Tuesday, 28 April 2009

How Social Media changed advertising

Social media has changed advertising. Advertising has, since its inception, held a dubious position within society. For example, when we watch TV or view a web page we consider it "what pays for the stuff we like". However, there are those of us that buy magazines just for the ads and the Sunday paper is filled with shopping specials. But, by and large, it is what is passed by for more interesting content. I have written a number of blog posts on this topic. I have over the past several years written several blog posts about advertising's diminishing effectiveness with consumers.

Advertising is diminishing in effectiveness largely due to explosive growth of Social Media and Social Networking. Never before have consumers had such control over brands. And consumers do this without constraint. Social Networks allow for free and unhampered communication and connection. How can advertising compete with all that fun stuff flying about?

Well, Rich Cherecwich of Imedia Connect has an interesting solution; make advertising look less like advertising. This is a good step forward. At Prosperity Research we have avoided the advertising dilemma by been using video based social media marketing strategies with our clients for years. Consumers appear to be very willing to engage with brand messages provided those messages add value to their lives and are interesting. it is all about being relevant.

How about the value of video based social media. Well a recent article from Clickz.com made the generous statement that video was a good bet in a recession -- probably one of the most effective and affordable methods to reach and retain your consumers.

Much success,


Monday, 20 April 2009

Social Media slams Banner Ads 2 to 1

Social media's superior effectiveness over banner ads is likely attributed to 2 factors:

  1. Brand information found on social sites is the #2 most trusted source of brand information, second only to family and friends.
  2. Social sites are growing at a rate of 2:1 over all other internet areas making them the most active areas of consumer to consumer (C2C) conversations.


Brand Mentions Preferred over Ads - eMarketer via kwout

Industry information has been pouring in for more than a year showing a significant decrease in the effectiveness of banner ads and traditional forms of marketing. Additionally we are all very aware of falling printed advertising value as more and more people use the internet as their primary source of information and entertainment. What this means is that marketers must shift their traditional perceptions of advertising and marketing and adjust to a new set of rules that govern digital marketing. 

  1. Social Spaces are powerful arenas for consumer opinion and they are democratic
  2. Generally, people do not like advertising and especially don't seem to like it in social spaces
  3. Consumers are sophisticated and trust each other more than businesses for brand recommendation
  4. Consumers have the ability to filter out unwanted noise; advertising is the first to get filtered
Marketing in social spaces definitely plays by a different set of rules. But if business recognises and respects these rules social spaces offer significant advantage for smart brands that can adapt.

Much success,


Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Consumers lead and business follows

With the exponential growth of social sites and the empowerment of individuals to create their own “15 minutes of fame” in the digital realm it is no wonder that businesses are starting to recognize the potential. Almost a year and a half ago I started writing blogs about this trend and at the time I was continuously puzzled by the lack of enthusiasm by business for this unprecedented opportunity. I thought that this was miraculous. You had your customers in a single place (social site), telling each other what they liked and willing to listen to what others had to say. It seemed like a marketing dream. Well business is finally catching on, if a bit late.

In our office we always knew that when business decided to jump on the band wagon it would be a huge and dramatic shift. Well it is happening and it surpassed even our expectations. Recent industry studies provide some startling, if not exciting, statistics:

  • Chief Marketing Officers in Asia and North America rate Social Networks, video and video sharing as their top priorities
  • 88% of marketers are currently using Social Media in some capacity
  • Over 90% of business owners are using Social Media

This begs the question; why are business owners more likely than marketers to be using social networks and media?

I think the answer to that lies in the nature of social networks and the democratic quality they afford. In social networks the consumer is king and each has a more or less equal voice. Where once tools of marketing were limited to those with skills or money this is no longer true. Anyone can use Facebook (over 200 million members) or YouTube and a camcorder. With these resources available, even small business can create masterful marketing campaigns with modest budgets and ability to reach clients with little concern for normally typical restrictions such as geographic location. Of course managing an effective campaign is always best handled by professionals so kids don’t try this at home, ha ha.

In summary what is known is that business is now catching up with consumers in social networks and media. Because of the ease of use, consumer control and democratic functioning of social networks and media, small to medium business are achieving good success in utilising these resources and this is clearly seen in the industry statistics.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Was Jesus the first Social Network Marketer?

I watched a documentary the other night on the life of Jesus. Not being a particularly religious person, most of the relevance to it being Easter weekend slipped past me. But, being the founder of a social media agency many of the aspects of his methods used to spread his teachings resonated deeply. 

According to this documentary Jesus was a common man that tailored his teachings so they had relevance to his audience. He made sure that he incorporated common language and examples that people could relate too. He also was well rehearsed making sure that his messages were consistent over time but changing some key words and examples to fit the particular audience. Additionally, he packaged his teachings so they were easily understood and repeatable. Lastly, he was mobile. According to this documentary, Jesus did something quite uncommon for the time; he traveled.  He traveled from town to town repeating his message consistently. This is word of mouth marketing. If you tell one person and they tell two people and they tell two more then eventually you can reach critical mass with your message and it will self propagate.  

What are some of the key elements of a good social network campaign:

  1. Relevance -- keep the message relevant to your audience
  2. Consistency -- keep the message consistent so as not to dilute it or create confusion
  3. Sharing -- make sure that your message is packaged so that it is easy for people to share
  4. Seeding -- put the message out in as many relevant places as possible to ensure it will be seen or heard
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am not suggesting I know anything about Jesus beyond this documentary, but I could not miss the parallels to social networking. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and when done well it can be quite extraordinary in its abilities. Jesus may have been one of the first to understand this.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Product Review: HTC Cruise 09

This phone was sent to me under the most odd conditions. It was a jumble of bits in a plain white envelope with no instructions or software. The only thing that was included was a document stating that if I used any of the interesting functions, broke it, lost it or returned it late I was going to PAY! Not a very inviting way to start a product test. Well you can imagine that bag of bits managed to find its way to the side of my desk quickly and did not move until. . . .

I had visitors from out of town. What is the best way to test a phone? Hand it to someone that does not have one and really, really needs one. And so I did. These guys were both 40+ Americans and brighter than most. But we all know that when you mix over 40 with technology it all seems to go a bit pear shaped. Well this had all the markings of a pear in the making. The first time it rang the one holding it was so startled that he tossed it to the chair like a hot potato. From there is got appreciably better. By the end of the day the pair had grown quite fond of the phone and were using it more than I would have imagined. They especially found the intuitive user interface helpful. Big buttons on the touch screen meant that 40+ did not have to squint and it all seemed to make sense despite the huge array of options.

Many a picture was snapped and sent along with text messages and good old fashioned phone calls. I must admit they did not try many of the advance features, after all they were on holiday. The GPS system could have come in handy a few times, but being lost in Hong Kong is half the fun if you have the time to spare.

All in all, the HTC Cruise received high marks from these travelers. And it passed the most difficult test of all -- the over 40 test. So you know the interface must be good.