Friday, May 29, 2009

Top 5 in Digital | May 25, 2009

1. Google announces Wave, “a new in-browser communication and collaboration tool that is already being hailed by some as the next evolution of email.” (

2. 83% of the Internet population, ages 13 to 54, participates in social media, according to Knowledge Networks.

3. 31% of U.S. CEO’s are on Facebook. 14% have a Twitter profile. (

4. NY Times names first-ever social media editor (

5. Location-based mobile advertising takes off. “In just three months, the number of Smartphone users seeing ads inside a location-based network has almost tripled to 15%. At current growth rates, the study predicts that some of these formats will surpass mobile web and/or SMS in 2009.” (Mobile Advertising Report by Brightkite and GfK Technology 5/27/09)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crate&Barrel launches customer reviews

I received an email today from Crate&Barrel announcing that they've launched customer reviews, along with a contest for those who submit them. I heart Crate&Barrel, and I was curious about their process, so I went ahead and reviewed my coffee maker (those of you who know me well know that coffee is near and dear to my heart).

Here are my thoughts:

First of all, good for you Crate&Barrel. Every retailer should host customer reviews. And nice job of tying the launch in with a contest to seed your efforts.

Also, good job on the process. It's easy to navigate and allows people to participate at the level they desire. They can simply rate a product or they can provide details including the type of home they live in and their style. If Crate&Barrel is really smart, they'll use this collective data one day to help guide purchases, for example, "67% of customers who live in a town home in Seattle have this type of coffee maker."

Also good ... integration with other types of social media. For example. You can easily post to Facebook. But not so good job on how this showed up on my Facebook page -- instead of showing the review or even "Laura reviewed the Cuisinart Coffee Maker at Crate&Barrel," it just provided basic text about the site and a link to the coffee maker itself. From a user experience perspective that's a fail. Maybe you can fix that?

But overall, I'm happy to see another retailer giving their customers a voice on their site. It makes me like Crate&Barrel even more.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Listening platforms in action

Here at WONGDOODY we've been conducting a fairly detailed review of a number of listening platforms, including: Radian6, ScoutLabs, BuzzMetrics, Biz360 and TruCast/Visible Technologies. We've reviewed Forrester's Q1 report on these vendors and others, and we're almost ready to make a decision on who we will partner with. If you have thoughts on or experience with any of these platforms, please send it along!

In the meantime, I just wanted to share one real-world example.

On Friday evening I attended the Mariners game. Somewhere in the 7th inning or thereabouts I posted the following on Twitter via my phone, which also updates to my Facebook account.

That was at 9:33 p.m. Then, at 10:11 p.m., I received the following:

Now, you can call that creepy, or you could be excited that someone is paying attention. But it was a smart move by the Mariners. They saw that I was an engaged fan and they took that moment to connect with me. I did eventually follow them, a day later, on Twitter.

If you're not yet using a listening platform that tracks volume of buzz and sentiment across social media, you might want to think about it. It's a useful tool to track and connect with people and also to help justify efforts in social media.

I'll let you know which platform we decide to go with, so stay tuned.

Oh, and most importantly, the Mariners won 2-1 in the 12th.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Top 5 in Digital | May 18, 2009

Here are the top five most interesting things I read about this week:

1. From February 2003 to February 2009, there was a 1,905 percent increase in time spent in online video and a 883 percent increase in time spent in online member communities (NewYork Times, 5/17/09)

2. The Web 3.0 conference was held this week in NYC. We are starting to see Web 3.0 come to life! Here’s one small but significant proof point: 90 percent of Twitter traffic happens through it’s API (meaning outside of Twitter)!

3. We all know Moms love blogs, but this is a great stat: 45 percent of survey respondents in this group decided to purchase an item after reading about it on a blog (2009 Women in Social Media Study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners)

4. 37 percent of online children ages 3 to 11 use virtual worlds at least once a month (eMarketer 5/20/09)

5. On Monday Facebook officially and finally announced OpenID integration. That means if you have an OpenID account (which you probably do, check it out here then you can use it to sign into Facebook as well as 30,000 other sites. Single sign on for the web is on its way!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brave new advertising: experience the experience

Have you heard the story about the woman who trimmed the ends of her pot roast before she put it in the pan?

One day, her older sister was watched her do this, and asked, "Why do you trim the ends of your pot roast before putting it in the pan?" "Because that's how mom did it," the sister responded.

"True," the older sister said, "but mom's pan was too small."

The advertising industry is in exactly this position right now. We do things because "that's the way we've always done them." We have a process and a vocabulary which served us well in a different time. We talk of "Big Ideas" and "Creatives" and "Mass Mediums." Advertising, as we knew it, was certainly the best we could do with the tools we had at the time.

But what happens when the big idea is a small one, the experience is just as important as the message the channels are many and distributed? Today we can create true interactive experiences and dialogs. It's a far better way to engage with people than shouting at them and hoping they'll listen.

So why, I wonder, do we hold onto antiquated processes and vocabularies when we have so much more to work with?

My best guess is two fold. First, change is hard. And second, we can't see the opportunity. But let's for a moment, assume that change is possible. How would we do things better? Here are three simple suggestions to get started:

1. Expand your vocabulary
If you talk in terms of the "big idea" and "creative briefs," think about learning a few new words. For example: experience brief, semantic web, interaction design, wire frames, user experience, meta-data. Do you know what those mean? If not, you should. These word are your future.

2. Be collaborative
Let go of the idea that the creatives own creative. (In fact let go of the idea of creative, see point 3). The digital medium, by nature, is more collaborative, and the process should be too. Who’s in your brainstorms? If it’s just art directors and copywriters think about inviting a diversity of team members to the table. The process needs to change for the output to change.

3. Embrace the experience
The consumer experience must go beyond the traditional messaging strategy. How do you create experiences? Start by hiring a team of sharp information architects, content strategists and analysts, and integrate them well. Add to that designers and copywriters. Voila, you have an Experience Group. Creative is simply a subset of experience, albeit a vital one.

I just joined a great advertising agency in Seattle called WONGDOODY. While they are rooted in traditional, they are smart, open-minded and collaborative, and because of that, we are making phenomenal strides in the digital space. I'll keep you updated on our work.

In the mean time, be well, ask questions, and push the status quo. We all can do so much better. We just need to be open to the possibilities.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Marketing to the mommy contingent

Today Southwest Airlines launched a mommy focused campaign, My Peanut and I Fly Southwest.

Since the Motrin debacle late last year, mom's, and specifically mommy bloggers, have been the "it" target. Walmart and Graco are just a few of companies who have parent employees blogging and tweeting on their behalf.

It's not a big surprise—70 percent of moms claimed that advertising does not speak to them (Mintel), yet that same percent consider what they hear from their fellow moms to be very credible (Marketing Daily).

Still doubting the power of moms? Know this: half are likely to pass along recommendations they hear from other moms and would makes purchases based on that information.

And finally, amazingly, one in four moms publish or maintain a Web page or a blog and also comment on blogs, according to Forrester.

Clearly moms are online en force.

So back to Southwest. What works about this campaign? Well, first of all they launched a mom blog. Second, they launched it along with a promotion for a contest and third the contest is linked to posting a badge on your own mommy blog. It's a simple approach but a smart one because it draws on the popularity of blogs for their target audience in addition to leveraging the recommendation factor.

I'll be curious to see how the program goes, and of course, whose next to pick up on this trend.

OK that's it from me, I have to go play peek-a-boo with a 13-month-old.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Facebook to accept OpenID, now the real fun begins

I'm so excited by last week's announcement from Facebook that they will soon accept OpenID.

For those of you unfamiliar with OpenID, it is, essentially an open-source single sign on for the Web. It allows you, the user, to have one name and one password that works across many sites, as long as those sites accept OpenID.

Obviously, for OpenID to be significant, many sites need to accept it. To date, more than 30,000 do just that, including highly trafficked sites such as Yahoo!.

So Facebook accepting OpenID is a very big deal. In fact, I'd suggest that Facebook will be to OpenID what Oprah was to Twitter, for a number of reasons:

1. Facebook will take OpenID mainstream
Facebook, more than any other site out there to date, has achieved acceptability among the mainstream U.S. population. With more than 200 million members ranging from your boss to your nanny to every one of your former college classmates, Facebook is present everywhere, which means that OpenID could be too.

2. Facebook users pay attention
Facebook, like it or not, has a user base that pays attention to changes in both interface and policy. Hopefully they will notice this change and embrace it.

3. People sign into Facebook more often than they brush their teeth
What's the saying ... it takes 20 days of daily use to form a new habit, or something like that? Facebook's users visit daily, which means that they may become accustomed to signing in via OpenID, which will mean their propensity to use it will increase (as well as other sites' willingness to consider it).

Once OpenID becomes accepted by the Internet population, as well as the majority of substantial websites requiring sign-in, we are well on our way to a single sign-on for the entire Interweb.

What would that look like? I'm not completely sure, but I do know that it is a building block to the next iteration of wherever it is we are going.