Archive for January, 2009

22
Jan
09

Recommended Marketing Podcasts – AI Digital & Gen Y Marketing podcasts

Of late, I’m reading blogs less and less and turning to podcasts for my marketing news. Walking to work while listening to podcasts  gets the blood and creative  juices pumping by the time you get into the office so you can hit that inbox running at 9am. Anyway, there’s 2 podcasts in particular whose back catalogs I’ve been hitting pretty hard, because both are really good in their own way: AI Digital Marketing Podcast and the Gen Y marketing podcast.

AI Digital – their opening music sounds like it was taken from the long lost second verse of the Baywatch theme song, but the AI Digital podcast is more badass than Hasselhoff (but be warned, the content is technical, and I do verge on the geeky side of things, so ‘badass’ does not necessarily mean ‘badass’). I read marketing blogs and listen to podcasts largely to learn new stuff, and AI Digital have new stuff in trumps. Past segments have ranged from boosting open rates & click through rates on emails to Google Analytics advice – I sometimes have to listen to episodes twice because the content is so rich. Or maybe that’s just because I’m a dullard. Anyway, this podcast’s ranked in the top 10 business podcasts on iTunes.

Gen Y Marketing Podcast – Dudes are hilarious. Completely different to AI Digital, the Gen Y marketing podcast team focuses on the Australian marketing landscape, looking at marketing related news, and analysing current local domestic campaigns. And quite often flaming said campaigns too. Mercilessly. And flaming each other – they’ve got that whole witty banter thing down pat. It all adds up to a pretty good listen. For the single peeps among you, this podcast might also get you lucky – I was once laughing at this podcast while I walking down St Kilda road and a (pretty cute) lady thought I was smiling at her and smiled coyly back (I’ve got a beautiful girlfriend though – better make that clear or I’ll be sleeping in the spare room tonight… although come to think of it this woman was probably smiling more cos I was walking along laughing to myself like a goon than anything else). I’d recommend the Gen Y Marketing podcast even over the Gruen Transfer for an entertaining look at Aussie marketing.

There’s a whole bunch of other marketing podcasts out there – these are just the couple I’ve been catching up on of late that stand out. Do you have another recommendation? Share it below in the comments.

(This is the second in a series of blog posts where I’ll try to highlight good marketing resources I find among this whole tangled mess called the interwebs. Check the ‘recommended’ tag for more)

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20
Jan
09

There’s a right way and a wrong way to go ‘viral’… here’s the wrong way

LANGUAGE WARNING: If you’re offended by a word that has four letters and is often used as a shortened version of ‘Richard’, don’t read on 🙂

Anyway, I have a new viral video mantra for y’all that I think should be an industry standard –”Don’t be a dick”. It isn’t hard (pun sort of intended). Treating your audience with respect is probably the most important thing you can do as a marketer. So many campaigns end up with companies / agencies being dicks to their customers. Conversation and substance are the name of the game in this new marketing world that we live in, yet  cheap tricks pulled in order to ‘go viral’ continue to pop up and (A) sully the name of marketers everywhere and (B) make Internet users more cynical by the day.

I’m sure everyone has seen by now the numerous articles about the fake tattoo video submitted for the Island Reef Dream Job campaign  (one of the original stories here, one of the revelations it was a fake is here). Sure, it’s given the Island Reef campaign a massive boost in publicity all over the world. But it’s also left a sour taste in the  mouth of many who were paying attention. When you’re trying to lure people back to Australia for tourism, but your campaign is revealed to be at least in part smoke and mirrors, it reduces how effectively your message comes across. There is no question about this.

Now, again today we have the ‘real life Cinderella’ story that SMH ran yesterday which has also been proven to be a fake. It’s actually a ‘viral’ campaign for a fashion retailer that I haven’t been able to find the name of yet (and major publications seem to be putting a blanket ban on even mentioning the name – here’s another tip, making a monkey out of report/s with fake press releases will piss off the media). Anyway, back to the Conderella story…the video is below if you’re interested.

Viral tripe

Faking video can be good creative. The Marc Ecko ‘Still Free‘ campaign involving footage of Air Force One getting tagged up was a pretty good example of this, where they did something so ridiculously crazy that you could only be left asking “Damn, did they really do that?” (I never actually saw confirmation either way if the video was real or not). The video engaged with social issues that Marc, his target audience and his brand hold near and dear, and sparked controversy and speculation, which it was designed to do so. It was not designed to deceive people, but to spark a dialogue and point people to a microsite. It was transparent in trying to do this.

Mark Ecko – Still Free

The line is to be drawn when you deliberately try to deceive your audience, with no real intention to cause dialogue, but simply to deceive in order to create traffic. This is no different to spamming. In fact, it is probably getting closer to phishing than spamming, as it is deliberately misleading and getting viewers to engage with video / messages they wouldn’t otherwise if they knew it was not genuine. Sneakiness in this regard always come back to bite you on the butt and can actually be quite annoying to the people who see your campaign… monitoring twitter, I found quite a few negative comments about the campaign. So if you’re going to ‘make a viral video’ as part of your next campaign (hmmm), do marketers the world over a favour, and don’t be a dick… respect your audience.

EDIT – 21/01/09: Today, the second video was released, featuring smug actress acting like no wrongdoing has occurred. There’s a much better account of this whole shebang in some of the posts over at Mumbrella… all I can say is it sucks that this campaign is proceeding and that I will never buy anything from Witchery man, or hire Naked as a strategy firm (if you want to know more about Naked, they have a blog here). Crap job all around.

UPDATE 5th Feb 2009 – Mumbrella, always on top of these things, discusses how the overall effect of the campaign makes it a failure at http://mumbrella.com.au/2009/02/05/exclusive-despite-nakeds-survey-their-witchery-campaign-was-a-social-media-failure/#comment-685

16
Jan
09

Best Friends For Life costs $1… but Twitter’s profit potential is still looking shaky

You’ve probably read by now the ReadWriteWeb article today suggesting that (in stark contrast to a post I made a month or so back) Twitter may very well soon have itself a revenue stream that isn’t comprised of simply raising more investor dollars…. they’re speculating that companies may soon be able to sign up to a ‘recommended’ friends/followers list presented to new tweeters, and will pay a cost of $1 per person who decides to follow them based on this list. This suggestion was supported in part by Mahalo founder and general social media posterboy  Jason Calacanis’s tweet earlier this week. I’m not sure RWW’s speculation is anywhere near true, or if they’re potentially reading too much into a flippant tweet by Calcanis… I’m no web revenue expert, but this idea definitely raised a few questions for me.

THE RATIONALE

At first glance, it seems a good idea – for marketers to pay $1 in order to reach a member of a captive audience just once is actually good value. There are campaigns I’ve seen (NOTE: campaigns I’ve seen, not ones I’ve run :D) where the cost per customer reached has entered triple figures, so if marketers can potentially reach a customer numerous times for a buck, hell yeh, count me in. That’s good value.

However, there are two problems / contradictions with this revenue model.

PROBLEM 1 – Twitter is primarily people and information

I generally don’t like following companies on Twitter. In fact, no-one likes following companies… if we look at (one measure of) the world’s top 100 most powerful Twitter users, the entire top 100 is made up of 2 types of Tweeters – ‘content providers’ (newsources, bloggers etc) and ‘online personalities’ (Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki etc etc). There is not a single company represented. This is because the beauty of Twitter is that it takes a massive quantity of ‘sort-of-relevant’ information and condenses it so I can pick and choose stuff to consume, making it ‘exceptionally-relevant’ – much more than being just a way to post status updates, Twitter is a great way of filtering information. Marketing messes with this – I’d suggest the companies who are most likely to buy friends on Twitter are not necessarily going to be providing compelling content in their Twitter feeds, and as such will be adding to the noise. As such, these companies won’t retain followers for extended periods. Targeted, compelling content is necessary to simply remain tolerated, let alone followed.

I don’t think Twitter will care too much about this problem though, as long as they get their $1 per follower. It is, however, something marketers should be aware of – there are no cheats or shortcuts when building customer relationships. Over time, more marketers will become hip to this fact. Which leads directly to the second problem – that there’s a work around to having to fork up the cheddar to Twitter for followers….

Cash rules everything around me

 

PROBLEM 2 – If you build it, they will come.

So, if you’re going to buy followers, you want them to stick around at least for a little bit. Problem 1 above states that buying friends on Twitter is simply not enough to ensure an ongoing following – to optimize your efforts, you’ll need to provide compelling content to make sure people keep following you and to make sure your $1 per potential customer reached is not spent in vain.

Let’s pretend you have a budget of $20,000 for a Twitter campaign (yeh, $20k is alot for twitter, but I did say ‘pretend’ didn’t I? 🙂 ). Anyway, you’ve just started a new Twitter account and you have 2 options – option 1 is that you can buy 20,000 followers for $1 a pop through Twitter’s suggested friend option (that is, if there’s 20,000 people out there who will follow you). But what are you going to say to these followers to hold their attention? You probably can’t just pump your followers full of your latest deals… problem 1 states that doing this means you’re likely to be un-followed.

Your other option is to start organically building a following from scratch, doing things like finding people who mention your product / competitor products through search.twitter.com, trade link love with others twitterers with similar interests etc). Having a dedicated person using part of their work week sourcing ongoing, targeted, compelling content for your followers will make this easier, and that’s what you’ll spend your cheddar on, not buying followers from Twitter. This option represents a longer road, but ultimately if your content is right, you could easily have your 20,000 followers before long, plus have a much richer relationship with them than if you had bought them, plus, you have not paid Twitter one red cent to do it. Companies who understand Twitter and the nature of social media will do things the second way, and will succeed… and moving forward, more & more companies will fall into this category.

CONCLUSION

If Twitter rolls something like this out, they’ll make some quick bucks out of it, but I’m not convinced it’s an optimal model long-term for either marketers or Twitter. I certainly don’t pretend to have an answer for Twitter’s revenue problems (although I still think that having Twitter users backgrounds as dynamic ads / sponsored backgrounds as a default setting when a new account is opened shows promise). If you have any thoughts on it, please leave a comment below. I guess we’re yet to see what Twitter can deliver in the way of a reliable, consistent income stream, particularly in a world where everyone wants everything for free. Best of luck, Twitter.

EDIT (16/01/09) – I forgot to add, this speculation from RWW was likely encouraged by a TechCrunch post earlier this week suggesting the appointment of Kevin Thau to Twitter may be as a revenue generation specialist.

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15
Jan
09

Hubspot’s Social Media Marketing Madness

I came across this on the HubSpot marketing blog, and couldn’t help but laugh but also feel kinda defensive. It’s hard to not read too much into the way each character is drawn – I’d consider myself a ‘marketer’, and I also blog about marketing, so does that make me a pretty blonde chick or a sleezy looking suit? 🙂 Maybe I should start tweeting about pocasters that talk about marketing bloggers so I look like an Apple user.

Anyway, this cartoon is topical, as there’s a seemingly endless volume of noise out there around marketing, social media etc. It’s getting harder and harder to find those gems that deliver real value and don’t give you 90% filler to make more ad revenue / increase page rank. So moving forward, I’m going to be doing a series of ‘RECOMMENDED’ tagged posts on this blog, giving props to marketers who are doing their thing and who are providing genuinely useful content to the marketing community. I’m also toying with the idea of a series of “NOT RECOMMENDED” tagged posts (I’ll obviously come up with a catchier tag than that), where I flame people who are just adding to the noise. But that will in all likelihood be hurtful, so I’ll let the crowd decide… feel free to let me know if you’d like to see a “NOT RECOMMENDED” tag by filling in the comments section below.

Nice work, as always, Hubspot – you get the first of my “RECOMMENDED” posts for a whole lot of reasons (see below for a few). If anyone wants to see more from Hubspot (who are probably one of the best organisations I’ve come across for driving online community / knowledge sharing for marketers), check out the following:

The HubSpot blog

The Facebook group

The LinkedIn group (17,000 members can’t be wrong)

Mike Volpe’s Twitter account

Hubspot.tv (I’m slowly giving up on reading blogs… I’m finding podcasts are a much better way to keep in touch with what’s happening, and this is a podcast definitely worth checking out)

Twitter Grader (yeh, they built Twitter Grader…. and website grader….and Press Release grader.)




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