Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blogging is Shallow..I could be wrong

I recently read a book titled Flickering Pixels (a really great book). The book highlights how technology has shaped our culture from the invention of written word through the digital age. In the book Shane Hipps (the author) made one note in particular that struck a cord (from a marketing perspective)... Blogging is Shallow. As much as I wanted to disagree with him I dont think I can. I read over 1000 blogs a day, and most of them provide 0 unique insight or depth... its just data streaming through at a rate too fast to digest. As a medium for communication a blog is much more robust than a 30 Second TV spot, but it does't hold nearly the depth that a book has. Blogs are commentary... but commentary about what?

From a branding point of view I don't think this is bad, at least not intrinsically. I can't help but wonder what this means for our world/brands going forward...
What happens when our consumers stop asking questions?

What if the competition says something inaccurate?
OR worse what if the a customer is misinformed and blogs about it?

Are we listening and able to respond?

Is it possible that in a new media age a lack of depth means brands must always play offense?

I think these are things that should be considered... Consumers are going to blog, tweet, post status updates, and talk... It's not safe to assume that an accurate message is being represented... Tools like Radian 6 are not only nice to have, but a requirement going forward.

But I could be wrong

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creating Concrete Objectives

Seth Godin Recently posted a short blog about
The Problem With Unlimited. I think he explained the problem perfectly. By nature unlimited is not quantified, it is not concrete... Or in other words unlimited is abstract!

The abstract problem can be seen all over the business landscape. Too many Businesses want results but do not quantify what success looks like. In essence they leave the success line in unlimited territory. Clients of unlimited success feel underserved, Vendors of unlimited success are shocked when the relationship doesn't work out, and consumers look at giving initiatives unattached.

I prefer to work with jointly defined objectives for success, but this is scary. If I have an objective it means I can (and will) fail (from time to time). However it also means I will succeed/ exceed expectations.

Creating concrete objectives

#1 Define Success:: this seems simple but often the simple steps are the ones that get ignored!
How much money do you want to donate, how many units do you want to ship, How many followers, how many posts

This is step 1... if you cant do this dont waste your time reading anything else.

#2 Can "success" be made more concrete?
If its a dollar amount can that be translated to meals, if its units can you name them, if its followers are they customers

The brillance of Toms Shoes is the simple concrete message of "Give a pair get a pair". Consumers know when they buy a pair of toms they are giving a pair of shoes away... you can't get more concrete than that! Can you get that concrete? Can you get close? It is something worth your time!

#3 Establish benchmarks
Do you know how much you need to give per week, do you know how many units you need to ship per day, do you know how many customers you need to reach per hour

Look at step one... my guess is that there is a big goal (maybe 400 calls a week or 1600 calls a month) this is not a bad thing. If you want to be great that goal has to be big! But can you make your goal smaller? Breaking an objective down into sizable chunks helps make an objective less scary! If I need to make 400 calls a week that can be a frightening number to look at... If I cut that down to 10 calls an hour its suddenly easy.. 5 calls every half an hour becomes doable!

We want the big win...but big wins come from small steps!

#4 Be accountable
Does your boss know the goal, do your consumers understand the purpose, do your line works know the goal

Just because there is goal doesn't mean its worth your time! You client might decide its not a worthy goal (let them), your line workers might tell you that they can't push that much harder (evaluate that) your market study might indicate your consumers just dont care (accept it). Accountability requires flexibility because it is bringing in other voices. Once the other voices arrive walk through the process again
(not for the first time)... Look at the results and stick to them!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Enterprise 2.0:: Engineers Use Social Media

From my company blog post

If "Web 2.0" was the next iteration of the web, is "Enterprise 2.0" the next iteration of business? There seems to be some evidence to support this as not only a viable theory but a hugely important one. Under its current trajectory social media is going to lower internal corporate barriers and walls. This is largely because Social media provides a window into the customer's life. The shift poses a huge marketing opportunity that has been widely documented. In much of the chatter something (important) has been ignored, what social media means to product designers. The problem Apple encountered with the iphone 4 wasn't found by the media, it was found on the Social Web. Look at the data this 1 user provides, highlights the problem, explains how to recreate the problem and even how to avoid it.

As a designer you would be able to see the issue, test it yourself and save time on the fix just by watching what 1 guy figured out. It appears Apple knew about the problem when the product was lunched but if they didn't the Social web had some answers. This week I came across and interesting study (thanks to.. @MikeDemler for pointing it out and @SAEintl for creating it) about how engineers are using social media. I don't know the confidence intervals of this study but it is a sample of 1,153 completed surveys, with a 12.6% completion rate so it should be fairly representative of the class. Drilling down into the data there are some very interesting trends amongst engineers when it comes to social media...

#1 61% of engineers are using social media

#2 Of that group 55% are using Social Media for business purposes (at least some of the time)

This group represents a mindset that generally would not fit the classic techno-graphic profile of heavy social media users. This can be seen in the classes derived from the study. Look closely at the youngest group in the study they are under 35.


The question that this leads me to is "how is social media being used by this group of respondents?"...

Again there is something else shocking in these numbers (kind of)... 11% are using social media to solve problems, 10% are using social media to find new suppliers, and 20% use it to get technical information. To this (likely growing) group social media is a resource that actually drives real results.

Social media is a tool for use far beyond promotional marketing. Demonstratively it is a tool that can be used in product design, understanding distribution issues, and price point analysis. Social Media when listened to correctly can provide substantive insights into why products aren't selling, and what the public thinks about them. That is just 1 area of Social Media and it has nothing to do with promoting everything to do with marketing!


The official ages from the study are listed below::

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This week in Social Media.. so Far

**repost from company blog

This week has been interesting in Social media.. I think it already deserves a bullet point blog (its only Wednesday!?!)...

Old spice Started having their spokesman respond to tweets via Youtube its working

Just one 1 of the many Videos

Twitter followers as of 12:30pm PST

Ben and Jerrys decided to kill E-mail marketing and step into Social Media instead. Don't get me wrong I love Social Media but this seems a little extreme to me. Its almost as if they have decided to stop doing print ads for TV... maybe budget issues were a concern.

Facebook is extending their open graph to the mobile world. It looks like facebook is going to get into the Geolocation war at some point.

Studies show that teens have Facebook fatigue but the site still experienced the highest traffic ever... This probably means that Grandmas are joining the site at alarming rates... or it was just par for the course.

Twitter has decided it is going to make even more money with @earlybird. It is now apparent that while Facebook may have the users Twitter seems to have the dollars!

Monday, July 12, 2010

One Fail Two Fail:: Microsoft Kin

Last week Microsoft pulled the plug on the Kin experiment. Leaving 503 users worried about the future of their service. Yes you read that correctly Microsoft sold 503 units in just a little over a month, I think that works out to 1 Prime Time ad per unit sold. What I find interesting about the Kin is every metric of success indicated people were interested in the product. Kin's Facebook Page had over 200,000 fans! The ads were edgy, creative, and many even commented saying how cool they were.
Kin went wrong in a very simple way, it made life (seem) complicated. When I first saw the Ad I couldn't sleep, the concept was that scary. Do I really want a total mashup of my Facebook feed, Twitter feed, my E-mail and my RSS? That thought which still gives me nightmares was at least one contributing factor.

The KIN probably suffered a bit because of the Microsoft brand (which has less street cred than a grandma) and the ambiguous concept of the Kin Suite (whatever that was). In case you think this phone may have been a good idea, watch this product demo and tell me you still want it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

B2B's rise in Social Media

Before coming to Nostrum I worked for 3 years in the B2B sector as a buyer. When I started working there it was the height of Myspace, most people thought a Facebook involved an actual book, YouTube was just starting to take off, and twitter was a word for birdwatchers. Even in those early social days my industry was already social. There were (are) industry forums, blogs, videos, and even Myspace pages that were in wide use (albeit often subversive use). The challenge for many was getting around internal site blocking software to get to the information which was so badly needed. Everyone had tips and tricks to get around a system. You might say we had a subversive network of buyers. This wasn't the best system (obviously) but management didn't see the value in having an open ("dangerous") web. Management also didn't see the value in using social media... The statistics in the following video should not be shocking. Think about that subversive group of buyers, 4 years later many of them are finally getting into the management ranks. They understand the tools and they understand the potential, and now they have the power to make changes. It stands to reason that B2B will expand the lead over B2C in Social Media over the next 5 years. Lead in part by a subversive group of buyers...

Some Facts and Figures To Consider For B2B Social Media Marketing

  1. 81 % of B2B companies have accounts on social media sites compared to 67% of B2C

  2. 75% of B2B brands participate in Twitter versus 49% of B2C

  3. 54% of Chief Information Officers ban the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at the workplace

  4. 93% of all business buyers believe all companies should be on social media platforms

  5. 85% of of those buyers should use social media to engage and interact with them

  6. 9 out of 10 buyers say that when they are ready to buy, they will come looking for you

  7. Eight out of Ten IT decision makers said word of mouth is the most important source when making buying decisions

  8. 37% of B2B buyers asked questions on social media sites when looking for suggestions

  9. 93% of B2B buyers use a search engine such as Google to begin the buying process

  10. 74% of C- Level executives say that the internet is a very valuable source of information

  11. Six out of Ten C-Suite executives conduct more than six online searches a day

  12. Managers in information technology are the top ranked users of the Web for information gathering

  13. 49% of B2B marketers do not measure return on investment

  14. 90% of marketing deliverables not used by sales

  15. Sales generate 53% of their own leads and the marketing department provides only 24%