Archives for posts with tag: Social Marketing


Tom Webster posted on his blog an interesting experience with a highly personal “Influencer Outreach Program“. In short: He tried to give the quake victims in New Zealand moral support by asking his social graph and tapping into the sphere of influencers to record a short message of support. He asked people like Chris Brogan and Oliver Blanchard to spread the word for him, extending his reach dramatically. (So far, so good. Solid outreach program.)

As he writes:

“You see, how this story is supposed to end is this: hundreds of thousands of people heard my plea for help, and overwhelmed my server with messages of hope. The number of messages and the outpouring of passion and love for this cause brought the Interwebs to its knees. The people of New Zealand clung to those messages of hope – and another social media legend was born.”

Well, the results were abysmal (read his post for more details):

  • 410,00+ impressions
  • 389 clicks
  • CTR of below 0.01%
  • 10 submissions (0.0025 action rate)

And you thought your display ad performance blows.

A few thoughts:

First and foremost, I would like to commend Tom for posting these results. I love the honesty of bare numbers and his lack of trying to explain it away. We need more of this.
His experiment doesn’t mean an Influencer Outreach Program on Twitter makes no sense. However it tells us that an Influencer Outreach program on Twitter based on reach will most likely fail.
As Matt Ridings points out, the effort wasn’t designed well enough. “Instead, he notes that “people need to a) see that the influencer took the action (the influencer truly believes) b) be presented with an action simple enough for them to easily participate and allow competition to take hold (“I can make a better audio clip than you did,”) and c) see results made public to allow a & b to occur in such a way that they believe the influencer will actually see that they did it for *them* vs. the cause, thus garnering attention for themselves.”
I would add to this: People are lazy. Tom asked too much from them. Audio message, downloading, sending. When people are asked to do anything more than to click a link, you’ll have problems converting them. That’s the genius of Foursquare: You have nothing to do, waiting for your drink, standing around and you push 2 buttons. Done. The Haiti mobile giving campaign of $10 worked so well because it took me no effort to do it.
People are trained in certain behavior. We do click on links when on Twitter but do we want to take real action? I would argue not. An idea like this might spread better on Facebook where people are used to do more than just click.
While some people rely on Oliver Blanchard to get his take on Social Media ROI and Chris Brogan to get insights into Social Media, their influence out of their field of expertise is very limited. They might be able to shill a suitcase or a book that is closely associated to their expertise but how many people would buy pants because Chris Brogan wears them? Or record a call? I know, this was for a good cause – still.
It clearly shows that you need to connect with the small pools of influencers that create behavior change. It’s more important to have avid fans than amass fans. Think Howard Stern. He’s the ultimate influencer.
Last but not least: Asking people for favors on social platforms is the new spam: Put this in your status. Copy that. Color your avatar green. RT this. Share that. Help here. Donate there. It’s tough to break through that clutter and get meaningful responses.


    Not a day goes by without a digital marketer complaining about their flying experience: delays, cancellations, lost luggage. Sure, flying is no fun. Being treated like a herd of sheep , forced to sit in cramped quarters – well, I don’t have to tell you the sordid details.

    Running an airline is a complex venture.

    It’s about maths and probabilities. An aircraft seat is the most perishable product of any commodity going: Once the aircraft takes off, the seat is empty, you’ll never recover it again. It’s gone forever. You have to deal with the economic climate, gazillion of vendors, thousand of employees, circumstances you can’t control (Weather, political environment – you name it).

    Considering this complexity, it’s a miracle that United Airlines had an on-time performance of 91.4% in November 2010. (Yes, I know, they are padding the schedule. Still.) It’s amazing that only 1 in 8,000,000 aircrafts crash.

    Running a campaign and Social Media initiative is complex, too.

    But, it can’t be compared to the complexity of running an airline. And, how many things are going wrong each and every day? Wrong creative, creative that misses the target, trafficking nightmares, planning horror scenarios, failed banner campaigns, wrong success metrics for SEM campaigns, sub-par SEO, failed Social Marketing initiatives, mini sites more focused on showcasing the agency, not conversion, and, and, and…

    How come we have these high expectations for complex enterprises (airlines, automotive companies, hotels) but we don’t expect the same from our work? Why do we live with all the things that are going wrong in our own area of expertise but tend to complain about minor problems of other businesses, using our Social Media bullhorn?

    I’m all for constructive criticism. I’m for helping companies improve the customer experience. (And I’m not defending airlines at all. There’s a lot of work to be done on their end.) But we have stop feeling entitled to complain about every little detail. Or even use our “status” in the Social Media world to force companies to deal with us.

    Too often, it reminds me of the boy who cried “wolf”. When the real wolf finally showed up, nobody listened.


    Our professional lives depend on improving the current reality of marketing. Why aren’t we acting like it?

    Imagine you had to deliver a media plan coupled with a bet on your lifestyle. If the media plan works out as planned, you’ll double your net worth. If it fails, you lose everything you have.

    That’ll focus you on delivering the best media plan. Ever. Suddenly the media plan becomes the most important thing in your life. Not just another task you need to check off your list.

    If you had to bet your financial life on this plan, would you make the same decisions? Would you work the same way? Would you chase the latest Foursquare check-in or would you focus on delivering value without being blinded by bright, shiny objects? Would you bet your future on creative ads that nobody gets? Would you bet your family’s world on the pithy, little insights of focus groups? Would you to adhere to the wishes of your clients if you had to foreclose your house in case your campaign fails? Would clients change things if they were accountable for the results?

    Or would we take our decisions more seriously? Ensure that we leave our egos at home and develop the best solution for the specific problem.

    And not our childish needs.

    Our professional lives depend on improving the current reality of marketing. Shouldn’t we start acting like it?


    A few months ago, I caught the bicycle fever. I had to ride my bicycle, had to train other muscles in my body than just the brain. I looked inside the garage and saw my bike: dusty, flat tires and just not very happy being left alone for such a long time. Ok, time for a little bicycle spa treatment. Oh no, don’t get me start working on that stuff. I will mess it up. Two left hands can’t work miracles. So, I drove down to the bike shop and asked them for help. I was expecting a major bill: New tires, new brakes, tuning – the whole enchilada.

    The owner looked at the bicycle and said: “Give me 20 minutes and I’ll have it ready for you.” I grabbed a cup of coffee and returned 20 minutes later. There was my new old bicycle: sparkling, oiled and ready to race the world. When I asked the owner how much I owed him, he said: “Nothing.” I said “No, I owe you something. You worked on it.” And he answered “Look, it took me 5 minutes to fix your bike and I’m not going to charge you for it. All I ask is that you think of me next time you have a major repair or intend to buy a new bicycle.”

    That moment I became the biggest fan of this bike shop. And all of us can learn so much from his marketing strategy. He wasn’t looking to make a quick buck. He’s building a real business. A brand I want to share with everyone. His brand mission: Do the best work, be honest and trust me. The bike store next door can be 50% cheaper. I won’t even look at them. He has my loyalty for the rest of my life. It’s plain brilliant. We all have stories about handymen, small shops that survive by ripping you off. And we’ve seen the local news revealing the seedy business practices of small shops. He just stomped the competition with his brand positioning. We’re not going to screw you.

    What does this have to do with marketing?

    4 months ago, I had a meeting with a prospective client. They were interested in SEO, SEM, banner ads, some Social Marketing. Problem is, we don’t do SEO, SEM and banner ads. And, we don’t do the typical Twitter/Facebook Social Marketing. We want to understand business issues and help to solve them. We don’t believe in quick fixes, fancy campaigns to cover up problems. Still, some clients need quick fixes and can’t focus on holistic solutions right now.

    That’s understandable. There are business challenges that need to be addressed now. There are shareholder and sales imperatives. And there are deadlines. We could do it. But we wouldn’t be the best solution for the immediate problem.

    So, we offered them to help find the right partner for the immediate challenges. We gave business away. Money we could have used to reinvest in our company.

    But, did we give business away?

    We started to develop a real relationship based on trust. We invested a lot of time to help this client. Never saw a dime. And it felt so good.

    We became trusted advisors and skipped the supplier/vendor stage. It’s a different relationship. We’re here to help you. Nothing else. They trusted us like I trust the bicycle shop.

    Which is why they called us today. To talk about business strategy for 2011.

    We’re building a business here. Not a short-term profit center.


    This column appeared first at Jack Myers’ MediaBizBlogger site.

    Many people in the Social Marketing world say that anything social should be measured with soft metrics (fans, followers, number of conversations) and brands should focus on enhancing the brand by adding a social layer.

    Sounds good to me.

    Others in the Social Marketing world say that ultimately in marketing it’s always about money: Sales, increase in customer service efficiency (decrease in costs) and more effective ways to communicate with people compared to the guessing game we call advertising.

    Sounds good to me.

    How can we align both paradigms?

    We’re living in tough times. Clients need good returns on their investment. Any discussion about Social Media will touch the money issue: Resources, re-allocation of funds, organizational commitment. Sure, there are organizations where the ROI is fabulous and immediate: Just ask Burger King, Starbucks or Dell.

    What about the majority of brands?

    Let’s be honest with them: Most likely, Social Marketing won’t deliver immediate sales increases or anything that can be quantified monetary. Social Marketing (well done) will add another layer to the overall brand experience that will help your sales number incrementally.

    Will people read your tweets and immediately purchase your product? Hell no.

    Will they join your community and share with the world that your brand is just the best and everybody in their social graph should join as well? Doubtful.

    Will participation in Social platforms enhance the overall brand experience by providing a positive impression? Absolutely.

    So many Social Marketing initiatives have been abandoned because they didn’t deliver immediate results. Don’t blame Social Media or the client for that result. Blame yourself for not setting the right expectations. There’s a lot of value in Social Media. It’s your job to unearth it and keeping it real.


    Image: Courtesy of

    I’ve been blissfully married for quite a while now but I still remember this specific date from hell: She was gorgeous. She had the same interests than me. And through a mind-numbing dinner, she only talked about herself. Her concerns. Her dreams. Her life. Never asked a question. Never engaged. Never showed any interest in me.

    Does that remind you of your brand’s social media presence?

    Broadcasting messages about yourself is fine for specific channels. It’s not acceptable for social platforms. It continues to astonish me how many companies still apply the broadcast model to a non-broadcast medium. Blasting messages through their bullhorn at a cocktail party. Where is the Social Media Security Force when we need them?

    If a friend asks you if he should buy a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, would you send him a glossy brochure? Would you annoy him with special offers, sweepstakes and spam emails?

    Of course not.

    Somehow, when people put their marketing hat on, they lose some of their humanity. That marketing hat must have secret powers because suddenly it’s okay to target people, spam them, annoy the living daylights out of them. Once the hat is off and the office door is closed, the same people go home, regain their humanity and are as annoyed about these marketing tactics as all the other humans not wearing a marketing hat.

    The simple truth is, Social Media is not a new channel. Social Media changed the rules of the marketing game: New players, new strategies, new tactics, new values. Too many brands are trotting out the Vince Lobardi’s Green Bay Packers and their playbook from 1961 and try to compete with today’s New Orleans Saints. Just to be guaranteed a total beatdown.

    The purpose of a business and its marketing remains unchanged: create a customer. The way to achieve this goal has dramatically changed and is evolving as we speak. Brands need to understand these new rules, the new players and the new playbook.

    Frankly, it’s not that hard. Just leave your marketing hat off and be human. Help people. Add value. Give. Build brand karma.

    My date from hell cost me $100 and, more importantly, 2 hours of my life. Being a date from hell on social platforms will cost you customers for life.

    Screen shot 2010-04-12 at 4.06.37 PM

    This ad caught my attention almost 2 decades ago. Law degree in hand, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Copywriter for the best advertising agency in Germany? Why not? I wrote a 20-page screenplay about my life, 2 applications of thousands were invited for an interview and I got the job. The rest is history. Literally, since the once proud creative agency just filed for bankruptcy.

    When I started at Springer & Jacoby, advertising was the most interesting thing around. Especially when you have a slight case of ADD. Who wants to toil with a screenplay for months and years when you can turn a commercial script into a 30-second spot in a few weeks? Would you rather improve business system processes over years to improve customer experiences or create great advertising that engages millions of people and helps the bottom line of the business? (Come on, be honest.) This made advertising so exciting. Our goal was to deliver creative advertising that sells. Art meets business. And we could use the canvas of urban living to make our vision come to live: billboards, screens, bus stops, urinals. That made it even more exciting. Well, maybe not the urinals.

    Ultimately, our job was to take risks. We were the crazy uncle that shows up at the family reunion. The one everybody laughs at. And talks about. That was Springer & Jacoby’s goal: Create something entertaining that people talk about. Period.

    Not much has changed. Sure, we have new technologies, new buzzwords (Social Media, Buzz Marketing, WOM, etc.) but in the end, marketing and advertising has to produce something people talk about. Or it’s just a giant waste of money. Even worse, a giant waste of creativity.

    John Wanamaker said famously: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Here’s a little a secret: In today’s world of attention deficiency, more than 90% of your advertising is wasted. Just another Facebook page that looks like the other Facebook page. Just another commercial that could be from Brand A, B or even Z. Just another Twitter stream that floats by. And a radio ad that made absolutely no impact.

    Nowadays, most big agencies try to mix art, science and business together. And most of their efforts are still a waste of money, time and creativity. They might have the metrics to prove me wrong. But, in their heart they know I’m right.

    My former Creative Director said to me once: “Advertising doesn’t work when you want to share your idea with your parents and friends. Advertising works when you find reasons why it won’t work: the client will kick me out, the agency will fire me, I will live under the bridge). That’s when you hit magic.”

    We need more magic in this world.


    Below is the speech I gave at iMedia’s Agency summit in Scottsdale:

    Most of you remember and lived through the dot-com bubble. All these promises of the new economy and new world and new life just disappeared in a few months. Looking back, Etoys,, Kozmo: they all resembled Madoff-like Ponzi schemes. Amidst the ruins of the dot-com bubble, people got back to work, started mature conversations by trying to understand how digital communications can increase the value of relationships and a business.

    When I think about Social Media in 2009, I have this nagging déjà-vu feeling. I see proposals for Twitter and Facebook for up to $80k. I see false promises. I see laughable Social Media Certification courses for $3000. Every other person on Twitter claims to be a Social Media expert. I think most of feel that the current state of Social Media is a huge bubble and my prediction is that it will burst in 2010.

    The reason why it will burst is not because Social Media is just a fad. I would propose that most of us think about Social Media in the wrong way. The majority of marketers think Social Media is a cheap way to further their corporate and marketing strategy. I would argue, the majority has it wrong.

    Post-Lehman, when the great recession hit, my personal experience was that all the glossy, snotty restaurants were struggling. But when you went to your local restaurant (upscale or coffeeshop style) their business was booming. Why? Because local businesses are rooted in developing, maintaining and strengthening relationships with customers. They listen to their customers, improve their business based on suggestions. They provide great service and thank their patrons. If you want to learn about Social Media: Skip Twitter conferences. Rather go to your local Farmer’s Market.

    Social Media is such a unique opportunity for all of us to have a direct connection with customers. By conversing with them, they and all the other stakeholders in your business will help you determine your corporate and marketing strategy. That’s the real objective of Social Media: transforming the faceless corporation into a human business. Where people are heard and respected.

    When I grew up, my father told me that my only job in life is to create heaven on earth. I’ve tried hard, I failed many times. And tried again. I believe Social Media or as I call it Humanizing Businesses is such a precious opportunity to get closer to that goal. Let’s not waste it with Twitter ads or Facebook pokes. Let’s take it seriously. Because creating heaven on earth is serious business.