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What Kind of Experience Are You?

A Social Media expert post sponsored by Sprinklr (The Real-Time Mindset: Don’t Use the Word “Social”) got me thinking and a little tweety yesterday.  Sprinklr - Social Media Management Systems

Now, I completely agree with David Scott (@dmscott) that Enterprise companies need to find ways to be more nimble, flexible, proactive and think with a real-time mindset like thinner, smaller organizations - but what irked me was how the article could be misinterpreted.

The suggestion was made that, when speaking to the C-suite about growing Social@Scale to not use the word “social” as “many think of their kids’ Facebook or Twitter and what you had for lunch, deciding that social is frivolous at best and a dangerous time-waster at worst.”

This just further illustrates the need for education and understanding in the C-suite and by recommending to drop the word “social” from theSocial Construktion - Private Beach conversation aimed at scaling “social”, are we doing Social as a channel a disservice? (No disrespect to David or to Sprinklr)

The way “Social” is used today and applied to an ever-changing and blurry playbook, it is easy to understand why there is so much           Social Confusion these days. I mean Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the poster children for adolescent Social Media, defined in its infancy by MySpace (good luck with the comeback!). It’s tough convincing your parents that you are growing up and it’s even tougher when it is in the fabric of your DNA.

So, at the heart of it here is my pain point. Social can be real-time, but not all real-time is Social. By explaining to the C-suite that what they are harnessing is real-time intelligence – it is just one of the many benefits of Social Media Monitoring & Listening and can be leveraged to increase sales, manage perceptions, etc. Real-time can also be applied to a company’s Social Construktion - Small Groupability to act and engage – but requires a different set of resources, investment and expectations.

In the digital website/app world, real-time involves dynamic content, algorithms, enterprise analytics, etc. Social tools and technology have evolved to the point where this is a Social reality too – but although there are parallels between the two there is one inherent difference.

Personal vs. Small Group vs. Public Experiences

Public vs. Private. Forget where the experience takes place. It could happen on Facebook or with social plug-ins it could happen  on a Brand’s website or automotive used car marketplace. The way to think about whether something is “Social” or not is by segmenting experiences into Personal, Small-group and Social experiences. The first two are “private” experiences that can ultimately become  Social Construktion - PublicSocial (“public”). The second two are Social because the experience involves more than one person.

This isn’t how the line is usually drawn for budgeting, staffing, resources, etc., but this is how the line should be drawn from a     strategic communication and experience planning perspective.

When talking to the C-suite, real-time intelligence is a great way to open the door to Social@Scale, but if you don’t tell them that it is Social and they are coming over for dinner, then you are doing Social a disservice – whatever that means.

If you or your organization are suffering from Social confusion - Get Construkt’ed.

 

 

Mobile is a state of motion, not a device

The word “mobile” has become so synonymous with the cellular phone category that people tend to forget its true meaning. And in doing so, are confusing a state of motion with a device that can make phone calls (among many other things).

So what’s the big deal. The industry has been calling itself “mobile” for years without anything but positive repercussions. Well, today we have multiple devices (tablets, smart phones, laptops, etc.) that can be considered mobile from a consumer marketing & analytics POV.

Back in 2009, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) updated their definition as follows: ”Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.”

Yahoo! didn’t get the memo. See their “What is the mobile Internet?” page below.
Yahoo! Mobile Internet

The big deal is that the marketing mindset needs to change when it comes to advertising, measurement, & strategy as it relates to mobile marketing vs. stationary marketing. Taking this approach and applying a true mobile playboook will create a more customized and relevant experience.

Are we really that far off from being able to understand whether a device (and the person using it)Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball App Permissions is in motion AND be able to deliver targeted messages accordingly? GPS, geo-fences, creepy app permissions (Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball app permissions), device recognition, etc. One would argue that the technology exists and is being used to do just this today (or will be soon).

Now, I have played Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball for years and am a huge fan of their product, but for the first time in a while I didn’t update to the latest version of an app I use everyday because they wanted to have permission to “Read phone state and identity”. Really? An application can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone… the number that call is connected to… no thank you.

So publishers please update your ad serving technology to provide more advertiser value. Advertisers please make your ads more relevant to provide consumers more value. Developers, don’t creep us out with permissions or sell us out to people looking to buy our data. Consumers, please take the time to read the permissions and permission updates for the devices and apps you use to determine if this information is a fair value exchange for what you are getting.

But I digress. The true moral of this story is that mobile marketing (a la Minority Report) is coming right for us. Right Uncle Jimbo? But unlike Uncle Jimbo we can’t just shoot it. We must evolve our way of thinking and embrace a mobile mindset responsibly.

South Park is a registered trademark of Comedy Partners – no affiliation what so ever, view at your own risk. If you are offended, sorry. Its not me, it’s them. [Insert legal disclaimer here.]

Social Media is Like Celery (when calculating ROI)

For anyone that has ever been on a diet or been around someone who has, celery was probably in the mix. Reason being, there is that common myth that eating celery results in negative calories. When calculating ROI of Social Media, take a page out of the dieter’s playbook and use Social Media to offset spend and increase efficiency of the rest of the marketing mix.

Quoting a New York Times article – The Claim: Some Foods Have Negative Calories “For years, diets and weight-loss books have boasted that you can eat a piece of food and burn calories at the same time. The idea is that some foods have so few calories that the act of chewing them requires expending more energy than is absorbed, resulting in a calorie deficit and ultimately, weight loss.”

Social Media is like Celery

So how is celery like Social Media? Well, think of cost in terms of calories. And think of your marketing budget like your daily caloric intake. I’d make a conservative assumption that for most large brands the amount of money spent on other channels is proportionate in calorie/cost terms to celery (8 to 10 calories a stalk).

When it comes to ROI, it is logical to look at the direct results of your efforts in terms clicks, visits, sales, shares, re-tweets, etc. and calculate ROI to prove that your efforts were effective. The challenge is that Social Media efforts have a lot of unquantifiable benefits and if aligned with other messages in market, can actually produce negative calories for your campaign.

This isn’t a myth. Add up the total costs of all channels, the total IMs, the total actions, etc. excluding Social Media efforts. Then apply Social Media into the equation. Due to inherently low costs per impressions/actions generated, you are improving the ROI of your other marketing mix activities – reducing the costs per action.

Now, of course you want to isolate and calculate Social Media efforts independently to see if you are getting a solid return for your investment, but you should also take into account the holistic effect it has on your big picture. Google’s recently announced Social Media metrics & reports (see TechCrunch article) that show assisted conversions will help make it easier to calculate ROI this way.

Interested in remodeling your business for the Digi-Social economy? Get Construkt’ed. Contact Us.

JetBlue & The Holiday Boo’s

A few days before Christmas we received our holiday gift from Jet Blue, an email informing us that our direct flight on April 27th from St. Lucia to JFK was canceled. We were now on a flight home from our Honeymoon on Thursday, April 26th, a day earlier.

April 26th, seriously? After months of planning and coordination, our trip was in a tailspin and our options weren’t appealing: 1. leave a day early (cancellation fees, less time in paradise, etc.) 2. leave a day later (extra food & lodging costs) 3. ticket refund (flights costing twice as much with multiple stops)

After initial discussions with JetBlue Customer Service left me responsible for the extra costs associated with their flight change, I did what every other rational human being would do – I took the conversation public with @JetBlue and vented some frustration.

JetBlue Twitter Customer Service Conversation

With all of the advancements companies have made in leveraging Social Media tools and technology, it is still apparent that it is window dressing. If a company has sketchy policies, loopholes, or business practices that put their customers second, than it doesn’t matter how progressive or savvy your team is. Customers will still be left feeling unsatisfied and disgruntled.

Now, this is a special instance which probably falls outside the norm of the Jet Blue operational playbook. Schedule changes happen all the time and for many reasons, however in most cases these changes are on the same day. When the changes are on a different day, that’s when the costs for the travelers go up exponentially (food & lodging). Factor in that this is St. Lucia and not Pittsburgh, PA and an extra day can end up costing quite a bit of money.

So why would JetBlue cancel the flight 4 months in advance. According to Customer Service, it was out of their control and that the schedule change was likely due to the airport or the transportation authority overbooking or not allowing extra planes to take off or land on that day. Well, Jet Blue only makes one flight out of St. Lucia a day. 4 months ahead of time, seriously?

After exploring other reasons for the schedule change a Customer Service agent said the change could be due to that day/flight historically being a low-performer. Hmmm. If the JetBlue cancels a flight because they don’t expect it to be profitable, after they sold me a ticket, and gives me 3 options which all result in me having to pay more or experience less, shouldn’t they take responsibility for it?

Now when I called and spoke to another Customer Service agent today, this time a supervisor, they re-enforced the 3 options that they had given me, were my only options and that it wasn’t Jet Blue’s fault. When I mentioned that JetBlue may be canceling the flight to improve their bottom line, she replied that their is no way to tell and that the information isn’t readily available, but that isn’t what JetBlue would do. It is important to mention that the Customer Service reps were friendly, understanding and empathetic, but bound to company policy.

So here’s where it went to a new level of “seriously?”. Since JetBlue cancelled the flight I can switch to a flight the day before or the day after or get a refund, but once I choose it’s done. The “system” bumped us up to the flight on April 26th which is now coincidentally sold out after the Friday flight was canceled.

Now, try explaining to your Fiance that we need to leave our honeymoon a day early because JetBlue canceled our flight. Let’s just say, the preferred option if we can swing the cost is to stay an extra day.

It took weeks to plan the honeymoon and if we wait a few days to re-arrange reservations with the hotel and our budget and then book the Saturday flight, there’s a chance it will sell out too as other travelers react. The smart thing to do would be to change the flight reservation to Saturday so we have a spot and then research our options. However, JetBlue is only allowing one reservation change before initiating $100 per person change fees and tacking on any price difference to the ticket. Seriously?

Did I mention JetBlue is claiming no responsibility for the flight cancellation? Did I mention that we got placed on a flight that is now sold out after it was under booked? Did I mention this is four months in advance? Did I mention the travel insurance we purchased through JetBlue.com doesn’t cover this scenario?

Yeh, seriously… Since JetBlue cancelled the flight and our trip wasn’t changed due to something we did (illness, etc.) they told us we were on the hook for the additional expenses.

If there is a weather-related issue or something unfortunate that happens that is outside of JetBlue control and unexpectedly happens during the trip I can understand their position to not take any responsibility. This however is 4 months in advance, and we are now on a flight that was under booked and is now sold out.

JetBlue, we purchased what you were selling. If you are not able to deliver what we purchased, you are expected to make things right. This is a couple making the most expensive and important trip of their lives. By not doing so, this is how sentiment is impacted. This is how perceptions are changed. This is how customers are lost. This is how your PR bill goes up.

JetBlue you have the opportunity to be the hero of this story, but for right now you are cast in another role.

Prediction: Privacy will be the new Social in 2012. Google says so.

Google Header

Prediction: Privacy will be the new Social in 2012. Google says so [interpretively], with the launch of +. How much do you value yourself and your network? Your time? Your privacy? Over the past few years quantity has been the name of the Social game and amassing huge Twitter Followers and Facebook Fans have become eerily reminiscent of building massive email databases in the ‘90’s and early ‘00’s.

Somewhere along the line, the practice of email segmentation evolved to the point where quantity was still important, but quality took the lead position. Analytics were used to complete user profiles, connecting purchase history, unique ID (email) and company/brand interactions to identify and separate the high value users from the masses of inactive, stale, obsolete or spam emails.

Social CRM is growing into the picture and behind the scenes Brands and Companies are adding Social IDs to new & existing profiles in the database, and then messaging users/customers in their preferred channel of communication. The email address is still used as the primary unique ID by most and marketers spend countless $$ on email acquisition.

A funny thing has happened along the way though. Contests and promotions that require email addresses for registration have long been responsible for corrupting the integrity of a consumer marketing database.  Facebook added in a layer of authenticity that MySpace couldn’t provide and Twitter ignores.

On Twitter and other social platforms, you can create and fabricate your identity and what you believe, as you would typically do with a marketing creative brief. You can craft a content schedule that sheds you a great light and tweet & re-tweet the opinions of others to give off the impression you are an expert in a certain area or entertains your audience.

With the launch of Google+, Google has created a Social platform that easily allows users to bring quality control and segmentation to their Social network, while building in some very important Privacy controls. They also have the ability to tie together your email address, web search behavior, TV viewing habits,  and if you connect a Google voice account and your cell phone Google has access to your location, travel behavior, voice usage, etc.

strong>Important: Google ID + cross-product integration = ability to target, track and measure multi-channel initiatives across the Google product portfolio and an even greater advertising/marketing $ share opportunity.

For some users this could mean that Google could get close to controlling 100% of the media consumption in a person’s digitally connected life. Ok, a little far fetched right now, but as the NY Lottery once told me “hey… you never know”.

Currently, Google+ is an open ecosystem. Anyone can add anyone to a Google+ circle. The rat race to amass a large following and win the popularity contest is underway. On the positive side, this environment allowed me the opportunity to be one of the first to see, comment and share Larry Page’s post regarding the Google Quarterly results last week. It was a really cool feeling.

On the flip side, I have been followed by members of the International community that I don’t know. I’m flattered, but at the same time I am a little uneasy in allowing users in that may or may not play by the same rules of etiquette that I do. Google’s translation service will probably get rolled out to Google+ at some point and alleviate my fears spawned from my ignorance of what the unknown comments say. But until then, I expect some backlash from the past 5 years of share-dom overload to begin to materialize.

That’s where the obvious beauty of Google+ shines in these early frontier days of the platform. A user can block, add, remove and message anyone – but the end user as full control on letting future communication through the Privacy wall. This is important because pretty soon Brands, companies and spammers will make their way onto Google+.Removing a User from a Google Circle

Then, Social Circles and Influence will most likely be used to determine the flow of advertising. Google+ itself may remain clean, but being signed in with your Google ID will allow Google to target you not only in Search, but throughout the Google Network – including YouTube and your Internet enabled TV.

Google TV Advertising

Hopefully, the threat of not only being banished from Google+, but the threat of additional Google sanctions will help maintain the integrity of the ecosystem. If it doesn’t, look for the continued emergence of Privacy walls that close off and isolate certain high-quality, Social networks or Circles.

This year it’s Fan/Klout-gating. But these initiatives try to establish a wall that allows influential users can break through. What happens when influential users establish similar walls that only let a few trusted individuals/partners through? Are we back to the days of email list rentals and Google holds the keys? That’s the best part about industry predictions. There is no instant gratification and no one knows for sure what will happen. We all have a say, and we all must wait and see what develops.

Feel free to add me or block me: +JeremyMuratore

If you would like a Google+ invitation, send me an email.

Social Spheres of Influence Converge in Search

Back in February, we noticed Google experimenting more boldly with SERPs and Social results which have become the foundation of their Social position. With the inclusion of Social data, Google and other Search engines have entered the influence game.

In the Influence game, Brands are at constant odds to influence their consumers’ opinions and behavior while competing against influence from other Brands, a consumer’s experience set, and that consumer’s Social sphere of influence.

Social Spheres of Influence

With Like, Follow, and +1 buttons permeating the internet and making it more socially connected, a Social ecosystem has developed that is designed to influence decisions at multiple interaction and touch points.

Influencer marketing is nothing new and has been around for a long time. The interesting development is that the role of Search is expanding and evolving. Traditionally seen as a research resource, by associating Social opinion with results, it is theoretically making it easier for the decision maker by delivering trusted information and opinion while at the same time making it easier for Brands to influence the results.

You could also argue that Social opinion in Search is creating confusion and more noise. Regardless of where you stand, you can’t ignore this. Social Customer Support and positive customer experience with your Brand is critical for keeping your existing customer base and growing it. If customers have a negative experience or opinion and it isn’t addressed, it is likely to negatively impact the Brand through Peer influence. If the experience is positive, your Brand stands to benefit from it. However, most people will publically react more often and louder to a negative experience.

If Social opinion positively or negatively influences your SERP position your business will feel the results. If it influences the comments and reviews attached to your SERP content your business will feel the results. Unless you are listening, monitoring and measuring sentiment as part of your Search initiative it is easy to miss and if your Search initiative isn’t influencing your Social efforts and overall Brand marcom strategy (and vice versa), you are at risk.

A 360 integrated effort is needed to succeed in today’s game of influence and once you succeed in establishing a defensive position you can go on the offensive. When dealing with influence and behavior you must tread lightly and play by the rules. Devious moves can end up damaging your Brand for a long time.

Recommendation – leverage the Social ecosystem to help position and place the information you want your customers (current and potential) to see in the decision making process and if they choose to be your customers, continue that through their entire Brand experience to positively reinforce their decision.

 

Sony’s PlayStation Network Hack is a Major Blow to Online Community

By now everyone is aware of Sony’s situation. On April 22, Sony revealed to the public that the Playstation Network was hacked and account data for 77 million users was potentially compromised. Four days later Sony publically admitted and confirmed the extent of the hack via a blog post. See IncGamers.com Hack timeline. It’s been down for over two weeks now and expectations have been mismanaged regarding when it will be back online which has led folks to believe (duh) that Sony has some serious clean up to do – a la BP Gulf Oil Spill. The first step forward will be getting the network back up and running so that folks are able to play online games and consume subscription content. Next, the hard task of restoring faith in the secruity of its network will begin. Gamers’ brand and consumer loyalty to Sony will be put to the ultimate test.

Over the past decade XBox and PS3 have been racing towards establishing themselves as the home media entertainment console, and a stand alone piece of technology that can connect networked devices and services through non-networked TVs. PSN members are pissed. Not only did their personal data end up in someone else’s hands, but they have been completely disconnected from their entertainment community. Imagine how you would feel if Facebook or Twitter went down for two weeks.

Sony Security Problem - will ads be legit or phishing schemes?Now with a lack of free, readily available (easily searchable) consumption statistics for PSN, I can’t tell you how many hours the average member spends playing online games vs. off-line games or what % of Netflix users watch movies through PSN. (Yes – Netflix subscribers can’t download any movies while PSN is down.) What I can tell you is that just about every game on the shelf these days commands a $60 price tag because they claim to deliver a terrific ”traditional” game and follow it up with extended online features that allow you to play against PSN members from around the globe.

 

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Color – A Crowd-Sourced Geo-Social Experiment at the Neighborhood Apple Store, Part 1

Can you feel the excitement and electricity in the air? Can you catch a whiff of the sweet smell of opportunity? Things are oddly reminiscent of 2008-2009 when Facebook and Twitter really started to emerge on the scene and gain critical mass to disrupt and eventually displace MySpace at the top of the Social mountain.

I just left the Apple Store in Stamford, CT on a mission to get some inside, geeky, first-hand experience on Color. Color is the new, massively-hyped, extremely well-funded (to the tune of $41 million) Social Networking app from Bill Nguyen, the serial start-up entrepreneur and the founder of LaLa and some other very talented individuals.  It’s an app that builds a new kind of geo-social, open and public social network using image and video content… content that has been at the epicenter of privacy and trademark IP over the past decade. This App is going to blow up – but only time will tell if will be a huge success or a colossal failure.  

So, I walked in with an open mind, slightly tainted from a few early articles and app reviews [TechCrunch, FastCompany, ReadWriteWeb, etc.] and expected to get a lot of interesting comments, feedback and usage stories. After asking 5 different employees who weren’t aware of the app, I was a little let down. Maybe my expectations were a little too high, maybe the mere mention of a $41 million dollar App isn’t enough to get on everyone’s radar from the socially-connected industry folk to the genius bar at the local Apple store in the first week after launch. I mean, Facebook, YouTube and and Twitter had mass awareness didn’t they? No and they all had their big breakout, mass adoption moments years after they launched. 

Taking advantage of the situation, I proceeded with a little Social experiment and I’m grateful to the three store employees who assisted in this little endeavor. As both a Droid user and an iPod touch owner, I brought in folks with an iPhone 4G and went through a few use case scenarios to see what would come of it. Note: The display iPhone’s settings won’t allow an app to be downloaded and installed, in case you want to try and replicate this experiment on your own and you are a Droid.

Here’s what we found.

Color Android Marketplace Search

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On-site SMO (Social Media Optimization) – The Facebook Link Post

It blows my mind how many companies with large Social efforts are encouraging Social sharing from their websites and are missing out on a huge opportunity. Are you?

Every time we begin a new project, one of the first tests I perform is The Facebook Link Post test.
It’s not a hugely scientific test and it’s simple for anyone to do, but the results of this test provide important indicators into the level of attention and detail being paid to on-site Social Media Optimization. 

For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll define Social Media Optimization as the efforts performed on a website (it’s tools and content) that are intended to drive more traffic to the website through its connection to the Social Graph (sharing tools like tweet this and Facebook wall posts).
 

Performing “The Facebook Link Post” test

  1. Pick your favorite website. (Hint: try Starbucks.com, Coke.com and 1800flowers.com – adding the “www.”)
  2. Copy and paste the URL or type it directly into the Facebook link sharing tool above your newsfeed.
  3. Take a look at what shows up in the “preview” mode. [Coke, Starbucks, 1800Flowers]

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there image thumbnails to choose from? Is the first image shown the one they would want to be posted?
  • Is there text below the hyperlink?
  • Does the text accurately describe the website and make you want to visit? 
  • Does posting this link provide Social Value?

 

Interested in how this works and what you can do to in order to pass this test?

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