December 2009 Archives

Campaigns versus Conversations

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This is another great comparison and too good to pass up. It comes to me via Gerald out of our Frankfurt office. Consider buying the book, Slightware from which this comes. I haven't seen it but based off of this visual, it seems it maybe a good one.

Shiv Singh Ain't No Dummy

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digiday:DAILY reviewed Social Media Marketing for Dummies. Here's the book review. They titled the post, "Shiv Singh Ain't No Dummy" which was a hilarious title. I'm told that the piece got much higher click thru rate than expected because of that title. Is it because everyone wasn't sure that I'm not a dummy and wanted to see the proof points? Who knows! Here's an excerpt.

Nothing breaks a topic down like the "For Dummies" series. All in it has sold more than 150 million books educating the world on the most basic elements of everything from The Internet to eBay to wine to divorce. It would stand to reason that the most recent in the series "Social Media Marketing For Dummies" holds no challenges for today's sophisticated marketer. But sophisticated the book is. It dispenses quickly with the basics of "social influence marketing" and immediately moves on to the most challenging issues on social media such as mobile, authenticity finding a social voice for your company, and even how to energize and manage a social media effort internally. 

The reason for the book's depth comes directly from its author. As the VP & Global Social Media Lead with Razorfish  he has been on the social media beat for big clients, small clients, and marketers that need research to plan and measure the newest platform. Rather than tell his audience of marketers what they already know, Singh took the opportunity to write a book for "dummies" to set out a complete vision of how social media can be executed. It just went into its second printing last week, and we caught up with Singh on that occasion.

You can read the full book review over at digiday:Daily

Tiger Woods PR ignores social media & fans

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Tiger Woods fan pageLike many others, I was a huge fan of Tiger Woods until recently. He epitomized perfection on and off the golf course. Something that has been shattered in the last few weeks. We all know that. A question that remains though - how is he trying to contain his damage and is he using social media helping or hurting him? (Also, read the MediaPost story that I was interviewed for)

In a nutshell, the answer is no. He has over 1.3 million fans on his Facebook fan page and has locked them out (no one can comment). Woods hasn't posted to the fan page since November 6th himself. Instead he's made press statements via his own website. Here's a secret - the media will always be harsher on you than your fans. The fans are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt (though here there doesn't seem to be much doubt). Don't ignore them - instead reach them directly.

Here's what I said Tiger Woods should do in the MediaPost story - use the website to talk to the press, speak directly to the fans through the Facebook page, open it up for comments even if it means getting slammed and be clear about how much you will respond. Don't delete anything published earlier (yes, that includes those family photographs) and tell us about your path to recovery as it progresses. Mr. Woods you owe that much to your fans including me. 

This just isn't about trying to hold onto your brand for dear life, it is also about what you owe your fans. You betrayed them. Also read David Deal's perspective for another point of view.

Twitter hacked by Iranian group

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twitterhacked1.jpgWho'd have thought. Can't seem to access Twitter from my iPhone either. I wonder how long it will be down for. The social web comes to a standstill.

Social Analytics Lifecycle. Helpful framework

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socialframework.pngI just stumbled upon a nice framework for thinking about social influence marketing and how it impacts an organization in its many incarnations. This one comes from Ken Burbary who's doing some great thinking in the social media space. He's also one of the organizers behind the Module 2010 Digital Conference. Click the image to view a larger version of it.

I like that it starts with the social web, includes analysis, data segmentation, strategy (which is missed too often) and then leads to execution through a department lens. Probably the only addition I would add is consumer and influencer insights as an input.

Twitter Contributors enhances SIM Voices

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simvoicesbestbuy.jpgIn my book Social Media Marketing for Dummies, I introduce the concept of SIM voices or Social Influence Marketing voices. These SIM voices are the voices through which you engage with consumers in the social web across any touch point or social platform. 

Twitter understands this and their new features that allow multiple authors to support a business account is spot on. Called Contributors, it lets a business account have multiple authors so that a specific user can be added to the byline of a business account. Read on for why you need to develop a program around SIM voices.

Technology First, Needs Last says Norman

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Don Norman argues that design research does not help with developing new breakthrough innovations. He concludes that the value of design research is only in incremental product improvements that provide a quick return. When it comes to innovations like airplanes, automobiles, indoor plumbing, electric lighting and the flush, design research had no role to play. Norman then says that using ethnographic observational studies to discover, unmet hidden needs is a myth.

Sorry, Don but I'm not sure if I agree with you completely having led hands on marketing, product and design teams for over a decade. If you're a designer and you look to draw a direct translation from design research to product design then maybe you're depending upon design research. However, if you're using it as one of many inputs (including your own imagination and common sense), you'll discover that design research can only help. Innovation is a complex, unscientific and imaginative process. To try to reduce it to a format (whether that be through design research or the opposite) is an over simplification. 

Don't be embarrassed about being a Dummy!

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dummiesman.gifA few friends have told me that they're enjoying my book but feel a little embarrassed to be carrying around a book from the Dummies series. In fact, ValleyPR's nice book review also alluded to that fact. Well, I've got two thoughts - don't be afraid to be a Dummy and keep in mind this is Un-Dummy Dummy book!

The Dummies series is the number one selling book series in the world primarily because these books lets you learn a subject in a quick, easily digestible and engaging format really quickly. It is not necessarily about learning the absolute basics only. People like the books because they bring you up to speed on a topic quickly and give you the confidence that you've learnt everything you need to know. 

Secondly, with this book in particular, it is probably one of the more Un-Dummy Dummy books as someone pointed out to me. What he meant was that it puts a lot of emphasis on explaining advanced, fresh and exciting social media marketing concepts in easy to understand language. In other words, its taking some very new concepts (especially around influencer types and how they matter at each point in the funnel) and makes them accessible and available. Remember,this is not a book about social media or how to use Twitter but one about the evolution of marketing with social influence across all of digital.

What can digital learn from the offline world?

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That was the question I was asked on stage at the Advertising Age Media Mavens Award luncheon in front of hundreds of leaders from the marketing and advertising world. Below is my answer. Tell me whether you agree or not. This was not a question that I got in advance. So yes, I was on the spot!

Shiv Singh, VP-global social media lead at Publicis Groupe's Razorfish, believes it's getting much harder to separate offline from digital and that the silos between the two need to come down. "Digital can learn a hell of a lot from traditional and still needs to," Mr. Singh said. "Consumers don't say to themselves, 'This is a traditional moment and tomorrow I'm going to wake up and have a digital moment.' So it's about time we get beyond that ourselves."

Mr. Singh said digital marketers should take heed of the work taking place in the offline word-of-mouth sector and how the relationship between marketer and influencer is developed and how their influence is measured. "What's going to happen next in social is that we will get a lot more rigorous and technical about how we identify, nurture and measure the impact of online influencers on the customer," he said. "And rather than thinking in terms of audiences we will be thinking in terms of audiences and the impact influencers can have on those audiences."

You can read responses to a few of the questions asked in this Ad Age piece. The luncheon was wonderful and I was humbled and thankful for being included in the group of Media Mavens.

Diaper Pail. Tapping into Social Influencers

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Sometimes the best campaigns are the simpler ones. We live in a world where we all feel obliged to launch campaigns with Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, MySpace profiles, YouTube channels and who knows what else. Not to mention all the traditional touch points. One of our clients at Razorfish (in partnership with us), took a much simpler and potentially more impactful approach. A microsite that incorporated insights from social influencers to create a safe zone for nerve racking choices. Here's what I mean.

Munchkin asked Razorfish to help it launch a new product called Daiper Pails to compete against another player in the market who currently has 90% marketshare. Rather than creating extensive presences across all the social platforms and running a huge amount of display advertising, the team decided to focus on creating a simple, explanatory microsite peppered with the voices of independent mommy bloggers.

"A Clever Product for a Clever Mom" (a theme Razorfish devised for the product launch) celebrates clever tips that moms share for their nurseries.  The first phase of the campaign, the Diaperpail site, features tips from mom bloggers on how to keep one's nursery clean and fresh.  For instance, Missy W ( discusses how adding a few drops of lavender to baking soda can make your nursery smelling more fresh when you are cleaning a diaper pail. The tips reveal themselves as you explore a nursery.

The moms do not hawk the diaper pail in any explicit way; instead they help create an atmosphere of trust and usefulness through their tips for nursery maintenance, thus helping the brand connect emotionally to moms in a gentler way. The social influencers (the mommy bloggers) aren't asked to endorse the product or go spend money somewhere and report back the findings (a common blogger outreach tactic that I discuss in my book).

The next step is for Munchkin and Razorfish to launch a digital advertising campaign that will increase product awareness and drive traffic to the microsite.  In January, print advertisements created by Razorfish for American Baby and Fit Pregnancy magazines will also raise awareness and drive site traffic. (Lisa Sugar, founder of the Pop Sugar network, will appear in the ads.) Sure, microsites aren't good for everything, and it getting harder to justify running a marketing campaign without Facebook and Twitter involved, but sometimes the best starting point may still be the microsite - but the microsite that incorporates the philosophies of social influence marketing as this one does.

It's too new to have metrics but I'll report back as the campaign progresses. Twitter Moms was used to help find the Mommy Bloggers.

Pharma: Socializing in a Straightjacket

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117132-PillsL.jpgAdweek has a great story (which I was interviewed for) about the hesitancy in pharma to embrace social influence marketing. With the FDA slow to issue guidelines on what the drugs can and cannot do, few pharmaceuticals are comfortable with taking any risks at all in the direct to consumer space. It is a pity though because healthcare more broadly is one area that can and does really benefit from social media. 

In fact, some of the strongest online communities are those related to patient care like this research highlighted. Needless to say, these communities do not have pharmacutical firms participating directly. Some do basic sponsorship but that's about it. What makes this all the more ironical is that when we look at social influence marketing and the value of influencers, a lot of the learnings come from the rigor and scientific approach to influence marketing that the pharmucenticals deployed decades ago. 

Social Media Snake Oil. Story Harsh?

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progmaj_snake-oil.jpgI must say I'm a tad bit disappointed in the recent Businessweek story about social media marketing - Beware Social Media Snake Oil. Not because it slams social media consultants (in every profession there are good and bad experts) and nor because it seemingly questions the value of social media to marketing (everyone is entitled to their own opinion).

But because it ignores some core underlying factors that surround the social media phenomena. Social Media Marketing (or to use the less commonly used phrase but more accurate in my opinioin, social influence marketing) is about tapping into the long tail of social influencers and encouraging them to do the marketing for you on the social platforms but also on your own websites. It is also about evolving a brand into a more social one with social voices from within and outside the organization supporting it. It is about recognizing that your customers aren't statistics but people whom you should listen to in real time and from whom you can learn (using whatever appropriate statistically significant tools you can). And, social media marketing can should be looked at with the same rigor and metrics as other forms of marketing. We do at Razorfish using the SIM Score and many other platform specific metrics. There's nothing abstract, vague or clumsy about this.

There are certainly skeptics as there should be. But I think a better story would have been to explain the state of social influence marketing, which brands are harnessing it successfully, which ones aren't and how the lines between PR, advertising, marketing, corporate communications and HR are all blurring. Maybe a story about some of the innovations that are changing marketing and blurring the lines between digital and non-digital might have been interesting. Or even something like the one Ad Age just did about the Super Bowl and how advertisers are using social media to extend their campaign ROI. Focusing on the consultants is not the important story and given how much attention BW has given to social in the past, it seems a little unusual to publish this simplistic perspective. Am I being too harsh?

Looking ahead to 2010, Key Trends

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I was interviewed by Mary Ellen Slater of SmartBrief last week on key social trends for 2010. I'm a member of the SmartBrief Social Media Advisory Board and was excited to do this interview. Below is an excerpt of those trends. Find the full interview over at SmartBrief

Social media is evolving quickly. What are the three trends on the horizon that business leaders absolutely must keep up with?

Social brands. The most successful brands in 2010 are going to be the ones that evolve into social brands. This means that brands that have social voices -- real people participating and talking on their behalf to customers in an engaging, conversational manner. The company must be willing to let its employees and its brand advocates become the face of the brand. Consumers demand that, and brands like Best Buy that are evolving into social brands (think Twelp Force) will be the ones that win. Every brand is going to need to become a social brand at some point.

Real-time brands. Companies that become dynamic and responsive in real time to their customers and their needs will be the ones that succeed. This doesn't just mean real time customer service but real time market research, real time product development, and real time customization and personalization of products and campaigns alike. This also means that the products will need to have a digital pulse in them.

Identifying, nurturing and managing relationships. Customers increasingly are also influencers (expert, positional or referent), and companies will need to know who those people are and how much influence they actually have. A lot more effort is going to go into this. Along those lines, understanding how customers come together as communities and make collective decisions will be important, too.

Read the remainder of the interview at SmartBrief on Social Media and don't miss their year end report.

Twitter becomes more human. Goes Red

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twitterred.jpgKudos to Twitter for supporting World AIDS day. Their unlogged in homepage is in red today (pity the logged in versions can't be). It seems as if twitter is finally paying serious attention to its home page. We don't just want functionality. In today's world, we want personality too. It doesn't have to be overbearing (that's bad too) but a little bit strengthens the relationship. 

I hope this doesn't mean we'll be seeing lots of advertising (or Droid advertising specifically!) on the Twitter home page in the future.

NYT ditches Times Extra. Opportunity missed

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NY Times ExtraToday Times Extra from the New York Times is being shut down. Now this was a pretty unique feature on the New York Times site that brought third party content right into the homepage  itself (see the green links in the screenshot). In my opinion an ambitious, forward thinking and adventurous move on the part of the Times. I'd even say a groundbreaking move.  A move I believe had the right philosophies (recognizing they don't always have the best content), the right values (acknowledging that the Times is part of a broader social ecosystem online) and the wrong user experience (scanning, scrolling and reading was cumbersome). 

The problem quite simply was that the third party links seemed forced into the existing New York Times homepage. NY Times - if you're integrating third party content (and you should), do so with the same flair that you do everything else. And I'd argue, integrate social media content as well. This implementation was clunky. No wonder people didn't gravitate to it. Here's my suggestion - don't shut down Times Extra completely, rather redesign it from scratch or have someone else design it for you. You were onto something there.

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