Sunday, 28 September 2008

If The Blogosphere Were a Country

A recent MarketTools report indicates that three quarters of global Internet users, and 70% of all US adults use social media sites - welcome to mainstream...

A closer look at what that means and what people are actually using social media for is revealing and makes clear the need for advertisers to use the medium to understand what their customers are saying (listening) and to extend their other on and offline marketing activities:
  • 70% of US adults visit social media sites.
  • 23% of all US adults research products online and
  • 47% of these say this directly impacts decision making.
  • That means that around 25 million adults in the US make their purchase decisions on the basis of social media.
Another report, The State of the Blogosphere 2008 from Technorati shows that three-quarters of active Internet users globally read blogs, and 184 million people have set up a blog. Looked at another way, if the blogosphere were a country, it would be the sixth largest in the world. Lots of very interesting information in this report which can be read here....

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The Database of Intentions & that of Attentions

The Database of Intentions is a phrase coined by John Battelle in his excellent book The Search. Published in 2003, the idea formed the backbone of his book - the Database of Intentions is simply put: the aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result. A pretty good market has been formed around the the expressions of customer intentions - the keyword.

The Database of Attentions is the aggregate user generated content at any one time across the entire range of social media. The real value of mining this database is dependent on marketers' ability to understand what the data is telling them and respond in a timely manner. Effective mining could and should also influence search strategies and therefore the competitive keyword market.

The partial view of the database above is from TwitScoop at 5PM on Sunday afternoon hence the heavy sport weighting.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Impacting Experience

Ed Thompson's keynote address at last weeks Gartner CRM Summit, indicated the seven areas of focus that provide the most impact on customer experience:

  1. Listen, think, do: Listen to your customers, seek their input and do something about it. Gartner demonstrates that only 5% of companies tell customers what they have done as a result of that feedback
  2. Design process from the outside in: Build the processes that customers care most about from their point of view
  3. Use multiple channels: And measure across them... A challenge for most organisations still today
  4. Be open and exclusive: Transparency, respect and an openness to co-creation with customers
  5. Personalize products, services and offers: Marketing starts to get complex as we get closer to truly personalised and increasingly relevant interactions. Requires a discipline that traditional agencies are not noted for (that's why I don't work in one)
  6. Alter attitudes: Cited as the biggest challenge. The best efforts of a store loyalty program can be completely undone by an unfortunate in-store experience with a careless employee
  7. Plan and design the customer experience from scratch: The example used was Disney design of their parking lots - with a focus on the customers and getting them out as fast as possible. I really like the fact that Disney's travel group has a CMR and not a CRM department, CMR standing for Customer Managed Relationships

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Putting Social Media in its Place

Peter Kim recently posted a thoughtful article on the scalability of social media as an effective marketing medium. Peter argues that social media works well as an element of the marketing mix but does not naturally or effectively fit at either end of the marketing spectrum. With the utmost respect, I am not sure that I entirely agree, I think that a solid social media strategy can be additive at both extremes; from awareness - best provided by the mass media, to conversion - best provided by the varied mechanisms of direct marketing, irrespective of the platform, on or off-line.

In my opinion, the best place for social media tactics is across the entire continuum of marketing activities. The most effective social media campaigns have been extensions of mass advertising (I give you the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty). Furthermore, in terms of activation or conversion, I am intrigued by the potential of inter-connecting search and social media marketing and how this - most direct - of marketing mechanisms can be made more effective by the application of well thought out and integrated social media campaigns. At the simplest level, think about semantics and how the language used in customer generated content can be used to inform search strategies (oh and vice-versa...)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

All Marketing is a Hypothesis

However scientific we might want to be about marketing, the truth remains that everything we as marketers do is really a hypothesis. At least the smartest marketers will recognise it as such. This understanding leads to three non-negotiables for marketing effectiveness:

1. Use all the data you can lay your hands on derive insights and create your initial hypothesis or segmentation (the better this initial step, the better the overall outcome).

2. Measure carefully those elements that materially impact your initial hypothesis (be careful not to measure everything just because you can - measure what matters).

3. Design all of your marketing materials to be adaptive so that they can change as a function of your testing and measurement of your initial hypothesis (my agency- Rosetta - refers to this as operationalising the segmentation and you would be surprised at how many segmentation studies gather dust on the shelf and are never really tested in the marketplace).

I suppose this expression of marketing modesty is just another affrimation of Moltke's theory "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy"...

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Technology + Art = Magic

Great article on HBR.com about how Pixar fosters collective creativity. Many excellent lessons for the marketing world. The article should be required reading for any marketing shop.
Two quotes really sum up the gist of the approach:

Barriers include the natural class structures that arise in organizations: There always seems to be one function that considers itself and is perceived by others to be the one the organization values the most.

Technology inspires art, and art challenges the technology.
Marketers of course are faced with the additional challenge (opportunity) of integrating campaign data and analytics to both inform the original insight (the higher idea) and then to have that data be used to optimize the execution over time...