Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Seth Godin: His Brand, In Public

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is on the tip of everyone’s tongue’s today (as he probably planned to be).  Not only did he launch the Brands in Public project yesterday evening but I was able to be in attendance (thanks HarperStudio!) today while he gave a talk to the Digital Publishing Group addressing critical issues in today’s publishing landscape.  Before getting into the re-cap about the event, a bit more about Brands in Public:

Squidoo has built several hundred pages, each one about a major brand. (Here are some examples). More are on the way. We’ll keep going until we have thousands of important brands, each on its own page (and we’ll happily add one for you if you like). Each page collects tweets, blog posts, news stories, images, videos and comments about a brand. All of these feeds are algorithmic… the good and the bad show up, all collated and easy to find.

Of course, these comments and conversations are already going on, all over the web. What we’ve done is bring them together in one place. And then we’ve made it easy for the brand to chime in.

That last sentence is probably most important.  For this ease-of-use, Seth wants $400/month for a brand to use this page as a portal to interact with consumers on the web.  Is this the right thing to do?  Is it worth it?  Where is the value for consumers and the brand?  There has been significant debate surrounding this move and even Seth himself says “BIP” probably shouldn’t be the 1st option:

If you have the tools and wherewithal to build a page like this on your own site, you should consider that. The challenge is getting it done, regardless of where the page lives.

A big post from Jason Falls today debates this even further.  He wonders if BIPs are holding brands hostage:

At first glance, you just think, “So what? The brands can just participate in the conversations on the various social networks and they Brands in Public spider will pick up those conversations as well. Hopefully, Brands in Public isn’t doing anything shady by parsing out the brand participation and that theory will hold true. However, think for a moment of the power, reach and influence Godin has. If his idea takes hold (it probably will because on the surface it’s a good one) and he markets it the way he’s capable of, Brands in Public could be come THE place to go see the “unfiltered” conversation about brands everywhere.

If that scenario plays out, then the $400 or more fee Godin’s company plans to charge is, in a way, blackmail.

It’ll be important to watch how this develops over the coming weeks and months.  There is no denying that time time is now to engage with consumers, directly, online but is this the best way to do it?  How many “walls” should be between you and your audience?  Seth talked a lot about platforms and tribes in today’s #digpub event and a lot of what one sees in this BIP execution also was discussed today in regards to the publishing industry.

During today’s talk, Seth made strong analogies between the necessary innovation that must and is happening in the music industry to what has to happen in the publishing industry in 2009 (arguably, it should’ve started 10 years ago).

  • Thinking less about the physical product.  Actual books as “dead trees” shouldn’t be the focus but more books should be the vehicle of great ideas which people will forever be attracted to.
  • Applicable to marketing in all industries, he then ran though some solid strategy points -
    • Permission marketing – it’s about developing relationships, creating value and making marking (with permission) a two-way street
    • Scarcity – simply, if you have something of overwhelming value and cap access – it usually becomes more sought after
    • Selection related to risk – as a publisher, you want to be in a position to be finding writers for your readers instead of the other way around
    • Finally, it’s all about attention – if the tools and content you’re producing are creating overwhelming value for your audience, you’ll often hold their attention and, subsequently, their permission

Update:  Seth posted a change in direction for the Brands in Public project today.  In what I think is a smart move, if a brand wants to participate, it becomes opt-in and they must contact Squidoo directly.  All the pilot pages set-up for brands to adopt are now inactive.

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Is Hollywood Afraid of Twitter?

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

That’s the question being asked in this mornings Baltimore Sun, which looks at the ability for this real-time broadcasting tool to influence public perception of a film within minutes.  While WOM having a major impact on movie-going is nothing new, the emergence of Twitter- even more so than review sites like Rotten Tomatoes – makes it extremely easy and fast to share opinions with a wide audience.

art&copyWhile in some ways I understand the fear associated with this rapid-speed networking, of which Twitter is really only one one channel in many (we all saw how Bruno’s numbers dropped quickly after opening night).  I also think this presents a huge opportunity, especially for smaller movies with smaller marketing budgets.

This morning, I tweeted about the documentary, Art&Copy about the advertising industry, which I’m excited to see when it gets to NYC.  Looking just at Twitter, over 700 people have already linked to the film’s site, and there is a fairly steady stream of commentary coming in about the trailer.  We’ll have to wait and see how this affects sales.

If District 9 is any indicator, though.  This type of buzz can translate to real sales.  The movie has been one of the top trending topics on Twitter, with commentary being overwhelmingly positive.  And the sales numbers have been higher than expected.  Not to say at all that Twitter is the only factor here.  District 9 had a smart marketing campaign, and seems to actually be a good movie.  But it does look like this fast-tracked buzz is a major force that will continue to grow in importance for Hollywood.

An Ode to The Forgotten Forum

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Photo taken by Rekkid.

In a world where some marketers are bombarding consumers with blog posts, tweets and Facebook applications, its not surprising that some of the older discussion tools get left-behind for their newer, quicker counterparts. While this list could arguably include social bookmarking, wikis and podcasts, one medium stands alone as the most forgotten, the forum.

Forums are the Waffle House of the World Wide Web. When you are cruising the Information Superhighway or Interstate 85, you can find one in any site where a few people stop. Each one is going to have a wide range of people there, from the old-timers looking to get their latest fix of news to the average American family that’s just passing through or the group of people looking to cause a little controversy after the bar closes at 2AM. Plus its all being closely guarded by Flo (or Alice or whoever), who doesn’t mind you staying for that extra cup of coffee but you better be nice or don’t bother coming in at all.

So why are people coming to these quaint establishments and these Waffle Houses? It’s fairly simple, if you are looking for a strange meal in a new place you make sure to go to where you know the food. I don’t care what Waffle House you go into, most people know to stick to the breakfast and be wary of Bert’s Chili.

The same goes with any forum. Most people visit a forum because you trust that site and its readers. Its a safe place to ask any question and get a truthful response from a healthy mix of people (and a few who’ve just had one post too many.) In this space you don’t mind asking or answering the trusted threads, because you expect to hear good advice each time and you know when to avoid Bert’s Chili.

When was the last time you stopped into your local forum?

Next time, I’ll look at the best ways to use forums in your social media strategy. What are some of your favorite tactics?

Photo taken by Rekkid.

Introducing M.insight: The First Mobile App Designed for PR, Marketing and Advertising Pros

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

We’re really excited about launching the M.insight mobile app today, for the iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices.

Our colleagues often ask our recommendations on great blogs covering marketing communications and social media.  And quite honestly, with a bewildering number of blogs covering the space, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to decide which ones to read regularly to stay on top of news affecting our industry or clients.

Well, M.insight is designed help.  It’s a simple, free mobile app that aggregates content from a hand-picked group of highly respected blogs and news sites within the industry so you don’t have to dig through hundreds of blogs to get to articles that really matter to you.  And M.insight delivers this up-to-the-minute content right to your smartphone, so you can catch up on your reading whenever you have a few spare minutes.  You can add as many of your favorite feeds as you like, or delete feeds you don’t care about.  You can even monitor social media right from your smartphone.

Check out to learn more about the app and download it to your smartphone.

We really hope this app becomes a useful and time-saving tool for our colleagues and peers.  We’d love to hear what you think!  Let us know in the comments section.

M.insight Splash Page

M.insight Splash Page




















M.insight Categories

M.insight Categories

Insight of the Week: Social Networking vs Email

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Last week, Nielsen Online released an authoritative look at the state of affairs of digital communication in a number of important countries worldwide.  This report was picked up by many influential blogs such as Mashable and RotorBlog.  DialogueMedia also chimed in on Open the Dialogue to bring a more nuanced understanding of the issues involved.

The report’s findings include:

  • Social networking grew twice as fast as email.
  • Social networking has greater reach than email.
  • Total time spent on Facebook grew by 566% over the previous year versus only 18% for “all internet” and 63% for member communities.
  • Social media’s highest growth came from the over 35 years old demographics.

Differences Between Email And Social Networks

The report clearly shows that the tools that are available to us for communication are constantly changing.  Arnold Zafra speculated that social networks would replace email on a RotorBlogpost titled “Is the Death of Email Upon Us?” while DialogueMedia’s post titled “Do Social Networks and Email Serve the Same Purpose?” argues that email and social networks serve distinct purposes.  The crux of the argument is that when used correctly, emails offer confidentiality, familiarity and a sense of importance to the reader in relation to other forms of digital communication.  Social networks are more public and therefore more impersonal.  Emails messages have to meet the needs of both the sender and the recipient; otherwise if it is useless to the reader it falls under the category of “spam”.  In social networks, the writer’s needs are met all the time, with some readers needs being met while other reader’s information needs are not.

What does this mean for PR and Marketing?

The report and reactions are especially important for PR and marketers as a taste of things to come.  As more and more newspapers close their doors or go all-digital, and reporters rely more and more on social networking services such as Twitter for pitches and scoops, the growing importance of social media as a tool for communications cannot be over emphasized.  At the same time, email is not dead; it will continue to have relevance. Social networking is not going to replace email, but rather social networking is an important complement to email.   

As PR professionals, adapting to this new environment will be our most important challenge. We need to use email as a tool who are keenly interested in what you have to say and use social networking as a way to “strengthen loose ties.”   Connections are our business and  both tools are already neccesary assets that should not be overlooked.


Co-written by: Nazim Uddin and Alex Payne