Part of the challenge of consulting is working with companies and agencies that have exceptional ideas, amazing products, and challenges in aligning their digital marketing plans and their products. I have been working with a number of traditional agencies who are retained to leverage social media and digital viral marketing to build brand awareness and drive sales.
Aligning target audiences and campaigns is challenging because in some instances the most viral content is out of line with the target audiences. The kinds of viral content like rick-rolling, starwars-kid, and others seem not to be media mainstays of moms who make purchasing decisions.
What is the value of a viral campaign if it is not reaching the core target audience? Is there value in creating a buzz around a campaign even if it is not penetrating the core market? I think that there is tangible and measurable value in viral campaigns that are not tailored to the purchasing decision makers. Especially if it is a new brand looking to build name recognition, or a mature brand looking to revive interest.
Part of attending a conference is the bounty of SWAG (Stuff We All Get) with our registration packets. Shirts, pens, flash-drives, coasters - thing we must have and need ... always emblazoned with corporate logos and slogans.
Swagapaloza is an invitation only event that engages influential Bloggers / Tweeters, Digggers and connects them with product marketers. The Bloggers attend an event where they sit through presentations to learn about new products and services. They are entitled to free samples from the presenting companies, and are obviously encouraged to continue to write about thier experience with the product.
I like the attept here to identify the most wel read and influential digital media producers. The concept is to see the grassroots with information about a product and generate buzz about it. What interestes me is how Swagapaloz is going to meaasure the buzz generate by the event. Moreso I am interested if they are going to attribute buzz value back to individual bloggers, or if they will simply say that the buzz created is attributed to Swagapaloza.
I recently saw a fantastic 'Beware Social Media Expert Video' on AdBroad that used Xtranormal as the creation engine. I loved it - not just for the witty and irreverent content, but also because of how user friendly xtranormal is.
Literally if you can write a story then you can make a movie. The technology is fascinating and ihave just begun to explore it. In short order I think that animation products like this will enable people to make entertaining and meaningful presentations in a supremely protracted time frame. The value of a system like this will be determnie largely on the quality and focus of the content that drive the animation. I am eager to see the system's capacity for capturing a wider reel of interpersonal interactions grow and how others leverage it.
Over the last 15 years (Rushkoff Media Virus - 1994) we have heard the buzz term viral marketing and aside from sounding ominous, we as professionals continue to wax and wane about value tracking, conversion rates, efficacy, impressions and so forth. What is clear is that we are looking at systems and campaign design more closely than ever because we want to better understand our ROI.
Enter H1N1. One of the key things I hear is that there is a test todetermine if an individual has been exposed to H1N1. If you get the illness your body reacts to it and you can be tested for its presence even after you recover. So the challenge is how can we tell if someone has been exposed to our viral campaign.
For to long we have relied on impression metrics, individual activities, and engagement measures to gauge ROI. We need new tools like trackable urls and other other non-invasive (tracking cookies = privacy concerns), and new aproaches beyond the typical canonic validation interaction.
Digital marekting has advantages over traditional media channels, but there are still opportunities yet to be realized. Total awareness of impact could be the defining metric defines digtial ROI. The creative mind that come up with how to pull that off should be celebrated accordingly.
I spent some time this morning looking over a site called Brands in Public. Brands in Public is a collection of interesting, accessible, public-facing dashboards for your favorite brands - displaying what is being said about the brand around the web. They aggregate data from Twitter, Quant Cast, Google Trends, Yahoo! News, and Black Type to provide a holistic view of the digital conversations around a brand.
The value in this broad view is that it not only brings in up to the moment conversations and juxtaposes them against historical data that provides a marketer a lot of information to gauge their position. As important as web analytics are, this kind off page commentary collection is a more genuine way to collect unsolicited and honest feedback about digital branding experiences.
Above and beyond understanding customer interaction with campaigns, you can also follow blog posts and forum discussions about a brand, segmented out by positive and negative sentiments. The one thing that I dislike is that as great as Brands in Public is at bringing in relevent data, it also bring in lots of irellevent data.
The site is only as good as its components, and in the case of Home Depot's page , there is a lot of chaff. Some of the searches are bringing in posts with only the word 'Home', or 'Depot' in them and that is generating a lot of extraneous material. Off topic posts and tweets cloud the overal view. I like the system of a single view to see all of the various aggregators. I hope as the individual parts improve so will Brands in Public.
One of the most telling things about the web is that it can tell you everything that happens. From a marketing stand that is exceptionally useful information and knowledge. In an idea situation you can dial up and dial down specific campaign elements based on actual conversions and attention.
The prime challenge is knowing what is worth tracking and more importantly what the success metric is. In working with clients the success metric is one of the most difficult pieces of information to nail down. Providing clients the most valuable and pertinent statistic to measure does not always guarantee that they will choose to measure what is worth measuring. With these small URLs in action something so previously difficult to understand, origination location, could become the hottest new metric on the market.
I have recently seen a few articles about individuals selling parking spaces as comodities, and using the internet to get it done. I think back to the times when we went to festivals like Jazz Fest, and football games and were jealous of the folks who lived close enough to walk. Then I saw the advent of people selling parking spots in the lawn.
Parkingspots.com and parkatmyhouse.com are two neat solutions to helping people who need places to park and people with spare parking find each other. Even more aprapo is the opportunity for intown dwellers to rent thier parkingspots in their high rise buildings out during work hours on the weekdays when they are out of them anyway.
I just read an interesting article about BrandGirl, and collaboration between the blogoshpere and product producers. BrandGirl as a marketing concept. BrandGril features a top line product review and then drives traffic to a more complete review on a partner site. BrandGirl then encourages readers to return to BrandGirl and enter into contests to win product give-a-ways.
The way that the system drives traffic to partner sites and then gets them to return to BrandGirl provides an exceptional ammount of cross-site traffic, but it also provides strong conversion data. By reading the back endanalytics the partner sites can see the real impact BrandGirl is having on thier website traffic as well as the overall interest in their prodcut based on the volume of samples sent. This is an intelligent and stong way to monmitor and track conversions and ROI impact.
Recently I have been working with a few clients to develop online marketing strategies and online branding. I find that the exercise of conducting an brand review is not overly complicated but exceedingly valuable not only for online marketing purposes, but also for off line marketing campaigns.
One really interesting hack I am using is leveraging Google Adwords to asses current brand recognition and key word association. I have been able to discern popular search terms and show quantitative data to my clients. In describing potential customers search habbits, I am helping my clients best position themselves in front of the searchers with the most accurate keywords and phrases.
Moreover I am taking this off line as well. To maximize the impact of the knowledge I am suggesting that my clients also integrate these findings into their direct mail, magazine, and other marketing materials. As a focus group, I find adwords quite useful. Applying a few other tools to the mix provides a yet a deep understanding of what people are organically associating my client's brand with.