marketing, online, social media, technology

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Publishers: the end of an era?

Three in a row. That was the experience I had last week. It started with a videoposting on Gary Vaynerchuk’s blog where he is very outspoken (like Gary can be) on the topic of ROI, online advertising and traditional publishers. Next, I had a strategy workshop with a customer that touched (amongst others) social media and publishers (mostly with respect to publisher’s struggle what to be in the future).

Then today I came across this article with the title: “New York Times running on fumes“. And that article sketches that it is even worse than I had realized.

So, what’s next? Crash and burn? Or, will these publishing giants of the past still find a way back into the future? What do you think?

October 24, 2008   No Comments

So you like Photos? or Video? Try this!

Short post, to busy for long stories, but just had to share this. I am really excited about this plugin called CoolIris. I like to watch photos online, browse Flickr, Pbase or Photo.net. Or photo related blogs such as Thomas Hawk or Strobist.

If you do too: get this plugin, you will love it !!

October 16, 2008   No Comments

Web 2.0: Art of Science?

Sometimes a simple illustration can trigger a lot of thought. When I first saw the illustration below I was immediately struck although not really sure why.

Web Evolution: Art or Science?

In the weeks after that first impression I actually found myself using this illustration to explain complex topics and therewith simplify discussions I had with several people.

First of all, I think this illustration does a great job of showing the evolution that the Web has gone through. In the first phase of the web all activities are centered around broadcasting information. Companies and people create websites and use them to broadcast their messages into the world. This is the era of the webmaster, and site navigation based on the organizational structure. Then came the transactional web. Editorial & marketing teams took over, the navigational structure was mostly based on the products and services an organization offered, and the main objective was moving actual business online. We are currently in the personal phase of the web, which is characterized by three key elements:Relevant (e.g. personalized messages and offerings), Interactive (e.g. the read-write web, User generated content) and Social (e.g. online networks, references and reviews).

Now, the red line in the illustration marks an important crossover (note that I’ve added the red line and the Science and Arts labels myself). On the left side of the red line are the phases we have already mastered. It has resulted in new job titles, services and organizations that focus on things like Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, Pay per Click Management et cetera. As we have mastered these phases we have created the science required for these phases and we know what to do (or who to hire) to do them right.

However, on the right side of the red line we are still discovering and learning. Success here is not based on science, it still is an Art:organizations follow their gut and try to innovate. Ok, I understand this is not 100% true. There are first examples of methodologies that will lay the groundworks for future science, but, even Analysts are confirming that the miss rate for this phase is still very high.

Valérie Léonard made a righteous statement in her last post: ORM goes beyond SEM. It certainly does, and for me this illustration also shows that. SEM is on the left side of the red line, ORM is on the right. Over time we will create new sciences for this new phase that the web is entering. For now: get yourself a good artist!

October 7, 2008   No Comments

For those wondering … .did he quit … again?

No I did not, but I’ve been strangely busy in also sorts of ‘real life’ stuff: birthdays, marriages, kids, dog, painting ….. So, time to write new blog posts has been very limited, but, in the reading I’ve done in the lost in-between minutes I’ve come across two things that I would quickly like to share.

The First is a quote that is funny and sticks:

“You can’t take something off the Internet. That’s like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool”

I think it does a great job of describing the problem that large corporates have in controlling the messaging around their brands and products. If ‘the word’ is out, and you don’t like it, there is nothing you can do about it. Well, there is one thing: face it, and join the conversation!

The second is a great image from Forrester: The New Marketing Funnel. No comments on this one, I will do a separate post on commenting this illustration (ok, one comment: I like it a lot!).

October 1, 2008   No Comments

Get Inspired : Motivational Speeches & Videos

I ran across a video of the presentation Gary Vaynerchuk did at Web Expo 2.0 in NYC. Gary is an inspired man, and in addition to that, you can say he is the personification of the opportunities the Web 2.0 offers in my opinion. Gary started Wine Library TV from scratch, and has grown that into an amazing success. Particularly pay attention to the part where he talks about transparancy (@ 09:36 min). The key take away for myself? “Patience and Passion”. The combination of these two will take you anywhere, and guess what: I couldn’t agree more !

The video actually reminded me of a scene in Any Given Sunday, where Al Pacino does a motivational speech for the American Football team he coaches. Brilliant Speech! Never seen it: definitely check the link!

September 24, 2008   No Comments

The world is flat – the short video version

For those that did not yet find the time to read this great book. A video of Thomas Friedman presenting the highlights of the World is Flat at MIT.

September 21, 2008   No Comments

Is Online Reputation Management old thinking?

I had an interesting (offline) discussion with regards to my previous post. The key feedback I got was that ORM focuses on the negative side of the online conversation, it is still triggered from organizations trying to stay in control of their brand. Fact is that the real value in the online conversation is only tapped if organizations focus on the opportunity. In simple words: if your brand/product is being talked about, learn from it, understand the opinion/perception and leverage it!

I partly agreed with this feedback, although the real life cases I have seen sofar quickly learned a key lesson: you can only tap the value of the groundswell if you forget about control. Your Customers are in control, and they are waiting for you to listen and react.

September 21, 2008   No Comments

Online Reputation Management (ORM)

Why bother with brand monitoring or ORM?

The online conversation in forums, communities and other typical Web 2.0 applications is growing. This implies that the number of times your organization is being talked about is also growing. If you don’t know what’s being said, then the only thing you can do is hope that it is positive. But, if you decide to listen to (and even engage in) the online conversation than this offers a great opportunity to react and respond (e.g. crisis management), and even greater (but more difficult) opportunities to leverage the online feedback to pro-actively drive your offerings and propositions.

The current tools

Online Reputation Management, Buzz tracking, Brand Monitoring: an entire new area and related categories is being created. Most tools in these categories are solely focused on supporting organizations in tapping the online conversation. Obviously, it will require a lot more than just listening to actually do online reputation management, but listening makes a good start.

In my opinion the current wave of offerings can largely be divided in three categories: Services, Tool & product vendors and Traditional Players.

Services – These are the agencies that will do everything for you. They might use their own tooling in order to provide a competitive offering, but they do not have a separate product offering. Examples of companies in this category are: MotiveQuest and Umbria.

Tool & Product Vendors – This category consists mostly of startups in a wide range from very small vendors to mature products that challenge the Traditional Players. It is already getting quite complex to compare the different products, which leads to what reminds me of beauty contest like comparisons of what the different products can do. Examples of companies in this category are: Biz360 and Radian6.

Traditional Players – the most appealing example in this category is probably Nielsen, which has a separate division Buzzmetrics. It is obvious that Nielsen has years of experience in the field of marketing information. This is being downplayed by their competition that claims that new rules apply and that the traditional Nielsen organization is not ‘up to par’  for this new Web 2.0 world.

I’ll be back

I will take the above division in three categories and digg deeper, preferably I would like to create an overview that can be used as a guide to pick the right product/tool for the right objective. Any pointers towards good reference material, or any good additional information is more than welcome!

September 14, 2008   No Comments

Social Media – KLM diagram for Social Strategy Talk 2

I promised this already in my previous post, so here it is. I think it is a simple diagram, and people that have worked with me know that I have a weak spot for simple diagrams.
KLM Social Media Diagram

KLM Social Media Diagram

There are other write-ups on the 2nd social strategy talk, and its interesting to see the difference in take-outs and highlights that the different authors perceived in the same meeting. Take a look at Molblog and Enthousiasmeren for instance.

Also interesting to see that some people got a ‘negative vibe’ from the Vodafone presentation because the presenter articulated that the answer to the key question had to contribute to the bottom line (ARPU). I don’t see why this is a problem, or why it would create a negative association. I my opinion Social Media initiatives should be benefitial to both the Enterprise as well as its Customers. (Online) Self Service is a good example that illustrates this need for a mutual beneficial solution. Think of self service for an airline checkin, which is a great costs-saver for airliners, but, also a great time saver for customers. Organizations that have solely focussed on cost savings have failed miserably. The same goes for the Vodafone case. Of course a social media initiative should add to the Vodafone bottom line, but Vodafone should also have a keen eye for the direct benefits it brings to its Customers. If their aren’t any benefits for its Customers ….. that’s when I will agree with ‘the negative vibe’.

September 9, 2008   No Comments

Social Strategy Talk II

I attended the second Social Strategy Talk yesterday. First of all complements to VINT! Great event, good speakers, good interaction, in short: an inspiring meeting. Thanks for organizing this. Below my observations and thoughts (although I have to admit that I did miss the end because I had to leave early due to other obligations).

NokiaYounghee Jung

Younghee had an inspiring story. The relation to social media and social strategies was less clear to me. She elaborated on a community design competition organized by Nokia Design.  The competition was held in real, physical communities (Dharavi, Jacarezinho, Buduburam). They basically researched Urbanization as driver for new requirements for mobile phones. I found the presentation interesting, and inspiring because the environment and social and cultural dimensions of these communities are way off from my day to day life.

Interesting was also how the MC (Menno van Doorn) challenged us to talk 10 minutes to someone and come-up with a design for a new mobile phone that would make that person more productive.  No shocking ideas resulted, although the idea of a beamer in a mobile phone sounded far off, someone in the audience (Stijn Grove) actually new that phone is already for sale on http://www.chinavasion.com (for only 257.98 euro :) )

After Younghee’s keynote, three enterprises got 10 minutes each to present their social strategy, and ask the audience a key question. The audience was divided in three groups that would work on these questions in the break.

Vodafone:  Listening to the groundswell – Arie de Zeeuw

The Vodafone presentation by Arie de Zeeuw was very inspiring. In my opinion they really made the right start in joining the online conversation: “start listening”. They made this start with an intern who got the assignment to listen for three months, and do no more than that. Their conclusion after these three months: ” we have been blind for a very long time”. Key question for much of the conversation they tap on the internet is ” what to do with it” . Many things really deeply touch their internal processes and are far from easy to resolve. Arie pointed out that CEO level commitment was critical to follow-through on the input they got. They have this commitment at Nokia, as they are on a quest to be the top mobile brand in the Netherlands (which is a challenge as there is very little brand loyalty for mobile operators in the Netherlands).

The initiative that started with an intern has grown into a 6 FTE Web Relations team. This team will not engage in online discussion, but will use a new internal process to trigger changes and formal responses from the Vodafone organization.

Their lessons learned sofar:

1.       No guts no glory. But, respect the web, learn the rules of the game (conversation / community) and stick to them

2.       Be Fast, this is what the online community expects. Fast as in: “faster than the normal internal systems”.

3.       Learn and improve. The online feedback offers ample input and opportunity to change the organization and its services for the better. These changes are often not simple, but the reward is high.

Sellaband: Embracing the groundswell – Pim Betist

Great start of this presentation. He made us listen to some music, asked our feedback. My opinion (and of many others in the room): really good music. His statement: you would never have heard this artist without the Sellaband Community.

Their model is simple and interesting. The community pays for the production of a CD: they essentially fund the artist, and get a copy of the CD and a share in the revenue. In the end Sellaband will save us from a world of Britney and Justin clones.

Their key question was a challenging one: how do we move forward? Pim explained that they see two key models in moving forward, that might be mutual exclusive: “Broadcaster”  vs. “Facilitator”. Essentially: do we solely facilitate the process, or can we also started broadcasting (marketing?) the things we really like in the music database that we are creating as Sellaband. My personal opinion: facilitate broadcasting by community members, turn them into DJs and Personal Radio Stations.

KLM: Energizing the groundswell – Hans Zijlstra

Hans explained Club China and Club Afrika. Two initiatives to create communities for starting entrepreneurs that are focusing on doing business in/with these areas. The value for KLM is improved brand engagement: loyalty, co-innovation, marketing effectiveness and organic word of mouth. I particularly liked the simple drawing that Hans had in his presentation. It showed how community insight would be the foundation on which profitable growth can and will be build (I will try and post that illustration later here). The key question for KLM was an obvious, but not a simple one: how can we further build and leverage these two communities in a way that will contribute to the bottom-line of KLM

September 5, 2008   2 Comments