Prices Are Up But Consumer Spending Isn’t

My gas station and my grocery store are in cahoots. They both keep inching up prices, waiting to see which one will bankrupt me first. Well, forget it, boys. Like many other American’s I’m finding new ways to get what I need without spending more than I was before.

Gallup’s newest poll shows that even though the cost of living has increased, consumer spending is down from February and was virtually flat over March and April.

Gallup says that last year, spending was on the rise and there was talk of “frugality fatigue.” This year, it’s a whole different story. Of course, we’ve seen it in the popularity of deal sites. In the beginning, these sites were loaded with luxury buys from spa days and high-end restaurants to helicopter rides over the city. Now you can buy sampler packages from food manufacturers and other basics. Deal sites aren’t simply trendy anymore.

M-Commerce Campaigns Grow 30% Over Last Quarter

It’s time for another MillennialMedia SMART report. Today, we have the full results from Q1 2011 and it’s good news for mobile marketers. What we’re looking at are charts showing the potential actions attached to a mobile marketing campaign. As I understand this, the percentage does not indicate the number of users who availed themselves of those actions. However, it’s likely that there’s a correlation, right? More download options likely means more people are downloading.

Q1 2011

Comparing now (top) with then (below), you can see a nice little bump in M-Commerce from 10% to 12%. Application downloads also got a hefty rise, from 17% to 26%, as did campaigns that result in an enroll or join function. Basically, there was an increase in mobile activity across the board.

Facebook To Buy Skype? Say it Isn’t So!

Who has more registered members, Facebook or Skype?

The average person is going to say Facebook, but since I’m asking the question, you’re probably going to pick Skype. The truth is somewhere in between. According to their S.1, Skype has 663 million registered users. Back in July, Facebook crossed the 500 million mark, so it’s likely they’re very close to Skype’s number about now.

So what will happen if these two giants join forces? I’ll be very unhappy. I’m sure that’s not going to affect Facebook’s decision, but I’d rather see Skype go to big brother Google. Why? Because Facebook is about bells and whistles and forcing people to share and smile. It’s the social media equivalent of a Coca-Cola commercial.

ROI of Social Media is Unknowable and Other Wisdom from Fashion140

Do you ever wonder why no one every asks you the ROI for print or TV? That’s because they learned a long time ago that you couldn’t measure the direct response from consumers through either one of the channels. And yet, when we talk about digital marketing, ROI is all anyone wants to know. What’s my ROI for Twitter, Facebook, video advertising. . . ?

Those statements (paraphrased a tad) came from David Sulute, the VP of Technology for 9 Threads. Sulute was one of the speakers at today’s Fashion140 Conference in New York and thanks to the miracle of live streaming, I got to listen in.

Online Video Ads Expected to See Largest Increase in Spend

Advertising on television is far out of the reach of most small businesses, but advertising on online video is very dooable and may be just as effective in the near future. It’s become so accessible, that the respondents on “BrightRoll’s new survey chose it as the category likely to see the biggest spend increase in 2011.

65% of the respondents said they would be shifting money from TV advertising to online advertising. 30% said they felt that online video was equally as effective as TV and that’s likely to swing upward as more people move away from TV and on to some form of computer.

Direct Mail Still Works Say USPS

We may be living in the digital age, but the U.S. Postal Service would like to remind you that direct mail campaigns still work. In order to prove their point, they created the Marketing Achievement in Innovation and Leadership (MAIL) Award, solicited nominees through Deliver magazine and chose a winner.

That winner was branding agency Mlicki, and they won for their Blue Octo campaign which had a 10% response rate.

The Blue Octo is a line of waste-water pumps and these guys managed to make it look cool and exciting. Their mailer looked like a classified dossier with reports and photos about sightings of a mysterious Blue Octo creature.

Mlicki creative director John Randle told Deliver;

The Yellow Pages Jumps on the Deal Bandwagon

See the girl in that picture there. She’s happy because she’s getting deals so early in the morning, she’s still in her pajamas! Of course, it could be that she’s unemployed and has no reason to get dressed. And she has no furniture, so she has to use her laptop on the floor. . . .

But no. She’s happy. She’s happy because that old, stodgy bastion of advertising, The Yellow Pages, is now new and hip. The Yellow Pages is now a deal site. Yes. It’s true-ish.

It’s actually, which is owned by AT&T, and honestly, I have no idea if it’s related to those paperweights that get dropped on your doorstep when you’re not looking. But like I said yesterday, it’s not what’s true, it’s what people believe and people will association with the Yellow Pages books and that’s good and bad.