Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On "pink slime" and social media

Great quote of the week from a story reflecting on the seeming demise of Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), maker of so-called "pink slime":
Why the outrage around BPI? The Web petition? The TV coverage? “That’s the wrong way to think about this,” says Matthew Salganik, an assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University. “Imagine a forest fire. No one thinks, ‘Which lightning strike did it?’” More telling are the scant rainfall and hot weather that set the stage for a blaze. The meat industry has been taking heat in books, films, and news stories for years. Add a catchy phrase, schoolchildren, and the prospect that some icky-sounding stuff is in Junior’s Whopper, and you have a PR disaster. “Social media is something that adds oxygen to the environment,” explains Salganik. “It increases the chance that a small spark will turn into a big fire.”
Salganik's remarks underscore the nature of social media as a connecting force that enables viral communication among humans.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Focus on aiming

I spent time with one of our clients last week explaining the process of defining a target audience. People new to the marketing game often don't get this--they naturally lean toward trying to speak to anyone who will listen to their message. In these situations I use the analogy of shooting an arrow at a target. The arrow may, in fact, hit one of the concentric circles of the target. The secret is NOT in defining the target, but in defining where we're aiming.

One writer whose article I recently read suggested a term to replace target audience: priority audience. His point with this term is focusing on the one audience you must have in order to succeed.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is this REALLY a good measure of social media?

In an article in today's MediaPost, Mark Silva describes a new method being used by Klout to measure the impact of social media. Klout's formula is meant to replace typical ROI used in other marketing measures with a new "return on influence."

On the surface, this makes some sense, especially since return on investment still cannot be measured on social media (and may never be).  But digging in deeper, the idea starts to fall apart.

First, the formula used to establish return on influence relies on 28 different data points to establish level of influence. Then comes the clincher: Justin Bieber is the #1 strong influencer on social media. Kim Kardashian is not far behind. Well, that's handy. We just get onto Justin Bieber's Facebook page and then start raking in the cash, right?

Really? This is what I need to take to the board room as a CMO?

My advice: Let's keep working on a way of evaluating real ROI on social media. Klout clearly has not figured it out.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On becoming a pinball wizard

Here's a quote from a recent interview by Gordon Wyner with Simon Clift, the former CMO of Unilever. Speaking about the evolution of communication patterns brought about by social media and other digital content, Clift says:

The best analogy I have heard is the person who said in the old days that marketing was like 10-pin bowling. You send the ball down the lane and see how many pins you knock down. You assess your success, then you take aim at the remaining ones.
Now it's like pinball. You release the ball and you may or may not have the chance to intervene in the subsequent chaos. Brand managers are going to have to become more flexible and fast. Rather than careful, measured 10-pin bowlers, they're going to have to become pinball wizards!

If you're a member of the American Marketing Association, you can access the article ("Same Game, New Rules"), from the Winter 2011 issue of Marketing Management magazine.