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    This site contains various posts, links, ideas and articles by Kevin Kent.

McDonalds and Communicorp App

Very simple idea for an app but also one which positions both brands as being very innovative and in the hands of their customers / listeners

http://www.adworld.ie/news/read/?id=ac0ee306-ca9e-4c6b-8341-9930865ec896&utm_…

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Nike’s new marketing mojo

Highlights dramatic drop in big brands spend on traditional advertising along with other key insights.

Two cents worth on Google+

When Google+ launched at the end of June, there was huge amount of hype about the latest attempt at social from Google. Over the first 3 – 4  weeks, it was all very positive with various statements about it being a Facebook and/or Twitter killer. Towards the end of July and into August, attitudes seemed to change with concern about the large number of accounts being dormant and unused (apparently only 13% of the 25m accounts are active in any way and a lot only have a few posts). Rather than jump in with an early verdict on the network, I have taken time to get used to it before making any judgements.

This is a slightly long post but it is broken down between my perception of the Postives, Negatives and the Future for Google+.

Positives

  • Kick in the rear for other networks: Some networks had been inactive with regards to innovation recently and G+ will hopefully provide them with the incentive to develop new tools and functionality. In the last two weeks we have seen LinkedIn and Foursquare improve their mobile apps and Twitter is introducing some new functionality including better image management and viewing in your stream. The word is also that Facebook is working on new tools, some of which were announced on Tuesday night. Hopefully there is more to come from everyone.
  • Combine the best of others: Google obviously has taken its time to roll out this network allowing it to learn from other networks. The use of circles is similar to Twitter Lists. Sparks is a mix of following trends or hashtags and Google Alerts.
  • Variety of content formats in your feed: – within your feed you can see images, text, animated gifs, videos, and comments along with “+1s”. Similar to Facebook in this way, it allows for viewing more content without clicking.
  • Ease of set up and starting: Set-up is straight forward and it is easy to integrate your email account to find contacts. There is a negative side to this (more below).
  • Better reading experience than Twitter: As the volume of content types is wider than Twitter, this means you see more before you click.  You can see the first lines of an article along with some comments from other “Plusers”. Again, less wasted clicks to articles of content that are not of interest, which happens a lot with Twitter. Clicks with Twitter come from great headlines, while with G+ you need to have a good headline and killer first paragraph. The poster has to work harder but the clicks are probably of more value.

Negatives

  • Mobile experience: The G+ iPhone app is poor for a lot of reasons. Some commentators are going easy on Google for this, claiming it is still in beta. However given how much they can learn from other apps and their mobile knowledge, the bar is set higher for G+. The inability to share posts you like with your followers is a basic functionality which cannot be achieved with the app. For a social network app, this has to be a large #FAIL!
  • Inactive accounts and incomplete profiles: At the start, Google+ was invite only, however rapidly it became very easy to get an invite. Those with the ability to send invites did so freely and generally those who received one, registered, added contacts from their email accounts to their circles and did no more. Hence the large number of inactive accounts and accounts which have no profiles, pictures or biogs. Potentially overtime as people come back, we will see an increase in participation. 
  • Management via third parties such as TweetDeck, HootSuite: It is regularly shown that the number of people who tweet via Twitter.com is low and most users manage their accounts via 3rd party tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite (hence the acquistions of Tweetie and TweetDeck by Twitter). These tools allow management of multiple accounts and posting to multiple networks. Currently, to the best of my knowledge, you can only post to G+ via plus.google.com or their app
  • Content topics: While the variety of topics has been growing recently, there is still a lot of chatter about G+ on G+ and other tech topics. This would reflect the tech bias of the active accounts
  • Location: – When posting on G+, you can post with details of your location. However when I have tried this from the App and from a desktop, it has always been inaccurate – out by kilometres rather than meters.
  • Scrolling: Slightly in contradiction to some of the positives, since G+ displays part of each post and sometimes some of the comments, the length of posts can be long. This has a direct inpact on the amount of scrolling users need to do, if they have a large number of posts that they are not interested in.

The future

  • It will take time: If we work on the common assumption that G+ has 25m users but only 13% of these are active, that is still over 3m active users in two months. Think about how long it took Twitter and Facebook to reach this level of active users.
  • Integration: Google has generally not been shy sharing its tools with others (think Android) or integrating its tools across its own portfolio so expect to see more integration overtime. 
  • Yes, it is another social network to manage: We will see which of the current range of networks last and whether some of these burn brightly but fade quickly, which leads me onto my next point.
  • A killer?: A lot of the early chatter was whether G+ would kill some of the other social networks, mainly Twitter and Facebook, but will this happen?
    • Facebook – From a personal point of view, I use Facebook for personal content and LinkedIn and Twitter for professional content. Google+ Circles may allow the combination of both, but early adaptors could set the trend and direction for G+. At the moment, based on my own estimation, 95% of content is professional so this may continue. Like Facebook, G+ allows for multiple content types to be shared and this has attracted brands. On Facebook, Fan pages are growing at a greater rate than personal pages which could have an impact on the direction of Facebook content too. Facebook is protective of its users, requiring all friend requests to be confirmed, whereas G+ works on a similar set up to Twitter, where you can generally follow a user without requiring of any permission. Finally with 750m users and approx. 1 in 4 of US advertising dollars, G+ has a long way to go and only a brave man/woman would write Facebook off.
    • Twitter: If I had to choose between Facebook and Twitter, which one would be put to the sword by G+, I would say Twitter. The main reason is the lack of innovation recently by Twitter and their inability to find revenue streams. Other issues for me are that G+ allows me to quickly review a large volume of content and by reviewing either the opening section of a post or the comments I can decide if the post is worth more of my time. However with Twitter, I only have the headline to make this decision and this leads to clicks which I wish I had not made. A great headline, doesn’t make for a great post. In the defence of Twitter, sharing is more widespread and easier on the network, than currently it is on G+.
    • RSS readers: This is one area that I think could be killed off (finally) by G+. With the combinations of circles and longer posts, it could spell the end of Google Reader if the number of bloggers and publishers increase.
  • Search: With the value that brands place on search results, the integration of G+ posts with search, could direct more traffic and users to G+, especially once they roll out their brand pages.
  • Brand pages: Google has promised to roll out brand pages shortly and in the mean time is banning users from setting up pages as brands. While some people have found ways around this, generally Google has been shutting them down. If Google can crack brand pages for G+, brands and advertising spend will follow.
  • Roll out of advertising and impact on the UI: Currently G+ is ad free and it can be expected that Google will introduce advertising to the network. Based on how Google has introduced advertising to their search engine and Gmail, expect it to be well thought out and very targeted, which will appeal to brands. The UI on G+ has been praised and the challenge will be for Google to keep it aesthetically pleasing for users but impactful for brands.

Tips

Some tips to share from recent experience

  • Read in private, post in public:  While using G+’s circle feature makes categorisation of those you follow easier and also the topics of posts, by only posting to your circles, it means that anyone who wishes to follow you cannot see your posts as they are protected. Therefore, if you want to grow your influence and followers, mark your posts public.
  • Complete your profile, add a biog, profile and picture: Google+ is a new social network and with that comes the ability to discover new people to follow and interact with. If you want to be discovered, ensure you complete your biog and profiles as others you are not doing your best to sell yourself.

And that is my slight long two cents on Google+.

TED Talk: What B2B Demand Generation Marketers Can Learn From “the Mesh”

Discovered this over at http://laurenondemand.com and well worth viewing.

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TED Talk: What B2B Demand Generation Marketers Can Learn From “the Mesh”

Viewed through a B2B lens, Lisa Gansky’s TEDxMotorCity presentation shows how a “meshy” perspective on marketing is quickly becoming more essential than optional.


Lisa Gansky explains how “The Future of Business is the ‘mesh’”

Tech entrepreneur and environmentalist Lisa Gansky says, “The future of business is the mesh,” meaning that businesses which embrace “sharing platforms” as their model will be those best-equipped to succeed in the long term.

Like most TED Talks (in my opinion!), hers is fascinating in its own right, but I think her consumer-world ideas and examples have plenty of currency in our world of demand generation as well. Here are some of the highlights I found relevant.

“Access to certain kinds of goods and services will trump ownership of them. It’s the pursuit of better things easily shared.”

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the growing momentum of businesses adopting cloud-based services for IT infrastructure and CRM (customer relationship management).

Marketers’ widespread awareness and use of Salesforce and Eloqua, for example, puts us firmly in touch with the idea that “shareability” is a must, not a nice-to-have, in our endeavors. It may seem like a conceptual stretch, but how we do business influences how we market other businesses.

A model mesh company taps social connections, mobility and analytics to optimize their business.

The three elements of a “mesh” business

Lisa Gansky explains how Zipcar, the car sharing enterprise, exemplifies a mesh company: “They understood that they were an information business, not a car business.”

In other words, they focus on understanding and improving not only the service they offer, but also the dynamics of customer interaction with their service: “Zipcar collects data on how we interact and use the service to be able to keep wowing us….They watch how we move to anticipate what we want next.”

When we as marketers are at the top of our game, we’re all about the “define, refine and scale” process Lisa advocates. And since our audiences tend to be mobile-equipped and social-savvy, we’d be missing a very big trick indeed if we didn’t:

  • Tap these elements for data
  • Listen to what the data tells us about what how our customers prefer to research and use our products/services
  • Adjust our conversations and programs accordingly

“The opportunity and challenge with mesh businesses…is to make sharing irresistible.”

We know this one by heart: today, it’s imperative to make our messages, offers and content not only easy, but irresistible to share. It’s not enough to add share icons for Twitter and LinkedIn to every bit of content; we have to make the bits themselves compelling and easy to digest.

As Lisa cleverly states it, “A platform is an invitation”—and a business is a platform. Our key questions as marketers should be: “How do the businesses we market invite their customers to engage? And how can I best enable that engagement?”

Share failures rather than fail to share: Expose whatdoesn’t work for you, so others can learn from it.

I’ll be honest with you…while I like the sound of this (and her example of bike-sharing schemes), I’m not sure how well this applies to our business. If you have an idea of how it relates, I’d really love to hear it! Please share in the comments.

PS: Watch the whole 15-minute talk to discover “the sexiest two words in business” near the end.

 

Why People Still Subscribe To Newspapers

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Why People Still Subscribe To Newspapers

People are still subscribing to newspapers for two reasons, according to a survey from AdAge: they want local news, and they want coupons. 

Local news hasn't really worked online, so newspapers are okay on that front for now. But if Groupon and LivingSocial continue their successful runs, it could be yet another reason for people to cancel their subscriptions. Read »

Really clever modification of a barcode by Amazon for the kindle


Taken at H+A Marketing + PR

Are your fans on one knee for you?

Images

For someone to go from liking you to being engaged with you involves a lot. A survey last week said that men spend €28,000 on gifts and entertainment from the time they meet a woman until they get engaged. That is a lot of money and then there is time and a huge amount of charm involved too (naturally they are worth it!).

When you meet someone who likes you, you don’t assume you will be engaged straight away and that is the same with social media. While getting someone to like or follow you is a great step, getting them to engage with you is the ultimate goal and the true metric of success.

Research from Buddy Media says that 85% of people never visit the walls of brand pages once they like them. This means that they only see you in their news feed. Now think about a person’s news feed.

According to Facebook the average user has 130 friends (which equals a lot of posts, status updates, pictures, videos comments…). Facebook also reports that people are sending 15m friend requests each day but there are 50m “likes” given each day to brand pages. Again, think through the volume of traffic that people are seeing on their news feeds – people are liking a greater multiple of brands than friends. Between updates and posts from friends and fan pages that is a lot of traffic on each person’s news feeds.

Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which posts a user sees on their wall when they log in. Posts are not automatically defaulted to show the most recent and an element of the algorithm is based on popularlity and interaction – those with the most interaction have a better chance of appearing at the top of feeds. To get your fans engaged with your page will involve content. As you plan the process of charming your followers you need to have a content plan that breaks down the walls between you and them. The content you post is what they will engage with and hopefully over time, they will start to post their own content.

This plan should not be solely linked to your product or services but needs to have a wider outlook.

You can use tools such as Competitions, Coupons and Facebook Questions to keep fans interacting with you and to reward their support. Depending on your budget you can take this on and develop a Facebook Application for your page which can help to make your page go viral.

So as you outline your content plan there are some simple questions to ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to reach (target audience)
  • What are they are interested in – can we look to explore content that is relevant to our audience but not directly linked to our product
  • Can my partners or suppliers provide content that will help to bring my product to life?
  • Do I have any imagery or video that provides fans with an insight for my brand – fans love non-text content, it is hugely engaging and can help to bring your product to life for your fans

Write down the answers to these questions and you can start to map your content plan for your social media activity.

Best of luck.