29 December 2008

I Blogged In 2008

I feel like 2008 was a good year for the Australian Marketing Blogging scene. Perhaps because I found my place in it, or just simply it had incredible growth, content and new arrivals. 2008 saw saw a fantastic community develop and some remarkable conversations heard.

In fact, it was such a good year I can only assume this book was written about myself and this blog...

Pigs Don't Fly (but they love to wallow in the mud)
Written by Jackie French

So raise your glasses this New Years, and say, "Cheers" to a great year of blogging gone and another one ahead.

27 December 2008

Tweeting To The Top

The boys over at Talking Digital raised a really good question in a comment on a recent post of mine.

Why does Twitter have such an elite feel to it? And further, why do people have a need to be ranked and judged on their social media platform depth and performance?

Yes Twitter full of innovators and early adopters but it very much seems an exclusive group. People talk as though being on Twitter makes them more social media friendly than those who aren't.

Would it even be necessary for a social media consultant to be on Twitter? Would you trust someone giving advice if they didn't blog? This blogger wouldn't.

Surely you don't need to be on Twitter? Same with Facebook. In fact, one of my favourite bloggers doesn't even have a blog yet. It could help, but certainly not a necessity. Just like not every brand needs a social media presence, do they?

Gotta love those posts with more question marks than full stops.

25 December 2008

I Can Has Speshalist

23 December 2008

Banter 'Bout Bad Banners

Here's a banner ad I stumbled across while I was looking up smutty images and inappropriate videos...

1. URLs end in .com.au not .com/au.
2. A fake warning message... people are still falling for this? What do you mean I'm your 1,000,000th customer!?
3. You spelt you're incorrectly.
4. Clicking on the ad didn't even take me to the address shown.
5. And Internet Explorer? C'mon, if you're not using Firefox or Chrome your not cool in my book.

I wonder if media buyers realise that when they buy space for banner ads, they appear next to "advertising" like this.

22 December 2008

For What It's Worth

Thanks Simon for the heads up on this cool little tool which puts a dollar value on your blog's worth.

Pigs Don't Fly comes in at a neat US$21,452.52. Not bad for a year and a half's investment. Any bidders?

Obviously it's just a fun internet tool and to be taken with a hint of jest, but what's your blog worth?

21 December 2008

+ Body Shopping Made Easy

I concluded the last of my Christmas shopping today, part of which involved visiting my local Body Shop. What an experience!

For the females I had to buy for, I simply told the kind girl behind the counter how old they were, what they did and what my budget was for each of them. Ten minutes later I left with suitable presents, price tags removed and everything wrapped.

I wonder if there's a market for something similar but with guys?

18 December 2008

+ MyPhone

After waiting and waiting and waiting I finally lost my phone the other night giving me a good enough excuse to cancel my current contract. I'm now the proud owner of a black 16gb iPhone.

One negative. I'm not sure if others feel this way but the best part of purchasing a new gadget, especially an Apple product, is unwrapping it and taking it out of the box. Unfortunately the Optus girl cut the plastic, opened the box, got her dirty fingerprints on it and inserted the SIM card right in front of me. Damn.

Apple don't only have incredible product design, but packaging design too. So much so, that it almost becomes part of the story of your purchase.

Anyway, what applications can you recommend?

16 December 2008

+ Twitter Is Where It's @

I've been meaning to post about Twitter for a while.

It is fundamentally flawed. Both the concept and the design. It is ridiculously hard to read or thread conversations, if you watch more than 50 people it is easy to miss something and the layout is simply atrocious.

Yet it continues to gain popularity. I thought newcomer Plurk (much less fundamentally flawed) would overthrow it, but even I turned back to Twitter eventually.

I think Twitter some how manages to be successful because it's addictive. Once you've started it's hard to give it up. Although most start by asking, "Isn't it just like updating your Facebook status?", it grows on you. Stan Lee signed up just two weeks ago and I think he's now in need of a patch to control the cravings. His page used to display a badge that said he wasn't on the Twitter bandwagon, but that's changed just a little hasn't it, Stan?

It's hard to explain but I think Gavin Heaton summed it up best when he said, "You get out what you put in".

14 December 2008

+ The Old Book

MySpace essentially had only a lifespan of two or three years for most people. Facebook is now starting to reach a similar age. Does this mean we'll soon see a new social network take over, or will Facebook do what MySpace couldn't?

My opinion is the latter, at least for another few years. Facebook has hit a point where the vast majority of my networks are on it and using it. Not only to communicate, but to run events, upload photos and so some extent it's even replaced emailing and instant messaging.

My investment in Facebook has been too great. With nearly 600 photos and a connection to most of my contacts, I'm not going anywhere soon. But how long will Facebook last? Could it do a Google?

12 December 2008

+ I'm Book Not 404

Every so often on my commute home I pick up and flick through the very reliable source that is mX.

An interesting article suggested that some research has shown modern technology and Gen Y are driving changes in the English language. What I found interesting was that these changes were beyond the point of lols and 1337 speak.

Due mostly to the limited characters available when sending an SMS, 404, a reference to a website fault means clueless. And the predictive text for the word cool first produces book, which as a result has given it a second meaning.

Nenagh Kemp, psychologist from the University of Tasmania, suggested that this type of English was not dulling our language skills, but in fact part of the language's natural evolution.

Interesting. Now please stop telling me that my generation is ruining everything. I'm off to fix the economy and deal with Global Warming... assholes.

10 December 2008

+ School Of Wags

I am a student from the School of Peter Wagstaff.

I started my business degree thinking I would head towards a career management. Yet in my first semester I took Marketing Theory and Practise, a unit headed up by Peter Wagstaff. Upon completing it, I had a new career path.

But his influence doesn't stop there. It was by listening to his podcast, Marketing Today that I first discovered social media through Julian Cole. He also writes a blog, RenewEd, which focuses on the future of education and how teaching has and should be changing for Gen Y students.

He is undoubtedly the best lecturer I have had in my two year stint at Monash. He is also the most passionate. I have no doubt I would not be where I am today without him. Not only has Wags been an incredible mentor, it's hasn't been uncommon for myself to drop by his office regularly unannounced for a chat.

Along side other students from the School of Peter Wagstaff, Julian Cole, Josh Strawczynski, Rick Clarke and Simon Oboler, I would like to say thank you Wags.

08 December 2008

+ Simon Says Reply To Emails

My BFF, Simon Oboler, just had a rant about people who don't respond to emails. And I must say, I've been a recent victim myself.

Recently I got in touch with someone at an agency. We had a chat about the possibility of working there and they said someone would be in touch by the end of the week. I received an email saying they'd call me in a few days.

I never got a call.

About a month later I followed up with an email as a polite reminder. Never got a response. We're now about two or three months from the initial conversation I had about working with them.

This is not a rant about the fact I didn't get a job. I really don't mind. But I did expect someone to get back to me.

With the number of recent graduates making calls and sending emails lately, surely these people realise that not only are personal brands being tarnished here, but organisation and agency brands too? My opinion of the agency isn't what it once was. And we all know what Gen Y's do with brands they don't like...

I know someone from the agency in question will be reading this. Feel free to pass it along. =]

07 December 2008

+ Influential Reading

I use Blogger. People tell me I should be on WordPress. Repeatedly. But I'm at a point now where a change would be far too inconvenient.

It got me thinking though, why does one choose a certain blogging platform over another? I think mine was simply because Julian Cole published on Blogger. He wrote the first blog I ever followed and therefore my natural choice was also Blogger.

Why do you blog with who you're with?

05 December 2008

+ Another Gen Y Trend

I realised today I haven't used my house phone in a while. The thick layer of dust is at least three months old.

If people want to contact me, they do it by mobile, email, social networks, MSN or most recently, Skype.

Not a good sign for telemarketers.

03 December 2008

+ The Internetz

This post was inspired by a slide at the Digital Marketing & Media Summit.

Where will things be in 2012?

01 December 2008

+ Walking The Walk

The latest episode of Jaffe Juice was one of the best I've heard in a while. Definitely worth checking out. Joseph Jaffe and David Spark discuss some common mistakes made when it comes to social media marketing.

One that really made me laugh was Don't post a comment on your own Facebook profile wall. Although you can no longer do this with the new layout, sometimes something small like this can really make you stand out. Nothing's worse than looking like you have no idea what you're doing.

Another thing you can do is ask if someone has a Facebook... you don't have a Facebook you're on Facebook. Or you could spell it FaceBook. Capitalising that B doesn't look good. But if you don't capitalise the T in YouTube you're not winning my vote. I'll probably stab you if you spell it utube.

Here is some other stuff you should get right, especially if you think you're an SMS.

27 November 2008

+ Law Ain't Stopping Me

I should preface this by saying I've never been an outstanding university student. My results usually range from average to okay, occasionally I'll manage a decent mark if it's something I'm interested in (here's hoping for an HD in Electronic Marketing!).

Anywho, I got my results for this semester. Failed a law subject.

I think most other students would be a little concerned about this. It's a permanent black mark on my Academic Transcript. Yet I am not nearly as worried as I suppose I should be.

When I threw out my resume, I threw out my Academic Transcript too. Anyone who asks to see it I think is asking the wrong questions. And even then, I think I'm better off focusing on other non curricular activities like this blog.

But it doesn't really matter what I think. Potential employers could be reading this blog, so why not tell me, have I hurt my employability? Have I made it even worse by admitting in this public space?

25 November 2008

Our Best Example

Before I get into it, should probably talk quickly about the Digital Marketing & Media Summit. It was okay.

Julian Cole was kind enough to hook me up with a free ticket, and I certainly would have been annoyed had I paid $990. Even then I only hung around for half a day, the student in me decided to wait until after lunch before leaving.

The best thing I got from the day was a couple of ideas for blog posts.

For the audience there, they may have found some sessions useful but honestly most presentations were fairly dry. The exception of course was Julian's (it's possible that was only the case because I helped him out on stage).

A question asked to Julian was what were some examples of social media marketing being done well in Australia. He talked about Bigpond on Twitter, which is a great case study, but even then they started out as a disaster.

Clearly Australia is lagging. But before I get too pessimistic, I wouldn't mind building a list of Australian examples and case studies. So throwing it out to you guys, what Australian brands have used social media well?

23 November 2008

Drawing The Line

"Social media is more than just advertising", said Julian Cole at the Digital Marketing & Media Summit on Friday. So quotable that I wrote it down to blog about.

I realised that without even intending to, I accidentally drew the line as to what is and isn't advertising when it comes to social media marketing, based on my two social media strategies.

The first is Broadcast, which is in a sense advertising and marketing focused. The second, Response, however is simply customer service.

Not everyone needs to market and advertise their product. But everyone should be engaging in and developing good customer service.

19 November 2008

A Damn Cool Crowd

I don't know if it happens to be a characteristic successful bloggers need or just a coincidence, but the Australian marketing blogging scene is... well... cool.

I've only met a few of them from the blogosphere, but Skyped with others and exchanged emails with even more of them. For some unknown reason, these people all seem to have a few things in common.

For the most part, very young, especially given their success in their field. They are passionate, keen and very driven. Not only have they been willing to help, but offered to as well. And above all, beer loving, easy going, cool, cool people.

I can't help but think blogging wouldn't be nearly as fun without the awesome guys and girls who make up the Australian marketing blogosphere. Hopefully I'll get to meet a few more of them at the Digital Marketing & Media Summit on Friday.

16 November 2008

RIP Pigs Don't Fly

My new favourite kid on the block is Daniel Oyster (sorry Adam!). Not only is he a ridiculously cool dude but he's had a couple of killer first posts.

In his latest post, he asks bloggers to write their own eulogy. So here goes...

In the true style of Pigs Don't Fly, I will keep this short and to the point.

Pigs Don't Fly was the start of Zac Martin's career. Through it, he built up his networks and knowledge which eventually lead him to where he is today. Right up until Pigs Don't Fly's death, Zac continued to blog for many, many years, long after he landed his first job.

Over the first few years it slowly built up to become one of the most meaningful, not necessarily popular, marketing blogs in Australia. Zac's writings, thoughts and contributions to marketing were well respected around the globe and provided some thought provoking content that was discussed by many.

Zac aimed to blog every day like it was his last, often heard quoting, "If I died tomorrow, I would want my final post to be remarkable".

If Zac had one thing that he wanted remembered from his now passed blog, it would be that pigs don't fly.


14 November 2008

Fine Print

I guess this post is somewhat of a disclaimer.

The way I write, I think many readers often assume one of both of the following points. Firstly, that I believe everyone should have a blog and secondly, that social media marketing is the answer to everything. This is not the case.

I believe the potential a blogger has is incredible, but it would not be appropriate for every single person to write one. Just like some brands would have no benefit in writing one either.

And social media marketing isn't the answer to everything. I hate traditional and interruption media and in five years your average marketing mix will have their roles very much minimised. But I'm the first to admit there are some amazing television spots, print ads and radio commercials out there and hey, once a year, I get a spam email that is actually useful. Traditional media can only get away with interrupting me if it's remarkable, and very rarely is this the case.

So dearest readers, these two points are the grain of salt that my blog should be taken with.

12 November 2008

Big Shoes

Last week, Love Digital interviewed Seth Godin. This week they interviewed me. Cue the greatest anti climax of all time.

The interview was a follow up on a previous post about marketing education.

I've decided part of my degree should teach people how to handle interviews without sounding like too much of a knob.

11 November 2008

That Blogger Bloke

I really hate that radio bloke.

The campaign consists of a series of radio commercials informing listeners on the benefits of advertising websites through the radio. That statistic used in this campaigns is something along the lines of...
"Over 80% of people who hear a relevant radio commercial referring to a website have visited a website as a result."
So of every radio ad people are subject to, 80% of them have visited a website. That's got to be at least fifty ads a day for most people... and only one of them will get a visit... and even then there's only an 80% chance of that happening. And that's not even including the irrelevant commercials. Sounds to me like a waste of money with less ROI than a banner ad.

Why not spend that money on paying someone to monitor and engage with your brand's online conversation?

On a side note, I've actually been meaning to blog about this for a while. But I never remembered to because I always heard the ad in the car It wasn't until the Gen Y Marketing Podcast mentioned it while I was with my notebook that I remembered. Guess that just supports my argument.

09 November 2008

Education 2.0

As a current student I think I can provide an interesting perspective on the marketing industry, at least from the view of how it's being taught to soon to be graduates.

Check out this article by Alana Taylor and pretty much replace the word "journalism" with "marketing". That's how I feel. Even as a student of one of, if not, the best marketing degrees in Victoria (modest, I know) the course is lacking. I can't help but feel that a student who graduates in two years (like myself) is going to be so far behind the industry it's not funny. Unless of course they're researching this stuff independently or learning and blogging about it on the side.

I know as a blogger I'm far too bias towards the idea of blogging. But all evidence, according to my own personal experience, tells me that being active in this area is better than nothing. I imagine when I graduate I'll be fine, but what about everyone else?

06 November 2008

Buy Me A Beer

If you're trying to market a product to me, particularly through social media, try becoming my mate.

A good start is to buy me a beer. Give me something of value for free, otherwise I can find another friend who will. But don't keep buying me beers all night, because after a while I'll start to think you have other motives. Eventually I'll get the next round to make it worth your while.

Now you've got my thirst quenched (and yours), the next step is to earn the friendship. Hang around for a few hours and have a chat. Tell a story or two. If you're more of the quiet type, just sit back and enjoy the conversation.

No yelling though. And you're not allowed to get us kicked out either. Though you can be inappropriate because that's what my mates do. But if you're out with my Mum then you should act like a gentleman.

When I'm out drinking, I'm not looking to buy what ever it is you're selling me. But when I wake up tomorrow with a hang over I'll remember who you are. If you've been out with me and my friends on a few different nights, I'll know where to find you when I need to.

Beer... the answer to all of life's problems.

04 November 2008

Mmm, Marketing Bloggers

Juju Cole wrote a pretty neat article a few weeks about about how awesome the Australian social media marketing bloggers are. The article talks about the ridiculous amount of free content and resources available to brands wanting to establish themselves in this space.

The only problem, of course, is that brands need someone to tell them they should be adding these bloggers to their RSS Feed in the first place. Just like someone needs to tell them they should have a Google Alerts account set up.

Both are free, but to know about them you already need to be inside the social media circle. Getting there isn't hard, but the majority of brands need someone to push them in.

So perhaps social media marketers, agencies and consultants should be looking to pull clients inside that circle?

02 November 2008

Take The Next Right

I guess this is one of those posts that if I were to die tomorrow I would be annoyed this came up first on my blog.

But. I have a question which probably falls best under the Almost Pointless Blog Design category. Should the "Older Posts" button at the bottom of every blog be on the left hand side or the right hand side?

If you read chronologically from left to right then I imagine it should be on the left. But if you want your blog to open like a book I suppose it should appear on the right.


30 October 2008

Could Be Thicker

Something that has always bugged me is how people suggest good bloggers should be consistent with their content.

I don't understand why this medium of new media needs to comply with traditional media practises.

My Dad reads his newspaper every morning. Therefore his news paper must land on his doorstep at 6am each day. But I don't read the newspaper, I have an my RSS Feed. I want things to come in as they are published, not once a day at the same time.

I try to post every second day. But sometimes it's longer and sometimes it's shorter. People subscribe to my blog and pull my feed into their reader when a post is published. So why does my content need to be consistent?

28 October 2008

3 Levels Of Engagement

I was on another episode of the Gen Y Marketing Podcast and Nat, who incidentally has a great little blog, suggested there should bee some sort of framework on the levels of engagement when it came to social media. I couldn't find anything so here are my thoughts.

Unless you're specifically targeting a certain group of evangelists, every campaign should have three levels; Low, Medium and High...

These are usually the consumers you simply broadcast to. Little interaction with the brand takes place and at this level consumers are not all that passionate or loyal toward your brand.

On the episode we discussed the recent Dunlop Volley campaign. At this level of engagement, it is the consumer who just see the ads. Another example is the television series Lost, and again on this level the consumer would just be watching the show.

Here things step up a bit and the consumer seeks further interaction with your brand. They become more engaged and to do so they might head to the Dunlop Volley website and look around or purchase a season of Lost on DVD and watch the Special Features. Some evangelism starts to develop on this level.

These are your most loyal and most passionate brand evangelists and they want more interaction with the brand than anyone else. These consumers want to create their own UGC for Dunlop Volleys. These were the ones leading the pack on Lost's massive ARG. As a marketer, these consumers are worth the most do you.

With that said, sometimes it might be appropriate to target your campaigns at only one or two levels of engagement. McDonald's went for a mass approach with their Name It Burger campaign. This was done on the Low level where you simply had to enter a name and you were done. Pepsi asked consumers to design their own can. You were restricted to a basic design application on the website but this allowed for a lower barrier of entry and would be considered on the Medium level. Doritos ran the High level You Make It, We'll Play It campaign where consumers were encouraged to film, edit and submit a video online.

The question becomes do you run a campaign that allows for all three levels or specifically focuses on one? But as with most marketing questions, it depends on your brand, product, campaign and objective.

26 October 2008

Blogging Is Not So 2004

Following on from my previous post, Seth Godin and Tom Peters talk about the power and potential of blogging.

Take that Paul Boutin.

23 October 2008

+ Blogging Is So 2004

Check out this article by Paul Boutin which appeared in Wired Magazine a few days ago. Or even just read the opening line...
"Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug."
Just recently my blog celebrated its first birthday. I look at how much I have achieved given the fact I'm a nineteen year old student with no actual experience in the marketing industry and have not choice but to conclude that this dude is a tool.

Obviously I'm bias and my readership will be too (dur), but what do you think?

Thanks for the article, Wags.

21 October 2008

+ It's Easy To Be Remarkable...

... remarkably bad, that is.

I can't say enough about the importance of being remarkable. Seth Godin's Purple Cow is what they should be teaching in university marketing degrees. Matt Granfield loves it almost as much as I do.

But it's easy to be remarkable when you're product or service isn't good. But that's not the kind of remarkable you want to be.

19 October 2008

+ Spam Acting Up

Bigpond started using Twitter. At first they sucked. But it appears they've listened and turned things around. However during this process some legal implications were raised, specifically the Spam Act 2003.

After research of my own, speaking to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and getting in touch with Dr Melissa de Zwart from the Faculty of Law at Monash University, I have summarised the results...

Prior to my research I questioned whether this legislation might also include things like commenting on a blog or writing on my Facebook wall. However it is clear the Act does not cover this. Next I looked at something like Facebook Chat and whether this could be considered an Instant Message, however becoming friends with the brand would be adequate consent with the ability to defriend them acting as an unsubscribe option.

So this leaves two areas which are questionable. Sending a private message on Facebook, if considered an email, and replying to a user on Twitter who is not following you, if considered instant messaging.

According to Dr Melissa de Zwart, this is irrelevant as the Terms of Service by the hosting party cover this type of third party communication. You agree to these terms when you sign up.

So should brands be worried about any legal implications of the Spam Act 2003 when it comes to social media marketing?

No. Not at all.

But Dr Melissa de Zwart did suggest the definition of "spam" could do with an update.

17 October 2008

+ Happy First Birthday

Today my blog celebrates its first birthday. Over the past 366 days I have...
+ Posted 140 times.
+ Had 6,493 visits.
+ Had 10,383 pageviews.
+ Received 307 comments.
+ Peaked at 119 RSS Subscriptions.
+ Been mentioned in three editions of Marketing Magazine.
+ And once in B&T.
+ Appeared as a guest on Marketing Today and Gen Y Marketing Podcast.
+ Hit a rank of 29th for the Top Australian Marketing Bloggers.
+ Had an interview at Naked Communications.
+ Completed my first year at university.
+ Celebrated my nineteenth birthday.
Starting a blog was one of the best things I've done, and not only career wise. There are two people I need to thank...
+ Julian Cole, whom without, this blog would not exist.
+ Peter Wagstaff, who made marketing more interesting than it should have been.
+ And everyone else who subscribed to, linked to, commented on or just read my blog over the past year.
Thank you.

15 October 2008

+ Social Media Strategy: Broadcast

After identifying two approaches when it comes to social media marketing, yesterday's post discussed the first strategy of Response. The second strategy, discussed below is Broadcast.

Above the line is from marketer's point of view. Below it, is from the consumer's.

Before anything, the marketer must firstly produce content. Ideally this should be of something remarkable and with a high social currency value. This could be a video, Facebook application, podcast, blog or any even a press release.

In order for the content to be seen it is published on sites such as YouTube, Blogger or Facebook. In some case a microsite can be as effective. Ensure the barriers of viewing are low and that the content is easily spreadable. This can be done through a number of means such as allowing embed links for videos or giving consent for consumers to mashup your content.

Seeding your published material should not be done in an interruptive manner. Spamming is definitely not an option here and one step wrong here could ruin a whole campaign. It is vital that this is done in a way that adds value to a conversation, do not seed where you are not welcome or even encouraged to do so. And most importantly, be transparent, open and honest.

New media is not about pushing content onto consumers who don't want it. Ideally you want them pulling it from you. The Internet has allowed this to become a easy and automated process with technology such as RSS, email newsletters and even YouTube subscriptions. After seeding the content, consumers should have the option to subscribe to a feed or service. This should be consented and with the ability to unsubscribe. You know those consumers who sign up to your feed will be among the most loyal and passionate.

Once the consumers are pulling your content, it will begin to spread. Buzz will be generated and depending on the medium you might even some get some consumers producing user generated content.

Blendtec used this approach in October 2006 and it continues to remain a success with over 114,000 subscribed users on YouTube. If I ever decided to get a blender, I know which brand I'd purchase.

If you're interested, also take a look at Julian Cole's Social Media Marketing Framework and Laurel Papworth's definition of Social Media. Be sure to check out my other approach Response. Please feel free to offer any thoughts or critique.

14 October 2008

+ Social Media Strategy: Response

The way I see it, new media is the umbrella that encompasses everything from social media marketing to viral marketing to mobile marketing. Essentially, anything that does not interrupt a consumer with a great focus on consented, engaging and value providing content.

So what is social media? A few days of research, thinking and graphics work have lead me to two key strategies that can be undertaken when it comes to social media marketing. The first, which I'll be covering here is Response and the second, which I'll be posting tomorrow, is Broadcast.

Above the line is from marketer's point of view. Below it, is from the consumer's.

Before jumping into the pool it is important to test the water. Observe your consumer and community in focus from afar. Before posting a comment on someone's blog, you must first understand what they're talking about. You should be scoping the scene out to see if you can firstly join the conversation and secondly add to the conversation.

There are too many blogs, social network profiles, YouTube videos and tweets for you to respond to them all. After monitoring your consumer and community it is important to identify the most influential people within this niche. Using these opinion leaders and those with loyal audiences (not necessarily large), you will be able to more effectively and efficiently target your key customers.

After monitoring and identify the influential consumers within a community, you can now engage with them. This relationship might be a short or long but either way it should be a case of providing meaningful and relevant value to consumers and their community.

You have now engaged with the consumer and started a relationship which has been built on the mutual exchange of value. Here the marketer gives up control of the message and the community takes over with the creation of user generated content. It could be something small like establishing and spreading buzz online (or offline) through social networks or something much more involved like writing a blog post or publishing a video on YouTube.

The Body Shop do this extremely well. Not only do they have a blog (see Broadcast), but actively respond to influential bloggers. As a result, I'm creating content about them right now.

This is one of two strategies I have identified that could be used when approaching social media marketing. The other is Broadcast. Please feel free to offer any thoughts or critique.

Edit: I have since updated this model here.

13 October 2008

+ My Mo'tivation

Last year I questioned the intergration between Movember and research into men's health issues. This year, being a part of it, I see things a little differently.

While I don't really have the ability to actually grow a moustache, please donate. Or sign up, join team MO'NASH and raise money for a good cause. Thanks.

11 October 2008

+ All The Small Things

Sometimes it's the small things that make a real difference. And I'm not even talking about the remarkable stuff. That small something could be enough to motivate you, or de motivate you if it doesn't exist (see Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory).

Can you imagine Google if you had to click on the text box every time you went to the homepage? Or the frustration someone has when they're shopping online, the page times out and they have to start again? Or even getting my morning coffee and not seeing a smile from the girl behind the counter?

If you're not going to be remarkable, at least get the small stuff right.

What small thing makes a difference to you? Good or bad, online or offline.

09 October 2008

+ Privacy Statement

Gen Y just doesn't care about their privacy.

Speaking as one of them, I am not worried about the information that goes up on my social networking profiles. I share personal information every day and tagged in photos every Monday morning after a big weekend. And there are some shocking ones.

The reason I bring this up is because Gen X's are constantly telling me that this is going to affect my career with employers frowning upon such behaviour. But I disagree. Sooner or later employers are going to release that the high majority of Gen Y have at least one Facebook photo that shows them partying, drinking or worse. Interestingly, I don't have a problem with complete transparency or the need to hide what I do in my own time.

What's going to be really interesting is when Gen Y takes a majority in the workplace and they (we) become the employers of the next generation, what ever they're called. Can you even imagine what the social norms will be then?

I actually have a link to my Facebook page in my email signature. And I send emails to potential future employers every day. I'm not worried about the photos they will see. Although sooner or later someone might realise I only have one suit and two shirts that I have to keep alternating.

08 October 2008

+ Only The Good Stuff

Take a look at this video...

I wouldn't say this is a perfect social media campaign, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. No banner ads and no spam.

Instead they've developed something for free and provided value to a community.

The biggest problem is the microsite. It's not up yet... fools.

05 October 2008

+ Freedom Of Content

Chris Anderson is pretty much a genius. His work on The Long Tail is pretty much amazing and his latest ideas about Free have really taken my interest.

A couple of weeks ago I posted some of my concepts for new media business models. A couple of days later David Armano posted this diagram which lead me to Chris's work.

In a moment of the light bulb going off in my head I realised my models almost perfectly fit the first three of his Models of Free.

Read both my post and his for a deeper understand but basically...
Punchbowl Model = Free 1 (direct cross subsidy, get one thing and pay for another)
Ninja Model = Free 2 (Ad supported, third party subsides second party)
Gervais Model and Radiohead Model = Free 3 ("Freemium", a few people subsidise everyone else)
I just thought it was really cool to see some of my ideas backed up by theory. Chris even blogged about it here.

01 October 2008

+ How Replying To This Could Be Illegal

We have a problem.

Its realisation comes after Telstra Bigpond raised a legal issue over their Twitter account.

They had worries about breaching the 2003 Spam Act. Currently, their legal department is trying to determine if their communications could be considered a commerical electronic message, in which case would be against the law.

The Australian Government Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has this to say about the issue...
The Spam Act 2003 prohibits the sending of spam, which is identified as a commercial electronic message sent without the consent of the addressee via email, short message service (SMS), multimedia message service (MMS) or instant messaging. The requirements under the Spam Act apply to all commercial electronic messages, including both bulk and individual messages.
Meanwhile the Australian Communications and Media Authority defines spam as...
Any message that doesn't meet the following three conditions is defined as spam...
+ Consent - The message must be sent with consent of the consumer.
+ Identify – The message must contain accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message.
+ Unsubscribe – The message must contain a functional 'unsubscribe' facility to allow you to opt out of receiving messages from that source.
As social media marketers, we should be worried. And not just about Twitter. Any social media response unit could be breaching the Spam Act 2003. A comment on a blog post doesn't have consent. Nor does a post on a YouTube video.

I don't know much about this area of law, but this is definitely something we should be looking into.

Anyone with some more information is always welcome to comment.

30 September 2008

Tweet Tweet Not Ring Ring

In a great initiative by Telstra, Bigpond have set themselves up on Twitter. What a great way to connect to their customers.

But, like in so many cases, old practises don't work with new media. They've almost applied the same rules you would to writing your customer a letter.

You'll notice that nearly every one of their responses is the same spammed message on where to send an email. Instead of directly dealing with the issue at hand, they lead the customer to another place. And the tweets aren't even unique, just copy paste jobs.

You'll also notice the ® after every use of the term BigPond. Lame. And not very personal.

I think it's great to see them jump on board. So so so much potential. But at the moment they're not really Twittering, just using Twitter.

Hopefully their social media response team isn't just on Twitter and will respond to this blog post too.

So what is a good example of a company using Twitter? Check out NASA, and even then they're only using it as a broadcast.

28 September 2008


I love when brands show a fun side. Google does it a lot. Not only does it humanise them, but I think it shows the people who work for them are passionate. Here's one I recently discovered...

If you're a Facebook user, go to Settings, Account Settings, Language and select English (Pirate).

Abandon Ship!

24 September 2008

$1,000,000 Wasted

The front page of this week's B&T says social media marketing is about to become massive. Of course some of us have known this for a long time.

Roy Morgan is moving into word of mouth and social media research. The Population has just launched, one of the first pure social media agencies. Neilsen Online is montioring conversation buzz in the blogosphere. And Nestle has just launched Australia's biggest social media campaign costing around $1 million.

Except the campaign is shit. And not even a social media campaign.

In fact, I feel like I'm almost going to repeat myself word for word.

Once again we're seeing traditional approaches towards new media. The Chunga Championship campaign is about a fake character who plays a fake game. He has a fake blog. And a fake Facebook page. And a YouTube channel. All of which will die in three months.

There is no integration of the brand. There is no content creation with consumers. In fact there is no engaging with consumers at all. No influential people or niche communities have even been asked to join their conversation.

But there are banner ads. Lots of banner ads. Oh dear.

John Broome, head of Nestle's confectionery marketing responded to the $1 million cost and future campaigns saying, "I think we'll see ourselves going above that... A lot will depend on the success of this particular campaign."

In my eyes this campaign will not succeed (I wonder what metrics they will be using to measure its success anyway?).

Lets say, just hypothetically, this campaign flops. Nestle aren't not going to run another social media campaign any time soon. Even though this isn't really a social media campaign.

Surely there are better ways to spend $1 million?

22 September 2008

Groupies And Fans

My good friend Julian Cole loves to compare social media with the music industry. I certainly hope social media won't collapse on itself like the music industry, but the analogy is a great one. And now I will attempt to further this analogy... somewhat loosely.

Every brand (band) has its evangelists (groupies or fans). And with social networking sites bringing in big numbers, brands are attempting to capitalise on this. It would appear there are two approaches when it comes to Facebook (if you were to ignore banner ads... which you should). The first being Groups and the second Fan Pages.

The question is... when should you use which (or at all)?

Facebook Group

Too often a marketing team will rush in to make a Facebook Group. And much like a blog, this should be a long term strategy, not a quick fix to make sure you're part of this new Web 2.0 trend that happens on the Internets.

But many people find Groups somewhat useless after being established. A sudden rush of your evangelists will join but then the curve will start to flatten and eventually turn into a trickle.

That's because there has been a change in Facebook behaviour with the introduction of Fan Pages. People no longer use Groups as a badge of honour to sit on their page. Given this change, Groups have become high involvement tools, for both the consumer and the marketer. People sign up to Groups wanting more than just the name, they want interaction and response. So when can you use a Facebook Group?

I'm currently the Marketing Officer for MONSU Caulfield, the Monash Student Union. I look after a lot of our promotional side of things as well as bit of branding and communication. Part of this role includes working with our Facebook Group. Over the past year we've seen the Group go from 300 to 900 members and only now am I realising how and what it can be effectively used for.

The Events feature has been implemented perfectly on Facebook. Through the group we run regular parties and other events that we invite people to. These have great responses and I know personally instead of checking my diary, I check my Events schedule to see what I'm doing each weekend.

Through the private messaging system we can send out notifications to up to 1,200 people. We are able to easily set up and build awareness for our events, communicate with people and it doesn't even cost a cent.

Key Point
Set up a Facebook Group only when you have a really passionate following of consumers who want to engage and join the conversation.

Facebook Fan Page

Fan Pages are very different. Upon being introduced, they have changed the way people interact with Groups.

A Fan Page, for the most part, act as a badge of honour. On rare occasion will you actually have someone return to your page looking for information.

However, it does work well to build awareness by appearing in fans' News Feeds. Particularly with those more influence members, a Fan Page can quickly spread and build even without an invite option.

These usually work well with products or brands that are iconic. Usually popular mainsteam icons tend to do well, such as Nutella with 561,000 fans (interestingly this page is very active, perhaps they'd have been better off with a Group?). Celebrities such as Jack Black do well with 186,000 fans and TV characters also stand out like Barney Stinson with 56,000.

However your icon doesn't necessarily have to have mainstream popularity. Mi Goreng Instant Noodles has over 45,000 fans. For a brand that does no traditional advertising, not too bad at all.

Key Point
Set up a Fan Page if you have a strong icon, but not necessarily a mainstream one, that build awareness through peer influence. Low to no involvement needed once established.

So before you get the intern to create a Facebook Group or Fan Page because you want to be seen as more Web 2.0, consider what you're trying to achieve as each does different things. Importantly, also consider if you even need one to begin with.

20 September 2008

3 Remarkable Things

Here is three things I've realised over the past few days...

1. Anything can be remarkable.

2. But not everything should.

3. One man's spam is another man's content.

18 September 2008

New Media Business Models

Many people have questioned whether or not there is a possible business model in new media. Looking for not only a sustainable one but profitable as well. Doing what I do best, wasting time on Internets, I have discovered and named four highly successful ones.

Punchbowl Model
Based on a series of YouTube clips called Trent from Punchy this model involves producing free non commercial content. An extension of the brand is then developed, in this case tees and other merchandise. In just three weeks profits from tees have been reported as $15,000. Considering the low production cost, immensely successful.

Ninja Model
Perhaps the most common model, and based on the Ask A Ninja series, free content is produced which is sponsored. This award winning series would be pulling in a substantial amount of profit based on high audience numbers. Note they are also using the Punchbowl Model with DVD and book extensions.

Gervais Model
This model involves production of free content for a limited time. After a certain period, the content is taken down where it must be paid for to access. This highly targets the innovators and early adopters and usually relies on strong word of mouth. The Ricky Gervais Podcast has reportedly made millions by charging just a small amount with many downloads. This technique was used in the recently successful Dr. Horrible series. Note that in case of The Ricky Gervais Podcast they also used the Ninja Model with the original content being sponsored.

Radiohead Model
Based on the recent release of Radiohead's album In Rainbows, content is available for free where consumers have the option to pay. Critics have argued that this was only successful because it had never been done before but this model has also been used successfully by the band Nine Inch Nails. The model usually requires a loyal following. Note that In Rainbows is no longer available, also categorising them in the Gervais Model.

There are two common themes in these four models. The first is remarkable content. None of these can be successful without content that is both highly entertaining and easily spreadable. The second is the lack of a middleman, no record labels, producers or publishers. Instead, the product goes straight from the producer to the consumer.

What models do you think are missing from this list? Do you have any examples that fall into the current four?

17 September 2008

Purple Coloured Music

The first time you see a cow it's exciting. The next time it isn't. Unless it's purple.

The first time you see a busker it's exciting. The next time it isn't. Unless they're playing on your train.

I was on my journey home on the train last night when a young man with a trumpet jumped on and announced he would be playing a few songs. For the next twenty minutes during my ride out of the city I listened to a rather talented trumpeter.

Being the Uni student that I am, I rarely give to buskers unless they are remarkable. Yet I gave to this guy.

Matt Granfield has an excellent post on how anything can be remarkable if you make it, including brown shoe laces. And now buskers.

15 September 2008

Stealing Social Currency

There are two things marketers seem to be obsessed with. The first is acronyms. The second buzz words.

And I love them both.

Today I'd like to introduce you to the term "social plagiarism". Urban Dictionary defines it as...
"When one uses a story or anecdote that they received or overheard from another individual they know, and they do not cite the source. In turn, implying that they themselves are the original source of information."
Let's say for example a friend of mine named Seth told me exclusively he had a book coming out soon called Tribes. I tell my mate Julian who then tells Simon but fails to include me in that story, thus making it appear Julian and Seth are BFFs (acronym intended).

I find this particularly interesting, especially given the buzz lately around social objects and social currency.

Is this something marketers can capitalise on, helping stories spread with continual "first hand" experiences?

13 September 2008

Advertising Your Competition

One of my marketing hates is when a campaign, usually a television spot, advertises an industry and not a specific product.

Most advertising fails to integrate the content with the brand. Throwing a logo at the end of a commercial rarely does anything. Same with making the logo bigger. This spot promotes online casinos, not Ladbrokes Casino. This joke of a campaign advertises instant noodles, not Fantastic Noodles.

But when you see an Apple iPod commercial, you know it. They aren't advertising any MP3 Player, they are advertising iPods.

Same with Coke and Pepsi do it well too. Schweppes has done it well here and I think Solo has pulled it off here too. In all four cases, they promote their specific product and brand, not the soft drink industry.

Yet so many campaigns don't. A waste of money and one of the many reasons the television spot should ensure their will is all in order before a long and painful death.

10 September 2008

Purple Cow

07 September 2008

Chimpanzee That Social Media

Just like the Apple iPod launched the MP3 market, The Ricky Gervais Show launched the podcast market and later the audio book market.

For anyone who hasn't listened, it is well worth the $50 or so for hours and hours of entertainment. Originally launched as a free podcast, they have since commercialised it at a very cheap price and made millions from it. It turned from podcast to audio book and established two whole new markets along the way. "Podcast" became Word of the Year in 2005 and people are now starting to realise the potential behind audio books... and the fact that they don't have to be scripted novels.

Of course this model relies heavily on good content. But Radiohead did something similar with their latest album. Dr. Horrible was a free web show that will do the same thing. In all three cases, it was a successful and profitable business model.

All it takes is something remarkable to successfully launch a whole new market. And that's what social media needs, at least in Australia.

One amazing campaign and people will start to see social media's potential.

05 September 2008

Eighth To First

Currently a search on Google for pigs don't fly brings up my page as eighth. For pigs dont fly (without the apostrophe) I'm third.

I know there are many lists and posts around for ways to maximise your SEO, but I was hoping my readers could give me one piece of practical advice each. How do I work towards a ranking of first?

04 September 2008

Social Tubes

The Internets.

Social media would not exist without it.

Let me explain.

I had an interesting conversation last night about this very topic and thought it would be swell to blog about. In a few days I'll be preparing another post discussing the difference between new media and social media but I thought I'd get this out the way first.

There are numerous definitions of social media and all of them rely on the Internet. While certain elements existed long before Al Gore was punching away at his keyboard, its full extent and potential had not been realised until recently (although some foolishly still have their doubts). As technology developed over the past twenty years, we were able to identify, engage and ultimately build a relationship with niche targets of consumers.

Yes this was possible before. But not on this scale. Not this measurably. Not this easily. Not this effectively. And most importantly, not at this cost.

Blogging, podcasting, social networks, image, video and file sharing and the uptake on user generated content all happened because of the Internet. Some of which still haven't hit critical mass.

Without the Internet, the term "social media" would never have been coined. And people working in this area would be looking for a new job.

What do you think? Does social media exist without the Internet?

31 August 2008

+ Talking About My Generation Y Podcast

Last Friday night I headed down to the Gen Y Marketing Podcast recording studios after being invited on to record an episode.

For anyone who doesn't regularly listen to these guys, it is well worth subscribing. Marketing Magazine has even likened them to the marketing version of Hamish and Andy and are definitely one of my favourite podcasts going around at the moment.

Check out the episode here.

29 August 2008

+ Spanner Ads

Using banner ads is not social media marketing.

They are simply a traditional, interruption media attempting to use a old practise that doesn't work in this new space on the Interwebs.

The only factor that makes them better than spam for enlarging my penis is how they can be somewhat targeted on social networking sites like Facebook. So when I state on my page I am a fan of Arrested Development, I receive ads selling Arrested Development tees. Unfortunately technology is not at a place to realise I would never wear an Arrested Development tee, even if I love the show.

So when Switched on Media describes social media as using banner ads, I'm going to have to call them out. If you truly practised social media, then you'll respond to this post and we can work on your strategy, or at least redefine that page to not include the words "social media".

27 August 2008

+ Top 50 Australian Marketing Blogs

Julian Cole recently ranked the Top 50 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs. Published in August's edition of Marketing Magazine, I was lucky enough to gain a ranking of 40th as well as the youngest blogger to appear in the Top 50.

One day, I'd love to crack the Top 25.

25 August 2008

+ UGC. What Is It Good For?

Not quite absolutely nothing.

I recently subscribed to B&T Magazine and found interesting the "advice column". Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to respond to the magazine in time, so I thought I'd do it here instead.

Here was their question...

One of my clients, who is marketing director at a big name brand, wants to hold a competition inviting the public to come up with an advertisement to launch a new product to the market. I think user generated campaigns hardly ever end well, and given that the brand's demographic is 14 year old males, I'm convinced this will go down badly. How do I tell my client I think it's a terrible idea?

And my response...

UGC is not about free content. If you ran a high involvement campaign, you might receive 1 out of 100 entries that you would find useful. In this case it would be a commercial that could pass as a legitimate idea in the boardroom. The other 99 would not. Chances are, majority of those would be legally unusable mash ups or reflect your brand in a negative light.

It takes a lot of pressure and heat to make a diamond. Yet the best diamond is the one you find accidentally and for free, usually nothing to do with a campaign of yours.

Now on a very different, yet similar, tangent, there has been a lot of talk lately around the blogosphere regarding social objects. These sharing devices provide value to consumers through social currency.

A UGC campaign should look to build social objects with consumers. Much like Scott Drummond's afro or David Gillespie's hat this becomes something people will talk about. Even better, this is something the consumer will actively spread onto friends and family, encouraging people to talk about it.

But what differs this from any other social object is the strong brand connection, and like Julian Cole's necklace, the brand is a part of its creation. So while the brand is weaved into the object itself, it is also part of its story, creating a higher level of social currency.

UGC is about building social objects that have a strong connection to the brand and as a result provide value to consumers with social currency. With this social currency, consumers can build their own relationships stemmed from a relationship with the brand. Above all, UGC is not about free content.

20 August 2008

+ Engage and Respond

In case you've been living under a rock, a few months ago Joseph Jaffe had a bit of a kerfuffle with airline Delta. In preparation for his trip down to Australia, Scott Drummond of Marketing Mag put out the opportunity to ask Joseph a question. Here is what I asked...

My question was more so a provocation than anything else. Do I actually believe he blackmailed and airline... perhaps. His argument of just being an average consumer doesn't really stand with me, not with the audience he has and the weight his word carries.

With that said, I'll be the first one to say blogging is an amazing platform to be heard and voice your opinion. I do it all the time. I also agree that we should be encouraging these companies to join the conversation and calling them out when make mistakes. I do that all the time too.

But that's not really the point of this post. His response to the incident and Julian Cole's interesting post on the Rules of Engagement for Companies and Bloggers got me thinking about my blog. I was criticised recently for slamming the Pimp My Kettle campaign and I've only now just realised the importance of the way bloggers engage and respond, not just marketers.

So from here on out, when I see a campaign I don't like I will still join the conversation. But only if it adds value.

And Joseph, if you're reading this, get in touch with me about that position at Crayon. ;]

18 August 2008

+ The Truth About Long Tails

Nearly six months ago Sprite ran the Truth Hunters campaign. I blogged about it in February, when it received a fair bit of flack from the Gen Y Marketing Podcast boys and possibly lead to this article about not trusting your advertising agency with digital media by Julian Cole.

Well six months later The Long Tail kicks in. Boing Boing ran an article on it a couple of days ago with one of the videos spiking in hits. And while buzz around this campaign increased significantly, Sprite didn't respond in any way. Imagine if they released another video. Or updated the website. Or ran another contest.

Social Media doesn't have a short term option.

17 August 2008

+ Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

It's funny how things can change in only a few days.

As of Friday night I was in the middle of constructing a six foot high pencil made of wood with the text "www.iwanttoworkatleoburnett.com" inscribed on the side. I had big plans to get this couriered to the Managing Director at Leo Burnett Melbourne and earn myself an interview. My plan was to go in as the naive student and learn, then ideally leverage social media and build a name for myself.

But things change. I've decided that these guys aren't going to give me the experience I want. So before I make my next move someone suggested I throw this out to my small, but hopefully passion, audience. I honestly don't expect a response but I hope there's no harm in trying.

Can you help me get experience in new or social media?

And if anyone wants six planks of wood shaped like a pencil let me know.

11 August 2008

+ Noodles Aren't Good For Your Body

I've received a fair bit of flack over my post about the Pimp My Kettle campaign. Apparently I wasn't constructive enough, which admittedly is true but by saying campaigns like this are ruining my career was apparently going too far.

Well here is some justification on what a successful social media campaign should look like. Check out Julian's post on The Body Shop.

So not only have they established a blog that actually works quite well, they are slowly looking to build up an authentic community. The best part of this, was that after Julian posted that, the author behind the blog commented. Simply using Google alerts this author has created a relationship that has since grown.

But it goes one step further. If you were to check out Julian's post on the Pimp My Kettle campaign there is again a comment from The Body Shop. It was actually rather insightful, fits well with the brand and most importantly wouldn't have shown up in Google Alerts. This means that the author is regularly checking out Julian's blog, continuing to build this relationship.

And that's how social media campaigns should work. Building relationships by providing value. Not creating false communities around passions that don't exist that will die in three months anyway. So while this is all new and we are still learning our way around, some rules and guidelines have already been set. Ignoring them does hurt my career and gives me every right to bag your shitty campaign if it deserves it.

09 August 2008

+ It Is Not My Birthday

Further to my previous post on our reliance on social media, I conducted a small experiment of my own. Changing my birthday on Facebook to yesterday instead of September 9th, I was surprised at how many people gave me birthday wishes, on both Facebook and in person. Not only were these just my friends, but my Friends too.

Of all my friends and Friends, only a few questioned the date. Would things have been different a few years ago?

02 August 2008

+ Pimp My Blog

If one of today's marketers doesn't pull off a decent social media campaign soon they are going to kill, or at least hurt, this highly potential channel. This leaves tomorrow's marketers in a very bad place.

Case in point is Fantastic Noodles Pimp My Kettle. I made a conscious decision last year to ensure my blog refrained from slamming campaigns as much as possible. But this is worth an exception.

The official page comes up fourth on a Google search. Furthermore, the page is a Ning. Oh dear.

Interestingly, of their 276 "members" the majority of them are from Adelaide. As Julian Cole pointed out to me, Clemenger BBDO, the agency behind this atrocity, is from Adelaide too.

I hope these guys can sleep with themselves at night. Not only are there ethical issues here but you're really fucking up my career.

01 August 2008

+ When Logic Isn't Common Sense

Before I began blogging I was quite a naive young student. I thought, as you logically would, marketers would only run campaigns that had profitable returns. Branding issues aside, common sense would suggest that expenses should at least equal income. So when my local real estate agent does a mail box drop of 10,000 pamphlets they must be covering their costs. When telemarketers call random numbers, they must be selling enough to cover their hourly rate.

But blogging has changed this rather naive view of mine. Brands don't always make logical decisions.

30 July 2008

+ Home Made Videos

This post stems from an article suggesting The Gruen Transfer had received over 6,100 user generated submissions on their website. As of the end of the season tonight, I've read it's reached 10,000. If this is true, the guys behind it must be ecstatic.

The question I feel most important here; What is the purpose of user generated content? I'm going to go ahead and suggest the answer would be the interaction with the brand. Or at least should be. If you're going in looking for free advertising you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

The user generated content on The Gruen Transfer's website follows a template. This template allows users to easily make an advertisement in five minutes or so. This is great because it allows the low involvement users to get involved and also means 10,000 entries. A similar concept has been used for Design A Coke.

But this limits the user's creativity. As a result you have 10,000 entries that all look the same and because of that most of them are only viewed a couple of times at most. Most importantly the interaction with the brand is limited. Whilst I understand you need different levels of entry for interaction, I'd much prefer a passionate user who spends two hours interacting with my brand than fifty people who spent five minutes.

A passionate user is likely to then upload it to YouTube. Then they're more likely to send it to their friends. Then they're more likely to check back on it regularly. They're also more likely to create something remarkable not restricted to a template.

Essentially, as with most things, it comes back to Seth Godin's idea of "who" instead of "how many".

26 July 2008

+ A Lecture Worth Watching

Randy Pausch passed away yesterday. His inspirational talk The Last Lecture is based on an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are basically asked, "What wisdom would you impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"

Prior to this presentation, Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

I hope my Last Lecture can be just one tenth as inspirational as this.

23 July 2008

+ Not So Horrible Television

If you haven't seen Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, it's too late. And that's the reason you will buy it from iTunes or on DVD.

During the Writer's Guild of America Strike, writer and director Joss Whedon developed this mini series. It was to be low budget and circumvent the issues of the strike but professionally done.

Three weeks ago the first fifteen minutes were uploaded. A week later the next fifteen and last week the concluding fifteen were aired. It was free to view with no advertising or sponsorship on the website what so ever.

On Sunday night it was taken down where it is now exclusively on iTunes (for a price) and soon to be on DVD.

The buzz it generated was amazing. There are no statistics on the website hits, but the Facebook fan page has more than 43,000 fans. And in under a month, that is more than remarkable.

I know I'll be buying it on DVD (apparently the Audio Commentary will be a musical in itself). You should too.

Much like the music industry and soon to be the publishing industry, the middle man was cut out. And while they haven't made a cent yet, I expect the profits will be high.

Is this the future of television?

15 July 2008

+ Murky Water On Ice

Small time blogger Jeff Simmermon posted about his experience at a coffee store.The passionate owner has very strict policy on the quality of his coffee and would note serve the customer an expresso on ice.

Boing Boing and Metafilter picked up the story and the original post soon had over 200 comments.

Shortly after, the owner of the coffee store replied. Note the use of "Fuck you, Jeff" and "If you ever show your face at my shop, I'll punch you in your dick."

I don't think there are many brands that could get away with this kind of behaviour. I know my bank couldn't. Neither could my university. But personally, I feel this coffee shop does it and does it well. They may have lost Jeff but they just gained me.

Contracting the size of your market doesn't seem logical. But when you focus entirely on loyal customers and brand evangelists, you can guarantee they will repeat purchase. More often than the guy who just stopped by for a coffee on ice anyway.

Great use of a small business blog too.

11 July 2008

+ I Am Not Digitally Lethargic

Imagine my surprise when I'm lying in bed on a cold rainy night, flicking through July's edition of Marketing Magazine to see my name appear in print.

Alongside social media extraordinaire and good friend Julian Cole, Stanley Johnson throws a casual mention my way in The Youth of Today: Digitally Lethargic?, part of his Around the Blogosphere column.

It might not seem like much, especially to blog about, but as I read it, a light in my head clicked on and I realised this is the career and life I want.

Interestingly, Stan later goes on to talk about a remarkable attempt by a graduate to get a job. I too am currently planning and implementing an idea that will get me a position at an advertising agency. I doubt it will spread like Sam's, but it will get me noticed.

And within two months, I will be working at Leo Burnett Melbourne.

So cheers Stan, I think I owe you a beer or twelve.

10 July 2008

+ In Search Of A Secret

In an attempt to gain market share by Ninemsn over the almighty Google in the search engine market, the Secret Search campaign has been implemented. Every time you make a search you have a chance to win a prize. They range from juggling balls to cash to notebooks.

It will work. Over the next three weeks I think they will see substantial increases in their section of the pie chart. But then the campaign will end and everyone one (myself included) will change their homepage back to Google.

07 July 2008

+ Social Media In One Sentence

Social media... means the customer has never been more right.
Social media... turns mass into grass.
Social media... makes everyone a movie star.
Social media... is like ice cream.
Social media... killed the middleman.

What is or does social media mean to you... in one sentence.

06 July 2008

+ Facebookies

As more so an experiment than an attempt to build my audience, I ran some banner ads on Facebook yesterday. Here are the statistics on ads shown only to people interested in marketing, advertising and blogging in Australia...
Impressions: 9,905
Clicks: 19
Click Thought Rate: 0.19%
Average Cost Per Click: $0.27
Average Cost Per Thousand: $0.51
Spent: $5.07
Whilst I did see a little spike in my daily views, not a single comment was left and as far as I can tell my RSS Feed dropped in subscribers. So a good tool if all you're looking for is views but a hopeless one if you're looking for readers.

02 July 2008

+ Happy Birthday Bronwen

I'm normally fairly good with people's birthday yet I missed a friend's yesterday. I only discovered it today when I opened my diary and realised the reason I forgot is because she doesn't have a Facebook account.

I've come to rely on this tool but also many other aspects of social media. It hasn't just given me more channels to communicate but has now become a main source of information and entertainment.

The way I contact people and stay in touch with them has changed with Facebook. The way I watch my favourite television shows has changed with YouTube, which has also opened up infinite hours of UGC. Similarly, the radio is streamed via podcasts. The daily read of a newspaper has changed with my RSS Subscriptions where I choose what I want to read.

Interestingly, these changes are all free. No wonder Generation Y is so reliant on social media.

30 June 2008

+ Blogging As Another

Character blogs just don't work.

At the start of the year a character blog was established to launch a movie. It was a great way to generate a little buzz, especially around the blogosphere. I'm sure they even picked up a few regular readers and maybe a couple of RSS subscriptions.

But it hasn't been touched since April. Movie launches have a lifetime of only a couple of months but blogs carry a long tail. You can't launch a blog and build up an audience to abruptly stop. Blogging and short term strategy just don't go together.

Sure they might put out another post when the DVD is released but their small (but passionate) community will be long dead by then.

Fictional television characters might have it a little eaiser. Dwight Schrute from The Office has his own blog which is immensely popular. But take a look back a few months ago and you will see a massive gap during the Writers Guild of America Strike. You need to pay a writer to maintain a character blog which can't always be done.

So when do they work?

When done in parody and non commercially. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog is a great example where Daniel Lyons maintained a successful blog for several years until he was revealed in August 2007. He still posts daily under the character and it is as successful as ever.

Marketers shouldn't be using fake blogs for more reasons than just transparency issues.

Unless anyone can prove me wrong with an example?

22 June 2008

+ The Key To Successful Blogging

Shave your head.

Mitch Joel likes to quote "Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone". I think we can add to that "Be Bald".

19 June 2008

+ The Notebook

My brand new notebook. Who said the PC Guy always had to wear a suit?

18 June 2008

+ When Social Networks Attack

17 June 2008

+ It's Not Worth Preaching

Many of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis have Facebook groups. Ones that immediately come to mind are Six Pixels of Separation, Jaffe Juice and Gen Y Marketing Podcast. But what is the point?

The groups all seem dead. Julian Cole says they can be used to promote podcast episodes but I can't help but feel members of this group would already be subscribed.

Similarly, these podcasts usually start or end with the same spiel in each episode. As regular listeners, surely we already know where to find you, how to contact you and have checked out the blog?

This valuable content time and energy is wasted on a few potential new listeners. It seems like an incredibly outdated approach and almost mass media like.

Why waste time preaching to the choir?

16 June 2008

+ Three Overused Letters

<b>, <i> and <u>.

Should be used only sparingly and never all three at a time.

15 June 2008

+ In The Detail

The 2008 MADC Awards were held Friday night and the winner of Ad of the Year was this from Schweppes...

It is a visually stunning commercial. It even has a loose tie in to the brand, which apparently is all you need in this industry.

It shows us how beautifully we can see the world when we we slow down time. I'd now like to direct you to 0:58 in this commercial and watch the bubbles inside the glass. Anyone else see the jump in frames?

Ironically, when slowed down, this commercial isn't so beautiful.

14 June 2008

+ Podcasting Seriously

There is no doubt in my mind that ABC is leading the way in new media of all the television networks.

Not only have they developed excellent websites which allow the viewers to become involved on another medium but they were the first to adopt the concept of podcasting. Whilst it's far easier for them to do so given their non commercial status, this was the first step in what will soon change the way we view television in Australia.

The other commercial networks are tied down a little more with advertising issues. And that is why I would like to commend Network Ten.

They dipped their foot in the water by podcasting one sketch of the successful Thank God You're Here online each week last year. For the entire season it didn't leave the Top 5 Australian Podcasts in iTunes. Interestingly, these five minute segments were book marked with ten second spots.

They've now plunged head first and podcasted the entire show of Good News Week, with similar rankings as Thank God You're Here. Even more interestingly without any spots at all.

Either way this is a positive step forward, albeit a slow one, for new media. Now how long until Nine Network and Channel Seven get on board?

13 June 2008

+ Male Bloggers Beware

I think this video speaks for itself...

+ Go Fuck Yourself

Firstly, my apologies. I didn't mean for that to be such a provocative title but it got your attention, eh?

Where do you stand on swearing in blogs? I don't mean any random swearing but when it is used to show passion or expression.

Does it further add to the fact I'm a Generation Y, 18 year old blogger?

Or does it steal credibility, portray me as unprofessional and ward off potential employers or more importantly readers?

12 June 2008

+ Death By PowerPoint

11 June 2008

+ Times²

1 Times Square is a very profitable building. In an block made famous for its advertising, this address is the number one player. It costs roughly US$300,000 a month to have your sign on this building. In 2000, it was estimated the owner brought in monthly checks of up to US$250,000,000.

The most interesting thing about this building? It's empty and the insides are completely gutted. It brings in more money through advertising than it would having to deal with pesky tenants.

That is a ridiculous amount of money. I would love to see the ROI for brands that use these electronic billboards.

10 June 2008

+ Reality Is Perception

The UN has come together and decided to elect the first ever world leader. Only your vote counts.

Here are your three candidates...
Candidate A
Associates with crooked politicians and consults with an astrologist. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks ten martinis a day.

Candidate B
Kicked out of office twice and usually sleeps until midday. He used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C
Decorated war hero who is also a vegetarian. He doesn't smoke, drinks only an occasional beer and has never cheated on his wife.
Which of these candidates would you choose? Decide and then scroll down without peeking.

Candidate A was Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B was Winston Churchill.
Candidate C was Adolf Hitler.

First impressions are everything. Consumers jump to conclusions. And perception is reality.

09 June 2008

+ Ted's Climate Crisis

You'd be a clown if you weren't subscribed to TED presentations in iTunes. Not only are there some fantastic talks on marketing but nearly every single presentation offers something unique. For anyone ever doing a presentation of your own, there's definitely something to learn.

Here's a great presentation I've watched just now by Al Gore...

When he talked about Kevin Rudd ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, fuck I felt proud to be Australian.
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
Pigs Don't Fly © Copyright Zac Martin