Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Being Peter Kim: Social Media Predictions 2009

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Peter Kim has - with the help of many social media thought leaders - assembled a fantastic array of 2009 predictions on his blog.

Click the link for the full document; excerpts selected by Peter Kim below:

Fourteen great minds on social media have shared thoughts on what 2009 may have in store for us. Here's some of what they're thinking:
  • "Although it is now cheaper to launch an initiative leveraging Web 2.0 technology - it requires qualified and passionate people to make them successful." - David Armano
  • "You may not always start the year as a leader, but you can certainly finish it that way." - Rohit Bhargava
  • "Intimacy touches emotion; emotion powers conversation." - Pete Blackshaw
  • "Doors are going to close all over the social web. Why? Because the money didn't come the way people thought it would." - Chris Brogan
  • "The tipping point has not only *not* been reached, but could still tilt *away* from Social Media." - Todd Defren
  • "There's a lot of fixing that needs to be done." - Jason Falls
  • "Dwindling budgets suddenly make low-cost social media look like the pretty girl at the ball." - Ann Handley
  • "We're going to develop a set of better metrics to help guide, direct and validate 'commitment'." - Joseph Jaffe
  • "The movement is rooted in a desire to have quality, not quantity, as people cocoon in the face of the economic crisis." - Charlene Li
  • "After a pre-qualifying wrestling match..." - Ben McConnell
  • "These will be cumulative events and interactions that will build brand loyalty for the companies that pay attention to them." - Scott Monty
  • "The recession will force revenue results out of social technologies." - Jeremiah Owyang
  • "Companies that focus on earning love will thrive during hard times, and kick ass when good times return." - Andy Sernovitz
  • "Suddenly, being Facebook friends with your mom will seem less ridiculous than following 4,000 strangers on Twitter." - Greg Verdino

Monday, December 29, 2008

ADMAVEN On Twitter!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Searching for the right blog material is a challenge - looking for the right tweets much less so.

I am actively pushing ADMAVEN Twitter, so those of you who enjoy a more regular (albeit smaller) broadcast from me should follow the tweets here:

http://www.twitter.com/admaven

Get useful social media and web 2.0 information, ask questions about your campaign planning, and contribute to future ADMAVEN articles.

I look forward to seeing what you are up to!

Monday, December 22, 2008

NPR Digital Culture: Tim O'Reilly On The Future Of Social Media

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Talk of the Nation, December 19, 2008 · From Flickr to Facebook, Twitter to MySpace, social media sites help people follow the news and, in some cases, become part of the story. Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, looks back at the role of social media in 2008 and gives predictions for the future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

comScore Media Metrix: Retail Sites Gain as Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off

From comScore:
“The current economic situation has caused retailers to slash prices and offer highly attractive offers, such as free shipping, to appeal to cost-conscious Americans this holiday season,” commented Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “With budgets a top concern for consumers, the ability to conveniently search the Web to find the best prices has become an increasingly important part of the holiday shopping buying process, for both online and offline purchases.”


Full story

Monday, December 15, 2008

Personal Branding, David Armano, Critical Mass

From Chicago Convergence:

Watch Personal Branding, David Armano, Critical Mass in News Online, Webisodes, and Game Videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Windy City Social - Social Media Networking Event

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Windy City Social hosted an outstanding networking event at the Mid-America Club December 10th. Thanks to everyone who stopped to speak with me about the economy, social media, the state of advertising.

Special thanks to the organizers who threw together one of the biggest and most interesting networking events this year!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Social Media - Discussing Ideas With People In Communities

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.At the base level, social media is a pretty easy thing to define. A lot of marketers have trouble encapsulating what it means to be in the social media space, and whether a campaign is comprised of "just another website" or a functional 2.0 experience. This post is designed to create a very general framework to assist in understanding and developing true social media campaigns.

Let's have a look at my chart above; its based on a traditional approach but bear in mind that a brand or agency -with the correct core competencies - could perform all of the functions under one roof. The ad agencies who diligently invent creative concepts and the next great campaign are working with ideas. The PR agencies who interact with people on a daily basis and manage the perception of the product/service/brand are facilitating discussion. And the brand ambassadors - the ultimate caretakers of the brand (and our clients) - represent the people who are most influential throughout the advertising process.

When ideas, discussions, and people come together online the result is a community. Consumers spend a lot of time these days discussing what goes on in the world around them, and they are doing it via social media outlets. This isn't news to anyone I know, but it is important to ask yourself this question:

"Is my campaign facilitating discussion about ideas with people in online communities?"

If you are lacking in one or more of the aforementioned areas, you are not truly involved in a social media campaign.

And for those of you in denial about using social media - take a lesson from Motrin Moms... They had ideas and delivered them to people, but failed to facilitate any level of meaningful discussion in online communities about the negative feedback that resulted. As a result the brand suffered and a lot of money was lost.

I'm interested to hear your feedback; let me know what you think by commenting below!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Google Friend Connect Goes Live

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.
From Google:

"Google Friend Connect means more people engaging more deeply with your website -- and with each other."

Learn more at the Friend Connect website.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Maddock Douglas Seeks New Talent in Chicago

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Maddock Douglas, the agency of innovation, is seeking new talent to add to it's already skilled Digital Team in the Chicago area.

We are currently looking for a Developer with the following credentials:
  • At least two years experience developing interactive sites, micro-sites, banners and other rich-media online experiences
  • Flash action-scripting expert with experience coding dynamic Flash applications. Extensive knowledge of AS-2 or AS-3.
  • Experience coding Web pages, leveraging knowledge of HTML, CSS, Java Script, XHTML, ASP and PHP.
  • Web 2.0 experience and knowledge necessary
  • Experience creating email blasts and inline style sheets
  • Knowledge of server-side technology a plus
Up to US$60k depending on experience. Visit Maddock Douglas to learn more about the company. Please send resume and cover letters to my attention.

Happy hunting!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Crain's Chicago Features Maddock Douglas In Chicago's Coolest Offices

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Crain's Chicago featured Maddock Douglas in the December 1st edition as one of Chicago's coolest offices. I suppose I am biased because they are my client, but the article is definitely justified...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Dell Continues to Use Social Media

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Video originally posted by Jeremiah Owyang.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Social Media In Plain English - Common Craft

Common Craft released this explanatory video several months ago - I had been meaning to mention it as it does a great job of explaining how social media can help you or your clients.

Check out the other great videos at Common Craft.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Book Review: Groundswell - Published 2008 by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Groundswell: A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.

Earlier this year the blog community was abuzz with the impending release of Groundswell - the "how to" book for all things social media. Promising a system of planning and executing social media campaigns and tying them to measurable results, expectations were high.

Fast forward six months - has the Groundswell lived up to its promise?

Fundamentally, I enjoyed the book because it helps solidify social media as a valid and usable marketing/advertising strategy. The most useful portions of the book are the case studies detailing the trials and tribulations of various large companies attempting to enter the social media space (or being run over by it). Don't expect formal case study material - references are lacking and the studies themselves read as narratives as opposed to true analysis, however you may find some similarities between your experiences in social media and the foibles of those put under the microscope.

Authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff are veterans of Forrester Research, Inc. and it shows. They consistently lace the text with drivers to their website and blog, which is nice the first time but gets very old very fast. Additionally, the entire Groundswell strategy hinges on research, which although important, is certainly not the best solution for social media execution in every scenario.

Functionally, Groundswell delivers a very basic understanding of what social media is and how to use it in some very specific situations. In terms of providing a framework for planning, measuring, and executing a social media campaign Li and Bernoff simply suggest that through proper research and understanding of the target audience your strategy will usually succeed; a simplistic view of a very complicated process in my opinion.

In addition, Groundswell does not provide a true tool or metric for comparing campaigns against competitor initiatives, nor does it provide a quantifiable method for execution. The reader is simply told that each client is so unqiue you must make a significant investment in research up front or risk missing the mark and getting steamrolled by masses of dissatisfied or unconvinced customers.

If you are completely new to social media or need a good understanding of what a properly executed social media campaign looks like, this book may assist you in that endeavor. Take care to not get lost in the process of research, research, and more research.

Monday, November 17, 2008

iPhone Wins the Handset Wars - Dethrones Motorola and Blackberry

DISCLAIMER:

Though I don't normally write about hardware, I believe the iPhone has certain implications for interactive advertising and social media that transcend traditional thought patterns in mobile marketing.

Today it has been reported that the iPhone has surpassed all other handsets to become the number one purchased in the third quarter of 2008, according to NPD. In it's wake, the Razr V3 falls to second place while RIM BlackBerry Curve falls to third; LG Rumor falls to fourth; and the LG enV2 winds up fifth.

Having used an iPhone 3G myself for the last couple of months, I can honestly say the device deserves to be in first place. Nothing else can come close to the ease of use, reliability, and overall functionality provided by the iPhone.

That being said, Apple continuously improves the software while tracking down and eliminating bugs. The App Store is a potent method of eliminating the need to engage the costly and bloated software distribution channels while keeping development time to a minimum through intelligent implementation of Cocoa.

Agencies need to begin thinking about how they can push iPhone applications on their clients. The task can be daunting, but a truly killer App can round out your social media or interactive strategy in a way you and your client have never before experienced. I would be interested to hear stories of anyone who has successfully convinced a client to take up the charge!

This holiday season go forth and buy the iPhone - make it a gift for someone you love or for yourself; you won't regret it.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CMM&A Thanks Lewis Lazare and Chicago Advertising Professionals


On behalf of CMM&A, I would like to thank Lewis Lazare for spending the evening talking shop with over 50 Chicago advertising professionals.

We had outstanding representation from agencies, design firms, social media and digital consultants, and creative staffing agencies.

Our next official meeting will be in January, however we are working on a special event for December. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 7, 2008

AdAge DigitalNext Features Adam Cahill On Obama and Social Media

Every once in a while AdvertisingAge features a great guest writer with something meaningful to say. The Digital President by Adam Cahill, Senior VP-General Manager, Carat Boston, is an outstanding read about how President-Elect Obama can leverage social media to create an administration with more transparency and public communication than ever before.

Here are some of his key points:

MyWhiteHouse.com
MyBarackObama.com, the hub of your campaign, becomes MyWhiteHouse.com. Here the public will have direct and unfiltered access to your priorities and positions. But this hub won't be solely (or even largely) about information sharing. It will be the means by which you enable individuals to organize in their communities to bring your ideas (and ours) to life.

Reach Across the 'Digital' Aisle
Today there are hundreds of digital groups that are vehemently anti-Obama. Just as you'll need to work with Republican politicians, you'll need to bring these people into the fold. Have your team reach out to these groups, not with the immediate goal of changing their minds, but to demonstrate that their opinions are respected.

Multiple Points of Entry
While MyBarackObama.com was the hub of your campaign's digital universe, it was by no means the only point of entry. You had a meaningful presence in numerous social networks, from the mainstream to the niche. The same should be true of your presidency: Let the public access the government on their terms, in their preferred environments.

Legislative Co-creation
Just as the most progressive brands have begun to co-create products and services with their customers, you ought to use social media as a way to bring the public's voice to legislative creation and prioritization. Why should voting be restricted to Election Day? Let us "Digg" up the issues we want addressed, making every day an opportunity to "vote."

Listening, Feedback, and Guidance
Make it easy to submit suggestions and feedback, and make sure you have a staff to respond thoughtfully to these submissions. MyWhiteHouse.com can become a link from the public to the government. Whether people submit queries on an issue as large as global warming or as small as a pothole on their corner, make sure you respond with the information they need to act.

Enable Grassroots Community Service
Your campaign famously created a new model for fundraising: massive amounts of small donations as opposed to small amounts of massive donations. You can now use social media to bring a similar model to community service. Grand programs that require huge time commitments (like Teach for America) will remain important, but there is the opportunity to greatly increase the overall amount of community service if you can enable us to contribute our time in smaller, more frequent ways.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chicago Media Marketing & Advertising Group Presents Lewis Lazare


Please RSVP to this exciting event on the Facebook Event Page!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Microsoft's "I'm a PC" Campaign Goes Interactive

As ADMAVEN pointed out in a previous article, Microsoft has fought a battle to win the hearts and minds of consumers with it's multi-hundred-million-dollar "I'm a PC" campaign. As of this week the campaign has moved into it's next phase, placing allegedly user generated videos into television commercial primetime spots:



The landing page at windows.com has become the home of previous ill-fated Microsoft campaigns such as "Gates & Seinfeld", "Windows vs. Walls", and "The Possibilities". The "I'm a PC" page itself contains a seemingly endless supply of user uploaded videos in an obtrusive, difficult to navigate interface that prevents sharing of individual videos. The attempt to leverage social media and interactive advertising concepts cannot succeed unless users are provided with the tools to upload and distribute their own content by any means available. For such a high dollar campaign, Microsoft should be getting maximum sharability, exposure, and viral passalongs.

I wonder what poor sap at Microsoft is charged with reviewing user submitted videos for offensive content...

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Innovation and Comprehensive Digital Strategies at ANA








A quick breakdown of key comments at last week's ANA; credit to Jack Myers. The focus on all things digital is staggering - the shift from traditional media to a more holistic digital strategy will undoubtedly accelerate in 2009.

Hewlett-Packard CMO Mark Mendenhall:

"The relationship companies have with consumers has been upended," he said. "It's no longer the 30-second commercial that defines companies, but a comprehensive digital strategy is required."

"digital media have been anchor-bolted onto agencies. The digital integration issue needs to be dealt with at the corporate and agency level across all functions within a company. The digital environment allows you to engage with consumers in a better way."

"How we look at planning and buying will change and will become more customized. We will see dramatic shifts and this poses a challenge to everyone here. It's important to be risk takers. To push the boundaries into uncomfortable areas. We have not seen adoption rates and behavioral changes like we are seeing now."

"digital conversation has become a global phenomenon and is just getting started."

Coca-Cola CMO Joe Tripodi:

"It's important to keep the inspiration going to retain customers."

"control your own destiny or someone else will… and innovate everything both at the core of the business and in emerging spaces."

Claire Bennett, American Express CMO:

"marketers need to focus on inspiration beyond return-on-investment. Don't hunker down in a bunker. Take fewer risks but take them."

Joaquin Hidalgo, VP Global Marketing at Nike:

"consumers don't want more things; they want more experiences."

"build a bridge between the digital and physical worlds… through innovation, inspiration and experiences."

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Washington DC - Politics and Advertising

Having spent the last couple of days in Washington, DC working with clients - it has become clear that Web 2.0 applications are more important than ever in reaching political audiences. Politically charged messages are ofter overly complex, burdened by the structure of the political system and the sheer amount of information that needs to be communicated.

I found much talk - more than I expected - about how to use technologies such as podcasts, feeds, and social network services to reach into the personal lives of target audience members and have an open dialogue about burdensome political messages.

I am interested to know how you have been using social media to access campaign information and reach out to like minded individuals online. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in comment form.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bridging The Gap - YouTube Links to iTunes, Amazon, and Others

The biggest problem faced by Web 2.0 technologies involves measuring the success of a campaign in dollars. Creation and distribution of content is the first step to a great campaign, but how does one move from clickthroughs to actual sales. Last week YouTube took steps to sell - albeit through affiliates - content related products and services online.

The new model has been reviewed by many analysts, bloggers, and pundits; so I am not going to cover the specifics of how it works (read marketingpilgrim, seorountable, adverlab, and searchengineland for more details). Rather ADMAVEN will look at the fundamentals of the YouTube model; and why bridging the gap between social media campaigns and direct sales is so critical to the future of online campaigns.

Linking products and services directly to YouTube videos on a content specific basis allows vendors to benefit from product placement, use of music, and overt commercials that are often viewed by millions.

The holy grail of all social media is moving one step past the clickthrough rate to the conversion rate, or number of viewers that actually perform the desired action, such as purchase, register, or otherwise interact with a vendor.

When advising clients on how to properly execute social media campaigns, it is important to ask yourself how a campaign might be structure to remove as many layers between viewing content and actually making a purchase, registration, etc...

Too few campaigns measure success based on number of clickthroughs or video views alone. As we move forward in the Web 2.0 space, these metrics will become increasingly irrelevant as the industry restructures toward conversion rates.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Corporate Blogging For Self Defense

I have recently been discussing with clients and the blogosphere why it is important for companies to author blogs.

This evening, in lieu of the last week of economic turmoil on Wall Street, I did a quick search on Google for the term, "CEO".

The top articles returned were very negative in nature. What can a company do to counter the onslaught of negative press and foster an image of customer service and relations?

Step one: set aside a tiny amount of your marketing or public relations budget to start and maintain a blog.

Step two: discuss relevant corporate issues and bring your customers and concerned interests one step closer to the board room.

As Allison Guimard, CEO of Alijor, recently commented on ADMAVEN:

"I’m a follower of Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week, and his guidelines on time management have been very influential for me. Yes, I am a busy CEO, and I try to post regularly, but thankfully I have people working for me who make sure that happens! So I get friendly reminders every now and then from my co-workers/PR people to update my blog!"

Allison may be in command of a promising venture, but she does not have millions at her disposal for marketing and public relations. The point of the matter is you do not need a seven figure marketing budget to take initiative and utilize social media.

As we move to the fourth quarter of 2008 and enter 2009 corporations will come under increased scrutiny. Take your pick - John McCain or Barack Obama - both include policies of tighter corporate financial control and demand more transparency from American companies. Consider social media tools when planning your defense against attrition due to bad press and economic uncertainty.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reasons Your Company Should Have A Blog


In follow up to B.L. Ochman's article in AdvertisingAge entitled "Nine Great Reasons to Blog" I thought I would add my two cents. Clients are asking more and more about how best to create and maintain a blog, and aside from the obvious caveats about content and relevance, here are some outstanding reasons companies should make the investment.

There are some very pragmatic reasons your company should have a blog:

1) Search Engine Optimization. Search engines reward content that is not deeply structured (a blog usually consists of one HTML page) and frequently updated. A blog can ensure your company stays number one when a potential customer hits a keyword

2) Your competitors are doing it. I was just asked in a conference call with a large company to look at their competitors website, "Look at this, they have a personal CEO blog, a general PR blog, and a Flikr group! We want that!" My immediate response was, "What content do you have to offer? Give me something I can use to attract readers."

3) Your customers want it. A marketing manager at a large cinema group is using Twitter (a microblogging service) to give away free movie schwag (film posters, premier tickets, etc...). He got a modest initial following from the giveaways, but noticed something interesting. His dissatisfied customers were using Twitter to let him know they had a bad experience. He was able to bring these angry customers back into the fold by offering complementary tickets, a quick word of apology, or an explanation of company policy. The point is these customers were able to quickly issue feedback through the blog that is reviewed by peers and gave the company a chance to reduce attrition.

In addition, there are other - less tangible - benefits from having a company blog:

1) Your employees read it. Having a centralized place to deliver a more personal message can boost employee morale in tough times. Think of how C level bloggers have used their platform to discuss layoffs from an honest, no nonsense perspective, or how the same C level bloggers have congratulated individuals or groups within the company on better than expected performance.

2) Your company can create perception. Companies and individuals can use blogs as a way to self-brand. Choosing an author, imagery, rich media, and topics for articles allows you to actively manage your company perception. Individuals trust and seek out blog posting much more than press releases, and data from a blog cannot be bent through the lens of biased media groups. So long as the content remains honest, useful, and relevant to the audience a company may enjoy a high level of brand awareness without being literal.

3) Increase personal value. As an employee, your ability to manage and produce a successful blog increases your value. You have an opportunity to establish yourself as an informed and knowledgeable industry pro in a public forum. Encouraging employee contribution to the blog is a win win - individuals gain recognition and the company that employs them is increasingly viewed as having the best talent by customers and competitors alike.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

AdvertisingAge Sources ADMAVEN and Expands






A recent article in AdvertisingAge by Abbey Klaassen sources a previous ADMAVEN article and expands on my initial findings. I recommend giving it a read!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Social Media Studies! Blogs and College Students Are Growth Markets

Two outstanding reports released this week:

Technorati's State of the Bloggosphere 2008

and

EMarketer's College Students' Social Networking

Both studies tackle some complex methodologies and manage to create a well done, very readable report that may help your agency or company make more informed decisions when planning social media campaigns.

Combine these reports with Sapient's recently released Brand Marketers' Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future and it does not take a rocket scientist to see the implications!

Studies notwithstanding, social media is clearly a growth market and will not dissipate any time soon!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plug In To The ADMAVEN Blog List

I have updated the ADMAVEN Blog List with many more resources for readers interested in delving into the Web 2.0 community. These resources are located towards the bottom of the page on the right side. Enjoy!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Interactive Advertising Q&A Roundup

As an active member of communities touching the interactive advertising world I answer many questions on a daily basis. Each week I will round of some of the best questions and answers for your consumption. If you have a question about a subject related to interactive advertising or related subjects, you can email Nick Kinports at nick.k@maddockdouglas.com.

David Peck, New Media Strategist for LSF Interactive, asks:

How can we use a video like this to get the youth to vote? Saw this great video regarding getting the youth to vote in the upcoming election:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4kg514DcTA#

Got me thinking… How can we use a video like this to get the youth to vote?

ADMAVEN answers:

David,

Using a video to influence a group is a very powerful technique that has proven results; IF and only IF the video in question resonates with meaningful, targeted, and perceptually valuable content.

For example, let me direct you to my latest blog post, which is a prime example of exactly what I am talking about (not an ad to get you on my blog the post actually is a perfect example for this question).

Linked below to the blog and the specific post itself.

http://admaven.blogspot.com/2008/09/robin-williams-and-spore-why-not-more.html


Judith Bush, Manager of Software Development at OCLC, asks:

What are "best practices" and "best uses" of Facebook for community outreach?
My goals are to:
-become recognized by the general community
-become a known resource for watershed information throughout the community
-involve schools and students with projects as well as fundraising

ADMAVEN answers:

Judith,

Your situation is superb for the use of a social media outlet such as Facebook. The best Facebook campaigns involve relevant content (important and timely information to your local community) that cannot be easily accessed elsewhere (your council produces the information as a sole provider). Your target audience of schools and students are among the top users of Facebook.

This being said, your immediate goal should be to choose an individual to represent your organization and create a Facebook profile for that individual.

Next, you must begin placing relevant content into the profile. This may be done in the form of a blog, group, or announcements. Once your content is rolling you can begin inviting your target audience to participate with a clear, concise message detailing why your Facebook profile is important to their lives.

As for stories of successful engagements, let me point you toward a few resources.

I have linked below to my review of a free ebook entitled, "The Social Metropolis". The book provides relevant case studies and success stories that will assist you in developing your own campaign. Follow the link in my blog to download the book.

http://admaven.blogspot.com/2008/08/sem-vs-smo-part-3-social-metropolis.html


Mike McClure, Partner, Exec Creative Director at The Yaffe Group, asks:

What would get you to watch a webinar? What makes a good webinar? Special guests? Unusual topics? Straightforward strategies to improve your biz? Sock puppets? What works for you?

ADMAVEN answers:

Mike,

In general, the most effective webinar involvement is a personal referral. If your target audience is small (say <1000 people) the best thing to do would be a targeted campaign that has a high level of customization. For larger target audiences I recommend using your analytics to find out where these targets spend their time online, and then leveraging social media to promote your webinar. Regardless of the strategy you take, make sure your webinars provide relevant, useful, and entertaining information that is truly meaningful to the target audience. Ensure your webinars are extremely easy to share over social media (i.e. YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Digg, Technorati, Email, Etc...). If the content is good enough your audience will work to distribute for you.


Guillermo PĂ©rezbolde, Editorial Director at Entrecreativos.com and Creative Operations Director at Mente Digital, asks:

Do you think that Google´s AD Planner will become the standard for Online Media planning?

ADMAVEN answers:

Guillermo,

Google offers a lot of great tools to deal with simple (read: small) online campaigns. They will not be replacing agencies any time soon for larger jobs.

We use a variety of tools and outside resources to get the job done on larger campaigns. and Google cannot match the depth and breadth of expertise and software that the process encompasses.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gates, Seinfeld, and Penny Arcade

The latest Penny Arcade comic sums up my feelings about the new Microsoft campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld attempting to connect with consumers by living a "real" life.

Unfortunately Microsoft did not take their own advice about connecting with consumers when they green-lit the massive production funds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chicago New Media Summit

I will be attending The Chicago New Media Summit September 15th and 16th at The Museum of Contemporary Art. I hope to see many of you there!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Robin Williams and Spore: Why Not More?



Robin Williams makes a surprise (read: planned by an agency) appearance to demo the creature creator aspect of the new game Spore.

For those of you who pay attention to these things, traditional and interactive advertisements have appeared everywhere for Spore. I'm not sure what the total advertising budget was, but it is massive.

This is a great example of how an impromptu appearance and an unscripted, honest presentation about a product by a key influencer combine to form a viral juggernaut. As of this post the video has been viewed on YouTube about 1,000,000 times.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Political Roundup: McCain Palin and Obama Biden Link In on LinkedIn

Political campaigns are notorious for eliciting passion among supporters and detractors alike. This election cycle has seen an unprecedented surge in the use of social media to spread the message. Today I would like to focus on how the Republican and Democratic nominees are using LinkedIn to connect to professionals worldwide.

Let’s start with a top down view of the social media campaign structure:

McCain Palin 2008

John McCain 2008 Campaign Company
John McCain Professional Profile 500+ Connections
Sarah Palin Professional Profile 364+ Connections

Obama Biden 2008

Barack Obama 2008 Group
Barack Obama Professional Profile 500+ Connections
Joe Biden Professional Profile (Not Available)

Of note: The McCain Palin ticket seems to have a better handle on the LinkedIn community, with a clearly organized campaign company built with all members present. Though Obama has a group containing over 15,000 members, the campaign does not have a clearly organized company nor was I able to find a profile for Joe Biden, the prospective Vice President.

Although LinkedIn represents only a small fraction of the available social networks, it does represent a key demographic of white-collar professionals. The Obama campaign has some clear room for improvement before November.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blogger’s New Following Feature

I have added the Following widget to ADMAVEN. The right hand side of the page will now display ADMAVEN followers! Join up by clicking the link to the right.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Interactive Advertising Q&A Roundup

As an active member of communities touching the interactive advertising world I answer many questions on a daily basis. Each week I will round of some of the best questions and answers for your consumption.

Simone Katz, Media Planning and Buying Professional, asks:

What are common metrics used to measure the success of a social networking campaign?

When building a brand through the use of social networks, what are typical goals and how is success measured?
Thanks!

ADMAVEN answers:

Simone,

The direct answer to your question is metrics are either generated in-house or through a partner that specializes in such research. The reality of world today is that social media campaigns are absolutely critical, however clients often balk at integrating them due to poor data quality (i.e. you can't get clear metrics from so many different data points).

Saying "don't focus on the metrics just run with the campaign" is a naive outlook. Metrics must be integrated into the pitch and monitored throughout the campaign to understand what areas are effective and what areas need improvement.

Now to the specifics of the tools; if you do your own research, you will need to use Google Analytics and Alexa to get a clear picture of how your campaign is doing versus the competition. This will only work if you are running a fairly simplistic campaign, however the upside is that you will have virtually no research expense save for the time it takes to monitor data and produce reports.

For complex campaigns, you will need to hire an outside company such as Sway Inc. to produce what is called a Social Media Map. This document outlines the fine points of how your target audience is responding to your efforts. The data is complex, however the results are a better campaign and a greater understanding of how to connect to the target audience.

Typical goals depend on the product or service and target audience. You must compare your sales with industry averages or competitors and gauge the success of your campaign based on a comparison study. Alexa is particularly good at this bit.


Jennifer Dube, Marketing Manager at Cisco Systems, asks:

What's the marketing difference between a Facebook Group and a Facebook Page?
From a marketing standpoint, when would you choose a Group vs Page to promote your company, product, brand or service? What are the pros and cons of each?


ADMAVEN answers:

Jennifer,

My recommendation is to both have a page AND a group. The two are not mutually exclusive and provide two different ways for your audience to connect with your company or product. One route you may choose to take is have a top executive create their own personal Facebook profile and follow with a Group administered by this person.

In social media, the more points of potential networking the better. Some individuals may want to join the Group (a less proactive way to be involved with a product or service) while others may want to network directly with the person they see to be in charge of the concept.

The bottom line is that a technical analysis of Group vs. Page is irrelevant as either one can be created in thirty minutes and require virtually identical promotions channels to be effective.

Remember Jennifer, social media will not be effective as a marketing solution unless you provide a reason for individuals to connect with you and give you their attention. This requires you providing - up front and at no charge - relevant, useful, or entertaining content with little or no branding.


Ben Ayed, CEO of NorkaTech, asks:

What is your experience with viral Bluetooth marketing? Does anyone have experience with low cost beacons such as BlueMediaServer.com for couponing, interactive point of sale or guerilla marketing?

ADMAVEN answers:

Ben,

My advice to you is seek council from the Asian and European markets. Though Bluetooth marketing is in it's infancy in the United States, other more mobile technology oriented markets are taking full advantage and have been for some time.

I recommend contacting an agency that specializes in innovation or digital marketing techniques. If your budget allows and your interest is serious, research into Bluetooth initiatives for your target audience would be the best strategy.

If you have further interest in this subject I may have a case study for you to review.


Steve Crosetti, Owner/Guide at MoJoBella Fly Fishing, asks:

I think the proliferation of video on the web is awesome, but does a mediocre video help your individual brand?


ADMAVEN answers:

Steve,

A mediocre video can actually harm a brand through opportunity cost. The mediocre video will certainly not hurt the brand reputation (assuming it is an aberration in an otherwise outstanding campaign) itself, however the budget expended on that video could have been used to send a more effective message elsewhere.

A mediocre video will generate little attention and fade to obscurity within a week (or less). Your digital advertising budget should be spent on truly outstanding and innovative concepts, thus maximizing your exposure to your target digital audience.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Maddock Douglas Global Expert Network

Maddock Douglas, the premier Innovation Agency - and my client - is seeking experts in all fields to join its Global Expert Network. The Network will be leveraged to provide new views, research, and experience for MD clients and partners. I encourage anyone who is interested to contact me directly. MD will pay honorariums each time your opinion is called upon, and it is an outstanding way to network with other top professionals in a range of fields. If you are interested or know of someone who may be just email me at nick.k@maddockdouglas.com for more information. I look forward to hearing from you!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome Simplifies and Secures

Chrome, the new browser from Google, has by all counts taken over one percent of the global browser market in it's first day of existence (source: StatCounter.com, Google Analytics, various others). Though less than some people predicted, I believe this is a huge step for Google, and after testing the first release version I can say Chrome does an outstanding job of providing a simple, barebones browser.

Google must provide a more robust feature set in future versions to truly compete with Microsoft and Mozilla, however they are off to an outstanding start in grabbing this much market share.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Interactive Advertising Q&A Roundup

As an active member of communities touching the interactive advertising world I answer many questions on a daily basis. Each week I will round of some of the best questions and answers for your consumption.

Joy Abdulla asks:

How can social marketing be shown to be effective in terms of dollar sales?

Is there a mechanism/ method/formula through which we can effectively forecast or project what would be potential earnings for a brand by utilizing social marketing techniques on various sites?

ADMAVEN answers:

Joy,

The answer to your question is that you must have a third party software (or design your own) to measure the effects of your campaign. If the campaign is simple you may be able to track metrics yourself, but if there are any added layers of complication you will need extra help.

I have linked a company called Sway that does this very thing for many campaigns rooted in social media.

LINK: http://www.swayonline.com


Rich Dettmer, Director of Digital Strategy and Partner at Slack Barshinger, asks:

What law governs web based data collection?

When collecting data on a web site, is the collection governed by the laws of the country the data is collected from, or the country where the site is hosted? For example: If I am collecting user registrations from Europe on a site that is hosted in the United States, who’s laws govern that transaction?

ADMAVEN answers:

Hi Rich!

International law is tricky in the traditional corporate sense, but combined with the Internet there is very little case law to call upon.

The generally accepted concept is that you are governed by the place where your business is incorporated (whatever mechanism that may be). If you do not have a brick and mortar establishment, you may be subject to the laws of any country through which you transact. For example, collecting money from a UK citizen and storing that money in the United States exposes you to legal liability in both countries, however collecting data with no financial transaction most likely does not expose you to the country in which the individual providing the data resides. There is some case law along these lines regarding spam as a method of collecting data, and I do not recommend mass emails as a foreign campaign strategy.

In general the United States is a rules based country when it comes to law. You can review case law and find clearly (sometimes not so clearly) written torts, statutes, and laws that govern our businesses. In Europe (since this is in your example I will use it here) the laws are principle based. In other words, courts tend to look at your intent more than your action when deciding cases. If you are not doing anything blatantly illegal, I would say your liability is very low.

You can always seek council through an international attorney, but this is a costly engagement and may not provide you with a clearer answer.

I highly recommend contacting the consulate of each country in which you are interested to discover more about what your legal exposure may be. In my experience they are very helpful and willing to discuss these issues as well as the culture of their home country (which may help you formulate regional marketing strategies).

DISCLAIMER!

I am not a lawyer, though I do hold a Bachelor of Science in International Business and am almost through my MBA in the same subject. These kinds of questions appear in case studies and course materials. I hope my answer helped!


Laura Fitton, Principal and Founder of Pistachio Consulting, Inc., asks:

How can businesses use Twitter and other microblogging tools?

Communications, advertising, PR and social media agencies, what are your client's burning questions about Twitter and other "microblogging" platforms? Where do you look for the answers to what they should be doing?

ADMAVEN answers:

Laura,

Clients do not typically know about Twitter as a business tool. When appropriate, I may suggest microblogging as a way to engage a passionate target base.

The important thing when using Twitter - or any blog based tool - is to provide relevant content that is of interest to the target audience. Because Twitter is an opt-in service, target users must feel as though they are receiving something in exchange for their attention.

You can read more about how to use blog and microblog tools in ADMAVEN - The Interactive Advertising Blog, which I have linked below as a resource. Scroll down to the article entitled, "SEO vs. SMO Part 3: The Social Metropolis". Read the linked materials in the article and you will have a complete understanding of how to engage a target audience with a blog or microblog tool.

LINK: http://admaven.blogspot.com/2008/08/sem-vs-smo-part-3-social-metropolis.html


Natalia Alexandrou, Senior Marketing Executive at Report Buyer & Piribo, asks:

B2B Affiliate Marketing - does it work!?

I'm interesting in hearing your experiences (good and bad) with B2B affiliate marketing... and I'm not talking about the affiliate programs which use B2C tactics such as printer companies etc.

Are there any success stories? How did you approach possible partners? What tools work best for you?

We are a B2B company and we launched an affiliate program 5 months ago through a network with a dedicated campaign manager... and are only getting B2C affiliate sites joining our program. Is the industry just not ready to take on B2B affiliates?

ADMAVEN answers:

Ms. Alexandrou,

My experience has taught me several things about B2B Affiliate Marketing:

1) Pursue affiliates with whom you have a long and trusted business (or personal) relationship first. This may involve a C level meeting where you speak to the CEO, COO, and CTO to generate a list of companies that are willing to go the extra mile and form an affiliate relationship.
2) Be flexible. Although you should come in with a detailed plan on your Affiliate program, be willing to tweak the plan for each Affiliate. Every company is different, and applying one model to your targets may discourage them from forming a relationship.

When I started my B2B affiliate program, we went to our CEO and generated a couple of leads with whom we knew the CEO had maintained a personal relationship. These companies trusted our brand name, and were willing to at least listen. We then came in with our presentation, including the buy in figures, terms, etc... We had a contract ready to go, but never got a signature right away. Instead, we found the average time to close an affiliate was 6 months, and involved detailed negotiations with top management on both sides. Each deal was unique, but persistence and follow-up helped get the job done!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yahoo Buzz: Room For Growth?

Since making its official public release three days ago Yahoo Buzz has generated just that: a lot of buzz. But has it delivered? The premise of any site using the user rated content model (YouTube, Digg, etc…) is to push relevant articles into the hands of readers by peer voting. Of course any organization can submit its own writing – ADMAVEN does it for every article – only large groups of individuals voting for a submission will bring that particular article to prominence.

So far Yahoo Buzz has acted more like Yahoo Drone.

In press releases and interviews leading up to the public opening of Buzz, Yahoo stated that individual bloggers, small-time writers, and other such users will be given a chance to be on the front page and vaulted into relevancy. Unfortunately that just has not happened. Major news organizations dominate the first page of articles, with a few non-syndicated bits buried deep within the back pages.

My advice to Yahoo Buzz is simple: get rid of the New York Times, Salon, Times.com, and all the other major news organizations bloating the service. We know where to get that information, assuming we don’t already have RSS Feeds set up for it. The key for Yahoo Buzz should be to carve out a niche of relevant, user generated content that includes the blogosphere, videos, and other popular media. In this way Buzz can differentiate itself from its competitors and get away from the traditional news aggregation model that so many other sites employ.

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SEM vs. SMO Part 3: The Social Metropolis

Social Media Optimization continues to grow at an exponential – and nearly incomprehensible – pace. In the agency world it is almost impossible to stay at the forefront of the SMO environment due to this rapid expansion. That being said, there are a few agencies that do an outstanding job of keeping abreast. In the third installment of the SEM vs. SMO series, I will focus on GoViral, the concept of The Social Metropolis, and the book by the same name.

To begin, let’s get up to speed on the concept. At the end of the article I will provide a link to download the full book free of charge from GoViral.

Jimmy Maymann, the founder and CEO of GoViral, presented his concept of The Social Metropolis this year in Cannes. The video of his presentation is below. Though lengthy, it provides a basic introduction to the concept of The Social Metropolis and what it means to enter this emerging space.

One of the key takeaways from Mr. Maymann’s presentation is the concept of democratization of information. As more people have free and unfettered access to the internet, we see a growing trend of consumer empowerment. The following excerpt from The Social Metropolis highlights the resulting disparity between consumer intelligence and the current state of the ad industry:

“The result is a genuine mismatch between a media and marketing experienced public, and a marketing/advertising industry that, generally speaking, have been delivering the same product since the 1970s. I magine if Ford or Sony did the same...? The old model is broken - a new one is only slowly taking shape. Over the past decades, companies have become used to defining their message, shaping their brand, and having complete control over the channels of communication. Now they are losing it” (The Social Metropolis – Page 11).

Though there is a bounty of new and exciting information in The Social Metropolis, ADMAVEN wants to highlight the bigger picture – respect SMO or be left in the dust.

Explaining exactly how you can take advantage of SMO to leverage your next big campaign is out of the scope of this article. This information, however, can be gleaned by reading GoViral’s The Social Metropolis. Visit GoViral and download the book here.

Happy reading!

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.