Sunday, August 28, 2011

Google+1 May Face The Same Challenges As Facebook 'Like'

PowerReviews and BazaarVoice, which are the names behind many customer review and ratings systems, are adding the Google +1 button to their feature suite. The partnership is giving Google an amazing distribution platform -- PowerReviews alone catalogs more than 35 million products and 5,500 branded products. Jockey is among the first PowerReviews brands to integrate the +1 button. While it's nice to see the +1 option in review boxes as a choice of expression, this initiative makes me think +1 may face some of the same challenges as the 'like' button, in terms of user privacy: 

Will consumers want to show to their whole Google network what they used and reviewed? Giving a camisole a +1 on connects my personal shopping habits with my email, blog, Google+ network, YouTube and Adsense accounts. This might be a bit too-much-information. 

Will consumers give a +1, in addition to using a 5-star system? Within the PowerReviews system, consumers still have regular features to rate a product on a star scale and write reviews. Clicking on the +1 would mean I want to make sure everyone hears about what I have to say. What percentage of consumers would go through the extra step? Will we see a correlation between types of reviews, average star ratings and +1's?

How does the +1 system benefit the ad consumer? If I am sharing so much information about my likes with a giant advertising platform, will I get more targeted, useful ads? How would this type of information matching make consumers feel about using the +1 button or clicking through online ads?

A substantial group of people use the +1 button, across 1 million+ sites. Coupled with consumer review content, Google will be collecting considerable data on the most outspoken word of mouth agents who regularly publish their opinions online. 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Nutbox Moves Fast to Draw Customers Post Hurricane Irene

If you had the pleasure of shopping for food in New York between Friday afternoon and Saturday noon, your experience could simply be described as mayhem: Long lines, empty shelves, baskets filled with panic - rather than family-budget choices. You may think these shops made a killing thanks to Hurricane Irene. But remember they were closed during what would have been their busiest time in the week, because of the emergency situation in the area. 

Many stores in our Brooklyn neighborhood remained closed after the stormed moved from the area with employees stranded in other boroughs. Meanwhile Nutbox, an eclectic store that sells all sorts of nuts and dried fruit, moved fast. Around 3PM, I got an email from them saying their Brooklyn shop was open until 7PM and I could come in for a free taste of their latest coffee flavor. In 15 minutes, we were in the store, buying Spanish paprika and onion flakes. 

The cost of coffee to Nutbox is probably 15 cents. The email push is I'm guessing also nominal -- they used Mail Chimp. We paid about $10 for the two items. Two other customers walked in while we were there, after they saw activity in the store. 

Nutbox's simple email is chock full of small business lessons:

1- Use nimble technology: Use affordable, turnkey systems such as Mail Chimp e-mail manager to reach out to your opt-in list.

2- Move fast - you're the boss: You don't have to run your brilliant idea up the chain. If it's at low cost to you, just do it.

3- Tailor your messages to customer needs: 'Come and have a cup of coffee,' was the perfect message to increase foot traffic post Hurricane Irene debacle. People were glued to their TV sets for almost two days and were aching to get back to normal - as in times when they could leisurely walk and buy something they can enjoy without a certain sense of urgency.

4- Good service means cross-sell, up-sell opportunities: We could have easily walked in to just grab our coffee and walked back out. But with so many rightly priced items at our disposal, and having just received a bit of an incentive, we went ahead and shopped for nice-to-haves.

5- Don't miss a chance to beat competition: Both Starbucks shops in the neighborhood were closed with signs saying 'Blame the weather, not us!' And it would have been perfectly understandable if Nutbox remained shut through Sunday and even Monday. But, why miss the opportunity to offer something people cannot get elsewhere?





Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Estimate Value of an Online Coupon Program?

Online coupons are often used to boost Facebook fan base. But they come at a cost to the company. Brands looking to throw a coupon out there need to have a good estimate of redemption rates for their category and the value of actual purchases couponing fans will generate. Consider this:

CPG brands can expect 17% online coupon redemption: The U.S. Mid-Year 2011 CPG Coupon Industry Facts report by NCH Marketing Services shows Internet home-printed coupons' redemption rate in second place with 17%, right after instant on-pack coupons (23%). (Source: In other words, online coupons have become the next best option for deal seekers after finding the coupon on the package. 

Online coupons bring in new customers: Another important finding comes from Knowledge Networks, which found that nearly half (46%) of CPG digital coupon redeemers from 2008 to 2010 had not previously bought that product. (Source: 

This is terrific news so far, but we need to add a few more variable to the equation to make sure that the online coupon will be worth your efforts:

Organizational cost based on:

  • Cost of product * expected number of redeemed coupons
  • Cost of fulfillment

Agency cost based on:

  • Cost of designing/programming the coupon
  • Team hours to promote the deal
  • Team hours to manage the process before and after posting coupon

If the coupon is on a Facebook fan page, adding all costs and dividing them by the number of new fans will give us the cost of acquisition for a new fan

Will each fan be worth the same? Probably not, considering some will never come back to visit the page while others will recruit friends. Let's think of a scenario where

  • 50 percent of new fans never visit the page again, nor do they purchase the product at full price
  • 20 percent visit the page again, but do not purchase again at full price
  • 30 percent become loyal fans who visit again and purchase at full price

The real value of the coupon effort will come from those who become loyal fans and customers. In this case, we'd need to take 30% of those new fans and multiply their number by the average profit they bring to the brand.

Gain from new fans:

(Total number of new couponing fans * % who become customers) * Average profit from new customer

Take the cost of acquiring new fans through a coupon out of this gain and you'll find the real value provided to the organization. 

Coupon Program Value = Gain from fans who became customers - Cost of acquiring all fans

In a low or negative value scenario, you may find that you spent too much to acquire the few fans who became customers. In a positive value scenario, you'd find that enough fans converted to customers, covering the cost of the program and bringing profits. 



Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Obama's Tips on Foursquare: A New Grassroots Political Campaign

President Obama has been posting tips about his stops on the Midwest economic bus tour through the White House Foursquare account. Beyond accruing 'cool' points, what might be the motivation behind setting up yet another social media channel? Here's my take on what this means:

Mobile grassroots campaign: The President will continue with a grassroots approach that taps young adults in his 2012 bid. Foursquare has set up an automated system so that the White House account immediately follows back every account that starts following Obama. Currently, there are close to 30,000 followers on the @whitehouse Foursquare account. That's 30,000 (and growing) mobile contacts that can be mobilized locally in the following phases of the campaign.  

Obama's social media share of voice will grow organically: In the 2008 elections, online searches we ran using social media monitoring tools had to be cleaned of unrelated Obama comments. The name was everywhere. We'll see a rise on search results and posts with Obama tags, thanks to Foursquare check-ins not only from the White House, but Obama followers. 

Politics will infuse personal social network accounts: Let's not forget the connecting ties between networks. Foursquare check-ins can easily be Facebook status updates or turn into Tweets. Dashboards like Tweetdeck allow users to manage multiple accounts from one spot. A check-in at an Obama event can spread to multiple personal networks at once.

Security risk? Is it safe for a President to communicate where he is so often and in almost real-time? Arguably, it may not be the best idea. But citizen reporters with social media access are already reporting Obama sightings with updates, pictures, videos. The media are following the Obama tour closely. @whitehouse account is just another official channel of information that's helping the Obama campaign steer the agenda and direct traffic to and the blog. 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Re-thinking Influencer Reach

Grouping my contacts in Google+ Circles is making me re-think about the way we've been defining reach in social media. The value of your network shouldn't just be based on how many people you know, but also account for 'who' you know. As the recent Harvard Business Review article, A Smarter Way to Network, indicates, successful leaders capitalize on diversified networks. They not only solicit feedback and insights from their contacts, but they know people from different circles. This adds to the richness of information they get and the variety of networks they reach. 

While we study influencers, it's important to know the number of their followers, blog readers, Facebook friends, etc. But it's also key to know how many different types of circles they tap and which ones they will choose to send your messages. Years ago, when I was working on the e-fluentials surveys at Burson-Marsteller, a journalist had asked to interview someone who qualified as an online influencer. The selected e-fluential told the journalist how he had separate lists of people he emailed, for politics, jokes, national news and general updates. He explained that he was very careful not to push information out to people who would not want it or not engage with the content. 

Perhaps this e-fluencer was ahead of his time or a bit conscientious, but today we have Twitter lists, LinkedIn groups and now Google+ Circles. We need to ask influencers how many people they are spreading news for every different type of message, product or service. Next, we need to understand which channels when they disseminate that particular info byte. Then, we can talk about influencer reach and network value. 

Posted via email from dotwom's posterous