Have you ever had a bad customer service experience, purchased a faulty product or been charged more than the agreed upon price? Of course you have. We all have our own stories, and thanks to social media, now more than ever we have the means to broadcast our anger across the world and actually make a difference. No more are the days of writing a letter just for it to land in a trashcan, or calling a manager just to be left on hold for an hour before you’re told that he/she has left for lunch. No. Today consumers are able to connect with millions of people at a moment’s notice, without restrictions or filter, and fight for a common cause. For businesses, this can make or break the bank depending on how the mood strikes.
I came across a fascinating infographic from Mashable that summarizes various recent real-life scenarios in which consumers put their foot down in response to corporate actions. (Just for fun, here is another example - it’s about a man who got upset with United Airlines for apparently breaking his guitar, and the airline’s reaction to his claim. Ouch!) Pretty powerful stuff, if you ask me – it’s a great reminder to all those businesses out there that someone is always watching, and a powerful reminder to consumers that their voices can, and will be heard!
It is almost that wonderful time of year again when people dedicate an entire 2.5 weeks of their lives to the NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament. Whether you actually love the sport or you just really want to win your company’s bracket for bragging rights, everyone will be using technology to stay on top of the action. This year, however, easy access will cost you. According to the NCAA website, you will be able to watch all 67 games live, just like last year, but now you’ll have to cough up $3.99.
There are a few ways you can get access to games without paying, however. Looks like anyone who has access to Turner Sports will be able to view games free of charge. CBS will be streaming their games live on the web for free, as well. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the one-time fee of almost $4 to ensure you don’t miss a shot on your computer, Android or Apple device.
Peter Kafka reprinted this awesome roadmap in his All Things D article (via BTIG’s Rich Greenfield):
- CBS will stream the games airing on the CBS Network throughout the country live on CBSSports.com for free. Consumers will only be able to watch on PCs/Macs, with no tablet/smartphone access.
- TBS, TNT and TruTV will stream the games airing on each network live at TBS.com, TNT.tv and truTV.com for consumers who authenticate their respective MVPD service provider (currently all major MVPDs authenticate these network Web sites, except Time Warner Cable). As with CBS, the games will only be available via PC/Mac (no portability).
- Complete access to March Madness on Demand via PC/Mac, smartphone and tablets with interactive features, regardless of whether you have subscribed to MVPD service, will cost a consumer $3.99 (one-time fee for the whole tournament). Streaming online and across portable devices will be available from the selection show through the championship game.
Aside from watching the game, however, there are other ways to be active in the March Madness craze. Apps/websites such as PlayUp, FanFeedr, and I Can’t Find the Game are just a few that can help.
Still, although it is totally giving in to “the man,” I’ll probably just pay the $3.99.
- Kate N.
I’ll admit, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I’ll love it one day, and be completely annoyed with it the next. Some days there are too many annoying posts to count (I am only interested in so many baby bump pictures, and don’t really need to know your political agenda) and others are milestones shared that I would have otherwise regrettably missed out on had I gone off the grid.
With that said, I came across an article today that encourages Facebook users to better their Facebook experience by using the platform more to their advantage. That got me thinking – maybe I’m just scraping the surface and not experiencing all that Facebook has to offer in terms of customization and practicality. Hoping I’m not the only one with a complicated Facebook relationship, I thought I’d share some of these tips on “How to Pimp Your Facebook Habits”.
- Birthdays – We all do it – wish a happy birthday to a friend whom we won’t interact with until their birthday rolls around again next year. It’s a sad example of how disingenuous we are encouraged to be (how do you not wish someone a happy birthday, when Facebook slaps you in the face with its calendar each time you log on), but we’re all guilty of it. But what about those connections whom we’re actually friends with, and have some kind of social connection to? I’m horrible at remembering anything that isn’t on my personal calendar (I love using iCal), so if your birthday isn’t on there, I’ll likely forget about it until the day of. Facebook helps you alleviate this problem by allowing you to export those dates to your calendar of choice so that you can send a more formal, offline greeting if you so choose. (Yes, I’m talking about snail mail.)
- Unfriending – Let’s be honest – we all do it, but unfortunately it’s hard to keep tabs on when it’s done to us first. Until now. A tool called Unfriend Finder alerts you when someone unfriends you, denies your friend request or deactivates their account. It’s up to you to use the information to your discretion. (I sense an uptick in confrontations…)
- Privacy – Personally, I love the look and feel of Facebook’s Timeline. However, like many other users, the most concerning aspect is the ease with which users can now scroll through your history. Maybe you’re friending some people today whom you’d rather not share your life story with. Or you start a new job and want to keep your social activities private from new coworkers. If you’re concerned, follow the steps outlined in the article to keep your privacy settings in check.
- (Movie) Timeline – Not so worried about keeping your history private? Then you might be in the market for Timeline Movie Maker, an app that creates a movie based on your pictures and events. If you’re promoting a brand or your company’s page, this might be a great marketing tool to consider. But for an everyday, personal account, this just sounds over-the-top. Hand me a pillow because that will put me to sleep.
There are some other quick tips shared in this article, but I’d be interested to hear some others of your own. How do you make the most of your Facebook experience?
As a child of the 90s, when I hear anything ending in "looza" I automatically think of Lollapalooza and crowd surfing, tattoo tents, massive crowds....sorry for the brief trip down memory lane!
While you won't leave Entreprelooza with a new tattoo, you will have the chance to network with local entrepreneurs and see the east coast premiere of a documentary about startup life. Entreprelooza, taking place March 6th at 7:00 p.m., is presented by SpeakerBox's very own Lisa Throckmorton and heavy hitters of the local tech, entrepreneur and venture capitalist scene. There will also be a charity geek auction featuring some of the geekiest and chicest people in the DC area. More details are being released in the next day or two so keep checking www.entreprelooza.com and the Facebook group for the latest.
You can purchase tickets here. Ticket sales benefit the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) DC Region.
See you at Entreprelooza!
As many of us have realized while trying to explain to our parents what exactly it is we do at our office all day – public relations is not easily defined. Last year, PRSA decided its definition of public relations needed a little refreshing, having not been updated since 1982.
Over the past three months they have embarked in a crowd-sourcing effort allowing PRSA members and non-members around the world to contribute ideas for how the definition should read. Over 1,000 contributions were received and a task force aggregated the comments, developing the following three draft definitions:
- Public relations is the management function of researching communicating and collaborating with publics to build mutually beneficial relationships.
- Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.
- Public relations is the strategic process of engagement between organizations and publics to achieve mutual understanding and realize goals.
For the past few weeks, the potential definitions were open to the public for voting. Polls closed yesterday and votes are being tallied now– with a new definition being revealed this week!
While public relations is diverse in its practice and has never had a consensus definition– PRSA is attempting to create a definition that expresses the things that bind PR professionals, regardless of specific approaches and responsibilities.
Did you have a chance to vote? Which definition do you think exemplifies the role and value of public relations today? Check back with The Sounding Board to find out which definition is the “winner!”
So it dawned on me this week that my cell phone contract is up and it’s time to upgrade! Normally, this is great news as I just go in, pick the phone I want most and go for it. But as a current Droid user, I’m faced with a major choice. Do I switch to an iPhone?
Yes, it can be glitch-y, but I like my Droid. It’s old, so I could use an upgrade, but I like having all of the Google apps. Also, I’ve never paid for an app! But most of my friends are on iPhones and love them with minimal complaints. And I was pretty jealous of the iPhone camera during a concert this past week when all my pics came out blurry!
So, as I do when making other tech decisions, I turned to the internet… In reading about Android vs. iPhone, I came across an infographic (see it here) that I thought would be interesting to share on the blog. It shows that consumers prefer the Android if they were buying today and that they expect Android to take the lion’s share of the tablet market too (another future purchase for me).
Obviously, I know I’m not going to get a real lemon, like phones I’ve had in the past, but I’m really not sure what to do. It seems like people enjoy their iPhones but research says to stay with Android. Even our mobility friends and clients say that Android is / is going to be huge, but they ALL have iPhones!
In this battle of epic proportions – do you have any advice?
Photo source: Talk Android
The term study hall may bring back memories of passing notes and cramming for tests. However, Foster.ly's Study Hall, a daylong event taking place this Saturday, promises to provide a different experience focused on collaboration and the entrepreneurial spirit. Study Hall, hosted by Foster.ly, DC Entrepreneurship Week and Microsoft BizSpark, is a free, co-working environment for DC, Maryland and Virginia entrepreneurs.
This isn't your typical networking event either. It's a chance to brainstorm and hear from local entrepreneurs dedicated to fostering relationships in the community. Attendees don't have to be technology focused and the event is open to a wide range of industries, from legal to real estate to retail.
WHAT: Foster.ly’s Study Hall
WHEN: February 25, 2012, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: 5404 Wisconsin Ave NW, #700, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Nearest Metro: Friendship Heights (Red Line).
Act fast and register here to join the more than 200 entrepreneurs and techies who have already signed up to participate (Trapper Keepers optional).
What are you doing on March 7th at 1:00 EST?
If your business goals include a capital raise, future acquisitions, or a successful exit, you should join SBX’s Elizabeth Shea and Clearsight Advisors’ Gretchen Guandolo for a webinar on PR and marketing activities that can enhance value for future capital raises or M&A activities.
Elizabeth and Gretchen will cover:
- How to land on the radar screen of the future investors and buyers of your business
- How to leverage communications to gain the most traction and exposure around a transaction
- What buyers seek in considering technologies and how your public persona can help put your best foot forward
- How PR is critical for capital raises, and when and when not to engage in PR
- What buyers look for when starting the due diligence process and how a company's presence affects that process.
- Strategic identification of select targets (investors and/or strategic buyers) and strategies for “creating buzz” within those segments
To learn more about the webinar and sign up please follow the link below.
Not to be outdone, Henry Ford unveils his own offensive logo in 1939
When you think about it, it's amazing that certain brands survive while others perish.
Take, for instance, the Hummer. That was a cool car! At least I used to think so, before society decided that gas-guzzling Sports Utility Vehicles were worse than nazism.
Speaking of which, here's Volkswagen – going strong. Volkswagen. A brand that Hitler personally helped create, launch, and shepherd. A brand that – until 1940 – had a corporate logo that was, essentially, a swastika.
Volkswagen logo, 1939 (Seriously)
Didn't know that, did ya? Well, it's all here (as well as some hilarious logo prognostication) from StockLogo.com's Ivan Raszl.
Raszl's main point, I gather, is that these logos are moving – inexorably – towards maximal simplicity (or in the case of Gap, Sisyphean stagnation).
So check out the full info-graphic. It's a hoot.
Raszl's prediction for Apple's logo in 2040
10,000 Nerd Bucks if you get the title reference.
Sifting through my reader this week, I came across what I consider to be one of the most maddening yet incredible start-up stories, courtesy of Mashable. A start-up called Wander has launched a mind-numbingly simple game – you click the image of a cow and you get a point. If you like or tweet the game, you get 100 points. The points serve no purpose at all, but the leader has one billion points on the aptly named “Utterly Pointless Leaderboard.”
Let that sink in for a minute: one billion points in a time suck of a game that serves absolutely no purpose other than to earn points. Go ahead and curse the human condition, punch a wall, whatever – I know you want to.
Mashable points out that Wander’s game is the homage to Cow Clicker, a Facebook game designed to illustrate the pointlessness of, you guessed it, Facebook games. Sort of like “You Have to Burn the Rope” for the social generation, I guess.
But the stark simplicity of the game combined with its massive popularity is telling – no one has any idea what Wander does (even Mashable), but their name is going to be everywhere. This is a solid lesson for PR pros, and not just one in gamification (although that’s a pretty key point here).
Attaching client names to something, anything, which promises engagement, will have some kind of benefit. It may not be the booming success reaped by clicking a stock photo of a cow, but the exposure gained will surely be greater than standing quietly in the corner of the social world.
So tweet, create Facebook pages, have YouTube videos, create social contests…the list goes on for quite a while. But just think – if clicking a cow can have such booming effects for a mystery company like Wander, just think what a similarly well-conceived endeavor can do for your organization.
On the heels of Facebook announcing their small business program, today, Twitter announced the expansion of their own.
While previously available to only a few advertisers, Twitter will be expanding its self-service ad platform to all small businesses starting in late March. The platform went live this past November to a select few, and was tagged as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to build their audience on Twitter and better engage with the people they want to reach. The advertising options will include both Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, among other options that have yet to be announced.
Twitter has been slowly dipping a toe into advertising since 2010, and has refined their offerings over the past year. They have now introduced geotargeting and a dashboard that gives marketers a deeper dive into the company’s data.
Have an American Express card for your small business? For the initiative, Twitter is partnering with the credit card company, offering preferential treatment for their card-holders. AmEx card-holders will be invited to try the platform first and the company will give $100 in free advertising to the first 10,000 businesses that sign up. Interested? Register quickly to take advantage of the giveaway!
"The tastiest meat is under the horn."
Savvy marketers understand the key to their success has been -- and always will be -- making people feel bad.
When consumers feel bad, they buy things to make themselves feel better.
When they feel good, they go running barefoot in the rain or make watercolor paintings or some such non-capitalist nonsense.
So we have to keep people feeling bad, all the time -- and that means constantly coming up with new ways to shame and humiliate our targets. After all, there's only so many times we can watch Subway commercials of overweight people breaking their favorite hammocks.
Enter Ogilvy Cape Town with its new social media campaign for rhino preservationist nonprofit Forever Wild. As noted by Copyranter (one of my favorite ill-tempered advertising bloggers), it's a pretty clever bait and switch.
Essentially, the agency created a series of "YouTube Interventions," where they replaced pop culture videos with heavy-handed rhino moralizing. So people searching for "Facebook Dad Shoots Daughter's Laptop" only get about 6 seconds of the hilarity before the video switches over to graphic depictions of rhinos being raped, eaten, and murdered (in that order).
The pay off line is: "No time to help save rhinos? Well it looks like you've got time to watch Keyboard Cat you selfish hypocrite."
Did it make people feel bad? Check. Did it increase signatures on Forever Wild's Internet petition by 400%? Check. Did it cost basically nothing to produce since YouTube content isn't regulated by any rational form of intellectual property protection? Discount Double Check.
Bravo, Ogilvy. You saved some rhinos. And you might have even saved a few hammocks.
On Friday, I attended MarketingProfs Virtual Marketing World. The morning session, hosted by Jo Roberts a Product Marketing Manager at MarketingProfs, was entitled, “Five Traditional (Gasp!) Marcom Methods that (Still) Deliver Today.” As a long-time marketer, I was interested to hear what “old-school” techniques have new-found caché.
The program focused on three types of tactics: offline communications such as direct mail; paid media; and in-person encounters such as tradeshows, training and experiential/field marketing.
Direct Mail (DM):
Some marketers forgo direct mail as increasingly expensive, wasteful and hard to measure. However, direct mail has seen a resurgence, particularly with marketers trying to reach a local audience. How are these marketers using DM? Well, 35 percent of marketers use DM for direct sales, 29 percent to encourage Website visits and 14 percent to promote a specific offer or content resource (CMO Council, 2011). Need some additional tips to enhance your DM program and engage your prospects?
- Make them curious
- Give them content that matters, and don’t be generic
- Appeal to their emotions
- Make it personal
- Send fewer, better quality mailings
- Lastly, target them with multiple channels. Follow up on DM with email, events, even a personal call.
Paid media expenditures are up, and B2B advertisers are allocating a greater percentage of their overall budget to paid media in 2012. While traditional advertising vehicles like television and outdoor are anticipating only modest growth this year, mobile advertising and online video are expected to grow by 44 percent and 22 percent respectively in 2012 (MagnaGlobal Advertising Forecast, 2012).
Contrary to popular thinking, tradeshows continue to be popular and represent about 20 percent of the typical B2B marketer’s budget (MarketingProfs, 2010). This makes tradeshows the top line-item for most marketers. The reason? Tradeshows work. Attendees at B2B tradeshows are 34 percent more likely to make a purchase than people who hear about the product through other channels. (Advertising Research Foundation, 2008). But, the devil is in the details for in-person events. The booth, staff and materials you bring all matter. Find ways to stand out, whether you opt for a sponsorship, a VIP reception or an exclusive QR code for event attendees that unlocks a special promotion or content resource.
Experiential and Field Marketing:
Experience is the single biggest factor impacting brand choice. Purchasers point to first-hand product experience (76 percent) and a unique customer experience (72 percent) as the major influences on purchasing decisions (Jack Morton Worldwide, 2009). And it’s not just about brand awareness, in-person experiences/events build better long-term relationships and are the most effective content marketing tactics (78 percent) followed by Webinars (70 percent) and case studies (70 percent) as noted in a 2012 MarketingProfs Content Marketing survey.
Though training is a bit different than the other tactics on this list, staff and reseller training is critical for a company’s go-to-market strategy and a marketer’s best friend. As Jo noted, especially for companies that sell through the channel, “training is a force multiplier that extends brand influence and product reach.”
I’d be interested to hear if anyone else is reinvigorating their marketing plan with a new infusion of traditional tactics. Please share your experiences!
Finally, I wanted to put in a plug for another virtual conference -- the 2012 SmartCMO Virtual Forum, hosted by VivaCreative on March 1. They’re hosting a unique event featuring marketing execs from the NFL and The Recording Academy, speaking about marketing the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards, respectively. In addition, two marketers from SAP will be discussing experiential and content marketing. Should be a great event.
- Katie Hanusik
(photo credit: The Foster-Jones Group)
Back in the fall of 2011, Japanese software developer Isseki Nagae wrote a blog post titled: "Why Japanese Manufacturers Keep Losing to Apple."
Technology companies like Sony (argued Nagae) kept basing their new product development on customer input, whereas Steve Jobs was using customer input to scrub the mildew off his diamond-studded toilet seat.
Jobs once famously said, “It's not the customer's job to know what they want."
Bold words, with a significant impact on technology creators. But an even greater significance -- potentially -- for marketers.
I'm calling this Jonathan's Second Law of Marketing: Stop asking people to think.
Okay, so how does this work, you ask.
Let's say I'm launching a marketing survey targeting C-level insurance executives. Here's a bad question to ask:
"Which social marketing channels do you consider most important for marketers targeting C-level insurance executives?"
The response you'll get is a mixture of what your survey targets think, what they think they think, and what they think they think should be the right answer.
Here's a better but still flawed question to ask:
"Which social media channels have you used in the past 48 hours for business purposes?"
You're close: keeping it strictly behavioral is the right play. But by adding “for business purposes,” you've inadvertently made the survey targets think -- what constitutes a business purpose? I was looking at Facebook at work... is that business?
See, as soon as people start thinking, they start misinterpreting, assuming, rationalizing behavior, and introducing a whole host of biases that kill your critical analysis.
This is why focus group testing doesn't work and A-B testing does:
We don't understand ourselves. Our minds are emotional, irrational, inconsistent little mysteries. It's cliche but true: We don't know what we want until we see it, and we don't know what we have until we lose it.
Anyone who says otherwise is selling something – and probably not very successfully.
Don’t look now, but there’s a new/old kid making some moves on the social media block.
MySpace – you remember it, right? – just added 1 million new members. What’s more, traffic to the granddaddy of social media sites increased 4 percent from December to January, the first increase of its kind in nearly a year. The gains have come since the site launched a new music player – and, perhaps more importantly, tight integration with Twitter and Facebook.
This last point is interesting. More and more networks and sites are playing nice with each other, something that seems to be benefitting all of them. Users signing up for a Spotify account, for example, simply need to sign in with their Facebook login, making it much easier to get access to Spotify and its features. Some people don’t like it, but many do, as it makes it easy for them to automatically post music preferences to their Facebook pages.
The same goes for MySpace. With its direct integration with Facebook and Twitter, MySpace users can show others what they’re doing within MySpace. This helps promote the site while making it easy for people to share status updates.
This type of cross-pollination among social networks is nothing new, of course, but it does raise an interesting thought: whereas once sites like MySpace and Facebook were considered competitive, that’s no longer necessarily the case. There’s a lot of co-opetition going on between these sites, particularly since pretty much everyone and their mother is on Facebook. Right now there’s really no point to trying to compete with that.
Things aren’t completely rosy for MySpace, however. It still lags as the fourth largest social media network (behind Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). And with Google+ still growing, it continues to look like an uphill battle for Rupert Murdoch’s former company.
But the addition of a million users is a very positive sign. And while it might be too early to break out the champagne and call this a MySpace resurgence, it does signify that new features, in addition to integration with more popular social sites, is helping MySpace climb back into relevance.
- Pete Larmey
Pretty soon, the Silicon Valley will have nothing on us. DC/MD/VA are going above and beyond to create an entrepreneurial community all our own, initiating programs like Foster.ly, DC Tech Meet-up, and most recently, Startup America.
Last Tuesday, January 31st, Startup Virginia kicked-off their new membership into the Startup America clan by hosting an (awesome) early-morning, entrepreneurial get together at Founders Hall Auditorium at Geroge Mason University’s Arlington Campus. The celebration began with a quick note from Jonathan Aberman, Startup Virginia co-chair, president of FounderCorps and managing partner of Amplifier Venture Partners. This was followed by a few words from GMU President Dr. Alan Mertens, professing his dedication and support to the area’s startup and tech communities,. “Here at George Mason we have a responsibility to foster the entrepreneurial community…Be innovative and entrepreneurial,” said Mertens. “Take advantage of your location. Build on your strengths.”
Held in conjunction with Startup America’s first birthday party, Startup Virginia featured a 1-year anniversary video followed by an Aberman-led panel discussion with Startup DC, MD and VA co-chairs Evan Burfield, Mark Walsh and Dendy Young and Donna Harris, Startup America’s managing director of startup regions. The group provided positive insight into the future of entrepreneurialism in the region but also gave straight-forward advice on what we’ll need to do to reach our potential, specifically citing the need to “embrace failure the way the Silicon Valley has.”
Next up was the life of the party and White House CTO Aneesh Chopra, addressing the importance of entrepreneurship and Startup Virginia. He spoke of the need for government to remove barriers for entrepreneurs and announced President Obama’s unveiling of legislation to support entrepreneurship with bipartisan support later that same day. He also hit on the importance of students and others taking action to pitch policy changes that will help the community grow.
The moment everyone was waiting for, however, came when headliner Steve Case, chairman of Startup America (he may have also held some other important roles), made his way to the podium. He started out by making the audience feel important (cough - lying to everyone in the room) by stating he skipped the Startup Hawaii launch for the VA launch. His motivational speech encouraged everyone to go back to what worked, reminding us that we didn’t become the greatest economy in the world on accident. Case also pointed out his priorities for national policy change, noting immigration reform, easing crowd-sourced funding and lowering the cost of an IPO.
All-in-all, the event was a great way to kick things off for the entrepreneurial community here in the tri-state area. And, although I wasn’t able to attend, I heard another great event took place later that night for the Startup DC launch.
On an ending note – here were some of my favorite tweets from the event. Check them all out at #startupva!
@jmbadlam: #StartupVA event tomorrow expecting 450 attendees. Wowza. Great news for the alma mater!
@wfuentes3: @SpeakerBox: thanks for the invite to @startup_va event. Great panel right now #startupVA (what, I’m allowed to like a shout out?)
@TracyTran: Frankly, #startupva started because Virginia is the most business-friendly state in the country. Suck it other 49.
@ChrisF: "Marketing its not a dirty word." -- Alan Merten, George Mason President #startupva
Arlen "Buckwheat" McKenzie hawks the 5 dollar footlong during Super Bowl I
I lost a lot in this year's Super Bowl (pride, money, reason to live, etc.), but one thing I didn't lose was my disdain for poorly conceived and executed Super Bowl commercials.
Most of the ads this year seemed to follow a pretty standard formula:
Man meets car.
Car drives past scantily clad models.
Models interact with humorous baby and/or dog.
Baby meets Jay Leno.
I forget which car I'm supposed to buy. I think it might be a Kia.
If you've read my white paper about websites (SHAMELESS PLUG), you'll remember that differentiation is the second key to success on the Web. Well, the same goes for success on the small screen. Even if your ad has the MOST hilarious baby and dog duo of all time, it's still valueless if I can't remember the product or the value prop.
But they weren't all bad. Clint Eastwood's rousing “Halftime in America” ad for Chrysler was effective and memorable, if perhaps a tad exploitative. I actually preferred GE's pair of similarly themed (yet mercifully less heavy-handed) manufacturing ads.
Honorable mention to the Bridgestone ads which were admittedly silly, but original enough to get across a simple, coherent value proposition in a clever way.
So what was the worst ad campaign of the night? My vote is for the crowd-sourced Doritos ads. They were marginally humorous, instantly forgettable, and had nothing to do with Doritos. Either that or the Bud Light Platinum ads, which seem to imply that the beer is brewed by robots.
I don't know, people. Maybe I'm just a cynic. What did you think of this year's crop?
"Hey, come on over... I just want to talk to ya..."
In my younger and more formative years, I did quite a bit of Web consulting.
Sometimes, when we were first starting out with a client, he/she would say something like: “Okay, off the record, what do you really think of our current site?”
Now the first thing to remember in this situation is that invariably, the person asking was intimately involved in the design and development of the offending site. So you have to tread carefully.
I like to use what they call a “compliment sandwich.” You start with something positive, then slide in a carefully worded critique, and then finish it off with more positive kudos. So it ends up something like this:
“Links mostly work. The site makes me want to vomit. Good fonts.”
Fact is, in the B2B and B2G world, there are a LOT of bad websites. And not all of them get to benefit from my tactful analyses (example: “Your site makes me increasingly convinced of a godless universe.”)
So we've written up a little white paper for you that reveals the 5 keys to a great business website.
It's quick, easy to read, and FREE.
“We need more content.”
It’s a common statement from agencies and clients alike…but all too often, it’s wrong. Typically, the issue is not that more whitepapers, FAQs or product sheets are needed – it’s that existing materials have not been leveraged to their fullest extent. “Digital curation,” or the management/archival of electronic materials, is an art that tends to be ignored by many marketing and communications teams, but it’s a vital component of any effective content strategy.
But this post isn’t about digital curation – it’s about content. More specifically, existing content, and what can be done with it after it’s fulfilled its initial purpose. Recycling content sounds cheesy, but with a few tweaks (or a new medium) old content can gain new life, bring new visitors to a company’s site and even drive sales in a brand new market.
So what should be done?
Loading a white paper up on a corporate site and then forgetting about it is a waste of marketing dollars. Whatever the content, it needs to be pushed across every applicable social sharing channel, from Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn and SlideShare (if it’s convertible to a slide deck, obviously). And don’t stop with just sharing it.
Assuming your organization leverages social media, use it as a response to industry questions or as a stepping stone to start a debate/conversation about a given issue. Offer it in a variety of means too – while it’s great to generate sales leads through a download form, allowing access to content outside of a lead generation angle is a great way to generate community goodwill and drive organic traffic to your site.
Just because a piece of content is built for a specific audience doesn’t mean that it will never appeal to other vertical markets. For example, a document written for the education space can be easily adapted to the federal government and vice versa, assuming the crux is not a specific educational or federal regulation.
Most businesses dedicate microsites to specific verticals, but tend to be light on content. By “verticalizing” existing content for every vertical, you’re stretching marketing dollars to their maximum and engaging every market – a win/win if there ever was one.
Finally, never forget the viability of podcasting and webinars. The former is the easiest, and really only requires an iPod with a microphone. Webinars take a bit more effort, but can really pay off in terms of leads. But how does existing content play in? By forming the basis for the podcast/webinar.
Using an existing white paper or authored article as a launch point for a webinar or podcast provides ready-made talking points while allowing you to engage an important partner or customer to help bring in more leads. This has the benefit of not only bringing in additional leads without spending money on new content, but you get to improve relationships with your community at the same time.
At the end, content is never “dead” – it can always be reused, recycled or, at the worst, revised into something new and relevant. Content remains king…so long live the king.
Last week, I attended Bisnow’s “The Future of Mobility” event. The first half of the event focused on mobile adoption and innovation in the federal government. Speakers included:
- Gwynne Kostin, GSA
- Doug Smith, Oceus
- Greg Youst, DISA
- Mark Williams, Airwatch (moderator)
Gwynne started by sharing some of the interesting mobile apps that have recently been developed by government agencies, such as:
She clarified that GSA’s job is to help agencies amplify and accelerate these innovations and to assist with information-sharing.
Greg, the mobility lead at DISA, said his biggest challenge is balancing security and usability. By the time a phone is approved for DoD use by NSA, the device is oftentimes off the market. However things are looking up, NSA recently released their secure android requirements, and a Dell-customized android phone is approved for use.
Because of the DoD’s unique requirements, the agency is also standing up their own mobile app store to address the military and other DoD audiences such as NATO, military dependents and the National Guard. The Army already has more than 300 apps in the store, some of which were contributed by soldiers.
BYOD or Bring Your Own Device continues to be a hot topic in government. The VA is one of the few agencies that has BYOD policies in place; the agency has allowed a limited number of iPads and iPhones since October 2011. However, there are still many issues yet to be decided, such as:
- what information is available on mobile devices
- what apps can be downloaded
- what level of control the government has over a personal device
On the other hand, the Defense department is still a long way off from embracing BYOD. DISA and other DoD agencies will begin with government-supplied devices and strong mobile device management tools (MDM) in place.
Though mobile adoption seems to be a goal, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed.
-- Katie Hanusik
Photo Credit: Bisnow
It looks like Facebook is making an even more concerted effort to attract businesses to the world’s most popular social media site. The company has announced Facebook fMC, a half-day event (both live and virtual) devoted specifically to, presumably, show marketers how they can use Facebook as an effective marketing tool.
I would guess they’ll spend some time talking about the usual suspects: Facebook Ads, for example, or the development of company pages, but I wonder if they’ll introduce some new wrinkles that might entice more businesses to use the site as a means of connecting with customers?
One thing’s for sure – according to the event’s landing page, there’ll be “inspirational sessions,” “esteemed guests” and more. So…there’s that!
The event will take place February 29 from 12 – 6:00 PM ET.
- Pete Larmey
When faced with one minute on the internet, how much can you get done?
This week I came across a great infographic from web design firm Go-Globe.com (see it full size here) on things that happen on the internet every 60 seconds. It is AMAZING how much happens in such a small amount of time – there are almost 700,000 Google searches, 60 new blogs started and 13,000 iPhone apps downloaded.
They got such a great response to their first infographic they put together part 2 that shows that 232 computers are infected with malware, 38 tons of e-waste is generated and 1,100 acres of land are farmed in Farmville!
It’s amazing to see the number of useful (and time wasting) things we do in one minute – could you imagine being the recipient of all 168 million emails?
– Ali Robinson