Digging into CGM data

As the new guy on the team I get to introduce myself to you and spout off.  All in the same post!!  In any case, I recently joined Forrester from SPSS  and will be focusing on enterprise marketing technology platforms, customer analytics, and emerging market technologies.

The proliferation of Consumer Generated Media (CGM) presents organizations with a virtual treasure trove of unstructured data.  However, as witnessed by the debate on the Online Spin blog, measuring CGM is not a foregone conclusion.  Measurement aside, what purpose does CGM serve and how can the data be leveraged?  Text mining vendors like SAS, ClearForest, SPSS, and Inxight offer algorithms and techniques to identify and extract the key concepts from unstructured data.   These insights can drive innovation, product development, search, and brand monitoring.  Marketers should initially focus on blogs and service center transcripts as the primary sources for unstructured data. 

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Process check

If you've been following the conversation here, you know that this blog focuses on marketing - and a lot of different flavors therein.  We've been writing for nine weeks now and with the end of a quarter and beginning of a US holiday weekend, it seems like a good point for a process check.

We had a low-key launch in April and a few key blogs noticed, including BW's Blogspotting, Church of the Customer, and Media Guerrilla.  Thanks for the mentions and to everyone who's subscribed to the feed or email.  We've been meeting on a regular basis to discuss bloggable topics and post a team viewpoint (led by a single analyst).  We've also been posting occasionally when we find something interesting to discuss.

There are a few things we've noticed along the way that aren't publicly transparent:

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Nielsen's A2/M2 - Not ready for prime time

One of the great aspects of working at Forrester is the ability to collaborate with analysts from other teams to bring different coverage areas together.  I've had the chance to work with Josh Bernoff on a few pieces related to TV advertising and we published one this week regarding Nielsen's recently announced A2/M2 initiative.  The executive summary:

Nielsen will expand its measurement of video media with "Anytime
Anywhere Media Measurement" (A2/M2), which will include Internet
streaming and portable devices, and will also measure engagement. It's
a good idea, but Nielsen historically takes awhile to work the kinks
out of new measurement products. Rather than wait for more
comprehensive measures, marketers should focus on measuring how media
efforts drive business results.

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BzzAgent to Pests: BzzOff!

In two related moves to make its agent network more attractive to advertisers, BzzAgent announced that it would expel up to 10,000 "pests" from its network (roughly 5%) and re-engineer its rewards system to attract and retain valuable agents.

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Mobile Marketing -- Still not ready for prime time

I went to a panel on mobile marketing last week hosted by MITX, the Massachusetts Internet Technology Exchange. The discussion was hosted by Roger Entner, Vice President, Wireless Telecom, Ovum and panelists included:

Andy Castonguay, Program Manager, Yankee Group
Erin Cole, Media Supervisor, Avenue A | Razorfish
Brian Costello, CEO, MaMoCo
Jeff Janer, COO, Third Screen Media
Michael Weaver, Senior Product Planner, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions

Roger introduced the discussion by saying that he thought we all agreed that mobile marketing was poised to really explode and that was why we were all attending the panel. But I must admit, I’m still skeptical on this point, and the issues raised during the panel only made me more so. Here are the current challenges with mobile marketing.

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MVNO ' s

MoCo news did a summary of some recent MVNO news driven from a recent WSJ article. The carriers have known all along what the WSJ is reporting. Statistically, zero percent of consumers choose a wireless carrier based on entertainment and/or media options. Most consumers choose based on quality of coverage and price - handset and minutes. That said, companies can still be profitable in niche markets. With more than 200 million subscribers in the US, less than one percent market share could still be more than one million subscribers. Many wireless service providers are profitable with this few subscribers.

See other blog postings.


" Text to Vote " ... Knowing When and When Not

I'm not sure if anyone has written any best practices about when "text to vote" campaigns should be run or when they should appear on TV screens. I'm not a media expert, but covering the entire TV screen with a "text to vote" menu during a "live" World Cup Soccer game? Are you crazy? There are already banners across the top of the screen (ok, knowing the score and clock time is good) and the bottom (ok, maybe good to know that Ben (Pittsburgh QB) is out of the hospital after crashing his motorcycle), but please ... give us the middle two-thirds of the screen without any ads during the "live" match. How about a banner at the bottom of the screen during the halftime chatter when there is just a talking head? and not Beckham launching one of his famous crosses?

Messaging / voting campaigns should be giving viewers reasons to watch a broadcast "live" - not a reason to switch over to your competition's broadcast - even if the competition is broadcasting in Spanish.

Voting/messaging campaigns should be creating interest in using the data services on the phone. I mostly felt like throwing my phone at my TV when the picture was being blocked.


Management Consultants + Advertising = A Good Thing

A couple of weeks ago, Ad Age highlighted the activities of management consultancies in the ad business.  Considering the engagements that IBM, McKinsey, and Accenture are undertaking, process and left-brain thinking seem to be the focus.  Which means that right-brain thinking, i.e. creative, remains untouched, right?  Wrong.

Today's consulting engagements may focus on operational efficiency, or the expense side of the equation.  Going forward, more measurement projects will happen and their learnings will circle back to customer strategy - driving right-brain decisions focused on demand generation and revenue.  Don't expect your consultants to storyboard the next long-form ad or define next year's colour palette - but these companies are closer to creative than you think.  They just don't publicize their behind-the-scenes work that leads to pencils, lions, and gold stars.

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Verizon ' s Chaperone

Verizon Wireless launched their new kid-tracking service this morning. See press release. Handsets are limited, but the Migo is a good starting point. Service is pricey at a combined nearly $20 per month for all of the offerings, but Chaperone (as they've named the service) is the "Cadillac" of kid-tracking services and a great response to Disney's product announcements earlier this year. It really offers everything a parent could want that is economically feasible with today's technology. Our data show that parents buy cell phones for their children in cases of emergencies and for value (i.e., doesn't cost much to add them to family plans) so Verizon will have a bit of a tight rope to walk managing these two priorities.

Other questions I have:

Why does it always have to be a phone that is expensive and needs to be charged and has to be shut off during class? We've seen watches, wristbands, etc. announced before, but not really rolled out by carriers.

What about the kids who want to know where their parents are? My friends with their seven-year old bought the Migo for their kid's peace of mind - not their own. See earlier blog.


Muni Wi-Fi Gravy Train ... Coming to a Stop?

Sacramento is the latest city seeking a free municipal Wi-Fi network whose project has stalled. See this report. SacBee also had a number of write-ups. Google said "no" to this Silicon Valley project (see SF Chronicle story) earlier this year.

I think that we will continue to see more stories like this now that the Municipal Wi-Fi effort is underway. The "window of opportunity" for free or subsidized networks is, for the most part, closed. Moreover, cities thinking that others are getting free networks haven't read the fine print in the deals. Here are a few comments/reasons why companies are saying "no" to building networks:

- All public or municipal Wi-Fi networks will require a collection of revenue streams to cover costs or even to generate profits. (JupiterResearch quantified this in a report a few years ago.) The cost of obtaining the revenue can also not be out of control - hence the need for cities to be anchor tenants. A collection of revenue streams is required, but it can't be hundreds of pieces.

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