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Facebook Goes Public – Nine Things You Should Know About Facebook’s IPO

Facebook could be worth nearly $140 billion by today’s market close

The social network priced its shares at $38 apiece, valuing the company at $104 billion. The average first-day “pop” for a technology company is 32 percent; if Facebook follows that trend, it’ll be worth $137 billion by day’s end. But there’s little about Facebook that’s average, including its public offering. This is the technology’s biggest initial public offering and history’s second-biggest IPO, period, and it will raise about $16 billion. Statistics suggests that the first-day pop—if there is one—will be more modest than average.

A lot of the smart money is getting out

Early investors such as the venture capital firm Accel Partners are selling an unusually high number of shares.Nearly 60 percent of the stock sold today comes from insiders, compared to 37 percent for Google (GOOG) when it went public in 2004. Goldman Sachs (GS) is selling about half its stake, far more than the firm initially planned. “If you really thought that 12 months later the stock would be 50 percent higher, you wouldn’t leave that on the table,” Erik Gordon, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, told Bloomberg News.

To justify its valuation, Facebook will need to annoy its users …

Thanks in large part to General Motors’s (GM)decision to de-friend Facebook, there are a lot of questions about the efficacy and future of Facebook’s ad-dominant revenue model. And it has high expectations to live up to: The $38 price gives Facebook a whopping 107 price-to-earnings ratio. (For comparison, Apple’s (AAPL) is around 13.) To dramatically boost ad revenues, the two best options are either to put more ads on the site—which would annoy users—or find more places to put ads. The latter means creating a network of ad inventory across the Web, much the way Google’s Doubleclick sells ads and places them on sites like that of the New York Times (NYT). This would give Facebook far greater reach, but could also give users the creeps. Imagine updating your Facebook status (“Really loving that new Carly Rae Jepsen song!”) and then seeing ads to buy the track Call Me Maybe at every site you visit.

… or do something besides advertising

Currently Facebook’s only source of non-ad revenue is its digital currency, Facebook Credits, which people use to buy virtual goods, such as tractors in FarmVille (ZNGA). During the first quarter of 2012, payments grew to make up almost 18 percent of Facebook’s revenue—close to $200 million in total. Overall, though, fewer than 2 percent of Facebook’s users have bought virtual goods with their payments option. There’s a lot of potential growth, in other words, along with hints that a big online operator such as Spotify may begin accepting Facebook Credits in the future.

Facebook has plenty of revenue options beyond payments and advertising

Facebook is a force: It accounts for 9 percent of all online visits in the U.S., according to Experian Hitwise, a company that measures website traffic. Hitwise also says that Americans spend an average of 20 minutes per Facebook visit. Worldwide, nearly 1 billion people have a Facebook profile. As investor Chris Dixon puts it, Facebook has real assets—including “a vast number of extremely engaged users, its social graph, Facebook Connect”—and should be able “to monetize through another business model,” apart from advertising. It could create the Social Smartphone, sell data analytics products, charge for higher-res photo and video storage, or perhaps hawk vintage Mark Zuckerberg hoodies.

There’s already a “Facebook Mafia”

Heard of the PayPal Mafia? Former executives from the online-payment provider have gone on to start big-time tech firms, such as LinkedIn (LNKD), Yammer, and Yelp (YELP). (And one member, Peter Thiel, cut the first big check for Facebook.) A Facebook Mafia has already emerged, and members have founded Asana, Path, andQuora. The Facebook Mafia is real, even though the name could use some work, says Dave Morin, Path’s chief executive officer, who previously developed Facebook’s development platform. “I guess we can’t escape from calling it that,” he says.

Facebook goes where Google won’t in photos

Facebook owns one of the largest photo repositories in the world, and its facial-recognition technology is getting a workout scanning them all, with more than 300 million photos uploaded per day. Facebook stores 60 billion images, a whopping 1.5 petabytes of data. For each uploaded photo, Facebook stores four images of different sizes. The site shows as many as 550,000 images per second. This is an area that has upset privacy critics and represents something that Facebook is willing to do that even Google isn’t: Google’s Eric Schmidt said last yearthat the company had built an app that would let people snap photos of others and identify who they are but decided not to release it, due to privacy concerns. Google and Facebook both have sophisticated facial-recognition technology, but Google requires users to opt into its photo-tagging service. Facebook users are included automatically.

Facebook’s new campus could be cursed

Late last year the social network moved into a 57-acre site in Menlo Park that was previously inhabited by Sun Microsystems. Sun’s fortunes soured shortly after the computer company took up residence there. The same thing has happened, in different times and places, to software-maker Borland, Silicon Graphics, and even Apple (which nearly went bankrupt three years after it moved into its current Cupertino, Calif., headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop). The good news: Companies that move into pre-existing campuses seem to fare better. Google, for instance, took up residence in SGI’s old digs.

Up north, Facebook is the only thing better than hockey

Facebook is one of the top two websites in every country except China. The social-networking site is most loved in Canada, where it wins 12 percent of all online visits.

Source: Businessweek.com

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eBay takes on Fashion with new iPhone app

  • eBay, one of the world’s leading online destinations for fashion, introducing the eBay Fashion app for the Apple iPhone.

The new app delivers a personalised shopping experience where shoppers can browse, buy — and virtually “try on” — items from the world’s largest online selection of new, designer, branded and vintage merchandise — virtually anytime, anywhere.

 

Available for free via iTunes, the new app delivers an enhanced tool for customers to shop for fashion on eBay and unlock the value and selection available on eBay’s Marketplace, right from the palm of their hand.

“With eBay’s Fashion app, we’ve created a unique shopping experience that consumers cannot get in front of a desktop computer, or even in a brick and mortar store,” said Steve Yankovich, VP of mobile platform, eBay.

“Shoppers can browse the millions of clothing items on eBay’s ‘racks’, build outfits to share with friends and even virtually ‘try on’ clothing without ever stepping inside a dressing room.”

The eBay Fashion iPhone app offers multiple features to help shoppers find the perfect look and discover their personal style, including:

  • A Personalised Closet allowing users to add, store and curate favourite fashion finds in one place.
  • An Outfit Builder enabling users to mix and match items from their Closet and virtually try them on to create unique looks.
  • Social Media Sharing functions enabling users to share favorite fashion finds via FacebookTwitter, and email.
  • Direct entry to the eBay Fashion Vault offering instant access to new, fixed price clothing, shoes and accessories at great value through exclusive, limited time discounts on coveted designer brands so users never have to miss a sale.
  • A Virtual Style Gallery showcasing the latest trends and fashions on the home screen in a slide show format. Users simply tap the picture of an item they like to search for similar items available on eBay’s Marketplace.
  • A customised eBay account view from the fashion perspective through My eBay (Fashion), only displaying fashion listings to help users plan their wardrobe.
  • Source: letitflow.com

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    Consumer Psychology: Understand your Customer

    “…the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” ~ Peter Drucker

    Introduction
    Markets have influenced our acquiring/buying habits from the earliest days of our evolution, perhaps as early as bartering systems in pre-historic times. One tribe had an excess catch from hunting; another tribe had an excess of hides from last season’s catch and the market is born. The exchange of goods is motivated by need and its reptilian drive, “survival of the fittest”.

    Fast forward to today’s modern marketing. As the science of marketing has developed, several concepts have gained wide-spread application. The primary focus today is that fully understanding and tapping into the consumer’s motivation, which can be deeply subconscious, results in brand loyalty in purchasing products and services. An example is Clotaire Rapaille’s approach that to understand the “collective unconscious” and thereby articulate the “code” opens the way to desired marketing success.

    The foundation of marketing science is based on market research strategy, to know the customer and to fill needs that need filling. Understanding the customer can produce high-quality products, such as Apple has done. On the other hand, some marketing approaches have turned into manipulative endeavors to sculpt the customer to believe they need what’s being sold. This form of marketing is distorted and disturbing. This BLOG post reviews the history and development of marketing as a science, then explores the power of modern customer-centric marketing updated for the digital age, and then looks at the downside of manipulative marketing.

    Background – Development of Marketing as a Science
    Early development of marketing as a science included Louis Cheskin and Neil Borden. Cheskin contributed the “customer-centric” approach, rather than the top down approach that had been previously popular. The earlier approach to marketing was top-down, where a company would create a new product with the assumption that it would sell. A customer-centric approach is based on consumer feedback, often through customer focus groups and observation. This approach defines the needs of the customer thereby providing products and services that meet those needs. For example, through customer research, Cheskin helped engineer the success of margarine by changing it’s color from white to yellow, and advertising it’s similarity to butter (Cheskin, 1959).

    Borden, in his seminal article, “The Concept of the Marketing Mix,” named the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion (Borden, 1964). The evolution of technology has brought with it increasing speed as well as additional Ps: People and Performance. We have moved from a top down approach, where the consumer was thought to be one amongst many and easily influenced, to a customer centric approach, where individuality, instinctual desires and inner drives have become the focus of marketers.

    Purpose of Marketing
    I believe there is a true purpose to the original intent of marketing. Discovering human needs and providing the products or services that support those needs is the most effective formula for exchange in the marketplace.

    In Making Meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences, the authors state, “We envision a time when customers increasingly make their purchase decisions based on deeply valued meanings that companies evoke for them through their products and services – in other words, meaningful consumption – as opposed to simply responding based on features, price, brand identity, and emotional pitches” (Diller, Shedroff, & Rhea, 2008, p. 1).

    For example, Apple captured the MP3 market with the iPod and iTunes. The iPod became an emotionally constructed appendage that represents much more than just a music device. It has become a cultural icon that people purchase not only for usefulness but also for a sense of belonging, an image of appearing “cool,” and much like a stylistic piece of jewelry, it comes in hip colors and unique styles.

    The Evolution of Marketing Research
    Concept Engineering, a market research approach developed by Gary Burchill at MIT, uses an ethnological immersion process called “Voice of the Customer.” Key people on a new product team visit customers, interviewing and observing them in order to discern what the true need is. They are especially trying to discover “latent needs,” needs or wants that the customer has but is not consciously aware of. They then target their new product or service to fill that need or want. This process of listening to the customer allows the new product developers to make meaning of the consumer’s direct experience. Innovation and customer satisfaction can follow (Burchill & Brodie, 1997).

    Apple – A Case Example

    Apple is a great example of the power of understanding customer needs and providing products and services to fill those needs. Apple has become a cultural icon for our technological era and this digital age. As I wrote in this week’s forum post, Steve Jobs announced Apple’s newest, latest, greatest and COOLest product this past January with global fan-fare: the iPad.

    In typical Apple marketing fashion, Apple required customers to wait several months for the iPad’s release. During this time Apple launched a marketing blitz, including an iPad frenzy on Twitter. iTunes has just launched an update for interfacing with the iPad, just in time for the iPad’s release. There was a Netflix app available for the new iPad even before the iPad’s release. Many people tweeted that they were downloading it in preparation for getting their iPad. There were 240,000 pre-orders awaiting the iPad.

    Apple has found the “code” for “cool,” at least for this digital generation. Apple is a cultural phenomenon, as the MacHead photo illustrates – “the cult of mac.” There are many who are fervently dedicated. The iPod is jewelry in addition to music, an emotional as well as pragmatic piece of “cool,” coming in different colors and styles to match each person’s individual uniqueness. Apple understands its customers and has successfully tapped into their latent needs, capturing the market by storm.

    Daniel and I picked up our iPads on Saturday, documenting and interviewing folks in line. On the whole, the Saturday crowd are early adopters who do respond to Apple’s advertising. There were 2 mechanical engineers and another student, among many others. The wait was short. The Mac Genius who waited on us was knowledgeable and responsive. We left with our questions answered, our iPads and leather cases in hand, and BIG SMILES.

    The picture below shows four generations of Apple users: Stephanie, her Mom, her Grandmom, and her son. This was a family adventure for them. Their smiles and excitement might indicate a bit about their psychology. They said they considered this a bonding experience as they upgraded their technology together and supported one another. They were really enjoying playing with their “new toys.” 

    Apple sold 300,000 iPads on Saturday according to reported figures. This first rush of purchases is the “early adopters” phase. Apple’s next marketing target is to reach more of the general population.

    Downside of Manipulative Marketing
    There is a downside to current day marketing. The episodes we watched from Frontline highlighted the hidden and manipulative side of marketing in our digital culture. For example, the use of “product placement.” Product placement is a form of embedded marketing.  Branded goods are placed, without explicit advertising, in the storyline of movies, TV shows, or other programming. This is often not disclosed at the time the product is being featured. (Wikipedia).

    Consider that the star of this week’s episode of “Modern Family” is YES: The iPad.  On the eve of the iPad’s launch – Phil Dunphy, one of the main characters in this season’s runaway hit sitcom and touted to be the best new comedy of the year, celebrates his birthday. He is all encompassed in his desire for an iPad. His wife misses the early morning rush to stand in line at the Apple store, eventually getting there only to find they are “sold-out”. Message to audience: get there early, get there or you will miss out. Eventually, Phil’s son manages to get an iPad from one of Phil’s friends through social networking. Phil gets the iPad, everyone is happy, all is right with the world.

    Advertising Age reports that this was just a very clever storyline; using Apple is like using a cultural icon, and not product placement. How it’s perceived is another thing though. Advertising Age states, “Even without Apple plunking down any cash, last night’s episode was tantamount to a huge wet kiss of approval for a product that has yet to be tested by actual consumer use (Steinberg, 2010).”

    Whether it was product placement or not, it caused significant stirrings and fans perceived it as such reporting being furious. A typical post on IBDb forums stated, “Tuned in for comedy, sat through a 30 min iPad commercial (Bershad, 2010).” Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and critical of manipulative marketing, either actual or perceived.

    Marketing’s Message: CONSUME

    The message most marketing is driving home to the consumer is MORE IS BETTER. While this is a fallacy, the marketer’s job is to create more and more desire linking satisfaction or fulfillment to their product or service, to continuously consume.

    In The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz explores the world of excess and its impact on our daily lives. In a local supermarket, he found over 30,000 grocery items available, including 285 varieties of cookies. He concluded that having too many choices is bewildering, erodes our psychological well-being, and becomes restrictive rather than freeing (Schwartz, 2005).

    So, in fact, this culture of consumerism is in a crisis of sorts. Product and service images come rushing towards us from every channel of media available, print, web, movies, tv, mail, email, and others. The message is clear and in many ways enticing. BUY! This onslaught has effected us and our culture. We have become a nation of consumers.

    “If I were dictator of my own small island, it’s not capitalism that I would get rid of, it’s marketing. That ever-present force telling us we should be more beautiful, happier, drunker, skinnier, hipper, and whatever else it takes more money to attain.” ~ David “Oso” Sasaki

    The Future of Consumerism

    Internet marketing continues to develop forums for making the strong voice of consumers heard. Dee Dee Gordon, founder of Look-Look, an online trend tracker, focuses on the younger demographic, those 14 – 30. She is a key contributor to product development. She provides the voice for this younger digital generation by gathering data about their needs, wants, habits, and lifestyles, listening to them and describing their world.

    Marketing will continue to be a major influence on our decisions. The more we understand our own motivations as well as the marketing techniques used by professionals, the more discerning we will become.

    Source: catherineaseo.blogspot.com

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