Facebook’s Changes: How to Get Timeline Now, What Changes Mean for Brands

Mashable has had some really informative posts on all the recent Facebook announcements of late. The first one here walks you through how to enable Facebook Timeline now. It’s really just a more visually oriented way of viewing your Facebook status and profile.  The instructions are fairly easy to follow but be aware that only other people who have done this will be able to see your changes for now. Once timeline goes out of public beta, it will be viewable by everyone.

Mashable added another article a day or two ago regarding how these changes might directly effect brand pages. And this one discussing what this all means for marketers using Facebook. According to the later post:

“Marketers, who have been told for years that they’re actually publishers now, will have to put that into practice”, says Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, a digital marketing firm. “Facebook is a channel, albeit a collaborative one, that needs to be programmed,” says Schafer. “We need to get people to share and interact with more content.”

This is a perfect example of why brands needs to focus on building an engaging brand experience on their own site and not put all their eggs in a specific social media service’s basket. If you build a storefront in Facebook, what happens when Facebook changes their terms of service? It’s kind of like a New Jersey protection racket…”Gee, it would be a shame if your nice little store had a fire or somethin’, wouldn’t it? But, if you take advantage of our special policy, I can assure you nothin’ will happen.” We’ve already heard rumblings that Facebook is pushing down brand pages from fan’s news feeds, in preparation for coming back to brands with their hands out for MONEY!

Social media is great, until it isn’t. For years, all brands could do was lease somebody elses media to reach an audience. Not anymore. A smart brand, who knows how to find out the information, education and inspiration needs of their customers can now cheaply create their own media channel and build an audience that they own.

Really, we think the safe bet is for brands to take the later course, viewing themselves as media companies, producing helpful, relevant, engaging and entertaining content that people are already searching for and building an audience they own on their own brand site. This site then functions as a distribution hub for the content to be scattered over then entire web. By all means, post it on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and any other specific social site that makes sense for your audience. But, don’t for a minute think these social channels will continue to offer brands their services for free forever. It’s only a matter of time before they start flexing their media might and changing for audiece acces.

Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth

Google report on the Zero Moment of Truth

Jim Lecinski, managing director of U.S. Sales and Service for Google and all around good guy, has kindly given us permission to distribute his phenomenal report entitled Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth. The 73-page e-book documents the startling changes in consumer researching and buying behavior occurring as the internet, social networks and channels, content like user reviews, ratings and other consumer-generated content,  search engines and “always on” smart phones and other mobile devices converge to create a new kind of world where your brand is not what you say it is but what the consumer says it is.

In reality, the “internet of things” arrived a bit earlier than anticipated. It came in form of the Internet of US! It came about because of our iPhones, iPads, Androids and other smart, mobile devices, perpetually connected to the internet, broadcasting our likes and dislikes…our sharing, creating, commenting, reviewing and recommending. The hard cold truth for most brands is not that the technology is ahead of their marketing efforts…their customers are ahead of their marketing efforts!

Marketing model for the first moment of truth
Legacy Marketing Model: First Moment of Truth

In order to understand the Zero Moment, you have to understand the First Moment of Truth concept popularized by Procter & Gamble. It referred to the first place a brand had to win…when the consumer, stimulated by some kind of marketing communication or advertising like a TV spot, a coupon or a magazine ad stands in front of the product at the retail shelf and decides to put the brand in their shopping cart. The marketing model that goes along with this concept is simple: run creative advertising to get the consumer to be aware, to have interest, to go to a retail location and buy your product. A tremendous amount of time, money and effort has gone into perfecting this system.

graphic depiction of the zero moment of truth concept

What’s changed is huge critical moment now occurs between stimulus and shelf. It impacts every product or service category, whether it’s a considered good like a $40,000 automobile, a $2,500 HDTV or a $3 bottle of body wash. It has implications for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers.

Consumers still may watch your TV spots or see you magazine ad. But they now immediately  grab their laptop or smart phone and search for reviews to see what others are saying about your product. They go to Facebook or Twitter and ask their friends if anyone has used the product and if so, what they think. They may go to YouTube and look for a vedeo of someone demoing the product…or making fun of it. Before they’ve even been able to go to the store, they have all the information they need and they’ve already made up their mind.

The Zero Moment of Truth describes this dominant role these connections, community and content are now playing in how we research, learn, search and ultimately find and buy products and services.

Jim sites several examples of zeros moments of truth in his report:

  • A busy mom in a minivan is looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son from school.
  • An office manager at her desk, comparing laser printer prices and toner cartridge costs to determine which office supply store has the best price
  • A student in a cafe, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking up a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
  • A winter sports fan in a ski store, pulling out a mobile phone to watch video reviews of the latest snowboards
  • A young woman in a condo, searching the web for juicy details about a guy with whom she’s been set up on a blind date

Kim Kadlec, worldwide vice president of Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson puts it this way in the report:

We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumers is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another say: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?

That’s the question every marketer should be exploring and using to examine every piece of traditional advertising and marketing. Is it delivering value? Is it helping to answer the consumers need for information. Is is designed to engage and amplify across this environment filled with zero moments of truth. Something to think about.

The Real Purpose of Social Media

The Real Purpose of Social Media

This is a long but excellent video by Dough Rushkoff, author of “Program or Be Programmed” (sorry, the video host won’t allow the video to be embedded). He makes a fundamental point toward the end of the video that social media is really about the value exchange between the participants in a distributed network. If brands want to have meaningful value in this exchange, they have to contribute value. You can do this with entertainment (hard) or you can do this with information (not so hard) but however you choose to do it, you have to be real. As Doug points out, “Nobody wants to talk about what the Keebler Elf is doing…unless he’s been caught having sex with the Pillsbury Doughboy” or something like this, is hilariously true.

How Social Media Boutiques are Winning Deals Over Traditional Digital Agencies

 

Social Media Agency Budgets: Boutiques versus Traditional Digital Agencies

 

Some insightful research from a research report by Altimeter Group, reported on Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang shows a pretty dramatic trend going on in the agency business right now. It appears boutique social media and content agencies are really taking some significant chunks of client’s business away from traditional digital shops. This is really no different than the general trend in the agency business as a whole, where clients shift entire budgets away from established agency players to smaller, more specialized practices.

At some point, the big shops become too lethargic and cumbersome to meet the increasingly specialized demands of clients in emerging communications channels and practices. Their staffs a bloated with overhead and people that provide the things clients don’t want to buy anymore. They are machines of marketing service. The big guys aren’t really market makers, after all, they’re market takers.

But, the problem is, success in the marketing services industry is shifting dramatically away from how well you are at being a bulk provider big, media-centric ideas and is now more about delivering innovative and compelling experiences that transcend communications channels. Marketing services is not so much a practice that starts with the client brief anymore…rather it starts by listening and observing your customers online behavior and interests, mining this for insights then creating your ideas and content based on what your audience tells you they’re already interested in. Marketing is now less about what you have to say and more about the user experience. And, it is a new breed of social boutique agencies that is winning over significant chunks of client business, away from more traditional digital agencies.

Altimeter identified why the smaller, more nimble firms are winning:

  • They put business goals first, tools and technologies second
  • They offer a specialized skill set in new media and social business traditional shops most likely don’t
  • They offer change management within  the corporations. Traditional agencies layer social on top of existing campaigns
  • They have a long-term or community-building vision versus a short-term,campaign-focused mentality
  • They roll up their sleeves to assist with deeper customer engagement instead of relying on traditional advertising (a top spend item in social programs)
  • Smaller, more agile teams with senior leadership that can respond and adapt to changes in the technology space
  • Fundamentally are geared to measure differently around engagement and what that means…not just to line and bottom line measures.

 

 

10 Trends in Mobile Technology

Mobile Gaming

From the Wall Street Journal the top trends in mobile for the coming year. Here they are:

  1. Tablets will take over the world
  2. Android will take over the world
  3. Apps will take over the world
  4. 4G will take over the world…eventually
  5. Parts for mobile handsets and networks will be in short supply
  6. The attorneys will have a field day protecting turf via patent warfare
  7. Security and privacy will be insecure and not so private
  8. China will screw everyone
  9. Your phone replaces your wallet/purse
  10. Location, location, location…as in using your phone to broadcast yours to everyone and allowing marketers can know your location so they can bombard you with coupons, offers and other Minority Report-like advertising assaults.

Mobile Virtual Goods Generate 4X More Revenue Than Ads

There’s gold in them ‘thar hills of virtual stuff. According to data from analytics firm Flurry, mobile virtual goods are hot. So hot, in fact, they’re far surpassing the revenue generated from mobile advertising.

The study, conducted using data collected from leading iOS social networking and social gaming apps, shows that in September of ’09, out of close to every $2 of mobile revenue… either advertising or virtual goods…over 2/3rds went to advertising. Just one year later, not only has the amount of revenue grown significantly, the amount going to virtual goods…swords, gold coins, respect points or plum trees for farm plots…has shifted dramatically to where virtual goods now account for $8 of every $9 in revenue. And, because Google’s Android Market does not yet support in-app purchases or micro-transactions, the data doesn’t include users from this rapidly expanding platform.

Virtual goods sales were already going gang busters on social sites like Facebook. Michael Pachter, Wedbush Morgan Securities video game analyst, reports that social gaming revenue has grown from approximately $600 million in 2008 to $1 billion in 2009. Further, he forecasts that social gaming will generate nearly $1.6 billion this year, and grow to more than $4 billion by 2013. That’s a lot of quarters for plum trees on your Farmville farm.

The convergence of social and games will continue to expand their reach into our lives. In fact, social gaming is reaching a tipping point and with Wal-Mart and Verizon now selling iPads, the size of social gaming’s audience will quickly surpass prime time television viewership.

For marketers, this sweeping technology, entertainment and behavioral change represents tremendous opportunity to create highly engaging content built around the core premise of your brand, then invite consumers into a branded experience that extends far beyond your physical product or service. In fact, maybe it’s time to start thinking beyond the five “P’s” when it comes to marketing. Maybe it’s time to add a “V”. Seems plausible doesn’t it…the brand manager of the new realities has to think about Product, Price, Place, Promotion and Virtual. Can you imagine what a virtual version of your brand or brand experience would be, could be? If not, you should start dreaming. There’s money to be made for the imaginative mind.

Top 5 Emerging Brand Trends on Facebook

This was an excellent and comprehensive Mashable overview of the five major trends brands are using to connect, transact and serve customers on Facebook. There’s some very impressive innovation going on in the space, lead by some very big brands like Ford and Nike. What have you seen brands doing on Facebook that impresses you?

Social Influence Markering Trends


Excellent presentation on Social Influence Marketing by former RazorFish digital strategist and author of Social Media Marketing for Dummies, Shiv Singh. What’s social influence marketing, you ask? It’s the reason you get your company into social media in the first place…to have influence.

Gillette Venus Spa Breeze Razors Packaging: Far from a Breeze to Open

Social Media Brand Monitoring Experiment #2:
Okay, I know theft is a big problem for retailers (the industry term is “shrinkage”) but I’ve got to tell you Gillette, a Procter & Gamble brand, has stooped to very consumer-unfriendly means to prevent it.

My wife just returned from a trip to Sam’s with these razors and when trying to open the club pack package, it was so difficult to open she ended up flailing away at it like a crazy person. I interceded to stop the stabbing madness she was engaged in and I found the dang thing dang near impossible to open. An indication of my frustration is the use of “dang” twice in the same sentence!

Maybe it’s just me but I think we’ve gone too far when the products we buy can’t even be opened because the manufacturers have made them so “secure”. The imagery and messaging on the web site for the brand is a big disconnect from the brand experience we just had…nearly stabbing ourselves to death trying to get nice smooth legs. “Love it?” the site asks as it shows a beautiful model with silky smooth legs. Ah, hell no Gillette. I most certainly DO NOT love your packaging. Have you ever tried to open that package without a small thermo-nuclear device?

What they should show is a model with bleeding stumps for hands, writhing in agony as her fingers lay before her on the floor, all of which occurred because she failed in her attempt to open the package from hell!

There has to be a better way to keep Sam’s Club members and employees from walking off with your razors but still allow those of us who actually pay for the damn things to come away from our packaging opening experience with all of our digits.

Are you listening Gillette?

Apple Face Time Commerical: Perfect


Apple once again demonstrates what an intelligent and intuitive marketer they are, not just in terms of product development but in advertising…yes, advertising. This is a beautiful spot for Face Time on iPhone 4.

In this almost two-minute video, they show you BENEFITS of a feature. And, they make it seem like Apple just invented video chat, which has been around for years. But, in a way, they have invented it because video chat has never been so mobile.

What’s a benefit, you ask? You know, those reasons people actually buy something in the first place, not to be confused with features, which marketers take as the reasons people buy. Do people want a better camera or do they want to take better photos? Do people want a better smartphone or better, more intimate communication?

Other manufacturers in the consumer electronics category would have laden this ad with features, FEATURES and MORE F-E-A-T-U-R-E-S plus a ton of legal disclaimers taking up the last third of the spot. Reminds me of the brilliant and hilarious YouTube video entitled, “If Microsoft Designed the iPod packaging”.

Apple gets humans. They know we like beauty. They know sometimes dads travel for business and at the end of the day, sitting in some lonely hotel room, want to be reminded of why they go through all this in the first place and want to connect with their family. They know sometimes grandparents can’t be there for the graduation but want to experience it anyway. I got chills when the military dad watches the ultrasound of his unborn baby, while it’s happening. Do you notice the tear in his eye? I have to admit, I got one in mine.

This is a beautifully shot piece. It taps right into your emotions without a word. Apple gets humans. They know we communicate a lot with just our expressions and gestures. You can feel the reverence for the human experience. Maybe I’m too much of a fan of Apple but I don’t think so. I just admire the way they respect me, they anticipate me and understand that what I’m looking for is not a better widget but a better experience with other humans. How nice.


via Apple Face Time Commerical: Perfect.