Interesting read across several compelling resources
Interesting read across several compelling resources
Do you ever get the continual question of “What
does marketing do?” I honestly believe its right up there with What
is a lead?” It seems no matter where I have worked, or how large or mighty the organization is, marketing is one of those areas that seem to be an enigma to most people.
I would image that that is even more so today, as marketing
is quickly evolving from the brand guys or as some may say the “cakes
and cookies” function, into a real business driving, value adding, entity
that needs to generate results.
We now live in an era where +80% of your new business finds
you on the web, and when a prospect does decide to engage they are 60% of the
way through the buying process. So when my CEO asked me to put on a companywide
presentation on what marketing does, I wanted to try and show something more
than org charts, power points, brand logos, and leads. I wanted to try, and
show the end to end value chain that our marketing function can provide.
Nice goal, now the question was how do we that and avoid “power point poison”. We’re a small company, and production budget is limited. However; a burgeoning photography hobby has left me with contacts for cheap studio rentals, and expensive photography equipment. I’m lucky to have a team that while small, is well versed in the use of all digital tools at hand, so we produced our content in house.
I don’t know that we were any more successful than the next
guy in trying to convey the value proposition of marketing, but we gave it a
college try. Let me know how you thought we did. Nuff said.
What happens when you bring a popular Italian designer (Missoni) to the masses, broadcast your message non-stop with a nationwide TV campaign, and push your social media channels to pump up the hysteria of your target customers?
Well, for Target anyway, a business disaster. Target failed to connect the dots and is now dealing with a collapsed ecommerce platform, downed corporate website, and remains stone cold across its social media platforms while its customers howl to the high heavens.
The New York Times reported that their website went down in the morning EST, and is still down late this afternoon PST, although there is a lovely dog letting me know that. Accordingly posters on the company’s Facebook Target Style feed are not at all happy as some were left standing at the virtual cash register after paying for their items, and then having the site go down. The same article reports furious Twitter and Facebook users yet companies’ voice is silent across these channels from what I can see.
You would think this would be the one time you want to keep the lines of communication open and engage with your customers in helping them navigate an unpleasant experience. Turn it into an honest and open dialogue with news updates, and possibly even promotional incentives to rebuild goodwill, although more promotion is not what Target needs now to be sure.
The more pertinent question is how could one of the largest retailers miss the signs? To modify the words of Al Pacino from “Any Given Sunday”: “The signs are all around us”. One would think that Target has a fairly advanced, and sophisticated marketing function. I mean they could certainly sign the check for the production of the TV commercial and buying of media time. They could certainly garner a high volume of “likes”, and showed that were adept at building, that-ohso trendy marketing term these days, Buzzzzzzzz” , with an impromptu pop-up shop in New York City the week prior, and a preview just for fashion editors the same week.
So what were some the signs that could have missed? How about over 350K likes just for the Mizzoni page on their Target Style Facebook page. This had more likes than any other item I could find across all their Facebook properties. Perhaps looking at that sign and then correlating the volume and velocity of those “ likes” to their TV campaign, would have made one ponder?
Perhaps looking at the growing traffic volume on their site in regards to the upcoming launch or mounting search engine traffic and referral links would have clued one in that perhaps “we have winner” and maybe we need another server.
Or even looking at that cool “buzz” building activity last week that caused frenzy on the streets of New York, and even made once, normally self composed fashion editors, turn into savages and leave the displays and shelves looking like a warzone at their early preview event ,would have made one ponder?
Clearly there was a breakdown between marketing, analytics, operations, ecommerce, IT and some good ole business sense that now leaves Target, silent, scrambling to bring up a online store and corporate website, and watching a growing chorus of pissed off customers posting, screaming and fighting, not just on Social Media, but also in the aisles of their stores.
While the current misguided marketing fervor is to get a “like”, we can, and do underestimate the signs that are all around us, every day. In this online-offline world we need to ensure that we have the systems, processes, and simple lines of communications that enable us to connect the dots, and give us a heads up so we don’t get blindsided by the next big thing, or lack thereof. Nuff said.
I recently tried Intel’s interactive brand campaign, in support of launching their Icore5 processors, and was blown away by the creativity, and the personal level of engagement their brand had with me for 2 minuets.
This is what socially connected marketing is all about, in that you want your brand to have a personal, sustained, and meaningful engagement with the consumer. What’s amazing is that Intel did this in support of a computer chip.
The concept of the Museum of Me is brilliant in my view, in that the application harvests your Facebook information (only after you give it permission, and noting that the data is not shared with anyone else) to create the context of a museum exhibit that showcases the visual aspect of your social life. How much more personal and engaging can a brand be.
The visual context is spot on, as the chipset is optimized for visual media, and the brand is positioned as an innovator in the space. Intel was successful in establishing an emotional connection with the viewer due to the personal level of engagement-your visual social life.
Now what’s interesting is the media and pundits have given rise to some more controversial takes on the campaign, and along the lines of data privacy and of course a little narcissism. On some level if you haven’t already realized what information is accessible on Facebook and that you allow to be shared, The Museum of Me certainly does a good job of slapping you back to reality.
Data privacy is going to be a huge issue in the coming 10 years as Christina Gagnier of the Huffington Post writes “As the newest evolution in privacy warnings has moved towards icons, such as TRUSTe's "Truth in Privacy" framework, consideration should be given to visualizations that personalize the experience that someone may have on the website they are visiting or the mobile application they are using. If there was a means of prospective visualization, this may be the future of educating users on privacy in a meaningful way.”
Of course I could also look at the side bar on data privacy from the purely capitalistic side. Could Intel be looking to create a parallel discussion on data privacy as a result of this campaign? Why? You ask. Well at some level personal data privacy would need to be protected at the Chip level in our ever growing, always on, and mobile society. Intel has certainly demonstrated its intent to integrate data security at the chip level with its purchase of McAfee, so why not data privacy?
While any discussion on data privacy is good, and needed I look at this effort purely from a marketing point of view. In that vein, I think Intel, and their creative partners have done a masterful job at creating a highly personal and engaging experience between me, and their brand for two minutes. The campaign even reached in at a philosophical level by ending with your visual social graph, and then scaling out to show how your graph is connected to millions of others.
Isn’t this what socially connected marketing is about? Nuff said.
A fantastic TED talk by Morgan Spurlock of "SuperSize Me" about the world of big corporate advertising and its incestuous relationship with the media channels. Morgan's new movie "POM Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" The thought of true transparency is still somewhat of a figment of the imagination in these circles. The point this is trying to bring home, in my view, is that we are now being inundated with corporate shill 24x7. The thing that is changing the fastest, in my view, is the way in which the pitch is getting delivered, as the sponsored message is becoming ever more blended in with the content and delivery channels we consume.
Today it could be a tweet or comment on a late night show from a well known celebrity mentioning how great a coke would be, or even a local mom recommending a product to her network on Facebook. Schools are selling advertsing like it nobody’s business as school buses and hallways now market to our youth. As I work in the "biz" so to speak I have a pretty good sense of what is a pitch as I know that there is no relaity in reality TV. Every thing is planned and well coordinated from late night to the fabricated drama on on Dancing With the Stars.
How long until we see corporate messgaing and sponsorships pervade our professional spots more than what they have already. It's only a matter of time before we see corprate brands on our pro teams uniforms in the US just as they do in Europe. The WNBA has already started selling sponsorships for player’s uniforms, so how much longer before we see the Citibank Mets?
We all talk how great social media is and how wonderful it is to be connected to one another. While there is a lot of good from that always remember that the social media platform companies need to eat, and feed their kids and that the most valuable commodity they have is your data.
Today we see the emergence of location based services that will serve as the foundation, along with trillions of lines of data about all of us, to facilitate the delivery of targeted and custom sponsored messages 24x7. It’s interesting that one of the big future mega trends will be the sheer growth of ‘screens”. Screens and displays will be all around us, pervading every facet of our lives with the purpose of delivering us commercially sponsored messaging (i.e a pitch).
As a smaller marketer I’m not any less guilty. I do conduct custom research with the aim of supporting a position or point of view in the market. I do develop white papers and videos with a pitch that is designed to push a viewpoint that’s favorable to my company and my product. I’m certainly not producing high quality content for humanitarian reasons alone. I do try to keep the pitch to minimum and always try to make the content of high quality, but the end goal is the same in that I’m trying to position a point of view that benefits my interests commercially.
The difference is that it’s pretty apparent when you take content from a corporate website or off a corporate advertisement your going to get some pointed messaging. What's changing is that these commercial messages will be delivered across all channels and packaged within seemingly non commercial messages and this is where we all need to be more aware and do as our parents said:
“Always question who is delivering you the news, and always ask who “they” are”
I worked with Morgan many years back, and during that time we all knew he would be very successful. Congratulations on your new movie and as a marketer I can’t wait to see it. Nuff said.
In the days of hype, and circumstance there are far too many marketers who jump from one tactic/fad to the next in search of the holy grail, assuming they can even define what the holy grail of marketing is. From driving sales through social media to trying to create the next viral video for $5, the marketing graveyard is littered with these failed attempts.
Few fail to realize that principles of marketing haven’t changed at all, and that knowing your audience, their challengesand needs, ensuring a strong and honest brand experience, and focusing on your solution’s benefits and problem solving ability has far too often been lost in this growing sea of hype that is accelerating at light speed these days.
I came across this promotional video for the John St. agency, that did such a great job of showing how there really is no one magical marketing tactic today. Today we now live in a world of multi-channel communication, and the trick really is to understand how and where our customers/ prospects would like to engage with us and ensure we are in those places.
It really doesn’t matter if it’s social, online, or offline. What matters is that we are where our customers are and engaging with them. A poignant message in today’s faster than light speed changing environment.
Although, I do wish they would have given me some embed code so I could more easily syndicate it.
A few months ago I contributed to this crowd sourced effort by Mac McIntosh and Dianna Huff. The ebook is now complete and available for free download. In this ebook ten broad categories of mistakes were identified that B2B marketers commonly make. What do you think? Were the mistakes nailed?
With Wikileaks, and the emergence of “Hacktivism” corporations everywhere are finally getting the message that they, and their customer’s data are only as secure as their weakest link. Notably this week we heard of McDonalds’ losing customers emails due to a hack at one of their marketing automation vendors networks. The loss of this information can be fed into phishing and spam systems and could potentially cause serious issues for these customers, not to mention the untold loss of brand equity and revenue for the business.
What is particularly disturbing is that this loss was brought on due to a hack into the networks of marketing automation vendor Silverpop. The FBI reports that data related to 105 customers of Silverpop may have been breached.
Customers of Silverpop such as deviantART, sent an email to their customers warning that their email addresses, user names and birth dates were exposed to suspected spammers. The company has since ceased all ties with Silverpop as noted in this statement “Silverpop Systems, Inc., a leading marketing company that sends email messages for its clients, told us that information was taken from its servers. Because we value the information that members give us, we have decided not to rely on the services of Silverpop in the future and their servers will no longer hold any data from us.”
The losses of data doesn't have to tie directly to a marketing automation vendor, but the risk could be 2nd tier. Walgreens noted last week that they had customer information breached that was then used for Phishing scams. The Register reports Walgreens uses Arc Worldwide as its promotional agency, and Arc is part of Leo Burnet, who by the way is McDonald’s agency of record. Both of these agencies use Silverpop.
As the steward of the brand, these recent events raise some interesting and distributing issues for marketing professionals. I don’t know of too many marketing colleagues who do not use any type of a marketing automation services provider whether it be Silverpop, Marketo, or Eloqua. The reality is that in order to use these services you in effect send your data base to the cloud. So what this really means is your data base is only as secure, as your marketing automation’s vendor security is.
This post is not a hit against Silverpop either, as I doubt that many marketing automation vendors have IT security at top of mid. The reason I say that is that other than Marketo, I didn’t really see any value prop from any vendor related to how secure they keep your data. The other thing you need to realize is that most of these companies do not manage their own security, and may in fact use a 3rd party managed security services provider (MSSP), and that can bring additional and inherent risk.
Have you asked any questions regarding your marketing automation vendor’s security processes? Do they outsource their IT network security management? How do they or their partner secure their network? Do they have a dedicated patching team? How do they audit their partner’s security practices and protocols? Do they guard against insider risk by encrypting their USB sticks, or do they just rely on the increasingly ineffective, and ubiquitous antivirus.
These are now important questions for marketing to ask of its marketing automation vendors. Just imagine yourself typing out an email to your customers notifying them of a loss of their sensitive information. What damage would that cause to your brand equity? What if you’re in the financial or healthcare industry? What additional compliance and litigious risk would an event like this bring to your business?
It’s clear that the IT security posture of your marketing automation vendor is now more related to your brand equity than ever before. Nuff said.
I came across a recent article in USA Today this week on how most of the major marketers who are advertising during Super Bowl XLV will unveil social media contests, as part of their campaign effort. The article noted that Mercedes and Audi will both unveil this week large scale social media contests, backed by hefty prizes for those that “tweet” or “like” the most.
The basic crux of all these social media efforts is to get people to post en-mass “likes” or “tweets” which to me sounds eerily similar to “awareness drives sales” used by many a Madmen in their day. So is ‘tweeting” and ‘Liking:” the new “awareness heroine" of the day?
Looks like it is to me. I had to laugh at the quote from Stephen Cannon, Mercedes Marketing Vice President “We're using the 2011 Super Bowl as our head-long plunge into committing to social media," at Mercedes-Benz. It's our strategic leap of faith.” W.T.F.?
Let me translate what “strategic leap of faith” really means. It means were doing this because everybody else is doing it, but we don’t have clue as to why we’re doing it, or what were going to get out of it, and oh by the way, we have more marketing budget than brains. Well that’s okay, as that same argument could probably be used against massive TV advertising budgets, applied to a 30 second spot, with no follow on support for the rest of year. Sound familiar?
Is it any wonder why then the Edelman Trust Barometer shows a remarkable 25% decline in peer/friend trust in the 2010 survey? Not really, especially when everyone is “friending” everyone else, and Big ‘M” marketers blindly throw cash to generating “likes” and “tweets”, while social media snake oil consultants continually tout social media as the next god send for lead generation. What the Edelman Trust Barometer really indicates is that people are basically saying that the value of a “like” or ‘tweet” or number of “followers” you have is becoming worth less and less everyday as marketers spend gobs of money in blindly building a mass of “likes” and “fans” artificially.
I also had to laugh when I heard that after the much ballyhooed announcement of Pepsi leaving traditional media by spurning the Super Bowl 09 in lieu of social media, recently announced their return to the Super Bowl with the purchase of 4 slots for their Pepsi Max brand. So I guess all them “Likes” and “Tweets” didn’t pay off for you huh? Here’s another classic “Big M” marketer quote “PepsiCo is "doubling down," says Rudy Wilson, marketing chief at Frito-Lay”. You bet you’re doubling down Rudy, because social media, as a one off tactic, or communication channel is not driving the revenue needle for you buddy. Welcome to real the world.
Here’s a basic tenant everybody needs to remember. Social media is worthless until someone is engaging with you by leaving a comment, question, or point of view that opens an opportunity for you to converse with them. Social media is not about the leads, sales, or monologue. It’s about dialogue. Social media shouldn’t be called out as some special type of marketing campaign; it should be part of everyday business, just as using the telephone is part of everyday business.
Social media is about you engaging with your ecosystem and building an opportunity for honest, and real conversation, debate, gripes, insight or innovation to be had. Don’t waste your money on building artificial “fans” and “likes”.
Pam Moore added a good point in the article where she adds that “ Tweets” and Facebook "likes" that Super Bowl marketers all are glomming onto today will seem archaic in just a few years” Amen to that. Nuff said.
According to recent research by eMarketer more companies will start blogging to support their marketing efforts with 43% of all US companies expected to have some form of blog in use for marketing by 2012.
What’s still amazing to me is the number of B2B companies that do not blog and those who start their foray into social media with Facebook or Twitter as their primary focus/goal.
I have always held that the "blog" is the best form of social media in which to start conversing with your audience, and sharing your ideas. A good company blog gives you immediate SEO and thought leadership awareness and if coordinated within your PR & Communications processes and agency partners you will see your business and vertical media coverage rise significantly.
The reason for this is that the model of journalism is basically that of independent blogs by former journalists and analysts. These folks are always looking or for ready-to-wear content, and if you provide them that content at the right time your message will usually be posted verbatim within the context of their article.
Want to enter social media? Start with a great blog. Nuff Said.