I recently accepted an invitation to meet with the CMO of an Internet analytics firm for a demo of her company's flagship dashboard product. It was interesting, but the demo and presentation flow had flaws that overshadowed promising aspects of the product. I started providing feedback one minute into the presentation, including some unexpected and blunt criticism. I could tell it was perceived harshly.
There is a lot of talk these days about the challenges being faced by media companies with single revenue streams, like broadcast TV networks and local affiliates and radio stations. All have seen very significant year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter drops in advertising revenue, their only true source of income. It's hard to find an interview of a high-profile broadcast media exec these days that doesn't contain some envious statement about the dual revenue streams of their cable network brethren, most of whom receive substantial affiliate fees in addition to ad revenue.
About two years ago we witnessed the birth/rebirth of ad exchanges and much of the press, myself included, touted them as the next big thing for online marketers looking to take control of their campaigns. The promise was that of a self-service platform which provided unparalleled access to management of your efforts. However, it's now two years later and exchanges haven't delivered on that promise, having become just another way to launch an ad network.
It was the best for advertising, it was the worst for advertising, it was an age of advertising wisdom, it was an age of advertising foolishness...
Okay, I am definitely stretching looking to Dickens for ways to describe the current debate on social media's viability as an advertising and marketing medium. But you have to admit, it's almost impressive that with so many smart people looking at a singular issue -- how to best adapt advertising and marketing to work in social media -- that we still have such a wide range of opinions.
Naturally, in the business world, competition is a fact of life. But our regard for the competitive spirit is not all that cut-and-dried. While that spirit is innate to some, it is an uneasy fit for others. Many thrive on competition and honor it; others are unsettled by and avoid it. And while some business situations are an open competition understood by all spectators and participants, other situations may invoke judgment, criticism or a quarrel on ethics. As a whole, we have an awkward relationship with competition.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Tetris, perhaps the simplest, most addictive and ubiquitous computer game of all time. One of the most engaging aspects of Tetris is the perpetual, intensifying stream of bricks. In fact, this very element foreshadowed how we now consume most news content and personal status updates on the Web: in reverse chronological streams.
This morning brought some big news in the online industry, with online mega-retailer Amazon buying online soft goods retailer Zappos. What made the news so important wasn't the fact that Amazon made a major acquisition -- something that it has rarely done -- or the purchase price of $900+ million. What made it big news is that Zappos is renowned for its very unique business culture, where employee empowerment and customer service are pursued with absolute fanaticism. The company has been held up by many in the marketplace as the model of a company that authentically and transparently "lives" its ...
Let's talk about expectations for a minute.
One of the great rubs against advertising and marketing within social media is that brands cannot control the environment; messaging could potentially be placed alongside some inappropriate content. Of course many marketers are starting to realize the rewards far outweigh the risks. Word-of-mouth and viral marketing are extremely effective, and empowering consumers to evangelize your brand can drive a high return on spend -- but what about that initial fear regarding location and proximity?
With the amount of noise in the "social media" space, given all the social media "ninjas," "gurus" and "experts," it can be easy to miss some of the truly ground breaking-research. Over the past couple of weeks, two reports on social media were released that I feel fall into the "can't miss" category if your job description includes understanding social media. Ironically, one of the reports points out that every employee should understand how to engage in social media. So I guess that means everyone should read the reports.
While micro-blogging is hardly the only method in social and conversational marketing disciplines, it is one of the most prominent right now. Because it's often implemented by one individual, either armed with a plan or flying by the seat of his pants, personal style actually counts. People do get shunned out there.