Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How Social is Digital Marketing?

I often describe my company, DIGIQOM, as into Digital Marketing- and then I often get this response:
"so, um, how different is it from, uh, say, online marketing?". I am often tempted to go into a whole discussion on how digital encompasses the web2.0 world of social media tools and also brings digital assets into play for traditional media vehicles.

then I get, a lot of " social media is gonna kill advertising and marketing" from the new-blogger types, hoping to make a living out of blogging, attending workshops, writing about them and then hoping Google Adwords will make them a decent lining- haven't heard of a blogger who made a million dollars blogging yet!

Or I get, "why do you even include social media, is there any credibility in any thing those bloggers who are hiding away from real world issues and creating a lot of noise in a virtual world, with virtual names?"

Truth is neither of the above is true! Social Media will remain experimental till there is a business case for large sponsors to come in and add credibility to it- that's right folks! the newspaper you read, the TV soaps you watch are paid for by advertisers and sponsors who believe those are credible vehicles for reaching an audience. I suspect, there will be at least 3 global blogs which become viable advertising vehicles- in whatever form or shape.

Second, the conversation styles of Social Media and the web2.0 tools will allow brand marketers, research their audiences much better, and offer a bouquet of well researched options to connect with their brand consumers with a strong central proposition that cuts across all vehicles and tools.

I have no examples to back either of the above outcomes, though I suspect scobleizer, and gigaom
might hit the SM top of the charts if they haven't already.
And a quickly unfolding story which I am tracking with keen interest is Dell's peer-2-peer conversational marketing attempt at ideastorm!
Keep watching!

The Brand 2.0 customer experience

I kid you not! this is what happened today and though I may never use the product, I have been positively influenced.
My friend, Ramesh R, from Singapore, shares a lot of interesting YouTube vids on my Funwall in Facebook!
here's the one he sent!

and then, I checked out the next one, by which time, the whole business of interrupt-based Viral Marketing had started seeming interesting, so much so I actually went and did a Google News on the company, and then, had I been in the US and looking at a way to get my mortgage I probably would have given them a call- 6 months ago!

The company is now in the deep end of the sub-prime loans crisis- the first Google result throws up a cryptic message Ameriquest Mortgage Company is no longer accepting loan applications.


So what would have been a great Brand 2.0 customer experience? something that starts with a friend showing you something interesting on FaceBook, linking on from YouTube, which you go and Google and while you're wondering, well was this worth your time, quite serendipitously, it finds the way into your mindspace via outdoors ads, events, maybe even TV ads, or print! each message interestingly using the media that it is served upon, to give you that one
thought- in this category, Z is the Brand I must Be!

Blog Marketing- can you?

Or should I rephrase and state that today, as marketers look at the noise, BUZZ, mindspace that blogs, bloggers and blogosphere occupy- it's very, very difficult to look away!

As a marketer, the first thought I get is Wow! now how can I get in my brand into this conversation? and here I'm going to suggest an approach completely contrary to what the Social Media experts I've been reading are saying!

Sorry, Mack, Gaurav , Chris!
Though I agree with Chris' common sense approach- Marketing is a discipline, Social Media is a tool! and so on.
The critical difference is actually the "conversation" that is possible when a lot of people are posting comments on your blog and when a lot of blogs are connecting in to you, and generating a "global conversation!"

Truth is- success for a marketer is to get the brand, its key ethos, its "keywords" into the conversation- that's right, Social Media is the step before Google! There I've said it!

In the web2.0 world, where your first attempt at any experience is to Google for information and then stumbleupon brands, as a brand marketer you should be creating the keywords out of the social media conversations.

If you engage with your audience early enough, if you listen enough and you interact enough, as individuals, and professionals, you will know that it is
A. easy to succeed in building relationships that can contribute the crucial early adopters in any brand success
B. Really tough to try and BS your way through, imagining yourself as the crucial spokesperson representing a global brand- sorry Blog Council- most of your members will continue to be flamed by bloggers who want a conversation, not the 10 brand positioning statements you bring down every quarter or product launch time from corporate HQ!

I can go on, but the crucial question to ask yourself and your marketing team is this! Do you believe in your brand enough to have a "conversation" with anyone else? as the old adage goes, even in this Brand 2.0 world, people buy from people!

Check out Dell's Ideastorm- Direct from Michael Dell :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Email Marketing- Over the top!

I couldn't believe it when I read it- so I read it again, and maybe, you should too!
Here's a mail copy which I picked up from Ann Handley's blog- a confirmation mail sent to an actual CD Baby consumer:

"Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

"A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.

"Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

"We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Sunday, November 18th.

"I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.

"Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year.' We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!


"Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little store with the best new independent music
http://cdbaby.com cdbaby@cdbaby.com "

Yup! I printed it! because I like what I read- 3 things stand out!
1. A confirmation email- when was the last time you got a confirmation email that didn't read like machine language
2. A Confirmation email- i.e. there would have been a number of well- thought of stages to this conversation. Why else would you be cheeky, off the wall, over the top, if you hadn't profiled your customer enough to get away with
the "shock and awe" attack!
3. An amazing blend of technology and creativity- to deliver an unforgettable customer experience.

That's what the Brand 2.oh! experience all about!
How are you achieving the Big Oh! moment- of ecstacy, delight, fulfilment in a world where nano-seconds after buying something, you are tempted to return it and get something else?
and how are you using disruptive technology- and its latest noisy, interactive Web 2.0 user audience to create that wow! and spread your message and product story across the world!

I just did! I live in Gurgaon, India, have never ever shopped at CD Baby- and yet here you find me writing this post!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Who's looking?

A great way to figure out if you're relevant or not, is to check if anyone's looking!
Truth is, with all the clutter and noise of the Brand Universe, it's difficult to make a mark.

But that doesn't deter small startups with shoestring budgets to make a difference!
And that's what we plan to use this free space on the web for. Recognise that it takes
very little to be remarkable, and it works a lot better if you think your brand through.

Not just, fancy advertising on print and TV, or even on the internet, not plug pieces, in pliant
media, but how your end-users - customers, employees, warm leads, prospects, stakeholders, NGO's - almost everyone perceives you and your brand. That's where the end-to-end process becomes remarkable, it also defines how important it is for Google to have beanbags instead of workstations, and how much better it works than putting up backlit vinyl boards across the world's capitals.

Happy posting!