February 2009 Archives

What worries me about Social. Social Media Breakfast Club talk


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Last week I presented at the Social Media Breakfast Club event organized in conjunction with Social Media Week and sponsored by Crimson Hexagon. The event was held at the Roger Smith Hotel in midtown. They're a big supporter of everything social and have archived the presentation at Roger Smith Life.

I broke my twenty minute presentation into two parts. In the first I discussed digital darwinism and how digital brands are different from traditional brands based on research conducted by Joe Crump at Razorfish. I then moved onto discussing what worries me about the social space. I raised five concerns and for each concern I polled the audience to understand whether they agreed with me or not. Here are they are, let me know what you think of them.

1. Structure: As I've discussed on the blog before, the way most large organizations are structured and especially their marketing departments hinders their ability to leverage social strategically. It's owned party by PR, Media, the website team, the direct response folks, strategy and sometimes market research too. As a result, it is everyone's step child and doesn't get the attention it deserves. Organizations need to rethink how social fits into their business and where best to place it. I believe they need to organize around the three pillars of marketing - brand, direct response and social influence marketing. The audience at the Social Media Breakfast Club talk agreed with this.

2. Overheating: Social Media in one sense is overheating. There's too much buzz about it, too many vendors, too many offerings, too many consultants and too many promises being made. This year we're going to see consolidation as fewer vendors survive the downturn. We'll all also learn what vendors can really deliver on their promises and which ones aren't strong enough to survive. This will help the space in the long run and hopefully it'll mean better integration with other digital efforts too. For the most part the audience agreed with this though there was interesting comments about what we'll see in 2009.

3. Budgets tightening: We're in hard times and everybody knows that marketing budgets are tightening. This is going to be a good and a bad thing for social. Good in the sense that marketers are going to be more careful with their spending and they're going to look to social influence marketing to harness the multiplier affect. They'll pay more attention to earned media. Bad in the sense that marketers will be more revenue centric and even more direct response oriented. Encouraging them to think more broadly and take a few risks maybe challenging at times. There was general agreement here too though many in the room saw this as a big opportunity.

4. Sentiment Clarity: The brand monitoring space is crowded with several large players like Cymfony, Visible Technologies, Umbria, Neilsen Buzzmetrics and Motivequest. Each one very strong in its own right and they're doing their bit to move the category forward. However, there's one very important unanswered question. Are the insights derived from brand and conversation monitoring statistically significant? Do they represent an accurate sample of the population for a given category? That's something that every vendor needs to answer when they recommend using brand monitoring to drive consumer insights. When using these tools for PR purposes its less of a question. This was a little controversial but by an large there was agreement and some of the vendors present felt this wouldn't be hard to do at all.

5. Relationship with offline Word of Mouth: There's no question that social influence marketing and the way people influence each other online across the social web around brand affinity and purchasing decisions has a tie with offline word of mouth marketing. The critical question though is how important or impactful is the online social influence relative to the offline word of mouth influence? Recent research from the Keller Fay Group seems to imply that offline word of mouth is significantly more impactful than online social influence. Whether that is the case is a subject of much debate (as it was at the Social Media Breakfast Club) but we do know that its something that needs to be understood better. This was the most controversial point as many folks felt that the answer depends. For them in some cases social influence is much larger than WOM but in other cases it may not be.

All in all, it was a great discussion and I enjoyed presenting and learning from the others in the room.

The Future of Advertising. Can it be this?


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Can this be the Future of Advertising?Quite possibly but in my  and in some sense the future is already here twitpic. My only question is how much is it going to displace traditional advertising. And is this advertising or just consumer behavior?

Web 2.0 and the Enterprise: A Symbiotic Relationship


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I spoke at the Social Networking Conference in Miami two weeks ago. My presentation w as titled "Web 2.0 and the Enterprise: A Symbiotic Relationship." As someone who's advised Fortune 1000 companies on Enterprise 2.0 strategies as well as their Social Marketing ones, I see those two worlds blurring very much.
Historically, they've been treated as two very different beasts but I believe with the consumerization of the enterprise and the portability of social graphs the walls that divide the two are breaking down. And not just that but to do one effectively, an organization will need to be practicing the other as well. View my deck from the conference and tell me whether you agree with the hypothesis.

Digital Mom's Purchasing Behaviour Changes When Kids Turn 12, Razorfish study


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digitalmom_social.jpgRazorfish just released the results of a study done in partnership with Cafe Mom that examined how Mom's live in a digital world. Digital Mom consists of two companion studies. The first study, conducted by Razorfish focuses on how digital moms are adopting social and emerging technologies. The second study, prepared by CafeMom--the largest social networking site for moms-- concentrates on the role that social media play in helping to inform purchase decisions, among other key trends.

1,500 "digital moms"--defined as women with at least one child under 18 in the home who have engaged with two or more emerging technologies and who have researched, sought advice or purchased a product online in the last three months. Results confirm digital moms have moved beyond email and search, and are now active users of Web 2.0 technologies. The majority of moms are using social networks (65%) and text messaging (56%). More than half of these moms are also gamers, with 52% of them playing games online or via a console.

Some of the Key Findings include:
  • Moms with children 12 and older are motivated to adopt new technologies to stay in tune with their children. Of those who use social networks and blogs, almost half (47% and 40%, respectively) monitor their children. Likewise, digital moms of children 12 and older, versus moms with children under 12, are more likely to watch online video, (40% vs. 34%), game (57% vs. 51%), read online consumer reviews (38% vs. 30%), and watch or listen to podcasts (13% vs. 9%); This trend can be explained by different leisure time patterns among women with older children and a compelling interest in understanding their teenage children's digital lives.
  • The gap is closing between TV and digital channels in terms of creating awareness and affecting product decisions, and social influence channels are increasingly important. Although TV still has the most impact on creating initial awareness for a product (31%), social influence channels such as online consumer reviews, blogs, social network sites and RSS are highly influential in the learning/researching stage (29%).
  • Moms' interests are broad; some interests change by life stage, and some do not. More moms show interest in clothing/fashion and food than in parenting information, with the exception of moms with children under six.
Take a look at the report which is freely available here and let me know what you think. Needless to say, Mom's are an important audience for any marketer and their use of digital technologies is changing at a rapid pace. It's no surprise that word of mouth and social influence marketing play a large role in their worlds. The study was led by Terri Walters who's our VP of Emerging Media and a partner in crime for all things Social Influence Marketing too.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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