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Archive for September, 2011

Moving without the ball: On Basketball and Digital Marketing

In the game of basketball there’s something that really can separate the good players from the average players. A lot of  players do not do it and yet they would be better served and more successful if they did do it. It’s fundamental to the game and yet a lot of coaches do not coach it or preach it. I’m not going to tell you what it is yet.

In digital marketing, social media marketing and any type of integrated marketing communications plan, we can create a strategy, design the tactics to use for that strategy and then we can implement. Then we wait. We measure. We tweak and we rework, redesign and we retrench if necessary. But if instead of waiting for things to happen. What if we made things happen? What if we created opportunities for ourselves?

Remember the movie Field of Dreams and the famous line, “If you build it, they will come”? In marketing, especially in the web world, there’s a sense that all we have to do is create a website, add that transactional back-end, create a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and a blog site-and they will come. When what is really necessary is a lot of OFF page SEO work, a lot of content creation, content curation, and content consumption and commenting. You have to be proactive in this new digital paradigm. You can’t wait for it to happen or you’re done.

Back to the hoops analogy

In basketball, the more you stand around and watch, the less you are part of the action and the game. If you expect to get the ball passed to you on the wing just because you happen to be standing there, well it’s not going to happen. The defender is not fooled and you’re less of a threat because he doesn’t have to worry about you, he can see you. He can literally defend the basket and you at the same time because you’re not doing anything.

If you move without the ball, then you create more opportunities for you to get the ball, to score and to win. If no one moves-you don’t win. Simple as that. In digital, if you want to just build stuff and wait for people to find you-you won’t win. Simple as that.

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Southwest Airlines: When Offline Meets Online

There was a time when Southwest Airlines were the darlings of social media. The numbers and the feel good stories were numerous and plentiful. However, Southwest Airlines notwithstanding,  employees far and wide, seemed  to have never received the memo about the impact of social and digital within the organization. Alas, some never seem to or ever will get that memo. The memo is simple. In this new digital age, everyone is always under a microscope, a microphone, and a magnifying glass. Southwest seems to be the poster child for this transgression.

When social becomes the conduit for airline passengers who feel they have been wronged, social media becomes the vessel to take that message to the masses.  It’s funny and somewhat ironic, but if it were not for social media, the perception of Southwest Airlines as the gold standard for airline travel would probably be pretty intact.

3 recent cases come to mind.

1) Kevin Smith, writer/director, get’s thrown off a Southwest flight for being too fat. He immediately starts tweeting about it and the issue goes from smoldering to flammable to toxic and media outlets immediately pick up on it. The airlines tries to make it right and apologizes.

2) Billie Joe Armstrong, singer from Green Day, gets kicked off of a Southwest flight for baggy pants and tweets about it. The media pick up on it and the issue goes from bad to worse and then the airlines apologizes.

3) Leisha Hailey actress, gets kicked off a Southwest flight for kissing her companion and she tweets about it. The media picks up on it, the issue goes viral, and the airlines apologizes.

What are the lessons?

1. You may be the gold standard of social media engagement but that doesn’t mean you can escape criticism.

2. Every employee needs to understand the implications of a customer situation spiraling out of control when that customer uses social media to feed the flames.

2.(a) Every employee needs to understand that every customer is now capable of voicing their displeasure and their bad experiences online. Even if it was a misunderstanding. Thus the ramification of every action needs to be measured.

3. Corporate social media policies need to include triage components for customer situations that go awry. $100 gift vouchers might not cut it.

4. Sometimes the resolution will not be pretty no matter what you do and sometimes the positive resolution never gets told via social.

5. We need to learn from previous situations where customers have taken to using social media to voice their displeasure.

6. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing. Offline and online need to coexist harmoniously.

At some point, screwing up and then apologizing for it, can get old. We know about the experiences of stars who tweeted their displeasure, but are there more that we don’t know about? Should Southwest be the fashion police? Should they be the judge of what is considered obese? Should they be imparting their morals on their passengers?

Who is right? Who has the power?  Those that have access to social networks versus those that can’t defend themselves?

The Random on Social Media, Music, Sports, Books and Movies

Sometimes I just don’t have the oomph to put a complete holistic 400-600 word thought/tome together, so  instead these are things on my mind from last week.

I keep repeating the following quote and can’t help but think this is incredibly accurate. “We don’t have a shortage of data we have a shortage of insight”,  from Monika Wilczak

I’m bummed about R.E.M breaking up, but to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I got excited about a new release from them.

Is there a second act to social media? If so what does it consist of? Less desktop and more mobile if you really want to know.

Rather then waste a complete Sunday watching football, it’s more fun to come home at the end of the day and watch the highlites. Though repeatedly checking my mobile device for fantasy football updates throughout the day doesn’t hurt either, right?. Who would have thunk it? The Bills and the Lions?

I’m excited to have Lauren Vargas hosting this week’s 129th edition of our weekly #socialmedia tweetchat. Mark it down, every Tuesday at 12 noon est. 1 hour.

Kat French, who has one of the coolest names, is helping us put our 120 plus socialmedia tweetchats into a book-I know… Not another social media book. Can you feel it? I know I can.

A woman told me I looked like Brad Pitt over the weekend-she was very old. I do want to see Moneyball though.

I just watched an analysis about the HP CEO ouster and read that they have had 7 CEO’s since 1999… That’s 7 in 12 years.

Best shoes for running? Asics hands down. and in a pinch, I love Power Bar Energy Gels for the boost before and during a workout, or even during work!

While traveling/flying, I’ve been reading 2 books simultaneously one is called Bounce by Matthew Syed which talks about how prodigies are not born, they are made, from hard work. The other is about ESPN-Those Guys Have All the Fun, a good read but loooong.

I was in DC this past week, I went to Matchbox for lunch and ate some sliders and oh by the way they were awesome, and then I drove around the corner on 7th and stopped at Red Velvet Cupcakery and picked up a dozen cupcakes and flew home. Only 3 tipped over. You can’t go wrong with their signature red velvet cupcake.

How come companies are undeterred by the fact that the average CTR (clickthrough ratio) for web based banner ads is nowadays around 0.2% and yet continue to pump millions into it? I think we all need to look closer at Mobile instead.

I was at Whole Foods over the weekend and decided to ask the wine dude, if he could suggest a wine under 20 bucks that was smooth and tasty. Ironically,  he says try the Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet… It was good,(see no headache) and it cost 11 bucks.

Last 2 thoughts. 1) As social media has evolved over the last 5 years, do you think it has been set up in a way that it uses others so as to enable others or ourselves for that matter or… Has it been created to help others? Who’s benefiting more? The have’s or the have not’s? 2) Should Google or it’s competitors pay us to use their search engines? i.e Loyalty rewards?

Have a great week everyone.

Blog posts about social media

A tongue in cheek observation of the social media blogosphere. I’m sure I could add a few more slices, what would you add?

Information versus Opinion and Search versus Social

Information versus opinion. Whats the difference? Is there one? What matters to you when you are on the verge of buying something? What is your go to process for vetting a new product, service, or company? Does the process change depending on the type of purchase?  So here’s the scenario, I want to buy a new big screen TV. So I do research. My research consists of what?

A) Typing in “big screen TV’s in Google

B) Typing in a specific brand into Google

C) Going into a social network and letting 500 of my most intimate friends know that I’m thinking of buying a TV

D) Going to Yelp

E) Going to Google and typing in “product review sites” into the search box because Yelp didn’t work.

F) Going into a forum and looking up the product name to see what others have to say

G) Asking my neighbor, my co-worker, my college roommate, or the father of my son’s best friend.

H) All of the above

Some of you probably would do all of the above. I see a problem with every single option above with the exception of option G. Here’s why.

Option A)  is probably the most confusing. Why? Simply because a lot of consumers do not know what types of web results they are looking at. They don’t understand what can be bought, i.e. PPC versus a gamed organic result. Either way, the consumer may be in for a lot of hard work trying to find some information-thus this may be a case where they decide to forgo doing research and just go straight to Best Buy and get the deal.

B) Typing in a brand name lends itself to resellers bombarding you with “their” deal. At the least, when has doing research on a brand lent itself to a highly ranked result of a brand reporting that it’s product sucks? Not going to happen? So the results will always positively skew in their favor.

Option C)  has some potential just because more and more consumers are turning to social media for help with purchase decisions. According to Cone Inc.’s recent research,  consumers are seeking out product information and reviews; they’re interested in both the good and the bad since 80 percent of respondents look at negative comments and 87 percent of respondents look at positive comments with the biggest growth area for purchasing decision information being blogs. The only problem? Blogs can be gamed.

D) Let’s say I never went to Yelp before, my first thought is “Oh cool, this is handy”. Next thing I know, its been 2 hours and I have not been doing any research and I realize that Yelp is not the site for product research.

E) My first thought is, do I really want to go down this path?

F) This one has potential, provided the forum that I use has people in it that are genuine and are not cloaking themselves as regular people, but really are trying to promote their product. Don’t think that happens? Think again.

Option G) Probably my best bet, at least I get a real answer. Funny thing is, it’s not a web based derived result and decision, though the process of purchase may actually happen through the web. But then when I know what I want, finding it at the best price, is completely different than deciding what’s is the best performing brand . See the challenge foe the brand?

Look at how brands  have to compete and win against you, your friends and relatives, against gamed search, gamed social and everything else, in just trying to get a message out that says, “Hey our product is good trust us”-

Even better, the company that says “Hey our product is good, but don’t just trust us, trust the people thst bought from us-That’s the gold! But the larger question is how can a brand simplify the process of aligning it’s existing customers with potential new customers while still trying to maintain some type of objectivity thats not clouded by reward systems and incentives? Tough to do isn’t it? Are we now on the precipice of the Infopinion?

Brand Quote of the Day

“Our food was already good,” said Denny Lynch, a Wendy’s spokesman. “We wanted it to be better. Isn’t that what long-term brands do? They reinvent themselves.”

Is that what long term brands do? or should do?

I’m Worried About Google Plus

It’s no secret to most of us in the digital world that Google’s track record in trying to roll out socially infused applications is not good. I can’t even remember the last time I checked in at Google Buzz. I’m starting to think that maybe Google Plus might fall into that category as well. Here’s why. Since it came out, I haven’t had time to use it. I see that I keep getting notifications of people who keep adding me but I really haven’t had nor have I really taken the time to organize it. And maybe that’s the problem. I need to organize it. I know, Twitter and Facebook allow you to do it to a certain degree, and I have organized them, so what gives?

Maybe this town ain’t big enough for another social network?

I can definitely verify that interest for me in Google+ is waning, but maybe there is a deeper issue here.  What am I supposed to do with this other network if the same people I follow and communicate with on Facebook and Twitter appear on Google Plus? I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Facebook and Twitter are broken so therefore, what is the compelling offer for me? What is it for others? What about hardcore Facebook users? The attraction could be Facebook fatigue or a cleaner UI, but beyond that, is the grass really that greener?

Maybe I’ll start using it, but for what? To push out more content? To consume it? To organize it? I already do that elsewhere. I need a really good reason beyond aggregating the things I already do on or with Google to use Google Plus. Maybe I don’t know what I can do, if that’s the case, then share with me what you know or do with Google + that might give it an advantage.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this…Can I?


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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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