Social Next Presentation at the Alternative Marketing Conference by Infopresse, Montreal June 2, 2010

I had a great opportunity to present a segment on Social Next at Infopresse in Montreal yesterday. This provides businesses with a look at events that have catapulted the need for social, as well as brand examples who are doing great things in this medium. Basic strategies and principles are incorporated to help businesses get started. Enjoy!
>Social Next for Infopresse Conference, Alternative Marketing June 2nd, 2010

The Case of the Missing Wallet: How to Use Social Media to Save the Day

I thought this was a really important article to repost on my blog and I’ve kindly asked the author, Kyra Savolainen to grant me permission to do so. If you’re still wondering about the power of social media, look no further. This one says it all. Thanks Kyra

Social Media win starts with a walk in the park

In late August, one of my most innovative clients successfully turned to social media to execute a manhunt. The man they sought was Steven Neil Crawford.

After lunching in Toronto’s Brant St Park, I returned to work holding a wallet with Steven’s name all over it.  A call to notify Toronto Police that the wallet had been found proved frustrating. So, I fired up my personal social networks in the hopes that at least one of my friends would be able to connect me with Steven. After a round of Google searches and call outs on Facebook and Twitter, a mutual acquaintance had yet to be found.

Meanwhile, Steven, a young post-production assistant at a local animation studio, was busy cancelling cards and wondering if his identity would turn up on some no-fly list in a year. He knew he had lost his wallet sometime during an exciting night out with friends, but didn’t know where. It looked like Steven might just have to pass the long weekend without his identification and other cards. (No lost wallet report was filed with Police.)

Social savvy Client to the rescue

Realizing that my own social reach wasn’t broad enough, I eyed the brand’s social media channels with hope. What better way to help establish this self-proclaimed ‘edgy and bold’ brand in the social space and prove the value of its motto based on non-conformist thought than to find Steven through its community of friends and fans online and reunite him with his property before the long weekend.

With one Tweet, the real social media rescue mission began.

“Hey Toronto, one of you lost your wallet (and I found it).  Anybody know Steven Neil Crawford?”

The brand’s friends echoed the call. Even @PepsiCanada threw in its support.

Success by numbers

The same message was posted to the official Facebook Fan Page. Results came fast, once the brand took up the cause of finding Steven. Within a day, a fan named Maria saw the call for help on Facebook and dug up a profile. It was a winner. (The requested reward? Gift cards from the brand.)

After contacting Steven and adding him as a friend on Facebook in order to verify his identity, I sat down with the eloquent youth in the same park where the wallet had been found. We chatted over a Client-sponsored lunch, touching on the lost/found/social media connection coincidence before barrelling off into more expansive, timely topics – it had been a full two days, afterall. (Aside: Who says there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’ or that social media is merely ephemeral hype? I pity the foo.)

In a matter of only 2 days, my client’s commitment to connecting with Canadians at the personal level clearly demonstrated the value of social media for brands and the public at large.  With just 220 Fans on Facebook and a Twitter following of less than 500 at the time of the event, Client X managed to demonstrate the true, simple value of social media to brands and the public at large.  We were personable, we were adventurous, we were helpful, and above all, we were social. And it worked. (And when I say ‘worked,’ what I really mean is ‘eat my dust, yammering display media.’)

Open ID…Data Portability… seamless integration or lack of control?

This week’s announcements from MySpace, Facebook, and Google about their respective launches of Data Availability, Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect gives us a preview into the next evolution of web connectivity. To marketers it’s a amazing leap forward in being able to 1) tap into audiences behaviourally across mutliple social networking platforms 2) develop more efficient media strategies where previous fragmentation has been unable to capture user behaviour outside of individual walled sites 3) and, in essence, provide much richer data for targetting strategies.

It didn’t take long, however for today’s news to arise: Facebook rejecting Google’s Friend Connect. Already, concerns about privacy are arising. As great as it is from a business perspective, the idea of Open I.D. raises a lot of concerns about how my data, as a user will be used. Yeah, I love the fact that I can register and create my profile only once and allow my data to flow with me as I surf from one site to another but it begs the question of control. The reason that fragmentation exists is that the user has the option to maintain mutliple identities/personas across multiple sites. Friend lists will differ depending on the purpose of my presence on certain sites. Maybe my profile on scribd as a “health guru” does not necessarily want to integrate with my political profile on jibjab. My professional linkedin friends should have access to my blogspot and my twitter but not my facebook. The point is: only I should have control on who sees my stuff and which friends I want interacting with me wherever I go. Giving this control to Facebook, Google or MySpace, for that matter, gives up my right and my control over my data.

Facebook is already noticing the impacts of cross-pollinating users/friends from one platform to another. Privacy concerns must weigh in especially since each platform has its own policies for its users. It will be interesting how this will be architectured cross-platformed to give users full disclosure and opt-out control if they so choose.

Marketing Revolution: The Art of Conversation Laced within Authenticity

While I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in multiple mediums as a marketer: television, OOH, guerilla, print, direct mail, database CRM, online media, radio, nothing has prepared me for this radical shift that has necessitated the move towards reinventing marketing from a model of selling to a model of listening.

The democratization of media has provided increasingly more tools at the hands of consumers and has given them more power than ever before. The consumers, in essence, have become the marketers and, in many ways, continue to elude their pursuers given the increasing media fragmentation. However, at the same time, these tools have allowed their very needs and behaviours to become more transparent –> an advantage that needs to be leveraged. The definition of conversational marketing in Wikipedia asserts a more complacent, acquiescing relationship that marketers should attempt to create with consumers if they are to succeed in turning consumers to advocates. The sweet spot is being able to effectively develop a relationship with the consumer who is an influencer. This can be a dangerous path if not dealt with care and caution. My scribd friend Tizio, who is part of a blogger network, puts it this way, “In my opinion, the great revolution in marketing isn’t the technology, the creativity or the WOM. The real revolution is to speak the truth. Engage discussions and don’t be misleading.”

Many marketers have yet to ascribe to this belief, let alone understand its true impact. The reality of digital media is that the shift of power to the consumer is not the only factor that companies must contend. Time, place and speed of information can seriously cripple a brand if a company does not enlist in strategies to respond, research and proactively manage the messages. A must-read is HD Marketing 2010:Sharpening the Conversation. Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO and founder of Denuo, said it this way: “time is compressed and often a victim of arbitrage. Place doesn’t matter. People can blog or access content from anywhere. Area has shifted to digital focus: content can be anything or come from anywhere. Speed of marketing, in process and execution, is critical.”

My recent experiences have brought to light the importance of integrating blogging strategies, interactive community sites, testing emerging mediums, and including flexibility for iteration; and most importantly incorporating data insights (ie behavioural and verbal) and measurement criteria to gain increased understanding of the market.

Engagement and Advocacy must supersede Awareness and Eyeballs from the onset. I’ve said this before: Deal with the consumer in their space and on their terms….and they will come.

%d bloggers like this: