Marketing and communication leaders usually turn to the likes of Zappos, Threadless and P&G — not government — for inspiration. Most of us have become so used to slow, boring and irrelevant government communication that we treat business and consumers as our only sources of innovation.
But it's time to dig deeper, because beneath the bureaucracy there are changes afoot in government communication — changes that should inspire every marketing or communication leader in any sector or nation worldwide.
In particular, I'm talking about government's use of digital media to consult with stakeholders about public policy. When researching my latest report, I learned there has been more than 100 examples of this in Australia alone so far.
When I was a marketer, I relentlessly hunted for local data to test my observations and strategies. Everything I could find about Australian conditions made it into my Delicious page, which I regularly mined for proposals and plans.
The process had value — or I wouldn't have done it. But the result was disjointed — a blogging factoid here, some MySpace data there. It left my hungry for a comprehensive analysis of how Australians use social technologies, and how marketers should respond.
By all accounts,this event will be packed full of insights, advice and networking opportunities, but don't take my word for it: read Josh Bernoff's post and then try telling me you don't want to be there too.
Chrome — the new web browser from Google — has generated online buzz for all sorts of reasons, but there has been almost no talk about its impact on contextual advertising.
To me, it's clear: Chrome is part of Google's plan to allow us to buy ads within almost any electronic application or media.
Today, many of the applications we use are ad-free zones. For example, most word processors and video editors are free of advertising. The same is true of the on-screen applications that we use to control most consumer electronics devices.
Content moderation — deciding what user-generated content to publish and what to delete — is a serious business. Get it right, and your social application may well flourish. Make mistakes, and you'll alienate the very people you were hoping to engage. An important step along the way is crafting a clear and trustworthy content moderation policy. That's the topic of my first Forrester Research report.
However, there's much more to content moderation than simply creating and implementing your policy. If your social application is large or complex, expect to make significant investments in moderation software, in labour or services, and in managing the whole shebang. These back-end issues — from picking the right vendors to measuring outcomes — will be the subject of future Forrester research.
On Friday, a bunch of us from the Sydney office shared a cake in honour of Forrester's 25th anniversary. Pictured from left to right we have: me, Tomoko Aihara, Ben Etherington, Sabannga Sanixay, Sarah McAllan and Jason Stokes.
Most interactive agencies owe their success to their tenacity, not strategy.
The cornerstone of strategy is focus, and that involves knowing how to say "no". For example:
"We only bid for integrated marketing campaigns, as our main strength is our diverse workforce which allows us to work across marketing disciplines"
"Our priority is winning simple, repeatable, web development projects because that allows us to be the cheapest local vendor in this market"
"We've walked away from most government and B2B work, because our business is built on creativity and consumer marketers are willing to pay for it"
Offering anything to anyone can be a strategy — but only if you turn every service into a product, drive inefficiency out of every process, and say "no" to personal service. That doesn't sound like many interactive agencies to me.