Jeff Hayzlett, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company, explains why Kodak became more social and mobile, and how (and why) its helping other companies to do the same
Kodak knows how to evolve, and we know how to move quickly. Its why weve been successful in transforming to meet the needs of todays consumers. Weve turned heads with our All-in-One Inkjet printers and consumer-friendly ink replacement prices, as well as with our line of pocket video cameras. But this approach goes beyond products and into how we engage our consumers as a leader in interacting with them via social media channels and mobile devices.
We knew early on that both platforms represented incredible opportunities to directly reach our consumers on a personal level, and that it also afforded us a better opportunity to not only meet but also understand their needs. And short-term history has already proven that were not just experimenting in these spaces – were producing tangible ROI and results.
As Chief Marketing Officer at Kodak, Im always looking to engage in meaningful two-way conversations with people invested in our brand and products. I do so every day via Twitter for instance. Im also consistently challenging my colleagues and partners to look for fresh, innovative ways to reach our customers and give them access to our brand anytime, wherever they are, and via whatever device theyre holding in their hands.
Right now, were very focused on the mobile space, because we want to offer customers a variety of ways to use and enjoy their Kodak products through their mobile devices. For instance, weve been developing iPhone apps for more than two years. We recognized right away that our customers wanted us to utilize new technologies to allow them to more easily share and manipulate their images – thats whats at the core of our three apps.
With the Kodak Pic Flick app, weve found our consumers agree that its easier to flick a newly taken picture from their iPhone to a nearby Kodak frame or printer over a wi-fi signal than to hook it up to their computer first. Our Kodak Gallery iPhone app allows consumers to upload and share photo albums online, and our Kodak Smile Maker app, which has been downloaded more than 200,000 times, allows consumers to add one of more than 20 fun cartoon smiles to a photo. These are tools that not only solve a customer need or create a bit of fun, but also reinforce our value proposition that Kodak makes it easier to share.
All are apps are free because we believe the investment is worth it to offer more choices to our customers. And, to ensure we remain where our customers are, were constantly assessing the possibilities with every mobile platform our consumers are using or will use in the future.
Weve also used mobile to engage consumers on-site at our trade shows. For instance, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, we used a mobile contest as a great way to drive traffic to our booth. Attendees could text 31400 (Kodaks booth number) to a Shortcode for a chance to win a Kodak product. Winners were notified via text message and could pick up their prize at the Kodak booth.
We even created a location for the Kodak booth on Foursquare, the location-based mobile app that allows consumers to check-in to locations to earn virtual badges and potentially, real-world rewards. Our Chief Blogger Jenny Cisney challenged all CES attendees to overtake the mayorship of the Kodak booth (by checking into the booth more than she had) away from her in exchange for a prize. Again, it was all about using an app and a device that our consumers were already using and loving, and finding a new, relevant and authentic way for them to interact with Kodak products and initiatives.
We also have used mobile to reengage fans of our Kodak Times Square Gallery billboard. Since December 2009, consumers have been able to use their mobile devices to get their own photos up there. Its truly a one-of-a-kind experience. All they need to do is email a photo to Kodak@aerva.com from their mobile device, and, once the photo is approved, they will receive a second email containing a special code. When theyre ready to see their picture, they simply text the code to the number provided, and the photo will appear at the next opportunity.
The most important investment we have made in the past year is the addition of the Kodak Chief Listening Officer, Beth LaPierre. In 2008, we named Jenny Cisney the Kodak Chief Blogger, and she has amassed tremendous support (and a fan following) as the voice of Kodak online. With the addition of our new Chief Listening Officer, were taking that next step in our online dialogue with customers getting to know their preferences, needs and ideas in real time and ensuring our business is adapting accordingly.
Were constantly trying things. And were definitely learning a lot as we go. Thats why we published the Kodak Mobile Marketing Tips booklet at CES this year. We wanted to share what we are doing and why and encourage other companies to do the same. We didnt set out to make a how to guide, because mobile marketing is so new and evolving so quickly that the only thing we can be sure of right now is that mobile marketing is rapidly becoming a major channel for reaching our core customers and that were encouraged by our current results. We did, however, want to open up a channel to exchange our learnings. Both the Mobile Marketing Tips booklet and our Social Media Tips booklet are available free to download here.
I encourage you to read them and provide us with feedback. Were committed to using these opportunities to reach our customers, but also to helping our partners and other companies learn how to use them as well.
We are looking forward to aggressively growing our efforts in mobile this year, and were also always excited to see whats going to be the next Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare, and how smart companies are finding new ways to use those channels.