Viral Message. When marketers hope we get it. Did you?

Here is a) a great message b) a video that has the potential to be viral and c) Is well done. .When you get to the end of the video, is it what you thought the message would be?

Addendum: Agencies are afraid of User Generated Content

A few days ago I wrote that the media was afraid of Web 2.0. I think what makes them more afraid, is the advent and wave of user generated content.  In an article specifically about this, titled Bud brings out the dude in consumers,  and written by Sean Egen,  Sean writes about how Anheuser-Busch decided to take things a step further by offering up its popular “Dude” campaign to the general public. And the results were impressive — even by Bud Light standards.

The offering took place in the form of a call for entries of consumer-generated “Dude” ads. Creators of the videos selected by Anheuser-Busch would be paid $5,000 each for their efforts. Along with the cash, they’d also get exposure in a highly visible online ad campaign. Bud Light would get fresh video content for a very reasonable price.effectiveone executive remarked at

“As for any concerns Bud Light may have had regarding the quality of consumer-generated content, those concerns were quickly overcome as submissions rolled in.

If you look at the current four Bud Light ‘Dude’ commercials that were produced by their agency, and compare them to our top 10 submitted versions, I think you’ll be remarkably surprised at how competitive ours are from a professionalism, acting, editing and sound point of view,” Perry said.

With what people are capable of putting together on little or no budgets anymore, the agencies should be quaking in their boots. Why? Dude…. Come on. Don’t you get it? Below is the Bud Lite Vid.

The Moonwalking Bear

This is courtesy of Dothetest

 Imagine…
A passer-by asks you for directions. As you talk to him, two workmen walk between you carrying a door. In a flash the passer-by switches places with one of the workmen, and you are left giving directions to a different person. Do you think you would notice?

Researchers at Harvard University played this trick on some unsuspecting people and over 50 per cent failed to spot the change.

This phenomenon is known as “change blindness” – only a tiny fraction of all the information going into your brain enters your consciousness. People often fail to see a change in their surroundings because their attention is elsewhere.

Even stranger, if you are concentrating on something, you can become blind to other events that you would normally notice. This “inattention blindness” is possibly the reason why motorists collide with cyclists.

Just as it is important for road users to keep an eye out for cyclists, cyclists must also take steps to ensure they are seen by motorists.

Customer Acquisition in Social Media Marketing

After reading this entry in Top Rank Blog about tips for marketing with social media, something crossed my mind. Though there were some great tips on things that people can do to use the power of social meda to bolster marketing, I was not seeing THE sure fire way. It was gray. I think it’s still gray, and I’ll tell you why.

Lets take for example Client A. Client A wants to use social media, has heard about social media or at least has heard about blogs for example, and wants to use it to drive traffic to his or her sites, increase sales and or use it for branding purposes. That seems to be a safe assumption for most companies.

Well those are all well and good, but first things first. Where does the client go? You have consultants running around out there claiming to know how to do it, but by the looks of the tips. I saw nothing that was a “business process”. I saw a here try this, or this works, or a you might want to try this or I have seen that…..Get the point? A client needs to know what are you going to do, how are you going to do it, how long is it going to take, and what will I get from your efforts, amongst other things.

The problem is, with social media, though you can measure traffic to a certain degree, the “process” or the initiation of a social media campaign is not an overnight phenomenon. there are some instances of it occurring from a viral marketing standpoint but It’s a process that needs to be cultivated. The issue that most clients have with this business model is that they don’t have time to nurture their presence in social networks. Their businesses require immmediate results and returns.

Businesses know this and need to know this: 1) Here is my customer I know what it takes to acquire this customer via this form of advertising, sales and marketing and channel. 2) Here is my customer, what is it going to cost me to acquire that customer through social media? And what are the steps that you are going to take and what are they going to cost me for you to achieve that? After you first explain to me what social media is…

After they ask you “Is it like Myspace”? 

If you the social media marketer come to me and say, “We’re going to create a Facebook group for you, A couple of blogs, maybe a bbs, a couple of microsites, and we’re also going to Twitter and use Stumbleupon as well as a handful of others.” I’m first going to say, “Huh?  and then “ok, what is that going to do”? And you’ll say, “We’re branding you, and we’re driving traffic to these sites and pages and they’re finding out more about you”!.  To which I will say, “Thats great, how many sales can I expect? What kind of conversion rates can I expect from social media???” At that point I better get a really good answer or another plan that perhaps uses a widget or two that is placed in strategic social media sites that can drive traffic and convert sales.

 That’s the real question, or rather one of the many questions. Here they are and you might want to use them as you are approached by social media marketers or companies who will claim to know what they are doing.

  • What is your social media plan?
  • Do I need sales, leads or traffic
  • What types of social media do you plan to use and why those? and why not these?
  • What will be the upfront costs? What ongoing costs can I expect?
  • What will be the costs of customer acquisition? A cost per acquisition model certainly applies here!
  • How long will it take to roll this plan out
  • What kinds of deliverables can I expect and when
  • What is your track record
  • Have you ever worked with this type of product or my type of company before?
  • How successful have you been
  • What will it take to manage it on my own
  • Lets focus on some deliverables
  • Lets set some benchmarks with incentives
  • What is your plan to integrate this social media plan with our other marketing plans
  • What if you fail
  • What guarantees do I have
  • References

The key here is alot of agencies are starting to add social media as it’s own division within their companies. Though there are very few companies and agencies who have done it right over a sustained period of time, because of the “new-ness” of it all. It’s up to you to figure out who can deliver what, and in what time frame. The last thing you need is for someone or some company to experiment with your brand as they muddle their way through figuring out just what works and what doesn’t work with social media marketing.

Lastly what companies and businesses and people need to realize is that social media marketing is a moving target. It’s changing and morphing into something different every day. The reason is, marketers are figuring out new and unique ways to leverage the media to the advantage of the client. Some are proven, some are loopholes, some are brainstorms and some are just plain strokes of genius. Though you still need a concrete strategy as you go forward. It doesn’t hurt to have someone who is willing to take a chance or try something different on your behalf. Keep that in mind as you work your way down the bulleted list. The first of many steps will be finding someone who knows social media marketing and actually has a business model wrapped around social media marketing. As it is a moving target, I’m sure that there are some differring opinons on this. What do you think?

7 Social Media/Tech Trends to look for in 2008

By now I’m sure everyone is accutely aware of the social networking/media phenomenon that has transformed everyone’s  old school web experience into a transparent user generated virtual world. Look for that to evolve even more in the coming months and year(s) The more that social media works its way into the fabric of our everyday lives, look for more far reaching and useful applications that hopefully have more significant value and meaning then posting pics of the drunkfest you went to over the weekend

 So having said that, the first term to wrap your arms around in the new year is:

User Generated Content– Look for this to be dumbed down(see simplified) even more, to the extent that eventually everyone will have a web bio/resume/personal page devoted to who they are, what they are about, and all the gritty little details of their life. Almost like a web based  drivers license. Our lives will be even more transparent than they already are, thanks to the tools that social networks will be providing.

Quest for Cool-The demographic of 12-24 year olds will push itself into more social relevence than it has at any other time in the history of pop culture. Because of the ease in which content can be pushed out to the masses, this demo, which otherwise would normally go through these years unnoticed, now can grab the status, the fame, recognition, and justification for social relevence that now accompany social networks. The quest for Me branding has never been more prevalent.

Individualistic Saturation– One of the offshoots of this “20 megs of stardom” instead of 15 minutes of fame, will be that we as a digital society will grow weary of tired content, quickly. In other words, as quickly as someone can rocket to digital stardom, they can, equally as fast, fall back to earth and fade into “Bolivian”-to quote Mike Tyson. This can be attributed to our homgenization of all things related to media. We need our content quick and to the point; and the minute we think it’s bogging us down, has grown tiresome, or has ceased to be entertaining, we are off to find the next great big thing.–>See William Hung.

The Age of Reinvention and Redefinition-With so many ways in which one can create alt-personas, we will hurdle faster towards an age in which there is the digital persona, the off-line persona and the “real-you”. What social media has done has given us a completely new set of “friends” that one can hang with and thus, this is the pack that people will be running with when they are online. Because of the intense focus of all things media driven, this will lead to people who will extend and break the boundaries and barriers of social acceptance. This will ultimately cause us as a society to redefine the terms,”social acceptance, social values, social morals,  and social ettiquite.

The EIAV Phenomenon– The Everyone is a Videographer phenomenon has changed the landscape of acceptable video content. What used to be taboo now has it’s own portal. What used to be objectionable is now made into a low budget high grossing movie released on 120 screens nationwide.  Everyone is capable of filming anything and uploading it to social sites worldwide in a matter of minutes. This cottage industry will continue to boom as it is  now easier for someone to film something and upload it versus writing about it. This has also led to the drive for fame through one doing something so mundane as filming oneself doing absolutely nothing.

MOSO- Mobile Social-Look for the boom of social networks tied to mobile networks. As it has slowly started to happen, watch for the big players to  rapidly start to crank out  more user friendly interfaces and applications on mobile devices that will  converge with high speed networks, resulting in keeping social media freaks engaged with their social networks at all times. An advertisers dream, this will further solidify the mobile device as the most important devleopment since..well the internet!

Search Explodes– As Google continues to swallow up all aspects of what drives the user expereince online, look for search to become more integrated into how one conducts or initiates any type of online endeavor. What has happened and will continue to happen is that the re-emergance of the portal will become relevant again.  As we get closer to the launch of the “G-phone”, be prepared for a massive push towards a mobile-social-search environment that will redefine portability and world wide exposure to all things global.

I said 7 but one more merits mentioning:

S-Commerce– As social networks continue to expand and grow at exponential rates, look for their to be more creative ways for users and advertisers to push products that are niche like in their importance and acceptance to the users. I have written about this before, so for reference, look to Lemonade.com

There is certainly more to discuss in the coming months but, for now  lets work off of these 7 and see what else is under the hood. Is there a glaring omission here? Please feel free to contribute your thoughts. Certainly, we should not igonore how we as a digital culture need to address the oil shortage, creating a more eco-friendly environment, homelessness, world hunger, genocide, corrupt politicians and Britney Spears, but for now we will continue to focus on the biggest sea change in the online world since the advent of… well the internet.

Google Mobile- The Android Demo

I’m back on the mobile kick as of late and thought everyone would like to see this video demo, for those who have not seen it. It is very very cool. Watch out iphone is all I can say! The maps feature is extraordinary.


S-Commerce, where the E meets the social network.

A funny thing is happening to all of those builders of cool social networks. It’s the same thing that happened in the pre-dot com bust days. After their cool sites were built and they were all sittin’ around drinkin’ a microbrew, they all got the “South Park” look in their eyes and in unison said, “How do we make money”?

Again, in unison they said 2 things. “Well first we’ll make money off of advertisers and then, when we get so much traffic we can barely function, someone will buy us’.  I got news for you, a 1000 visitors a day, let alone a week, ain’t gonna gitter done.

So lets flash back to the South Park image again as they all look around after seeing that their traffic aint hittin the millions. “Now what”?

Well here’s an idea. Since consumer visits to social sites are growing at an exponential rate,  and since they’re becoming more comfortable with the model and more comfortable with the tools, controls and widgets of these sites, wouldn’t it make sense as a marketer to take advantage of this niche community? The answer is yes. But what about the owner/operator of the site what do they do?

So’s here how it goes down. Lets say I have this  social network for the lovers of all things llama. Why can’t I blend the transactional and social aspects of this group  by involving consumers in promoting and selling their offerings as they pertain to…”All things Llama”?

As these social sites become more and more “social”, and people find themselves spending more time on these sites, they become impervious to traditional media; That media being Tv, Radio, Newspapers and magazines. And what happens is that now all of a sudden your social network of peers and “friends” can now influence a buying decision. Because you trust them and they, you. Statistics show people join a social networking site to receive four benefits, 1) to meet people (78%); 2) to find entertainment (47%); 3) to learn something new (38%); and  4) influence others (23%) I tend to disagree with the 4th, but that just maybe a residual effect of a marketers desire to influence the social perception of their product.

Whats interesting to note though is that members of social networks have a higher disposable income than the general population – 20% more – and spend more of it online. So if they do and going back to our llama group analogy, we now present Joe, who is selling the most healthy llama snack ever made.  You trust him because Joe is a llama lover like you. Wouldn’t you buy your llama snacks from Joe? Of course you would!

You now have seen the benefit of selling to your peeps. S-Commerce.

But the question will  and does arise, how does a marketer get to Joe? How is Joe influenced to buy the best llama snacks?  For starters maybe Joe went to a branded micro-site devoted to llamas and their snacks, saw that they were offereing a free trial, and jumps on it. Or maybe Joe read a review online somewhere about the latest in llama feed and someone mentioned Killer llama Snacks. Joe could have been in a llama forum where he saw a skyscraper? Perhaps he could have been on a competeing site and saw an add for the latest llama snack? See how many ways you can get to him?

Of course Joe might be a heavy blog reader and reads a couple of killer llama blogs everyday where he reads some posts by the author or readers about an amazing new llama snack. Better yet, Joe loves Youtube, so combining his love for llamas and video, Joe does a search and finds a cool 30 second spot on the llamas at the san diego zoo that are big and strong thanks to the killer llama snack.

So by combining all elements of branding, and marketing, and advertising along with the power of a social network. And the trust that only a niche group could have for someone within the group, S-Commerce can thrive. The best part about it is that if your product makes it into the group. No selling is required.

Furthermore, you’re probabally asking, how does the owner/operator make money? Well since he owns the niche site, wouldn’t it behoove the maker of the killer llama snack to come to the owners and see if they can cut some type of marketing deal to push their product? You betcha. So now the only advertisers on the social site are relavant to the niche aspect of the site. Everyone wins…

Lastly, taking this to the next level then would be a company like lemonade.com Where they literally provide you with the stand and all you have to do is supply the products. Just make sure they(the products) are relevant to your group and you are good to go! It would also help if you were actually part of the group. Trying to win over the group as a  passing member of this group is a hard sell and could result in an instant loss of street cred. So tread lightly, stay long, grow some roots and sell some product. Can you name another seamless example of e-commerce in play in a social networking setting?