Archive for July, 2008

The Webless President

From Lee Gomes at the WSJ:

With the world at his beck and call, a president is one of the few people lucky enough to be able to learn more off-line than he would chained to a keyboard.

Wrong.  The Internet is such an important part of the US’ ecconomic and social framework our next President must understand as a user what that means.

I’ve given up on our current President mastering “the Google.”

I Keep Thinking About Randy Pausch….

In addition to the books sold, millions of streams of his “last lecture,” and TV coverage, the internet lit up upon the news of Randy Pausch’s passing.  Take a look at the response on Twitter.

And of course the YouTube Video:

I didn’t know Randy and never operated in the space he was best known for most of his life (no one would mistake me for a computer scientist.)  Still, I am struck by his death in much the same way I would be struck by the death of a friend.  It is causing me to think about things that are all too often packed up and put on a shelf.  So I will do what I’ve learned to do in all occasions where death and mourning are involved – I won’t try to say anything original or profound and I won’t try to fix anything, I will simply add my voice to the many who say I’m happy to know that Randy Pausch lived and that he was able to touch my life.

My sympathies to his family and I plan to keep thinking about Randy Pausch for some time to come.

Check It Out: The Mom Speak

The Mom Speak features original content from Federated Media Authors Asha Dornfest, Amy Keroes, Liz Gumbinner, and Stacey Boyd focusing on ways for parent to save money without sacrificing childcare quality.

Luv’s is supporting conversations that resonate with their brand and I’m excited to watch it develop.  The conversation isn’t about Luvs it is about what matters to Luv’s customers.

Stay tuned for updates.

Yet Another Reminder of Why Brands Can’t Ignore Conversations About/Around Their Brand

Traveling today and wanted to check on alternate flights on Delta today.  Went to Google and saw this:

First page Google result (10th position on the first page.) Small (or not so small if it is you) situations can accumulate into a big problem.  This site is indexed higher than many of Delta’s own sites (though they do own the top position for the search terms Delta and Delta Airlines.)

The Web Wasn’t Made for Advertisers

From Seth Godin today:

Here’s the essential truth:

This is the first mass marketing medium ever that isn’t supported by ads.

If a newspaper, a radio station or a TV station doesn’t please advertisers, it disappears. It exists to make you (the marketer) happy.

That’s the reason the medium (and its rules) exist. To please the advertisers.

But the Net is different.

It wasn’t invented by business people, and it doesn’t exist to help your company make money.

Full post here.

Spot on.  This doesn’t mean the web isn’t a powerful marketing tool.  It simply means that people have CHOICE.  Almost endless choices of what to read and where to go next.

If a marketer can create a product that people choose to use.  To make it into their RSS reader, their bookmarks, etc. they have created something very powerful.

Marketers need to make impressions rather then simply buy them….

Citizen Sports, Lenovo, and Federated Media Olympics Project Covered in AdWeek

Article here.

Take a look at the installs for the top 15 nations:

Check It Out: Technologizer Goes Live!

Harry McCracken’s new site is live.  Check it out.

Goggle vs. Yahoo and MSN – A Battle of Advertising Philosophy

Google =  context.  The act of searching and/or reading is what drives messaging success.

Yahoo/MSN/AOL = demographics.  We know who these people are and messaging to the right people is what drives messaging success.

So far Google has clearly taken the lead but neither camp has done well on both fronts.

Interesting times ahead.

The Difference Between Selling “Space” and Selling Solutions

Darren Herman has an excellent post here entitled “Goodby Media Sales Execs.”

Gulp.  Darren’s a good client of mine and his post follows a post from my boss a while back entitled “Ad Sales People: An Endangered Species?” Needless to say I read both posts carefully.  The power of a good headline.  What’s going on here?

These posts and the work I’m doing with the rest of the Federated Media sales team has lead to what I find to be an “a ha” moment:

Advertising used to be about the buying and selling of space (or time.) It is now about building branded experiences. In many cases, the ads are a small part of the equation.

I know, it was always about bringing editorial and audiences to life and connecting them to a brand.  But the primary “product” was always space or time.   It was THE solution rather A solution.  Now we are helping brands connect with advertisers in richer, more varied ways.  We are building sites, widgets, games, etc.  This is a huge difference that the industry has not yet caught up with.

I interview a lot of online sales people.  Some sell space.  They move inventory.  Others provide solutions and experiences.  I hire the latter group.

The Anti-Conversational Marketing Meme

Lots of “conversations” about conversational marketing and the overuse of the term.  A sure sign that something is taking hold is the strong reaction against it in the blogosphere.

Brian Oberkirch kicks things off here. Alex Hillman continues things here.  Deb Schultz here. Many others have picked this up as well.

Great posts.  Actually, a really great conversation.

My take:  It is easy for marketers to embrace conversational marketing while assuming that the world is just like them and wants to talk about nothing other than their brand (positively of course.)  It is easy to tick a box for conversational media (it is right above the box for behaviorial media and just below viral on the worksheet.)

I understand why people are getting sick of the term and ploys to play along.  It isn’t very attractive and perhaps worse, it isn’t very effective.

That should not distract from the power of conversational media and the need for marketers to continue to work at cracking the code around how to market in these environments and with these tools.

Brian, Alex, Deb (and now me) are having a conversation.  Many readers are commenting to each post.  Each post amplifies and responds to posts made by others.  People respond in real time rather than reiterating a slogan for the 1000th time.

Brands must be prepared to do the same.  An individual can choose to sit out or ignore a conversation.  A brand can’t when it is about them and must figure out ways to host and participate in conversations with their customers.

Conversational marketing can take many forms.  At its basic level, it can be a brand choosing to support a “conversation” that echos a brand’s values.  A brand that facilitates a conversation and then stays out of the way is listening.

Just as importantly, a brand that responds and adapts to negative feedback is furthering a conversation.

Finally, people love to listen to conversations.  Long before the internet, people sat at the feet of great thinkers and listened.  Whether you talk about in terms of the 1-9-90 rule or Forrester’s Social Media ladder the majority of people never or only rarely participate in “conversations.” I think they like the option and they like the fact that some do jump into the fray.  Yet the fastest growing sites are sites that are platforms for conversing AND listening.  If marketers don’t acknowledge this fact, they will miss a huge opportunity to connect with their customers and potential customers.

Raising the flag of “conversational marketing” only to then have that conversational marketing initiative tow the party line or rehash a tired slogan is a bastardization of the term and a “me too” activity.  That doesn’t make the need to create conversational marketing less valuable or necessary.  It does provide an important reminder that the noise can drown out the signal if we’re not careful.  I’m confident the benefits of solid work will provide the kind of advantages that provide a competitive edge for companies who take the time to thoughtfully engage with their customers no matter what you call it.

What do you think?  Join the conversation!  Or just read along.