- Australia (51)
- e-marketing (99)
- Journalism (28)
- Marketing (119)
- Media companies (41)
- Ray Welling (2)
- social media (88)
- Technology (104)
- Uncategorized (3)
- Video (47)
- Writing (29)
- Zazoo's Help a Writer Australia (1)
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- January 2011
- November 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
Posts Tagged ‘digital marketing’
Aden Hepburn has just published a useful collection of the top 10 presentations about social media (as recommended by Econsultancy) on his Digital Buzz blog. Well worth checking out if you want a primer on social media.
Chris Abrahams, a US & European-based social media and conversation marketing expert who I interviewed earlier this year for a HotHouse podcast, has written a cleverly-titled article in Ad Age this week: “Global Web Means Your ‘Fart Jokes’ Can Be Heard Out of Context“. (I know my wife won’t believe me, but honestly, I am not writing about this just because it allows me to use the word ‘fart’ in a blog post!)
Anyway, Chris cites the example of Grey Advertising Germany’s recent campaign for the Doc Morris pharmacy chain, which advertised condoms by implying that if Hitler, Bin Laden and Mao’s parents had used Doc Morris condoms, the world would be a better place today. (View the ads here). Even though the ads aren’t online ads per se, reaction to them as insensitive, racist, etc. etc. has spread quickly via social media.
Chris points out that “That’s the way it is with humor - sometimes you nail it, sometimes you bomb. Humor is powerful in both directions. A simple allegory for old-media folks who still don’t get it: Standing up and telling a fart joke while drinking with friends in your rec room = low risk. Standing up and telling a fart joke while drinking with friends at someone’s wedding party = high risk.
“With internet advertising and PR, you are always at someone’s wedding party; you are never safely behind closed doors.”
He advises advertisers, marketers and PR flacks to remember “On the internet, you are always talking to the whole world, whether you intend to or not; be cognizant of who your message will offend and decide deliberately if you are willing to offend them; and if you must offend, have your mea culpa machine ready to go before you pull the trigger.”
I know it’s hard for most companies to acknowledge that they are no longer in control of their marketing, and that their customers now strongly influence what happens to their brand. It’s harder still for them to take active steps to give control to their customers, particularly when stories of what has happened to companies like Chevrolet, Skittles and Domino’s abound.
Believe it or not, it hasn’t been that long that companies have used the Internet to let customers actively play with their brand. I was reminded of this when I read recently about ‘celebrations’ of the fifth anniversary of Subservient Chicken, that creepy guy in the chicken suit with garters who reponds to user commands to reinforce the message that you can ‘have chicken your way’ at Burger King (Hungry Jack’s in Australia). The guys who came up with the idea have written a huge screed about the origins of Subservient Chicken which makes interesting reading.
The most important factor leading to this iconic online campaign was that the client was open to left-of-field ideas. As The Barbarian Group director Rick Webb writes, “To be perfectly frank, even as we were building the thing, I never believed it would launch. We here at TBG are insanely good these days for convincing clients to take risks. But in 2004, there was no way we ever could have sold the Chicken through. Sometimes getting the green light is as important as the idea. Most of the time, if you ask me.”
Of course, the big question is, did it sell more chicken for Burger King? To quote from AdWeek: ”About a month after the sandwich debuted, BK reported that sales had steadily increased an average of 9% a week. Since then the company has seen ‘double-digit’ growth of awareness of the TenderCrisp sandwich and ’significantly increased’ chicken sandwich sales. And the TenderCrisp does sell better than the original sandwich.”
Yes, you can make some mistakes by trying new things. But you might also take on that concept that powers your brand to a new level - and have fun doing it. Go on, try something new this month!
11. Helps me to be seen as resourceful
10. Current content maintains my visibility throughout the Web without having to pay for sponsored links or ads
9. It generates a “buzz” about my business
8. Connects me with my audience at an emotional level
7. When I serve my customers well, they’re more likely to pass my name on to others
6. Establishes my business identity
5. Connects me with people in places I currently don’t have access to
4. Helps future clients get to know me better as a business professional and as a person
3. Connects me with businesses whose services I may need
2. Helps me to understand who my customers are
………….and the number one reason Why I Use Social Media is……..
1. Builds trust between me and my customer
Trust is the new currency.
Reprinted with permission from:
Ray Schiel © Copyright 2008
The Global Social Media Network
An analogy-filled discussion on social media on the Ravenous Buglblatter Beast of Traal blog (don’t ask me, I have no idea what that blog title means, either!) this past week compares social media engagement to blurbs on toothpaste tubes. Karthik S. tells the story of a client who said, “Do we need to start a conversation with each and every person who says something about our brand online? Gosh, that’s going to take a lot of time”.
He points out that engaging every single person who interacts with your brand is both impossible and missing the point of social media engagement. He likens it to the tube of Colgate toothpaste (which he was reading while contemplating social media engagement at 6 in the morning!) which says, “for best results, squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up.”
He writes: “A toothpaste is supposed to clean your teeth; remove goo from gums (with the help of that other device, tooth brush); control bad breath…and so on. So, perhaps, it would have been a lot more appropriate if Colgate (and other toothpaste brands around the world) had actually printed, ‘For best results, brush twice every day and after every meal’.
“Isn’t that the ‘best result’ in question? Why bother about existential activities like squeezing the tube, when the objective of using the paste (and the tube, as a result) is completely something else?”
One of the commenters on the post, Chris Knutson, had a great response: “As for responding to each and every person who mentions your company on the internet, I don’t think that’s necessary. Rather, companies can use social media to take the pulse of how people feel about their brand, and use it as a second voice for their customers. If you happen to see a surge of complaints or concerns about a particular issue, you respond in the most visible way possible. If there is an ongoing conversation topic on Twitter, reply to the topic with your input, or offerings to provide assistance, or look into an issue for people experiencing pain with your company.
“These activities do get noticed. The key to doing it effectively is sincerity. If you are perceived as genuinely concerned, social media users will respond positively, and your use of social media to engage with your customers will be respected. If you are perceived as just trying to perform damage control, you could see some backlash.”
And re: the toothpaste tube instructions, one commenter added: “Reminds me of the nasel inhaler (Vicks Sinex) which includes the instructions: Remove top and push up bottom. Now that would certainly clear your passages. And the Starbucks coffee cups: Caution! May contain hot liquid. Are we really getting so dumb we need these kind of kind of instructions? There again, maybe your client experience shows we do.”
An entry in this week’s Online Video Insider blog highlights a tasty new trend: online video snacking; or as Dave Jackson writes, “more people, watching more videos, more often.”
A recent ComScore report on the topic found that in November 2008:
The blog post highlights that the average duration of online video was the only metric that remained consistent compared to ComScore’s 2007 survey, up only 18 seconds per video - despite the fact that long-form sites such as Hulu (which runs mainly TV episodes) did not exist in 2007. To quote: “Americans still have relatively short attention spans when it comes to their online viewing experience.”
Gender differences are interesting:
The conclusion? “Video snacking is a real trend because online video meets a content need for viewers and is easily accessible to those viewers throughout their day. Marketers and agencies, particularly those that are trying to reach women, would be well served to look for ways to build on this trend to help achieve their goals.”
Came across an interesting article on iMedia Connection about how brands are starting to use branded iPhone applications. I say ’starting’, because the article quotes research by Ubercool’s Michael Tchong that uncovered less than 10 branded applications on the iPhone, out of the more than 16,000 developed so far.
If you have an iPhone, download the Zippo’s Virtual Lighter application. It lets you customise your own lighter with a range of funky designs and colours. You just flick your phone to the left to open the lighter, spin the wheel and you have a fully functioning virtual lighter! Blow into the microphone and you can make the flame waver. It’s perfect for calling for an encore at the next concert you attend. Oh, and even though there isn’t a link to Zippo’s website from the app, the company reports that the Virtual Lighter has been downloaded 2.5 million times, and online lighter sales have spiked since the application was launched.
Maybe not as cool as Ocarina, which turns your iPhone into a pan flute and lets you listen to tunes from around the globe, but as the Blues Brothers sang, “Whaddya want for nothing - a rubber biscuit?”
Looking back at past writings, I came across this one I originally wrote more than 10 years ago. Surprisingly, it still has currency today. Pleasantly surprised because many of the insights (such as the emphasis on interaction and community) have stood the test of time; not so pleasantly surprised because of some of the things that still haven’t changed, such as the continued use of the term “user” to describe web consumers - can’t we come up with something that has more humanity? So here it is:
The World Wide Web takes channel surfing to heights only imagined by the most hardened remote control jockey. If your site is boring, of no use, or takes more than a moment to download, people will click away from your page faster than Homer Simpson can scarf down a doughnut. But if you can deliver what your customers want and expect from your Web site, you’ll have a very useful tool for your marketing armoury.
Working out what consumers expect on a Web site is still more of an art than a science. As Fox Television and QVC home shopping executive Barry Diller says, “There are no mavens to be found and no research worth its salt. There are no guideposts, no divining rods to tell you what to do. It’s only with patience that you can develop a fluency in a new medium.”
The online environment is young enough that it’s still being used as an extension of old media. It’s like the early days of television, when it was just radio with pictures. Television producers simply stuck a camera in front of the newsreader, radio serial performers or an orchestra (In fact, the Microsoft Network’s first foray into online news in Australia was exactly that - downloaded video of news editor Jason Romney reading out news headlines on a Web page).
It was only when people like the legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow started taking the camera out of the studio and into the street that television evolved into a medium distinct from radio.
Or to use a non-media analogy, the Internet is still a horseless carriage and not yet an automobile. Interactive new media are largely viewed as incremental improvements to traditional media, when in fact they represent entirely new ways of looking at the world. They are capable of doing things that have never been done before.
The online world is still looking for its Edward R. Murrows. The successful pioneers will be the ones who listen carefully to their users and give them useful interactions that they can’t get in any other medium. (I use the word “user” reservedly, as an inadequate term waiting for the right term to evolve. They’re not readers, or listeners, or viewers - they’re all those things. So for now the word user is a term favoured by the IT industry until we come up with something better.)
So how do you work it out? Here’s the current thinking on what consumers want and don’t want from a Web site, based on what’s working on the Web and what’s not. Some of it is simple logic, while with others you need to turn your head slightly and look at the world from another angle.
They expect a personalised experience. The ability to serve up customised information has been a big selling point of the Web, and people have been listening. It’s now expected that a Web site will be littered with opportunities to shape their experience, by selecting types of information to be served up, whether to have sound on or off, etc. Personalisation can include building an analytic ability into a site, such as the database capability of commerce sites such as Amazon, which serves up lists of other books in genres in which you’ve performed searches. The greatest Web sites provide on-on-one specific, valuable information to one person.
They expect it to be interactive. If you don’t give visitors the opportunity to contribute to a discussion, play a game or at least send you an email, you might as well have just printed a brochure.
They expect to connect with others. Bulletin boards, discussion groups, chat rooms, mailing lists - there are plenty of ways to include features which enable people to share ideas with other people through your site.
They expect a response - now. A Web site is a prime opportunity for service-oriented companies to offer full-spectrum customer service. However, you need to ensure that your response, even if it’s an automatic email acknowledging their request, is rapid.
They expect it to be easy to find what they want. People are looking to the Web for information that is sorted and organised in a useful way, though not necessarily a conventional way.
They expect depth of information (but not breadth). It’s much more useful to offer comprehensive information on a limited range of topics on your Web site than a little general information on a wide variety of subjects. Since a Web site has no limit to the pages it can carry, it offers an opportunity for hyper-focus not available to other media. The Web is a place where people can find information they can’t find anywhere else.
They expect to use the Internet for research. The 1997 Price Waterhouse Consumer Technology survey found that Web users spent 43% of their time accessing the Internet for research.
They expect compelling content - laced with entertainment. Consumers are drawn to the Web by content - content that is presented in a way that makes it easy to find, use and understand. It is becoming clear that content without usefulness, fun and interactivity is not going to keep people coming back for more. The information must be dynamic and instantaneous. Compelling and engaging content will always be more powerful than showing off technology. If you can combine enough technology to enhance the experience of studying your content, you’ll hold a user’s attention long enough to get your message across.
They expect security and privacy. Users need to be told - and shown - that the reports about lack of credit card security, online stalkers and spammers littering the Internet are just that - reports.
They expect to be able to buy things, safely and easily. Despite the general public’s fear on security issues, current and potential Internet users agree that there are a lot of items and services they would be prepared to buy online, once their concerns about security are addressed.
They expect to be given a reason to return. Most Internet users only visit five sites with regularity -the rest are visited only infrequently or as a one-time link from another site. If your site is not going to be on your customers’ top five list, then you’ll need to employ devices such as email newsletters to keep your site top of mind and remind them why it’s worth coming back to your site.
They expect value for the time and money they have invested. True to its anarchic origins, in the present online culture, there’s very little on the Internet that people feel is worth paying for. They’re already paying for online access, time spent visiting your site is an opportunity cost, and so much information is freely available. Therefore, think very carefully before trying to charge users for information.
Having said that, consumers today are well versed in the concept of give and take - you give me something of value and I’ll provide you with something in return. The keys to long-term customer satisfaction are to provide each individual with truly useful information, presented in an appropriate context. Information that enables an individual to gain greater enjoyment or productivity from their home- or work-life will be valued, and you can command a price for it. The critical difference between useful and useless information is that you have made an effort to understand the needs and interests of your customers.
They don’t want to be treated like idiots. Most Internet users can tell the difference between objective, non-commercial information and “sponsored” information. Don’t insult them by dressing up corporate data as objective fact. Admit your bias up front and focus on giving them something useful. They’ll remember you fondly for that.
They don’t want to wait. This is the strongest reason for not loading your pages up with big graphics and animations. Make sure your design is economical and keep in mind that many users will not be using the fastest computers and modems.
If you focus on giving your customers what they expect and want from a Web site, you’ll be on the way to viewing the Web as an automobile instead of a horseless carriage.
Online Media Daily has reported on a recent HubSpot survey which highlights the importance of a good blog to a company:
“Compared with the rise of newer marketing tools such as Facebook and Twitter, the corporate blog may seem a bit stodgy. But a new study finds blogging to the most important lead-generation source among social media options, followed by StumbleUpon, YouTube, Facebook, De.lic.ious and Digg.
“Of the 167 executives and business owners surveyed by Internet marketing firm HubSpot, three-quarters of those that have tried blogging said their company blogs were “useful,” “important,” or “critical” to their business. Nearly half the companies have a blog, and three-quarters publish content at least weekly.”
Read the rest here.
Christine Beardsell has produced a thoughtful piece on ClickZ looking at what motivates people to participate online in brand-related user-generated content campaigns. Although money is a great external motivator, she says it can be over-used and diminish internal motivation factors. Based on her experience observing user-generated content communities at interactive agency Digitas in the US, she outlines 10 different ways companies can most successfully motivate user-generated content:
- Make it easy
- Make it fun
- Give me cash
- Give me access
- Make me a star
- Create something useful
- Let me influence
- Give me a challenge
- Be altruistic
- Surprise me
The key question companies need to ask themselves when considering a user-generated content campaign, Beardsell writes, is “Why would anyone want to participate in a brand-developed experience when there are endless unbranded community outlets for people to be a part of?” The answer to that question is to create “a balance between both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, passions and reward.”
Despite all the gurus like us blagging on about the importance of social media, the message hasn’t gotten through to most people in the C-suite. The Tangyslice blog has produced a good summary of the reasons “Why your boss hates social media.” They include:
Commenters on the blog point out other factors such as the fundamental reversal in marketing thinking required to understand social media, and just plain fear of change.
Online Media Daily has published a commentary piece on the difficulties of measuring value online and the implications for online branding. It is a bit dense, but well worth reading carefully. In summary, Andy Atherton argues that 1) Something that is valuable is not necessarily directly measurable, because value can be difficult to measure; and 2) No model can substitute for relevant experience and common sense. Models aren’t always right.
To support his argument, Atherton quotes a recent study from the Atlas Institute which concludes that about 60% of all paid search clicks are on branded terms. Calling that number “simply astounding,” Atherton writes that ”Obviously Atlas’ parent company, Microsoft, has a vested interest in moving the market away from an excessive focus on Search, so skepticism is warranted. However, even if we cut that percentage in half, the inescapable conclusion is that a lot of the money brand marketers are spending on other media (online and offline) is having an impact - even if we can’t measure it precisely.
“The other just as important and also equally inescapable conclusion is that marketers who only spend on search are losing potential sales to those marketers who use the full funnel. A consumer who begins by searching for ‘Campbell’s Soup’ must be more likely to end up buying Campbell’s Soup - versus buying Progresso soup or any other brand - than if they began by just searching for ’soup.’ “
He concludes that, “Accountability is always good. However, accountability should never be a mandate (or an excuse) for doing only things that can be precisely measured. Just because we can’t measure something as precisely as we would like, doesn’t mean that thing is not valuable. That’s point #1.
“Point #2 is that a measurement itself is only as good as the model on which it’s based. Models are a complement, not a substitute, for experience and intuition.
“There’s an interesting parallel to be drawn with the current financial crisis. An army of ‘quants’ had built complex and impressive models explaining how return could finally be separated from risk. Some experienced investors, following their own common sense, avoided this trap - Warren Buffet comes to mind. Often common sense is the best sense of all.”
I’ve come across an interesting blog-versation about CEOs who just don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to digital marketing. Mayra Ruiz started the conversation on her Marketing Misfit blog when she asked for some advice about how to deal with a client who wants to turn his website back into a brochureware site, supported by offline-only marketing, because his company’s sales are down and he believes his website isn’t helping. As Mayra explains, the sales problem could have something to do with a change in his sales team. Anyway, she asked for advice via her blog and Twitter, and she’s received plenty of good advice about convincing a CEO to stick with digital. Here are some highlights:
Kari Rippetoe at the Caffeinated Blog writes: “It seems to me that the CEO has the mindset that his product in all its feature-laden glory should be valuable enough for his visitors. Now, I haven’t seen the website myself, so I don’t know how the product is described; but none of his prospective customers are going to care enough about his product to visit the site more than a couple of times…. Why doesn’t the CEO want his website to be one of those go-to places for research and data related to his product? Why doesn’t he want his company to be an authority in its industry? They have an incredible opportunity to build trust and authority around their product through content - they just have to create an effective content marketing strategy and stick with it…. Prospects have to go through the research phase of the buying funnel - they’re looking for the what, when, where, why, and how and gathering as much information as they can (all that “extra stuff”) in order to draw up a well-researched short-list of options…. Prospects expect a website … Offline marketing efforts won’t be nearly as effective on their own without a tandem online strategy to help keep your sales leads warm. Kill your website, and I guarantee you’ll be killing your new business.”
Jonathon Betts at the Bettsonian Blog writes: “For a company that is marketing software it would seem a tragedy to discard the opportunity offered by web 2.0 tools. They could be used to support a company’s positioning as dynamic, innovative, tech-savvy and responsive…. This also demonstrates the importance of being able to demonstrate return on investment…. Does the CEO really understand what web 2.0 is really about? …the social media “market” has been characterised by hype and fragmentation. This doesn’t present a clear picture to your average business person. A ‘3 minute guide to social media’ to give non-marketing execs a snapshot of what’s going on would be worthwhile….Implement new channels incrementally rather than going for a big bang/all-or-nothing approach. Starting with a blog requires little or no cash outlay. The results from this will then support further investment decisions.”
My own 2 cents: take a look at the company’s marketing strategy and provide simple illustrations as to how a digital strategy can help achieve marketing/sales goals. If the CEO can’t articulate the marketing strategy, then heaven help the business.