Category Archives: Social Media

6 reasons why… forget it, this is just a funny ad from Adobe

Adobe claims a top spot in online advertising with their funny Super Bowl commercial (see below) and well, their “You can measure Social Media ROI ad”. In times of smart data (I still refrain from using the word big data to specify the use of data for decision making advantages), this should come as no surprise, yet as it seems, business schools (as I currently experience the no 1 ranked business school in Europe), marketers and organisations still avoid the ROI discussion and shift to the topic of online brand building. I particularly like how Adobe uses current stereotypical personas to play in their ads – which in my opinion should put 85% of today’s marketers (see their Super Bowl ad), advertising agencies and “consultants” to shame.


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Adobe’s Super Bowl commercial… wondering who the “winner” is now:

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As always, if you made it this far, check out the Adobe blog for more – worth a visit.

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Algorithmic location modelling to enhance customer behaviour profiling for marketers


Location based services (LBS) or location based marketing (LBM) has seen an increase in adoption based on ongoing technology diffusion amongst consumers (e.g. GPS enabled smartphones  as well as service enablers such as Foursquare or Facebook places).

Gartner estimates about 800 Million active LBS users by the end of 2012, a figure to grow to 1.4 Billion by 2015, resulting in over $13.5 Billion LBS consumer induced spending. With overall mobile advertising to be expected to account for $20.6 Billion by 2015, consumer induced spending on LBS provides a strong indicator of future growth driven by navigation, social networks and location search. The increase of smartphone penetration in third world countries will most likely result in a 2nd growth phase for mobile marketing and with it, LBS.

Growth of LBS will be enabled by further mobile and and tablet adoption rates and thus placing location based targeting devices into the hand of consumers. LBS revenue is assumed to grow mainly on its main form of current revenue generation, advertising.

LBS development

While customer privacy remains an issue, current adoption rates of LBS suggests users starting to neglect privacy concerns and even access fully passive LBS services such as placeme. Current studies confirm this trend with 58% of consumers valuing benefits over privacy concerns.

Advantages of LBS / LBM for marketers:

> Enhanced listening features to gain access to consumer behavioural data
> Enhanced targeting features to create more relevant POS offerings
> Enhanced interaction features to elevate customer brand interaction with social, contextual and location relevant content
Emerging opportunities for higher level data mining:
> Behavioural mapping. This is something which should see strong developments. Similarly to the Google Page Rank, a location rank should gain access to algorithmic modelling of consumer journeys. E.g. with increasing data, patters are likely to emerge to attribute value to. A consumer coming from location a to location b might suddenly seem more valuable based on prior exhibited behaviour than a consumer from location c to location b.
Some examples:
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Direct Fan Engagement – what brands can learn from the music industry

The music industry and many artists are undergoing a vivid transformation from top down content producers and mass entertainers to connecting on individual levels with fans. Some artists, such as Chamillionaire capitalize on digital marketing and gamification effects for a higher level of brand engagement, which is impressively shown in the following clip (extract from the 2012 gamification summit). Worth watching & very entertaining.

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learnings from the clip:

> Authenticity counts

> Engage on personal levels

> Make the brand matter

> Budget isn’t the driver – creativity is

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3 steps to evolve your marketing from content to contextual

Over the last 2 years, the term content marketing has not only been coined but received wide acceptance within marketing circles. Content marketing became the new mantra to engage with customers on a wide array on both digital and traditional levels. Current studies show (link to a Marketing Prof’s article on B2C content marketing trends), that content marketing still receives great attention and for the most part, rightly so. As most studies confirm, over 85% of both B2C and B2B marketers keep or even increase their content marketing efforts in 2013 based on previous years budget spending.

The content marketing matrix, shines some light on the level of content marketing management possibilities but also highlights, that a very generic customer profiling is assumed.

content marketing matrix

Why is content marketing however becoming complacent with an overflow of content from all sides to a single consumer?

> Consumers follow less traditional funnel concepts but rely on multiple sources and a more diffuse buying decision making behaviour (see ZMOT by Google for some inspiration)

> Technology enables consumers to not just for ROPO (research offline / purchase online) but currently for RMPO (research mobile / purchase online) and RMPM (research mobile / purchase mobile)

> Influence of content to consumers decreases with the increasing emphasise placed on social sharing and social recommendation (e.g. great content marketing but 2 out 5 star rating)

How can a marketer deal with these changes in consumer purchasing behaviour and the increase of technology as enabler for new purchase decision making? 

1) Utilise digital data: with digital media in place, enabling big data to become smart data is easier than ever. It is however important to differentiate between wanting to know everything and being able to distill what is really important. Don’t get overwhelmed by the flow of data but control it!

2) Enable customer journey thinking: smart data allows you to follow single customers (don’t think stalking) but to determine their need at any given time. A housewife in Massachusetts using an Android based Smartphone might follow a different decision making journey than a college freshmen in San Francisco using a laptop in a coffee chain. Customers don’t want to be spammed with content but receive the right content at the right time. Banner blindness is not a sign of too much content but non-contextual content – just because I searched for a fridge doesn’t mean I want to see fridge banners for the coming two weeks.Don’t spam with content – be smart and enable customer’s to use it!

3) Less is more: Customer’s banner blindness, which served as an example for the increasing marketing message aversion, is just one example of content being misplaced, money and resources wasted. Follow the customer journey and anticipate in real time the needs and receptiveness of customers to your content. Use digital data to model the journey and most importantly track progress – add value to the customer journey but not noise. Use your budget wisely and at important decision making stages when the customer most heavily relies on external content to progress in his or her buying cycle.

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A thought on the revival of the Trojan Horse of advertising: advergaming…

Nostalgia has caught up with modern marketing:

Over the last years, with the steep increase in casual gaming, heavily enforced through mobile and tablet technology diffusion, companies have started to increase marketing spending on contextual marketing. One of the most valuable contextual marketing instruments, which however still struggles to find its way into many industries is advergaming.

At marketing conventions and conferences, many marketers seem to treat advergaming as a new concept, but fail to acknowledge the early work from marketers at McDonalds or at Coca-Cola in 1980 and 1983 respectively to create the first company sponsored game and the first advergame ever.


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Over the years, with increasing computing power, Commodore has further been a platform or early advergames, such as Painterboy in 1986 which lead players to paint a house for a Finnish paint company called Tikkurila.

Modern home and mobile computing enabled new immersive customer experiences:

Years later, Volkswagen, RedBull, General Mills or Frito-Lay (a PepsiCo. division) have come out with advergames based on visually stunning graphics or a very intense customer experience. Success rates speak for selected forms of advertising; Volkswagen has generated over 5 million visitors to its GTI project with players being on the site for an average of 8 minutes. Frito-Lay’s hotel626, a Dorito revival of 2 flavors has even elevated this number to 13 minutes on average per player. No other form of advertising allows a more intense customer immersion. Granted, production costs for these advergames are likely to exceed a basic CPC campaign but visitor numbers and duration times suggest a much lower cost on a customer level.

How much messaging is however healthy and sustainable in advergames?

To me, this is the key question to be answered and reflected upon. Pumping out an advergame is a relatively easy task with enough budget and thus advertising and coding partners to come up with experience rich or graphically rich games to spend (or “waste”) a few minutes with.

But marketers have to think about how deep their advertising message will be engrained into the game. One option is of course to sponsor a game as premiered by McDonalds in 1980. Hotel626 from Frito-Lay followed this early trend with a very subtle message placement for its more adult target group. Another option is to create a full-blown product and messaging centric game such as Honey Defender by General Mills or the GTI project by Volkswagen.

2 factors seem to stand out to decide upon level advertising message placement to the consumer:

1) Contextually translatable brand or product attributes

2) Advertising aversion of the target group

The first one determines how subtle and contextually meaningful brand attributes can be transformed into the gaming experience. The GTI Project for example did a great job utilizing Volkswagen notion of German engineering, paired with the nostalgic racing character of the Golf GTI to create its miniature racer. Looking at Volkswagen’s most likely target groups, prior Golf or GTI owners and thus brand affiliates, the message aversion of the target group can be likely considered as being low (in relation to the chosen medium). In contrast, how many adults would have played a Dorito game for 13 minutes in which you chase Doritos or create Doritos? Most likely not that many as contextual attribute translation and advertising aversion would have shown an inverse relation. General Mills Honey Defender however is faced with similar translation issues as the Dorito brand, despite it having a slightly easier stand to translate to honey and bees. The main point of contrast is however the target group and thus the target group’s message aversion. General Mills targets mainly kids with its game; who granted are not going to buy the sugary cereal but most likely nag their parents during the next shopping trip to get a new box to unlock in-game specials.

Below a first go to cluster some examples into a likely grid.

messaging in advergaming

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2012 Marketing take aways

2012 has undoubtedly been the year of Social Media with tv ads in the decrease, mobile and smartphone spikes, gangnam style hitting 1 BILLION hits on youtube, pinterest becoming popular, instagram being sold, Facebook going from high to low, Apple issuing its first apology, social election revival in the US, mobile advertising hitting new records and, and, and… The attached infographic from SEO Company and Nowsourcing does a pretty good job in summing up the 2012 year in social media.

However, 2012 has also been the year to question unthoughtful media spendings in new channels with GM exiting its Facebook engagement and companies shifting budgets from campaigns to owned & earned content marketing.

My 2012 take-aways:

  1. shift from campaign management to content marketing
  2. increase customer centricity by listening on all channels
  3. social media is not exclusive but inclusive – think multichannel marketing
  4. change customer engagements to incentive driven third party marketing (I expect this to grow in 2013ff)
  5. mobile and emerging technology cannot be longer ignored. The pace of technology diffusion has excelled in 2012 with changes in consumer adoption.
  6. B2B caught up (to some extent) with B2C but continues to struggle to find its role and rightful place in Digital Marketing.
  7. a savvy marketer does still have to think about target groups and how to best reach them – not every medium, despite its public sex appeal (e.g. Facebook) does lend itself to every marketing challenge.
  8. ROI, ROI, ROI – marketers still struggle to define the ROI of digital marketing – which comes as a surprised based on the big data advantage of digital compared to traditional.
  9. and so much more!


Happy new years to everybody and see you all in 2013! 

Social Media Review 2012

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Are campaigns dead?

Jeffrey Jones, Target CMO made a blunt but thought provoking statement, recently published in a brandchannel article, by addressing the shift from campaigns to mobile, content and thus in my eyes customer centric marketing.

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“In the past, marketers would make campaigns, they would put them in the world, and they would wait to see what happened,” Jones said in a video released on the brand’s A Bullseye View website and YouTube channel. “In today’s world, it happens hourly. It happens daily. And this is a brand that has such enriched deep content that our guests want to hear from us on. So if we can create content and share content and allow our guests to speak on our behalf, that’s really beneficial for them to deepen their engagement and it helps us amplify our message as well.”

The importance about this statement in my eyes is not the shift from campaigns to customer centricity in advertising but brands and marketing managers starting (could we say forced to by mobile technology and social media) to diss-intermediate in the message to consumer chain. Building up competencies, knowledge and experience in-house is a very important step to owning content and thus gaining control over customer’s brand experience.

The 60′s to the 90′s were the glory days of advertising agencies, slogans got created behind cigarette filled walls in men dominated meeting rooms. The customer was in most cases the least of everybody’s concern – data discrepancy just being one of the reasons.

Will we see more marketers taking on responsibility, diss-intermediating to getting closer to their customers but outsource operational tasks to third parties? Let’s hope so in 2013, I for my part, am in!

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the Kodak “social” media moment

Kodak, despite its financial struggles over the last couple of years (more here), has emerged as the golden child of social media. With 29 dedicated Facebook pages (overview on Kodak’s website), various dedicated Kodak owned blogs, twitter, flickr, google+ and youtube profiles (summary here), Kodak is actively engaging with consumers and prospects.

Kodak FB Page Screenshot

Kodak’s CMO, Jeff Hayzlett, has been very outspoken in the media about Kodak’s strong social media engagement, not just by publishing Kodak’s own social media tip booklet, but by detailing Kodak’s belief to grow its brand and thus, in theory, its market return.


How much is a Facebook like worth?

It can be hardly argued that Kodak’s social media efforts were of shortsighted nature and or didn’t reach consumers, yet sales fell short in almost every product category Kodak serves, multiple quarters in a row. One could of course argue about operational and or product inefficiencies at Kodak (e.g. the constant decline since Kodak’s $ 10 billion sales in 1981 through its struggle with the digital disruption in its markets), yet sales is what ultimately matters and this is were Kodak’s social media engagement seems to fall short.


Can you convert fans, likes, followers into buyers?

Most articles, blogs, books and papers argue to convert followers into sales by promoting follower specific sales incentives, apply like gates (e.g. you can only access certain content by liking a site) and various other methods. Unfortunately, Kodak has applied almost any of them. Kodak has been highly engaged with its followers, listened to conversations, offered specials, had consumer specific content areas and even filtered consumers into product niches to allow for highly relevant content. Based on this, one can continue to argue Kodak’s mediocre and lagging innovativeness in the digital image space is a major factor to let sales slip further downwards.


The Kodak Moment of Truth:

1) Social Media can hardly make up for a lack of product innovation. If you have 1000 fans but no product, you can impossible start to convert fans into sales. In other words, don’t over-promise but under-deliver (as it seems, traditional marketing lessons learnt do still hold true).

2) Listening to consumers is reactive, sometimes a company might need to be proactive (especially in new product development – taking lead times into account)

3) A like is worth nothing if you file for bankruptcy: this is probably the most important lesson to be learnt here! When a business is going fine, a like can be calculated in any way you want because you can actually afford to spend resources thinking about the value of a like. Most likely you will also have to spend resources to justify the resource expenditures in the first place, which is why you come up with this calculation in most cases. In a situation in which the very existence of a company is in jeopardy, all creative like value calculations come however down to one simple point: conversion. Can you or can you not convert your likes into sales.


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