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News Update – Best of the Day

Using a web analytics tool is one of the essentials when businesses want to get some insights on their customers’ movement around their websites. The Cosmos blog shows 10 useful website analytics tools. And before you ask: The tool I am using is Statcounter.

If your company has a fan page profile on Facebook, there are also some tools to track stats and monitor the traffic. The All Facebook blog offers 4 ways to monitor Facebook page traffic.

Some years ago, we were used to listen to street sales people in pedestrian areas downtown telling us how to get our vegetables, fruit or onions get cut and done. Now, all this can be done by just using a viral. Watch this Slap Chop sales guy and don’t tell this is not persuasive…

News Update – Best of the Day

Is the marketers attitude towards traditional advertising changing as all marketers are looking for engagement? PepsiCo is challenging social media efforts big time this year and will not invest in an expensive super bowl campaign. A budget of 20 mio. USD will be invested into a social media campaign. Mashable has all the facts…

If you are in the wine business (or a wine ‘geek’) and looking how to improve your business ideas just listen to a nice case study and see what the social web can do for you. Joe Roberts, certified specialist of wine, shares some good information and show the challenges for big brands with social media.

The world is talking just about one new technology product: the iPad. But did you know that there is already a home-made commercial on YouTube for it? How do you like the idea of the dancing fingers?

The Evolution of the Engagement Economy

Banner Social NetworksTalking about new trends on the social web, marketers always love the point of view when brands are involved. They love to negotiate, as I call it, on the “cost per engagement (cpe)” level. Businesses and their communication suppliers always try to get customers engaged in brands. Some years ago, this was difficult. Now, it seems easy. And this topic becomes even more relevant for future marketing strategies when you think about today’s engagement economy.

The engagement economy nowadays is doing things companies never thought would happen: There are people forwarding brand videos (which generate massive engagement), admitting to be emotionally involved in brands. We’ve got people publicly telling their peers how much they love products, services or companies. And then there are people discussing about products and how they would change these products and services in order to make them more profitable for the manufacturer. This is all happening right up to the point where people are basically saying “I am a brand maniac of…” – fantastic and unbelievable in one go, right?

So, if we take a look back and analyze this trend from a long-term web-strategic point of view, companies need to rethink the future of their web-marketing efforts as the social web transforms the value of processes in sales and marketing.

At an event last week a marketer I know quite well took me aside and asked: “Why are people not as engaged when clicking banners as they are when becoming fans or followers of brands on the social web?” And my first reaction was to give a shrug. But then I realized the huge potential of the thought and I said: “Gimme some days and I will try to blog an answer.”

whyblog_1In my view, a major part of the explanation to this phenomenon lies in the evolutionary process of the engagement economy and their brand commitment when people even want to become social VIPs or brand-vangelists and accept the ads from their favorite brands in their social graphs.

Emotions
The emotional-impact of banner advertising and of “social media engagement” is completely different – on those who ‘follow’ the people that click on traditional advertising (display or affiliate) and on those who become fans or followers.

Somebody who clicks a banner ad is not engaged in any kind of brand emotionality: This person is just interested in the offer or the message that grins in his face saying: “I am nice, ain’t I?!” So, why not take a glance at the offer (especially when coupons or incentives are involved) as it is a short-term sales boost via email or some other traditional online advertising format. The person who is clicking on a fan page wants to know more about the brand values, why people have become fans, who they are. This is someone who wants to give some kind of emotional kick back to the brand and the “engaged brand peers”. And just by becoming a fan, they give the brands more positive rewards than they probably realize – kind of like an ultimate pay back which has never existed in that form or to that extent before.

Action
People who participate in banner advertising come from the passive “lean-back economy”. Some experts are already wondering, if banners are dying. My answer is: No, as banners follow a different purpose than the social web marketing activity! The benefit for traditional online advertising is the click, resulting in the quick consumption of news and information. The engagement economy loves to lean forward and get in the driver seat of the brand communication and discussion. Emotionally motivated by the sweet feeling of competence, this engaged person argues about the good and bad of the brand values. When you look at Nespresso and Starbucks social media activities and other impressive examples on Facebook or Twitter, or you take the latest example of the IKEA Facebook campaign all what companies are doing is throwing some communication crums in. And the fans “crowd together” and pick them up with greedy brand enthusiasm. They give the companies and their peers input and feedback with comments, questions and by sharing the brand content and ideas. The emotions get their pay-off by little brand incentives and keep the wheels of engagement buzz turning.

Time
Think about how much time people spend with a brand when clicking on a banner versus being on a fan page. A banner is meant to save time – as does an offer – just by its intention and nature, as well as the message it carries. Check the offer and then be off as quick as possible. Is this the way a banner works? I think so. Rate this short interaction against the time of a brand experience on a fan page. People listen, learn and participate in the conversation about the brand, and come back to see how the communication proceeds. Not because a banner asks for their time to do so, but as the people want it themselves. The customer is the active part of the brand communication, not the company. The customer pays attention to the brand and donates “engagement time” as the new value or ROI for all brand communication efforts.

And then, why do they stay longer on a fan page? The answer is easy: Their “brand friends” are there. They feel to be in good company and this is what builds comfort, driven by a “warm feeling of friendship, networking and community”. You are not alone, you have something in common just by spending time on the same topic: a brand commitment.

Spot On!
The engagement economy is in charge of brand communication and brand commitment. The company still owns it but they are being managed by engaged brand fans. Now, my question to you: Is this true? What is your experience and your strategy when working with this new engagement economy?

Social Media and Advertising – how to explain an antithesis to C-levels?

social-networks-sepia1Facing the pure intention of social media versus advertising, we have to admit that we are talking about an antithesis – no matter if you can book advertising on a social networks or not. Social Media is conversations while advertising is the monologue from company to customer. And in between lies some undefined (or shall we say unqualified) customer dialogue that we have been through for years of online advertising.

So, how can we explain this type of modern ‘customer engagement setting’ to C-level executives? How can we bring these two anti-poles together? What could have been a better idea than asking to the people that have been through this process of explaining, evaluating and engaging C-levels from both sides – platform owners and brand companies.

Maybe you want to listen to their thoughts…

Blake Chandlee, vice president and commercial director EMEA, Facebook (recorded after the DMEXCO panel ‘social media and advertising’) – sees the biggest challenges in the evolution from their traditional management roles of strategy and investement thinking towards a new business world called ‘social networking’.

Tony Douglas, Innovation Manager, BMW Group – advices to make senior management aware of the potential that social media offers, and knows off the trial-and-error process companies might be going through.

“Firstly you have to get the channels on the agenda that means you have to convince/demonstrate to senior management that the channels are relevant i.e. they are a valuable addition to the marketing communication mix. Just because you have a new channel does not mean you have more budget so you have to prove that this “new” channel is better than some “old” one only then will you get a shift in budget.

Social media and “advertising” are two very odd bed fellows…you cannot do a traditional banner campaign in social media it does not work you need to target and get your context and content right. “Targeting” is also a new science so you have to educate the C-level on what this is. The content is not one size fits all as is often the case with ATL content….here we are talking a mass of niches. However the really tough bit you have to be social now that can be a real challenge. I think it’s fair to say that not many professional marketers have been schooled in how to be social (in marketing). This is new ground for many marketers and brands and like all new stuff it takes time to adapt and learn.

So start early, start small, learn by doing and adapt quickly and if you demonstrate success and a greater return on investment you’ll find those obstacles and challenges will disappear. They are disappearing in the BMW Group.”

Tim Meier, Brand Manager, Bacardi – focuses on the customer dialogue as the main point for his argumentation.

“Generally speaking, it is necessary to enhance top management understanding of social media as a qualitative target group related dialogue communication opportunity. Any figures to measure social media ROI need to be accompanied by the level of qualitative consumer references. In how far are you able to define the GRP level of a positive brand related post from a celebrity/opinion leader? Social Media will certainly emancipate as an equal part of the marketing mix to support future brand campaigns on the image level. Nevertheless you´ll be rewarded with additional coverage if you´re doing a good job and offer a consumer relevant content.”

Spot On!
It would be interesting to get some more views on how we can help making C-levels understand the values of social media quicker, better or more accurate. If we don’t do it, your customers might become the teachers of modern successful customer engagement – but this might be painful for your companies brand. So maybe you and your company are in the same process of evaluating social media and advertising. Wanna share your knowledge with us…

Looking forward to it.

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1The internet industry is in a change period. Harvard Business editor Umair Haque paints a great picture on the effect this has for the media industry. He explains “The New (New) Mediaconomy” and talks about the old media industry generating soda while the new (new) economy users want distinctive wine. Excellent description!

If you think about a master plan for a social media strategy, you might take this framework by Tom Chapman to start your ideas. Or this one by Ross Dawson. Or you might just discover that social media is not advertising by Max Kallehoff

If your business is panning to get engaged in social networking, then take your time and listen to this 4-minutes-video by Kristy Horwitz. She provides some good value on how to use social networking for business…

Dean Donaldson: Future Trends in Digital Marketing

For some years now, we have an annual meet-and-greet trend show for digital marketing in Germany. Some years it was called OMD (Online Marketing Duesseldorf), and now we have the DMEXCO. And every year, I find somebody at the conference where I think, this person is the perfect presenter or speaker (and not just all talk).

This year I had the chance to listen to and to speak with Dean Donaldson, digital strategist at Eyeblaster. Just listen carefully about the future trends of digital marketing, and don’t tell me that this man doesn’t have the talent to get somebody engaged in a discussion (or a vision).

In his 5-minutes outlook he shares his thoughts about banners on a PC (“…this is so long gone…”), about mobile phone (“…that are no longer phones…”), about bill-boards (“… that are talking to you…”) and, and, and…

And he sees the moral challenges and privacy one of the hardest things to tackle for the future …and for the internet of things.

Interested to hear what you think about his view and his thoughts…

Will the RT become a "killer" for positive blog comments?

twitterview-2Sometimes it seems to be the right time to ask questions when some changes occur to your blogging activities. And I think now is the right time to ask the bloggosphere if they obey the following development as well.

When I started my Twitter account, I at first did not know what kind of an institution the retweets (RT) could become in the future. Now I know. It creates a lot of buzz around the topics you write, you think, and you say.

For me the RT is the word-of-mouth catalyst. It is the ‘click and send’ – meaning “Thumbs up”…

Nevertheless, it seems that some people take the advantage of the RT to the disadvantage of the blogger. People are simply retweeting posts they like instead of commenting on them. When they agree to most of what you are saying, posts are simply retweeted. If they disagree or want to add something to your statements, they are more likely to write a comment.

Positive comments have become rare these days. Social media guru Alex Schultze once commented a post on my blog with the following metaphor…

“Reading a good post but leave no comment is like leaving a good waiter with no tip!”

I agree with him 100%. But in times when Twitter is surfing on the hype wave, I am asking myself if the RT will become a killer for positive blog comments?! Comments is the topping on the cake and is the idea behind social media as it creates engagement, dialogue and feedback from the target group.

Curious to listen to your thoughts about this topic… Want to share them?

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1Is the iPhone a killer for mobile advertising?
A study by Chitika says: Yes, it is as iPhone users click the fewest mobile ads.

chitika-clickthrough-rate-by-os

Is the internet the future of radio? At least in the US it obviously is – according to a study by Knowledge Networks: 18% of the time US consumers use media—nearly 97 minutes a day—is spent listening to the radio.

Seen this BMW museum commercial in the cinemas yesterday, and I think this is funny, carrying the brands calim ‘fun’ to the consumer with THE minimalistic car of the century and creative from an emotional point of view.

News Update – Best of the Day

daily1When managers talk to executives about social media the main question is always: Will the executives see the value for relationship- and brand-building. A new whitepaper called “Social Media: Embracing the Opportunities, Averting the Risks” says: Yes, they do!
And if your executives still don’t know why they should implement social media guidelines, Brian Solis has some good arguments for you.

Case studies on employer branding and how to leverage it with social media is hard to find. Brett Minchington, Chairman/CEO of Employer Brand International (EBI), interviews Kerry Noone (Marketing Communications Manager, Sodexo) about how their social media strategy is building a stronger employer brand at Sodexo. Listen carefully…

Sometimes old TV spots turn out to the best…

PS: Find new books in my The Strategy Web bookstore. Just updated today…!

Holiday season: 'Out of the office' replies not trendy anymore?

the-beachIn our times of social networking, there is an experience that I make which is in some way amusing. In some way it is quite difficult to understand why people do what they do.

Fact is, people tell their contacts via social networks that they will be going on holidays… and don’t send as many ‘Out of the office’ replies in a reactive way as they used to do anymore. The proactive communication approach via social networks seems to be the future.

Years ago, especially in the holiday season, there was an increase in incoming mails with ‘Out of the office’ replies. No matter if you sent an email, or not. Those automated (response) mails did not surprise anyone anymore. We all got used ti it.

Today these automated mails seem to be decreasing, if not vanishing completely. And there is a reason for it: The digital business world is changing. Why is this happening? Social Networks have taken over the sovereignty of the ‘Out of the office’ reply. And the question that I raised some months ago, if business 3.0 will be nearly without emails, seems to show the first signs of ´modern impact.

twitter-holidays-2

If someone is on holiday, we get the notice via social networks… and we receive it already some days before people change their desk chair for a beach bar stool at the pool. People tell us in their status updates when and how long they will be going on holidays. And they do tell us at least some days in advance. If this is clever or not, I have not figured out yet.

The reason behind this preventive behavior seems to be quite obvious because it might also be unnecessary. No ‘Out of the office’ reply means ‘No automated mails’ for business partners, clients or people that did not really think of contacting me while I am sitting in the sand at some beach hundred miles away from work.

It is definitely a good service for a promising partnership. People can plan in advance if they need something from the contact that will be going on holidays.

twitter-holidays-1

Nevertheless, some business people -or shall I say social networker- should also think about the possible aftermath as the web is public, others might be listening carefully and messages might get into the wrong hands of burglars or thieves who can also plan in advance where and how to get rich the next day. Although status updates can only be seen by your clients, partners or friends, we all know that we don’t really know everyone in depth as we would love to.

As you see in the picture here, some people also wrote it on Twitter, and I don’t know if this is a safe way…

But letting your contacts know about your holidays via social networks is definitely a business trend and a service that is coming up.

Spot on!
Curious to see if you see this trend as well? How do handle this topic yourself? Do you use status update in order to tell your business partners or friends that you will be going on holidays?

Looking forward to your comments…

PS: Sometimes our German’s offline reputation scares me a bit…
twitter-holidays-3