Archive for March, 2009

Which type of ‘Connector’ are you?

March 31st, 2009

Advertising Age ran an interesting article yesterday about the evolution of search and the notion that social media has affected exactly HOW people search.

If 1.0 was about making sure the information within individual pages of your site could be found, and 2.0 was about making sure your site was optimized within a network of related sites, then 3.0 is going to be about finding ways to reach individuals by using their social graphs.

Very interesting anthropology of how people’s quest for answers has shifted as their personal network has expanded.  As someone that is more active on the Web than most, I find that I leverage my network pretty heavily when searching for information…sure, I go to GOOG for the easy things, but when I want a ‘human’ recommendation/perspective – out goes a tweet or a question posed on my facebook status – in effect, leveraging my social graph.  The article goes a bit further by explaining how marketers must understand the breakdown of networks that have morphed throughout the social eco-system. 

  • Direct Connectors: connections based on real world relationships
  • Interest Generators: strangers sharing interests or perspectives – think ‘followers’ on Twitter
  • Experience Sharers: reviewers of a product or service – an enticing target due to their place in the purchase funnel

Very Gladwell-esque….which type of ‘Connector‘ are you?

Search, Social Media , ,

Advertising in the Auto industry – the broad effect

March 30th, 2009

Ad spends are down across the board.  In the auto industry, it is almost non-existent.  Watching the NCAA tournament this past weekend, I took note of which auto manufacturers were running 30 second spots on TV.  Two – Ford and Saturn – and their format and spots were very different.  Saturn went with the human element – putting their employees in front of the camera and letting everyone know ‘We’re still here‘, while Ford chose to leverage two of the hottest properties currently on TV – American Idol and March Madness.  I can’t imagine what those spots are costing them – but it appears that they are taking advantage of available inventory and are probably paying significantly less than what they have paid for each of their previous American Idol sponsorships. 

What’s interesting is looking at the hard push by Saturn to remind us that their still around, even when there is wide spread speculation that they are close to being shuttered by GM.  Who do you believe?  Maybe the true temperature check is with the major TV networks.  One of the headlines in the Wall Street Journal today shows us the breadth of collateral damage: “CBS Shares Drop On Downgrade, Auto-Ad Concerns “.  The article goes on to state:

“Shares of CBS Corp. (CBS) dropped as much as 18% Monday after UBS cut its stock-investment rating and as concerns about the auto sector hurt the media company….A significant portion of CBS’ revenue – 65% – is generated through advertising sales, and the auto industry has traditionally been one of the largest advertisers.”

The key quote, from my perspective, in this article is the following:

Ad buyers are looking for higher return on their marketing investments

You bet they are – and if they get pushback from one network, the next in line will step up with a better offer.

Advertising ,

Pandora and Nike create the ‘musical treadmill’

March 27th, 2009

Music and running – it just goes together.  Now you can ‘mix’ your own workout playlist with the new Nike Treadmill on Pandora.  Feeling sluggish?  Want the tempo of your music to reflect your pedestrian pace – dial back the Speed Slider to 1, but make sure you push your Endurance Slider to 10 to get burn those calories.  Pandora is just now starting to do some different forms of advertising within their digital experience…the key for me – they are innovative and relevant.  Now strap your iPod to your arm and hit that treadmill!

Online Advertising ,

E*TRADE: Making advertising fun, and memorable

March 26th, 2009

I’ll give it to E*TRADE – their commercials are consistently funny and get me to pay attention.  So much so that I will stop fast forwarding my DVR just to watch what that crazy baby is going to say next.  They’ve found an effective ad campaign and are sticking with it – which is refreshing.  Too many brands are changing their campaigns too frequently, which kills their brand recall.  E*TRADE gets it and they’ve fully embraced the talking baby as their hook.  Everyone loves babies…and talking babies are funny!  “Why don’t you try reading the rules… shankapotomus.”

Advertising ,

Twitter Quitters?

March 25th, 2009

As I wrote about in my previous post, Twitter is one of the fastest growing community sites this year (for the month of February unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year) and is becoming pervasive in the mainstream (largest volume of the population on Twitter was in the 35-49 age group) per Nielsen.  No one can argue that that microblogging and, Twitter specifically, is on the rise –  but does everyone love it?  No.  There is a growing trend of ‘Twitter Quitters’…heavy heavy users with a large following that attempt to ‘leave the nest’ (pun intended) and go tweet free.  Even more interesting…they almost always come back.  The LA Times profiles one of the more well known Twitter Quitters…Leo Laporte

They kind of have you,” said Laporte, who now has more than 100,000 followers on the service…..because you have to go where the community is.” 

Not only do they have you…with today’s announcement, they are finally finding a way to monetize their model.  From the WSJ:

Fred Wilson, a Twitter investor and board member who is a partner at Union Square Ventures, says Twitter will make money by “following the money,” or building on the ways that others are developing businesses based on the service.” 

This will be interesting to watch.  Are you willing to pay for something you’ve gotten for free thus far?


Social Networking: Not just for Gen Y

March 24th, 2009

Youth love social networks.  Apparently so do the baby boomers and those baby boomers are making a big splash.  This IS your mother’s social web and our parents are adopting it at a rate that is far out pacing the 20 and 30-something crowd.  According to a study from Accenture, those born between 1946 and 1964 are

‘…the fastest growing users of social networking sites…’ 

Pair this with the new Nielsen information about Twitter growth being the largest in the 35-49 y/o age group and we come to the conclusion that the social web is getting older – by it’s own standards, and those using it.  Steve Rubel expands on his Micro Pesuasion blog.

Blogging, Social Media , ,

ExecTweets: Find top Executives on Twitter

March 23rd, 2009

“…a resource to help you find and follow the top business executives on Twitter” From the about section (where you can find all execs that are on board) on the

 Battelle writes a nice summary on his Searchblog.


Andy Grove to receive lifetime achievement award

March 23rd, 2009

Certainly one of the greatest minds of our time and a man that changed the face of computing forever.  He’s legendary in the industry and around the halls of Intel.  We all have our favorite Andy stories, either personally witnessed or passed on from those who grew up in the company under his leadership.  My summer intern exhibited our value of ‘risk taking’ last year and emailed Andy directly (yes, he still has a valid email address).  When he told me I wondered if that was a good idea – turns out it was – he was quick to respond and gave him a classic Andy Grove pearl of wisdom.  I’m sure it made his whole internship….

Mr Grove will receive the award from the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHFF), established in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The NIHFF honors inventors who contributions have enabled human, social, and economic progress.

More information about the induction from Silicon Valley Watcher.

Intel ,

Twitter growth, representative of it’s importance to brand marketing

March 20th, 2009

From Michelle McGiboney, Nielsen Online:

“ continues to grow in popularity and importance in both the consumer and corporate worlds. No longer just a platform for friends to stay connected in real time, it has evolved into an important component of brand marketing. Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month.”

What I found very interesting was the fact that the largest volume of the population on Twitter was in the 35-49 age group, and they spend their ‘Twitter time’ at work.  One of the biggest stimuli for Twitter?  The fact that it’s portable.  The volume of tweets sent through a mobile device, either via the web or through a text message, is truly staggering.  Personally – I spend most of my time on Twitter on the PC (it’s frankly easier for me to manage since I sit in front of a large screen 10 hours a day), but I understand how those on the move (celebrities, athletes, business travelers) would lean heavily on their mobile device.

Social Media, Twitter

The value of a large Twitter following

March 18th, 2009

Recently there was an interesting article in the Tech Crunch about the value of Twitter Traffic and the staggering amount of money that people are willing to pay for a slot in the top 20 of the suggested list on the Twitter site.  From Jason Calcanis’ Twitter stream:

It’s actually a standing offer to Twitter. $120k for one of the twenty slots. In fact, I’ll pay $250k for two years in advance.

Calcanis went even further to outline why he was willing to pay that amount of money for such a placement, indicating that he felt such a place in the top 20 would be worth $1M in 5 years time – equating it to levels spent on ads in the Superbowl.

I believe Calcanis is not alone in this theory.  Even though he doesn’t claim to be willing to pay the same upfront costs as Calcanis, Guy Kawasaki professes his willingness to pay upwards of $500/month for using Twitter.  He talks about his prolific use of Twitter in marketing his brand and that of Alltop in a recent interview with Jennifer Jones on Marketing Voices.  He says “I don’t know how we would do Alltop without Twitter” and likens it to a “free and instant announcement system“.   With more than ninety thousand followers being constantly exposed to his ‘brand’ and that of Alltop via his Twitter stream – it’s not surprising to see his loyalty and willingness to pay for this communication vehicle.

Twitter ,