Marketing

How To Convince Your Boss To Use Social Media Marketing

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[digg http://digg.com/tech_news/Why_use_Social_Media_Marketing]  Every major company releases PRs. It is the most obvious step for marketers. In the last months I was talking with various market communication people about media strategy. While their eyes were shining when we discussed new methods to convey messages by using blogs and podcasts, most of them explained to me that they need to control the message of their company.

The basic mentality is “we say what we think and the rest (hopefully) listen” and “we control the media”.

Guys, don’t bother to learn about all these tools if you believe that you can implement press release tactics on social media tools. It won’t work. As simple as that. Social media tools are called like that because they are, well, social. And social means interaction. If you want to communicate differently, you have to think differently, talk differently and communicate interactively.

Don’t tell me about the rules of controlling media – because you never really did it. When people were saying bad things about your company in closed rooms, you couldn’t hear it. When people wrote negative opinions about your brand in forums, you needed to look for it. Now, with these tools you can really, but really know what people think about you, because they can leave comments on your posts, link them to their blogs and instantly interact with your message.

For that, like any other relationship, you have to give some in order to get some. The giving

is a bit more exposure, flexibility, and creativity.

You don’t have to do it. This is not an “innovate or die” post. You can easily send out another press release that will join the endless stream being dumped on the web and in newsletter. Why not? Your competitor is doing that, and you won’t get fired for another press release.

But you won’t be different either, won’t stick out in the crowd, won’t create added value to your brand. And maybe, just maybe, in this very minute, while you are reading this post, your competitors are having their pre-launch meeting for their new, slick social media strategy, while you are trying to figure out which quote to put first in your press release.

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Entrepreneurs, Marketers, come to learn all about the market and competition in Vator.tv

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Vator.tv, a new venture by Bambi Francisco, was launched yesterday. The site enables entrepreneurs to pitch their startups in an open forum using video sharing, as well as add information about the company and founders. The site also has social network element, as you can add connections to your pitch.

The concept itself is impressive, as it answers a need of startups to showcase their concepts. The integration of social network and crowd sourcing to evaluate ideas can be an interesting twist to the regular mechanisms out there. The execution is also very good – the site is clear, easy to use, and the video streaming works like a charm (though stronger RSS integration is still missing).

I am certain I will use this site not only to find new and engaging companies, products and services, but also to create a hype index – using amount of videos per category as a signal regarding the amount of entrepreneurs seeing a specific field as lucrative.

For entrepreneurs, it is invaluable “improve your pitch and learn about your competition” source. Every entrepreneur can easily learn about what is happening in her sector, refine her pitch and find new ways to present her concept. It can be also a good sanity check tool.

Which brings me to the question if entrepreneurs aren’t harming their own efforts in presenting their ideas on this site. Would all startups be happy if their first VC meeting was broadcasted? Not sure about that. Another important question is who would watch this site. If there is an A list of investors watching this channel – this is site is of great value.

Other coverage of vator.tv can be found at webware, Beet.TV, Mashable, Howard Lindzon and VentureBeat

You can find vator.tv coverage of online video here.

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Vezoom – Meta Aggregator with a twist

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The CA based Monetizemedia is going after User Generated Content creators.

The name Monetizemedia rang a bell for me for a while, though I couldn’t remember why. So when Alan Sherin, the company’s Director of Marketing, left me a lengthy comment on my post about meta aggregators, I took the chance to have a chat with him.

I was surprised to hear that the company exists only for two years, and has 40 full time employees. With all the noise around them, I wasunder the impression they were much bigger.

The company targeted mid size content owners – ones with libraries of video content that cannot monetize it. Its main offering revolves around creation of online channels, DVR platform, VOD offering and content protection. After creating the channels, the company brings in advertisers and share revenues with the content owner.

Soon they realized that the major problem their content owner have is how to drive traffic to their site. So they created a neat little product called VeZoom. The product has three layers:

1. Search engine – video search engine, that its main advantage when compared to competitors is that it is international and not focused on the US market.

2.Myvezoom – a Netvibes style homepage, for RSS distributed video content only.

3.VeZoom Pipe – a desktop application where user choose general categories and search terms, and get content pushed to their desktop.

The concept behind these layers is to cover different user needs – starting from actively looking for specific content, through personalizing a homepage, to passive content consumption.

The product is still in beta stage, and several basic functions are still missing (such as inline video presentation), but as this technology is commoditized, I believe they will quickly close this gap.

The real question is how can a company create a competitive advantage in this segment. One strong point for MonetizeMedia is that they are not relying on the new field of UGC as their sole revenue source. It is an advantage as they already have a revenue generating business. I also liked the fact that they are approaching global markets, a topic I wrote about its importance in the past.

However, one should take into consideration that the company is geared toward a different market segment as a primary revenue source. Indie content creators have different requirements then mid size content providers MonetizeMedia approached till now: while mid size content providers want to protect their content, use pay per view schemes, and control their media flow, Indie content creators are looking for exposure, multiple distribution channels, see DRM as a dirty word, and no one will pay to watch their content, at least at this stage.

Furthermore, Indie content creators have a close community and it is not a simple thing to penetrate it with new offerings.

There are some who believe that a company has a unique DNA that enables it to compete in the market. I wonder if MonetizeMedia DNA can be versatile enough to play on both markets.

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Micro Media Mogul vs Media Maker

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I’ve met Jim Long at VON in San Jose back in March, and really enjoyed talking with him.

He has a unique angle on the industry, as he works for the big guys while building his own act.

I’ve just came across his insightful post about the new breed of media creators:

“To create opportunity, I believe you have to think beyond the limits of the traditionally defined media roles of cameraman, producer, or talent. I think the emergence of the micro media mogul is emblematic of this shift, a shift that is blurring, if not erasing the line where media jobs fall above (executive and management) or below (crew and production staff). So as media workers begin to chart a new course in these re-defined roles, they are faced with a number of questions. Not the least of which is how much entrepreneurial fire do they have in their belly. Are you as passionate about the art of the deal as you are about the art of your media? Or do you prefer the comfort of steady paycheck?”

Jim took a shot at one of the most exciting things in the industry today. If you want to be a player in this new arena, you have to be able to think creatively, identify good content, have hands on approach to the production process, understand new technologies that affect your content distribution, think about advertisers when defining the content itself, use social media tools to promote it, have a business understanding in order not be ripped off, and, of course, have a lot of courage and drive to do it all in bootstrapping mode.

Challenging isn’t it? Well, otherwise it wasn’t any fun!

The only thing I didn’t like in Jim’s post is the name. We are not micro media moguls.We are the media entrepreneurs, building a new segment in the industry, that is disrupted by technology. As such, it creates opportunities for new players to capture a part of the market, because of the ability to create good content on the cheap and distribute it.

Yes, most of the shows we see today won’t survive, and some will be acquired. But some will grow, expand their brand, and become a market player.

I hope that we will see more and more of those, instead of reading about shows that are bought by the big guys.

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Great Post about the difference between Audio, Video and Text for content creators

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My friend Chris Brogan posted a great article in his blog about the difference between Video, Audio and text for content creators.

Here are the highlights:

1. Video is good for visual information – and that’s why interviews are often cut in the middle as they are boring to watch. it is an important point in my opinion especially for DIY content creators, as interviews are one of the cheapest content type to create.

2. Audio creates deeper relations between the listener and the speaker.

3. Text is a great tool to provide information as is.

Another important observation Chris is making, is that there is no one medium any more – you should use different types of media to deliver your message.

These are just the highlights – please go to the original post for more details.

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Marketing Highly Technical Non Profit Organizations

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As some of you know, I am VP of Marketing and Business Development of IMTC, a non profit technology organization, focused on interoperability of video communication and content delivery technologies. Basically, our members test their video conferencing, streaming and other multimedia applications in real life scenarios, and cooperate with engineers around the globe in advancing this industry.

Marketing such an organization is a major challenge. First, its work is highly technical, making it hard to extract a marketing message and convey it to media channels. Second, budget is scarce, so regular “carpet bombing” tactics (let’s send 10,000 press releases to newswire across the globe, publish ads in newspapers, and buy booth spaces in 6 shows a year) simply cannot be implemented.

In the last six months, we’ve done several steps to tackle this challenge. As you know, we are having a panel at VON about the business perspective of standardization, where we present the business aspect of our work. But this is not enough – there are tons of business oriented panels. So, in order to make it more appealing, we invited Skype, which represent the opposite approach, to join the panel and argue that non-standard approach is better for business than ours. Nothing like a good fight to clarify a message!

Another important issue is how to create an ongoing relationship with the industry. Press releases are single sided. You send them out, shoot all over the place, and hope for the best. I think that PRs are important, especially for product companies, but one thing for sure – they do not create any relationship with readers. It’s like good old television.

I am proud to say, that after a long process, we have launched IMTC blog, with writers from the organization. The blog covers technology aspects of our work, and its affect on the market. We believe that in time, it will be a news source for unbiased information on multimedia communication and content delivery market today.

Blog solves two of the issues I’ve raised. It is cheap, and creates an ongoing relationship with our readers. There is also a good chance that it will simplify our media relations – especially with key bloggers.

However, an official IMTC blog has its own challenges. Unlike press release, there are more content contributors. This opens a whole new range of legal aspects that need to be addressed. Also, blog success is highly dependent on the rate of new posts ( I call it “the Feed-Me-Seymour” blog effect). IMTC is a voluntary organization, so finding contributors for a non technical activity is not just a walk in the park.

We’ve tackled these problems by forming an editorial team, which has two responsibilities: review all posts prior to publication for legal issues, and constantly contribute posts. editorial team volunteers are interested in creative writing, so it is fun for them, and good for the blog.

I am the Chief Editor of IMTC blog, so if any of the readers are interested in being guest bloggers, feel free to contact me.

I also want to thank Boaz Babai for supporting us in this process.