Marketing

Social Media, Digital Marketing and Non Profits

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Maabara, 1950

Image via Wikipedia

On the 28th of February I had the honor to participate in one of the most important events I’ve ever been a part of – The Future of Non-Profit.
The event, created and managed by Shoshanna Jaskoll and Dave Weinberg from Causil, explored the challenges of non-profits in the 21st century, from business models, to organization, to fund raising, to marketing.
I was heading a panel about Social media and its value to non profits. It followed an excellent presentation by Miriam Schwab about site design and online presence for non profits as well.
The panel was based on a great team of pros – Florence Broder, Social Media Manager, Jewish Agency For Israel, Hadassah Levy from Jewish Ideas Daily, and Dvir Reznik, blogger and marketing manager of an interesting startup called Onavo (if you are traveling a lot, you should check their site).
We discussed the pros and cons of social media marketing for non profits. Florence gave examples of how her involvement in social media helped recently immigrated jews coming to ISreal and facing beuracrqacy challenges. Hadassah talked about social media as traffic source for media sites. And Dvir discussed the value that bloggers and Twitter provide for companies and organizations with limited budget.
Things got interesting when a member of the audience, asked the million dollar question – why should an organization invest in social media, with no clear ROI. More

Looking for event-videographers!

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Pravda Media is looking for an experienced event videography team.
In March 08/09 we will produce a two-day event in AT&T Labs (Middletown, NJ) with high-ranked professionals from the Telecommunication Industry.
We are looking for an experienced team to videotape the event, including its lectures, panels and personal interviews.

Requirements:
* Two experienced photographers, with 3 HD video cameras (2 cameras for lectures, 1 for interviews).
* HD 1080P recording, PCM/WAV Audio Recording (with professional audio equipment, including omni-directional boundary Microphone/mixed microphones for table speakers).
* Lighting equipment/any other required AV equipment.

If you think that’s a perfect job for you, contact us for more details via the following e-mail:
Itzhak@pravdam.com

What Could Marketers Learn from Little Red Riding Hood

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As a digital agency (with at least one frustrated film maker on the team) we are big believers in stories.
Often we are asked by our customers why should they actually tell stories. If they have good product and strong brand who cares abut the rest. Well, I wish things were so simple. With Facebook, twitter, and consumers’ complete control on the content they consume, brands are facing a new challenge – getting the attention of their audience. This can be done by giving outrageously expensive perks in competitions and such. But that is a short term solution, that can be easily copied. Other brands can have the same, if not more money than you have and give bigger prizes. Furthermore, the value of such activities happens only when the competition is taking place. When it ends, people quickly forget the brand.
We believe that stories are the key for long term digital initiatives that capture the imagination and excitement of the people around us.
You see, good stories are infectious. Good stories are remembered for years. Stories were here before us and will stay after we are gone.
We have tons of data to support it. Simply put – look around you. How many of the people around you remember the story of red riding hood? And how many remember one of the most creative campaigns worldwide – the ARG around “Dark Knight” premiere?
So what’s your story?

Email Marketing + Social Web = Bliss

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Take a look at this diagram:

North American marketers see major improvements when integrating email marketing and social media efforts. This is another proof that the power of digital marketing lies in channel integration, and not in short term campaigns. As social web marketing requires an ongoing nurturing of branded online assets (brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, on so on), the biggest advantages are for those who combine different channels to utilize these assets.
This information also sheds light on the expected announcement of Facebook Mail today. My friend Yaniv Golan have some interesting thoughts about this move.

In a world were marketing ROI becomes critical for brands success, the combination of strong branding tools with direct marketing tools provide major advantages to the ones who use them well.

In a search for the NEW big idea

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The Room for Big Ideas is closed for installation.
Image by John Kannenberg via Flickr

In a time and age where I can chose whether to listen to a brand or to read my friend’s status update – how can a brand get my attention?
In my opinion it is all about big ideas

Isn’t the big idea dead already?

Mark Earls believes that big ideas are dead, over used, and that we should focus on small tests and campaigns. However I am talking about differnt kind of big ideas. I am not talking about a short lived one time gig. I am talking about deeply rooted concept at the heart of the brand, that affects its dealing wiht customers, the product they build, and  the way they treat their customers.

What is a big idea?

Big ideas are concepts that beyond a product or one’s daily life, that are more important than price or features. Big ideas are ones who change the way we look at life and society. Big ideas are ones that are powerful enough to make the man on the street listen to your message. A big idea is that one story that brings value to people – not only consumers.

In some cases brands are not openly stating their big idea. In some cases they don’t even realize their big idea until the community, their users, tell them it exists.

Let’s take Twitter for example. Twitter’s big idea is communication without boundaries. This idea fueled the Iranian uprise, which in turn personified this idea. As stated before, it was a false hope in my opinion. Still it was amazing to see the energy that this idea brought to the community.

Canon and HDSLR are  another example. Canon released their 5D Mark II DSLR camera with the ability to shoot HD videos. This quickly materialized to another big idea – everybody can be a filmaker – now in an affordable way.

What isn’t a big idea?

Well, the product itself. Features, without a wider context, are merely technical parameters. They don’t improve ones life. Price is not a big idea – again, unless it is in a wider context, such as in the case of HDSLR cameras.

Also, Fun is not a big idea. Fresh is not a big idea. these are just awesome keywords for a brief. “Like” competitions are definitely not a big idea. Hiring “buzzers” is many things, big idea is not one of them.

The Time is Now

Modern western society is in a unique situation. World War II ended with the good guys wining. Communism lost the battle. Most of the western world is democratic, and relatively liberal from an economic point of view. Governments are losing their position as setters of big ideas. Yes, Obama most used word was change. But at the end of the day, nations are creating less and less big ideas that affect lives.

But people are still looking for bigger than life concepts and experiences. They want to feel that they are a part of something, something bigger than day to day life. They want to be excited!

Someone will fill the void. Brands and companies are the best candidates for that. They have the incentive and money to do it.

So what’s your big idea?


Does Like Make Us Stupid?

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like
Image by debaird™ via Flickr

In a world of likes, what is the value of engagement?
Facebook made “like” easy. Just a click. No comments, no attachment, no real interaction. Just a click.
So why do we constantly value our campaigns and social activities by this low effort measurement?
It might be that we don’t have enough tools to really understand the value and quality of our social web marketing activities.
But it might be because it is easier to count likes and fans than get to the bottom of these new tools and platforms.
And maybe it’s because we are working too hard to be cool and “social” and “new” that we forget that social marketing is at the end of the day a part of digital marketing – which in turn suppose to provide clear business value.
Engagement doesn’t matter if it doesn’t grow the business. Likes are useless if they don’t help the company to grow by either lowering costs, increasing revenues, or increasing customer satisfaction.
Digital marketers have a huge responsibility – we are ahead of the curve for most of our clients. We should always remember that at the end of the day we need to justify our retainer and project fees, with proper increase in revenues – or achievement of a clear business goal.

So, what’s the business value of Like?

Affiliate Marketing, Brands and Social Media

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A lot of exciting things happened recently, and can’t wait to tell you all about it. However they affected our blog updates, and we are now getting back to speed with that too…
The incentives of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an important tool in online marketer toolbox. Companies big and small use this method to reach new audiences effectively. The principle is simple – Company A provides incentives to everyone online to promote their product. Usually a cut of the deal is paid to the affiliate. Companies such as Amazon provide dedicated links and widgets for these partners who in turn distribute them to their audience.
Besides Amazon and other well known brands, many found affiliate marketing a profitable business in other business line such as diet and nutrition and investment tools . In many cases a small operation of two to three smart people, with strong knowledge in SEO and PPC can make a lot of money in these activities.
Affiliate marketing is in many cases more a science than art. Where everything can be measured, smart affiliate marketers optimize their efforts again and again to reach the best conversion rate possible. The ability to instantly measure every activity as well as reassign resources makes it a very dynamic business.
Some in this business are using tactics that are ethically questionable such as fake blogs and spam.
Brands are interested in creating meaningful relationships with their audience, in order to make their brand affect buying decisions.
In short, while affiliate marketing is all about one night stands with customers, branding is more like a long term relationship. More

Facebook New Marketing Rules – A Cheat Sheet

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Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Facebook is slowly removing many of the elements that made it a marketer’s wet dream.

Facebook announced several major changes that affect marketers using the platform to promote their services:
1. Splitting feeds to news feed and live feed – users see, as defualt, a feed with only content and comments from their friends. Information about groups etc was moved to a separate feed.
2. Removal of app notification – Facebook apps will not be able to send notifications to users.
These changes reduce the virality of the platform in a major way.
For example, if in the past one could invite friends to become fans of a page, and his friends would have seen that he joined, now they wouldn’t see it unless they look for it. This effect was crucial for virality of fan pages and applications. The same goes for notifications.
While many users rejoice, as they see more relevant and focused information on their feed and notification tab, marketers should rethink the way they interact in Facebook.

The two most important consequences for marketers are:

1.  Advertising becomes more important in creating traffic to Facebook applications and fan pages – without virality, paid advertisement within the platform, or in other channels, is an important part of any Facebook marketing activity

2. Fan pages and apps should provide more value to users, as it will be more difficult to attract repeat visitors.

In the next part we will discuss additional changes in the platform and what are the opportunities for marketers in this area.

HTC Shows The Real Meaning of Mobile Communication

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If you follow my blog you know that I hate HTC devices with passion.
However, their latest multimillion dollars campaign is brilliant (even though I’d change the music to something more sentimental). HTC challenge is huge – they are making many phones for many carriers. As such, they need to find a way to distinguish themselves without harming the carrier brand. They chose to go with a campaign showing how significant mobile phones are in our life.
Brilliant and to the point.

Enjoy the rest of the day.

End of Faceless Brands – The Risks

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Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

In my previous post we’ve discussed the challenges that brands are facing when required to interact with their consumers directly. The main point of the post is that consumers are not satisfied anymore with presenters or low level employees, and are looking for authoritative figure to represent the company.

This post generated some very interesting comments, especially in face to face meetings I recently had with CEOs of brand and service companies.
The main point raised was that relying a company value on one person is extremely dangerous, especially for the shareholders. Many mentioned the fluctuations in Apple’s share price in response to Jobs’ health as a showcase of these dangers.

Yes, star CEOs pose a challenge to  shareholders. Larry Ellisson, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and others are the real life incarnation of their companies. Without them, they will never be the same. But the fact is that the general direction of the relationship between consumers and brands is leading to an era that is  fundamentally different than what we were used to. Companies are already having hard time hiding behind PR pros and shiny logos. Customers want to talk, be heard, and in a sense have a meaningful relationship with companies they finance.  It is getting harder and harder to differentiate in products and technology. It is the feeling that matters. And if in the past the slogans and logos did all the work – now, the  social web is changing the expectation of consumers.

Brands are already part of the game – with their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and such.

There is no escape from the demise of faceless brands. You might as well wake up and smell the coffee.