Archives For Marketing Tips
“I love advertising because I love lying…
I just want to enjoy the commercial….
We know the product is going to stink. We know that because we live in the world, and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, ‘Hey, maybe this one won’t stink.’
We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful.
But we’re happy in that moment between the commercial and the purchase.
And I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy.”
–Jerry Seinfeld, 55th Clio Awards
Digital Music News has a great analysis of the emerging CPG crisis driven by the fact that many millenials are content without a car, home or status products.
Rather, new Harris survey data shows this audience group would rather spend their expendable income on “experiences.”
Specifically, 82 percent of the participants in the survey indicated they had attended a live event in the past year, and 72 percent said they would increase their spending on experiences in the coming year.
Big implications here.
“If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.” – Hugh MacLeod
“Today, getting people to hear your story on social media, and then act on it, requires using a platform’s native language, paying attention to context, understanding the nuances and subtle differences that make each platform unique, and adapting your content to match.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
More than 1500 innovators, entrepreneurs, developers, engineers, angel investors and a handful of marketers descended on Las Vegas last week for SXSW V2V (visionary to visionary, or voice to voice, or voice to visionary, or visionaries to Vegas), bringing together creative people from all sectors to learn, think and network.
After six years attending SXSW in Austin, I was very excited to attend a more manageable and focused conference, where you could not only hit nearly every session, but you had the time and mental capacity to think, process and discuss takeaways with fellow attendees. Just like the good old days in Austin.
Here are some of my key takeaways:
- Embracing disruption through innovation:
No matter what industry you name — publishing (Amazon), transportation (Uber), books (Kindle), watches (Pebble), healthcare (Google Glass), B2B, B2C — legacy companies, entrepreneurs and innovators are looking to reinvent the wheel. Unfortunately, companies built on traditional models who are resistant to change are in for a bumpy ride. But on the flip side, artists, creators and technologists are creating new business opportunities, and these big companies are acquiring them. According to the speakers throughout the conference, immigration, technology legislation, private and public investments, and connectivity will all drive or stifle this movement. Not to mention consumer adoption, but this crowd tends to believe consumers will come if the disruptive idea is great enough.
- Transparency Natives:
Transparency Natives are defined as the next generation of consumers who have been raised on transparent business practices who possess full knowledge or access to information like: manufacturing conditions overseas, environmental concerns, health risks, executive scandals, etc.). It goes without saying that technology is equipping and enabling this transparency (user reviews, Wikipedia, Google). As such, it is already redefining traditional advertising and marketing strategies, which used to focus on how things should/could be, rather than magnifying how things are today.
- Hardware renaissance:
Move over, apps. Building on the emerging trend highlighted at CES in January and SXSW in March, startups and entrepreneurs are continuing to focus on the importance, value and opportunity in tech innovations through hardware design. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are helping fuel innovations in hardware by providing the capital for hardware innovation up front.
- Future of Wearable Technology:
Building on the hardware trend, innovators are excited about new wearable technologies like Google Glass, smart watches and fitness tracking bands. Whether it’s a focus on healthcare (teleconsultation apps reducing redundancy and improving coordination of care) to haptic feedback (using electronic current to simulate different forms of touch) to delivering on the promise of the smart watch (Pebble, Kreyos, iWatch) there is a growing focus on how these new devices will add value, talk to each other and create experiences that add value.
- Unplugging and Setting Up a Culture that Fosters Creativity:
One of the benefits and challenges of starting your own company is you get to set the rules and working culture. For many start-ups, this means setting clear work/life boundaries to prevent inevitable burnout and a reduced spirit of creativity. This is a subject I’m passionate about, and it was radical to hear young entrepreneurs testify to the benefits of placing culture as a priority that drives business.
Compelling quotes from my notes:
- We live in an era of “digital Darwinism,” a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organizations to adapt.
- Innovation begins with an idea on how to improve something that may not “be broken.”
- All products are windows into new worlds.
- As more people wear Google Glass, brands must consider how to architect ZMOT experiences from search to consideration to purchase to post-purchase sharing in an entirely new way.
- “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, you have to go together.” -African proverb
- Second internet revolution will be improving how we live our lives and contribute to growth that add value
- If you want to get unemployment down, you have to go all-in on startups and entrepreneurs. Most of the Fortune 500 were started by immigrants, and most of the startups in Silicon Valley don’t come from traditional companies.
- Europe’s economy is slowing down because they don’t have an innovative culture. Detroit is a real-time example of this. Sixty years ago, Detroit was Silicon Valley — the most innovative region when cars were the most innovative tech. And Detroit was the pride of American and envy of the world. At it’s core, today, Detroit has lost it’s innovative mojo. We need to understand that story so we’re making investments and not coasting in our own businesses and in our own communities. If we are complacent, our global competitors will eat our lunch.
- When was the last time your life was running at a pace you could handle?
- We’re told to embrace failure, but we don’t fail purposefully.
- Pick things you’re not good at; try them; fail; and figure out what you can do successfully within those parameters.
- “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Picasso
- “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” -Simon Sinek
- Advertising should help companies be great, not just say they’re great. If you focus on behavior, you can build on magnets over megaphones.
- “If you want to innovate from corporate culture, you have to get pretty far from corporate culture.” – Alex Bogusky
- Build your team based on your target consumer. Companies should develop HR hiring practices that grows
- teams who match their customer base, which will allow your business to best address their needs, interests and allow you to grow and evolve in lock-step with your audience.
- Technology was supposed to free up time for us to spend time with our family and kids, but we’ve filled that time with mindless social media activities.
- We have become incredibly obsessed with what could be happening over there, while being distracted from the here and now.
- The always-on culture is: revealing new advances in language, body language and nuance, helping many overcome isolation in their physical community, fostering global collaboration and partnerships, growing our circle of concern and leading to more personalized communication. However, we tend to only share the best of who we are — a curated sense of truth (success theater), and people aren’t expressing the true nature of who we are.
- Most innovation happens when you apply something outside your industry to your own.
As I said in my 5 Things That SXSW V2V Does Better than SXSW Interactive post, the caliber of the SXSW community — whether in Austin or a smaller, spin-off conference in Vegas — continues to be extremely high and unrivaled by most events. The programming has ranged from adequate to engaging. Las Vegas is actually set up for conferences. The entrepreneurial and innovative spirit is contagious in Downtown Vegas.
And although I miss the barbecue, breakfast tacos and overall Austin-style we’ve come to expect from SXSW, I will gladly come to Vegas for Year #2 of SXSW V2V.
This morning I’m presenting at the PR News Next Practices Conference in San Francisco, splitting the 8 Essential Skills Communicators Will Need to Thrive in 2014 and Beyond with my co-presenter, Darrel Ng.
Here is my half of the presentation:
What skills do you think we’ll need this time next year?
You would think the track record of social network migration (i.e. users emigrating from Compuserve to AOL, AOL to Friendster, Friendster to MySpace, more recently MySpace to Facebook) would have established a trend of cyclical change which we marketers would anticipate and embrace. But for some reason it seems like our clients and peers are always surprised when online behavior changes, new destinations gain traction, and popular networks lose daily active users.
A new survey by Piper Jaffray offers the latest news bite that will have our industry and clients asking us questions about social marketing programs on current and emerging socnets.
Facebook is the “most important” social media site for about 10% fewer teenagers than it was a year ago. The teens surveyed are less interested in Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr and Tumblr, too. Of the major sites included in the survey, only Pinterest has grown. (Instagram was not included in the survey in Spring of 2012). This suggests something bigger than a shift away from Facebook; it hints at what could be the beginning of an across-the-board teen rejection of traditional social networking as a whole. But where are young people going? The survey includes some notable write-ins, which are presented almost as a footnote.
But they might explain what’s going on:
The sites that are either ascendant, holding steady or holding relatively strong are feed-heavy and profile-light; the sites that seem to be hit hardest are those that have a more traditional, MySpace-y structures, centered around a detailed profile. (Tumblr is the odd exception here.)
The biggest “write-in” services aren’t really social networks in the way Facebook is a social network. Snapchat and Kik are messaging services. While they might be able to draw teens’ attention away from Facebook, they have little funcional overlap.
This data measures sentiment, not usage stats. If this data is solid, though, we should see it reflected in an teen exodus from traditional social networks.
While I strongly believe Vine and disposable media socnets like Snapchat, Kik and Poke satisfy important emerging consumer behaviors, we shouldn’t discount the effectiveness of mass socnets like Facebook and Twitter – just as we don’t discount the effective of mass media channels like television and newspapers to meet specific client needs. Particularly with Facebook’s new targeting offerings, we can now laser target client messages like never before.
In summary, depending on your brand’s measurable objectives, you should recommend and utilize the most appropriate channel to best meet their audiences.
What works today may not work next year, and I personally think that’s AWESOME.
“Taking Stock with Teens” study (pdf)
Cross-posted from Social Studies…
I’m here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Los Angeles ignoring the beautiful palm trees and weather in favor of sitting inside and listening to compelling speakers present on the latest digital, social and interactive marketing trends.
Tom #1: Data-Driven Insights
I was impressed by the opening Social Media Business Summit keynote from Tom Webster at Edison Research, who leads exit-polling for elections, among other things. Tom’s focus was on ways to sort through sheer amounts of data, research, studies and trends.
Tom says social media is great for casual listening but isn’t quantitatively effective in driving research and insights. Essentially, social media is great for asking questions but isn’t the best at ascertaining answers.
Tom has found that reframing issues and questions allows for brands to achieve better answers. Rather than asking, “What do you want,” he suggests asking “How can XX make your life better?” Then brands can track those answers and map out a strategy. Notice, this doesn’t say rely on broad trends or generic studies.
While it’s fine to acknowledge the latest eMarketer hype, Tom says all the data coming out about the best time of day to tweet, publish a blog post, or the best place to place a link in an article makes him cringe. He says these types of question assumes that there is obviously a best time or a best place.
But what if it is an incorrect assumption these can or should have obvious results? Instead, Tom recommends conducting scientific studies to confirm or disconfirm these assumptions.
Data for “content creation” is inherently incurious, he says. It takes time and disconfirming things to find the right answer. And Tom uses the word “incurious” as a vulgarity!
For example, a study came out that showed press releases distributed at 1 a.m. were the most effective. This study spread like wildfire across the social web and quickly became folklore and accepted as fact. But this study made an assumption that there actually is a best time to distribute a press release, and (according to Tom) the people sharing the results of this study were relying upon flawed “science.”
Instead, Tom recommends marketers “do their own work.” Rather than align strategy with another organization’s research or logic, he suggests analyzing where one’s customers are, determining what motivates them and driving your own research.
Tom #2: Mo-Money, Mo-Mobile
Another compelling session was Tom Hayden’s session on mobile engagement. Yes, another Tom. My schedule picking strategy was to only attend presentations from guys named Tom (or Thomas or Tommy), and I succeeded.
This Tom says marketers should focus on mobile behavior and not mobile technology. When you think of mobile behavior, consider what we do, how we live and why we use mobile in our lives.
Tom says humans are not designed to sit for long periods of time, to stare at screens full of synthetic illumination and host prolonged conversations through text. Mobile allows users to more natively incorporate brand integration into our normal lives.
Mobile integration is evolving to the tipping point (50 percent of users will have smart phones by January 2012). But when a new user acquires a smart phone for the first time, they aren’t installing FourSquare and Instagram. Rather, they are using it for what they are familiar with from their “desktop past” — email, web surfing and possibly chat.
And that web surfing? It’s mostly search. Tom says 70 percent of mobile search ends up in an offline action within two to three hours. Again, this goes back to mobile behavior, not the technology. Desktop surfing is rarely integrated with an offline action. This was a key takeaway for me as I consider mobile strategy for clients.
Below is Tom’s outline of mobile friendly sites and mobile ready sites:
What is mobile friendly?
- Condensed content (4-10x reduction of desktop site)
- Navigation limited to 2-3 actions beyond the landing page
- Quick load time (you have less than 30 seconds)
What is mobile ready?
- Responsive design (device detection and customized content based on user)
- Data feed (API – location, device, A-B testing, time/date) with CRM and/or profiling platform)
- Cross-platform tested (iOS, Android, RIM, Windows, Palm and across multiple years and OS updates)
Another variable to consider when planning mobile programs is that fact that humans are not only staring at screens less, they are typing less. Touch screens are harder to type but easy to facilitate face to face (e.g., FaceTime, Skype, facilitating an IRL meet-up). So we’re moving back to a preference of face to face while lessening our focus on the written word.
Of note, this is why people put “sorry for typos” on their mobile signature. Tom says we’re apologizing for bad technology and subconsciously will shift to avoid it. I know personally I have significant issues typing on my iPhone and iPad, and that’s why I’m actually typing this post on a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad.
Tom showed Forrester data that illustrates barcode scanners are the fastest growing app right now — beating weather, games, navigation and music apps. As native QR apps come out in operating systems, this is a technology that is happening and won’t go away anytime soon.
Humans are comfortable with the cameras on their phones and will understand how to scan a QR code as that technology grows. However, it’s important to include multiple mediums to reach the masses (URL, SMS, QR, etc.). Tom recommends including opportunities to scan, text and click in communications with potential or current customers, then keep good track of the metrics to adapt campaigns.
I asked a question about mobile commerce and its adoption. Tom says that even though Google Wallet and other start-ups have pioneered the space, there are technological barriers PLUS human behavior barriers that will delay widespread adoption of using your phone to purchase goods on a consistent basis.
Specifically, retail stores have one kind of credit card scanner that can scan every single brand of credit card, but the acquisition of unique technology for mobile commerce is complex and expensive. I personally think barcode technology will be a good stop-gap — allowing anyone with smart phone to scan and buy something, billed back to their phone plan. I guess we’ll see!
What’s your strategy for navigating data overload and trend-based laziness? How are you rethinking mobile strategy for a changing culture?