Archive for January, 2011
From the JJTV vaults…an episode on the rise and role of channels within a video environment.
Johnson & Johnson did just that about 2 years ago when they created a health channel on YouTube that has over 2.5 million views to date.
That may not seem like a lot (it's a rounding error from the perspective of paid media impressions), but it is when you think about the very specialized and specific, targeted content that is created within a B2B and/or a B2C space.
Most importantly, it's a demonstration of "marketing as a commitment" versus campaign in a Google-dominated long tail environment.
So congrats J&J. Keep the good work!
What do you think? Let me know.
- Share JJTV with your health profesional, colleagues, clients and followers
- Tweet or RT: New JJTV – Every brand should have a video channel; J&J shows you how…http://bit.ly/videochannelplanning
- Subscribe to the show via iTunes or YouTube
- Leave a video comment
He's a fan of Flip the Funnel but doesn't subscribe to the idea of rewarding and recognizing the contributions of advocates in the form of giving them something back.
So we debated and had a conversation.
Hope you enjoy it as well.
Subscribe to the show via iTunes here
How can companies get their customers more engaged and involved? Social media has been making it easier for user-generated content to appear as part of a brand’s marketing, usually with consumers. If a consumer is truly a loyal fan of that brand, they will be very excited to see their submission being used by their favorite company. There are many, many examples of companies using these tactics for marketing buzz and excitement as part of a social media campaign. When the campaign ends, the buzz usually dies down, and the new “fans” go look for other contests to enter. Not a great way to create long-term relationships. For this reason, I often say that social media is not a campaign; it is a relationship.
Some companies have been engaging with their true fans for years. For example, at Jones Soda their bottle labels are actually photos submitted by their customers via the Jones Soda website. Customer photos appear on the Jones Soda gallery, and a lucky few get theirs put on a bottle. Even though there is no fame and fortune to be received from this activity, Jones Soda fans love to contribute to the Jones community in this fashion.
Spice it Up in B2B
Spiceworks is a great example of letting customers contribute in the B2B space. Spiceworks is a free set of tools that helps over 1 million IT professionals manage their network, helpdesk, and “everything IT in small and medium businesses.” They have a very active online community which answers questions for each other and shares what they think on a variety of topics. Spiceworks put together a photo contest asking IT professionals to share some creative pics that contained the Spiceworks logo, brand name, or simply a red chili pepper. From that contest, a community mascot was born, SpiceRex. Submitted by one of the members, SpiceRex grabbed the attention of the Spiceworks team and the hearts of the community, and he travels the world to visit various members (he is made of paper, so he travels light). He has become so popular that Spiceworks will be featuring the red orange T-Rex in a series of ads, created by community members, to tell the IT world about their free software. Spiceworks recently won a Groundswell award for the way they have energized their customers and created tremendous word of mouth through them.
When you have information about your customers and their passions that your competitors don’t have, you have an advantage. When you use what you know about your customers and let them play a role in the experience, such as featuring a community mascot in your ads, now you are building on the customer relationship and increasing the likelihood of loyalty.
The right niche and the right approach enable a two-person company to outshine a retailing giant on Facebook. That’s true of George Bowers Grocery in Staunton Virginia where owners Katie McCaskey and Brian Weidman have created a delightful grocery store that focuses on high-quality foods and other specialty products.
The couple knew they could not compete head-to-head with the local Kroger supermarket in their community. Instead they have captured the spirit of the original 19th-century owner as a provider of "staple goods & fancy groceries."
They offer wonderful local meats, cheeses, wines, and craft beers as well as a variety of specialty items. They target the diverse mix of neighborhood residents, local food enthusiasts, and culinary tourists each with their own distinctive interests and needs. The atmosphere of the store itself is an eclectic blend of the old-fashioned and the modern.
And, they have a lot of fun with their marketing, in person and online.
Meeting The Marketing Challenge: Content Marketing, Social Media, and Live Events
Newspaper, TV, radio, and Yellow Pages advertising were out of the question given their tiny marketing budget. Instead, online content marketing and the judicious use of social media became the obvious marketing solution. In particular, their use of live events and of Facebook demonstrates how small can be beautiful when it comes to 21st-century marketing.
Live events are the one traditional marketing tactic they employ successfully. They feature plenty of free goodies for foodies to entice them into the store week after week. Each event is tightly integrated with their online content marketing efforts.
Facebook is particularly effective because it gives Katie and Brian the chance to interact with their local customers and to alert them of the latest fun, free events.
The grocery has hundreds of fans drawn primarily from their small town of just 25,000 residents. There is a consistent level of interaction between the company and its customers. In fact, they estimate that 75% of their customers connect with them on Facebook or read their blog.
Best of all, on Facebook they can battle local giant Kroger toe-to-toe. That would’ve been impossible in the local newspaper, radio or TV station. They can’t out spend Kroger with traditional advertising, but they certainly can outmaneuver them on Facebook.
Although Kroger has thousands of Facebook fans across the United States, they average only 10 fans per store–while George Bowers has 429 at their single location. And, Katie manages to stay just as current on the George Bowers Facebook page as their billion-dollar competitor. At the same time, this micro marketer’s Facebook page has a much stronger visual appeal on a daily basis than does Kroger.
George Bowers Grocery has achieved outsized results by leveraging content marketing and social media components that are either free or very inexpensive. Facebook is a cornerstone of that strategy. .
Great food and great Facebook have proven to be a winning combination.
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Do you know what the most annoying thing about builders is? It’s when they refuse to talk to each other. You’ve probably been there. ‘Guys, why is there water leaking in through the ceiling?’. ‘Don’t ask me guv, the plasterer probably knocked the pipes upstairs’. ‘Can you take a look at it?’. Cue sound of obligatory-sucking-in-of-air-through-teeth. ’Not today mate, ring Mick and ask him if he’s got some waff-wizard’. ‘Huh? What’s waff-wizard. Actually, never mind, could you ring him?’. ‘I haven’t got his number mate’. ‘I can give it to you’. ‘Bye, make sure to ask about the waff wizard’. ‘Hi there, John said I should ask you about waff wizard because there’s a leak in the kitchen. ‘Waff-what?’. ‘Waff-wizard, oh forget it, look there’s a leak in the kitchen’. ‘Yes I saw that, looks nasty, talk to Gary – tell him he needs to use a pobble-pibble’. And so it goes on. What feels like an infinite number of specialists all of whom have their own languages and tools, but who see any other professionals as being inferior or incompetent, feel obliged to contradict any advice they offer and refuse to talk to each other directly. Whilst flicking through last week’s Campaign Magazine, I had a strange feeling that the marketing industry was showing some similar traits. There were experts from each part of the business talking about the way they saw the year ahead panning out. Each was extolling the virtues of newspapers, digital, TV, outdoor, production, direct, sponsorship and many other areas. All of them made sound, interesting points about their own fields, including lots of technical terms and diagnoses. However, there was very little, if any, reference to how well they all work together. These first-class professionals were all deeply dug into their own particular siloes. Now, this is hardly new. We’ve all worked in agency networks where…
…the pitch team is brought together at the last minute from the far-reaches of a global business to deliver a presentation that is always ‘seamless’, ‘media-neutral’ and ‘integrated’ : only to win and fight like cats and dogs over who is the ‘lead’ ie going to take the biggest slice of the budget.
It’s easy to see where this siloed approach has come from. Media has always been characterised by discreet channels, each with their own style, promises and cultures. TV, radio, press and outdoor may all be part of the same business but they largely act alone. Reflecting that, the marketing business has always been a fierce bunfight to convince global brand clients that a particular channel is Top Dog and that everything else is just decoration. PR, media, research and creative advertising may all be part of the same industry but they constantly eye each other up and put each other down. The result is a relentless battle by different parts of the same industry to get a seat at the top table and then kick away the ladder to the C-Suite.
Even the new-kids-on-the-block are sucked into this mindset with professionals working in web design, SEO, mobile and social all making their case against each other, whilst rolling their eyes at those in traditional media who ‘don’t get it’.
However, as all media channels are slowly sucked into one digital platform where everything is joined up and networked, the idea of ‘channels’ starts to make less sense, as do the siloes of professionals that make them tick. In a time when I can watch TV on my computer, video on my smartphone, read newspapers on a tablet, stream radio online and wave my arms at a gaming console; all whilst browsing TwitterBook to see what my online bretheren are up to – where does one channel start and the next stop? Throw in the mega-trend of consumers (aka people) sharing-and-comparing vast amounts of digital video, content and opinion and the marketing industry’s siloed view really begins to look like a bad starting point. And this intermingling only looks set to continue as TVs become connected and mobile devices that scan the real world for information, through QR codes, RFIDs and AR devices become more practical and mainstream.
For consumers, media used to be fairly easy to define. However, today the networked media world is like a bowl of spaghetti into which you just stick your fork, see what comes out and spin it around until it looks about right. Brands and agencies that spend their time trying to decide whether the spaghetti or the tomatoes is the ‘lead’ ingredient are in danger of missing the reaction of the person enjoying the food. Or, worse still, of sounding like the builder who does the obligatory-sucking-in-of-air-through-teeth before delivering the classic line, ‘I wish you’d come to me first’.
Well, it’s finally here. After Facebook announced that they’d have an email solution that’s not email, they’ve rolled it out to the public.
This morning, on my Facebook news feed, I saw the following message regarding Facebook’s new Messages:
The new system combines your messages, texts and chats in one place so you don’t have to try to remember how you communicated with your contacts in order to find what you’re looking for. But it also does one other important thing – something that’s a salvo at Google’s Gmail: users are given the opportunity to get a Facebook email account.
Why would you want a Facebook email? According to Facebook:
There are many benefits to claiming your Facebook email address:
- It’s free and easy to set up.
- Having your email integrated with your messages, chats and texts makes it easier to check them all at once. And if you’re looking for a message later, you don’t have to worry about how it was sent since all your different types of messages are in one place.
- Your Facebook messages are compatible with traditional email systems (e.g., Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail). When people send you emails from these external systems, they’re delivered directly to your Facebook Messages. And when you send messages to external email addresses, they’re formatted to look like your messages on Facebook, including your name and profile picture along with your message.
- Owning your @facebook.com address makes it easier for friends and family who are not on Facebook yet to connect with you.
- Your other email addresses may change over time, but your Facebook email never does.
Personally, I”m a committed Gmail user, since my Google account integrates with many other platforms (such as Blogger, which this blog is written on), among others. I don’t know if I’ll give this a try or not.
But a little bit behind what’s driving Facebook’s decision to expand in this area. The New York Times discusses the decline of email in Gen Y, citing that the younger generation simply doesn’t use email as much as they use IM and texting.
In November, Facebook announced the evolution of its messaging system and in a Fast Company article, Zuckerberg noted his inspiration for deciding on the software that would shape the communications style of whole generations:
“Whenever I get a chance to talk to high schoolers, I always want to ask them what kind of software they’re using… So I asked them: What do you use for email? [And they answered,] ‘Some of us use Gmail. Some of us use Yahoo. But we don’t really use email.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean you don’t use email? Everyone uses email.’ And they said, ‘No. It’s too slow.’”
Using high schoolers as a focus group for the future of a multi-billion dollar company? While I understand that they’re on the cutting edge of what’s next and that they’ll be the users of the future, my traditional self cringes a little about the notion of basing your success on the tastes and proclivities of such a young generation. Particularly when they have yet to fully grasp the habit of good writing, functional grammar, and the ability to fully express their thoughts.
My concern arises from this kicker from the Fast Company article:
The teens told Zuckerberg it was too much trouble to think of a subject and to compose a formal message.
Too much trouble to think of even a subject line? I weep for the future.
The issue is that social media strategists tend not to be strategic or tactical; the large corporations will continue to bring in those higher level strategists as they know that there is a need for that type of skill set (and the people with it are more limited than you would think). The good social media strategist is someone that understands and knows public relations and marketing and can work with marketing and public relations teams, as well as customer service, advertising and, at some levels, business development and align all to one group mind think. A group mind think that has a business value and proposition that extends beyond “hey, he’s a nice person” but understands that social media campaigns need to translate to real business value.
The perfect social media is a quarterback, driving a strategy that leads to REAL business value, not popularity chasing with limited to no value. That position – the internal strategist that aligns various business units – will continue to be around, but only necessary at big corporations. The small companies and start-ups have no need for those people now, and will begin to see that there’s no need for them in the future.
The social media specialist job, though, is a short-term job. Or, well, it should be (outside large corporations) as these are skills that any public relations or marketing person of any experience should have. Social media is just another term for community outreach, online communities, online engagement and those are skills that have just been repackaged and made sexy by people to get a jump on the competition. It’s not that the large corporations don’t have people with those skills, but there is a need for the alignment across business segments, having a single voice (or at least thought process).
So my thought is that many of these social media jobs will disappear within the next few years, if not faster. The job details will be spread around various people at companies – PR, marketing, customer service, community managers – and be managed by a person in the marketing or advertising departments at the company. The same would eventually happen at large corporations, albeit a bit slower as the larger the organization, the slower the process.
And while many of these internal people are talented, and will transition back into PR or marketing, a good number of them never had the basic skills and remade themselves into whatever was hot. What happened to all the SEO gurus and shops back in the day? Looks like a lot of them remade themselves into social media gurus and strategy shops. Expect to see those that had no real skills in the beginning to see the writing on the wall and begin remaking themselves for the new thing.
A little Friday fun. You’d think it would be easier to keep in touch with your contacts these days thanks to the many ways we have to communicate. Phone, email, texting , IM, Twitter @replies and DMs, Facebook messages – and let’s not forget about good old fashioned written notes.
But somehow, we’ve made it more complicated. Everyone has his or her own preference of how they’re predisposed to communicate and be contacted, and it’s a challenge, to say the least, to manage all of these channels and keep a mental Rolodex of preferences. Is there a solution? I don’t know. But Allen Mezquida shared his latest Smigly animation with me, and it captures it well.
Warning: there may be some offensive language in the video
Do you have a solution? Or do you just muddle along like Smigly above?
The third of three posts
As you plan for the year ahead, it’s time to consider how social media will change your company or brand in 2011.
Recently, we (Ant’s Eye View) unveiled the Social Engagement Journey. Our creation of the Journey is based on having worked with some of the world’s leading brands and understanding their challenges in becoming a socially engaged organization. We have observed that the Journey encompasses five stages of how the organization is operating internally as well as externally by connecting with customers.
Success in the Journey first means understanding your company’s current stage. We’ve produced a self-assessment you can use inside your company to determine your stage. While the assessment will give you a stage “score,” its real value may be as a discussion catalyst with your team.
Click on the document image below to see/download the assessment. Feel free to print it, share it with colleagues or post it on other sites. This post provides more background about the Journey’s five stages and their typical activities.
Let us know in the comments where you reside!
True, but for most folks facing the prospects of blogging or creating content for their personal use or for their company, content is what it’s all about.
Two blog posts about this very topic showed up in my reader this morning and both are worth a read.
Chris Thilk of Voce says the ideas for blog posts and other content are right there waiting for you:
Most companies are just swimming in fully-produced content or in an environment where it can be pretty easily produced. Look at the calendar. Does anything about your company tie in to holidays, seasons or some big upcoming event? Great, there are three or four potential posts each. Is anyone in the organization going to a conference? Does someone already put together a round-up of industry news that’s emailed around? Are there some commonly asked questions by your customers that could be answered? All those – and many more like them – can be the source of potentially published content.
What has changed today is not so much the ability and need of B2B PR experts to produce content but the fact that companies now don’t need to go through gate keepers. Anyone today, as the litany goes, can be a publisher. Coinciding with that is that the sphere of content, as Sosnow points out, has widened, thanks to digitalization. Today articles, newsletters, ebooks, blogs, e-magazines, videos and podcasts, are all types of content that can fall under the PR umbrella. The digitalization of information has made content inexpensive both to create and distribute.
I urge you to give both a read today.
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