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influence projectA Study by agency 360i indicates that the majority of Twitter conversation is between consumers and that Corporate Twitter seems to be directed at the Consumer rather than with the Consumer.

According to the study, only 12% of consumer tweets mention a brand by name. When they do refer to a brand, consumers are sharing news or information about the brand (43%) or reporting use of or interaction with the brand (35%). Hold on..what do you mean ONLY 12% of consumer Tweets mention a brand name? Are you telling me that  brands would be unhappy if in the physical world over 1 in 10 conversations mentioned a product?

But of course the real failing is in the idea that again Brands are not engaging in a dialogue but in a monologue – ‘’Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness’’….Margaret Millar. This does seem to hark back to an era when TV and Print indulged in ‘Interruption Marketing’, talked about in great detail over a decade ago by Seth Godin in his book Permission Marketing. And of course even the early days of email marketing followed a dose of ‘Spray and Pray’ communications.

We all know these days its much more about the conversation and the idea of spreading influence through peers and contacts. I came across a very interesting form of this influence spreading by the Fast Company. They essentially wanted to created a viral campaign to find the person with the most Online Influence in 2010 – The Influence Project. They do this by a very crude method of making you feel more of a mover and shaker by getting people to click on your personal url . And yes that was mine. And they have effectively used this to get a degree of awareness out there about their magazine.

Perhaps more importantly, as I type, they have acquired something in the region of 25,000 email addresses. Hopefully they won’t abuse that privilege, and so have used a very ‘social’ need of many people ( i.e. to perhaps to have their 15 minutes of fame) to potentially start a conversation with them in the future and indeed have already created millions of google searches ,tweets, emails, facebook mentions. 100% of which have mentioned the Brand.

Oh, now that I can think about it, 1 in 12 does seem low.

Ps…I am currently ranked 422..please make me famous


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'Any Comments?'I’m in sales and I hate losing deals! Any sales person worth their salt should be the same (whether they admit it or not). There are thousands of reasons for not winning a pitch; some valid and some totally ridiculous. Either way, it is the most difficult part of the job…you can spend months – even years – on a pitch and no matter how close you are to winning, you get nothing in this game for finishing in second place.

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate how difficult it must be from a client’s perspective. No-one likes having to say ‘no’, especially when you know that the other party has put in a lot of work and time on your brief. I can forgive a potential client choosing another supplier, no matter how strange their decision may seem sometimes. What I can’t forgive, however, is when a prospect won’t give any feedback as to why they’ve chosen another partner. Feedback is a vital part of the sales process. It’s what helps companies and individuals grow and improve.  I can bear to lose a pitch (I’m never happy about it, obviously!) if it means the feedback from that process helps me/us improve in the future and win more business as a result. Linda Richardson talks about the importance of  ‘Improving Yourself Through Feedback After a Lost Deal’ and I would agree, providing the client gives constructive feedback.

Giving no feedback at all is inexcusable. Giving nonsense or false feedback is just as bad or unhelpful. Here’s the worst piece of feedback ever: ‘We chose X because they were cheaper. Period.’ Despite what anyone might think, I genuinely don’t believe that anyone makes a decision purely based on cost. If I saw a Ferrari on Ebay ‘Buy It Now’ at £100, would I buy it? No, obviously not.

Here’s the sort of feedback that IS helpful:

‘We chose supplier X based on the fact that their costs were competitive, but they weren’t actually the cheapest. We went with them because one of our marketing team had used them before and was familiar with them. We also know they have functionality X, which we don’t believe you have. Also, they have a partnership with Company Y and we work with them too. We saw 10 suppliers and you made it to the last 3 and we ultimately made our choice based on these key criteria’.

I would really respect the client that gives me that feedback.

If you are reviewing suppliers, I would ask you to map out your feedback strategy before you begin the review and outline this as part of the brief/RFP (all the best ones do). I would also ask that you offer a follow-up meeting, call or structured feedback document to unsuccessful providers. That’s my feedback anyway ;-)

Thanks in advance.

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Face book dislike buttonIs the hype over? Obviously it will not be over that fast and Facebook will very likely continue to face growth rates but these new stats tell me that they might be losing a key target group to build up into a lifelong customer.  Another new study shows that customers are becoming increasing dissatisfied with the social network due to their recent privacy issues,   click here to read more from Meghan Keane on the Econsultancy blog.

If Facebook loses a key audience how will they recover? Is it likely that us as grandparents will be telling each other via Facebook who passed away and who got new grand children? Personally I doubt that but there is silver surfer potential.  Maybe Facebook will need new features that our tech savvy youth will pick up again?  Or they will look to concentrate on a new target audience with features focused at higher income brackets?

We’re all well aware that they are still flying, as more than ever log into Facebook on a daily basis and membership is now exceeding 500million.  But the Facebook Executives can’t fail to notice that something needs to be done – and fast – if they’re to get themselves out of the bottom 5% in the customer satisfaction survey.

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Fifa World Cup 2010 LogoWith two weeks to go until the opening game kicks off, anticipation for the 2010 Fifa World Cup is building, St George’s flags are appearing on cars, England replica kits are flying off the shelves and generally the football lovers amongst us are getting just a little bit excited. 

The World Cup comes around every 4 years (and if we’re lucky, we qualify!) and whilst the last tournament seems like yesterday, in online terms, 4 years is a lifetime.  In 2006 had you heard of Twitter?  Were you even on Facebook yet? Did you have a BlackBerry? It’s fascinating how much things have developed and moved on since the last World Cup in 2006 in terms of online marketing and social media.  According to paidContent:UK brands and sponsors are turning away from traditional advertising to online fan communities and social networking channels to build brand awareness.  Even Coca-Cola has launched three flagship ads to run exclusively on social media sites which has got to say something about the power of online.  One World Cup blog site claims that the World Cup is going to set new records for online marketing and will be the biggest story to hit Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in the history of all 3 sites.  Take the new Nike World Cup advert as an example (which, incidentally, is a little piece of genius, video below if you haven’t seen it yet).  Since it was put on YouTube just 10 days ago, almost 9million people have viewed it.  Nike must be laughing all the way to the bank.  And the World Cup is said to take Twitter by storm across the globe.  Ironically though, England players have apparently been banned from posting comments on Twitter or Facebook during the World Cup!

Take a look at the latest Nike World Cup advert here:

In addition to all the hype of the World Cup turning to the online world, the vast majority of us Brits are apparently planning to watch the World Cup, online at work. Heaven knows what that’ll do to our companies’ networks!

The FA are a client of ours and not only is anticipation of the 2010 World Cup building, but so is the anticipation of whether our bid to host the 2018 World Cup will go our way.  So why not show your support and back the bid yourself!

Finally – with apologies to our Irish, Welsh and Scottish friends – for those of you who are interested, I’ve compiled a list of the main online sources of information and conversation for the tournament (with a focus on the England team!) as follows:

So with the help of a plethora of online tools, you don’t have to miss a moment.  I for one am counting the days til England’s first game on June 12th. Here’s to a truly fantastic tournament. COME ON ENGLAND!

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A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose which laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it. Then, they thought, they could obtain the whole store of precious metal at once; however, upon cutting the goose open, they found its innards to be like that of any other goose.

And thus they had no source of gold anymore ..! This Aesop fable I believe sums up the progress of many data focused companies in the email marketing industry over the last ten years, and indeed the naivety of many well intended companies who are sitting on ‘golden eggs’ in the form of their own customer data lists. Today, with recession statistics still flooding the news, the differentiator between those companies who are still collecting their golden eggs and those who are looking disconsolately at their sorry pile of duck entrails, is quite simple.

Direct marketing guru Dan Kennedy said; ‘When a business sacrifices product or service quality, financial controls, or integrity in favour of growth, it mortgages its future for immediate gratification, not unlike making a faustian bargain’ (pact with the devil).

The same principle applies to email marketing at the most basic level. In the rampant rush to fat profits, invaluable customer data is sacrificed by poor investment in delivery technology, poor service quality in the form of poor targeting or advertising quality, and poor financial controls in the form of over-serving your brand in an effort to squeeze out those few extra clicks. This pact with the devil thinking results in effectively mortgaging loyal customers or interested prospects for a few extra pennies meaning many potentially great companies staring at a festering pile of goo, wondering what next.

So this Easter despite the gloom of a recession, look after your golden eggs, and feed your hard pressed goose some well earned, delicious Easter chocolate. That’s if you don’t get there first of course.

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The noughties have been the decade that ‘digital’ has come of age. Where Google has gone from a dotcom start-up to a verb. Where we don’t think twice about listening to the radio online, checking our email on our mobile phones, pausing live telly or having access to every album we’ve ever bought from our pocket. Where we can watch films on a games console whilst commuting to work. Where we don’t have to worry about forgetting to Sky+ the ‘Strictly’ semi-final as we know we can go online and watch it back in our own time. Where presidential elections have been won with the help of campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. Where we can vote out odious members of the public or celebrity world from dreadful reality shows just by pressing a red button. Where we can receive emails predicting what we want to purchase next based on our previous shopping habits. Where we don’t even have to leave the house to have our weekly shop delivered. Where we can speak to granny in Australia face to face via Skype.  Where made-up words such as ‘google it’, ‘re-tweet’, ‘avatar’ and ‘blog’ have entered our vocabulary without a second thought (Source: Digital dictionary).

This very neat illustration I saw today (found from a friend’s status update on facebook!) from the BBC sums up the noughties beautifully.

 What an exciting decade. I for one am very excited to see what the ‘tens’ hold in store. Merry Christmas!

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