COM 530: Theory and Audience Analysis in an Interactive Age Compilation Portfolio
David Hollander Elon University
Author Note Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David Hollander, 8 Rhododendron Dr, Greensboro, NC 27455. E-mail: email@example.com
Table of Contents Reading Synthesis Documents ........................................................................... 2 Past & Future: An Interactive Media Chronology............................................................................ 2 An Introduction to Interactive Media Theory ............................................................................... 12 Reaching Interactive Audiences .................................................................................................... 22
MEDIAtion Way Station Blog Post Samples....................................................33 Clogged Filters ............................................................................................................................... 33 Blowing the Whistle on Cluetrain.................................................................................................. 34 Obligatory Blogging ....................................................................................................................... 35 Friends, Fans, Followers and Spokespeople .................................................................................. 36 Pinching Portholes......................................................................................................................... 37 The Mother of All Models ............................................................................................................. 38 5 Ways to Get the F*** Away from the Internet: Tips for Managing Your Hyperconnected Life Before It Manages You .................................................................................................................. 40 4 Contrateristics of Viral Videos .................................................................................................... 41 Meetia Marketing: Crafting Conversation & Carving Connection through Social Media.............. 43 Social Media Maze Still Leaving Companies Dazed and Confused ................................................ 44
Top 10 Lists .........................................................................................................46 Top 10 iMedia Thinkers ................................................................................................................. 46 Top 10 iMedia Readings ................................................................................................................ 49 Top 10 iMedia Issues ..................................................................................................................... 53 Top 10 iMedia Resources .............................................................................................................. 55 Top 10 iMedia Theories................................................................................................................. 57 Top 10 iMedia Information Visualizations..................................................................................... 59
The Digital Dialogue Diagram Explained.........................................................61 Meetia Marketing: Crafting Conversation and Cultivating Connection by Harnessing Social Media ...................................................................................62
Past & Future: An Interactive Media Chronology Reading Synthesis I 9-7-09 Studying past, present to project the future • The Internet has evolved into the epitome of interactivity and has proven to be the most transformative interactive device in history. • Nicolas Negrponte (Being Digital, 1995) theorized about the impact of the digital age and speculated that digitalization may be able to harmonize people and possibly dissolve nation states once the value of things is measured in their information worth and not their material worth. o Negroponte seems to place digital communication on a pedestal from which it can only fall, but his point is not without merit. The Internet has leveled playing fields and made it possible for anyone from anywhere to distribute and contribute. Information is power, and information now circulates at speeds never before achieved prior to the Internet age. But could it ultimately result in the end of rank and division? Is he attributing too much flattening power to the Internet? o Similar predictions were made in the 1800’s by those who were in awe of the invention of the telegraph in the middle part of the century. The invention of the phone later that century also prompted similar speculation. “This binds together by a vital cord all the nations of the earth. It is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for an exchange of thought between all the nations of the earth." (Briggs & Maverick, The Story of the Telegraph) • Briggs & Maverick’s prediction regarding the unifying force of the telegraph is an example of media effects theory. Those who focus on media effects see the media or the technology as the active change agent in the relationship between media and humanity. Media effects theorists presuppose that technology is capable of changing human behavior. Subscribers to the uses and gratifications theory focus more on how a communication tool is able to meet humanity’s needs; how the individual leverages the media in order to accomplish her goals and achieve self-actualization. o Can technology change our behavior or does it simply change the way in which we conduct our core behaviors? • The Geoweb (Geospatial web) is under development o The Internet of Things: The Geoweb will be the eventual manifestation of the movement towards creating a cyberspace in which nearly every physical object can be tagged with an IP address and the Internet can be mapped geographically History of Digitalization • Digitalization has come a long way since the first general-purpose computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), was unveiled in 1946 • 1833: The key ingredients to the modern day computer were first proposed by Charles Babbage in his vision of the “analytical engine.” It wasn’t actually built until the 1930’s.
1844: Another key component was George Boole’s system of logical and symbolic reasoning that was essential to enabling computing. • 1930’s: The first formalized concept of an all-encompassing storage system for knowledge was proposed by Vannevar Bush when he wrote about the memex. o He described the memex as “an electromechanical device that an individual could use to read a large self-contained research library, and add or follow associative trails of links and notes created by that individual, or recorded by other researchers” (Wikipedia). o Thus, the memex was the Internet in concept. • 1960’s: Hypertext was first conceived by Ted Nelson & Douglas Engelbart, when they introduced the concept of allowing movement from one element to another by a click or keypress. • Moore’s Law has been used to explain the long term trend in the rate at which computer processing speed has progressed o The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit (chip) has increased exponentially, doubling every 18 months o The circuit’s performance increases 35% over the same time The Evolution of the Internet • 1957: Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) is launched by Eisenhower in order to accelerate the development of technology for military purposes; response to Sputnik o later renamed Defense ARPA (DARPA) in 1972 • 1969: ARPA begins use of ARPANET: It was started as network between universities o MsgGroup: This email list group of researchers sharing information is believed to be the first virtual community • May 1974: Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn introduce TCP/IP: Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol o TCP/IP allowed diverse computers to interconnect and communicate no matter what network they were on at the time of use o Enabled and fueled the growth of the Internet o Considered by some as the most significant development in Net history • 1976: Robert Metcalfe unveils the Ethernet o Allowed data to be transferred at rapid speeds over coaxial cables, thereby opening the possibility of an efficient world-wide data delivery system • SATNET connects US to Europe: SATNET was a packet satellite project that used satellite communication to link the US to Europe o The worldwide data-delivery universe was made possible through Ethernet & SATNET • 1979: Kevin MacKenzie invents the emoticon o MacKenzie, a member of the ARPANET MsgGroup, suggested the use of new forms of punctuation to combat the lack of facial expression and vocal inflection conveyed through email. He was criticized by fellow members, but his influence lives on in the form of emoticons • OCT 29, 1969: 10:30pm: 1st computer-to-computer message on the Internet (UCLA) • The terms “World Wide Web” and “Internet” are not synonymous o The Web is just one use of the Internet •
o The Web is a system of hyperlinked documents accessible online through web browsers Comparing different communication tools in their race to 50 million users: o o o
Radio: 38 years TV: 13 years Internet: 4 years
The Internet took just a few more years to reach 1 billion users The Internet is the fastest growing mass communication tool in history Top 50 Moments in Internet History In the Beginning May, 1974: TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) o Packet-switching technology that makes the Internet possible; might be the most significant development in Net history Nov 1990: Tim Berners-Lee wrote WorldWideWeb: Proposal for HyperText Project o Originally developed to help the Euro Org for Nuclear Research create a more efficient way to share information (similar to birth of ARPANET) Wiring the Web 1994: SSL: Secure Socket Layer: sensitive data transmitted over the WWW was encrypted for security o Developed by Mark Andreessen, who also designed and programmed Mosaic & Netscape 1997: RSS was created (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) o Enabled users to subscribe to website content; personalized and simplified the web browsing experience All About Email 1971: Ray Tomlinson sends the first network email (also introduced “@”) 1978:*** First SPAM: Gary Thuerk (Digital Equipment Corporation) o Thuerk sent an unsolicited email advertisement to promote DEC’s new range of System-20 minicomputers; email asked the recipient to follow links to a product demo o The beginning of what would later come to be known as interruption marketing; recent advancements in social media might offer the opportunity to move away from interruption marketing towards permission marketing, and enable advertisers to engage in mutual discourse with prospective customers Welcome to the Social (social media) 1979: UseNet: 1st online chat service: discussion service o UseNet was the precursor to every Web-based message board and Internet Relay Chat 1985: The WELL: hosted conferences and served as a hub of intelligent debate for two decades o WELL members also came to represent a highly respectful and influential community, setting the precedent that virtual communities can emerge and evolve into producers of content as well as consumers 1988: IRC created: Internet Relay Chat: o allowed synchronous messaging and conferencing
1996: Web 1.0 1993: 1994:
ICQ (“I seek you”) released: o first global GUI-based instant messaging client that enabled users to implement graphics in addition to text (GUI: Graphical User Interface) The Tech (MIT campus paper) becomes the first newspaper to be available on the Web Yahoo (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) was started by David Filo and Jerry Yang o Developed in an attempt to catalogue interesting websites, but evolved into a web search engine, web directory, and web portal AOL-Time Warner acquisition: largest in corporate history ($350 billion) Phil Leigh: “…it should be obvious to us know that the Internet is about audio and video and not just merely text and graphics.”
Web 2.0 1997:
Jorn Barger first coined the term “Weblog” in reference to Web logging o Peter Merholz later (1999) invented the word “blog” when he decided to pronounce Weblog as “wee-blog”, but shortened it to “blog.” 1999: Blogger was born o Blogger provided a means for free creation of individual blogs to anyone and everyone o A resource that further empowered Internet users and blurred the line between content producer and content consumer 2001: Wikipedia created o A collaborative we-based encyclopedia that harnesses the Wisdom of Crowds; supports user-driven content o Has been referred to as a vertebrae in the backbone of Web 2.0 development (according to Wikipedia site) 2004: Digg launches o Digg is a socially moderated news site run by its users supporting user driven content; Posts getting the most “digs” (as voted by users) get preferential placement • Emergence of Web 2.0 represents an increased reliance on users as producers From Imagining the Internet • The shared plotline of technological innovations: every innovation follows a similar life path 1. Period of Innovation: inventors struggle to transform ideas into reality and seek backing to finance their ventures 2. Period of Commercialization: opportunists seek and find ways to reap financial gain 3. Period of Regulation: necessitated by disagreements over patents, standards, and monopoly prevention The Invention of the Telegraph: Telegraphing the Future Plotline of Communication Innovation • Much can be learned about the rules that govern the process of innovation and the predisposition that often mitigate our response to innovative ideas from examining the invention of the telegraph
o The inventor must also be an entrepreneur. The first to invent is not necessarily the one who is recognized as inventor. One must also package and market the invention successfully Technological advancement is not judged and measured by inherit merit but by profitability; packaging the invention as profitable is just as important as conceptualizing the idea and inventing the artifact o Example: Samuel Morse: Morse was not the first to think of the idea of the telegraph. He was simply the first to get political backing and assemble a workable business model for the telegraph 62 other people had claimed to invent the first electrical telegraph by the time that Morse presented his concept to Congress in 1838 Same with Marconi: made the right political and business connections to gain first real success (radio) o Serves as a reminder that technological innovation is always viewed through a financial lens. When the postmaster general rejected Morse’s offer to sell the telegraph to the US government for $100,000, the postmaster general explained that he was not satisfied that “…under any rate of postage that could be adopted, its revenues could be made equal to its expenditures." (James D. Reid, The Telegraph in America) st • The 1 telegraph message: “What hath God wrought” (1844) o This symbolic first transmission reminds historians that technological innovation has also been met with skepticism and fear • The 2nd telegraph message: “Have you any news?” (We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information; http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/download/we_media.pdf) o This second transmission is more indicative of the true motivation for technological innovation in communication tools; advancement of communication tools and methods is inspired by our quest for information and need for social connectivity • 1993: the first US digital cellular network went online in Orlando, FL. o 25 million cellular subscribers by 1995 o cellular service will replace land-line phones for most US customers by 2010 The Invention of the Television • 1927: Philo Taylor Farnsworth develops the “image dissector,” the first fully electronic TV system • 1939: New York Times review of a demo of television at the 1939 World’s Fair: o “The problem with television is that people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn’t time for it.” o Film mogul Darryl F. Zanuck also doubted the longevity of TV, predicting that people will grow tired of staring at a plywood box in their living room. o But once again, both the NY Times and the film industry are invested in the failure of television. The success of this new device threatens the popularity and profitability of their respective communication platforms. Innovation is always judged through a financial filter.
Quantifying the Growth of the Internet • Internet growth as measured by millions of users o o o o o
• • • •
1995: 1996: 1999: 2000: 2004:
16 45 150 407 600-800
The Internet has helped transform the way we acquire wealth from the industrial to the informational. (Alvin Toffler, Shock Wave (Anti) Warrior) 1993 Wired article John Perry Barlow (Electronic Frontier Foundation): 1994 essay: The Economy of Ideas o “The economy of the future will be based on relationship rather than possession. It will be continuous rather than sequential. And finally, in the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.” o And those verbs will be describing actions taking place in virtual worlds o How will advertisers mine these relationships and leverage them as effective marketing platforms without encroaching on those relationships? Greg Blonder (Faded Genes, 1995) o The integrated circuit will be the end of us and our modest stay on earth. In 2090, computer intelligence & insight will double human intelligence & insight, and by 2100, the human will be relegated to the status of the computer’s pet, if recognized by the computer at all o This fatalistic view of an unmitigated technological progression towards human irrelevancy is born out of a media effects philosophy that presupposes that technology is the only active agent in its relationship with humanity. It ignores the fact that humans can and will impose agency and implement tools and methods of exercising control. Magna Carta for the Information Age (1994: Dyson, Gilder, Keyworth & Toffler) o The central event of the 20th century was the overthrow of matter o Exploration in the new electronic frontier of knowledge will force us to reevaluate and redefine freedom, property, and sense of community o Questions regarding ownership and possession will continue to increase as our ability to relate and exist within alternative realities continues to increase Godmind: the Godmind is a term used to describe an unlocatable, omnipresent entity Some observers see the Internet evolving into a neobiological civilization with a global mind Some theorists predict that this evolution is the gateway to the godmind and maintain that the Internet needs to be viewed as an “emergent organism” (Danny Hillis, 1995 interview), capable of one day becoming autonomous Philip Tetlow: The Web’s Awake: An Intro to the Field of Web Science and the Concept of Web Life (2007) o The Web should be considered a living organism, evolving into an autonomous being o Complexities of the Web are quickly outstripping our capability to control it o A number of Web characteristics or behaviors have not resulted from programming, but rather evolution 7
Web 3.0 (Mike Elgan, 2009 column in Computerworld) o Web 3.0 will make connections between facts and ideas on its own and understand what the user is seeking based on individual context and preferences o Human-computer interaction will feel more like interaction with another human o Internet is capable of becoming our personal assistant; the ultimate concierge • The difference between the visions of a technological frontier that all but eliminates humanity and Elgan’s prediction for the future is that the computer and human maintain their partnership in Elgan’s future. Whereas alternative visions of the future super computer or network is that of an uncontrollable, power-hungry entity. An emergent organism that no longer relies on programming in order to evolve and learn could certainly surpass humans in knowledge and capability. But at what point does this entity begin to exhibit will; desire for control, power, etc.? Interactive Design is a New Field • Marc Rettig: When it comes to software design and interaction design, most good work must now look beyond expressed need and attempt to address latent or masked needs o This has been a long-time fundamental goal of advertisers. If software designers are developing platforms that help cater to the subconscious, than advertisers should find a practical medium within that software. • Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) o The increasing popularity of alternative realities, along with the expected movement towards the integration of ARs into our everyday existence has farreaching implications on advertising. Not only will methods of delivery change to account for the increased level of interactivity and personalization that these environments promise to allow, but advertisers need to consider whether they are targeting personas or people. A scenario can be envisioned in which advertisers will need to earn the attention of the persona, but then hold the attention of the person. • MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games o Example of an environment that allows an individual to adopt a persona that may take on far different traits and behaviors than that of the individual. Many of these games not only enable users to do this, but encourage them to. Other ARs/VRs may be more subtle about their invitation for participants to adopt personas, but the result is the same. Questions surround how advertisers will infiltrate these domains effectively. But more issues arise when considering that the audience they are attempting to reach shares just some of the characteristics of the consumers it represents while taking on other traits that counter those of the consumer behind the persona. • Facebook is launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg • Facebook is a product of the very trend it now helps perpetuate. Mark was a student at Harvard when he developed the social networking website. o 80 million active users worldwide participating within and contributing to Internet enabled human networks •
o Many observers maintain that online communities such as the groups that Facebook enables its users to create can assist individuals in the process of self-actualization o It is speculated that by 2015, more money will be spent marketing and selling to online personas than offline • In a report issued in 2007, Gartner predicted that 80% of active Internet users will have a “second life” in the virtual world by 2011 o Advertising to Avatars??? Trends in Online Advertising • A TNS Media Intelligence Study showed that The Top 100 US Advertisers in 2007 shifted approximately $1 billion in spending from TV & newspapers to the Web • In June of 2008, the IDC (Interactive Data Corporation) reported that global spending in online ads would reach $65.2 billion that year, and projects that the total will be $106.6 billion in 2011, accounting for approximately 14% of the advertising market. The Future of the Internet III: Human-Computer Interfaces • WIMP stands for Windows, Icons, Menus, & Pointing and refers to today’s traditional mouse-keyboard-display interface • Ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence are terms being used to describe intelligent networked devices that will be integrated seamlessly into the world. The incorporation of these devices will be very subtle but they will be highly functional, context-aware, and able to be personalized. o The popularity and pervasiveness of UC and AI is contingent on the creation of intuitive user interfaces • William Gibson asserts that superubiquitous computing will make it impossible to distinguish between the digital and the real. The line between virtual and real will blur beyond recognition and we will always be logged on. (“always on”) • The most efficient human to computer input method is spoken word o The most efficient computer to human output method is text o Humans can read faster than we can speak. So it is therefore unlikely that text-based info sharing will disappear. • If user interfaces evolve and become more centered on spoken commands, this technology would be particularly beneficial within social media platforms. How does that affect advertisers’ chances of a subtle infiltration into the discussion if speechrecognition or handwriting recognition or other more sophisticated techniques (braincomputer) becomes more common in user interfaces? • UI’s may incorporate subvocalization: capture of nerve impulses as you talk to yourself without audibly speaking • Robert Jacob of Tufts University speculates that the 4 “real-world themes” necessary in interfaces to come are 1) body awareness, 2) environmental awareness, 3) social awareness, and 4) naïve physics (the untrained human perception of basic physical phenomena: Wikipedia) • Ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing have been labeled Everyware. The Future of the Internet III: Hyperconnectivity • Lifestreaming is a term that has come to represent our ability to share constant updates of our condition or status through Internet tools. Lifestreaming is a result of hyperconnectivity.
A Nortel sponsored study in the spring of 2008 found that 16% of the 2400 men and women surveyed fell into the category of “hyperconnected.” The study defined hyperconnectivity as being willing to communicate with work on vacation, from bed, in restaurants, etc. Hyperconnected responders also provided the following information: o They access the Internet through the use of a minimum of 7 devices & 9 applications daily for both personal and professional reasons with little notice of boundaries between the two o 1 in 3 reported using online social communities for business purposes The variety of different devices and methods of connectivity is another consideration that advertisers need to consider in determining how best to communicate with their audience Linda Stone sees a portion of the population existing in a state of Continuous Partial Attention o CPA is a state in which those who are highly connected often persist as a result of information overload. The hyperconnected are endlessly shifting attention between one primary task and multiple secondary tasks. David Weinberger applied Stone’s concept of CPA to the use of social media, maintaining that many social media users are in a state of continuous partial attention to continuous partial friendships o How do advertisers reach consumers whose attention is simultaneously spread in so many different directions? Attention economics: an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodity (Wikipedia) There is an inherent irony in the dramatic growth of Internet usage and our reliance on it for information. The Internet and the tools that help us interface with it have created an environment in which copious amounts of information are readily available. Yet suspicion remains surrounding our ability to truly consume and absorb any one particular item of information because of the multiple of directions towards which our attention is constantly spread. Multitasking has become the answer to this demand on our attention. Basex chief analyst Jonathan Spira identified information overload as the 2008 Problem of the Year and asserts that there is no such thing as multitasking. Richard Szafranski, Toffler Associates partner, argues that “Technology has imposed the encumbrance of overchoice on us.” in support of an online debate topic proposed by the Economist in 2008 entitled If the promise of technology is to simplify our lives, it is failing. John Maeda, the President of the Rhode Island School of Design is hopeful that the pace of innovation is slowing so that design-led approaches can take command and give root to more meaningful technological experiences. o “Technology will unite with design and the arts in unprecedented harmony such that not only will our lives be simplified, but more importantly satisfying.” o What evidence has he found that the pace of innovation is indeed slowing? Despite the perceived negatives that might have their origins in the ubiquity of the Internet, one glaring positive remains. The Internet has ushered in an unprecedented age of information sharing that has sharpened the collective intelligence. As 10
technology evolves and refines the tools with which we access the Internet’s information bank, our consumption will become more efficient and substantive and our experience more satisfying. Futures Studies • Critical cognitive skills that are essential to futures studies or foresight projects: o trend assessment: the competency to understand trend directions, assess likely impacts, and respond in a timely and appropriate manner o pattern recognition: the ability to see patterns rather than individual factors o systems perspective: the capability to envision the entire system as a whole rather than isolated components o anticipation: to predict short and long term consequences over time, novel situations, and geography o analysis and logic: to rely on a combination of analysis and logic rather than repeating the past and/or employing gut feel • Strategic foresight refers to the ability to systematically conceptualize and develop alternative futures. o The theory and practice of envisioning alternative future scenarios in order to increase the chances of reaching a preferred future • Trends don’t exist in isolation. • Collaborative Foresight involves: o Horizon scanning: identifying opportunities and threats o Strategic thinking: sharing common vision, mission, strategies and aims Strategic thinking determines where the focus should be o Action planning: seeking to achieve agreed upon goals and objections Action planning determines what should be done about it o Networking: sharing futures intelligence and debating • Horizon or environmental scanning is the art of systematically exploring the external environment to a) better understand the nature and pace of change in that environment, and b) identify potential opportunities, challenges, and likely future developments relevant to your organization. o It is the first step in creating mental models of possible and probable futures, and choosing preferable futures Objectives of Horizon Scanning • Detecting important economic, social, cultural, environmental, health, scientific, technological, and political trends, situations, and events. • Identifying the potential opportunities and threats for the organization implied by these trends, situations, and events. • Determining an accurate understanding of an organization's strengths and limitations. • Providing a basis for analysis of future program investments. Distinguishing between trends and emerging issues • The impact of trends is currently being felt and their lifespan is nearing an end • Emerging issues start with a value shift and are represented by an early signal that is just beginning to appear on the horizon o Utility of trends lies in their assistance in identifying emerging issues
An Introduction to Interactive Media Theory Reading Synthesis II 9-14-09 Defining Interactivity • No single authoritative definition • Do asynchronous tools qualify, or must it provide real-time modification or participation? • Determining levels of interactivity (low-values levels & high-values levels) o Message Dimensions: direction, time & place o Participant Dimensions: control, responsiveness & perceived goals • High-value interactivity attracts users and results in higher search rankings • Koolstra & Bos: interactivity = “the degree to which 2 or more communication parties (human or computer) act on each other in an interrelated manner.” o Created interactivity checklist and scoring system to measure the presence of 8 elements: synchronicity, timing flexibility, control over content, number of additional participants, physical presence of additional participants, use of sight, use of hearing, use of other senses ♦ ANALYSIS: Nathan Shedroff’s chart (p.4): Shedroff asserts that the process of integrating interactivity is roughly the same across all types of media. This assertion may be outdated and in need of reevaluation. The emergence of a diversity of online outlets (mobile, wearable, unforeseeable future formats) since Shedroff’s chart creation would need to be accounted for. His chart does not account for a bidirectional relationship between the consumer and the producer or outline the process by which the consumer, once informed, can in turn inform the producer. I see this ability to engage in bidirectional relationships with your audience as an integral aspect to any interactivity, the inherent advantage of incorporating interactivity into your communication, and the identifying characteristic of interactivity. In Shedroff’s chart, data is flowing in only one direction, in much the same way you would expect it to in a passive communication. He lists Feedback at the very top of his Continuum of Interactivity, but the only mention of it in his chart is the conversation that takes place as the consumer experiences the data. The titles of “Producer” and “Consumer” could also stand a makeover. • Lev Manovich: The Language of New Media (2001): 5 Principles of New Media 1. Numerical Representation: all new media objects are programmable digital code 2. Modularity: independent elements combine to form a media object, but can be modified and used in other formats and locations 3. Automation: author can specify the sequencing of elements 4. Variability: new media elements are not fixed, but fluid. Infinite versions are possible 5. Transcoding: computerization of culture; reshaped in accordance with the logic of computers • Affordance: the easy discoverability of action possibilities o Key to effective interaction design (IxD)
♦ ANALYSIS: Accounting for affordance seems to be the critical step towards harnessing the social media network potential, or any iMedia design. Without an intuitive interface, the user will have difficulty engaging. If engagement is the goal (and it is a main purpose behind interactivity in general and social networks specifically), then a premium must be placed on affordance. In online social environments, functionality needs to be obvious to identify and easy to navigate in order to attract users. • Interaction Design: 6 Steps 1. Design Research: investigate users and environments in order to gain a better understanding of the demographic they are targeting 2. Research Analysis & Concept Generation: culminating in vision statement for project 3. Alternative Design & Evaluation: crude development of alternative solutions is significant step; alternatives can merge with the original project to help address as many user requirements as possible and enhance the project 4. Prototyping and Usability Testing: “experience prototypes” test the role, look & feel, and implementation of an interactive tool 5. Implementation: modifications are common in the implementation stage 6. System Testing: a second round of testing for usability and errors is conducted • Social interaction design (SxD) & Affective (emotional) interaction design o We unknowingly measure the importance of emotional design every time we open a website. Our interest and motivation depend largely on the layout design. • Successful design must look past usability and account for human factors: values, aspirations, hopes, fears, dreams, etc : Patrick Jordan, Designing Pleasurable Products (2002) • Similar to advertising in its reliance on psychology: avoid evoking negative emotions and instead inspire positive ones • Robert Reinman (former IxDA President): So You Want to be an Interaction Designer (2001) o Toughest skill to acquire is also the hallmark of exceptional interaction design: the elusive combination of creative insight and analytical thinking Theories and Interactivity • Nathan Crilly, Anja Maier, P. John Clarkson conducted a study of all previous communications models and published their analysis in the International Journal of Design (2008) o Interactive interpretation: the consumer acts on the artifact, receives feedback that prompts further action o That consumer actions leads to artifact variation from intended state to realized state o Mutual awareness: designer and consumer are capable of forming images of each other; made possible through the interactivity o Consumer engagement is also made possible: the designer receives info from the consumer, thereby reversing their roles ♦ ANALYSIS: Interactivity is the fuel behind consumer action, mutual awareness, and consumer engagement. (reciprocal communication dimensions) These processes play a vital role in the creation of a bidirectional relationship between
consumer and producer; one in which the traditional definitions of those terms become blurred. Professor Nam introduced the term “PROSUMER” as a possible solution. I like it. Interactivity provides the window through which companies and audiences can gain a better understanding of one another (mutual awareness), and in turn develop relationships with one another that transcends the transactional. Advertising must seize this chance to engage and earn consumer respect and loyalty. Redundancy is used to combat entropy (caused by noise) (Claude Shannon’s A Mathematical Theory of Communication: 1948) Activity Theory: an individual is shaped by her environment and in turn shapes her environment through her actions; transforming the social and material world in which she exists (Russian cultural-historical psychologists; Vygotsky) o 1990: Activity Theory was first implemented in communication (HCI) research & design. Work previous to this failed to take into account the role of personal motivation, setting, and the role of the surrounding community AT offers a way to understand the larger social processes that shape and influence how tools are created, accepted or rejected AT illustrates the importance of involving individuals from a target community in the process of designing any computer mediated tool Symbolic Interactionism: human interaction is mediated by the interpretation of symbols or signification in order to ascertain the meaning behind one another’s actions o Humans act on things based on the meaning they ascribe to them; that meaning is derived from social interaction with others and the community o “the presentation of self:” (Erving Goffman) has become the foundation of scholarly examination of online identity in chat, blogs, social networks (personas) ANALYSIS: An obstacle to effective advertising in social media may be personas. Are social network users assuming personas while online, effectively operating as a second self? Would their assumption of a persona inhibit their ability to interact with potential advertisers and also make it more difficult for advertisers to reach them? Would advertisers market towards personas, or the individuals behind them? Advertisers would have to find a way to first get the attention of the persona, but then also convince the individual to let the persona fall temporarily in order to engage them in genuine connectivity. Advertising to Avatars: attracting personas, but ultimately appealing to people. Social Network Theory: Mark Granovetter (1973): larger networks with weak ties can often be more productive and useful to their members than smaller networks with strong ties. o More likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities within large open networks ♦ Theory supports the notion that advertisers have much to gain from exploring advertising possibilities within large online social media networks Six Degrees of Separation (John Guare): the Internet and online social networks have exaggerated this phenomenon
♦ Advertisers have long relied on the interconnectivity that exists between us; the Internet makes it infinitely easier to leverage those connections
• Networks are also capable of spreading disease and transmitting failures
♦ ANALYSIS: If larger networks are more conducive to productive behavior and engagement as Granovetter suggests, than online social networks certainly seem to fit that description. This sounds like the kind of an environment in which advertisers need to have a presence. But would their presence in fact ruin the dynamic within the larger network and cause members to disengage? Instead of attempting to infiltrate existing social networks, advertisers may need to look at ways of creating their own online communities that entice members and potential consumers. • Online Communities: Research has shown that users (members) gain a greater insight into the material that is being discussed and a sense of connection to the world at large while participating in virtual communities ♦ Further reason for advertisers to find a way to infiltrate these communities o Motivations for membership and contribution to online communities 1. Anticipated reciprocity 2. Increased recognition 3. Sense of efficacy 4. Sense of community Other Major Theories from Communication Scholars Most existing academic models of communication theory describe one-way (push) communications; just now beginning to formulate models and theories that account for interactive platforms • Uses & Gratification Theory: focus of the study of communication should center around user motivations behind use of particular media and how communication tools meet individual’s needs; how users leverage tools to accomplish goals and achieve self-actualization o Direct contrast to media effects research; focuses on the impact that media has on people: sees media as the active agent in the relationship o Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physiological-safety & security-love & belonging-self-esteem-self-actualization • ANALYSIS: Most communication models ascribe substantial power to media in its relationship with humanity, while viewing humanity as largely passive. The Uses & Grats Theory resonates because it recognizes that humans are not passive receivers of information. If one has become passive, one has denied oneself the right to operate as an autonomous participant in one’s relationship with media. So much focus is placed on the media as the omnipotent influencer operating upon defenseless receivers. Why is so much emphasis placed on the culpability of the sender and not the accountability and responsibility of the receiver. We are NOT powerless…yet. • Laswell (1948): media serves 4 functions: surveillance, correlation, entertainment, & cultural transmission ♦ ANALYSIS: The same holds true today, only the ability to help individuals correlate is enhanced dramatically through recent breakthroughs in interactivity (included among them; social media). Advertising & media is a marriage of destined partners. So much of our use of media centers on our need to connect,
• • •
interact, validate, and self-actualize. Our absorption of media (and thanks to interactivity, our participation in media platforms) is part of a quest to learn more about ourselves, others and the world around us. It is a natural environment in which to advertise. But with the recent proliferation and fragmenting of media sources, consumers have more choices than ever before, and are therefore less tolerant of interruption advertising. Internet users are able to personalize their user experience more than ever before. They want the Internet, and they want it on their terms, without unwelcomed interruption. Advertisers need to adjust and revaluate interruptive methods. New media has enabled “mutual discourse.” (Jane Singer, 1998) o Demassification: individual has control over the medium: personalization o Asynchroneity: access or participate at the individual’s convenience ICT: information & communication technologies Social Construction v Technological Determinism o Social constructionists hold that social factors and technological tools work together to shape the use of ICT’s, (ie: the Internet is reflective of our tendency to read and write less, because society has helped shape its tools) o technological determinists argue that movements of social change occur as a result of technological advances; technology acting upon humanity (media effects research presupposes technological determinism; conflicts with U&G Theory) (ie: the Internet is the reason why we read and write less) Powerful Effects Theory: (Mendelsohn, 1973): campaigns that are successful in changing an audience communicate campaign objectives clearly, pinpoint the target audience, & overcome indifference or inaction by finding relevant themes to stress in the messages o Campaigns that reach participants on multiple layers are most successful: the incorporation of interactivity increases the chance of a multi-layer impact on the audience Schema Theory: (Graber, 1988): subconscious stereotyping that occurs during perception that helps us deal with information overload; as we receive/perceive information, we group new information within cognitive structures that have been crafted from prior experiences; schemas are used in processing new info and retrieving stored info o Humans practice “cognitive economy”: born out of our limited ability to process large amounts of info; we are “cognitive misers: (Fiske & Kinder, 1981); we create simplified mental models and fit new information within those models o Graber: what we retain is not the evidence itself (the information we received), but rather our conclusions that we drew from the information o The subconscious and seemingly inevitable construction of schemas is crucial for interactive media professionals to acknowledge when attempting to reach an audience that is overloaded with information; we are unable to process information in a vacuum Image Perception Theory: pictures and images can be used to communicate complicated arguments or ideas in a subtle and more easily tolerable manner o Ads = “visual tropes”: images that presents an argument in a figurative manner in order to combat viewer skepticism, boredom, or resistance. 16
Rich media: technology that integrates audio, video and high resolution graphics to inform o Effective communications professionals seek the richest format in which a message can be sent The richest medium: face to face communication • Hypermedia: distinguished from multimedia by its nonlinear form; thanks to the users ability to navigate through an extended hypertext system using the hyperlinks to related information that is embedded in hypertext or clickable images New Media Timeline (1969-2008) • 1974: Vinton Cerf & Robert Kahn coauthor A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication, in which they outline the common internet protocol TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)=the Internet Protocol Suite o TCP/IP is so vital to the creation of the Internet that Cerf & Kahn are oftentimes referred to as “the fathers of the Internet” o TCP/IP is later accepted as the standard protocol for the ARPANET and other computer networks on Jan 1, 1983; the acceptance of this common network language signals the beginning of the Internet as we know it today • 1975: the first successful personal computer: The Altair 8800 is featured in the January issue of Popular Electronics; $395 unassembled, $495 assembled; 256 bytes of computer memory o Microsoft is born: Ed Roberts (Altair 8800 creator): collaborates with Bill Gates & Paul Allen to develop the Altair’s programming language; the program is a version of the BASIC computer language and the partnership is the beginning of Microsoft • 1976: Apple is born: Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak introduce the Apple I; leave their jobs at Atari & HP to form Apple • 1979: The 1st commercial cellular network: is started in Japan; first US network is started a few years later • 1980: The 1st newspaper goes online: The Columbus Dispatch uses the CompuServe dial-up service to go online • 1982: The 1st emoticon: (Sept. 19): Scott E. Fahlman, a Carnegie Melon professor is perhaps the first to use a sideways smile face () ♦ ANALYSIS: This report seems to conflict with Chronology text that indicates that the first emoticon was used by Kevin MacKenzie, a member of the ARPANET MsgGroup. Whoever is responsible for its inception, I doubt that he or she had envisioned a time when the computer could actually predict a user’s intent to create an emoticon. I can no longer type the “:” “-“ “)” figures in succession without the computer interpreting my text as a smiley face. I don’t know which is more impressive; a) that the computer converts text to images for me automatically, or that b) the computer is capable of interpreting and predicting my intentions. Are these “things” learning? • 1983: One of the 1st laptop computers: is introduced by Tandy; the RadioShack Model 100 becomes popular among journalists; its built in telephone modem allows journalists to submit their stories to the newsroom on location • 1984: DNS established: The Domain Name System allows the use of domain names instead of internet protocol numbers; increased the usability of the Internet •
dramatically; Internet contact information can now remain consistent even if Internet routing arrangements change or the user is accessing the Internet from a mobile device • 1985: Windows OS is released: Microsoft releases Windows 1.0, providing a graphical operating environment for IBM compatible computers • 1985: The WELL is started: Stewart Brand & Larry Brilliant start the online discussion community; WELL=Whole Earth’s ‘Lectronic Link ♦ ANALYSIS: The WELL signaled the advent of social media networks. The WELL describes itself as the “primordial ooze where the online community movement was born” and has been described as “the worlds’s most influential online community.” (www.well.com/aboutwell.html). Little did we realize the influence this virtual society would have. Netizens of the WELL and contemporary communities like it sparked a transformation in corporate communications that promises to be the most dramatic yet. Online social media outlets have grown in size, number, and influence and now provide a forum in which Internet users can quickly and easily transform into content contributors. The portion of the Internet that consists of user driven content is growing exponentially. Traditional lines between consumers and producers are blurring, and the definitions of those terms are in need of an overhaul. Social media networks embody the Internet as imagined by its creators. • 1988: Prodigy dial-up service is launched: Prodigy offered an online service that enabled subscribers to access a broad range of networked services; news, sports, weather, games, stocks, etc; Prodigy serves as a bridge from videotex to the new media projects of the 90’s; though CompuServe had predated Prodigy by almost a decade, Prodigy claims to have been the first consumer online service because of its graphical user interface and improved architecture • 1989: Tim Berners-Lee writes original proposal for WWW: Berners-Lee first introduces the concept of a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet; document proposed building a “web of nodes” storing “hypertext pages” viewed by “browsers” on a network; merged the techniques of networked information with hypertext o WWW prototype is created at CERN in 1990 o WWW program is released in 1991 • 1993: Mosaic, the 1st graphical Web browser, is released: graphical web browsing made available to the masses changes the way users interact with the Web • 1996: The 1st successful Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): the Palm Pilot 1000 sparks interest in the handheld computer market • 1997: one of the 1st blogs is started: (April 1st) Dave Winer’s Scripting News; while the first to call itself a “Weblog” is Jorn Barger’s Robot Wisdom • 1999: Craigslist is incorporated: a centralized network for online communities featuring free classified advertisements and various topic forums (founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark) • 1999: Blogger is launched: Pyra Labs launches blog publishing tool in August • 2003: MySpace is launched: (March) ♦ ANALYSIS: We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information
http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/download/we_media.pdf o “Have you any news?”: the 2nd message transmitted by Samuel B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph (p.15) o this question has taken on new meaning with the abundance of social media and blogging platforms that now provide avenues for every day citizens to “broadcast” the news o “embrace the audience as a valued partner,” “don’t own the story: share the story” • 2004: Facebook launched: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg starts the social networking site in February • 2004: Merriam-Webster’s Online Word of the Year is Blog: determined based on the number of online lookups • 2004: OPA study shows that content surpasses communication as leading online activity for first time: Online Publishers Association measured by share of time spent online • 2006: Twitter founded: (March) social networking and microblogging service • 2006: Time’s Person of the Year is You: “… for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their game” • 2007: Facebook and Microsoft Expand Strategic Alliance: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/oct07/10-24FacebookPR.mspx o The two media giants take their partnership international; Owen Van Natta, Chief Revenue Officer, Facebook. “We think this expanded relationship will allow Facebook to continue to innovate and grow as a technology leader and major player in social computing, as well as bring relevant advertising to nearly 50 million active users of Facebook.” ♦ ANALYSIS: The question remains: What is “relevant advertising” in social computing??? Esther Dyson examines the question in The Coming Ad Revolution (Esther Dyson, Feb 11, 2008) o The current online-advertising model will become less effective o behavioral targeting: current model; will get more sophisticated with the introduction of more tools that will enable ISPs to track users and show them relevant ads o NebuAd, Project Rialto, Phorm, Frontporch, and Adzilla are developing softwares with this goal o “This market will get more competitive, and users will be barraged by ads to which they will pay less and less attention. Call that public space, a world of billboards and cacophony. Even though the ads will be more ‘relevant’ than ever, users will increasingly tune them out.” o Social media networks have proven that users want more and more control over who or what they see online and who or what sees them; also proven that users are willing to take the time to categorize friends, interests, etc o “So what's the business model? I'll "friend" British Airways, which will say, "We see you're going to Moscow next month. Why not fly through London and we'll give you 10,000 extra miles?" I'm no longer in a bucket of frequent travelers, my privacy protected. I'm an individual with specific travel plans, which I intentionally make visible to preferred vendors. British Airways, of
course, will pay Dopplr a handsome sponsorship fee to be eligible to be my "friend" (just as a Nike rep might pay to sponsor a basketball game and be part of the community).” o Users will be more likely to respond to a specific offer that appears within a trusted site from an entity that has been previously invited inside o This new model has the potential to create a more trusted environment in which advertisers can reach high-value, frequent purchasers o How will advertisers reach less frequent purchasers? Through their high frequent purchaser friends; LF purchasers will scan their online social network friends to see what companies they are in bed with o “The new value creators are companies -- like Facebook and Dopplr -- that know how to build and support online communities.” People to Know • Seth Godin: popularized the concept of “permission marketing” (v interruption marketing): marketing on a one-to-one basis http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ o Internet has created a surplus of attention: in wake of attention shortage that drove popularity and effectiveness of TV ads prior to Internet surge o “Free is creating lots of attention, but marketers haven't gotten smart enough to do something profitable with that attention.” o Internet users will give their attention to an ad, but only if it is “anticipated, personal, and relevant” Advancements in technology should make it easier for ad companies to conduct one-on-one conversations with propective customers o New tools will allow for a more personal tour of the Internet for its users, and marketing can become more “hyperlocal, hyperspecialized, hyperrelevant... this is where we are going, and it turns out that this time, the media is way ahead of the marketers.” • Brian Solis http://www.briansolis.com/2007/06/future-of-communications-manifesto-for/ o Wrote The Social Media Manifesto: Integrating Social Media into Marketing Communications (June 11, 2007); describes the “socialization of information.” o Companies must recognize that conversations within social media are taking place with or without them. Ask themselves…do we want to engage? If the answer is yes, then how? o “There has been a fundamental shift in our culture and it has created a new landscape of influencers and an entirely new ecosystem for supporting the socialization of information – thus facilitating new conversations that can start locally, but have a global impact.” o “Monologue has given way to dialogue.” o Any effort to grasp the future of communications must start and end with the goal of understanding the role that people now play in the process of consuming, disseminating, sharing, and even creating content: “social media has created a new layer of influencers.” o “Content is the new democracy.”
o The key to companies managing an integrated communications strategy is recognizing that a focus on important markets and influencers will be far more effective than trying to reach the masses through a specific message or tool o “… Social Media has yet to reveal its true impact. While many are defining its future, the majority of people around the world have yet to embrace it and participate. This means that it’s only going to become more pervasive and as such, become a critical factor in the success or failure of any business.” o The transformation in PR and corporate communications that is beginning in response to the evolution of social media will be the most dramatic to date; even larger than the responses to the introduction of radio, television, and motion pictures its communal and interactive nature enhances the impact and influence that the “audience” can have; Audience members can not only influence fellow audience consumers, but can reach producers as well • Chris Carfi – The founder of Cerado Inc., a customer strategies company. His blog, The Social Customer Manifesto, has the slogan “Participate, there are no spectators any more.” o “The connections enabled by social networks are the glue that put the humanity back into business to solve the trust problem. In other words, the organizations that will win are the ones that most easily enable individuals to build relationships and communities with people they trust.” http://www.cerado.com/download/Cerado-Haystack-Executive-BriefingSocial-Networking-for-Businesses-and-Associations.pdf o According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, “the most credible source of information about a company is now ‘a person like me,’ which has risen dramatically to surpass doctors and academic experts for the first time.” US Survey: trust in a “person like me” rose from 20% in 2003 to 68% today. (find out when it was published) • Howard Rheingold – Expert on online communities and author of Smart Mobs. • Tim O’Reilly – Founder of O’Reilly media, originated the term Web 2.0, supporter of free software and open source movements
Reaching Interactive Media Audiences Reading Synthesis III 10-5-09 Spreadable Media in a Digital Age • Grant McCracken relabels consumers multipliers If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead: Intro • Henry Jenkins (MIT & Southern California professor & expert on convergence culture): If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead o Xiaochang Li & Ana Domb Krauskopf contributed to original white paper o Proposed an alternative updated model to better account for how and why media content circulates o Spreadable model emphasizes the activity of consumers Contrast to older models that proposed “stickiness”: centralized control over distribution and purity of message o Spreadable model assumes that the transformation of media content that occurs as it passes between multipliers adds value; it makes it more accessible and relevant to specific contexts • An emphasis on memes and viral media places too much significance on the replication of the original message o Fails to take into account the everyday inescapable reality of communication: ideas are transformed, repurposed, or distorted as they pass between multipliers o As we are increasingly networked and our culture becomes increasingly participatory, these processes of transformation and distortion accelerate • Biological Metaphors (meme & virus): reduces consumers to involuntary “hosts” of media while attributing far too much power and control to media producers capable of injecting content directly into the cultural bloodstream • The spreadable media landscape is characterized by grassroots media creation and circulation ♦ ANALYSIS: Jenkins, et. al. address the most significance weakness of most major communication models that have been proposed over the course of the last century. Most models reduce consumers to passive recipients of media content. This characterization ignores our most human quality; the ability to act as autonomous agents, in this case in our own media consumption. Humans have an innate tendency to construct filters through which any and all information must pass before reaching their consciousness. These mental gates are born of prior experience, predisposition, and assumption. They can be constructed consciously or unknowingly. Either way, these filters determine which information is received and which aspects of that information are emphasized. They inevitably shape an individual's information absorption, and in turn, the very nature of the information being consumed. Interactive tools now enable us to consume, create, and distribute like never before. The development and accessibility of increasingly interactive platforms have transformed consumption into participation and consumers into prosumers (or multipliers, as Jenkins, et al later suggest). The fragmentation of media and the newly defined roles of prosumers, multipliers, or Interactagons (whichever label you prefer) have forever altered the
media landscape. Our models for analyzing media distribution and consumption must change accordingly. The days of the hypodermic needle are long gone. ♦ ANALYSIS: Jenkins, et al make a persuasive argument for dropping the biological metaphors that help paint humans as passive, involuntary victims in the media consumption process. Why then do they choose to label their new model “Spreadable?” “Spreadable” evokes images of disease in much the same way that “viral” does, and its use in the title of the model may be misconstrued. Infections spread. “Spreadable” seems to suggest that media possesses the same power and influence over consumers that Jenkins, et al so clearly dispel. The authors continue to perpetuate the analogy through their use of terms like ”spreadable” and “protein shell.” • “Viral media” has definitional fuzziness: lies in the eye of the beholder • Douglas Rushkoff (Media Virus, 1994): the media virus is a Trojan horse that surreptitiously infiltrates our homes with messages; those messages are encoded in a form that makes it compelling for people to pass along and share o “Media events are not like viruses, they are viruses…” o contain embedded meanings and a hidden agenda • Richard Dawkins (1976): introduces the concept of memes: cultural equivalents to genes; memes = ideas at the center of virally spread events o Focus is less on how “people acquire ideas” and more on how “ideas acquire people.” o The spreadability of an idea is less a product of the inherent strength of that idea and more on whether or not individuals choose to reference it, share it, and fit it into their particular agendas; the fact that it can used to convey meaning o Few ideas get transmitted in their original form: humans adapt, transform, and rework them • Memes possess three characteristics: 1) Fidelity: ability to retain content as they pass between recipients, 2) Fecundity: the power to induce copies of themselves. 3) Longevity: those that survive longer have a better chance of being copied • Imitation: process by which memes replicate and move from brain to brain • “We now devour our pop culture the same way we enjoy candy and chips - in conveniently packaged bite-size nuggets made to be munched easily with increased frequency and maximum speed. This is snack culture - and boy, is it tasty (not to mention addictive).” - Wired magazine (Miller, 2007) ♦ ANALYSIS: Advertisers and marketers must adopt styles and strategies accordingly. Not only is media, and thus media advertising, being consumed in smaller, quicker doses, it is also being integrated into the audience’s everyday life and activities. This can be an advantage when done seamlessly and unobtrusively. But it also means that the audience’s attention is spread over many different activities or objects at the same time, and advertisers and marketers are going to have to find ways to ensure that their brands stand out among the fray. They are going to have to earn the audience’s attention, not just assume it’s been given. • Memes do not self-replicate: they are spread through the active practices of people. o Culture is not self-replicating: it relies on people to propel, develop, and
sustain it o Memetics fails to account for the nature of human agency; strips us of our autonomy and control o “cultures are not something that happen to us, cultures are something we collectively create.” ♦ ANALYSIS: This is an important point, and one that most traditional communication models miss completely. The Uses and Grats model rightfully credits humans as active participants in the process of information sharing, media distribution and consumption, and cultural development. The spreadable model builds on these notions. It also correctly acknowledges that ideas are rarely if ever transmitted in their original form. The communication of ideas is inherently riddled with human agenda and purpose. • People are not susceptible to viral media: they are active consumers and distributors because the text contains value to them • Knoble & Lankshear (2007): the replicability of memes is dependent on “remixing”: modifying, splicing, reordering, etc • SouljaBoy: Crank Dat: encouraged viewers/fans to modify and remix the music and dance; increased spreadability o The meme wasn’t the content; the meme was the ability to personalize and manipulate the content to an individual’s/group’s liking If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead: Part I • Why the viral model is not merely dying, but dead: Viral circulation appeals to advertisers because it only necessitates that they relinquish control of the path of dissemination; advertisers still maintain status as purposeful agent zeros: The message spreads through its own volition according to embedded instructions in the DNA of the campaign o But model is no longer viable in current media landscape; does not account for individual or social agency o Viral marketing is inherently social; dependent on interconnected peers and groups ♦ ANALYSIS: These peer groups are capable of reshaping the messages communicated virally and the advertiser’s grasp on control is slipping. Advertiser’s control over content within and outside social networks is an allusion. Consumers are now empowered to reframe content and create meaning separate from the intended message. The changes in content circulation, particularly within social networks, have necessitated alternative terminology to describe the process. The connotation of “infection” and “contamination” that are attached to the “viral” model devalue the agency of consumers and over-estimate the power of media companies and control of advertisers. • Consumers participate in meaning making; both individually, and grouped socially (social networking) • Spreadability in a networked culture: all the different properties of the media environment (texts, audiences, and business models) corroborate to enable easy and widespread circulation of mutually meaningful content. • Recenter the model around choices consumers make rather than choices that media companies make. The choices of media companies and their content design should fall in line with choices of consumers; not the other way around.
o Consumers are not “the passive carriers of viral media: their choices, their investments, their actions determine what gets valued in the new media landscape.” • Companies should promote the circulation of relevant material through social networks, not repress it. • Major difference between Viral and Spreadability Models: Spreadability model assumes that content value originates as much through the act of transformation as through direct circulation; viral model focused attention on how ideas replicate or propagate ♦ ANALYSIS: The creation of mutually meaningful content is the major benefit of adopting a spreadability model and the other benefits that result from that adoption are derivatives of this phenomenon. Mutually meaningful content is the ultimate payoff and the ticket to brand recognition and relevancy. Without personal meaning attached to a message, it will get lost in the deep ocean of information now circulating on the Internet. Meaning is what enables content to stand out. The author’s depiction of the new media landscape as one in which the ideas and choices of the consumer drive the media outlets’ content and design will ultimately depend on the willingness of those media outlets to relinquish control. As the story of Sonific illustrates, this transition to allowing consumers to distribute content through decentralized networks will be difficult for many organizations and industries. • Mass content is repositioned differently as it enters different niche communities • Repurposing does not necessarily undermine the original message; it helps make it more accessible to a wider range of listeners that might not have heard it if it had remained static • Grant McCracken (2005): advocates replacing “consumer” with “multiplier” o Reflect the fact consumers expand the potential meanings that get attached to brands by inserting it into unpredicted contexts • Implications of the term “multiplier”: 1) judge a product, brand, or innovation based on propensity to give the multiplier something to multiply, 2) implies that the success of a marketing campaign is largely outside the marketer’s control o Marketer’s goal: invite the multipliers to participate in the construction of the brand • Multiplier can be characterized: a consumer who is a grassroots advocate for materials that are personally and socially meaningful to them. • “Spreadability relies on the one true intelligent agent - the human mind - to cut through the clutter of a hyper-mediated culture and to facilitate the flow of valuable content across a fragmented marketplace.” • Media fixed in its location and static in its form fails to generate interest and drops out of conversation
Attracts and holds site visitor attention Concentrates attention on a specific site or channel Creating a unified consumer experience within branded spaces Depends on prestructured interactivity to shape visitor experience Tracks the migrations and navigation of individual consumers within a site Sales force markets to consumers Logical outgrowth of the shift from broadcasting’s push model to the Web’s pull model Producers, marketers and consumers are distinct roles Depends on finite number of channels of communication with consumers
Motivates and facilitates the efforts of fans and enthusiasts to spread the word Expands consumer awareness by dispersing content across many different POINTS OF CONTACT Creating a diversified experience as brands enter into the spaces where people already live and interact Relies on open-ended participation; diversely motivated but deeply engaged consumers (multipliers) retrofit content to the contours of different niche communities Maps the flow of ideas though social networks Grassroots intermediaries become advocates for brands Restores some aspects of the push model; pushed by consumers who circulate content through social communities Relies on increased collaboration between and across and even a blurring of the distinction between these roles Takes for granted an almost infinite number of often localized and many times temporary networks
The Spreadable Model requires greater attention be paid to the social relations between media producers and consumers (multipliers) If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead-Part II: The Gift Economy and Commodity Culture • Consumers do not simply buy cultural goods; they buy into a cultural economy that rewards their participation • Focus on what media does to people is misdirected; must instead focus on what people are doing with media and why • Companies must earn entrance into pre-existing communities • Moral economy (E.P. Thompson): participants in economic exchanges are governed by an implicit set of understandings about what is “right” and what is “legitimate” for each player to do o Crisis in the moral economy occurs when there is a sudden and dramatic shift in the economic or technological infrastructure; as has occurred with introduction of digital media • Crisis in copyright and fair use o “New technologies enable consumers to exert much greater impact on the circulation of media content than ever before but they also enable companies to police once private behavior as it takes on greater public dimensions.” • Spreadable media: alternative framing to the prevailing metaphor of piracy • Gift economy: one’s own contribution to the group is recognized and respected • Online success is based on the accumulation of good will that companies can convert into economic transactions •
If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead-Part III: Thinking Through The Gift Economy COMMODITY CULTURE GIFT ECONOMY Goods are traded as wages for labor or are purchased directly Exchange is economically motivated Fluid social relations between participants Cash renumeration is the primary driver of cultural production and social transaction Commodity has value: exchange value that is measurable and quantifiable Commodites are associated with alienation and freedom Fantasies are those of transformation; shifts in status, expressions of individuality, and freedom from social constraints
Goods circulate through acts of generosity and reciprocity Exchange is socially motivated Fluid circulation of goods Status, prestige or esteem are the driving forces behind cultural production and social transaction Gift has worth: you can’t put a price on Gifts are associated with community and reciprocity Fantasies are those concerned with social connectivity and the preservation of existing cultural traditions; often deeply nostalgic
Spreadable media is content that passes from the commodity culture to the gift economy: for a gift to move from commodity culture to a gift economy, value has to be transformed into worth • Authors do not suggest the abolishment of the commodity culture; just merely a collaboration between the commodity culture and the gift economy • Symbolic goods cease their movement when they assume too much value or too little worth • Grant McCracken (1988): meaning transfer: circulation of goods is accompanied by a circulation of meaning o Advertising not only moves product, but moves the cultural claims being made about the products into the life world of consumers If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead-Part IV: Communities of Users-Formerly Known as the “Audience” • New terminology need to describe those who used to be called the “audience” o Proposed terms Loyals: stressing value of consumer commitment Media-actives: stressing general shift in expectation of greater opportunity to reshape media content Prosumers: consumers produce and circulate media, thereby blurring the lines between amateur and professional Inspirational consumers, connectors, or influencers: suggesting that some people play larger roles in shaping media flows than others • Affinity spaces: (James Paul Gee, 2004): communities formed based on a shared affinity or common endeavor • Lara Lee (Jump Associates): typography of social structure of different kinds of communities o Pools: loose associations with each other but a strong association with a common endeavor or value (ie, brand communities and political organizations) o Webs: ties are stronger and Webs operate in a decentralized manner; organized through individual social connections o Hubs: individuals form loose social associations around a centralized •
figure who is strongly associated with a brand’s values and personality (ie Bill Gates, Richard Branson (Virgin)) • Communities are not created; they are courted • “Scattershot Approach” (Lance Weiler): brands must be available to users in whichever way and every way they deem appropriate, making the process of finding and communicating with the brand as easy and enjoyable as possible • ANALYSIS: A brand’s courtship of a community is a high wire act that requires companies to maintain their balance between genuine engagement with and forced entrance into a community. One wrong step and a brand can plummet to obscurity and irrelevance. Strategies for positioning a brand within communities are specific to the communities being infiltrated. No one course that ensures successful engagement within online communities can be mapped and used as a blanket strategy across any and all social platforms. Success will depend on a brand’s ability to listen and learn from the community it hopes to charm. Positioning is not simply placement. Mere appearance does not ensure recognition and acceptance. A brand will need to transform from an outsider to a valued member of a community by contributing meaning and offering worth. If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead-Part V: Spreadable Content • Content is spread if it contains a perceived social value within a community or group; not necessarily dependent on individual evaluation of worth, but on group assessment • Predictability of content spreadability o Spreadability is community specific and dependent on first determining what function the circulation of content and information serves within a social network (what the relationship of the community to the materials it circulates is) o Only after such a determination is made can we then identify the necessary characteristics that advertising content must exhibit in order to possess potential spreadability • Word of Mouth Advertising (WOM): testimonial accounts about a product or service; very similar to rumors • ANALYSIS: In outlining the reasons behind content spreadability, word of mouth advertising, and information circulation, the authors present a list of variables that can be used to measure the spreadability of content. The list focuses on reasons relating to an individual’s relationship within or with a community. One characteristic is conspicuously left off the list. Content that entertains is spreadable. This simple truth may fall under the category of content that “serves some valued social function,” and may be addressed in the acknowledgement that “entertainment content” is capable of embodying a deeply held perception or feeling. But sometimes the appeal of media content is far more basic than that; it is simply entertainment for entertainment’s sake. If a text inspires laughter or elicits an emotion, an individual will be more prone to sharing the text. The text does not necessarily need to inspire deep thought. Viral media has made its name in advertising through its irreverence and irrelevance. Ideally, advertisers can create content that is equally emotionally and intellectually appealing. But sometimes simplicity and irrelevance can be more powerful attractions because they are capable of garnering more universal adoption across pools, webs, and
hubs. • As circulation occurs, the original producer is no longer capable of controlling the context in which the material is seen and is therefore no longer capable of determining the meaning it portrays to its audience. o messages morph and mutate as they circulate • “in the spreadable media landscape, companies must find ways not simply to motivate consumers to talk about their brands but also enable them to talk through their brands.” ♦ ANALYSIS: The ability to morph and mutate a message is one of the defining characteristics that will ultimately determine whether that text is spreadable. Content will only spread if it is malleable. In order to be adoptable, it must be adaptable. But Jenkins, et al suggest that “corporations can not artificially build communities around their brands and products, but rather must allow their brands to be taken up by pre-existing communities.” Why do the authors dismiss the possibility of community creation by corporations? Should that not be the ultimate goal of implementing the changes in attitude and approach that they suggest? It is true that producers of the Star Trek television series were not the first to coin the term Trekies to refer to the show’s diehard fans. The fans beat them to it and started identifying with that moniker and wearing the Trekie badge proudly (and literally). But the ultimate manifestation of the groundswell movement should allow for a company or brand to start engaging consumers in personal and meaningful ways that might enable corporations to initiate the creation of loyal communities. Listening to the conversations swirling around their brands, learning about their customers and potential customers, and applying the knowledge gained can assist organizations in finding and seizing opportunities to establish communities around their brands. The goal is ambitious, but not impossible. • Challenge lies in rethinking and reshaping advertising strategies to generate brand messages that encourage the process of personalization and localization • The message is encoded in the media. A meaning is interpreted by the audience, and may not be inline with the intended message. • A text becomes a part of popular culture when consumers recognize and embrace its potential as a vehicle for expressing their own meanings. o At this moment, the commodity becomes a gift and has worth; transitioned from the commodity culture to the gift economy • Producerly Texts: contain intended messages, but are purposely left open with loose ends and gaps that allow the viewer to insert their own background and experiences and derive their personal meaning o Producerly texts can be transformed from cultural commodities to cultural resources • The more producers attempt to reign in the consumers’ potential to rework brand messages and attach their own meaning, the more producers will essentially strip their brand of its worth and devalue their content in the eyes of the consumer • Spreadable commercials a) have ambiguity in meaning and b) relinquish control of their promotional function
If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead-Part VI: Aesthetic and Structural Strategies • Popular viral content: o Often contains humor (parody) o Encourages a level of ambiguity or confusion that motivates viewers to seek out further information; searching for authenticity, origins or purpose collective intelligence and crowd sourcing o is often left purposely incomplete; continually under development and highly collaborative • ANALYSIS: The Ford Mondeo ad and subsequent “homemade” version are an example of how producerly content can be adapted and manipulated by consumers. The spread of the second version and high view rate certainly did not hurt Ford’s chances of increasing visibility and awareness. But what is unclear is whether or not the popularity of the remake had any real impact on the popularity of the brand or car. Did viewers of the homemade version draw any more than a casual connection back to the original? Did that connection drive those viewers to inquire with Ford regarding the product that was originally featured in the ad? Implementing a means of accurately measuring the effect that a viral text has is a challenge that must be overcome in order for advertising agencies and marketers to fully embrace the potential behind viral advertising. • “produsage” (Axel Burns (2007): the hybrid user-and-producer position assumed by participants in user-led spaces • “retromarketing”: Robert Kozinets (2003): reintroduction of nostalgic texts can help spark memories that can revitalize older brands, granting them greater contemporary currency Conclusion: The Value of Spreadable Media • There is much we still do not know regarding the potential benefits and risks associated with spreadable media from a corporate perspective • Companies can test the spreadable strategy as an addition to existing marketing approaches with minimal risk; low transaction costs So what is spreadable media good for? • To generate active commitment from the audience • To empower them and make them an integral part of your product's success • To benefit from online word-of-mouth • To reach niche, highly interconnected audiences • But most of all, to communicate with audiences where they already are, and in a way that they value • Basic premise of the spreadable model: “By ceding this power to its consumers companies are losing much of the control over their distribution, but they are gaining the value of each user's personal ties.” Power Law of Participation by Ross Mayfield (2006) • Motivation for networking; not just to connect, but to leverage the social network as a filter to fend off information overload ♦ ANALYSIS: If Mayfield is correct in seeing information filtering as a motivation for online social networking, the implications are far reaching for advertisers. It has been widely accepted that the Internet is replacing television and other traditional media outlets as the population’s primary information resource. But that database is rapidly becoming increasingly robust, and users are scrambling to
find ways to browse and collect information more efficiently. Enter social media. Instead of logging on to browse the Web, users are conducting their media search through trusted channels that help them streamline their browsing. These networks are offering users recommended and relevant content based on the shared interests and activities that drove them and their fellow members to the social network. Sounds a lot like a target market. Social networks are now being utilized as vehicles for simplifying user navigation of the Web landscape and their consumption of media. Marketers can then in turn use them as a means of locating specific target markets and engaging them. If social networking sites provide havens for Internet users to establish order and manage their Internet experience, then it follows that they will also provide advertisers with a keen insight into locating their target audiences. These target markets are defined and created by the audiences themselves, and not manufactured by the advertisers. • 2009 Statistics o 81%: go online to socialize o 72%: go online just to be part of a community o 80%: of seniors go online to socialize o 41%: go online to connect via a social networking site • Experience lifestyle: generic term that represents the start-to-finish series of interactions a customer has with an organization • Importance of Aesthetics: given the choice between two otherwise equal options, we will choose the better looking one; must pay proper attention to aesthetics in design o Relationship with perceived usability: Noam Tractinsky: studies: the more aesthetically pleasing a product is, the more usable people will believe it to be • UCD: User Centered Design: the end user is placed at the heart of the design process o Identifying who the users are (target audience) and what they want (user task analysis) and determining whether or not the product is meeting their needs Building a Company with Social Media SENIOR LEVEL
Raise awareness through opinion leaders
Establish channels in which content can be placed and through which traffic can be increased
Digg Reddit Newsvine StumbleUpon YouTube
Listen and respond to what the public is saying about us and our products and brands
Technorati Amazon (comment on marketing mediums listed)
Leverage networking tools to create new business and located new employees
Interactive Design o Number-one factor in determining the credibility of a user experience is the visual design o 4 Factors that promote audience engagement and ensure usability 1. self-evidence: intuitive interface and big rewards for minimal investment 2. speed: quick load time and concise navigation 3. feedback: must provide responsive operability via sound, message, etc) 4. accuracy: eliminate all errors in content or interactivity o Interactive Products: are flexible, scalable, aesthetically appealing, userfriendly, and efficient, and they behave predictably After identifying who the primary users will be, determine the needs of that audience before determining the medium o Find the most friction free way to address those needs in a system that the audience would desire and use o Ticket to building and maintaining long-term relationships “Effective interfaces are visually apparent and forgiving, instilling in their users a sense of control. Users quickly see the breadth of their options, grasp how to achieve their goals, and do their work.” Don Norman: 3 Levels of Input Processing 1. Visceral Level: preconsciousness or prethought; appearance matters 2. Behavioral Level: use and experience with the product; function, performance and usability 3. Reflective Level: full impact of thought and emotions is experienced; cultural meaning of product To achieve Received and Perceived Value, the message must be delivered: o Where the audience wants it o When the audience wants it o In the form the audience wants it in (multiple formats on multiple UI platforms) ♦ In a way that allows your audience to participate and respond
Clogged Filters MEDIAtion Way Station Post #1 9-12-09 Much has been made of our tendency to construct filters through which any and all information must pass before reaching our consciousness. These mental gates are born of prior experience, predisposition and assumption. They can be constructed consciously or unknowingly. Either way, they inevitably shape an individual's information absorption, and in turn, the very nature of the information being consumed. Our media consumption (and more recently in the wake of increasingly interactive platforms, our media participation) undeniably colors the lens through which we view "reality." Lately, I've been listening to every class lecture or discussion through a very focused lens. Two questions have occupied my mind and informed (or manipulated... take your pick) my aspect ratio. Question #1 is a two-part inquiry: "When will the NFL adopt a 2 game preseason, a 45 week regular season, a 4 game playoff, and a 1 week offseason, and when they do... what the hell will I do with myself during the week off?" The other question permeating my every thought may be slightly more relevant to MEDIAtion Way Station readers. Whenever a topic concerning future communication technologies is raised, I can't help but ask, "How might this effect future advertising strategies and capabilities?" Research deadlines are lurking and this question is monopolizing my mind. But I'm also genuinely curious. My filter was firmly in place this morning when the classroom discussion bounced from mobile projection to telepresence to nanotechnology to surface computing and back again, leaving the room dizzied and dazed. These and other impending innovations lie just beyond the horizon and could be game-changers for advertising agencies and the companies they represent--- the Super Bowl ad all over again; except the ad is "everyware." The ubiquity of these new platforms has the potential to clutter our media landscape beyond recognition. But consumers will adjust the same way they have each time new technologies are added to our already lengthy media menu. The real question is--- will they allow for more personal consumption of media and the advertising embedded in it, or will they instead increase the persuasive power of media and lead to an even more manipulated view of reality? Will they help deconstruct our mental filters or reinforce them?
Blowing the Whistle on Cluetrain MEDIAtion Way Station Post #2 9-14-09 We can all use a reminder to simplify at times. The ClueTrain Manifesto is an impassioned call to action that urges its readers to, among other things, simplify their decision making process. I appreciate the authors' message concerning the need for simplification in our lives. But when I encountered the title of Chapter 6 (EZ Answers), I realized why I was having such a difficult time digesting the material. The tone the chapter's title inflects represents the challenge to my understanding of the Manifesto. If the solution is as easy as you say it is, than how did we get into this veritable mess that you so obviously get such joy out of describing? If I may be so bold to offer a suggestion--- if you want people to listen to your message, don't make a point of harping on their continued and unforgivable ignorance around every turn of your argument. Your message is important. It can add value to my business and my life. So don't yell at me for not already knowing it! I can't help but find irony in the Manifesto's overarching emphasis on conversation and voice. Knowing the significance of those two components, the authors chose to speak at us in a tone of superiority and managed to riddle their argument with insults. And yes, they formulated their opinions as an argument--- an interesting choice considering the virtues of discussion and tone that they claim to be extolling. Throughout the Manifesto, they also take exception to the perceived need for professional correspondence and writing, and insist that we need to feel empowered to assume a more personal voice, even in our corporate communication. Fittingly, the Manifesto doesn't take on a very professional tone. Is it a coincidence that Iâ€™ve had a difficult time hearing the authors? If you can sift through the confrontational rhetoric, the message is hard to argue with. Themes of corporate transparency and authenticity permeate the Manifesto. And addressing the need to reorganize traditional corporate hierarchies and adjust to the decentralization of time will be paramount for businesses in the Social Web. And kudos to Levine, Locke, Searls, and Weinberger for practicing what they preach and making the book available in its entirety online. After all, one should never have to pay to get yelled at. Fundamentally, the Manifesto is a call to action. And I give them credit... they have certainly succeeded in soliciting a response from this reader. It's called anger. Only it's
not directed at the egomaniacal power hungry megalomaniacs that ruthlessly rule our corporate landscape, but at them. So let me see if I've heard you correctly... we're stupid for having made the mistakes we've made, and, oh by the way (just a little salt for the wounds), it's so easy to fix that we must be brainless not to have figured it out on our own. Awesome. Can't wait to converse with that voice.
Obligatory Blogging MEDIAtion Way Station Post #3 9-17-09 Organic. Informal. Impassioned. Spontaneous. Free of form. Blogging. Assigned. Academic. Evaluated. Scheduled. Formatted. Homework. Can blogging be homework? A common theme spread throughout my classes this semester has been an emphasis on matching message with medium. Find your story, and then find the best medium in which to tell it. Whatever you do, don't try to fit a square story into a round medium. Your message will get stuck. What I know about blogging can fit in a tweet. With room to spare. But my blogging sense tells me that I shouldn't be counting words when composing a post. (104. 196 to go. Maybe fewer if I keep the paragraphs short and double space after each one. Just took care of 18 more.) Don't get me wrong. I focus this commentary not on my professors but on the mirror staring unforgivingly back at me. My professors' collective responsibility is to get my stubborn ass out of my comfort zone. I understand and respect that objective. In fact, I'm grateful for their commitment to it. Nothing worth learning is ever learned quickly or easily. The issue lies squarely on my shoulders. But I can't seem to convince myself that my blog entries are anything but assignments. I feel required, not inspired. What then is the source of my resistance? I don't buy the argument that I'm afraid to expose myself as uninformed. I've always been blissfully content swimming in my own ignorance and all too willing to place my oblivion on full display. But there is a fear of exposure at work. â€Š
Maybe I'm afraid to come off as unentertaining? Worse yet, maybe I'm afraid I'm unentertaining? Maybe I'm afraid to come off as presumptuous? After all, who wants to hear from me? Or maybe I'm afraid that my post will read less like a blog post and more like... well, a homework assignment. Is a blog site the round hole to the homework assignment's square peg? Or am I just stuck in my square ways?
Friends, Fans, Followers and Spokespeople MEDIAtion Way Station Post #4 9-18-09 Debate has circled around whether or not online social networks are hospitable environments for advertisers. As OSN's have become increasingly prevalent, common wisdom has suggested that members of online communities join solely to interact with members, and not marketers or brands. Skeptics of social media advertising have also clung to a perception that users don’t exhibit any transactional behavior while logging time in OSN's. Anderson Analytics conducted a survey in May of this year that might go a long way towards countering those sentiments. The survey concluded that 52% of the US social network users surveyed had become a fan or follower of a brand or company within their social network. Another 46% of respondents contributed a positive comment about a brand or company. And an additional 18% voluntarily promoted a company or brand within an online community.
OSN members are becoming more receptive to hanging with brands in their online social spaces
This is good news for advertisers. The results of the survey would suggest that social network members are becoming receptive to brand interaction within their online social forums, making it harder to argue against the potential impact of a brand's social media presence. But questions still swirl around how to measure that impact. As the article Social Network Marketing Expands Sphere explains, most of the metrics that are available for tracking within these social media platforms can only determine a soft ROI. Studies have managed to show a direct correlation between a brand's strong social media presence and strong performance. But quantifying that correlation remains a challenge. This might not fly in an industry overly reliant on quantifiable results now operating within a medium in which analytics and metrics have become the norm. But the exactness of impact measurements may not be the question. Because of the close proximity and shared interests between fellow network members, it could be argued that the true value of a positive social media presence lies more in the impact that can't be measured. How powerful and influential is the connection between OSN members? It's tough to tell. But the immeasurable benefits of social media marketing that derive their power from member-to-member relationships may be even more significant than ROI that can be represented in a number or percentage.
Pinching Portholes MEDIAtion Way Station Post #5 9-23-09 My wife's parents love to recount the story of the first time they chatted via webcam with their grandchildren. They live in sunny southern California. At the time, their son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren were on the opposite end of the country in Portland, Maine. They had purchased the web cam solely for the purpose of conducting these cross-country conversations and bridging their geographical divide. Their faces beam with pride as they relay how the younger of the two kids, having seen GiGi and Papa on the laptop monitor, promptly rose out of his seat and raced around to the other side of the monitor to see where they were hiding. The confusion that registered on his face as his parents tried in vain to explain how GiGi and Papa could be "in the room" without being in the room was palpable. His befuddlement is not unlike that of many of us scrambling to make sense of the possibilities that these little magic boxes store. Soon GiGi and Papa will be able to plant a virtual pinch on the cheek. Innovation is propelling us further and faster. But it's also leaving a large portion of our global population farther behind. â€Š
Today's OneWebDay celebration reminds us that anyone and everyone should be able to experience the wonderment of these devices and the staggering cyperspace they connect us to. But discussions of equal online access remain just that... discussions. Before we worry about providing the GiGi's and Papa's of the world with the chance to cyberpinch distant defenseless cheeks, should we not first focus our attention on fulfilling the vision of the Internet pioneers who constructed this information frontier? Should we not first focus on opening more portholes to this teeming network of knowledge? Is progress for some progress at all?
The Mother of All Models MEDIAtion Way Station Post #6 9-24-09 Examining the communication theories and models that have been proposed over the course of the last century has been both fascinating and frustrating. This past century's communication theorists and analysts have exhibited incredible foresight in the construction of their models. In 1922, Walter Lippman was theorizing about communication issues and barriers that still exist today. But let's face it. Communication theory is in need of a facelift. More recently, Davis Foulger has advanced the Ecological Model of the Communication Process. The EMCP comes closer to capturing the new players, relationships, and dynamics that have been injected into our communication process through the advent of new media. But it was first proposed in 2004. A half century of Internet time has since passed. The meteoric nature of technological advancement has rendered it in need of updating---maybe not a full facelift, but certainly some botox. Enter Elon's iMedia Class of 2010. Our assignment today was to reinvent the communication model. Simple, right? We were given a whole 40 minutes to complete our overhaul and prepare to present our proposed changes to the class. It felt a little like what I would imagine it might feel like to be charged with creating the world (oh... and the universe and whatever lies beyond that) in seven days. The constraints placed on the process made it all the more impressive when one of the groups (I would credit them by name, but there is some sophisticated ongoing trademark legislation that prohibits me) was able to come up with this...
The next communication models will have to account for the fragmentation of media and our shifting roles in its creation, distribution, and consumption.
This prototype is the image that was captured today during a presentation that will one day come to be known as the Stepmother of all Demos. The official name of the model is also tied up in litigation right now. But regardless of its name, its message is clear. The model, as described by The Father of All Demo-ers, allows individuals to identify themselves within the communication process. It invites us to see where we fit in to the model. Not only that, it recognizes that thanks in large part to the new technologies and their relative accessibility, we all now have the capability of serving as Creators, Responders, Lurkers, or Inactives within the information sharing process. The outer ring of the wheel therefore rotates accordingly, depending on the role an individual assumes in a specific communication context. Each iteration of our communication tools is allowing for more and more customization and control. Individuals can participate in the information sharing process on their own terms and in their own time. There is nothing stagnant or concretely defined about the methods we use to communicate messages, the information they contain, or our role in the sharing process. Great work Team-To-Be-Named-Later! Just don't forget the little people once your model goes viral.
5 Ways to Get the F*** Away from the Internet: Tips for Managing Your Hyperconnected Life Before it Manages You MEDIAtion Way Station Post #7 10-7-09 Talk around our water coolers in Elon's iMedia halls centers around enabling connection and navigation within the digital landscape. The focus is constant--- or to steal a word from the new Internet landscape--- ubiquitous. It's so pervasive that it's understandable when iMedia academics and professionals occasionally crave escape from their hyperconnected, always on lives. And you don't have to be studying this stuff to relate to this need for escape from our digital lives. It's not uncommon for digital migrants to seek solace and silence. A group of students got together this morning and shared some getaway techniques. Here are a few ways to escape the digital noise. We'll count down... Letterman style. Without the inappropriate touching. 5. Limit or schedule Internet-enabled device use. Avoid spending extended periods of time on your Internet-enabled device without incorporating breaks and varying activities. Build in a minimum of 30 minutes of down time for every 2 hours of computing. Think of it as a work-to-rest ratio of 4-1. And take your rest when you get it. A side note...To help work more efficiently while online, avoid setting alerts for incoming messages, texts, or emails; it actually wastes more time than it saves. 4. Don’t institute self-imposed technology blackouts. On the surface it sounds like a good idea. We've all heard someone say it. "I make sure my cell is turned off every Sunday after 6pm." It's that individual's way of drawing boundaries between the demands of his virtual identity and the real world. But we can see his lip quiver as he shares his strategy with us. He panics just talking about it. Blackouts cause too much anxiety and require us to abandon the lifestyle we've grown dependent on during the other 164 hours of the week. Say I wanted to drop a few pounds. Would I starve myself on Sunday night and give myself permission to eat anything and everything the rest of the week? This is not a recipe to achieve a healthy body or mind. 3. Make time for non-Internet based activities and hobbies. Basic stuff right? This one is too obvious to leave off our list and too easy to forget during the course of our days. Remember what it was like to read a book? Go for a jog? Or initiate a conversation with someone you didn't have to poke or ping? 2. Don’t let mobile devices disturb face-to-face interactions. We've all seen this table at the restaurant. Mom and Dad stare at each other's plates
wistfully eyeing each other's meal as their two angels hunch over, eyes down, texting frantically as if craving communication and connection with anyone other than the people sitting across from them at the table. The people closest to them, both literally and figuratively, are ignored. I'm no parent. I'm certainly no family consultant. But really? I don't know what the rules will be in our house. (All I know is that they'll probably be broken on a regular basis) But the family dinner table is in danger of becoming extinct. And I'm not cool with that. "Eat your vegetables" has been replaced by "Shut your phone off." We can't solve this problem by feeding the phone to the dog. Shut it off!!! 1. Most importantly, donâ€™t name your devices. I met an iPod named Herbert today. Herbert's owner had good intentions in naming her iPod. She had hoped it would help facilitate a close bond between the two of them. Be careful what you wish for. Naming technology can contribute to the development of unhealthy relationships with your devices that foster dependency. And your iPod will not be the one going Single White Female on you. They are not your pets. But like most pets, they will own you if you don't own them first. Can you tell that we've been staring at a computer screen all day, every day since September?
4 Contrateristics of Viral Videos MEDIAtion Way Station Post #8 10-12-09 What makes a video go viral? What makes the sky blue? A more pressing question that some of you may be asking is, "what is a contrateristic?" It seems that the solution for those unable to find the right words is to make one up--- to combine two or more words together into a hybrid mutation of their former selves. If the car industry embraced hybrids half as much as media analysts do, Al Gore would be out of a job. And it's hard to get fired by the environment. This blogger is not afraid to admit--- I'm not above the fray. Contrateristics is used here to describe the amphibious nature of viral videos. The characteristics that define virility are contradictory.
There are a host of different ingredients that can be poured into a viral video and there's no single recipe that guarantees stickiness or spreadability. Viral videos transcend creator and context and bear a uniquely cross-cultural appeal. They are relevant, relatable and malleable. But what characteristics must they possess in order to receive universal adoration? Our group posed this question this morning and discovered that for every property we attributed to a sample of viral videos the opposite characteristic could also be found in other examples. For instance, as quickly as we identified originality as a prerequisite for virality, we realized that the appeal of a large number of viral videos is their blatant mimicry. In honor of the duplicitous nature of virility, I offer these four characteristics of viral videos. 1. Origitypal: Some virals can be original while others gain their appeal by embodying strictly archetypal foundations. 2. Simplexity: Viewers can often be drawn in by a video's simplicity. At other times, the visual complexity and high-end production are the hook. 3. Mystervious: Viral videos are sometimes purposefully abstruse and mysterious. but sometimes they spread because their message or joke is so obvious. 4. Fakuine: Lastly, some are simply shams. Fakes. Yet others owe their popularity to their genuineness. Maybe the most glaring characteristic of viral videos is this; as often as we've seen them, and as often as we swear we'll never watch again, we can't seem to turn away. So in honor of virility, here's a compilation (courtesy of Boxxy) of some of the more memorable viral videos that have robbed us of countless hours over the years.
Meetia Marketing: Crafting Conversation & Cultivating Connection through Social Media MEDIAtion Way Station Post #9 10-28-09 Conversation marketing is not a new concept. But it’s one that has been slow to take root. Challenges abound in incorporating a more conversational tone into a corporation’s marketing voice. But advances in technology and the changes in consumer culture they have enabled have signaled companies that it’s time to stop shouting and start engaging. Interactivity is the fuel behind the conversation, and social media is the engine that propels it. Within social media lies the power to facilitate consumer engagement. Social media provides the porthole through which companies and audiences can gain mutual awareness and forge relationships with one another that transcend the transactional. It's the vessel in which substantive, customizable and conversational meetia marketing is possible. Meetia marketing finds its bedrock in the belief that the most effective marketing techniques are those that require the company to introduce itself to its consumers in a whole new way. Transparency, honesty, authenticity, and truth are the cornerstones of marketing in the Web 2.0 era. It is within the social media milieu that advertisers can find a way to reach prospective customers in more meaningful and personal ways. It is within these virtual communities that advertisers can find their voice. How? By listening to ours. In order to engage prospective customers, earn consumer respect, and compete for our increasingly strained attention, ad agencies and marketing departments must be willing to adopt a culture that places a premium on listening. But listening is not enough. They must act on what they learn and answer the call of the consumer with an authentic, human voice. They must formulate marketing strategies that are grounded in transparency and governed by an understanding that success in building an audience will hinge more on the messages companies receive than the messages they send. The notion that companies are now better equipped to ask consumers for input, listen to the advice they receive, and incorporate it into an overarching marketing strategy has been referenced in such concepts as permission marketing, conversation marketing, invitation marketing, and relationship marketing. Seth Godin proposed the notion of permission marketing as far back as 1999, and was one of the first to articulate the need for businesses to transition away from the interruptive marketing techniques that dominated the Internet and offline landscapes (Godin 1999). With the realization that genuine conversation is made possible once permission is given, permission marketing evolved into conversation marketing. It’s time to take the next step.
The next step requires companies to exercise even more transparency and trust. It asks companies to loosen their grip on the top-down control of messaging that has been so engrained for so long. The next step asks consumers to collaborate with each other and coordinate with corporations in their marketing initiatives. The next step is collaborative marketing, and the movement is already underway. Collaborative marketing tosses aside the old model of the passive consumer and molds marketing methods to better suit the new reality of participatory engagement (McConnell & Huba 2007). Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba refer to these creative consumers as citizen marketers and the online activities they conduct as customer evangelism. “As everyday people increasingly create content on behalf of companies, brands, or productsto which they have no official connection- they are turning the traditional notions of media upside down (McConnell & Huba, 2007). Citizen marketers are “democratizing traditional notions of communication and marketing,” and are forcing companies to abandon their long engrained advertising instincts and adopt a collaborative marketing model that encourages consumers to participate and contribute.
Social Media Maze Still Leaving Companies Dazed & Confused MEDIAtion Way Station Post #10 11-5-09 PRWeek and MS & L conducted the First Annual Social Media Survey this past June and the results are in. 271 chief marketing officers, vice presidents of marketing and marketing directors were polled regarding their perceptions of social media and their company's use of it. Kimberly Maul breaks down some of the survey's findings in her October article entitled Reality Check. Maul's report is a virtual barrage of numbers and statistics, all of which are revealing and meaningful. Much of the focus of Reality Check centers on what strategies companies are currently employing within the social media space, the obstacles to incorporating social media into marketing efforts, and the spending allocated towards investments in social media marketing. But some of the more interesting findings had to do with answers to questions concerning two subjects that often go overlooked in examinations of social media marketing strategies--- 1) ethical considerations when entering social media and 2) the issue of what is done with the information that is gathered through social media participation.
The survey asked a series of questions around ethical issues that companies must consider when venturing into social media spaces. Respondents were asked if their companies had engaged in any of the following activities: • • • • •
positioning company-generated content as consumer-generated changing content related to the company that others have posted in social media removing negative comments or content from social media offering gifts for company or blog reviews paying cash for company or product blog reviews
Only 57% of those surveyed were able to deny using any of these tactics. A surprising 21% of respondents admitted to presenting company-generated content as consumergenerated, while 13% revealed that they had changed content relating to their company that others had posted in social media. Analysts and strategists have trumpeted social media as a conduit for genuine communication and collaboration between company and consumer. An organization's successful navigation of social media spaces depends largely on their ability to enter with an authentic voice. If these numbers are any indication, this is proving even more difficult than skeptics had predicted. The study revealed that nearly half of the businesses surveyed admitted to using dishonest tactics while attempting to participate within social media spaces. Other survey responses indicated that many companies are attempting to carve out a social media niche without any concrete strategies or objectives. One can't help but call into question the intentions of these corporations. Responses to questions concerning what becomes of the information that is gathered through social media platforms cast further doubt. When asked if their company had ever made any changes to products or strategies based on consumer feedback from social media sites, just 34% of the companies using social media indicated that they had. So much attention is paid to finding ways to better measure the effectiveness of a company's social media presence. Yet only a third of businesses have ever acted in response to the input they receive. Why worry about collecting information or the accuracy of it if it's not going to be used to effect change? Results from the 1st Annual Social Media Survey seem to suggest that the majority of companies have a long way to go before understanding the how and why behind social media participation. Here's hoping that responses in the second annual survey reflect a growing appreciation for the potential inherent in utilizing social media platforms to initiate a genuine discourse with consumers as well as a willingness to learn from the time spent "socializing."
Top 10 iMedia Thinkers Bob Garfield Bob Garfield examines the empowerment of the consumer community and online word of mouth phenomenon in The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, The Choice for Business is Stark: Listen or Perish. Garfield explains that if companies would listen, they would hear a crowd forming, “a crowd of what you used to call your ‘audience.’ They're still an audience, but they aren't necessarily listening to you. They're listening to each other talk about you. And they're using your products, your brand names, your iconography, your slogans, your trademarks, your designs, your goodwill, all of it as if it belonged to them -- which, in a way, it all does, because, after all, haven't you spent decades, and trillions, to convince them of just that?” Garfield contends that the crowd garners strength through the connections its members forge with one another. “They're just civilians with opinions. This is a category of consumer, obviously, that has always existed. Only now, with the Internet, it's easy for them to find one another. And everybody else.” As Garfield says in The Chaos Scenario, “the h-e-r-d will be heard.”
Seth Godin Seth Godin proposed the notion of permission marketing and was one of the first to articulate the need for businesses to transition away from the interruptive marketing techniques that dominated the Internet and offline landscapes. He published his book, Permission Marketing in 1999, and in it emphasized that marketers should only reach out only to those individuals who have already signaled an interest in learning more about their products. He also outlined some credentials that a campaign needed to meet in order to fall under the category of permission-based. Among those credentials was the requirement that the ad provide something of value once permission is gained, and that advertisers make genuine efforts to build learning relationships with customers.
Mitch Joel Mitch Joel is the CEO of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. Joel’s metaphor of degrees shrinking to the size of pixels is helpful in understanding the close connections and accessibility that the social Web has enabled. Joel is familiar with the power of social media. He built his multi-million dollar company with just one primary tool- his blog.
Max Lenderman In his book, Experience the Message: How Experiential Marketing is Changing the Brand World, Max Lenderman contends that the traditional marketing paradigm that has long centered on persuasion is shifting towards a paradigm based on truth. Lenderman maintains that “consumer generated media are poised to make marketing and advertising a more truthful place… finally.” Lenderman champions a genuine commitment to truth when chartering social media waters, and recognizes the important connection between the rise of mobile computing and the shift in brand management. As Lenderman says, the application of mobile telephony “is a harbinger of a new conversation between marketer and consumer; a revolution is being conducted in the new conversation between
consumers themselves.” Adds Lenderman, “To become a part of this conversation is the new paradigm of marketing and branding.”
Ben McConnell & Jackie Huba Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba examine word of mouth marketing in Citizen Marketer: When People are the Message. They maintain that a lone person, who they refer to as a citizen marketer, “can create significant ripples in the reputation of companies.” McConnell and Huba refer to the online activities of these citizen marketers as customer evangelism. “As everyday people increasingly create content on behalf of companies, brands, or products- to which they have no official connection- they are turning the traditional notions of media upside down. Collaborating with others just like themselves, they are forming ever-growing communities of enthusiasts and evangelists using videos, photos, songs and animation as well as the ‘user-generated media’ of blogs, online bulletin boards, and podcasts.” According to McConnell and Huba, citizen marketers are “democratizing traditional notions of communication and marketing,” and are forcing companies to abandon their long engrained advertising instincts and adopt a collaborative marketing model that encourages consumers to participate, contribute, and even fuel the marketing machine.
Andy Sernovitz Andy Sernovitz, founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, asserts that the single most powerful source of recommendation in the world is “people like us.” According to Sernovitz, the idea behind word of mouth marketing is that companies not only need to supply consumers with reasons to talk about their brands, but also make it easier for those conversations to take place. With the pervasiveness of online social forums, the opportunities for word to spread multiply exponentially and Sernovitz assigns a vast potential to word of mouth marketing. He labels it, quite simply, “the fastest growing form of advertising.”
Denise Shiffman Denise Shiffman is the founder and principal of the marketing innovation consultancy, Venture Essentials, a company that specializes in advising businesses on how to reshape customer experience and manage brand reputation through social media. In her book, The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing for Today’s Connected, Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture, Shiffman asserts that we are “in the midst of a great change, and it’s this change from the static, flat, corporate-created Web to the interactive, social, user-created Web that has accelerated consumer influence.” Denise Shiffman describes a transformation occurring to brands, products, consumers and companies within this new frontier. According to Shiffman, “The brand, rather than being just an image, promise, or word in the mind as it’s called, can become, in part, an actual relationship between a company and its customers.” Brands are therefore becoming relationships and products are morphing into experiences.
Roland Smart Sprout, Inc. offers tools, widgets, and platforms that allow businesses to create rich Internet experiences with brands and companies in social spaces. Companies come to Sprout’s Senior Marketing Manager Roland Smart to solicit help in understanding how to operate within the social media arena. Smart maintains that companies need to maximize every opportunity to share their brand with consumers, and businesses need to learn to communicate in an ongoing way with communities. Sprout’s goal for its clients is to help them make the experiences they create for their prospective consumers as “social and shareable” as possible. This approach has formed the foundation of Sprout’s marketing model. As Smart explains, “We’ve gone from a funnel model where you’re distributing a message to a community to a more cyclical model where we are participating in the conversation and giving customers tools to help spread the word on behalf of brands. We also talk about those as engagement campaigns.”
Don Tapscott Don Tapscott co-wrote Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and The Naked Corporation: How the Age of Transparency Will Revolutionize Business. He also contributed to Denise Shiffman’s The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing for Today’s Connected, Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture. In Age of Engage, Tapscott describes the corporation as “naked.” He explains that, “Corporations have no choice but to rethink their values and behaviors--- to integrate corporate citizenship into their DNA.” Companies are becoming more transparent whether they like it or not. And as Tapscott says, “If you’re going to be naked, you’d better be buff.” Buff companies are those that “view the Internet as a constantly evolving and shifting ecosystem with a heartbeat,” and “strive to create engaging interactive marketing initiatives and participate in valuable conversations at each touchpoint.”
Christopher Vollmer Christopher Vollmer is a Vice President in Booz & Company’s Global Consumer and Media Practice and the author of Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and Media in an Era of Consumer Control. In it, he explains that, “Instead of being satisfied with knowing how many people are exposed to their brand messages, some marketers are working hard to determine how well their messages are received, whether they’re powerful enough to generate a customer response, and exactly what those responses are. They have learned a primary lesson of the always-on media environment: it doesn’t matter how many people are watching; what counts is whether they’re paying attention and responding.” Vollmer contends, “The ability to use online media to know what will be relevant to consumers, rather than guesstimating, represents a significant paradigm shift in marketing.” He goes on to speculate that this new direct access to ongoing consumer opinion and interest “may be the antidote to the loss of control that many people in media, advertising, and marketing currently feel. Marketers will never again dominate consumers the way they once did. But they can use this deeper, more informed data-driven analysis to become partners with customers.”
Top 10 iMedia Readings The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing for Today’s Connected, Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture Denise Shiffman, 2008 Consumer audiences have been given more power in their relationship with companies and their products. The source of their newfound empowerment can be traced to blogs, comment sites, social networks, and other online tools designed to give audiences a voice. Companies now face the challenge of marketing with consumers and not to them. The Age of Engage outlines a blueprint for reshaping interactions with audiences in order to inspire trust and a presents a plan for extending a company’s sphere of influence by creating value that draws positive attention to their brand. Companies functioning and flourishing within the Live Web need to view the Internet as a constantly evolving and shifting ecosystem with a heartbeat. Corporations must strive to create engaging interactive marketing initiatives and participate in valuable conversations at each touchpoint. Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and Media in an Era of Consumer Control Christopher Vollmer & Geoffrey Precourt, 2008 Vollmer contends that traditional relationship between markets and advertisers are being redefined. The shift signals the advent of the consumer-centric digital age in which the customers are now in control over their media consumption. A large part of the value of dynamic digital media can be traced to its unmatched contribution to maintaining closer contact with consumers who are now “always on,” always present, and constantly seeking value and opportunities to connect. The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, The Choice for Business is Stark: Listen or Perish Bob Garfield, 2009 The Chaos Scenario describes the historic reordering of media, marketing, and commerce triggered by the revolution of digital technology. The yin and yang of mass media and mass marketing are flying apart, and we find ourselves in the midst of the total collapse of the media infrastructure. The unspoken contract between media and consumers no longer applies. Generation Y has never operated according to the understanding that one must endure a commercial message as the quid pro quo of free or cheap content and they are not apt to accepting this doctrine anytime soon. This new ideology has sent media and media advertising into a state of chaos in which power has shifted from the few to the many. Garfield examines methods that businesses can use to make sense of the disorder. He discusses techniques that can be implemented to help companies take advantage of social media outlets, engage prospective customers, and listen in on the conversations surrounding their brands. In order harness the force of this power shift for a company’s benefit and not harm, Garfield urges businesses to apply the science of Listenomics. Listenomics is the practice of institutionalizing dialogue with all potential constituencies,
even total strangers, for the purpose of market research, product development, customer relationships, corporate image, and transactions themselves.
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies Josh Bernoff & Charlene Li, 2008 Bernoff and Li coin the term “groundswell” to describe the spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their own online experience, and get what they need from each other rather than traditional institutions or corporations. As a result, companies and brands are being discussed and rated by consumers in public forums over which the company has no control. In short, social technologies have transformed the ways in which audiences connect and collect information. The authors urge companies to engage in the ongoing conversation and adopt groundswell thinking in order to harness the power of this growing movement. Groundswell thinking is built upon the analysis of twenty-five case studies that illuminate how leading companies are gaining insights into their customers and prospective consumers, energizing these audiences, and generating revenue as a result. The authors assert that the key component to successful brand positioning is embracing the groundswell and establishing a commitment to cultivating relationships with consumers utilizing the same social media tools that have helped spawn this new movement. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust Chris Brogan & Julienne Smith, 2009 What does the story of Joe Pistone, the undercover FBI agent who successfully infiltrated the New York Mob under the guise of wise guy Donnie Brasco, have to do with online marketing and advertising? Brogan and Smith detail the seemingly obscure connection in Trust Agents. Pistone exercised subtlety and patience and sought to establish credibility before attempting to approach mobsters. In order to connect with and earn the respect of audiences, marketers and advertisers now need to use similar tactics in order to become online trust agents. Because of advancements in the Web tools now available, online trust agents can reach their audience faster, more deeply and in a more personal way than traditional marketing strategies. Brands and companies now have the potential to be seen as “one of us.” The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media Paul Gillin, 2007 New social media technologies and tools have changed the dynamics of marketing and have contributed to a resurrection of the conversation-based marketplace. Marketing or media experts are no longer driving these markets. Instead, millions of ordinary people are now determining what the marketplace is saying, hearing, and thinking. Social media has provided the tools of expression and the platform in which to use them to the masses. No brand is off limits. Therefore, it is incumbent upon advertising executives to now seek to engage this new population of influencers.
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, and Friends Into Customers Seth Godin, 1999 Traditional advertising campaigns rely on attempts to refocus our attention away from our current activity towards a product or brand. Godin refers to this practice as interruption marketing. The concept of permission marketing urges marketers to shape their message so that consumers will willingly accept it and even invite it. Companies that practice permission marketing reach out only to those consumers who have previously signaled interest in receiving information about the product or brand. In this way, a strict adherence to permission marketing techniques helps companies nurture a positive brand image, inspire trust among potential buyers, and develop long-term relationships with customers. Permission marketing is founded on encouraging learning relationships with consumers, maintaining a permission database, making sure you have a valuable message to communicate once permission is granted, and encouraging continued and more substantive communication once a consumer becomes a customer. Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone Mitch Joel, 2009 The popular theory that has come to be known as Six Degrees of Separation is now outdated. The theory contends that any one person is connected to anybody else through fewer than six degrees of separation. Joel maintains that through technology, and more specifically, the Internet, we are all now intrinsically connected. Everyone is just a click or pixel away from anyone else. This increased connectivity has profound implications on how corporations sell products and services. Building relationships and transforming those relationships into online communities is essential to any business plan and marketing strategy. Six Pixels of Separation contends that the new online channels can help businesses provide value to consumers and find voice in communications with prospective customers while also enabling consumers to connect, engage, and participate in the process. Joel describes a shift in communications that has enabled anyone and everyone to interact on a level playing field with one another and experience the Web and the communication channels it provides in a very personal and customizable way. Businesses must then account for this shift and adjust their online marketing strategies to cater to these highly connected audiences. Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business Erik Qualman, 2009 Social media is the digital age mechanism by which people fulfill their inherent desire to foster connections with similar others and understand what other people are thinking and doing. Qualman describes the current scenario as one in which word of mouth has gone “world of mouth.” Instead of having to seek out information, individuals will instead be active participants in creating and sharing the news. Because our online lives and associations will be on constant display in the “Glass House Generation,” it is imperative that companies produce products and services that people want to be associated with and share ownership of. Companies will also exist within a glass house and will have to
leverage this new transparency. A new Socialommerce will emerge in which billions of dollars will be made in and around social media, and consumers will continue to rely more heavily on the opinion of online friends, colleagues, and strangers to shape their own decisions and purchases. Qualman contends that the influence of referral marketing will increase and the reputations of companies within social media outlets will play a larger role in determining brand image.
Experience the Message: How Experiential Marketing is Changing the Brand World Max Lenderman, 2006 Consumers exposed to an overabundance of marketing messages are no longer willing to be passive recipients of conventional advertising and marketing. The new consumer is eager to engage in authentic conversations with brands and corporations. Marketers must provide that opportunity through the creation of brand experiences that are personally meaningful and memorable. Lenderman explains that experiential marketing is about authenticity, personal interaction, and empowering the consumer. Lenderman’s Introduction is entitled Making Friends with Brands, illustrating the emphasis placed on relationship building within the experiential marketing model. Lenderman implores advertisers to strive to be relevant to target markets so that their advertisements can invoke a powerful sensory or cognitive consumer response. These types of reactions can inspire what Lenderman’s holds are the best and most compelling forms of marketing: consumer recommendations to fellow consumers.
Top 10 iMedia Issues From Mass Media to Me Media: The Customization of Media Consumption Web 2.0 technologies are enabling Internet users to customize their online experience. Sophisticated browsing tools are allowing a degree of specificity and the Web is growing more responsive to our individual usage patterns. The Internet is learning about us; our habits, our behaviors, and our interests. Increasingly predictive capabilities will continue to create a more efficient, intuitive and personal Web experience.
The Transfer of Authorship to the Consumer Internet users are not longer passive absorbers of content dictated to them. They not only have significantly more choice and control over the media and information they consume online, but they also have authoring tools at their disposal that have empowered them as creators. The line between performer and audience has softened and blurred to an extent that has rendered everyone capable of producing and distributing quality spreadable content.
The Flattening of Authority & Social Influence A byproduct of the authoring capabilities and increasing access to information that the Web facilitates is an evolution in the notion of authority. No longer are conventional authority figures the only individuals capable of wielding influence. The anonymity that accompanies online activity has eliminated many of the traditional status cues that have helped determine authority in offline settings. The status of “expert” is widely attainable, and anyone can become an influencer online.
The Clash for Control The concepts of ownership and property are evolving as a result of the free flow of information and content that has come to characterize the Internet age. The open source movement is meeting resistance from entities having a difficult time loosening their grip on the top-down control of messaging and the traditional notion of exclusive ownership. It stands to reason that copyright and intellectual property laws will be called into question and updated to account for this trend. But the battle over control will always be waged.
Hypermetasuperconnectivity There are distinct advantages to the level of connectivity that Internet enabled devices now provide. But many digital migrants are having a difficult time adopting an alwayson mentality. Even digital natives may experience a craving for quieter, less connected days. Lines between work and home are blurring. This can present advantages and challenges. Balance between professional and personal is not easily attained, and as we grow more hyperconnected, that balance may be more difficult to achieve. Is there such a thing as being too connected?
Equal Access: Bridging the Digital Divide Net neutrality is an issue that needs to be addressed. Technology is advancing at unthinkable speeds. As it does, the gap between the technology haves and havenots is growing wider, and the advantages that technology brings are leaving those without access in an even bigger hole.
The Mobile Movement As Brad Brinegar, the CEO of McKinney Advertising stated, the computer screen is morphing. Screens are shrinking and growing legs. More significantly, user interfaces will soon become more intuitive and less dependent on hardware. Internet access will be integrated seamlessly into our every movement. The move away from the desktop will accelerate to a point where we are no longer tied to devices that require us to consciously carry and activate them.
The Impending Death of Interruption Marketing Consumers are growing decreasingly patient with conventional push marketing tactics that interrupt their browsing or call their attention away from their primary tasks. Internet users are multitasking like never before. But added distractions are not welcome. Those users who remain receptive have less attention to give. Marketers and advertisers have been slow to migrate online, let alone abandon familiar interruptive tactics. But changes in philosophy and strategy are in order.
Measurability The Internet expands your reach exponentially. But making contact is different than making a connection. Sophisticated analytic tools are already in use and others are in development that can tell companies intricate and comprehensive details about their website visitors. But connection is an elusive measurement. No matter how sophisticated our metrics become, the impact that is unquantifiable is also the most important.
Possession: Less than Nine-Tenths of Internet Law Just as control is more evenly spread, possession is becoming harder to define. Many analysts foresee a changing economy in which experience is the new dollar. The experience economy will alter our perception of wealth. Instead of being measured monetarily, our wealth will be measured in terms of the experiences we can claim. This has further implications on our assignment of value.
Top 10 iMedia Resources Mashable http://mashable.com/about/ Mashable is one of the largest blogs on the Web. It is a mashup that is focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media News. It reviews websites and software, publishes breaking news in web development and offers social media resources and guides.
New York Times: Technology http://www.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html The New York Times is an exemplary model for print media outlets making the transition to the digital age. The technology section provides relevant articles with insightful commentary.
StumbleUpon http://www.stumbleupon.com/ StumbleUpon is a great example of Web 2.0 technology that is capable of learning about its individual users and customizing their Web browsing experience, while also enabling shared, social experiences. As the site says, StumbleUpon uses a ratings system to establish web site quality and popularity. StumbleUpon users will then see pages that friends or like-minded “stumblers” have recommended. With StumbleUpon, users can discover great content that may remain hidden using conventional browsing techniques.
iMedia Connection http://www.imediaconnection.com/ iMedia Connection compiles articles and blog posts and discusses tips and trends in the marketing community. iMedia Connection outlines the latest in media strategies, marketing channels and consumer strategies. iC also highlights job postings and other helpful job hunting information.
Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com/ This tech blog is a source for the latest in consumer electronics. It’s coverage keeps pace with a rapidly evolving technology industry, yet stays true to its roots as a blog by maintaining an irreverent tone in many posts.
Innovative Interactivity http://www.innovativeinteractivity.com/ Innovative Interactivity describes itself as a “Digital Watering Hole for Multimedia Enthusiasts.” Frequent updates ensure that content remains fresh. Archived posts are categorized and easily accessible. As the site states, II is a great resource for those
interested in tracking trends in interactive multimedia and learning more about “who is doing it best and the tricks to staying on top.”
Lynda.com http://www.lynda.com/ Lynda.com produces and hosts over 42,000 educational tutorials outlining best practices and procedures for applying digital tools, software, and techniques. Members must pay to access Lynda.com’s tutorials. But the membership fee is an investment worth making. Members have access to tutorials for software users of all aptitudes and experience levels.
TED http://www.ted.com/ TED is an acronym for Technology, Education and Design. It was started as a conference to bring people from those three industries together. TED now hosts multiple annual events worldwide and makes many of the most cutting-edge presentations given at those conferences available for viewing on their site.
TechCrunch http://www.techcrunch.com/ TechCrunch is a network blogs dedicated to highlighting new Internet products and companies and profiling existing companies that are making a successful transition into and impact within the digital space. Their CrunchGear blog is a source for learning about the most recent gadgets and hardware.
Digg http://digg.com/ Digg is a news website built to leverage the social nature of the Web 2.0 culture. Users determine the Digg’s content by submitting links and stories, and then either digging or burying content by voting it up or down. Only the stories that are dugg the most appear on the “front page.” Digg is one of the forefathers of the many social networking sites that employ story submission and voting systems.
Top 10 iMedia Theories The ACCESS Model Content Connection’s ACCESS Model is highlighted in The Social Media Bible, written by Lon Safko and David Brake. ACCESS is an acronym whose letters stand for Audience, Concept, Competition, Execution, Social Media and Sales Viability. The ACCESS Model is a blueprint for helping content creators invite audiences to make a strong connection with their product. As Content Connection’s site explains, the ACCESS Model explains the key elements in market segmentation, content validation, and the process of leveraging the wisdom of the crowd.
Listenomics Bob Garfield proposed the concept of Listenomics in 2005 in response to the impact of open-source principles and the increase in consumer control on the economy, society and marketing. As Garfield explains, the ascendance of the Internet has caused a complete breakdown of the media marketing model that requires marketers to pay closer attention to individual voices and to incorporate the collective judgment of the crowd in their decision-making.
Socialommerce Socialommerce was advanced by Erik Qualman in his book, Socialnomics”: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. Qualman describes the birth of socialommerce as the increasing reliance on social media to educate consumers on products and brands. Social media members are self-educating in social media and making decisions based on the info they glean there. Companies must therefore leverage this online activity and integrate it within marketing strategies and transactional processes.
Uses and Gratifications Theory Uses and Gratifications Theory is one of the first communication theories to recognize the audience as active participants in the media distribution process. According to Uses and Gratifications Theory, audience consumption patterns reveal information about the lives and needs of consumers. Consumers actively choose media based on those needs, and media is therefore designed in response to them. By actively determining which messages they select, the public helps set the media agenda.
Cognitive Dissonance The concept of Cognitive Dissonance acknowledges that humans find inconsistency uncomfortable. Mental disturbance occurs when an individual encounters information contrary to their beliefs. The response is to rationalize those inconsistencies or ignore them. The public reconciles the dissonance by seeking out information from sources that will support existing beliefs and reinforce current positions. Internet tools that allow
users to customize their browsing and streamline their information gathering feed into this already innate tendency to seek out the familiar.
Spiral of Silence The Spiral of Silence is a term that has been used to describe the tendency for individuals to self-censor the ideas or opinions they choose to make public if those ideas counter the consensus public opinion. The media has played a long-standing role in creating consensus, and individuals become less likely to challenge that consensus for fear of isolation. In other words, public opinion only consists of those ideas that individuals feel comfortable expressing. New media has allowed an unprecedented measure of anonymity and freedom of expression and holds the promise of lessening the impact of the Spiral of Silence. But social influence will always play a role in determining which ideas are forwarded and which are forced into quietude.
N-Step Theory The N-Step Theory is a variation of the Two-Step Theory. The Two-Step Theory contends that the opinion leaders intervene between the media and the public and temper the media’s influence over audiences. The media is therefore filtered through opinion leaders before reaching the public. The N-Step Theory takes that logic a step further and proposes that those opinion leaders vary according to subject area and context. The “N” in N-Step stands for “numbers.” The N-Step Theory helps account for the increase in the number of individuals empowered by Internet tools and social media who can now rise to the status of opinion leaders.
Knowledge Gap Theory Knowledge Gap Theory is a reminder of the unfortunate impact of the digital divide. It states as more information is diffused into a social system, the higher socioeconomic status groups will gain knowledge more readily than lower socioeconomic groups. The more information dispersed, the more discrepancy that exists, creating a widening gap in information levels.
Symbolic Interactionism The principle of Symbolic Interactionism maintains that human beings derive symbolic meaning through social interactions that they have with each other and society. Individuals than determine their actions and behavior towards symbols based on the socially influenced meaning they have ascribed to them. The increasingly social nature of the Internet provides individuals with a wealth of social perspectives to help them determine meaning.
Power Law of Participation Ross Mayfield proposed the Power Law of Participation to help understand the high percentage of participation among core users relative to the overall participation within social media platforms. According to Mayfield, a large number of users comprise the periphery. The periphery is involved in the accumulation of collective intelligence through activities such as reading, tagging, subscribing and sharing. Only a small
number of users make up the core population. But those core users are driving content, commanding influence, and engaging in the formulation of collaborative intelligence.
Top 10 iMedia Information Visualizations Wordle http://www.wordle.net/ Wordle is an online software that allows users to generate word clouds from simple textbased documents or URL’s. The word clouds give greater prominence to the words that appear more frequently in the text. Words that are included infrequently receive smaller billing. Users can choose their font, layout and colors. Use of the software is free and users are free to keep and use their Wordle clouds.
The Ongoing Confidence Gap The Ongoing Confidence Gap charts the discrepancy between the percentage of media time that users spend on the Internet and the percentage of ad budgets dedicated to Internet advertising. The gap continues to grow as advertisers reluctantly shift their focus online and consumers continue to flock there. It appears that the OCG will soon begin to close.
Causalities of War: Faces of the Dead http://www.nytimes.com/ref/us/20061228_3000FACES_TAB1.html This visual representation is a moving tribute to the American soldiers who have given their lives to the war in Iraq. The visual provides additional information about each soldier and allows visitors to search for specific names and images. The installation is a tribute to their courage and sacrifice.
The Media Diet Pyramid http://flowingdata.com/2009/08/14/balance-life-with-the-media-diet-pyramid/ The Pyramid was creatd by Jason Lee and outlines the rules for balancing an individual’s media diet in the age of hyperconnection. It cites recent studies that determined that an average American devotes an average of nine hours in front of some sort of screen daily.
The Me Model The Me Model was devised by a group of iMedia graduate students at Elon in the fall of 2009. It is an interactive wheel of message processing that accounts for the changing role of the media consumer. Not only has the nature of the audience changed with the advent of Web 2.0 technology, but the role of an individual consumer can regularly shift and change depending on circumstances. The Me Model skillfully and thoughtfully depicts the rotating relationship that media consumers now have with their media.
Power Law of Participation
Ross Mayfield proposed the Power Law of Participation to help understand the high percentage of participation among core users relative to the overall participation within social media platforms. According to Mayfield, a large number of users comprise the periphery. The periphery is involved in the accumulation of collective intelligence through activities such as reading, tagging, subscribing and sharing. Only a small number of users make up the core population. But those core users are driving content, commanding influence, and engaging in the formulation of collaborative intelligence.
The Ebb and Flow of Movies: Box Office Receipts 1986-2008) NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/02/23/movies/20080223_REVENUE_ GRAPHIC.html This New York Times interactive data visualization depicts the box office dollars earned by each movie released between 1986 and 2008. The numbers are adjusted for inflation and the interface allows users to browse data easily. It provides the added feature of presenting the Times’ original movie review and summary, as well as trailers.
Living with Less: The human side of the global recession NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/03/30/business/economy/2009‐ economy‐words.html The New York Times has enabled site visitors to submit their personal emotional reaction to the failing economy by summarizing their state of mind in one word. The installation is continually updated, displaying the most common words most prominently and providing a snapshot of the psychological condition of the American public.
The Digital Dialogue Diagram The DDD was designed by a group of iMedia graduate students in the fall of 2009 in an effort to build a tool by which companies, organizations, or individuals can measure the degree of interactivity that their website or interactive installation provides its users. The Diagram was born out of the notion that there is a distinct difference between interactivity and genuine dialogue. Though many websites may offer a high level of interactivity, they may also fall short in establishing a dialogue with its visitors. An interactive site can provide choice and control over how content is digested. But a dialogic site provides opportunities for users to contribute to content creation and multidirectional conversation with the site administrators and other visitors
Digg Labs http://labs.digg.com/stack/ Digg Labs has devised a visual representation of activity on the Digg website that updates in real-time. The more attention a story receives, the higher its stack climbs. The users who view and digg the story are also displayed as their contribution is registered and falls on top of the story stack. The stack is an effective way for users to gauge which stories are getting the most attention and votes.
The Digital Dialogue Diagram The Digital Dialogue Diagram was designed by a group of iMedia graduate students in the fall of 2009 in an effort to build a tool by which companies, organizations, or individuals can measure the degree of interactivity that their website or interactive installation provides its users. The DDD was born out of the notion that there is a distinct difference between enabling interactivity and encouraging genuine dialogue. Though many websites may offer a high level of interactivity, they may fall short in establishing a dialogue with its visitors. An interactive site can provide choice and control over how content is digested. But a dialogic site provides opportunities for users to contribute to content creation and participate in multidirectional conversation with the site administrators and other visitors. Each question on the DDD allows site builders to grade their siteâ€™s offerings. Questions center around the extent to which the site allows visitors to alter content, engage in discussion, and customize their site navigation and content digestion.
Meetia Marketing: Crafting Conversation and Cultivating Connection By Harnessing Social Media David Hollander Elon University
Author Note Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David Hollander, 8 Rhododendron Dr, Greensboro, NC 27455. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Internet has ushered in an unprecedented age of information sharing that has helped sharpen the collective intelligence and has redefined the methods by which communities are galvanized. Ramifications of these phenomena can be seen in the ever-evolving consumer. Consumer audiences are no longer subject only to content dictated to them, but instead empowered to produce and consume content driven by them. The audience is no longer an idle observer or passive receptacle. The audience is no longer an audience. Nowhere is this transformation more evident than in the evolution of social media platforms and their growing popularity and functionality. Online social networks have provided a medium in which participants have both collective and individual control over content. Members are able to participate at their convenience and on their terms. They have a choice to maintain relative anonymity or forge substantial connections. More and more, they are choosing the later. But both options can be empowering. Having options is empowering. Suddenly, the audience is no longer silent and their voice is growing more informed, more vociferous, and more resonant. But is anyone listening? This new generation of consumers has posed a question to marketers and advertisers. Can you open your ears and warm your minds to a new marketing ideology? One that embraces open dialogue. One that actively seeks to create opportunities for us to talk with you and share with each other. One that welcomes, encourages, and even relies on our input. A simple enough request. But it has advertisers and marketers feeling a bit out of sorts. As far back as 1999, Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberg provided a not-so-subtle reminder that marketing is conversation (Levine, et al 1999). Conversation marketing is not a new concept. But it’s one that has been slow to take root. Challenges abound in incorporating a more conversational tone into a corporation’s marketing voice. But advances in technology and the changes in consumer culture they have enabled have signaled companies that it’s time to stop shouting and start engaging. Interactivity is the fuel behind the conversation, and social media is the engine that propels it. Within social media lies the power to facilitate consumer engagement. Social media provides the porthole through which companies and audiences can gain mutual awareness and forge relationships with one another that transcend the transactional. It is the vessel in which substantive, customizable and conversational meetia marketing is possible.
Meetia marketing finds its bedrock in the belief that the most effective marketing techniques are those that require the company to introduce itself to consumers in a whole new way. Transparency, honesty, authenticity, and truth must become the cornerstones of marketing in the Web 2.0 era. It is within the social media milieu that advertisers can find a way to reach prospective customers in more meaningful and personal ways. It is within these virtual communities that advertisers can find their voice. How? By listening to ours. In order to engage prospective customers, earn consumer respect, and compete for our increasingly strained attention, ad agencies and marketing departments must be willing to adopt a culture that places a premium on listening. But listening is not enough. They must act on what they learn and answer the call of the consumer with an authentic, human voice. They must formulate marketing strategies that are grounded in transparency and governed by an understanding that success in building an audience will hinge more on the messages companies receive than the messages they send. Advertisers have an opportunity in front of them. Interactivity is the natural evolution of advertising architecture. It allows for heightened consumer engagement and multidirectional communication. Genuine relationship building between producers and consumers and within consumer communities is made possible through Web 2.0’s unique dialogic tools. Social media hosts a heightened level of interactivity and connectivity that holds the secret to helping transform business-to-consumer communication from transaction to interaction, and from interruption to engagement. Social media is nothing short of a marketer’s dream. It is the gateway to a greater understanding of consumer audiences. It is capable of providing a singular forum in which companies and consumers can foster meaningful relationships that are grounded in mutual respect and bound by trust and loyalty. Advertisers have the choice to evolve within social media or blunder outside it while continuing to lose touch with a consumer population emboldened with a new sense of empowerment and community. Meetia Marketing: Crafting Conversation and Cultivating Connection will outline the compelling reasons why companies should integrate social media into their advertising strategies and marketing models, while also underscoring the principles in which they should root those efforts. The study has solicited the advice and expertise of influential players on the frontlines of this digital media marketing evolution. They not only contribute their unique outlooks and opinions regarding the convergence of marketing and social media, but also offer suggestions for the present and predictions for the future. Brad Brinegar is the CEO and Chairman of McKinney Advertising. McKinney’s concept of conversation planning places a premium on finding the most effective way for brands to join in enriched conversation with prospective customers. An interview with Brinegar will outline how McKinney plans to stay on the leading edge of conversational marketing within an increasingly mobile Internet. Sprout, Inc.’s unique technology enables brands and agencies to create and manage rich social ads and engaging social media applications. Roland Smart, Sprout Inc.’s Senior Marketing Manager and Michelle Wohl, Sprout’s Vice President of Marketing both weigh in. Also joining the conversation is Ellyn
Davidson, the Account Director at Ignite Social Media. Ignite was started less than two years ago by Jim Tobin as a solution for companies who are either looking to wade into social media marketing or dive head first. Ellyn shares some of the key strategies that Ignite uses to help their clients traverse the social media marketing landscape. Also contributing is Jen Cole, the Digital Marketing Manager for Cobalt. Cole had worked inside Cobalt’s human resources department for more than a decade. Like many companies in similar positions, Cobalt has called upon a trusted and valued veteran who is relatively new to online media marketing to help the organization navigate this dizzying digital space. Cole lends her unique perspective to the conversation. They will explore the key questions surrounding the social media phenomenon and offer their advice and outlook. The ongoing transition away from desktop computing is among the topics they’ll assay. The mobile movement is accelerating, and mobile devices are becoming more capable, practical, affordable, and therefore more prevalent. Soon advertisers will have the opportunity to be “everyware” (Greenfield 2006). Omnipresence presents both opportunities and challenges, and the panel of experts will weigh in on the implications that the evolution of the computer screen might have on media marketing delivery and consumption. Questions also surround the measurability of a corporation’s social media presence. A company’s decision to invest in a new marketing strategy revolves largely around its potential return on investment and the efficacy of any new advertising technique is inescapably evaluated through a financial lens. The panel will therefore also discuss the importance and impact of social media marketing ROI measurement. Supposed difficulties in measuring the effectiveness of a corporate presence in social media is not the only reason businesses have been hesitant to embrace online social communities as viable advertising platforms. An entrenched fear of transparency can stop companies from entertaining the notion of initiating conversation with consumers even before asking questions of practicality or measurability. Relieving this corporate angst may be the biggest obstacle to generating a corporate social media presence that is authentic and engaging. But it is one that businesses and executives must overcome in order to better engage consumers, establish a healthy corporate and brand reputation, and convert customers to partners. This need to incorporate transparency and authenticity into marketing strategies will therefore be examined. Meetia Marketing will take a quick glance back over our shoulder at the history of prevailing marketing models and advertising approaches before looking more deeply at some of the more relevant conditions that characterize markets and advertising strategies today. The study will then define social media through the eyes of the experts who have been interviewed and with the help of prevailing definitions others have offered. Next it will outline the effect that social media has had on consumers and will propose a new way of characterizing the consumer market; the consumity. The focus will then shift towards the reasons why corporations must respond to the transformation that has taken place within the new consumer culture. In a section entitled I Am Whatever You Say I Am, the discussion will revolve around the word of mouth phenomenon that defines social media and will rely on two famous case studies to help illustrate the pervasive
power of word of mouth marketing. The concept of collaborative marketing will then be introduced as an ideology that can transcend platforms and help companies harness the creativity and contribution of an empowered consumer population. Key issues surrounding the measurability of marketing campaigns in social media forums and the accelerating mobile movement will then be discussed before outlining the overarching paradigm shift away from persuasion towards truth and trust. Let’s start by looking back at the broad steps that led to the current conditions fueling the consumer conversion and marketing metamorphosis.
roads? where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Dr. Emmett Brown Back to the Future II
Doc Brown braces Marty for a journey into a future where traditional confines do not apply. Marketers and advertisers are facing a similar scenario. Mark Tungate cautions, “Advertising’s future will not resemble its past” (Tungate 2007). His warning is one that all marketers and advertisers should heed. Advertising and marketing models of the future stand to look very different from their historical predecessors. But there are some things that don’t seem to change. As far back as the early 1960’s advertising has been described as cluttered. Howard Gossage, the Socrates of San Francisco, described 1960’s advertising as “thoughtless, boring,” and added that, “there is simply too much of it” (Tungate 2007). The concern that consumers are bombarded with countless, mindless messages is not new. Around the same time that Gossage noticed the monotony and profusion of advertising messages, broadcast television emerged as a marketing medium. Coincidence? With fewer brands and limited channels of communication, there was little competition for audience and customers. Consumers generally trusted marketers. These were the general conditions that characterized Marketing 0.0 (Shiffman 2008). But Gossage noted a trend beginning to emerge. “Advertising may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, but there is some evidence that the fish don’t hold still as well as they used to and the are developing armor plate. The have control over what type of ammo you have, when the trigger gets pulled, and how fast your shot moves. Oh, and they’re not all in the same barrel anymore” (Tungate 2007). Marketers started to respond to a fragmenting population in the 1980’s and 90’s as they began to realize that dollars were being wasted chasing consumers who weren’t interested in hearing what they had to say. Segmenting, targeting, and niche marketing became the buzzwords of the period (Shiffman, 2008). And the Four Ps marketing paradigm that had sprouted in the 60’s had gained firm footing. Businesses were beginning to see the value and potential in targeting specific audiences, but the spray and pray mentality was still prevalent.
Brad Brinegar, Chairman and CEO of McKinney Advertising, reminisces about his days with Leo Burnett close to two decades ago. Brinegar recalls that the research department at Leo Burnett was charged with analyzing data from grocery store purchases to discern any recognizable buying patterns. Their findings were illuminating. As Brinegar explains, “one of the most surprising things we saw was that for almost any product category in the grocery store, 4% of households were driving about 80% of the volume. So 4% were driving 80% of orange juice consumption, and another 4% were driving 80% of cereal consumption. And there’s no way that you’re going to be able to isolate it down to those populations. So you’re assuming an extraordinary level of waste.” Hence, the Spray and Pray Model. Conversations around conference room tables started to revolve around ways to address how to trim the excess fat off of broadcast campaigns. Questions were abundant and answers were scarce. According to Brinegar, “…the conversation that erupted back then was ‘Well, if I’m only really trying to reach 4% of the population, than I should stop advertising on TV and just do direct mail.’ And it was like, ‘Ok… you want to do direct mail to the 4% that are driving all the volume? Right. Do you have their names? And where do you find their names? And do you really think they’re going to respond to a letter from you?” The Internet announced its arrival on stage in the mid 1990’s. As it became increasingly apparent that television would have to share the spotlight with its computer-based brethren, convergence became the buzzword during the later part of the decade (Tungate, 2007). The tools of the trade were transforming, and by the turn of the century, the Internet had established its place within the toolbox. “You have the most important tool that has entered our tool kit in the last decade and that’s certainly the Web,” Brinegar says, “And it was really the rise of broadband penetration at home that signaled the time that this had gone beyond being an informational medium. It was truly transforming into a creative medium.” Naturally, advertisers gravitated to this newfound medium as quickly as consumers did. Or did they? Figure 1.1 illustrates the lag between the consumer migration to the Web and the advertiser’s willingness to follow them. The Ongoing Confidence Gap depicts “that vexing and persistent chasm between, on the one hand, the high percentage of media time spent by the average consumer online and, on the other, the relatively low percentage of overall ad budgets being directed online” (Kuo 2008).
Ongoing Confidence Gap
% of Consumer Time Spent Online
% of Advertising Dollars Spent Online
2008 (estimated )
Ogilvy is not the only one to notice the discouraging discrepancy. Christopher Vollmer, in his 2008 publication Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and Media in an Era of Consumer Control, laments that “the top 100 national advertisers in the United States allocate just 5 percent of their total measured media spending online” (Vollmer, 2008). Vollmer contends that the low percentage of spending allocated to new media reflects the advertisers’ tendency to view marketing on the Web as “an experiment,” and their unwillingness to embrace the Internet as a core component of brand-building and advertising strategy. Brinegar sees this hesitancy in some of his clients. “Nationwide Insurance hired us this spring, and here’s a classic example of a company that is very much like most of the Fortune 500 in that at this point, not much more than 6% of their budget goes towards online media.” Nationwide’s situation parallels many larger corporations dipping their toes into Internet waters, but keeping one foot firmly on shore. “They have gravitated pretty actively toward search,” says Brinegar. “But they’ve found that TV has been a very effective medium for them and they’re not going to give that up in a very highly competitive environment just because we tell them that there are new ways in which people are consuming their media. We have to prove our way, and we’ve got to do it in a way that shows that, one small investment at a time, the mix needs to change.” Consumers are storming the Web in droves. Yet advertisers refuse to allocate resources in proportion to this surge of Internet activity. And the gap is widening. The growing discrepancy between the resources advertisers are willing to commit online and the time consumers spend there is due in part to the increasing popularity of online social networks. According to a September 2009 Nielsen study, time spent on social networks and blogging sites is growing more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth. The data released from an examination of August 2009 showed that 17% of all time spent on the Internet was at social networking sites, up from 6% in August 2008.
(Nielsen 2009). To Jon Gibs, Vice President of Nielsen’s online division, the message is clear. “This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used,” Gibs says, “While video and text content remain central to the Web experience, the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth” (Nielsen 2009). Online social networks are attracting more and more visitors and members. But as attractive as these forums are to consumers, they are relatively foreign to some marketers and advertisers. Social media remains the most elusive online medium for advertisers to navigate and measure. Naturally, they are wary of devoting resources to what many view as a relatively unknown, unquantifiable medium. Sprout, Inc. offers tools, widgets, and platforms that allow businesses to create rich Internet experiences with brands and companies in social spaces. Companies come to Sprout’s Senior Marketing Manager Roland Smart to solicit help in understanding how to operate within the social media arena. “For a lot of companies, this spaces is still the wild west because they don’t understand the space at all. So there’s a lot of education required to get these bigger brands to understand the potential of working within this space.” Smart continues, “Of course there are brands that come to us and get it too. But I would say what we’re seeing is that we really are still in the front wave.” With uncertainty comes trepidation. Fueling that trepidation is the acknowledgement that corporate participation in social media, when done correctly, requires companies to loosen their grip on their brand and relinquish a large degree of control to employees and consumers. Jen Cole sees an internal debate at Cobalt over the potential risks and benefits associated with social media involvement. “It’s a real struggle for companies right now deciding on how much they should let this thing go,” says Cole. “And my stance when I was on the recruiting side looking at it from more of an employment brand perspective was that we need the voice of our employees out there and we need it to be authentic. Therefore we can’t edit the heck out of it and make it feel very canned and (filled with) marketing speak.” Smart concurs. “You’ve get execs who are really worried about the consequences of people within their organization talking with people in the community. You’ve got managers who are saying, ‘there’s a great opportunity here, I don’t have any experience; I don’t know how to take advantage of it. I don’t know how not to get ripped off.’ And you’ve got people at the bottom of the organization who are already twittering and using all sorts of tools to communicate to people in the outside world.” The reluctance that many organizations have to tearing down walls that have taken decades to meticulously construct is understandable. But there are signs that those walls are starting to crumble, be it one brick at a time. Figure 1.2 illustrates the rise in online advertising spending since 2002.
42 2011 (projected)
Online Advertising Spending (billions of dollars)
Source: Harden 2009
$6 billion were spent on advertising online in 2002. In just six years, online advertising budgets grew to $27.5 billion in 2008. More striking are the projections for future growth. The money spent on online advertising is expected to climb to $42 billion by 2011. (Harden 2009) Slowly but surely, budgets are changing. But will strategies? How will advertisers choose to spend their new online dollars? The same Nielsen survey that suggested there have been overarching changes in users’ Internet habits also indicated that advertisers are taking note. According to the survey, despite the recession, estimated online advertising spending on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119% in one year. It rose from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to approximately $108 million in August 2009 (Nielsen, 2009). If these numbers are any indication, the Ongoing Confidence Gap could be on the verge of narrowing. Michelle Wohl, Vice President of Marketing at Sprout, predicts that the trend intimated by the 119% rise in social network advertising spending in 2009 should continue. Not only will more money be allocated to reaching consumers in these communal spaces, a new approach will be employed. “I think advertisers will start spending more and more money on social networks to do more than just display ads. They will want to promote more engagement and harness their fans in new ways to spread marketing messages,” says Wohl. And just in time. According to Denise Shiffman, author of The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing for Today’s Connected, Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture, it is “time to euthanize the old marketing model, the “Four Ps”: product, price, place, and promotion” (Shiffman 2008). Social media is at the heart of a cultural transformation that is gradually rendering the 4 Ps as relevant as the Four Tops. The 4 Ps approach is the equivalent of the wishbone offense. Sure you might get some yards here and there. You may even
stumble on a first down. But you’ll probably end up with a face full of dirt in the process, and you’re certainly not going to win any championships. More importantly, you won’t put any fans in the seats. It’s becoming clear that marketing strategies that treat everyone alike will spell failure (Bernoff & Li 2008). As Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li discuss in Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, “marketers are used to shouting and then listening for the echo” (Bernoff & Li 2008). Sprout’s Roland Smart likes to use the metaphor of a megaphone to represent the traditional push marketing methods that have defined advertising. As he says, “It’s time to turn the megaphone around.” Blasting messages treats everyone the same. Everyone is not the same. We are only similar in that we all respond differently. Blasting messages will fail. Instead of perpetuating antiquated push techniques, advertisers and marketers have an opportunity and obligation to adapt. Marketing is on the precipice of a new age. Brian Solis, father of The Conversation Prism and Principal of FutureWorks, a public relations and new media firm, sees this transformation occurring. Solis may articulate it best when he says that “monologue has given way to dialogue,” and any effort to grasp the future of corporate communication must start and end with embracing the role that the masses, once deemed the “audience,” now play in the process of consuming, disseminating, sharing, and even creating content (Solis 2007). Vollmer also describes this shift, claiming that, “we are now at the beginning of a consumer-centric digital age in which the traditional approaches to marketing products and services are no longer viable” (Vollmer 2007). But theorists and strategists aren’t the only ones noticing the changing archetype. In an interview with Vollmer, American Express CEO John Hayes notes, “the world is in the middle of an ongoing conversation. Being in the conversation is worth a lot, because that’s where you create relevance, that’s where you create an affinity for your products, and that’s how you start to sell.” (Vollmer 2007) This is the metaparadigmatic consumer-centric hypermedia revolution. Add a meta- or hyper- prefix on any title you want. And throw a –centric suffix in the mix while you’re at it. Call it what you will. But it’s not going away. And one of the most glaring consequences of this changing frontier is that businesses are now exposed. Don Tapscott is the coauthor of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. In the foreword to Shiffman’s The Age of Engage, Tapscott describes the corporation as “naked.” Tapscott explains that, “Corporations have no choice but to rethink their values and behaviors--- to integrate corporate citizenship into their DNA” (Shiffman 2008). Shiffman agrees, encouraging corporations to be “open, authentic, public, and porous” so that they can “begin to take advantage of the collective force that is now the Web” (Shiffman 2008). Companies are becoming more transparent whether they like it or not. So Shiffman urges them to embrace their new freedom by becoming actively transparent. As Tapscott says, “If you’re going to be naked, you’d better be buff” (Shiffman 2008). Feel that draft? You may already be exposed. But are you buff? Buff companies are those that “view the Internet as a constantly evolving and shifting ecosystem with a heartbeat,” and “strive to create engaging interactive marketing
initiatives and participate in valuable conversations at each touchpoint” (Shiffman 2008). Buff companies feel the draft, relax, and bask. Scrawny companies feel the breeze, shiver, and reach for a blanket to cover themselves. Howard Gossage had the right idea in the 1960’s when he postulated that an advertisement should be “one end of an interesting conversation” (Tungate 2007). The next section will examine the conduit for that conversation. It enables genuine engagement and discourse between and among businesses and consumers. It gives voice to anyone with an issue and an Internet connection. It gives a face, a name, and a personality to the 4% driving your market. And it provides an open line of communication with them. It is social media.
time to define
Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with a group of people discussing social media when suddenly you realize that each one of you is operating with a different understanding of what social media is? Perhaps this has happened with a client. It’s tough to have a discussion about something without first determining what that something is. So before going any further, let’s take some time to define. The Social Media Bible defines social media as “activities, practices, and behaviors among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media” (Safko & Brake 2009). Joel Comm amends the Bible’s definition, adding an important commandment in Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time. Though Comm focuses much of his attention on helping businesses integrate Twitter into their communication and marketing schemes, he analyzes social media as a whole as well. Comm contends that social media consists of any “content that has been created by its audience” (Comm 2009). Internet users are not only sharing content, but creating it as well. By acknowledging the new publishing power that consumers now possess, Comm recognizes that social media represents a publishing revolution. Ignite Social Media receives anywhere between fifteen to twenty inquiries a week from prospective clients interested in getting involved in social media marketing. Ellyn Davidson, the Account Director at Ignite, is responsible for fielding those inquiries. She hears the question all the time from companies curious about this relatively new medium. Social media, she says, is about ““getting people engaged, publishing back and forth… It’s creating conversation, creating dialogue.” Davidson also reflects on the transfer of publishing power. Davidson reminds her inquiries that they must realize “that companies are not the only ones that can publish information. So there’s a lot more discussion and conversation going on with users (who are) becoming more involved.”
Brinegar’s definition accounts for yet another dimension of the social media evolution. According to Brinegar, social media consists of “a community of people formed around common interest, broadly to reconnect, narrowly to share their passion for fire ants or whatever, and enabled by technology, with whom we hope to participate in a way that generates word of mouth.” Brinegar looks at social media from an advertiser’s perspective, and does so with a keen awareness of social media’s exponential power to spread, shape, and influence. What Brinegar refers to is word of mouth. Word of mouth is a phenomenon at the core of social media’s appeal as a marketing tool and will therefore be discussed at length in a section to come. Roland Smart looks at social media more holistically. “I think of social media almost like a fabric. It is the substance, the content, that connects communities together.” Smart maintains that social media, at its core, “is really just the connections between the people and the community. And the unique quality of that network is that it allows us to send content to people who are connected through that fabric.” The essence of social media is elusive, fluid, and evolving. Social media has altered the manner in which communities form and galvanize. Online social networks are more than just communities of like-minded users. They are neighborhoods. Neighborhoods populated by those you trust and with whom you want to share. But social media is more than online social forums. In fact, labeling media as social is almost an exercise in redundancy. All media now has the potential to be social. One might even argue that if you’re not creating media that is shareable, spreadable, and social, you’re not creating media. Interactivity no longer requires buttons. The potential to achieve interactivity is dependent on the level of engagement a text inspires. Consumers will find a way to interact with media that is relatable and relevant. If a video is posted on YouTube, but no one views it, does it make a sound? If you set up your Facebook fan page, but no one becomes a fan, does it make a sound? Because all forms of media now have the potential to be social, the bulk of this study will focus not on a specific format but rather on general philosophy. Not one of our experts’ definitions contained any mention of a specific platform or format. New tools are popping up almost everyday. Chasing technology is as fruitless as it is exhausting, and a corporation’s participation in social media can ultimately come in many different forms. What is paramount above any one medium is the approach a company takes to communication with consumers, the tone it assumes, and its willingness to allow consumers to shape that communication and dictate the terms under which it transpires. We are not our father’s consumer. Therefore you cannot be our father’s company. Though definitions of social media may vary, its impact is irrefutable. The following section will examine in more depth how the growth and prevalence of social media have transformed consumer culture.
The justification behind Tungate’s prediction that advertising’s future will not resemble it’s past is grounded less in the technological evolution itself and more in the ongoing consumer transformation that technological advancement has enabled. Consumers are changing in very fundamental ways. A few are most notable. Though our online and offline communities have long been described as oversaturated with a profusion of advertising, new technologies have helped crank the noise up to new levels of distortion. Esther Dyson, in The Coming Ad Revolution, describes the advertising landscape as one transforming into “a world of billboards and cacophony” in which consumers are “barraged by ads to which they pay less and less attention” (Dyson 2008). The consumer ear is constantly chasing loud noises, and their eye is jumping from one attraction to the next. New technologies make their way onto the scene, but old ones don’t leave. Consumers now have a wider variety of options when determining how they consume their media. And for the most part, many are simply choosing “all of the above.” Brinegar has taken notice. “You would think that new formats would replace others. But they haven’t. They’ve just added to the old ones.” Brinegar adds, “No one person is doing all of this at different times. It’s being done simultaneously, in a multi-tasking streaming way. That’s one thing we have to pay attention to is ‘how do you get someone’s attention when they are actively watching TV, searching the Web and texting?’” Brinegar has observed how a wealth of options has impacted the average consumer’s attention span. “We find ourselves working harder to make sure that we are making something worth watching in a world in which people can very easily dial you out.” Helping companies ensure that they don’t get tuned out is Ignite Social Media’s mission. “I think the consumer’s attention is thin, but the more time they spend engaging with a particular product or brand, the better off you are,” Davidson says. With so many options and the simultaneous demands placed on the consumer’s concentration, companies have to earn their audience. “It’s about engaging people. What we always talk about with any client is, ‘what is it that you have to share and why do people want to share it?’ So it’s about finding that interesting thing that people really want to talk about. And yeah, we’re competing for that, but if it’s something that people really want to talk about, than they’ll share it. So it’s always about getting people involved in the process.” Tungate also observes the growth of new media options and offers a similar solution. “The proliferation of media channels means that the ability of an advertiser to demand attention from the consumer has dissipated. Campaigns now succeed not through overwhelming media presence and repetition, but by engaging and intriguing the consumer through the appropriate channel, at the right moment” (Tungate 2007).
There is a benefit to the consumer’s hyperconnectivity. Opportunities for engagement are everywhere. Vollmer describes consumers as “always present,” and sees their omnipresence as both a challenge to and convenience for marketers. “The consumer is always present: constantly seeking opportunities and value, taking advantage of the multiplying media around it, and (at the same time) being bombarded with ever more media in ever more forms. Marketers are ‘always on’ as well: they have no respite or downtime because the rapidly changing nature of their audiences--- and the means of connecting with them--- requires continual experimentation, innovation, and shifts in strategy” (Vollmer 2008). The consumer is now present at all times. They are constantly bombarded by messages; straining to hear all of them, but rarely listening to any. So they may be suffering from a case of information overload. But they are always around. And they are not alone. Perhaps the most significant change in consumer behavior is a growing feeling of collective empowerment. Simply stated, consumers have transformed from targets to participants (Wertime 2008). A major source of this newfound license is the ease with which they can now connect, share, and commune. There is strength in numbers. Bob Garfield examines this phenomenon in The Chaos Scenario: down here, Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, The Choice for Business is it’s our time. Stark: Listen or Perish. Garfield explains that if companies it’s our time would listen, they would hear a crowd forming, “a crowd of down here. what you used to call your ‘audience.’ They're still an audience, Mikey but they aren't necessarily listening to you. They're listening to The Goonies each other talk about you. And they're using your products, your brand names, your iconography, your slogans, your trademarks, your designs, your goodwill, all of it as if it belonged to them -which, in a way, it all does, because, after all, haven't you spent decades, and trillions, to convince them of just that?” (Garfield 2009). This crowd garners strength through the connections its members forge with one another. “They're just civilians with opinions. This is a category of consumer, obviously, that has always existed. Only now, with the Internet, it's easy for them to find one another. And everybody else” (Garfield 2009).
would you be mine? could you be mine? won’t you be my neighbor? Fred Rogers
Garfield’s description of the new consumer cuts to the heart of social media’s impact. Online social networks provide forums in which consumers can meet, connect and share interests, values and opinions. Social media tools enable them to not only produce content, but to comment on it and spread it. Denise Shiffman is the founder and principal of the marketing innovation consultancy, Venture Essentials, a company that specializes in advising businesses on how to reshape customer experience and manage brand
reputation through social media. As Shiffman observes, “consumer audiences have been given more power in their relationship with companies and their products. The source of their newfound empowerment can be traced to blogs, comment sites, social networks, and other online tools designed to give audiences a voice” (Shiffman 2008). The consumer has been transformed into the consumity. A person can no longer be separated from the communities they form online. Internet activity is becoming an increasingly social experience, and users are taking this opportunity to forge connections and relationships with similar others. Shel Israel argues that the space in which these connections are forming might be virtual, but the relationships being forged are real (Israel 2009). There is a social component to most Web-based ventures. So much so, that the individual can no longer be extracted from the group. Bands of newly empowered individuals have found their strength and voice through shared interest and opinion. Therefore, when companies address one, they address them all. This, in itself, is not new. But now the consumity can answer back. And in the end, as Garfield says, “the herd will be heard” (Garfield 2009). The consumity is blogging, chatting, commenting, producing, sharing, spreading, and bonding. If they sound busy, it’s because they are. Busy changing social constructs. Busy changing methods of establishing trust and building relationships. And busy changing the way marketers approach markets. The good news for advertisers is that the consumity loves company. It’s in its very nature to converse and connect. According to Max Lenderman, “The new consumer is eager to engage in authentic conversations with brands and corporations” (Lenderman 2006). The metamorphosis of the consumer from a lone, passive spectator to an empowered, active consumity is well underway. Advancements in social media platforms and tools have fueled the transformation. A phenomenon is sweeping the Internet frontier as a result of the increasingly social behavior of Internet users. What it is and how businesses will respond to it are the topics of the next section.
I am whatever you say I am. Eminem
The Way I Am
Consumers have changed, and businesses are now confronted with the task of evolving accordingly. Shiffman puts it best. “Companies now face the challenge of marketing with consumers and not to them” (Shiffman 2008). The conduit for creating partnerships with consumities lies within social media. The rise of online social media activity was documented earlier. In a year’s time, the percentage of time that Internet users spent within online social networks nearly tripled (Nielsen 2009). The trend may slow, but it shows no signs of stopping. More importantly, social media users are now more influential than ever before. As Joel Comm illustrates, “Someone who uses social media successfully doesn’t just create content; he or she creates conversation. And those conversations create communities” (Comm 2009). Within these communities lurks a force without equal. Max Lenderman explains it effectively. “The best and most compelling forms of marketing” are “consumer recommendations to fellow consumers” (Lenderman 2006). Lenderman is referring to word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth is not a new concept, but the degree to which it can impact brand recognition and reputation has multiplied thanks to the Web. Word of mouth marketing has everybody talking. Andy Sernovitz, creator of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, asserts that the single most powerful source of recommendation in the world is “people like us” (Sernovitz 2009). According to Sernovitz, the idea behind word of mouth marketing is that companies need to not only supply consumers with reasons to talk about their brands, but also make it easier for those conversations to take place. Word of mouth enables consumer-to-consumer marketing. With the pervasiveness of online social forums, the opportunities for word to spread multiply exponentially. Sernovitz assigns a vast potential to word of mouth marketing. He labels it, quite simply, “the fastest growing form of advertising” (Sernovitz 2009). Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba also consider word of mouth marketing in Citizen Marketer: When People are the Message. They maintain that a lone person, who they refer to as a citizen marketer, “can create significant ripples in the reputation of companies” (McConnell & Huba 2007). To help illustrate their point, McConnell and Huba offer a compelling and convincing illustration.
According to Max Lenderman, negative word of mouth spreads seven times faster than positive buzz. The discrepancy is amplified online, as the spread is assisted and accelerated by hyperlinking and commenting capabilities 77
(Lenderman 2006). No case better illustrates the speed at which negative word of mouth can diffuse than the story of Jeff Jarvis and his cyber-assault on Dell Computers. In 2005, Jeff Jarvis had a dreadful experience with his new Dell laptop computer. The customer service he received in response to his ongoing technical issues further tested the limits of his patience. As awful as his experience was, it would eventually pale in comparison to the pain that Jarvis would inflict on Dell. Jarvis was not just a disgruntled Dell customer. He was also a blogger. His string of Dell Hell blogs chronicling his frustrations and Dell’s customer service failures triggered a chain of events. Dell Hell was soon a topic of discussion at tech conferences and marketing conventions, as well as the subject of stories in the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Within a year of Jarvis’s first blog entry, Google counted 10 million references to Dell Hell and Dell’s stock price had fallen 45% as thousands of fellow Dell Hell dwellers chimed in to the conversation that Jarvis spurred (McConnell & Huba 2007). Figure 1.3 represents Dell’s stock value 11 months before Jarvis’s first blog post, one month after the day Jarvis posted his first cyber-rant, and 13 months following that fateful day. Figure 1.4 represents the decline in value during the five months immediately following the first blog post when anti-Dell sentiment activity on Jarvis’s blog, BuzzMachine, was high. Figure 1.3
DELL STOCK 6/21/05-11/21/05
DELL STOCK 7/21/04-7/21/06 50 40
30 20 10
41.25 7-21-05 19.91 7-21-06
50 40 30 20 10 0
40.42 41.25 36.28 33.36 32.05 30.04
0 Source: finance.Yahoo.com
Both charts depict a sharp decline in the wake of Jarvis’s Dell Hell campaign. On July 21, 2006, 13 months after Jarvis’s social media campaign had begun, Dell’s stock value dropped to its lowest level since the weeks following the tragedy of 9-11. Certainly there were other mitigating factors behind Dell’s woes. Jarvis was not the only force acting on Dell to cause such a drop. But as Jarvis would later point out, “We are in the new era of ‘seller beware.’ Now when you screw your customers, your customer can fight back and publish and organize” (McConnell & Huba 2007). Dell’s stock quotes were not the only evidence of the Dell Hell campaign’s impact. Almost a year after Jarvis’s first post, Dell announced that it would invest $100 million to improve customer service, launched its own blog, and hired resolution experts to address customer service inquires and concerns (McConnell & Huba 2007). Louise Lee outlined
the story of Jarvis’s social media mugging and Dell’s subsequent troubles in a 2006 article entitled Dell: Facing Up to Past Mistakes. Lee offered some compelling statistical trends, the origins of which could be traced back to the blogging blitzkrieg that Jarvis unleashed the year prior. According to Lee, Dell’s customer satisfaction rating fell 6.3% in 2005, signaling the sharpest decline in the industry over that time frame (Lee 2006). Dell’s 2006 first quarter share of the U.S. market suffered a similar fate, dropping from 31% to 28%. And if the comments posted in response to Lee’s article are any indication, Dell’s investment and renewed commitment to customer support has had little positive impact on the quality of their customer service or their reputation in cyber circles. This account of a personal vendetta gone global illustrates “the fundamental characteristic of social media: it exponentially increases the power of one” (McConnell & Huba 2007). But as easily as sentiment expressed through social media can conspire against a company or brand, it can also champion a corporate cause. Max Lenderman contends that, “the thirty-second commercial is only a few years away from being obsolete” (Lenderman 2006). Other advertising analysts share Lenderman’s notion that the days are numbered for this onetime industry staple. But what if the thirtysecond spot was reinvented?
“Oooo, I’ve loved you since I knew what it meant… ooo, I’ll love you ‘til I’m dead. Oooooh ooh, tiny machine.” The Darling Buds Tiny Machine
In all probability, The Darling Buds did not set out to serenade an iPod when they penned the lyrics to their song, Tiny Machine. But if you think the sentiment expressed in the chorus of their catchy 1990 single sounds a little like how loyal Apple customers feel about their Macs and iPods, you’re not alone. In December of 2004, George Masters produced a sixty-second animation that he aptly called Tiny Machine. Masters intended for the animation, set to the Darling Bud’s tune, to be his own small personal tribute to the popular mini media player. But word of mouth took over and the video turned out to be anything but small. Less than one month after Masters posted the video online, it had already been viewed over 500,000 times. Speculation simmered that people with Apple produced the animation. Though Masters was just an amateur, social media sees no status, and his professional quality production was a big hit with iPod enthusiasts everywhere. The Tiny Machine animation can still be found in multiple postings on YouTube. Recent comments posted in response to Master’s ode to the iPod echo the sentiment that was conveyed when the video was first posted in 2004. Some are worth noting.
Toastyrokr (1 month ago) th
i got this ipod in like 6 or 7 grade.. i’m in my first year in college now… it no longer works but i still have it (i had a gold 1) piNkRaiNboW552 (3 months ago) th
I have this ipod. Ive had it since my 11 birthday. Im turning 16 this september lol. I call it “the brick” because it’s pink. ZenTigerpaw (6 months ago) I remember when I wanted a Mini so bad. billgateslovesmacs (9 months ago) I love this I WISH Apple would use this idea.
Master’s homespun production spurred conversation among its viewers. That alone would be benefit enough to Apple. But it also succeeded in eliciting emotional responses from Apple customers recounting their own relationships with Apple products. On display in each comment is a degree of brand loyalty that can inspire other Apple users or potential customers to feel similarly towards Apple and its products. Masters helped spread Apple’s word. Others were motivated to respond and increased Master’s reach exponentially. This is the driving force of word of mouth marketing. And in this case, the origin of that force came from outside the company. George Masters was a citizen marketer (McConnell & Huba 2007). And he was a talented one at that. He was an Apple advocate, but the company didn’t employ him. Its products and, most likely, its culture inspired him. Masters’ mini animation helped generate buzz around the product release in October of 2005. Even now, the comments posted on YouTube demonstrate that it inspires iPod users to reflect fondly on their relationship with their iPods of yesteryear. Masters ultimately accepted a job with a California based production company creating animations full time. iPod’s status as the industry standard in portable media players is well documented and not easily disputed. Two questions come to mind. I wonder if The Darling Buds saw a spike in downloads that year? And has the death of the thirty-second spot has been, in the words of Samuel Clemens, greatly exaggerated? Whether there exists a direct causal relationship between statistics, stocks, and social media is open to interpretation and discussion. But one thing’s for certain. As Jeff Jarvis said himself, "There's a conversation going on about your brand in the open. You can either join it or not” (Garfield 2005). These two stories convey the astonishing power of word of mouth, particularly when it spreads online. The Dell Hell campaign and the Tiny Machine viral video illustrate an inescapable truth of marketing and advertising in the Web 2.0 era. “Your brand is whatever your customers say its” (Bernoff & Li 2008). The
man who launched his personal campaign against Dell computers acknowledges that there are forces at work that are effecting change. Jarvis suggests, “Perhaps the role of marketers becomes more of intermediaries to the community of users, to engage the users more in the design process and the distribution process, treating their users as coproducers of value" (Garfield 2005).
Ultimately, “brands belong to communities, not companies” (Bernoff & Li 2008). Many organizations accustomed to maintaining a tight hold on their corporate and brand image see this possibility as a threat to their well established, deeply engrained marketing methods. But the shift in ownership of brands is as positive as it is powerful. Comm maintains that the result of social media community building and mass participation in publishing is that real connections can form between people. When those connections form around brands, “the result can be a sort of brand loyalty and commitment that sales professionals have been dreaming about since the first days of direct marketing” (Comm 2009). Online social networks enable users to create a profile and cultivate connections with similar others. Chris Carfi is the founder of Cerado Inc., a customer strategies company. His blog, The Social Customer Manifesto, bears the slogan “Participate, there are no spectators anymore.” This call to action can be directed at consumers and companies alike. In his executive briefing, Social Networks for Businesses and Associations, Carfi, along with Leif Chastaine, advises that, “The connections enabled by social networks are the glue that put the humanity back into business to solve the trust problem. In other words, the organizations that will win are the ones that most easily enable individuals to build relationships and communities with people they trust” (Carfi & Chastaine 2006). Brad Brinegar refers to social media as one of the tools in the advertising toolbox. The characterization of social media as a tool and not an experiment is an important distinction. Social media has become a powerful and invaluable tool for marketers and advertisers to wield wisely. Companies must recognize it as such. Once it makes its way into the marketing toolkit, it can’t be shoved in the back with the unused level and crumpled set of instructions. Social media is the duct tape. It reinforces. It secures. It binds. It can be used to solve just about any design flaw, construction need, or repair. And let’s face it- the stuff lasts forever. In her role as Sprout’s Vice President of Marketing, Michelle Wohl sees companies running out of excuses to avoid participating in social media. “As far as I can tell, the ship has left the port and if you're not on board you are very late to the party. All a CEO needs to do is look at declining online display results to see that banner is an ineffective medium.” If an executive were in need of any more convincing, Wohl “would share stats
on engagement time and content sharing among friends to show that people view content from a trusted source, and that's what social media allows.” Ellyn Davidson views this shift in methodology as a valuable opportunity. Davidson concedes that there is a traditional method to advertising that is difficult for marketers to steer away from, “but now companies have an opportunity to provide some utility and to add some sort of value (by getting) involved in a bigger kind of conversation. And that’s more what it’s all about--- looking at what a product can do for its audience and talking more and starting discussions and growing discussions about the benefits and experiences that people can have. It’s very different than a thirty-second television spot that is very carefully vetted (and regulated), and it’s really about looking at a larger conversation.” I’m not dead…. I’m getting better…. I think I’ll go for a walk. The dead body that claims it isn’t Monty Python and the Holy Grail
It’s a movement that Mark Tungate has labeled “consumer-generated advertising” (Tungate 2007). Some marketing analysts have gone as far as to say that this ongoing paradigm shift and the emergence of the consumity will eventually lead to the death of advertising.
Brad Brinegar is the CEO of McKinney Advertising. He’s seen trends come and go. Each one it seems has been billed as advertising’s Grim Reaper. “I went through years of having direct mail shops say that ‘advertising was dead,’ and years of interactive services companies saying ‘advertising is dead,’ and it’s just not true.” Advertising is not dying. In fact, it’s being reborn. Advancements in technology and the changes in consumer characteristics that innovation has helped usher have not led to a less receptive consumer, but rather a more involved one. It has bred a consumer population who is ready and willing to engage. A byproduct of this heightened engagement can be ongoing collaborative conversation between brands and consumers. There are inherent advantages in this new model. The authors of Groundswell remind us that, “Campaigns begin and end. But conversation goes on forever” (Bernoff & Li 2008). Sprout’s Senior Marketing Manager Roland Smart agrees and looks at the shift towards more consumer-centric conversational marketing as an exercise in balance. “The reality is that you can’t really ride a campaign continuously. Campaigns are not forever. They go for a certain amount of time and then trail off. There is a place for campaigns for sure. But I think that the key is to be able to frame those campaigns in the context of the bigger relationship.” Sprout’s widgets and campaigns are built with the goal of driving consumer communication and participation with a brand and inspiring people to identify themselves as interested and willing participants. According to Smart, “Once they do that and they are self-identified, now you’re in the territory where you can start providing value to them in an ongoing way.” Sprout creates applications that enable businesses to find prospective customers and stay in continuous and regular contact with them. “Do brands need to find ways to get their community to come to them?” Smart asks. “I think
they need to do that also, although currently there is a pendulum swinging and it is heading in the other direction.” McKinney has been on the frontlines of the paradigm shift for the better part of this decade. They were one of the first agencies to adopt a strategy of connection planning back in 2003. McKinney calls their version of permission based conversational marketing conversation planning. “The whole (idea behind) conversation planning is that… there’s no reason why we can’t sit back and figure out who the real target audience is. But once we’ve identified them, we can take a look at all of the different ways that they currently come into contact with the category and the brand and think about how best to use those existing points of connection.” Once a consumity is identified, McKinney then asks if there are other spaces the brand should populate in order to initiate further conversation. Brinegar trumpets the value of campaigns and other traditional marketing mediums, but sees the potential inherent when people start talking. As he says, “…a lot of the conversations that are going on now about your brand are perhaps being stimulated by you or some activity of your brand, but you’re not even participating in them. You’re just hoping that they go the right way and wherever you can influence and direct them where you want to, great. So it’s gone beyond two-way interaction to really trying to understand the conversations that are going on and where we’re (the brand) falling into it.” Brinegar’s approach recognizes the crucial importance of listening before talking. Jen Cole agrees with McKinney’s conversation planning model, and anticipates that future marketing models will have to pay close attention to where a brand’s prospective customers are congregating on the Web. But even more importantly, brands will have to use caution before attempting to break through those online social circles. Businesses will have to take the time to learn how to engage in the social media discourse. It’s a new language grounded in informality and authenticity that not many companies are used to employing in their business-to-customer communications. Cole warns that organizations “have to learn how to talk on Twitter. Have to learn how to talk on Facebook. You have to understand that people are looking for different types of communication on those sites… You have to spend time there to understand the tone, to understand that Facebook is really casual. And if you sound really formal, people are going to zone you out. And (you have to understand) that Twitter isn’t just about blasting out your marketing stuff. You have to offer something more personal, interesting and unique to make people follow you.” Wohl, echoes the need for patience. “I think the key is really understanding the social networking platforms and being able to bring the customer all the virality that the platform allows.” According to Wohl, once that understanding is gained businesses can get started on the business of “creating strong brand advocates, fostering those relationships, and letting them help spread the word.” Sprout operates based on some basic principles. One such principle is that every opportunity you can provide people in the community to share your brand, you should. Roland Smart is also a member of the Sprout team. As Roland says, it’s a “very simple
principle, but there are a lot of experiences online that don’t do that.” This willingness to relinquish control must accompany an organization’s adoption of conversation marketing. According to Smart, it is imperative that companies take both steps. “This idea of traditional marketing, broadcasting messages into the marketplace--- That is over.” Smart contends. “I refer to that sometimes as turning around the megaphone. Really marketing needs to serve as a conduit so that it enables conversations between the community and brand and within the community itself.” Smart emphasizes the significance of maintaining a continual open dialogue between businesses, customers, and consumers. “We understand that with the rise of social media and communities forming around lots of different kinds of themes online, brands need to learn to communicate in an ongoing way with communities, and not just send messages to a community and then walk away.” This approach has formed the foundation of Sprout’s marketing model. As Smart explains, “We’ve gone from a funnel model where you’re distributing a message to a community to a more cyclical model where we are participating in the conversation and giving customers tools to help spread the word on behalf of brands. We also talk about those as engagement campaigns.” Sprout’s goal for its clients is to help them make the experiences they create for their prospective consumers as “social and shareable” as possible. “We can’t necessarily guarantee that the community is going to respond to what they create, but what we can do is make sure that if they do respond to it they’ll have the tools there to share it with their friends and let it spread. That’s really what Sprout is about on a fundamental level. We’re about presenting marketers with a tool that allows them to engage in a continuous way across a variety of platforms wherever their community happens to be and then enable that community to sing the praises of the brand for them.” Sprout is helping to usher in an era of a new kind of ad. As Smart notes, Sprout is helping clients create “branded applications.” Smart adds, “It’s not an advertisement. We are providing some value. But it’s promoting our brand. I think that kind of application experience is going to be much more prolific in the future and I think the nature of that experience is going to become much more social.” Mitch Joel applies a similar principal within a different container. Joel is the CEO of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. Joel’s metaphor of degrees shrinking to the size of pixels is helpful in understanding the close connections and accessibility that the social Web has enabled. Joel is familiar with the power of social media. He built his multi-million dollar company with just one primary tool- his blog. And it remains an integral part of his current method. Joel reflects back at his goals in starting the blog and how they’ve shaped the company’s direction. “I offer valued insights to the community, I engage in conversations with people and in this way slowly over time, people are connected or people think, ‘I need some digital marketing solutions, I need to be understanding the media better,’ hopefully I’m top on mind and they’ll call us. That’s been the strategy from day one, and it’s the strategy today” (Joel 2009).
But Joel cautions marketers who might be looking for a quick fix that the best kinds of relationships to foster are the ones that take time to build. “I think that to build relationships and to build community does take time. So I’m in the mindset that it’s a slow process to get there. Which frustrates people. But the reality is, at the core level, we want to have sustainable customers, customers that are going to keep coming back, that are going to refer us, that are (going to spread) good word of mouth… “ (Joel 2009). A reliance on word of mouth advertising and a keen understanding of effective methods of encouraging conversation around your brand to grow louder and spread are key components to marketing in the social Web. Denise Shiffman outlines the recent metamorphosis of the Web 1.0 landscape into what most now consider the 2.0 frontier (Figure 1.5). Shiffman asserts that we are “in the midst of a great change, and it’s this change from the static, flat, corporate-created Web to the interactive, social, user-created Web that has accelerated consumer influence” (Shiffman 2008). The modern Web is ripe with potential for corporations and brands to foster an ongoing, impactful dialogue with the communities they hope to reach.
STATIC PUBLISH INFORM LINK SELL CONTROL
Interact! Engage! Tag! Socialize! Collaborate!
Source: Shiffman 2008
In the Web 2.0 era and beyond, corporations will be charged with implementing interactive and engaging marketing that is capable of simultaneously targeting individuals and the mass market. The model will be more complex, will require advertisers to relinquish control, and will allow for personalized marketing on a broad scale (Shiffman 2008). Ellyn Davidson helps paint the picture of the form that marketing might take in a Live Web overflowing with user-generated content. Davidson points to the recent contests that Ignite has conjured and the success they have had in drawing positive attention to brands and helping them initiate substantive conversation with prospective customers. Most recently, Ignite just finished a contest that pitted perspective bloggers against one another to vie for a six-month paid position as a blogger with Ignite. Participants could enter by writing about what puts them in a good mood. The topic was chosen to help
spark awareness for Ignite’s client Nature Made’s SAM-e Complete. SAM-e is a naturally occurring compound that is found in all living things and can be distributed throughout the human body to help maintain mood levels. Davidson describes the initiative as having been highly effective. Close to 700 visitors participated in the contest, and according to Davidson, “website hits were through the roof.” A high participation rate was reason enough for Nature Made to get excited. But Ignite was even more pleased by the behavior of those site visitors who may not have entered the contest. Davidson found that, “once people got to the website, they weren’t just voting and clicking off. They were taking the quiz, they were looking around, and they were sticking around.” The Good Mood Gig Contest is an example of an “engagement ad” that encourages people to participate, act, take a poll, or get involved in a way that increases awareness of and interaction with the brand. This approach feeds into the consumity’s penchant for engagement, craving for conversation, and newly developed sense of empowerment. And Davidson believes that engagement ads represent the new model for advertising in social media networks. The notion that companies are now better equipped to ask consumers for input, listen to the advice they receive, and incorporate it into an overarching marketing strategy has been referenced in such concepts as permission marketing, conversation marketing, invitation marketing, and relationship marketing. Seth Godin proposed the notion of permission marketing as far back as 1999, and was one of the first to articulate the need for businesses to transition away from the interruptive marketing techniques that dominated the Internet and offline landscapes (Godin 1999). With the realization that genuine conversation is made possible once permission is given, permission marketing evolved into conversation marketing. It’s time to take the next step. The next step requires companies to exercise even more transparency and trust. The next step asks consumers to collaborate with each other and coordinate with corporations in their marketing initiatives. The next step is collaborative marketing. The Good Mood Gig Contest and Sprout’s creation of widgets and applications that enable consumers to have rich experiences with brands while partnering with them to create content demonstrate that the movement is already underway. Collaborative marketing tosses aside the old model of the passive consumer and molds marketing methods to better suit the new reality of participatory engagement (McConnell & Huba 2007). McConnell and Huba refer to these creative consumers as citizen marketers and the online activities they conduct as customer evangelism. “As everyday
people increasingly create content on behalf of companies, brands, or products- to which they have no official connection- they are turning the traditional notions of media upside down. Collaborating with others just like themselves, they are forming ever-growing communities of enthusiasts and evangelists using videos, photos, songs and animation as well as the ‘user-generated media’ of blogs, online bulletin boards, and podcasts (McConnell & Huba, 2007). Citizen marketers are “democratizing traditional notions of communication and marketing,” and are forcing companies to abandon their long engrained advertising instincts and adopt a collaborative marketing model that encourages consumers to participate, contribute, and even fuel the marketing machine.
the traditional marketing paradigm is about persuasion and the new marketing paradigm is about truth Max Lenderman
Bill Bernbach is a legendary figure in the history of American advertising. He famously claimed that, “advertising is fundamentally persuasion, and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art” (Lenderman 2006). But his contention that advertising more closely resembles persuasion than discourse and fits better under the category of art than science has come under fire. In contradiction to Bernbach’s assertion, Max Lenderman recounts that “an astute marketer” once told him, “the traditional marketing paradigm is about persuasion and the new marketing paradigm is about truth” (Lenderman 2006). Lenderman maintains that “consumer generated media are poised to make marketing and advertising a more truthful place… finally” (Lenderman 2006). An emphasis on truth breeds trust. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith examine the notion of trust in advertising in Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. A rekindled focus on authenticity and truth in advertising has inspired Brogan and Smith to envision the twenty-first century marketer as a trust agent. Thanks in large part to advancements in the Web tools now available, online trust agents can reach their audience faster, more deeply and in a more personal way than traditional marketing strategies allowed. Therefore, brands and companies now have the potential to be seen as “one of us” (Brogan & Smith 2009). In order for corporate communications to inspire trust, honesty must be accompanied by a corresponding emphasis on transparency. Lenderman holds that, “Persuasion is a euphemism for control” (Lenderman 2006). Surrendering control is never easy. But if companies could find a way to loosen their grip on the top-down control of messaging, blogging can have a positive impact as well (Lenderman 2006). As early as 2004, even before Jeff Jarvis demonstrated the far-reaching power of the blogosphere by stirring up controversy over Dell’s customer service shortcomings, Rich Ord proclaimed that blogging has the potential to be “… the most powerful type of corporate marketing per dollar spent ever invented” (Lenderman 2006). Entering the blogosphere armed with honesty and authenticity, corporate bloggers are capable of reaching large audiences who are waiting and willing to spread content in which they find value and worth. They are also instantly humanized. By extension, so is the company they represent. Lenderman
champions a genuine commitment to truth when chartering social media waters, saying that, “… the more truthful these employee blogs are, the more valuable they are to their customers” (Lenderman, 2006).
A company’s willingness to allow employees free reign over social media messaging with consumers can be described as “decent exposure.” This approach is not an easy one for traditional marketers to grasp and adopt. But it’s becoming harder to ignore, and it applies to employment branding as well.
Before transferring from Cobalt’s human resource department into the corporation’s digital marketing department, Jen Cole had started to notice that Cobalt lacked a presence in online social media, and it was beginning to hurt her recruiting efforts. “What I saw happening in the last year or so was that if people couldn’t read about your company online or go to your Facebook page and ask employees directly about what it’s really like there, or if they couldn’t go to some of the common websites that are used to research companies and read something valuable and truthful, they were very skeptical. And people commented about it. ‘You guys need a blog, you need more communication out there,” I was hearing that from prospective employees.” Ultimately, those prospective employees reasoned that a scarcity of access and information must mean that Cobalt had something to hide. Two schools of thought have emerged at Cobalt. The camps that have been constructed around them may look similar to the rival factions at your company. There are those within the organization who see the value in creating a corporate presence in new media but still want to adhere to the traditional sales model that puts only a select few employees on the public front. And there are also those who are pushing to embrace social media as a means of arming Cobalt employees at all levels with a mechanism of communicating with and relating to consumers. Cole falls in the second camp. “From an employment brand perspective, we need (prospective job candidates) to get online and understand the culture; what it’s really like at Cobalt,” Cole says that management needs to trust that the good will outweigh the bad. “It’s a good place to work. And yes people will post things we are not going to love, but these days people who are going to the Internet to do research are used to that. And people are skeptical if they see a five star rating for a product. People expect to read the good and the bad and if you don’t have any of the bad out there, then it’s obvious that (the forum) is being controlled.” Cobalt is currently in the process of hiring a social media specialist in the human resource department to help them negotiate this tightrope of trust and control. Cole is anxious to start applying that same logic to Cobalt’s marketing efforts, but understands the difficulties in veering off a course that has been followed for decades. “For old school marketers, that’s a tough thing to swallow. They’re so focused on controlling the brand. It’s a hard thing for companies to try to figure out.” Ask Jeff Jarvis, the same Jeff Jarvis that went to the mattresses with Dell Computers wielding nothing more than a complaint and a blog, and he’ll tell you that there’s no escaping the fact that, “The number one lesson of the Internet, whether you're Howard
Dean or a media company or a marketer, is that you have to give up control to gain control…Scary? Of course it is. So is being wrong” (Garfield, 2005). Companies must embrace the idea of corporate transparency online at all levels of the office hierarchy not because they need to, but because they understand that it’s in their best interest. Honest and authentic messages emanating from all levels of your corporate hierarchy will spark conversation and inspire trust. Consumers will take comfort in knowing that a company responds using a human voice, even when the answers they get are not ideal. As Joel Comm explains, “The first thing a company needs to do is be human.”(Comm 2009). Truth is at the heart of the new marketing paradigm, and trust is its natural byproduct. Now is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs discusses the importance of adopting a marketing philosophy that values honesty, open bidirectional communication, and receptiveness to feedback (Livingston & Solis 2008). As Andy Sernovitz rightfully contends in Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, there exists a direct correlation between honesty and profit yields (Sernovitz 2009). Customers who trust you will not only talk to you and do business with you, but they will also talk about you. When consumers trust you, they are more apt to spread the word. How do we measure that spread, and how do we enable it across platforms? These questions form the centerpiece of the next sections.
are we what we click?
It’s no coincidence that marketers have migrated to those Web-based opportunities that offer the most precise quantifiable feedback. Max Lenderman points out that performance-based methods such as keyword search advertising are the “most employed way(s) to advertise on the Net” (Lenderman 2006). McKinney’s CEO Brad Brinegar would agree. “One of the things we see the most of is a move to paid search. Paid search is an awesome tool. There’s also a point of declining marginal return and we have several clients who are well past that point, just because they feel good about saying, ‘here’s the action I see taken on my brand.’” Moving into the social media space requires a shift in metric mentality. After all, “going from buzz to biz” is hard to measure (Sharma 2008). Brinegar says that there are both challenges and opportunities when attempting to measure performance on the Web. There is extreme measurability when operating within certain portions of the Web. But Brinegar admits that, “a lot of that measurement activity, at the end of the day, may not even be worth measuring. It was just the fact that we could that we did. Like, ‘do I really care if I get a click or not?’” This ambiguity in measurement is accentuated in social media spaces. From his perspective, attempting to measure social media marketing success is not easy. But it may be one of those instances when “there may be more immeasurable stuff that may be indeed more valuable than the stuff we could measure.”
According to Brinegar, “the biggest challenge we face right now is figuring out how much of it really matters. And I don’t mean in any way to be cynical about that. But the fact of the matter is I know what most of the tools can do. I can measure them pretty well. It’s harder in the social media space to really know whether you’re really creating (value).” Brinegar offers a Travelocity campaign that McKinney created as evidence of the foggy nature of social media measurement. McKinney helped Travelocity launch an initiative that allowed people to vote on destinations for the Travelocity Roaming Gnome’s Summer of Possibilities Tour. In addition to Travelocity’s website, the campaign utilized a Facebook fan page, MySpace profile, and incorporated Twitter as well. The gnome’s travel adventure coincided with Travelocity’s summer travel sale. Voter participation was high. But Brinegar recalls that it was difficult to understand how that participation translated into transactions. “We had a significant growth in social media participation with the brand. I can’t however yet figure out a way of tracking that back to any change in business results. I know I was seen by more people. I know there was more talk about the brand. I trust, as with most of my traditional advertising efforts that there is a component that will show up in brand measures… a component I can’t tease out by dissecting transactions. But I think there’s a little bit of a leap of faith.” Cobalt’s Jen Cole suspects that social media analytics will gain precision with time, but remains wary of current social media metrics. “Social media is very nebulous and that’s part of the challenge of figuring out how to convince dealers that they should pay us to do social media for them when it’s harder for us to show a real ROI. Car dealers in particular are very ROI focused. That’s going to be a challenge for us to convince dealers that (the benefits) are not always connected to a sale.” American Express CEO John Hayes discussed online analytics with Christopher Vollmer, and related that, “A pivotal point for us was when we realized that reach and frequency and other passive measurements were not going be sufficient because they did not reflect whether or not we were really engaging our customers. Without engaged customers, we’re not going to get what we need in terms of business outcomes. We stopped looking at awareness as an important measure” (Vollmer 2008) Vollmer includes Hayes’s observation in his section entitled, Metrics: Moving from Impressions to Impact. He explains that, “Instead of being satisfied with knowing how many people are exposed to their brand messages, some marketers are working hard to determine how well their messages are received, whether they’re powerful enough to generate a customer response, and exactly what those responses are. They have learned a primary lesson of the always-on media environment: it doesn’t matter how many people are watching; what counts is whether they’re paying attention and responding” (Vollmer 2008). The consumer’s increasing tendency to multitask during media consumption renders impression measurements even more obsolete. Just as the goal is no longer reaching consumers but engaging them, the barometer is no longer impressions, but responses. Those responses can take a variety of different forms, and some are easier to measure than others. But Vollmer indicates that social media is becoming more measurable and
therefore falling more and more under the category of performance-based measurement activity. Ellyn Davidson agrees. Davidson argues that social media is no less measurable than other traditional marketing platforms. At Ignite Social Media, Davidson explains, “we don’t think of (social media) as being inherently immeasurable. We really look at what the goals are and figure out what it is we’re trying to measure around those specific goals. Can you tie it back to actually physically selling a product? That’s more challenging. But can you tie a thirtysecond television spot back to selling a product?” Davidson focuses on her client’s specific objectives, and bases her measurement priorities around them. “You gotta have your goals,” she says, “Is it raising awareness? Is it getting people to a website? Is it sharing information? What are the goals? And certainly there are many ways to track this. We might look at the number of mentions, the number of Facebook fans, visits to the website, or participants in a contest. It all depends on the campaign.” But Davidson admits that there are still improvements to be made, particularly when it comes to predictive measurements. “We know when we have a good idea. We know when we have a good way to get ideas out there. But predicting exactly what’s going to happen with something like this is very difficult.” Davidson is always on the lookout for improvements in predictive social media metrics. “It would be nice to see some ways of developing some more sophisticated predictive metrics. Because this is so new… everybody wants validity and everybody wants to know that this is working and we’re getting results. So if there are any more predictive metric models, that’s always what we’re looking for.” Despite current insufficiencies, analytic capabilities are growing increasingly comprehensive and insightful. One thing is for certain; there will always be more than enough numbers to analyze. And in an industry that has relied heavily on data and quantifiable assessment since its inception, our focus on numbers will not easily be broken. But new media also offers the unique possibility of gauging marketing success less by analyzing numbers and more by listening to consumers. Their feedback and input is now available continually. Chances to forge relationships with consumers are also more readily available than ever before. Vollmer addresses this unique opportunity in Always On. “The ability to use online media to know what will be relevant to consumers, rather than guesstimating, represents a significant paradigm shift in marketing,” Vollmer says. He goes on to speculate that this new direct access to ongoing consumer opinion and interest “may be the antidote to the loss of control that many people in media, advertising, and marketing currently feel. Marketers will never again dominate consumers the way they once did. But they can use this deeper, more informed datadriven analysis to become partners with customers” (Vollmer 2008).
It’s no secret that the Web is quickly growing more vibrant and dynamic. As it does, the devices we use to access it and connect with other users are evolving as well. More and more, marketers are starting to take into account this steady migration away from desktop computing when weighing and creating strategies. Brad Brinegar, McKinney Advertising CEO, laments that, “We are, as an industry, behind in the opportunity to take advantage of the third screen. We’ve been paying attention to the space, but we haven’t been paying enough attention.” Brinegar recognizes that the computer screen is morphing. When asked to predict what will be the next game changer for marketers and advertisers, Brinegar doesn’t hesitate. “I really honestly believe it’s the potential of the cell phone, of the mobile device.” Brinegar foresees an explosion of web-based opportunities in the wake of increased user mobility, particularly within social media circles. “Mobile is the social device, right? So ultimately it’s going to drive a lot of what is successful in terms of the networks and the things that populate them.” Ellyn Davidson, Account Director with Ignite Social Media, sees potential in the increase in mobile computing and the unique benefits it offers marketers. But she anticipates that the movement in that direction might be more gradual than some predict. “It’s a slower evolution, but it’s always a part of our planning and strategies and always something we’re thinking about. The idea of geomarketing and geotargeting right down to physical location is interesting, and I think there are opportunities there.” Sprout is also contemplating the ramifications of the mobile movement. Roland Smart, Senior Marketing Manager at Sprout, envisions a scenario in which “you’re going to see brands getting much better at transitioning across platforms, particularly the mobile platform. Because we know that everything is going mobile. So we need to find ways to bring the experience that we currently have in social networks, which is generally still dominated by desktop experience, into the mobile space.” Like Davidson, Smart sees this transition as taking longer than others might think. “That’s sort of the longer term,” Smart says. On the one hand, statistics surrounding Internet enabled mobile device usage point to an accelerated and sudden shift. But a closer look at the numbers might paint a slightly different picture and may help explain Davidson’s and Smart’s somewhat tempered response to current mobile capabilities.
Millions of Mobile Web Users
34% increase in mobile web users from July 2008 through July 2009
Source: Media Week
As Figure 1.6 illustrates, mobile Internet usage is growing rapidly. But despite the hype surrounding the segment and the apparent ubiquity of mobile devices, just 25% of wireless subscribers logged onto the Web via their mobile devices in July 2009 (Figure 1.7).
225 Million Estimated Mobile Subscribers (July 2009) Did not access Internet with Mobile Device Accessed Internet with Mobile Device
mobile subscribers used their mobile device to log on to the Web in July 2009
Source: Media Week
Regardless of current penetration statistics, there is little doubt that our methods of accessing the Internet will continue to grow more mobile and pervasive. Marketers and advertisers are preparing accordingly. As Kim Dushinski explains, “mobile marketing connects businesses and their customers at the right time, in the right place, with the right message, and with the customer’s explicit permission or active participation” (Dushinski 2009). Most significantly, the mobile movement will allow for more touchpoints between brands and consumers and more opportunities for consumers to share with one another. The result of greater innovation is greater depth of conversation (Lenderman 2006). Location-based marketing will be made easier with further mobile advancement, creating an avenue by which advertisers can become more relevant and timely. Increased connectivity in mobile situations will mean enhanced personalization and customization of the marketing experience, and mobile computing will enable advertisers to reach customers in places that were previously out of reach (Wertime 2008). Perhaps Lenderman articulates the consequences of mobile computing best. “This interactive application of mobile telephony is a harbinger of a new conversation between marketer
and consumer; a revolution is being conducted in the new conversation between consumers themselves,” Adds Lenderman, “To become a part of this conversation is the new paradigm of marketing and branding” (Lenderman 2006). The reality is that unforeseen changes in the methods of media delivery and consumption lurk around every corner. Despite our best efforts, predicting the timing and impact of each technological advancement is normally an exercise in futility. Christopher Vollmer discusses our tendency to chase technology and reminds us to stay focused on the ultimate goal, not the medium. “Now, as the future of advertising and marketing approaches, media platforms are abundant, advertising is ubiquitous, and technological innovation is constant. This has created a dynamic of discontinuity that can be navigated only with deep insights into consumer needs, interests, and behaviors” (Vollmer 2008). Media delivery methods stand to change irrevocably thanks to advancements in mobile computing. That much is understood. The timing of this transformation is open to debate. But methods pale in comparison to messages. Whether our medium is tied to a desktop, mobile, ubiquitous or beyond, philosophy will always transcend platforms.
are you in the campaign or commitment business?
Joseph Jaffe Join the Conversation
Joseph Jaffe asks a direct question to marketers and advertisers. “Are you in the campaign business or commitment business?” (Jaffe 2007). Jaffe challenges marketers to decide whether they are interested in orchestrating campaigns that light up the sky for a brief moment like a fireworks display only to fizzle out and float back down to earth, or whether advertisers would rather commit to conversation, collaboration, and consumers for life. The concept of collaborative marketing is one that transcends platforms. It can be particularly effective within the increasingly social and dynamic environment that Web 2.0 has become. Word of mouth flows freely over the Internet landscape while consumers gather to create content, share information, and engage in meaningful discourse with brands and each other. As Bernoff and Li suggest, “the Internet is your marketing department” (Bernoff & Li 2008). By “Internet,” they are referring not just to the medium itself, but also, most importantly, to the users who inhabit it. Marketing departments are mutating and extending beyond company walls. Brands are evolving with them. Denise Shiffman describes the transformation occurring to brands, products, consumers and companies within this new frontier. According to Shiffman, “The brand, rather than being just an image, promise, or word in the mind as it’s called, can become, in part, an actual relationship between a company and its customers” (Shiffman 2008). Brands are becoming relationships and products are morphing into experiences. In order to participate and collaborate within this advertising oasis,
corporations must adopt a policy of transparency, engagement and authenticity. Companies must engage in meetia marketing. It wasn’t long ago that corporations were adjusting to the fact that their websites had become their new storefronts; a company’s first impression. Now, by the time consumers reach your cyber doorstep, they are knocking because they’ve already seen you someplace else and they’re interested in learning more. While you were busy tracking them with cookies and measuring their activity with sophisticated analytic tools, they were doing their homework too. Consumers are armed with an expansive social media network that enables them to learn more than they had ever wanted to know about your inner workings, product and service reliability, and dealings with customers. If they arrive at your doorstep, it means that they’re ready to shake hands. When your employees extend their hands to greet them, they must be empowered and prepared to look them in the eye, listen to what they say, and answer them in their own voices, not your company’s. Don’t just take visitors on a tour of the outside of your house designed to show off your newly painted exterior. Open your shades, draw your curtains, and invite them in to look around. Don’t just answer questions. Ask them. And don’t be afraid to share something about yourself. The person you see before you is not just a potential transaction. The person you see before you just might be your new partner.
Interviews Brinegar, Brad. CEO and Chairman, McKinney Advertising. Phone Interview. September 9, 2009. Cole, Jen. Director of Digital Media Marketing, The Cobalt Group. Phone Interview. October 24, 2009. Davidson, Ellyn. Account Director, Ignite Social Media. Phone Interview. October 26, 2009. Smart, Roland. Senior Marketing Manager, Sprout, Inc. Skype Interview. October 20, 2009. Wohl, Michelle. Vice President of Marketing, Sprout, Inc. Email Interview. Answers received on October 22, 2009. References Anderson Analytics. (2009). Social Network Service (SNS) A&U Profiler. Retrieved on September 12, 2009 from http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007252. As social network services have become increasingly prevalent, common wisdom has suggested that members of online communities join solely to interact with members and not marketers or brands. Skeptics of social media advertising also cling to a perception that users don’t exhibit any transactional behavior while in online social networks. Anderson Analytics conducted a survey in May of this year that might go a long way towards countering that sentiment. The results of the survey are examined in the study and seem to suggest that social network members are becoming more receptive to brand interaction within their online social forums, making it harder to argue against the potential impact of a brand's social media presence. Bernoff, J., & Li, C. (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston, MA. Harvard Business Press. Bernoff and Li coin the term “groundswell” to describe the spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their own online experience, and get what they need from each other rather than traditional institutions or corporations. As a result, companies and brands are being discussed and rated by consumers in public forums over which the company has no control. In short, social technologies have transformed the ways in which audiences connect and collect information. This trend can be viewed as a threat. But it can also be seen as an opportunity. The authors urge companies to engage in the ongoing conversation and adopt groundswell thinking in order to harness the power of this growing movement. Groundswell thinking is built upon the
analysis of twenty-five case studies that illuminate how leading companies are gaining insights into their customers and prospective consumers, energizing these audiences, and generating revenue as a result. The authors assert that companies must adopt a four-step POST process when creating marketing strategies in which people, objectives, strategy, and technology are examined and evaluated in that order. The key component to successful brand positioning is embracing the groundswell and establishing a commitment to cultivating relationships with consumers utilizing the same social media tools that have helped spawn this new movement. Bhargava, R. (2008). Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their AuthenticityAnd How Great Brands Get It Back. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill Companies. Personaliy Not Included implores companies to no longer remain faceless. There was a time when the barriers and layers that corporations constructed would inspire consumer trust. Bhargava suggest that time is over. He discusses new styles of marketing including participation marketing, anti-marketer marketing, and fallibility marketing that focus on allowing companies to express a personality and establish an identity. How a company interacts with customers and the identity it cultivates among consumers is paramount in breeding likability. In the same way that likability can discourage a patient from suing a doctor for malpractice, the “likability factor” can influence a consumer’s decision to conduct business with a brand. Bhargava explains that the “accidental spokesperson” has a greater influence in shaping brands than ever before. Likable brands and companies can harness that influence and use it to their advantage. The book provides a chapter entitled Taking Theory Further that contains a list of guides and tools that corporations can use to assist in creating an authentic identity. Brogan, C., & Smith, J. (2009). Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. What does the story of Joe Pistone, the undercover FBI agent who successfully infiltrated the New York Mob under the guise of wise guy Donnie Brasco, have to do with online marketing and advertising? Brogan and Smith detail the seemingly obscure connection in Trust Agents. Pistone exercised subtlety and patience and sought to establish credibility before attempting to approach mobsters. In order to connect with and earn the respect of audiences, marketers and advertisers now need to use similar tactics in order to become online trust agents. Because of advancements in the Web tools now available, online trust agents can reach their audience faster, more deeply and in a more personal way than traditional marketing strategies. Brands and companies now have the potential to be seen as “one of us.”
Carfi, C., & Chastaine, L. (2006). Social Networking for Businesses and Associations. Retrieved on September 3, 2009 from http://www.cerado.com/.../CeradoHaystack-Executive-Briefing-Social-Networking-for-Businesses-andAssociations.pdf. The human tendency to seek connections and construct groups based on affinities and interests has migrated to the online virtual world. These online social networks enable users to create a profile and cultivate connections with similar others. According to Carfi and Chastaine, these “connections enabled by social networks are the glue that put the humanity back into business to solve the trust problem. In other words, the organizations that win are the ones that most easily enable individuals to build relationships and communities with people they trust.” The briefing details the top ten ways in which companies can utilize social networking to foster connections and relationships with prospective and current customers. It also insists that organizations integrate internal social networks within their operations in order to promote employee satisfaction and corporate success. Cerado’s Haystack networking is one such method that companies can use in order to set up professionally-oriented social networks that allow for better communication and collaboration between employees. Comm, J. (2009). Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Twitter is not just about staying in touch with friends. Companies are using the popular social media network to interact with customers, consumers and other businesses in a whole new way. Comm examines those ways in which organizations are leveraging the power of Twitter for instant business benefits. Integrating Twitter into existing marketing strategies can help build a loyal customer following, expand a brand, and generate instant buzz around a product or company. Twitter is a high-tech, low-cost, low-hassle technology and it can help businesses gain real advantages over competitors while forming relationships with consumers. Twitter Power explains how companies can jump in to the conversation, build a following, and increase brand recognition. But Comm also discusses social media in general. He reminds readers that social media users are not just creating content. They are creating communities. And when those communities center around a brand, the result can be the sort of brand loyalty that marketing professionals dream about. Dushinski,K. (2009). The Mobile Marketing Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Mobile Marketing Campaigns. Medford, NJ. CyberAge Books. At the time of publication, more than 3 billion people had mobile phones. This figure accounts for roughly half of the world’s population. In early 2008, more than 250 million of the 303 million residents of the United States had a cell phone. The Mobile Marketing Handbook is a detailed discussion of the need to account for this increasing mobility when determining a company’s marketing methods. With help from industry experts, Dushinski explains that adjusting
traditional marketing techniques for use in the mobile platform is not enough. Mobile marketing is its own unique marketing channel, and it is critical that marketers communicate messages that are personally engaging to the receiver. The author also poses a new definition of mobile marketing. According to Dushinski, mobile marketing connects businesses and their customers at the right time, in the right place, with the right message, and with the customerâ€™s explicit permission or active participation. The new definition accounts for the need to leverage wireless media to earn the permission and respect of the consumer and engage them in conversation. Communication between advertiser and consumer must never be invasive and must always seek to add value to the participant. Dushinski outlines the steps in creating a dynamic mobile marketing campaign, discusses how to incorporate voice within those campaigns, and explains how to track campaign results and apply them to future mobile strategies. Dyson, E. (2008). The Coming Ad Revolution. Retrieved September 2, 2009 from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120269162692857749.html. Esther Dyson calls for a new approach to online advertising in The Coming Ad Revolution. The current model of behavioral targeting stands to become more sophisticated thanks to advancements in tracking tools and the introduction of updated software that will undoubtedly make it easier for marketers to position ads in front of targeted audiences. Despite its advancements, and perhaps because of the overwhelming pervasiveness that those advancements will enable, behavioral targeting will lose all traction with Internet users. As Dyson says, users will be barraged by ads to which they will pay less and less attention. According to Dyson, users are inclined to tune ads out regardless of their relevancy if the ads come in the form of unsolicited appearances in public forums. Internet users are growing less tolerant of interruptions in their online activity and are more likely to respond to a specific offer that appears within a trusted site from an entity that has been previously invited inside. The new value creators are therefore companies that make a commitment to building and supporting online communities. Companies that wish to engage prospective customers are left to scramble to reinvent business models while advertisers race to replace existing online strategies. Garfield, B. (2009). The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, The Choice for Business is Stark: Listen or Perish. Stielstra Publishing. The Chaos Scenario describes the historic reordering of media, marketing, and commerce triggered by the revolution of digital technology. The yin and yang of mass media and mass marketing are flying apart, and we find ourselves in the midst of the total collapse of the media infrastructure. The unspoken contract between media and consumers no longer applies. Generation Y has never operated according to the understanding that one must endure a commercial message as the quid pro quo of free or cheap content and they are not apt to accepting this doctrine anytime soon. This new ideology has sent media and media advertising into a state of chaos in which power has shifted from the few to â€Š
the many. The digital universe has altered human conduct, and in turn, the behavior of economies. Garfield examines methods that businesses can use to make sense of the disorder. He discusses techniques that can be implemented to help companies take advantage of social media outlets, engage prospective customers, and listen in on the conversations surrounding their brands. In order harness the force of this power shift for a company’s benefit and not harm, Garfield urges businesses to apply the science of Listenomics. Listenomics is the practice of institutionalizing dialogue with all potential constituencies, even total strangers, for the purpose of market research, product development, customer relationships, corporate image, and transactions themselves. Gillin, P. (2009). Secrets of Social Media Marketing: How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business. Fresno, CA. Quill Driver Books. The growth and acceptance of the Web as a means of information dissemination and the speed at which it has occurred is nothing short of astounding. If the Internet is to become the world’s largest advertising medium within the next three to five years as many experts predict, that accomplishment will be due in no small part to the emergence of online social networks. Social media has given voice to ordinary citizens and has granted them the power to publish. Businesses must now listen to that voice and allow it to shape and define their marketing strategies. The end of the age of broadcast is drawing near. Gillin presents an approach to social media marketing that emphasizes the need for corporations to relinquish control and allow conversation among and input from consumers to drive marketing strategies. Chapters entitled Learning from Conversations, Engagement through Interaction, and Measuring Results dissect the principles surrounding corporate social media participation and address the consuming need to quantify that participation. Gillin, P. (2007). The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media. Sanger, CA. Quill Driver Books / Word Dancer Press, Inc. New social media technologies and tools have changed the dynamics of marketing and have contributed to a resurrection of the conversation-based marketplace. Marketing or media experts are no longer driving these markets. Instead, millions of ordinary people are now determining what the marketplace is saying, hearing, and thinking. Social media has provided the tools of expression and the platform in which to use them to the masses. Blogs have become a means of quick, frequent, and highly personal and controllable publishing. This evolution of discussion groups has led to a dynamic within social media that is rooted in the competition between bloggers to achieve greater influence. No subject, and more germane to this study, no brand is off limits. Therefore, it is incumbent upon advertising executives to now seek to engage this new population of influencers.
Godin, S. (1999). Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, and Friends Into Customers. New York, NY. Simon & Schuster. Traditional advertising campaigns rely on attempts to refocus our attention away from our current activity towards a product or brand. Godin refers to this practice as interruption marketing. The concept behind permission marketing is to enable marketers to shape their message so that consumers will willingly accept it and even invite it. Companies that practice permission marketing reach out only to those consumers who have previously signaled interest in receiving information about the product or brand. In this way, a strict adherence to permission marketing techniques helps companies nurture a positive brand image, inspire trust among potential buyers, and develop long-term relationships with customers. Permission marketing is founded on encouraging learning relationships with consumers, maintaining a permission database, making sure you have a valuable message to communicate once permission is granted, and encouraging continued and more substantive communication once a consumer becomes a customer. Godin, S. (2005). All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Authentic Stories in a Low-Trus World. New York, NY. Penguin Group, Inc. Godin poses the simple question, “What’s your story?” But his answer is more complex than the inquiry would suggest. According to Godin, advertisers have far more success at reaching customers when they tell a story than when they choose to emphasize a product’s features or functions. Those stories are most effective when they are authentic, believable and relatable. In the new digital landscape, Godin insists that companies must either tell stories that fall in these three categories or risk becoming irrelevant. All Marketers are Liars falls short of maintaining that all marketers are untruthful. Instead it reminds the reader that successful marketing campaigns center not around the facts, but on a story that the consumer chooses to believe. The story is the source of growth and profit for the organization and genuine product satisfaction for the customer. Greenfield, A. (2006). Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing. Berkley, CA. New Riders. Greenfield presents a fast approaching scenario in which computing is not merely “in every place, but also “in every thing.” Within this scenario, everyday objects such as furniture, walls, or clothes would become sites for the sensing and processing of information. Computation would become simultaneously invisible and everywhere and seamlessly intertwined into our existence without the reliance on computing devices. Greenfield groups current and future technologies such as wearable computing, augmented reality, locative media, and body-area networking together into the all-encompassing concept of Everyware. Everyware refers to a post-desktop computing environment in which information processing is so invisibly integrated into our everyday objects and activities that users may not even be aware that computation is taking place. The movement away from
desktop computing towards ubiquitous computing has far-reaching implications on the means by which advertisers will be able to send and receive messages. Harden, L., & Heymand, B. (2009). Digital Engagement: Internet Marketing that Captures Customers and Builds Brand Loyalty. New York, NY. AMACOM. The Web 2.0 era has brought with it social networking, wikis, virtual worlds, mobile video search, and blog pundits who can make or break your reputation and your business. As the Web has become more robust and pervasive, online advertising spending has accordingly increased. $6 billion was spent on advertising online in 2002. In just six years, online advertising budgets grew to $27.5 billion in 2008. More striking are the projections for future growth. The money spent on online advertising is expected to climb to $42 billion by 2011. Digital Engagement discusses where that money should be spent and describes how businesses can employ Web 2.0 technologies and platforms efficiently and effectively while engaging both potential and current customers. According to Harden and Heymand, engaging customers requires a new twist on traditional corporate mindsets. Businesses must challenge themselves to imagine a borderless participatory global economy in which customers play a substantial role in designing products. Digital Engagement offers tangible creative executive strategies as well as real-world examples of their successful implementation. Israel, S. (2009). Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods. New York, NY. Penguin Group, Inc. Though Twitterville champions all social media and recommends that businesses find their own best mix of the many tools that are now in the social media arsenal, the bulk of the book focuses on examples describing how businesses of all shapes and sizes have used Twitter to help survive and sometimes thrive during a period of enormous economic constraint. The Conversational Era is replacing the Broadcast era and businesses have a choice between migrating to social media outlets and facing extinction. Israel singles out Twitter as the most intimate of the social media tools because it allows people to behave in the virtual world in much the same way that they would act in real world. He also maintains that though the space in which these conversations are taking place is virtual, the relationships being formed there are real. Twitterville examines how people involved in various types of business ventures are using the small town, personal, transparent conversations taking place in Twitter to transform their businesses.
Jaffe, J. (2007). Join the Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community, Dialogue, and Partnership. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Internet media have empowered consumers like never before and enabled them to pick and choose the advertising content they wish to digest. Thanks to Internet tools such as social media, online networks, blogs, and other platforms for user-generated content, the opportunity to engage customers in meaningful discourse is already here. Marketing no longer needs to be a one-way street. Yet companies still insist on yelling at customers rather than conversing with them. Jaffe describes consumers as active participants in the advertising process and defines conversation as organic, nonlinear, unpredictable, and natural. Join the Conversation discusses how the birth of Generation i and the rise of the prosumer will lead to a new brand of consumerism and will require companies to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Through the power of community and dialogue, marketers now have the capability to talk with customers rather than at them and are equipped with newfound metrics to quantify the extent of this chatter and measure its impact. Joel, M. (2009). Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. New York, NY. Hatchette Book Group. The popular theory that has come to be known as Six Degrees of Separation is now outdated. The theory contends that any one person is connected to anybody else through fewer than six degrees of separation. Joel maintains that through technology, and more specifically, the Internet, we are all now intrinsically connected. Everyone is just a click or pixel away from anyone else. This increased connectivity has profound implications on how corporations sell products and services. Building relationships and transforming those relationships into online communities is essential to any business plan and marketing strategy. Six Pixels of Separation contends that the new online channels can help businesses provide value to consumers and find voice in communications with prospective customers while also enabling consumers to connect, engage, and participate in the process. In chapters such as From Mass Media to “Me” Media, Joel describes a shift in communications that has enabled anyone and everyone to interact on a level playing field with one another and experience the Web and the communication channels it provides in a very personal and customizable way. Businesses must then account for this shift and adjust their online marketing strategies to cater to these highly connected audiences. Kuo, K. (2008). Closing the Marketing Confidence Gap. February 15, 2008. http://digitalwatch.ogilvy.com.cn/en/?p=200 As Kaiser Kuo explains, media spend should be proportionally allocated to the media that consumers actually engage in as measured by time spent engaged. There has been an ongoing chasm between the high percentage of media time
spent by the average consumer online and the relatively low percentage of overall ad budgets being directed online. Kuo revisits the Marketing Confidence Gap that Ogilvy originally conceived and raises the question of whether marketers should be concerned with the gap or confident that it will close naturally with time. Lee, L. (2006). Dell: Facing Up to Past Mistakes. June 19. 2006. Business Week. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_25/b3989045.htm. Lee’s article sheds light on a social media campaign against Dell computers conducted by blogger Jeff Jarvis. Close to one year after Jarvis posted his first anti-Dell blog entry, Lee reflects back on the campaign and its effect on Dell’s reputation and value. Lenderman, M. (2006). Experience the Message: How Experiential Marketing is Changing the Brand World. New York, New York. Carroll and Graf Publishing. Consumers exposed to an overabundance of marketing messages are no longer willing to be passive recipients of conventional advertising and marketing. The new consumer is eager to engage in authentic conversations with brands and corporations. Marketers must provide that opportunity through the creation of brand experiences that are personally meaningful and memorable. Lenderman explains that experiential marketing is about authenticity, personal interaction, and empowering the consumer. Lenderman’s Introduction is entitled Making Friends with Brands, illustrating the emphasis placed on relationship building within the experiential marketing model. Lenderman implores advertisers to strive to be relevant to target markets so that their advertisements can invoke a powerful sensory or cognitive consumer response. These types of reactions can inspire what Lenderman’s holds are the best and most compelling forms of marketing: consumer recommendations to fellow consumers. Levine, R., Locke, C., Searls, D., & Weinberger, D. (1999). The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual. Cambridge, MA. Perseus Books Group. The Cluetrain Manifesto is a call to action intended to inspire corporations to embrace transparency, discover an authentic voice, and open up lines of communication with consumers. Natural human conversation is the true language of commerce and the Web has enabled consumers to engage in a unique process of information sharing that has raised the collective conscience and intelligence. Internetworked conversations between those who comprise the market and intranetworked discussions between employees are taking place without corporate participation. The authors assert that marketing is conversation, and they urge companies to embrace this discourse, listen to the discussion, and engage in it. Because of its connective forces, the Internet has emerged as a medium that holds the promise to inspire, awaken, enlist and change. It requires corporations to embrace transparency and risk, adopt a hyperlinked hierarchy that empowers
employees and customers, and move away from the tired tendency to broadcast messages to consumers and instead engage in mutual discourse with them. Livingston, G., & Solis,B. (2008). Now is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs. Savage, MD. Bartelby Press. This primer is a guide for executives and entrepreneurs looking to integrate social media marketing and reinvent their existing marketing strategies to account for the growing prevalence of online social network membership and discussion. Companies are encouraged to add value to these online communities and conversations. But before rushing to join the discussion, corporations must first commit to nurturing a culture of transparency. In addition to providing general insights into social media integration, the authors describe successful social media strategies and case studies that illustrate their effective implementation. Now is Gone preaches that “participation is marketing” and urges businesses to adopt a philosophy that values honesty, open bidirectional communication, and receptiveness to feedback. Social media excels at creating relationships and these relationships represent the first step to customer acquisition and retention. McConnell, B., & Huba, J. (2007). Citizen Marketing: When People Are the Message. Chicago, IL. Kaplan Publishing. Citizen Marketing explores how the burgeoning social media landscape is turning the traditional notions of media and advertising upside down. Everyday citizens are creating content on behalf of companies, brands or products and forming influential communities of brand enthusiasts and evangelists. The authors urge organizations to embrace the new reality of participatory engagement and offer examples of those businesses that are finding success within the new model. A lone person can create significant ripples in the reputations of companies and brands. McConnell and Huba refer to this phenomenon as the power of one and label these influencers citizen marketers. Their participation in social media acts as the fabric that bounds communities to brands and promotes brand loyalty. Miller, M. (2008). Online Marketing Heroes: Interviews with 25 Successful Marketing Gurus. Indianapolis, IN. Wiley Publishing, Inc. The goals of marketers have remained unchanged. They seek to position a brand in front of the right people at the right time, generate enthusiasm surrounding the brand, and build brand loyalty among current customers. But the delivery system available to disseminate marketing messages has changed drastically. Miller calls on the expertise of twenty-five individuals who have helped companies migrate to these new delivery methods and not only negotiate them, but also prosper within them. The online marketing professionals that contribute their stories and suggestions include Ron Belanger of Yahoo! and David Fischer of search engine giant Google.
The Nielsen Company. (2009). Social Networking’s New Global Footprint. March 9, 2009. http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/global/social-networking-new-globalfootprint/ A new Nielsen Company report entitled Global Faces and Networked Places indicates that the time Internet users spend on social network sites and blogging sites has increased dramatically over the course of the past year, and presents numerous statistics reflecting this trend. The Nielsen Company. (2009). Social Networking and Blog Sites Capture More Internet Time and Advertising. September 24, 2009. http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/social-networking-and-blogsites-capture-more-internet-time-and-advertisinga/ The Nielsen Company study shows that Americans have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend at social networking and blog sites from a year ago. The data presented suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is being used. Advertisers seem to be paying attention. If the new numbers are any indication, the Ongoing Confidence Gap that has characterized the relationship between consumer time on the Internet and advertiser spending there should begin to close. Patnaik, D. (2009). Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy. Upper Saddle River, NJ. FT Press. Patnaik explains how organizations of all kinds prosper when they find creative ways and genuine methods of tapping into a power inherent in each of us: empathy. The ability to reach outside of oneself and connect with other people can help provide the acuity needed to sift through the barrage of contradictory information one receives. Wire to Care illustrates the possibilities that lie ahead for corporate leaders who stop focusing so much on their internal problems and start caring instead about those issues around them. Though no specific mention of online advertising or social media networks is made, Patnaik’s elucidation of the power of empathy helps explain the impetus behind the social media phenomenon and the need for companies to respond to the creation of online communities through genuine efforts to engage and understand. Plummer, J., Barocci, R., Hall, T., & Rappaport S. (2007). The Online Advertising Playbook: Proven Strategies and Tested Tactics from the Advertising Research Foundation. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Written by a team of experts from the Advertising Research Foundation, the manual synthesizes research and learning from over 1,200 research documents on Internet advertising. The authors rely on data to explain what strategies are working and what strategies are failing to help advertisers reach customers with relevant advertising. They examine a wealth of online advertising research studies, most of which have been kept in private files. The book also calls upon influential leaders hailing from media companies, research firms, and advertising
agencies to contribute research content and expert commentary. Particular focus is paid to Chapter 10 entitled Futures in which members of The Online Advertising Playbook’s advisory board look ahead at the emerging trends and strategies. Pulizzi, J. & Barrett, N. (2009). Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill Professional. Pulizzi and Barrett assert that the days when conversations between marketers and prospective customers consisted of only one party talking have come and gone. They describe an atmosphere in which the Internet has empowered consumers to become more selective about the messages they let pass through their personal and technological firewalls. Consumers have also discovered new ways to reach out to one another and are engaging in global discussions with others just like them. Buyers are suddenly immersed in conversation with each other and marketers are rarely invited. In response to these trends in consumer behavior, the authors contend that marketers must realize that they too are newly empowered. Marketers are no longer dependent on the media to communicate their messages. The tools that new media have provided have enabled marketers to engage customers more than ever before. According to Barrett and Pulizzi, content marketing, the process of cultivating relationships grounded in shared interests and mutual trust, is the necessary response to this disappearance of barriers and shift in influence and power. Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what customers need to know while delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way. The authors propose guidelines by which marketers can incorporate content marketing into their strategies and provide case studies in which content marketing was implemented successfully. Qualman, E. (2009). Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Social media is the digital age mechanism by which people fulfill their inherent desire to foster connections with similar others and understand what other people are thinking and doing. Qualman describes the current scenario as one in which word of mouth has gone “world of mouth.” Instead of having to seek out information, individuals will instead be active participants in creating and sharing the news. Because our online lives and associations will be on constant display in the “Glass House Generation,” it is imperative that companies produce products and services that people want to be associated with and share ownership of. Companies will also exist within a glass house and will have to leverage this new transparency. A new Socialommerce will emerge in which billions of dollars will be made in and around social media, and consumers will continue to rely more heavily on the opinion of online friends, colleagues, and strangers to shape their own decisions and purchases. The influence of referral marketing will increase and the reputations of companies within social media outlets will play a larger role in determining brand image.
Ryan, D., & Jones, C. (2009). Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation. Philadelphia, PA. Koran Page Limited. Technology has always wielded the power to uncover completely new markets and radically alter existing ones. According to Understand Digital Marketing, the Internet and the sophisticated mobile devices that allow people to connect to the network and each other whenever, wherever, and however they want together herald the single most disruptive development in the history of marketing. The authors examine the changing face of advertising and look at ways in which businesses can harness the power of the online revolution to connect with a new wave of consumers who have seamlessly integrated this pervasive technology into their everyday lives. Chapters addressing search engine optimization, measuring return on investment, managing online reputation, and cultivating consumer engagement through social media help outline the new rules of engagement for companies looking to construct a digital marketing strategy. The final chapter looks ahead to emerging trends in integration, examines the concept of holistic marketing, and describes how the word of mouth of savvy online consumers will dictate future advertising strategies. Safko, L., & Brake, D. (2009). The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools & Strategies for Business Success. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The Social Media Bible defines social media as activities, practices, and behaviors among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media. Social media strategies for businesses must revolve around the basic rule that social media is all about enabling those conversations. Businesses must remind themselves that they are not capable of controlling conversations but are only able to influence them. But they must also remember that influence is the bedrock upon which all economically viable relationships are built. The Social Media Bible discusses engagement strategies for businesses. Chapters entitled The Four Pillars of Social Media Strategy and The ACCESS Model will outline those strategies in detail. Safko and Brake also examine “the formidable fourth screen,” and look at how the increasing prevalence of mobile technologies is impacting how businesses reach audiences. Scoble, R., & Israel, S. (2006). Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk With Customers. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The age of passing mechanical voices off as customer service and greeting callers with voicemail menus designed to present only carefully crafted information while avoiding our pressing questions has birthed an atmosphere in which the consumer has become increasingly frustrated with and distrusting of the corporation. According to the authors, the consumer has grown tired of being talked at while their comments or suggestions go unheard. Blogging has been thrust into this atmosphere at the height of frustration and offers a means of responding to the faceless corporation. Blogs provide a platform on which the
consumer can speak. Naked Conversations illustrates how blogging is changing the face of business. Scoble and Israel outline how the careful and creative incorporation of blogging into a business’s communication toolbox can repair corporate image and earn consumer trust. Sernovitz, A. (2009). Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking. New York, NY. Kaplan Publishing. The most respected and profitable companies often acquire their best customers through the power of word of mouth. Word of Mouth Marketing implores businesses to not only provide consumers with reasons to talk about their brand, but to also help make it easier for that conversation to take place. Word of mouth marketing is business to customer to customer communication that can lead to an infinite number of genuine consumer conversations. Because of the prevalence of online social forums, opportunities for word of mouth to spread are increasing dramatically and word of mouth marketing is the fastest growing form of advertising. Sernovitz illustrates the correlation between honesty and profit yields. Customers who trust companies will talk about those corporations, propagate word of mouth marketing, and help cultivate a positive brand image. The challenge for businesses then is to participate in the conversation without manipulating it. Sharma, C., Herzog, J., & Melfi, V. (2008). Mobile Advertising: Supercharge Your Brand in the Exploding Wireless Market. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Mobile Advertising attempts to transform the buzz around mobile advertising into a practical business strategy. The authors maintain that there still exist substantial obstacles standing in the way of this transformation. Sharma et al. accordingly provide a detailed analysis of those barriers and share perspectives on how best to manage and solve them. They discuss the dramatic effects the Internet has had on the degree of consumer control and the subsequent impact this power shift promises to have on advertising strategies. The book draws on insights from industry veterans as well as evidence from case studies to help marketers and advertisers construct a better vision of the future of mobile advertising. Mobile Advertising also includes a chapter devoted to answering the question What Comes Next? and another section that offers Conclusion and Recommendations. Shields, M. (2009). Mobile Internet Usage Up, Nielsen Study. September 30, 2009. MediaWeek. http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/content_display/news/digitaldownloads/mobile/e3id4b973c6ccee64b407241aba1fbce283 Mobile Internet usage is growing exponentially—undoubtedly boosted in large part by smartphones like the iPhone. However, despite the hype surrounding the segment, just a quarter of wireless subscribers logged onto the Web via their mobile devices in July. According to a new report issued by Nielsen, there were 56.9 million mobile Web users in July of this year. That represents a healthy 34 percent spike in audience versus the 42.5 million mobile Web visitors tracked last
year. However, per a separate Nielsen report issued in January—there are close to 225 million total mobile subscribers in the U.S.; therefore, mobile Internet penetration is roughly 25 percent, still trailing PC Web usage and lagging far behind mainstream media like TV… Shiffman, D. (2008). The Age of Engage: Reinventing Marketing for Today’s Connected, Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture. Ladera Ranch, CA. Hunt Street Press. Consumer audiences have been given more power in their relationship with companies and their products. The source of their newfound empowerment can be traced to blogs, comment sites, social networks, and other online tools designed to give audiences a voice. Companies now face the challenge of marketing with consumers and not to them. The Age of Engage outlines a blueprint for reshaping interactions with audiences in order to inspire trust and a presents a plan for extending a company’s sphere of influence by creating value that draws positive attention to their brand. Companies functioning and flourishing within the Live Web need to view the Internet as a constantly evolving and shifting ecosystem with a heartbeat. According to Shiffman, nowhere has the emergence of the Live Web had a greater impact than on advertising. Corporations must strive to create engaging interactive marketing initiatives and participate in valuable conversations at each touchpoint. Solis, B. (2007). The Social Media Manifesto-Integrating Social Media into Marketing Communications. Retrieved September 2, 2009 from http://www.briansolis.com/2007/06/future-of-communications-manifesto-for/. In order to engage prospective customers, earn consumer respect, and compete for our increasingly strained attention, ad agencies must be willing to adopt a culture that places a premium on listening. According to Brian Solis, the Principal of FutureWorks and cofounder of The Social Media Club, companies must look no further than the social media networks now littering the Internet landscape to find their window into consumer understanding and their ticket to customer engagement. The Social Media Manifesto describes the “socialization of information.” A new culture in which conversations that start local can grow global has emerged. Those engaged in these discussions have become influencers and shapers of this new landscape. Social media has yet to reveal its true impact. But The Manifesto challenges companies to acknowledge that conversations concerning their products and services are taking place within these new media platforms with or without them. According to Solis, advertisers should not need a crystal ball in order to recognize that “monologue has given way to dialogue” and any effort to grasp the future of corporate communication must start and end with embracing the role that the masses, once deemed the “audience,” now play in the process of consuming, disseminating, sharing, and even creating content. Listening to relevant markets and the influencers within those markets will be a far more effective method of reaching customers than attempting to force a message on them. Social media promises to become more prevalent and
pervasive, and this new conversation is positioned to become “a critical factor in the success or failure of any business.” Tobin, J. (2008). Social Media is a Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know the Rules of Social Media Marketing. Cary, NC. Ignite Social Media. Corporate marketers who rush into the unchartered waters of social media are often uninformed about etiquette and rules, and can end up alienating the communities that they are trying to reach. In essence, marketers can inadvertently crash the cocktail party going on within social media circles. Tobin, with help from Lisa Braziel, attempts to illustrate how everyday social principles can inform leading social media marketing campaigns. Social Media is a Cocktail Party outlines how companies can leverage blog posts, podcasts, social networks, and other Web 2.0 tools to help forge deeper connections with customers and prospects. The Web has transformed from a medium for housing brochures to a medium for hosting conversations. But despite all the growth in social networking sites and other social media outlets, businesses have yet to come to grips with how to leverage these new technologies to help build brands, engage customers and establish a competitive advantage over competitors. Included in Tobin’s (More Than) 10 Cocktail Party Rules that Apply to Social Media are the following tenets: mingle and listen before you talk, it’s not all about you, share info that doesn’t benefit you, and remember that you can ask something of a friend that you can’t ask someone you don’t know. Tungate, M. (2007). Adland: A Global History of Advertising. London. Kogan Page. Adland is a comprehensive look at the major events, trends, and movements that have shaped and transformed advertising. But Tungate also explores what lies ahead for advertisers in this ever-changing media landscape. Adland warns marketers that “advertising’s future will not resemble its past,” and implores them to start adapting new strategies and embracing new tools in order to remain relevant and effective. According to Tungate, advertising is becoming an invitation only proposition. Brands can no longer force themselves on an unwilling public. Tungate asserts that advertising in the Web 2.0 era is less about blasting a message for all to see and more about serving an empowered audience. Because of the proliferation of media, campaigns must now engage and intrigue the consumer. Further complicating the process is that fact that even the most engaging and intriguing campaigns can go unnoticed if they aren’t distributed through the right channels at the right time. Most importantly, effective advertising must reach consumers in a way that encourages and enables them to interact.
Vollmer, C., & Precourt, G. (2008). Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and Media in an Era of Consumer Control. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill Books. Traditional relationship between markets and advertisers are being redefined. Nowhere is that more evident than in the changing approach of a company that has been largely defined by their innovative marketing campaigns. Nike has been steadily increasing the role of digital marketing in its advertising mix. Nike was able to reconnect with customers by incorporating a more interactive and viral advertising approach that allowed them to build relationships with more precision and intimacy than what was once allowed in traditional mediums. Nike’s emphasis has shifted away from flashy tag lines and memorable logos towards a focus on consumer experience. The authors contend that this transition illustrates that high-impact digital media is no longer an afterthought but a fundamental building block of advertising strategies. The shift signals the advent of the consumer-centric digital age in which the customers are now in control over their media consumption. A large part of the value of dynamic digital media can be traced to its unmatched contribution to maintaining closer contact with consumers who are now “always on,” always present, and constantly seeking value and opportunities to connect. Walker, R. (2008). Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. New York, NY. Random House. Walker argues against the trendy notion that brands are dead, advertising no longer works, and the short-attention-span generation has become immune to marketing. Walker contends that immerging technologies have signaled a very different cultural shift; one that will prove more lasting. As technology creates avenues for advertising everywhere and anywhere, consumers are embracing brands more than ever, participating in marketing campaigns in unprecedented ways. In the process, consumers have begun to funnel cultural, political, and community activities through connections with brands. Buying In explores a process that Walker calls “murketing.” Murketing has two parts: 1) the increasingly sophisticated tactics of marketers who blur the line between branding channels and everyday life, and 2) the growing tendency of consumers to not only embrace branding, but participate in the process. Walker also illustrates the ways in which buyers adopt products as conscious expressions of their identities and reveals why now, more than ever, we are what we buy- and vice versa. Weber, L. (2009). Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business. Hoboken, NJ. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. In a time marked by marketing confusion, Weber attempts to make sense of the confusion and discuss how to effectively apply newly available Internet tools and platforms. Social networks provide a forum in which corporations can engage in dialogue with customers and encourage conversation between customers. Savvy marketers will tap into these discussions and use them in crafting advertising strategies. This second edition includes a new chapter that outlines how
marketing to mobile social media will grow into an effective advertising practice. It also provides a blueprint for measuring the influence and impact of these social media campaigns. Weber reminds marketers that their online role is now one of an aggregator, not a broadcaster. In keeping with this new mindset, Marketing to the Social Web lays out a seven-step program for building a companyâ€™s own online customer community and describes four online conduit strategies that help businesses grow their customer community and enhance their reputation within it. Wertime, K., & Fenwick, I. (2008). DigiMarketing: The Essential Guide to New Media & Digital Marketing. Singapore. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The rapid evolution of the digital world has spawned a new era of user-generated content and consumer communities. This transformation of the Internet landscape is prompting companies to reevaluate the methods through which they reach and interact with customers. This guide offers the 12 Tenets of DigiMarketing, which serves as a thorough digital marketing planning framework. The authors examine several tectonic shifts that are changing the media and marketing business. Chief among them is the increase in mobile computing. It is estimated that by the year 2015 mobile content could be worth in excess of $1 trillion, with voice comprising only a 10% share of the market. Mobile computing will enable advertisers to reach customers in places that were previously out of reach. It is inevitable then that tension between marketers and consumers over the issues of intrusion, personal data, and privacy will continue to increase. But the ubiquity of mobile computing will have positive implications as well. DigiMarketing examines how marketers can best utilize mobile digital channels to generate greater consumer involvement and voluntary interaction with brands in order to improve the overall consumer experience.