Last month, Facebook unveiled its Timeline for brands which forced companies to switch over to the format that consumers had been griping about for weeks before that. As it turns out, brands seemed to embrace the visual nature and consumer lifespan aspect of Facebook Timeline. This has spurred some overall interesting apps to better organize pictures and posts on Timeline, such as PinView which let's users view Facebook like they view Pinterest (app adoption has seemed to be mostly from individuals, but brands could potentially use this as well).
Some companies have used plugins and other technologies to create innovative digital engagement on the Timeline platform. Quecha, a supplier of outdoor and active lifestyle clothing and equipment, used Timeline to bring an online ad to life (whereas before, they may have chosen to launch a digital ad campaign on YouTube first). As reported in Fast Company's Co.Create, visitors to the Quecha Facebook page can "unlock" the ad by scrolling down and selecting the button that reads "See More Stories." From there, users have to continue scrolling down until they get to the very beginning of Quecha's Timeline. Once there, they'll be rewarded with an ad that looks like a hybrid flash animation and digital video. You can view a video representation of the steps to unlock the ad at the Co.Create site.
What I love about this ad is that it reminds me of the Fisher Price Movie Viewer from my childhood. Quecha's ad instantly pulls in the consumer and creates a digital moment that resonates. Truth be told, I'm not a hiker or camper but I have told many friends to check out this ad. So I guess Quecha's strategy is working?
Feel free to share in the comments section any examples you've seen of a brand getting creative with their Facebook Timeline.
During the last few weeks, I've seen what appears to be an exponential amount of animated GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) online and in email communications. As it were, Internet memes take on a viral, speedy nature as it infiltrates one's brain. Animated GIFs are no exception. As picture heavy sites like Tumblr gain more users, it makes sense that animated GIFs have hit their stride.
An animated GIF is a visual image on the Web that is looped with multiple frames - making it look like an animation. Often, an animated GIF is created from a few images or several seconds-long clip from a movie, TV show or Web clip.
What I love about animated GIFs is that they often brilliantly encapsulate every day emotions. From dealing with a broken down car to experiencing a frustrating customer service experience, I can guarantee you there's an animated GIF for that emotion somewhere on the Internet. Mashable shared their top sites for animated GIFs and I have to agree that WhatShouldWeCallMe has some of the best. For example, you know that feeling when a client calls with a last minute request for a press release to go out the same day? Sometimes it causes a feeling similar to this:
(GIF source: WhatShouldWeCallMe)
What are some of your favorite sites for animated GIFs?
Just when you thought Facebook did it all, the social media company’s CEO schedules an appearance with a national television show tomorrow to announce a new feature that “could save lives”. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will be on Good Morning America tomorrow to announce some sort of new add-on that will apparently, and potentially, severely impact our lives. Details are unknown, and personally, I can’t imagine what this feature could be. The idea almost sounds silly – how can a social media channel save lives? Then again, if you had asked me a handful of years ago if Facebook would be incorporated into some of the world’s biggest corporate marketing plans (let alone my personal, daily-routine), I would have laughed at that too. So what do I know?
I’m excited to hear the news tomorrow – hopefully the hype isn’t just that – hype. We all know the impact and level of control Facebook has on our lives, so ideally the news will be beneficial and realistic to us all. Some reports suggest it will have to do with bullying preventatives or the capability to send out emergency messages.
Any thoughts on what’s to come tomorrow?
Stay tuned for a follow-up.
With less than 100 days remaining until opening ceremonies, the London 2012 Olympic games are already being branded the “first social Olympics,” as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prepares for fans to interact with the event and competitors like never before.
Last week, the IOC launched a social media hub where fans will be able to connect with their favorite competitors, and athletes will be able to connect with one another. The Olympic Athletes’ Hub will aggregate the verified social media feeds (Facebook and Twitter) of more than 1,000 current and former Olympians. Users will be able to access exclusive training-tips videos and gain virtual and real-world prizes based on how many athletes they like and follow online. The hub will also host chat sessions with athletes during the games and updates on competition results.
While this is the first year social media will play a major role in the Olympics, the IOC is still working out a few kinks regarding how to regulate it. As it stands now, Olympic athletes are not able to post photos of themselves with products that are not those of official London 2012 sponsors, and they are not allowed to post any pictures of inside the Olympic village. As with any new endeavor there is bound to be some trial and error to set up a format that works – but even with restrictions, social media use has exponentially increased since the last Olympic games and will without a doubt have a significant impact on how people choose to monitor and engage with the event from here on out.
Curious about other major Olympic media milestones? Check out this great infographic on Mashable to see the evolution of coverage of the Olympic games.
The Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit held an afternoon event specifically for business-to-government marketers. The panel included: Gal Borenstein, Borenstein Group; Marc Hausman, Strategic and Allan Rubin, Immix Group.
There was an interesting discussion of both new and old trends now shaping the public sector ecosystem.
What is the budget environment in public sector?
Given that it’s an election year, the panelists agreed that there’s a focus on the deficit and doing more with less. Government continues to be interested in off-the-shelf products that can be in the users’ hands more quickly, and procurement processes are tightening up.
What does this mean for B2G vendors?
Successful B2G companies must have a strong “value” message and be able to quantify the return on investment.
What are the repercussions of recent government ethics scandals?
In the wake of GSA’s excessive event spending scandal, new legislation is pending that would cap government spending on a single event, allow outside sponsors and require full event funding transparency. The acting GSA administrator has suspended all travel by GSA employees unless it is deemed “essential” by agency management.
What does this mean for B2G vendors?
In addition to the travel restriction, these ethics scandals have focused attention on perceived violations. Anti-lobbying legislation will further complicate industry’s marketing efforts to host events attended by government employees. The panelists surmised that it will be easier for government employees to attend events hosted by third party companies or the media rather than an event hosted by an individual technology company.
How is the B2G marketing landscape changing?
As more and more companies try their hand at government sales to make up for decreasing commercial revenue, the vendor landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. In addition, marketing programs are showing decreased results and webinars are attracting fewer attendees. New government-specific multimedia properties are attracting marketing dollars – and further diluting the investment with traditional public sector publishers.
What does this mean for B2G vendors?
The B2G marketers’ job is more complicated than ever. Marketers must sift through new(er) sponsorship and advertising opportunities with outlets such as FedScoop, GovLoop and GovEvents, in addition to the tried and true. Given the increasing number of competitors and the decreasing ROI from some marketing programs, B2G marketers are working harder to generate the same number of leads.
- Katie Hanusik
B2B websites are like Russell Stover candies -- each one is terrible in its own way. (There's an Anna Karenina joke in there somewhere too, but who's got the time?)
Why are B2B websites so pathetic? It's because there's "nothing" riding on them. Sales don't happen (in the literal sense) on a B2B site. There's no shopping cart. So B2B companies are much more wiliing to spend their resources on salespeople (who actually do close deals) as opposed to "passive" marketing materials like Web.
Big mistake, and you probably know why.
B2B websites often matter MORE than B2C sites. If I'm buying a new brand of cracker, I'm not necessarily going to the website first. But if I'm about to spend $60,000 with G&G Consulting, you'd better believe I'll be Googling those suckers.
But wait: If success on the B2B Web isn't about sales, then what's it about? Conversions? Page views? Unique visitors?
We can help you define and achieve the right success metrics for your business. And a great way to start is by reading our FREE WHITEPAPER. C'mon. What are you, scared of success?
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Take this year’s 2012 NHL Eastern Conference playoffs, where the Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Philadelphia Flyers. Even Vegas was planning on the Pens to win the Stanley Cup in 2012, but they didn’t even make it through the first round (losing 4-2 in the series). As a Pittsburgh native and born-and-raised Pens fan, I am, of course, not pleased with the outcome.
Although I love the Pens, the truth is that most of the games were painful to watch - and not just because we lost. We didn’t play like the team I know and love (think I’m turning my back on my team? Check out this great blog post about being a “true fan”). But, I could spend all day discussing what we did wrong and how the series turned into complete chaos and share some choice words about Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr.
Instead, I want to focus on what was said to the media by some of the key players and what we can learn about the importance of training a spokesperson to react appropriately, emphasizing a well thought-out, articulated response versus one given in the "heat of the moment.”
Following an aggressive, borderline violent game 3, Sydney Crosby (captain for the Pens) was asked to comment about some of the aggression on the ice. Check out the interview below:
Q: When you knocked Voracek's glove on the ice and hit it away was that just out of frustration?
"I don't like any guy on their team there. It was near me and he went to pick it up and I pushed it."
Q: Why don't you like them?
"I don't like them, because I don't like any guy on their team so…"
Q: The fighting and such; was that you trying to spark their team a little bit?
"Yea, guys are emotional and there is a lot of stuff going on out there. There is no reason to explain. I don't have to sit here and explain why I pushed a glove away. They are doing a lot of things out there too. You know what, we don't like each other. Was I going to sit there and pick up his glove? What was I supposed to do?"
Q: You could skate away.
"Skate away? Oh well I didn't that time."
Was this most likely an honest, emotional-driven response? Absolutely. However, Crosby and the Pens received a ton of criticism from it and it most likely only provided fuel to Philly’s fire. In contrast to Crosby’s response, check out what Philadelphia’s left wing Scott Hartnell had to say:
Q: Was that the dirtiest you've ever seen a team in the playoffs that you've faced?
"I think after every scrum we made it a point to walk away every time and I think Crosby started almost every scrum. You know, the fight that he had with Giroux, the last one he came and grabbed me from behind and for almost every thing he was out there. If they're trying to get under our skin, they're not. They're just getting more frustrated with themselves, which is great."
Although both responses convey emotion, Hartnell may have been the better spokesperson in this situation. Where Crosby clearly wasn’t stopping to think before he responds, Harnell was engaged, providing clear examples and reasoning to provide the reporter with a complete response. Crosby provided vague responses, prompting the reporter to keep firing questions, which created an even higher-pressured situation and made things worse on himself.
Crosby is typically a great spokesperson, but let his etiquette slip away from him when the pressure was on. I’m pretty sure in the world of sports -- especially those who watched the game -- completely understood why he reacted the way he did and it probably won’t have too lasting of an effect, but the case may not be the same in the consumer or business-to-business world.
Here’s the bottom line: in a crisis-communications situation, it is essential that you have a spokesperson that understands the brand and how their reaction can play a role in how people perceive that brand. Reporters don’t always ask the easy questions, and it is essential that we train the voices of our brands to know how to respond when things don’t go as expected and they are put on the spot.
"Nevermind, it's the Redskins. They don't talk football during games."
Let's get something out of the way here: Yes, I'm a shameless Patriots homer.
If the story breaks tomorrow that Tom Brady has been camping out in the remote North Georgian wilderness, playing banjo and sodomizing recreational boaters, I’m going to chalk it up to a mix of painful David Tyree flashbacks and Ugg-related gender confusion.
So no, I won’t blame the Saints fans for sticking up for their team. That’s what fans do.
Greg Williams probably shouldn’t coach in the NFL anymore. But this doesn’t bury the storied 40-year Saints franchise.
At least it shouldn’t.
For that to happen, you’d need the most negligent communications play-call in history -- one that allows an uninterrupted string of increasingly more damaging, visceral revalations to trickle out into the press, week after week, during the NFL’s slow, news-hungry off-season.
The bounty story, the NFL-imposed discipline, THEN the sickening Williams audio (there’s evidently video coming soon, as well), THEN the awkward NFLPA defense, and NOW the Watergate-style surveillance allegations which GM Mickey Loomis assures us are "1000 percent inaccurate."
(Free PR Tip: I'm not completely sure what 1000 percent means, but it's almost certainly a lower value than 100 percent. Call it “Gertrude's Law of Public Relations.")
But how can we blame the PR staff? Chances are, Saints PR staffers didn't even know about most of the details before they began to leak. So (most likely) there was never an opportunity to have the following fictional conversation:
PR Manager: Seriously, Mickey, thanks for helping us get out in front of that bounty story by keeping us in the loop. By the way, and this is really just a formality asking this, but there wouldn’t happen to be any incredibly damning audio of Greg Williams telling his players to treat Frank Gore’s head like a pinata filled with Super Bowl rings and their mother’s love?
Loomis: Well... Now that you mention it...
PR Manager: See why we have these fictional meetings? Productive, no? Plus our time is only fictionally billable!
Back to the Patriots. Yes, they taped defensive hand signals from the sidelines. They admitted it, they willingly turned over all the evidence they had of it to the commissioner, and they took their lumps.
Everyone kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Was there a taped walkthrough of the Rams Super Bowl practice? Nope. Were there shenanigans with the quarterback-to-coach audio systems. Uh uh.
Nothing else ever dropped, because the Pats were smart enough to handle it quickly, decisively and completely. (As my always-impressive colleague John Terrill wrote about the Penn State scandal: “The keys to handling any crisis are transparency and proactivity.”)
You can say the Patriots misbehaved, but you can't say they were obstructive, sneaky, or dilatory during the investigation. They came out looking professional.
And that's important. Thanks in part to that professionalism, other ex-coaches and analysts felt comfortable coming to the Patriots’ defense. And those public comments became a huge asset for the PR team.
Think any coaches will be vouching for Greg Williams? Not when tomorrow's headline could be that he Jerry-Sandusky’d the whole defensive backfield.
No, the Saints organization is in free-fall now, with no leadership or responsibility at the top. So it's almost impossible to defend -- even for the most dedicated fans.
And that's my point here. Crisis PR makes a difference. The Saints may very well lose millions of dollars more (in the valuation of their franchise) than necessary. But worse, their fans are getting pilloried for being... well... fans.
Talk about a worst-case-scenario for any sports franchise!
The media industry is changing at a break-neck pace. How do we keep up? Where is it headed? How does it affect advertising?
Find out the answers to these questions and more as I recap The Changing Media Landscape panel from the MAM Summit.
This pannel, moderated by Cary Hatch of MDB Communications, features Donna Spurrier (President of Spurrier Media Group), Alan Reisberg (President of Capital Media), Peter Cherukuri (VP/GM of the DC Bureau of The Huffington Post) and Shashi Bellamkonda (Social Media Swami at Network Solutions/Web.com).
What is the perfect balance of media - print, online, television, radio? How do you determine this?
- As media planners we have to prioritize based on budget. Always start with the consumer, don't just go for the shiny object. You have to have a great understanding of how the consumer gets thier media.
- Think of it like having multiple children. You have one, you focus on it and you're doing well, but then you have another. That doesn't mean you ignore the first one now. You have to balance and handle all of the balls in the air.
- media planners spend a lot of time teaching clients that they need to plan, how to plan and how to decide what is most relevant to them. Media landscape is getting smaller so planning becomes all that much more important.
How has reprting changed?
- The reporting function is evolving to include publishing. In the past, newsrooms had a pyramid to them that relates to the value chain of content - byline at the top, reader comments at the bottom. The reporter never had to think about distribution, they just wrote and other people handled the publishing. Now, the reporter has to think about distribution, search and social, they have to be aware of how the story will be seen and how it gets out there.
- Media is not disappearing. It has just gone online. Imagine a day when you have a netflix like experience but with a newspaper - that's where we're going. You can read the paper version in the morning then pick up where you left off online when you get to work.
How has the changing landscape affected advertising?
- Advertising models are changing because circulation numbers don't easily match up with unique visitors.
- It's really easy to understand the pay per click model but is it still accurate? people see the ad and don't have to click to be influenced but can't measure how that works. It creates awareness and positive perception even if it's not clicked.
- Trying to navigate advertising in this new world as a small business can be very daunting. Everyone has to engage on multiple levels. Small businesses should be able to narrow down geographically to a place where it's effective and not cost prohibitive.
What will the advertising world look like in 5-7 years?
- We'll possibly see brand ambassadors instead of advertising. We'll be hearing about new products via text messages from people we follow (or friends).
- Because of commoditization, brands will look for collective buys to deliver their message to specific demographics/audiences. As an online media outlet, protecting (and monetizing) your audience will become increasingly important.
- Shared information is quadrupling the value of advertising. Word of mouth, whether out loud or online will be the most influential form of advertising.
The morning program at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit included a short session dedicated to B2B Marketing. Panelists included: moderator Bob London, London Ink; Erin Bush, Social Media Editor at Neustar; Charles Gold, CMO at Sonatype; Debra Lavoy, Director of Product Marketing at OpenText; and Scott Shaw, Founder and President at Creativerge.
Q: Bob started by asking, "How has marketing changed over the last 4-5 years?"
A: Scott: There are great new tools for measurement and a renewed marketing focus on conversion, metrics and analytics.
Erin: Social is now the first line of brand defense. If people are going to complain, they are going to do it on Twitter first.
Deb: B2B sales are increasingly complex. Story-telling is still critical. Create a clear, compelling story to orient your company in same direction. Sales may know the customer better than marketing – but it’s not their job to digest the information and create messaging for the company.
Charles: Prospects are educating themselves. Make it easy for a prospect to see how your company’s product or service will fit at their organization.
Q: What is the future of marketing automation?
Charles: Marketing automation is tablestakes, though most companies have under-implemented the technology. There’s so much you can do with the technology but only so much time to do it.
Deb: Marketing automation is an enabler and an amplifier – but it isn’t for the faint of heart.
Q: How do you manage the pressure to create content generated by marketing automation adoption?
Erin: Frequently hears, “we want thought leadership." Her response, "great, what are your thoughts?” It's important to create content that is interesting, relevant and substantive.
Deb: Dislikes content marketing – would rather call it substance or value marketing. Marketers now trying to bring prospects into the ecosystem and establish credibility.
I'll be interested to compare this to the B2G session this afternoon.
- Katie Hanusik
The rapid rate of change in the media industry has not only changed the way people consume information but it has also changed how we in the PR industry do our jobs.
This panel, led by Priya Ramesh, Director of social media at CRT/tanaka, features Lisa Throckmorton (EVP at SpeakerBox Communications), Evan Weisel (Pricnipal and Co-Founder of Welz & Weisel), Shana Glickfield (Partner at Beekeeper Group) and Jeffrey David (SVP at AARP).
Here's what they had to say about embracing an integrated approach to PR.
What do you consider to be the new realities of PR?
- As PR people we need to take a pragmatic approach. Services are becoming increasingly integrated and there is still a place for traditional, social, content and thought leadership just need to find the right place for it.
- It's all about content.
- The concept of the social consumer is evolving. Consumers can organize immediately and make a difference in a company or take a stand against (or for) something quickly and easily over social channels. Communicators are responsible for that level of crisis management as well as increasing transparency for organizations.
- Our job description has changed dramatically, we wrestle with the term PR because it encompasses so much more.
- Five to ten years ago a PR person was sought after for their rolodex and now that is just a sliver of their job. It's much more about content creation and curation.
AARP first embraced social media 3-4 years ago. The biggest challenge they saw was communicating to people inside the business about how it would help them. They had to make the business case. The main thing they say to keep in mind is that you have to see the long-term story, this will not show results over night. But if you take chances, think about brand awareness and jump in with a realistic expectation it can work, even for the AARP.
How is social media interaction different in B2B and B2G?
- There is no silver bullet in this area, you have to really pay attention to where your audience is and speak directly to them. Doing this can require a combination of traditional and social methods to really tailor programs specifically for each company
- Social outlets can be a way to showcase another side of the company, such as company culture rather than company news.
- Also, social media can be a great internal tool to listen to and participate in conversations with reporters and customer prospects. Additionally, it's terrific for data mining and customer service, engagement and cultivating feedback.
We are beyond the social media honeymoon phase – how do we address ROI and set tangible metrics? How do we 'make it work'?
- It's hard to set numbers and metrics overall because it's really dependant on each company.
- Have to look hard at brand and reputation management on social media channels.
- Examples of things that go viral are mostly humorous or put a human element to the company. Can't just hit the viral button that lives under our desk. The challenge is getting clients to loosen up a little and have a some humor online.
- Media coverage can go viral too. It's seems opposite of what you'd expect to happen but can have terrific results.
Content in general is really about thought leadership. what resonantes is not products or services, but trends and issues. Traditional media is still relevant, print publications still drive traffic and sales. But the online and print version of publications together change the way people read.
What about the massive lost of trust in institutions?
- Social media and citizen journalizm is making it difficult to see where the truth is and we shoudl be able to look to jounralists to be the filter.
- Always try to put your best foot forward and look to be transparent when representing a company, especially over social media.
- Social media is helping to take the jargon out of press releases and marketing materials. People are looking for companies to be real with them, not market to them, it ultimately makes the conversation more authentic.
Is the press release dead? How can we be creative about sending out content people want to read?
- It's still around but not always the best way to communicate.
- Press releases can act as a validator but it's only one way to communicate. Also, we can't overlook the SEO value of a release that goes over the wire.
- Keep them factual and short if they're going to work.
- Not an either-or (release or social). It's an and. Need to have this element of traditional PR as well as newer strategies and social.
- Reporters still look for email communication and see press releases as validators of the news.
Ultimately, take a look at your goals and create a strategy that is composed of the traditional and new tactics that will get you there.
Curious to know what the next big thing is in marketing and communications? Then keep reading for a recap of the Inbound Marketing: Pulling with Content panel discussion at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit.
The moderator for this panel is Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo and panelists include: Elizabeth Shea, CEO, SpeakerBox, DT French, Jess3 and Matt Howard, CEO, Zoomsafer.
Q: What are the core benefits to using inbound marketing to drive marketing efforts?
Having customized content is a critical piece of any business. Know your audience and who you are trying to reach and then create content that is so fine tuned to them that they see themselves in that content. You need to ask yourself if the content is relevant, does it resonate and will your audience care? It's a lot of work but when creating conent do the extra work and know the persona you are trying to reach. By producing content that truly resonates you're able to shape the conversation.
Q: How do you get started with a content marketing program?
For Matt and the team at ZoomSafer, they make sure to re-evaluate and update their program on a quarterly basis. Every quarter you want to do something that is thoughtful and relevant to your target persona but it's not an easy process. You need to take the time to think about what they would find interesting and worthwhile. Matt also can't stress enough that survey data = good. To the extent you can ask people their thoughts on a particular topic and issue the results in a summary paper you're golden because people love data. Additionally, specialize your content for the platform from which you'll distribute it. Even if content is great, if the execution is poor, the campaign loses ground.
Q: How do you get ideas for content and what kind of content you should be putting out?
Know your audience, who you want to reach, and what keeps them up at night. If you can create content that addresses those issues then you've got a good starting point. Elizabeth also mentions that content doesn't always have to be something you create. A great media placement is content - just not content you write but it's still good content. For Matt and ZoomSafer, which has a very finite community they are targeting he says you have to have something to say that's relevant and churning in their world. Additionally, depending on the space you're in, it's better to be lucky than good. Lastly, be sure to create content that sustains and speaks to your core competencies. Content production moves faster when it's relevant and sustains.
Q: So how do you measure success (besides using Hubspot which is getting lots of love today)?
At the end of the day analytics are what matters. Content creation is an investment you are making in your business and you need to have some sort of baseline to know if it worked and was it worth it or not, was it a valuable use of your time. At the end of the day the better analytics you have the better you are able to fail fast with campaigns that are less efficient and double down on campaigns that are more efficient. Analytics allow you to take data and find out if it's useful in financing the business - you're able to make an empirical argument because the data doesn't lie.
Is Mobile Marketing really worth it? We're about to find out as I recap the Mobile Marketing: Beyond the Hype panel from the MAM Summit.
The moderator for this panel is Daniel Odio, CEO of Socialize and panel members include: Nicole Stemberger, Senior Strategist, AKQA, Michael Lombardi, VP Advertsing Sales and Marketing, WeatherBug, Craig Etheridge, VP, Mobile Advertising Sales, USA TODAY & Gannett Digital and Kurt Roberts, Director, Creative Technology, RP3 Agency Speakers.
Q: In the spirit of getting beyond the hype, what's working well today in mobile today?
A: Adoption. We have seen a dramatic increase in the dollars going towards mobile marketing overall. Also, we need to be aware that we're working on two platforms - not just mobile phones but tablet advertising as well. People are creating better advertising on the mobile front and advertisers are coming up with very engaging opportunities to get the one-to-one relationship with the consumer. You need to build an experience that actually drives people, not just the pop up ad we all see after taking our turn in Words With Friends.
Q: Where should money be spent? Apps? Mobile ads? What's the most effective way to spend budgets?
How you spend your marketing dollars depends on what your objectives are and isn't so much about exactly what your creating but creating the right ad for your goals. People are using smart phones and tablets differently so need to be aware of this and create for that platform. Smart phones are more utility (checking in for flight) versus an iPad app that can be more engaging.
Q: How do I promote my app? What's the best way to get it in the hands of the consumer?
Earned media is probably still the best way. The marketplace is so crowded that paid advertising often gets overlooked but if you can secure a good review it can speak volumes. Additionally, the social aspect is a great way to get it out there and make people aware of your app.
Q: What are some exciting things on the horizon?
QR codes while working great now are going to be replaced by image recognition. Audio shocking - interesting way for retailers to talk to consumers. Nicole is also very excited about ear field communication (NFC). NFC isn't just a mobile wallet but changes the way consumers consume content. Soon we'll be able to use an app, "bump" our phones and have all that info on our phone. Michael says social is going to continue to explode. For WeatherBug - users love to share photos and social is a great way to do that. Craig believes tablets, while not new, are going to continue to expand as is video advertising.
There is so much going on today at MAMS that I urge all of you to follow along on Twitter. We've got a lively and engaged audience here and lots of people tweeting their observations and what's striking them. Join the conversation on Twitter by following #mamsummit.
A quick and dirty recap for all our avid readers of this morning's panel on the Current State of Marketing.
Moderator: Paul Sherman, Publisher, Potomac Tech Wire
Panel: Jason Jue, Chief Marketing Officer, Vocus, Brian Reed, Chief Marketing Officer, BoxTone and Terry Macko, Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing, World Wildlife Fund
Q: What are the one or two marketing communications issues that keep you up at night?
A: Panelists all agree that good sleep is oh so important BUT what wakes them up early is: prioritizing new ideas, assessing opportunities and risk and seeing what new vendor has entered their market. For Brian at BoxTone this is especially troubling as Gartner says they have 120 competitors, which means lots of battling for mind share.
Q: If your budget suddenly doubles how would you spend it?
A: Almost everyone would dance a happy jig and then get down to spending that money quickly. The panelists mostly agree that they would spend that money on data to expand their brand. Whether it’s creating infographics to share the data or creating resource sites that extend the brand as a thought leader. Additionally, being able to hire great story tellers – writers or videographers- who can share your story broadly can have far reaching impact.
Q: What are your thoughts on social media? How are you using it, not using it?
A: Everyone on the panel uses social media to some extent but for Brian Reed at BoxTone they found that using Twitter to reach their buyers failed. “Turns out guys who buy IT software security don’t hang out there.” However, your influencers, pundits and media are all there. You have to know where your audience is and tailor your message to the audience you are trying to reach. So if you’re trying to reach the IT buyers it’s best to look for them on LinkedIn.
For Terry at World Wildlife Fund they have found that people really like to engage in their topic and social media is a great way for them to communicate their message out. Social media has offered a way to share news or offer fun and interactive ways for people to engage with the brand. However, social media does have its limitations and WWF doesn’t use it for fundraising as they have found it’s not a good channel for driving revenue. Instead, use it to build relationships, listen to what people are saying. It’s a great way to find out what’s happening and be able to respond much faster.
Today we're hanging out at the first ever Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit (MAMS). The brain child of the folks who bring you Capitol Communicator and Potomac Tech Wire, MAMS is bringing together more than 300 advertising, marketing, communications and media executives to discuss high-level marketing and communications issues through a series of panels, keynotes, presentations and networking. Throughout the day a few of us will be recapping some of the panel discussions and keeping you updated on all the goings on over at Twitter. You can follow MAMS on Twitter at @mamsummit or by following #mamsummit.
The first panel I'll be taking on and recapping for you focuses on Metrics/Data. Panelists for this session include: Mike Zaneis, Senior Vice President of Interactive Advertising Bureau, Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce and Jodi McDermott, Senior Director of Product Management, comScore.
Mike's up first and focusing on growth trends, specifically in the mobile advertising space. Internet ad revenues hit $31 billion in 2011 - a historic high! In fact, mobile advertising has experienced the fasted growth of all advertising categories with triple digit growth year over year. The big driver for mobile advertising is that we can now grow the mobile platform in a meaningful way. The power of the platform is the different opportunities that can be embedded within the ad. Watching that trailer for Hugo? Now you can also buy tickets right from the ad, visit the website and even share it across your social networks.
Another big trend in digital advertising where Mike believes we'll see significant growth is in political advertising. Currently political advertising is capturing only 1.5 percent of all ad dollars but it is expected to grow to $10 billion during this election cycle - greater than 40 percent growth from 2010! Part of the reason for that growth and change is because with digital there is now a platform that can be incredibly engaging to get the message out to the general public.
Following Mike on the stage is Jodi from comScore. Jodi's presentation focused on online currency, the ever important impression. Per Jodi, currency matters and for display ads, so many are losing their value and a market where currency is devalued stops growing. To solve this problem comScore came together with iab, ANA and AAAAs to create the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) campaign. The mission of 3MS is to reduce the costs of doing business resulting from the complexity of the digital advertising ecosystem.
Along with need to reduce complexity by moving to a "single tag" solution, it's necessary to improve reporting of ad exposure - improve the visibility of ads. So how to we improve ad exposure? Per Jodi what we need is to move to a viewable or valid impressions standard. Move to a currency based on audience impressions (vGRP), not gross ad impressions. Because of the complete daisy chain of ad delivery, the reality is that 31 percent of ads are never views and many ads run in inappropriate content. If you're interested in reading more about vGRP and the charter study findings, check out www.iab.net/mmms or the white paper on comScore homepage.
Last but not least for this panel we have Johna from BurrellesLuce. The reality of PR is that it is now a 24/7 industry - everything is fast and furious. We have so little time to grasp our our audience's attention that it's imperative that our tactical activities really align to our business goals. In fact, Johna suggests hugging your CFO and really knowing your financial drivers before doing any PR or marketing.
As PR is rolled more and more into marketing we are finding that we need to be accountable for results. However, measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs. Johna also cautions that social is not separate. All media is social now! Additionally, as we've discovered at SpeakerBox, content creation is one of the most important thing marketers and PR practitioners are doing now. However, Johna cautions that more is not always better. It's important to take an eye and look at qualitative as well as quantitative.
I'm sure there is so much I've missed so for more info on today's panels be sure to follow MAM Summit on Twitter - @mamsummit.
"Repair the exhaust vent? That's not why we're here, Tarkin!"
There's an article I've been meaning to write about from a now-obsolete issue of the New Yorker.
It's like a hundred pages, so I'll summarize it for you: In the late 1940s, brash adman Alex Osborn invented a creative technique called Brainstorming, otherwise referred to as the biggest sham since laser hair growth.
Turns out that according to research, individuals participating in a brainstorming session produce fewer ideas than they would have independently. But surely the quality of those brainstormed ideas must be better? Nope, consistently worse.
So what's going on here? Are humans really less creative when they collaborate? How then do we explain Gilbert and Sullivan, the Coen brothers, or the two girls from Hot Problems?
Evidently, the collaborative component isn't the hiccup at all. Rather, it's the first commandment of brainstorming -- thou shalt not criticize.
This is true: The best creative directors I've worked with weren't successful because of the great ideas they had (though they certainly had plenty), but because of the great ideas they recognized.
What I mean is, our minds are always coming up with new combinations of words, pictures, thoughts, and emotions. That's not a difficult skill. You can program a computer to be a random word generator or a random image aggregator.
What makes human creativity unique is the ability to recognize that seed of potential within the creative chaos.
And to do that, you have to probe, question, and generally be an ass.
When we work alone, we're constantly criticizing our own ideas, and that's what inspires new and better thinking. But in the brainstorm, we're working so hard not to dampen anyone's creative thoughts, that we inadvertently hamstring the whole process.
What's great about group creativity isn't the collaboration, but the conflict. Others can probe and question our ideas in ways we never could ourselves.
And that's healthy. That's productive. Sure, you'll all hate each other at the end of it. But that's the price you pay for a better sneaker tagline.
For those of you who work with or are interested in social media, there are two upcoming opportunities you shouldn't miss.
First, Elizabeth Shea, President and CEO of SpeakerBox, and Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami at Network Solutions will co-present at an event entitled, "Make Social Media Work for Your Business." The event, sponsored by the Washington Business Journal, will take place on Wednesday, May 2 from 4:00-5:00 pm at the Business Journal's offices in Arlington, VA. The event fee is $25. Additional information and registration information can be found here. Hope to see you there!
In addition, the American City Business Journals, parent company of WBJ, has announced a national social media contest called Social Madness. Social Madness is a bracket-style contest running in 43 cities around the country. Participating companies will compete against like-sized companies in one of three brackets. Points will be awarded by a scoring algorithm that measures social influence through increased connections and activity on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as votes on BizJournals.com. The top local winners will advance to the national round, and the grand prize winners can select a non-profit to receive a charitable donation.
Does your company have what it takes to be a local or national winner? Read the complete rules here - and be sure to register by May 15.
-- Katie Hanusik
(photo courtesy of Mr. Lightman)
Yes, tech product PR has been around for a while. No, Steve didn't invent it.
Just saw this interesting take by Tom Foremski of ZDNet on why tech PR is so hot these days. In a nutshell, Foremski writes that companies are putting more money towards PR to promote their products due to public relations’ efficacy over advertising. He argues that this is a recent shift that has been dictated by consumers’ desire to analyze just about every tech product that comes down the pike. This is driven by an insatiable thirst for product specs, benchmarks, and more, driven by the seemingly unending stream of cool technology that seems to make an appearance, on average, once or twice a week.
“Over the past two decades tech companies have been steadily shifting their substantial marketing funds into public relations, with the express goal to have news stories published about them and their products.
The reason is simple: Advertising is only one-third as effective as a news story about a company or product.
PR is much more efficient than advertising, you get far more marketing bang.”
I’m not going to argue with him, of course. I do think you get more “marketing bang” out of a well-planned, strategic PR campaign that can truly educate people, through journalists, about products and services (then again, I guess I am a bit biased!).
I don’t necessarily agree, however, that this is necessarily something new. After all, technology companies have been pitching products – everything from laptops to databases and beyond – for years. And PR firms have offered full-fledged product review programs for years as well.
I do think, though, that in our spec-obsessed world PR has become increasingly important when it comes to product marketing. Think of the latest Android device; it’s awful hard to get across the concept of the (at least perceived) importance of dual-core processors and Tegra 2 chips in an ad. Just doesn’t work. But many people do care about these things. The place to publicize them – perhaps the only really effective place – is through an article or review.
So while I think product PR has certainly accelerated, I don’t think it’s necessarily because tech companies are putting more ammunition behind it. It’s something that has been caused by consumers’ need for detailed information.
In other words, the market is demanding more and more information; product PR is stepping up to the plate to provide it.
- Pete Larmey
"Our beer choice says WHAT?"
You've heard it a thousand times: Correlation is not causation.
Just because I wrote a love letter to Jessica Alba, and then nine months later she gave birth, it doesn't mean that my writing is some sort of magical celebrity aphrodisiac (although that would help to explain the Helen Mirren pregnancy).
But here's the trouble: We're now living in the age of Big Data. And in the age of Big Data, there's going to be a LOT more correlation -- bucket-loads -- while the amount of causation in the universe is likely to remain the same.
So how do we -- as a species -- armed with our new gigantic data sets, combat the well-documented tendency to fabricate meaning from insignificant, random nonsense?
Well, one way not to do it is with beer.
In February, Charles Duhigg wrote in the New York Times Magazine about how "companies learn your secrets." He was investigating how retailers use their monster data sets to predict significant life changes for their customers, and then market their products accordingly. As it turns out, newly divorced consumers tend to purchase different brands of beer.
To be clear, this is an attempt at predictive modeling, not assigning causation. But the central question is the same -- coincidence or insight?
I guess the cynical viewpoint is that it doesn't matter. If you can use data to segment customer populations effectively, who cares what the underlying psychological factors might be?
In this way, business intelligence is sort of like stereotyping. Sure stereotyping ticks people off, but it's a good way to make some crude, quick generalizations. Only trouble is… it ticks people off!
Just because you CAN market to consumers based on data-driven presumptive generalities doesn't mean that you SHOULD, or that your customers will like it.
Could this be one of those classic instances where corporations get dumber by getting smarter?
I can't answer that definitively right now, because Meredith Vieira is going into labor.
"Wait... did I remember to cash those last two residual checks from 'Rainbow'?"
So last week, In the Capital's Lin Qiu posted an exceedingly respectful and intelligent rebuttal to my controversial Google Glasses post.
How disappointing! No name-calling. No childish taunting. This is the worst flame war ever.
But Lin did make some excellent points. In fact, he raised an important consideration that I'd altogether failed to mention. From his post:
"...I do agree that if Google is the only company shoving down their products through bionanotechnology peripherals pipelines is dangerous..."
This corporatist aspect is indeed most troubling.
Remember, this technology breakthrough is being led by Google. GOOGLE. The company that cares about as much for your privacy as it does for Bing-related search traffic.
Google is not in this game to evoke new, artistic perspectives of the human experience. Lin references philosophers and scientists like Plato and Alhazen. But Google is a corporation. It's looking to make money on advertising.
And that's why this parody video of Project Glass is one of the funniest and most damning commentaries I've seen.
Unless you’re really interested in media relations you may have missed the New York Times article about companies paying Chinese journalists to write flattering articles about them. It turns out that in China, for about $20,000 a page, you can have your CEO profiled in Esquire. For $4,000 a minute your top executive could be interviewed on a news program on state-run China Central Television. And, according to the article, China’s not alone. This practice of paying for a flattering news piece by a reputable news outlet is also common in Europe, Japan, Latin America and yes, even here in the U.S.
For large companies with vast amounts of money this may seem like the Holy Grail – just pay to have your CEO profiled and it’s win-win for everyone. I, however, have two issues with this practice.
First, it totally devalues what I do for a living. Rarely, if ever, are these sorts of news pieces accompanied by the disclaimer that they were paid for. So that means that if you, as my client, see your competition profiled in one of these outlets you immediately wonder what I, as your PR rep, am doing wrong that I didn’t get you there. Suddenly it seems like a no brainer – your CEO should be profiled too because your company is totally and completely more awesome and the whole world should know it. Sadly, if your competition paid for that article – which we may never know if they did – your chances of being profiled are zero unless you’re also willing to hand over fistfuls of cash to make it happen.
So what’s my second issue? The handing over of fistfuls of cash to secure a favorable news piece about your company. In my opinion the last remaining shreds of integrity that the news media has goes out the window the second they accept money from you. Not to mention that the general public’s view of your organization may falter if they realize you paid for that news article instead of earning it. My job requires me to stay on top of what’s happening in the world – be it mobile application development or cloud computing – and if journalists and publications are happily accepting money for a favorable article I, and everyone else, no longer know what’s real journalism and what’s been bought.
I’m smart enough to not trust everything I read and to look at a variety of sources for information but let’s not kid ourselves, not everyone does that. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve worked with clients before who were not above paying for a positive article. Were they happy with the outcome? Yes, they were. But personally, I like the satisfaction that comes with scoring a big win for my clients – knowing that my hard work paid off and I helped them land that coveted interview or cover story. Paying someone to write that story just doesn’t leave me with same warm and fuzzy feeling as knowing I did my job well.
Although I’m sure it’s not the first year the issue of women members has been brought up surrounding the Masters Golf Tournament
(which, kicked-off yesterday) at Augusta National Golf Club, I’m not so sure there has ever been a female CEO in the spotlight of the controversy. For the first time, long-time sponsor for the event, IBM
has a female CEO - Virginia Rometty
Augusta, a famous men’s golf club founded in 1933, does not allow women to become members - The club has sponsored the PGA Masters Golf Tournament since 1934. According to the WSJ, “Augusta has offered membership to a number of IBM CEOs but because of its all-male policy, it's unclear if an invitation has been extended to Ms. Rometty.”
The issue has started uproar in the media, mostly in support of Ms. Rometty and women’s equality. In typical form, Augusta Chairman Billy Payne isn’t saying much, claiming the club’s membership matters are private. However, that hasn’t kept much larger public figures from weighing in. The White House has released a statement regarding whether or not President Obama believes the rules should be changed and women should be permitted as members, and according to CNN, "The president's answer is yes, he believes women should be admitted," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing. Ultimately, he noted that it is "up to the club to decide, (but) his personal opinion is that women should be admitted to the club."
Other political figures such as Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich agreed that women should be admitted, however some noted Augusta’s rights as a private organization.
Despite the fact that women’s equality in the clubs membership has been under scrutiny for many years, I’m really hoping this year’s media coverage and the fact that they would have to deny a multi-million dollar sponsor’s CEO an invitation to join the club is enough to persuade Augusta’s board to change their policy. And, Augusta’s silence on the issue may be contributing fuel to the media’s fire. Just as we’ve seen in the past with golfer Tiger Woods’ car crash/affair scandal, not speaking out early in the crisis gives the media the opportunity to speculate and come to their own conclusions. Of course, the effects of this type of approach are not exclusive to the golf world; businesses should take note as well. Silence, in the face of a PR crisis, is not usually golden, but can often create the perception of aloofness, guilt, or just plain being out of touch.
Hopefully we’ll find out soon the effects that negative publicity can have on influencing decision-making.
It’s been a big couple of weeks for Microsoft and Windows Phone. First, as my estimable colleague Kate wrote about earlier this week, the company launched the much buzzed-about Smoked By Windows Phone challenge (a brilliant marketing ploy, in my opinion, regardless of any negative press it may have garnered). Then, the company went on an all-out media blitz surrounding the launch of its new Nokia Lumia 900 handset, even leading to reports of pre-orders selling out.
And just the other day I noticed the company doing something very interesting on its Windows Phone Twitter feed. They posted this:
Now I’m not entirely sure why they decided to target this at The Wall Street Journal, but something tells me it may have a little to do with a less-than-flattering review of said Nokia Lumia 900 by Walter Mossberg. If that’s the case, I find this to be a very creative – and potentially impactful – way of responding to the criticism.
Note that Microsoft is not directly responding to the review here. Instead, they’re encouraging Windows Phone users -- unpaid evangelists, basically – to send photos of how they’re using the devices in their daily lives so that those who follow The Wall Street Journal on Twitter might see them. This accomplishes several things:
A) It subtly refutes the review by showing there are a lot of people out there who are passionate about their Windows Phone devices
B) It shows off the proficiency of the devices’ various cameras
C) It succeeds to spread word of mouth on both the phones and the operating system during an important time for both
D) It adds a personal touch to a simple social media campaign -- which is really what social media is about, anyway
For a company that has not traditionally been known for its marketing savvy, Microsoft seems to be doing some pretty savvy things lately.
- Pete Larmey
"It's the latest in cyborg chic."
The thing I admire about Google is that they're willing to try just about any crazy idea that pops into their heads. I think most of their product development meetings go like this:
Guy Delivering Sandwiches: Hey, Google, yesterday I had a dream about a dog that could fly a plane.
Google: Here's a billion dollars. We own that now.
Is this any way to run a company? I'm not sure. But the contrast Google presents with its mortal enemy Apple (which won't even experiment with a smaller-screen iPad) is fascinating stuff.
I suspect on some level, Google the search engine influences how Google the company operates. Imagine for a second that you could see what every person on the planet was asking for, at every moment of every day. How could that type of knowledge not give you a God complex -- a sense of invulnerability?
You start to believe you can't fail, that everything is a open avenue, and pretty soon the New York Times is writing about your driverless cars and your augmented reality glasses. (I actually really like the driverless car program. But that's a topic for another blog.)
The reason I'm writing today is because I've just seen the Project Glass video, and it's super creepy!
"Oh, relax Jonathan," you say. "What's the difference between holding your smartphone and wearing it?"
Well, since you asked, here it is: It's the difference between eating a taco, and BEING a taco.
Technology that changes our fundamental perception of the world is CRAZY controversial -- at least it should be. The way we see the world impacts the way we think and feel and behave. And for half a million years, we've experienced the universe without a Google+ prompt in the corner of our eyes.
This is not a natural progression of mobile computing technology. It's the beginning of a creepy new "open avenue" -- bionanotechnology (as the New York Times helpfully notes, the fusion of technology and biology).
Come to think of it, I think the term augmented reality is a great encapsulation of the problem. Because you can't augment reality. Any change to reality inevitably reduces it. By definition.
Am I wrong? Please, somebody rebut this! I'm ready for a scrap.
Since CES in January, Microsoft has been holding a marketing campaign to drive attention to its new line of smartphones. The campaign, called the “Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge,” invites anyone to bring his or her iOS or Android device into a Windows Store to compete against a Windows Phone to see which smartphone can complete one of several everyday tasks the fastest. Anyone who beats the challenge wins a special Hunger Games edition laptop valued at $1,000; “losers” have the choice of turning in their losing smartphone and receiving a new Windows phone. Also, those who did not win the challenge are asked to pose for a photo of them with their losing device, along with a caption along the lines of “my [Insert Andoid or iOS device] got smoked in the Windows Phone Challenge”.
I was surprised to learn about this challenge while I was strolling past a Microsoft Store last week on my lunch break. Although I didn’t participate in the challenge, I did stop in the store and checked out some of their phones – which I was actually impressed with. There’s no denying the phones are quick and I really liked the home screen display and camera features. I was just really confused as to why I had no idea this was going on – until I got back to the office.
Harry McCracken / TIME.com
Upon Googling news about the competition, I was shocked to find the coverage was almost entirely negative. I came across stories such as “Microsoft Apologizes After Botched Windows Phone Challenge
”, “Windows Phone challenge attracts a bad element: Lawyers
” and Is the Microsoft Windows Phone Challenge a Scam?
It appears most people think the competition wasn’t a competition at all, but a huge con. I agree it wasn’t a competition, but a marketing campaign rigged to make Microsoft and their new phones look good. Looks like it back-fired. The few stories emerging of people winning and being denied their prizes have not been worth it. I probably would have been impressed seeing the number of winners vs. the much larger number of those who did not win the challenge, but that isn’t at all what is being reported.
Despite the negativity surrounding the campaign, however, it did entice a few colleagues and myself to check out the phones. I’m interested to see what information Microsoft releases following the campaign – how many people participated and how many free Windows Phones they gave out. Although positive publicity surrounding their campaign would have been ideal, the fact that people are talking about it at all may mean enough people are paying attention to give the phone a try. I definitely think there is a place in the mobile market for a third operating system, but we’ll just have to see if people jump on board.
The competition, which was supposed to end last week, has now been extended until tomorrow, April 5th.
ad:tech, one of the marketing communications industry’s largest trade shows, kicked off this week in San Francisco. Like the pioneers before them (and I’m talking about literal pioneers, not the digital ones), hordes of marketers have headed west, to the Moscone Center, to make their fortune by asking, “What communication strategies and tactics truly resonate with today’s businesses and consumers?”
Glancing at the agenda, it would appear that it boils down to three words: “personalization,” “socialization” and “integration.”
The meaning behind the first two is probably fairly self-evident. After all, one-to-one personalization has long been the cornerstone of many a marketing campaign, and everyone is trying to leverage the likes of Facebook and Twitter in their social media marketing efforts.
But what about integration? What exactly is being integrated?
Well, in a word…everything. In this sense, it refers to the integration of the traditional and the new. Combining offline advertising with online marketing to create a cohesive, all-encompassing campaign. Pairing traditional PR – press releases and media relations – with new means of reaching target audiences through social, search engine optimization and inbound marketing efforts.
The last ad:tech that I went to was in 2000. You know what the hot topics were back then? Online and offline targeting, privacy, and – believe it or not – mobile advertising, which was just ramping up, even then. But the primary thing on everyone’s lips was the marketing communications mix: finding the appropriate combination of tools to effectively get your message across, using both new and traditional media. And what is the marketing mix? Integration.
Thinking on this a bit, it struck me: we like to think things change in our industry at a lightning pace. And in truth, they do. But there’s also some truth to the old adage that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It seems as much as we evolve, the core challenges and opportunities – and methods we use to approach them – remain relatively the same.
Times change; fundamentals, not so much.
- Pete Larmey
As most of you know, when I'm not engaged in registered lobbyist activities, I consider myself a historian.
So I feel obligated this morning to catalog yesterday's best April Fools gags from the technology sector, in case you might have missed them. I'll also be grading each Fool on the following criteria: 1) Foolhardiness, 2) Foolishness, and 3) Suspected Mr. T pity-ability.
The Legend of Google Maps
The most notorious fool of the day was also one of the best. No doubt you saw the viral video yesterday, but did you know you can actually use "quest mode" in the real Web app? It's awesome for about 25 seconds.
Keurig K-Cup Dinners
Hilarious concept from Think Geek, but a few points off for over-the-top foolishness. The best fools have a sliver of believability, which the donut K-cups sort of do. But taco supreme K-cups? No mi gusta.
Hungry Hungry iPad
Another Think Geek winner, but suffering from the opposite problem: not foolish enough. I honestly believe this will be a real product within sixty days, much as iCADE went from fool to reality in 2011.
You had me at Richard Branson. But adding and quoting Tom Hanks is a fool too far. (Obviously, Hanks is headed underwater with James Cameron.)
Kodak's Kitten Printer
Wait, is Kodak still a company?