SHAZAM

EMERGING COMMUNICATION TOOL - COMM 335

Kolby Kyle & Roy Farrer

Abstract:

Shazam is a revolutionary, new, media identification service that allows users to tag live media from a smartphone or tablet and access additional content. While many people are familiar with Shazam as a tool for identifying songs, the company has recently expanded its service offering to include live TV, movies and advertisements. Using the device’s built-in microphone, Shazam identifies the audio being played and compares it against its central database. Once a match is found, the user is provided with relevant links to social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Additional content including related artist trivia, biographies and breaking news headlines are also featured. Users can also chose to login via their Facebook accounts, allowing them to share, like and tag songs with their friends. Advertisements can also be Shazam enabled, allowing consumers to tag ads and collect coupons, gain additional product information or even purchase directly online. Shazam can also collect consumer behavior data to push relevant ads to users according to their viewing habits. Overall, Shazam has evolved into an amazing tool for marketers to implement an IMC program. It provides companies with a way to communicate with consumers in a meaningful and unique way. In essence, Shazam acts as a gateway for TV ads, songs, announcements, and anything with sound to instantly become a tool of consumer interaction.

Background:

Shazam is a free, commercial, mobile phone based music identification service and application for iOS, Android and Blackberry. Although the database begun creation in the early 2000‘s, Shazam emerged into the mainstream market in 2009 alongside the introduction of Apple’s App Store. Utilizing the device’s built-in microphone, Shazam collects a brief sample of the audio being played and compares it against an acoustic fingerprint registered on its central database. Once a match is found, the user is presented with the desired song, TV show or commercial as well as relevant links to social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Additional content including related artist trivia, biographies and breaking news headlines are also featured. Users can also chose to login via their Facebook accounts, allowing them to share, like and tag songs with their friends.

With a reported 250 million worldwide downloads, Shazam is the fourth most downloaded application of all time. Although it is best known as a music identification tool, Shazam has just begun venturing deeper into the second-screen, social TV segment by adding TV shows, movies and advertisements to their database in mid 2012 with the rollout of Shazam 5.0. Compatible with both live and prerecorded content, Shazam works with all shows on 160 channels in the US, except for some local programming. For example, if a user is watching Friends, the application would identify the show, pull up cast details, celebrity gossip about the actors, trivia, Twitter messages, the shows main webpage, merchandise and the option to share info via Facebook and Twitter. For sports broadcasts, the application also aggregates schedules, scores and statistics.  

Going Forward:

Shazam has certainly proven itself to be an innovative service that consumers value due to its mainstream popularity; however the evolution of Shazam is limitless and it has its sights set on the emerging second screen market. In essence, Shazam intends to leverage its existing technology and user base to expand its service offering into television. Specifically, Shazam aims to evolve into a tool which enables users to access additional content via a smartphone or tablet in order to enhance the television viewing experience. In essence, Shazam is trying to capitalize on consumers changing viewing habits. For instance according to NPR, “there has been an 800% increase in real time commentary of TV using social media over the last year alone” (NPR). Furthermore, Nielsen estimates that roughly 40% of people who own tablets and smartphones  use them as part of the television watching experience (Nielsen). Therefore, an entirely new market segment has emerged as audiences seek to integrate their television programming with their social media.  

With the emergence of the second screen trend, marketers have been given an opportunity to engage consumers on an entirely new level. This technology not only allows users to access additional content for programming but also gain more information on products/services featured in commercials. For instance, marketers can make commercials Shazam enabled, allowing viewers to directly access more information, order products, read reviews and watch extended videos. This technology allows brands to amplify their message and deepen engagement by turning 30 seconds of television into several minutes of interaction. Marketers can also push viewers to their websites, Facebook and Twitter pages seamlessly through its cross functional integration. Therefore, this tool works in conjunction with other social media applications to create an entirely new customer interaction platform. Shazam could also be used to inform the user of what products are being used in that particular program of advertisement. For instance, this could range from the type of car the hero is driving, which brand of suit a Manhattan based lawyer is wearing during trial, or what restaurant the protagonist gets proposed to. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and the potential to produce new revenue streams for the company is extremely high. In general, Shazam aids in the information search component of the purchase decision making process by providing potential customers with added product information. This additional content may also induce “liking” by customers, thus building brand equity.

As seen in the video clip below, Jack Daniels has utilized Shazam in its promotional campaign, allowing users to “tag” the ad and download drink recipes, coupons and link to their social media pages. This connectivity ads a new level of engagement with customers.

Integrated Marketing Communications:

Shazam is an amazing tool for marketers to implement an IMC program. It provides companies with a way to communicate with consumers in a meaningful and unique way. Shazam acts as a gateway for TV ads, songs, announcements, and anything with sound to instantly become a tool of consumer interaction. It has the potential to steer consumers to promotional events, online shopping outlets, blogs, websites, and so much more. The simplicity of the product allows it to be available on a wide variety of mobile devices, devices which consumers typically cannot bear to be without. Lastly, it’s free, well known, and easy to download.

It also gives marketers a new tool of direct marketing that is more efficient than anything previously used. The results Shazam provides a consumer can have permission marketing options located on the screen as well. For advertisements and announcements this can increase the efficiency of such initiatives, as the consumer’s level of interest is already high. The cost of this form of permission marketing lower than its predecessors, and presents a more modern way to market products.

Target Audience:

The broad target audience for Shazam is all smartphone and tablet users. More specifically, Shazam is interested in reaching the 40% of these individuals that watch TV and use these devices simultaneously. The primary cohort for this technology will be generation Y due to the tech savvy nature of this service. Individuals will also have an existing interest in social networking, watch television frequently and a desire for greater interaction with television content.   

Barriers to Adoption:

In terms of barriers for adoption, Shazam’s greatest challenge is overcoming its established image as a music identification tool and rebranding itself as a media identification and social networking service. Shazam also faces competition from services like IntoNow and Zeebox which offer similar content. Regardless, Shazam’s competitive advantage stems from its vast user base and established synergies with other social networking outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Facebook Partnership

Although Shazam has created a social media presence, there is more room for growth in this area. There is an opportunity for both Shazam and Facebook to increase traffic by combining forces and creating a new feature for each service. Facebook currently has an extremely weak offering for users who access the internet looking for music. By partnering with Shazam, Facebook can create a space for its users to upload playlists, share music, host online radio, and so much more. It also appeals to musicians, as they can create a more concentrated marketing effort to relay information about concerts, music releases, and merchandise sales. The data Facebook compiles using this service can be monetized and sold to record labels, giving them more specific information about the consumers who are using this service. Lastly, Facebook can increase its market share by taking away users and traffic from niche websites such as mysapce and lastfm who specialize in promoting and sharing music.  Overall, it gives Facebook a much more complete offering and would make it extremely proficient in an area that it previously lacked in.

The benefits for Shazam are even greater. An integrated partnership with such a giant firm automatically increases the brand’s credibility and awareness. It also provides a space for users of the application to congregate that didn’t previously exist. Furthermore, it adds another factor of differentiation between Shazam and its competitors. Lastly, increased traffic on Facebook will lead to more application downloads and help Shazam to promote and advertise other features of their product that consumers may not be aware of. The greatest benefit for both firms is an increased sense of community for each brand, an attribute that customers demand crave in the products they use. As seen in the video below, Shazam is already highly integrated with social media, therefore continued partnership between Facebook and Shazam will only better both products.

Nike & Shazam (Brand Example):

Shazam could partner with almost any company and provide value to their integrated marketing communications strategy. For the purposes of this assignment, we will focus on a partnership between Shazam and the shoe/athletic apparel giant Nike. For instance, if Nike incorporated Shazam into its television commercials, the consumer with the second screen could Shazam the ad, and instantly be directed to a website that highlighted the features of the shoe, as well as a link to buy online or a directions to the closest retailer. Also, the customer could be pushed to more promotional materials, such as workout tips, inspirational videos, coupons or exclusive interviews with their many sponsored athletes. Nike could also you Shazam to engage in direct marketing. For instance, if a user “tags” the live Lakers game, Nike could send ads via Shazam featuring its latest products. Therefore, Shazam could be used to collect consumer behavior data according to viewing habits and then direct relevant ads to users, thus optimizing their marketing efforts. Overall, by using Shazam Nike would be able to interact with the consumer in an all new way, and get more value out of their 30 second TV commercials.

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