Archive for the 'Media shift' Category

Media was Always Social. Scale is what’s changed.

Being in the media field I’m inundated with content discussing Social Media.  Social this.  Social that.  Perhaps this is why Ad Age’s Matt Jones’ article “Why I Hate Social Media” grabbed my attention.  Here is an excerpt:

People are interesting. Ideas are interesting. Stories are interesting. Real stuff is interesting. Brands are interesting (or, at least, some of them are). Even ads can be interesting. But media? Media just connects those things. It’s a conduit. Media is not interesting. Not even the “social” kind.

He’s right of course.  The only people who really care about the developments in social media are the people making the developments.  Yet the mainstream media, me and my peers, and brand marketers everywhere seem to perpetually be drawn to the discussion of the thing rather than how to make people, ideas, and stories interesting.

Part of the problem is media insiders DO find these stories interesting.  The collapse of long revered brands, the rise of other brands, the guerilla warfare of platforms looking to outsmart their competitors IS interesting on one level.

The problem is it creates an artificial distinction between US and THEM.  To debate the validity and longterm viability or Twitter misses the fact that Twitter’s long term existence doesn’t really matter as much as the ability to share, distribute, and openly harness an API to create meaningful applications which will undoubtably continue regardless of Twitter’s future.

Media hasn’t become social.  It always was.  I talked about the latest Dukes of Hazzard episode with anyone who would listen in 1980.  My mother sent me newspaper clippings all the through my college career (for example – don’t use Bean0, it is made with penicillin! [I’m alergic.]) The difference now is that media is social with SCALE.

“Powered by the web, not advertised on it.”

Interesting (albeit very long) presentation on Obama’s campaign and white house online strategy.

Revolutionary concept that brands of all type need to understand:

“Powered by the web, not advertised on it.” Regardless of your political position, Obama’s campaign is one to be studied.

The Underlying Truth Behind Internet Businesses – It’s Hard Work

Interesting interview with Morgan Webb of G4 and formerly of WebbAlert (WebbAlert was a Federated Media author and I work at FM.)  I’m really proud of this portion of the interview:

Unlike a lot of Internet video experiments, we were able to make good money making WebbAlert. Federated Media was fantastic at selling us, and I’d like to thank them for helping us do as well as we did. I think the secret to making money in this space is to keep your costs way down. We didn’t have any full-time employees, and our production process was incredibly cheap and streamlined.

Thanks Morgan!  Another portion of the interview is pretty sobering:

The script would take about five to six hours, then make-up, filming, compressing and uploading took another hour to two hours, then the show was edited and uploaded by about 1 a.m. That’s about 17 hours of work for one episode.

So many people think of independent web publishing as an easy job.  You utilize free (or virtually free) tools, you can do your work in your pajamas, you can work from anywhere, etc.  That isn’t the reality.  While you might be able to work in your pajamas if you want to it is very difficult work.  I work with over 100 independent authors and each one of them is working extremely hard.  They are all exceptionally talented and dedicated but none of them are on auto pilot and successful for long.

One of the reasons I think so many traditional publishing ventures have been so slow to excel online is that it is really hard work.  It takes more people.  It takes as much or more time.  It is evolving very rapidly.

It’s hard work.

Conversational Media is a Discipline, Just Like SEO/SEM

Until recently, most major brands either ignored search marketing, or, at best, considered it a ‘lesser’ discipline than other marketing programs.  In some cases it still is, but by and large, marketers now recognize that search is an integral piece of any integrated marketing strategy.

Conversational (Social if you prefer) media and marketing seems to be following the same trajectory. Conversational marketing is loosely defined as a marketing discipline that helps brands join and engage with communities in an authentic, transparent way that adds value to the ongoing conversation that is the social Web today.

Most brands are still very new to the conversational marketing discipline and its underlying concepts, even though it is every bit as important as a robust search marketing strategy. The case could be made, in fact, that conversational marketing is the more valuable of the two. When done well, conversational marketing has the ability to create connections with customers and elevate the organic search rankings of brands in a way static messages simply can’t while also creating stronger connections with the brand outside of the search realm.

Why?  Because search loves conversational content.  If the conversation is negative, your presence in search is equally negative.   Look at the launch of Blackberry and Verizon’s Storm smart phone. The phone launched to much fanfare and incredibly robust sales. But, they appear to have a problem. Many consumers are unhappy with the product and they are returning it in droves.  Take a look at this screen grab of Google search results for “Blackberry Storm Returns.”

blackberry-storm-returns-google-search

Both Verizon and Blackberry voices are represented on this page but the top result is a blog (Silicon Alley Insider, a site I represent through my employer Federated Media)  discussing the high return rate for the device.  Imagine the person who is researching the return policy before making the leap to buy the Storm….

As another example, take a look at the search results for “Unilever.”

unilever-google-search

Take a look at the 5th result.  It points to the following video on youtube:

This isn’t the conversation Unilever is looking to stimulate around their brand.

Can you eliminate these situations?  Of course not.  But your brand can and should be addressing these situations and focusing on creating a conversational platform that allows for authentic responses to negative conversations as well as stimulating conversations that reinforce your brand position and promise.  In the future, I predict that conversational marketing techniques will be universally incorporated into every marketing strategy just as search and SEO are now considered necessary techniques. Many brands already have and they are reaping the benefits.  Just like brands that have incorporated search into their broader marketing initiatives, brands that embrace and incorporate conversational marketing techniques will have a distinct advantage over brands that choose to ignore or segregate their work from broader messaging.

Agency Mashups the Path to Growth for Marketing Agencies

collisionMarketing agencies are facing a lean year ahead and it is accelerating the Mashup of the marketing world.

So here’s the agency pitch for 2009:

Creative agencies – This isn’t just about the copy and visuals.  It is about where and how they get to potential customers.  Mr. client, you don’t need media buying services, we’ll do that.  The placement is too important to the success of the program to be separate from the creative. Our creative is so good, it will generate buzz, give us your PR budget too!

Media Buying – Finding the right audience and the way to reach your target is more important than ever.  Media placement is so important that we need to do the creative too.  Oh, and when we do a good job, this will go viral.  We’ll take that PR budget too! Creative falls flat unless it is in the right place.  We’ll give you a good program based on the environment.

PR – Ads limit your ability to reach your customer.  PR is no longer just pitching journalists and dealing with formal requestions and emergencies, it is about creating buzz.  Your media and creative budgets would be so much better spent with us.  The PR is too important to the success of the program to be left off to the side!

They are all right.  With budgets shrinking the fight will grow.

MadMen’s Inspired Sales Pitch for Ads

I enjoyed AMC’s first season of MadMen commercial free via itunes. The show wasn’t on my radar when it was released and it wasn’t until I heard Terry Gross interview the creator Matt Weiner on FreshAir that I even considered watching it.

I loved it.  Tight storylines, well thought out characters, and fantastic acting made for a great dramatic experience.

It is only in the second season that I have learned to appreciate the commercial genius of MadMen.  It is the perfect frame for the 30 second spot.  If you haven’t seen it, the producers/AMC set up selected (probably with a premium attached to it) companies and/or commercials you’re about to see with a brief factoid that frames the ad you’re about to see.  Target’s first store was in suburban Minnesota in the early sixties.  The first V8 model of a BMW came out in the mid-50’s and only 200 or so were made… The association is strong and clear.  You’re watching a show that celebrates and documents a group of people that made ads in the past (the second season is set in 1962) and these ads are descendants of the work done from that period.

They set up the ad!  They make it part of the programming! What’s more, agency people LOVE the program so if they have a chance to include it, they will.  People love to buy what they like.

I predict a rash of new dramas set in ad agencies.  Rip-offs always follow a breakout hit so this was likely anyway but the inside baseball nature of the program creates a celebration of advertising loved within the media community and shines a beautiful spotlight on advertising for every viewer.

I must admit this is the only technique that has caused me to delay hitting the fast forward button on my Digital Video Recorder.

Why is a Comedian the Only One Doing this?

It seems everyone is too busy picking sides. Before you say Stewart has chosen a side with this segment, I will say he has done the same to the Dems…

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Does Twitter Scale? And I don’t mean technically.

Much has been made about Twitter’s fairly frequent outages.  The loyal and rapidly growing group of power users, tire kickers, and everyone in between tested the architecture severely.  The general consensus seems to be that Twitter has gotten this under control.  I think it now has another challenge pertaining to scale.  Does the growth of Twitter remove the utility from the microblogging platform?

Here’s what has got me thinking about this.

I’m by no means a power user of Twitter (for those interested here is my twitter stream.)  But I enjoy following a handful of friends, co-workers, and people I respect in the industry.  Most of the people using Twitter seem to be in my industry or a fan of it so it has been a useful tool for that.  I try to add content when I have something to say and the time to say it and I’ve enjoyed it.  So far, everything is good.

The issue at hand surfaced when I connected my twitter feed to my Facebook status.  I did this because I rely on FaceBook to stay marginally connected with a lot of people I love but don’t speak with all that often – former co-workers, college friends, and recently long lost high school and extended family members.

As more people I know use the platform, my ability to provide good content from me diminishes.  I once would tweek or update my status on Facebook with a link to an article my industry friends would enjoy and I would provide quality content to people who were connected with me.  I now do a link like that and my industry connections might find it useful but my cousin in Minneapolis would find this (probably) to be all noise and no signal.

I truly value Facebook and have found it to be a great way to stay connected to people you care about AND people that are important professionally (whereas LinkedIn has always been strictly about business for me.)  But as my friend list and follower lists grow and become more diverse, my ability to use these tools effectively diminishes.

So I ask you, my loyal reader (thanks Mom,)  what do you think?  Am I just old fashioned in my belief that I should create content for a specific audience?  Is this just another brick falling down from the wall that separates personal and professional worlds?  Does the power of Twitter diminish as it moves from a tool of the “digerati” to a more mainstream collection of users?

Being a Geek is Finally Paying Off!

Karl Long has a great post entitled Social Media Biggest Shift in Marketing Strategy Since Television? In it he examines the differences between marketers “dipping their toes in the water” and those that dive in head first.  Check it out.

Here the part I absolutely love – the first comment:

Amen.

Found this post through another great link from Dave Knox on the same topic.

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.