Time report from Pew Research illustrates that in 2000 only 12% of older Americans used the Internet. By 2011, however their usage has grown to 41%. Should a community marketing an activity for older Americans invest in a campaign using the Internet: Absolutely, if the socioeconomics of their target have Internet access. Would a campaign for the same message be as successful if it were done through mobile Internet such as smartphones: Probably not. At least not for my father whose idea of social media is the newspaper.

There are many factors in addition to age that marketers consider when designing a campaign. It requires a lot of research and hard work and a combination of different tactics. But knowing the generation’s usage of different emerging media is very important as I hope I have demonstrated. I know for myself that if a company trying to sell me something had an ad in the local newspaper I would completely miss it. But an ad online, through mobile media and in a game placement just might reach me.

What generation am I?

Dedicated to my dad: My hero.


Why are we so STRESSED OUT! The techno-stress syndrome.

One of my greatest concerns is the amount of media, emerging and otherwise, that we are subjected to. Are we becoming so immersed in technology that we don’t take the time to listen to silence? It’s no wonder that we are stressed. We get messages while running errands; we use our tablets and laptops while the kids play at the park. Work, play, and work some more. According to the Digital Stress and Your Brain infographic, daily media exposure has increased from 5 hours in 1960 to 12 hours in 2012.  The infographic also illistrates that adults “change task more than once every two minutes”.

Because adults are expected to do so much in a short time either from work or at home they are multitasking, pushing their minds to the point of a break down. People that are in constant contact through email have higher heart rates and remain in a state of ‘high alert’, according to an US Army study. We use emerging media to make life better, so we think. I know that my smartphone is always ringing or notifying me of an email or a text message. At this moment I have four tabs open online and the television on. I am exposed to pop ups, online banners , email and television advertisements.

According to the infographic, all of this information that constantly surrounds us causes medical issues most notably memory loss and lack of concentration. The article discussing the issue stated that “In one study, 30% of those under 45 said smartphones, cellphones and computers make it harder to focus.” Perhaps this led the way to the work place breakdowns on the following YouTube video that I found.

Click Connect at your own risk: Using unsecured connections.

I never thought much about it. I would always click ‘connect’ when this prompt appeared:

But I recently learned some really bad things about using an unsecured network.  Kristy Philippi’s online article, The Scoop on Using Unsecured Wireless Internet Connections explained several concerns of using an unsecured Wi-Fi. One thing is that that any criminal can use my access to conduct illegal business such as purchasing child pornography or illegal weapons, use your imagination. When the police investigate, the purchase or conversation can be traced to my phone. Another is the fact that others can access my personal information, especially if I am making a business transaction using a credit card. And yet another scary possibility Philippi explains is that a person can access all of the computers that are using the same connection. Would you want your hacking neighbor to see all of your information?

Eric Geier, an author of several computing and networking books, stated in his online article,  “Any files you transfer between computers on an unsecured network, or files you open from network locations, can be captured by eavesdroppers. They could review the raw packets to see the contents of clear-text files. Again, they could also use a special sniffer to export and save the file(s). This includes database files, documents, zip files, images, audio files, everything”.

I might not be an important executive or a Wall Street entrepreneur but I really don’t want anyone to see what I am doing online especially to see how pathetic my bank account is. I guess when I am looking up my bank balance at the mall and I notice a person laughing I can assume they saw it.

Geier explains that there are services available to shut down Wi-Fi eavesdroppers such as AncorFree that can encrypt all Internet communications on public and unsecured networks. Philippi suggests however to simply avoid “shopping, transmitting password information, credit card usage, online banking or social media sites that requires providing personal or private information” while using an unsecured connection.

For me this information creates a conundrum. When I need information at a remote location I will probably only have access to an unsecured network. Should I forgo the information needed or take the risk?

Its all fun and advertising till controversy arises: The marketing technique of advergames.

It seems that the saying “There’s an app for that” is spawning a new saying, “ There’s a game for that”. One of the most up and coming marketing technique combines the thrill of games with the intention of advertising: Advergaming.

Advergames interact with consumers by providing branded content in an entertainment format that increases the amount of time consumers are exposed to the brand. According to a CBS News report, attention has become a commodity especially when we speak of the youth. Typical online advertisments such as banners are usually skipped over and ignored allowing only seconds of brand exposure. With advergaming, the amount of time spent with the brand increases dramatically to 30 minutes or more. In addition to more time spent with a brand, advergaming  can be integrated into social platforms like Facebook by implementing prompts to post a score on Facebook which could challenge a “friend”. Usually free and easy, advergames are targeted mostly to children such as Fruitloops and Cheetos and young adults such as Axe and the United States Army.  Or the energy conservations game brought to you from Chevron.

Most of the controversy surrounding advergaming is the objective of promoting sugary products to children. According to a Rudd Study, Advergames promoting unhealthy food choices to children has about 100 million visitors per month with over an hour of brand exposure. Another controversy is the concept that advergaming is a deceptive form of advertising for adults and children alike. I don’t agree that advergaming is deceptive for young adults due to the fact that it is an opt-in form of advertising requiring a consumer to chose to be an active participant.

The advergames work so well that researchers from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity have found playing kid-friendly advergames that promote unhealthy foods increased children’s consumption of junk food by 56%.


Turn left ahead. And by the way 50% off Mattresses: GPS marketing.

 It is that time of year again that flocks of geese head toward warmer weather. I have
always found it amazing how they find their way to the same place year after year without a GPS. That’s right, they do not have a GPS system strapped to their head. Today Americans can have GPS services available on their smartphone but a report from Market Research states that 900 million GPS devices are expected to ship by 2013 with revenue of 10 billion. That’s a lot of GPS’s. Combine that with the 66% of Americans ages 24-35 who own a smartphone , according to a Nielsen study. Another statistic from Digby states that 74% of consumers use location based services via their smartphone. 

But what does all this talk about smartphones and GPS services have to do with marketing? It means that marketing firms are creating location-based advertisements that pop up when you are in the company’s vicinity. For example, you are driving through an unknown town using your GPS and on the screen is an ad offering 50% off mattresses at Mattress City. WOW! Exactly what you were looking for all day, you have to stop in. And guess what, your GPS shows you exactly where to go.

Blast Companies, a marketing firm explains, Through GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology, when consumers enter a defined area (Geofence) they receive location-based marketing messages on their mobile phone.

See the YouTube video explaining in further detail.

I don’t know about you but when I am using my GPS, it is usually because I don’t know where I am going. The GPS giving me directions in busy traffic is confusing enough. Now I am going to have advertisements! The following YouTube video is a real life example of myself using the GPS when the ad for 50% off mattresses came across. Of course characters where changed among other things.

What do you think of advertising on GPS or location-based systems?

If I’m not happy I will tell the WORLD! The role of social media in customer relations

It seems that almost everybody has a Youtube video, Facebook page, a blog or a Twitter account. Some Imagehave all of them while others have none. Social media allows each of us to say what we want whether it be about our love for Britney Spears or the aggravation with our pretentious daughter. But when we are upset we seem to want to voice our experience and let others know our story like the angry dad (explicit language warning) shooting the computer or the confused young man defending Britney Spears (Leave Britney Alone, explicit language warning), or like the angry Comcast customer. Think of this, the angry dad had 34,629,330 views, the Britney boy had 44,517,042 views and just one Comcast complaint had 7,262 but trust me there are more than one. Lets pretend your thinking about getting Comcast so you are interested in customer reviews. You go to Youtube, or search customer reviews online and there are loads of angry customers. This is just an example of how important customer relations is today.


Companies are taking proactive actions to care for customers, sometimes its what they market the most which is a wise strategy. According to a study mention in a Forbes article, 90% of customers trust peer reviews and 70% trust online reviews. Pamela Vaughan cited a study in her blog that “75% of marketers using social media identify customer service as a primary use of their social media platform”.  Brian Solis, a new media publisher stated in his online article “Customer Service is the New, New Marketing”,

Social Media is rooted in conversations between people and peers, regardless of the technology that facilitates them, and everyday they take place across blogs, networks, forums, micromedia, and online groups. And, each day, with every new community and social tool that is introduced, brands, products and services are actively discussed, supported, and disassembled. Some companies are listening, while many aren’t even paying attention. 

Perhaps after listening to customer complaints as Solis explained, Comcast produced this commercial:

Go ahead and Tweet me with it!

What’s the deal with Twitter? I know that it has great opportunities for businesses and people to communicate immediate information, but is the information really that immediate? This week I did a lot of researching about Twitter and how a company can use Twitter to enhance their marketing reach. But how many of us really use Twitter? Twitter has grown by 700% in the past two years and one billion Tweets every three days!! Twitter is also the most popular platform for Fortune 100 companies.

So that means someone is using it.

Companies are using Twitter to communicate to those that choose to receive their information, a marketing trend called opt-in which is usually associated with e-mails. Being that customers have to choose to receive the messages and ‘Follow’ the company or person, there is a higher chance of customers actually reading the information because it is relevant to them. This is why I think that Twitter is so popular with companies. Below is part of an article, Why Opt-in Marketing Matters.

9-11-01: How did you hear about it?

A week ago tomorrow marked the 11th anniversary of 9-11. I watched the news as President Obama held a silent vigil for those that perished and suffered. I asked my son if they spoke about it in class and he said they did just briefly. Then last night I watched a movie called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Throughout the movie, the boy listens to messages on the answering machine of his father who was in the World Trade Center during the attacks. The messages left on the machine where of him, the father, not knowing what was going on or what to do. I couldn’t help but wonder how different things would have been had it been for smartphones, apps, tablets, Twitter, and IM.

Those in the building could have had some information on what was going on released through a Twitter post or they could have developed an App for news for their office and released a message through that. Those in the plane could have sent something more than phone messages, maybe pictures of kissing goodbye.. And what about the rest of the world who didn’t know what was going on?

I was at Bob Evans having breakfast with my mother and 10-month-old son. A friend came running to us and said that America was being attacked. I looked at her like she was crazy. Every one around the restaurant was acting normal. Just like the little boy who recollects where he was during each phone call on the machine.

How different would it have been if I had a smartphone with Internet access? How different it would have been for so many people. I found an article that discusses what different people were doing and how they found out what had happened. After reading it I realized that every one had to go to the television to find out what was going on. No body in the article said they got a Tweet or a notice from their CNN App.  All this to say that emerging media has changed how we know what is going on around us; from Apps that let us know what the traffic is to Tweets about what Jim Cantore is doing on the Weather Channel.

How did you hear about what was going on?

Its Just Business: Marketing to Children


My wonderful son, 11 years-old, hollers from upstairs, “Mom. I have an idea.”

“Really, what would that be?” I ask.

He replies, “If you buy me this Starwars Lego Power Function, I can make my Legos move like a remote control.”

I think to myself, just last week he wanted me to buy him some kind of kit to build a remote control tank. Only a couple hundred dollars, he informed me.

The infamous Lego Power Function

It seems everyday I hear, I want, Can you get me, or I need. Where do these ideas come from? They come from companies marketing to children. The Starwars Lego thing he saw in his Lego magazine that he had to have that was in his Lego kit. He goes online and gets Lego ideas and needs more Lego stuff thats available on Lego’s Web site.

Is this concept of marketing to children ethical? Is it fair for them to always feel like they have to have more? Is if fair to the parents who can barely buy groceries?

The answer is that it is just business like any other business. According to Sharon Beder’s article,  Marketing to Children, U.S. spends about $100 BILLION on non-necessary items such as sweets and electronics. According to Beder, children as young as 4 are targeted by advertisers. Ethical concerns center around children’s ability to understand the concept of advertising such as children actually being paid actors and the idea that everything looks cool in an advertisement. My son would see a toy move and fly and to him he thought it would really do that, but he was disappointed when he had to pretend it flew.

Emerging media is a key tool marketers are using to reach children. By using online interactive games or advergaming and online music videos, Apps, and ringtones  companies are communicating and creating a relationship with children. I imagine a company to answer me like this:

Its just business.

So, companies are going to advertise to children just like candy products always have. Who is going to tell the child NO? The company or the parent?

Welcome Marketing Friends

Welcome friends. My name is Margie and I am venturing into the world of Digital Communication Media, otherwise called emerging media. As I traverse through my learning pathway, I invite you to provide me with ideas and comments. I am particularly interested in how others have been involved with Digital Communication media and how it impacts daily lives.

First, I would like to introduce the topic of Digital Communication Media (DCM). Marketing professionals have begun to implement campaigns utilizing technology that interacts with prospective consumers, you. Technologies that are currently being used are social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and widgets. Others include but are certainly not being limited to smartphone apps, podcast, blogs, banner ads, and of course Web sites.

Digital Communication Media allows companies to interact and communicate with consumers regularly with opportunities to develop conversation. Todays consumers are highly linked with tablets, smartphones, and laptops. Companies can send a message to a customer through their GPS or smartphone as they drive by their store to offer a discount or to simply advertise. Personally, I am always comparing prices while I am in a store or looking up addresses of other places that may offer what I need on my smartphone. The technology available today for companies to use to reach their target market has advantages and disadvantages. Some feel that it is beginning to bombard people with too much distraction while other feel that it is just the wave of the future and a wonderful way for companies to communicate at a personal level.

As you follow my blog, I will be discussing the ethics of DCM, new innovative concepts, how DCM enhances the bottom line and what techniques have been most affective. Again I invite you to provide comments and ideas as I am new at emerging media and I am humble to those that have more experience.