Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Pirate Google

Originally I considered Ruper Murdoch a blow hard in his attacks on Google.  I mean, give me a break.  Almost 15 years into the world wide web and search engines bringing content free to seekers, the tide seems to have already turned. It is like Britain taking up the cause to bring the US back into its fold over 234 years after the revolution. Though, there is a bit of a point to be made that is finally coming to the surface outside the Australian mud slinging.  Content produced is an asset for news organizations. In any other media industry such as TV, movies, and music, copyright protection laws preserve the asset. Why not news content?

Compare online media to television media.  TV is not free as consumers have to pay for the connection on average of $600 per year and as high as $2000 depending on the service.  Fees are pushed back to service providers from the content network of about 3¢ to 25¢ per subscriber which is included in this subscription service.  Google on the other hand acts as a service provider like a cable tv company and pays nothing.  In fact, it makes money off servicing advertisers both in delivery of advertising though PPC  and through Doublclick by placing ads on content provider sites such as News Corp’s.  MSN/Bing and Yahoo! are the same.

Now you can say that News Corp makes money by selling placements on their websites but as we see, this doesn’t pay the bills.  Revenue from subscriptions dwindles and isn’t re-cooped through fee collected from Google or any other search engine or advertising network.  They can add more placement space but this diminishes the experience and dissuades visitors in the long run that can actually hurt their advertising revenue stream with reduced visitation.

There are a few ways to alleviate the issue:

  • Google and other search engines pay fees to content networks.  However, how do you distinguish a News Corp from a blogger?  At least in tv there are limited number of content creators.  The web has millions.
  • Internet service providers collect fees in their subscriptions related to “premium” content and manage access to sites similarly to cable or satellite services.  Although today, ISPs are not necessarily set up or have the infrastructure to do so.
  • Google is looking at limiting search results to content on sites like those of News Corp.  This will only go so far and may actually hurt ad revenue in the long run.
  • Content providers can add code to block search engines but again, this can hurt ad sales by blocking ad networks and PPC.
  • News sites can turn their websites into paid sites to recoup subscriptions.  While sites like the Wall St. Journal, Harvard Business Review, and others do this, revenue is modest and may not ultimately sustain the industry.

Balancing fairness of access to asset content is not an easy proposition.  On one hand the access to news consumers have today is a huge benefit.  On the other, quality news content costs money to produce.  I may not buy a paper or magazine to get my news anymore, but I still highly value quality unbiased information.  I will pay for my news, but news should be widely available to keep us educated and informed.

Tough call.  For now, I’ll rely on Google “pirating” content.  What else is there to do?

Advertisements

Filed under: communication, news media, , , , , ,

B2B Social Media: Breaking Out of the Noise

Social Media Break Through the NoisePaid search and SEO are the buzz to get your message out in internet marketing and thus social media marketing.  However, my experience has been that this really doesn’t break through the noise.

As social media marketing is the preferred method for 2009, it has leapt out of novelty and into a noisy market.  Everyone is on Twitter.  Everyone is creating fan pages.  Everyone has a blog.  Everyone is on YouTube.  Everyone!  It is not easier today to get your message out than it was in 2008 when you had budget.  In fact, it is harder.  Social media made it harder.

The reality is that even if you use your social media marketing vehicles to push out content or have active communities, you can’t rely on a single tactic of social media confined to your B2B website and brand.  You have to find your market and move up through various avenues to surround your market.  Simply creating a more interactive website that is socially inclined and pointing to it through paid search and SEO will only get you so far.  You need to act socially as well.

I started this blog at the end of January as a way to talk about my thoughts on marketing, which then seemed to morph into a discussion on social media marketing.  I didn’t have any real objective other than trying to connect with others and expanding the conversation.  But, I am an analytic marketer by nature and so I track everything I can to see how things are progressing.  This past week I watched several things happen that created the tipping point I’d been wondering would happen.  I achieved a Google page rank of 4 and when my technorati tool is working I see I have an authority of 14.  Yahoo has almost 16,000 links to me and I’ve seen my Twitter followers organically increase – I don’t promote outside my blog.  The result, deep reach in traffic from long tail search.  Search traffic is above referral traffic for the first time ever and set a new steady state that equals my steady state of referrals.  Naturally, I wanted to know why.

There are a lot of blogs out there that give SEO how-tos.  I’ve read most of them and tried most everything in the last couple of months.  They all talk about the necessity of heavy linking in you blog posts to grab the long tail.  They talk about actively posting comments across other blogs that point back to you.  They talk about reciprocating links.  They say that where you have your tags on your sites and blogs make a difference.   Your are encouraged to blog often.  This might work for your company website. I say, it helps, but for social media, that isn’t it.  I’ve done these things from the beginning.  Linking still seems to be the trick but it is tied to social media participation rather than links that act like banners.

This is what I found…

The biggest way to break through the noise in social media marketing is to participate in social media.

  1. Participate in non-company communities.  Learn from your customers as much as you educate them.
  2. Become a featured blogger.  Become a thought leader.
  3. Use Twitter to promote other’s content as much as you promote your own (RT).  Pay it forward.
  4. Blog often, but blog with relevance.  If you have nothing to say, don’t say anything.
  5. Don’t be snarky.  Encourage and educate rather than berate.

Now that you are using social media in marketing, try participating to get that extra boost and break through the noise.

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Filed under: b2b, networking, social media, , , , , , , , , , ,

Can Social Media Communicate Your Passion?

Passion.  A marketing must.  If you don’t believe in what you are selling, will your customer?  Probably not.

Take a look around at social media in B2B.  Those that are embracing social media have passion.  They want to help the customer.  They think their solution and brand is the best.  They have confidence in what they do.  They know they are good at it.

Leading B2B brands get passion.  Think of Cisco, Intel, IBM, HP, and Google.  They have distinct ideas of who they are and what they offer.  They know their customer and align to their needs.  They speak their language across all vehicles and departments.

Best in breed B2B companies are incorporating social media mechanisms into their marketing strategy as much to get their thought leadership position out there and shape customer opinion as they are soliciting customer interaction and perspective.  IBM’s Twitter account for their IBM Cognos business intelligence solution is active and reciprocating.  It provides updates and information on events, thought leadership, and technology updates as well as responds to tweets from customers.  In fact, if it identifies interesting reads and content that align to its perspective, you can count on the fact the IBM Cognos will RT (re-tweet) to its followers.

Tech companies have known the power of social media even before social media had an identity.  They have fostered customer advisory groups, forums and open-source development for a decade or more.  In technology, networking and communities are recognized vehicles for growing your business and aligning your solutions to the market.  In fact, this has even driven venture capitalism (VC) investment strategies.  In the VC world, an idea isn’t enough.  Networking to gain buy in and adoption prior to building your solution is a must.  You build your market before there is an recognized market.  This is the tenet of social media success.

But, it all goes back to passion.  Passion is the cornerstone to success.  Passion is addicting.  Passion is infectious.

Customers are passionate about their business and its success.  If you don’t have that same passion and enthusiasm when you engage with the customer, you lost at 10 seconds.  In all other forms of maketing your passion is delivered through a “push” mechanism.  In social media, you have the opportunity to connect your passion to the customer’s passion.  It is only through social media marketing that you have the opportunity to engage even prior to a sales engagement.  You meet the customer prior or during their problem identification and need.  It is then that channeling your passion throught engaged social media will pre-convert customers or nurture them prior to the decision cycle.

Take the opportunity to throw away stale marketing vehicles that don’t  exude passion.  Leverage social media to deliver your passion.  Then, leverage your traditional vehicles to collaborate and further extend your passion.  After all, if you aren’t passionate, why should your customers be?

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Filed under: b2b, customer relationship, sales, sales 2.0, social media, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Could Happen With A Google and Twitter MashUp

Here’s a short post – literally a brain vibe.

googlelogo1 twitter_logo_125x29

Everyone talks about Twitter as the next disruptive technology.  It is the window into the soul of society.  Is that profound enough?  The real value in it is the ability to search and gather information keeping your pulse on the market and your friends.  Some, like DigitalBuzz, and TechCrunch suggest that it is the new search engine.

TechCrunch:  People searching for news. Brands searching for feedback. That’s valuable stuff.

N0w that’s pretty powerful.

On the other spectrum or search, you have Google.  The mac-daddy of all search engines.  It crawls through our websites, blogs, and social networks catalogueing our thoughts, interactions, purchases, and work habits.  The all-time best past time is Googling yourself.

Here’s the thing.  Twitter is great if people follow a structured approach to how they voice their thoughts in 140 characters.  Simply stating they are awake and brushing their teeth isn’t really all that valuable.  It’s when a brand or topic is mentioned in itself or with a link that things become interesting.  In addition, conversations are not the easiest to follow.  Google, is great for providing the synopsis but, they don’t have the ability to get into the conversation.

What if you could take Google’s crawling, catalogueing, and summerizing capability and mash that up with Twitter conversation streams?  Tweets could contain added context to their submitters, the urls sent, and the topic of conversation.

Now that would be cool.

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Filed under: brainstorm, social media, , , , , , , , ,

What if Edelman Was Your Market Forecaster?

If social media is really an indicator of consumer and market sentiment, how can monitoring individual and peer influence shed light on economic health?

CNNMoney.com pushed out a piece, “Why the Experts Missed the Crash” with an interview of Philip Tetlock, professor of organizational behavior at the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley and the expert on experts.  In the article a comment caught my eye since I had recently finished reading a white paper from Edelman Digital.

CNNMoney.com stated:

“You’re probably still entrusting your portfolio to the experts running mutual funds. Despite everything, we can’t shake the belief that elite forecasters know better than the rest of us what the future holds.”

Here’s the thing, when you look at how people gathering information and making decisions on this information, the trusted source is not the experts and vendors, it is the peer they are turning to.

Steve Rubel of Edelman Digital explains this in terms of how people are filtering their information as they are bombarded by it.

“(P)eople are coping by the increased reliance on peers, rather than pros for news.”

This got me thinking.  Investment banks and mutual fund companies have lost the trust of the consumer – yes, I’m stating the obvious.  But, what if by leveraging Edelman’s Social Media Index you could gain insight on who influenced stock and mutual fund performance?  Could this also help to determine market trends that would predict bull and bear markets?

Steve Rubel says:

“(M)ost consumers generally Google for problems not solutions. They tend to be very mission-oriented. Delve into what they find around high value keywords. In addition, consider how the search engine result pages influence the opinions that media and bloggers might form when writing stories in the future.”

The other aspect is, what if fund managers and analysts leveraged Google in the same manner that consumers do to solve problems?  I’m assuming that Google is probably already a big part of their research – maybe.  So, what would monitoring of social media and networks do for them to predict when to buy, hold, or sell?

If you think this is a bit out there, consider for a moment that the financial industry has already been leveraging online behavior analysis at companies like Compete.com and ComScore Networks to predict markets.  Paring blind behavior analysis with commentary from blogs, tweets, and comments just may provide a richness of information that truly can predict if our markets are on the right course.

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Filed under: social media, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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