Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Are You A Smart Social Networker?"

I came across this great article from Dan Schwabel publisher of Personal Branding Magazine.

He offers some great tips to CMO's about starting social networking campaigns.

He claims: "...Thirty–seven percent of the US adult population uses social networks and there will be $1.2 billion spent on advertising on social networks this year alone (eMarketer). Even podcasting shows potential, with an audience that is projected to increase to 65 million in 2012 (eMarketer)."

He continues by offering these tips:

Spend more time learning about social media before actually engaging.
This can be done by subscribing to many popular blogs in your space...learn who your new stakeholders and influencers are and identify ambassadors in your company that could interact with them to start conversations.

Become visible in the industry.
Whether it’s you or your direct reports, attendance at new media conferences will provide insight and best practices.

Take risks.
There are very few real social media success stories in corporate America because companies are in experimentation mode. Whether it’s a viral video, a blog, a wiki or a discussion forum, companies are looking to see how others react to their tools and strategies. The Blog Council was formed to help companies, such as Coca Cola, share failures and successes.

Command respect by being transparent.
If you take anything from reality TV, you know that people care about authenticity and not acting. You need to start treating bloggers like real people and not press release submission services. The people that will succeed will tell bloggers exactly who they are and what their intentions are immediately.

Don’t be just another logo on a website.
Just because you brand yourself visually doesn’t mean people will care about you. Make your business come to life and have your employees tell their stories. People remember faces and stories more than anything.

My previous post about "truth" plays into this...we live in a world where customers expect authenticity.

The internet has made the world very public and therefore very easy for your customers to criticize or praise your brand out in the open. It's becoming more impossible to hide your failures...and on the other's become easier to celebrate your successes!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"The Customer Is Always Right!"

We've heard the phrase "The Customer Is Always Right" for ages but sometimes we either want to ignore it because as marketers we 'think' we know better or we just don't want to face the truth. But time after time, the phrase is proven to be true.

Our friends at Forrester just published another amazing study. The question this time:

“What is your overall level of trust for each of the following sources of advertising?” Here are the results:
  • Consumer opinions posted online: 41 percent
  • Email I signed up for: 35 percent
  • Brand Web sites: 30 percent
  • Magazine ads: 26 percent
  • TV ads: 24 percent
  • Radio ads: 21 percent
  • Search engine ads: 12 percent
  • Text ads on a cell phone: 7 percent
  • Online banner ads: 7 percent
  • Banner ads on a cell phone: 5 percent

The results show that “Control leads to trust, pull wins vs. push,” wrote Peter Kim, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. “The first three options are consumer controlled, “I know what I’ll get”.

The real take-away here is that creating campaigns that inspire consumers to participate with your brand at their own free will creates trust. In other words, create marketing campaigns that make people 'want' to get more information from you....entice them to sign up for an email database and allow them to post their honest opinions about your brand on your website.

As Mr. Kim said..."control leads to trust". Who controls your brand? You or your customer?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"It's The Only Way To Fly!"

Richard Branson is at it again, this time he has added some cool 'customer-centric' benefits to Virgin America.

What makes it special...customer service. While other airlines are offering inflight amenities like television, Sir Richard takes it to another level with 'in seat' service called "Red"

"Red ups the ante in several significant ways. It shows on-demand movies and satellite TV, of course, but it also has video games, a nicely curated collection of music videos and more than 3,000 MP3s. There's seat-to-seat text chat, and Virgin will add satellite-enabled internet access, including Wi-Fi if you're lugging your own computer, later this year."

The system even lets you order your meal and drinks on your own more fighting for cart service! And if you want to purchase something...simply swipe your cash required.

Music...Wi-Fi...Texting...and that's an interactive flight! Life really is all about customer service and making people feel special.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Are You Afraid To Save Some Money?"

Jupiter Research recently conducted a study on impact of mobile couponing.

The findings: "...when Jupiter Research asked consumers which types of mobile-coupon offers would interest them most, a good 70 percent said “none of the above” when presented with a range of options."

However, that does mean that with a 30% acceptance rate for this very new technology; there were some categories that were most meaningful as shown by the chart on the right.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about "Bluetooth Marketing". Some early pundits said they found it "creepy" that people would allow access to coupons that 'just appear' on their mobile device.

While there is still some 'suspicion' in this new technology, it is exactly that reason for fear..."NEW" always scares people unless they're early adopters.

Here's an idea if your company has an email/mobile 'opt-in' database. Offer a quick online or text survey asking what categories or specific vendors are 'meaningful' to them...there just might be some new business opportunities waiting for you!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"The Social Networking Highway...Know When to Stop, Go and Yield!"

I came across this great article on one of my favorite blogs Marketing.FM called "Social Media Spring Cleanup". It reminds us that with the proliferation of all the new social networking sites, we need to think about how many usernames and passwords we have all over this wonderful superhighway.

Part of the article has a link to Mashable which just posted an a list of over 350+ social networking links...see it here.

At some point, there will be a service that integrates your Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc. services onto 1 central page. Maybe it'll even have a universal password.

I think about how many invites a day I get to different social networking's pretty overwhelming trying to keep track of them all on top of my online banking, earthlink homepage and email account information.

Until we can get these portals organized, it appears that my online life is becoming just as complicated as my personal life....mmmm...I thought technology was supposed to make life easier all this time!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Def Jam That Mobile Phone!"

It was announced today that Sony Ericsson announced they will be private labeling a phone for Def Jam records. The device will come pre-loaded got it

“It’s about accessing a new market. For years and years the music industry has been about selling either pieces of plastic or units of music, and most certainly for us to be able to enter into the hardware marketplace and to be able to take both commercially and in terms of a marketing tool for our artists a piece of the action it’s very exciting.”

This model no doubt was by inspired Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Mobile. Also getting on the game is record honcho Doug Morris. He also realized that selling devices is important but he'd rather take part of the subscription fee for "Total Music" than do a branded device.

While the details are in flux, insiders say Morris & Co. have an intriguing business model

"...get hardware makers or cell carriers to absorb the cost of a roughly $5-per-month subscription fee so consumers get a device with all-you-can-eat music that's essentially free. Music companies would collect the subscription fee, while hardware makers theoretically would move many more players. "

We've heard for along time that the real money is made selling devices, not music. This tactic embeds the subscription fee in the purchase of the phone. The 'upsell' the phone, get FREE gives a whole new meaning to "gift with purchase"!

"WOM - What We Can Learn From Organized..."

I had an interesting experience this past Sunday morning. While doing my morning rituals of 'waking up' and 'making coffee', the door bell rang. When I opened it up, there were 2 guys who claim to be messengers of religion.

Now mind you it's 11am and most people would still be a church on a Sunday, but these 2 found it a compelling time to knock...a 'cold call' for religion if you will!

It got me thinking about Word-Of-Mouth marketing (see the tenets of WOM by clicking the link).

Clearly one of the biggest 'buzz words' of the last couple of years. Organized religion has always been about 'word of mouth' marketing!

Unfortunately for these 2, I was not the right target for them...however upon rejection did they did offer this consoling fact, "if you ever need us...I thought to"salvation" at my front door!

In a way it was refresing, the only thing these word-of-mouth marketers were pitching was religion. No candy bars, no girl scout cookies, no fruit, no rubber bracelets.

The real issue here is this: one of the key tenets of WOM is "don't force the issue"...perhaps if these guys had done some targeting before they started their canvassing, they'd have a better 'conversion rate' if you know what I mean!

Friday, April 11, 2008

"How To Get On Oprah"

I came across this article at it just may be the key to our 15 minutes of fame!

"How To Get On The Oprah Winfrey Show!" is a step-by-step guide to get closer to the "Golden O"! Urban legend has it that anyone who ever comes into contact to her turns into Gold!

The advice comes from Susan Harrow of Harrow Communications in Oakland CA. She says:

"Oprah’s producers get 15,000 pitches for products every day, Harrow says. Write one that stands out!"

She also says, Step 1 is to get "Oprah Ready". Suggesting that if you 'do your homework' might make it happen.

So if you think about it you have a better chance of getting on Oprah than you do of ever winning the lottery!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Listen...Do You Smell That?"

Now, I'm all for new technology but when I came across this mobile story this morning it really peaked my interest.

The Japanese company NTT DoCoMo is experimenting with the ability to send "Scents" ala perfume to your cellphone on demand!

The Washington Post reports:
"Scent playlists can be downloaded from "i-mode" mobile Web site run by the company's affiliate, NTT DoCoMo.

The service uses a handset's infrared port to transfer the "fragrance data" to a dedicated device similar to a plug-in air freshener that is loaded with a cartridge of base fragrances.

The device then mixes them to create the chosen smell, which it then wafts out."

They are also using scents to enhance Tokyo FM's music program "Tapestry Radio" where they want you to smell the music! Read More about it here. You can purchase the phones here but you have to know how to read Japanese to buy it.

If the "Smell-O-Phone" has far off is HD "Smell-O-Vision!"

Monday, April 7, 2008

"WiMax....Why Not?" 3 Million Songs In Your Car!

With CTIA now concluded in Las Vegas I thought I'd take a moment to post the "The 10 Coolest Things" according to

Another of the biggest things that will hit in us between the eyes this year is Intel's "WiMax". Part of this amazing offering is the in-car internet service that will allow you full surfing integrated with GPS. Pictured right is the prototype of the Mini Cooper PC.

Just to give you an overview, check out this Intel/YouTube demo to that shows alot of thought provoking scenarios here.

Note that they say the service gives you access to 3,000,000 legal songs on demand!

So even if you want to connect your personal music device in the car, you'll still have access to a huge libary of tunes in addition!

Don't be deceived, this is going to revolutionize the way consumers will listen to music on-the-go in addition to expanding GPS capabilities to help you find the best deals in town in real time.

I'm really energized by this technology, I truely believe it's going to take entertainment and new media consumption to a new level. I remember when they first put DVD players in we'll have all the accessibility that we used to have in a tethered

Saturday, April 5, 2008

"1000 True Friends...Is It Possible?"

Most of my reading these days is about social networking and the importance of 'authenticity' when it comes to communicating in this new realm.
We've all heard about 'truth in advertising' for years as baby boomers but this new dimension of social media has raised a whole new series of questions about 'being truthful' in a new media community environment.

In exploring truth is it really impossible to have 1000's of 'true' friends on anyone of these sites?

With each post you put on any of these social networking sites, you allow just about anyone to see something about you in an 'unveiled' environment. In fact, I tout my membership to these sites to people as a 'calling card'.

Social networking allows me to enhance my own credibility by associating with like minded people whom I respect. This is clearly something you couldn't show in the past on a CV or in a rolodex when meeting new people or prospective clients.

I'm not passing judgement on people who have 1000's of friends on Facebook, Myspace or Linkedin. I do believe that the more people you know the more opportunity you can create, but I also do believe that we can look at social networking as a way to create our own 'Super Delegates" that will represent us until the end.

For me it would be great to have 1000's of 'true friends'...i'm just not sure it's possible. I pride myself on the opposite I suppose...a small group of people whom I admire, who mentor me and inspire me to do what I do.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"It's All In A Name"

I've always been a fan of Al Ries. He's also an ongoing contributor to Ad Age. He recently authored an article on the failure of Isuzu as they recently announced they'll be pulling their cars off the U.S. market.

Al's take on the failure of the car company is this "..."The cause of its death: failure to innovate, misjudgment of the market and woeful underspending on marketing."

He further notes "and most important of all, Isuzu is a terrible name. Consumers can't spell it; consumers can't pronounce it. (The name is pronounced "e-suzu," not "i-suzu.") and continues "You can't build a brand with a weak name. It's like building a house on sand."...

"The name is the hook that hangs the brand on the product ladder in the prospect's mind. In the positioning era, the single most important marketing decision you can make is what to name the product."

With that said...Isuzu's advertisting agency never questioned the name and just started marketing as usual. Despite the early success of the "Joe Isuzu" campaigns the brand ultimately became obsolete.

This is a great example of one of the great pitfalls of marketing. In coming up with an idea, we should always make sure we 'do our homework first". One of my mentors and media mogul David Martin instilled that in me in the mid 90's.

If the name of your product isn't easy to digest perhaps its consumption will be limited and more importantly misunderstood. We should really think through whether or not the product is simply a function of the 'now' or it is 'timeless'.

Once again we see new media services booming...all kinds of VC's are planting their stakes in the ground for social networking...but before we launch...we should think about its long term thing is certain, "MySpace" and "Facebook" certainly are clear in their meaning.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Mobile Growth" And "3 Steps For Going Digital"

The Wall Street Journal just did a quick little recap on some of the cool new things to expect from your mobile phone. See the video here.
CTIA, the mega wireless convention started in Las Vegas today. Some of the key highlights include these comments from CTIA's CEO Steve Largent:

-- There's 255 million wireless subscribers in the US, covering 84 percent of the population, increasing by 22 million in the past year

-- Wireless data revenues are soaring, hitting $23 billion in 2007 (17 percent of overall revenues), jumping 53 percent year over year.

-- 48 billion text messages are sent every month, a 157 percent over last year

See all the CTIA highlights here.

AdAge has a great CMO article on how "To Reach Shoppers, Move Beyond Print Circulars".

They offer "3 Steps To Going Digital":

An idea-centric approach that focuses on engaging and connecting with consumers across channels over time to earn their attention

This reflects the need today's consumers have to filter and customize content and experiences based on their unique predispositions -- for example, RSS feeds and start pages -- as well as to access content and experiences when and where they desire (mobile, search and other time/place-shifting mechanisms such as video on demand and podcasts).

This captures the interest in community, sharing and collaboration (social networking, blogs, viral activity and gaming).

This recognizes the importance of information and entertainment distribution through wider-reach brand sites and portals and their integration with traditional offline media channels such as broadcast TV.