Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Power of the People (and Facebook)!!!

Every year or two, one important tool or another suddenly becomes it… A few years back, it was RSS, SecondLife and MySpace, today it is LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Who really knows what it will be two years from now? I have always thought Twitter is really just a feature to be ultimately subsumed into other solutions, and so it seems that is happening. Every major community (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, etc…) has a “twitter-like” feature.

I, suppose, as marketers, the key is realizing that the rules of the game are changing on how people adapt to and interact using the Web… and that with the Web, really the power of the people take over. Here are a couple of lessons I have learned.

1 – Your brand or image is no longer in your control. I placed two headshots that I had recently taken in my Facebook photos. There was nothing more to this innocent gesture. Little did I know that all of my friends would start voting on which one they liked better. Now, I had a viral contest on my hands (or really, out of my hands, as I never started it and I couldn’t stop it)… the network was in control.

2 – Your private life and personal life are now one. Trying to separate who you are, where you work, and how you interact is not the way the Web works. On the Web, people assume and want transparency. Hiding everything personal behind “that’s personal” doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong – some things are still personal. It’s just that the line has changed. Did I tell you that from the viral voting on my headshot, a colleague, after voting, e-mailed me to talk about buying some of our services?

3 – You have to be in the game. There is no way to understand the phenomenon without being a part of it. Of course, there are thousands of communities out there, so you could spend your working life trying to keep them all up-to-date… that won’t work. So, pick and use the main ones (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) to get started. If you are not, you are missing out on experiencing the most important marketing lessons of the day. You couldn’t be an ad agency and not own a TV to watch ads, right? So, stop making excuses if you don’t have an account.

Well, that’s it for now… oh, and by the way, the headshot with the glasses won…

This opine is officially over and out.

Sami Jajeh

Monday, July 13, 2009

PR Pro's Peanut Party

The PRSA GA July luncheon was preceded by the PRSA GA Chapter "101," a New Member Orientation session (featured above). Members new to the Georgia Chapter of PRSA had a chance to listen to seasoned committee members provide insight and tips on how to stay involved in the chapter and aspire to leadership positions with the organization.

The luncheon featured an esteemed panel of Peanut industry executives, including Patrick Archer (pictured left), president of the American Peanut Council and Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission.

Moderated by Leslie Wagner, executive director of the Peanut Advisory Board, panelists provided insight into the approach and strategies implemented in handling the January salmonella outbreak, prompting the largest food recall in U.S. history. Archer detailed the importance of having a crisis communications plan in place while Koehler (pictured right) emphasized the significance of having a unified voice when executing crisis communications. Lastly, both panelists agreed that social media served as an effective tool in extending their communications during the crisis.

PRSA GA President Mike Neumeier (Arketi Group) presented Jessica Riley (Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) with the monthly Chapter Champion award. Spotted in the crowd was Ray Crockett, APR (Coca Cola), Kirk Englehardt (Georgia Tech Research Institute), Stephen Loudermilk (Alcatel-Lucent) and Barkley Russell (The Barkley Russell Agency).

For more information about PRSA GA and the August luncheon, click here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ad Age Hits the Nail on the Head: Learning Twitter? Don't Take Your Cues From These Agencies

Interesting article...could this be why most "ad firms" are bad at public relations (PR) too? Maybe they do a better job talking about it and selling it to clients than doing it...just a thought.

NEW YORK ( -- As Twitter moves into the business mainstream -- nearing some 35 million unique global visitors, according to ComScore -- it's increasingly clear that one community has yet to fully embrace the social-networking tool du jour: agencies.

The irony is that the same people clients hire to erect communications and social-media strategies often appear uncomfortable using Twitter themselves.

One stark example: A couple of months back, Volvo struck a landmark ad-placement deal with YouTube to promote the Twitter feed for its XC60 model (@VolvoXC60). But the agency that created the innovative rich-media ad for Volvo, Havas' Euro RSCG, has an account (@Euro_RSCG) that's never been used.

Asked what gives, a Euro spokeswoman said: "We're developing our Twitter strategy and in the meantime want to hold onto the name. It's a Catch-22: You don't want your Twitter handle stolen, but you also don't want to start using it before you're really ready."

Whatever the case may be, save for a few shining examples of shops that "get it," agencies need to catch up with their clients -- and fast.

Read more.

Source: Ad Age

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Interactive Outlook: 21% of Marketing Spend

MediaPost's Online Media Daily has a solid article on the latest interactive outlook from Forrester Research. Net net interactive spending will continue to take a larger piece of the marketing budget pie.

Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk posted this on the company's blog, "With dollars moving out of traditional media toward less expensive and more efficient interactive tools, marketers will actually need less money to accomplish their current advertising goals. But reasonable marketers won't relinquish budget because their programs are running too efficiently."

Interesting folks seem to consistently say interactive tools are less expensive. I’m not really sure this is true. Next generation tools like marketing automation systems and content management systems come with both out-of-pocket and labor costs. Don’t get me wrong, they are worth it but they are not always “less expensive” if are trying to be best-in-class in marketing.

Forrester Revises Interactive Outlook, Will Account For 21% Of Marketing By 2014

by Joe Mandese

Interactive marketing expenditures will reach $55 billion by 2015, accounting for 21% of all marketing spending, according to a new forecast released this morning by Forrester Research. The absolute dollar expenditures are essentially the same as one the research firm released in April, but it has revised interactive marketing's share of total advertising spending, reflecting the downward shift in expenditures for other media since then. Based on Forrester's new outlook, interactive's share of total marketing budgets will rise nine percentage points from its estimate of 12% this year. ... Read the whole story > >

Source: MediaPost's Online Media Daily

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Does Branding Clash with Search Efforts? You Bet It Can...

Great article in BtoB's Hands On of the best comments in this piece is: "These companies want to differentiate themselves and, with a normal sales message, I understand that. But this isn’t a normal sales message. It’s matching up searches."

It makes you think. Doesn't it?

Branding efforts can clash with SEM

Story posted: July 1, 2009 - 2:52 pm EDT
Source: BtoBonline

Ian Harris is CEO of Search Laboratory Ltd., based in Leeds, England, which helps companies’ search engine marketing and optimization efforts. BtoB recently asked Harris about best practices in search engine marketing.

BtoB: You’ve said that b-to-b companies spend too much time thinking of new ways to describe what they do in terms that prospective customers don’t understand. Can you elaborate?
Harris: Let me give you an example. We do some work for a big video conferencing company, and the marketing team there spends its time trying not to be a video conference company. What I mean is, they try to brand themselves as a “video communications” company, because all their competitors do conferencing.

They get so obsessed with this that they put it on their home page, title tags and paid search keywords. The problem is, their clients do not see them as a “video communications” company. Their clients want video conferencing, and that’s what they see them as.

Believe me, this is a common theme. Again, we do work for a few companies that do IT support and services, but without fail they brand themselves as something like “system care.” or “logi-care” or “integration change.” It’s like “IT support” is a rude word.

Read More.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

KD Paine & Partners Deliver a Great Article on Twitter Analysis Tools

I am a friend of Katie's, and I think she would be fine with me sharing this article with everyone. Needless to say it is from her great site All the great information is from Chris Near and the folks at KD Paine & Partners...enjoy!

Which Twitter Profile Analysis Tool Rules the Nest?

5 online Twitter profile analysis services compared: Twinfluence, TwitterAnalyzer, Twitter Grader, Twitterholic, and TwitterScore.

by Chris Near, Director of Research, KDPaine & Partners

Don't miss Chris Near's other article on measuring Twitter, also in this issue of The Measurement Standard: "5 Twitter Sentiment Analyzers Reviewed." The Twitter analysis tools in the article on this page rank a person's entire Twitter profile in terms of popularity and engagement, while the sentiment analysis tools of the other article look specifically at the tone of individual tweets.

So you want to measure Twitter... The good news is that you have several online Twitter profile analysis/ranking services to choose from. The bad news is that you will probably find that none of them offer all the metrics that you really need or want. Especially if you are looking to do the kind of between-client comparisons that we at KDPaine & Partners are usually interested in.

To do very accurate measurement of Twitter, you typically have to use human readers. It's the only way to really understand the language. But, to have human eyes read and rate every tweet often takes a lot of time and money. For fast and free measurement, the online profile analysis tools are the way to go.

Automated analysis has accuracy problems, especially when it comes to the subtle language iinvolved in measuring sentiment. (See "5 Twitter Sentiment Analyzers Reviewed.") If we had a way to combine all the tools reviewed below, then we might have something really useful. Until then, we'll have to weigh the pros and cons of each and make the best decision.

So here's my report on five of the Twitter profile analyzers. I'm sure there are more out there, and I'd love to hear about them. (And if you think what I have to say here needs some clarification, please let me know).

Twinfluence offers interesting statistics (social capital, velocity, centralization) as well as a percent ranking system that compares the twitterer you analyze to other people. The catch is that it only compares you to other people that have previously been analyzed on Twinfluence. Their website says: "The #XXX score is your overall rank compared to all other twitterers that have been analyzed by Twinfluence. If your rank is #400, that means there are 399 other twitterers in the system who have higher reach scores than you."

To date, there have been less than 100,000 profiles analyzed on Twinfluence (that number is going up every day). So you can't rank anyone against the other 5 or 6 million twitterers out there (and that number is really going up every day, see Mashable). That makes the Twinfluence ranking pretty useless until more people get analyzed on their site.

TwitterAnalyzer is good for getting graphs that show your past month's message volume, your tweeting habits, the subjects you discuss, the links you use, and pretty much everything you would ever want to know. Which is great. But it lacks what is sometimes the most important thing: a ranking or scoring system that compares different Twitter pages. Without that you can't make competitive comparisons.

Twitter Grader sounds excellent, in theory. It takes the follow/follower ratio and combines measures of engagement to come up with a final grade of 0 to 100. It gives a score based on a large population (2,158,455). However, a recent hubspot Twitter grading blog post implies that their algorithm is still a work in progress.

And I do have problems with it. Consider the following results:
How can Vocus have relatively few followers, zero updates and still get a score of 87? Even if there were 10,000 people following Vocus, there are no updates so there is no communication or engagement between Vocus and its followers. Why does it get any score at all?

I also looked at Twitterholic and TwitterScore, but found them too problematic to take seriously. On the day I tested Twitterholic over half of my searches resulted in page errors. (Since then, I've tested it with a little more success.) The site gives a ranking for your Twitter page, but it is based entirely on the number of your followers. It doesn't calculate anything like updates or other forms of engagement. It's good for popularity, but not activity or interaction.

TwitterScore gives you a rank comparing you to all the other people that have previously been ranked on their site. Right now the rank is only out of 43,048 users. They also give you a score on a 10 point scale, but there is no information on how they come up with that score or what their ranking is based on.

Which service rules the nest?
If your goal is to give the clients a final score or ranking that compares one Twitter page with others, then I would recommend Twitter Grader. (But look out for anomalous scores, as noted above.) If your goal is to track clients' competitors and how they use Twitter and what topics they discuss and who follows them, then I would recommend TwitterAnalyzer. I also recommend that you keep looking: None of these is perfect, and newer and better tools will come along quickly.

Don't miss Chris Near's other article on measuring Twitter, also in this issue of The Measurement Standard: "5 Twitter Sentiment Analyzers Reviewed"

Chris Near is Director of Research for KDPaine & Partners. Chris recently graduated with his master's in communications and currently devotes most of his time to measuring PR and developing social media methodologies. That is, of course, when he's not at home tending to his lovely wife, Valerie, or chasing around his tireless two year-old son, Brendan.