Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exactly my point on Privacy Issues regarding Social Media

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  • How do you feel about the loss of privacy that comes from sharing information commercially?
    I am selective about what information I give out and to whom. 56.28%
    On principle, I don't give out personal information for commercial use. 40.62%
    My life is an open book. I'm not at all reluctant to share information. 3.10%
  • Wary consumers: Of the 1,462 readers who voted, 97% are still guarded about the information they'll share commercially. If private information is as readily available as we're told, perhaps their strategy is to stay off the radar and avoid becoming a target. But with so much of the focus on issues like identity theft, we've already rewritten our definitions of privacy. --Eva Schmatz, president, Summus Limited

The above study by Summus Limited proves my point. Consumers do not realize that when they enter an SMS Campaign (especially a loyalty program for recurring contact) that they are giving away their phone numbers. And when Brands and Agencies promote behavioral targeting of people by listening to conversations on Social Networks and then serving them 'relevant' push advertising, this is going to upset a lot of people. The last thing I want is people revolted by Social Networks or Mobile Marketing because of privacy concerns.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bud Lite the Good the Dumb and the Stupid

Just needed to comment briefly on the new Bud Lite commercials. First the Good.The Grooler is ingenious. As a combo of a double cooler and grill all sporting Bud Lite logos (and sold out BTW) I have to give high praise to the creators of this product. The number of impressions these will give at tailgates everywhere is awesome. Won't make me ever buy Bud Lite (I drink only good beer) but if I had one, I would use it...even if filled with Stella, Sam Adams, Pacifico, Becks etc it will still generate impressions!

Now the Dumb. The Foozie which is a combo foam We Are Number 1 Finger and Coozie. Idea sounds good. But ergonomically it is a tragedy. It is the dumbest combo you could create. Just think your team scores a TD and you immediate throw up the Foozie...and immediately douse your neighbor with beer or soda. I will guarantee these wind up in someones closet after one use and never used again. There is only utility inside a sports stadium, park, or arena (or at a local game). No one will ever bring it the beach or use it in their back yard or even when in front of their TV. So the verdict is few impressions and a high probability of starting a fist fight (of course the Foozie owner will lose because one hand is stuck in the Foozie while the neighbor has two fists ready to go.

Now the Stupid. Why do all Alcoholic Beverage Sites force you to enter a birthdate? This does NOTHING to prevent underager's unless they are really dumb from entering the site. Nothing stops a 12 year old from entering in a fake birthdate so why even have it required? I understand it saves brands from lawsuits but the law is dumb and does nothing. Same with porn sites. Nothing except parental control software stops someone too young from entering a site and for a parent or adult or organization to sue someone over this, while full knowing this is a personal responsibility issue is a travesty.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Social Media Listening

Social Media ‘listening’ should be a part of every company’s strategy to get feedback and learn how to improve their products and services. And to offer a quick and easy web presence folks can address you at. And this is all FREE! It also provides easy ways to conduct conversations with your customers in a non-sterile comfortable manner. people are much more likely to let their honesty hang out than if they were in person at a focus group. People inherently don't like offending other people even if it means telling the truth, when the other person is right there in front of them.

BUT Social Media is not a viable advertising platform because people find the networks private, kind of like walking into someone’s home so they don’t want to be intruded on. How you feel walking down the street chatting with your friend and every time you mention a word that relates to a product an Ad gets pumped in your face? That is what Facebook dreams of.

So as much behavioral information a Facebook or Twitter has at their finger tips, people do not wants Ad’s cluttering their conversations, and the high level of clutter makes it really hard for a Brand or Business to even get their information read. Much better channels for advertising than social media as it exists today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mobile Marketing Anonymity

I might not be a proponent of Mobile Web advertising such as banner ads (annoying push advertising that takes up precious screen space). But there is a HUGE advantage mobile web has over SMS Campaigns. Anonymity. Consumer's have not caught on yet, but they will when a brand breaks the covenant with consumers, but when you send a call action US Shortcode (Text Number) you are sending your phone number with it. There is no rules against a Brand or Agency using your number in the future to contact you. Technically by giving your number in an SMS campaign it is very possible the Do Not Call Registry does not apply since you gave the number blindly by signing up for future promotions.

Mobile Web si different. You are accessing the WWW via a IP point. So your direct phone number is not being transferred every time you access a mobile web site. And when Mobile Web Ad Blocking Software get's developed you will be able to download an APP to block banner Ads.

I truly feel that SMS is superior for Mobile Marketing for two specific areas: Immediate gratification with a coupon or free offer. Or using SMS as a launch pad to your Mobile Website Content. These are very measurable, tasteful, and unintrusive. These are call to actions that are permissive and thus truly powerful for Consumer Engagement.

There also should be plainly written expectations on a website to explain policies to consumers that if they send the SMS Shortcode a brand is not taking advantage and adding their phone number to a database unawares. If you ask people if they would give out their phone number to a brand most would say "Why, What for, or No!". If you ask them if they are aware they are giving out their phone number when sending an SMS Code the answer would most likely be they didn't realize this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Twitter Test should Brands truly be using Twitter to advertise

Anyone who reads my posts here or in the Advertising Trade Journals knows I am not an advocate of Twitter as an Advertising Medium. Ad Age gives 5 new people in the Industry to follow each week. So I decided to prove my thesis about the clutter and use of this medium. I am currently following 15 tweeters, some are industry people and some are news sources like Rolling Stone, Vogue, Silicon Insider etc and one is a friend of mine.

Just from these 15 tweeters I have been seeing over 100 tweets per day. I am going to add a few a day that are brands and see how this volume magnifies. Because while I browse through the list of tweets most I don't have time to read because I have my own personal email, Facebook, and my work email to deal with! Never mind private SMS texts I get from friends.

I will update this are progress is made.

But my three basic premises here are:

1] there is a critical size of tweeters that once your following that many there is no way you can see each tweet, which means brands must increase the number of tweets hoping to get through compounding this problem.

2] The re-tweeting measurement is interesting. It is possible that many people all connected and following each other could wind up re-tweeting the same exact tweet/webpage/article within the group driving up this measurement yet not actually expanding who is seeing the message! So there is major flaws in this measurement number 1, and number 2 there is no proof a tweet is seen so tweet broadcasts are measurable but tweet views/reads are not (not sure if twitter can measure a click through to an article I am investigating). So the volume of tweets is not a true measurement of volume of people seeing something or of news getting around. But trust me whomever has the position of 'Social Media Administrator' is not going to be honest about this to their boss because they need to justify their paycheck!

Also I am curious when the Tweetbots will be developed. Studies have shown that 17% of all Click Throughs for Web Advertising are not people but Webbots created to rack up money for whomever gets paid for the clicks. And since another study has shown that 85% of click throughs are done by less than 20% of clickers (meaning less than 1 of 5 people are heavy clickers and the other 80% barely click at all) compound with the Webbots we have a Web Advertising measurement problem.....but I will address this in another post.

3] So I am not a complete twitter basher the idea of a portable broadcast like the front page of Facebook (which is EXACTLY the same btw except without the 140 character minimum) is handy to me if I followed ONLY my friends/family. Though I can see problems tweeting 'I am at a bar come meet me' and forget people you wish not to know this are following you (and you have no control who follows you!)

I am a proponent of having Twitter and Social Networks monitored as a way to increase customer service, hearing what your customers are saying, and then responding to them. The real struggle is even if you have direct emails response is still a challenge to get through all the email clutter. I feel the best way for Brands to connect is in ways that a consumer is actually waiting and looking for a response. If you can work out how to do this successfully, a brand had better not keep the people waiting!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wearing two hats: Sage Advice for Agencies

This Ad Age post sums up what a Marketing Sensei is:

Wearing Two Hats: What I learned as Marketing Director

Mobile Strategy vs Mobile Marketing Strategy

Domino's Mobile Success from

Too many people/news stories confuse the two concepts. This is a great article which I commented about on the bottom. It has two components for Domino's. The first is a wonderful success story for Mobile Strategy, the second is their Mobile Marketing Strategy which I personally find the incorrect way to handle mobile marketing.

Mobile Strategy should be using mobile technology to enhance your business, whether that be providing information to helping create a sale from anywhere. Once a consumer knows for instance that they can order a Domino's or Pizza Hut pizza with a few clicks on their Smart Phone this can help migrate people from calling up for a pizza. This reduces costs, and increases profits, and hopefully the ease of use helps create loyalty. Though taste and price points also are an issue. For most New Yorker's even an ease of ordering and low price are not enough to order from a chain Pizza Company since the taste is so sub par vs a real NY Pizza. The way Domino's created their mobile web site and ordering system in my view is a major Mobile Strategy Success Story.

Now let's take mobile marketing. How does Domino's use mobile to market their products to initiate a sale? Now that is a big challenge. Domino's feels bugging people at 4:30pm after the consumer 'opt's in' to be communicated with, or a banner ad on the 10 most viewed mobile sites is the way to go. Pizza Hut feels an 'opt in' program to win a free pizza each month is another way to go.

The challenge here is the small viewing space allows limited information to be presented for banner ads. And if you cannibalize even 10% of that viewing space you risk pissing off consumers even if they like your brand. And this is push advertising that the consumer did not ask for. It is my view that someone's mobile device is like their bedroom. Push is bad in the bedroom!
Of course once someone tries out the Domino's or Pizza Hut site and bookmarks it there is not need to informational contact with the consumer stating you can order via mobile web.

As for the loyalty programs where someone sends an SMS Text to be signed up for future communication, just like tweets this will cause clutter in people's inboxes once they sign up for many of these programs just like what has happened with email. You get drowned out in the volume of businesses trying to reach someone. And after the initial sign up this is Push Advertising not Opt In. And another key point which people do not realize, when they send the SMS Text they send their phone number. This can be dangerous if the number get's sold to other parties. So until there is a way to send your Opt In without showing your phone number this is an issue. Ask anyone if they want to give their number to Domino's or Pepsi my guess is most would say no.

So how do you get people to try your product or service by using mobile marketing properly in a classy non-intrusive manner? It is called bribery. And it is going to cost you something. But that should be ok since if you get a consumer to send an SMS Text or go directly to your mobile web site this is 100% measurable. This isn't guess work like TV, Print, Billboards etc. This is the real deal. They actually took initiative to engage with you. Willingly. Permissively. There is very few advertising/media methods that can claim this. So offer a coupon, something free, or something ridiculously cool (like a mobile web content treat). It will earn you much more loyalty and improve your relationship with the consumer than any other form of marketing. And use your existing media plan to achieve this. No need to use Mobile to reach out. You are already advertising Out of Home, TV/Cable, Print etc. Ask the consumer to use their phone to get the reward. This will allow a much more real anytime, anywhere engagement than anything else in your arsenal.