08 November 2012

BitTorrent for Brands

Last month I wrote about how I think email is not used enough by brands. This month I've been thinking about other channels and platforms marketers don't leverage enough.

And the big one that keeps coming back to me is why have we never seen a brand use torrents?

Yes it falls into a gray area that not a lot of brands could get way with, but we need to remember of course that torrenting itself is not illegal, only the torrenting of illegal content.

Although most media usage reports seem to ignore it, we know video consumption through torrents is prevalent, and in many demographics ubiquitous. So why don't we see any brands playing in this space?

Even if they don't have quality branded content to release through torrents, why are no brands leveraging torrent sites through display media? Surely the lack of competition makes them fairly cheap placements and I imagine a "real" banner ad would stand out among the rest of the spam.

It would be pretty ballsy for a brand to do either of these, but it would be pretty effing awesome.

07 October 2012

Email; The Red Headed Child of Content Distribution

We regularly talk about the distribution of content through YouTube, blogs, social networks and other digital bits and pieces. But I think we often overlook a hugely under appreciated platform; email.

Take this example sent around a few days before the Brownlow.

Philip Brown, a Quantitative Strategist at Commonwealth Bank, put together a report with a model and analysis on who he believed would win the Brownlow Medal using a few seasons worth of data (which you can download it here if you're interested). He emailed it to a few of his colleagues where it was quickly forwarded on around the industry and then on to broader audiences (where I received it).

It's well targeted, interesting and shows how smart the brand is with data. And it doesn't even matter that I dropped $100 on it and lost my money because the predictions were wrong.

And if you're even remotely interested in footy, you probably received the  'Red Carpet Analysis' PowerPoint the day after the Brownlow from a friend. Another piece of content distributed very successfully via email.

Email has this crazy potential for amplification (and sometimes longevity) being forwarded again and again and again. As a platform it's ubiquitous, not going anywhere and cheap to leverage. And personally, I think it's way underused by brands for distributing content.

26 September 2012

Will The Real Digital Strategists Please Stand Up?

Clients are increasingly getting better at digital. It's taken some time, but we're now at a point where most clients understand digital's potential role, importance and place. And this is only going to get stronger (particularly as younger marketers step into decision-making roles).

As a result, many brands now have the basic digital hygiene factors covered. They're in social media, creating content, leveraging video, thinking about SEO and search, using analytics and are across mobile.

And I think a lot of people who call themselves "Digital Strategists" are going to start sweating when they get asked what to do next. What happens after a brand ticks off the digital basics?

Because once they play the "Let's use Pinterest" card, I think they're going to start running out of answers.

Dare I say it's time for Digital Strategist 2.0s.

23 August 2012

A New Gig

Yesterday I finished up at George Patts.

I started my first day as an intern with a mohawk doing community management. Two and a half years later I leave as a Digital Strategist, with a lot more on my head, and hopefully a bit more in my head.

And on Monday, I start a new gig at CumminsRoss.

16 July 2012

How I Inadvertently Split Tested My Homebrew

For quite a while now, a mate and I have been homebrewing. We've had varying degrees of success ranging from exploding bottles to pouring entire glasses of head to great (drinkable) beer.

It's great fun and a cheap way to drink. But one of the frustrating things about it is how slow the process is. From step one to drinking a cold beer you're looking at two to three months, more than enough time to forget the small things you've done along the way to improve/ruin the beer.

So on a recent batch, we decided to do something different. Instead of brewing twenty bottles of the exact same beer we brewed ten variations in one batch.

Normally it would take two months to know if putting in an extra spoon of sugar has a positive or negative impact. This time, we put one spoon in a bottle, one and half in another and two in a third. Then we tried the same with raw sugar. And again with brown sugar. Then we tried one bottle with honey.

In two months, we'll be able to easily analyse ten variations, which under the previous approach would have taken ten times longer.

And you should take a similar approach with your highly trafficked website. I've been doing a lot recently around split testing and optimising and here are a few things I've picked up:

  • Every visit is an opportunity to learn something (big or small)
  • Never make assumptions (there's no need with so much data)
  • More often than not, change is incremental (there's no such thing as a silver bullet)

Without even realising it, I massively improved my "test and learn" process and inadvertently started split testing my beer at the same time.

Funnily enough, those bullet points above apply to homebrewing too.

17 April 2012

Build It And They Will Come

Last night I gave a group of Monash students a tour of our office. Funnily enough, exactly three years ago I was the student walking through George Patts hoping to one day get a job there.

It reminded me of how after my tour as a student I bumped into Russel Howcroft shortly after and he told us during a presentation that sometimes marketers needed to "build things and they (the consumers) will come".

I didn't quite understand it at the time. But today I can't help but think it's a completely underrated and underused digital strategy. This idea of building something rad that's relevant to your target audience and then using them to spread your idea.

You don't need to stress about amplification strategies/sharing user journeys/going viral/influencer seeding and all that other nonsense. Instead you be awesome and the rest comes naturally.

Intel did it here, and Coke are trying it out with things like this.

And of course, it makes an amazing brief for the ad agency.

17 January 2012

Reaching Critical Mass Through Social Media

It seems like even the laggard brands are now finding their way on Facebook. And what better way to kick things off than running a big promotion with a big prize.


Brands are relying too heavily on "going viral" and "amplification through social networks" and "sharing". As a result there are far too many social media promotions happening at the moment producing less than average ROIs. Big budget promotions are only receiving very little uptake.

It's pretty much the reason I recently won a car. In fact right now I am in with a pretty good chance to win $10,000 in a video competition... where less than 30 people entered.

Brands fail to understand that to run a big social media promotion you either need a cracking idea, a big media buy, or an already established audience. You can't launch and expect big results from your small community.

Instead, start with small, regular promotions until you've built up a sizeable audience. Then start giving away cars and large sums of cold, hard cash.
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