Samsung Mobile is running a promotion via YouTube that is a crazy collection of some of the right ideas that just don't go together in a recognizable and tasty dish. (Thanks to Orli whose Go2Web2.0 blog is terrific)It's as if they looked at the recipe list for video-based engagement but forgot the idea or concept to hold it all together.
Essentially, they are soliciting users to create videos - against 4 categories - plant their video "pin" on a Google Maps mash-up alongside videos from "select" Warner Brothers music artists while colecting customer ideas on product innovations and, oh, by the way, your video may be featured on the Times Square Samsung Billboard. Whew, that's a mouthful.
Here's the recipe where each ingredient is finger-lickin' good:
What aren't they doing?
Just about the only thing they left off the list of potential incentives is a "social good" element where they make a donation triggered by site activity. There's no reason why they should do this other than that they seem to have thrown in everything but the kitchen sink so far.
They do not have a real contest strategy either. There is no clear "winner" nor prizes beyond the vague suggestion that your video may end up on the Jumbotron. Usually incentives break down as follows:
a. the activity is organically relevant
b. there is a chance to win something of value
c. you get a spotlight and/or credit
d. there is a social good outcome
They have played a little loose with a and c.
I do not know what their outreach strategy is. There is no way to know. Whenever we run a program along these lines we have a whole outreach and activation plan to help the experience grow and be discovered.
There is no binding idea here. The headline is: Ringing in 2008 with Samsung Mobile. Not a lot of definition to the idea there.
It is a collection of some of the right things but not all of them should be thrown together like this. For instance, the 4th video submission category is "Tell us what type of mobile phone Samsung should develop for you." If they are really interested in soliciting customer ideas and driving innovation from the outside in, they would make this the cornerstone of their activity. (Lest they get the videos of the telepathic man who needs a phone to go with his special "abilities")
The Warner tie-in is a bit of a head-scratcher, too. Usually you do this to really leverage the fan base of the talent. The talent is all but invisible here.
We shall see how it goes.
There may be enough engagement that enough users will find something they want to do here. So far the promo video has been viewed 215K times since Dec 5th (I played it 6 times during the writing of this post to get the facts of the promotion correct). They have 75 subscribers and 9,269 channel views. They accept video until January 14. A stronger idea with half the recipe items might have served them (and their customers) better.
My favorite quote from a recent MotiveQuest 2-pager sums up one of the major changes brought about by social media:
"Marketers have to recognize that the ability to overcome product perfomance that does not meet consumer drivers is rapidly diminished with the rise of social computing and the distrust in mainstream advertising channels."
At a holiday dinner table discussion about customer service (everyone had a horror story about cable,telco or a bank) someone made the point about how much advertising Comcast is doing and how the customer service and the actual service delivery falls far short. What if they diverted money from advertising into the customer experience?
Can advertising save them?
There has been a lot of speculation about whether Radiohead's release of their last "album" on a pay-what-you-want basis worked out. Only 40% of users paid for it. Did they stumble trying to sidestep the tradiitonal channels?
This month's Wired has an interview between Thom Yorke and David Byrne (looking oh so wizened).
"Q: Are you making money on the download of In Rainbows?
A: In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever - in terms of anything on the Net. And that's nuts. It's partly due to the fact that EMI wasn't giving us any money for digital sales. All teh contracts signed in a certain era have none of that stuff."
We started three years ago by deploying social media-based programs as try-and-learn projects with our clients. Many clients especially on the consumer marketing side and the tech side (B2B) had an intuitive desire to get involved with social media.
Two years ago, we saw a shift and developed a very solid measurment model to report performance to marketers and ourselves. We are marketers. We know the importance of measurement. Experiments will only go so far (and only justify so much in terms of budget). We had to make the business case for programs that leverage social media. We had to do that for ourselves first and foremost. As much as I believe in the dynamics of conversation-based marketing and word of mouth, if it doesn't make business sense then I cannot recommend them to clients.
It got me thinking about how we ourselves have analyzed the value of social media as a "discipline." Then I read Jeremiah's How To: Effectively Talk To Execs....About Social Media.
He makes a case for the right orientation overall - not just the right justification (Needs assesment + value statement) but also how to be a sensitive communicator.
Here are 5 steps to making the business case for using social media.
1. Confirm the business objective and communication goals
Are we selling more product and services? Launching a new product? Are you trying to raise awareness? Educate customers about a product or service? Build long term loyalty? It amazes me how many programs are not tied back to what we are trying to accomplish. If you can clearly state the business objective and the communication goal(s), you are much more likely to come up with a program that is relevant to the business owner. The attached diagram is a variation on an Ogilvy chestnut known as the Funnel. I have used it here to demonstrate some hypothetical alignment of social media tactics and communication goals.
2. Create a short, simple yet relevant strategy
Some clients don't want to hear strategy. My hypothesis is that they do actually want it but want the strategy to take up only 6-8% of our time, energy and budget. They want action and results. They suspect that agencies spend too much time on strategy as if prone to navel-gazing. Not so. Since strategy is the thread between communication goals and tactics, it is important to have in place to justify our choices and recommendations. We just do it very efficiently these days. Whenever we are compelled to skip strategy, it always, and I mean always, comes back to haunt us. I will assume that knowledge and hopefully, insight into the digital lives of our people (audience, target audience, users, customers, consumers, mom - choose one) will be built into the strategy.
3. Create a vision of success and...
Our programs are highly creative. We mean "creative" in a new way, not in the old-school ad agency model of the cult of "Creative." We actually get excited about what can happen for a client if they engage their customers in new ways. It's not just the novelty of new technique. Generally, it's the promise of creating a stronger bond with between brand and people. Anyhow, we need to share that vision and share our excitement. We have to paint an easy-to-see image of success - e.g. "What if we created an idea-center for customers where they post their own thoughts on how to make the service better? We get more loyal customers by increasing their "ownership" in the service, and they tell their friends....." But vision without numbers is dead, so....
4. ...finish the image with measurement
What are we measuring and what will it tell us? Social media promises more than 'reach.' It offers "engagement", which remains an ill-defined concept. Still, we measure and report metrics that are indicative of a deeper level of engagement. Deeper than ad impressions. Deeper that simply 'time-spent.'
My suggestion? Start with conversion and work your way backwards. It is not always easy to connect the dots between social media-based programs and sales or sign-ups (or other conversion points). But try. And then demonstrate the growth of third party mentions and recommendations. Show how you will improve search engine results with new content from advocates. Apply the Net Promoter Score if your client subscribes to that model. While there is no industry standard on measurement, there are many ways to demonstrate how to measure social media programs both for optimization purposes and final judgement.
5. Tell 2 relevant stories to answer "why now?"
How did a competitor use social media? As long as it is is relevant and not a story of failure, this will help the executive you are talking with to see the competitive pressure to move ahead now. And tell one more story of how a business used a similar strategy to achieve a goal. Too many stories and you will inundate them with data. You want to demonstrate that you understand the executive's situation by being able to reference relevant stories.
Perhaps this is all common sense. Still, I am struck by how quickly people jump into tactics only to become alienated later in the process by irrelevant or unmeasuremable results. Chances are that most marketing and communication executives will insist on these 5 steps before "greenlighting" anything. I know we do. Sometimes our own standards are more rigorous than our clients. I am guessing that ultimately that is okay....
How do you make the business case?
I was floundering between Twitter and blogging guilt this morning when I noticed Krishna De pop up on my Twitter friends. I had the good fortune of meeting Krishna this fallk when I was in Dublin. I had been reading her blog (you should read her) and when I was in town working with my team at Ogilvy, I reached out to her. What I was really struck by instantly was her capacity to really listen. Now, I had just spent a few days with some of the most talkative people I know - advertising and public realtions professionals. In that company, you have to be interruptive to get an idea wedged into a conversation. Talking with Krishna was oh so calm and refreshing. I am going to assume that has to do with her background in executive training and HR.
Her blog is a great resource for anyone trying to get sharper and more effective as a professional. She comes at it from the POV of creating a personal brand yet with a heavy emphasis on substance not hype.
Here's a sample of the wonder of Krishna De as she heads off for a much deserved holiday.
Like the best executive coaches, Krishna has an empowering, calm air about her. I don't know her that well but feel she has a genuine drive to want to help people achieve what is really most important to them which sometimes starts by helping them understand what is most important to them.
So many pharmaceutical companies want to build better relationships with patients and physicians yet get caught in the ruthless cycle of pressure for short-term product sales and safely navigating regulation or worse, the threat of more regulation. Launching a new drug is complicated. And it's a game with a lot riding on it. A game that can squash creativity in certain organizations.
Regulation like "fair practice," DTC rules and "adverse event reporting" are hard enough. The effectiveness of the push and pull of TV adverstising for drugs is really not all that clear.
So, how can pharma build that better relationship? Can they really balance product brand-building, corporate brand-building and sales?
The Well, Well, Well Marketplace
Someone needs to create the Well, Well, Well Market (WWWM). We're talking - "well, well, well, don't you look good" or "well, well, well I thought you were sick but you seem to be doing okay..."
This is a market that sells products that help us all live well with our various diseases and conditions without sacrificing our taste. If we test ourselves because we are diabetic, we use cool kits like Stickme Designs. If we have to take food through a tube even after you are back at work (happened to a friend of mine), you have a cool shoulder bag with the tubing built into your shirt (remember the cool "stillsuits" from Dune? ). If your hair is out due to chemo, not only do you get much cooler scarves but head-care supplies like sunscreen and even some hat suggestions.
The bottom line - every condition that allows us to remain engaged in life we ought to enhance by putting our best fashion and design talent against it.
Marketplace of Ideas
And it's also a marketplace of new fashion and design innovations from the crowd. Look at today's NY Times magazine article on the 'craft-centric' cottage industries sprung up throughout the Web . This marketplace could become not just a breath of fresh and cool air for people challenged by conditions, it could also become a boost for those creative minds that would dream up super cool solutions.
One of the biggest hurdles for big business to develop lifestyle solutions for people without legs or with special medical needs is the small size of the marketplace. Yet their are many entrepeneurs who are motivated by the challenges they face or their loved ones face. They are more than willing to dream up fashion and design products without a million-dollar payday expectation.
Pharma builds the store
What if a pharma built the store? One of the challenges here is that no one pharma has drugs for devices across a wide collection of conditions. While this one has deep expertise in diabetes, another will have deep expertise in cancer treatments. Maybe an independent needs to build the mall, but the individual pharmas need the opportunity to create a cool store for their patients (and physicians) that help them live well with their condition.
Being 'of-use' to patients is a great way to demonstrate they really do care. And helping people with diseases or conditions lead a high-quality of life via the best style and usability in design is one way to do it. Even if a pharma just built a promotional 'window' for these great products and, in the process, motivated others to design even better looking chemo chapeaus.
I need a new blog category. Besides Idea Bar. I need a category for ideas we recommended that show up somewhere else completly independently (and corroborate that we are onto something.
Springwise - one of my regular must-reads - reports on fashion "carrys" for glucose testing. This is a simple step forward but in an intersting way implies a shift in approach for those with, in this case, diabetes. Don't let your disease own you. Don't let the fashion-less product offerings from health companies own you.
In this case it took an entrepeneur (and woman with gestational diabetes) to offer a cool way to carry her gear. We recommended this to a pharma client a while back. Now they should buy her company. Not for the revenue but to make a deeper commitment to the patients they serve. Not just medicine but lifestyle in context to their disease.
I love that she has a "beta-stickers" program. If ever there was a company set up to succeed via word of mouth, this is it. I hope that's where she goes with her marketing.
Rickin Velte's company is called Stick Me Designs. Check them out.
One of mine is "Facebook Strategy" - as in brand manager to agency: "make sure there is a facebook strategy in the plan...."
How can marketers productively "engage" (that is my euphemism for "doing something productive without spoiling the ecosystem or pissing people off") inside Facebook? It is not quite the wild west of MySpace where marketers can create fake character pages or real brand pages and no one really cares. In Facebook, our social graph works based upon our identity. We are not anonymous- for the most part. Marketers read the paper, they have feed readers. They know Facebook is growing 300%. They know it's deemed "cooler" than MySpace by most yet still has the mass subscription that makes it feel like the new mass media.
In it all, some smart people are trying to figure out how best to leverage Facebook. That means get results that meet expectations for brands and be of-use to those (myself included) who are actively in Facebook. From our experience and the observation of smarties like Jeremiah Owyang, Nick ONeill and others here are some apparent truths (it's way too early for 'rules')
1. Traditional advertising alone inside Facebook is not the answer
As Nick puts it in AllFacebook:
"Facebook’s performance as an advertising channel is still under debate. I have previously reported that Facebook has horrendously low click-thru rates. That is still the case but perhaps click-thru rates are not what should be measured."
2. Facebook Applications (e.g. Widgets) are more interesting for advertisers but, as my friend Cap says, designing and building apps is not in every advertiser's "wheelhouse."
There is a whole new class of developers focused on creating applications for different social networks. They are poised to develop for Open Social but the realities of that cross-social network standard are still being worked out. So they create for Facebook, for MySpace and for lesser populated social networks or services (e.g. my blogging platform, Typepad features a collection of widgets). Examples of these apps from sponsors include:
ABCNews has an app on Facebook. Apparently they are not so happy with it's performance. Nick's pov?
"That’s not as much of a result of a poor performing advertising campaign as it is a result of a poorly designed Facebook application."
Developing a great app requires thinking less about "delivering on the brand" and more about how can you be of-use to people such that they install and use your app. we are working with some developers focused on app developoment. There is a lot of great work being odne and some indescriminate work, as well. Like a lot of social media, it takes a bit of brand (and developer) humility to be successful.
3. Get experience with an integrated marketing approach that leverages all of Facebook
While we know that simple ads may not perform inside Facebook the way that advertisers are used to, there are several choices for how marketers can engage. Time to try a mosaic approach. It will be a while before we can predict what collection of co-dependent activities work for different brands, now is the time to try some different recipes. Here are the ingredients that I can think of. Let me know if you have any more.
Facebook "Pages" - I put quotes around it to distinguish it from creating a user profile. But wait! It's not that much different. Here's what I like about them in Facebook's own language (remember, this is their ad sales page so the language is, oh so romantic)
"When your fans interact with your Facebook Page, the actions they take are automatically generated into social stories. These stories are published to News Feed, which friends may see the next time they log into Facebook. The stories link back to your Facebook Page, inviting more people to interact with it, which generates more social stories and drives even more traffic to your Page."
Social Ads - are contextual ads targeting users based on their preferences. they are best used in conjunction with Pages. I love how easy Facebook makes it sound:
"Creating a Social Ad is quick and easy. Simply write a creative, tell us who you want seeing your ad, and decide where you want to drive traffic. You can buy ads by number of clicks (CPC) or by number of impressions (CPM)."
Straight-up advertising - you know, display advertising or banners
Groups - Form a group around your brand or topic related to your brand. Again, this works only if your brand or someone from your barnd has a presence in Facebook via a personal profile or a brand Page.
Facebook Beacon - well, enough has been said over the past two weeks as Facebook was raked over the coals and then achieved the inevitable redemption by doing the redemptive act (i.e. "I'm sorry..."). Is it inherently insidious or did a dark arts-usage just take over the headlines? I believe Facebooks accomodation was to make the functionality require explicit opt-in from the user. Their description still talks "opt-out" but regardless, here is the promise of the service:
"Facebook Beacon enables your brand or business to gain access to viral distribution within Facebook. Stories of a user's engagement with your site may be displayed in his or her profile and in News Feed. These stories will act as a word-of-mouth promotion for your business and may be seen by friends who are also likely to be interested in your product."
Applications - this is the fun stuff from the My Starbucks app to the Epicurious recipe of the Day. Marketers can create little applications or widgets that do something useful or delightful that users can embed in their profile pages.
Use these things together to get the most bang for your buck. But always think of the end user - what will they find useful or delightful.
Jeremiah's got some great observations from his stint at the Web Community Forum. Sounds like he's going to generate some interesting reports and videos on teh subject. So, stay tuned as we all learn more.
A Great Story!
First, my friend, Birdie Jaworski - blogger extraordinairre and former Avon Lady - has her book, Don't Shoot, I'm Just the Avon Lady - out in hardback via Lulu.com.
Great writing. Great story. Great person. It's hard to argue with that combnation. If you are not familiar ith Birdie's writing her current blog, Birdie Jaworski: All About Las Vegas NM, is a great jumping off point to both her current work and some of her greatest exploits when she worked for Avon. Those stories are now retold in what she claims is her "memoir" (Oh too young to have a memoir).
Buy it for anyone in your family or circle of friends. There are stories of hers that have made me cry - the good kind of cry. Somewhat tangentially, this is also the story of the power of social media. Birdie may ultimately have found her voice through "traditional media" - she is certainly a strong enough writer for that. But she started blogging to share her experience and, presumably, keep sane while she sold Avon as a single mom. Now she writes prolifically, is an active contributer to BlogHer, has a book and someday soon....who knows whats next.
The other great books story is Rohit's The Ultimate Marketers Bookstore on Amazon store platform. He asked a bunch of us to send him our favorite marketing books, so, he's collecting lists from people in the business. If you purchase a book via his store the proceeds from the affiliate deal go to DonorChoose.org.
It's a great way to offer selected reading lists from different personalities in the business.