Thursday, July 30, 2009

Top 5 in Digital | July 27, 2009

Top Five in Digital

July 27, 2009

In addition to the Microhoo news...

1. Growing number of recession-conscious Americans using Web as cable-TV substitute

2. Xbox to add Twitter, facebook,; positioning to lead digital TV space

3. Those who belong to a social network are four times more vocal about products and services

4. Starbucks is top Facebook brand with 3.7 million fans

5. Virtual worlds grew 39 percent in Q209 to an estimated 579 million ... and the virtual goods and currency market will reach an estimated $1.8 billion this year

A second look at virtual worlds

I admit it. I was a Second Life naysayer a few years ago. But I am beginning to change my ways. I just read some very compelling numbers that show the strong growth of virtual worlds.

For example, membership of virtual worlds grew by 39 percent in the second quarter of 2009 to an estimated 579 million, according to virtual worlds consultancy K Zero and reported by The Guardian. What's more, 39 percent of that growth came from children. And according to eMarketer, 54 percent of children will use virtual worlds by 2013. Numerous virtual worlds for kids, such as Poptropica, Neopets and Club Penguin, already have memberships in the millions, according to the report.

Then there's the marketplace. From a virtual goods standpoint, roughly 12 percent of Americans have bought a virtual item at some point in the last 12 months, according to Frank N. Magid Associates and reported by Gigaom. The research also predicts that the virtual goods and currency market is estimated to reach $1.8 billion this year, with 15 percent of young males purchasing virtual items—but also 15 percent women between the ages of 35-44.

While these numbers are compelling, I'm not suggesting that we all run out and create a presence in virtual worlds. I do think the same rules apply here as they do with other social media. Identifying business needs and your user behaviors should dictate where you build a presence.

What I am suggesting, is that we pay a bit more attention to virtual worlds. As core users get older and as technical capabilities grow (for example when users can move from one virtual world to another) we should all be ready to embrace this emerging media as a worthwhile connection point.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blog with Integrity

I have pledged to blog with integrity. The pledge (from their site) follows. I salute this effort. It creates a public intent and draws between folks blogging with integrity and those using blogs to try to coerce people into trusting their message.

That does not mean that blogging can't be used to sell or market products. But it does mean that selling and marketing should be done in a way that is honest and transparent. More here, as outlined in the pledge.

The Pledge

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top 5 in Digital | July 20, 2009

1. $65 billion will be siphoned away from traditional advertising channels in 2009 and spent instead on companies' own Web sites and Internet marketing.

2. More people use Facebook to share links than any other service – including email.

3. Twitter traffic doubles in three months, now 20 million

4. Financial performance of most highly engaged social media companies grew 3 times that of the least engaged companies.

5. 56 percent of adult Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means.

Think global, tweet local

The Internet is a great activator. Here's just one, small, local story that I'd like to share.

About 40 minutes ago, our local news station King 5 (@King5Seattle on twitter) tweeted that the Cherry Street food bank was about to run out of baby food. Here's a photo from @chrisdaniels5 of all the food that is left.

They also encouraged people to re-tweet, and posted a few more updates, one with a link to the food bank and how to donate.

About 15 minutes ago, two local business, Boom Noodle and Blue C Sushi (@boomnoodle and @bluecsushi) responded that they would be at the food bank within the hour with food.

For those interested in helping, here is a map and a link to Northwest Harvest.

Thank you twitter. Thank you King 5, Boom Noodle, Blue C Sushi and Seattle. You are awesome.

I'll update as I learn more, or get on Twitter and follow the story yourself. And keep retweeting!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Top 5 in Digital | July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009

1. Facebook hits 250 million users

2. Facebook and Twitter now available on TV via Verizon service

3. 100% of US Internet users went online to pass the time

4. New twitter advertising platform launched:

5. Microsoft Bing increased U.S. search engine market share by 0.4 percent during first month

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Anonymity and comments

I just got a great comment on a recent post. The only thing is, it was anonymous. I made a decision a while back to only publish comments that are not anonymous. I put my thoughts out there under my real name, if you would like to comment on the (which I encourage!) all I ask is that you use your real name too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Forrester's 5-year forecast and why you should fire your "so-called digital" agency

Forrester's five-year forecast came out yesterday and the predictions were interesting, although not surprising.

In summary, Forrester predicted that interactive marketing will continue to increase, to the tune of near $55 billion by 2014. That will represent 21% of all marketing spend. At the same time budgets will continue to move away from traditional media and toward search marketing, display advertising, email marketing, social media, and mobile marketing.

This change, according to Forrester, means "death to obsolete agencies.” But what about “so-called digital” agencies who only do “online marketing campaigns” (read: Flash microsite).

My guess is that these agencies will also suffer. Why? Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk goes on to say that overall, marketing budgets will decrease due to increased efficiencies, and that freed dollars will go "into investments like innovation, research, customer service, customer experiences, and marketing-specific technology and IT staff."

Is your traditional or “so-called digital,” agency capable of doing this work? My guess is, no. Advertising agencies are set up to do only one thing: marketing. And marketing, itself, has changed.

Once the only public-facing voice of an organization, marketing is now joined by product development, customer service and many other groups as organizations become more transparent in reaction to consumer demands.

Think about it.

-Innovation and research were typically functions of product development groups. While they may have had contact with small groups of the public, they did not interface with the general public. But look at Dell Ideastorm and MyStarbucksIdea. Companies today are connecting directly with the public when it comes to product development.

-Customer service was typically a one-to-one conversation. One consumer did not know what another consumer was talking about. But when consumers document their customer service experience and publish it online, or when companies like Comcast deliver customer service via Twitter, the public is part of the conversation.

-Customer experience was also very removed from the consumer. Now, if a store is not up to par, or a representative says something off broad, it hits the web in seconds. Again, it’s a public conversation.

In a world where marketing is the only public facing department, working with an advertising agency makes total sense. Develop a big idea, build a campaign, and you’re done. But in a world where your entire organization is public facing and everything you do is transparent, creating and sustaining conversations and digital experiences that support them is vital.

And that’s where traditional and "so-called digital" agencies fall down. Traditional and “so-called digital” agencies are very good at raising awareness and talking at people, but they do not understand the complexity of building digital experiences. You just can’t build a transparent, authentic dialog on a microsite.

“What, then,” you ask, “should I do?” Here’s your answer. When your advertising agency proposes that oh-so-very 1990’s microsite (which by the way is probably neither searchable nor measurable), you tell them this: “You don’t get it. I need a solution that meets not only the organization’s marketing needs, but its product development, customer service and point of purchase needs. I need a solution that focuses on my customer’s needs and one that enables me to build a customer experience that reaches them at every touchpoint. I need a solution where I can measure every click on my site and every comment on the Web. Can you do that with your microsite?”

Then go get an agency that can develop experiences around your consumer needs and behaviors. An agency that is collaborative and inclusive in its ideation process, and an agency that understands how to build truly interactive experiences.