Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Old Fashioned So Sue Me. But I am a Great Consumer Case Study

Most of you think Technology is about Cleverness. But it is not. It is Clever. But it preys on two Human constraints. Time and Laziness. If anyone saw the movie Wall-E, that is where we are heading. All those humans who did nothing but sit and have robots letting them rot into blobs that can't even walk let alone do things for themselves. Isn't Facebook 100% about Laziness? So I don't have to call a friend or see them in person? Isn't online shopping about Laziness so I don't have to get in my car and mingle with other people?

So Technology often is about laziness. Yes please say that again at least 217 times. It is. People will pay good money to cram more things into their days and allow them less effort in doing so.

Great Examples of Laziness Break Throughs:

Digital Phone Buttons: That rotary dial was killing me.
Digital Phone Books: I used to know about 50 people's phone numbers by heart. Now I know none.
Digital Music Collection: Because leafing through albums and then using a record player was a bummer.
Cars: Because Horses were a bitch to house and feed and ride.

But before these breakthroughs in Technology we were completely happy to walk somewhere. Or have long chats with a friend we haven't seen in quite some time.

But there are lessons learned. If you make a Great Product, offer Something Unique, or an Incredible Experience. People will do anything to patronize. We still drive long distances to see or experience, or go above and beyond to do something.

See my list of Blogs to the left, that I read by very thoughtful and insightful people? I do not have an RSS Feed or subscribe to anyone of them. I go there manually on my own, often. Because the content is compelling and exceptional.

And this might upset Marketers and Advertisers. But Great Products, Great Content, Great Experiences sell themselves. Advertising can tell people about something, but if the Product, Content, Experience sucks, it can not overcome that! But Great Products, Content, Experiences can overcome crappy Advertising or no Advertising.

I wish to give credit to @LizStrauss who during a chat last night on the Twitter said "many Brands are not sure what they sell or whom their customer is". She was correct. If you do not know what you sell you can't focus on making it best in class now can you? 

Focus not on honing your message or your branding, though this doesn't hurt. Focus on honing what you sell. The rest will take care of itself. That will condition your customers to come back. Whether it is to visit your website, read your writing, buy your product, watch your content or come to your store or restaurant. And conditioning is not about Laziness or Cleverness. Those Blogs to your left? They all conditioned me to visit on my own. And I do.

*photo credit above Walt Disney Pictures

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apple Sued for Allowing Apps to Collect Information They Shouldn't Be

LINK To Article

We all know our Government spies on us now thanks to 9/11 and the last Administration. We also are not surprised considered how slimy, shameful and deceitful the US has acted over the last 200 years. This is not a Politics blog so no need to go into the massive list. Plus if you are here most likely you completed high school. We also now are dealing with the TSA taking XRays of us to see us kind of naked now when we go take Airline Rides. Cities like New York and others have mounted cameras outside everywhere to watch our every move.

We all know Facebook exploits us buy selling every penny of data on us they can to Marketers and Brands whether we know it or not. Or tries to expose us or force us to share everything including where we are! We know that Twitter sold half the Feed to a company so they can mine it for data.

None of this surprises us. Every single entity I just named are pretty much doing these things for exploitation, profit, control, fear, nefarious reasons. And we have agreed so far or dealt with it.

But Apple? Apple has this aura of honesty about them. They don't play dirty. Even with their desire to control their platforms and devices in terms of how they are used or the programs that go on them, they have never before been accused of invading our privacy, selling our data, or doing anything offensive (to my knowledge). This is the company that allowed 45 Apps just for Fart Noises on it's phone. The company that has allowed an App that allows you to mimic snorting cocaine on it's phone. The company that has been looked at as a Rebel. Supporting subversives and those creative/artist types no one should trust!

I have two questions. Would these lawsuits damage their reputation and honor? And if they succeed what is the long term repercussions for the Mobile Device and App Industry. I am clueless if Android has the same issue. How many of these App's we get for free make their money by selling supposedly private data? Do we know?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Might Not Care About Your Brand, But You Had Better Available Via Social Media!

Yesterday I took a sledge hammer the size of Mt. McKinley and crushed the view being pushed that we all want to talk with you the Brand via Social Media and bring you into our busy lives every day. LINK

Now that your feelings have been hurt, and the CEO just called you into his office because he smells a bunch of BS oozing from your last presentation, wipe your tears. All is not lost.There are some simple reasons to have a Social Media Strategy and be out there via Social. Here are some good reasons:

1] Listening - This is free intelligence on what people are saying about you, your industry, and your competitors. No need to pay a company to do research or create focus groups. Think of Twitter, Facebook, Blogs etc as one big focus group. People will be much more unbiased and willing to tell the truth. Mine this data and use it to improve your products, get pricing feedback, ideas for what the market is seeking. This is critical because your competition is doing this!

2] Conversations - Stop viewing conversations 1 on 1. You need to climb a ladder, take an elevator to the top floor and look down. Even if the people talking with you pop in and out, some not seen back for days, weeks, months, everything aggregated together is one big running dialogue. This is completely tied to my first point above. You can do two things. Let your customers drive the dialogue and see where it is going in a nice feedback loop, or you can drive it. Say you never knew tons of people wished your product had an offering in a new color or there is a problem with packaging. You can get direct feedback as well as gauge the level of importance. Or you can ask the questions and get their instant feedback.

3] Customer Service - This one is a double edged sword. Are people seeking to connect via Social because your traditional customer service sucks? Aka Comcast Cares? Where most people rot on hold, wait for days for email returns, or can't figure out your FAQ page? This makes Social a Bandaid. But hey better to help 3% of your customers via Social than Zero via the traditional channels right? I don't like this one bit. Fix your business model. But this could become a shift in the right direction.

Craft a strategy. Figure out how this can work. Chis Baccus (@cbaccus) who is Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at ATT has set up their Facebook Fan Page for this with each post for help being answered by someone in customer service. It isn't perfect and only helps a small portion of their customers but it works. It can be complicated handling all the requests because it can not be automated, people want people, but plenty of technologies and Agencies exist that can help you with solutions for your type of business.

So maybe most people do not want to engage with you via Social on your terms. But they do, and they will on their terms. You should be there waiting for them. Whether they chime in with a kudos, or a complaint. Or maybe today they wish to discuss something, but won't be back for 3 months. It is a public and human face. And if you do a good job it can improve the view of your company in public and personal perception.

Because what happens if you are not there, when this bratty customer decides they need to vent, whine, or complain? They will vent, whine, and complain even louder! And what happens if this customer of unflagging devotion wants to sing your praise from the highest social media mountain in the land and you are not there? They will feel a void. That you don't care. Plus how can you turn down free intelligence, feedback, and an opportunity to engage with a customer when they decide to initiate it?

Monday, December 27, 2010

I just don't care about your Brand, your Company, or your Product

Seriously. Why should I engage with you via Social Media? I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. It keeps me up to date with some of my favorite musical artists and DJ's and some of my Social Communities. I chat on Twitter for Business Networking purposes with many of my connections turning into true friendships even over long distances. It is a place for discovery. For insight. And now many of my Facebook friends (real life friends) are migrating to Twitter which I am excited about.

I only have so much time in the day. I will allocate 10 mins a day for Brands. I have 5,000 Brands and Businesses that want to talk to me. You want to engage with me? Well those Social Networks, Mashables, and Social Media Rockstars that tell you everyone wants to talk with you are lying our their ass. They care about only one thing and trust me that is not you or your Brand. It's their bank account.

What makes you special?

Chances are you are not special. Chances are you are like every other Brand out there. If I want to engage with you its on my terms not yours. My conditions and circumstances. Can't I already call you 24/7, go to your website, show up at your store or business and talk with your employees anytime I want? Can't I engage with you by watching your TV commercials, seeing your Billboards, reading your Print Ads? Can't I turn off Ad Blocker Plus on my browser if I want to see your digital ads? Don't I already get emails from you because I signed up but now never open them because I get 500 a day?

What makes you special?

You already reach me in more places than I want to be reached. Why should I want to engage with you via Social Media? I know you are there. Trust me. We all know you are there. But sorry I don't need to talk to my Trash Bags, my Kitchen Appliances, my Beer, my Hamburger today. I am busy. What makes you so special that I should allow you into my busy life on the same terms of my best friend, my sister, my girlfriend, or my favorite DJ or Band?

I either already think you are special. And all of us have favorites. But if you are already my favorite I am already a brand ambassador. I am already telling friends via Social and Offline about you. I am already buying your product or patronizing your business because you are a favorite. Even if I don't engage with you via Social Media. And I would probably talk with you via Social but is it adding sales? Probably not. You already have mine cornered!

For the rest of you. Make yourself special. Show me why I should engage with you via Social Media. If you can't. Leave me alone. I bet we all feel this way. We all have MAYBE time for 10 or 20 Brands in our life via Social Media in terms of consistent participation and communication, out of the 1,000's that want my attention. Good luck making that list. Do you know how many Brands want my attention right now? Everyone in my local yellow pages. Every Brand I see on a TV commercial. Every Brand I see on the billboards when I drive by.

I wish to state this post is only focused on the false snake oil being pushed by many Social Media Talking Heads, Mashables, and the Facebooks that we wish to engage with a ton of Brands 24/7 in a non-stop conversation making them a part of our lives via Social. My next post will cover why it's good to be there and accessible should someone wish to connect for whatever reason. 

Make yourself special. Show me you are special. 
Don't you wish you were special? Do you know how?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

We will return after Christmas. Until then have a very safe and healthy Holiday Weekend!

And while I know this blog is not in the Top 100 for Readership, for those of you who have suffered through my rants I am humbly grateful and hope you sometimes have laughed and even once or twice found some insight!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to Use Advertising to Create Hatred for Your Brand

This is a really easy how too Blog Post. This will enable you to take people who have a positive image of your Brand or Product and turn that slowly into simmering hatred and loathing. It's really easy. Follow these simple steps and you are on your way to success!

Step One: Create your really freaking cool commercial.

Step Two: Pick a really F*$%ing Annoying Soundtrack that destroys the really freaking cool commercial.

Step Three: Hire a really horrible media planner.

When picking a Soundtrack you have two simple choices:

Choose something cutesy but that over time with so many repetitive showings makes you throw your remote at the TV, to scream in panic and run out of the room, or vow never to buy that Brand products ever again. Normally the problem here lies in the really bad media planning more so than the song. Remember it's cutesy so we don't hate it at first!

Apple does a great job here by stealing the Key Board Cat Song. It's cute when the Cat Plays the Piano. It was ok the first time I saw the commercial. Now I just want to smash every IPad I see when this comes on. It's the repetitive nature like the sound of a dentist drill to me now.

Your second choice is to choose a really freaking derivative pop band that is a current pop culture darling. One that steals their music from great bands of yesterday and add their catching annoying song to your really freaking cool commercial. Then make sure this commercial is so over bought by crappy media planning that you will see it several times every half hour. Sometimes twice in the same commercial break.

I once owned a Honda Civic. Now not only do I hate Honda I try to run Civics off the road because of this loathsome Vampire Weekend song that rips off the early 70's Kinks so bad they should owe the Kinks royalties.

And you are done. You have successfully turned lovers into haters. And not just any haters. Haters that will go to great lengths to trash your brand via Social Media, in person Word of Mouth, even possibly paying for sky writers at the beach in the summer to slam your great Product and Brand over crappy sound tracks and media planning! Something to be said for the old school original jingle writer I must say! And again if this commercial wasn't on 3,000 times a day it wouldn't be half as bad.

*my apologies to people who love Keyboard Cat, Apple, and Honda. If you own Vampire Weekend I read their Rollingstone Interview. Cool guys but sorry I am a music snob and hate pop music. For reference check out the Kink's 1970 Album LINK

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beating Social Influence to Death!

Klout has been in the news, and many, too many Bloggers have been hammering on Social Influence Currency and how Businesses are going to basically discriminate against people with low scores. I know this benefits many talking heads and many of the businesses like Klout trying to become the default tool to see who to treat special.


Here are 8 people to check out with their Klout Scores compared to mine. These people all have bigger networks than me. They all have real friends where they live, I think (seriously I do not all mine are in NYC (like @cmonstah),West Coast, elsewhere. Not where I am because I live in the Forest with Coyotes and Wild Turkey's as I transition back East after 17 years in LA) My Facebook network has a lot of people who are very influential in the West Coast and some in NYC for Fashion, Music, Art, etc. But my Facebook profile is 100% private, so Klout has no idea who my friends are aside from Twitter. Maybe I have been more selective in whom I connect with on Twitter? Whenever I run my Social Influence it often pitiful compared to most. Except for Klout! But the other 8 people here get paid to give talks at conferences and at businesses, paid to travel, have very impressive positions at the businesses they work at or run, they do Podcasts, have influential blogs, write books, etc.

Maybe I have a self deprecating view of myself. I will say I seriously value my Twitter network. I do value Quality over Quantity. But this still does not make sense. That the Palms in Vegas would rank me equal or above these Rock Stars?! Bad Marketing Decision if this is based on Klout!

BTW I seriously recommend following all the folks listed here from my Twitter network. They truly bring great value and insight. Plus now they are now famous! Contact me if you want their autographs for just a small fee of course!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is Facebook Waning? Is Social Losing its Luster?

In November I blogged that Facebook has experienced a 22% drop in time spent per active user per day on the network since April 2010 from 55mins to 43mins. Of course Facebook to hide this fact switched from stating 55mins on their Stats Page to 700Billion minutes per month hoping no one would do the math and all of us would just say OOOH....AHHHHH!

Now comes this totally unrelated article from CNet in my email that further backs this theory of less network usage. I am not sure the reason, whether it's privacy, fatigue, people aren't as enamored with sharing as they had been?

In April 2010 Facebook claimed 3bil photos uploaded each month. Now per this article to sound better, they use the 100mil photos per day! At the time they claimed 400mil active monthly users. Now they claim 540mil. See where I am heading?  

Per user number of photos uploaded to Facebook has dropped 26% since April 2010! Now it's down from a whopping 7.5 to only 5.5 Photos Per Month Per Active User. Yawn!

Why is this? Is this the beginning of a slide? A fall? Is Social Media losing it's luster and hype? Twitter has had an explosion in accounts but not users per month which has been flat for the last year at around 25mil in the US. Where are the people migrating to online or offline? This is important to find out for Investors, for Marketers, for Brands, for VC's, and for anyone looking to start a business in the Social Media Technology space. 

Social is a HUGE space. Are we re-fragmenting moving to other Social Networks and Technologies? Or moving more of our time to non-Social Media?

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Visa and the why the Facebook Business Model Will Fail

Big news this week. Visa jumps into the LBS world for deals. See article from Media Post:

I blogged back in May that if Facebook charged $3/month, got just 200mil to pony up they would instantly have $7.2bil in revenues, rank 314 on the Fortune 500, could shut out all marketing efforts, forget Brands, forget Advertising, make the network 100% private and focus just on reinvesting in a killer Communications Platform that could compete with anyone. Now this failure is GLARING!

Visa has something Facebook doesn't. Everyone has Visa Credit and Debit Cards. In fact I am sure this far surpasses how many people use Facebook more than once per week (my guess is Facebook has about 300mil users who log in more than once per week). They also have something Facebook and FourSquare and everyone else lacks....CUSTOMERS!

Facebook, Foursquare, etc basically have to cold call and pitch their LBS services. I bet the GAP Deals effort for Facebook took 2-3 months of effort, and I still suspect Facebook paid for the cost of the promotion. Visa just has to include a sales pitch for their LBS services in their monthly bills to its customers. Imagine in every credit card statement a flier on how their LBS works shows up? That every bill sent to a business that uses Visa for Transactions gets the same?

Now lets look at the ammo! Visa Ranks 326 on the Fortune 500 with almost $7bil in revenues. More key is they made $2.3Bil in profits last year! Their profits was over 1.5x Facebook's revenues. These guys can torch everyone in LBS with really only Mastercard possibly competing.

When went IPO the reason I said they would fail is not because people wouldn't buy Pet Food online, it was because Walmart can step in and crush them instantly. My money is on Visa.

I will leave you with this thought. What do you view the value of Facebook now if Deals and Places are dead? People want deals. We don't give a flying pig about sharing that info with our friends on Social Networks. We only do that because we get forced too!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Funk..err I mean Blog Phenomena

This isn't a strategy post. Or a rant against Facebook. Or even me going off the board with some bizarre topic like Ice Fishing. It is a statement on today's social and professional communication infrastructure, possibly a threat to Colleges and Universities, and possibly a threat to this planet Earth. Yes a threat to this planet. Yes....I am talking about Blogs. You might want to sit down before reading the rest of this post. Sitting? Now please remain calm.

Blogs have become in my opinion the forefront in academic and social collusion and mind control. If you look at the black board behind me you will see the dots connected. It is definitely a Steve Jobs - Barack Obama - Lindsay Lohan - Josef Stalin Conspiracy of the highest order. Blogs. You read them. You write them. But now can you give them up? Could you ever go cold turkey? NO! You are hooked! 

How else can you get to know someone whom you admire in all sorts of industries or places in life. Everyone has a Blog. From simple to elaborate. Like Venus Fly Traps still and poised to trap you! You the one who said they would never be trapped in a bad relationship, yet you can not stop Blogging! Or reading Blogs. Or tweeting about Blogs.

I myself don't have enough time to read all the Blogs I want to read. I can't even keep up with the list on the left. There are about 20 other Blogs worth being listed. At least. And over 100 on a second list. I need more space on this Blog to list the Blogs I read. I need more time to read the Blogs I love and comment and get Livefyre Points. If all the cool people on Earth all Blogged time would stand still! News and Media would collapse. Universities would crumble. The Earth would shatter under the weight of all this Blogging.

What a better way to get educated and learn by connecting with the best and the brightest. And they are all Blogging. I bet even Bono blogs. And no Blog is too big or too small. Or too warm or too cold. Or too firm or too soft. Well sometimes too firm. They are portals into the soul, heart, and mind of an individual. And since we all know how sick and twisted humans are we feed on their passions, their anger, their knowledge, their fears, and their loves....gorging on what they offer...until we either consume them completely...or get consumed ourselves.

Blogs. The Blog Phenomena

Monday, December 13, 2010

For Digital You Have To Be Crafty..Yes Crafty! Word

The biggest challenge in the Ad Industry is getting your advertising message watched, read, or listened to by your target demographic, in a manner that allows them to focus solely on it. 

We all know this is a pipe dream for most Media Platforms. Your ad is either grouped with others, or in a place that it competes with other sensory distractions. There are still a few select places you can guarantee your message gets through such as inside Subway Cars. And the best campaign content will fail if the right people do not see it.

When it comes to Digital it is even more complex. FireFox has a big chunk of the Browser Market. Two popular Ad On's block most digital ads (Ad Blocker Plus) and ad networks (No Scripts). One thing I take offense at is that 'Creatives' in Advertising are only the people making Commercials, Graphics, Digital Content. Yes they are Creative. Just like those who dream up the big picture campaign, there are those Creatives that work in Strategy which is our focus.

How do you reach the ever more elusive target?

Kudos to YFrog! 

A devoted fan of one of my clients, posted this picture up on Twitter, and we like to share these photos with their Twitter followers. And low and behold the new Fockers Movie ad made it past both Ad Blocker Plus and No Scripts. This works. It took some creativity. It was simple. It's guaranteed to be seen. If YFrog wanted to (if they are not already), it could analyze the public network info for each Twitter user to make an educated guess at what demographic most likely will click through any photos they post to ensure relevance of the Ad to the Viewer.

If you are wondering the photo is for the seasonal treat called the Snowflake BOO-Yah!! Its Two Oven Warm Snickerdoodle Cookies with fresh creamy handmade EggNogg w/Bourbon + Toffee Ice Cream. Both 100% all natural, no preservatives, locally handmade in Los Angeles.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This Commercial is the BOMB!

This seriously is one of my five favorites out now. I also loved the previous Kia Soul and the one for the Sorrento with the Sock Monkey Rave.

But this also gives a great case study in Advertising especially for Automotive. Where our secret Alien Underground Pre-Invasion Intelligence Headquarters is located, one of the biggest Kia Dealerships is based. I see Soul's around town, but normally the driver is over 50 and smoking a cigarette. Don't know why but I have seen more than 3! I rarely see anyone this commercial's demographic is aimed at. My point being it doesn't matter how you portray an automobile in Advertising. The minute they hit the street they are what they are. In this case I see a smallish boxy vehicle not that much bigger than the old Suzuki Samauri's but hard top. With older almost retired smokers driving them.

But damn I love this commercial and will watch Kia commercial's over and over again. Whether or not the fact I would not buy a Kia nowadays means it's wasted Ad Spend each time I am counted in the numbers they pay for is something to ponder. This is something I rail against often and I am definitely not in their demographic for this car. Or maybe in 10 years it will have planted the seed when their cars improve in the way Hyundai's have. Out of the blue the Sonata is nicest looking family four door sedan out there from the far east.

For a great blog dedicated to covering Automotive Advertising: Chris Baccus' - The Automotive Marketing Blog

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Behind the Glamour of the Chief Alien

I get this all the time, especially when I meet someone and we exchange cards.

"What is it like to be Chief Alien? It is something I have always dreamed of but knew the chances were such a long shot I completely blocked even a thought of it from my mind. But since You are a Chief Alien, I just gotta know. What's it like? C'mon I am dying to know?

And you all were thinking how awesome this life could be for you. Well it's not all glamour, free space daiquiri's, and all the best party invites (though there is plenty of that). Real work goes on behind the scenes. Work over stale cups of day old coffee, and work hours way into the night. In fact to prove it......

After a long nights sleep in my Atmospheric Conditioning Pod, I wake to this:

A spattering of Trade News Emails.

The dashes are all the commentors via LiveFyre from Spin Sucks and check it out: I got 1 LiveFyre point! Totally rocking those LiveFyre points! When someone Like's your comment you get a point. Grow Blog and Creativity Unbound blogs are also pretty solid places you can earn these valuable points. I heard one day there will be a catalog with valuable prizes you can buy with them including diamonds, cars, and trips to Europe (editors note: this last part has not be confirmed and thus must be deemed highly unlikely)

One new out of way left field Twitter follower (maybe they want marketing help?! But I am a big bacon fan...sigh) 

Two yellow highlighted work related emails, yes BOO-Yahs!! are part of my daily work life.

And of course the X showcases the daily email from Hong Kong to discuss the electronic bank transfer of $50mil to the US for a generous commission to me. In which I always respond "Send it in small bills to a secret location and its a deal". I get so little spam but this Mr. Lee is a shifty fellow.

So there you go. No emails from world famous SuperStar DJ's (they call me directly), no invites from Buffet to Davos (was told next year...maybe) or my agent trying to get me onto Celebrity Alien Rehab (more likely) or the Amazing Echelon Class Space Cruiser Race (less likely), not even a new Daiquiri recipe! I swear sometimes really big incredible awesome stuff goes on, but the life of Chief Alien is not as Glamorous as you all might think. 

So maybe that job you have now is sounding really freaking AWESOME now!

PS: Dear Email Marketer try making your way through to me via this inbox!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Privacy, no not the Facebook kind

Matthew Dowd of the National Journal wrote an excellent piece on Wiki-Leaks which takes a very nice perspective on Privacy when it comes to Journalists, the US Government, and the US People.

I recently guest blogged on Spin Sucks where I felt new tools and networks coming out will give us more control regarding how we distribute content and communicate, including who gets to see this content and communication. One response to my post was that everything is public on the internet. But really that is untrue. Business's like Google might know all the websites we visit and see into so much of our lives, the only reason we use them is based on trust. We have a right to privacy. Just because some of our communication technologies lack privacy doesn't mean we don't want it. Remember smoke signals? I am sure they had secret codes to not everyone could read them?

So the article by Mr. Dowd cuts to the heart of Privacy. Wouldn't transparency be more acceptable if everyone including businesses had to behave this way? In NY State we just blocked Natural Gas drilling because the companies refuse to say what chemicals are being used. NY Times LINK Meanwhile Pennsylvania is experiencing water pollution from the gas drilling. Why are they allowed Privacy and I am not? If I could monitor everything Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg did, sat in on their private strategy meetings, always knew the truth behind their actions, I would trust more, even if I did not agree with them.

Is this any different for our relationship with our Governmental bodies?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't be a Clutter Generator LEMMING! But you are!

Clutter! You cause it. You are part of it. Don't be a Clutter Creating LEMMING. You do your clients zero good. Be unique. Be special. Be powerful. But don't be a Clutter-Nut!

On the Sky Pulse Media website we ridicule the LEMMINGS! But YOU ARE A LEMMING! Trust me you are. Look in the mirror!

Get a Sharpie and write LEMMING on your forehead. 

It's OK. It will remind you of who you are. It sickens me to see the Big Name Marketer Names telling Brands to all do the same things. When really they are giving ZERO advantage to the Reader or Client or Brand. This goes for Traditional Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing.

I want to use this as my reference point. After 14 years of having a personal hotmail account it got corrupted. So I decided to create a Gmail account which now is over a year old. I was so excited to start fresh. But as is normal I started subscribing for emails from all sorts of places. From Entertainment, Music, News, Politics, Retail, Travel. When I log in to Gmail this is what I see. The check marks are what is being deleted unopened.

So think of this. What if every Brand that has a Fan Page sent you 1 update a day to your Facebook Feed. Or 1 Tweet into your Twitter Feed. Or 1 alert to your Mobile Device. Or 1 email to your Email Account.

That is what is happening. That is why the Big Name Marketers are lying to you. It benefits the Gurus who give talks and sell books that you are a LEMMING. It benefits the Social Networks. It benefits LEMMING News sites like Mashable. That is the big scam! It does not benefit you. Whether it's LBS, SMS, Social, Digital it's all Clutter! And adding more to the Clutter will not get you seen. It is why people only engage with 4.6 Brands via Social. They run from Clutter yet Advertising thrives on Clutter because more Advertising means more Billings! And it is why the Industry seriously STEALS money from clients through lies and deceit. It's why Brands with 5 million Fans on Facebook get only 500 responses.

My advice to you. Be different. Be creative. Opt In RULES! Its not the Message. It's not the Ad. It's getting it seen that makes you relative. Figure out how to separate yourself from everyone else. Trust me standing on a corner in NYC with a Sandwich board during rush our will earn you more impressions than posting to your Fan Page with 5 million Fans.

My next post will highlight a few unique campaign strategies that worked from being creative.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Gini Dietrich Movie

If you did not know I am just fascinated with

Awhile ago I did movies of the Adverve Podcast and Quick-n-Dirty Podcasts (Links to your left), which are two of my favorites. Recently I connected with Gini Dietrich who is the CEO of Arment Dietrich in Chicago and also the main contributor to their blog Spin Sucks (which is also linked to the left). Not only is Gini a prolific weekly Video Blogger which this movie is about, she is also very funny! I recommend you follow her and read Spin Sucks. I always embrace people who didn't drink the Social Media Koolaid, is a straight shooter, and knows reality vs the hype out there in the Advertising/Marketing/Media industry (see my list to the left!). Plus I am getting a ton of Livefyre points from stalking the Spin Sucks blog, and great people tend to lurk there.

Without further a do......drum roll please...The Gini Dietrich Movie:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Alien's Take on Social Influence

Recently I have seen a lot of blogs being written on Social Influence. This has me thinking about the meaning of Social Influence. What is it you are influencing? Just something being passed on?

Recently Tom Moradpour had a nice blog post about Social Influence. He wishes there were standards so we can all agree on what it is, then we can find it's actual value. I agree we need standards 100%. I also agree Klout has done the best to create a Brand. Even more impressive they respond on Twitter. I had the CEO and Founder respond to me on Friday over some tweets!

Klout has improved  significantly now that the scores update on their own. In the past unless someone manually refreshed it was stale and old.

My specific issue with Influence Analysis is context and important information is not included.  Who is this person in real life? Are they someone who gets photographed and put in People Magazine thus causing products to be sold? Are you someone who moves sales needles just by people you call on the phone or places you hang out at? What if I am not on Twitter or Facebook and I have 3 close friends who tweet stuff I email them and it travels. What if I see something on Twitter and then call my friend who is the head buyer for Macy's and that call just got a huge order placed to a small fashion house? How can you determine where the influences came from in these scenarios? Is it just about pushing info that get's re-pushed?

What about the content? Great content get's moved on it's own. It has nothing to do with a person's influence it has to do with the content's influence. If I am a source of great content, and I don't share poor content what does that mean? It means you have to get me to see great content to have it passed on. 

And what about the goals of the influence? Is it page views so you can increase advertising revenues? Is it sales in retail stores? Is it people coming to your restaurant? Is it exposure for your art or writing? None of this gets captured in influence scores. How can you connect these things, especially with anything that happens offline. How can you know the kind of Influencer I am?

And what about the fact that most of our lives take place off line even if we are online so much. We have no solid way to measure off line Word of Mouth, Phone Call Influence, In Person Influence, the Influence from seeing Billboards/Print Ads/TV Ads/People on the Street, or even the influence of the Sales guy or the Special Deal at the store. And to really get Social Media Influence we have to tie this stuff in!

I know you think 'Well this is only online influence we care about.' Yes and No. All depends on your goal. I have mentioned before how much Ad Spend goes up in smoke at point of purchase. Social Influence does as well! Passing of Information is one thing, Action is another. Does it matter that my Chic Restaurant used Social to expose my place to 3 million people via Social for Free if no one shows up at my Restaurant? Or that 3 million get shown a teaser of my new book resulting in zero sales?

This is very complex stuff. My point is online Social Influence to me is a small piece to a bigger puzzle. It can mean way too many things. Every person or company hoping to push something via Social has completely different Goals and a Klout Score won't solve this. I still think Great Content, Great Product/Service, Great Customer Service, Great Price Point still trumps everything.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why B2C E-Commerce Has Been an Utter Failure

Flashback to 1995. The internet exploded onto the scene. Windows 95 was a game changer. Apple was dead. AOL was the Internet. IPO's were going crazy. Sites like and were coming into being. Walmart was being slammed in the news for being slow and stodgy. WebVan was taking over the Grocery world. Bricks and Mortar was going to die. None of us needed to leave our house to buy things anymore.

Insert Sounds of Crickets Chirping Here.

In 2008 E-Commerce was still less than 4% of US retail Sales. LINK

Why so? Is it E-Commerce of Human Behavior? Or a combination of both. I say both. Here is why.

Human Behavior - We like shopping and browsing. It is a social activity. Nothing beats seeing, touching, tasting for most things. It get's us out of the house. It is much more impressive to tell someone you were shopping at the Audi Dealer or Tiffany's or that Funky Clothes Store in person, than by saying you went to their website. 

It's fun to try on clothes. I remember I had a girlfriend in 2001 who wanted to change me from beach/surf casual to more urban hipster. We went to Melrose Ave in LA and went to the men's stores. I had beautiful sales women dressing me up so my beautiful girlfriend could give me feedback. It was awesome. Can't do that online can you? 

And don't we love having people see what we bought? Whether it is a Flat Screen 70" TV being rolled to the car from Best Buy, walking Manhattan with Bloomingdales Bags, or people seeing us pushing a cart with new plants to our car from Home Depot. 

What about that cache of being seen in a store? The Human Vanity Quotient (HVQ). And we want some things now. We just do. This will never change. BUT there are so many things that we pay for in person that we would be ok moving online if online was better!

It's E-Commerce - It sucks. It does not mimic real life. When I walk into a store my eyes can absorb and my mind calculate 1000's of items in minutes. Try that online. Next time you go to the store like a supermarket or Macy's take a 14" x 10" Frame and try shopping only by looking through it. Now think of how online doesn't even allow us to do that. We see pages of lists. We have to scroll. Imagine trying to shop at the supermarket. You walk down an Aisle. Might take you 5 minutes to browse about 200 Brands and 600 different items. Try doing that online page by page. 

We like Discovery. We know every unique boutique at the mall or small business can't be found online easy. I can go to a shopping district and browse shops so much faster than online. Some of this can be fixed with a better User Interface using Virtual Reality and 3D technology. But it's going to take years and billions of dollars to get there.

So until technology improves the online experience E-Commerce for B2C is going to remain just a small part of Consumer Spending.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Friday Agency Rant

Some things have been bugging me. Here are 10 Things I just have to say!

1] Stop discussing the Agency of the Future. The Future comes slowly if you can't adapt it's your fault.

2] Stop wasting Clients money. If you are upset with ROI talk don't take the work. Many of your Clients are public companies that judge every other part of their business for ROI and fire people who have negative ROI. Why should you be different? Being Smarter is the Answer! Seek out Media and Message Delivery Channels that can be measured properly. It will reduce finger pointing and help you defend your outrageous billing fees.

3] Digital Advertising is not the answer. Just because we have Computers and Use them a lot doesn't mean we want Ads on there. We have 15 years of utter failure and yet the discussion is always 'well what we just did it this way' without ever thinking maybe the People have a Choice and they already Chose. Get over it! And no Google Goggles or the IPad in not an Advertising game changer as much as they are Technology game changers.

4] Social Media will always be an AND. It is never going to replace Traditional Marketing! But it can enhance it and help you. Use it. But don't believe what anyone says about Social Media who has a vested interest in Social Media's success (ie Zuckerberg, Mashable, or any number of Social Rock Stars that write books and speak on tour) vs Your success! You can not reach 540million people on Facebook. You can reach only 1 person at a time. And it is just as hard as going to the Mall and trying to meet people 1 on 1 and get them to like you.

*Side note. 75% of the Top 100 Social Media Speakers are talking out of their ass just to make money! It is up to you to figure out which 25% are the real deal!

5] Viral does not exist for Marketers. It is 0.00001% of all Social Media chatter. You can reach more than 1 person by reaching 1 person in the right way. But you had better be damn happy if you reach 10 people this way. But if you or your Brand fucks up! Viral will take care of itself. Social Media is People to People technology not Brand to People Technology.

6] For every Product or Brand that sells itself (Best in Class), there are 3 Dogs or Pigs. Be honest with the Consumer and the Client. Don't over sell either. I know you want billings. But dishonesty sets you up for failure.

7] If your campaign is a big sink hole of money with no results, don't open your hand and ask for next years funding. Prove to your client how you will do better.

8] Great Products won't fail, even if the advertising you did sucks! But you can't save Bad Products from failing with great advertising! Remember Marketers and Brands are much more gullible that Consumers. Someone at the Brand believed it was a winner. The Agency told the Brand it was a winner so they could get the billings and the work. And then 9 of 10 new product launches fail. Who are the suckers?

9] More Advertising in More Places, More of the time is not the answer! Just because you can put an ad somewhere doesn't mean anyone cares for it to be there. Advertisers always come up with new places to put ads because they want to bilk their Clients of more money. Not because people want to see ads there. Getting seen by the right demographic is much more important than just getting seen.

10] Sorry but consumers do not care about your ads, the products or the brands as much as you think they do. They don't want to engage with brands, with your advertising, or talk via Social like you think they do. They are busy. Have little time. And want things on their terms not your terms. Get over it and stop lying to your clients about this. There is a reason Facebook Fan pages are failing. People want to talk to their friends much more than a Brand.

Thank you now carry on with your day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Does the 22% Decline in Facebook Usage per User Mean Anything for Social?

Last April I wrote a scathing breakdown of all the Facebook Hype Metrics using data directly from the Stats page. Warning its data heavy: 

Facebook has a MASSIVE PR problem when it comes to showcasing data. They shoot themselves in the foot constantly. It's easy to snow Marketers they are a big group of suckers it seems. Just read Mashable. In a Macro Aggregated way Facebook numbers are nice. On a per user basis (Micro) they have very little activity on their network.
Using the new and improved stats page:

When you take 540mil 'active users' this comes out to 43minutes per day per user. This is down from 55 minutes per user in April 2010! A 22% drop in time spent. This looks even worse considering I am logged in with Facebook in a Tab and that time clock is ticking and being recorded as time spent on the Network even though I am typing this!

When you break down 30b by 540m users this comes out to 55 items shared per user per month. That is 1.83 items per day per user. Since over 200m log in each day its about 5 items per user logged in. Not bad. If you are selling your Network as a place to go viral how does you get your item to be in that 5? And you have less than 5 because photo albums and notes are part of that! So you have to get into the 3 slots and there are a million of brands, brand page posts, links and stories etc vying for them every day!

Now an even bigger kicker because this impacts Facebook's Traditional Advertising which is most of their revenue!

Have you used Facebook's Mobile App? It is pretty good. Allows simple communication but small screen, and definitely not a place for Facebook Ads to be lucrative. But if 40% of the network are using Mobile then the people not using mobile are exchanging even less items, making it even harder to go viral or have your Fan Page post seen. The Mobile App also makes it harder to get seen in the Live Feed vs Desktop.

There are Stock Analysts following every single update to the stats page. They do exactly what I do when I delve into what these stats mean. They do not see a $33b value. Not if you are basing it on an Advertising/Business Presence Model. And does the 22% reduction in Network Usage say anything about Social? Or just Facebook?

UPDATE: Nov 17
David Berkowitz of Media Post and was kind of enough to tell me that when logged into Facebook in an open Tab, but not actually on the Tab doing any activity, that Facebook stops recording time spent. He is the first to state this since I have brought up that up before. I have an issue with very shady information not detailed by Web Properties. This is not just a Facebook issue and something I plan to discuss on a new blog post.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Marketing Side of PR Can Be High Impact Haiku

My friend Aaron Strout who is CMO of Powered has a #BrandHaiku effort underway today. 

I highly recommend you follow Aaron on Twitter @aaronstrout and read his blog Citizen Marketer 2.1 click previous link to read other fabulous #BrandHaikus or see his Blog Link to your left.

In Honor of Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) of Arment Dietrich who has been very inspiring (see previous blog post) and a new member of my Reality - Don't Drink the Koolaid - Posse which Aaron is also a member of.

In the PR World
You will Find Arment Dietrich
Where all the Spin Stops

Honesty Ethics
Directness Effectiveness
Is the Strategy
And Gini Dietrich
Who Likes to Video Blog
To Prove That Spin Sucks

If you or your company or brand wish to have a unique and special Haiku written please contact the Alien in my Haiku Department. He has over 13 Light Years of Experience.

The Marketing Side of PR Can Be High Impact

I think this is a great subject and something most folks in Marketing view as a separate world to us. Only some of PR is a separate world. Traditionally we think of things like people who help with damage control when something goes wrong like BP or Tiger Woods. Or the person who writes up a Press Release. Or the Agency that advises Alex Rodriguez to live next to Madonna and which press to have contacted when he goes out to get celebrity coverage.

But there is much more and it aligns with traditional marketing. It can be very valuable for your business. Some of it will be self generated some will come to you if you have some luck. But a good PR Agency can compete with a good Ad Agency in many areas.

I was lucky to get connected with @GiniDietrich of Arment Dietrich about 2 weeks ago because of her Tweeting with two of my favorite marketing minds @mitchjoel (Six Pixels Blog and Podcast) and @markwschaefer (Business Grow Blog) . Gini also is the primary contributor to the great blog Spin Sucks. All three are linked to your left.

If you go to Arment Dietrich's website and see their services, you will think you are on an Advertising or Marketing Agency website. And you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that. Because you would be correct. Using a client as a case study because I am not a natural at PR though I did some leg work for this client this is the impact good PR Marketing can have on your business.

Here is the PR Marketing work that has been done for my client Chunk-n-Chip since Mid-Summer by founder Claudia Gonzalez, Paul Lyttle of SRP-Media and myself. And you can see the value for Marketing!

Claudia brings a warm and engaging style with people. In a competitive dessert world, not only does she have a premium best in class product. People like her! Being liked is a huge part of PR!
She was asked to cater a softball game in LA between two big radio stations which led to being interviewed on a recent Friday Morning by Carson Daly on Amp Radio:

Paul Lyttle is very new to the team. SRP-Media has a stable of about 75 Movie and TV Stars. He is one of the Co-Creators of the Drive Out Hunger Charity campaign for Second Harvest Food Bank. Not only did he round up the stars for the big event on Wednesday at the Verizon Amphitheater, he got such big brands as Live Nation, Pepsi, Clear Channel, Twilight Saga, Cirque Du Soleil, and Wynn Resorts to donate everything from Super Bowl Tickets, Concert Tickets, and even a Caribbean Trip for a silent auction.

He also has our client set to be interviewed and included in the February Printing of the Lonely Planet Guide to California.

Through my Twitter networking efforts I connected with Los Angeles Times, OC Register, OC Weekly, LA Weekly and Bloggers hoping for news coverage. I set up her visit to OC Weekly. LA Weekly is pending waiting for her LA Health Department License. I also hooked up Claudia with a friend who is a Street Artist/ Otis Grad to paint her truck. This won her Second Place out of 48 Trucks in the Yelp! OC Foodie Fest Contest

All of which earned some unexpected coverage from OC Register, MetroMix, and others:

We now have people posting pictures of BOO-Yahs!! all over Twitter and news coverage we are not initiating! This is FREE Publicity and Marketing!

So if you think a good PR Agency and/or Strategy can't help your brand marketing, or doesn't compete with you as an Advertising Agency, you are wrong. And I suggest there is proper coordination if you have both an Advertising/Marketing Agency and a PR Agency helping you. Because together there can be an outsized impact on your total marketing efforts.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LiveFyre vs Disqus - Social Infrastructure at its best

Two of the best developments in Social have not been above ground. They have been underground. They have been two networks that truly are social. And they make communicating easy. They have taken Blogs to a new level and I am so happy they have arrived. Though have no idea how to integrate them on this blog! But I never claimed to be a techie! I just use tech!

In the past for each blog you needed to sign in specifically to comment. The blogger might respond back and that is it. It was very hard to have real conversations about a topic. And rarely did other visitors to the blog have comments for the commentary. 

Now this all has changed. Both services send you notifications when someone responds to your comment. And instead of having to log in with Facebook, which I never do now, nor will ever do anywhere but onto Facebook itself, they give you one log in that is good across multiple websites and tied to your email address. They also allow people to 'Like' your comment which I am sure will increase your stature as a good source of information the more 'Likes' you have.

The two main differences I have seen (and I could be wrong since I use only the default settings), is Disqus alerts you only when your comment is responded too. LiveFyre alerts you via email every time there is a new post on that blog entry. It does this automatically once you comment. I need to  check deeper into the settings. And one glaring difference which sets them apart is Disqus allows you to go back and edit your comment, even after posting. LiveFyre does not. This is huge for someone like me who types slower than my brain thinks and often posts with spelling errors. I have not seen a Spell Check Feature on either which is sorely lacking.

I am not sure who the VC backers of Livefyre are, but Disqus is backed by Union Square Ventures which has in their stable, Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga and Boxee among other great Social Start Ups. And @FredWilson who is one of the partners has an amazing blog that is a must read for Entrepreneurs

Long term I see networks like this being integrated across all platforms and websites and I predict they will outlast even Facebook and Twitter for their usefulness! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Garbage in Garbage Out. Why Research Sucks!

Recently someone posted on Twitter that 80% of Gen-Y thinks Advertising is truthful. And when I see something that does not make sense I investigate. So I did. I came across something so grossly distortional it truly upset me. It also misleads readers and goes to the heart of something. Garbage in Garbage out.

Why do so many new product launches fail? Because of poor research. The reasons are a myriad. From biased questions, biased focus groups, biased or lying participants, and how the data get's reported.

I have railed before at poor reporting of news, like Mashable who is almost so deceptive or inept that they are not a news source for me. 

But news is one thing. Actual research is another. Read the headline of the next link. Then the first line of the write up. Completely different meanings and conclusions.

In this Harris Interactive study on whether people think Advertising is Truthful presented by Marketing Charts they did the double whammy. First the questions suck. Seriously. Expand the charts. What a horrible choice of questions. Secondly the write up by Marketing Charts is 100% wrong. Not just inaccurate. But WRONG!

The data shows that most people do not trust advertising what so ever. It also shows when it comes to regulating advertising they trust NO ONE! 

Yet when you read the write up it sounds like most people find Advertising Truthful and that they don't trust the Government to regulate it. Insert the sound of Kyles Mom:

Two glaring issues I have with the data since I am tossing the write up into the trash. 

They should of asked  Do you trust Advertising to be Truthful: Yes or No?
Then maybe a more detailed question about that. When I see the word 'Sometimes' in a question what does that mean. Sometimes being truthful would mean from 1% to 50% of the time. Most of the time could mean 51% to 99%. HUGE SPREADS. And thus the data is really a statement that people are smart and they do not trust Advertising or anyone who will be given the task of Regulating it.

See the Ad Contrarian's write up of a Nielsen Study as another example of poor research:  LINK

It is really important that you craft your research as unbiased and objectively as possible. Do not be afraid if it turns out the opposite of what you hope. It will save you money killing a project before it flops, than having it flop.