Category: The Buzz

Social Trends for 2013 from the Altimeter Group


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Synthesizing Influence in the Socialsphere


Is an “Influencer” All That?

In September 2010, I was involved in a round table discussion that took place on the topic of “social influence” and  the implications companies like Klout which created a proprietary algorithm for determining an individual’s social influence – would  have on the social mechanisms we were witnessing. The “influencers” as they were called who scored high on the algorithm were then selected (and still are) for the 5 Star Touch at establishments utilizing Klout scoring to get a foot up in the social-sphere. The author of the following article at Advertising Age:

Why Influencer Marketing Isnt About the Influencers  DigitalNext: A Blog on Emerging Media and Technology – Advertising Age.

Engages some of the important concern’s that were voiced during those discussions in 2010. Although our  discussion focused primarily on concern’s in the digital marketing space over tampering with a not yet understood social phenomenon and things we have learned from science like the Hawthorne effect where observation alters behavior and the conflicting interest and ‘intent” for gain were all valid points brought to the table.Those of us at that discussion might have prophetically voiced then what appears to now have some focused attention on it almost two years later.

The author at Ad Age nails it with respect to the “organic nature of social circles” and “trust mechanism’s” in relationships to better understand how influence works which we posited as dangerous ground in terms of opening the door or “Pandora’s Box” for those seeking to tamper and exploit. No one I know believes Klout promotes ill-intent, but like much that is discovered with dire consequences, we get so caught up with what we can do – we forget to think through whether we should. It will be interesting and hopefully beneficial to us in the marketing world.

Understanding complex consumer behavior in the social sphere, like in scientific discovery, should be observed and documented with the same sense of respect and awe (less tampering and manipulation for self benefit) as the highest priority. Only then can we assign a genuine “relationship value” to it. There is a form of purity in observation when the intent is to understand and not….well…influence. What determines social behavior lives well beyond anecdotal advice columns about influencer marketing. While some may be coaching on how to massage those relationships and best practices, which may have value, I would strongly encourage we “in the marketing universe” and those companies intent on utilizing Klout values center ourselves on the qualities inherent in those relationships. It is a free forming two-way consciousness, void of manipulation…at least the GENUINE ones.

What is Your Social Clout?


Cover art from America's 1998 album, Human Nature

Image via Wikipedia

I wonder what this will look like?

Most social media users aren’t necessarily thinking much past re-connecting with old high school chums, posting family pictures and brag-tags of exotic trips and locales visited…or like me, touching base with friends I don’t necessarily make time for on a regular basis. What most people aren’t consciously aware of is the intrinsic influence they might have or not have over their friends, colleagues and associations that follow, listen, respond, repost or retweet their neocortex profundities. Continue reading

Change where it Counts!


I was once again reminded that not all managers have been paying attention to the consumer empowered world taking shape around them nor was there any evidence that this particular company’s management has evolved despite the fact their business is among the ranks of the sponsored listings genre. In a word, their product allows you to achieve higher visibility and in turn, the idea is of course, more qualified traffic for people searching out your business.

The lack of relationship skills was so LOUD, I wanted to stop the conversation and talk to them about my observations and it was extremely difficult for me to envision being a customer…not good. Many company’s are doing a great job and really get it…this company in particular has its work cut out!

I was whisked away to my aerospace days when my team was responsible for selling and implementing TQM to the various business units,. What was interesting about that experience was we did deliver the processes as promised, but never got management buy-in. Like an old dog that can’t learn new tricks, they never got behind it and it failed….SURPRISE!!!!

Needless to say, this company was the largest defense contractor in the world at the time and they no longer exist. Change needs to happen where it counts or this stuff will just be another gimmick that fails.

Where’s My Money? …Mobile Media!


My money is on mobile being the sweet spot for competitive advantage if integrated effectively into a company’s overall marketing strategy. The trick of course is having clear and definable goals that will make your users life better. Retailers are clearly moving in this direction and only 10% of big box retailers in a recent poll have no plan to implement.

A business should take a long hard look at mobile media as an objective and determine if it addresses any value gaps and the needs of your consumer before deciding on implementing. The article below has some good fundamental advice if you are unsure that mobile makes sense for your business.

Start Smart: A 10-Step Mobile Media Guide for B2B Marketers

via Start Smart: A 10-Step Mobile Media Guide for B2B Marketers : MarketingProfs.

Lady Gaga-coming to a Twitter post near you!


Lady GaGa performing

Image via Wikipedia

Like her…or not, Lady Gaga’s image team has done a great job of branding the star who appears to be headed for icon status. Controversial songs, lyrics, and attire are a key ingredient in fueling a social media spotlight in this marketers mind and no doubt, she will easily surpass the “less busy these days” Britney Spears comeback entourage. Lady Gaga’s persona and eccentricities aside…she is a gifted singer and I find myself playing an air instrument when I hear her music on XM.

If you aren’t a “Poppy-music” type of listener, check out this piano piece she performed at an NYU talent show under her real name Stephanie Germanotta. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM51qOpwcIM

My skepticism was laid to rest fairly quickly and in my opinion is more akin in vocal talent to the sultry resonant sound of Norah Jones as opposed to tween-voice sound of Britney Spears.

Tweet away Ms. Germanotta!

Marketing Success: The Little-Big Things You Should Nail!


Your Marketing Decisions are Based on…(You have 10 seconds…)

This is a question we like to ask our clients during our initial discovery meeting to get a sense for the core marketing ideology within the company culture-in its raw form.  The items they come up with are then listed on a white board and remain up and visible throughout the discovery meetings (We use this list for many activities throughout the discovery process which we will not discuss here in this article).

By approaching it this way, many of our clients say this helps them to change gears and adjust their mindset to think and focus in terms of reality which naturally leads into discussion (usually) into a “what do we really stand for and believe…really” self-appraisal. Why does this help?

See the Stephen Covey example of “Is the Jar Full” for further enlightenment.

It is because we want the big rocks on the table first and we like for the discovery process to naturally sprout and grow.

There are several things that are important and directly attributable to successful marketing; this blog-series will discuss 15 little-big things that you might want to consider to authentically improve your marketing.

At first blush, most of these will seem obvious but interestingly enough we have found that the responses  hold clues to the genuine philosophy and general attitude (good or bad) of the company. Which is why we will start with “passion”.

PASSION: Although we understand this as an intense devotion or feeling towards something, a hobby or someone… we think it is a good idea to discuss together with the company leadership and also in terms that reflect who and what your company really cares about.

observation: We often see team building events creep into discussion of revenue, profits, bottom lines or in other words money. Surprise! We suggest a more holistic approach to the conversation.  If you have trouble, then chances are this is going to be pretty important for your business to practice looking past the numbers.

Ask yourself…how do you really want to positively impact your community. How will you contribute to your world, to your country. What and who do you care about…really.

Discovering your passion is vital, for it is a key to grounding your corporate philosophy and we believe companies that come to this realization will have a distinct motivational advantage over their competition. Stay tuned…for the next little-big thing you should nail!