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Buzz Friday for August 31, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across social media and new marketing this week. If there is anything that you would like to see in this post or if you have something you think is Buzz-worthy please drop me an email or leave a comment on this post. I want to make this as beneficial for you as I can.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Jeremiah Owyang of Podtech has decided to take a job with Forrester as an Analyst. Congrats to him, seems like a great fit.
  • A group of college students on Facebook threatened bank HSBC with a boycott over its plans to change their formerly free overdraft policy.
  • There is a rumor floating around that Microsoft could buy Blackberry. We'll see where this goes.
  • Karl at Experience Curve wants to save Technorati and offers some insights for the service including a pro plan. What do you think? Is it salvageable?
  • iTunes and NBC are parting ways. NBC wanted to charge $4.99 for their shows. That's $3.00 more than Apple charges. Thomas Hawk thinks this is as stupid as I do.
  • An interesting move by Google will allow Gadgets to talk to each other on people's iGoogle home page.
  • Apple is expected to unveil a new line of iPods and a new wireless iTunes service next Wednesday. P.S. if you are going to buy an iPod this weekend WAIT!
  • I particularly like this interview that David Armano did with his colleague David Stallsmith. Great insights into design.
  • I found this hilarious. A guy running for school board creates an ad and posts it to YouTube. Viacom's VH1 show "Web Junk 2.0" took it and used it on their show. The guy who created it posted the VH1 version on his site and Viacom ordered him to take it down. Right hand, meet left hand.
  • Great post by Greg Verdino on video. Greg shows the craziness that happens when a study is done by somebody who's business hinges on the results looking a certain way. Interruption is on the way out.
  • Jaiku has added instant messenger to its offering. Definitely a more robust platform than Twitter, but the people are still on Twitter.
  • Iain points to a huge QR poster in London to promote the DVD release of 28 Days Later. Would have been even more cool had the message not said the same thing.
  • Hulu, NBC's newly formed network, translates to "cease" and "desist" in Swahili. Gotta love the irony.
  • I was talking about the possibilities of using the iPhone's tilt sensor to do some cool things. Check out this post on Engadget.
  • Heineken will release a new beer for women. This has been done is other countries in Europe to some success.
  • Nokia introduced a new music store to compete with iTunes. Could take off in Europe, but will be slow to roll in the US.
  • CNN made the move away from Yahoo to Google for search.
  • If you have a bad impression of the airline industry in this country, you have obviously not been on a United flight when Denny Flanagan was at the helm.
  • Ever hear the question "if advertising is so great, why don't ad agencies use it"? Strawberry Frog took out this ad in Fortune and I'd love to see what the reaction was.
  • Digg gets a makeover...yawn...next story!
  • Good to see bloggers who tell it how it is. Check out this honest and fair review of a book by David Berkowitz. This is a possibility for anybody doing a blogger outreach campaign. I hope the author takes David's advice.
  • Colorado University got its first use of a new emergency text messaging system last week.
  • Yahoo's new mail service offers free text messaging right from the mail interface.
  • Have you ever been in a "strategy" meeting that felt like you were in a "tactegy" meeting (yes I just made that up)? Idris feels the same way and explains why it happens.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. 9rules
  2. slide
  3. Fotolog
  4. My Heritage
  5. TechMeme

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Search Engine Guide
  6. Diva Marketing
  7. What's Next
  8. Daily Fix
  9. Drew's Marketing Minute
  10. Influential Marketing

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from the AdAge Power 150


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Micro Persuasion
  3. Pronet Advertising
  4. Search Engine Land
  5. Search Engine Watch
  6. Adrants
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Adverblog
  9. Marketing Pilgrim
  10. Publishing 2.0

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Miss Teen USA 2007
  2. Gmail Behind the Scenes
  3. Content-Aware image sizing
  4. Zunephone
  5. Common - Drivin me wild

More


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You can watch this and other Techno//Marketer videos on your video channel of choice:

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Video marketing overview, why pre-roll must die

iStock_000003290791XSmall.jpgVideo on the internet is like TV shows on my Tivo. I watch what I want, when I want it and if I don’t like it I’m one click away from abandoning the content. With online video’s boom, companies are scrambling to figure out how to engage viewers and attempt to monetize.

What’s the easiest way to do this? Pre-roll. The lazy man’s solution if you ask me. Companies, in their hurry to launch video ads, are simply re-purposing their :15 and :30 second spots (which are dying themselves) as pre-roll ads. If you haven’t come across this infuriatingly annoying act, you will. Besides the pure interruption that this causes, 15 and 30 seconds is WAY too long for web video. It's an eternity in an on-demand world.

Let’s look at the current video formats playing in the market right now. The areas shaded in red show the interruption point and the most likely place users will abandon the content.

preroll.pngPre-roll

This is usually a re-purposed :15 or :30 spot that normally runs on TV. The user has to wait for the ad to load and play before the content they want is available. Most services are not letting you skip these ads either.

    Pros: Content usually exists in long-form, quick solution

    Cons: Content is too long for the web, irrelevant placements, deters people from watching content

overlay.pngOverlay ads

This is the method that YouTube is going to. The overlay takes up approximately the lower quarter of the content and users can close it at any time. The ads, when clicked, expand over the content, pausing what you were watching until you close it.

    Pros: Less interruptive, generally lower in production cost, better targeting

    Cons: Still interruptive, easily ignored just like the same tactic on the TV

post-roll.pngPost-roll ads

Post-roll ads will play after the content is completed. This is the lowest level of interruption for in-video advertising. Post-roll ads are also typically made up of re-purposed 15's and 30's pulled from an existing TV campaign.

    Pros: Doesn't interrupt content, re-use existing formats

    Cons: Content is too long for the web, targeting is lacking with TV-like broadcast advertising models

splitad.pngThe splice-in

This hasn't happened yet to my knowledge, but it's only a matter of time. Advertising will be spliced into a clip like a traditional ad is in a TV program. Content may or may not be created with this in mind. This is the ultimate in interruption, but users should be able to fast forward through them like on Tivo.

    Pros: None (and I mean it, this will really make me angry)

    Cons: Interruptive, intrusive and stealthy. Nothing good about this one.

So how can marketers create marketing content that works? Here are a few thoughts:


  • Make the content hyper-relevant. Think about using RSS to feed ads dynamically to match the content. Think Flash-animated content with, or instead of, video.
  • Create the message around the content. Sponsor the media player itself. Think branded entertainment.
  • Ask how can you add value to the video experience? Just plopping an ad in place to get some impressions isn't going to do you any good.
  • Use advanced targeting for ads to make sure your message aligns with the content. The days of running a TV spot to reach "18-35 year old males" is gone. You need to think about reaching "23-year-old males in Dallas who play pick up basketball"
  • Make the form MUCH shorter. I'm talking about 3 second ads.

The last point is one I want to expand upon. Web video is dynamic and immediate. When you shoot a commercial (if you're still doing such a thing) are you thinking about short-form alternatives?

The :03 will be the new :30, but that's the title of a post for next week.


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Google's community-powered video

A while back I wrote about Google's call for submissions for a short video promoting their GMail product. Each person had to submit a clip where the GMail icon travelled from one side of the screen to the other in order to patch them all together into one continuous handoff. The concept is old, but the community-powered nature makes it intriguing at the very least.


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links for 2007-08-29

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links for 2007-08-28

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The antisocial, social network

nosologo.pngIn this age of hyper connected, social network overload, where small is the new big and you can never have too many connections comes NoSo. NoSo is an art project and online network where you are just a number. Literally. Nobody knows your name, there are no photos and you can't friend people.

NoSo lets you log onto the site, find "no" events that are in your area and sign up. That's where the technology ends. You show up at the cafe, park or other location at the designated time and just do whatever you were going to do. That's it. You don't talk to anybody, don't network or exchange business cards. You drink a coffee, read some poetry or work on your laptop, but you know you're all there together.

fish_swim_cropped.jpg

Sound weird? I don't think it does. NoSo is in the order as flash mobs where the act of being in the same location at the same time for the same purpose is the reward. Sometimes you just need to unplug.


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Buzz Friday for August 24, 2007

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across social media and new marketing this week. If there is anything that you would like to see in this post or if you have something you think is Buzz-worthy please drop me an email or leave a comment on this post. I want to make this as beneficial for you as I can.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • If you like the iPhone, but not AT&T you may be in luck. A group of developers has seemingly unlocked the iPhone. Check out this article on Engadget.
  • YouTube announced in-video overlay ads this week to much discussion, debate and outright anger from some users. They've since announced that ads will be optional and controlled by content creators.
  • WalMart is on Facebook....yes I am serious here. Jeremiah has a good first look at what is happening there.
  • People are still having fun with Microsoft's Zune and the rumors that they're releasing a phone too.


  • Do you like bacn? Bacn is the newest hot slang floating around the Net. Basically it means all of the email that you get from social networking sites that you want to read, but wish wasn't in your inbox. More here.
  • Google may work to create a NYC mass transit guide reports Bloomberg.
  • Many companies are banning Facebook as office productivity sags. I personally like Neville Hobson's take on it "don't just ban Facebook, provide guidance".
  • The NY Times launched MyTimes. Is this too little way too late? Seems like it should have come out 6 years ago.
  • Tired of shopping online by yourself? Visit CrowdStorm and shop in a community of users.
  • Rumors of a Google phone + CEO talking about "probably" bidding on new wireless spectrum = confused, but possibly excited public.
  • Patrick Schaber at Lonely Marketer had amazing coverage of SES San Jose last week. Check it out if you want to catch up and see what happened. This post on image marketing was particularly nice.
  • Are you still pitching bloggers with the same old generic email or press release? Want to pitch bloggers the right way? Take BL Ochman's great advice.
  • Are you starting a new company blog? Do you want to get a lot of subscribers right off the bat? Tap your client list and optimize your content offering as Brian Clark suggests.
  • Twitter is finally rolling out some real value-add enhancements. Check out the people search on the main page.
  • Adobe's new Flash player will support HD video. This will hurt services like Joost, et. al. who were counting on p2p delivery or other non-traditional delivery of video.
  • MTV, Real and Verizon have joined forces to offer up a new music service. Does this sound like a good move to anybody out there? Real is dead, MTV's audience is on iTunes more than any other group and Verizon isn't innovating anything.
  • Scott Weisbrod points out a new Forrester report on the death of the traditional marketing funnel. I agree with David Armano that their illustration is confusing and like his much better.
  • Google's added map embedding now so you can copy a map into a website or blog with very little technical assistance.
  • Rohit @ Influential Interactive Marketing has a great post on how to sell social media to your boss. Anybody have any other tactics?
  • Zoho Writer has used Google Gears to offer offline support. This is going to happen more and more as people take the online apps offline.
  • US-based social net Bebo will offer Windows Live Messenger as its sole IM solution.
  • Wanna kick it old school with a mix tape? How about Mix Tape USB?
  • I wish Starbucks would do this. Dominos Pizza is accepting pizza orders via SMS in the UK.
  • Nokia's killer N95 phone looks to be coming to the US.
  • Christopher Carfi at the Social Customer Manifesto has a nice presentation about business blogging.
  • What did you learn from Skype's outage? Some people benefitted.
  • If you want to get out of your Verizon contract, you will have to actually die. Faking your death will not cut it.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Skype [remaining buzz from service collapse]
  2. Geni
  3. CrazyEgg [boosted from controversy with YouTube ad format]
  4. Slide [Facebook applications keeping them high on the chart]
  5. blip.tv

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Search Engine Guide
  6. Diva Marketing
  7. What's Next
  8. Daily Fix
  9. Drew's Marketing Minute
  10. Converstations

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from the AdAge Power 150


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Pronet Advertising
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Copyblogger
  5. Search Engine Watch
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Adrants
  8. Online Marketing Blog
  9. Adverblog
  10. Publishing 2.0
  11. PSFK

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Cheney '94
  2. Insane Wave pool in Tokyo
  3. Gregorious: NMKY
  4. Content Aware Image Sizing
  5. Stop SPP Protest

More


iTunes.jpgTo help you stay on top of what is happening and to filter the myriad options, you can now subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Get updates in real time when new videos become available.

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links for 2007-08-24

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First//Look: Microsoft's Tafiti (beta)

Picture 3.pngThe competition for search eyeballs is an intense game. Anything that a company can do to test new waters or create real differentiation could potentially be a driver for new user acquisition. Of the big three search proprietors, Microsoft has stepped up with an innovative new visual search tool called Tafiti (which means "do research" in Swahili).

Built on the company's Silverlight (it's basically another version of Flash and could be the downfall of this product) platform, Tafiti allows users to search in an interactive, visual environment. The motion is fluid and rich and should appeal to anybody who is tired of the stark white look of Google or the overly crushed look of Yahoo. This universal search tool incorporates images, RSS, news and books into one search with a visual toggle between them. The option that allows you to drag results to a pile for later reference is a very cool idea. (Makes me wonder if/when Apple would partner with Google to do something like this.)

Here is the video for your review.

[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Key takeaways:


  • All major search players are moving to universal search
  • Visual search overlays like this one could be a part of next generation search apps
  • Because items like images, videos, RSS, books, etc. will be indexed, marketers need to start looking at tags and other meta data to make sure people can find them
  • Silverlight = Flash functionality, but it's a separate plugin
  • Would be interesting if Microsoft built another version of this in Flash to bump up adoption

Related posts:


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What my dogs can teach you about user experience design

First, meet my dogs. Two loving, balls of energy named Copeland and Crawford.

boysinwater.jpg

Now, if you know my wife and I, you know that our dogs are our children. We tend to spoil them and go a little overboard at times. But, we love them. One of the indulgences we treat them to is doggie ice cream. They come in the same type containers that ice cream used to come in (maybe it still does) in school when you would eat it with a tiny wooden spoon.

There are two types of doggie ice cream to choose from in the ice cream section at the grocery (I am not making this up, go check for yourself), Dogsters and Frosty Paws. Our dogs will, honestly, eat anything so we generally buy a couple boxes of each and ration them out when the temperature gets hot.

copeland_icecream.jpgSo what does this have to do with user experience you ask? I'll tell you. The Frosty Paws ice cream comes in a paper cup and the Dogsters comes in a plastic one. Want to guess which company has actually seen dogs with their product in the real world? No matter how fast I am to retrieve the container after they're done, one of my guys has usually half-chewed and digested the container. Now which would you rather have your dog eat, the paper one or the sharp, splintering plastic one?

Needless to say we have switched entirely to Frosty Paws because it is crystal clear that they've actually spent time with dogs and their products in the real world. They care enough to adjust the product (which also used to come in plastic containers) to use paper for the health and safety of the dog.

So let's put this in the perspective of digital marketing. The user experience is the differentiator between just being some random website and something you would add to your bookmarks. It's the difference between vanity and utility, between forgotten and viral. The best experience designers study how the users interact in the real world and adapt the objects to meet their needs. Maybe people are looking at your site on mobile phones. Maybe you have a lot of busy moms who have a kid in one arm and are trying to find quick information. How do you know unless you engage them in conversation?

Do you test new features with your customers in real-world conditions? How many services lose support because of poor testing and experience design?

Any experience designers want to weigh in here?


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links for 2007-08-22

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links for 2007-08-21

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T//M podcast #002: A very social conversation

BloggerSocial.jpgWelcome to episode #002 of the Techno//Marketer podcast. This week's episode features two of my favorite marketing bloggers CK and Drew McLellan. This dynamic duo has (along with Cam Beck, Luc Debaisieux and Mike Sansone) put together the ultimate un-un-conference for marketing bloggers.

Blogger Social 08 is a new type of conference. Basically, take away the boring conference part and leave the relationship-building opportunities and all of the education that goes along with that. Bloggers voted on the location of the event and it turned out that NYC will be the spot (note that I voted for a warmer location) from April 4th - 8th, 2008.

Here is a bit more info from the Blogger-social.com site:


The opportunity to meet—actually meet!—all your friends and colleagues through 3 (amazing!) events, as well as time for you to form your own meetups.


We are planning on:


  • A mixer on Friday night (think 7p – 1a)
  • An event on Saturday afternoon (think 12p – 3p)
  • And one special event on Saturday evening (7p – until dawn)

Friday night and Saturday afternoon events will be casual and Saturday evening will be a bit dressy. Sunday is all free time, giving you extra time to design your own meetups.

Leave audio comments at +1 (206) 350-2186 or drop me an email at mattdickman@gmail.com

podcast-logo1.gifHow can you listen? There are four ways:


  1. Download the MP3 file for episode 2
  2. Subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes
  3. Subscribe using another podcatcher using my podcast RSS feed here
  4. Listen right from this player


Episode guide:

"Fresh, filtered and focused content for new marketers"


0m28s Welcome to episode 2
1m40s Conversation with Drew and CK
24m27s Wrap up for episode 2

Notable items:


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Buzz Friday for August 17, 2007 (double issue)

more-buzz.jpgHere is a look at what is happening across a couple of sites I keep an eye on. I am refining this post over time, so if there is anything you would like me to add just email me or leave a comment. Similarly, if you have something you think is Buzz Friday worthy let me know and I'll look it over for inclusion.

iTunes.jpgBuzz Friday is also available as part of the Techno//Marketer Podcast on iTunes. Click here to subscribe and take the Buzz to go.



[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Here are all of the items that I think are interesting this week:


  • Skype, the popular VoIP service owned by eBay, suffered a major outage yesterday. The outage even coincided with a dip in eBay's stock price. Connection? Oddly I heard about this from Twitter then blogs then Skype in that order with about 10 hours between the Tweet and Skype's response.
  • If you're thinking about buying a new iPod, hold off says Engadget. I would agree with this.
  • Bebo is the king of social networks in the UK. Keep an eye out for an Inside//Out post on Bebo next week.
  • It's my bill in a box. It seems AT&T is sending physical paper bills that detail all of the text messages their customers send and receive. This has resulted in many forests being chopped down as iJustine found out.
  • David Reich has a humorous look at a new move to regulate PR through a certificate. His point, there are bigger fish to fry.
  • Faris Yakob points to a funny clip around the Sony Bravia campaign. You have to have seen the previous ad to get it, but if you did you know just what this guy is talking about.
  • Looking to build your own social network? Check out this list of 34 options.
  • A recent NPD study shows that mobile phone sales have increase 14% in the US. Are you thinking about your mobile strategy?
  • Ever wonder why your Feedburner stats fluctuate from day to day? Check out the explanation straight from the source. Via ProBlogger.
  • Saatchi's starting a new agency called 'one word equity', check out Karl Long's take.
  • The iPhone's popularity has led one mobile advertising company to create a new ad unit just for it.
  • Adobe's rumored to be creating a new suite of office apps to compete with Microsoft using their AIR framework. Office Live needs to pick up the pace.
  • The best way to learn to design websites is by copying others. Jimdo makes that process super easy.
  • Yahoo is FINALLY starting to leverage their unique properties to compete with Google. The new Yahoo Local uses Flickr and Upcoming.org information to paint a better picture.
  • Mario Sundar offers a new model for social media. Just follow the LAMP.
  • iPhone and Facebook combine for a smooth, refined version of what the future of mobile sites should be. I tried this on a friend's phone and it's really cool.
  • Looking for ways to network more effectively at conferences? Check out the SEOmoz recommendations.
  • Seth has some interesting insights on opposites. Very thought provoking.
  • David Berkowitz gets his LinkedIn questions answered and LinkedIn shows how to recover from an initially poor service contact. (Still no comments from them on my Inside//Out post.)
  • Some pundits claim Facebook is opening up, but Justin Smith of the blog Inside Facebook disagrees. I tend to agree with him.
  • Greg Verdino reminds us that branding is what our fans say, not what we say. Check out his insightful post here.
  • AOL is making a move in mobile with a relaunched search.
  • Jeremiah notes a Lewis PR survey in which 90% of marketing departments are planning to launch a social media campaign in 2008.
  • New social network Yappd launched recently and claims to be a Twitter/Flickr mix. Look for a lot more of this kind of integration in the next quarter.
  • The status of virtual worlds are, as I've said before, like the web was in the mid-90's. Nick Wilson agrees. Tangerine Toad thinks they're mostly a waste right now for marketing, but notes there are other uses that are powerful. Doug Meacham has a well thought out post on why marketers are failing in some cases. This debate will rage on.
  • Via Amber MacArthur, check out this fun video of Connected Ventures letting off some steam.
  • If you're going to create a mobile site, it's important to develop mobile-only content. Discovery networks gets it.
  • TechCrunch reports that NBC's ClownCo received a $1 billion valuation and it still doesn't have a name. Seems pretty silly to me.
  • The NY Times is the latest publication to jump on the user-generated content bandwagon and let people submit photos.
  • Google released an API for their Docs utility.
  • PSFK has a look at what businesses think of consumer reviews using Yelp as an example.
  • Check out Luc's excellent post on what impact the Age of Conversation ebook has on reality.


Top Five Web2.0 Movers of the Week (using Alexa data)


  1. Kaboodle
  2. Vimeo
  3. PageFlakes
  4. Instructables
  5. Revver

More

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from Viral Garden


  1. Seth's blog
  2. Gaping Void
  3. Duct Tape Marketing
  4. Logic + Emotion
  5. Search Engine Guide
  6. What's Next
  7. Daily Fix
  8. Diva Marketing
  9. Converstations
  10. Drew's Marketing Minute

View the top full top 25

Top Ten Marketing Blogs from the AdAge Power 150


  1. Seth Godin
  2. Copyblogger
  3. Micro Persuasion
  4. Adrants
  5. Pronet Advertising
  6. Search Engine Land
  7. Online Marketing Blog
  8. Marketing Pilgrim
  9. tompeters!
  10. PSFK

View the full list here

Top 5 "Viral" Videos This Week


  1. Cheney '94
  2. Battle at Kruger
  3. Post Secret
  4. UFO Haiti
  5. Thriller

More


iTunes.jpgTo help you stay on top of what is happening and to filter the myriad options, you can now subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes. Get updates in real time when new videos become available.

podcast-logo1.gifIf you use another podcatcher you can grab my podcast RSS feed here.


You can watch this and other Techno//Marketer videos on your video channel of choice:

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Story//Tellers: 171 Starbucks

starbucks.jpgStory//Tellers is a little series I am starting to showcase people who are using new media to share their authentic perspectives and experiences. Anybody with an amateur video camera, a friend and a plan can share their story with tens of thousands of people.

Take Mark Malkoff. If you know me personally, you know that I love Starbucks, but this guy wins out. Check out Mark's attempt to visit all 171 Starbucks on the island of Manhattan AND consume a purchase at each one. Personally I get a little queasy around #80.

Messages like this are a hundred times more powerful than any advertisement or website. I wonder if Starbucks has, or will, reach out to Mark. Maybe they could offer to cover the $350+ he spent in product or even take the idea further and create an event around this with proceeds going to charity.


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Inside//Out: LinkedIn

LinkedIn.pngOne of the social networks that I frequent most often is LinkedIn. I've been a member of the service for years, but until recently they've not had the critical mass necessary to get traction. Over the last 6 months, however, I've seen a flood of people using the service to connect on a professional basis.

LinkedIn is a focused, professional networking site. It doesn't pretend to be MySpace. The design is clean, but a little stark and it could use a little more personalization in order to make it more engaging. In this video tour, I focus on what LinkedIn does well within their network and how you can apply the same logic and motivations to your own community.


[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

What LinkedIn does well:


  • Focus. The site is professional and keeps more social elements out.
  • Communication. Alerts are stored in your inbox and messaging is clear and simple.
  • Answers. The answers area is a great resource for anybody looking for advice from peers.
  • Rewards. LinkedIn offers virtual rewards for engaging (profile completeness, etc.).
  • Community. It's all about community and LinkedIn has found great ways of showing you what's happening in your personal network as well as your extended network.
  • Trust. The site is completely built on trust. You connect with trusted people and so do they. When a message/answer/job comes through the service you know it's for real.

What LinkedIn needs to work on:


  • I think they could do a bit to make it more personal. Photos would be nice.
  • I still think they should offer a resume generator that compiles your data and exports it with some editing on your part.
  • Would be cool to hook up more social media to profiles (blogs, photos, videos, etc.)

If you don't use the service I encourage you to check it out. The more complete your profile is the more beneficial the system will be as it will find colleagues, classmates, etc.

If you have an idea for an Inside//Out post you can send me an email or leave a comment on this post.




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Where have you gone John and Stephen?

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Let me ask you an honest question. Since YouTube was forced to remove all of their Viacom content, have you seen any web footage of John Stewarts's Daily Show or Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report?

At one point the two had a very high following on YouTube that resulted in millions of impressions. Then one day they were gone. Personally I haven't see one single clip since that point in time and I would wager the same is true for many of you. YouTube (according to a May 2007 HitWise survey, YouTube has a 60.2% market share in online video. It gets 50% more traffic than the closest 64 rival sites combined.

What have you noticed?

[If you cannot see the poll in your reader, click through to the post to weigh in.]

Yesterday, in an odd legal maneuver Google requested to have the two comedians deposed for trial. Surely Google wants them to talk about their exposure, but I wonder if the two know enough about it personally to make any difference.


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Apple changes rules, forgets to tell customers

Apple store lineI, for one, am all for changing the rules if it makes things better for the customer. Many companies have taken the old way of doing business in their vertical and have created new markets by shifting the old rules. Netflix, Wikipedia, Target are all examples of companies who are changing the world.

I would also group Apple into that lot with their innovative approaches to industrial design and user interface. Tonight, however, I had a mixed experience at my local Apple retail store due to a miscommunicated shift in the rules of retail. I went in to the store to pick up a copy of iWork 08 (I give presentations using Keynote) and to check out the new iMac. I picked up the software, strolled around and grabbed a couple of other things that struck me (there is always something), played around with the iMac and got ready to go.

When I first walked into the store I noticed that they had done some remodeling. The Genius Bar was positioned in the back of the store where the checkout counter had been and the checkout counter itself had been removed completely. Now, I frequent the Apple store so I know that they've had hand-held checkout systems in place for a while now and that any Apple staff member can check you out without having to go to the counter.

The problem is that I am in the minority of the people who know this. There was a line 15 people deep at one point for people ready to checkout, but they were all standing in the genius bar line because that's where the checkout counter always was plus it was a counter with people standing behind it (lemmings I tell you). The other staff members were all helping people and so the line continued to build. Finally a couple of the staff broke away and started going through this impromptu line one-by-one. It was horribly inefficient and defeated the whole purpose of the change in rules.

Apple's innovative point of sale system is cutting-edge and the store concept is beautiful and much more utilitarian. The problem is that they changed the rules without telling anybody or helping them to understand. I am a loyal Apple user and I almost went home without purchasing. What would it have hurt to have a greeter at the door to offer a welcome and tell you that when you are ready any staff member could check you out. Even more cost effectively, why not print something on their uniform t-shirts that says something to that effect?

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Like I said, I am all for changing rules, but not telling anybody could hurt the brand and really irritate people who just want to give you money. I've seen this manifest itself in the digital space many times. Think about what happens when a major site that you use goes through a re-design. Things get renamed and moved around in the name of progress. Major navigation or checkout changes can be catastrophic. Imagine if Amazon renamed the "Shopping Cart" to "My Backpack" for some reason. You may get it down eventually, but you shouldn't have to think about something that mission-critical.

So what can you do when the rules need an update?


  • Keep the end-user in mind at every stage
  • Identify your key paths/clickstreams through the site
  • Maintain crucial paths or, if you must change them, make it painfully clear what the user should do
  • Use a value index to rate changes (does it add value, lower the value or keep the value where it is) and strive to add value along each path
  • Test, test, test some more and then test again
  • State the changes you made and show how to do the same things in a newer (hopefully better) way
  • Use video, audio or screencasts to usher people through the site in the way they choose to engage you

Has there ever been a site that made changes that should have been good (or you eventually found were nice), but they were poorly communicated? If the rules need to change, how do you lead the way and bring your customers with you?


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Mobile social media booming by 2012

iStock_000003640525XSmall.jpgI came across an interesting study from Juniper Research about their forecast for mobile social networking. As I've said before, I think this is a huge growth are that is almost entirely untapped.

As phone data network speeds rise and device functionality improves here in the US, the possibilities are almost endless. I know personally, I can operate almost entirely from my phone in a pinch (email, IM, MS Office docs, blog posts, camera shots to Flickr, etc.), but it's getting easier for everybody to jump in.

Here are some key data points from the release that I think you'll find interesting:


  • End-user generated revenues will increase from $572m in 2007 to $5.7b in 2012
  • Social networking will account for 50% of that
  • Active users of social networking will increase from 14m to 600m in 2012
  • Downloads from mobile content delivery services will increase from 200m to 9b in 2012

The study notes that data fees are really the largest obstacle right now, but I think we're seeing the start of these rates coming down as demand surges and competition heats up. Look for ad-funded models to also gain traction to off-set cost. The model needs, however, to deliver on value to the end user.

Could the next Facebook be mobile-only?

Could the next Facebook be mobile-only? Could you share more with people if your device automatically uploaded everything to this network (imagine that each photo you took was automatically sent to your mobile account)? Your phone's GPS could auto-publish where you are and text/voice/video messaging would all be integrated seamlessly. I think it's a possibility.

What do you think?


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Gartner's grasp of the obvious is uncanny

iStock_000003091203XSmall.jpgI saw this post come across on Mashable's Twitter feed titled "Gartner Report Warns Against Brands in Second Life". It got my attention because of the danger posed to the big B-word. Brand. Like I did, you may look at the title and think to yourself "Wow, if Gartner says it, I better just stay away". Here is a link to the Gartner release.

Here is the real point of the story. If you are a company (any company) and you open SL to your internal network, or if you transfer sensitive data in SL, you are at risk. Pretty brilliant eh? (This is the case with any web-based/enabled application by the way.) Good IT people can work around these challenges and protect you from nefarious, evil doers.

As the anti-SL hype builds, please take my advice from my post on this last week. If your audience is using virtual worlds, you should consider it. We're very early in the life cycle of virtual worlds and it's ONE platform, not THE platform. Keep an open mind, start small and build as demand increases. Plus you can call me and I'll personally walk you through getting up and running.

P.S.: Here are some other headlines that Gartner could pick from to equally scare marketers into buying reports, send checks payable to me if you will:


  • Gartner report warns brands against hiring apathetic people
  • Gartner report warns brands against giving employees access to any of your data
  • Gartner report warns brands against blogging
  • Gartner report warns brands against websites with feedback forms
  • Gartner report warns brands against paying too much for data that you could have found yourself someplace else like say Google (I kid...or do I?)

Any touch point with a customer can have an impact on branding. SL is no different.


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On digital marketing integration

iStock_000003530954XSmall.jpgThe possibilities of what a marketer can do within digital marketing are astounding. Never before has it been easier to connect with customers, engage them in your brand, let them experience it with other fans and build relationships for the future. Unfortunately, people still apply the old laws of marketing and advertising to this new, limitless frontier.

If you work for a digital agency, you have doubtlessly seen this scenario play out:

Client: So, we want to really integrate our offline marketing communications with our digital strategy
You: That's great we can...
Client:Here is a Quark document our designer put together from our newspaper ad/billboard/brochure/etc.
You: Hmm. We were actually thinking about...
Client: Can you make the logo spin too?
You: *sigh* Sure.

I only half kid here. I've been handed many a Quark/Photoshop document in my day designed by print designers who have no idea what digital strategy is nor what it takes to execute online. While this trend is dissipating, with digital's rise in actual and perceived value, the habit is a hard one for some people to break.

The updated version of this scenario usually plays out in throwing somebody's :30 spot into YouTube or adding it to a rich media ad. While that is a quick way out, it's not using the full power of digital. As we move into a broader band world of digital where interactive is creating and driving the (internal and customer) conversations, it becomes easy to look for the easy path to integration, but that pitfall should be avoided.

Here are some questions to get the conversation started:


  • When the options are endless, why do people return to familiar formats?
  • Is your digital strategy created separately from your offline strategy? Do your agencies talk?
  • Digital is the best two-way communication tool, why do we still talk AT our customers?
  • It's also the easiest medium to turn off. Knowing that, how do you keep people engaged?
  • Are you letting your fans bring you into their lives as much as they'd like?
  • Do you allow your fans to take you along to where THEY live online?
  • What campaigns have you seen that REALLY integrate offline and online to reach people?

What do you think?


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T//M podcast #001: Harley-Davidson's sturgis widget

Picture 7.pngWhat a way to start a podcast series! I've been doing a lot of video lately and have been wanting to do a weekly audio podcast series for a long time. I've been biding my time for the right situation to present itself to get out of the gates with a bang and that's just what happened recently.

In the first ever episode in my weekly audio podcast series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Beck the Marketing Director for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles (thanks to Sean Scott for setting this up). Harley recently partnered with agency Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis to create a new type of widget. They threw out the conventions and created something remarkable. The widget, timed to launch with the Sturgis motorscycle festival (attended by over 500,000 riders), broadcasts live streaming video from the festival grounds to Harley fans around the world. It includes audio and really gives people a window into the whole experience.

I was able to talk with Scott and Jon on my phone, but could see and hear them in the widget. So very, very cool. I hope you like episode one and please bear with me as audio editing is really new to me. These podcasts will never go over 26 minutes in length (the average commute time in the US) so you can download, consume and start implementing in short order.

Any feedback or comments would be greatly appreciated. Enjoy!

Leave audio comments at +1 (206) 350-2186 or drop me an email at mattdickman@gmail.com

podcast-logo1.gifHow can you listen? There are three ways:

  1. Download the MP3 file for episode 1
  2. Subscribe to the Techno//Marketer podcast on iTunes
  3. Subscribe using another podcatcher using my podcast RSS feed here

Episode guide:

"Fresh, filtered and focused content for new marketers"


0m28s Welcome to episode 1

1m12s Overview of my goals for the podcast

1m50s Intro to interview with Scott Beck, Director of Marketing for Harley-Davidson motorcycles

5m30s Interview with Scott Beck and Jon Campbell of Harley Davidson

18m55s Interview wrap-up

22m15s Kudos to Todd Andrlik's Power150 for its partnership with AdAge

Notable items:


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