Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorting the marketing signal from the noise at Mashable Connect

Mashable have published a host of videos from Mashable Connect. This was a conference dominated by social media types. One of the speakers asked the audience to put their hand up if they worked in marketing and about half did.

The opening presentation was from David Jones of Havas, Global CEO of Euro RSCG, and I’ve picked three other videos from marketing firms to distil. I’m including Steve Rubel from Edelman in this list of "marketing" because, in my opinion, PR and marketing are twin tools in the discipline of "doing better on the web" and our predecessors were idiots for separating the two.

As it happens, Rohit Bhargava’s presentation touches on the beginning of modern PR and the video is worth watching for that alone.

It’s great that Mashable has filmed these presentations and made them available for free online (judging by the empty seats; this was not a cheap conference to attend) but it’s worth noting that the camera tends to follow the speaker and so you don’t often get to see the slides they’re talking about. This can be challenging at times.

David Jones of Havas

Jones has four key points that he wants to get across.

  • Reality is everything; image is nothing – this is a significant change from marketing of yesteryear.

  • There’s a significant shift from control to collaboration – once again this a world spin for traditional marketers.

  • There’s a change from "who" to "where" in marketing. Jones says that he would have worried about Google’s original business model; the clicks happened on the left but the money was earned on the right. Now 85% of searches are based around location and so, says the Havas chief, Google’s business model is now safe.

  • There is also a slide from being in business purely for the profit to also having a purpose. Jones has written a book and trademarked the term "Social business idea". I think he said trademarked. I’d love to know what Euro RSCG’s purpose/social business idea is.

A good chunk of Jones’ time was spend on One Young World; the charity he co-founded and his own personal social business idea. It’s real feel good stuff.

Rohit Bhargava, Ogilvy

Rohit runs a blog called Influence Marketing. He’s writing his second book – one called Likeonomics.

Rohit’s presentation can be summed up by saying that people no longer believe us. In this context "us" are PR, marketing and brand people.

What’s the cure?

Don’t be a dick. Be open. Be brutally honest. Disclosure is not the same as honesty.

Michael Lazerow of Buddy Media

I’m including Buddy Media as "agency" in this collection because even though they work with agencies as a technology supplier they’re also happy to solicit direct relationships with brands.

Michael argues that online commerce has been dominated by search. Search is good for commerce has you can match intent with supply. Google’s been the only company in search able to move the needle for large brands and so we’ve developed Google vision on our online marketing.

Search, says Lazerow, is full of problems. It’s too easily gamed and he illustrates content farms and the challenge they present Google. Last click attribution is also a problem; 97% of your online activities aren’t even taken into account in our analytics.

In comparison social is not so easily gamed and it’s not so easily controlled.

Lazerow is here to talk about social commerce. Social commerce is far more about commerce than social, explained Michael. Ecommerce on Facebook has been limited in success today. Only 3% of Facebook users have bought something from Facebook in the last quarter.

What brands need to do is track revenue by share. Small customers may actually be able to generate tens of thousands in revenue through their social shares.

Lazerow makes the point that marketers with the budgets – the paid media folk – really don’t get social. It’s a challenge for the earned media people to rollout what they need.

There’s a guest walk on from Andrew Ferenci at this point. Fercani is the CEO of Spinback, the company Buddy Media has just bought and he’s here to share some stats. Remember how Michael Lazerow said brands need to track revenue by share? Guess what Spinback does? Yes; exactly right.

In one particular case study for a daily deal site, Spinback found that the brand benefited from $4.48 in new revenue per share, 3.6 new visitors per share with an impressive 12.5% conversation rate. The caveat here is that this is a daily deal site and therefore inherently viral.

Across their clients, Spinback have discovered that most sharing for internet retailers occurs on Wednesday afternoon and that’s followed by Thursday afternoon. Women are far more influential than men, driving the best conversation rates from Facebook. Twitter sends more traffic than Facebook but conversation rates are significantly lower.

Steve Rubel of Edelman

Steve thinks we’re entering the third phase of the internet.

1004-2002: The internet was for the large players only, media companies and brands who could afford the technical architecture required to publish content.

2002-2010: We could all publish content and so a democratisation occurred. We became the voice of authority.

2011 onwards: This democratisation process is sun-setting and we’re moving towards an era of validation. There’s too much content for the time we have. There’s been a friends arms race. A friends overload.

In 2005/2006 Edelman’s survey discovered that we trusted our peers. This year, 2011, the same survey revealed that the most trusted people are now experts (like academics) and technical experts are the most trusted of the lot. This is a reflection of our need to sort signal from noise.

People need to hear things 3 to 5 times before they believe it. That’s the global average. In the States that figure is actually 8 to 9 times. Keep that in mind as we examine the four "spheres of media" that Edelman have identified. These four are seen as just one by consumers.

  • Traditional media

  • Trad-digital media (which tend to have higher amplification on twitter, better at SEO, etc, than traditional media)

  • Owned media

  • Social Media

Steve Rubel argues that brands need to stand for something, they need to propagate new ideas and communicate their thought leadership.

There are five takeaway points from this revelation;

  • Find out who your subject matters are, be they employees and loyal customers

  • Curate content in your niche; separate art from junk

  • Keep data simple; people on the internet do not read, they read 20% of a webpage, 57% never come back to that webpage and there’s about 15 to 20 seconds before they move onto the next.

  • Ask questions and be a source of knowledge.

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