Is the bar open

Just spent the morning at the SIME VIP breakfast where Forrester‘s Jaap
Favier
(apparently a rocket scientist) held a very interesting
presentation on the subject “marketing in a recession”. Quite trimly
subject but as Jaap being a self stated optimized approached it as an
opportunity rather then a problem. Can’t not but agree with this angel.
He continued talking about the 4 basic needs of humans – uniqueness, variety, comfort and connect
– and the shift of customers focus of these in a economic downturn. U-V
> C-C and tided that in to how smart marketers need to shift
there approach to align with customers expectations. This being 30%,
since 70% is planning to stick to U-V, hrm I sometime wonder…
Meaning moving form one way to “open” way communication. Traditional to
social to build brand. Brought out one of the greatest analogy I have
heard in a while – open a bar (comfort and social aspects of
your friends). He gave an illustrative case from P&G’s Ivory soap
(the soap that float) from the last rescission. Touched on that one
need to focus on current business now, build C-C, and then when
things get better start attracting new business. Build loyalty through
connection. Again, agree and I think he touched on some very relevant
approaches for today’s marketers. Another guy how preach the same is
Seth Godin (not a rocket scientist but still), slightly
different angel and talk a lot about tribes now a days.

I just have one thing that I find being a hiding factor when trying to
go social, even if the company in question understands the benefits.
Resources and time needed to manage and make the bar live… To have a
successful bar you can not just pore the first drink and then have the
bar tender leave… you have to constantly pore new drinks. This seem
to be some built in understanding that you do this once and the you
can come back next quarter or even year. I suspect it has something to
do with the old media approach. Either way seem to be true for both big
international companies as well as smaller local. Is this just me? any thoughts out there to approach this?

All in all it was a great breakfast presentation and would recommend to
catch this guy at some marketing event in Europe or become a Forrester
client and you might get a visit.

If you are at SIME tomorrow, drop me a line or two and let’s have a coffee…

The Value Exchange

We are now knee deep in and learning to approach, interact and profit from the new social/2.0(5) web. Starting in 07 there was many predictions made on where we are headed and how we will arrive (at the end of this post there are some links). Ad-age has an interesting continuation to the story from bloggers on the Power150 blog-ranking index. They were asked to elaborate on what technology marketers should be paying most attention to in 2008. I think a clear picture emerges – apparent in this article and thought other conversations on the future (08). Here is my take on this cake… My list of kit (in no particular order)…

Micro-content
As Tom Martin (Positive Disruption) “With the cost of production and distribution of digital content rapidly approaching zero… the opportunity to create branded micro-content that consumers will invite into their lives becomes a financial reality with a huge ROI upside…” a.k.a widgets etc.. This I think is one of the strongest channels out there right know, at least when it comes to actual advertising to the consumer. Here we have a way of providing relevant, targeted, interactive, inviting and social (if applicable) branded stuff that the consumer can actually use. You know not jam down the trough just a gentle whisper… this is already taking of (been for a while now) and seem to be working. Now we just need be clever.

Mobile – the natural extension and Holy Grail of relevant and useful.
Take this micro-content/widgest/apps and make them work on mobile platforms as well and we are now adding an limitless dimension. Marie Lena Tupot (BrandNoise) “Mobile apps. But not in a whiz-bang, over-the-top manner; the sort of incremental mobile apps that make ordinary things even easier, like let you pay back friends on the fly, split the check at restaurants, pre-order your coffee so you can bypass the line at a local café, pay your belated phone bill, donate to your political candidate …” It is just logical right? I would love to have all my coffee related expense (here in Sweden there is a lot of “fika” going on or hanging at the local Starbucks for you Americans) taken care of by my phone, that would be great. And while one is at it just add a café rating (maye even Twitter) to this and one can be social as well. Further support to this is recent study by eMarketer on mobil ads.

Mico-blogging – or shall we call it Twittering?
While on the topic of Twitter and mobile integration… Peter Imbres (Point Oh!) – “The most important technology for marketers to understand right now is Twitter and some of the other micro-blogging platforms. It’s less a question of how they can directly apply this technology than how they need to understand collective conversations. Some of the most influential people in several different verticals are engaged in a dialogue at any given time on these platforms, and it provides a unique opportunity for brands to reach stakeholders when they’re actually listening, which is rare in many of these emerging media categories. The media outlets and politicians are starting to get it, hopefully other marketers won’t be too far behind.”
Clearly a great opportunity here, now how harness? I am not yet an active user of this medium so limited understanding, but it seem to be contagious if one has a large following… Very cool with the built in mobile support.

The Blog – the organic SEO
The (traditional?) blog must be one of the greatest things to have taken foothold in the last years. It is just great for all. Consumers benefit for the information and the multitude and companies benefit from information, advertising (it is like free adds space and it builds rep and cred) and the feedback (if dare). And it is all very social as well… and best of all for web sites; relevant streaming content.
Kevin Tomczak (PowerUp) – “Blogging continues to be one of the most influential communications channels for B2B marketers in 2008. This channel is a precursor to a true social network, and allows companies to continue the conversation beyond our traditional touch points. Yesterday’s mass marketing strategies don’t work — we’re on the customer’s time, and by keeping conversations going through blogging, we’re increasing the chance that we’ll be present when the customer needs our product or service.
We’ve also just begun to scratch the surface of the SEO benefits of blogging. In the US, roughly 80% of internet use (excluding e-mail) begins with a search. And a majority of business purchasers use the internet for research before a purchase is made. Blogging gives a company a lot of content containing a lot of keywords, and, with a lot of incoming and outbound links, that’s SEO gold.”

Yep, so true for both B2B and B2C. Be visible through content. More visitors and more time spent with brand

SEO
Joost de Valk (Joost de Valk’s SEO Blog) – “The technique/technology most worthy of any marketer’s attention is SEO. It’s the cheapest and best way of getting quality traffic to your domains. Especially due to the emergence of so-called universal search, ie. the integration of the results from vertical search engines like images, books and local into the “main” search results, more chances of driving cheap, high-quality traffic have come up.”
With the right (relevant to your target) content, linking and media one can go far… Throw in some local targeting and we are even better. Andy Wibbels (AndyWibbels.com) – “Local search. Consumers are learning they can find resources not just across the globe, but down the street. “Findability” is crucial, whether you are a global organization or local mom-and-pop. “
Nutshell – worth time and money invested.

Video – the face to face web revolution
Well no surprises here. It is now very quick and cheap to produce, it gives great effect and it is more fun. (or is it just that it is like TV and we are all used to and liking that?). I also believe it brings a more human aspect to content and to the web – you know, face to face, it is always more powerful. And yes very social web friendly.
Paul Chaney (Conversational Media Marketing) – “Online video/TV is the technology to watch in ’08. There seems to be a seismic shift toward digital distribution of video content, more and more video sites are being created, and there is a small camera revolution going on (which includes webcams) that portends a continued rise in user-generated video content. YouTube was just the beginning. Now, there’s ooVoo
, seesmic, Revver Jumpcut … the list goes on and on. Oh, and FastCompany.TV that Scoble just inaugurated. Add to that the fact that people are scurrying to their computers in droves to watch television programs which, themselves. More than any other technology, including social networks, online video is it.”

Niche
It is all about the niche. You can find or distribute anything you want, on any topic… and people will find it… Start/join groups on social networks, start blog, even start a social network. I mean it is natural conversation on topics you are passionate about. Now for the marketers there is a need for some thinking to get into this kind of conversation with some relevance.John Ebbert (ContextWeb Internet Advertising Blog) – “…Marketers need to understand the impact of the media fragmentation now occurring as users migrate await from portals and large sites to smaller, niche content sites, and how one of the key technological beneficiaries of this trend — online advertising exchanges — will create new opportunities for marketers seeking to improve ROI.”

In-game advertising
Believe that this is the next channel for large scale branding and advertising… Kinda like product placement in TV that is so blissfully annoying , but with relevance. Like this – walking around a beautifully rendered true-to-life city scape (…maybe hunting aliens or under attack from the enemy, but anyway;) and seeing all these signs, posters, products, details that are most of the time very badly executed or just a brand ripoff… it is a shame to ignore details like this and undermine the surrounding work. To the point, these spaces are being opened up to advertisers and brands. This is great, we get detailed product in its relevant environment to complete the picture and cheaper/free/better games because of revenue. Big opportunity for advertiser of course.

The content marketing movement
Kinda sums it up…
Joe Pulizzi (Junta 42) – “The single biggest issue/technology that deserves the most attention is not a site or an application, but more an organizational philosophy. It’s the content marketing movement — which is the philosophy of marketing services not by traditional methods, but by delivering valuable, relevant and compelling content to customers and prospects on a consistent basis. This is being done through all media platforms, and we are seeing companies like P&G and Nike put a large amount of money and resources into these efforts.”

Your reputation on the line – AdSocialization

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook and its struggle to make money. This new ad model they are working on is interesting to say the least – endorsing something you have an interest in (based on a profile) without your opt in and sold to your friends/connections to benefit a brand for free – can anyone see a problem(s) with this? We know that Facebook owns anything that is on its network and eventually will use it to make some money… one can argue if that is OK or not, but agreed when signing on… is this way of using your relationships and reputation right? Not so much according to me… See it like this – we now see how powerful consumer recommendations and reviews are online (take a look at Amazon or any smart business selling something) – essentially eWOM – it is growing rapidly and the validity of the information is weighting in heavily on both consumers and business. As it should and has for century’s before the web. Potential gold mine here for a business, if daring enough (give away some control)… You know, when researching something, and you are making that decision on going with brand/product x or y, those reviews get really important. Not so surprising that Facebook jumped on this, since they have quite a bit of interesting info on there users… I see the selling/usage of user stats and slightly agree. The application think is great and powerful. But what is not cool is the model which makes you the sponsor/promoter of a brand/product to friends without having a say. This is misuse of personal info. And will be negative for both all… read this article and make up you own mind – Is Your Reputation Worth $15 Billion?

At the end of the the day – what is the purpose of the social network? Connect with friends, make new friends, share common interest, having some fun right? Believe that most of the info/interests/behavior you share on these networks are mostly personal and for fun (not so much anchored in reality all the time. Many are also made up). And intended to be…
So here lies the dilemma to make some profits form advertising – user are not interested/open to brands and much of the user behavior/stats are most likely misleading. Of course there are quite a bit one can do to go around this and make it work. Just need to think what can I add to the experience… How will this benefit and be worthwhile for the user…

Conclusion – let the user use the mediums as intended and just add to the experience.