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.



Unilever to Double-Down on Digital Spend

According to this AdAge interview with Unilever CMO Keith Weed, Unilever is shifting dollars…a big portion of it’s spend…to digital. And by “digital” he means three things: paid, owned and earned.

It’s an interesting look at the thinking going on at one of the biggest mass marketers on the planet. They realize that they are a mass marketer that’s got to get where the mass of the people are, and increasingly that’s online and on their mobile devices.

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.

Marketing Service Providers and Clients Must Change or Die

During Kodak CMO’ Jeffrey Heyzlett’s Houston Interactive Marketing Association luncheon presentation yesterday, it became clear to me there’s no going back to the Mad Men days. Kodak now is launching very successful products and marketing campaigns all without a dime of above the line media. They’ve gone from 3,100+ world wide agencies to less than 1,300…still a bunch, in my opinion. But, there are no more agencies of record. Jeff doesn’t tolerate people on his team who rely on agencies to do what they themselves should be doing. They’re eliminating duplication of effort and streamlining costs. Every body is clear about their job. Kodak spends way less on traditional advertising and marketing services costs are reduced and they get better returns. What’s not to love?

Well, traditional agencies, with their highly compensated CEO’s, cast of thousands…the butts in every seat strategy…and high overhead, can’t love this too much. They’re watching their demise in the form of the death of a thousand cuts.

Now, nobody is saying traditional advertising is going away tomorrow. But, it’s decline is inevitable.

This creates a wealth of opportunities for smaller, more nimble marketing services firms. New approaches and ideas.

More support for all this change comes from this week’s Ad Age.

As Shops Transform, Marketers Must Adapt Too – Advertising Age

New Research: Top 10 Ways Buyers Find Professional Services Providers

In case you’re one of those B2B product or service company’s that think digital marketing and social media are only for consumer-facing companies, think again. Even B2B decision makers are consumers and they use their consumer pull skills to access information and recommendations on the business partners they’ll turn to. The conclusion of this research is also validated by the post I recently made including research from the AMA and Duke on marketing trends. B2b product and service marketing are projecting the fastest growth in social media over the next year.

New Research: Top 10 Ways Buyers Find Professional Services Providers.

CMO Marketing Tracking Survey

Excellent info on the state of marketing and marketing practices for the next six months from the AMA and Duke University.

The CMO Survey Highlights and Insights, February 2010

The New Consumer Journey

McKinsey Consumer Decision Journey 6.25.09

I was recently catching up on some reading and came across this excellent report from McKinsey on the new consumer journey. Most marketers are familiar with the purchase funnel model, which prepossess a funnel process whereby a consumer, when starting on their journey to purchase any product or service, starts with a large initial group of items and narrows their options as they go through various stages and exposure to marketing messages from vague awareness to  consideration to purchase intent and purchase and then loyalty. Well, McKinsey, after talking to and observing behavior of over 20,000 consumers across five different product categories on three continents found that this funnel doesn’t really apply to how consumers actually make decisions now. It was a great model during the heyday of mass media. But, as we’re all discovering, without mass media, mass marketing becomes passe. Instead of the purchase funnel, it looks like consumers go through something that looks more like a purchase circle.

The most astonishing thing the research uncovered, in my opinion, is that during the active consideration phase, when consumers actually add to the number of products in their considered set,  2/3rds of the marketing consumers use to help make their decision is generated by…other consumers! This has profound implications for marketers, agencies and media companies. But, I think it also has profound implications for mobile. Let me help make the connection…

As I posted last week, consumers a engaging in a whole host of activities on their smart phones, while they’re shopping. Increasingly, social media is being accessed. They’re sharing their intended purchases, asking for opinions of others, checking ratings and reviews. This is already changing the way we shop and how and what we buy.

The bottom line is: marketers who don’t have a strategy for dealing with this are late already.

Pepsi Winning by Avoiding The Superbowl But They’re Missing Out Ignoring Mobile.

This post indicates Pepsi is already ahead by opting for a social media campaign and skipping expensive 30-second TV commercial production and Super Bowl media buy.

Pepsi’s approach is beating the traditional advertising route in two ways:

1. Awareness/Buzz: The Refresh Everything social media campaign, which gives $20-million to crowd-sourced community renewal projects, has generated 21 percent of the media coverage and online buzz surrounding Superbowl advertising, according to Nielsen. That’s a lot of attention for a company that’s not advertising in the game. It’s 10 times the coverage given to Coke, who is advertising in the game.

2. Cost Containment: All the rage at any corporation with a balance sheet these days. According to the post, Pepsi is spending about $10-million less than it usually spends on Superbowl ads.

Spend less, get more. Isn’t that the goal? My only beef with this campaign, and it seems like a HUGE miss to me, given their target audience and the amount of time their primary consumers spend on mobile devices connecting to social networks and making buying decisions in store…there’s no apparent mobile component to the campaign. I checked the iTunes store this morning…nada.

Imagine how much more participation they’d have if they would have done an iPhone/iPod touch app that would have made it easier for for their audience to share, participate and submit projects. I know it will take sluggish brands time to catch on to mobile but they had better hurry up. The consumer is way ahead of them on mobile…in both social networking and shopping.

Pepsi Has Already Won by Avoiding The Superbowl – GigaOM.

The Death of the Advertising Agency

Interesting to see how this comes out in the morning but having seen all the ads, the Doritos spots were among the best. Frito-Lay and these normal people are showing big ideas are not the exclusive domain of the professional ad guys.

Four Consumer-Created Doritos Ads Crash The Super Bowl, Now Face The Pros In Attempt To…

Omnicom loses another Pepsi digital account –

BBDO, major, big time ad agency, not faring too well in the digital realities in today’s marketplace. Clients are voting with their wallets and all the prestige and awards in the world won’t matter.

Omnicom loses another Pepsi digital account –