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Key Findings: October 2012

Key Findings: October 2012
U.S. CO2 Levels Down as Power Producers Move from Coal to Natural Gas Are QR Codes working?
Hyper-Connected Consumers Push Marketers toward Campaign Integration New System Reminds Healthcare Professionals to Wash Their Hands
Small and Mid-Sized Businesses aren’t using Social Media Strategically

U.S. CO2 Levels Down as Power Producers Move from Coal to Natural Gas

The U.S. Energy Information Agency said in a recently released report that total U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of 2012 fell to 1992 levels. Contributing factors include conservation efforts, the slow economy, an uptick in renewable energy use, but mainly the drop in the price of natural gas.

Natural gas wholesale prices have dropped from $7-$8 per unit to less than $3 in recent years thanks to the spike in shale gas drilling in the Northeast, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. One big surprise: the speed with which electric utilities have abandoned coal. In 2005, coal generated about 50 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. That percentage dropped to 34 percent in March, the lowest level in 40 years. However, environmentalists say that this drop in carbon dioxide emissions is linked to increased groundwater pollution caused by the shale gas drilling or fracking. (Associated Press; the Houston Chronicle)

Are QR Codes working?

Over the last couple of years, QR codes have been popping up all over. In December 2011, they appeared in 8.4% of all magazine ads, up from 3.6% at the start of the year.  Only 5% of Americans scanned a QR code between May and June of 2011. Seems the limitations of QR codes aren’t helping usability. A smartphone, cell service and adequate lighting are required, and then, you need to download an app and hold the phone steady to capture the image. QR codes are also showing up in weird places such as on billboards, subway walls and the pages of in-flight magazines, befuddling users further. QR codes are gaining some traction in smartphone ticketing, inventory tracking and other applications. The new Apple iPhone is expected to offer an app called Passbook, a digital wallet to store boarding passes, coupons, movie tickets and gift cards, many of which rely on QR codes. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Hyper-Connected Consumers Push Marketers toward Campaign Integration

According to Gartner, digital strategies like social marketing will influence about 80% of consumers’ discretionary spending by 2015. In a joint study with ExactTarget, Gartner recommends that marketers move toward developing cross-channel campaigns that integrate email, social, search, voice, video and more to tap into this trend. This will undoubtedly require them to acquire knowledge of device, channel and content preferences for specific campaigns. The study polled 1,500 U.S. online consumers and found 75% prefer email compared to other channels when receiving customer service messages. Yet, 25% prefer text messages for real-time travel alerts. 16% of survey participants ages 15 to 17 said they made a purchase after seeing a message on Twitter; 20% did the same after seeing a message on Facebook. (

New System Reminds Healthcare Professionals to Wash Their Hands

Each year, up to 1.7 million hospital patients (one fifth of those admitted) contract infections in hospitals. According to the CDC, about 5% of those people die, and the increased costs to the hospital system can hit $30 billion annually. Hand hygiene is described as “the single most important factor in the prevention of health care-acquired infections.” But research shows that health workers have relatively low compliance to hand cleansing messages, despite strongly-worded signs in bathrooms, wards and intensive care units. One study of U.S. facilities found compliance at just 26% for ICUs, and 36% for non-ICUs.
A new product invented in Israel called Hyginex aims to help solve this problem. It is an integrated soap-dispensing and wristband alert system that reminds doctors and nurses approaching a new patient to wash their hands. If healthcare professionals haven’t washed their hands recently or well enough, a light and then a vibration is set off on their wrist bands. Two hospital trials found that compliance rates rose from 25% to 44% and more soap was being used after the system was introduced. The company plans a roll-out soon in the U.S. and Europe, though there are several competing systems using badges instead of bands. (

Small and Mid-Sized Businesses aren’t using Social Media Strategically

While the use of social media is growing among small and mid-size businesses, many are not using it as part of a strategic business plan, according to study by the SMP Group. Standing in the way of better planning, measurement, integration and bottom-line results for small and mid-size businesses using social media is:

1. Lack of time (62%);

2. Too many social sites and confusion about effective strategies and site usage;

3. Too tough to measure – almost half of mid-size firms don’t know how to measure n the impact of social media (only 1 in 4 is using free or paid social monitoring tools);

4. Cumbersome monitoring tools and services;

and 5. Confusion about how to engage customers effectively. (



  • A big deepwater drilling rig costs $500,000 a day to rent, and can take three months to drill a complicated well. (The Economist)
  • By 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. (Brookings Institution,
  • Spending on smart city technologies – smart energy grids, smart street lights, smart traffic light systems, etc. – will increase from $8.1 billion in 2010 to $39.5 billion in 2016. (ABI Research,
  • U.S. Dept. of Defense is investing $3 billion in renewable energy in 2013 and opening up 16 million acres of its land for renewable energy development. (S&CElectric Co.)
  • It currently takes 7 gallons of fuel to transport 1 gallon to U.S. forces through supply lines. (S&CElectric Co.)

Brand Strategy

  • U.S. consumers spend 94 minutes a day in their mobile apps vs. 72 minutes a day in mobile browsers. (Analytics firm, Flurry;
  • By 2014, some 6.7 billion devices will connect consumers to the Internet, and a recent study says marketers will be required to integrate campaigns across email, social, search, voice, and video channels to reach them. (
  • In terms of effectiveness, 92% of marketers believe content creation is the best driver of SEO. Yet, only about 60% use it because of its challenges. (
  • Consumers are increasingly comfortable making purchases using smart phones and other mobile devices when prompted by personalized email messages (66%), or sent marketing text messages (16%). (
  • 10,000 “Citibikes” were released this summer on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn as part of a new public bike-share program funded jointly by Citibank ($41 million) and Mastercard ($6.5 million). (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  • 72% of consumers age 50 through 64 say “Made in the USA” labeling significantly influences their purchases. (Perception Research Services International, AARP magazine)
  • 81% of consumers age 50 through 64 buy American because they believe it helps the economy. (Perception Research Services International, AARP magazine)


  • Some 16.3%, or 49.9 million Americans, were without health insurance in 2010. (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • 58% of Americans report that high costs forced them to go without or delay medical treatment in the past year. (Health Security Watch report, Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • People who sit all day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. (Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton, Rouge, La in Bloomberg
  • Childhood anxiety afflicts 13% of children in its assorted forms. (The Child Mind
  • The most popular age parents give their kids a cell phone is 12. (
  • Based on 2007-2009 data, 36% of U.S. teens are sexually active, with rates varying from 28% in Colorado and Vermont, to more than 45% in Georgia and Mississippi. (U.S. Census Bureau)

Business to Business

  • Social media is used by 74% of B2B marketers. (
  • 90% of B2B marketers do some type of content marketing, much of it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites. (Content Marketing
  • The most popular content marketing tactics include article posting (79%), social media (74%), blogs (65%), enewsletters (63%), case studies (58%), and face-to-face events (56%). (Content Marketing
  • Regular email usage among U.S. adults will increase 2.7% this year, 3% in 2013 and 2.3% in 2014. ( “Email Marketing Benchmarks: Key Data, Trends and Metrics.”)

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