Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
I look forward to your feedback,
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Monday, 15 December 2008
So what can be done? Prosperity Research has been for years pioneering an alternative approach to promoting brands online. We believe it is just as easy to be interesting as be advertising. And, if you believe this study . . . well then people will like you.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Research continues to confirm this. We see more and more persons of all socio-economic backgrounds moving online to find their information and entertainment. It is necessary to understand the unique dynamics of this space before launching in. This is a space driven by communication at a peer to peer level. This is engagement marketing, not distraction marketing. Businesses that understand this will be successful. Those that don't may find themselves without clear understanding why their most brilliant advertising strategies fail to garner attention.
Points to take away:
- The place for business to be is social networks
- The place for advertising is NOT social networks
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
This is Kris again, Prosperity Research CIO. Doug is taking the week off from blogging (mostly because he has been working about 18 hours a day...).
Which actually brings me to this week's topic. "So what is it that we actually do here at Prosperity Research"? Social Network Marketing, Social Media Marketing, it's all new. To some of our customers marketing on the Internet itself is relatively new.
I'm a Technology guy, not a Marketing person, so I'm used to people who don't quite understand the technology I work with - in fact I, myself, often find my 13 year old daughter showing me something on her new laptop that I didn't know existed!
OK, OK. So, what do we do? Easy. We develop and deploy On Line, Video Based, Social Network Marketing Campaigns that achieve proven and affordable results for our clients.
1. On Line - where the audience is already looking
2. Video based - because it is more interesting if it moves
3. Marketing – we help our clients be interesting, not disposable advertising
4. Proven – repeatable process never fails to achieve top search engine results
5. Affordable - we are low overhead, clever, and innovative
How do we do all that? I'll never tell!
Monday, 24 November 2008
93% of persons who use social media believe business should have a presence. This is NOT banner ads, but appropriate content that finds itself naturally lending to the ongoing dialog in social spaces.
Less that 33% of business have any presence in social spaces. Without a presences there is no opportunity for brand promotion or protection. A consumer can not start a rumour in a printed magazine article but they surely can online. Managing a brand online is as much about protection as it is about promotion.
The 3rd most trusted source of brand information. Following behind family and friends and newspapers the 3rd most trusted source is information online from our "virtual" friends. This is very telling about the level of trust and comfort persons have for the digital world.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
- It is hard work. Yes it is, there are no shortcuts to social marketing. It is about making friends the old fashioned like in the real world. Engage in meaningful conversations, be interested in the ideas of others, be consistent and available.
- Honesty not advertising. Any attempt to pass off advertising or to come across as insincere will result in immediate and long term repercussions
- It takes time. Like in the real world, building up a network of friends takes time and commitment. There are no short cuts to building long term relationships
So in the long run the lesson is simple. To truly participate in Social Spaces you must remember that you are engaging people on the individual level not on mass.
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Less than a third of business have a social media presence even though this is the #3 choice for consumers to make brand decisions.
Customers turn to online channels to save money on gifts. The value ads up in many ways, from better comparison shopping to saving on gas for driving. And think of your poor nerves, stay home and quietly shop with a glass of holiday cheer.
Video is becoming the clear choice for information and entertainment. But the myth that it is an exclusive domain of the very young continues to get debunked. The fastest growing segment on online video viewers is the choice 35 - 54 age bracket. These are the people with the real money! Well, except me that is.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
- Create interesting and engaging content that is relevant to your customers
- Establish conversations with your customers
- Be interested in their opinions and respond to them
- Establish a presence for the long term to build relationships, trust and loyalty
Keep your content current and evolving. Like in real life relationships it is about continuously growing
Using these techniques will not guarantee results, but it will provide you an effective and more cost efficient means of reaching your customers. It will also allow you to establish loyalty with your customers that can not be attained with ppc and banner ads.
It is time to become part of the conversation before you get left out.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
I now spend more time watching videos on my tv than watching terestrial tv on my tv.
Even brick and mortar stores are finding a space in the digital frontier.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
There are a few tips to know when looking at the financial crisis and how to exploit it for your own gain:
- Everyone is more scared than you
- Most businesses over react
- Customers are desperate for confidence and reassurance
So how can you turn this to your advantage? The solution is surprisingly simple and can strengthen your short and long term position.
Everyone is more scared than you
It is true. Remember your survival is based on your ability to keep your cool and think and act smart. Don’t cut off your arm to save your finger. Make decisions that continue to keep the most profitable segments of your business vital. Additionally, you must not neglect any area of your business. Provide a strong showing of confidence for your customers.
Most businesses over react
Businesses in difficult time usually have one response or actually three that look very similar; freeze, cut and fire. Because pulling away when all your competitors are doing likewise only creates a greater gap of opportunity to be filled, and since bigger businesses are often less capable of manoeuvring deftly, smaller more flexible companies often have an advantage in filling this opportunity gap.
This is the time to strategically review your marketing approach and utilise channels that reach your consumers at the level that most touches them and provides verifiable metrics of success. That is why we have seen an immense surge in Social Network Marketing amongst smart companies recently. It touches consumers at their level, is cost effective and provides measurements of success.
Customers are desperate for confidence and reassurance
In troubled times we need reassurance. This is evident in the amount of activity of CGC in social sites. Average people are talking to each other, sharing thoughts, ideas, solutions and comfort. What is also noticeable, is that business is not sharing in these conversations. Instead, in a display of ignorance or insensitivity they continue to advertise, thereby missing the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with consumers about issues that are relevant to them.
In summary, it is quite simple on how to gain reward in the financial crisis. You must simply ask yourself what support you would want in difficult times and that is probably what your customers want too.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Men, Sex and the Internet
Unremarkably, Break Media reported that men prefer sex to most anything else. That is not terribly remarkable, but they also reported that for the first time men spend more time online than watching TV -- that is remarkable!
Another unremarkable set of data reported by the New York Times shows that women love to shop. Wow, that is a show stopper. What is remarkable is that affluent women love to shop online. The urban myth has always been that ladies who lunch prefer to do their shopping in person. Whereas it is very important to see and be seen, who wants to be seen squeezing your size 8 bum into a size 6 pair of jeans? Some secrets are better left to the privacy of home I guess.
China loves the Internet
Unremarkable is that online ad/ marketing budgets are gaining an increasingly larger percentage of total spend. Even in these uncertain economic times, digital budgets are increasing because they have a a more accurately measured ROI. What is remarkable is that China is exploding!!! A 40% year on year increase in online budget spend tops anything imaginable. Go China go!!!
Sunday, 19 October 2008
- Read the newspaper for the news, the ads are little boxes next to the news
- Watch TV for the shows, the advertisements are for snacks and toilet breaks
- Surf the web, the advertisements are the banners around the interesting content, and banner ads served all around them
- Videos on the internet now have advertisements tagged to the front and back of them
After all this time you would think that someone could have come up with something a bit more clever. But the reality is, since the beginning of time the same method of serving up advertising has changed very little. And not surprising people's views on advertising have changed even less.
If people don't like advertising and people do like engaging content (e.g. news, tv shows, web pages, and videos) why is it an impossible leap for advertisers to just start creating interesting content and say "forget it" to advertising.
Well the truth is most likely of three sources.
- With an industry as large as the advertising business, it is unlikely that even if it wanted too, it would or could change quickly
- Old habits are hard to break, and consumers support the old model, even if they don’t consciously want to
- Well, I can't think of anymore
Thank goodness for Social Networks. With the creation of Social Networks each individual now has the same ability to influence as big business has traditionally had. Collectively, individuals on the internet can now make or break a brand by their input. Now content created by individuals is viewed more often than professionally produced content making the internet a truely democratic forum.
So, like in any true democracy, you need to vote for what you like and against what you don't. Therefore, if you like content vote by clicking on it. And if you don't like advertising -- don't click on it!!!
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
All of us are sophisticated enough consumers that we would certainly "get it". After all we know that if we want to be a star athlete like our heroes we will need to buy the kit. And if we want to catch the babe we need the car, clothes and cologne.
Prosperity Research is working hard to educate small and medium business' that it is O.K. for them to be the centre of attention. They do not have to be a 2 inch square advertisement at the bottom of the weekly paper. They can create rich media to WOW their customers,
So if you had your choice, would you be advertising or interesting?
Friday, 10 October 2008
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Paradigm shift is how I have referred to the unparalleled increase in influence of Social Network spaces on most all aspects of our lives. In this blog I have written about the 7 required shifts that businesses need to make to survive the move from real world to digital. I will continue to articulate and refine these shifts because they are at the core to business’ success in the digital world. To survive business must move from:
1. Advertising to Interesting
2. Me to You
3. Side to Centre
4. Viral to Social
5. Video to Burst
6. Push to Pull
7. Print to Pixel
Taking these on board is not as easy as reading this blog. Steering clear of the many pitfalls that line the path to change is not easy. Very few "Social Marketing" companies actually do social marketing. What they do is attempt to cut and paste old school methods into the new world and we all suffer badly for their ignorance. Good luck on your journey.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Monday, 22 September 2008
Remember the idea of the paperless office? The technology that was supposed to transform the modern office into a ecologically friendly “green” office actually increased paper consumption by 40%, ouch! And like the office, print media continues to be the mainstay for most marketing campaigns, thereby creating a vast amount of waste that is difficult at times to justify. It appears our addiction to print is insatiable; or is it? A revolution is taking place that seems to be doing what no government, corporate or ecological initiatives could accomplish: Make our world paperless and green! What is driving this revolution? Simply, it is Social Networks.
“Facebook Saves the World”
The introduction of Social Networks has created unprecedented numbers of interpersonal connections and communications. People chat around the globe with strangers they now call friends. Social Networks are not a digitized form of old paper processes. Social Networks are not a virtual extension of their real world counterparts. They are their own creation and exist unto themselves. The methods of communicating, sharing and saving information are not based on paper driven models. This is the key to their success. Since Social Networks were created in the virtual world they do not have real world requirements to survive and flourish. It is this distinction that is bringing the printer to a stand still!
So what to do without paper?
Not surprisingly people seem to get on just fine without a big trail of paper. And not surprisingly, most businesses don’t seem to make the transition well. This is especially evident in their approach to advertising and marketing. The biggest mistake that businesses make, often under the advisement of advertising agencies, is to cut and paste their traditional “paper” model of advertising into Social Networks. It usually is about as subtle as a stripper in church and about as welcome. So what to do?
- Recognise the new space and design your content accordingly
- Create content that people want to engage, share and interact with
- Remember that what you have to say is probably the least important part of the conversation
- Social Networks have very fluid boundaries. Create your content to evolve, move and change
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
At Prosperity Research and SO-U.TV, we believe it is all about YOU! Whether you own or represent a business or agency we provide services to, or are a viewer and consumer of our content, we want YOU to find US interesting.
To that goal, we have developed a simple Technology Strategy: we want to make your computer disappear! Well, not exactly disappear, but our goal is to place our content and deploy our products in a manner that is so interesting to our audience that our technology solutions virtually fade into the background.
Likewise, for our clients, our goal is to provide near term results with long term value. We do this by developing and placing interesting content where consumers are already looking for information. Our model is all about the consumer and what they find interesting.
How do we do this? Without divulging too many secrets :-] I can tell you we have integrated a combination of proprietary technology with open source and licensed tools, and by using many free consumer spaces on the internet. In addition, our multilingual and highly talented back office staff can do things on the internet I never imagined possible!
Although we are happy if you join in the tens of thousands of video views we serve per month at our recently upgraded website, http://www.so-u.tv/, we are equally happy if you were one of the 50,000+ viewers who watched us on YouTube last month. Because, “It’s not me, it’s you”, to paraphrase an old saying.
In closing, although my wife often threatens to make my computer “disappear”, it is unlikely our computers will go away any time soon. They may get lost in a sea of blackberries, ipod’s, 3G phones and some other yet to be invented apparatus but disappear? Not likely. Wherever you are, however, you can bet SO-U.TV will be there too.
Now, where are my glasses?
Well, not exactly disappear, but our goal is to place our content and deploy our products in a manner that is so interesting to our audience that our technology solutions virtually fade into the background.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Marketers #1 wish for 2009 is for agencies to get better at digital! Marketers believe that 50% of all budgets will be spent on digital media. Agencies are ill prepared to fill the gap. Prosperity Research has been the thought leader in this area for several years and we continue to marvel at how large agencies continue to stumble. What is worse is the attempt to cut and paste traditional marketing strategies into the digital realm as if it is as easy as that. Digital marketing has a whole different set of rules and the old rules do not apply.
Paul Brienza, SVP Laughlin Constable, gets serious brownie points for stating the obvious and completely missing the point altogether. Mr. Brienza first points out that advertisers want to put their ads in the content area of web pages because content is more interesting than advertising and people look at content and avoid advertisements, duh! Secondly, has Mr. Brienza ever thought that maybe instead of making advertising that people don’t enjoy looking at a business could invest in creating content that people do want to look at? Duh again! Prosperity Research has been doing this for years. We never create advertising because we have always known that nobody likes it! Be interesting not advertising!
I will not rail much on this one. I wrote about this in last weeks blog and simply put, people are interested in themselves and their own issues. Products and services are only interesting to individuals if they meet their needs. So if you want to reach your customer base you need to switch your communcation style from ME to YOU.
Monday, 1 September 2008
Traditional advertising centered around a one way dialog expounding the virtues and benefits of a product. The mechanics of traditional advertising did not allow for consumer content and response. The explosion of the Internet and Social Networks made consumer comments ubiquitous and instant and the age of Engagement Marketing was born. With this came a new set of communication dynamics that turned marketing on its head.
The carrot or the stick?
It used to be said that you “drove” consumers to your website. With over 15 billion web pages published and more every day it is unlikely that a consumer spoiled for choice will be “driven” anywhere they don’t want to go. Pull then becomes the necessary action. By creating content that is engaging and relevant to the consumer a relationship of mutual benefit is created.
So what is the new formula for success?
Simply put, make sure it is all about your consumers. As a business you are only relevant if you add value to their lives. It is necessary for you to clearly communicate your understanding of their needs and lifestyle.
Follow these simple guidelines:
- Don't start with what you want to say, think about what people want to hear.
- Place the emphasis on your customers, they already know you are selling something.
- Listen! When your customers ask a question take note and respond.
- Sell the lifestyle not the product.
In any relationship each person needs to give 50%. However, when you are trying to reach and retain customers you need to give more. Every one knows basic party etiquette. Talking only about yourself is a bore.
Thursday, 28 August 2008
B2B is the big spend. Social Networks are not just for consumers. Businesses are flocking to this format as a flexible way to engage in commerce. Without the same constraints as traditional vertical business sites, exchanging information becomes easier and more engaging.
Businesses are pouring on the spend. Below are the biggest corporate spenders of online ad dollars. This spend represents old school type online advertising of banner and paid search. This is a gold mine for Social Media proponents as the advantages of Interesting over Advertising creates a overwhelming argument for business to radically change the way they position themselves online.
Monday, 25 August 2008
In this blog I discuss the difference between viral and Social Network Marketing and why, depending on your goals, viral is still something best left to your doctor and not your Advertising agency.
"Viral -- not a living organism, it can only reproduce by infecting its hosts and contaminating its genetic code"
The term viral has been useful in describing a type of marketing effect that results from personal sharing of social media. The process is simple; one person shares it with two people, those two shared it with two more and so forth thereby creating an explosive rate of growth in a short time frame. Pre-Internet this effect would not have been easy or even possible. Can you imagine trying to throw magazine ads at 20 of your closest friends and then have them throw them 20 more at their friends and so on? Limitations of non-digital media prevented this "viral" phenomena from occurring.
Viral was a great boom for marketing gurus for a number of reasons:
1. Lower production value seems to work best translating into lower cost
2. Customers provided the momentum further reducing costs
3. Placement of content on consumer generated spaces or Social Networks greatly reduced costs normally associated with media buys.
Despite these strong upsides, as one might expect from a virus it is not all good. Translated into marketing terms the negatives of Viral marketing can be largely described as:
1. Low brand control
2. Brand message limited
3. Customer relationship loyalty low
Viral has become a very popular tool in the modern marketeers arsenal and an occasion benefit to brands. So what are the options to preserve the good and minimise the downsides. The recommended is Social Marketing.
"Social -- pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations"
Social marketing uses the same forces that Viral marketing uses; word of mouth and grass roots energy. However unlike its viral counterpart the focus is more on connecting with consumers and less upon eyeballs.
Social Network Marketing, at its core, is about creating interesting content that incorporates a strong message and exercises strong brand control. Strong brand control does not mean "advertising" it only means that the content should reflect the brands personality or DNA so that consumers can see a clear link between the two (content and brand) and benefit from the association.
Social Network Marketing is usually more targeted in its content so as to appeal to particular demographic as opposed to the more risky alternative of trying to appeal to every ones taste. This could result in fewer views but it significantly increases the likelihood that the people watching are appreciating, understanding and developing loyalty. One of the significant standout features of Social media done well is that it engenders ownership and connectedness to the content. Whereas viral tends to be expendable and transitory.
1. Exercises strong brand control
2. Is interesting and relevant
3. Designed for a targeted population but maybe interesting to many
4. Develops audience and loyalty through relevance
5. Utilises word of mouth to gain momentum
6. Benefits from lower production cost which provide a grass roots look and feel
Everything evolves and it is time to move past the concept of viral as the optimal achievement. More sophisticated analysis shows that it is better to have 100,000 views by potential customers and 1,000,000 views by random persons unlikely to benefit. A move away from a pure viral approach is a benefit for both consumers and brands.
Consumers benefit from receiving quality, relevant content that enhances their lives and brands benefit by being able to stay true to their core message.
As more and more content is generated, consumers will become increasingly selective in their viewing habits. Occasionally choosing the frivolous, but more often selecting the familiar.