Archive for July, 2008

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.

Does the iphone 2.0 kill or restart mobile marketing?

Since June 29th, 2007 I’ve thought that the iphone crushed the mobile specific advertising/content play.  At the time, I was running a web business that was weighing various mobile technologies to make a user friendly solution for consuming content AND integrating sponsors into a mobile experience.  One look at the iphone and I was convinced that the long term need for WAP, .MOBI, and other proprietary services for displaying content for mobile devices would disappear.  The iphone did such a good job (with the exception of the slow load time) of displaying the standard web page that I thought the whole space was very short lived.

Then the iphone 2.0 software came out.

I don’t have the new phone (yet) but I installed the new version of the software on my phone and downloaded a bunch of apps on the day of the release.  So cool.  What surprised me?  How much I like the apps for the NY Times, Facebook, and Twitter.  In essence, a mobile optimized version of a website!

The device/software that I thought killed the mobile optimized version may have reintroduced the concept?

Thoughts anyone?

Forrester Weigh’s in on Dell’s Crowd-Sourced Ads

Post here.

The First Social Network Olympics

I mentioned here the Olympic application project and thought I’d provide an update.  After 13 days, there are over 60,000 people with the application.  Pretty cool to watch the applications’ (there are actually over 100 apps – one for each competing country) growth.  The guys at Citizen Sports have done a great job with the project and have built the applications with an eye toward building communities.  Already really solid uptake on this front.  When Michael Phelps breaks a world record, the news breaks on the app and gets spread around the members social graphs.  People are watching the trials with a notebook on their lap.

One real surprise – Iceland is second to the United States in installs with over 3500!  The US was a given since the member base of Citizen Sports is predominantly American but I don’t know where Iceland came from.  Interesting.
Lenovo is the sponsor of this app and has really worked to make this a Web 2.0 Olympics.  Check out the blogging project that Lenovo is making possible here.

As a guy who grew up reimagining his future every four years when the Olympics came on, I a thrilled to see the Olympic experience evolve.

Check it out.

Check it out: Conversational Marketing Summit Videos

Check it out.

Want to call out one segment that might not leap off the page but is well worth your time on the relationship between brands and search.