Tags: Business, Facebook, Generation Y, Groundswell, Marketing, millennials, Net gens, Online marketing, ROI, Social Media, Tweens, Web 2.0
Generation Y – roughly those aged 13-29 – are among the strongest consumers and influencers. And while social media like Facebook, delicious, and Flickr have garnered media attention, many businesses are still wary of dipping a toe in the social media water.
I argue that we can gauge return on investment (or influence) for Gen Y by looking at their buying power and online behavior and therefore that it is imperative that (most) businesses participate in social media. Plus, I will give you the research to back up these assertions so you can prove it to your boss.
Growing up in pre-internet Ohio, I spent a good chunk of my allowance and lawn-mowing money on comic books at the local pharmacy. If they were sold out of my usual books, I was SOL until the following month. Scarcity of goods required that I go where they were (and quickly!) or I would miss out.
Now, post-internet, these stories sound quaint. Given a bank account, any kid can get any comic book from anywhere in the world. So what does this have to do with social media and Generation Y?: proximity to resources.
Today, consumers expect businesses to come to them. Long gone are the lazy summer bike rides to the pharmacy – today, young people expect to be able to spend their money just about anywhere. And where are they? Online, in general, and on social media, specifically.
Maybe this shift isn’t a surprise to you, but let me prove it with research (easily printable for timid bosses or humbugs).
Tags: blogging, Business, Communication, company, content, corporate, how-to, HowTo, Marketing, Online marketing, Social Media, tutorial, UGC, user generated content, Web 2.0, Web2.0, White paper, white papers, writing
You’ve heard all the hype about Web 2.0, but what does it all mean? How will it affect your business?
How do you communicate with potential readers and customers in this new era?
My free white paper, Writing Content in a Web 2.0 World, answers these questions and:
- What exactly is Web 2.0?
- How should your writing style change?
- How has online interaction changed and what will this mean for the future of business?
- What is the secret new currency in this market?
Download the white paper here: Writing Content in a Web 2.0 World
(The white paper is in PDF format. Download the latest version from Adobe here.)
And of course, please join the conversation! Leave comments here with your thoughts and suggestions for this or future white papers.
I considered requiring you to subscribe to my enewsletter to download the white paper. After all, if you were interested in this subject, it’s a sure bet you will be interested in my other content.
However, I’ve decided that this requirement does not fit well with my overall strategy or the community environment found in a Web 2.0 world.
Tags: blogging, Communication, curious, curiousity, Marketing, motivation, Online marketing, passion, Social Media, Web 2.0
In this continuing series, I am covering how you can become not only the best blogger you can be, but also how to become recognized in your field and thus adequately compensated. The first two installments covered tactics – commenting and optimizing for search – but in this third post, I am making it more personal.
There are traits that are uniquely ideal for blogging. I believe the most important of these traits is curiosity.
But how can something as abstract as curiosity lead to concrete blogging results, nay success? What are the benefits of curiosity? I’ve gathered some of the best comments on this topic and I hope it proves enlightening. (If so, please feel free to comment below and subscribe to be notified of future posts on the subject.)
The Pain of Not Knowing
Curiosity is arguably caused by the pain – or perhaps frustration – of a gap in knowledge. Most of us have experienced this condition in acute or chronic form.
Long-time readers of this blog know of my appreciation for Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick. They quote behavioral economist George Loewenstein on his gap theory of curiosity: “[Loewenstein] says that as we gain information we are more and more likely to focus on what we don’t know. Someone who knows the state capitals of 17 of 50 states may be proud of her knowledge. But someone who knows 47 may be more likely to think of herself as not knowing 3 capitols” (pg. 89).
Tags: Facebook, Forrester, Marketing, MySpace, Online marketing, Research, ROI, Social Media, social technographics, Usability, Web 2.0
Last week, a lot of you read my guest post about the ROI (return on investment) of social media. There is no doubt that social media is changing the ways people interact online and hence, the way companies communicate with their customers.
The thing that is still missing is quantifiable data about these interactions. We’re in a theory stage – we know what’s right because we have experienced it – but we are still waiting for proof in numbers. Forrester Research made a giant step in the right direction when they introduced social technographics.
Social technographics is an analysis of consumers’ approach to social media – not just which ones they use, but understanding how they use the medium in their daily life. You can download the full report on Forrester Research’s website (there is a fee) or read the book on the same topic published April 21, 2008: Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. (There is also a ton of free goodies at the Groundswell blog.)
I sat in on a webinar last week where Charlene and Josh expounded on their work. Josh summed up the goal of this work: “Think about what you want to accomplish, not the technology.” There is so much fascination about what technology can do that marketers often forget the question is what technology can do for you. The webinar came back again and again with the message to use this data to inform a strategy for your clients. (You can find the resulting Q&A published post-webinar here.)
How’s It Work?
Charlene and Josh categorize web users into six sections based on the level of their activity, from Creators to Inactives. I have not seen a clear but simple ranking system like this before and I certainly hope it is accepted as an industry standard. The real value, however, comes from their detailed analysis of each category’s activity.
Tags: Communication, Jaffe Juice, Joseph Jaffe, Marketing, Online marketing, Social Media
My audio comment was featured on yesterday’s new episode of Jaffe Juice, the new marketing podcast. I highly encourage you to go to iTunes and download episode #107. You can hear my comment around minute 7, but the whole episode is quite interesting. (Download information found at Jaffe Juice #107.)
If you don’t have time to download it, I’ll explain in this blog post. Jaffe Juice #107 centered around Sarah Robbins’ challenge about taking new media (blogs, twitter, del.icio.us, Flickr, Facebook, etc.) out of the marketing “fishbowl” and making it relevant to business, Middle America, and everyone in between. She contends the following three points:
Tags: Advertising, Anheuser-Busch, Bud, Bud Light, Budweiser, Communication, Doritos, Facebook, integration, Marketing, MySpace, Online marketing, Search, SEM, SEO, SoBe Lifewater, Social Media, UGC, user generated content, Web 2.0, web integration
Hey, remember the Super Bowl and all those cool ads? Yeah, me neither.
I could have bookmarked the URLs of company’s whose ads I enjoyed or told my friends about cool microsites I experienced, but I didn’t because the web was largely forgotten in this year’s ads. URLs were printed small and almost always at the end of the ad, there was only one example of user generated content, few (if any) microsites to continue the experience after the game, and generally poor use of search. What a waste of $2.7M.
Michael Estrin of iMedia Connection has a good wrap-up and several interviews of note. The question he pursues: where was the web? From Estrin’s article: “It was like we went backwards this year,” says Sean Cheyney, VP of marketing and business development at AccuQuote. “It’s like we’re moving back into silos. I was surprised that companies didn’t do more integration. The web was an afterthought for most of the ads.”
Beyond the 30-second Spot
AOL’s Annual Super Bowl Sunday Ad Poll ranked the Bud Light Dalmation-Clydesdale-Rocky ad was America’s favorite, yet it did not even have the requisite web address at the end. Here are a few quick ideas of ways you could have capitalized on this success (call me for more – my freelance rates are very reasonable):
- Contest to name the Dalmatian and Clydesdale
- Start a rivalry between Bud and Bud Light (represented by the dog and horse) similar to the Bud Bowls of the 90s
- MySpace page wraps in spots (Dalmatian) and tough-guy horse stuff (Clydesdale)
- Facebook app that allows you to send a Bud Light to a friend
- Advertising tie-in with the new Rambo movie (I imagine there’s audience cross-over with Rocky)
- Jab back at the new Miller Lite spot featuring…Dalmatians and Clydesdales
- Create a site where you integrate this ad with other Bud Light Super Bowl ads (have the dog breathing fire, the horse flying, etc)
Budweiser, what do you pay these marketing guys? Hire me or any 15 year old and you’ll get more web marketing bang-for-your-buck.
Failure to Launch
Any marketer worth their snuff – nay, conscious in the last year or two – knows that search is an integral part of any campaign. So, why this MediaWeek report:
“70 percent of Super Bowl advertisers bought some paid search ads on either Google, Yahoo, MSN – up close to 20 percent versus last year. But just 6 percent of advertisers used their 30-second spots to direct viewers to the Web, and the vast majority (93 percent) failed to buy search ads for alternative terms that were related to their ads, such as their spokesperson’s names, slogans or taglines.”
MediaWeek is reporting on a Reprise Media scorecard that goes into more detail. I find it amazing that roughly 93 percent (of the 70 percent who bought ads) failed to think of these ads from the user’s perspective. Your uncle Jimmy had knocked back a six-pack and was in the grip of a food coma when he saw Naomi Campbell dancing with a bunch of lizards. When he stumbles to the computer, he is not going to search for SoBe Lifewater. He’s going to search for “hot model and dancing lizards.” Little surprise that SoBe also ranked as a “fumble” on Reprise Media’s scorecard.
I Get By With a Little Help From My…Oh, Forget It
Only Doritos had the cojones to use user generated content. Despite it being ranked near the bottom, I thought the ad was okay. Doritos had a nice intro to the commercial, but I would have loved to see it end with the singer crunching into a Dorito. Cheesy, perhaps, but so is the product. My message to Frito-Lay/PepsiCo (who own Doritos): Don’t be rash in firing your advertising company. It is better to work with someone willing to take the big risks and use the medium that appeals to your audience. These are the folks with the potential to blow people out of the water.
Also, not a single advertiser drove viewers to their MySpace or Facebook page – there was zero social networking involved. Believe me, this isn’t because people aren’t using Facebook anymore.
Fox did drive people to www.myspace.com/superbowlads though, which is a nice way of increasing the ads value with a measurable online component. Of course, for $2.7M, I’d be wanting a little something extra too.
No one is complaining about a game of two huge franchises in the largest media markets where one of the teams has the chance to have a perfect season (and finally shut up the ’72 Dolphins). But if you’re an advertiser and next year pits the Titans versus the Buccaneers (no offense guys, but come on), you might want to start thinking about your other options. Joe over at Junta42 has some great ideas for how to spend all that cash.
Tags: Decision making, Marketing, Online marketing, return on investment, ROI, Social Media, UGC, user generated content, Web 2.0
We recently had one of the worst weeks ever. It included (but certainly wasn’t limited to) taking the car in to replace an insanely expensive hose, losing our heat during a Chicago winter, getting sideswiped by a Chicago trolley right after leaving the dealership, and the subsequent arguing with and lying from the trolley driver to the cop about how she was not involved. Needless to say, there were not a lot of bright spots in the week.
But when the dealership tried to squeeze another $470 from us for a CV boot, I did a little research. Yelp.com and a few other sites extolled the virtue of the mechanic right down the street. He did the job in a couple of hours for $188. Amazing.
What does this all have to do with online marketing? Well, I was not surprised when I read this study from comScore. Not only are 1 in 4 internet users consulting reviews before purchasing offline, but they are willing to pay more if the service is ranked as excellent. It seem that after the year of exuberance that was all about Facebook and twitter, business is finally getting around to answering the question of how social media effects ROI.
If you have been questioning this yourself, you are not alone. I have seen at least 5 webinars in the past week and a half on this question alone: How do we determine our ROI on social media? And there are two distinct undercurrents in this discussion: 1) a low-lying anxiety on the part of marketers regarding keeping up with current trends and 2) trouble convincing an old-school CEO or other higher-up that this is of value to the company. I am a victim of the former and may blog about it in the future, but relief for the latter is beginning to emerge.
Among the best of the webinars and white papers discussing social media ROI are those from TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony. Anyone who is trying to convince their fellow employees about the value of social media must read their white paper, Making the Case for a Social Media Strategy. (Just so you know, I’m not connected to the company at all – I just really do like their work.)
They begin by going through an evolution of digital communications and present research on what people are doing online. They then explain how social media is a blurring of communication and content (the two activities people do the most online) and give salient examples of how struggling industries (especially newspapers) are embracing social media and seeing profits skyrocket. Among the quantifiable ROIs:
- direct conversion of buzz into sales
- market feedback/testing
And each of those quantifiable ROIs has at least one example from a major, dynamic company. Consider these:
- Crowdsourcing: “Intuit created a community with discussion boards on their site so customers can help each other with questions…According to Business Week, this community now has over 100,000 members discussing topics across 50 subject areas.” CEO Steve Bennett’s 2005 annual report letter to shareholders stated, “positive word of mouth creates a durable advantage for Intuit that translates into sustained revenue and profit growth.”
- Recommendations: “Analysis of [Petco’s] web traffic revealed that users that [sic] sort the list of products by customer ratings spend 41% more than users who search with other methods like popularity or price… Emails that feature customer review content receive 50% higher clickthrough rates.”
Helpfully, there are also cases where social media hurt companies, but a fair review notes that it was not the tool that caused the problem, but the poor PR skills of the company. Many are not adept at responding quickly, especially to a crisis situation. These examples serve as a good warning to be prepared for what you are about to take on.
In the end, social media is just a tool. But this study and others can give you the quick-and-dirty version (with stats) to help convince your more traditional bosses. It’s a scary new world but at least we’re all in it together.
Email updates via Feedburner:
Subscriptions via RSS:
What Folks Are Saying About OnlineMarketerBlog…"I do so love this piece. Great threading of lots of interesting points...Great view here so thanks."
-Chris Brogan, ChrisBrogan.com
"I like to read smart blogs. So when I started looking for bloggers to review my book, Toy Box Leadership, one my first choices was DJ Francis at onlinemarketerblog.com."
-Michael Waddell, author of Toy Box Leadership
"I've enjoyed your posts...Keep up the good work."
-Myles Bristowe, President-elect, American Marketing Association - Boston Chapter
"Thoughtful response to my Fast Company column..."
-Rob Walker, Murketing blog
"...I think we agree on solutions."
-Chip Heath, Co-author of Made To Stick
"If marketing is viral, you are the pathogen — and I mean that in the positive, cutting-edge sense of the word."
Vote!If you like this blog, please vote for it at the Blogger's Choice Awards
Thanks for visiting OnlineMarketerBlogOnline marketing is easy. Well, as easy as real-life marketing is. It's not about widgets or flashy gizmos - it's about relationships, trust, and transparency.
Everyone will have to be an online marketer at some point. So jump on in; the water is fine.