The good folks at Target Marketing Magazine have asked me to present on the topic of how (and why!) to use online document customization and management strategies to solve marketing problems.
I'll be focusing on how retail, franchisee and sales agent systems can benefit from the ability to customize ads, sales support materials, point-of-purchase, direct mail, etc.
If there's time, we'll look at setting up localized cross-media campaigns, and may even get into personalized URLs.
The webinar's free, but you do have to register:
While I've long been convinced that the modern corporation is designed to prevent productivity, it's always nice to find tools that help prove one's point.
Here's a clock that figures out how much of our clients' money we just burned through, nattering on about synergy and ROI:
Introducing Bring TIM!® (Time Is Money) - a fun yet useful office clock that tallies the dollars spent in long meetings. Simply enter the number of people in the room, ballpark an average hourly wage, and press the illuminated start button. Everyone will be amazed as the dollars pile up with every second that ticks by.
Pair this up with Bullshit Bingo and you've got a cure for the common drone.
Over at All Things Digital, Peter Kafka thinks Apple's iAd scheme is headed for total (or near-total) domination of the ad space on the platform:
I’ve talked to some mobile ad companies that are more hopeful. They think Apple will let them compete with its iAd platform in a fair fight.
Maybe they’re saying that because they have to appear optimistic. Maybe they really believe it. But I think they’re wrong. I think Apple intends to own the ad market for its app ecosystem.
For those who need a refresher, here are some first-look observations and some interesting strategic thoughts from Hill Holliday. Sample:
The big thing that iAd really does is it brings new thinking into the capabilities of mobile display advertising and it wasn’t brought to you by Google. Google has been badly lagging in all aspects of mobile and Apple probably saw the lack of innovation in the mobile advertising market and decided to put their stake in the ground. Let’s also be clear here that mobile display advertising isn’t yet a billion dollar business, this isn’t about the money for Apple but reshaping the industry as they saw fit.
The bottom line for Apple is the continuing creation of new and free apps for the App Store while everything else, like being the innovator in mobile advertising, sticking it to Google, pre-emptively blocking Adobe are just bonuses.
And thanks to MIT Advertising Lab and Ilya Vedrashko.
Heading out in the morning for Philadelphia, and the 2010 OnDemand Expo.
This year I'm on one panel, and giving one presentation (along with my buddy Mark Van Duinen from TracyLocke).
Here's the panel info:
Title: Making Digital Workflows Pay Off
Date: Tuesday April 20, 2010
Time: 1:00-1:50 PM
And here's the presentation:
Title: Creating a Multi-Channel Marketing Center around a Web-to-Print Storefront
Date: Wednesday April 21, 2010
If you're at the Expo, swing by one of these and say Hi.
See you in Philly!
AdLab has some detail about the already-old-news Avatar/McDonalds upload-my-face thingie, running in Europe.
Obviously this has been done before - from "Simpsonize Me" to M&M's to Dexter and back again - but at least this time we have some stats:
- 4 million user sessions
- nearly 10 minute session time
- about 1 million shares via email/social network post
If you can handle the academ-ese, here's a journal dedicated to online advertising.
Fortunately, they have an RSS feed, which streams abstracts to your reader - and these may perhaps be a bit more readable than the full articles.
At the very least, sticking a few pages of this sort of thing in your consulting report will handily keep your customer from actually reading it, and help ensure that they take your word for whatever conclusions you've drawn:
Advertising value provides an overall representation of the worth of advertising to consumers (Ducoffe 1995). Existing literature suggests that consumers view advertising's ability to supply information as a primary reason for approving of it (Bauer and Greyser 1968). Research in online advertising also shows that advertising can offer value to Internet users in the form of more relevant information (Ducoffe 1996). When online community members possess a distinct group intention about the need for advertising, they should be able to internalize the notion that advertising benefits the community. As a result, these members should be more inclined to develop favorable evaluations of the advertising. We also hypothesize that they perceive a higher degree of value of advertising in the community:
H6: Group intentions to accept advertising in online social networking communities relates positively to perceived ad value in community sites.
Finally, cognitive studies of associative links suggest people tend to regard relevant information as more accessible in their attitude formation (Rodgers 2004). The more community members perceive advertising as relevant to the community themes, and thus more relevant to community members, the more likely they are to find such information useful, which should result in a higher level of perceived ad value. In turn,
H7: Perceived ad relevance relates positively to perceived ad value.
Come to think of it, slogging through this stuff is how I earn my rate.
Journal of Interactive Advertising
Hugh Macleod, of Gaping Void fame, has this short post on "Rudy's Bar-BQ Sause", illustrative of how brands can become meaningful part of their customers' lives. Here's a bit:
Too many brand managers ask the question, “What message do I have to craft in order to get people to buy my product?” It’s a dead end. A far more useful and profitable question would be, “What can I do to make my customers’ lives more interesting and meaningful?”
And “Meaningful” always has a social dynamic. We find meaning via our relationships with our fellow creatures. “People matter. Objects don’t.”
A bottle of barbecue sauce isn’t going to instantly change anyone’s life for the better. But that 4-hour-long conversation with an old friend, sharing a plate of ribs and brisket, with some Shiner Bock… Well, that might. So you want your product to be there when it happens; you want your product to be around during your customers’ significant moments.
Macleod calls a product like rudy's a "Social object", in the sense that what's really being purchased is a way of connecting with others (in this case, via a backyard recreation of the experience of a Rudy's restaurant).
This isn't really new - beer and spirits sales have been driven by the nuances of social interaction for decades. Think about it - does anyone buy a particular beer based on how effectively it'll get you tanked? I think most beer and spirits sales are driven by the kind of person you want to look like, and the kind of people you want to be with.
But what would it mean to apply this thinking to, say, curling irons? What if your product could become a social object? How would you make that happen?
Your customers couldn't care less about your new look, your new design or whether your dog has just had kittens.
I love a short-and-sweet puncture to the marketing hot air balloon. Thanks, Gerry.
The blog Socialnomics has a collection of factoids meant to suggest how significant Social Media will be to the way we do business in the near future. They've woven this with some momentous-type music into a short video; the content is also available on the blog (it's easier be rational about it as a blog post IMHO - hmm, there's another post in there...)
While I'm inclined to agree in general with the notion that our evolving communications styles have massive implications for marketing and business, the over-the-top "You're clueless and we're not" tone of the video is a bit off-putting. For one thing, how does the author know how big I think "social media" is?
Why is it that people who say the future of business is in two-way, collaborative communication, real genuine relationships with customers, etc.... always end up sounding like soapbox fanatics? How "social" is that? If they really ate the dogfood, this would be a question in a forum post, not a video on YouTube.
Still, some good bits here (but read the blog comments for some correctives). And as we all know, lists are somehow hypnotically pseudo-persuasive... so, here they are. Keep some of these in your back-pocket, for those hallway conversations:
Stats from Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)
- By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network
- Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
- 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
- Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
- If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia
- Yet, some sources say China’s QZone is larger with over 300 million using their services (Facebook’s ban in China plays into this)
- comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – Vkontakte.ru is the #1 social network
- 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
- 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum
- % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees….80%
- The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
- Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of Ireland, Norway and Panama
- 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
- Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé…In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen
- What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
- The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
- Wikipedia has over 13 million articles…some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
- There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
- 54% = Number of bloggers who post content or tweet daily
- Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
- If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour
- Facebook USERS translated the site from English to Spanish via a Wiki in less than 4 weeks and cost Facebook $0
- 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
- 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
- People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them
- 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
- Only 14% trust advertisements
- Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
- 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
- Hulu has grown from 63 million total streams in April 2008 to 373 million in April 2009
- 25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video…on their phone
- According to Jeff Bezos 35% of book sales on Amazon are for the Kindle when available
- 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation because we no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
- In the near future we will no longer search for products and services they will find us via social media
- More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook…daily.
- Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy Listening first, selling second
- Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators, and content providers than traditional advertiser
Here's an insight from the always-worthwhile Seth Godin's Blog.
Consider that conference attendees lavish attention on the marketers & products they've come to see, whereas when we see advertising for those products in other contexts we probably just ignore it - or actively loathe it.
Which of those environments is better for reaching your customers? One where they've made a great effort and perhaps spent some money to come see you, or one where they're actually trying to do something else and you're in their way?
Here's a quote from Seth:
...advertisers treat prospects online as targets, as victims, as people to subject to interruption. Conferences treat attendees as royalty, as paying customers who invested time and money to be there.
And that's the difference. As long as your site is about something else and the ads are a distraction, you'll see CPM rates drop. As soon as you (or the advertisers) figure out that creating online communities aligned with the advertising, where attendance is a choice by the consumer, then you're creating genuine value.
So in building online communications - should we plan on interrupting the audience with ever-more-stupid ads, or should we create an environment they'll be eager to participate in?
Seems to me the proper use of social media for business is to create an attractive gathering place for your customers - one that's aligned with their operational needs, interests, etc - and become part of the conversation. You will then be a host rather than a salesperson.
Or you could just keep pummeling your visitors with banners. How's that working so far?