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Why Marketers Like Twitter More Than Facebook- For The Moment

Posted by John Horniblow on Aug 29, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing

Written for and Reposted from http://blog.label.ch

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The most interesting thing I read all week in the myriad of information I digest was the posting for eMarketer titled Marketers embrace Twitter over Facebook with and insightful tag line “Follow me” replacing “friend me”? eMarketer reported that “Facebook may have recently passed MySpace as the most-visited social networking site in the US, but it’s facing stiff competition for the attention of social media marketers.” So why is it so interesting for me and why should it interest you?

Marketing and advertising in Facebook is problematic. In fact its inherent culture is anti advertising and its user base have in the past voiced disappointment and disapproval of the introduction of targeted advertising. There is an high emotional attachment to the service as it relates to sharing amongst friends, family, and having fun in a protected environment. They don’t want the intrusion or interruption by advertisers. They will choose whether or not they want to be associated to you. Marketers need to learn a new approach in social networks like Facebook. (In MySpace its a different commercial proposition, brands can advertise and “own” or design their own space. )

I do believe that in the classic brand ownership argument, Facebook – the brand, is owned by it consumers , not the other way round. Facebook does not own it users it provides a service to them . Its how the consumers adopt and use the platform and what the platform provides to them that makes it so successful. Facebook has to be very careful not to upset or dis-enfranchise its consumers or it will suffer dramatically. Selling out its user base to advertisers would lead to its demise. Brands and companies operating in this environment must also be mindful of “adding value” to their fan bases and inspiring some open and fun dialogue that piques their interest. Do not assume that its a broadcast channel for self interest. You have to ask why would you, or someone else for that matter, want to befriend a brand ? What is interesting for me is that Facebook fan pages represent an emotional not a rational connection and affiliation to brands. e.g. I love / like you therefore I want to be associated to you! If you offend this sensibility you will loose your most valuable asset, your loyal and emotionally attached consumer.

Read more…

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The Value Proposition and Value Exchange in Social Media

Posted by John Horniblow on Aug 23, 2009 in Consumer Relationship Marketing, General, Social Media Marketing

written for and reposted from http://blog.label.ch

Like good old fashioned direct to consumer communications such as CRM, Social Media Marketing is also about managing the relationships between a brand and its consumers and the consumer expectations of that brand. The shift in the relationship from direct to dialogue is the key difference between the two. In many recent iterations of CRM the shift to dialogue has also become the norm. The principals behind CRM and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are in fact the same, managing and nurturing relationship through a value proposition or value exchange. Whether it’s an actual product, entertainment, services, dialogue or even intangible forms of social currency such as inside information or a virtual asset, consumers expect more from brands today, and they expect it for free. The key to sustaining the relationship is to manage the expectations of the brand in the consumer interaction with the brand. This management needs to be supported beyond the experience of consumption or use to include the experience of consumer services and other brand associations as well.

The brand benefits of CRM and Social Marketing Programs are obvious.  Value exchange creates loyalty and potentially advocacy – By providing a benefit you will be most successful if you also consider the value expectations of your audience. Providing value will ensure your customers continue engaging with your brand in the social landscape. In the sense of making brand advocates of your consumers your exchange might even inspire them to share the value you provide with others. Read more…

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Marketers need to tread carefully when contemplating behavior based advertising

Posted by John Horniblow on Jul 17, 2009 in General, Online Media

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Reposted from http://blog.label.ch

The behavioral advertising tracking platform Phorm hit the news again last week as the UK ISP Talk Talk followed a move by BT (British Telecom) when they canceled their trials with the company.

It comes as no surprise to me. Phorm has developed technology which collects information on web use in order to serve Internet users with highly targeted adverts and serves ads to people based on their web-browsing behavior. Relying on deep packet inspection, in which every data packet is opened and examined, Phorm builds a profile of consumer’s web-surfing habits. The service surreptitiously tracks and interpolates their behavior without disclosing itself or without asking permission.

Read more…

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SoundCloud wins Techcrunch award for Best Entertainment service or application EMEA

Posted by John Horniblow on Jul 13, 2009 in Online Media, Social Media Marketing

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In a list of aspiring and inspiring new entertainment based services and applications SoundCloud  won this years coveted Best Entertainment service or application  award . Competing in a highly competitive field SoundCloud beat eRepublik, Moshi Monsters, Playfish and WeeWorld,  a category largely dominated by online games and virtual worlds . SoundCloud is an online audio platform catering to music professionals enabling them to collaborate, promote & distribute their music.  A music sharing and listening service, based on social network technologies .

The music industry is clearly  under attack these days as it failed to change and adopt to the new distribution paradigms and the consumers preferences as the old models of music promotion , sales and distribution have been dismantled over the past 9 years . In this new connected world SoundCloud provides a efficient and simple way for music professionals to exchange music they are involved with in private settings allowing for easy collaboration and communication prior to a public release. I think its  service that has a bright future and over the past year since its launch  its user adoption grow 600 % to close at close to 60,000 users.  What is very clear is that SoundCloud has an audience that spans the globe , not just an audience that is largely US based .

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Can Twitter & Social Media channels replace Mainstream Media ?

Posted by John Horniblow on Jun 29, 2009 in Branded content, General, Social Media Marketing

Reposted from LABEL  brand.intelligence http://blog.label.ch

Can Twitter & Social Media channels replace Mainstream Media ?

AKA.  The day Michael Jackson killed Twitter -

The past two weeks has been a defining period for Twitter. #Iranelection and Micheal Jackson’s death are the most recent defining moments that have allowed the microblogging service and Social Media to show their impact on mainstream mass media and government affairs. Early morning Friday (Europe) Twitter’s servers collapsed under a tsunami of tweets in the public out pouring surrounding the king of pop’s death. Not only was Twitter buckling under the deluge of Tweets but Google also served an error page and News websites around the world slowed considerably. As the news of the king of pops death broke, Google feared it was under a denial of service attack and served its error page. As it calmed down the Michael Jackson search trend was substantiated and it was rated as “volcanic”.

Follow the trend on Nielsen’s Blog Pulse mj-trend1 According to the BBC, initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts containing “Michael Jackson” totaled more than 100,000 per hour. That put the momentary news of Jackson’s death equal to the peak surrounding the Iran protests ten days before.

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Irans cyberwar is raging in full force

Posted by admin on Jun 16, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing

This is a must read !!! NY Times article Social Networks Spread Defiance Online

Fox News article Crisis in Iran Sparks Global Guerrilla Cyberwar

Follow this on Twitter

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23IranElection

This was originally posted at http://reinikainen.co.uk/2009/06/iranelection-cyberwar-guide-for-beginners/ and then the account was suspended within a couple hours. I’ve reposted it in its entirety here from Brookes Baine Read more…

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Is Twitter loosing its chirp?

Posted by John Horniblow on Jun 11, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing

Mashable reported a few days ago that Twitter’s Phenomenal Growth Suddenly Stops or has slowed to a trickle since Nielsen reported a massive increase in time spent on Twitter in total minutes rose by a phenomenal 3712% from April 08 to April 09.

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It could mean that Twitter is hitting a plateau and the buzz surrounding the platform is waning this month. Nielsen’s findings are that there is only 40% retention rate of users. As the hype that has drawn users to Twitter wears off a slowdown in growth of Twitter can only be expected. Twitter could “only” expect a 10% growth if rate of that trend continued, but lets face it, thats not a bad number

Read more…

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Twitterverse enters the Lexicon

Posted by John Horniblow on Jun 5, 2009 in General, Online Media, Social Media Marketing

n. The Twitter social networking service and the people who use it. Also: twitterverse, Twitter-verse. [Blend of Twitter and universe.]

The word Twitterverse entered the lexicon of social media in a big way in the past few months. Its appeared on NPR ( National Public Radio ) in the Washington Post , spawned a blog by Emily Chang, of Ideacodes in SF and the 1st or beta edition of a Twitterverse map.

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I think the map is the best and possibly the least abstract representation of a fast emerging world and was produced by Brian Solis , Principal of FutureWorks, PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley . He released a beta version of what he calls the Twitterverse v 0.9 last week ( see Gazing into the Twitterverse). What he and partner Jess3 have produced is a spiral universe that begins to place an order to a complex set of relationships surrounding Twitter from search , communication, mobile, analytics, relationship management, advertising and events. The spiral representation seems to be like that of solar system revolving around a central star in long tendrils representing a map of tools and applications for conversation management and measurement emanating from the vortex of Twitter.

So what does the word Twitterverse mean and where does it originate from?

The Urban Dictionary provides a broad user friendly meaning online. “the cyberspace area of twitter. This naturally extends beyond twitter.com to anywhere you can twitter, which includes cell phones.” It appears that the cyberspace area is largely undefined.

Wordspy , a blog on the word lovers guide to new words, attributes the origins of the word to Twitterverse to Adam Pasick, “SXSW and the Twitterverse,” Monkey Daemon, March 12, 2007

Adam described Twitter as ” a sort of minute-by-minute blog that you send and receive from a computer or text message. All too often this takes the form of scintillating entries like “I’m eating breakfast,” and other stuff that you really don’t need to know about other people. But the allure at SXSW is that all the cool kids are doing it. So if you want to find the cool parties, you have to read Twitter. It’s geek clique chic.”

As Brian Solis’ graphic representation shows the Twitterverse has evolved since those early days, the public, companies, the press, have all run to get on board to explore and exploit the platform as a short form news , PR, promotion, and ideas to a  range of tools that map the relationships between information sources , their conversations topics, circles of influence, and the broad sweep pf readers or “followers”.

To emphasize the size and significance of the microblogging platform Neilsen reports that time spent of time spent on Twitter has grown a phenomenal 3,712 % in the past year. Who ever coined the phrase Twitterverse is watching this new universe take shape and form as it expands.

Top 10 Social Networking and Blog Sites Ranked by Total Minutes for April 2009 and Their Year-over-Year Percent Growth (U.S., Home and Work)

RANK Site Apr-08 Total Minutes (000) Apr-09 Total Minutes (000) Year-over-Year
% Growth
1 Facebook 1,735,698 13,872,640 699
2 Myspace.com 7,254,645 4,973,919 -31
3 Blogger 448,710 582,683 30
4 Tagged.com 29,858 327,871 998
5 Twitter.com 7,865 299,836 3712
6 MyYearbook 131,105 268,565 105
7 LiveJournal 54,671 204,121 273
8 LinkedIn 119,636 202,407 69
9 SlashKey N/A 187,687 N/A
10 Gaia Online 173,115 143,909 -17
source: The Nielsen Company

This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge

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A Digital Night with P & G – Buzzing Pampers Save a baby social media campaign

Posted by John Horniblow on May 12, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, Viral Marketing

P & G  hosted an EMEA Digital Night at   in Geneva bringing together  its marketing , ecommerce , digital communications people and their agencies to  participate in a digital and  social media experiment on a real live campaign.  At its outset it appeared to be a daunting proposal , to spearhead a full blown digital media campaign in two hours with the ultimate idea being to maximize the groups reach , push their influence, and market and sell the idea of donating  for a Pampers & UNICEF program to eliminate Tetanus aiming to raise 100, 000 GBP in 18 hours.

Pampers Save a Baby. One pack , one baby.

“A baby dies every three minutes somewhere  in the world from tetanus. It is completely avoidable and Pampers  is sponsoring and raising money for a UNICEF vaccination program worldwide.”

The ensuing two hours was bold and adventurous as assigned groups armed with a few basic executional assets  and a donation landing page split off to devise and execute a fund raising campaign utilizing only digital channels. There were no set rules in what the approach needed to be other than it needed to be  “executed with integrity”.

The groups  immediately raced to begin and obvious point to turn to  were their  friends and associates linked in the various social networks. Facebook groups emerged , links appears, a donate widget application got added to personal pages and the conversation began in earnest.  The emergence of  strategy then began to permeate the groups  as each devised campaign message and  a reach strategy in how to maximize audience across a multiple touch points making the approach more sophisticated, pointed and less haphazard.

Blogs , YouTube videos, an influencer campaign on Tweeter and through Facebook , chasing and contacting high value donors , negotiations for impressions across online publishing networks linking multiple contact channels and coming together at a rapid pace. In a jaw dropping moment a little while latter a one million impression banner campaign appeared across one of Germany’s major newspaper sites.  The buzz and influencer phenomena  then took over with global reach. As the intensity of the push to raise money took hold , groups began to monitor their competitors actions and tactics, calling for quick decisions on how best to out wit the competition and move to next channel almost in a race to be first. Viral campaigns riding on the back of Selma Hayak’s ambassadorship  sprung up,  well designed internal direct email campaigns raced through the P & G network ,  tell  to friends campaigns in the social sites.  A  directed and awe inspiring frenzy of digital buzz.  The results .. they are a secret .. but  it worked.

Donate to one groups target @ www.justgiving.com.co.uk/pampersnewbaby

Save a Baby Blog link

YouTube submissions

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No online ad recession yet – apparently

Posted by John Horniblow on May 12, 2009 in Online Media

In a recent article by eMarketer there was 1st true indications that there’s “No Online Ad Recession, Yet” and interestingly their calculations do not indicate that online advertising has entered a recession. The numbers speak for themselves.

The net US revenues at the four major search portals, which account for by far the majority of online ad revenues, all showed quarter-over-quarter growth in Q4 2008 and fell in Q1 2009. But that represents only one quarter of falling growth—and it follows the traditionally oversized Q4.

US Online Advertising Revenue* Quarter-over-Quarter Growth at Top Four Portals, Q1 2008-Q1 2009 (% change)

There’s no index on other smaller publishers , but what is resounding clear is while ad spends in traditional channels are severely down there is groundswell on

eMarketer postulates that ” based on the total year-over-year revenues from the four portals, the picture is less bleak. Growth was positive for all four quarters in 2008 (AOL being the exception to the rule). The single negative-growth quarter, thus far, was Q1 2009.

US Online Advertising Revenue* Year-over-Year Growth at Top Four Portals, Q1 2008-Q1 2009 (% change)

For context, here is the picture in dollars.

US Online Advertising Revenues* at Top Four Portals, Q1 2008-Q1 2009 (millions)

“The imbalance between Google and its competition in both Q4 2008 and Q1 2009 highlights a fundamental weakness in the overall US online ad market,” added Mr. Hallerman. “Consider that US display ad spending, such as for banners, will drop by nearly 5% this year—and then consider how that trend will likely be reflected not only for Web portals but many other publishers as well.”

Obviously, Q2 2009 is critical. If revenue growth at the four major search portals continues to fall, online advertising will “officially” enter recession.”

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Ours, yours or mine – Facebook and the ownership of social communities and the social web

Posted by John Horniblow on Apr 27, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

 

image borrowed from BBC.CO.UK

Image borrowed from BBC.CO.UK

Who owns the social web isn’t really a big question. In the many communities the ownership or even the behaviors in that social community are often dictated by the community itself. The community owns the community , the community polices  itself and protects itself, and everybody in the community shares a democratic principle of ownership and inclusion. My observation of inter-communications on many fan and strong communities  is that there can be a point of self  regulation , where the community members dictate what sorts of behaviour are acceptable , what tone  of discussion is acceptable and will pull other members in the community into line or reject them if they feel they are being antisocial or unfair in the context of that community’s voice.  In the community or social media world its the community that has the power  or the onwership by virtue of being involved and sharing their voice and ideas. What it does  is  really raise the question “who owns the community’s brand”?  In the Social media world its definatly the consumer who owns the brand. Even real world  (non virtual brands) are often owned  in the mind of the  consumer, despite what their manufacturers, FMCG brand managers might mistakenly believe, and the consumers non acceptance of product changes or variations often causes dramatic failures for brands. A brand is more than just a product. Coca Cola’s release of New Coke  in 1985 floundered as a failure as Coca Cola forgot what its core brand stood for and thought that taste was the was only factor consumers cared about. Its research failed to highlight that Coke consumers had a deep and abiding  emotional bond to the “Real Thing” and launched a new formulated Coke. The public basically boycotted the new product and the company had ceased production of the old product causing a huge and costly problem for the company. The company had to revert back to the old formula.

 

Facebook has become the greatest facilitators of human conversations, its building itself as a  brand  based on emotional bonds and trust  in a shell of social , web 2.0 services. Friday’s announcement that Facebook users have voted to back changes which give them control over data and content they post on the site  dosen’t surprise me.   The community has spoken , the company had actually listened or risked failure.  Following Facebook’s meteoric rise  to its recent press announcements that it has reached a point of 200 million users I stopped to think about that number and a pending crisis on the ownership of personal data that had emerged in recent months. I for one and many of my friends expressed great concern and a potential swap of services at Facebook’s  assertion that they owned the rights to any and everything published in their services, from photos, to widgets , videos , comments and conversations. It even went to  the point where they could exploit any IP or copyright of anything posted on the site.  Where it almost went wrong was to not listen to the true voice of its consumer base  and continue to pursue a path of proprietary ownership of all and everybody’s personal content, thoughts and conversations when many complained or threatened to leave the service. In this case Facebook the brand, not the service,  is wholly owned by the consumer base it serves. 

What is interesting, and if not co incidental ,  is that it was  the same day  that Yahoo announced that Geo Cities was being closed down. Yahoo paid $3.5 bn for the free hosting service  back in the early days of the dotcom boom.  Where it failed to compete with the likes of Facebook and MySpace is that while they offered a  similar concept of hosting free personal pages on the web  there was no evolution in providing services  that allowed a community to grow or for people to communicate or commune with one another or share it with other friends ubiquitously. Yahoo failed to wrap all it social and communication technologies that it had at its disposal  in different business units( IM , email , even content ) into one set of social communications  services and make the transition to a more Open Web. The brand never really made a leap to having an real emotional attachment to the consumer by failing to provide the emotional conduits or  communications channels. Was this because Yahoo saw Geo Cities only as a media advertising opportunity? Another missed opportunity. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8016532.stm

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Digital Engagement and its metrics- AKA How Stickiness became Engagement

Posted by John Horniblow on Apr 22, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

How  Stickiness became Engagement

The  concept of  digital or online engagement has always been an integral part of  the interactive vernacular from its very nascent days . In the early days at the run of the last century the people in the interactive business coined the phrase “stickiness” as a way describing a site or service where a consumer ( or the sites audience)  would spend more time , continually revisit a site,  play with more things , discover new features  or actively converse with their friends. The social communications technologies were all well alive in the early adopter phase , bulletin boards, chat room , and IM.    In the heady dotcom days the concept of developing media properties was all about stickiness. How else could you realistically place  a value on your property  and it potential for media placement if its audience didn’t  return to site , stay longer , use its features , play games, watch or listen to media and go deeper than the 1st page ? 

The real opener for Engagement or the liberator,  so too speak, has been the uptake in the broadband connection at home , rather than having it relegated to the work place . The “always on” connection at home changed the descriptive concept of Stickiness to Engagement.   The simple fact that there was a  general mass market adoption of high speed internet  predicated a  change in the vernacular as the  real marketing potential of the medium opened up.  The availability of more connected , richer  experience  from the consumption of media ( video, audio , and animations ) and a greater depth in connectivity to services( e-commerce, search)  and information opened up the medium and metaphoric description of  Stickiness had to evolve to more active verb of  Engagement.  

The Age of the True Consumer’s Voice and Consumer Generated Content  

Engagement never remains static( not that stickiness did either). The recent mass market adoption of social communication technologies, as in the last 3- 4 years, has  led to today when we talk about the social media revolution, and Engagement  has taken on a new face . Todays social media technologies are facilitators of conversations and dialogues not just confined to one site or group but open to any and everybody, almost anywhere, instantly. Everybody has a voice, a digital persona, a digital footprint and a devise for communicating digitally.  It  is the age of the “True Consumer’s Voice” . Digital Engagement is now the social communications evolution , encompassing social media, digital media and interactive services. Its  not surprising that the UK government recently advertised to appoint a Director of Digital Engagement  to help direct its efforts in “overseeing a move to engage more with citizens through social media and other digital technology.”

The Metrics

So how do we measure Engagement ? The debate is relatively new . In Eric T Peterson’s , web analytics demystified , he describes  Engagement  as  ”an estimate of the degree and depth of visitor interaction on the site against a clearly defined set of goals.”  I think there’s room to expand upon this. Webanalytics is one sided and there are two sides to the equation.

To me a website is essentially a closed environment , although blogs and RSS has opened up content distribution.  The measurement of the closed environment is Quantitative  and measurable, which is the web analytics view point; the end to which  we can determine the quality of a website visit . The engagement metric  comes down to , the depth to which a consumer will go into your site and propensity to interact with or view “critical content” , their ” length of visit”, whether or not they come back e.g.  ” frequency of return visit”.

 If we were to add the consumer’s perspective and become more subjective in the classical marketer’s view,  using the analogy of the “path to purchase”,  we could add the  propensity to which a consumer would recommend or talk about the site,  its content or  its services to a friend using something like the net promoters score. ( you can’t find that in the web analytics) . This, when coupled with the web analytics , gives a good view of a loyalty or advocacy co-efficient for the site. 

In the Open Web or social media context  its about all about Consumer Generated Media ( CGM ) and there’s another dimension which is purely Qualitative. Its the understanding of the voice and tonality of Engagement or behaviourial responses a consumer has .  You can measure  and analyse  Buzz, Tonality and Sentiment, with the real  appreciation of the true consumer’s voice.  When you add your closed systems reporting , e.g.  the  web analytics  to your Open or social  measurement of consumer’s voice then you really see the whole picture.

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The Digital Ecosystem – Awareness, acquisition and retention activities

Digital Marketing  is all about the consumer experience  with , accompanied by, and  within a brand virtually.  From the physical dimension of a brand to its mental associations, its brand equity, or  brand essence , down to very granular services or information surrounding its place in a consumer’s life,  all can and should be experienced digitally. 

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One way of  considering the full digital marketing mix is to look at as a  digital ecosystem. As in any successful ecosystem, all the elements and their inter- relationships support and keep the ecosystem alive, adapting and thriving. And across the digital marketing mix there is a problem if these all remain in silos.  The traditional marketing pillars  of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention  should be applied across all types of  digital interactive services or content in that ecosystem as active environmental roles that support the ecosystem. More importantly,  they must all be considered as  digital consumer touch points, each with an active role  to play. In a cohesive or holistic sense these traditional marketing pillars should applied against very activity in standalone website or across a full digital  ecosystem ( sites,  services, distributed content,  social networks, digital media/advertising, email marketing and CRM ) and should always be considered. Conversely , these digital touch points should be supported by other non digital channels ( POS, above and below the line media , on pack) ; a virtual environment needs to exist with a physical counterpart. 

While some of the activities, content, or interactive services you have on a site may seem obvious its always good to justify there existence against what your aims or goal are in the marketing mix. No one element is exclusive , all are interdependent just as they would be in the normal sales funnel,  and what’s interesting about this is that you can seek to balance activities against the goals and make decisions of what interactive pieces you might consider for the traditional marketing pillars  of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention. 

What’s interesting today in the more social interactive world is that  in the consumers journey along the traditional sale funnel seems to be either accelerated or  they can identified anywhere in the funnel a lot quicker. The activities surrounding your he traditional marketing pillars  of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention seem blurred. Lets take,  for example, Bacardi . In its recent digital campaign  to further its  association with a night clubbing and dance club lifestyle worldwide, it chooses to be a trusted facilitator in an aspect of that  lifestyle, by providing the service of a digital  music sharing platfrom . It uses social media by offering aspiration based rewards of free  limited edition, 1st to hear, music tracks to those consumers (its digital advocates)  that act as a word of mouth spokes-peoples for the brand’s service by being the source of introduction of the Barcardi music sharing platform to their friends and rewards them accordingly.  One could  say that its the digital equivalent  to brands  giving  away a utility  that is associated with or inherent in products consumption. Like a coffee  brand giving a branded cup or spoon or something inherently needed with the process drinking coffee. But in the case of Bacardi its wrapped up in a social relationship reward program that only digital can provide at relatively low cost and be  highly. What is does is either accelerate the potential for identifying advocates  or it even makes a brand advocate out of a consumer who may not necessarily consume the brand or be an MVC. This is not bad thing, who wants to stop a consumer talking about your brand in a positive way whether or not they consumer your brand?

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The Open Identity – DataPortability

Posted by John Horniblow on Mar 13, 2009 in General, Online Media, Social Media Marketing, User experience

 
dataportability

“To help people to use and protect the data they create on networked services, and to advocate for compliance with the values of DataPortability.”
Dataportability.org –  Mission statement  

I think that one of the most important and interesting projects to come too light over the past 18 months has to be the DataPortability project. I can’t think of a more defining project that seeks to put the consumer  in control of their data,   in an easy framework,  than this.

As a digital marketer, online developer  and manager of a major “ecosystem” of company websites I had always been challenged by and worked to successfully remedy the idea of a federated user login and password  or identity that  would allow users navigating a network or an “ecosystem”of websites to have just one unique ID. This unique ID  allowing  them access across a network , without having to login as multiple different identities across multiple sites and let them negotiate and choose or personalize what’s important to them and then manage their preferences.

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Lets face it the majority of us have a number of identities in a myriad of web databases ; As a consumer  I  possibly over one hundred “sign ups” on sites where I have an identity or have surrendered my contact details for either verification of who I am , membership, product registration,  interest in a communication, a CRM activity, a  social network identity , or just a security login and password .  If I was able to simplify this and manage that in a more organised and less haphazard way I would. 

The concept of  DataPortability is having the option or choice to use your personal data between trusted applications and vendors. As  simple as that . What is important , especially in the current digital climate , is the protection of consumers rights when it comes to their data and data privacy. The consumers need to have control over their data by determing how they want to use it and who can use it. This includes access to data that is under the control of another entity and the interoperability of  that consumer identity or data across an independent network of  online services and sites. What will become important in the not too distant future,  is the potential trust rating between the consumer and the companies providing online or digital services , media, and product marketing. Companies with the most transparent , upfront and honest approach to managing consumer data will ultimately be successful. Those whose integrity is questionable or not transparent will ultimately see a consumer backlash. 

With raging debates taking place as to just how far companies such as Google own the insight to online  behaviours by tracking consumer browsing habits from site to sites by cookie-ing them, the concept of DataPortability in extremely timely and necessary .  Its scary to think that Google can pinpoint and locate with uncanny precision a physical person and have a map of all their behavioural characteristics and that they have been known in the past to surrender that information to government security and intelligence agencies.
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With Social networks and the spill over to media networks becoming more open , more interconnected , and more distributed I would say that DataPortability is not an emerging trend but an imminent or inevitable necessity. The current list of  sponsors is impressive  Microsoft, Google, Facebook, SixApart, Digg, Plaxo, Linkedin and apparently 1000s of other participants. Interestingly it includes the two digital darlings,  Facebook and Google,  that appear to be at the centre of debates surrounding consumer data , who owns it , who controls it , and how it can be exploited, with both companies getting into hot water either by government privacy watchdogs or with their userbase themselves. With the support of cross-system data access, interoperability, and portability, people can bring their identities, friends, conversations, files, and histories with them to the service of their choice. This cuts down on the need for form-filling , new passwords, preferences  of data transfer on the consumer side. The service providers or networks can tailor services to suit their consumer base with little effort required by the consumer. Consumers  browse networked services and accumulate experiences and if they permit it, this information is  updated in the network of sites a consumer may participate in. For online and digital service  companies the “mutual control” and “mutual benefit” with consumers has an upside that the  relationships remain relevant, data usage remains transparent  and will encourage continued consumer usage.

For more information go to DataPortability.org 

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IFood assistant : Kraft’s killer IPhone application

Posted by John Horniblow on Mar 5, 2009 in General, Mobile and wireless, User experience

Who would have thought that a food company could sell an iPhone Application  not just for ordering its product?
kraft ifood assistant
The iFood assistant developed by Kraft,  the world’s second largest food company, has turned the tables in mobile marketing for FMCG. Kraft is currently enjoying a rather prominent promotion on Apple’s website and in the App Store, which features video interviews with executives involved in the app’s development.

What’ s great or interesting about this is that Kraft has looked at where it adds value to the its on shelf products and developed a consumer proposition that is purely experiential and consumer focussed. Kraft tapped into its pre existing content base of recipes , cooking videos , add the notion of a meal planner and then added a store locator . The lessons for marketers based on Kraft’s success with this iPhone application are many and that the consumers brand experience goes well beyond the product on shelf , or at home in the kitchen or the real moment of truth when its consumed . The experience can manifest as useful helper in everyday activities. Its about the brand but all   all the services and value added content surrounding the brands , packaged as a “paid for” but highly useful portable electronic assistant that is “always on” in your pocket or bag. One touch away. Its also that fact that it is a conduit or exclusive channel for brand communications that can be entertaining and engaging and that it can extend offers , and potentially coupons as well.

kraft recipes

Kraft is cleverly  delivering its brand through the application, and using it as a advertising platform but it’s also driving new revenue streams from its cut of sales on the App Store — its a shining star in the field of branded iPhone applications. Why? because user experience is centred around  and wanted  valuable services and their  info-tainment value , not just being branded advertising app.  

View Apple’s co branded article about Kraft  

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The internet roadmap – IA Japan’s trends map for 2009 is coming soon

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 23, 2009 in Design, General, User experience

The internet may be amorphous machine , somewhat chaotic it breadth and depth but it also lends itself to very fast and quick generation of trends and directions in human communications and  where and what people do virtually is able to be mapped  as lines , hubs, converging rails and directional lines. 

Tokyo subway map

Tokyo subway map

With 882 stations on 14 lines, Tokyo’s subway system is one of the largest — and busiest — in all the world. The system map is a twisted mass of lines and stations. Consider this : Shinjuku  one of the largest — and busiest stations  in the world  is the main hub for 12 different lines that link central Tokyo and its western suburbs. Approximately 3.6 million people pass through the station each day. It has four concourses, eight department stores, three dozen tracks and more than 200 exits.

The images I  hold in my mind have of the Tokyo subway system are nothing short of mass commuting on a grand scale with little or no respect personal space and that my idea of crowded pales as comfy . The western concept  of the having an invisible barrier that creates an magic space or outer boundary  around your body  goes out of the window when you hear of  whited gloved station attendants, called oshiya – literally, “pusher” politely but firmly shoving people into the cars or  with special human” herding sticks”  to  squeeze commuters onto already seemingly full trains. Its a remarkably efficient mass transit mover  of wave of a humanity , impersonal , raw and sprawling.

internet trends map

 

The  Tokyo Subway analogy  of where internet traffic and trends converge is  wonderful metaphor upon which to begin to put order to the sheer number of cyber commuters , the convergence points of traffic and communications , the conjecture , the posturing , the speculative and the inherent generational morphing that occurs in pockets on the net and then spreads. Information Architects Japan produced a 3rd version of the the map in 2008   ( see above ) presented as an isometric landscape with two layers: one showing the brand evaluation of the main sites, and other layer their interface or usability. The map has changed from the original two maps that looked graphically  like the current Tokyo subway map. 

 What is interesting to note is that map evolves each year and and sites can move from station to station  based  upon a subjective or even and analytical prediction of their importance, business play, style , audience  and get placed on the map  relative  to the actual physical station it surrounding real estate and it core commuter. 

The telling things in 2008 map as noted by IA Japan  were : 

Google - The Center of the Center: 

“In terms of traffic, Tokyo station is the center of Tokyo. That’s why Google (which is slowly becoming a metaphor of the Internet itself) has moved from Shinjuku to Tokyo Station. Google continues to push new modules into the main lines in an attempt to occupy the center circle.” 

trendmap3-google

Dataportability : Unknown, But… : Dataportability.org in Uguisudani

” If things turn out as they seem like they’re going to, the newcomer of the year is Dataportability.org. It has become the center of online identity practically overnight. OpenID, Google, Facebook, Flickr, and Plaxo all opened-up and joined this incredible project. Microsoft probably won’t be happy as Passport (or is it “Passport Live?”) now has no significance.” 

Facebook : Just a Hub: Facebook in Nippori

” Facebook has moved to Nippori because, from a broader perspective, Nippori is boring. But it’s still an important station (Nippori is a hub for Narita, Tokyo’s international airport).”  Just as Youtube is an important hub. 

trendmap3-youtube

 

Yahoo : Ya… who? Yahoo in Tabata

” Along with our speculation that the Yahoo brand will move increasingly into the background as an umbrella for more exciting products and brands like Flickr, we gave Yahoo an insignificant station. Flickr, in Nishi-Nippori, is closer to Facebook (also a strong picture-sharing portal) than Yahoo (Yahoo-owned Flickr is a part of Dataportability.org).” 

trendmap3-yahoo 

 

MSN : Moving Towards a Central Node: MSN in Shinjuku

” MSN has moved to Shinjuku. Lately it has increased its network (see: deal with Newsvine and The New York Times). MSN—unlike Microsoft Live—is doing things right.” 

trendmap3-nyt

I wonder where the map will shift for this coming year ? For more information on IA Japan’s forth coming trend map  for 2009 .

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SoundCloud – A new realm in music and social media

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 13, 2009 in Design, General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

soundcloud

Music is at its very heart  a social media! 

Andy  Cato - “Sharing music has always gone on. It’s giving music away that’s the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it’s disposable. When you share it, it’s done with love.” 

There is an inherent need for music publishers to create buzz around tracks and artists but also to work in their spheres of fellow producers, musicians and their fans or audience.  So in the artist self publishing  and artist self promotional days , that have the music labels traditional A&R business scrambling, what could be more relevant than a social network of music “taste makers” , musicians, labels and publishers? The emergent answer is ; SoundCloud !!  

In the burgeoning world of social media applications  there is a  launch  of new business concept  everyday, redefining the working practices of many social and professional scenes across all types of businesses.  Music, while being at the forefront of consumer media consumption changes, is no different.  While in its nascent days SoundCloud offers a full social network for the  thriving  music scene based on the simple sharing and following concept. SoundCloud makes it easy for people to send & receive music. Simple as that. What it isn’t is one of those illegal peer to peer file sharing platform that have  all but hijacked the music industry and elevated music piracy to the epidemic level. The promise of music uploading and sharing in this community is that you cannot share music without the consent of the proper right holders and any user sharing music illegally runs the risk of having their account deleted and being reported to the relevant authorities.  You can make your music private or public and shareable. What could be more easy than uploading your latest mixed  track, to your known group of promoters and tastemakers or giving it a limited  public preview or limited public download that could be shared across the social media websites across the world?

 

What I also find appealing is easy to use interface, a simple but effective and non nonsense way of getting at what you are there for , listening to music . This is not a Rhapsody or Pandora like website either , but a more socially driven sharing platform minus any overbearing commercialism . 

The Angel 60 Channels

The Angel 60 Channels

But lets not kid ourselves , not every budding or aspirant  musician or DJ is bound to be a radio star or a pioneer in digital music business model such as The Angel , Radiohead, Prince or Groove Armada. What is clear in this application is that realm of music PR belongs in the hands of its fans and promoters.  ”Social Media”  places the audience at the forefront of PR or word of mouth promotion, playing into the hands of the real evangelists; the buzz creators.  SoundCloud will only grow and mature over time from its early underground days. What interesting to me is that the  age of mix tape or mix CD   is a fading long gone distant memory.

Music and its digital portability has placed it upon the crest  of  the wave of change in traditional medias,  creating an urgent need for the major Records Labels and Publishers to review there very model of business. The new wave of artists and their producers are clearly taking control of their own livelihoods and their media.  

http://soundcloud.comjohnhorniblow

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Widgets and the future of CRM

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 11, 2009 in Branded content, General, Mobile and wireless, User experience, Viral Marketing

snapshot-2009-02-11-11-07-56Recently OgilvyOne  Paris released a widget for Croquons la Vie , Nestle France’s  revamped online Consumer Relationship Marketing Program . Aided by what appears to be a concerted digital PR campaign targeting blogs and digital influencers and using  its inherent  widget -portability or share-ability  , it appears to be making some traction. Readily downloadable from the  main site  Croquons la vie  its easily  transferable to Netvibes  or iGoogle where you can make a number of choices on where and how you want to display the widget.

When it comes to looking at CRM practices this widget doesn’t disappoint from the marketer’s,  and more importantly, the consumer’s standpoint. Loaded with a rich content offering of  monthly recipe videos, recipe links , and  coupons , this widget provides the “value add”  that consumers expect from relationship marketing programs.   As well, it also adds the  possible concept of social marketing and content distribution into the CRM mix  as it extends the digital marketing ecosystem beyond  websites into the desktop world and potentially into mobile phones overtime. 

What is clear about using widgets  is that  you can extend the CRM based  services and value added content , personalize it , and use them as your own private  brand driven media channel  , pushing content or marketing communications to the widgets, where ever they may be. By simply adding the widget the consumer has actively subscribed to the brand communications , placing  themselves very clearly in control of the content they will  view as it changes over time. The relationship is nurtured through a constant evolution of  digital content offerings and the promise of discounts via coupons that can be claimed directly through the site.  What  will become apparent over time   is that  as  the install base for the widget  expands dramatically,  so does its propensity to become a media conduit for other brand communications . Content could even extend to  retail partnerships  as a  way of  subtly  extending the shopper  communications that may link consumers back to instore promotions or e commerce applications.    

What is also clear  is that in the coming year through consumer uptake of  iPhone an or smartphones and the development of  Google’s Android ( Open Handset Alliance Project)  in 2009/2010, is that the mobile phones will become “widget compatible” . The consumers use of smartphone or  Androïd platform, will not be bound to simple static applications but open to a diverse range of content services  that can be streamed onto the phone , although for the time being the support of Adobe’s Flash file format  seems hard to accomplish on phones.  

As Bruno Walther  , CEO of OgilvyOne Paris  says “The more time passes, the more I am certain that the widget is the future of the client relationship (CRM). ” , and  on this note I can only agree  with him wholeheartedly. Pick the widget up from Netvibes 

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Hi5- the other social network to watch

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 6, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

Click for full-size image.

You may not know it but Hi5 is the third largest social network in the world  polling into position behind Facebook and MySpace.  What make its different from the other two is clearly its audience. It has around 60 million  unique visitors  per month , 40% of whom come from Spanish speaking countries. This makes it the largest Latin American or Hispanic social network . While virtually unheard of in the United States the UK or some of Europe  there are reasons to believe that this could change.  The key information to be aware of  is that more and more people in the U.S. are discovering the site, a trend line that will likely keep bending upward in the next 12 months. What would be interesting to track is whether this  new US  based  audience is  ethnically and demographically  the young Hispanic and creates a parallel spanish speaking social network the covers the Americas and Spain . As of mid-2007 the Hispanic community  in the US, the largest  minority group , accounted for 15.1% of the total U.S. population and also since 2000  have accounted for more than half (50.5%) of the overall population growth in the United States 

Hi5′ s music and video applications rival those of other, more popular social networks, and Hi5′s mobile app is first rate.

Hi5 won’t be bigger than Facebook  by the end of the year, but it will have grown significantly, and it will have given many people  an attractive alternative to try out

What will be interesting to observe in the near future is whether the identities of one social network can or will be able cross register with the other using the concept of Open ID.

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Email performance

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 2, 2009 in Email Marketing

 As a tactic inside  the digital marketing mix,  Email’s low cost and effective reach  still makes it core component in B2C communications. Given its low cost,  email service providers are expecting an increase reliance on this highly measurable and engaging method of consumer interaction. Today Email remains a staple of nearly every digital marketing campaign,   while its low cost puts it behind other tactics in terms of spending, its effectiveness should never be under estimated. 

Epsilon , a leader in enterprise email services,  has just released a study on E-mail marketing metrics that indicates  that deliverability rates were almost exactly the same in Q3 2008 as they were in Q3 2006. Open rates and click-through rates dipped during the same period, but only slightly. 

metircs

 This still indicates its viability as a dependable media channel. The optomisim surrounding the industry indicates projections that email , as a media channel continues to enjoy steady and unfaltering growth despite concerns about the declining effectiveness of advertising and the challenging economy  Online benchmark and research group eMarketer, estimates spending on e-mail will rise to $488 million in 2009, up from $472 million in 2008. While a small growth in overall terms , it is none the less a growth in a time  when other types of media spend are in decline. email spend

 Email’s low cost and high ROI shouldn’t make a marketer lazy or complacent, consumer segmentation and personalization add  significantly higher increases to the effectiveness of this media and directly impact response rates.

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