Who is the MVP of the Marketing Bowl: Social Media or Super Bowl Ads?

If you read this blog, you likely already care less about the Saints versus the Colts than you do about Super Bowl ads versus Social Media marketing. After all, the real money isn't earned from the battle on the field but in the battle that occurs during timeouts: Each player on last year's winning team earned a bonus of $83,000 while NBC earned around $213 million in ad revenue for the telecast.

A shift is occurring in the relative importance to marketers of Social Media and Super Bowl advertising.  Of course, the 2010 Super Bowl isn't the first we've seen of the marriage of Social Media and Super Bowl ads. Last year, Doritos struck gold with a UGC (User-Generated Content) ad produced by two unemployed brothers, and the brand is back this year with more UGC ads competing for even greater prize money.

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The Future of Online Customer Experience

New technologies follow a pattern. They start by imitating older technologies before they evolve to their true forms. The first automobiles looked like horseless carriages. It wasn't until the Vintage Era of the 1920's that cars evolved to a form that we'd recognize today with features like front-engines, enclosed cabs, and electric starters. Televisions started off copying radios - they looked more like an armoire with a small screen stuck on the front.

In the process of working on my latest piece of research, it became clear that the Web has followed a similar pattern. Early sites imitated a much older medium - paper. And even though 'web page' still dominates our thinking, online experiences have begun to evolve away from the page-based metaphor. In the next 5 years, the evolution of online experiences toward their true form is about to take off at a much faster rate than in the previous 5 years.

Consider that today's default Web platform - a browser running on a PC - is rapidly giving way to diverse online environments. The types of devices we use to connect to the Web are proliferating. In addition to the growth of netbook adoption, there are new devices like the Chumby and the Energy Joule. Portable devices are rapidly getting more powerful - as a result, the tradeoff between mobility and capability is shrinking. And even as the hardware evolves, the interfaces on the devices we use to connect to the Web are becoming more and more customizable. And the reason any of this matters at all is because consumers are already adopting these technologies.

So what are the implications of these trends? What does it mean for the future of online experiences? At Forrester, we've concluded that the resulting online customer experiences of the future will be:

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Risk Avoidance and the ROI of Social Media, Insurance, Guitars and Tires

There is a lot of buzz about Social Media ROI, and since the topic is complex, there will continue to be buzz about it for years to come. Brands want to know that Social Media works, what works, and how to invest their money.

Much of the results generated by Social Media can be measured quantitatively and qualitatively: transactions, decreased customer service costs, increased awareness, improved sentiment, etc. But some of the advantages from Social Media cannot be measured, because much like investments in insurance and tires, the benefits come from risk avoidance.

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Lotus Knows, But Do You Know Lotus?

First, thank you IBM/Lotus for getting me out of Boston before the snow. I know that has something to do with my good mood. But that aside, what Lotus unveiled at its 17th annual Lotusphere in Orlando this week warms my heart in another way. For all the advancements in its product portfolio and technologies, the real accomplishment is Lotus' keen focus on people, context, and simplicity.

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Social Media is the New Super Bowl: Pepsi Refresh and What It Means to Marketers

If you track Social Media news, I'm sure you saw the eye-catching headline: "Pepsi's Big Gamble: Ditching Super Bowl for Social Media".  For the first time in 23 years--23 years!--the brand will not be purchasing a Super Bowl spot.  Instead, it is sinking $20M into a Social Media program called Pepsi Refresh.

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