MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Report: CVS tobacco decision spurs social media discussion

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. – The Feb. 5 decision by CVS to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October 2014 reportedly created a large volume of related discussion on social media. According to analysis from social media analysis technology provider Crimson Hexagon, as of 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, there were more than 139,000 total posts on Twitter (92% of the conversation) and public Facebook (8% of the conversation) posts mentioning CVS.

Top hashtags associated with the social conversation surrounding CVS include #CVS (more than 13,000 mentions) and #CVSquits (more than 10,000 mentions) Regarding CVS/pharmacy’s Twitter account, @CVS_Extra, from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 the handle averaged 200 – 300 daily interactions, which includes mentions, retweets and @replies. Feb. 5 alone, @CVS_Extra experienced exponentially more engagement with more than 17,000 interactions, which includes mentions, retweets and @replies.

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NRF unveils 2014 economic forecast

BY CSA STAFF

Retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 4.1% in 2014, up from the preliminary 3.7% growth seen in 2013, according to the National Retail Federation. The association’s 2014 economic forecast calls for online sales to grow between 9% and 12%.

A number of factors contributed to NRF’s 2014 economic forecast, including:

  • Economic growth is expected to be above its long-term historical average. Early estimates for growth in the economy as measured by real GDP could fall between 2.6% and 3%, a noticeable improvement from the estimated 1.9% rate for 2013, and the fastest pace in the past three years.
  • The labor market is expected to continue its modest recovery averaging approximately 185,000 jobs per month, helping decrease unemployment to near 6.5% or lower by the end of 2014.
  • Inflation as measured by the CPI is predicted to inch higher to as much as 1.7% in 2014.
  • The housing sector is expected to continue to improve in 2014, and stronger household and business confidence should spur more consumer spending overall.

“The economy remains susceptible to buffets as we are already witnessing in the New Year, thanks to harsh winter weather, domestic and global financial issues,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While we are careful not to ignore the challenges, we are optimistic and hopeful that future disruptions will be limited, allowing employment and business investment to grow all the while giving retailers and their customers the confidence in the economy they need.”

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Sionic Mobile bolsters board

BY CSA STAFF

Sionic Mobile, an m-commerce company that provides mobile gifting, payments and rewards, has added William Mills, CEO of William Mills Agency, to its advisory board of directors. Mills has more than 30 years of financial marketing and branding expertise.

“I am honored to join Sionic Mobile’s advisory board,” Mills said. “I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most innovative technology providers in the financial services market, and have witnessed first-hand the critical role these companies had in revolutionizing the financial industry. The U.S. payments system is built on antiquated technology and outdated, legacy systems. Sionic Mobile’s business model is unique, and will be instrumental in the disintermediation of traditional payments and loyalty platforms. Leveraging the mobile channel, Sionic Mobile enables merchants and financial institutions to more effectively engage customers and offer robust rewards and loyalty programs.”

As CEO of William Mills Agency, touted as the nation’s largest independent public relations and marketing firm to the financial services industry, Mills serves as the lead consultant for agency clients, and has personally advised more than 300 C-level executives on marketing strategy, business development, mergers and acquisitions, company branding and public relations. Mills’ responsibilities also include agency financial management and new business development.

“We are pleased to welcome William to Sionic Mobile’s advisory board,” said Ronald Herman, CEO of Sionic Mobile. “He is recognized for his knowledge of financial services and technology. This level of expertise is invaluable, and will help ensure Sionic Mobile is positioned for future growth and success.”

In addition to his role on Sionic Mobile’s advisory board, Mills is on the executive committee of the Florida State University College of Communications and Information Advisory board. Previously, he served on the advisory board of Los Angeles-based SportsBlast and the board of directors for Beacon Software and Click Tactics.

Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile uses mobile devices and the cloud to connect merchants with nearby, ready-to-spend consumers. The company is the maker and provider of ION, which it calls the first, fully digital mobile marketing, gifting, payment and loyalty rewards app for phones and tablets.The free apps support iOS and most Android devices.

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