As many of you may be aware, I started a new role today. Same company, different position. I will still be working across Marketingmag.com.au from a strategy perspective, but also on the other titles in our online portfolio as Niche's digital director. There's quite a bit of work to do, but for now, I thought I would share some of the sites. And, you know, if you want to pass on any feedback, please do – I'll do my very best to make 'change' (thanks Obama) happen!
Last week I gave a presentation at OMD's Think Fresh Festival 2009 on social media with the designated theme of 'The Future is Now'. I find it always hard to pitch a social media talk at the right level due to the drastic variations in knowledge of marketers at the moment, so I hope I got close to catering to the majority of the audience. I would appreciate any comments any of you have on the slides – especially areas for improvement. I thought I would share them now, as like anything in this space, they will be out of date by next month. Oh, and to give you an idea of timing, the presentation's duration was around the 20-minute mark. Thanks. :-)
I wanted to share the following images that I have in the 'Kate vaults'. Perhaps the idea is old, but it's good to curate a few in one place.
It's interesting to see the progression of the brands from a 'visual identity' perspective. I believe the strongest brands witness minimal change over time – timelessness is an important factor for logo design. Coca-Cola is a great example of this as it has hardly changed since inception. On the other hand, Pepsi's ongoing changes do carry the 'spirit' of an age but inconsistency is not a good thing when it comes to branding when you are looking for awareness and recall.
I'm now trying to think of my favourite brand's logo – what's yours? *Off to check out Interbrand's 2008 list*
I love LinkedIn, as you may be aware, and am so fascinated by it that I am even thinking about starting a whole website for LinkedIn strategy, tips and tricks... well, perhaps after I get the new blog off the ground. Anyway, on your profile – in the bottom right-hand corner, you can see who else viewers of your profile viewed. I find this very interesting as after a while you begin to identify certain community pockets or collectives that are associated together. I've included mine below and it is certainly is a diverse bunch.
The old notion is that we as marketers don't really market a product or service to consumers, but rather hope in what that object can do for them – for their lives and everyday existence. You see it in the beauty industry all the time with cellulite lotions and pore-minimising potions that are placebo-licking good.
The other night, I tweeted about how digital innovation in general could be haltered due to too much blinkered thought being focused on Twitter. The hype around Twitter – especially from businesses and marketers – has become almost... well... sad. Sad in the way that we are clinging to the notion that we can make a difference in our consumers' lives, sad in that we are desperate to have a one-on-one connection with them, sad in that we need to believe that our marketing efforts mean something... that they work... that they satisfy a need or want. Twitter provides gratification for this insecurity – when you strip everything back, there's a raw dialogue between provider and consumer, allowing direct feedback, therefore grading marketing efforts if you like.
I recently ran a poll on the site I edit, Marketingmag.com.au, about what is the biggest challenge that marketers face and over a third of responses were to do with measuring ROI. The AMI were actually onto something when they launched the Marketing Value metrics and measurement website last year. I say let's stop focusing on the lure of Twitter, and start focusing on incorporating Twitter elements into all mediums with solid research, measurement and confidence. Then hopefully some of this insecurity about justifying activities will dwindle.
Marketers need to stop pandering about trying to fulfill the wishes of everyone by listening to anyone, and collect the ammunition to make strong marketing decisions themselves.
I'm on a little sojourn in the UK for three weeks enjoying Andy Murray play in the newly-roofed Wimbledon and visiting Austen-esque historic houses as well as catching up with the family. The first thing I've noticed since I last ventured in these woods (a year and a half ago) is the amount of sales promotion going on. They are really flogging it to death. And it's the good ole' 'Buy one, get one free' culprit. You can really tell the recession has hit hard. In the differentiated-pharmacy store Boots, nearly everything can be purchased for less, as part of some sort of offer. Wine is another story - you practically can't buy a bottle of vino for over 20 dollars in a chain store or supermarket, that doesn't come with two other bottles 'free'.
And now for my favourite part - the analogy:
Overused sales promotions become like drugs to customers. The effect slowly wears off and customers will be left wanting more, more, more to try to get the same result as the first hit. Eventually they won't be able to function without the drug - so they're going to be back at square one, but this time with a nasty habit to break. ;-)
I don't like to discuss blog lists too much due to the contention surrounding them but they are a very informative way for newbies to bookmark links and become aware of the array of quality free citizen-generated content available. The lists can often be criticised of being subjective to the composer and can cause disappointment to those not included on them. They can enforce status and hierarchy within online communities that should strive to be flat. Nevertheless, anti-listers are hypocritical because they enjoy being included on such lists and the accolade does make its way into the individual's speaker bio and the like. So, with the recent launch of B&T's Top 50 Marketing Blogs, I did enjoy having the blog section of the site I edit, Marketingmag.com.au come in at sixth, and this 'thing' coming in at 46th. And a heartfelt thanks to the guys for including us.
Today I revisited the list, however, to scroll through the rest of the Top 50 and to see how people fared. Knowing many of the inclusions off the top of my head, and having met many of the bloggers personally, something stood out. And that was that everyone on it, wasn't actually a marketer. The list is therefore a Top 50 Marketing Blogs without marketers. I know this could sound absurd, so I should explain what I mean by a 'marketer'. This is someone who has the word 'marketer' in their title or whose main role is to serve in a marketing capacity. Yes, we all have elements of marketing in our roles, but are we marketers? For instance, the list includes many agency adland types, PR gurus, digital strategists, social media strategists, online evangelists, general commentators and (copy)writers but I couldn't recall any marketers. We exist to help marketers – our 'clients' – under the marketing umbrella, but don't directly function in the same capacity as marketers. This is a case echoed by my work on a publication for marketers – it's difficult to get marketers to do the talking or writing, as one, they don't want to give away IP or competitive advantages and secondly, they are busy people. It's also a similar scenario at events – it's mainly the agency's voice or periphery businesses presenting – it's difficult to lock in marketers who aren't in the B2B space with something to sell!
I think one of the gaps for me in the Australian marketing blogosphere is the result of this. There aren't really any strategic business-marketing blogs. Blogs which look at ROI, metrics, other mediums outside the current sexiness of social media such as direct or database marketing, brand management (and by this I don't mean a logo or packaging), research, channel management/distribution and most importantly, sales! Actually I think 70% resolve around social media and 99% digital in some way. Only natural for online it seems.
I once stumbled across FMCG Blog – fmcgblog.com.au and though the blog doesn't appear to be longer updated, was amazed at the scope of such a thing. It was written by a FMCG marketer for FMCG marketers. Imagine that! There are a huge number of marketers working in FMCG-client side, yet there aren't any blogs dedicated to transferring knowledge and experience in this area outside the creative aspect.
Some bloggers do include case studies that are useful strategic tools but again, these are mainly of digital or social media campaigns and are light on results with a skew towards creative execution. In a case of the echo chamber, bloggers who start off blogging about their area of expertise often migrate over to full-time social media after several posts because they are drawing inspiration from social media.
While I am not offering solutions or even posing that it really is a problem at this point in time, I would like to see the gap bridged between marketers and what I'll call content producers and at least, have the producers address more issues that are applicable to marketers.
To not rain completely on the parade, I would like to finish by saying congratulations to Australian marketing bloggers for their part in building the community and for the list composers for dedicating their effort.
Finally on the 15 June, I will be appearing on a panel, and quite ironically mind you (since I am a relative speaker- n00b), at the National Speakers Association of Australia. The panel will be following a speech by the futurist Morris Miselowski on 'What, Why, Wow and So What of Social Media (Web 2.0)'. The ever-lively Graeme Bowman and Sam Mutimer will also be joining me. You can view more about the event here: http://www.nationalspeakers.asn.au/Vic_events.html.
When joining LinkedIn, or updating your profile, one of the first things you should consider doing is to do a group email around your office asking if anyone else is on the network. My tip is that you then should all connect, and secondly, if you are apart of a small business and your company profile is not set up yet, do it. Once you are all connected, you will have access to each other's connections, which in turn becomes an internal resource – a giant rolodex if you like. This allows for a state of greater collaboration and connectedness.
I'm suggesting this because there have been so many times where I have gone to connect with someone from a certain company, knowing that I am already connected to an employee from there, and then see that the two are not connected. Now, I know in huge organisations, it might not be possible to have this level of connectedness, but I always wonder why the two employees aren't connected. Do they know each other? Do they communicate regularly? Do they like each each other? Who should I contact? Is it due to hierarchical reasons that they aren't connected? Have they just been primitive in their people search?
After every new connection, LinkedIn makes a suggestion on who to connect to next and this often covers profiles with the same company listed, so the level of transparency is there – it's just waiting to be taken advantage of.
The use of social media for personal or corporate reasons needs to be strategised by all businesses. Connected employees who display a consistent message allows for a more thorough branding of a company.
So, if you are a CEO or MD, connect to your inferiors, and if you are a budding account executive and see your boss on the network, be bold and send through a request. LinkedIn doesn't have to been about the external promotion only – it could help you get the internal exposure to bring you over the line when next considered for a more senior role.
Now, I've seen a few of these kinds of posts around – the type that generalise the different types of people who use Twitter, but I'm determined to give it a shot myself. So, here goes:
1) 'The statesmen' – usually an 'internet guru', 'entrepreneur', 'marketer' or 'social media expert'. The profile pic is shot in some 90's studio and highly stylised (posed). Almost all tweets are spruiking the self.
2) 'The hipster' – MySpacers who have migrated over. Profile pic is shot from an angle, with head tilt. References to fixed-gear bikes appear often. The more random and nonsensical the tweet, the better.
3) 'The mom' – Bio reads: "Just new to Twitter, making my living through the 'internet' while my kids are at school".
4) 'The spammer' – Sophisticated and somewhat rare... for the moment at least.
5) 'The friend' – High school or 'college' friend that follows you only to realise they have no idea what you are talking about and quickly unfollow because you tweet too often and spam their feed.
7) 'The placeholder' – Too important/busy/old school to tweet at this point in time. Savvy enough to register their name.
8) 'The follower' – Uses Twitter as some sort of RSS feeder. Does not understand or want to partake in dialogue. No avatar. Could be a stalker.
9) 'The gods' – One of the originals, with a gazillion followers who retweet them every five seconds. Only people new to Twitter don't follow them, and that's just because they haven't discovered them yet. E.g. @Mashable.
10) 'The shy-peeps' – A little like 'The follower' but have inserted a profile picture and bio, even if it's not of themselves or is their eye only.
11) 'The newbie' – Registered five minutes ago with their first tweet reading, "New to Twitter", "Checking this out" or "WTF is this?".
12) 'The chronic Twitpicker' – 140 characters is too laborious for them. Every tweet is a link to the latest photo of their nightly run, coffee, view from the office and so forth.
13) 'The abandoner' – Joined in '06 or '07, left a few tweets and then got the hell out of there.
14) 'The prand' – The merging of the person with the brand. Cannot tell if it's a robot or a human. Solid follower numbers and usually a stay-at-home blogger.
15) 'The tribute' – Some sort of historical figure that doesn't have the opportunity to or can no longer tweet, basically because their dead! E.g @David_Ogilvy.
16) 'The unoriginal' – Every tweet is a retweet. That is all.
17) 'The offline celeb' – Yawn.
18) 'The comedian' – Discovered Twitter after Rove plugged it on his show. Every tweet has to prove how funny they really are. Even if it's 2am in the morning.
19) 'The plugger' – auto RSS feed of someone's blog – all links.
It feels so strange to be devoting any attention to this weak, ill-excuse for a blog. After re-organising my RSS reader and pimping my new iMac setup I thought I would at least communicate what I am up to for anyone who has been very concerned about my whereabouts. Even if it's just the other side of my split personality. ;-)
– So, tomorrow I will be at the Future Summit here in Melbourne, which is affiliated with Australian Davos Connection. Basically, it's a gathering of leaders from business, government, the public sector, academia and the broader community with the aim of improving their understanding of key issues affecting Australia. Will be a welcome break from the marketing and digital-event overdose that I've had of late.
– Then tomorrow night, I will head to my Marketing Research & Forecasting course as part of my masters of marketing program. Around 7.30pm I usually duck out and grab a sugarfree Red Bull to keep my batteries going.
– Tuesday, will spend the day largely commissioning, editing, sub-editing and uploading content onto the Marketing site, so that I can aim to get the weekly enewsletter out. This will be followed by me frantically researching the history, composition and operation of the entire L'Oreal group before I interview five of their senior members, so that I can at least dribble out some articulate questions.
– Tuesday evening, I'm heading to see good ole' Conroy speak about the NBN at the FTTH Council Asia Pacific Conference.
– Wednesday should offer a bit of an activity breather, although will be more of the same at work, followed by me hopefully churning 2,500 words out for an assignment as part of an Entrepreneurship & Innovation course I'm also taking this semester.
– On Thursday, if I'm not inundated, I'm meant to be supporting some business friends by heading down to their online marketing workshop as part of Internet Marketing Academy for a few hours.
– Then to finish off the week, on Friday, I'll head to the weekly #socialmelb to enjoy some hearty conversation followed by a couple of hours at this special Google seminar organised for a select group of marketing directors and managers around Melbourne. Friday also happens to be my publisher's last day at work as she embarks on maternity leave, so there will be some leaving stuff on.
– Then perhaps next weekend, I'll start on the strategy behind our annual readers' survey, the ironing baskets from hell that have sat there for three months, a trip to the NGV to use up some freebies to the John Brack exhibition and to also check out 'Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen'. Perhaps I'll also attack the growing pile of books and magazines on my bedside table or the growing subscriptions to a gazillion forms of online media. Follow this all by a good dose of the extremely-popular Flight Control iPhone application – I've got to build on the 207 current score. :-P
So, there you have it – potentially 500 wasted words? Or rather, 500 building blocks of insights into the life of Kate.
This post is probably more for introductory tweeters and blogosphere-surfers, as it is no where near as comprehensive as it should be. I've just quickly listed 10 business/marketing/new media/yeah-perhaps-not-business-at-all authors and their corresponding links. I'm sure there are thousands of others out there, but I'd say these are the more prominent ones. Please feel free to add to the list in the comment box below. So, in alphabetical order:
So-cial-ism: -- noun 1. a theory or system of social organisation that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organisation advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterised by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.
3. a system of society or group living in which there is no private propertyor condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.
= which all sound like SOCIAL MEDIA and Web 2.0 to me.
Therefore, is the internet inherently a socialist 'state'? Can it be a capitalist one? Can people genuinely reap financial benefit out of it? Can networks be monetised? Can people's social interaction actually be monetised online? Are community managers the new facilitators? Is society now owned by its users?
Although it's an hour-long lecture by Biz Stone (first he co-founds Blogger and then Twitter!) and dates back to the 15th of November last year, this video really is fascinating and a must watch for anyone interested in Twitter. Stone discusses possible revenue sources and monetisation strategies for the platform, which includes the on and off again rumour of charging business users for the service. All I can say is blurry lines... blurry lines. Oh, and of course you don't need to sit here on my blog watching -- feel free to check it out at the Haas School of Business Channel.
I've just started a Facebook group separate from the Social Media Club Melbourne one, specifically for the weekly breakfast. Melburnians can join here. There's been a fantastic turnout in recent weeks complete with really interesting and inspiring conversations so keep coming peeps - especially during those dark winter mornings. We're having a break for Easter and will resume at Mr Tulk (8am) on the 17th. For updates though, be sure to follow the #socialmelb tag in Tweetland.
This video is worth the watch. It highlights how marketers can segment and market to their consumers in the economic downturn. The interview is with John Quelch. Check out his blog here.
One of the really interesting points (around the 10-minute mark) from Quelch was that during a recession consumers may train themselves into new behaviours that might not be reversed when the good times roll back in. For instance, if someone had a broken washing machine, instead of going out and buying a new one right away, they would call a repairer and try and another couple of years out of it. If this turns out to be the general case, the recession could actually curb the consumerist nature of society.
There’s been a little confusion regarding the set-up of the social media breakfasts that are happening in Melbourne every Friday morning. Lucio from Marketing Easy has been getting queries left, right and centre, therefore has indicated that it would be great if some of the details behind the foundations of the breakfast could be clarified so that he can provide some responses. So, I am just going to jot down some points and then open up the discussion.
This confusion is completely understandable as there are many that may not be familiar with the origin of the breakfasts and the format that they were modelled on. The weekly meet is meant to be the parallel of the coffee mornings currently happening at Single Origin in Sydney, where a medium-size crowd meets to extend and build their online relationships, offline. Discussion is free-flowing and as far as I can tell, no agenda is set.
The Melbourne breakfast is entirely social, open and collaborative. Anyone is welcome to come along and the more the merrier, as it makes for interesting and diverse conversation. The conversation does tend to revolve around social media, since that is the thing that we all have in common, so someone who doesn’t spend anytime connecting online may feel a little lost.
The meet is community organised and led, this means that no one person is responsible for determining the direction of the mornings apart from the odd occurrence where we (admin/organisers) might decide on a new location, but this would be after consulting with everyone first. Think of a grassroots effort.
The meet is a social event with friends, and yes it involves networking, but in a peer-to-peer way where we discuss things informally. It is not meant to a place where you go to ‘win’ business or try to sell to people. Obviously being friendly and social with someone can have its benefits, but ideally these interactions would occur outside of the morning’s chatter.
This may also sound like a no-brainer but it has cropped up - the meet is not meant to be commercialised. This means there are no sponsorships, no display advertising for sale on the external site and no leveraging of the breakfast against a company or the like.
The discussion will continue to be relaxed without a schedule, so, no there won't be any monologues or speeches to the crowd by anyone. No profiles on attendees or their companies either. If you are interested, try going for a one-on-one.
Finally, everyone is responsible for paying their own bill – you wouldn’t leave your friend with a $50 discrepancy on the way out (yes this happened... twice) so you make sure you fix your own bill.
For those interested in a regular, more formal business-oriented meet in Melbourne, this could become a reality in the coming months, so stay tuned.
Having said all this, I've really had such a great time meeting everyone over the last three months and hope that it will continue on well into this year and beyond. I love going to the breakfast (when I can make it) because I simply enjoy meeting new people, and getting to know connections from my networks offline. (I wish I started the site: meetup.com.) :-P