Month: February 2012

You’ve Been Placed. And You’ve Been Spotted


Product placement has become to video what social media is to media.  It is intrinsic to its fabric.  It has become second nature.  It has become indiscernible.  And that is why I continue to enjoy observing and calling out the placements I spot.  Here is my third installment.  (Stay tuned for more.)

  • Colbert and Wheat Thins: Colbert coins the term “Sponsortunity” on an episode in which he reads at length from the branding memo for “Wheat Thins” that only someone in brand management could have written.  A real treat and must-see for those in marketing.
  • Diet Coke: Diet Coke seems to have used product placement in its own ad (“Not All Stars Appear On Screen”) during the Oscars.  The commercial shows the evolution of a film from script to production with cameo appearances by Diet Coke cans, e.g., in the hands of the writers and those producing the film and placed on the shelves of the door to the sound stage.

  • Apple: I find it so interesting to see which programs use Apple computers but cover up the otherwise highly visible Apple on the back of each device.  Example: Two and a Half Men.  Clearly, the producers like the aesthetic and how it fits with Ashton’s character, but, I guess they did not strike a deal with Apple, so they cover up the fruit.  Other shows go all the way – do they get paid for that?  In Showtime’s “House of Lies,” the consultants use Lenovo Think Pads.  I would expect no less (and it makes me cringe a little when I think back to my pre-Mac years).

For more examples, check out: Place the Spot, Spot the Placement and Spot the Placement, Place the Spot.

Playing with Pinterest, Tallying with Twitter


I finally spent an evening (ok late night) playing with Pinterest, and I can see why it’s so addictive. So many beautiful images. It’s visual decadence and indulgence.

It’s uplifting. A great way to spend half an hour… or more. It’s also extremely easy to use with an overall positive vibe (or tone, as Pinterest would say). People are sharing things they find uplifting or attractive or thought provoking, in a light hearted way. As of now, no disturbing images. And wonderful production quality. I wonder how they control for that. Images come from the Internet, so they’re not really user generated – though they are user curated. That maintains this highly polished experience.

But what’s especially nice – it’s all about the details – is the email you get when you sign up: “Hi karenlevine,” it says, “YOU are the newest member of Pinterest, a community to share collections of things you love. We’re excited to have you as a member and can’t wait to see what you pin.” Now that’s just nice.

Twitter, of course, is also addictive, but in a different way. On Twitter, I find myself almost unhealthily aware of how many followers I have. Am I loved??? Am I respected?  It’s like they days when you would come home and rush to see whether you had voicemails.

Every time I post something on Twitter, I watch to see if it leads to more followers – in that vast community of hundreds of millions of people I don’t know. Someone out there shares a topic I am interested in and felt that what I had to say merited following me.

Of course, I also look to see whether I have been retweeted, the ultimate compliment. Or retweeted my multiple people, a real head rush.  And then there are the responses. The exchanges you have with someone you don’t know at all. At social media week, it was truly fun to watch people who had somehow ended up following or corresponding with each other meet in person. And because the avatars are typically photos, it makes it that much easier.

Social Media, Reese Witherspoon and Pinterest


Last night on Chelsea Lately, Reese Witherspoon admitted that she “doesn’t get” social media.  Twitter, she said, “scares me.”  And, although she knew she had a Facebook page, she thought, upon Chelsea’s suggestion, that the address is likely www.reesewitherspoon.com.  (It isn’t.)

This adds credence to Terri Li’s estimation during a Social Media Week panel entitled “The New Ghostwriter” that 4/5 of celebrity twitter feeds are ghostwritten.  Terri is the Chief Operating Officer of Bre.ad.  It’s no surprise, of course, that Reese does not manage her own Facebook page.  However… the point of this comment, and the part that is (ironically) interesting is that Reese exclaimed in the next sentence that she LOVES pinterest.

On another Social Media Week panel, Jon Steinberg, the president of buzzfeed said of pinterest: “I think it’s going to be one of the most powerful business models after Google.”  Wow, that’s big.  What happened to the days when social media and other sites took years to figure out how to monetize themselves?  In fact, Google itself took 5 years before hitting the lottery.

Images below: reesewitherspoon.com (top) and Reese’s Facebook page (bottom)

Pinterest: The Newest Face of Social Media


This is the newest face of social media.  It’s the site that no one knew much about a few months ago and everyone is talking about at Social Media Week today (February 2012).  Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find in your life.

(It’s a good thing they started with the word pin board rather than cork board or bulletin board… When I was a teenager, I badly wanted my parents to turn one of the walls of my bedroom into a bulletin board!  When I got to college, I learned about the magical powers of tape.)

The key element of pinterest is the focus on images.  Like Instagram, it showcases one of the most important aspects of social media today – sharing photos and other images.  It seems to me that Facebook has become not only Flickr but those emails you used to get with humorous graphics.  It makes the site a fun place to stop off before bed.


 

Geolocation: What Art Though to Me? Part VI


Each day, geolocation has a unique impact on my life as I watch the way it influences my city, myself, and increasingly, my world. A few months after joining foursquare in 2010, I decided to keep a journal of my new life with geolocation.

You have now entered Part VI this ongoing tale – tracking the personal, sociological and historic milestones associated with the rapidly growing service/game/application. Click on the Geolocation tab for the full story or check my archives for Parts III,  IIIIV and V.

 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eureka!  I’ve rediscovered specials and – in a way – trending on FourSquare.  And, in the process, I happened upon a tie in with Groupon.  It’s all so incestuous, these frenemies.  In the images below, please note: (a) “Special” next to my local designer pizza joint Freddie and Pepper’s  – tied in with Groupon (b) little person image next to the Beacon that shows that 12 people have checked in (c) This is new to me – “Show” icon next to the Beacon.  I’ll have to investigate that further.  Something GetGlue-ish???

Just arrived home from a phenomenal meal at a restaurant in Chelsea called Westville – an amazing meal thanks to all the people who left me tips on foursquare, from the scores of them who recommended the four market sides for $14 to a non anonymous stranger named Frank, who recommended the chocolate pecan pie.  My friend Nancy and I thank you all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It seems that my taste in primetime television is on par with other GetGlue users – and that the app (which is not actually geolocation but was initially positioned as the foursquare for people who stay home..) is gaining serious traction.  I checked into “New Girl” along with 7,173 other viewers and joined 14,682 other Glee fans when I checked into that show.  I watched both via DVR.  Keep you eye on this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Have you checked out Square’s Card Case app. You should. If only to experience the art of what’s possible. You can pay for things by simply giving your name to the retailer.

Ok, so I’m working my way through Mary Meeker’s 2011 Internet trends and discovering all kinds of treats and terms along the way.  Many of which are mobile, and many of which are location based.  (I’ve even adopted a new phrase: “Geosocial networking.”  Nice.)  Here’s one I find intriguing: Shopkick. And here’s what they have to say about themselves:
“shopkick gives you awesome deals and rewards simply for walking into your favorite stores. You can collect your kicks™ rewards at millions of stores in America, and great deals at many of the top national retailers.

Collect walk-in rewards: Have you ever gotten rewarded simply for walking into stores – yes, just for visiting? Now you can collect boatloads of kicks™ in the kicks Reward Program and unlock awesome exclusive deals at your favorite stores. Just walk into 1,300 Best Buy stores in all 50 states, and hundreds of Target stores, Macy’s, American Eagle, Sports Authority, Crate&Barrel, West Elm, Wet Seal and the largest Simon malls! Open the shopkick app on your iPhone or Android phone in the entrance area, and wait for a few seconds. Your shopkick app will reward you instantly.  shopkick is adding more stores in more cities every month.

Get exclusive deals: Discover and unlock awesome deals in the shopkick app at dozens of national stores, many of them are exclusively offered to shopkick users only.

Collect scan rewards: Collect additional kicks rewards by scanning barcodes of featured products with your phone at 250,000 stores across the United States.

Redeem your kicks™ for rewards! Get rewards like iTunes gift cards, restaurant vouchers, Best Buy/Target/Macy’s/American Eagle/Sports Authority instant gift cards, Facebook Credits, movie tickets, or if you go all out, a 3D 55″ Sony Bravia HDTV or a cruise around the world! And if you want to change the world, donate your kicks to 30 different causes!”

Friday, November 18, 2011

The next (current) phase in location based services is Near Field Communication (NFC).  (I call it a LBS because the two devices need to be near each other.) Here’s how wikipedia defines NFC:

NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION, or NFC, allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters.  It is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the United States. [Gosh, it seems like decades ago that I read about Japan doing this.  Oh right, it was.  It was commonplace as long ago as early 2006 when I did my first mobile study for BusinessWeek.] Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data a short distance (“near field”) to a reader located, for instance, next to a retail cash register. Shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphones can pay for purchases by waving their smartphones near or tapping them on the reader, rather than using the actual credit card. Co-invented by NXP Semiconductors and Sony in 2002, NFC technology is being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to enable mobile payments, as well as many other applications.

And, here are some of the applications (by applications, I mean uses) – again, from wikipedia:

(1) Social Networking

NFC simplifies and expands social networking options:

  • File Sharing: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share a contact, photo, song, application, video, or website link.
  • Electronic business card: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share electronic business cards or resumes.
  • Electronic money: To pay a friend, you could tap the devices and enter the amount of the payment.
  • Mobile gaming: Tap one NFC device to another to enter a multiplayer game.
  • Friend-to-friend: You could touch NFC devices together to Facebook friend each other or share a resume or to “check-in” at a location.

(2) Bluetooth and WiFi Connections

NFC can be used to initiate higher speed wireless connections for expanded content sharing.

  • Bluetooth: Instant Bluetooth Pairing can save searching, waiting, and entering codes. Touch the NFC devices together for instant pairing.
  • WiFi: Instant WiFi Configuration can configure a device to a WiFi network automatically. Tap an NFC device to an NFC enabled router.

(3) eCommerce

NFC expands eCommerce opportunities, increases transaction speed and accuracy, while reducing staffing requirements. A Personal identification number (PIN) is usually only required for payments over $100 (in Australia) and £15 (in UK).

  • Mobile payment: An NFC device may make a payment like a credit card by touching a payment terminal at checkout or a vending machine when a PIN is entered.
  • PayPal: PayPal may start a commercial NFC service in the second half of 2011.[15][16]
  • Google Wallet is an Android app that stores virtual versions of your credit cards for use at checkout when a PIN is used.
  • Ticketing: Tap an NFC device to purchase railmetroairline, movie, concert, or event tickets. A PIN is required.
  • Boarding pass: A NFC device may act as a boarding pass, reducing check-in delays and staffing requirementsFr.
  • Point of Sale: Tap an SmartPoster tag to see information, listen to an audio clip, watch a video, or see a movie trailer.
  • Coupons: Tapping an NFC tag on a retail display or SmartPoster may give the user a coupon for the product.
  • Tour guide: Tap a passive NFC tag for information or an audio or video presentation at a museum, monument, or retail display (much like a QR Code).

(4) Identity documents

NFC’s short range helps keep encrypted identity documents private.

  • ID card: An NFC enabled device can also act as an encrypted student, employee, or personal ID card or medical ID card.
  • Keycard: An NFC enabled device may serve as car, house, and office keys.
  • Rental Car and hotel keys: NFC rental car or hotel room keys may allow fast VIP check-in and reduce staffing requirements.

The future (or past…) is here.
Sunday, December 4th, 2011

I’ve checked into the Central Park Tennis Center 88 times and into my apartment building 726 times.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

On Monday of this week, Gowalla was acquired by Facebook.  That’s huge.  What impact will this have on foursquare?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The American Express tie-in with Foursquare has been simplified and is quite nice.  When you check into a participating location, you are notified of an AMEX special.  If you use your AMEX card there, you get a $10 credit on your statement.  Nice.  I’ve used it at a restaurant and a nail salon.  It’s a good promotion because it encourages you to use your AMEX card to pay – at the time and point of purchase.  Moreover, it gives you an incentive to spend at least $10, a requirement I met easily with my yummy chicken parmesan and lovely pedicure.  What will be especially valuable is to use it for an $11 manicure…

If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on geolocation, click on the Geolocation tab or check out Part V of this series.

Social Media Tidbits I


Visit me here for social media tidbits I find worthy of sharing.  Share with me your thoughts.

Do You “Like” Me?  Do You Really “Like” Me?

Much of both Advertising Week and OMMA Global was spent talking about the importance of being “Liked,” as in the Facebook “Like” functionality.  The conclusion was that (a) consumers don’t hate advertising, they hate bad advertising… (b) if you keep it under control, it can be powerful (c) consumers DO want to have relationships with brands they care about – as well as those who offer them something for being their “friend.”  So, ironically, today’s eMarketer article includes two charts about consumers attitudes towards letting brands/advertisers/companies into their Facebook worlds:

Discretion

We’ll move now to a personal admonition – things individuals should consider before posting on their social networking site (69% of prospective employers have rejected a candidate based on something posted on a social networking site).  Below, we get into what organizations should do at a minimum in social media – to avoid regrets.

The chart below shows the huge draw Facebook has on our time.  Far and away higher than any other U.S. Web Brands in terms of total minutes.  I was intrigued by the Facebook phenomenon back when I joined in early 2006  (as one of 7.5 MM unique users) – and suggested my media client take a serious look at it.  At the time, Facebook was just opening up beyond college students.  Here are some bullet points I put in my report in February 2006:

Overview:

  • Social network site for college & university students
  • Founded by Mark Zuckerberg; raised $500,000 from Peter Thiel in angel round
  • Raised $12.2MM from Accel partners in April 2005 (valuation of $100MM)
  • Began allowing high school students to join September 2, 2005: High school and college networks are kept separate.  There are 20K U.S. high schools.
Membership (info as of September 2005)
  • Must have .edu email address to join
  • Supports 1,120 colleges – 56% (Source: Scott Osman, 2/10/06 – up from 880)
  • 85% of students in supported colleges have a profile
  • 7.5MM unique users in January
  • 60% of members log in daily; 85% at least weekly; 93% at least monthly
  • Recent alums are maintaining same log in rates
  • Users can add favorite music, books, movies, quotes, etc. and see others who share same interests; can also form and/or join groups
  • Additional functionality: events, messages
Who knew!

Here’s an interesting post from ClickZ by Heidi Cohen:

What’s Your Social Media Marketing IQ?

As you make your 2012 marketing plans, consider what you need to do to take your social media marketing to the next level. To ensure your firm’s maximizing its social media effectiveness, now’s the time to check your organization’s social media marketing IQ.

Here are 30 questions to help determine your firm’s social media marketing IQ. These questions will help you assess where your organization is in terms of social media marketing maturity and where you may need to improve effectiveness. Depending on where your organization is along the social media adoptioncurve, some of these questions can help you develop plans going forward.

Listening

  1. Do you have brand monitoring and/or other analytics in place? If you don’t have the budget for professional social media monitoring, use free options such as Google Alerts, Twitter Search, and Google Analytics.
  2. Are you analyzing the information collected?
  3. Are you taking action where appropriate based on your brand monitoring? Remember, about 2 percent of the comments require any company interaction.

Social Media Guidelines

  1. Do you have social media guidelines for how employees should represent themselves and what they can say?
  2. Do you have guidelines for what’s acceptable for customers and the public to contribute on your organization’s website, blog, and/or forum? This doesn’t mean you can delete negative comments! Customers will say whatever they want on their own and third-party social media networks where you have no control.
  3. Do you have a crisis management plan? If so, do you review it regularly to ensure it’s up to date and employees know what to do? If not, here’s help to develop one.

Goals

  1. Do you have goals for your social media marketing? This is a critical first step of any marketing strategy. Don’t think it’s just a test and we’ll figure it out later. If it works, you’ll need to make a case for more resources.
  2. Are your social media marketing goals related to your overall business objectives? This is a must for any marketing plans!
  3. Is your social media marketing driving revenues? For many businesses, this is a sign of social media maturity.

Management

  1. Does senior management buy into social media as part of your marketing and business plans? Recognize this can be difficult to achieve. Research shows leadership at one in three businesses supports social media marketing after three years.
  2. If management doesn’t buy into social media marketing, are you bringing them up to speed? Chances are that you need to show how it drives results associated with business goals.
  3. Are you expanding buy-in beyond senior management? Think customer service, sales, product management, human resources, investor relations, and other organizational departments.

Social Media Marketing Strategies

  1. Do you have a social media marketing strategy? What do you want to accomplish?
  2. Are your social media marketing strategies integrated with your overall marketing plans?
  3. Are employees monitoring social media marketing implementation(s)? Customers will use every point of contact to reach a human being.
  4. Are you promoting your social media marketing efforts? To drive customers and the public to your social media marketing, you must continually promote it. Use internal media.
  5. Do you make it easy for social media participants to share your content? Think social sharing including Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  6. Do you have tailored call-to-action and tracking mechanisms integrated into your social media marketing efforts?Prospects and customers need to be guided through your sales process.

Social Media Marketing Content

  1. Are you creating tailored content for your social media marketing initiatives? Since social media thrives on content, ensure your social media efforts have the fuel they need.
  2. Have you created a variety of content formats?
  3. Does your content support every stage of the purchase process? The information consumers need may cut across your organization. To support these efforts, use an editorial calendar and marketing personas.
  4. Is your social media-related content integrated into your search optimization efforts?

Social Media Marketing Budget

  1. Do you have a dedicated social media marketing budget? Social media marketing isn’t free! You can’t count on having a robust social media marketing strategy without financial and headcount resources. If you don’t have a dedicated budget, can you leverage other resources or hide your social media marketing budget?
  2. Do you have headcount dedicated to your social media marketing efforts? If not, are social media marketing activities incorporated into specific employees’ job descriptions? If no one’s required to do the work, it won’t happen.
  3. Do you have social media training to ensure employees understand how to engage on social media platforms and are consistent in how they represent your organization? Many firms overlook this important factor.
  4. Do you have a social media contingency plan to ensure you have personnel involved and monitoring social media 24/7?What happens if your social media manager’s sick or unavailable and there’s a problem?

Metrics

  1. Do you have established metrics to track social media marketing efforts back to marketing and/or business objectives?This is best done when you’re planning your strategy.
  2. Do your metrics include the full purchase process not just the last marketing touched? Social media can influence customers before you realize they’re shopping and after they’ve bought your product or service.
  3. Do your social media metrics go beyond marketing? Think broadly across your business such as customer service.
  4. Are you measuring the ROI of your social media marketing? Understand it takes time to have a well-integrated social media marketing strategy where you can measure your investment and results accurately. Short-term, determine whether your social media marketing contributes to achieving your business goals.

Social media marketing is a growing part of every marketer’s plans and budget. Regardless of where you are on the social media marketing continuum, you must assess the effectiveness of what you’re currently doing and implement strategies to enhance your results.

Twittered Me This Then – My First Exposure to Twitter


On the eve of Social Media Week 2012, I thought I would share with you my first exposure to Twitter, back in April 2008.  Who knew that a few years later I would have 575 people following my tweets and be named a top outreacher by Social@Ogilvy.

Twitter Me This

Twitter Me This! That is going to be the headline for my next blog, as soon as I fully determine my point of view about Twitter. After all, I am a new media guru, so I should be fully immersed in, engaged by and adoptive of “Twitter.” It’s been around for about a year, but it’s the hot new thing. I’ve already started including it in brainstorms for my clients… (wish I could tell you…)

I actually found out about Twitter (and subsequently, Snitter) when I spoke on a panel about Careers in New Media at Columbia University, and the organizer of the event asked the students not to Twitter during the talk. Evidently Second Life and virtual worlds are yesterday’s news, replaced by… Twitter. (I do like the name.) Of course, as soon as I had heard about Twitter via the student population, I began to hear about it everywhere.

(Side note: People in new media and in marketing should procreate — or teach — just to stay on top of consumer trends.)

Within days, I heard the term mentioned multiple times by the folks at one of my most cutting edge clients: Campfire. And then in the halls of another client — the digital media division of one of the advertising networks. And I’d only just discerned the difference between a widget and a gadget! I promptly went on to Twitter and signed up to track my Campfire client and some of the Twitterers he recommended. Twitter asked me what I was doing at that moment, and I told it — it wasn’t very interesting.

So… now what? I tracked the conversation of one of the recommended writers, who was flying on Virgin America and reporting that the (very cool) in seat entertainment center now offered blog content. Well, that is kind of cool, but not necessarily the best use of my time in keeping up with important news. (Sidebar: I will someday write about the in-seat on-demand offerings on Virgin America, which are very blog-worthy.)”