Social Media: Past, Present and Future

Been meaning to post this for a couple weeks but the holidays just seem like such an appropriate time to blog about the ghost of social media past, present and future, don’t they. I thought this was a pretty compelling presentation by entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist Mark Suster, presented at the Caltech MIT Enterprise Forum in October.

His presentation is a pithy take on where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed with the social web. His main takeaway, at least from my read, is that the rise of massive social networks such as Facebook and Twitter inevitably means that fragmentation is on it’s way. The social web is already starting to splinter into more vertically aligned interest groups (i.e. the Birds of a Feather” effect).

This fragmentation of the social web, he finally points out, is why Mark Zuckerberg remains paranoid (after all, where is AOL or even Yahoo! two titans of the early internet today?) and why right now is one of the greatest times since the last wave of digital innovation to work hard and innovate. Great, inspiring stuff.

SocialPastPresentFuture

How Social Media Boutiques are Winning Deals Over Traditional Digital Agencies

 

Social Media Agency Budgets: Boutiques versus Traditional Digital Agencies

 

Some insightful research from a research report by Altimeter Group, reported on Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang shows a pretty dramatic trend going on in the agency business right now. It appears boutique social media and content agencies are really taking some significant chunks of client’s business away from traditional digital shops. This is really no different than the general trend in the agency business as a whole, where clients shift entire budgets away from established agency players to smaller, more specialized practices.

At some point, the big shops become too lethargic and cumbersome to meet the increasingly specialized demands of clients in emerging communications channels and practices. Their staffs a bloated with overhead and people that provide the things clients don’t want to buy anymore. They are machines of marketing service. The big guys aren’t really market makers, after all, they’re market takers.

But, the problem is, success in the marketing services industry is shifting dramatically away from how well you are at being a bulk provider big, media-centric ideas and is now more about delivering innovative and compelling experiences that transcend communications channels. Marketing services is not so much a practice that starts with the client brief anymore…rather it starts by listening and observing your customers online behavior and interests, mining this for insights then creating your ideas and content based on what your audience tells you they’re already interested in. Marketing is now less about what you have to say and more about the user experience. And, it is a new breed of social boutique agencies that is winning over significant chunks of client business, away from more traditional digital agencies.

Altimeter identified why the smaller, more nimble firms are winning:

  • They put business goals first, tools and technologies second
  • They offer a specialized skill set in new media and social business traditional shops most likely don’t
  • They offer change management within  the corporations. Traditional agencies layer social on top of existing campaigns
  • They have a long-term or community-building vision versus a short-term,campaign-focused mentality
  • They roll up their sleeves to assist with deeper customer engagement instead of relying on traditional advertising (a top spend item in social programs)
  • Smaller, more agile teams with senior leadership that can respond and adapt to changes in the technology space
  • Fundamentally are geared to measure differently around engagement and what that means…not just to line and bottom line measures.

 

 

10 Trends in Mobile Technology

Mobile Gaming

From the Wall Street Journal the top trends in mobile for the coming year. Here they are:

  1. Tablets will take over the world
  2. Android will take over the world
  3. Apps will take over the world
  4. 4G will take over the world…eventually
  5. Parts for mobile handsets and networks will be in short supply
  6. The attorneys will have a field day protecting turf via patent warfare
  7. Security and privacy will be insecure and not so private
  8. China will screw everyone
  9. Your phone replaces your wallet/purse
  10. Location, location, location…as in using your phone to broadcast yours to everyone and allowing marketers can know your location so they can bombard you with coupons, offers and other Minority Report-like advertising assaults.

How a $1,000 Spend on FourSquare Netted McDonalds a 33% Increase in Traffic.


Mashable reports that a FourSquare promotion McDonalds conducted in April got the fast food monster a 33% one day traffic increase…just by giving patrons a chance to win gift certificates by checking in on FourSquare. Pretty impressive, especially considering the chains customers are pre-teens, teens and busy moms. I’d say most men abandon McDonalds when they acquire a taste for real meat. I haven’t been in a McDonalds in months and I try never to eat there. Still, impressive that such a massive mass media consumer is experimenting with cutting-edge social techniques. And, good to see the promotions are working, even with such a relatively small installed base (FourSquare has just over 3 million users, according to this Mashable post). Look for location-based marketing to increase…and with it, location based spam…just like in the movie, Minority Report, where the Tom Cruise character is bombarded with useless pitches as he strolls through a shopping mall.

Old Spice Guy Social Media Campaign: The reports of my death are premature


This post from eConsultancy, is a much more in depth analysis of the fervor over the supposed lack of performance of the Old Spice Guy social media campaign than what was reported earlier in the week by a number of sources jumping all over the fact one of the fastest and most popular social media campaigns in recent memory was a failure in terms of sales. Turns out, sales data showing Old Spice Body Wash down 7% was for a 52-week period that ended BEFORE this effort even started.

My money’s on the potential of this lifting sales significantly.


How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made

Excellent post from ReadWriteWeb on How the Old Spice videos were made. I love this campaign. Everyone does. The videos have been a huge hit on YouTube and other social media sites. There’s some disappointing news this morning that Old Spice sales aren’t benefiting from the campaign….yet. I think the jury’s still out. After all, body wash isn’t something you pantry load…unless you’re me and your teenage sons take yours out of the shower all the time.

I’ve got some ideas regarding what Old Spice could have done to insure better sales success. What about you?


Social Influence Markering Trends


Excellent presentation on Social Influence Marketing by former RazorFish digital strategist and author of Social Media Marketing for Dummies, Shiv Singh. What’s social influence marketing, you ask? It’s the reason you get your company into social media in the first place…to have influence.

Ad Industry Optimism Reaches Highest Point Yet: Improves For All Media, Especially Digital and Mobile


Advertiser Perceptions Inc tracks what marketers and media buyers say they’re going to spend on advertising and there’s some good news in their recent report, especially for digital and mobile.

Of the over 1,400 decision-makers surveyed, nearly one third (32%) now expect to increase their spending over the next 12-months, making this the largest increase since API began asking this question in the spring of 2007. While print still shows negative growth and TV is flat, digital and mobile are bright spots, with 60% of executives saying they’ll increase digital and 62% boosting mobile spending.

What are you seeing at your company?

Apple Face Time Commerical: Perfect


Apple once again demonstrates what an intelligent and intuitive marketer they are, not just in terms of product development but in advertising…yes, advertising. This is a beautiful spot for Face Time on iPhone 4.

In this almost two-minute video, they show you BENEFITS of a feature. And, they make it seem like Apple just invented video chat, which has been around for years. But, in a way, they have invented it because video chat has never been so mobile.

What’s a benefit, you ask? You know, those reasons people actually buy something in the first place, not to be confused with features, which marketers take as the reasons people buy. Do people want a better camera or do they want to take better photos? Do people want a better smartphone or better, more intimate communication?

Other manufacturers in the consumer electronics category would have laden this ad with features, FEATURES and MORE F-E-A-T-U-R-E-S plus a ton of legal disclaimers taking up the last third of the spot. Reminds me of the brilliant and hilarious YouTube video entitled, “If Microsoft Designed the iPod packaging”.

Apple gets humans. They know we like beauty. They know sometimes dads travel for business and at the end of the day, sitting in some lonely hotel room, want to be reminded of why they go through all this in the first place and want to connect with their family. They know sometimes grandparents can’t be there for the graduation but want to experience it anyway. I got chills when the military dad watches the ultrasound of his unborn baby, while it’s happening. Do you notice the tear in his eye? I have to admit, I got one in mine.

This is a beautifully shot piece. It taps right into your emotions without a word. Apple gets humans. They know we communicate a lot with just our expressions and gestures. You can feel the reverence for the human experience. Maybe I’m too much of a fan of Apple but I don’t think so. I just admire the way they respect me, they anticipate me and understand that what I’m looking for is not a better widget but a better experience with other humans. How nice.


via Apple Face Time Commerical: Perfect.

Digital Marketing Driving Transformation in Global Marketing


Results from a recent Deloitte sponsored survey of CMO’s and senior level marketers portends great news for digital marketing practitioners and bad news for traditional “push” marketing types…within corporations and agencies alike.

Investing in digital demand generation and online relationship building ranks among the top initiatives being taken to maximize the impact and value of marketing in 2010, according to 46% of survey participants.

The digital revolution continues!

CMO COUNCIL :: Press Release.