Like my flights to and from Barcelona, this blog post is rather late...
On Friday morning, I spoke about the need for us to reconsider customers on a social level. As marketers, we find ourselves relying more and more on consumers to impact others in their purchase decisions. Evaluating customers based only on their business or financial value - such as my much-loved Life Time Value, or an operation's ROI - is *has been*.
I called for marketers to integrate a second dimension - the social value - into their thinking. What's social value? I've simplified it into 3 components:
1) A customer's knowledge and involvement - in short, his level of expertise and interest in the category and brand.
2) How he participates, and the value of his connections - what social activities is he involved with (both on and offline) and where (on what networks is he active). The value refers to the value of the connections themselves: are the communities more tightly-knit or diffused, are they public or more intimite.
3) The number of contacts the customer has in each network.
The first time I used Web analytics, I mean "really" used Web analytics, was to end an argument. I was running the technical and eCommerce department for an online retailer, a really amazing online gadgets Web site, and the creative director and managing director were near to shedding blood over the following business-critical issue: Should a button on the home page be blue or purple, or maybe it should blue plus purple (blurple), as opposed to purple + blue (purue)? Two hours had gone by, and eight people sat in the room while the two worked themselves further and further away from rational thought and principles of civilized behaviour. I feared for the health, safety and sanity of my work colleagues.
So, I think it's safe to say that I used Web analytics for the first time as an act of sheer desperation. I used to it end the argument once and for all -- I logged in to our new Web analytics software while the two fought, and was able to show them that not only did the customers not care what colour the button was, but in fact, not a single customer had used the button in 6 months.
If you've never been to Barcelona, you may not know that the local language here is actually not Spanish...it's Catalan, the native language of Barcelona's region: Catalunya. Children here are taught in Catalan, and while many also learn Spanish and likely English, I've run into several locals who speak only Catalan. And then of course, since the attendees at our event are from all over Europe, there are dozens of languages filling the air during networking breaks and one on one sessions.
I mention this because it struck me that as the world becomes a smaller place (easier to travel anywhere you like, similar businesses/foods in different regions around the world, even the same pop-culture icons and references), cultures are becoming fiercely proprietary about the things that do define their culture from another: like language. What a perfect thing to establish who is qualified to be a member of a given community? If you speak our language, you must be similar enough to us, and proud enough of our heritage to be in our community. Language then, isn't just a mode of communication; it is also an expression of identity.
[Guest post by Mary Pilecki, Senior Analyst, Financial Services]
This morning, Mats Torstendahl, CEO of Danske Bank Sweden spoke about the bank's efforts to stand out among many competitors and grow market share. Over the past ten years the bank has redefined its branch strategy to focus it on advice, rather than transactions. Over 65% of the bank's customers perform transactions through e-banking, and are turning to the branches for face to face advice on their finances. Danske Bank is targeting entrepreneurial type people to manage their branches, and empower them to price products as needed -- as long as they meet overall financial goals. They've also resized branches to be smaller and more boutique-like, placing them in less expensive real estate such as the second floor of buildings, and on the outskirts of cities, rather than in prime commercial space. Customers have embraced the new approach, preferring the better parking facilities in outlying areas, and the VIP feeling when they have to be "buzzed through" the locked doors of branches.
Jay Stevens is the Vice President of Operations for MySpace Europe. He's got a long background in the internet industry, and shared with me his background in communications and the web.
Key nuggets from his presentation:
History of MySpace: Launched in Jan 2004, by Tom Anderson and Chris de Wolfe. Grown from roughly 1MM uniques throughout Europe to more than 24MM today. There are currently 175 employees in 10 European territories.
What's a social network? Individual profiles, semi persistent public commentary on the profile, a traversable public articulated social network displayed in correlate to the profile. -From Dana Boyd
My Home is my playground: Identity and Identification in the Internet
Presentation by Lars Schwenk, Managing Director of Cyworld EMEA
There are four parts to a community: Communication, Collaboration, Self-Expression, and Peeping. Bars are the original community. Cyworld is about sponsoring, not advertising. Users buy items to self express themselves. Created a online event for an art festival called "Bright". Brands can create your own branded virtual items and let users in Cyworld use it. Self expression with identities is what Cyworld is all about. Are social networks killing themselves from too much advertising? People are willing to pay for digital items, or for sponsored environments rather than advertising. Currently adoption of virtual goods is 4% but could grow to 40%, there's a change happening.