Digital Marketing: trusting the experts

This week I had a very interesting debate with my Master in Digital Marketing‘s peers regarding trusting experts. Should we really trust the experts in our profession? For me this is not a question about defining what an expert is, for me this is a question about what we understand by trust. And in my opinion, trust is definitely a subjective sentiment and each different person will feel it under different criteria:
– The intuitive guy will feel trust when an expert makes him feel a success smell
– The coward guy will feel trust when an expert comes in with a great reputation
– The conservative guy will feel trust when an expert shows him a great book of case studies
– The insecure guy will feel trust when he sees how the other peers trust an expert
– The maketinian guy will feel trust when an expert talks in the same terms he believe his target would love to hear
– The egocentric guy will feel trust when an expert has the same opinion as him…

My point is that I don’t know if it does exist an answer to the question if we should trust the experts, taking into account that trusting an expert has, for each of us a different meaning, a different motivation and of course, a different result.
Based on my list I would say, the coward should never trust an expert, the intuitive should, the insecure shouldn’t…
So at the end, the problem is not in the expert side, the problem (and the solution!) is in our side! How do we take decisions? Are we capable of reading between lines? Are we emphatic? Do we have the information, the experience and the talent! to take the right decisions? Even: are we usually lucky? 🙂

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Will technology turn media planning into a commodity?

I think technology in media is bringing simplicity in one side and sophistication in another.
Simplicity means that, indeed, media is more and more becoming a commodity, anyone can do it, the machine weight is bigger more and more so it is provoking a disintermediation.
But it is also true that we have the sophistication aspect: this means that the more technologic media planning tools become, the smarter they will get, the more accurate, complex and complete info they will deliver, and all this complexity will require human resources that will add value to that info for sure.

I have an example, today I had a meeting with a company belonging to Havas, they have a platform where all the aspects regarding Public Relations, Institutional Communication… are “mechanized” so companies need no more executives sending press notes, human resources devoted to press clipping, physical rooms to make press conferences… All is made now on the portal. But could we say that Public Relations Services are a commodity now? absolutely not. This technology is just an opportunity and it is true that they have to take advantage of it but always having in mind that when a particular service has become a commodity, human intelligence has to keep going further, creating new tools which make them to give more accurate outputs and better results, interpreting in smarter ways the data, getting deeper into the “micro-knowledge” of that issue, adapting to new scenarios…

In media plan it will happen the same: technology will make the “basic” planning a commodity but the “premium” planning will always be an added value service. At least, this is my opinion.

So in summary, I would say that technology is turning the basic services into commodities and the human supported services into strategic and added value offers.

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Iberia Case Study

If I had the opportunity… how would I evangelize a big company about web 2.0? How would I convince to skeptical immigrant product managers to jump into Social Media? How would I explain to them, in a clear and direct way how to take advantage of social strategies? how to get benefit out of it? This is my particular recommendation on Iberia case.

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reBlog from spanish.martinvarsavsky.net: Inglés básico para emprendedores o cómo me gusta recibir los pitches

I found this good quote today (sorry in Spanish):

No me gusta recibir los power points tradicionales sino que querría algo como un power point pero en el que sale el narrador explicando la idea.  Quiero una presentación en el que pinchas (apretas para los lectores latinoamericanos) PLAY y los emprendedores cuentan en 5 minutos su propuesta y se los ve a ellos y a sus ilustraciones. Esto es mucho mejor que tener que leer hoja tras hoja de una presentación.spanish.martinvarsavsky.net, Inglés básico para emprendedores o cómo me gusta recibir los pitches, Nov 2009

If you’re interested on pitches or entrepeneurship projects, you should read the whole article.

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Why is social media so appealing?

Because SM is:
1. Egocentric: this is one of the motivations that most impulses the human being to act, it is a transcendental feeling just at the top of the Maslow pyramid that gives us satisfaction and pleasure. All of social media highlights are pointing to that:
– Exposing oneself (blogging, tweeting…)
– Sharing one’s staff (wikis, slideshare…)
– Being recognized (being retweeted, being mentioned in others blogs…)
– Reaching lots of people (contacting friends in social networks, being introduced to contacts in professional networks…)
– Letting our voice be heard (conversations with brands, comments on e-news…)
– Having more power (satisfaction with products or services…)
– Feeling useful (opensource…)
2. Social: the human being is social by nature and Social Media is a socialization with steroids, it is a socialization squared, all new technologies have brought and are bringing new ways to communicate with others in a more intensive and extensive way and people are hooked on that.

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If no one seems to click on banners why do they still exist?

elena ibáñezYes, it doesn’t seem very consistent, I think the Golden Rule, somehow, applies here 🙂

I don’t think the main objective of a banner is always to click on it. I think we should have a holistic approach to digital communication based on our general objectives and in many cases a site just works as a “print” media, as a magazine, as a newspaper, impressions is what matter; why? because lots of brands have awareness objectives and don’t have a huge need to drive traffic to their site, for instance I’ve seen Coca Cola Light banners which didn’t address to any site. They only wanted you to watch it.

There are also brands that need to drive traffic to their site because they are selling online. In this case I would say that broadly speaking, they have a mix of objectives: awareness and traffic. To accomplish both objectives they need to work on a mix strategy: social media, SEM, banners, video… And depending on the nature of the product, the knowledge of the brand, the commodity issue, the segmentation… the percentages on each should be higher or lower.

Regarding CTR, I also agree on the fact that banners sometimes do work, and we should take that into account, banners havenot died yet. What we have to really know is how banners are working now vs other formats, how technological innovation is enriching banners capabilities, which are the best scenarios, which are the cons and the pros, measurement figures… in order to make an optimal digital mix which brings efficacy to our advertising campaign.

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Will video be king vs banners for online advertising?

Video clutter is a reality and this will have to be faced by advertisers but regarding the comparison with banners, in my opinion it won’t follow the same course. Why? because as I show in the following graph, users and brands desires on the Internet converge much more with video ads possibilities than with banner ads possibilities:

elena ibanez

From this point of view, video ads will always be a richer format vs banners, e.g. video ads are an easier way to consume content vs banners, video ads allow users to participate, banners don’t; video ads can go viral, banners don’t… And although it is true technological innovations will always bring a new feature for any digital format and this will keep on improving banners capabilities, video ads will always meet better users desires.

Regarding trends, I found this fabulous article mentioning 9 of them:
1. Paid Twitters
2. Co-branded: a combination of 2 advertisers working together, sharing costs and creating an advertisement that contains both companies brands.
3. Non-Standard – this works best for sites that like to create their own version of the clients ad to blend better with the site.
4. Micro Ads – advertising directories showing up and tonnes of competition with publishers to offer the cheapest price, e.g. www.crazyleafdesign.com/blog
5. Paid Reviews – more companies are looking for favourable reviews of their company and services, e.g. CenterNetworks
6. Blogger Branded – Zac Johnson
7. Integrated Ads – these ones again are not tradition ad units, but either the company’s logo or product built into the publishers site, e.g. SheKnows
8. Re-Skins – they are a great way to blend the brand with the site and way less obtrusive than takeovers, e.g. College Humor
9. Fixed Monthly rates – with CPM’s dropping through the floor, we will see more publisher in 2009 offering flat monthly rates. It also simplifies the purchase and speeds up the transaction, which is always a good thing.

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My recommendations to a company that would like to jump on Twitter

images My main recommendations would be:
– Presence in Twitter should have a previous ad hoc strategy for this platform and should have clear objectives. It should be clear what Twitter could make for that company
– This strategy should be integrated in a holistic digital strategy within marketing strategy
– Each objective should be shared and aligned with its correspondent department within the company, no matter which the objective is, e.g.:
1. Public relations: communication department
2. Customer service: commercial and marketing department
3. E-commerce: commercial and tech department
4. Internal productivity: human resources department
5. Payment platform: commercial and marketing department
– Results should always be measured
– Twitter should share values and culture with the brand, whether it is innovation, freedom, democracy, personality… I think it always should create synergies with the platform itself
– Human resources should be assigned to:
– “listen” to the conversation
– be able to answer to comments
– clarify misunderstandings
– report properly to the company staff
– The accounts of that company should be very well differentiated and each one should talk in their own language and from its own perspective, a good example here is Heineken:
1. Personal accounts: will talk as a person inside the company (employees) about company projects, personal matters, professional topics…
2. Corporative accounts: will talk from a company point of view, delivering information usually sent to partners, customers, providers… by other channels
3. Project accounts: will talk from the brand/product/service perspective. It should be as the brand equity was a person and was talking.
– Content given through any of these accounts should be relevant for the user, conversations taken in Twitter are about different things!
– Content should be true and never be influenced
– Content should be frequently updated, the company must be alive!
– I would suggest also to take real advantage of the possibilities this platform offers to the company, in terms of discussing new products…and revise them frequently.
– And finally, never use Twitter in a “commercial” way.

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Will Twitter die because Facebook Live Feed or will get reinforced by Google Social Search?

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In my opinion it will get reinforced by Google Social Search. Why do I think this?

– Because FB Live feed won’t become a substitute of Twitter. Twitter is about simplicity, is about putting the focus on the essence of the content, is about fast and convenient information. FB already exists in the mind of the users as a place for doing other things, it has already another socialisation style. Will users leave Twitter just to do the same in another social media where, by the way, other things are used to do different things? Is FB Live Feed offering a better service? I don’t see the point here to shift.
– Because Google Social Search will act as an amplifier of all Twitter advantages. All the positive points we have mentioned about Twitter: professional and personal positioning, being aware of last trends and sites, engaging… will get amplified by GSS so it will multiply Twitter’s performance, hence users’ satisfaction.

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Twitter: a hype or a trend?

I have to say that I tend to see Twitter a little bit more as a hype. Twitter’s growth is amazing, this is true. They have managed to combine simplicity with multiple and different uses: updating on a particular subject, getting live information, having fast communications about daily staff, positioning personally and professionally, having access to celebrities…

But there is an issue with communication platforms based on dynamic technology: NEW ALTERNATIVES. Social Media scenario is changing so fast that the “digital neighbourhood” where we now feel so comfortable tomorrow will change. A new platform with cooler and more convenient features will come and we, the most kind of demanding users will ask for more. We’re now playing with Google Wave, tomorrow will play with real communication tag lays on our screen over the internet… and most of the old ones will have to disappear because human’s communication capacity is not endless and we’ll always have to choose where, how, whom, when to communicate. Choosing is about ruling out.

Regarding this, I found an interesting graph from Nielsen that shows the retention problems Twitter is actually facing.

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In USA, 60% of new accounts are not used in the next month. When compared to FB or Myspace this is half of the users’ retention rate the other two had in their early stages. This data could be talking about a loyalty problem that would be reinforcing the hype theory… Although I still predict a long future to Twitter 🙂

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