Three keys to better listening

iStock_000000564491XSmall.jpgAre you listening, I mean really listening? Over the past month and a half, I have been running a poll in the sidebar on this blog asking people "How do you listen in social media?". I want to share the results of this poll with you as well as some observations that I have regarding the responses.

First off, 85 total unique visitors took the poll (see final results below). While that's not a huge number it is pretty solid. Far and away Twitter was the top listening tool (75%) followed by Google alerts (48%). After that, Google search and monitoring tools came in with 16%. The "other" category was next followed up by Technorati at around 6%.

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Key takeaways from the reader poll:

  • Twitter is a great tool, but you have to make sure your audience is there. If you're listening in the wrong place, you're missing the point.
  • Google alerts are also great to have and easy to set up. However, they often miss content that needs to be picked up in other ways.
  • Google search is also very easy, but has the same problems as Google alerts (duh). It's also a little too overwhelming unless you do an advanced search and limit the timeframe. (Don't forget you can subscribe to a search's RSS feed to keep updates manageable.)
  • Monitoring tools are very helpful at making sure you see the whole conversation. They do, however, suffer from the same faults as Google alerts. There is just too much data to manage effectively. It takes a human to process it.
  • Technorati, though low on the list, does still serve a valuable roll and can catch blog mentions before other means.

Three keys to better listening:

In order to do this right, follow these keys to better listening online:
  1. Find your customer and spend your time there. While Twitter is great for some brands, you will find that message boards, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, etc. may hold the majority of your customers. If you're listening in the wrong place you're not doing any good.

  2. Use technology to speed the process. Instead of watching Twitter for 12 hours a day, subscribe to the RSS feed for your keywords on Twitter Search. Do the same with keywords on Google and your Technorati page. Check this a couple of times a day. On top of that, you can overlay that information on top of the monitoring tools.

    Big tip, I've seen monitoring companies sell their services as the end-all of this area and they are not. This requires a human being who knows the industry and company to make it worth while.

  3. Create your active listening plan. Listening is a good first step, but a lifetime of listening without action is not going to move the needles that you need to move for your business. Creating an plan for what to do with the information you learn is key.

    I wrote this post in February of 2007 on active listening and it still holds true today. This quote sums it up:

    "Agile marketing companies are leveraging new technology to create real, one-to-many and many-to-many conversations. They are using the outcome from that interaction to make meaningful, remarkable, relationship-enhancing changes that impact their clients in a positive manner. Are you listening?"

Be sure to answer the new poll question for an upcoming post. Do you have (or advise your clients to create) a social media policy for employees? Let me know your thoughts!

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The Face of Facebook Global Report - Q4 2008

C50791CC-025A-467E-8A51-5144D7AD930D.jpgFirst off, let me apologize to you for not publishing this monthly as promised. It was taking me around 15 hours to compile and edit the PDF each month and it was just overwhelming. I'll keep publishing it on a quarterly basis as a blog post moving forward. Thank you for understanding!

As always, I use the data that Facebook provides from their advertising management system. The actual numbers may be larger, but we're marketers and these are the people who can be marketed to.

Key Takeaways:

  • The fourth quarter of 2008 saw a 27.55% increase in the total population of Facebook going from 100 million users to 138.6 million. That's a larger increase compared to past months on this report.
  • The US is still the largest segment of Facebook at around 42 million users. This is 282% greater than the next closest country (the UK)
  • Italy and Romania had over 400% gains on Facebook leading the pack while the US led by total population gain at 9 million new users
  • Norway and Canada have the largest percentage of their total populations on Facebook (over 25% each)
  • South Africa was the only country to lose population in Q4
  • Macedonia and Oman were the only new additions in Q4 2008

Top 25 Countries by total users

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): US, UK, Canada, Turkey, France, Italy, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Hong Kong, Norway, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, India, Greece, Finland, South Africa top25bytotalpop.png [Click image for larger version]

Top 25 countries by highest % of total population on Facebook

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): Norway, Canada, Denmark, UK, Chile, Iceland, Australia, Hong Kong, Sweden, Finland, Singapore, Puerto Rico, US, Luxembourg, Maldives, New Zealand, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Malta, UAE, Switzerland, Belgium, The Bahamas, Colombia top25bypercentpop.png [Click image for larger version] *Note: This chart uses the total population of each country (not the online population)

Top 25 largest Q4 % gains

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): Italy, Romania, tunisia, Slovakia, Indonesia, Spain, Argentina, Czech Republic, Uruguay, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Iceland, Ecuador, Macedonia, Oman, Belgium, France, Turkey, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Austria, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Morocco Q4_pct_change.png [Click image for larger version]

Top 25 largest total gains

Top countries (in order greatest to lowest): US, Italy, turkey, France, UK, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Chile, Denmark, Indonesia, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Venezuela, Colombia, Greece, Hong Kong, Serbia, India, Mexico, Finland, Malaysia Q4_total_pop_gains.png [Click image for larger version]

Raw country population data for Q4 2008

*Note that Macedonia and Oman are new additions to Facebook for segmenting purposes and don't have Q3 data.
Country Q4 2008 Q3 2008
Argentina 2,254,200 936,540
Australia 4,327,920 3,650,260
Austria 258,780 144,800
Bahrain 50,660 42,360
Bangladesh 198,780 135,220
Belgium 1,666,340 833,600
Bolivia 184,920 150,480
Bosnia 198,660 90,720
Brazil 209,100 155,600
Bulgaria 136,980 79,300
Canada 10,851,420 10,025,320
Chile 4,152,060 3,477,540
China 220,620 196,200
Colombia 3,636,320 3,226,980
Costa Rica 73,100 55,080
Croatia 491,240 300,500
Cyprus 109,420 78,660
Czech Republic 176,660 75,900
Denmark 1,778,440 1,174,500
Dominican Republic 115,680 91,800
Ecuador 130,860 105,700
Egypt 821,760 838,480
El Salvador 67,360 51,540
Finland 920,960 656,780
France 6,595,300 3,382,840
Germany 1,255,480 817,620
Ghana 53,880 36,780
Greece 1,000,320 639,340
Guatemala 93,960 76,980
Honduras 54,180 41,660
Hong Kong 1,456,740 1,111,580
Hungary 90,260 63,700
Iceland 120,520 57,700
India 1,072,080 807,040
Indonesia 898,360 321,980
Ireland 401,280 308,100
Israel 895,520 663,240
Italy 5,582,980 1,035,900
Jamaica 64,780 49,560
Japan 213,420 170,080
Jordan 266,700 211,700
Kenya 130,920 105,120
Kuwait 105,160 91,520
Lebanon 414,240 378,580
Lithuania 41,800 29,880
Luxembourg 87,400 49,480
Macedonia 78,180 0
Malaysia 851,240 591,880
Maldives 33,880 31,220
Malta 45,820 36,160
Mauritius 57,060 40,620
Mexico 1,439,580 1,174,600
Morocco 369,660 214,180
Netherlands 351,540 283,700
New Zealand 534,320 433,360
Nicaragua 29,560 23,740
Nigeria 212,780 145,000
Norway 1,455,080 1,315,880
Oman 24,240 0
Pakistan 376,800 286,340
Palestine 69,660 55,660
Panama 236,200 219,760
Paraguay 19,200 11,440
Peru 295,620 208,560
Phiilippines 390,700 233,300
Poland 194,960 113,900
Portugal 84,760 61,860
Puerto Rico 541,640 455,160
Qatar 67,840 54,820
Romania 56,300 10,760
Russia 122,780 94,100
Saudi Arabia 325,860 265,740
Serbia 557,480 266,120
Singapore 740,220 539,660
Slovakia 138,120 46,060
Slovenia 184,120 86,640
South Africa 920,860 1,022,240
South Korea 113,940 86,500
Spain 2,591,640 1,031,780
Sri Lanka 154,780 96,500
Sweden 1,697,100 1,242,240
Switzerland 1,122,900 609,640
Taiwan 112,840 84,780
Thailand 168,840 109,980
The Bahamas 43,900 24,280
Trinidad and Tabago 136,080 94,300
Tunisia 239,600 66,440
Turkey 7,924,640 4,087,640
Ukraine 41,400 26,860
UAE 485,540 358,560
USA 42,017,280 32,923,620
UK 14,922,560 12,662,320
Uraguay 198,160 89,320
Venezuela 1,872,840 1,456,420
Vietnam 39,120 26,580

Does anything surprise you on this? Anything else you would like to know?

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Five big social media contradictions and how to manage them

iStock_000002248298XSmall.jpgWhat's fast to build, slow to grow and needs constant attention? No, not a Chia Pet. It's social media! I've given this post a lot of thought over the past couple of months as I talk with executives and marketers who are discussing their entry into the social media space. Some are skeptical, others are passionate. Most have incorrect pre-conceived notions that are contradictory to the way things actually are. Ironically, most of these contradictions have been used as selling points in the early days of the space. So, here we go.

Contradiction 1: Fast setup, slow build

Yes, it is true that you can create a blog in less than five minutes. However, a five minute blog is going to have the same marketing impact as letting an 2-year-old create your brand identity. The physical build of a blog will take months to get right. It needs to be professionally designed or at least customized to look unique.

That, however, is the easiest part of blogging. The real build comes in building your community. It took me around 8 solid months of posting 4-5 days a week to really start making traction. Only around a year and a half in did I start to feel like I was making an impact.

Tip to manage: Look around at people who are successful here. Look at companies like Zappos, Dell or Comcast and see how they use it. Look for other companies in your space and seek out what they are doing. Ask experts, people are very accessible here.

Contradiction 2: Cheap up-front, financial marathon

I think way too many companies think of social media as an inexpensive alternative to pricey paid media options. On the contrary. The physical build/setup/design/etc. is in line with traditional digital implementations (think website/microsite). The real investment comes in the personal time necessary to make an impact. The build is just the tip of the iceberg.

Personally, I estimate that I spend 3-4 hours a day on this blog and within my online space. That's reading, commenting, writing and thinking about digital marketing and social media. That's on top of my workload and travel.

Let's say you have a community evangelist to work your digital marketing as well as social media. There are around 260 work days a year. I am a proponent of companies dedicating AT LEAST 2 HOURS A DAY to do this right. (Obviously, the more time spent the better.) Take agency rates of around $150/hr and that works out to around $78,000/year minimum just to manage the work. More time = more chances for engagement = a better chance for success.

Tip to manage: Look at the people/companies who you admire and ask them how much time they spend. Do your own estimations. Look a the content they're creating and estimate what it took to build. You have to show that this requires a continued commitment from a financial perspective.

Contradiction 3: Open/transparent/mashed-up meets legal and regulatory

While the spirit of social media and participatory marketing is open and extensible, there are real fears that MUST be addressed with the legal team. The best way to do this is to address them head on. Legal teams have been trained to defend brands, stop "unauthorized use" and do it quick. That doesn't fly in this space, it backfires.

Extending marketing and customer service into social media requires the full commitment of the organization at all levels. Everyone needs to be comfortable with the strategy and be kept aware of the execution. If this doesn't happen, it can lead to big trouble.

Tip to manage: There are a ton of examples here. Look at Scrabulous for example. The best idea is to sit down with legal and draw parallels to help them put this in a framework. Can you compare traditional media outreach to blogger outreach? Can you compare your phone reps to your Twitter reps? You can and you should.

Contradiction 4: Creating real estate turns to building on other people's property

Up until social media, digital marketing has been all about creating real estate. Websites, microsites, Flash demos, webinars, virtual offices, etc. Marketing around these spaces required volume to be successful. Email lists were crucial, online ads drove volume and measurement supported these tactics.

Social media is about finding where customers already exist and finding ways to add value within that space. Solving problems, crowdsourcing product and service development, creating cool applications, etc. all add value. Customer service may be the silver bullet in this space. Measurement needs to adapt to your business. Throw out the standards and find what matters to you, then measure it.

Tip to manage: Again Zappos, Dell and Comcast are case studies in the making here. Think about how Nike+ shifted the paradigm of tracking runner's progress and extended it to widgets, Facebook apps, etc. The iPhone is another example where you can add value and get the marketing benefit.

Contradiction 5: Unlimited opportunities to engage, finite places to make real impact

There are literally thousands of places to engage with your customers online. The challenge for brands is to find out where they are, how they move and what they find of value. The other challenge is to dedicate resources to support customers in the places that make sense while limiting waste. Facebook is a great platform to use if you add value to your customers through your marketing. However, if your customers aren't there it's a waste. If you don't see that they shift to a niche network on Ning next month you will continue spending time and begin wasting money.

Listening is key to keeping the pulse of your audience. It lets you see changes in location, sentiment and identify memes that resonate in real time. It lets you be able to pounce and that's key.

Tip to manage: Follow big brands and follow personal brands too. Look at how Chris Brogan engages with his community and grows his business. Look at how Mario Sundar advocates for LinkedIn. Watch Guy Kawasaki extend his business and build new ones (seemingly) on the fly. Watch Jeremiah Owyang redefine what it is to be an analyst while helping to empower an amateur analyst army. See Gary Vaynerchuk kill it every day and inspire everyone he touches like in this video:

What contradictions would you add? Any other examples that people should pay attention to beyond the ones I noted?

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The age of Facebook vs. MySpace: January edition

iStock_000005753573XSmall.jpgWhat does the real population of Facebook look like? How does it compare to MySpace? This is the latest edition of my look at social networks and their populations from a marketing perspective.

All numbers in this post are US-only and are collected using each site's advertising management systems so they are up to date and accurate from a marketer's perspective. (Who wants to talk about populations that can't be reached by marketing? Not me.)

What you need to know right now:

  • MySpace's total population is down 4% in the US
  • Facebook now for the first time has more people ages 36-45 than MySpace, soon will overtake 46-50 as well as 31-35
  • Facebook's over 30 growth is still booming at around 24% per category
  • Facebook's under 30 growth was stagnant
  • MySpace still dominant in HS and college age groups

Facebook Overview:

Facebookhad fairly consistent gains across most age groups, however for the first time I see slowdowns in the under 35 population. Surprises include:
  • Less than 2% growth in the 18-21 and 22-25 year old groups (down from approx. 22% gains over past 4 months)
  • 13-17 year old growth is under 8% and the 26-30 year old group gained just over 11%
  • Facebook is 56.89% female and 43.11% male

MySpace Overview:

There were some surprising shifts in the population of MySpace this month. Of note:
  • Overall, the US population on MySpace dropped by 4.16%
  • 26.87% drop in the 36-40 age group from November's numbers
  • 32.93% drop in the 41-45 age group from November's numbers
  • 40.65% drop in the 46-65+ age group from November's numbers
  • MySpace is 52.71% female and 47.29% male

MySpace down 4%; Facebook under 30 stagnant; Facebook finally overtakes MySpace in 36-45 populations

January's look at the real age of MySpace vs. Facebook (US)

Totals.png
Click to enlarge image.

Here are the actual December-January numbers:

AGE RANGEFacebookΔ last monthMySpaceΔ last monthoverall variance
13-175,593,200+7.21%17,072,104-2.94%305%
18-2110,802,300+1.24%20,326,180+1.89%188%
22-257,703,340+1.87%13,029,345+3.32%169%
26-305,966,040+11.19%10,528,581-5.70%176%
31-354,123,740+18.27%4,958,016-15.37%120%
36-403,055,720+23.90%2,843,813-26.87%93%
41-451,580,460+26.74%1,577,310-32.93%100%
46-50963,900+23.88%981,911-40.65%102%
51-65+1,416,820+23.41%7,030,912-7.51%697%

Other key takeaways and burning questions:


  • These numbers represent all total users who can be reached through each site's advertising systems (not all active users)
  • I'm continually interested in the Boomer audiences on these sites and how they engage
  • MySpace's reporting system has been on the fritz, we'll have to see next month's numbers to get a real sense of the space
  • MySpace skews younger than Facebook, engaging more of the highschool population
  • Will need to look at Facebook under 30 numbers next month to see if the growth remains slow

What do you think? What other networks are you investigating? The demographics and targeting options on both sites let you reach your audience in targeted/tailored ways.

UPDATE: Data sources: If you're curious, here is where the data comes from on both sites.

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You can't do that on Facebook

youcantfacebook.jpg

Hopefully you got the reference to that great TV show of the 80s "You Can't Do That on Television". This post, however, is the first in a series of posts covering a couple of common mistakes that marketers are making on Facebook. First up...

You've gotta be you.

A post on drew McLellan's blog prompted me to write about this in more detail. I think most marketers are not aware of the limitations of Facebook and they port over bad habits from other social networks. Unlike on MySpace where companies, brands and spokespeople (real or imaginary) can have a profile, on Facebook you cannot create an account that does not belong to a real person. Comprende? If it's not a real person, don't create an account.

Let's break down the Facebook terms of use that specifically cover this:

Facebook clearly states that "except for advertising programs offered by us on the Site (e.g., Facebook Flyers, Facebook Marketplace), the Service and the Site are available for your personal, non-commercial use only"

Users agree NOT to:


  • register for more than one User account, register for a User account on behalf of an individual other than yourself, or register for a User account on behalf of any group or entity;
    This means: Don't sign up for somebody else or a group

  • impersonate any person or entity, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent yourself, your age or your affiliation with any person or entity;
    This means:Don't sign up and impersonate somebody else (no ghost accounts), don't create fictitious accounts and don't lie about who you are, your name, how old you are or who you represent

Hopefully this is pretty clear. Like I said, I don't think marketers read the terms and conditions on most of these sites, but it's important to know how they work and engage in appropriate, more successful ways.

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Success in social media means being ready to pounce

iStock_000003890669XSmall.jpgReaction time is a major competitive advantage in social media. What I mean by reaction time is the difference between an event or popular meme and the opportunity for your brand. This is one of the reasons that a comprehensive listening plan is so vitally important to any company. It takes one blog post, one media mention or one video phenomenon to present you the opportunity of a lifetime.

Don't get me wrong, it's crucial to create a social media strategy and have a plan, but part of that plan needs to give you the tools to stay fluid and react in real time. The strategy needs to act as a guide.

Listening

Monitoring Plan: Listening is key to success in social media. It's the first thing I recommend to my clients in this space and it takes a real commitment. The tools for this are all around. You can use any combination of options. Most programs that I use involve the following:


  • Monitoring Service: Radian6, Collective Intellect, Nielsen, Cision, Vocus, BackType (per Jason Baer) etc.
  • Google Alerts: They're easy to set up, they're real time and they are proactively sent to you
  • RSS Reader as aggregator: I use Google Reader to subscribe to the following two options to stay on top of things in an easy, manageable way.
  • Blog Search RSS: Go to any search engine and enter your keywords then look for the RSS symbol. They'll let you subscribe to those results and monitor changes (try Google, IceRockey, Technorati, etc.)
  • Twitter Search: The ultimate in real-time listening, enter your keyword and subscribe to the RSS feed

Analytics: Having analytics and using analytics are two very different things. This is one of the most powerful tools that we have as digital marketers. Know your site, look at the keywords that are bringing people there, what sites are they coming from, why are these things happening? Also, find out what is important in your analytics package and go over it regularly. It only takes one week of skipping a report to miss the next big thing. You can isolate opportunities through analytics. I'll cover this in more detail in January.

Popular memes: Keeping your ear to the ground and staying active in sites like YouTube, watching what's popular on Digg/Delicious/Facebook/Techmeme/etc. gives you a way to stay relevant to your audience. If you're trying to reach women ages 40-55, you need to find what they're watching, what they find funny and what moves them. Think about Mentos and Diet Coke. Mentos found out and embraced the meme. Diet Coke was late to the game, reacted negatively and finally saw the light.

Taking Action

Shortening Time to Customer: Too many companies have an unnecessarily long delay between identification of market opportunities and the time the customer is aware of the response. Legal review, group think and death by committee are killers. There needs to be a clear path to the customer and a knowledge of what is critical to get review (some things do need legal input) and what is good to go. I would suggest making this path as short as possible.

Opportunity Report: Create a daily/weekly opportunity report for your client or management. List key trends, key partners, memes that impact your customers, pop culture trends, etc. Doing this a couple of times will prove easier. You can have a junior person compile this, but it should have senior review to make sure all of the opportunities are seen.

Content is Key: Marketers need to have a mind shift. We are content creators. Not the usual content either, the content we're creating is open source. It needs to be free from copyrights, open to the public and easily repurposed. It could be video, photos, copy, a logo, a story, etc. This is not a website, but content that finds the customer and rings true to their ears. It shows up in their social sphere, on their turf and in their language. The best marketing is doing this now. Examples are hard to find, but agencies/companies are making it work. More on this in January too.

Keep Your Mind Open: This is also important. Not everything that comes out of this will be new media. It may require doing more events, possibly advertising in a new place. Alternatively, an opportunity may come up quickly in the online space. It seems marketers are finding/leveraging new services at breakneck pace. I caution clients and I'll caution you, be strategic about your selections of platform and service. Make 100% sure your customers are there.

Measure. Measure. Measure. Any digital campaign should have measurement at the heart. Key interactions need to be recorded and have meaning assigned in order to manage performance. A/B testing messages is easier than ever. Unlike offline marketing, we have the opportunity (and responsibility) to maximize the dollars we spend on behalf of our clients in real time. Allowing money to underperform is negligent in this day and age. If an ad isn't getting clicks, find why. Test the copy, test the target. It may mean taking it down and refocusing the spend. It's up to us to measure and respond.

What would you add?

[UPDATE: David Alston from the comments below was profiled on Shel Israel's Twitterville notes. Another great case for listening and reacting.]

[UPDATE 2: Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the need to pounce in this video. Listen up PR folks!]

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Best and worst new Twitter services

iStock_000000997148XSmall.jpgOne of Twitter's core attributes that has helped propel its growth is its open nature and extensible architecture (the ability to build on it). Twitter's open API (click here to see my API for marketers video) makes it possible for developers to allow access to user account information from third party servers and then build upon that.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been exposed to two services that leverage Twitter and try to add value to the community by building additional services. One I loved and the other I am totally over. You be the judge.

Picture 1.pngThe worst - Qwitter At first, I thought I would like this application. Qwitter is very simple to use. You sign up online and the service looks at who is following you. Over time it tells you when somebody stops following you. Great information to know right? For me personally, I found that I was taking this personally. Qwitter would send me an email that somebody stopped following me and I had a little pang of guilt. I would think to myself, "what did I do wrong?" "How could I change this?". It wasn't healthy. So, in the end I quit Quitter. It wasn't adding value to me. If you're a masochist, go for it ;)

Now, for clients I would recommend using Qwitter. I think it's very valuable to know what messages lack resonance so the voice can be refined over time. It's part of the listening process. It's just not for me.

Picture 2.pngThe best - Mr. Tweet I heard about Mr. Tweet on, you guessed it, Twitter. (Go figure.) At the end of the day, however, it's one of the most valuable services I've found for extending the service. Mr. Tweet is also easy to use. Once you follow their username on Twitter (@mrtweet) they send you a direct message with a personal URL. Once there you have two options, 1) find people who follow you and you should be following and 2) find new people to follow. Mr. Tweet uses some influencer mapping to suggest new people to you.

The service lets you log in to your account and easily follow the people you want. They show you nice metrics like total followers, total following, total message and the follower-to-following ratio. If you're looking to extend your network in a quality manner, this is a great service.

There is room for improvement however. Mr. Tweet has a very slow/non-existent refresh rate and needs to update each time new people are added to show a new group. Showing that I already follow someone isn't that valuable to me.

I'd encourage you to try Mr. Tweet if you have time and try Qwitter if you can take the rejection.

Either way, let me know what you think!

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Inside//Out: Backtype

2D39C42A-6EA8-4A6F-8FD8-B6724F0DE243.jpgOne of the most confounding issues in social media for most people/companies is finding, tracking and staying in the conversation. Backtype is a service that I've found helpful in monitoring comments that I leave, as well as reviewing comments that others have made.

As most of the value in blogs comes "below the post", monitoring comments is vital

On top of monitoring your own comments, the service also lets you track keywords inside all of the comments they index. This is an area that you will find hard to manage if you're monitoring with Google (who doesn't index most comments). As most of the value in blogs comes "below the post", monitoring comments is vital.

Here is a video overview of how it works:

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

Key Takeaways:


  • Listening in the comment stream is normally difficult because Google does not index comments (so no alerts, etc.)
  • Uses a simple interface and method to track where you leave comments
  • Tracks replies to your comments or other comments in the same thread
  • Allows you to see how other people are commenting
  • Allows you to track keywords in comments (also hard to do with Google)
  • Built around a social network platform, add friends to see their comments when you log in

Do you monitor comments? If do, how do you monitor comments? If not, why?

If you have a suggestion for my next video, let me know. You can send me an email or you can leave me a comment.


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HR in the age of social media

iStock_000001943264XSmall.jpgI am far from an HR specialist, but I often see companies who are struggling to adjust to the age of social media. On the flip-side, I see a few companies who understand this shift and take advantage of the possibilities.

We're operating in a difficult economy, surrounded by a shifting, unsure world. HR practices of yesterday are not possible to maintain. Leaks happen, employees are building personal brands and creating content that is (like it or not) related to your company.

As challenging as this is, it also is an unprecedented time to use social media to engage and acquire the best talent in the world. It takes a clear strategy, a solid focus on what works and the follow through and commitment to make it work.

Here are some successful, and unsuccessful lessons from social media. What would you add?

ON VIDEO

Don't create a staged, inauthentic video that makes you look silly (I'm talking to you Bank of America)

Don't post a video that you wouldn't want to have used against you for the rest of your agency's life (Agency.com Subway pitch aka "When we roll we roll big")

Do create a video that allows people to see who you are, how you operate and do it in an authentic way (One of my favorite videos from Connected Ventures will either implore you to run away or apply immediately)

Picture 9.pngDo give the world an insight into your culture using the tools of the trade (I always enjoy the Critical Mass Always in Beta site which evolves as they need it. Through video, photography, new applications, Twitter and more they engage their customer and recruiting audiences in an authentic way.)

ON TWITTER

Don't think that people who you are laying off/disciplining/promoting/hiring/etc. will keep quiet, don't think their peers won't find out from Twitter first. Once it hits, the message (right or wrong) spreads very quickly.

Here are some layoff announcements on Twitter:

Picture 7.png

Picture 6.png

Do be proactive, honest and open (Zappos is a great model for this. They missed some funding and the CEO sent a Twitter message linking to a blog post with more info. Some employees made a video to help people cheer up.)

Here is the original message from Tony, the Zappos CEO. Note, you could see all of their customer and employee reactions in realtime at twitter.zappos.com

Picture 8.png

I could go on and on with other platforms, but this should get the conversation boing. How are you using social media for HR? It's has the potential to be an amazing sales tool or it could be a repellant for new talent. Would you know? Are you listening and engaging?

Let me hear what you think!

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You can't give yourself a nickname

iStock_000006495170XSmall.jpgWhen I was in college, I had a boss who had a massive prejudice against anyone who attempted to give themselves a nickname. You've probably heard people do this in a conversation that looks like this (please picture the guy to the right):

That Guy: Hey there! Do you mind if I join in your pickup game?

You: Not at all. My name is John.

That Guy: Nice to meet you John. My name is Dudley, but call me "Crusher"

You: Ummm...okay Dudley. Why don't you wait over there.

See, it just doesn't work. Now, let's parlay that into a marketing topic that I took issue with the other day. It seems that some enterprising individuals are trying to name the Tuesday after Cyber Monday "Mobile Tuesday". On this date, you're supposed to shop (or otherwise engage) on your phone. Really?

Here is a snippet from an Ad Age article on the topic:

Mobigosee, a mobile-marketing firm, is moving forward with the launch of Mobile Tuesday on Dec. 2, despite the loss of major marketing partners whose budgets have been decimated by the recession.

...(Mobigosee) is attempting to launch Mobile Tuesday with just three marketers onboard: McDonald's, Finish Line and RedTag. The company is hoping to attract additional retailers with couponing strategies, in which Mobigosee is paid only when the mobile coupons are redeemed."

This is one company trying to start a movement that would require at least one major US mobile carrier to get involved to be remotely successful. The only potential winner here is the company who attempted to launch this thing and I would not call it a success. Companies should, be looking at engaging on mobile if it makes sense, not for the bright shininess factor. Maybe in 3-6 years, but not today.

Permission is key on the mobile platform and each brand needs to build its own audience in its own way. The paths of mass marketing and mobile marketing should never, ever meet.

So let me ask you. Have you purchased on your mobile? Take the poll below.

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The 2008 election ROI paradox and drumming gorillas

iStock_000005509580XSmall.jpgAt the IDG conference in Seoul last month I had the pleasure to meet Bruce Haines of Cheil Worldwide, a British expatriate living in Seoul. Bruce is one of the smartest marketers that I've met in a long time. During his keynote, Bruce cautions marketers against trying to assess ROI in a vacuum devoid of the brand. As with any number, ROI figures can lie and can be easily manipulated.

Bruce cautions marketers against trying to assess ROI in a vacuum devoid of the brand.

The 2008 Election

Bruce used the example of the US election to prove the point. This was an example that that made a lot of the people in the room sit up and take notice. I wanted to dive into it a little deeper to show the point and open a discussion around ROI. It's something I've written about before, but this is an ongoing conversation, so let's look at the numbers.

Here is a breakdown of the actual election spending numbers. The dollar figures are the reported spending amounts from the Federal Election Commission. Final votes are from CNN.com.

Picture 4.png

Looking at the return (votes) on investment (dollars spent) McCain is clearly in the lead. He ended up spending approximately $3.50 less for each vote.

That, however, does not tell the whole story as we all know. The real return that matters is the brand that was built and ultimately winning presidency. Looking at the wrong checkpoints on the way to a goal can lead us astray.

Drumming Gorillas

Another example Bruce used to hammer the intangible value of branding is the Cadbury drumming gorilla ad. Here is the clip if you don't know what I am talking about.

If you look at the overall success of the campaign from a purely fiduciary standpoint, you could say it was not very successful. This article originally from Grocer Magazine shows that Cadbury's market share actually dropped to around 1%. Again it depends on what you're measuring. If you expect ad spending to increase market share, this would not have been a success. Factors that you don't see include increases in raw materials costs and consumers price increases.

The issue for us here today is how to measure cool.

What is not measured is that Cadbury is now seen as a "cool" brand according to Bruce. He mentioned that if you'd told him a year ago that Cadbury chocolate would be seen as cool he would have laughed. The issue for us here today is how to measure cool.

So here are some discussion starters, to bring this back to marketing:


  • What % of your ROI metrics are custom to your business? What % are "industry standard"?
  • As ROI is necessary to prove marketing value to higher ups, how do you deal with it?
  • How do you define the right metrics to make sure you're spending the optimal amount of money executing the right strategies?
  • How do you measure intangibles like "cool"?
  • Similarly, brand is nearly impossible to measure, yet extremely valuable. How are you attempting to measure brand value?

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The age of Facebook vs. MySpace; November update

iStock_000005753573XSmall.jpgThis is the latest edition of my look at social networks and their populations from a marketing perspective. All numbers in this post are US-only and are collected using each site's advertising management systems so they are up to date and accurate from a marketer's perspective. (Who wants to talk about populations that can't be reached by marketing? Not me.)

There were some surprising shifts in the population of MySpace this month. Of note:


  • 30.32% drop in the 14-17 age group (October-November)
  • 32.93% gain in the 41-45 age group
  • 40.65% gain in the 46-65+ age group

Facebook, by comparison had fairly consistent gains across all age groups. Increases ranged from 26.30% to 30.86%.

November's look at the real age of MySpace vs. Facebook (US)

Totals.png
Click to enlarge image.

Here are the actual November numbers:


age rangeFacebookMySpacevariance
13-175,189,680 17,573,640339%
18-2110,668,40019,943,000187%
22-257,558,94012,597,340167%
26-305,298,48011,128,488210%
31-353,370,3605,720,288170%
36-402,325,2803,607,996155%
41-451,157,8602,096,724181%
46-50733,7001,381,044188%
51-65+1,085,1607,558,656697%

MySpace continues to lead by volume across all age groups, here are some interesting details:


  • Females make up 54% of MySpace and 58% of Facebook
  • Males make up 45% of MySpace and 42% of Facebook
  • Facebook's largest percentage gains vs. MySpace are in the 31-35, 41-45, 46-50 and 51-65+
  • MySpace's total US population is 81,607,176
  • Facebook's total US population is 37,387,860

Key takeaways and burning questions:


  • These numbers represent all total users who can be reached through each site's advertising systems (not all active users)
  • I'm continually interested in the Boomer audiences on these sites and how they engage
  • MySpace skews younger than Facebook, engaging more of the highschool population
  • Populations between MySpace and Facebook (18-50) nearly mirror each other in terms of population trends

What do you think? Are you considering MySpace for campaigns? What other networks are you investigating? The demographics and targeting options on both sites let you reach your audience in targeted/tailored ways.

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Wrap up and thoughts from Seoul South Korea

EB85E237-F44D-486D-A160-E10D523498BC.jpgIt was a whirlwind four days in Seoul this week, so I wanted to share my thoughts on this before I forget. I'm writing this from the airport in Tokyo waiting for my flight back to Newark.

First, here is a quick video with some thoughts as I recorded them yesterday.

The IDG conference was pretty incredible. Hopefully you have had a chance to read the posts from Tuesday and Wednesday to see what I mean. I consistently told the organizers that they had created a conference that was on par with any I have been to in the US. Between the conference and having the opportunity to spend time with the Fleishman team in our Seoul office I noticed a number of similarities to the US as well as some differences.

Some Similarities:


  • The financial crisis is global and is on the top of everyone's mind
  • Everyone gets that social media is a huge growth area
  • Everyone is confused as to how to measure it effectively
  • Companies are trying to find the balance between offline and online media and are trying to break down marketing silos
  • Video and mobile are exploding across the globe, but have to be used strategically

Some Differences:


  • Strong cultural differences in Korea impact everything
  • Most US companies fail in Korea (Google has around 1% market share in search here) because they localize, but don't fully immerse themselves in the culture
  • People demand fast service both on and off line
  • Koreans are very tech savvy, highly connected and love to meet in person
  • I found people very hesitant to ask questions in presentations
  • Mobile is ahead as far as services and quality, but devices are extremely expensive here (telecom companies control the pricing and keep it high)

Best thinking:


  • Bruce Haines from Cheil Worldwide had a number of gems including "banning the word digital" because it's all marketing. He also stressed the need to think across channels and formats to have the most impact, breaking down silos and develop the best message(s) tailored to the right audience.
  • Gerry Gouy from MTV was great on and off stage. His view from the entertainment side where he is seeing advertisers spend more money across fewer channels was key. He also mentioned that mobile is still not working at this point and most advertisers are looking to reach a 25-34 year old sweet spot through TV and online.

Here is the Slideshare of the keynote address I gave. I'll be adding audio to this over the next couple of days.



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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Sean Hyun Wook Park, Head of Youtube Asia Pacific

4CC2178E-2343-4B36-84D6-63788A873D83.jpgSean presented "It's all about video" to the IDG Next Generation Marketing conference. Sean heads Youtube for the APAC region.

Key Takeaways:


  • Youtube follows in a pattern similar to that of TV 50 years ago
  • YouTube's audience is distributed evenly between ages 18 and 55+ (+/- 4%)
  • The site has 22 localized versions around the world
  • Youtube growing very quickly in Korea, gaining significant market share
  • Marketing videos are moving from online to offline advertising when successful
  • The lines between advertising and content are blurring
  • Marketers need to increase awareness, affinity and advocacy and video is helping to do that
  • Video provides content that increases engagement through info-tainment using the community
  • Content loaded onto the site can be a test market for marketers
  • Authenticity is key
  • Marketers need to create, promote, scale, engage and nurture content on Youtube
  • Monitoring the conversation allows marketers to react in real time (ex. Tiger Woods walking on water, see below)
  • Ideas come from everywhere, companies need to work with consumers to drive new ideas
  • The community continues the conversation by adapting and recreating
  • Need to track all of these touch points

Tiger walks on water:


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Kwang-Seop Sohn, Chiel Worldwide

34A83C7A-5FB1-4AD5-AF08-54B56D985072.jpgKwang works at Chiel Worldwide in their interactive group, "the i". The presentation focused on a case study for Samsung's HAPTIC device. The Haptic looks very similar to the iPhone, but the operating system is unique.

Here is a video overview of the phone's functionality:

  • Focus of the campaign was on brand experience and contagion
  • The Haptic phone launch is very similar to the iPhone (full screen touch)
  • Phone launched with a premium image/brand and technical image
  • "first is better than better" - Samsung was not the first mover in this space
  • The touch sensor provides feedback
  • Japanese book "HAPTIC" gave the team feedback on how to approach marketing the device
  • Had to explain the haptic term through many media outlets in a way people could understand
  • Launch show made to mirror Steve Jobs keynote addresses, invited power bloggers
  • Tagline "touch and it will react" driven through ads
  • Use of celebrity to drive the "touch" focal point in ads, online, screen saver
  • Haptic blog helped to engage users, also reached out to power bloggers to get their unique and personal experiences

Samsung also created a new ad where a building transforms in to the phone. The gist of the conversation is the guy with the phone says that his phone can become anything he wants. The other guy asks him to prove it by making the building transform.


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Byung Hwi Shin, Neowiz

5F729BEA-1B67-421D-9D59-9F8429C90281.jpgByung spoke on the topic of having conversations with users in the social web. He has a long history of working with Korea's top social networking sites. His views are tempered by this experience.

Key takeaways:


  • Korean social networks are falling behind in the global view despite having a head start and being highly connected
  • Gaming is the best example of Korean companies having success overseas
  • User experience is not differentiated in Korean social networks (logo color is the only difference)
  • Competition is growing exponentially and cost is scaling as well
  • Success in Korea (10M reach) is the same as failure in the US (10M reach) so case studies here are easy to find from overseas
  • Social network framework - Content, context, user
  • Tactics see varying degrees of success because of these three factors and their presence/lack of presence
  • Focus on the users is the overall key
  • Experience-driven design is an important trend where developers and users are the same mix - this is lacking in Korea
  • The power of emotions play a key role in social web marketing
  • The return on the investment for social networks in Korea took around 4 years to achieve positive numbers
  • Growth of social marketing must involve the end user through the process
  • The constructs of social networks are: purpose, identity, reputation, governance, communication, groups
  • This mirrors the offline operation of society
  • Content providers are now business partners - the line is blurring (ex. Google ad sense)
  • The Apple model, where they develop the platform and the community develops the applications, is the future
  • Metrics are crucial to tracking actions within a social network - look at visitors -> subscribers -> purchasers
  • Naver, Daum and Cyworld have been around and are not evolving at the rate of US social networks
  • Potential for small business is huge
  • Must look at the users and the market/market potential to break in to a new market (why switch to a new site when you are already established someplace else?)
  • Fewer companies are trying to create new spaces instead they are leveraging existing locations



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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Sung Lee, VP MySpace

5D968294-ECAB-4B97-9D47-88585C69E7B0.jpgSung Lee is the VP of Operations for MySpace in Asia. Her presentation focused on the ways in which marketers should approach social network marketing.

Key takeaways:


  • Social networks are bigger than you think
  • People, brands and artists are able to create their presence on the web
  • The online experience is offline as well in the form of events, etc.
  • MySpace has 118M unique visitors with over 51% growth in the last two years
  • 12M of those users are in Asia Pacific
  • 70K videos uploaded daily
  • Self-expression, connection and discovery drive social networking
  • Driven by the "me" economy
  • Social media is redefining the marketing channels and the media mix
  • Reasons for friending brands; 29% notice of events, sales, offers / 28% recommended by a friend / 23% want to associate with them / 23% discounts, coupons, samples / 11% want to support the brand
  • Key stages of social network marketing: Create a community -> Cultivate relationships -> Build long-term CRM
  • Pass along from a peer drives 34 times the pass-through and 20 times the purchase intent versus ads on MySpace
  • Five steps to build momentum know the audience, keep it real, empower the audience, enable dreams, leverage the power of the platform
  • Cartier example drives traffic to download songs, MySpace allows for scale across languages and geography
  • Questions to ask yourself first: do you know your audience, can you customize the creative, do you have engaging assets to share, are you willing to continue an ongoing dialogue
  • Platforms are expanding into mobile and will continue to become more prevalent over time
  • Personal connections with the brand is the differentiation strategy for MySpace over Facebook
  • MySpace is relatively new in Korea, but is growing exponentially


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Bruce Haines, COO Cheil Worldwide

Picture 37.pngBruce Haines is the President and Global COO of Cheil Worldwide. Bruce just relocated to Seoul and brings a traditional advertising perspective to next generation technologies

Key takeaways:


  • Global economy is having an impact on all marketers
  • Changes are happening rapidly
  • Consumer messaging bombardment is increasing
  • The consumer is boss and has more power then ever - choice is fueling consumer power
  • High quality and excellent value is needed
  • Consumers want a choice of 4-5, they think there are 10-12 and there are really 25 total options
  • Clutter and media fragmentation are growing
  • Marketers have to find ways to connect and thereby break through without interruption, instead engaging them
  • Proving ROI is mandatory and is the accepted benchmark for the C-Suite to gauge the effectiveness of a program
  • ROI can lie as can all metrics
  • Look at the ROI between McCain and Obama. McCain has a much better ROI if you look at dollars spent, but Obama won. That's what matters.
  • Example - Cadburry's Gorilla spot - moved Cadbury to become a "cool" brand which was laughable a year ago - how is this measured?
  • Platform combinations deliver value
  • Consumers don't think in silos - marketers still do
  • Delivering integrated communications is key
  • Brand decisions are intuitive and not rational - information about brands are processed at very low attention/involvement levels
  • Brand reputations are derived over time, there is no source of that feeling, it's almost by osmosis
  • Brand decisions are emotional, brands have body language as do humans, every interaction counts
  • Long-term thinking about branding is mandatory
  • Assessing ROI in a vacuum without taking into account the impact of the brand is ill advised
  • Ad Age quote on advertising ROI - "either the impact on the brand has to be ignored, which seems incorrect, or it has to be put in as an assumption, which makes the analysis suspect"
  • Instead of the death of advertising, it's had a rejuvenation
  • Creativity is key and where we add value
  • Right media choices at the right time is key
  • Beware of "lies, damned lies and statistics"


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IDG Next Generation Marketing 2008 - Gerry Gouy MTV Networks

Picture 36.pngI'm here in Seoul South Korea (after 21 hours of travel over the past day). It's 9:30am on Tuesday here in Seoul and I'm going to bring you the best points from the IDG Marketing 2.0 and Beyond conference.

I'm speaking tomorrow as the opening keynote and I'll post the Slideshare deck here tomorrow. The presenters are partially in English and partially in Korean, so it's the first time I've used a translator and they've pulled it off very well.

Key takeaways:


  • There is not digital media, it's all media
  • Viacom global youth study found three groups, the most interesting is the "Golden" age group
  • Golden age of youth - People age 25-34 continue to consume music, gaming, etc. in the same way they did when they were teens
  • Golden age groupers are more financially stable as well as happier about who they are as individuals
  • 25 was found to be the ideal age that youth around the world to aspire to
  • Biggest global trend is a flight to quality
  • Move to more traditional platforms that deliver their needs
  • Deals usually span 3-4 media platforms, not 7-8
  • Examples of mobile campaigns that are well executed and truly integrated are lacking
  • ROI on mobile is tougher to get to
  • Video is a huge opportunity on mobile - paid content is very tough to pull off on mobile - ad supported content is the way he has seen success
  • Samsung integrated campaign www.thephotographicadventuresofnickturpin.com immerses you in the experience with very light branding
  • Eagle Eye film - TV/online/mobile
  • British Airways - MetroTwin - Focuses on the similarities between London and New York - provides recommendations and matches you with a person/venue in the other city
  • Convergence within distribution platforms is a key factor
  • Music is a chaotic industry and is a portal to see the future of media. There are no set rules anymore.
  • Broadcast and online is HOT.
  • Credit crunch is hurting true integration. Digital was an afterthought. More advertisers pushing for true integration between broadcast and online. Mobile is left out.
  • Mass audiences are going away on single platforms, they're reached through 360 programs across multiple channels


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Over one billion served

That's right readers, just a couple of days ago Twitter received its one billionth update. The image below shows where it stands at the time of this posting.

Picture 31.png

Let's think about this, because the velocity and volume here are staggering.

Some questions to think about and talk around are:


  • If Twitter is not even mainstream, the growth could be exponential. How can we handle this much data? RSS only helps so much.
  • There is a massive amount of information here, a majority of which is just noise. How are you finding the signal?

What other questions does this bring to mind for you? What do you think?


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Talking about micromedia with eMarketer

CD926A16-5657-45FB-82FC-2C44FA326F08.jpgWhen you think about leading research and thought leadership for the digital/social media space, eMarketer is sure to come to mind. I was honored when they asked me to participate in a new series of interviews with online thought leaders for their Total Access offering.

The interview really touches on how I see micromedia, how it can be best utilized, what is takes to keep it running for marketing and the real power behind it.

Special thanks to the team at eMarketer for allowing me to post this premium item in its entirety. Click here to download the PDF.

I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think.


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Inside//Out: Yammer

7A740759-0D67-40BE-9E3A-1E5CE0129350.jpgWhat do you get when you take Twitter, make it private and add some security/privacy restrictions? You get Yammer. Yammer is a private micromedia community where businesses or organizations can sign up for their own "private" network. This is not the same as installing something behind your firewall, the information is on shared servers and could be a liability depending on your industry. If you need it protected and super private then check out identi.ca.

Use is the same as on Twitter and Yammer has released decktop, BlackBerry and iPhone apps. It does not, much to my dismay, integrate with Twitter or any other existing network. For me, this is a killer as I cannot keep more than a few accounts active and still add value.

Yammer burst on to the scene on September 10 when it won the top prize at the TechCruch50 competition. The opinions were split at that time as well. Some people thought they just copied Twitter and put a spin on it, others thought the spin they put was a large enough point of differentiation to give it top prize. I'll let you decide.

Here is a quick video tour of Yammer:

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

My key takeaways:


  • The potential for knowledge management is tremendous; aggregating links, identifying trends and business development identification are just a few of the major points
  • If your company is new to this space, this is an easy, low-cost entry point that allows some control
  • Lack of tie-in with other services is a hinderance to the super-connected who would most likely have championed Yammer (it's not too late guys)
  • Portability and device support is on par with anyone

I asked about Yammer on Twitter yesterday and here is what people had to say:
Picture 14.png
Picture 15.png

What are your thoughts on this? Are you using it? Did you try it and abandon? What would it take to succeed with your business?


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Best ROI from digital marketing

A few weeks ago I launched a new poll in the right column on this blog asking you where you were seeing the best ROI from digital marketing. I wanted to share the results as I think they're telling of what I am seeing in this space. If you're curious, this is where those votes came from geographically.

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As you may expect, search engine marketing leads the pack. Social media marketing, however, came in second with 27% of the responses followed by email marketing. This was a little surprising to me in that social media marketing is showing proven ROI when up against email and search. Those were two of the early leaders in getting dollars from marketers and have solid track records where ROI is proven (versus traditional ad spending).

I also think it's how you're quantifying the return. Is it new connections, sales driven from social media outlets email acquisitions or conversations? I a new world of marketing, there needs to be new measures of ROI. What are you using?

Websites were surprisingly low on the list of ROI at only 12%, less than half of social media marketing. I think more people count a website as a cost of doing business and are looking for other ways to extend their brands. What do you think? Does this surprise you?

If you're curious, this is where those votes came from geographically.

Does this echo what you are seeing in your business? Dare to share?


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Solutions stars video conference by Network Solutions

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One of the hightlights of my trip to the Blog World Expo was sitting down with Geoff Livingston for a short video on behalf of Network Solutions. The video is now part of a new virtual conference by Network Solutions called the Solution Stars Video Conference. It will take place on October 29th from 1 p.m. ET until about 3:30 p.m. ET, users can log in and watch videos and live discussions featuring 32 people Network Solutions calls, “the world’s leading business and marketing experts.”

There are nine areas that will be discussed including:

  • Building Web Presence
  • The Social Opportunity
  • Start with Listening
  • Strategy Drives Outreach
  • You Need Social Networks
  • To Blog or Not to Blog
  • Visibility Through Search
  • Rising Above the Noise
  • Time Demands

Participants include:

You can also visit the “Solutions Stars Video Conference” event pages on Facebook and Upcoming:



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The pop-up community phenomenon

iStock_000006184805XSmall.jpgWhile the goal of most marketers in social media is to build long-term communities, the enabling technologies have made pop-up communities a powerful force. Pop-up communities happen spontaneously in most cases and grow through the viral nature of social media hooks. They use social nets, blogs, tagging, video, IM, etc. to grow organically until they reach critical mass to catapult forward.

The Obama sign watch: An individual in Portland, Oregon had their Obama sign stolen from their yard twice. They decided to live stream the sign and invited people to come and watch the feed (you can see it below). At any given moment you can find hundreds of people watching and chatting on the UStream channel.

Social objects: Pop-up communities happen on a small scale around social objects. This can be seen most clearly in You Tube videos that get a large viewership, drive comments, start conversations and grow through social media outlets.

Obama girl has over 10 million views and nearly 53,000 comments. It his the mainstream media and became the topic of many conversations.

Even Charlie had his day with 55+ million views and nearly 85,000 text comments and 180 video comments. The clip has been embedded, shared and otherwise passed along millions of times.

Presidential candidate sites: Before this election cycle, the current presidential candidates had little of their expansive social media platforms in place. It makes you wonder what will happen when the election is over. What I have seen before is that they become a ghost town. I am hopeful that each candidate, regardless of the outcome, will continue to engage their supporters for the long haul.

Sporting events: Major sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup are examples of pop-up communities. They appear a few months before and disappear once the events are complete. The next time an event happens, they start from scratch.

If you visit the Olympics site today (located here) you will notice that is seems abandoned, and it is. That is the nature of the pop-up community. The other end of the timeline can be seen on the 2010 World Cup site that is ramping up for their time in the sun.

Long term transformation
The question for marketers is how to transform a pop-up community into a long-term community. The answer to the question comes down to the intent of the individual. If there is a long-term interest and passion from the person or people at the center of these communities they can survive. The topic will have to evolve to maintain relevance and keep adding value, but it is entirely possible.

The question for marketers is how to transform a pop-up community into a long-term community.

Marketers need to be aware of this phenomenon and learn that, like all new marketing, they are not in control. Smart marketers are learning how to cultivate these communities, add value in a smart way and maintain relationships over the long term.

What pop-up communities have you seen or been involved in? How did it start and what happened to it?


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