Jan 25 2010

Google Real-Time Search the Ticket for B2B Social Media

by Andrew DiFiore

Is it really much of a surprise that search is becoming more real-time?

Nielsen recently reported that social media usage has increased by 82% in the last year and showing no sign of slowing any time soon. Social media is the number one activity online (surpassing porn). Microsoft inked deals with Twitter and Facebook back in October 2009 to include status updates on Bing. What took Google so long? Who cares? With 65% of all searches, Google’s integration of real-time conversations is potentially a real game-changer.

The reason businesses and B2B marketers should pay attention is that Google (and the users) give more weight to the latest news as it relates to their queries, especially from unbiased sources (Google does let you override this via Show Options… sidebar).

I’ve always advocated to clients that it doesn’t really matter how your customers find you as long as they find you. It may be your web site or your Facebook page, whatever the touch-point, it is all goodness. This means if you want to get the most out of your SEO strategy then your social media must be optimized — tweets, Facebook status, Yahoo Answers, news articles, press releases, and so on.

Jul 27 2009

One great tactic?

by Jeff Propper

It seems that more and more b2b marketers are foregoing strategy and planning in favor of a single breakthrough tactic. Naturally, the tactic has to be web-based, viral and incorporate social media— and be practically free to produce, while delivering a high return on investment.

Whatever happened to developing a marketing communications strategy?  Goals and objectives have turned into a quest for the next cheap tactic.  I’m not against developing breakthrough marcom tactics. But I do think it should be the result of a sound, intelligent strategy.

Shoot, ready, aim
If we consider the marketing goal as the destination, then the strategy serves as the roadmap to get there.  Naturally, every tactic — whether print advertising, direct mail, e-marketing, etc. — must be examined against the strategy to gauge its validity. In other words, if the tactic doesn’t fit the strategy, it doesn’t belong in the plan. It seems to me lately, that we’re in a shoot, ready, aim mindset.

What about developing a unique selling proposition?
After much struggling against Mac, and it’s brilliant marketing, Microsoft has developed a simple, powerful and effective advertising campaign focusing on price and value.  The campaign is well produced, has great casting and a clear, concise selling proposition that resonates like crazy in this woeful economy. I love my Mac, but I really applaud Microsoft’s powerful strategy.

Common sense doesn’t always prevail.
Ultimately, marketing and advertising communications is about persuading more people to buy more products and services more often. Easier said than done, but to create long-term success, we must spend the time and energy upfront to properly develop a strategy and plan. When we don’t, we get that box of chocolates where you never know what you’re going to get.  Instead, a sound strategy, coupled with intelligent planning and on-target creative can deliver successful and repeatable results. Such a process reduces risk and maximizes the return on your marketing investment. It may sound like common sense, but lately, it’s not common practice.

Jul 22 2009

Blogging is Dead, eh?

by Andrew DiFiore

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440. It would be roughly 550 years when some “digiterati” declared: Print is dead.

It took only 10 years for Wired magazine to declare the same thing for blogs (note the irony).

Every year since there seems to be a rehashing of the subject. Most recently Steve Rubel announced (6/25/09) he is no longer writing for his popular Micro Persuasion blog. Instead, he is going to feed his audience smaller, extemporaneous nuggets of insight via his Posterous site he calls The Steve Rubel Lifestream. Okay. Nothing wrong with that. Hey, I love real-tine free-flowing conversations as much as the next guy and platforms like Posterous, Twitter, and FriendFeed are great for this (and getting better with every iteration). But lets not over inflate a non-issue. Impromptu dialogs are not a substitute for well-organized, thoughtful commentaries.

Having worked in the publishing industry for a number of years (albeit as an interactive evangelist) I can safely say: The true value of print was never the “paper” but rather its meaningful organization of information. Lets face it, the biggest challenge with the Web is that there is just too much information scattered about with little confidence of its accuracy or authority.

zenbotA Glimpse into the (Near) Future

Media will be ubiquitous; available anywhere anytime. Seamlessly! The ultimate state of technology is to be so seamless that we are scarcely aware of its presence. There will be zero learning curve, it will just work!  And the Geek Squad will have to find a new vocation.

Integrated circuits can be painted on to any semi-durable surface (including paper but I suspect that we will be environmentally responsible and use synthetics), allowing programmable media to appear virtually anywhere. From cereal boxes to contact lenses to windshields of cars. Imagine, your home entertainment center will appear as a blank walls (or as murals of gamboling wood nymphs if you choose) when “off” but transforms into a full-blown interactive multimedia theater instantly with a single command.

You can experience anything that has ever existed in human history from the World Supra-Internet Database. I write “experience” because data will be multi-sensory. It will include immersive sights, sounds, and smells beyond anything that exists today, plus, it will be capable of responding heuristically. Not quite the holodeck of Star Trek but perhaps the precursor.

Of course, speech recognition and multi-touch screens will be perfected but they will not be our primary human-to-machine interface;  it will be our thoughts. Advances in neuromarketing have been touted for years and once perfected and reproduced cheaply, it will be as ubiquitous tomorrow as solid-state technology is today. Most likely, interaction will be a combination of voice, gestures, and thoughts depending on the application. Have you seen Project Natal Xbox 360?

The Return of Print (Sorta)

So, what’s the point? Three things:

1) journalistic institutions (some new, some old) will reclaim their rightful positions as reliable agencies of record

2) a delivery technology as cheap and convenient as paper (but much more permanent) will replace the “printed” newspaper, magazine, and book

3) blogging and bloggers will continue to evolve

With every new advance in tech there is a lot of experimentation. This is a good thing even if a specific experiment is not. Think of the Web right now at the stage of black-and-white television sets… Technicolor and Dolby Sound are just around the bend.