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.    



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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. 

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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. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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... 

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