Archive for June, 2009

ommaYesterday was the second OMMA Social conference hosted by the fine folks from MediaPost. I moderated a panel that focused on strategy titled “As Social Media Grows, How Not to Miss the Forest for the Trees”.Marketers and agencies tend to focus on the “shiny new thing” – first it was MySpace, then Facebook, now Twitter, and there were even the moments of Second Life (ugh) and other platforms and digital sub-channels. At some point in the not too distant future it will be something else. Additionally, platforms like Wikipedia and Flickr and YouTube and Delicious all have a place in our arsenal of presence, as do some of the smaller second tier social sites, but most marketers don’t seem to methodically determine objective and develop strategies, but rather run into these channels simply because consumers are there and they need to follow. Aftrer all fishing where the proverbial fish are is what us marketers do, right? But without a strategy for the long term fundamental shift in how brands can engage consumers in social media, taking into account the multi-disciplinary nature of these platforms, companies may be headed in the wrong direction due to shortsightedness.

The official description and panelists that I hand selected for this important topic of social media strategy are below. The audience was full of laptops blogging and tweeting the conference, maybe more so than I have seen before. In fact here is a great blog post that summarizes our panel.

As Social Media Grows, How Not to Miss the Forest for the Trees  
Tweets, Facebook apps, MySpace pages, YouTube channels, and blogging are all trees in a large social media forest, and given the forest’s increasing density, it’s getting easier and easier to get lost. In fact, many marketers are jumping into the channels and tactics of social media without spending enough time focusing on objectives and strategies. Marketers and agencies will discuss how to use the channels that fit their strategies, rather than let channels dictate them.  

Moderator 
Jason Heller, EVP, Laredo Group  
 
Panelists 
Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus 
Shiv Singh, VP, Global Social Media Lead, Razorfish 
Denise Sposato, Director of Communities, H&R Block 
Don Steele, VP, Digital Marketing, MTVN Entertainment Group  

You can read the Twitter stream for all Omma Social posts (#ommasocial) here.

Apparently the video of the panels will be up in a week or so here.

Picture1Many of my readers may already be aware of my life outside of the digital marketing industry. As publisher of a burgeoning niche digital media business, I have been experiencing the other side of the proverbial coin – producing and curating content, providing rich consumer experiences, developing a loyal audience, and managing a practical revenue model.

Our audience is a very unique and interesting one –  the growing global underwater photography and video communities. One of the roles of our editorial team is to keep our audience up to date with all the new photography equipment that may be relevant for underwater use. Needless to say, we receive tons of press releases and PR pitches, and ultimately our audience relies on us to provide relevant information on what’s new and hot.

Tapping Into A Meme
You can imagine my marketing-geek excitement when I received an email from the Olympus marketing team about Olympus teaming up with Tom Dickson – a.k.a. the “will it blend? guy” – to produce a very clever video promoting the new Olympus E-P1.

The background story here is what is so interesting – a marketer, turned meme, co-oping with another marketer. Blendtec is a company that otherwise sells one of the more unsexy products imaginable – high power blenders.  Their Will It Blend? series of videos (and microsite), where they blend everything from an iPhone, to golf balls, a ‘toilet flusher thingy’, even a can of Spam, has catapulted to internet meme status over the last few years. Now Olympus has tapped into that meme-dom, but will this trend continue? Sure – as long as blending ridiculous items continues to engage and capture the attention of consumers, Tom Dickson is going to need more products to blend, and everybody involved might as well benefit. Then we all move on. But for the time being – the first official (or at least recognizable) product marketing tie-in to the Will It Blend? series of “viral videos has this marketing strategist smiling.

We all grew up with TV commercials vying for an emotional or otherwise memorable place in our hearts and minds, yet it’s rare to find online executions that do the same. When online marketing executions achieve this, it is a feat in and of itself, and hopefully we’ll see more of this in our digitally creative future. Blendtec’s videos are as authentic as they are clever, but to cooperate with other product marketers in the process makes it that much more of a success story. So kudos to Blendtec, and kudos to Olympus for approaching them with the idea and pulling this off.

A couple of other examples of advertisers capitalizing on memes:

Geico recently did it with the Numa Numa guy:

Toyota also pulled it off with their 2007 Leroy Jenkins spot:

Tapping into memes is easier said than done of course (and creating a meme is the online equivalent of wiriting a blockbuster movie or best selling novel),  but keep the memes on your radar screen, and when it’s appropriate to your brand, make the magic happen. There’s a little luck in the process – but luck is occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

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digidaysYesterday I emceed my second set of DigiDay conferences (DigiDay Networks & DigiDay Target), where execs and thought leaders gathered from the industry’s  leading ad networks, optimization technology firms, data marketplaces, data exchanges, agencies, publishers, and even a few marketers were in the mix. Consistent with my last DigiDay experiences, it was a standing room only crowd – no really – at 8:30AM … in New York City … hard to believe but true!

Although technically two half day conferences, the interwoven theme of the day was the same – simply, the strategic and practical applications of data. (Simply? Uh huh, right…)

The discussions surrounded the modeling and packaging of specific audiences, the role of creativity in a data driven world, the value of data exchanges, analytic and yield models, data strategy, data ownership, agencies developing network services, networks developing agency services, black box technologies, and generally, the future of digital media.

Thanks to Scott Hoffman who posted the great round of quick video interviews with several of the panelists on his blog:

A quick search for the Twitter hashtag #DigiDay (42 pages of results from June 8!), will give you a quick recap of some of the hot topics and sound-bytes, here are a few highlights:

ahynes1 : #digiday Someone yell out an online advertising campaign that resonated with you. <crickets>

gregoryhills
:  Matt Greitzer of AvenueA thinks agencies will focus on building proprietary data warehouses, & not on building pipes into exchanges #digiday

ahynes1 : #digiday Frustrating part of the panels so far is that they all treat audience as eyeballs disconnected from hearts and minds.

adbroad : Steve, Media Math: Ad agencies don’t know data, supply as well as other co’s, but suppliers don’t know creative like agencies. #digiday
cliqology : Wow, 2 hours into #digiday and just one mention about Social. But hundreds of mentions about data.
LorneBrown : at #Digiday…Darren Herman “now have opportunity to build 60 creatives for 60 audiences”
admeld : RT @JasonDPG: Mismatch bteween ad ops resources applied against revenue. Need to remedy and create efficiencies in the process #digiday
digiday : Zagorski:  Data is approaching the value of media. Damn! #digiday
jasonkrebs : #digiday. Why does everyone think now that advertising should be 0% waste? What business in the world doesn’t have waste?
taddavis Brands do matter:  why market efficiencies will never completely drive cpms. #digiday
eporres: #digiday AdNetik believes that marketplace sellers should cede control of media pricing. Likened to Google Adwords. Auctions, get used to it
ckronengold : #lotame say “we’re not digital, or not out of home, but we’re Life Advertising.” #digiday

adbroad : Data is piling up faster than our ability to read and analyze it. ERgo, we’re actually becoming “stupider.” –Stephen Baker, #digiday
charlescosta : Key to targeting is to offer it as “customized services” and not call it “tracking” – focus on building trust with users #digiday
annemai : Darren Herman,  Media Kitchen: Big difference b/w “planning” targets and “buying” targets — how true! #digiday

stephcliff : smack talk at #digiday. Yahoo’s bill wise: “I’m smarter than you.” Time Inc. guy: “You work for Yahoo-how could you be?”
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