Britney Spears’ new compelling song titles

Taking branding to the next level and the fact that her name was searched on a cumulative 14 million times last month. Britney has released her new album art. A quick note. a) albums don’t exist anymore and b) CD jewel case art is almost non-existent as well. So having said that, we can always steer towards a crotch shot if need be. So without further ado, here are the titles of her new songs. Beware the spelling and the emotional depth  of these tracks amazing. In parentheses are the authors comments.

1. Gimme More (Of what? )

2. Piece of Me ( which part, we’ve seen most of it already)

3. Radar ( Something she could use for her camera friendly friends)

4. Break The Ice ( Something needed when she sees her kids)

5. Heaven On Earth ( The current state of her affairs?)

6. Get Naked (Enough already)

7. Freakshow ( Any time she leaves the house)

8. Toy Soldier ( Her perception of the war)

9. Hot As Ice (Seemed like a good idea for a song title)

10.Ooh Ooh Baby ( Seemed like a really cool title for a song, dontcha think?)

11.Perfect Lover (KFed?)

12. Why Should I Be Sad (Let us count the ways)

Facebook is white hot!

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook has a valuation of $15 billion. That’s fifteen billllion dollars, I’m quoting Doctor Evil there.  Why is it valued so high? Every day Facebook adds another 100,000 users. It has 35 million active users and underneath that it has over 6 million active user groups.

According to the WSJ, Facebook is going to make close to $30 million this year. More incredibly Facebook costs nothing to use. So this begs the question, how is it going to make 30 mill and why is it valued so high? The answers are traffic, data, and advertising. Similar to what Google has done with AdWords, Facebook has the built in luxury of 35 million users with deep data points to pitch. The  other reason why the valuation is so high is that what makes Facebook so attractive is that the data is essentially user data.

Google Adwords relies on keyword contextual data but Facebook can get down and dirty. If it wants to go after sophomore high school students in Trenton, New Jersey, it can. Or lets say, college graduates from UCLA from 2004,  that hail from Long Beach, it can do that too. It has the ability right now to target by age, gender and location. Eventually it will be able to automatically target  its users based on the personal information that users have supplied.

What we don’t know is what the finished product of Facebook will eventually be. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that it could be 30 years before we finally see what the last iteration of Facebook could be, and that it could be very different from what it is now. It’s amazing that when he started Facebook, he was 19. His initial intent was to create a site that showed you who was in certain classes at Harvard, so that you could make a more than educated decision of what classes you wanted to take and with whom. Amazing how something that started out as a mere tool or app for a college campus has turned into a social networking phenomenon. It reminds me of Napster.

I’m sure what a lot of people are thinking, or rather a lot of marketing people are thinking, is how they can get in the slipstream of Facebook. What this means is, how can a marketer create a business that is a direct result of the creation of Facebook? Google has spawned the creation of 1000’s of companies that are around because of Google. I’m sure we can expect the same thing with Facebook.

What do you think will happen with Facebook? Are you a part of Facebook? Do you use it regularly? What will the landscape of social networks look like in 2 years?

Mobile Marketing won’t work until…

I just took part in a poll on LinkedIn in which we were all asked how often we used our mobile device as a browser. The answers were generally that the screen was too small, the load was too slow, and it was entirely too difficult.  Now a portion of the respondents did say that using the Safari browser on their iphones did make it easier, but that was on the iphone only. Which leaves the other 95% of mobile users out in the cold.

Which leads us to all of the wireless carriers right now who are touting their phones access to the web as being so easy to use and how fun it is to connect to get the latest scores, the latest news etc etc.  The problem is website capability suited to mobile devices, Wifi speed compatible to mobile devices and mobile devices compatible to the web in regards to connection speed.

If we look at what has happened within the last 2 years we can see that we are moving there quickly. But right now, the general consensus is that most people do not surf the web using their mobile device simply because the expereince is a pain in the ass.

Let’s also not forget the hidden charge that most wireless carriers tack on above and beyond what you are charged to use your phone as…. a phone.

Here is a typical but more technical explanation of why most people do not use their phones as browsers:

iPhone browser is good, but still needs work. I do use it quite a bit, but it can sometimes be frustrating because its easy to miss links (maybe my phone has an offset issue?) and some sites just put too many images up. EDGE is definitely too slow to be useful for browsing so a wireless connection is a must. And Safari’s support of Javascript seems to be limited so some AJAX type sites don’t work well. The embedded applications like weather, stock-quotes and google maps work great.”

What I like though, is this comment from Greg Harris, CEO of Mobile Visions:

I am not a typical mobile user since I am in the mobile industry, so I will comment on when I use it as a consumer.On my iPhone, I use the browser 90% of the time that I use the actual phone. It has changed mobile web browsing completely, and will produce a major shift in how we view the mobile web going forward. They have set a new standard for manufacturers. I mostly use our iPhone RSS reader to catch up on my blogs and news.

I do not use the phone, the email & sms suck, and I rarely use the iPod.

A better indication would be my Blackberry. While still mostly a phone, and email device, I use the browser about 20% of the time I am using it. Many people don’t use the browsers because they do not know of useful, fast loading mobile web sites that they can access. (We’re working on that.)

There is no question that mobile web browsing is moving beyond the “emergency” stage. Admobs is serving billions of ad impressions. Social networks are appearing every day, and useful mobile web applications are being developed. 

As the bandwidth and handset capabilities improve, and the quality and availability of the content grows, there will continue to be a major shift.

So we know where it’s heading we just need the carriers and the sales people and the marketers to be straight up with the consumers and let them know that yes you can surf the web but it’s not going to be the same as on your pc. And that flip phone we just sold you for free, won’t work nearly as well as this $500 Treo or Blackberry. Even then, We are also going to charge you an additional fee to surf the web and not all of your favorite web sites will be available on your 2×2 or 3×3 screen as well. It might also take some time to load so be patient. 

Do you think the message is mixed to consumers? Are mobile devices primed for public use of the internet or are we still in the infant stages? Is it fair to tell consumers that they can surf the web to their hearts content, when it really might not be the case? Is it fair to charge for a service that really does not work well on the majority of phones? How should social networks be used on a mobile device?

Alot of questions, but the reality is we are going there whether we like it or not. The laptop will be transformed shortly to the kneetop. And the cellphone will be a complete extension of who and what we are, it will be our connection to everything that we know.

Is it possible to One-Up Google?

If so, who is willing to do it? Will they try to do it within Googles search space, or one of their lesser active business units? How much stock do you put into apps created by Google that have zero to do with search? Does Orkut have a chance? 

What do you think Google should be doing right now? If you were them, who would you be worried about? Should Google be doing something philanthropic with all that cash? Come on people, I know you have an opinion about Google!

Social Networks continue to evolve with myfamily.com

 If you’re thinking of creating your own social network, you better hurry. Myfamily.com,  today announced a new release of myfamily.com 2.0 beta available at http://www.myfamily.com. The new release lets families connect online to share news, recipes, family history, photos and video in a safe, private and media-rich environment. Myfamily.com 2.0 beta offers several new features and services, including the ability to leave voice messages directly on the site or narrate photo slideshows using a phone.

   

Since its launch in 1998, myfamily.com has enjoyed a subscriberbase of nearly two million members. Originally a free service, myfamily.com moved to a subscription-only service in 2001, and now with the new 2.0 beta is introducing a free option once again.    Families are using myfamily.com to build private spaces where invited members and guests can participate in sharing photos, news, videos, slideshows, recipes, files, family-trees and events. Many are also creating sites reflecting the social groups their family interacts with, including sports teams, schools, hobbies, or other groups. The new 2.0 site is currently available at http://www.myfamily.com andis in open beta for anyone to try out. One feature called‘SnapGenie’ allows members to select and sort photos into a slideshow andthen add voice narration by calling a toll-free number and clicking throughthe photos on their computer screen. These multimedia stories are viewable by family members on the site and can also be shared via email invitation to others, or embedded in web pages or on a blog.    For times when you want to contact the family and just can’t get to acomputer, the new myfamily.com site provides a phone number and PIN that you can call from anywhere to leave an instant voice message on your site.    Any member of a myfamily.com 2.0 site can create additional password protected sites and invite the people they want to share in the new experience. So you can have a ‘cousins-only’ site, or a ‘Family ReunionPlanning’ site, or a ‘Mrs. Johnson’s 5th Grade Class’ site to communicate,share photos, art, and upcoming events with other families at your child’sschool. Individuals can be a part of as many family or group sites as theywant and easily switch between them. Myfamily.com 2.0 can also deliver reminders to your extended family forall the important events in life including birthdays, anniversaries,reunions, or other special events. And, if you need a unique gift forsomeone, the integrated shopping features let you order prints, t-shirts,mugs and other photo creations using the photos shared on the site. Myfamily.com 2.0 free sites will be supported by advertising andcommerce. Members who prefer an ad-free environment will be able topurchase a reasonably priced annual subscription, much like the originalservice. Details of the subscription service have not yet been announced. As myfamily.com transitions to the new 2.0 version, members of theoriginal 1.0 version will still be able to use their existing family sitesduring the beta period. Many of these loyal members are also contributingto the development of the beta site by participating in member surveys,advisory groups, and the 2.0 blog at http://blog.myfamily.com.     

The Convergence of Mobile Marketing

Lets face it, the cell phone is an extension of who you are. Back in the day, it used to be that your car was how we determined your social status. The bigger and flashier the car, the “more important” you seemed to be.  To that end, the bigger and badder your cell phone is, the bigger and badder you are, right? Wrong.

To the mobile marketer, all cell phones are created equal. The space that they are most interested in, is the 2×2 real estate above your key pad. More importantly is your demographic, not the type of phone you have, but where do you as a ptential customer reside.  Because, to the mobile marketer, your 2×2 real estate is the beach head to marketing nirvana. You and your phone, which are inseperable, are what they want.

eMarketer projects that the global budget devoted to mobile brand advertising will rise to $3.5 billion in 2011, up from $123 million in 2006.  Thats less than 4 years from now. Are you as a marketer prepared for this? As a consumer are you prepared for the onslaught of potential mobile marketing intrusions?

According to eMarketer’s forecast:

  • During the forecast period, mobile direct marketing is projected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2006 to $16 billion.
  • In 2007, mobile brand marketing spend – $277 million – is expected to constitute just 10 percent of total mobile ad spending, which is projected to reach nearly $2.8 billion.
  • By the end of the forecast period, mobile brand ad spend – nearly $3.6 billion – is expected to make up 22 percent of total mobile ad spend.
  • Total mobile ad spending is projected to grow from nearly $2.8 billion in 2007 to nearly $5.0 billion in 2008 (79 percent year-over-year [YOY] growth) and $7.5 billion in 2009 (51 percent YOY growth).

Factors driving the growth:

  1. Mobile text messaging has become more or less a mass-market service worldwide
  2. Mobile music is climbing the rungs of the mass-market ladder
  3. There are mobile-centric tribes of users in both advanced and developing economies, where the mobile screen is the first place where marketers can reach them, according to eMarketer.

But mobile marketing campaigns need to be relevant and hiccup-free so that they don’t turn off consumers sensitive to ad exposure, Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a Maritz Research survey of Gen Y consumers said they were unlikely or definitely unlikely to subscribe to text retail offers sent to their handsets. Moreover, a full 84 percent of mobile users in an Ingenio survey conducted by Harris Interactive said text messages sent by companies would be unacceptable:

So that means, that although the numbers are certainly going to spike and escalate over the next 4 years, marketers are still unsure as to what means will work in marketing to people via their mobile device. The technology is virtually in place, but users need to trust the ad and marketer. They need to trust the brand.

To that end, there is potential in the industry, provided marketers don’t drive the consumer away before they have even begun. What do you think should happen? What do you think might happen? How can marketers utilize social networks to better achieve their mobile marketing goals?

The 10 things I thought when I dropped my Treo.

I dropped my Treo the other day, cracked the screen, and someone called me immediately after.  I couldn’t hear them or see who the caller was.  At that moment a couple of things flashed through my mind:

1. Oh Shit. I’m screwed. I’m totally screwed.

2. Sweet I get to get a new phone, what should I get? The iphone is cool.

3. What if I lose all of my contacts? I’m screwed some more.

4. I really don’t feel like forking over 3 hunge even if they give me a $200 rebate, it’s all bullshit anyway.

5. What If I get the call and I can’t talk???  That’s so professional. Hello? Hello? I said hello!

6. Maybe if I just take the battery out and blow on it, It’ll be cool.

7.  If they can’t fix it, I’ll just get a free flip phone. I’ll simplify my life.

8.  What do I really need in a phone anyways, I just need to talk right?  Besides, email and web access are so overrated.

9. Blackberry’s are cool

10. I am so dreading going in the phone store. It’s like being in a freightcar of techno idiots.

Well, ultimately I did have to go in and the tech took my phone away.  I was hoping they would just give me a new one, no questions asked. He even said, “let me see if we have a replacement”. Nope, he comes back 10 minutes later and says, “Good news, our tech guy was able to fix it,  It’s not perfect but we saved you some money.”

I was pissed. I wanted a new phone. Even a new old one would have been cool, now I just have an old, new one.  It looks like it’s been gnawed on by my neighbors dog.  I admit, the emotions are raw. All of those thoughts and yet in the end, I’m still stuck with this cruddy piece o’ crap Treo.  I’m complaining because my Treo seems so “old and antiquated”. I loved it once, now it’s like a set of worn out tires. They work, but they look like hell.

What has all of that flashy marketing done to me?  What has marketing done to all of us? It’s a phone.  How do you feel or how would you feel should something happen to your phone?

The Most Frequent Searches On The Web

The world’s most frequent searchers for Web sites using the keyword “sex” on Google search engines, according to statistics provided by Google are Egypt, India and Turkey.  And you thought all the pervs were here? The term “Jihad”–Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan. That’s right people in those countries just “want” to learn what the word means. Nothing more…errr. right! Taking it to the next level are the party nations of Ireland, The US and The UK who all need information on the term”Hangover”.  I wonder if the term “remedy” was inadvertently omitted.

Worried about your sexual performance? People in Italy, The United Kingdom,  and Germany were the most prolific when it came to searching for the term “Viagra”. I’m not really sure why they just didn’t check their email.

And lastly, for those who of course don’t inhale, “Marijuana” was searched on the most in Canada, The United States,  and Australia.

7 great tips you need to know when marketing to Moms.

Did you know that there are more than 80 million mothers in the United States and 51 percent of all US Internet users are women? In addition, did you know that mothers of children under the age of 18 are “significantly more likely to go online than the rest of adult Americans?”  This, according to the Pew Internet Project.

The translation then is that ” Moms” will tend to disproportionately influence household purchase behavior. So how, as a marketer do you reach them?

1) They are savvy buyers/shoppers. More and More of them are using the internet to influence future and current buying decisions with the possible exception being electronics.

2) Working women ages of 24-54 — of whom the U.S. has some 55 million — have emerged as a potent force in the marketplace. If you’re product is not aimed at them, you are mssing the boat. These women are not only balancing work, but chances are, also a family.

3) Women  make more than 80% of the buying decisions in all homes. And women shop differently from the way men do: Females research more extensively and are less likely to be influenced by ads. Men buy, women shop. and Mom’s compare. They make buying “decisions”. Even in the online world, when selling a product,  it’s imperative that you have features and benefits as well as savings.

4) According to data compiled by AdAge, there are more than 30 million moms who read up to five blogs on a daily basis. Within these blogs can be the basis for buying decisions. More importantly, women talk, they are social, so if something is worthy in regards to a purchase, they will tell others. Viral marketing is an untapped resource in marketing to Moms.

5) The average household income of these moms is $70,000. They are computer savvy. They are educated.  If they cannot find their info through traditional search, they will find it in blogs, If not a blog, then chances are, a social network or a forum will provide the answers and or information they are seeking.

6) Early in 2006 a company called Lucid Marketing, which specializes in targeting moms, issued data that reflected just over 20 percent of stay-at-home moms and another 19 percent of moms who work part time visit “message boards” or “chat rooms” on a daily basis. A great place to market, but also an area where marketers need to be sensitive and not pushy sales peple.

7) Women’s decision-making authority has grown in part because more households are headed by women — 27% at last count, a fourfold increase since 1950-according to Businessweek. What does this mean? As online marketers, if you don’t realize that you need to segment your online marketing efforts into distinct niches, then you’ll be sure to see a reduction in overall conversion numbers.

So given the purchasing power of Women and or Moms. If you underestimate, ignore them,  and don’t bother to find out what they want. Then chances are they will ignore you and not bother to find out what you have to sell. It’s as simple as that.

What do you think women want online marketers to know about the way they buy and shop online? Do women use social networks for the purpose of making buying decisions?