Archive for the ‘web 2.0’ Category

Social media statistics

August 7, 2008

Last year I wrote a post about the reach statistics of social media. Last year (Comscore figures of june 2007), Facebook had 5,1% reach on the worldwide internet population, Delicious 0,5%, engadget 0,5% as well and twitter had less than 0,1% reach. Among the web 2.0 leaders, wikipedia was at 27% reach, youtube at 22% and myspace at 14%.

What about this year? How impressive is the growth?

Facebook clearly boomed and reaches now 15,4% of the internet population. Youtube (34,6%) is now bigger than wikipedia (29,1%). Twitter is 3 times bigger than one year ago (but it’s still only at 0,3% global reach). Myspace stagnated (13,7% in june 2008, delicious is among the losers with only 0,2% reach.

I didn’t measure the blog networks last year but the blogging community is an impressive collective force. For instance, blogger reaches 23% of the internet population and its challenger wordpress is at 11,4%

A funny statistic, Yahoo! geocities is still strong with 9,1% reach (almost 50 times more than delicious!)

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New media 2008

August 5, 2008

I accepted with great excitment to be one of the speakers at the New Media event 2008 organized mid december in Dubai. Among the speakers, I’ll have the pleasure to meet Robin Hamman, Magnus Nystedt, Philippe Borremans, David C Skul, Ammar Bakkar (MBC), Jonathan Woodier (Citi group) and acclaimed movie director Shekhar Kapur. Other speakers will soon be announced.

The headlines of my presentation as defined in the draft program are:

Engaging With Social Network To Maximise Your Reach But Also Manage Risks

  • Understanding the nature of networks
  • Recruit and unleash social network advocates
  • Assessing the potential return on using social networking website

The third bullet point is a tricky one, don’t you think? 🙂

Brave new world (wide web)

August 4, 2008

No rational person could possibly believe that there is any tension between ‘mainstream’ and “alternative’ culture”

This provocative quote comes from “Rebel sell, why the culture can’t be jammed”, a brilliant and thought provoking (but also pretty mocking) book by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter.  The culture-jammers (represented today by people like Naomi Klein) state that rebellion and disruptive behaviors endanger the capitalist system and mass society that encourages conformity.  This has been the subject of very popular movies like American beauty, fight club or maybe even Wall-e. It’s also very present in advertising.  Heath and Potter believe the exact opposite and that counter culture relies on a vision of society that is totally biased. Watch this interview

Unfortunately, there is nothing about web 2.0 in rebel sell (the book was released in 2005) and I would very much like to read their opinion about the participative web (there are a few lines about net neutrality)

Anyway, the book made me realize why Microsoft wasn’t (perceived as) cool: It’s not about quality of products, it’s only about counter culture values. Google and Apple are supposedly counter cultural, anti-system, dissent, rebel and “authentic” (as stated in Apple’s 1984 commercial) while Microsoft is supposedly a symbol of conformity and an agent of the system.  Google achieved to be a culture-jammer through their battle for net neutrality and by their “do no evil” motto, Mac thanks to their disruptive/1984/think different marketing strategy.

But are they a menace to any system? I don’t think so.

What about us?*

 

* bloggers and other social media users

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.

Love anyone?

June 30, 2008

I have the honour to have admin rights on getinspiredhere, the collective blog related to the “inspiration anyone”-viral video (the sequel of Bring the love back)

I must say I’m pretty disappointed by the stats of the viral video (less than 5000 views so far on youtube versus 150.000 for bring the love back – and 3000 versus 180.000 on dailymotion). I don’t think it’s a question of seeding strategy. The seeding strategy of “Bring the love back” was minimal and the video became a success mainly thanks to the enthusiasm of David Armano.

Quality could be an issue. I still think that Inspiration anyone is a great vid but I agree on the fact that there are some minor flaws (mainly in editing).

Basically, I agree with Peter Kim  when he states that “(perhaps) it hits too close to home for agencies”. Besides, the video carries a message telling us that it’s not that simple. It confronted me with my own ignorance. Of course, we have to listen to the customer and I think we all know that; of course, balanced conversation is key; of course we have to rethink the way we make marketing; of course…. but how do we aknowledge the changes while maintaining the system? (major online players selling added value to the advertisers).That’s the whole point of getinspiredhere and that’s why we need you there 🙂

No headquarters, no hierarchy

July 10, 2007

I had the chance today to hear a brilliant presentation by Charles Leadbeater. I wrote down a few key messages:
– Give people tools, see how they us them and only then, build your business model
– If you treat users as (just) consumers, you won’t be able to make them help you to innovate
– The most innovative organisations (based on free collaboration) today have no headquarters and no hierarchy, they are much quicker in innovation than any big fixed rigid organisation
– Succes may lead to conservatism. If you have a history of succes, you may tend to repeat what led you to succes.
– If you want to see your way into the future, act as you were a new entrant with low budgets

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.”

I’ll do better next time

July 4, 2007

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As usual, I spent my evening thinking about the weakest aspects of my presentation and how I’ve could done better. I’m a little disappointed by my explanations on scale-free networks and I make plans on how I will rebuild the speech with more subtleties next time.

But overall, I’m happy about last night. I think (I hope) I wasn’t ridiculous in front of all the beautiful minds and brains of the audience and that my presentation had a few thought-provoking moments.

To illustrate Microsoft belief in real life-networks, I used a quote of Francis Bacon (I initially believed it was the painter but it’s the philosopher) who once wrote “Friends are thieves of time”. I wish I had spent more time with my fellow bloggers last night: Luc, Pascal, Caroline,… and I regret I hardly or didn’t had the opportunity to chat with Maarten, Dominique (who posted a great piece of feedback), Valérie, Steven, Pieter, Tanguy, Bert, and many others. I also realized we just forgot to invite some major bloggers like for instance, Robin (our blogger database needs serious improvements). Hopefully, we’ll have new conversation opportunities real soon.

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.

Virtuous circles (of media)

July 1, 2007

I decided to call my new presentation “the permanent revolution”. It’s probably already a cliché and it’s something we’re all very excited about. It’s even a condition for our marketing blogs to survive. We need change and innovation to feed our blogs. I’m not sure that advertisers are always as excited as we are. Our message often remains: Incredible things are happening now but you ain’t seen nothing yet! Some advertisers tend to wait the next big thing, maybe thinking that after that, the innovation pace will slow down a little… but it won’t.

Where will the permanent revolution lead us? IMHO, the web is a matter of virtuous circles. The major trend is more and more integration of the services and the gadget mashups we see poping up everywhere today are the biggest sign of what the web will become. I already mentionned photosynth that could lead to the first real-virtual world (a giant mashup of flickr and second life). Like Marc Bresseel explained at the IAB Interact forum, Photosynth is the result of a virtuous circle made of Simplified authoring, improved search and improved metadata. If this product is marketed properly, it simply could change the way we are experiencing the web.

The “première” of my presentation will be tuesday at the “circle of media”, where Microsoft invited a lot of journalists and a bunch a very bright Belgian bloggers. It’s the first time I will talk about our media to a very informed audience… Wish me luck. 

I’m awarded

June 20, 2007

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No, I didn’t received a gold lion at the Cannes advertising Festival but I was surprized and honored by Mark Goren’s post, who mentionned me in his thinking blogger award shortlist along with excellent bloggers like Matt Dickman, Valeria Maltoni, Andy Nulman and Kris Hoet. I think that most of my favorite blogs were already awarded. I’ll try to bring new blogs in this big link-love fest.

My awards are going to:

Chaos scenario: I feel very different from Cam Beck but his posts are very smart and provoking. That’s why I read him very often. Cam is taking me out of my comfort zone and I’m thankful for that.

Bob Garfield: I am passionated about Bob’s chaos 2.0 scenario. I think this is one of the most important things written about advertising in the last years.

Bring the love back: But am I really objective?

Bluurb: I can’t believe this blog isn’t ranked higher on technorati. It’s funny, creative, original and intelligent.

Bnox: She describes her blog as a link dumper. it’s much more than that.

Now it’s time for the real Cannes awards, I jump in my tuxedo and take my limo to the “Palais des festivals”…

Damned, I have no tuxedo and there’s no limo waiting for me. A jean and a fancy t-shirt will do.

Wikipedia Mathematics

June 13, 2007

I wrote a post last week about the power law in the blogosphere.

Yesterday evening, I stumbled upon a report on wikipedia and I realized that the rules are the same: like links beget links in the blogosphere, edits beget edits on wikipedia. And the number edits obviously impact quality: there is a strong correlation for a wikipedia article between number of edits (and number of contributors) and probability to be featured (sign that the article is qualitative).

You won’t be surprised but it appears that the distribution of edits on wikipedia follows a long tail model. The long tail is maybe the T.O.E. after all 🙂

Based on the wikipedia correlation between quality and number of edits/contributors, I was wondering if wiki models could be succesfully used in marketing (to create an advertising or to gather business intelligence). I asked Clo what she was thinking about it and she sent me this great Kathy Sierra post.

 

Frankendog may be ugly, but he has some personnality

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 del.icio.us. Answering a slightly different question, 1.5% have ever visited Boingboing, and 1% Technorati. By contrast, 62% have visited CNN.com and 21% bbc.co.uk. 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)
  • engadget.com, 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?

Last transmission

June 3, 2007

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All good things come to an end. Here comes the very last interview of the Blogger interview series and it’s Mark Goren, author of Transmission Marketing. I wish I wrote that 🙂

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

7 November 2006: “Brand Health Care”. The idea behind the post was say that are many ways to treat a marketing problem and that if you’re agency doesn’t accept it when you challenge them, maybe it’s time to seek a second opinion. I still think it was a good inaugural post, but I’ll be the first to admit that it took some time for me to find my blogging legs after that one.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

They’ll lose out in end and, the thing is, they won’t know it. They won’t know it because if you don’t know what’s being said, you’re powerless to take advantage of the good and/or turn a negative into a positive. It’s our job to show them what they’re missing, teach them why it can help their company/brand and ultimately find a way to measure the effects of joining in.

3/ What is the next big challenge for online media owners?

I think that their biggest challenge lies in figuring out how to make their online ad revenues higher than their print edition ad revenues so they become less dependent on the broken model of traditional advertising. Once their online revenues outweigh their offline take, they can then become more creative in finding ways to help advertisers reach consumers in more targeted ways.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Getting out of the mindset that a bigger ad spend is better. I’d love to see more advertisers just put their toe in the waters and allocate a little bit of budget towards trying to target a more qualified audience online. I just can’t get past what I truly believe: that you can never get close enough to your customers to help them, engage them and build a relationship with them through traditional advertising. Advertisers have to learn that it’s about Give + Take, not Tell + Take.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

Wow, this is a tough one. I’ve basically given myself on MBA on new marketing over the last little while. Anything written by Seth Godin is a good place to start. Cow, Moo, Permission, Ideavirus, Small, etc.. But then there are the other must-reads: Cluetrain, The Tipping Point, Naked Conversations, Creating Customer Evangelists + Citizen Marketers, these are all obvious. However, if you want new marketing ideas, case studies that move away from traditional solutions, I’d have to go with Jaffe’s Life After the 30-Second Spot. It’s the new marketer’s bible.

6/ What makes your blog different?

The best compliment I’ve received about the blog came from a reader in Ottawa. He told me that he enjoys how, from time to time, I use my other interests – sports, movies, TV – to bring home some points and keep things light. Of course, I don’t do that with every post, but I do find inspiration from a broad range of sources.

So, Philippe, how’d I do?

You did great, Mark, Thanks a lot!

The concept and the questions of those interviews are copyright-free. So, if you like taking this over, I’d be glad to see upcoming interviews on another blog.

Viva la Diva

June 1, 2007

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From Sidney to Atlanta… After Gavin Heaton, here comes a divine diva intervention. Toby Bloomberg kindly accepted to answer the questions of the blogger-interview series. As usual, I won’t comment the answers but feel free to do it. Toby we’re all eyes.

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

Thanks for the walk down memory lane Phillippe. The first blog post on Diva Marketing was titled, “Pop A Cork For The New Diva Marketing Blog.” It combined a brief intro about the focus of Diva, a thank you to Dana VanDen Heuvel who encouraged me to blog, a link to an article about branding and a quote of the month.

The quotes were so popular that when I redesign the skin I added the quotes as a feature on the sidebar. Every time you click into the site you see a new quote.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

What happens to people who are not part of conversations where others are discussing issues that affect them? They miss opportunities to influence their future, they miss opportunities to correct misunderstandings, they miss opportunities to develop relationships with people who are interested in similar concerns. Same thing will happen to organizations. Will they die on the vine? Probably not. Will they appear to be self absorbed and will their customers wonder where they are in the conversation? Eventually.

Way back in the ‘90’s when websites were the hot new tactic companies that launched websites were perceived as innovators. When the internet became ubiquitous websites became an expected cost of doing business and a well to establish credibility. I think that will eventually happen with social media/blog initiatives.

3/ What is the next big challenge for online media owners?

In one word – Choices.

If you define online media owners as organizations (for profits, non profits and government agencies) that use content as a strategy to provide value to stakeholders (readers) in order to achieve business outcomes .. then it is what it always was .. assuring there is fresh relevant, credible content (within an easy to navigate environment). However, add to the mix the expectations of including social media tactics, as well as, nifty Web 2.0 technology and you have a smorgasbord to choose from.

The challenge then becomes: what does your target audience really want, what is right for the brand and what is doable with your resources (time, money and people). Once you answer those questions (which marketers have always asked) the next challenge is how to form a cohesive, integrated strategy. Our job as marketers has certainly grown complex.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Making sense of the same smorgasbord of choices and in doing so determining where your target audience actually hangs out. Then of course developing the right message and creative for that media. Successful ads on blogs are very different from ads in a print publication. A video on YouTube is a far cry from a spot commercial. Consumer generated branding promotions have their own unique set of challenges. It sounds like a fun idea to ask your customers to film a little video about your product or service but it’s not as easy as it appears to put the pieces together for a successful campaign. Of course there are the risks involved of less than flattering messages, as well as, determining the right incentives to encourage participation.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

Great question. Wish I had a great answer. Let’s just say I’m still waiting for it to be written.

6/ What makes your blog different?

When I launched Diva Marketing I was actually looking for a new “home.” I had developed the “diva girlfriend voice” for an online publication that closed its doors and I wanted to continue the funky, fun writing style. That voice became a signature which turned Diva Marketing into a “blog brand.” The skin of the blog was eventually designed to support the voice. With so many smart people blogging in the marketing, PR, business space I think of Diva as more of a “feature” than a “hard news” blog.

In terms of content, my focus is shifting from writing about general brand marketing to how social media/blogs can be leveraged to support marketing strategies. I also frequently include interviews with business leaders and authors. Friday Fun has become a popular post giving me the opportunity to go off topic. Oh and of course there is Max, my Westie pup who I’ve been told has a fan club in the blogosphere!

Thank you Toby!

Dial S for Servant of Chaos

May 31, 2007

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I’m pleased to announce you the second (and last) blogger-interviews trilogy. Unlike Star Wars, I can assure you that the second trilogy is as good as the first. The interviewee of the day is Gavin Heaton, the Servant of chaos (If I could, I would give him the award of the coolest blog name). Gavin, the floor is yours.

1/ What was your first blog post ever?

I started blogging as a way of enforcing a kind of discipline upon myself. I once wrote a lot — I have notebooks full of ideas, scribbles, poems and stories — but had stopped. And yet, the desire to write, to communicate had not wholly left me … so I began with what I was most comfortable with … a poem. My original plan was write 999 Theses … or one short idea every day for three years.

2/ What will happen with brands that are not entering the conversation?

Not all brands want or need conversation. Interestingly enough, neither do some bloggers. I am sure that there is some kind of graph available that would map the elasticity of conversation as it applies to either brand or market value on one axis and research and innovation on the other. For a brand that has a high elasticity of conversation, failure to engage your consumers in conversation can have an impact on your reputation … and eventually your sales. Technology brands fall into this category precisely because consumers expect technology companies to USE technologies to communicate. Look at your own posts on HP over the last couple of weeks … it is not like the conversation is not happening — it is simply that HP is not engaging.

I think it comes down to ethics … we hear a lot now about authenticity, but I think this is clearly a consumer-led demand for ethical behaviour. Consumers don’t mind marketing where it is handled transparently … and an ethical approach drives a deeper engagement with the brand. It builds trust. This is where conversation comes in. It opens the way for a deeper and ethical brand connection.

3/ What is the next big challenge for online media owners?

It is measurement and money. We keep trying to cobble old metrics onto new marketing channels and they simply don’t apply. The organisation that figures out how to measure the impact of online media on key business metrics will reap massive rewards.

4/ What is the next big challenge for advertisers?

Creating new models for communications. Many of us are still in love with the “big idea”. We want marketing to be easy and we want to use advertising as the primary tool to drive both sales and brand. But online channels (and yes, there are more than one) require an integrated approach and a comprehensive, network oriented strategy that builds momentum. We need to break out of the silos.

5/What is the most relevant book/article/post ever written on new marketing?

I don’t actually read many business books these days … with blogging there is a real currency of ideas available, and being rather impatient, I prefer the immediacy of blogs. I also love the way that conversations build upon ideas. One of the best examples of this in action is David Armano’s series of posts on creativity and blogging influence — especially this one

6/ What makes your blog different?

Wow, that is hard question to answer! In many ways my blog is not about me … when I first started I hid behind the name of the blog. I also used to sign off each post with the letter “S” for “servant of chaos”. I also commented on other blogs as “Servant of Chaos”. Eventually I had to emerge from the shadows … when I began contributing to Marketing Profs I had to provide Ann Handley with a photograph of myself and a brief bio. Little by little I became less self conscious about “my” blog. Does this make it different? I don’t know …

Thanks Gavin!

(illustration: the Hyperbolic blogosphere, quiet a chaos)

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.”

Bring the love back: What’s next?

May 18, 2007

It’s maybe too soon to do the aftermath of the Bring the love back action but I thought that 10.000 views on dailymotion was a good opportunity to talk about this case.

I won’t make a recap of the full genesis of the project (everything is on bringtheloveback.com). Geert, who carried the project from start to end also initiated the viral aspect of the campaign. Geert received the video wednesday at 7.30 PM CET and posted it immediatly on dailymotion and the movie was embedded on the bringtheloveback blog.

The first thing we did after the posting of the video was to send a mail to a limited number of contacts (about 15) of the blogosphere. Not only class-A bloggers but only good bloggers (some of them, despite an excellent blog have an authority 1 on technorati). The rule wasn’t their power of influence but the fact we had a real relation with them (I already have had online discussion or a mail discussions with all bloggers in my list).

For that kind of action, I guess you need a little piece of luck. In my blog post, I wrote that I was hoping that David Armano (who wasn’t in our short mailing list) would like the video. David is obviously a king of monitoring and reacted immediatly in my comments, posted the video on L+E and twittered about it. This was the real start of the virality. Thanks to David, the video was taken over by major blogs like Jaffejuice, Beyond Madison Avenue, futurelab, marketingfacts, successcreeations, whatsnext, servant of chaos and many others. Other major bloggers like CK, Craphammer or Technomarketer helped us big time.

But is it really a success? For the figures, I have not enough benchmarks in B2B viral actions and, honestly, I don’t really care and I don’t believe it’s a metric of success.

I care about the many conversations that are happening on all the blogs, the friendly confrontations between the enthusiasts, the surprised ones, the sceptics and the Microsoft-haters.

I care about what will happen next: How will we (Microsoft international) build on this, change our image, fullfil the promises, continue the conversation, draw and share conclusions.

Bringthelove back is allmost a one-man project. Geert worked on this with vision, method, creativity, guts and belief and managed to transform our Microsoft Belgium positioning in a worldwide conversation on advertising and the place of Microsoft in the online advertising landscape. Thumbs up, my friend!