Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Will Happen By 2015?

We know what will happen in 2011. Marketing plans are ready. Teams are staffing up for research, ideation, and launches. There will be news of acquisitions, hostile takeovers, and inventions. We will need to be nimble enough to respond to these ad-hoc changes. Yet we truly need to plan for the future, not just for today and tomorrow. We need to start thinking about how content, distribution technologies and audience behavior will change by 2015. The following are predictions on the landscape shifts that will become increasingly defined within the next five years.


1- Short entertainment will be standard on phones: Audiences prefer short excerpts to long exposes. Most people do not like to read. Many of us need to or would like to stay in the know. With the advent of tablets and mobile broadband, we will read 300-500 word stories on our smart phones. Since online video will be near ubiquitous, content providers will produce more infotainment clips and rely on visual communications to tell stories in creative, succinct ways. 

2- We will arrange the features on your favorite Web sites: We will see click and drag web sites. The content management systems will move to the front end from backend. Brands and news portals will have a better understanding of their users’ preferences and have the chance to improve on their services.


3- CSR audiences will be more demanding: Generation G (giving) will scrutinize philanthropy and CSR efforts more closely.  Donating two to 10 percent of proceeds to a cause will not be enough. They will expect more creative approaches from brands that produce tangible results and offer meaningful engagement. 

4- Information filters and organizers will regain popularity: People will use filters to organize their ever-growing list of contacts and prioritize among them. Instead of switching to 50-people networks, such as, online audiences will defer to new group and folder features on their Facebook pages.


5- Facebook will turn people info into business (and it won’t be just advertising): Facebook will fight with Amazon and smaller players like Yelp to be a word of mouth search engine. The vast amount of personal information it collects will continue to help marketers map out consumer preferences based on social connections and profile details. Privacy battles and issues will continue. Users will search for experience-based recommendations and listings within their extended networks. 

6- Google will become a content distributor: Google will expand its e-stores to include music, movies and clips, creating a vast indie market online. Audience ratings on these pieces of content will be added to Google algorithms.

7- Word of mouth marketing will become more precise: Marketers will successfully target beyond the inner/immediate circle of influencers. Our understanding of second and third cycles of word of mouth will improve. There will be more sophisticated program offerings to mobilize crowds and offer innovative products/services to a wider range of influencers.


Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Study Shows Social Media Has More Impact Than Paid Media on Car and Technology Sales

S. Radoff Associates, a NY-based research company, just released a report about the impact of word of mouth on large-ticket item purchases. The results remove any shadow of doubt on word of mouth’s impact on tangible business results. And we understand that social media drives sales for considerable investments in cars and technology, not just CPG products.

The study delves into large purchases made in the past year and the information sources that shaped brand choices. The results show that one-half of consumers say word of mouth was a key influencer for car (50 percent), technology and electronics (49 percent) product choices they made in the past year.

We know from Keller Fay Group that much of word of mouth actually takes place offline. Interestingly, these two categories are pretty balanced in terms of their source of buzz. In fact, online and offline word of mouth were just as likely (29 percent, respectively) to influence technology and consumer electronics purchases.

Online reviews are at the source of online buzz. Consumers say online reviews influenced nearly one-quarter of technology and electronics purchases (24 percent) and 17 percent of car purchases made last year.

The most counterintuitive factoid from the study is that consumers are four times more likely to be influenced by social media than paid media for their car purchases made in the past year (21 percent vs. 5 percent). Social media has been more influential than paid media for technology purchases as well (26 percent vs. 7 percent).

Considering the typical budget spending on advertising vs. social media, these numbers signal the need to seek efficiencies in our integrated marketing plans for 2011 and beyond. Marketers planning for automotive and consumer electronics/ technology brands can shift dollars from traditional advertising budgets to social media and focus on elevating consumer opinions and customer experience. 

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Improvised Storytelling with Pixels

Since this is a blog about the spoken word, I thought it would be interesting to show how we do not always need words to communicate. I attended an experiential art show organized and lead by Prof. Philip Baldwin of Stonybrook. He asked a small group of dancers to improvise some moves in front of a computer propped up on a chair. The trick was to be close enough to the computer so that the sensors would pick up the moves. As dancers shifted and floated across the floor, their gestures appeared in pixel clusters on the wall. Each move also made a computer-generated noise. Their communications transformed into imagery and sound, fueling viewers' imagination. While we wondered what these moves might mean, we were also trying to make sense of their 3D reflections and unique music. 



Later, using the Michelangelo software, we were able to get a sketch of these movements on the computer screen and project them on the wall. Impromptu stories in 3D, told through dance... 

Professor Baldwin was joking that what he put together with his fellow artists was the same gaming technology that sold millions. I was thinking it could be used at events, house parties or even in virtual events where consumers are asked to create their own iterations based on a given theme. For the record--Baldwin didn't charge us for the show though he could and should have. 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wrapping Up WOMMA 2010

I wanted to thank everyone who came to my session at WOMMA Marketing Summit this year, where I presented about social media KPIs. It turned out to be a pretty big crowd. I got many thoughtful questions from the audience. I wanted to share some of them with you here:

Q: You mentioned the role of social vs. paid and earned media. What about owned media? 

A: Yes, owned media is gaining more traction as companies embed social and engagement features into their brand sites. 


Q: You showed a connection between large ticket-item purchases and word of mouth. What about CPG products? 

A: I wanted to make the point that what someone else thinks or advises influences even those purchases that are in the thousands. For CPG products, the trend is even stronger. Word of mouth does influence shopping decisions. 


Q: You showed some strong results for charity: water's September campaign, that was created with donated services. How much would it cost to run a similar campaign? 

A: Yes, those services cost a bit. But the point I want to leave you with is that the campaign was optimized for measurement from start to finish. The most important success metric was the amount of money charity: water could raise to bring clean water to people in need in Central African Republic. Yet, they also knew how many fans they had, how much traffic they were getting to their web site from Facebook and media, and how many campaigns were starting at any given point. [[posterous-content:pid___0]][[posterous-content:pid___1]]

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inspiration: First Step in Word of Mouth (and it's not turnkey)

I was honored to participate in a panel about non-traditional advertising at the recent Digital Hollywood conference, with a great group of seasoned marketers and creative thinkers. Much of the discussion centered on social media marketing. While we drifted into the nuts and bolts of how to identify influencers, get conversations going, there were several insights that stood out as the fundamentals we often forget.

1    1- There is no such thing as a ‘viral’ video – A producer or a team of creatives does not come up with a viral video. Viral is the best possible marketing outcome for a well-told story.

      2- The best stories inspire people. They inspire them to tell their own stories, to take action, to share, and to think how they would act if in that situation. This is the secret ingredient in word of mouth.

3- You have to have a good story AND a good product. This is especially relevant for new product launches or re-launches of products that need to be re-introduced to their core audiences. Facebook ads will bring eyeballs to your fan page. Coupons certainly help boost the number of ‘likes.’ Yet these marketing efforts need to be validated by positive consumer experiences. When brands can deliver on their promises, consumers will be moved to take action and serve as advocates. Otherwise, there will always be a discrepancy between marketing messages and consumers’ candid online stories.  

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WOMMA Summit 2010 - Taking Questions Now

I will be presenting at the upcoming WOMMA Summit in Vegas on key performance indicators in social media. I'll go over the metrics I cited in my article here, with case studies. I will show how to set up and apply these KPIs to real life campaigns. I know that many colleagues and clients are wrestling with the challenges of measuring social media. I'd like to start the Q&A session now. Please post/tweet any questions or thoughts you might have about this topic until November 17th. I'll respond to each either during my presentation or online (through my blog/Twitter account). Hope to see you in Vegas! 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Making Social Media Work for Your E-Commerce Site

While many marketers remain doubtful of tangible returns from their social media endeavors, transactional sites (e.g., e-commerce, donation, banking, etc.) are uniquely positioned to show the loop from conversation to purchase. To gauge conversions from social media posts to purchases, brands need to look further than the flux of traffic from their social network profile areas to their Web sites. Search advertising, e-mail programs, mobile apps, branded videos also fuel word of mouth, increase online visibility and lead people to online payment pages.

Consider these social-media driven tactics to boost online transactions: 


Say it with pictures: Having a clear, easy to adopt and pass along message is priceless in social media. On Twitter or Facebook, you do not have much room to pitch. Use these spaces to hit on key points and plug in photos and videos to tell a deeper, emotional story. Charity: water’s recent fundraising campaign to bring clean water to the Bayaka people in Central African Republic (CAR) did just that. The organization made the strategic decision to use Facebook as the hub of the digital campaign. Visitors could choose from a series of one-sentence key messages, bundle the phrase with a striking photo of people who lack access to clean water in CAR and send it off to their newsfeed.

Offer value on the (engagement) spot: The pathway between social messaging and transaction should be short. The longer your visitors have to look for the check out button, the more customers will lose interest and drop off. Smart shopping apps allow brands build pop-up stores on Facebook. Take a look at these custom tabs 1-800 Flowers and Delta, powered by Alvenda.

Use social media to enhance search engine visibility: Repeating calls to action or news announcements on Twitter is a necessity. Your message may otherwise be lost in a steady stream of updates. Tweeting regularly and updating social media posts increase the number of tags and keywords associated with your brand in cyberspace. These activities give search engines more to grab and catalogue. Embedding keywords in your Twitter editorial calendar can bring you closer to shoppers who start their online journey on Google.

Set your mobile app to accept credit cards: Apps are not just for fun and games on Facebook. Boost your branded app’s functionality with an online store. The grocery store Fresh Direct cuts to the chase with its mobile app that lets customers fill their shopping carts, change orders and have items delivered to their doorsteps. Moviefone’s app marries trailers and reviews with movie ticket purchases. 


Get closer to your loyalist through e-CRM: E-newsletters can offer a steady stream of shopping news to brand loyalists who opt-in to receive emails. While Facebook and Twitter give brands a place on fans’ walls and Tweet Decks, the inbox is still one of the most coveted places in social marketing. Membership clubs, insider deals and discount offers delivered through email can turn engaged customers to e-commerce sites and Facebook tabs. 

Customer stories weigh more than star ratings: Star ratings sure help to scan through hundreds of product reviews and note the top performing products on a retailer site. Yet there is much more behind a 3.5 star rating. As case studies from BazaarVoice repeatedly show, authentic customer stories have a positive impact on Web sales. If you are sharing customer reviews on your brand site, consider replicating these stories on Facebook where customers are already getting advice from their friends on what to buy. The online customer service system Get Satisfaction now offers Facebook and Twitter integration, channeling customer Q&A to brands’ social sites. 

Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What’s Next? Five Digital Trends To Watch

Social media is competitive. Brands need to break through the clutter achieving a delicate balance of creativity and innovation. To get ahead in the game, we are always wondering about the next big thing.

New York Times (online) broke the news about Google’s hands-off car, specifically engineered to reduce human error in driving and increasing drivers’ time for ad exposure and search. The news come on the heels of a recent Forrester report on iPad users, in which the analyst is encouraging readers to think of additional surfaces and dashboards besides portable devices where online marketing could play a role.

Will brands be communicating from dashboards in the next three months? We may need a bit more time for that. However, it would be smart to start putting the following pieces together when devising digital strategies:

Social media advertising will compete with authentic influencer chatter:  The new Twitter ads are a testament to increased targeting and customization in online advertising. They also point to the competition between sponsored vs. real recommendations in social media. Will your audience click through your sponsored tweet or an influencer’s retweet? In either case, the results will be better than 0.02% click-through rates.

Semantic search caters more closely to consumers’ needs: Google’s instant search suggestions improve brand impressions and make it easy for consumers to articulate and find what they are searching.  However, there is room for improvement in search result precision. The semantic search engine Hunch asks users 20+ questions about their likes/dislikes upfront. Based on these responses, Hunch offers recommendations on what to read, visit and taste, among other choices.

Location-based marketing will spark loyalty programs:  There is more to the simple genius behind FourSquare than check-ins and special offers. We will see a convergence between loyalty marketing and geo-location. Imagine being offered a coupon that converts you from a shopper to a buyer, the fifth time you visit the same store.  

The sandwich generation will turn to e-commerce:  Time and resource strapped boomers who feel sandwiched between the demands from their children and parents will increasingly revert to search engines and e-commerce sites to do their shopping, to find services and to place orders.

Digital will play a bigger role in teens’ relationship with TV: According to eMarketer, teens (12-19) have a personal purchasing power of $176 billion. The number of hours they spend watching TV exceeds the minutes they spend watching online videos. Meanwhile, they also defer to the Web and to their friends before making purchasing decisions. (See Daisy Whitney’s article for Cynopsis Media for more details.) In this landscape, digital media properties (e.g., Web sites for TV shows) will compete with established social networks, hosting and harnessing teens’ peer-to-peer conversations. They will have to bring rich experiences to their tech-savvy audiences, offering content teens cannot readily find on the big screen.


Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

iMedia Connection: - What drives the premium iPad experience?

IPG Media Lab set out to answer the million-dollar question: Is the willingness to pay for iPad apps driven by the early adopter audience or the form factor?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Translating Facebook Likes Into Impressions

I participated in an informal research experiment conducted by our friends at Keller Fay Group. The participants got an email invitation from Ed Keller on late Friday afternoon, asking us to post this simple statement on our Facebook Walls. "Hi friends. Please help me with a research project. If you see this, please click 'like' on my status. It's that simple. Thanks." We were to report back to Ed in 48 hours with the percentage of our friends who actually clicked through. 

Mine hovers around 10 percent. Not bad, considering I am connected to 428 friends, family members and colleagues through Facebook. The one qualitative finding that didn't surprise me was who commented and who got into a conversation under this comment. I had six comments from four unique users - all of whom are what I would call 'intensive' Facebook users and natural conversationalists. I know that their offline networks are pretty broad as well. 

But if you go from 428 to four to have true engagement, then maybe we should not equate the number of friends to actual impressions on a wall post. Of course, we have to consider that my message was not anything counter intuitive or newsworthy. It was a simple (perhaps questionable) call to action that got posted at a time when most people were drifting off of work. In a more formal rendition of this experiment, I would also vary time, quality and content of the message. That would yield pretty interesting results. I am sure not all wall posts are equal.  

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Monday, September 27, 2010

Search Words + Online Buzz = Patient Insights

I was just thinking through the online trail of a patient, looking for disease information. He might be in his mid 50s. He's probably content with the browser his computer pops open for him. He plugs in some key words and off he goes to a list of information sources.,, webMD are his first stops, because they come up above branded sites supported by pharma companies.

He peeks into some forums as he digs deeper, but does he trust the information from other caregivers and patients? Spam messages about Canadian drugs and links to cheaper pills make him want to click out of there as fast as he can. He goes back to emailing his friends for a referral, turning to people in his immediate circle. 

The sheer volume of disease-related posts in forums makes us think that majority of healthcare conversations take place in these areas. I feel like we also need to look at behavioral data on how a journey that typically begins with search leads to engagement, if at all. Do the key words patients/caregivers use match up to what's being discussed online? Do they match up to what brands provide on their sites? Is there a way to be as authoritative as the Mayo Clinic site on a given topic as a healthcare brand? 

Reviewing most commonly used search terms and online buzz about a given health topic can provide significant color to our insights. Online posts may reflect the opinions of those who dare to post public questions about their health. But search is (relatively) anonymous and can show what people are truly interested in finding. 

My two favorite tools to understand how Internet users search for content are: Google Adwords Keyword Tool and Trellian Keyword Discovery

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Key Performance Indicators in Social Media

Today’s social media landscape is significantly more cluttered and complex than its early days. The abundance of content that is easy to access and consume makes launching and sustaining noteworthy online projects challenging. As social media matures, the need to measure online word of mouth and demonstrate success becomes indisputable.

A comprehensive measurement plan should consist of three parts—gauging the audiences’ reactions to the brand before, during, and after the campaign. The first step in measuring online word of mouth is to listen and monitor audience chatter across blogs, forums, and social networks. This effort helps uncover existing issues, attitudes, and behaviors. It marks the starting point for a campaign. The second step requires tracking the campaign’s progress and studying the interaction between message senders and receivers. During this phase, marketers can take note of attitudinal and behavioral changes among their target audience. The third step involves comparing final campaign results with benchmark scores to demonstrate the momentum and change the campaign generated.

When setting benchmarks and tracking online word of mouth throughout the course of a program, marketers can use the following measures to show how their initiatives generated buzz, changed brand perceptions, and lead consumers to take action.

Volume of discussion: Using blog search engines such as Technorati, Google Blog or research firms’ proprietary software tools, count the number of posts that mention key words or messages related to your program. The numbers of unique mentions indicate online word of mouth reach.

Influencer mentions:  When writers quote and reference a source, they deem that information outlet reliable and useful. Similarly, every link that points to a social media address boosts that source’s authority. Desktop monitoring tools such as Radian6 and BuzzLogicÔ measure the number of in-bound links to blogs from brand sites, news sites, forums, and other blogs. The higher the score, the more influential and authoritative the source will be.

Stickiness: To show the full impact of word of mouth programs, we must account for those who received and shared a message. Impressions and unique visitors are metrics that speak to the broad universe of people who may have been exposed to a message. However, not everyone passes along every bit of information they receive. A survey measure developed by research firm S. Radoff Associates called Stickiness addresses this issue. Stickiness is based on the percentage of people who pass along a message among those who are exposed to the message.

The Echo Factor and Tone: When reviewing the overall volume of mentions, analysts often distinguish between positive and negative tone. Marketers can take this assessment a step further and measure how their messages echo through consumer conversations. Through surveys targeting representative samples of their audience, they can probe how many people received and passed along a positive or negative message. Next, they can look at the ratio of positive to negative mentions. S. Radoff Associates’ Tonality Index, which is based on this ratio, indicates the dominant tone of word of mouth and gives brands a pulse check.

Engagement: Online media engagement can be a qualitative measure that gives directional information about consumers’ online experience. To understand the nature of users’ interaction with the blog content, marketers can study comments’ tone and length. They may find a detailed, positive review more meaningful than a neutral or negative monosyllabic comment. Furthermore, they can classify the topics commentators discuss and analyze the quality of information these social media agents share.

Advocacy: Differentiate between those conversations that are descriptive and those that contain recommendations or warnings. To identify those networking agents who are advocating for a brand, product, or a company, look for those who are making solid recommendations, telling others what to do, and potentially influencing others’ opinions and decisions. For instance, MotiveQuest, a strategic consultancy that analyzes online consumer buzz, has coined the term online promoter score™, distinguishing between those mavens who are generating much of the volume on an issue and those advocates who make recommendations

Action: Online word of mouth campaigns yield recommendations, votes, and purchases. When organizations engage word of mouth agents and infuse networks with their messages, they hope to see an increase in sales and public support. To connect such outcomes with their marketing initiatives, communication professionals need to document their audiences’ online behaviors and show online buzz can lead to posts, clicks, downloads, or offline actions such as votes, coupon redemptions, and in-store purchases. Marketers can review sales trends during and after the campaign and note any increases that correspond with online buzz volume. Political strategists can explore how visits to online information hubs affect votes, signatures, and donations.

To read the complete version of this article, please visit PRNews Online.


Posted via email from Speaking of Social Media

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Online Connections Do Not Replace True Friendships

It has been a long while since I read sociologist Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone. At the time, I was an international student facing her first year in college and quite frankly, I did feel alone. Coming from a more communal culture, I felt that I had no hope in a country where the norm was isolation in suburbs and moving away from families for work or school. Over the years I built some wonderful friendships, but I still wonder what my life then would have been like if I had Facebook and continuous access to updates from 400+ connections I have on this site.

According to CafeMom's Mom Index (TM), things may not have been much different, despite the Internet. This study states that moms have an average of two true friends. Forget all the social networking, conversing online and participating in online chats. Moms are pretty isolated in their daily grind of work and family time. This finding is echoed by work published in the American Sociological Review, which states that the average American has only two close friends and a quarter do not have any. 

In other words, boasting hundreds of online connections may not mean that we are in touch with them or engaged in what they have to say. Technology helps spread word faster but does not replace the human factor. 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, August 8, 2010

WWW Now Stands for World Women Web

10 years ago, I was perplexed by the discrepancy between women's purchasing power and their hesitation to buy online. I ran a fancy regression analysis and discovered that privacy concerns were the leading barriers to women coming on board full force. As confirmed by a recent report from comScore, Women on the Web, this issue is far behind. According to comScore, U.S. online women are the key drivers of Web purchases. They make more transactions online and they spend more than men. In fact, they are responsible for 58 percent of e-commerce dollars. 

Globally, women are slightly less likely than men to be online (46 percent vs. 54 percent). However once women go online, they are more connected than men. Across Latin America, Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, women spend more time than men on social networking, emailing and sending IM messages. Health, apparel and family/parenting sites have the widest reach among women worldwide.

The study also offers insights on smartphone usage in the US and in Europe. As of April 2010, men are more likely than women to use smartphones in the US (60 percent vs. 40 percent) and in Europe (63 percent vs 37 percent). Yet it's important to note that women are taking to social networking apps on their smartphones. If their PC networking habits are any indication, as smartphone usage becomes mainstream, women will shape this medium as well. 

To download the full comScore study, please click here

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moms to Corporations: "You Just Don't Understand!"

The online community CafeMom recently launched a new measurement tool called the MomIndex, tracking moms’ quality of life. A quick review of highlights suggests that brands need to convince moms of their authenticity and truly offer great value to grab these women’s attention. According to the CafeMom study, only 7 percent of moms agree that corporations understand their needs and work to make their lives better. Only 6 percent trust brand advertising messages.

Moms are also concerned with the state of world and national affairs. Only one-fifth (22 percent) believe that America is headed in the right direction and 14 percent trust the government to help improve their lives. As low as these percentages may seem, it is worthwhile to note that moms are more likely to trust the government than corporations and brands. They have more hope in an institution that is criticized daily by multiple sources through numerous channels, than companies that try to communicate positive aspects of their products and services.

The gaps between these numbers show the long way ahead of brands that want to earn moms’ trust and generate positive word of mouth. They will need to fight moms’ cynicism and be ready to withstand these savvy consumers’ scrutiny. Above everything else, their messages will need to be believable.  

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Monday, July 19, 2010

Legal Expertise Needed!

Increasing brand presence in social media calls for help from legal departments. As brands step into open commentary space, they need to protect their name as well as the rights of those consumers creating content on their company sponsored pages. The latest updates to FTC guidelines--which insist on disclosure of all material connections and hold marketers liable for false information that may transpire as a result of their social media programs--are all the more reason to get professional legal advice before launching an online campaign.

As social media is still an evolving marketing area, many marketers and their counselors are challenged by the absence of precedents. New tools and functionalities pop up almost every day. Existing platforms, such as Facebook, may change their rules as they go along, responding to public criticism. Moreover, content ownership in social media remains a gray area, where one company provides the frame (e.g., Facebook), another sponsors the area (e.g., your brand) and audience creates the content.

Here are some suggestions that can increase collaboration between marketing teams and their legal advisors, while helping brands navigate social media waters as safely as possible:

1-                   Disclosure should be top priority. Include the necessary statements in your social media communications and Web areas to abide by the FTC guidelines. Refer to disclosure statements suggested by WOMMA. Consider adopting a system such as, which provides an FTC-compliant software platform to organize all communications between a brand, bloggers and other social media participants.

2-                   If you are signing contracts with bloggers, spell out the terms of disclosure as part of the deal.

3-                   If employees are likely to chime into social media discussions about your brand, provide them with the necessary training and information so they know how to disclose their relationship with the brand.

4-                   Work with legal teams at Facebook, Twitter and other popular communities. It is best to go to the very source and ask. Often times, their rules of communication and participation will be laid out under ‘about us’ or ‘corporate’ sections of their Web sites.

5-                   Encourage all of your team members (i.e., brand marketers and legal) to familiarize themselves with the tools you are deploying. You can have more fruitful discussions, if everyone understands the social media tools’ basic functionality.

6-                   Speedy response is critical in social media communications. Before launching a project, arrange a core set of team members including a legal counselor who can be on-call to evaluate questionable comments.

7-                   You do have (some) control of content in branded areas. When planting your brand’s flag in social media and creating areas dedicated to your topics, communicate your rules of communication to your audience. You may reserve the right to remove inappropriate postings. If you are planning to use consumer-generated media in corporate promotions (e.g., ads, releases, etc.) be sure to indicate this as well. 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Global Web Index Lite Is Here:

The smart folks behind the Global Web Index just launched a smart widget that provides top-level data on social media habits from 16 countries, ranging from the US and Brazil to Japan and South Korea. The cool thing is that you can slice the data by age and by behavioral segments, such as Informers, Internationalists, Premium Lovers and Risk Takers. What a great way to package rich information! 



Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Can't Buy Me 'Like'

Facebook has more than 400 million active users, who spend over 500 billion minutes per month on the site and interact with 160 million features (i.e., pages, groups, events, etc.). While the typical Facebook user is connected to an average of 60 pages, groups and events, how is a brand supposed to attract fans and keep them interested? 

There is a surge of campaigns online that encourage users to ‘like’ brand pages on Facebook in exchange for a discount, product trial or charitable donation. As the pressure to show ROI on developing and maintaining a Facebook page mounts, marketers resort to these tactics to give their communities a boost. 

The reality is that Facebook is cluttered space and a brand needs a cohesive set of promotions and smart posts to break through and grow their fan base over a reasonable amount of time. The quid pro quo approach will create a spike for a week and then the brand may need a new idea.

Moreover, this approach is a big no-no if you read the fine print in Facebook rules for companies. As stated in this section, “you cannot administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your page.” Brands cannot use native Facebook features to run campaigns. Instead, they need to build apps that sit on separate tabs to run their campaigns. The main reason behind this separation is data ownership and potential liabilities that come with it. Facebook wants the brands to handle their own data and provide the following disclaimer: "This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for [brand needs to disclose any way that it plans to use the user's information]."

Among brands looking to acquire fans with the quid-pro-quo tactic, Ann Taylor has a more refined approach. The brand is leading loyal customers (called the Insiders) to their Facebook page with an e-mail invitation and offering them a discount in a tab dedicated to this initiative. To get the discount, users need to ‘like’ the brand. Considering that they have already opted in to receive emails from Ann Taylor, these customers are bound to click ‘like.’  

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shout out for Implementing Word of Mouth!

I recently had the pleasure of participating in AMA's Marketing Power podcast series. You can download and listen to it right here. My interviewer and program manager commented on my book Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing as '...the most comprehensive guide for carrying out social media based programs that make an impact.' Thank you! It's really gratifying to know that the book's value is understood. It's also wonderful to have a venue to share my thoughts and get feedback. If you have been asking yourself 'I set up my Facebook page, now what?' or 'I really want to delve into social media, but do not know how big of a team I need?' or 'What else can I measure besides fans, followers and clicks?', then check out this podcast.

And I have to send most heartfelt thanks to Mr. Hakki Ozmorali, an expert on direct selling and a prolific writer/blogger. He interviewed me about the synergies between direct selling and word of mouth marketing a while ago. We conducted the interview in Turkish and he just translated it into English and posted it online. You can read it here. A bit of background info on Hakki: He worked as country manager (meaning regional CEO) for direct selling companies Oriflame and LR in Turkey, and as Regional Manager, North America for Lifestyles in Canada. He also wrote the first book in Turkey on network marketing. Perhaps I need to interview him for dotwom!

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rain Brings More Than 1,000 Acts of Kindness

It’s pouring and you forgot your umbrella at home. Don’t you wish someone would hand you an umbrella? Volunteers for the Pittsburg based non-profit, The Sprout Foundation, may give you just what you wish. True to its charge to use innovative grassroots tactics, the foundation is acting as a catalyst of positive change with its Here You Go project. Volunteers roam Pittsburgh on rainy days, giving out umbrellas. Their only kind request from the recipients of their gifts is to return the act of kindness and help someone else out. Each umbrella comes with a waterproof card. Recipients are encouraged to write about their experience on these cards and mail them back to Here You Go. The organization posts them here.

Besides promoting good deed and creating a chain of positive interactions, the Here You Go project shows how we can add more meaning to marketing programs and draw audiences into a cause with a simple call-to-action delivered at the right time, in a creative way. The program is memorable because it solves a consumer problem from the get-go. It delivers the product to people at the moment they need it. The experience Here You Go project creates before it asks consumers to generate new acts of kindness also taps into emotions.

The Sprout Foundation inspires and leads by example. It first demonstrates a good deed and then asks for the same in return. The message is clear and direct. Finally, the volunteers enable their audience to pass along the message with the postcards. The organization has an online platform, equipped with social media bells and whistles, which amplify participants’ voice. This web site also helps to showcase the program’s impact.

The Here You Go program serves as a model for those who are planning to give product samples, and those who wish to get community members to take civic action. Read more about this program and similar ones sprouting in Seattle, Baltimore and Sydney here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Despite Facebook's Popularity, E-Mail Leads Brand Communications


As Facebook users increasingly use their social network emails for peer communications, the e-mail marketing industry is pointing to a new study almost every month, underscoring the medium’s validity as a branding and sales channel. The latest is a study by ExactTarget and CoTweet that takes a high-level look at online consumers’ email use.

According to the study, based on more than 1,500 interviews conducted among Internet users15 and older, brands have conquered online consumers’ inboxes, they’ve seized the attention of a sizable audience on Facebook, but they have ways to go on Twitter. The study results show that grand majority of online consumers (93 percent) have signed up for some sort of daily email. Four in10 (38 percent) of online consumers are a fan of some brand on Facebook. Meanwhile, a mere five percent of online consumers follow a brand on Twitter.

Internet users’ daily surfing habits show that checking personal news reign over other online activities. Six in 10 (58 percent) users say they start their day by checking email, one fifth (20 percent) go to a search engine, and one in 10 (11 percent) begin their day on Facebook. Visits to corporate and brand sites trail behind. This hierarchy suggests that the personal inbox is the ultimate place to connect with consumers.

As Facebook took over the Internet, many focused their attention on turning the social network into a valuable relationship platform. While throwing an ever-growing online party with hundreds of Facebook fans is a significant accomplishment, email remains a critical component of full-fledged e-CRM plans. E-mail’s popularity among consumers may pose challenges to marketers to break through the inbox clutter. Yet a balanced program that blends relevant emails and entertaining Facebook content can build brand equity and increase open-rates. 


For additional information on this study, click here


Posted via web from Speaking of Social Media

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Media Within Your Walls

Networks are the backbone of social media. Disparate groups of people connect to one another through links, posts and messages. They participate to connect and to express their opinions. By this account, employee groups present companies with networks that are poised to share, discuss and socialize content. Employees have a vested interest in joining communities, participating in forums and following blogs as these tools help them gain insights about their field and their competitors and perform better at their jobs.

While social media seems to be a natural fit for connecting employees across departments and geographies, many companies face challenges in using such open forums of communication for business. The first barrier to action is the possibility that employees may create liabilities for the company by participating in social media. Next, the company may not have enough resources to stimulate and sustain conversations with internal stakeholders. These efforts may seem to be too much work for little gain.

The key to creating noticeable change and attaining business goals through social media in a company is to educate employees about the best practices and pitfalls of participating in online conversations. Coaching employees in best practices for sharing opinions online can help companies find the right balance of creative thinking and responsible communication. In fact, guidelines and processes can help companies be more efficient and agile in fostering online employee communications.

Today internal blogs, forums, wikis, instant messengers and employee social networks are popular tools among companies who wish to connect their workforce. There will be more seamless ways to share knowledge across organizations in the future. Yet, regardless of the platform a company chooses to employ, there are a number of basic steps organizations can follow to get the most out of their internal communications based in social media.

Start with a social media policy and training: Establish formal rules of communication on company-branded social media platforms. Tap into the expertise of communication, legal and human resource departments, as well as your IT expert. Assign roles to a team of people who should review and approve content. Note any types of information that employees should not exchange through internal social media channels. Explain the company’s position about external, informal social media communications in which employees may engage. Do they have to put disclaimers on their personal blogs? How should they identify themselves if they are speaking about company matters in public forums? Guide employees on how to use social media forums in a safe way that will not generate liability or messy legal issues for them or for the company.

Listen first, then lead: Before launching a social media platform for internal communications, take employees’ pulse. Conduct brief surveys or qualitative discussions to uncover the most pressing communication needs. Ask employees which social media channels they currently use and which tools they find effective for the communication goals you have in mind. Scan online conversations in public forums for traces of any issues. Then consider the right platform, topic areas and employees who should lead the conversations internally.   

Choose the right platform for the job:  Think of the communication goal that needs to be accomplished before deciding on the social media channel to use. Consider your team’s time, resources and talents. The latest, most advanced tool in the marketplace may not necessarily be the right choice to get the job done. For instance, a high-level executive who has deep experience to share and limited time to dedicate to  social media may best be served through a blog that gets updated once a week. Meanwhile, a team of people who need quick feedback, several times a day may prefer a forum or an internal community set up as a marketplace of ideas.

Know your culture: Social media tools are for engagement, but will your employees participate? To ensure high levels of adoption and compliance, consider how your company’s culture may affect internal, online conversations. Will your employees respond to an invitation from management? Will they need to build consensus at the department level before joining an online activity? Will you need to find internal influencers who can be early adopters and lead the pack?

Bring online meetings offline: Supplement online meetings with offline, fireside chats. Technology can speed up information exchange, but more traditional face-to-face meetings can enhance employees' satisfaction and increase their dedication to their online groups and shared projects. 

Plan for sunset: When planning the launch of an internal social media channel, consider its lifetime in light of your mission. Does the project rest upon the expertise of a single employee or department? Can the company sustain it for the foreseeable future? Is the channel built around a specific event (e.g., Olympic sponsorship) or a broader theme (e.g., new business wins)? Have a communication plan ready, in case the conversation leaders leave the company or the project runs its course and comes to an end.    

Measure success: Contrary to common belief, social media is not amorphous and there are a number of ways companies can analyze employees’ usage patterns to gauge the success of their online initiatives. Volume, content and tone of online conversations, adoption and participation rates, as well as employee satisfaction are among the many metrics companies can use to evaluate the success of their social media communications. If the channels are set around a particular project or business goal, there may be additional outcome metrics (e.g., closed sales, number of reservations, submissions for a contest) to consider.

Whether internal or external, all branded social media communications are employee communications. Your workforce represents the company and carries titles whether commenting on products in online review sites, posting comments on blog networks or participating in discussion forums on the Intranet. Establishing the ground rules of communication and teaching best practices in social media communications will give employees the opportunity to share their creativity and enhance their professional knowledge as they experiment with new technologies. Social media tools that facilitate idea generation and sharing will help companies bring new projects to life faster than before. In addition to contributing to employee satisfaction, internal social media platforms can increase productivity and unearth new opportunities for collaboration.


For additional insights on employee communications, please visit our Insidedge colleague's blog InTake and follow their newsletter In The Know.

Posted via web from Speaking of Social Media

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Art Industry Gives Crowdsourcing A Shot with Blue Label

The art industry is one to bloom late online. Major deals are usually cut offline at auctions, at reputable galleries or behind the scenes between collectors and dealers. It's certainly driven by word of mouth. When collectors invest in an artist's work, they do everything to showcase it and talk about it and recommend it to others, so that the demand for the artist increases and their investment gains value.

The high-end art world is truly an imperfect market. Information is in the hands of select collectors and few reliable communication channels. Sure you can walk into a gallery or go to an online site and pick a few paintings, but do you really know what you are getting? Probably not. Is there a public reference system like the stock market to see which blue chip name is going up or down? Not really. 

The newly launched site Blue Label offers a fresh and simple approach to seeing works of art and getting accurate information on them. Artists can post images of their works and label them (title, medium) securely. Each painting is assigned a Blue Lable code. While the site doesn't have sales data, collectors can follow artists, look up art works and catalogue items that are in their own collections. Through shared knowledge, the database grows and becomes an accurate referral guide for art enthusiasts. 

The site has a membership fee of several hundred dollars, which might make some artists think twice about posting before Blue Label proves its worth and deters amateurs. Nonetheless, it is a refreshing initiative for an industry that largely kept to traditional ways of doing business. 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Implementing Word of Mouth at UPENN

I had the opportunity to do a book reading and a presentation on word of mouth marketing at University of Pennsylvania. Having presented to business audiences at many conferences before, I am used to people checking blackberries, Tweeting, typing with purpose on their laptops. This time, audience focus was 100 percent on the screen. They listened. They took notes. It was very refreshing to present to such an engaged group.

The students, who were MBA or media studies students, asked really thoughtful questions. They wanted to understand how to measure buzz and how to predict what kind of start-up would be poised to take off. When I talked about networking agents who drive online word of mouth, one question kept coming up - how do you identify your own set of influencers? How do you know someone you're targeting is truly a powerful word of mouth agent online?

The dynamic Q&A session confirmed my initial belief when starting to write this book: We are no longer discussing the importance of social media, nor are we describing the changing communication landscape. The revolution happened. Now, the online word of mouth space is ripe for business. Developers around the world release hundreds of applications per day. The start up scene is replete with smart companies that are harnessing word of mouth data and helping consumers publish like professional creatives.

No matter what the next big thing is or whatever the social networking idea du jour may be, we still need to figure out the flow of information in influencer networks and find ways to bring brands into these conversations. Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing aims to do just that. The book helps readers - whether they are seasoned marketers or curious students seeking the next opportunity - how to formulate and carry out their own word of mouth marketing plans.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Opportunity is in Asia-Pacific

Trendstream, a research firm based in the UK, has published global trends on social media usage. The firm’s Global Web Index, based on 32,000 online interviews across 16 countries, shows that online marketers in the Asia Pacific region have tremendous opportunities as their audiences trust and engage with brands that communicate with them through social media.

As compared with the global average, consumers in the Asia Pacific region indicate that brand-driven communities, fan pages and blogs improve their opinions of that brand. They feel similarly if a brand takes note of their mentions and starts following them on a microblog (e.g., Twitter).

This trend may well be based in certain Asian populations’ positive attitudes towards technology and the Web, coupled with their preference for privacy. For instance, when asked about brand communication methods that improve their opinion of brands, Chinese and South Korean respondents are unlike anyone else. While in the US, Latin America, and in Europe, consumers are more likely to be impressed with face-to-face communications, Chinese and South Korean consumers prefer online recommendations from a contact or a friend.

The Global Web Index data have strong implications for programs that need to work across multiple countries. Marketers need to be attuned to the ways in which their audiences prefer to receive communications and make necessary adjustments in each local market. Brands that can decipher cultural attitudes towards information sources, knowledge and experience are bound to communicate more effectively and build global equity.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tweet for The Hungry - Get Egged!

Full disclosure: I am working on a campaign to feed the hungry led by the United Egg Producers Certified. The widget you're seeing on the left hand bar is our initiative. Please send a quick, fun Tweet to a friend - whether they be a #goodegg or #deviledegg. United Egg Producers will donate a dozen eggs for each of your Tweets. If you'd like to send it your Facebook page, add it to your blog or bookmark it, check it out at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Smart Sensors Save Lives (And Billions in Healthcare Costs)

When looking to the future of the Internet, do not just think about flat and small screens with keypads. Think about sensors with Internet Protocol people carry with them or attach to objects. Think how pill-shaped microcameras can create significant efficiencies by collecting hard-to-find data and alerting doctors and caregivers to changes in a patient’s health condition.

As the recent McKinsey Quarterly report, Internet of Things, highlights, such Internet-based technology can collect and send thousands of images from the human digestive tract and help physicians detect illnesses. There is also tremendous value in gathering real-time data from a patient’s daily routine. Spotting symptoms early on helps patients and hospitals save on cost of healthcare and most importantly, can help save lives.

In fact, a trial using sensors on patients with congestive heart failure collected data on basics such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm on a daily basis. This was significantly more information than what physicians could gather on a routine check, during a patient visit. Using such systems, physicians can detect early warning signs and prevent unplanned hospitalizations.

To read about additional applications of smart sensors in healthcare, marketing and energy fields, among others, please click here.






Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Now The Internet Can Save Lives

When looking to the future of the Internet, do not just think about flat and small screens with keypads. Think about sensors with Internet Protocol people carry with them or attach to objects. Think how pill-shaped microcameras can create significant efficiencies by collecting hard-to-find data and alerting doctors and caregivers to changes in a patient’s health condition.

As the recent McKinsey Quarterly report, Internet of Things, highlights, such Internet-based technology can collect and send thousands of images from the human digestive tract and help physicians detect illnesses. There is also tremendous value in gathering real-time data from a patient’s daily routine. Spotting symptoms early on helps patients and hospitals save on cost of healthcare and most importantly, can help save lives.

In fact, a trial using sensors on patients with congestive heart failure collected data on basics such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm on a daily basis. This was significantly more information than what physicians could gather on a routine check, during a patient visit. Using such systems, physicians can detect early warning signs and prevent unplanned hospitalizations.

To read about additional applications of smart sensors in healthcare, marketing and energy fields, among others, please click here.



Posted via web from Speaking of Social Media

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The New Profile of America

The countdown to the 2010 Census has begun. As of March 15th, we will be receiving the forms. The U.S. Census bureau has been leading a multi-faceted communication campaign, encouraging publics to participate and educating them about the importance of being represented. The census results will inform budget allocation on public programs. It will alert the business world to emerging forces among consumer groups. It will make all of us appreciate the richness in U.S. population’s diversity. 

The 2010 Census has a lot of bearings particularly for the Hispanic population. Experts are predicting that Hispanics will emerge as the largest minority group at 50 million - surely a force to be reckoned with. The bureau is making significant efforts to capture demographic information accurately and to reach as wide of a population as possible.

To this end, they’re mailing Spanish forms to highly populated Hispanic areas – without requiring special requests from citizens. They’re partnering with Univision and Telemundo for Spanish public service message broadcasting. Finally, they are present in every key social media channel, with relevant videos, photos and stories to Hispanic (and other) populations. You can follow the U.S. Census on Twitter, on Facebook, on Flickr and on YouTube.

 These efforts are on target to reach the Hispanic population online. As I wrote before in my post about online Hispanic adults, they are young, tech-savvy and eager to spread the word. What will need to happen next is that Latino community-based organizations (CBOs) will need to weave these online hubs into their communications. The referrals to social media sources when engaging crowds offline and online will inform Hispanic online advocates and empower them to educate and recruit their community members.  

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vodafone's Mobile Solutions Community Solves World's Problems

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about mobile communications in the U.S. is that it's mostly for teenagers and gadget gurus. Yet for many around the world it's the way to access the Web and do business. Globally, mobile subscriptions are about to surpass 3.4 billion -- and most of these users are in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Mobile presents a lifeline to many in these areas. Imagine rural populations banking without a single branch in sight. Imagine youth groups having a national debate through a mobile social network. Imagine those who suffer from lack of information getting health alerts, news alerts, trade alerts on their cells. Sellers meet farmers, doctors meet patients, crisis news move populations to safer places through mobile phones. 

Projects similar to these are looking for sponsors, partners and developers on Vodafone's open community Web site Betavine. NGOs and communities go on the site to pose challenges they would like to overcome using technology. Developers collaborate to offer solutions and come up with new applications. The community members pose questions and educate themselves through shared resources. They also get the chance to apply for grants by participating in challenges. Betavine is not restricted to Vodafone technologies and platforms. It's open source R&D in the truest sense. Indeed, some of the best ideas to solve big problems come from stiff competition. 

You can read more about social entrepreneurs finding mobile solutions on

Posted via web from Speaking of Social Media

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Emerging Markets Far Ahead in Social Media

Accenture’s latest report on consumer electronics products and services is an eye opener to consumer quest for innovation, technology and social networking in emerging markets. The study referenced in the report is based on a vast sample of 16,000 from China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States. The results show that innovation is more likely to be a driver of electronics purchases in emerging markets than in mature markets. Almost all (94 percent) of respondents from emerging markets consider it important to buy most innovative technologies, compared with 82 percent of respondents from mature markets. Moreover, consumers in emerging markets purchase technologies more frequently and spend more on these devices.

Emerging market consumers desire to get the most out of the latest in technology is also evident in their use of social media. Simply put, they are more likely to be active on those channels that are cast as niche in mature markets. Consistently, emerging market consumers are more likely than their counterparts to tweet, watch videos on mobile phones, write blogs, contribute to Wikipedia, play video games on the go, participate in online communities and connect with people on social networks.

Given emerging markets’ intensity of using social media, one might hypothesize that online word of mouth campaigns with appealing messages could take off faster and go further in these areas. The differences between the two groups point to the significant role culture, values, norms, and aspirations play in peer-to-peer communications.    



Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Monday, February 15, 2010

When Reader Opinion Weighs More Than Author's

Last Friday, I grabbed a copy of B-to-B online to keep myself busy on the subway. Somewhere between 59th street and Grand Central, I got struck by a sentence in Paul Gillin's column, titled Sidewiki could spell trouble. As he discusses collaborative technologies that layer user comments over public (e.g., Google news) and personal news (e.g., gmail) Gillin states in a prophetic manner "Marketing messages will be less important than the audience's validation of those messages." So well said!

Today, it would behoove any consumer to go online before completing a major purchase and check what others' experiences have been. My words as a marketer are only as good as the positive comments and enthusiastic recommendations from my customers. Studies point to decline of trust in pushed messages and rise of trust in word of mouth.

I am going to venture that word of mouth and 'side comments' will be even more important for purchasing higher-priced items and making critical decisions. When the stakes are high, people will be more open to hear what others have to say. This will also require more systematic ways of sifting through the clutter and identifying those whose opinions matter. 

When the sidewiki bubbles with comments, I'd like to see some sort of rating for commentators -- not only based on how many times they have commented, but also based on their experience and expertise. 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Taxihack - Most Useful for Lost & Found

Back in October, I had written about NYC's search for NY-themed apps. The winners were announced recently. The finalists share a common fundamental theme: ease of use and application. Were you ever stuck looking for the nearest subway stop and walked five blocks in the wrong direction? With WayFinder, no mas! The geo-targeting app lets you spot the nearest entrance in one wave of the arm. Big Apple Ed is useful for parents or real estate hunters who want to look up NYC public school. But Taxihack is the quintessential NY app, in my humble opinion. Anyone who's been to NY, has had a cabby experience. You're bouncing from one side of the car to the other, your driver insists he knows the way better than you do, there are dubious sticky things on the back of the seat in front of you. But then you're so happy you found one when it's raining, when it's 1AM and you need to go home safely, when you're in a mad, mad rush or when you have simply too much to carry up and down the subway. 

Now you can tweet @taxihack or email and talk about the positives and negatives of your ride. It may be tricky for passengers to match the medallion number to the car when they're eagerly waving and patiently waiting on the curb, but this new channel give both the passengers and the drivers room to vent! 

The app is still new, so I would expect the next iterations to organize information by neighborhood or by cabby number. Yet, the lost and found section  is not cluttered and is pretty practical if you've left anything behind or looking for a particular passenger. 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Research and Markets Adds Implementing WOMM

Research and markets, the leading source for international market research and market data added Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing to its roster. The company holds close to 800,000 major research publications from leading publishers, consultants and analysts. The news appeared on Fox Business, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance and Globe Investor. Within a month of its publication, Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing went up to #65 on's list of retailing bestsellers. At the time I am writing this post, it ranks as #28 on Amazon UK's bestseller list for retailing.  

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Friday, February 5, 2010

Nike's GreenXchange Is A New Way of Selling

As Fast Company's Ariel Schwartz recently wrote, Nike partnered with the likes of Yahoo, Best Buy, IDEO, Mountain Equipment Co-op and (among others) and launched a collaborative workspace called GreenXchange. Schwartz reports that the idea behind this initiative to join intellectual powers to create sustainable solutions came from Wikinomics author Don Tapscott and Nike's Sustainable Business and Innovation Lab. 

Upon visiting GreenXchange, you will notice that it is still a work in progress. But a noble one, indeed. The site states that "transformational change happens when individuals are willing to share ideas, work together, and seek solutions that create more efficient, more profitable and more meaningful business opportunities and models." Visitors can look up abstracts and licenses under various sustainability topics. They can connect to a discussion on a 2degrees network to continue the conversation or go onto the nGenera platform to collaborate. 

The brands that participate in this initiative are clearly showing their commitment to innovation and green product development. But they are not just doing this for earning public approval. They are also enhancing their business. Smarter solutions can mean efficient production, shortened time to market, higher consumer demand. It can also mean cross-branding (remember Cole Haan's Nike Air heels?) and broadening target consumer groups. 

This is a smart initiative whichever way you look at it. And it stands as a great example of how companies can use social networks in the b-to-b space. 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fast Company Selects AIDG's Cat Laine As One of the Five Social Capitalists To Change The World in 2010

This just in: Fast Company's latest edition features Cat Laine, humanist, blogger and amazingly strong woman. I had written about the Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group before in this blog as the organization was helping with revival efforts in Haiti. AIDG runs projects in developing countries, using technology to develop sustainable economic solutions for the locals.

While the AIDG team is still working relentlessly on the ground in Haiti, it's great to see that they are recognized and applauded for their efforts. Cat's touching interview with Boing Boing is a testament to how technology is essential in connecting people in times of crisis, when all else fails. Amidst all this tragedy, it gives me hope to see a small group of determined idealists shine and bring their ideas to the masses. 

And Cat, we're keeping you and your family in our thoughts... 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing in the Media

My book Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing was recently mentioned inThe Globe and Mail and in the Canadian broadcasting channel CTV's Web site . And thank you to the reader who dropped it in Bloomberg BusinessWeek's idea exchange site, Business Exchange. Funny enough, I didn't find these through Google. I used Hakia, a semantic search engine.

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous

Moms with Children At Home Are On Facebook

Moms are actively using social media and spreading buzz about their activities, likes, preferences, coupons. We knew that. But sometimes we get lost in the tactics and think that any approach du jour will work when it comes to reaching moms online. There are many segments to this group: those with children at home, new moms, expecting moms, those with toddler, those with teenagers. And they all behave differently, as they have varying needs for information and communication.

Here are some interesting findings from a study conducted for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association by BIGresearch that bring some clarity to our perspective about marketing to moms through social media: Women with children at home are more likely than average adults to use Facebook (60 vs. 50 percent), MySpace (42 vs. 34 percent), and Twitter (17 vs. 15 percent) than average adults. Additionally, 15.3% maintain their own blog.

Among these channels, Facebook is clearly the heavy weight one. Next steps will be in finding ideas that will cut through the clutter on Facebook and communications that will offer enough value to these busy moms that they will revert their attention from personal conversations to marketing messages. 

Posted via web from dotwom's posterous