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A very interesting view from Pete Blackshaw, The Nielsen Company, on what to do and how to prepare for the future of online marketing. Responsiveness is key to success, but also being aware of what you need to respond to and planning for what the consumer might do next. Pete suggests “that there is a new accountability standard that has been put on the table by consumers and that may lead to better advertising” . He also cites the Nielsen research that suggests that “consumers trust each other more than they trust advertisers” , ” if advertisers can figure out a way of co creating with consumers, everybody might win”. Brands should be both reactive and proactive in planning for what consumers might do through better websites and better feedback loops.
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The rise of the importance of the Facebook fan page has become an integral part of companies social media campaigns or presence. Its not hard to understand why. Facebook is the web’s most popular destination after Google ( it is number 1 in Indonesia, Philippines , Malaysia and Singapore ) where the average user spends in the order of 33 minutes per day and its registered user numbers are upwards of 350 million. As the use or entry to a brand’s website are in decline due to a shift in how consumers use the web this days it makes common sense to to add Facebook into the online marketing mix. With number of brand, star, cause or business fans ranging close to 5.3 billion , that means News Feeds to user’s pages are carrying a range of brand content and updates.
Last November “The Big Money” part of Slate Magazine, ranked 50 brands that they see as making the best use of Facebook. The ranking is based on factors like number of fans, page growth, frequency of updates, creativity and fan engagement, not just numbers of fans. According to “The Big Money” Coca-Cola is ranked as the brand that makes best use of the social network thanks to its “organic fan-centric page without a corporate feel” and some extremely good apps the currently coin the phrase “Share Happiness” in a campaign to boost the diffusion , awareness and contact with the brand in social media.
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Amongst the daily exchange, promotion, and web of connections woven into the fabric of the online movement of social media specialists, yesterday I read a post by Jason Falls, on his blog the Social Media Explorer. It extolled that the social media pragmatist would prevail over the social media purist.
It is one of the most sensible commentaries I have seen in this space cluttered by the usual virtuous publishings – listen first, stop shouting, transparency, need for spontaneity and speed of action , or the big question on how to measure Social Media ROI. Why does it standout as a poignant comment when all we hear is the importance of engaging in conversations and building relationships ( they still are of pivotal importance ) ? For me it’s the action associated to doing and making an impact on the bottom line that Jason is highlighting. You have take notice of the old direct to consumer or relationship adage – “Call to Action “ – what do you want your consumers to do now? ( it is an interactive environment after all ) Buy, learn more, fulfill a service or need, or be entertained?
As the digital shift continues to move marketing communications to more direct and dialogue driven channels companies should adopt a simple methodology in identifying what will work for them and their consumers. The dialogue idea is as unifying concept that aligns relationship or socially driven programs with other communications as a part of an integrated marketing approach. As more participatory channels for consumers are developed the need to establish consistent, non-campaign driven dialogue points becomes critical in the marketing mix. These are not just limited to the direct channels, as we know them; (CRM, DM, email, websites), but really extend across any personal contact that can be associated to the “ brand experience”; customer and consumer services, in store demonstrations, events etc.
A real world experience with a brand is only mirrored in the participatory platforms online and this mirroring reflects the sentiments it arouses in real world conversations. Read more…
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One of the more interesting pieces of news I read in the last week was that the Paris-based holding company Publicis Groupe said it has acquired Pour Tout Vous Dire, the French customer relationship management program of a key client, Unilever. While the exact figures have not been disclosed Publicis has obviously seen this as buying a solid media entity that you can build upon. In its original form the CRM program was a direct to consumer magazine that has since morphed into a lifestyle portal online with over 5 million subscribers. Read more…
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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…
“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.
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.
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.
Recently 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
The advertising outlook for 2009 looks resoundingly is bleak. Following a downturn in revenues for 2008 and the fact that most forecasters see this continuing through 2009 and 2010: the worst years of decline since the Great Depression. But ! and there is a big but here, Online and digital advertising channels are the the only ones predicted to outshine the doom and gloom and grow even in a downturn . This forecast view seems to be apparent across a number of forecast agencies , from the digital to traditional , there a a glimmer of optimism in the air.
In Jack Myers’ recently -updated Media Business Report, he forecasts traditional media outlets will take major hits in 2008 and 2009;
“The brunt of the 6.9 percent fall-off in 2009 ad spend will be felt by newspapers (-15.0%), Yellow Pages (-14.0%), consumer magazines (-13.0%), radio (-12.0%), local television (-10.5%), business-to-business and custom publishing (-9.0%), and broadcast network television (-4.0%). Even online media will feel the pain, with projected overall growth of a meager 2.7 percent. Online display ads are forecast to grow only one percent, with search engine marketing increasing 8.0% and online video, search engine, widget advertising increasing at a 25.0% rate to $1.5 billion. Online growth will pick up again in 2010 with overall 8.5% increases.”
What’s forecast to grow, if anything? Search marketing, online video, (rich media) widgets and Mobile advertising. The real star being mobile that jump 30 percent this year and another 15 percent next year. By the time the economy begins to regain steam, mobile advertising will jump another 30 percent in 2010, he forecasts.
So why is there a shine or bright spot?
In rich or video media its a “no brainer” for entertainment and brand advertisers.
Rich media and it recent upgrade to Digital Interactive media has greater increases in brand metrics than standard web ads. Experientially they impacts attitudinal metrics, such as message association, brand favorability and awareness, more than non-rich media and allow the incorporate video streaming of original content and help drive users to generate it and share it. With the coupling of transactional systems scuh as CRM and e commerce , the media buy can become a pure sale or pure consumer acquisition.
Mobile is definatly the flavour of next coming years . With SMS or text messaging is running hot as “Texting” has reach and ubiquity . Its simple medium with reach of 160 characters and the possibly of a hyper link . MMS banner ads on WAP sites are a little richer in content and interactivity but are not ubiquitous because few people have data plans that can access WAP pages the estimates being between 10% and 15% of all cell phone users.
Where the predictions for mobile seem to be going it just might Voice! Voice or sound is an interesting medium as it has no barriers to the existing 5 billion phones in the world. Just how intimate or intrusive it will be is another question. If my cell phone became a message bank a for un-announced advertisers I would not be happy but if I am opted in to a premium audio experience it’s richness because of its intimacy would make it influential and experientially based . It may well be the way to reach a massive audience with a unique , engaging and compelling experience.. And everybody can get it regardless of plans and standards.
John Horniblow - Digital Marketing expert and Digital Innovator
John is a passionate and highly respected digital communications and marketing professional who has worked with some of the world’s leading and most respected companies and brands including Toyota , Nestle, Nike, Apple, Microsoft, News Corporation and Activision.
Early in his career John trained as a cinematographer and has shot, directed and produced award winning short, television documentary and industrial/training films working with broadcasters such as BBC, SBS, and ABC . His work has been screened at International film festivals and on network television.
In Digital development John first worked as a producer on the launch of the MSN network in Australia (Microsoft -PBL venture; NineMSN) working on the transformation of traditional news , current affairs , and editorial properties into the online world . He spent time working at News Corporation in the founding days of News Interactive. John then joined Spike Networks to become the Director of Interactive Services in the interactive agency that was formerly Asia/Pacific’s largest and most successful . He ran the companies most prominent accounts for Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Commonwealth Bank, and Southcorp Wines and and produced and managed the strategy and development of a number of Fortune 100 company websites across a number of industries. His work has garnered awards at: London International Advertising Awards 1999 for TV and cinema commercials, radio and print advertising, and interactive media, The International Designers Network (IDN) Design Award 1999 in the Web/Entertainment category, and the 1999 Best Advertising/Marketing Site category in the Australian Interactive Multimedia Association Awards.
In 1999 he was also part of the team that took Spike to an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange and opened overseas offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. He moved to Los Angeles , USA to be the Director of Production and Content Development for SpikeRadio, the worlds first 24/7 online radio station network in the early days of audio and video streaming , pioneering production processes in remote media broadcasting across the internet and converging interactive editorial with rich media streams. He forged partnerships with Apples’ QuickTime TV network( the pre cursor to Itunes ) as a top tier content producer and broadcaster, Microsoft’s Windows Media as a broadband developer . In his tenure at SpikeRadio he produced Nike’s Olympic 2000 online media project, Radio Free Sydney, (Winner – Communication Arts’ Interactive Design Annual 2000 – Best in Interactive Design.) including producing series of short video web-episodes “Desperate seeking Brandy” and featuring US woman’s soccer star Brandi Chastain shot against the backdrop of Sydney’s Olympic Games . This alongside the bold and evolutionary BWM films is recognized as one of the web’s first branded entertainment series online.
In 2001 during the Dotcom downturn he started BLADEdigital, a strategic interactive and online production consultancy advising to Nissan Global Interactive Marketing, Nike Digital, Qantas’ North American CRM program, The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, The Phoenix Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
He then moved onto leading Activision’s interactive marketing efforts across all consumer facing digital channels . He led some of the earliest forays into social media marketing on mySpace and Facebook , developed a number of company firsts in driving web 2.0 fan based communities as a cornerstone to deep CRM and online marketing activities , developed a behaviour and sterotype mapping CRM platform to clearly define precision driven consumer segmentation and re designed/repositioned the Activision’s corporate and brand websites around broadband video and deep engagement activities.
Convergence Culture, Digital communications and marketing strategy and development, Emerging platforms and rich media, Interactive marketing strategies, Online CRM and loyalty based programs, Technology and Design consulting, Digital Branded Content and Entertainment – editorial, film and video production.