By: Ariel Foss

Each year South by Southwest (SXSW) is at the cutting edge of digital, film, and music. SXSW 2014 proved no different. 

This year, they made it even easier for consumers to purchase goods than previous years. How did they do this? QR codes. Most of us assume that QR codes have kind of faded out of the mobile marketing realm. Honestly, I totally see the point of them but I have never actually used one. This is definitely false as proved by SXSW. 

While in Austin Mahala, a mobile payment application, launched their new cutting edge technology that is actually really cool. Artists, labels, and merchants feature S QR codes (secure QR codes) that consumers can scan to instantly purchase digital content or merchandise with the app. The payment is quick, easy, and super secure. Doesn’t get much better than that. All the consumer has to do is download the Mahala Wallet app and insert their information. 

Personally, I’ve always been hesitant to buy products from merchants at festivals like SXSW. There is always that worry that the tiny sketchy credit card reader that merchants use is stealing all my information with the one swipe. I’m sure I’m not alone in this hesitation. An app like Mahala is the perfect solution. As both a marketer and a consumer, I can see this moving far past SXSW and similar events. 

By: Ariel Foss

So I just have to share a recent, very personal experience that happens all the time, but I had never really sat down and thought about it. I can’t even believe I’m about to write about it….

The other day I noticed my dish soap was running low. I grabbed my phone, clicked on the Amazon app, typed in the brand of my soap, found it and hit “buy”. I then got an email saying that my purchase was confirmed. Then 6 HOURS later I got a text message saying that my order had shipped. A day and a half later I received a text message saying that my hand soap was in Brookline and out for delivery. About an hour later I received a message saying that it had been delivered. 

Sorry that was super list-y and dry but just think about what happened. I was washing dishes, took off my gloves, and bought something just because I happened to have been thinking of it. I used little to no brain power in this purchase. I slipped down a slippery path called the customer journey - a thing that marketers talk a lot about and study endlessly. 

I literally do not have to go to the store for ANYTHING. Day after day I go through the customer journey inside my apartment (don’t get me wrong, I would much prefer to visit Saks in person but thats not what I’m talking about). This silly little anecdote just further illustrates how easy mobile it is for marketers if they do it right. They can reach consumers on the most personal level to the point where consumers start to rely on their apps and their text alerts and their promotional deals. THIS is how you build loyalty. I actually give up my place in line if I need to reload my Starbucks card before I get to the counter. I want the stars.


shoutout to Amazon Prime - love you. 


By: Ariel Foss

Everyone in the marketing world is talking about mobile and if they aren’t, they should be. 2014 is going to be yet another year for mobile. 91% of adults keep their smartphone within an arm’s reach. More than half of mobile searches result in a sale. What?


See? And admittedly, this infographic is a little dated. 

The craziest part about mobile marketing isn’t even the staggering statistics. Its completely enigmatic. Everyone recognizes that its huge and they should like….jump on that bandwagon, but very few brands do it right. My favorite brand is definitely Starbucks because they are innovative and lucrative. They mean business and they have perfected the art of creating customer loyalty. A lot of brands just stick a QR code on their poster, call it good, and wonder why they aren’t seeing any results.

If mobile marketing fits in with your business and marketing objectives you absolutely have to make the leap. It is crucial that you do it right though. 2014 is a year to watch when it comes to mobile. There will definitely be some best and worst practices that all marketers must learn from.

On my first google search I was in the top three. This included my facebook, linkedin, and pinterest account. If my twitter wasn’t private, I have a feeling that would have been the first four. There wasn’t much to grow from there.

However, there was something that I wanted to accomplish, and that was to get my picture to come up when you google me. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Now three pictures show up in Google Images.

Overall, I learned how to maximum my search potential through creating content and having as many social networks as possible.

Thanks, for the great semester, David.

- Lindsey Train

A Lesson in Smartphone Etiquette

By Allison Gillespie

Have you ever played that game with your friends, the one where you all put your cellphones in the middle of the table while eating dinner, and the first one to reach for their extra limb phone has to pay the tab? No? (Its a real game! I swear!)

That game, phone-stacking, went viral last year. Images of “phone stacks” spread across social media platforms like wildfire, signifying that we as a society, feel as though we need to civilize our smartphone usage. Which we do- in a way.

Technology advances at breakneck speed everyday and it now seems as if social etiquette is catching up to these advances- i.e. the phone stack. A new infographic, brought to you by eBay Deals, shows how culturally we are beginning to civilize our phone usage.

The study depicted below, was conducted through a survey of 100 smartphone users. Results show that while, yes, we are working towards cell phone civility, there are some norms that we may need to just accept. For instance, while 1/3rd of respondents said that they would answer their phones in a restaurant, 50% claimed it was a-ok to respond to text messages at the table.

For me, the most startling result was that 12% of those questioned said that it was alright to take a call during class. What kind of classes are they taking and how far away from them can I be at all times?

Check out the interesting results below! Do any of these responses surprise you? Let me know.

Okay, I know that Pinterest isn’t exactly directly related to beauty and fashion- but sort of. 11.7% of Pins on Pinterest pertain to fashion and beauty, the third largest category. So by the associative property, all Pinterest news is Fashion and Beauty news…right? Clearly Emerson has done wonders for my math and logic skills.

This Wednesday (aka yesterday) Pinterest enabled a location feature which allows the pinner to place a location on the item of the item they are pinning. For instance, if they pin a picture of a beautiful lace dress from a local boutique, they can essentially tag the boutique.

According to Pinterest CEO, Bill Silbermann, the purpose of the location feature is to help plan trips and highlight certain spots in a neighborhood. 

These boards will be easily shared with friends and other Pinners in the community. For instance, lets say your friend is coming into town. You can create pinboard with all your favorite spots and send it directly to her mobile Pinterest account. Seems simple enough!

The larger questions is how will this impact the overall experience? How does this create potential ad growth? While Pinterest currently only has promoted pins, with the new location feature, it gives the company the potential to partner with local bussinesses for special location promotions.

Get pinned!

-Lindsey Train


By Alyssa Ray

Recently, Snapchat has reportedly turned down a monetary offer of 3 billion dollars from the social media mogul, Facebook. Snapchat was founded back in 2011 at Stanford University. The mobile application has become extremely popular amongst the millennial generation, where users can send brief images where you can draw or add text. The application itself is free to download and features no form of advertisements.

Facebook, who went public in 2012, purchased Instagram to expand its user base. After Facebook copied similar features from the popular application, it eventually purchased Instagram right before the company initial IPO offering. Instagram walked away with nearly $1 billion dollars in stock versus the $3 billion dollar offer to Snapchat. So one might ponder, what would Facebook gain from the acquisition of Snapchat.

In a recent article for AdAge, David Berkowitz stated, “There are two problems Snapchat has with advertisers. One is a perception gap. The other is a values gap. The former can be remedied; the latter can’t if Snapchat stays remotely true to itself.” With this in mind, it is hard to imagine a world where Snapchat can transition into a position where they can make money. Snapchat has had a reputation of being utilized as a form of sexting in teenagers, making it an undesirable outlet for advertisers. In addition, the consumer mind sight is important to keep in mind. Many view Snapchat as an extension of texting, thus, the impeding presence of the advertisers would be undesirable for many of the consumers. Finally, if Snapchat was to begin charging for their application it would be contrary to their brand image.

Should Snapchat have accepted the deal with Faceboook? What do you think?

Share your comments below!


So now-a-days with the rise of social media, everyone has potential to get his or her 15 minutes of fame. Just let a car hit you (*cue I did it for the vine*). It’s easier to get your name out there than ever before, but most of these “social media celebrities” are just fleeting trends, never to be seen again. However, some in the beauty and fashion industry, perhaps the lucky few, have turned social media into a full-on career.

Michelle Phan is a prime example. She began vlogging on Xanga (Remember Xanga? So emo), but her fame did not come until the invention of Youtube. She began Youtubin’ in 2007, performing how-to make up tutorials based of celebrity beauty looks. Her Lady Gaga “Bad Romance” look went viral thanks to Buzzfeed, another digital outlet. In 2010, Phan was signed by the number one luxury cosmetic company in the world, Lancome to be their official beauty vlogger. Lancome was the first cosmetic company to leverage vloggers. Since, Phan has grown her empire to a Youtube multi-channel network, staring special guests like Dita Von Teese, Coco Rocha, Nelly Furtado, and the Victoria Secret Angels. Additionally, this past July, Phan launched her own cosmetic brand, EM, in conjunction with Lancome’s parent company, the L’Oreal Group. 

She has social media to thank for all of this. But why her? What did she do right? Why isn’t she just a fleeting trend?

Three things:

1. She listened: She originally used quirky voice overs and special effects in her videos, but commenters complained. She took Youtubers feedback into account and altered her style. The key to everything, know your audience. (ok maybe that was a broad generalization, but you get it).

2. Content: Her content is current and always corresponds with trends, celebrities, and popular tv shows.

3. Consistency: She posts regularly… always pleasing her followers.

And if there was a number 4, it would be luck- she got super lucky.

Social media fame is all dependent on a combination of doing it right and luck. Here’s to getting lucky!

-Lindsey Train

Garren Orr

The internet gives us a lot. Unlimited information, free music, constant distraction from real life. But mostly, it gives us a platform to self promote, ask for help, and (for the more uncouth) brag. This Tuesday, the internet provided a new breakthrough in self praise: the site/app “What Would I Say?” created by Princeton Grad students during a Hackathon last weekend.

The user logs in with his/her Facebook profile, the site asks to access your timeline (posts, comments, etc), the site filters through your information and creates Bot-esque sentences using what you have previously written. 

Here’s the official lingo from the website:

“”what would i say?” automatically generates Facebook posts that sound like you! Technically speaking, it trains a Markov Bot based on mixture model of bigram and unigram probabilities derived from your past post history. Don’t worry, we don’t store any of your personal information anywhere. In fact, we don’t even have a database! All computations are done client side, so only your browser ever sees your post history.”

Very easy. Very nifty. Very fun…

…Ok, the app is genius. It’s given me hours of entertainment and more screenshots than I know what to do with. So I do thank the site for that. However, the site has created something far darker than (I think) most people realize: socially acceptable and encouraged self praise.

Think about your response when someone posts on Facebook talking about their new job, good grades, or that movie they got free tickets to. If you’re their friend, it’s a *like* or the obligatory “good job!” If you’re not, it’s a muttered “who cares?” under your breath. People have started to realize that they can’t toot their own horn whenever they feel like it; it must be reserved for the bigger moments in life. But after scrolling through hours upon hours of “What Would I Say?” posts on Facebook, I fear that we’re losing that lesson.

These posts, which again are randomized versions of things the person already said, are accompanied with phrases from the user such as “This is SO me” or “I mean, can anyone even argue this?” or the ever present (seldom necessary) “LOL.” Once you remove yourself from how funny or quasi-poetic the sentence is, you realize that the whole thing is really just a “look at how funny/quasi-poetic I can be.” Look, I hate to be a buzzkill, I really do… I just hate self-indulging fads more.

All I’m saying is this: let’s appreciate and enjoy the site for the rest of the week. Then we can refocus on not being shameless self promoters 100% of the time. 

(This one isn’t really relevant…it was just too good not to post)

By Jimmy Ngo

A few days ago, Kellogg’s UK tweeted something that kind of put them in a crunch. Their tweet “1 RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child” only provoked attacks from their followers and loyal customers. These upset consumers tweeted back at Kellogg’s, stating how awful that makes them look as a brand/company. What upsets people the most is the fact that Kellogg’s used this strategy in order to promote their cause of feeding those in need.

If Kellogg wants to promote their cause, they should work on making their message clear. Rather than calling those in need “vulnerable,” they should be more careful about their word choice. Also they should know what their end goal is. Does Kellogg’s want to focus on making the sales from those retweets, or do they want to focus on feeding those in need? If it were me, they should focus on providing food and not their sales, because that will make the brand look like they’re socially responsible.

As any other company would do after such a blunder, Kellogg’s UK deleted their tweet and apologized for their mistake.
If Tony the Tiger saw this, he wouldn’t be saying “That’s great!”


Source: Kellogg’s Apologizes for Promising to Feed Hungry Kids Only If You Retweet

By: Brooke Larson

A while back, a posted about a different study that the University of Penn was doing involving personality traits and Facebook posts. Now, IBM is testing something like that: technology that guesses your core psychological traits based on what you post on Twitter. The main goal of this is to offer better customer service and to place better targeted promotional messages.

The software develops a personality profile using recent twitter posts. The profile scores a person on the big five, extroversion,  agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience, and on their measures of values and needs.

The main goal of this software is to have marketing messages perform better overall when targeted with the technology. Does knowing someone’s personality really make targeting more effective? And does  getting someone’s personality from their Twitter profile really work?



Facebook is slowly gearing up to release a new feature sure to please advertisers and piss off everyone else. They are looking to introduce a new feature that will make videos autoplay as you scroll through your newsfeed.

Currently, 1% of Facebook users are blindly testing the feature.

As a network that is struggling to retain it’s identity, keep users involved, and please the people paying the bills(advertisers), this rollout could be vital to how things play out in the future.

I don’t know about you, but autoplay seems like a slightly better version of a pop up. Something unwanted that takes over your experience whether you want it to or not.

When you are using the Internet and you hear a random sound, what do you do?

Seek it out and close it. And immediately.

We’ve all been trained by endless pop ups that random sounds are bad and should be eliminated. The faster the better.

Because of this parallel, I don’t think this feature will be received well.

It’s also worth noting that Facebook is still a very flexible organization. If they debut the ads network wide and receive poor usage rates, I guarantee they’ll pull the plug.

Here’s to hoping they do. The last thing we need is more ads being forced upon us.

Image: Thos003

I don’t really download apps on my phone unless I think the app is amazing and a must-have, or if it’s free and it’ll entertain me for a couple of minutes (in which case I delete it right after I’m done with it). This app however, seems to be the answer to my prayers. Venmo is “the wallet app that is light years ahead of PayPal”. Venmo was introduced to the public over the past couple of years, yet it wasn’t until recently that I heard about it and saw my friends increasingly download it.

Emma Roller, writer of the article “The Spawn of Facebook and Paypal”, says, “Venmo is the quintessential app for the urban professional twentysomething. It capitalizes on our social media fetish and on the stinginess that comes with working underpaid jobs, living in group houses, and going out with friends multiple times a week. It would be unseemly for a salaried, health care policy-owning, capital-A Adult to Venmo his co-worker for that $7 whiskey ginger at happy hour. But a 23-year-old working a minimum-wage job while trying to avoid a hermit’s life? You’re damn right he wants that $7 back.”

Have you ever been frustrated at a restaurant when you have to split the bill with six different credit cards? Have you ever gotten into fights with roommates over paying them back or splitting the electric bill? Venmo is the answer to all of these issues, and, hopefully, will become a problem solver for roommates who just can’t seem to get along. Whenever you’ve found yourself looking all over town for the nearest ATM, or having to “pay someone back” when you have cash but you always seem to forget to stop by the bank, Venmo is the solution for it.

So, download it, take a look, and be amazed! Send out your payments with a simple click. 

To read more:

- Ana Ramos 

Ok, so I don’t know if its just me but my instagram feed has been filled with high fashion selfies coupled with the hashtag #ootd. I had to find out more.

So apparently #ootd stands for outfit of the day, and it turns out that it isn’t just a bunch of girls taking selfies after all. Of course, there are those, but brands are also using #ootd to leverage their products. Upon doing some research, this is extremely useful for independent clothing companies to get their name out there. Lots of street clothing companies and smaller boutique use the #ootd hashtag in order to find more consumers and to promote sales and their website. Apparently, this hashtag is a great way to drive people to online retailers’ websites. 

However, its not just tiny brands who are utilizing this hashtag, but major companies as well. Major skincare and beauty company, Nivea, used the hashtag during London Fashion week for their campaign. They encouraged users to post a picture using the hashtags “#ootd” and “#NIVEASOFT.” Fifteen of the pictures will be placed online for public vote, and the winner will receive a style consultation with British Designer, Deacon. 

Sophie Rock, brand manager for body care at Nivea, said: “#OOTD is an amazing phenomenon which has developed within the fashion blogging world and captured the imagination of consumers. It’s the perfect fit for Nivea Soft in 2013 – it’s relevant, imaginative and trending in the fashion community.”

As we can see from #ootd, social media tags are more than just useless fun, they can be used to connect users to brands. In the case of Nivea and smaller brands, it helps promote the brand and get users involved.

Jim Carless, head of client services at Space, said: “Our brief was to firmly position Nivea Soft in the fashion territory and encourage people to trial the product. We saw London Fashion Week as the perfect environment to do this. Social media and photo sharing is central to our younger consumers’ lifestyle and is an integral part of London Fashion Week.”


    With Halloween coming to an end, jack-o-lanterns rotting on porch steps, and all the pictures of people’s costume moving off your Facebook feed, the world is moving smoothly into the holiday season. But, what has remained from this year’s Halloween is the story of Alicia Ann Lynch and her poorly thought out costume. She is the woman behind the now infamous “Boston Marathon Bombing Victim” costume, a horribly offensive idea that landed Alicia in a load of trouble.

    The image surfaced on Twitter after she herself tweeted it, so she has nobody to blame but herself for the image going viral. Almost immediately, as most things with the Internet, the image was retweeted, put onto every other social media site, featured in blog posts and articles, and linked to her real name. The massively popular “Buzzfeed” site featured the image and her real name, as well as a collection of outraged Twitter users voicing their disgust in Alicia’s costume.

    Now, the modern day news cycle is only 48 hours long. That article on Buzzfeed was only on their front page for two days, and is now buried in between other articles. The outraged Twitter users are done sending Alicia angry tweets, and the image is no longer at “viral” status. Alicia’s costume and name have moved out of the news cycle and are no longer a relevant topic. It’s actually quite uncool for me to be writing a blog post about it almost one full week after the event…

    However, Alicia is by no means in the clear. Even though that image is not trending any more and the Twitter mob that was after her is breaking apart, this will be an everlasting scar on Alicia’s online history. In ten years, if you type “Alicia Lynch” into whatever search engine has replaced Google by then, you will find dozens of blog entries and articles with “Alicia Lynch and Her Offensive Costume” as the title and that image as the thumbnail. Unless another Alicia Lynch comes along and does something to garner more hatred (or does something really good) these articles will always come up first when searching for “Alicia Lynch.” In fact, this Tumblr post might show up. Hello potential future employer of Alicia Lynch! I hope you got some other applications…

    How much of a negative effect will this have, though? More than you think. With sites like LinkedIn increasingly replacing traditional résumés and it becoming more and more common to provide employers with your social media account info, Alicia will find it difficult to keep both her name and a job. Just one Google search can sour an employer’s thoughts about this “Alicia Lynch” they are supposed to interview.

    I don’t mean to sound like a mother from a 50’s tv show, while shaking my finger and saying “Be careful what you post online, little Jeremy!” But seriously, be careful what you post online. You may think it’s funny, but not everyone shares your sense of humor, and most people have common sense. Don’t post pictures of your awfully offensive costume online.

-Kyle Gibson