Tag Archives: social media monitoring

Seeing Through the Cloud of New Media Choices

A Cloud By Any Other Name Is Still A Cloud: Outcomes are only clear once out of the cloud.

I recently had the good fortune to write an article on behalf of the Association of Canadian Advertisers – ACA. My intent was to provide a fly-over of the complexities of the current media environment and the effect of Social Media as an additive element to what the Boston Consulting Group – BCG refers to as the “CMO Dilemma”   in managing the overall media mix within a Galaxy of Media Choices. To emphasize – this is not a matter of choosing one communications medium over another, nor is this advocacy for Social Media. It’s about making the best choices in the determining the optimal media mix for a product category, brand or creative concept.

The ACA’s membership is advertisers. Numbering some 100+,  all are household names such as Clorox, MacDonald’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola Ltd, Hasbro, Visa, Kraft and Nokia. One aspect of the ACA’s mission is to ensure that their membership “…maximizes their investments in all forms of marketing communications”. The italics is mine, if only to underscore the tremendous challenges that face the CMO in seeing through the cloud of new media choices and effectively managing media mix resources. It’s easy to theorize and point out media success stories, it’s another thing to roll your sleeves up and do the heavy lifting.

Here is the full text of the article:

http://www.acaweb.ca/en/social-media-seeing-through-the-cloud-of-new-media-choices/

En francais: Les médias sociaux : comment s’y retrouver dans ce nuage de choix?

http://www.acaweb.ca/fr/les-medias-sociaux-comment-s%e2%80%99y-retrouver-dans-ce-nuage-de-choix/#more-3875

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Advertisers and Consumers Like Television

I recently heard someone ask “If ROI is so important, why do brands still advertise & market on television?” Here is part of the answer to a very complex business issue.

According to the IAB – Interactive Advertising Bureau, Nielsen estimates that, for the fall 2010-11 broadcast season, there will be 115.9m US TV households, and 294.65m persons 2+ watching. To put this in perspective, that’s almost equal to the total number of both households and population of the United States. Nielsen also recently published some key media statistics:

> 114M US households have a least one television, almost 30% own 4 or more TVs; the average American watches 31.5 hours of TV per week; kids 6-11 watch 8 hours of live TV per week.

> almost 99% of video content is watched on traditional television; 100M+ are cable and satellite TV ready.

A complementary perspective is offered by comScore. In a piece written by comScore Co-Founder Gian Fulgoni, The Lure of TV Advertising for Internet Businesses, it’s clear that even companies that are significant Internet players, are attracted to the lure of television. Some of these companies include Yahoo, AOL, Autotrader.com, Google, Expedia, Monster.com, Priceline and eHarmony. Fulgoni points out that over the past decade, television ad spend share has increased from 38% to 46%…”confirming that despite the illusion created by some media pundits who would have us believe that TV is on the ropes…”

Even as the Internet continues to grow in appeal, brands prefer television as an advertising medium. While consumers are watching more television than ever and there is no let up in sight in terms of total time spent viewing there are two key drivers, as noted by comScore, driving advertiser appeal. The first is that a lot of people can be reached, during high-rated shows, in a very short amount of time. This is very appealing to advertisers, where time is indeed money – well spent. The other is related to risk. Almost all television advertising is copy tested,especially for major brands, before going on air in order to ensure that the intended message is hitting the mark with the target audience.

With viral advertising, notably on YouTube, campaign success is largely a role of the dice. For every campaign of note, such as the recent Old Spice series, there a thousands of videos that rarely get a mention, let alone reach the people they were meant for. While it is cheap to air an ad on one of the Freemium channels, it is very difficult to understand reach and frequency in relation to target audience. You cannot anticipate who will view what, when and how often before going on air unlike television advertising that is tied to a program’s intended viewing audience. Otherwise, it’s a bit like playing media planning roulette and risking loss of control of the brand. 

As Fulgoni aptly notes “The cost of being wrong becomes substantial”.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

The Social Maze

Where are all my customers?

 The funny thing about all the endless advocacy of social media is that nothing has really changed in the business of matching consumers with brands. Oh sure, now that consumers ‘control the brand’, companies are at the mercy of infantile twittering tantrums such  as when consumers don’t get their way (especially on an airline) hoping to unleash a social firestorm primarily with the hope of getting noticed for a nanosecond or two. (The same folks likely get back on the same airline, content to collect their frequent flyer points.) 

One would think, with all those folks splaying their private lives out in public via the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare – lest we forget this thing called a phonebook or the science of geodemographics and credit card purchase data – that people would be easy to find. In fact, with all of the yottabytes of data out there about consumers, it should, in the year 2010, be a matter of running an algorithm or two to find customers, understand preferences and match any product or offer with any consumer 24/7 in any country with high Internet penetration.  It would be the end to the need to advertise using traditional channels.

Funny indeed. The search and storage/processing technology required to make the social web possible has, as the main output, data. Whether you call it media or content it’s still really just more data taking up space on some distant server farm deep in the Mariana Trench. As such, are we all the wiser? Not really. With free cloud apps having a shelf life not much longer that the vegetables in your local supermarket, many are wary of the risks of implementing something that will be obsolete by the time it gets traction in the marketplace. With the yet to be proven value of social media monitoring and analytics, it’s not as if the world has abandoned representative random sampling or in-market product trials.  

Do companies really have the strategies, skill sets or business processes to effectively leverage the social web? With only $2 billion slated for social media spending in the USA this year, I doubt it. Yet, evangelists are forever hopeful, as that is their stock in trade. Like Charles Revson, founder of Revlon once said, “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the store we sell hope.”  

On the other hand, Charles Revson didn’t have social networks at his disposal but his customers had no trouble finding the Revlon counter.  

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Meet @Spam – Social Media Persona

This is @spam. Lots of followers, a ‘personal branding’ advocate and someone who is famous, at least, by some measure. You know, the type that likes to dispense advice, get your attention and loves to tell you about themselves in the most menial of ways.

Unlike the commercial “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen”…this is where is all ends, perhaps.

@spam. All about the ‘me’ in social media.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Social Media Bubble: Roundup in the Cloud

Social Media Hype Cycle: Cloudy chance of showers

 There’s been a fair bit of discussion in the past couple of weeks about the topic “Social Media Bubble”. Like most bubbles, it rages as a fad, peaks, then crashes. In the Gartner vernacular, social media goes through a hype cycle – early adoption followed by high expectations of value delivery, then a crash into a trough of disillusionment. The idea or technology either dies or survives and moves on to being a real, viable business. Based on recent questioning, social media, as a tool for business, is losing some altitude. Here’s a roundup of some recent opinion from Umair Haque – Harvard Business Review, Rachel Happe – The Community Roundtable, Peter Autidore – The Social Customer and yours truly (previous 2 posts).      

This dialogue started with Haque’s piece in HBR. His main hypothesis is that social media produces a lot of thin relationships. He draws a metafor to ‘low quality’ as in those in the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. This context implies that bankers didn’t take the time to get to know their borrowers. They relied on short cycle time approvals using only quantitative data. Ironic, given that real relationships are about getting to know people, not just seeing them on a data sheet or as a ‘follower/fan’ on a social media network. Haque goes on to outline the keys to real relationships – mainly trust, disintermediation, community and value. It’s not a beauty contest or about shouting out to be heard about the rest of the crowd. It’s about real relationships that have the equity required to build brands and extend a company’s customer franchise.     

Rachel Happe offers a perspective that builds on Haque’s by focusing on the value element of relationships. Rachel digs a bit deeper into the weeds by hightlighting the role that online communities play in the formation of relationships – people come together because of a mutual interest and build from there. There is an important point here in that online communities are something much different from Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter: “Social media is not going to be sufficient to build that kind of relationship.” Face time – that qualitative dimension, it key to building deep relationships, something that technology alone cannot accomplish and at most, falls short. This was a hard-learned lesson in pionner days of CRM of the early 2000’s.

Peter Auditore takes an opposing stance. He thinks Haque’s view is “myopic” though we’re not sure why. Auditore is also adamant that the sub prime metaphor is “bizarre”. Seems to me that in the old days, before loan approval processes were automated, your local bank manger got to know you and was an integral member of the lcoal community. People met face-to-face. Familiary and trust were built as a result. In the subprime case, bankers and borrowers alike had very thin relationships indeed that resulted in unbridled risk in the marketplace. Auditor also mixes Word-of-Mouth marketing with social media. To quote Andy Sernovitz, the founder of WOMMA, “WOM marketing is not about social media at all. Social media is just one WOM tool.” Andy goes on to say that WOM only works for good companies that make good products. This last point is core to Haque hypothesis and one that I fully support (see “My New Levis Jeans: Outside the Social Bubble”). Competitive advantage is gained by a specific core competency, not just by the use of social media tools – Kodak and Procter & Gamble had strong franchises pre-Internet.  

I think there needs to be a better balance overall between leading with technology and considering the importance of the brand’s overall value proposition. Many brands that are market leaders established solid consumer franchises well before the Internet and may or may not benefit to varying degrees from social media. Many enterprises are experimenting with various social media technologies and tools to channel content, engage consumers and build their brands at the tactical level. They also admit that while there’s a lot of beta testing going they’re not ready to declare mainstream adoption of social media tools. One proof point: most adspend goes to television; consumers are watching more TV than ever whether on a TV screen via computer (see Nielsen for the data). Large enterprises especially are approaching social media with a curiosity and critical eye. 

Let’s remember that Haque makes it clear that his view is a hypothesis and not the final word on social media. There’s plenty of room for constructive dialogue (one way of sharing and buidling mutual trust amongst people). What’s most important is to take a critical eye, be dispassionate about the issues and ask key business questions.    

Until such time as the business merits of social media are proven, we’re all still somewhere in the cloudy part of the Hype Cycle.   

(cross-posted at CloudAve)

-Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM   

HBR – The Social Media Bubble: Opinion

Umair Haque, Director of Havas Media Lab, recently posted a thought piece in the Harvard Business Review .

In general, Haque hypothesizes that Social Media doesn’t really connect people but instead, creates the semblance of relationships. Haque states, Social Media is ” largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.”  He goes on to say “Today, ‘social’ media is trading in low-quality connections — linkages that are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships.”  Here are my own observations relating to some of Haque’s supporting points.

Truth: If we take social media at face value, the number of friends in the world has gone up a hundredfold. But have we seen an accompanying rise in trust? I’d argue no.

Agreed. In fact the word ‘friend’ is used very loosely in the social media vernacular. To me, a friend is someone that I know and trust. Most of us have about 5 real friends in our lives whom we trust implicitly. The rest are aquaintances, people that we are tied to loosely via circumstance like work, associations, clubs or…Facebook and Twitter. What we have seen a rise in is conversation amongst relative strangers under the pretense of ‘friending’. Caveat Eggshell.

Disempowerment:  If social tools were creating real economic gains, we’d expect to see a substitution effect. They’d replace — disintermediate — yesterday’s gatekeepers. Yet, increasingly, they are empowering gatekeepers.

It’s been notable that service providers such as PR agencies, advertising agencies and media consultancies have been vying for ownership of social media within the advertiser domain re. client side of business. They advocate the social media imperative, are evangelical in their style of persuasion and purport to offer social media “ROI”. They fall short by ignoring the element of accountability – something ingrained in traditional media. There is however, substitution in the form of reallocating traditional media dollars to digital. In this regard though, the financial equation is incomplete: digital is cheaper but the material business benefits are elusive. Quantified returns, in management accounting terms, are a work in progress.

Value: The ultimate proof’s in the pudding. If the “relationships” created on today’s Internet were valuable, perhaps people (or advertisers) might pay for the opportunity to enjoy them. Yet, few, if any, do — anywhere, ever. .. I can swap bits with pseudo-strangers at any number of sites. “Friends” like that are a commodity — not a valuable, unique good.

This is a tough one. Social Media is increasingly seen as a near free channel or pipe to deliver content, customer service and promotional offers. It’s also cheap in the sense that it has the capacity to diminish the value of fact-based, expert content while simultaneously encouraging the rise of ill-founded, non fact-based crowdsourced opinion. In this context, success is all too often gauged in purely quantitative terms (# of fans or followers) rather than say, degree of loyalty/willingness to recommend. In a similar vein, it is problematic to prove that people are who they say they are in the world of social networks, as many use avatars to represent themselves. If something is a known unknown then how does one ascribe value? 

There also exists an element of social media that is redundant, maybe superfluous, in terms its effect (non-effect?) on consumers. For many brands, the franchise is well entrenched (Tide, McDonald’s, BMW, Wal-Mart and of course, Apple) and the principles of The Discipline of Market Leaders are in place. These same brands already have meaningful relationships and established trust with consumers pre-Internet. Social Media is not about to change this any time soon, though to some, it may appear that way.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

(Cross-posted at Cloud Ave and reprinted by IBM Business Insight Blog)

Why Social Media is Like a Donut

The Social Media Donut

Glazed Donut

.

E-Consultancy recently published a report on business useage of Social Media.  While reviewing an excerpt of the report, it struck me that many firms are in the Early Adopter stage.

While I’m not questioning the research report, I am left wondering what this all really means.

When an organization says it is ‘experimenting’ with Social Media, is it merely allowing employees to be on Twitter and Facebook during the work day, perhaps to keep GenY employees happy?

Does ‘heavy involvement’ mean that someone has been hired full time to Tweet about a company’s offers? Is it having a few brand ‘friends’ on Facebook? Is it having an research analyst sift through monitoring dashboards for some pithy consumer comment?

Of those who ‘don’t do anything’, is it because Social Media  is not the right way to engage their customers? Is it because other channels are proven and deliver accountability for results?

It’s really about the hole in the donut – the organizational white space in which one must ask: “What is Social Media in the first place?”  To wit, “In my experience, the white space has always been where the action is.” – Dr. W. Edwards Demming.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM