Tag Archives: social

Social media doesn’t change the basics of marketing

There’s a lot of talk on the web about Pepsi Refresh, saying that social media is failing, or at least that it’s not the marketing panacea that some had suggested.

Certainly Pepsi spent a lot of money and this has not led to more short-term sales. But if Pepsi Refresh was a “failure”, it is interesting to me that Coca cola is increasing its focus and spend on social media and measuring expressions not just impressions.

My thoughts are that maybe Pepsi got it wrong because what they did had nothing to do with why people buy their product. Coca-cola remember that buying cola is about frivolity, pop culture, escapism – it’s a low-involvement purchase, a bit of fun in your day; Pepsi tried to turn the discussion to altogether more serious issues, albeit while retaining a colourful façade on their web-site.

So, especially when it comes to social campaigns, social doesn’t change the basics of marketing. It makes it even more important to be interesting or entertaining to get your message spread through earned media, but the message that consumers spread still needs to be effective in driving your business forward, by increasing people’s propensity to actually purchase your products.

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Google is my homie.

(aka a concrete way of explaining the value of social media involvement and marketing to people who don’t want to hear about Building your Social Capital with the Whuffie factor)
Most internet visits start with search.  People may have been motivated by an advert, or maybe just by a need (i.e. their phone broke and they need a new one), but their Consideration Phase almost definitely begins with search.
If Google is essentially each user’s homepage, one of our jobs as marketers should be to make the best use of that real estate.
Brands are getting better at driving traffic from Google to their own corporate pages, but I think many are not considering 50% of the Google real estate with “traditional” SEO and SEM.
So  (at least if I am a producer of a high-consideration product like a phone):
– SEM is, at absolute best, responsible for 30% of the clicks generated on that page (btw, I wonder if it’s a certain type of person that clicks there, like it is with banners). So I should get my fair share of these clicks by doing good, sales-driven SEM.
– Getting top position with great SEO means I capture about another 20% of the interest, clicking through to the “official” brand site.
– But the rest of Google is going to be full of social media, e.g. videos on youtube, product reviews, comparison sites etc.
Questions to ask myself:
What am I doing to fill up my “homepage” with interesting and positive content?
How do I measure this? Could I build a Search Engine Share of Voice score?
(ps I’m working on the answer to those questions next, but would appreciate opinions of course)
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Owned, Bought and Earned Media

[NB UPDATED POST on this topic: http://danielgoodall.com/2009/05/20/owned-bought-and-earned-redux/]

At Nokia we have been using the following simple model for our Digital Media Planning for about a year now.


Like all good models, it is designed to be very, very simple.

Owned Media
Obviously one of the things available to you is your own web site. With Nokia it gets a bit more complex, since we have so many media that we “own”: http://www.nokia.mobi (perhaps the most visited mobile site in the world?), MyNokia (Nokia’s CRM program), all of our service sites (ovi.com, ngage.com, nokia music), as well as more niche sites like beta labs etc. Quite a few options, before any media has even been bought: my team is currently planning to pull together a kind of internal media bank to keep track of all the options in terms of Nokia’s own media.

Bought Digital Media
This clearly has a role, although often it is overemphasized by agencies who make money out of percentages of media spend. Banners have a role in terms of awareness, but I’m not a fan of buying media in general, except when the creative proposition is great. Mostly, I see it as a necessary evil, except with search marketing, which is more interesting to me as it is less interuptive.

Earned Media
IMO, this is where the action is. This is where you have done something so cool or interesting that people want to use their own media to tell others about it, and hence you earn media. I am currently reading this brilliant analysis of why things spread from the guys at MIT.  They claim that content is shared (and therefore Media is Earned) because of three main factors relating to the dynamics of groups.

  1. To bolster camaraderie and articulate the (presumably shared) experiences and values that identify oneself as belong to a particular community (“bolstering their identity”)
  2. To gather information and explain difficult to understand events or circumstances.
  3. To establish the boundaries of an “in-group”.

Good stuff.

Some people think that Earning Media is about getting free space when budgets are tight. In my experience, Earning Media is a not necessarily a cheap option, and is certainly more time-consuming than buying media with big networks. More importantly, Earning Media is about engaging with consumers on their terms and gaining trust based on genuine understanding. Consumers don’t trust advertising, but they do trust peer recommendation. As long as brands don’t abuse this situation, then this leads to better quality, more authentic and more relevant marketing.

You can of course go into much more detail with each of these. And there are interesting overlaps. But in general, it is a simple model that has been useful in our digital planning.

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How to do Social Media Marketing without access to the internet.

Social Media Marketing is an an interesting mix of marketing, PR, sales and customer service, and is about engaging with communities. Famously, Dell now does this well, and are no longer in Hell. My friend Mr Whatley does a great job of this for SpinVox, IMHO. To do this, of course you need access to the internet.

But there is another way. It just takes doing something brilliant, like making your store front completely kick ass.


So you make something that rocks, ahem. Then you add the extra piece of genius, which is to make the dials go all the way to 11.

The design and the comic flourish disrupts expectations and connects with a shared passion.

You have created a piece of Social Media without access to the internet.

Then someone takes a photo and puts it on Flickr. And you have yourself a piece of awesome internet marketing without even turning your computer on.

Job done.

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Pro-active Customer Service

Customer Centric

A couple of years ago, a LSE study called advocacy drives growth  showed that a 1% reduction in negative word of mouth resulted in £24.8 million additional revenues. Also, a 2% reduction in negative word of mouth correlated with just under 1% growth of the company.

With all this talk about Social Media Marketing, I wonder if actually Social Media is best used for Customer Service (as Dell have been doing well after their previous hell – that’s a lot of rhymes) rather than blogger outreach of the PR kind. Just because it is called Media doesn’t mean it is an advertising channel.

Most of the time advertising agencies just want to use Social Media as a channel to promote the microsite that they are building.  Instead, the opportunity is really in getting to customers when they are just beginning to get frustrated and engaging with them in an open social way in their spaces before they have really felt the need to complain. Even better is energizing existing customers to become an army of volunteers who will answer questions for behalf of the company.

And then when it comes to marketing communications, a thorough understanding of the actual consumer issues should help identify what needs to be communicated. People are discussing brands online, so this should be the bedrock on which any advertising is based. Most of the time it is not, and instead we are treated to rather random insights which have no connection to creative which makes for ineffective advertising. Great advertising should be rooted in known consumer wants and needs, should have KUDOS and should be made with propogation in mind. 

But at the very least, I wonder how many calls to customer service centres are for similar problems that could have been solved pro-actively?

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disrupting expectation + topicality

Burger King launches a new campaign on Facebook: you de-friend ten people to claim your free whopper. As they put it on the promotional web site: “You like your friends, but you love a whopper”

photo by Damien Toman

This works because it has Conversational Capital. Its playfully harsh approach disrupts the expectation we have of campaigns on Facebook: We are so used to Facebook applications asking us to spam our friends, that being asked to actually remove friends really shocks the system.

Also, this campaign comes at the right time. Topicality is essential to conversation – something that major brands often struggle with if they use 6-9 month processes to create campaigns. But this campaign taps into a trend for reducing and simplifying the friends lists that have got frankly out of hand:

“Social graph shrinkage: Sure, the total population of social media users will continue to grow but with the rise of mososo and a resurgence of in person networking, many consumers will scale back on both the number of accounts they maintain AND their number of so-called “friends” and “followers.” We’ll start using online social platforms to stay connected with the people we actually know and care about. Suddenly, being Facebook friends with your mom will seem less ridiculous than following 4,000 strangers on Twitter.” Greg Verdino, in Peter Kim’s Social Media Predictions 2009

Amen to that.

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WOM attracts more valuable customers

A recent study suggests that the lifetime value of customers acquired via WOM can be over twice as high as those acquired from general marketing methods. (executive summary of the study is available here)

Although acquisition via direct offers or other short-term sales tactics may be more immediately effective and certainly easier to attribute with current tracking mechanics, it often brings in customers who have no intention to stick around: simply put, they go where the next offer is.

The difficulty is that generating positive WOM is more than chatting up some influential bloggers. It is an entire philosophy touching everything from Service Quality and Customer Service, through to creating truly engaging marketing programs that aim to delight customers at every opporunity.

Proving ROI of Word of Mouth activities is notoriously difficult. But at the very least, using one of the imperfect tools that measure positive WOM and customer advocacy as a success metric makes sense, as it drives the organization to do the types of activities that acquire more valuable customers.

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2009: The Year of Mobile Social Media.

Mobile and Social.

As far as predictions go this one is fairly obvious: 2009 should be a breakout year for Mobile Social Networks: Always-on, Context-aware devices + microblogging behaviour comes together to create possibilities far exceeding those of PC-based media.

This feels so wrong and uncool, but I have a confession to make: I prefer microblogging my status on mobile Facebook than on mobile Twitter.

In fact, I’m hooked and check status regularly on Facebook mobile (m.facebook.com). No special app, just the mobile site. First thing I see is a list of statuses (stati?). Most of my Nokia colleagues are on Facebook, and are doing the same. Even though Facebook was clearly not set up as a mobile network, it is working just fine for us.

I spoke to Christine Perey about this when she visited us at Nokia HQ. She somewhat patronizingly said it must be that Nokia Employees do not know about the “better” mobile social networks and the technical enablers that are available. That is rubbish of course, partly because we’re building some interesting ones.

What this actually proves is the power of the network. Metcalfe’s Law. The value of a telecommunications network proportional to the square of the number of people in the network.

One distinction is that whereas telecommunications networks are, apart from the people in them, basically otherwise identical, virtual social networks do have differences in terms of User Experience and features etc. Perhaps we can add in the quality of the user experience into the equation, since this does impact the value too.

Value of a Social Network to an individual =Uex(N)2

Where Uex = the quality of the User Experience and features to the individual, and N = the number of people in the network… or at least the number of people the individual cares about.

Since more people I care about are spending their time on Facebook than on Twitter, it appeals to me much more, even if it is not designed with microblogging in mind. (Although the fact that you can comment on a status seems much better than having to put @someone, which seems a very clumsy way to communication to me: wastes valuable characters and means you can’t easily see a conversation stream).

I mentioned once to Jyri Engeström (founder of Jaiku, former Nokian and all around nice fella) in Helsinki that the barrier to entry for microblogging has been going down as people realise that it is after all just like updating your Facebook status. People don’t think they are microblogging, but they are regularly updating their status (especially if they check Facebook from their mobile device). Now Jyri is hoping to move the industry forward by achieving an interoperable microblogging network, which would get over this need for people to be using the same service as each other. Then the value can truly be in the Uex, and we can get back to building remarkable social services, without the size of the network being the determining factor in people’s decisions.

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5 reasons why corporate websites are not dead

There was a time when having a web presence was enough for a corporation.

Clearly that is no longer the case, and some are saying that there is little need for the brochurewear that exists currently, and that it should be replaced by social tools.

But I think that web sites as brochures are going to be here a while longer, for the following reasons:

1. Blogs are actually not the ideal way to organise information. Posts listed by date (albeit with a decent search facility) are good for the very latest news, but it is difficult to quickly find information on a range of products that have been released over a period of time on a blog. Finding such a range of information is often the primary reasons to visit a corporate blog.

2. It’s too early to dive head first into social tools for company sites. Participation is growing all the time, but we would do well to remember the 90-9-1 rule: websites designed for the Creators will marginalize the Lurkers. A corporate site has a duty to the people who do not want to participate, but want clear, well-structured information about the product.

3. Honest opinion is essential in the purchase process. Posting negative reviews to a corporate site is laudable in terms of transparency, and may even be the first stage towards accepting that every brand has a dark side (which may be essential to recognize if we are to be authentic). However, is a corporate web site really the best place for consumers to go to get the unfiltered opinion? It is my belief that corporations will always filter the information available on their web site: it would be irrational (self-harming even?) to do otherwise. Buyer beware.

4. Realistically, changes at large corporations take time. The number of stakeholders involved in maintaining corporate sites is huge. Many people “own” part of the site, and are averse to dramatic changes in the section that means most to them. Again, self-interest, and to a certain extent ignorance of the possibilities, will hinder any chances to change.

5. Corporations do not have a personal voice, and therefore most corporate blogs suck. Corporations are a collection of individuals. Individuals should want to have their own space to express their opinions, which will of course be tempered by their employment situation, but will not have to go through the rigorous legal checks – unlike everything on an official corporate site.

In essence, I am arguing that a corporate site that is just brochurewear is an important communication tool. As long as their is implicit understanding between consumer and corporation that this is the corporation’s attempt to display all the key information while making things the products and services look their best, then this is fine as it is. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you may look for user reviews of books you like the look of.

Social tools are then used by real people (including employees of that corporation) to discuss the products and services with which they are involved. It is my belief that people lead the tribe, not brands. Brands are at best social objects, i.e. socially relevant topics of conversation. People should get involved with communities, and marketing can do its best to stoke the fires of conversation. And if your corporation doesn’t have people able to connect with social media and lead a tribe, well then, perhaps you don’t have the right people any more.

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