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14 posts from October 2008

10/06/2008 Are you listening?

Cone just released a study showing that an overwhelming majority of social media users (85%) believe a company should interact with its consumers via social media. That’s not too surprising, considering the people asked use social media.

What’s a little more interesting is what they want companies to do:
•    Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)
•    Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)

I think what they’re saying is that they want companies to listen to them. And then talk back to them, rather than talking at them.

They also feel that they have a lot to contribute to making brands better. That’s a pretty amazing sentiment and one that brands should start waking up to.

Most companies I’ve worked with have a great fear of opening up conversations with customers, especially online. It goes back to the whole KAOS vs. Control issue. The biggest excuse is that it takes too much time.

But the brands that do this, in one way or another, end up solidifying their brand advocates in a win-win situation. Whether it’s Jones Soda, a pioneer in listening online, on Facebook, or Apple letting customers run the support bulletin boards, they show they listen to their customers, that they’re not afraid.

With Twitter and other places, you don’t even have to build your own, you just need to show up and start listening.

You don’t have to be a big brand to do this. What’s your company doing?

10/03/2008 Using User Generated Content

I just saw this and thought it was a very smart use of user generated content (UGC). Rather than just asking people to create something to have in a gallery, Ubisoft invites people to design their own snowboard to make it part of the upcoming Sean White Snowboarding video game. Check it out at ArtOfTheRide.com.

Hats off to those companies who let the customer impact or make part of the product. It’s a great engagement viral strategy. You can bet that the winners will tell every single person they know.


10/02/2008 Managing Inspiration

I get a lot of e-mail and read a lot of Web sites. Most information I pass through quickly, but every once in a while there’s some tidbit that spurs some big thought and is worth saving. If you’re like me, you’ll bookmark the page or save the e-mail. The trouble is trying to get back to that information especially after some time has passed.

I usually search through my e-mail or bookmarks, and then try to figure out where that content is. The Web and computers, with all their searchability, are still hard places to find things, or rather, re-find things.  

So now I’m playing around with a tool called Evernote. It let’s me grab anything, images, text, URLs and put them into searchable notes. It can even scan text in images. Now I know what to do with all of those business cards that I don’t want to transcribe.

The two biggest advantages I see so far are the very good search tool built in, with text recognition, and the fact that its device agnostic, meaning you can use in on your computer, from the Web, or with your mobile device.

So far, it’s helping me keep track of the little information items that are important to me. The question is whether I’ll keep this up or find it too much to keep up with.

But it’s a great idea. Applying Web search to my personal items seems like a forward thinking thing to do.

I’d love to see something like this on e-commerce sites, so that rather than saving the whole item in a shopping basket, I can grab distinct pieces to my personal shopping folder. And keep them there.

10/01/2008 This IP Revolution will be Televised (Part 1)

Adweek trumpeted an article this week about David Verklin, CEO of Canoe Ventures, who said he believes TV will give the Internet a run for its money in the delivery of more relevant, engaging ads. Good! It seems, though, that something is missing from this discussion.

TV vs. Internet isn’t such an interesting argument for the future of advertising, except, maybe, for media buyers. The biggest challenge for anyone in the marketing and advertising business is how do we take advantage of an IP-based world.

If that sounds too techie, let me explain: If you’re reading this now, your computer has a unique IP number assigned to it that identifies it to the rest of the world. It usually looks something like For most people, their address changes ever time they restart their computer.


If you’re connected and have an IP number, you can start two-way communications. You know where you want to connect to, and the place you’re connecting to knows where you are.

TV is one of the first places that should happen. And when it does, then David Verklin will be right: TV could have the same type of engagement and measurability as the Web does.

With wireless IP, we’ll see more and more devices and products with their own IP numbers. Bus advertising, billboards, refrigerators and maybe even magazines will have an IP address you can communicate to.

When that happens, all of us in marketing and advertising will scramble to create digital, IP based strategies to encourage two-way dialogue everywhere. Right now, the Web is a good testing ground to get us smarter about this.

What should we be doing? Stay tuned for part

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