Archive for the ‘global conversation’ Category

Social Media elevator speech

August 31, 2008

I’m back from 2 great weeks in Turkey.

In my mail, there is a request from Kosta, the organizer of the new media event in Dubai, asking the speakers to produce a 2 minutes video about social media. Usually, I give speeches between 20 minutes and 2 hours (for workshops)… but I never had to make an “elevator speech” about social media.

So, since yesterday I wonder how I could summarize my belief about social media and (new) marketing in 2 minutes?

It could be something like this:

Social media is one of the ways the (advanced) internet population chose to engage with the possibilities offered by today’s technologies. In the social media era, every contributor is a media with more or less audience. Many people try to define social media but most definitions remain too vague (and could even be applied to very old technologies like forums or chat rooms).

Social media is over and under-rated at the same time.

Social Media is overrated because reach still matters for brands and social media isn’t the best way to achieve reach; Because nobody found the magic formula of virality yet; Because social media isn’t a massive collective force but a variety of more or less small tribes. Even if there are links between all the entities of social media, they are hard to identify and to activate; Because it’s difficult to measure its return; Because collective intelligence is sometimes collective dumbness (cf starwars kid); Because the head is more consistent than the tail; Because it has a scalability problem; Because most of the social media users have no (net)working class consciousness.

Social Media is underrated because social media changes the way we expect to use (any kind of) media; Because it’s an incredible accelerator; Because you can achieve great results with low budgets; Because every study show that word of mouth is by far the biggest sales driver; Because it’s the ultimate market intelligence tool; Because it raises engagement; Because it allows viral mechanisms on top/as a part of your display campaigns; Because that’s where your target group is and because that’s where you can talk with him…

As we speak, your brand can still survive without using the power of social media. Many brands advertise and communicate like they used to do 10 years ago. Not all of them are on the verge of bankrupcy. Nevertheless, as a brand, ignoring new media prevent you to maximize your marketing efficiency.

Anyway, I still have to transform this in a nice video…


Delta skelter

July 1, 2008

I complained about Starwood’s lame customer service.

According to Joseph Jaffe, Delta airlines provides an even worse service to their “preferred” customers.

After the post, here comes the video:

The editing isn’t fantastic (reading is quiet difficult) but I really love the idea. Congrat’s Jaffe, you show us the way.

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 1 (Mulva)

June 23, 2008

Yes, it’s been a long time. I must admit that I lost the sparkle. I was more into swimming and brazilian jiu jitsu than into marketing readings the last months. It’s probably also because I’m not in a customer facing job today and I miss that badly.

Today, I’m back because I want to have conversations again, thanks to Geert who boosted me last week and also because I have something to tell you: Starwood hotels have a very poor customer service!

I went to Egypt in march in a nice Sheraton hotel (El Gouna), they proposed me the “Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Program” and I accepted it. I’m travelling to Atlanta next month and I will stay at the Sheraton. I received my SPG card last week… and I realized they made a mistake in my first name: instead of Philippe Deltenre, they refer to me as Jean Deltenre (the adress and other details are correct). I went to and found a customer service adress.

I wrote the following mail:

“SPG Number:******9082
Subject: General Comment
I received my SPG card a few days ago. The first name mentionned on my card is not correct (JEAN instead of PHILIPPE). How can I proceed in order to have a card with my correct details? Thanks
First Name: Philippe
Last Name: Deltenre
Membership Level: A”

Here’s the reply I received one day later:

“Dear Jean Deltenre,
Thank you for your recent email concerning your Starwood Preferred Guest account. I welcome this opportunity to assist you.
We always want to be sure that you’re pleased with our service so we’ve included a link to a brief survey at the end of this email. I would very much appreciate it if you could take a minute or two to let us know how we’re doing.
We would be pleased to change the name on your account as requested. However, for security reasons we require legal documentation that shows both the former and current names. Please note that a driver’s license is not sufficient verification for a legal name change.
Please send a copy of your marriage certificate or certificate of name change to:

Errr, this looks like a bad start in our relation. They probably assumed I underwent a gender change or married another man (not that there is something wrong with that)… I save the next episode for tomorrow but I can tell you already that it looks like the fist minutes of the movie BRAZIL

Ola bem dia

July 9, 2007

I’m in Lisbon today for the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solution sales kick off 2008. After the usual loud R’n’B music, the “Wow, look at this”, the “Make some noise to show how much fun you’ll have”, the “give yourself a big round of applaus” and a few “that’s a FANTASTIC achievement”, we had a short opening by Marc Bresseel and a 45 minutes speech by Chris Dobson, our sales VP. I won’t (and I guess, I may not) go into the details of what have been said this morning but on statement of Chris Dobson’s presentation caught my attention: “Internet doesn’t change people behaviour (…) technology change, not behaviours

This is an interesting statement but I still haven’t figure out if I agree with that. We may tend to exagerate the impact of internet on what we are but I think that some of our behaviours are the result of our internet experience. We have friends we have never seen, we are expecting brands to listen, we want to consume media on demand, we don’t perceive advertising as we used to do, we participate, we contribute, we share, we aggregate, we syndicate and we engage. Is that enough to call that a major behaviour change? And what kind of users are impacted?

I would love to read your opinions about this.

The marxist blogosphere

July 6, 2007

The web 2.0-power-to-the-people cliché made me realize that we could summarize the social media phenomenon by using 3 major concepts of Marxism.

Proletariat: Joel de Rosnay renamed it ProNetariat and opposed it to “infocapitalism”. The pronetariat is basically us… all the people that are (trying to) own the means of (information) production. In marxist theory, the goal of the proletariat (aka the working class) is to displace the capitalist system and change the social relationship through a period called the “dictatorship of Proletariat”. The social media era resembles somehow this marxist concept: the working class became the networking class but basically there is a class struggle between Pronetariat and infocapitalists who both seek the mastering of the means of information production.

But the comparison has 2 major limits: The first discrepency is that in the networked world, information is not a scarce resource at all, the second is that the control of the means of production is not linked to the profit (for the moment)

Class consciousness: “Class consciousness refers to the self-awareness of a social class and its capacity to act in its own rational interests”. We, bloggers, start to be aware of our influence power (and if I may say, we often overestimate it), more as a group than as individuals. We come from a society were physical power was replaced by economical power. Here comes the time of informational power…

Infrastructure and superstructure: The infrastructure is the sum of the means that allow production and the superstructure is the sum of subjective elements meeting the infrastructure. It’s funny to look at the evolution from that perspective. The infrastructure of social media (forums, broadband connections, XML,…) is there for a long time but the subjective elements were not there yet.  Our subjectivity gave a new sense to the infrastructure.

Those comparisons may seem a little far stretched… and they are. We could also find analogies between the web and the very opposite of marxism like, for instance, the libertarian deregulation philosophers and their spontaneous order theory.

Even if this might seem trivial and useless, I think it’s interesting to use that kind of filters to think about our media from a different angle.

PS: I have groucho marxist tendencies. Here is one of my favourite quotes: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.”

The permanent revolution

July 3, 2007

I just created my account on slideshare. In around 30 minutes, I will present the slideshow below at the second Microsoft Belgium circle of media where we gathered journalists and key Belgian bloggers. Most of the slides aren’t self-explanatory but I trust your interpreation and imagination power 🙂

As told previously, it’s my first presentation to an audience made of experts. I’ll tell you in my next post how it went.

The (not that) global conversation

June 7, 2007

I stumbled upon an interesting post on Gaping Silence (great blog, by the way) and commented it before realizing the post was allmost one year old. I liked this provoking thought:

You get a myth which diverges radically from the reality. The myth is that this is where the Web-for-everyone comes into its own, where millions of users of what was built as a broadcast Web with walled-garden interactive features start talking back to the broadcasters and breaking out of their walled gardens. The reality is that the voices of the geeks are heard even more loudly – and even more disproportionately – than before

Phil, the author of this post also gives a few figures from a study conducted among american students (march 2006):

MySpace is huge, and Facebook’s even huger, but Web 2.0 as we know it? It’s not there. 1.9% use Flickr; 1.6% use Digg; 0.7% use Answering a slightly different question, 1.5% have ever visited Boingboing, and 1% Technorati. By contrast, 62% have visited and 21% It’s still, very largely, a broadcast Web with walled-garden interactivity.

I had a look at the most recent worldwide comscore figures today and paid attention to some emblematic sites of web 2.0. Here are some of those figures:

  • Facebook is doing good with a global reach of 5.1%, 22 monthly visits per unique user and an excellent average of 10 minutes per visit
  • Social bookmarking remains very niche: Delicious has 0.5% of global reach, only 1.5 monthly visits per unique visitor and an average of 1 minute per visit (and a quiet limited growth on the last 6 months)
  •, the technorati champion, has slightly better results than delicious with 0.5% reach (5 times more than boingboing), 1.9 monthly visits per unique visitor and 1.5 minutes per visit
  • Twitter is still tiny: less than 0.1% reach, 1,8 monthly visits per unique visitor and 2,7 minutes per visit (this doesn’t include usage on mobile devices)
  • Google, Microsoft properties and Yahoo are the only properties with more than 60% reach worldwide. Microsoft is by far the champion of the minutes spent on its network (overall and per user)

You also have some 2.0 big guys out there: like wikipedia (27% reach), youtube (22%) or myspace (14%) but I remain with the impression that our perception of the market is a little biased by our blogging and social networking own experiences.

Reach is not a central element of the new marketing but are the audiences of web 2.0 important enough for the major brands? I don’t think so.

I don’t want to say that the conversation doesn’t make sense. Au contraire! Nevertheless, many people haven’t joinded the global conversation yet. The web 2.0 will lead brands to redefine their marketing mix. This will be a matter of proportions (how much do I withdraw from TV to invest in conversational monitoring and marketing?), of marketing goals (Which marketing objective will be fulfilled thanks to conversational marketing?) and processes (How do I spread the consumer feedback in my company? How does it impact my value proposition?).

Don’t get me wrong. the reach of the social media is growing (not booming) and brands already need to consider this phenomenon but let’s remain realistic and face the facts: We are maybe overhyping the conversation…. or overhyping marketing through social networks.

Am I wrong? What is your interpretation of the web 2.0 figures?

The Link Love Law

June 4, 2007


A while ago, I was in contact with Renaud, who is studying and modelizing the structures of complex networks. I was very interested by his work but couldn’t really figure out how usable this was for a better understanding of the web and the blogosphere. I called him to discuss this topic and I discovered new horizons.

I understood that the blogosphere was what we call a scale-free network: In scale-free networks, some nodes act as “highly connected hubs”, although most nodes are of low degree. The scientist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi is one of the leading researchers of the complex network study. He developped an algorithm called the BA model based on two important principles:

Incremental growth: scale-free network expand continuously over time by the addition of new nodes.

Preferential attachment: new network members prefer to make a connection to the more popular existing members.

The BA model shows that scaling and power laws emerge in random networks. This model hasn’t been built for the blogosphere. The web is only one out of many scale-free networks. Examples of scale-free networks can be found in biology (protein interactions), in terrorist organisations and even in… the distribution of sexual relations.

Basically, this is the scientific background of the long tail model and Chris Anderson figured that out long before me. We experienced this power law recently with Bring the love back. We noticed that many links on blog that were posting the video were mentioning David Armano (David is a “hub” in the blog scale-free network) as source of the information adding a lot of extra links to David Armano’s blog. David became the biggest traffic broker of This is of course due to his very important readership but also to the preferential attachment law: Bloggers who discovered the bring the love back-movie through a smaller node (a blog with a lower authority ranking) pointing to David Armano have much more probability to link directly to David Armano’s post and bypass the primary source of information which eventually was benefitial for the bring the love back success.

The fact that the long tail is not only a volume distribution law but also a power law is very new to me. This adds a predictability element. It doesn’t only describes the internet landscape but also allows to predict what the growth pattern will be (at least gives probabilities of growth knowing that critical events can change the evolution pattern of the network).

This discovery (it might sound trivial for most of you but it’s new to me) makes me think about Maximilian Cohen is the wonderful movie ‘Pi‘: “11.15: Restate my assumptions: One, Mathematics is the language of nature. Two, Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. Three: If you graph the numbers of any system, patterns emerge. Therefore, there are patterns everywhere in nature. Evidence: The cycling of disease epidemics;the wax and wane of caribou populations; sun spot cycles; the rise and fall of the Nile. So, what about the stock market? The universe of numbers that represents the global economy. Millions of hands at work, billions of minds. A vast network, screaming with life. An organism. A natural organism. My hypothesis: Within the stock market, there is a pattern as well… Right in front of me… hiding behind the numbers. Always has been

Return on Conversation?

May 30, 2007

There a lot of conversations (cf the viral garden and My 2 cents) going on about the ROI of conversational marketing. Even if almost everybody agrees with the fact that conversational marketing requires an appropriate metric, there are very few concrete proposals. This inspires me a few thoughts:

– We are very demanding about our media: besides watching the evolution of your sales figures or setting up an ad hoc impact study, there are no means to evaluate any kind of above the line campaign. How would you calculate the ROI of a sponsoring action? How would you evaluate the return of giving away expensive goodies to your business partners?

– Conversational marketing shouldn’t be per se considered as advertising budget: It’s symptomatic to see the definition of advertising on wikipediaAdvertising is paid and/or sometimes free communication through a medium in which the sponsor is identified and the message is controlled”. This definition doesn’t really apply for the conversation. Couldn’t we regard conversational marketing as market intelligence and customer service?

– Let’s assume, we need to prove a direct return anyway: I would then use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that gained a lot of popularity the last years. Even if it doesn’t measure the impact of conversation, this metric is full of learnings for the believers in conversational marketing. In an interview to CEO forum, Fred Reichheld (Bain & Company) stated about the NPS:

(The NPS) means customer feedback measures are used to drive internal priorities just as much as traditional profit and accounting measures. That’s a major change: in information systems, in the culture and behaviours of the company, and in the skills and training front-line employees need. It also has some very strategic implications, for example in how you segment your customer base and how you invest in serving those segments. It changes the whole rhythm of your business

In another interview, Fred Reichheld gives an example of the impact on a company profits:

high scores are a strong predictor of economic success. HomeBanc, a mortgage company in Atlanta, has a whopping NPS score of 84 percent. As might be expected from this score, HomeBanc’s productivity levels average 60 percent higher than industry standards. The firm’s growth exceeded 25% each year for the past decade – more than doubling the industry rate

This makes me believe that instead of trying to measure a direct return on the conversation, we should focus on proving that sound conversational marketing has an impact on customer satisfaction and that customer satisfaction impacts companies profits.

I don’t know anything (yet) about conversational marketing

May 25, 2007

ignorant1.jpgOf course, I understood the benefits of the conversation, I understood the value of the feedback, I understood that the conversation was not very risky and has a lot of potential benefits, I understood that the conversation monetizes itself

But there are so much things I didn’t figured out yet about conversational marketing:

– Can any brand enter conversational marketing? If I take myself as an example (I know you should never do that as a marketer), I can’t think about something to say to a household products brand or to a toilet paper brand (except maybe “be sweet”) or even clothing brands

– Should conversational marketing be part of the new marketing mix? this would mean that conversation would be managed by objectives which seems odd to me

– Is there an ideal balance between monitoring initiated conversation (monitor what is written about your brand on the participative web and join the conversation) and conversations initiated directly by the brands (ask a particular question to the surfers or invite them to join a previously defined conversation)?

– And of course, should you put a KPI in place for the conversations you have with your customers and target groups in order to evaluate the “efficiency” or the return of the conversation? If yes, which one?

I feel like I still don’t know very much about conversational marketing but Alfred North Whitehead once wrote “Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance is the death of knowledge.”

The audience is listening, HP isn’t

May 25, 2007

It took me 2 minutes to post the story of Laurent struggling with an HP keyboard and HP’s kafkaesque customer service. I was amazed to see the HP-post on the very top of the top posts of the week.

No reaction from HP so far… but a few hours after the publishing of the post, John P, a very helpful representative from Dell (!) tried to help us out and gave us some directions in the HP labyrinth. This must be superman’s Bizarro world.

Maarten was the first to blog about this oddity on Blogologie (in dutch). A few hours later, I see a pingback leading to an excellent post entitled “Dell Quells HP Hell” on Steven Phenix’ blog. The post is great and even offers us background information about John P.

So, HP is not listening while Dell learned to listen and monitor and understood that everyone is a customer. Laurent decided to buy a new laptop. It’s a Dell.

Semper Studiosus

May 24, 2007

sinhua_sexy_teacher.jpgWhen I started working at Microsoft, a year ago, I realized I NEEDED to read blogs to stay aware of what was happening on the web. Being in B2C, there were a lot of essential bloggers I never heard about… and I started to read and learn. I took a while before I decided to blog again (and, for the first time to blog about our business)

This morning, I saw a post on Ryan Karpeles’ blog with the beautiful statement : “Bloggers are some the greatest teachers in the world” I couldn’t agree more to that. I was really flattered and very surprized (and extremely thankful) to see my name in Ryan’s bloggers-teachers (beta)list.

Nevetheless, if Ryan sees me as a teacher, I would refer at him the same way. I enjoy the company of this new breed of teachers much, much more than I used to feel about my school teachers.

I borrowed the title to Cam Beck’s brother. Cam had remarkable words in the comments of Ryan’s Blog:

Ryan – I’m honored to be included in your reading list, as I’ve been an admirer of yours since CK tuned me in to your blog. I am confident that you have a bright future ahead of you, and I hope you continue blogging, no matter where life takes you, since we have at least as much to learn from you as you from us.

As my brother would say, “Semper Studiosus.”

Conversation economy: The movie

May 16, 2007

A while ago, I had lunch with Geert, our Belgian trade marketing guru and he explained me an ambitious project he developed together with Stef Selfslagh, from Openhere: Here’s the result:

The conversation economy already had its emblematic article, it now have its viral video. I hope David Armano will like it 🙂

User engagement equations

May 14, 2007

Be sure to check out Techno//marketer this week. Matt Dickman proposes to adress as from today several topics about web 2.0. Here’s the menu:

  • Monday: History briefly and what Web2.0 is NOT
  • Tuesday: This isn’t your grandfather’s business model
  • Wednesday: Who let the tech out? (Please sing to the tune of “Who let the dogs out”. Thank you.)
  • Thursday: It’s the community stupid (whether you like it or not)
  • Friday: What this really means for you and your clients
  • Next to the menu, there’s is also an “à la carte” opportunity: Mark proposed his readers to add topic to his list. The topic I proposed is “Which new metrics should be developed for the new marketing?

    I believe we’ll be able to go beyond the microcosmic buzz of conversational marketing when the markets will agree on common metrics. There is already a lot litterature about web 2.0 metrics but it remains very unsatisfying due to the vague definition of the concept of web 2.0. This results in a lack of uncontested measures. I already wrote a few lines on Buzzmetrics, Comscore is developing measures of user engagement with a focus on no-pageviews formats like flash and Ajax, the projectfactory ranked brand engagement in second life, innovates in the vocabulary but keeps using very traditional measures,…

    It’s still a mess and the industry will have to solve that to be able to convince advertisers and media agencies.

    All she wants is genuine affection

    May 9, 2007


    Bring the love back, the movie… can’t wait to show you this one. You’ll find everything you want to know about this global conversation superproduction on

    Web Dissociative Identity Disorder

    May 6, 2007

    It’s conversation economy! CTR is dead! The key of the succes of an online campaign is in the pre-click experience! Online advertising has the emotional impact of TV and the reactivity of dailies!

    Well yes, but I’m afraid those secrets are well kept between bloggers and web 2.0 theoricians.

    There are no official figures for the 2006 european online market yet but it seems that keyword buying grew much more than display advertising. At Microsoft, direct response (CPC advertising) is doing great. Advertisers don’t perceive the web as a medium impacting brand awareness and purchase intent and new marketing still suffers from the lack of recognized metrics. The result is that, more than ever, online advertising seems to rely exclusively on click through. At media buyers’ side, online reach and frequency optimisation is based on Click through rate and cost per click. It’s too bad… but it’s probably not their fault. Advertiser demand proof of efficiency and accurate ROI measurements to the web that never have been given by tradtional medias. In that context, CTR/CPC based optimisation seems the only option for many campaigns.

    Of course, impact studies are possible for online campaigns and dynamic logic offers very valuable research and market norms. Unfortunately, it’s not used in the day to day work by media planners and media buyers. At Microsoft Belgium, we’ve tried to convince the market by working with Metrixlab but I must say I was heavily disappointed by their lack of professionalism.

    The web is a beautiful media and deserves a better business model.

    I confess… I’m probably a little negative, moody and radical today.

    Time for new metrics?

    May 2, 2007

    Nielsen buys Buzzmetrics. They already owned 58% of the company. It won’t be regarded as the deal of the year but…

    Most advertisers still don’t invest (and don’t believe) in the conversation economy because it’s hard to translate into traditional marketing metrics. The question is of the advertiser remains: what about my ROI?

    In my presentations, I use an old (april 2005) Volvo case. The concept of the campaign was very innovative 2 years ago. Volvo created a blog called What’s your story with the tagline “Real stories by real people”. If you look at the traditional reporting metric (CTR), the campaign was pretty average but buzzmetrics showed how conversations were impacted by the campaign. The study presented tons of key learnings including that Volvo “discussion shares” rose dramatically on blogs and automotive communities.

    The Buzzmetrics study also showed the (positive and negative) stereotypes linked to the volvo brand, from the Volvo soccer mom to the safety reputation. The quotes taken from the conversation show that Volvo enthusiasts took the opportunity of the campaign to advocate the brand and the what’s your story action.

    The full Volvo buzz report contains 57 pages full of insights and it’s so much more usefull for a marketer than click through rates data or even traditional impact studies. If the conversational marketing catches up as it should, there is a bright future for conversation tracking and analysis.

    And what about ROI? What is the value of conversation? Jonathan Carson gives his 2 cents on his blog. A redefinition of marketing ROI in the conversation age still needs to be invented. Spread the word.

    Thanks for answering

    April 28, 2007

    Here’s a recap of my answers to the 8 questions of the Digital Marketing FAQ. 

    How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

    Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?

    Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?

    How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?

    How intrusive should I be? (expandable formats, videos with sound on by default)

    What does interaction rate (only available for rich media formats) tell me about the impact of my campaign?

    Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group?

    Why on earth do people use sites like second life?

    You can also find excellent answers to those questions on Transmission Marketing and Minor issues. Besides Mark and Steven, I need to thank a lot of people who contributed to the answers and the diffusion of the questions: Joe Jaffe, Kris Hoet, Ann Handley, CK, Michel Vuijlsteke, Marc Collier, Marc Bresseel and (in advance) Matt Dickman.

    I will come back soon with a wrap up and a powerpoint summarizing all the great contributions of those top marketeers.

    Ikea Phobia

    April 26, 2007


    After Dell Hell, here comes Ikea Phobia

    Between Clo and Ikea, the war is about to start… and I’m not sure Ikea is going to win. Feel free to join the fight, show the power of the global conversation and relay the case on your blog.

    Thanks for asking!

    March 28, 2007


    I spend about 50% of my time at work preparing and giving training sessions in Belgian branches of big corporations. The topics of the trainings I’m giving for the moment are “deep dive in cyberculture” and “Best practices in digital marketing”. I really enjoy doing those presentations especially for the Q&A following my lectures.

    Here is what I see as the FAQs of the advertisers today. I believe this apply beyond Belgium.

    How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

    Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?

    Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?

    How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?

    How intrusive should I be? (expandable formats, videos with sound on by default)

    What does interaction rate (only available for rich media formats) tell me about the impact of my campaign?

    – Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group? 

    Why on earth do people use sites like second life?

    Of course, I also get a lot of questions about ROI and measurements. I have (my) answers to those questions based on some hard facts, experience and a little common sense. I’ll post about that in the coming days but if you feel that you have a relevant contribution to make, please shoot.