The theme for my speech at Forrester’s marketing forum on April 23-24 in Orlando this year is that the down economy is actually the *right* time to catalyze marketing change.Instead of hunkering down and trying just to maintain marketing status quo, my assertion is that marketers should actually take risks during the recession.
Last week, Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst on the Interactive Marketing team that I manage, caught flak for comments that he made on his personal blog about the community vendor Mzinga. As you might expect, we both have been communicating with Mzinga's Chairman Barry Libert and other members of his team. At the same time, Jeremiah has been reflecting on the conversation begun by the post. So have I.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at the mobile 2.0 conference in Paris. There are lots of events of that kind but this one was all the more interesting as there was a European start-up contest, showcasing how innovative mobile is.
What stroke me is that all the themes and roundtables were focusing on online trends expanding in the mobile space. From social networking to widgets via m-commerce, this is all about web ideas being reinvented in the mobile space.
Definitions of web 2.0 vary quite a lot. For mobile 2.0, this is all the more difficult as I think it is the result of a constantly evolving process: the convergence between web and mobile.
The result is yet unknown as mobile is a new and complementary channel / media with its own specific rules.
There are no doubts though that this market is evolving quickly despite the economic crisis.
Forrester recently fielded a Technographics survey in Europe: Mobile Internet penetration now stands at 24% among Europe online users on a monthly basis. Forrester will soon publish a report with detailed analysis on how the European mobile Internet space is evolving.
You can continue to ignore mobile 2.0 but at your own risks. Not having a mobile presence nowadays is a bit like not having a web presence circa 1999 / 2000.
As regular readers of Forrester's blogs already know my colleagues Sucharita Mulpuru, Shar VanBoskirk and I (Lisa Bradner) were part of last week's Digital Hack Night at Procter and Gamble. (If you missed the story can read about the event in detail at Ad Age here ). In four hours digital experts and P&G employees were divided into teams and challenged to sell as many Tide shirts as possible using their social networks and digital skills. Proceeds of the Tide shirts benefit Tide's Loads of Hope charity. The objective of the event was to give a hands-on experience for traditional brand marketers at P&G the impact of social media.
While debate about the event has raged online we thought it worthwhile to step back and take a look at the longer term lessons we observed from this event. These lessons aren't P&G specific-they're food for thought for every marketer trying to get smart in social media. So, what did we observe? For starters:
Cause matters. Each attendee at the event was asked to tap their personal network to ask friends, colleagues and family to purchase on behalf of charity.
The results are in. And the collective effort of the four teams partipating in P&G's digital night sold 3,000 Loads of Hope t-shirts and raised $50,000 for charity. Tide actually matched the money raised, putting the total disaster relief donation to $100,000 for four hours of effort. Thank you to all who bought t-shirts!
So I got a golden ticket to P&G's digital hack night -- a P&G party to bring together social media experts, P&G digital minds, and experienced interactive marketers to share ideas. The event is to test the strength of digital media to try to generate $100,000 for charity.
Now that both Kraft and Betty Crocker offer iPhone applications through Apple's App Store, many traditional consumer brands have to be wondering if they should do likewise. It's not a trivial question.
I'm working on a new report that tackles this issue. There is plenty of upside, especially if your app connects with the iPhone crowd and you don't encounter hiccups. If your brand is considering such a move, I'd like to hear from you and find out some of the challenges you've encountered so far. Or if your brand has already deployed a mobile iPhone app (or an Android one) and can offer a case study, let me know. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and help me chew on the topic.
Clearly there is a lot of passion and discussion about our latest research piece on sponsored conversations. But one thing is clear: whether you like it or not, sponsored conversation is happening and growing. I still believe that marketers have an opportunity to work with bloggers in an above board fashion under very specific conditions (transparency, authenticity, relevance, commitment and the addition of "no follow" links). I want to address two specific issues: Google "no follow" and Payola.
The subject of pay-for-post blogging has created a lot of heated discussion in the blogosphere. It was especially heated a few months ago when Kmart worked with pay-for-post vendor IZEA to give several prominent bloggers free shopping sprees in exchange for sponsored posts about their stores. Today we published a document titled “Add Sponsored Conversations To Your Toolbox” in which we advise marketers to pay bloggers to post under very specific conditions, a practice we call “sponsored conversation.” The two most important conditions that marketers must follow when using sponsored conversation are 1) sponsorship transparency and 2) blogger authenticity. Sponsorship transparency means that both the marketer and the blogger must make it absolutely clear to the reader community that they are reading paid content – think of Google Adwords “Sponsored Links.” Blogger authenticity means that the blogger should have complete freedom to write in their own voice – even if the content they write about the brand is negative.