Here are all of the posts tagged ‘conversation’.

The rise of the real time web

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Contagious magazineSo I’ve been banging on about the death of the microsite for quite a while, but I’d never spent the time to fully articulate my position.

When Contagious magazine offered me the opportunity to articulate it to the world at large, I jumped at the chance. Although only normally available to their subscribers, they’ve kindly made my article available as a PDF (the article itself is on page 5).

The rise of the real time web
What have you done online in the past week? How many microsites did you visit? How many branded Flash animations did you watch? Calculate the mean answer for the entire country and you’ll probably arrive at a figure close to zero. Read on

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It’s not what you say that matters

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Another great presentation from Paul Isakson

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Let me entertain you

by Violette Vérité in News Google+

Twitter is on every lips at the moment: tales of towering growth battle with news of celebs twittering the night away while the rest of the world learns about worldwide events on their Tweetdeck.

So it’s not a very big surprise that the latest marketing campaigns all use Twitter: yesterday Andrew McCormick of Revolution Magazine mentioned the creative WB Harry Potter Twitter campaign, while US TV show Dollhouse has decided to promote the release of the series on DVD with “Twitter-enriched banners”.

It’s no wonder that entertainment brands are particularly active (and successful) on this front. Entertainment is by essence a very social activity, a powerful way to identify and connect with your peers. So when your key-target happens to be Gen Y or early-adopters who are more than likely to be thirsty for any kind of additional experience then the path is wide open to experiment with all sorts of social media tools and engage with followers. Interestingly enough they’re called fans and not customers.

TV shows and bands have been very active on that front, leading the community activation with Twitter character profiles, blogs, forums, online and offline games including ARGs (only last week fans of Muse managed to get the band’s ARG to the sixth most popular trends on Twitter). And when expectations are not met, the backlash can be pretty strong, with rumours claiming that Brüno is facing a box-office drowning due to calamitous Twitter reviews (Update: also see what effect Twitter had on Inglourious Basterds).

Social media activation by the entertainment industry acts as a magnifying glass of what’s happening elsewhere: there are lots of other brands out there, they don’t necessarily connect with their customers by creating a convoluted ARG but they engage daily with their customers, just as we do for Skype.

Charlene Li has just released her ENGAGEMENTdb report which analyses the engagement of company in social media and correlates it to financial performance. Some of the findings are very interesting, especially when analysing the scores by industry. Of course there are some justified reservations (Patricio Robles has voiced most of them). However what I would like to keep from this report is that no matter what solution is chosen, companies have to find the mix of social media that works for them.

Best pratices and reports can give an idea of what’s happening out there, set benchmarks and reassure shareholders, but in the end customers are out there, waiting to be talked to in a human way which will both improve their customer experience and with which they can identify (and not simply for financial reasons). So go out there and try it, you’ll see social media is not that scary ;-)

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Coca-Cola: A social media case study

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Following on from our Best Buy social media case study back in May, I thought it worth looking at what the FMCG giant Coca-Cola are up to in social media.

Last month in Cannes, Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola’s VP of global advertising strategy, admitted the multi-national corporation had been slow to embrace social media and historically, they did make some mistakes. However, if you scratch the surface a little, they’re doing some interesting things.

In April they created a new office of digital communications and social media within its public affairs and communications department, giving Adam Brown, digital communications director, and Anne Carelli, digital communications manager, oversight of corporate digital and social media communications efforts.

It’s worth watching Adam speak about Coca-Cola’s social media strategy at the recent BlogWell New York conference (start 50 secs in):

You can also see Adam’s slides here.

Coca-Cola Conversations is the blog Adam mentions, check out the Coca-Cola Facebook page, and for a UK perspective it’s worth looking at this article about ‘Let’s get together’ and the Coke Zone blog.

Of course, there’s also the famous story of the Coca-Cola Facebook page:

Update: Adam has kindly tweeted me to point out that Coke are on Twitter too. I especially like the fact that they’re being very conversational, even with their arch-rivals Pepsi:

Coke's tweet to Pepsi

Update 2: Coke’s new social media policy

Update 3: Coca-Cola and social media: Fans first

Update 4: Coca-Cola builds new social media model

Update 5: Coca-Cola’s marketing shifts from impressions to expressions

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The purchase funnel is no more

by Robin Grant in News Google+

The purchase funnel has always been one of the main tenets of marketing theory.

purchase funnel

We’ve intuitively known for while that it no longer holds true (if it ever did), but despite many attempts, we’ve had nothing come along that’s replaced it. For example, Forrester had a go a couple of years ago with the diagram below, but crucially it failed to provide a model that was easy to visualise, and it failed to catch on (surprisingly, neither did Giles Rhys Jones’ simpler alternative).

Forrester's funnel

Now, finally, we have a viable alternative model, along with the science to back it up. McKinsey have conducted a study examining the purchase decisions of almost 20,000 consumers across five industries and three continents, and come up with what they call the consumer decision journey:

The funnel concept fails to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer. A more sophisticated approach is required to help marketers navigate this environment, which is less linear and more complicated than the funnel suggests. We call this approach the consumer decision journey.

Because of the shift away from one-way communication — from marketers to consumers — toward a two-way conversation, marketers need a more systematic way to satisfy customer demands and manage word-of-mouth.

consumer decision journey

We hate the word ‘consumer’ (we are all people as far as We Are Social is concerned), but that doesn’t make their model any less valid. David Court, Director of McKinsey’s global Marketing & Sales practice, has an excellent presentation that explains the research and what it means for marketers. The most salient parts being:

You have a trigger of some sort, where people start across the decision journey — they are now going to move towards purchase. The first stage is initial consideration. In many industries, people actually start in their initial consideration of a brand with a relatively narrow list, we believe because of the busy lives and bombardment of media — it’s just very difficult to get through all this clutter in this consumers initial consideration set. However, once the consumer decides they are going to buy a product, they move into a stage that we call active evaluation. It is here that the number of brands they are considering increases. Which is exactly the opposite of the premise of the funnel, going from broad to narrow. This is the stage when the consumer is intent on purchasing and they are actively researching the product.

What marketers should know
The most important thing for marketers to do is to make sure that their marketing activities are aligned against how their consumers research and buy products [...] companies need to look at their messaging in light of where they have the greatest opportunity. For example, companies’ messaging is all about trying to get into the initial consideration set, and yet, when the consumer reaches out during their active evaluation stage, they’re not providing the right facts and testimonials that the consumer is looking for [...] most companies are going to have to make fundamental investment in what we would call consumer driven marketing

Consumer versus company driven touchpoints
We analytically looked at which touchpoints were most influencing the consumer’s decision. We found two types — company driven versus consumer driven. In consumer driven, the consumer is reaching out to get information — they’re talking to their friends, doing internet searches, seeing what’s said on third party sites.

In the initial consideration it was still very much still company driven — the advertising was a very critical part of the touch points that influenced the consumer. However, when we got into active evaluation, two thirds of the influence of those most powerful touchpoints were from consumer driven touchpoints — word of mouth, talking to friends and family, searching on the internet.

And that is a very big change — you need to develop ways for people to talk about your product, so that word of mouth works. Be represented on independent internet sites where people will go and research and buy products. Because, if you don’t have enough presence on those types of consumer driven approaches, when the consumer is reaching out during active evaluation, you’re not there for them to find.

Amen to that…

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