Archive for April, 2007

Participation In Web Innovation

April 27, 2007

For all the hype about Web 2.0, Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion points out that there are still many people who have yet to participate. Mr. Rubel posted a graphic representation of how an extraordinary number people do not take part in simple online activities such as blogging; this reminded me of a presentation I did a few years ago about “cool hunting,” which I first came across in the Frontline show Merchants of Cool, a journalistic piece about trying to market to the hard to reach Generation Y. This report mentioned an article about a company called Look-Look, which had been profiled in a New Yorker article about “cool hunters,” a method that is based around the field of “diffusion research.”

I believe this shows that although influential people on sites such as MySpace are central to word-of-mouth marketing (according to a new report News Corp. put together), the 52% of people considered “inactive” in the digital world may pose a large problem for generating revenue: currently most Web 2.0 business models are based on ad-generated revenue, so the more visitors a site has, the more clout it has in charging for ad space. However, if we are not expanding the base of users, most sites are doomed to failure without other revenue channels. Fortunately, one point of data shows that diffusion is happening, according to a report that broadband subscriptions are rising; this does not mean, however, that those users are using social networking sites. So, how do we convince people to start participating? What strategies do we implement to help people begin to engage with new media?

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When Marketing Meets Cutting Edge Technology

April 19, 2007

In school one lesson was hammered into my mind to no end: correlation does not equal causation. Now, let us apply that to advertising.

For decades, advertisers could only correlate spikes in sales with ad campaigns in traditional media outlets, i.e., a major record label places ads for a new music release in magazines across the country and they cross their fingers hoping for a response; when they get one they could only (vaguely) correlate the campaign with the sales. Now with the growing sophistication of online marketing technology we are one (giant) step closer to the causation equation: for instance, not only does Yahoo know which ad on which site lured you in to buy the new Modest Mouse album, but by the end of the week you may start seeing ads for booking that hotel room in Xiamen, China, that you’ve been putting off (like Gord Hotchkiss recently did). Utilizing these capabilities, along with ‘stacking’ ad campaigns through multiple media channels, grants a greater chance of conversion and allows you to measure what worked and why.

It seems the internet has the potential to become a marketer’s dream-come-true: measurable results at your fingertips. Yes, take a moment to reflect on the possibilities… now wipe that bit of drool from the side of your mouth (and also remember the debate about the ethics of being so sneaky).

Finally, visit iMedia Connection for wealth of advice of how to implement these strategies (no, I wasn’t paid to write that).

Exploiting “Web 2.0” to Promote Television Shows

April 10, 2007

Some attempts to promote television shows by utilizing the power of social networking sites have proved creative, but somewhat ineffectual.  Recently, however, the people behind ‘How I Met Your Mother‘ put together a promotion on MySpace that produced (measurable!) results. The television show ‘Bones‘ also started a new five-week campaign using MySpace; this particular push requires heavy engagement by the viewer, but there is not yet any word as to how successful it has been.

One of my personal favorites, ‘30 Rock,’ has yet to embrace the power of social networking sites beyond its own NBC-sponsored attempt, which I feel is a travesty: although it has been renewed for a second season, it has unimpressive ratings and could use more creative muscle beyond message boards and some behind-the-scenes interviews. For instance, in one episode, Judah Friedlander is seen using his cellphone to record a video of a funny shouting match between Tina Fey’s and Jane Krakowski’s characters; why not extend the scene, record it using a camera phone, and post this original content on YouTube? Also, most fans I know love Jack McBrayer’s character: his story has enough dramatic momentum (a funny/nerdy southern boy trying to make it big in the big city) that I do not understand why we are not seeing his own three-minute webisodes on YouTube. It seems that the answer may be NBC’s desire to keep control over original content, as they expand material on the web, but make it available only on NBC.com, effectively keeping any revenue generated by the content firmly within their own camp.

But, what about the effect a successful campaign could have on viewership? If you create new viewers through a successful push, I think that would outweigh pleasing the fans you already have by posting content on the corporate-sponsored site (my logic behind this is that the only people engaging the content on a corporate site are already dedicated fans, not brand new ones). What do you think? Would an increase in viewers be more beneficial than attempting to keep a firm hold on revenue generated by online content?

Also, NBC, please feel free to steal my ideas about promoting 30 Rock… and contact me if you want more freebies 😉