If it seems that in what is an increasingly fragmented digital landscape, social games have broken some secret code to building and engaging massive audiences, it's because they have. Look at social gaming giant and far away leader, Zynga and the millions upon millions of engaged consumers spending time with their highly addictive, and ever-evolving games (full disclosure: my company, SVnetwork works extensively with Zynga). Marketers should be asking themselves; what can I learn from social games and apply to my digital marketing efforts?
One of the weird truths in today's marketing environment is that, no matter how sound you are on the supposedly tougher stuff of strategy and operating intelligence, you could still be off track in some very important areas. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say there are at least four areas that may drive you completely nuts if you don't commit to getting them right. The infrastructure, mechanics and data utilization imperative of a cross-channel, digitally oriented world are very demanding.
I've paid attention to the mission, vision and values statements posted on the walls of several corporate offices I've visited recently. Nearly all of them use a lot of big, aspirational words that are combined to create long-winded phrases that are boring and generic -- and too often cliched. With all due respect to the success of the Fortune 500, its listing of mission and values statements quickly becomes obscure after the first dozen or so.
Trend-spotting is the science of identifying where things are headed in popular culture before they get there. It's actually unfair of me to call it a science when it's just as much art as anything else. Trend-spotters are the ultimate professors of popular culture -- but the Web is a powerful tool in that arsenal and just about anyone can be an amateur trend-spotter. If you get good at it, it can have a significant impact from a strategic perspective, and positively inform your clients' business for years to come.
I would argue that more marketers need to measure media success not as the total number of consumers "reached" because a pixel loads on a page, but rather the total time consumers actually spend with their marketing message.
One of the trendiest refrains in social marketing today is the command to "join the conversation." Sure, this command is trite and generalized. After all, it is marketing speak. But, it's also subjective and relative. As marketers, our definition of "conversation" - what counts for participation, what constitutes a conversation at all, let alone a quality one -- matters. It certainly matters within the human relationship, doesn't it?
During my recent vacation, while setting up my Evo smartphone's WiFi hotspot so I could connect my MacBook to the Internet, I asked myself: "What is my most valuable workplace productivity tool?" It is not my smartphone or laptop. It's my paper notebook.
It's that time again when a lot of folks are hoping to trade their years of sweat and investment into big multiples of cash or stock. I am very excited for those who will make it and find their "pot of gold." However, many won't. Unfortunately, I am afraid that many folks who today think that they are at the "end of the rainbow" are in for a wake-up call: they still have a long, long way to go. Here is my thinking:
Being an entrepreneur is fun, if you're crazy. When you're an entrepreneur, you get to make your own hours, push your ideas forward, and attempt to solve problems from a new and unique point of view.
There is a natural flow to how marketers should engage consumers both in digital and traditional marketing. How many commercials start with "call now!" What am I calling for? If you want likes/fans, give people a reason to connect with you. You want people to click to your Web site, tell them what they are going to find. Want people to download your coupons -- well, why should they? Want people to register for your program -- better give them a lot more information.