Archive for the ‘Web Marketing’ Category


Podcasts: Marketing Voices and For Immediate Release

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People often ask me, how do you stay on top of the industry news so well? My answer? I listen.

One of the ways I get smarter about the field I cover is to listen to podcasts while driving, at gym, or going for a walk. The two top podcasts in this space to listen to are Marketing Voices by Jennifer Jones, and For Immediate Release by Shel and Neville.

Social Media Executive Interviews: Marketing Voices
Marketing Voices has short ‘tight’ interviews with practice leaders in the space, the questions and framing are really at an executive level, so this is the one to share with your bosses.

Social Media News and Editorial: For Immediate Release
On the other hand, For Immediate Release (FIR) is about a 40 minute show that includes news, commentary, tech reports, voices from Singapore. They debate, discuss, and dig into issues at a greater depth more suitable for the practitioner –one to share with the folks in the field.

During work, I listen to the Properly Chilled podcast (iTunes) and Dave’s Lounge (iTunes) to get the latest beats, each one is often an hour long of free, fresh music.

What podcasts do you listen to for professional education and for music?

Monitoring and Managing a Brand

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With your brand being mentioned so many places online, it’s a difficult task to manage how it’s positioned and where it appears –in fact, in many ways, you can’t control the brand, as it’s now ‘owned’ by those who talk about it (or always has been).

Now, if your job is to be the caretaker of your company’s brand, or you’ve been hired to do so as a PR firm, you should keep on eye on how it’s positioned on Wikipedia (and follow these rules on how to update it), if you’re in the social media space, also monitor and manage Tradevibes, Crunchbase, and now Appappeal.

With the recent concerns about brandjacking, or getting your brand punk’d, this helpful tool user name check can quickly scan the popular (and not so popular social networks to find if your company’s name (or personal) has been taken. The service sometimes goes down, so be patient with it.

On a related note, Mukund suggests here’s some targets PR folks should look at when pitching social media companies, I left a comment suggesting a few others, maybe you can help him round it out. Targeting team blogs like centernetworks, or other influentials may yield a better spend on time and effort –I’m nearly tapped out in time reviewing products.

How Microsoft Can Win The PC/Mac Campaign

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For the last few months, er years, Microsoft has been getting their assets handed to them as Apple tears into their brand with the “PC vs Mac” clever ads.

Microsoft has launched a new campaign with at least two phases, the first one showing Seinfeld and Gates acting as “normal guys” at the mall, at home, on the road. Most tech heads didn’t get it, but for the mainstream everybodies, it may have resonated. The ads may have been stalled, the reports contradict.

The second phase, which launched last night, extends the “everybody is a PC” theme shows some highly structured actors (including the lovely Eva Longoria) showing how they’re a PC.

I figured out that the theme was “everyone is a PC” which is a differentiator from the elite feeling of Mac for young urban 20 something year olds, to the rest of the business and work world.

So what could Microsoft (And their agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky) do to resonate and win this campaign? Allow anyone to publish their photos, videos how they are a PC. They currently have these features in their campaign site, (link via Andrew Finkle) but they are buried a few clicks away, and they even require a fan to submit their age.

What should Microsoft do?

  • Create YouTube Video Templates that have the same video start and end (called bumpers) and have a seperate MP3 track that can be added in the background
  • Create a set of tags “ImaPC” or “PCpride” or “everyonePC” that makes the videos easy to find
  • Next, aggregate the videos onto one page, making them easy for folks to find.
  • Create a voting campaign allowing users to add points to the videos they enjoy the most
  • Use these user created videos in actual TV and web advertising
  • Allow negative videos to be included, and showcase these on the web
  • Elevate these social features right on the campaign page, expand to Facebook, LinkedIn, and where else creators and joiners exist.
  • To take the win, Microsoft should let the people lead, create, and own the campaign, Jerry and Bill can share the spotlight, reframe the campaign on creators. I see there site is hinting at this, and it maybe in their plans, but I’d expect them to crank this user created feature up.

    If you agree that Microsoft should elevate the opportunity for everyone to show how they are a PC, leave comment below, maybe, just maybe, they’re watching.

    Update: Microsoft is putting the ads on Times Square in NYC, a good start –but don’t forget to republish across the web. (link via Paisano)

    Update 2: Dennis McDonald did a “Worldle” analysis (Tag cloud) of all the words used in the following comments. What’s being screamed? “Campaign, people, PC, microsoft, pc, mac”

    How to Get Noticed

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    I’m often asked by companies and indiividuals on what they can do to stand out. Here’s what I’ve learned… but don’t just take my word for it, add your own tips in the comments.

    The problem:
    There are so many brands now, in fact with the introduction of websites, and blogs in particular, many are developing personal brands, something not as easy to accomplish in past years. With this profileration of brands, it becomes so much more difficult for brand to stand out from the millions of others. Sure, you’re thinking the long tail solves this, and well yes, in a way. In reality there are leaders and followers being created in each sub-niche, so the rules of getting noticed still apply.

    Have a goal
    Before you do anything, think about what your objectives are. In particular for brands or personal brands, identify the keywords that you’d most want to be associated with. Try to think of keywords that people would search for, are long-term, and aren’t some made up name that no one would seek. Your goal may be association with these keywords which you’ll be gunning for. Or, if your goal is to network with others and to grow your reach, focus on how many quality relationships (perhaps defined by people that would help you and you’d help back) that you can grow. Or if your goal is to learn about a new topic and eventually master the subject material, focus on how you’ll learn by reading, then eventually writing on that topic.

    Develop a unique brand
    I really don’t think URLs are as important as they used to be, often folks will Google your name to find you, and the fact that we disperse to so many websites (Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed/What’s next) is an indicator of the distributed web ruling the destination website. There are millions of blogs/companies out there, and if you’re trying to get noticed, you’re going to have to compete to stand out. Having a default blog template to your website isn’t going to be enough, you’re automatically segmenting yourself with others. Develop a unique look and feel by designing it yourself or finding someone who can help. If that’s too difficult, at least create a custom masthead image that will brand your site.

    Get personal
    If you want to stand out, you should add your picture to your blog, and develop a visual icon that demonstrates who you are. While not everyone shows their picture (Louis Gray comes to mind) he did develop an icon “LG” that represents his personal brand. Use this icon on all your other social media properties in a consistent manner. Also, register the same handle on other social media sites, and cross link them from your blog. Take for example Jive Software, who in a crowded space (80-100 vendors) has encouraged Sam Lawrence to develop a unique voice that he inserts –and leads– in the conversation about enterprise social software.

    Attend local events
    One thing I found very useful when I was trying to get noticed was attending many events. I attended 2-3 tech events every week, which was easy to do in Silicon Valley. By doing this, I was able to meet folks who were passionate about the space, were speaking at other events, and developed a network to interact with online during the day, and one I’m very active with now.

    Lead events
    You’ll soon start to notice a gap in the events you’re going to: a particular topic isn’t being covered, or a particular style of a topic isn’t being approached (unconference, roundtable, lecture, networking) and you can start to quickly develop your own events. I’ve seen so many do this, in particular blogger dinners, or meshwalks or barcamps.

    Be interesting
    Given the large number of people talking about the same thing you are online, you’re going to need to differentiate. Sure, standard business strategy but it’s amazing how few fail to do so. Many simply quote what others say, adding very little value, instead, you need to consistently be intersting. Here’s a few approaches: conduct analysis, respectively disagree with the mainstream, break news, compare and contrast services, develop lists or indexes of companies or topics. When I met Scoble in 2005, I asked them how I can be a better blogger (get links from A-listers) he told me to ‘be intersting’, I took that too heart.

    Archive your achievements
    As you develop your repitorie of speaking at events, leading events, or being quoted in articles or top blogs, start to create an archive that links to all these achievements. You don’t need to make it totally visible, but you’ll want to be able to share this with decision makers (next job, speaker selector, media, recruiters) to indicate on one page how you stand out.

    I’ve so many other tips on how to get noticed, but I’m going to leave this an open discussion in the comments, leave examples and tips for others on how to best get noticed.

    What Facebook’s New ‘Engagement Advertising’ Means to Brands

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    Update: Only a few brands will trial these new ads, after testing, will then be broadly released later in the year.

    A few days ago, I had a private briefing before the press with Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization at Facebook, below are the findings, with specific recommendations for brands. As I get more information, such as results and data, I’ll update this post.


    Web Strategy Summary (90 Words)
    Facebook launched a new product called ‘Engagement Advertisements’ that encourages members to interact with the ads by leaving comments, sharing virtual gifts, or becoming fans. To combat dismal click through rates of traditional advertisements, these features emulate widgets and encourage users to increase member adoption, viral growth, and brand interaction. Brands will only succeed with these “WidgetAds” if they create content that puts community first, lean on new interactions, integrate with other tools, plan for the long haul, and change how they measure success –traditional internet advertising tactics won’t apply.

    [Facebook’s ‘Engagement Advertisements’ emulates natural activities of members –in hopes to increase interaction, network spread, and brand preference]


    Facebook, a Fast Growing Global Social Network
    Facebook, noted as the largest social network, is on a growth rate to increase it’s active users to 90million active users today in August, 2008 up from 54 million aprox at the start of the year. While presumed to be of a younger college educated demographic, it’s not the domain of the young alone as the largest growth rates are educated white collar workers, over age 25. Facebook has global growth in markets such as 66% growth rate in EMEA, and 35% and 33% growth rates in Europe and Latin America, respectively.


    Engagement Advertisements Integrate with Natural User Behaviors
    Facebook’s innovative way of monetizing is unique, they were the first to launch a developer platform (F8) as well as the ill-fated Facebook Beacon, and are now launching with a new interactive marketing and advertising product.

    [Facebook’s ‘Engagement Advertisements’ more akin to interactive marketing with a social twist: “WidgetAds”]

    Unlike Beacon or Facebook Connect, both products intended to aggregate the actions on third-party sites (like Blockbuster.com) this new product called “Engagement Advertisements” is intended to nicely integrate with Facebook’s newly redesign profile and news pages. Early brands to trial this include: Paramount Pictures whose video commenting for Tropic Thunder ran two weeks ago –I’ve asked for campaign results. Future early adopters also include General Mills’ Betty Crocker which will have image commenting and the ability to ‘fan’, and video commenting for Addias, both to trial late August.

    Engagement Ads provide three unique experiences
    Rather than clicking on the ad and being whisked away to a branded microsite, these ads allow members to stay within the contained walls of Facebook and their social community. Engagement ads come in three major flavors:

    1) Comment Style Ad: Members can now leave comments on these advertisements, much like wall posts. Brands that are focused on entertainment, new product rollouts, autos and apparel are well suited. The ad can show up to 4 comments per object, and the activity spreads to the users newsfeed.

    2) Virtual Gifts Style Ad: Brands can now create virtual items that users can share, spread to each other. This wildly popular behavior within applications and Facebook is suitable for consumer products, entertainment, and some media.

    3) Fan Style Ad: A play off the Facebook pages, users with a persona affinity for a product (like Apple) can become a fan, triggering a notification to their network, and could then tie on social ads. Will work great for established brands, like guitar hero, passion products, luxury products, or any brand with a rabid customer base.


    Forrester Data: Social Networks foster communication, self-expression
    With horrible click through rates (I’ve heard cases of .04 percent CTR) of ads on social networks, some brands prefer to focus resources elsewhere. Why the low rates? Our research indicates that youth primarily exhibit behaviors of communication and self-expression –not searching for products, looking at ads, or hunting for information.

    Common Behaviors of Youth on Social Networks
    See what my friends are up to: 86%
    Sent a message to someone: 79%
    Posted/updated my profile: 70%
    Looked at profiles of people I didn’t know: 65%
    Sources: North American Technographics Retail And Marketing Online Youth Survey, Q4 2007, Forrester Research

    This youth data supports that social network behavior is in fact, ‘social’ and these respondents are not seeking to find out about product information, nor learn about the latest products at a media site, product review, or a search engine like Google.

    [Brands will only succeed with ‘Engagement Advertising’ if they lean on user behaviors like communication, self-expression, and social exploration –traditional internet advertising need not apply]

    Knowing that the use case between social networks and product-focused sites is key for marketers to deploy successful marketing. For success, marketers and advertisers need to focus in on the key social behaviors, and integrate the marketing activities within the community.


    Demystifying Facebook’s Marketing Tool Chest
    Facebook’s marketing toolset is confusing, and many brands frequently ask me what is the current set, and how do they use it, here’s the current toolset as of today. Remember that when it comes to groups and brand engagement, the most powerful activity is for employees to actually participate in the community with their customers –not stand by the idle wayside. With that said, here are some of the other tools available to marketers to engage the Facebook community.

    Engagement Ads: (new, and detailed above) allow community members to interact with the ads in the profile and newsfeeds –without leaving the Facebook site, increasing interaction, social spread, and brand engagement. Currently unproven, brands may not be ready for these types of new ads, until they change how they measure success.

    Standard Advertisements: These Text and image ads can appear on homepage or profile pages, neatly integrate with the new redesign.

    Social ads: Are helpful for brands to increase the velocity or acceleration by marketers, allowing them to buy ads that echo the behaviors “what did my friends do” of opt-in users. These primarily appear on the newsfeed, which will encourage spread to an individuals network. Some brands have been under fire from users who felt this was invasive.

    Traditional IAB graphic ads: Advertising laden brands may still purchase the standard IAB skyscraper and banner ads from Microsoft both an investor and partner. With low CTRs, some brands have better places to spend their money for return on investment.

    Facebook pages: Launched last year, brands can (at no charge) create their own pages, embed applications, encourage discussions, and start to garner “Fans” of it’s products. Most brands are incorrectly using these, based upon the findings from my recent report on the best and worst of social network marketing for 2008 -Forrester Research.

    Event Feature: based pages allow marketers to promote events through viral invites, rsvp tools, and event rollups from media and community interaction. While a useful utility, for most brands that market on the web, this is often a side-effort, not the primary push.

    Facebook Connect: Perhaps the biggest untold story is the day when Facebook (and other social networks) will connect with corporate websites, I’ve outline future scenarios in this post What ‘Facebook Connect’ Means for Corporate Websites.

    Applications: Facebook was afirst mover to allow third-party developers to create an entire eco-system of applications that are growing their own applications. Most brands are harassing successful apps through sponsorships, cross branding, and a few are building their own apps, see how Dell was able to let the community create –and spread– ads on their behalf. Also read my posts on Widget strategies to learn more, or my overview of Facebook’s F8 Developers Community.


    Key Takeaways
    Monetization of social networks continues to be a challenge, and Facebook continues to innovate, however for this announcement, brands and Facebook should:

    To Succeed, Brands Must Learn Social Marketing
    While costly, risky, and foreign to brands, the biggest missed opportunity for brands in social networks is to become part of the community, interact and build real relationships. Although we should expect interaction rates and viral spread to increase with engagement ads, brands should wait and see how these ads CTR perform. For those brands that are ready to forgo the risk, and pursue ‘Engagement Ads’ they should:

  • Be community themed: Ads created by the brand will succeed if the content is first focused on the needs of the community.
  • Rely on new interaction activities: The rules of the game have changed, the goal is to increase interaction within the community –not pull them offsite.
  • Approach with an Integrated Mix: Facebook offers many tools, ‘Engagement Ads’ shouldn’t go it alone, instead increase chances of success by involving other tools.
  • Change how they measure success: Brands must also change they way the measure success with these interactive ads, rather than weigh success solely on page views or referral traffic.
  • Marriage of Widgets and Advertisements offshoot: “WidgetAds”
    Looking forward, this announcement helps to set in place how online marketing will start to evolve. Widgets have already become advertising units, and now these advertisements are starting to become widgets. Expect Engagement ads, and Widgets created by third parties to start to exhibit these behaviors outside of Facebook. Facebook Connect, Google Connect, and OpenID will bridge social graphs with interactive ads –springing forth a new generation of widgetads.

    Although innovative, Facebook must focus on marketers
    Although pushing interactive marketing, Facebook must hand-hold many brands with their frequently changing marketing offerings. Facebook must develop a client solution that will help optimize these tools with professional services based on data, results, and demographic information. Marketers can’t afford to experiment with their brand without the help of a trained and experienced group of social marketers provided by the platform.

    The only caveat being that the experience of users, always, always comes first, I’ll point to others that cover this aspect.


    Related Resources

  • This is cross-posted on Forrester’s Interactive Marketing blog
  • See all posts tagged Social Networks, Widgets, Facebook, or my weekly digest
  • Forrester Report: The Best and Worst of Social Network Marketing for 2008
  • Forrester Report: Online Community Best Practices
  • Forrester Report: Online Communities: Build Or Join?
  • Forrester Report: Google’s OpenSocial: Good News For Marketing Widgets But No Silver Bullet
  • Forrester Report: Get With It With Widgets
  • As usual, the conversation spirals off into Friendfeed.

    Update: Forrester clients can access a short brief with additional recommendations for interactive marketers.

    Video: I’m Running For President of the United States

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    Well not really.

    My new friend Avi Bhatnagar showed me this clever viral video that combines personalization, as well as a social marketing impact. You can add your friends in the ‘spread this’ page to spread it among your friends and family, you can create your own here. Quite honestly, the video effects (while are obvious upon a close inspection) are a pretty good, all things considered. I noticed in my recent research report on Social Network Marketing campaigns, that DiGiornio had a simliar type of personalized social campaign that let you prank calls on your friends with the “Ditcher” –expect to see personalized marketing, interactive marketing, to meld with social marketing.