Monday, March 31, 2008

Is Social Marketing Slowing Down?

A recent BBC news report discusses the decline in new subscribers to social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. Are users getting fed up with being "poked" or having "sheep thrown at them"? it asks.

It continues to comment:

Social usefulness
This could mean that social networking sites start to evolve, taking on new characteristics, and perform new roles.

After all the power of a social network lies in the sheer number of users accessing that site.
Rather than acting as a glorified friend finder, social networking could provide more practical help. The recent addition of a blood group application to Facebook that tracks down blood donors with specific blood types, ably demonstrates this.

Social network sites are starting to make more of their audiences"The idea of social networking on the socially useful sites is all around consumer to consumer content," says Mr Burmaster.
"So rather than a publisher providing information and content, it's all about consumer to consumer. They are providing information to each other.

For the full article on the state of social marketing, visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

From Long Tail to Free

Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine and digital visionary published an article called Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business.

In this fascinating article Chris explains why cost to the consumer will drop to zero with a third party picking up the tab. What this will do to the economy as we know it, is mind-blowing. In fact, there is already a word for it: "freeconomy".

Here is an excerpt with the full article well worth the time on the Wired magazine site:

"As much as we complain about how expensive things are getting, we're surrounded by forces that are making them cheaper. Forty years ago, the principal nutritional problem in America was hunger; now it's obesity, for which we have the Green Revolution to thank. Forty years ago, charity was dominated by clothing drives for the poor. Now you can get a T-shirt for less than the price of a cup of coffee, thanks to China and global sourcing. So too for toys, gadgets, and commodities of every sort. Even cocaine has pretty much never been cheaper (globalization works in mysterious ways)."

"What does this mean for the notion of free? Well, just take one example. Last year, Yahoo announced that Yahoo Mail, its free webmail service, would provide unlimited storage. Just in case that wasn't totally clear, that's "unlimited" as in "infinite." So the market price of online storage, at least for email, has now fallen to zero (see "Webmail Windfall"). And the stunning thing is that nobody was surprised; many had assumed infinite free storage was already the case."

"The most common of the economies built around free is the three-party system. Here a third party pays to participate in a market created by a free exchange between the first two parties. Sound complicated? You're probably experiencing it right now. It's the basis of virtually all media." >>

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

4 Digital Customers: Ana, Andi, D.J. and Syndi

Herman Gyr and partner Lisa Friedman, developers of the Enterprise Development Framework, talk about the the "Changing Audience in the Digital Era – Implications for the Contemporary Media Enterprise" in an article authored by Alex Gyr. For more about their work, visit the Enterprise Development website. Here is an exerpt from Alex's paper.

The Four Digital Customers
As we studied how customers were changing in the digital era, we identified four major mindsets that were emerging that we will call the “Four Digital Customers:”

* Ana (for analog),
* Andi (for analog-digital),
* D.J. (for Digital Joe or Digital Jane),
* Syndi (for synthesizing).

Each of these customers symbolizes a different set of consumer values that must be addressed by the successful contemporary media company. While imagining these four customers as four individuals helps to illustrate the concept of differing consumer mindsets, in reality every media customer exhibits all four of these mindsets at one time or another, usually many times a day, sometimes even in parallel.

Humans exhibit a natural capacity for multi-dimensional states of mind. There are times when we want to be passive, when we want to sit back and be entertained(=Ana). There are times when we want to be playful or interactive(=Andi). And there are also times we want to express ourselves creatively (=D.J.) and when we want to feel part of a community(=Syndi).

New Technology to Meet Divers Customer Mindsets
Traditionally, the media has done an excellent job of providing for the analog, passive mindset. But now, this is no longer enough. Through new technology, the media can and must provide for a range of mindsets and human expression.

Thanks to the exponential growth reflected in Moore’s Law and the emergence of a new era, media technology can now satisfy all four of the “Digital Customers.” This was not possible even five years ago. Understanding what motivates and excites the four mindsets or digital customers can help companies understand their marketplace on a much deeper and more meaningful level.

The Future (which may be right now)
So what is the future of the “Four Digital Customers?” The answer is that no one really knows. Ana, Andi, D.J. and Syndi, and thus every media consumer, will discover new products and services that appeal to them and some that don’t. However, by understanding the four digital customer mindsets, media companies can take some of the mystery out of what makes their consumers tick. By grasping the multi-dimensional nature of the needs and emotions that drive every customer, it becomes easier to evaluate why certain creations work and why others don’t.

Ana, Andi, DJ, & Syndi help explain why the modern media consumer is no longer satisfied with only passive-reflective, one-way content. With the exponential growth of digital technology, it is possible for the media to connect with all four of its customers’ habits— and that is what people want. Basic human behavior isn’t changing, but the way that consumers can act on their desires is.

What we see today is only the beginning, but Ana, Andi, D.J. and Syndi point the way to what is coming tomorrow. See more here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

In-flight Internet

Here is a service that will change the world! "For the better?" you ask.
"Not sure there is definite answer," I reply.

The weary executive assistant counting on the valuable in-flight break to catch up on the office filing and administration will not catch the break once in-flight internet is available.

On the positive side, the internet will be available to start tracking your missing luggage even before you land!

Whichever side of the coin you're on, this will bring about an impact almost as big as the invention of flight itself.

In an article in today, New York Times reports as follows:
Starting next week and over the next few months, several United States airlines will test Internet service on their planes.

On Tuesday, JetBlue Airways will begin offering a free e-mail and instant messaging service on one of its planes, while American Airlines, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines plan to offer broader Web access in coming months, probably at a cost around $10 a flight.

“I think 2008 is the year when we will finally start to see in-flight Internet access become available,” said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst with Forrester Research, “but I suspect the rollout domestically will take place in a very measured way.” “In a few years time,” he added, “if you get on a flight that doesn’t have Internet access, it will be like walking into a hotel room that doesn’t have TV.”

The airlines’ goal is to turn their planes into the equivalent of wireless hot spots once they reach cruising altitude. These services will not be available on takeoff or landing.
If you want to know when you can start tracking your lost luggage in flight, read the rest of this article...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thinking Like A Search Engine

Search engine optimizers try to understand search engine algorithms in an aim for the much coveted top spot on the search page. Not many humans think like a search engine crawler, but here are some suggested tips that may help in natural optimization.

Each page of online content that gets created should be preceded by:
"What is the objective of this page?"

The creative process then continues with the interactive marketing mantra:

Keywords. Calls to Action. Conversion.
What are the most important keywords a searcher will use to find this page as an answer to their need? Secondly, what action would I like to encourage? And lastly, for this page to be successful, what is the converted response from the user?

The next step in content planning for optimized web pages will follow crawler logic:
  • If the same word appears in the title, meta description, meta tags alt-tags and between 5 – 10% of the body content, then this is probably what this site is about.

  • If this information appears in the headers of pages and paragraphs, it is probably an indication of important content.

  • If this same word or phrase occupies more than 11% of the content, the web site is perhaps using suspect means to trick the search engine into higher page ranking and therefore the site should be “demoted”.

  • If the content contains synonyms that relate to the most frequently used keyword or phrase, this page most likely deserves a higher ranking.

  • The most frequently used words or phrases on the front page of the web site are probably the strongest indicator what this site is about.

  • If other highly ranked sites link to this site, it is likely a site that also deserves a higher ranking.

  • If some of the content changes regularly, it is probably a more important site.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Email campaigns that hit home

Opt-in and double opt-in to email subscription lists have become standard practice. Once a recipient is on the list, it is still a long road to driving the message home.

Here are a few tips:
  • Build your list carefully (opt-in and double opt-in)

  • Segment your list so that you can target market

  • Add new email address to the correct lists on a regular basis

  • Make reading the email a good experience (layout, content)

  • Give something (discount, coupon, information, special offer…)

  • Be honest: give what you promise

  • Keep it short (subject line and content)

  • Entice with your subject line (e.g. the Weigh Watchers newsletter with "Stop Self-Sabotage)

  • Provide a reason to click through to a landing page on your site

  • Provide relevant content

  • Use small, consistently sized photos

  • Remember the branding (top left on the page is a good spot)

  • Timing (consistent, not too often)

  • Take HTML and non HTML browsers into account (it has to be readable in text format)

  • Make sure you add the “Subscribe” function to your web site and blog.

  • Use E-mail software such as

Why use Email software?

  • It makes it easy to manage (build, segment and edit) your distribution lists

  • It limits your email being seen as SPAM

  • It allows you to track the results of your distribution such as open rates, unsubscribe rates, click-through rates and bounce rates.

  • It is set up to prompt you for all the necessary elements, such as unsubscribe message and e-mail address, contact information.

  • It manages your distribution lists for you and notifies you when someone subscribes or un-subscribes.

  • It keeps an archive of your newsletters online.

  • If offers features such as a visitor sign-up box to use on your web site; a "Send Page to Friend" link for your web site and a special feature that allows your subscribers to forward your email and add a personal note to their friends

Saturday, March 15, 2008

To Blog or not to Blog

The blogosphere exploded with a myriad of pent up contributions from experts and wannabes - a source of ideas, opinions, information and sometimes, just alphabetized noise.

There is no doubt that bloggers have become a democratic online force to be reckoned with.

For the webmaster-less, it is an opportunity to craft an online space and mouse off in democratic digital glory. However, on some mornings it can become a heavy commitment to fulfill.

The importance of a good domain name (URL)

My colleague John confirmed for me today why a domain name requires careful thought. Hilarious, but it gets the point across!

Rule number one: check for ambiguity. Look at the list below and decide for yourself:

Top 10 Worst Company URLs

The top 10 unintentionally worst company URLS

Everyone knows that if you are going to operate a business in today’s world you need a domain name. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks. Failure to do this may result in situations such as the following (legitimate) companies who deal in everyday humdrum products and services but clearly didn’t give their domain names enough consideration:

1. A site called ‘Who Represents’ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New SouthWales:

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at