Liberty, equality and mobility

I find it quite amazing to see the societal impact of mobile phones. 

They have changed the way we communicate and live. There is a drastic change in the way children and parents communicate, in our individual relationships with time and location and in so many other parts of our daily lives. There are interesting books and theses about this topic. I recently came across an interesting view point from Russell Buckley about the "Unintended Consequences and the Success of Blackberry in the Middle East", which is further proof of how disruptive mobile can be. As communication and creation/media tools, mobile phones offer new ways to upload and access information (remember the riots in Iran). As such, governments have to monitor and anticipate this impact. 

Beyond this, public authorities can make the most of mobile services. Many local councils, regional and national governments, and transport authorities are launching mobile initiatives, creating new value-added services for citizens, and trying to use mobile to connect with the least connected. They need to anticipate the arrival of NFC technology and make the most of more mature mobile ecosystems. They should balance their mobile investments with the constant need to avoid discriminating against particular groups of citizens and to allocate funds to projects with critical mass. Governments in particular can play a key role in stimulating ideas for new services and in backing and funding the most relevant initiatives.

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Facebook Asked; Now What Will It Do About Its Privacy Policy Change?

If nothing else, Facebook is demonstrating it learned a lesson from the Beacon situation.  Launched in 2007, Facebook Beacon became a magnet of criticism in part because the company sprung the program--which involved sharing user data with third parties--on unaware consumers.  So this time it's asking what consumers think before loosening the Facebook Privacy Policy.  And how did consumers respond?  The mystery isn't what consumers said but what Facebook will do with all the feedback it received. 

In a post to the Facebook blog, Michael Richter, Facebook's Deputy General Counsel, shared some of the proposed policy changes and noted, "We hope you'll take the time to review all of the changes we're proposing and share your comments."  Most of these changes seem uncontroversial, but then there's this: 

In the proposed privacy policy, we've also explained the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site. In such instances, we would only introduce this feature with a small, select group of partners and we would also offer new controls. 

This functionality, which is part of Facebook Platform, is quite similar to the way Beacon worked, only this time Facebook is asking for feedback rather than simply implementing changes.  The specifics contained within the proposed privacy policy state (in part and with my comments): 

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Integrating Social Media Into B2B Marketing Strategies: A (Final) Webinar With Harte-Hanks

Four years ago, I waved good-bye to my Pharma industry research and began writing about B2B marketing best practices, as part of Forrester's marketing and strategy research group headed up by Elana Anderson. Harte-Hanks sponsored my first Webinar in this new role -- called "Improving the Maturity of your Lead Management Process" -- and Elana and I teamed up to present the webcast that aired on June 7, 2006. At that time, my research on lead management best practices was only beginning and social media was an emerging concept that Charlene Li had just started to explore in Forrester's seminal research, the "Social Computing" report. A lot has changed since then.

Through an amazing coincidence, my life as one of Forrester's top B2B marketing analysts begins and ends with Harte-Hanks. Tomorrow, March 30, I will broadcast my last Webinar with Forrester and I am so very pleased to do so with folks at Harte-Hanks who helped me launch this journey.

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Pam Kaufman, CMO of Nickelodeon, to speak at 2010 Forrester Marketing Forum

As spring approaches, we are entering high planning season for our upcoming Forrester Marketing Forum. This is my third year designing the event content, and my co-host Carl Doty and I are working with the keynotes on their speeches. Things are shaping up nicely!

We just caught up with Pam Kaufman, CMO of Nickelodeon, and her team. Nickelodeon (producer of my son's favorite SpongeBob SquarePants) is undergoing a big effort to link their family of brands to the parent Nickelodeon brand. Forrester's event will be the first time that they've told their story externally. Pam has great passion and enthusiasm for her brand and this effort - I can't wait to hear more . . .

If you have a specific question that you'd like to ask Pam during the Q&A, then feel free to comment here or send me an email (coverby@forrester.com).

We hope to see you at the forum. Our Early Bird rate expired March 12, but if you call our Events Team at 617.613.5905 with discount code MFXBLG, and they’ll extend the $200 discount for you.

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Agencies Enter Into a "Great Race" For Relevance

 

Agencies appeared in the mid 19th century as retailers and manufacturers recognized they could communicate with the masses through the explosion of newspapers during the Industrial Revolution. From that point on, agencies adapted to changes in mass media (e.g. TV, radio), society and business. That is, until the rise of the Internet at the end of the 20th Century. At that point, most traditional agencies (whether creative, PR, full service or other) were slow to adopt interactive skills which opened the door for a new kind of interactive agency that would work with a new kind of marketer focused specifically on the digital space.

 

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Word of Mouth and Social Media: A Tale of Two Burger Joints

AJ Bombers

Image by tray via Flickr

I moved to the Bay Area from Milwaukee about five months ago.  Among the things I miss from my hometown are my two favorite burger restaurants--AJ Bombers and Sobelman's.  Both have used Word of Mouth (WOM) to become successful small businesses, but while one built its buzz over 10 years, the other used social media to become a success in just one year.  The stories of these two businesses can provide insight and inspiration to much larger brands seeking to create benefits with social media.    

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Microsoft Announces Plans For A Better Bing

Today at SES in New York, Microsoft announced some further refinements to its Bing search engine.  MS will flight the following changes to users over the next several weeks:

  • Top rail navigation will go tabular – in response to positive use of the category navigation along the left hand side of Bing, MS is also going to adjust the top rail of the search results to include tabs that will allow for drill down into categories of content related to the user’s search.  Left rail and top rail categories will vary according to the search.  See below for an example:

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2010 B2B Marketing Budgets and Mix Trends Research Published

For three years running, Forrester has teamed with MarketingProfs to survey B2B marketers (in various industries and at different sized firms) to track marketing mix and budget trends. Reviewing the prior survey's results published in April 2009, I expected that the economy -- and burgeoning interest in social media -- would accelerate the shift toward digital channels throughout 2009 to an unprecedented degree.

Reviewing this year's survey results I was surprised that, while B2B marketers experimented enthusiastically with social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn) and microblogging (Twitter), social media have yet to create budgetary or business impacts on the marketing mix. (Note: this research looks at firms of 50 employees or more only. The data set includes results from smaller firms as well. Tim Harmon will likely publish on this data.) In fact, most digital media fair equally, and unremarkably, poorly on the list of "what works?" in the marketing mix.

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ROI, Wal-mart and SKU reduction--and what we may learn about Social Media ROI

I've recently found myself in interesting discussions--one might call some of them debates--about ROI and Social Media.  In recent weeks, Social Media ROI was the agenda for meetings with several clients, the focus of a panel on which I participated at Digiday Social, and a lively topic of discussion at a dinner of marketing leaders in town for the OMMA Global event.  And today I read an article about Wal-Mart that got me to thinking about the dangers of too narrowly defining ROI.

 

It's interesting to hear the wide range of attitudes toward social media ROI.  Some companies measure quite a bit about their social media activities but do not evaluate ROI in its most literal definition:  The financial return generated by a specific monetary investment.  Others go through a great deal of effort to measure ROI, creating complex models to calculate an approximation of financial return. 

 

Some in the direct marketing space are beginning to value their social media efforts much as they do their PPC campaigns--assessing the cost of participation compared to the clicks, conversions and sales generated from trackable links seeded into tweets and Facebook posts.  This sort of measurement is essential and inevitable for companies that sell direct to consumers, but it's important companies not become overly narrow and begin to assess social media as just another click-generating channel. 

 

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It's Not Too Late For Nestle

 

On Friday, I attended the Justmeans’ Social Media and Stakeholder Engagement conference on how Social Media can be used for Social Good. I almost didn’t make it. I thought, Yes, this should be interesting, but how much does corporate responsibility and sustainability matter to the day-to-day of most Interactive Marketers? At the conference, I started getting tweets that called out Nestle on the tone of its Facebook status updates. Fast forward 72 hours, and Nestle is dealing with a PR crisis of Epic Fail proportion, as Facebook “fans” slam its business and environmental practices in the developing world. Yep, it matters.

 

Plenty has been said today about how Nestle failed. But I keep thinking about another question, “Is it too late for Nestle?” And maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I don’t think it is. Nestle still has a chance to shape the tone of the discussion by sharing next steps in social communities. Interestingly, Nestle did respond to the Greenpeace allegations in a March 18 statement on its website, and they told traditional media outlets on Friday that they would remove a questionable supplier from all parts of their (very complex) supply chain by mid-May. But that word isn’t getting out - Clearly, traditional outreach isn’t enough. Bjorn Edlund, former EVP of Communications for Shell, joked at Friday’s conference: “The best way to hide data is to put it on your corporate website.” Case in point.

 

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