Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Women Than Men Play Games Online

A joint study by Trendstream and Lightspeed Research, which looked at the online gaming activities of US Internet users. According to the study, 42% of women have played an online game, compared to only 36% of men. Also, 28% of women have participated in social games- casual games on social networking sites, while only 22% of men have played social games. 83% of social gamers play on Facebook, and one of the most popular games, Mafia Wars, attracts more than 24 million monthly users. Source: Facebook

According to PopCap Games, more than half of the social gaming population is female. The average age of the US social gamer is 48 years old, with more than half of gamers over 50 and few regular gamers (those who participate at minimum on a weekly basis) under 30. Source: eMarketer

Tom Smith, managing director of Trendstream, has said, “The transformation of the gaming market towards casual social concepts has already changed the way that games are created and distributed...This gives brands a huge opportunity to engage with consumers through casual games much more cost effectively than through other forms of advertising."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

hangPROUD Channels Negative Thoughts into Positive Action

In March 2007, Diane Prefontaine and Carla Alpert launched hangProud, a community that promotes teen girls' self-esteem and encourages them to use their power to make significant differences in their lives, communities and the world. hangProud's mission is to persuade girls away from "negative self-dialogue", embrace their individual strengths, and channel that energy into something positive.

On the hangPROUD site, girls can find inspiration, connect with one another and learn how to change their negative thoughts into positive action. The site offers a robust Advice section from a mother/daughter team, user blogs, and an eMentor area where girls can find mentors based on career interests, hobbies, or personal experience. There is also a radio component, where users can check out music and create their own playlists.

A key component of the hangPROUD message is community service. The website has a Pay It Forward page with links to volunteer organizations and non-profits. The hangPROUD mission continues offline with PROUDgirls on the MOVE, an enrichment program, and workshops. The first PROUDgirls on the Move team has already made 1001 lunches for the hungry, visited and entertained the elderly, prepared and served lunch at a soup kitchen to over 350 people, and most recently bonded with girls their age at a Little Flower Children’s Services, an idea that the girls created and produced themselves.

For more info about hangProud and to see some of the members in action, check out the YouTube video below:


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Businesses on Twitter Double Their Leads

A recent eMarketer post showed evidence from HubSpot that small businesses on Twitter can double their monthly lead generation figures. The "Twitter effect" was consistent whether businesses generated 1-10, 11-50, or more than 51 leads per month, and also held across company size. The Twitter effect was stronger for businesses targeting consumers (B2C companies) than business to business (B2B) organizations.

The amount of Twitter followers is critical to increased lead generation. Companies with a Twitter reach between 100-500 followers generated 146% more median monthly leads than those with 21-100 followers. Interestingly, companies with more than 500 followers did not show any increased gains, suggesting that the quality of interactions, as opposed to quantity of followers, should the backbone for a good Twitter strategy.

Blogging also increased lead generation for small businesses. Unlike Twitter, the effect was similar for both B2C as well as B2B companies. For blogs, the crucial component for increased lead generation was the amount of content produced. According to eMarketer, 24-51 posts are the minimum "tipping point" at which increased lead generation occurs.

Additional benefits of Twitter usage and blogging include better search engine visibility. Blogs increase the number of indexed pages for a business, and every 50-100 incremental indexed pages on Google can lead to significant growth. Twitter, which is now being crawled by Google and included in their results, can also impact search engine visibility.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The iPad Revolutionizes Reading

Alice for the iPad is an interactive version of Alice in Wonderland created for Apple's newest device. The ebook is intended to be interactive- users can shake and twist their iPad to activate clever special effects. Mushrooms drop, Alice grows, cards toss and hearts fall.

The Alice iPad app is targeted at kids, but the special effects are more than child's play. When graphics and movement pair up with text, the iPad could change the future of reading. The way we consume and experience stories will forever be altered if this takes off. Check out the demo video below.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Interview with Sammy Davis: Vintage Curator and Stylist

I recently interviewed the fabulous Sammy Davis, curator, stylist, and founder of Sammy Davis Vintage. Her goal is to make vintage fashion accessible to the contemporary woman. Sammy has been featured in Full Frontal Fashion, i Heart Daily, and Guest of a Guest.

With so many brands and options available to the contemporary woman, why should she consider buying vintage?
When you buy vintage clothing, you are first investing in style. These are one-of-a-kind pieces for your wardrobe that will get compliments from peers and add positive energy to your personal style. That is style. Now, when you buy vintage, you are also investing in sustainable style - the fact that you are investing in alternative fashion rather than the mass produced mainstream. Buying vintage and second-hand is recycling clothing that would otherwise be rotting in a landfill.

What is your role as a vintage curator?
My brand's platform is "sustainable style with substance." I curate thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, even people's closets to find the best vintage pieces for my market. I do this as a service so that woman can understand the opportunities to engage in eco-conscious, unique and affordable fashion. I want my platform and its high quality product to clear woman's insecurities around buying second hand pieces so that they can execute their own buying power and seek vintage and thrift on their own.

How do you use social media?
I use social media in a multitude of ways: Not only for my own pleasure, but to create pleasure and content (and thereby context) around my brand to an audience, and to eventually form relationships with that audience and my pre-existing network of fans and friends. Secondly, I use social media to initiate sales from my collection through online networking and online word-of-mouth around my brand and it's product, and to stay in touch with the needs and wants of my existing customer base.

What tools to you use to engage your audience?I'll update my Facebook fan page with the status change, "What styles do you want most for the spring?" or "What are your favorite looks right now?" to crowdsource my customer base for input on what to buy so that I have a better chance of carrying a product that my market wants and will buy.

Fans may say, "I'm dying for a houndstooth skirt! or "A motorcycle leather jacket." If I see any styles fitting to these requests on my thrifting journey, I will buy, and then directly email that fan with a picture to let them know I'm now carrying their wardrobe request in my shop. It's like you telling your favorite store that you want a particular look, and they buy it just for you. While department stores and even small boutiques can't create this service for their customer, I can personalize the shopping experience through crowd sourcing strategy because I buy one-of-a-kind pieces and don't have to stock my store with duplicates.

I believe in the 80/20 model -- that 80 percent of your business is done with 20 percent of your customer base. So make sure that you are keeping that 20 percent happy -- and when you are selling online and can continually be in touch with multiple customers at once, there is no better way to fulfill those needs of that 20 percent to keep them returning to your brand to purchase your product.

How do you initiate sales?
A wall is broken down between seller and customer when a relationship is formed through interaction on the web. By remaining human in your business relationships, the customer sees you as a trusted friend and is more apt to make that final sale.

For example, after reaching out to a favorite new blog of mine, Spicy Candy, I developed a Twitter relationship with one of the two writers. She tweeted me one day to ask if I carried and leather skirts, because her best friend was looking for one. She passed along her friend's email and I sent her friend pictures and measurements of a few leather skirts I carried. And guess what! She bought one from me!

You also have a media component to your business. Can you speak a bit about that?
My personal mission is to "make vintage fashion more accessible to the contemporary woman." This is not only through sales of a product, but in generating media of service and inspiration around that product and around the benefits of the industry of wearing second-hand clothing itself. I launched Sammy D TV with the intention to create videos that could be used as service pieces. 5 Thrifting Tips (below) and How to Get into Your Grandmother's Closet are the two best examples of how I hope to provide inspiring content to my reader so that he/she can take my knowledge and apply it on their own.

5 Thrifting Tips // Episode 6 // Sammy D TV from Sammy Davis on Vimeo.

Additionally, I hope that by creating content -- whether it is through my written blog or video blog, and then promoting on Twitter/Facebook and other outlets -- that I reach a new market who would never have encountered content about vintage clothing and thrift store style before. While I realize that my sales will remain successful under the 80/20 model, I want my content and reach as a media brand to extend much farther. And the best way to reach a great audience is via the web. Creating content also allows for me to maintain a voice of authority in this saturated industry. Admittedly, I am but one online vintage seller among many. Sellers make their livelihoods based on online sales. I am not there yet, but hope that through promotion of my brand and its mission, along with my attention to personalization and working for my customer as a resource and personal stylist, that someday I can achieve my dreams of writing a book on thrift store style for the 20-something, and have a book launch party at my own vintage store/boutique.

For readers in the New York area, Sammy Davis Vintage will be holding a sale to benefit She's the First. Details, a non-profit media campaign that promotes girls's education in developing countries. Click here for details.