I was reading a story this morning from B2B magazine that the popularity of blogging by b-to-b marketers is waning. This is according to Forrester Research’s “How to Derive Value from B2B Blogging” report released Monday. A stand out finding is that 53% of respondents said blogs were either marginal or irrelevant in their 2008 marketing strategy.
Whilst not an expert and without knowing the companies surveyed, my gut tells me that the only reason for a negative response like this could be because the content is not relevant and is not driving conversations. I also imagine the reason for starting a blog in the first place was a knee jerk reaction due to the interest and desire to embrace blogging as part of a corporate social media program.
Forrester recommends that companies give it another go, employing a few basic strategies like honing their voice on other public forums, becoming a resource rather than espousing company rhetoric.
Are we going to see a decline in the number of corporate blogs – one would expect that technology companies would have more success, especially within the markets they operate and the topics relevant to their buyers. Perhaps I am wrong. But with blogging and other conversational marketing activities now part of an employee’s job description, are we forcing the issue and as a consequence, finding that there is little of no value because the content is probably not worth the effort. These results in this Forrester survey would suggest that is happening.
The media is using the departure of Bill Gates from Microsoft as an opportunity to reappraise his career and ask questions about the company’s future. As far as that goes I found this article in the Economist to be interesting.
The news, however, reminds me of this Wired article from last August, as well as the concept of Numeracy (and Innumeracy). The article argues that the ability of people like Bill Gates to conceptualize large numbers and mathematical concepts – their mathematical literacy – makes them – potentially at least – much more effective philanthropists than those of us intimidated by graphing calculators.
Over the past few years I’ve become convinced that the relative innumeracy (mathematical illiteracy) of most publicists seriously undermines our ability to do our jobs effectively. Mathematics provides us with a deeper understanding of the world and, therefore, a richer ability to identify and leverage trends. It also enables us to measure the value of our work and establish credibility with our clients. This is especially important, I think, in technology public relations.
Over the years I’ve made fitful attempts at becoming numerate. I recommend the work of John Allen Paulos and his books: “A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper” and “Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences.” The truth is I still have a long way to go.
With all these thoughts swirling in my head I recently purchased a new book along the same lines: “How Math Explains the World,” by James Stein. I find myself troubled by the opening: “My first glimpse into mathematics, as opposed to arithmetic . . . “
So you’re saying there’s a difference?
I have a long way to go.
I was reading an article about Twitter on Silicon Valley’s Mercury News today. It raised a good point and one that I wanted to talk about here. The sites describes Twitter as the “…Seinfeld of the Internet”. This can also be interpreted as ‘the website about nothing’. I have blogged about the use of Twitter in the Marketing/PR industry previously so with this comment, I think it is time to revisit my thoughts on this new(ish) Web 2.0 tool.
Are we wasting time frequenting Twitter? Is there really any inherent value that we can take away from this online tool? To be perfectly honest, i’m not too sure if my Twitter updates, such as those below, would provide any use to any of those that follow me:
It might make them laugh at me but i’m probably wasting their time (and mine). These people, however, have requested to follow me which makes me think people actually want to hear about my daily rants and whereabouts - as pointless as it may seem.
I don’t want to be too pessimistic about the value of Twitter. Mercury News reports that Twitter had “…1.2 million unique visitors in May…”. We are seeing it gain value in some parts of the world - particularly with regards to political applications in the United States. For example, Barack Obama has used Twitter to provide updates to the public from his campaign trail.
We are also seeing the tool used for PR purposes. These days, many journalists are also using Twitter as a means of communicating the stories/ features they are researching and writing. Savvy PR consultants are utilising tools such as Twitter regularly in order to keep abreast of relevant engagement opportunities for their clients.
As I mentioned, I see this tool gaining traction in the United States but I don’t think we are seeing similar traction across the Asia Pacific - at least not at this point in time. Will we see the journalists/ analysts on this side of the world use the tool to put the word out regarding what they are working on? We’ll just have to wait and see.
As far as reaching a wider audience, would my mum or dad ever use Twitter? (No - I really doubt it). I don’t even think my friends working at large IT-centric companies would.
The questions I am toying with at the moment (and I ask for your input) - Will we see Twitter move into the mainstream? Will it ever attract a truly global audience? As communication experts, should we be using Twitter on a daily basis?
There’s a great package of articles covering the future of the Internet, start-ups to watch and the business of social networking in the latest Technology Review. While there’s too much to summarize I do want to draw attention to these predictions (and hopes and fears) for the next 5-10 years of the Internet by the likes of Vint Cerf and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
My prediction (or hope) is that the Internet as a distinct entity becomes, more or less, extinct. To put it another way: in the next decade I hope to see an Internet so pervasive, so easily and seamlessly accessed from such a multitude of essentially invisible interfaces that it goes unnoticed by the average user. You can’t help but be conscious of your interactions and experiences with, or on, the Internet today. Ten years from now, who needs the hassle?
Any other predictions?
Are social networks such as Facebook and MySpace over-valued today? The price tags we put on them are steep in my opinion - in the billions of dollars! Although, are these sites and other online communities just a fad that will be replaced by the next big ‘It’ technology shortly down the line, or will they all see a long and prosperous future?
I slightly digress from my original thoughts but want to put this perception to the test and undergo a couple of benchmarking tests.
Step One - The Site Traffic Test
I got some interesting results whilst conducting a traffic rank comparison between Facebook and MySpace on traffic ranking site, Alexa. For your reference, all the following figures are based on a snapshot of a three month average.
MySpace receives a traffic rank of 6 [this traffic rank is based on a combined measure of page views and users (reach)]. The number of unique pages viewed per user per day on MySpace is 34.52.
Facebook comes in just behind MySpace with a traffic rank of 7. The number of unique pages viewed per user per day on Facebook is 21.26.
The graph above, however, shows us that the traffic rank of MySpace has dipped over the past two months. Over this same two month period, Facebook has grown considerably.
To be completely honest, i’m a little surprised with these figures. I definitely thought that Facebook would have had a bigger lead on MySpace.
Step Two - The Member Test
This next step isn’t really a fair test but I thought I would throw it in to add a new dimension into the mix.
An interesting sociology study was posted on Mashable about one year ago now addressing the difference between Facebook and MySpace users. According to the study ‘jocks’, ‘athletes’ and ‘goodie two shoes’ are the types that frequent Facebook whereas MySpace is the hang out for the ‘alternative’ crowd, ‘punks’, ‘emos’ and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm!
Based on the vast differences between the member bases of these sites, I am starting to feel a little guilty for comparing the two. Apples with oranges?
After completely digressing from my first questions in this post, I want to go back to my original question on the longevity of these online sites. And are we or are we not over-valuing them?
LinkedIn recently valued itself at $1 billion. Similarly, according to Computerworld, Facebook received a market valuation of around US$15 billion after Microsoft bought 1.6% of the site for US$240 million last year. Other networking sites have had valuations between US$200 million and US$560 million, based on transactions from this year. In the same vain, Facebook received a market valuation of approximately “…US$15 billion after Microsoft bought 1.6% of the site for US$240 million last year…”
I’ll leave this one with you to ponder on. Will this bubble burst?
Thought I’d share a few pictures of the new Denver office space.
There is still some unpacking and construction going on and pardon the amateur photos! Overall, it’s a great space with plenty of room for team meetings, client meetings, brainstorming sessions and networking and it will be great to be co-located with some of other WPP companies as well.
If you are in the Downtown Denver area, drop us a line – 303-615-5070!
One of the brainstorming rooms with an ‘Ogilvy-ism’ on it…this room will undoubtedly draw nicknames like ‘The Red Room” or the “Donny Deutsch Room“
Unfinished brainstorm/conference room with bar-stool seating. Unfortunately it came without the rest of the “bar” amenities, but will still be a great space for on-the-fly meetings.
Last but not least, some of the working space…
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at work only to find a few blog post links in an email mentioning that I ranked number 29 in the Top 50 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs. This said list was compiled by Julian Cole. See below.
|2||Servant of Chaos||9||5||8||6||6||5||39|
|3||Duncans Tv Adland||6||5||7||6||8||5||37|
|5||Better Communication Results||8||3||6||5||6||6||34|
|7||Small Business Branding||7||3||0||8||7||8||33|
|14||Business of Marketing & Branding||6||5||6||4||4||1||26|
|16||Australian SEO Blog||4||4||5||4||6||1||24|
|17||Wide Open Spaces||8||5||4||3||3||1||24|
|28||Mark Neely’s Blog||7||3||2||2||3||0||17|
|31||In my atmosphere||6||4||0||3||2||1||16|
|34||Pigs Don’t Fly||6||4||1||1||2||0||14|
|36||Australian Small Business||6||3||0||0||4||0||13|
|37||The Jason Recliner||4||4||1||2||1||1||13|
|42||Zero Budget Marketing Ideas||6||3||1||1||1||0||12|
|46||Arrow Internet SEO||7||2||0||0||1||1||11|
|47||The Sticky Report||7||0||1||2||0||0||10|
|48||Naked Communications-The Flasher||8||0||0||1||0||1||10|
|50||Send up a larger room||7||0||0||1||0||0||8|
The blog list was compiled using a set of criteria, including Google Page Ranks, Technorati Blog Reactions, Alexa page ranking and Blog Lines. Additionally, a subjective ‘pioneer’ score was also included, measuring the ‘blog’s ability to have pioneering thoughts about marketing’.
The Top 50 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blog list will appear in the August edition of Marketing Magazine. It will also be updated every three months, with the next update this September.
I try and give my blog as much love and attention as possible, but unfortunately find that my time tends to get cannibalised elsewhere. This new found, albeit short, burst of fame is exactly what I need to give me that extra bit of motivation to make sure that I am regularly contributing my thoughts on the latest emerging technologies and Web 2.0 developments and how these are impacting on the marketing and PR disciplines.
Here’s to crawling up the ranks Stay tuned for the next instalment!
Gartner has looked into its crystal ball and come up with the 10 most disruptive technologies that will shape the IT landscape over the next five years. No surprises that social networking technologies, Web mashups, multicore and hybrid processors and cloud computing are nominated.
Gartner is currently in undertaking its Emerging Trends and Technologies Roadshow in this region and according to several media reports and the company’s press release business IT applications will increasingly start to mirror the features found in some of the popular consumer social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The key driver for organisations to want to do this will be to improve employee collaboration and harness the community feedback of customers. This feedback will collected and used to help shape a business strategy.
One of the most accessible opportunities Gartner predicts is Web mashups, where companies will mix content from publicly available sources. Gartner reckons this will be the dominant model (80 per cent) for the creation of new enterprise applications. Reason being is that mashups can be created quickly and easily, thus birthing a new era of short-term or disposable applications that would not normally attract development dollars.
Gartner also expects new user interfaces such as organic light-emitting displays, digital paper and billboards, holographic (see my earlier post) and 3D imaging, and smart fabric.
So what for tomorrow’s CIO. Gartner’s summary is simple. The CIO that is responsible for keeping the data centre running, business continuity planning and finding new technology will not survive. That’s a relief. Rather, they have got to be innovators and think beyond the constraints of the conventional. Interesting, but not an easy gig.
As a start point, Gartner’s recommends that CIOs establish a formal mechanism of evaluating emerging trends and technologies, then set up virtual teams of their best people and give them time to spend researching new ideas and innovations, especially those that are being driven by consumer and Web 2.0 technologies. Perhaps I should get my two teenagers to work on their CVs tonight.
Oh, what a day! Australian journalist bemoaning the role of Social Media Releases. Comments like “I’m not quite sure I get the whole social element of this release” or “I think the interview grabs and images are a great addition, but if they are to replace actual contact with persons of interest, I’d rather go without. First and foremost, these type of press releases act as a primer for me. If I’m interested in their message or feel it could contribute to a story I’m chasing then I’ll put in a call and get the info relevant to my readers’ needs.” I think he is missing the point - the message doesn’t have to be text, it can be images, video, etc, but you don’t necessarily have to use it. The same journalist goes on to say “I don’t think I’d bother to share the release through Digg, deli.icio.us or Facebook as I only use social tools such as Digg and Facebook for social needs, not work related happenings.” But more interestingly, Steve Boyd and his theory of Twitpitch - basically, pitch on twitter getting the story down to a one-liner ‘escalator’ pitch — like 10 seconds long — which is going to force them to drop the superlatives and buzzwords and get to the heart of the matter. Now that sounds like fun!
Much has been said about the use of social media and I’ve heard several business to business technology companies either struggling with how to best harness social media or viewing social media as something that is too risky to adopt.
What I think lies at the center of this discussion is the need to really know the voice of the organization and the key attributes that factor into building the foundation that supports the voice.
That foundation should include a few key elements: a secure and confident understanding of the organization’s core values that ultimately define the brand; a compelling mix of core messages to support the company’s products or services; and a vision for where the company and industry are going.
From these elements – and quite possibly several other considerations – a social media strategy can be built that integrates the right tools, activities and campaigns that adequately represent the brand and help communicate with the company’s audiences.
I attended a Business Social Software Jeopardy Webcast hosted by Jive Software on May 28th. The Webcast three contestants - Bill Johnston - Chief Community Officer at Forum One Communications; Laura Ramos - Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research; and Jeremiah Owyang - Senior Analyst at Forrester Research and was hosted by Jive Software’s CMO, Sam Lawrence.
Overall the Webcast was informative, but what really stood out was the POST methodologythat Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang spoke about. POST stands for People (knowing your audience/ who you are trying to reach), Objectives (what are you trying to achieve?), Strategy (how your relationships will change from the activities) and Technologies (the tools you’ll use to achieve your goals for the effort). Following these four steps make a lot of sense to me, but they need to be built on a foundation that falls in-line with the company’s voice and overarching brand personality.
I do believe that there is a role for social media within any company or organization. How broad reaching the effort is, how “edgy” the tactics are and what tools and techniques are applied. The chief underlying rule to always keep in mind is that they must be built from a solid foundation and awareness of your voice.
Here are a few interesting current and past social media efforts from business to business companies that support their brands. The differences are obvious, but what is important is how they found their own voice and approach to meet their goals.
Some of these are well known examples, others may be new to you…
Cisco donthaveameltdown.com (I believe the official site has been taken down, but the viral video still lives on)
Know of any good B2B social media campaigns or activities? If so, please share them!
* full disclosure we currently represent Hitachi Data Systems, however we were not involved in the development of the Mr. T viral video series
Media Relations Myths