12.10.13 04:52 PM
From the 2010 archives, The ARF Social Media Experience: Lynne d Johnson, SVP Social Media, The ARF interviews Samantha Skey — CMO, Passenger about customer engagement as the new marketing @ ReThink 2010: The ARF Annual Convention + Expo.
In this interview from 2010 when I was at the ARF, I spoke with Samantha Skey about what was then emerging as the new marketing. Interestingly enough, many brands still don't understand how important customer engagement is today.
I post this today, because this conversation is still as relevant as it was the day that I conducted it. Watch, listen, learn.
Related Content: Developing An Engagement Framework
11.19.13 01:07 PM
Back in 2010, when I was SVP of Social Media at the Advertising Research Foundation, a member in the mobile industry was interested in learning whether the opportunities in digital signage were right for the company to explore. I ended up writing a small POV/Insights Brief paper for the member, and after doing a bit of research, this is what I found (keep in mind, these findings are from 2010 and many of them are still relevant today---three years later):
The Future of Shopping Becomes More Social
In this video, Cisco takes a look at the future of shopping. What is clearly evident from research and current trends, is that shopping is going to become more social. For example, say a customer “checks-in” to a store, and they receive recommendations of what they may like to purchase based on past purchasing behaviors or recommendations from friends in their network. Already with Bing, you can use Twitter and Facebook on the HTC HD2 smartphone to check if Bing shopping has given you the best prices.
In 2007, Facebook launched Beacon, a service that shared your purchases on several retail sites online with your friends within Facebook. With better opt-in and privacy measures than what Facebook offered, the opportunity is there for a partner to make such social shopping experiences exist on a mobile to digital display format. (Update: As we already know, Facebook became a crucial factor in building out the future of social shopping as brands like Levi's proved below. We already know from various studies that peer recommendations drive purchase intent and increase engagement with a brand. But how does this translate to digital signage?)
Location-Based Technologies To Play A Greater Role in Digital Signage
As can be seen in the LocaModa Foursquare example, the opportunity exists, again at store level for a rich interactive experience. Restaurants, retailers, and C-Stores can employ such technologies to publicly share who is checking in to their locations. This might go one step further, enabling customers to share with one another what theyʼre currently doing (as in purchasing or eating) at their location. A restaurant example might include uploading a photo of your meal with a message that can be displayed on a digital display and sent to your social networks to share with your friends.
Augmented Reality at Point-of-Sale Increases Engagement and Purchase
An example such as Legoʼs Digital Box Kiosk uses Augmented Reality to show customers what they can do with Lego Technic. Itʼs an opportunity to see in 3D imaging, or as close to reality, how a product actually works and functions. Legos boxes also have AR built in with a QR code that can be held up to a Kiosk to activate an AR feature that displays a 3D model of the Lego kit inside. The opportunity exists to include social sharing of the AR experience, but also of mobile QR code features being added to the experience. Several mobile apps can already scan QR codes to provide consumers with more information and interactivity. (Update: While the QR code hasn't been as successful in the US as in some other countries, barcodes are capable of and more likely to be scanned.)
Revenue Models are Becoming More Attractive
Revenue models are increasingly changing as hardware prices per-screen continues to become less expensive. Overall, prices have deflated by approximately 30% over the past few years. This makes the ROI for digital signage much more attractive. Also, because of media convergence, economies of scale can be achieved, therefore making planning and purchase of DOOH much easier than ever before. With this in mind, integration costs are still high, yet since hardware costs are now a smaller fraction of the overall deployment costs this channel is still a valuable spend for advertisers.
Digital Signage Has Great Impact on Lift
Research has shown that digital signage communication has potential to lift product and service inquiries, as well as purchases and usage. This creates brand awareness as well as customer relationship management opportunities. There is an increased reach for a product or service with digital signage, and social media enables a higher level of engagement. Through social--texts, downloads, mobile browsing, sharing, voice-there is great potential to increase foot traffic to locations and web traffic to sites, also increasing in-person, web, and mobile purchases. Shopper behavior is greatly influenced by digital messaging, as outlined in the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau guidelines, which provide results for measuring the size of an audience in a given space. Nielsen research further supports that digital signage changes consumer behaviors. Social media and friend networks can be the driver of those changed behaviors as the trust level for friend recommendations outweighs the trust level for messaging coming directly from brands. The industry should also focus on increasing the ability to precisely target intended audiences.
Four Screen Cohesion
The opportunity for providing campaigns and context to the user experience that work fluently across the four screens --TV, Web, Mobile, Digital Signage -- is becoming a greater reality. As millennials increasingly become the target consumer for advertisers and venues, their socially connected lives will bring with them greater opportunity to provide deeper, richer, consumer experiences not only across the four screens but in a heavy integration of mobile, social, and digital signage.
Overall Opportunity for Mobile In the SM/Digital Signage Space
Mobile is the primary connector between social media and digital signage, providing the real glue to ensure delivery of real-time content and interaction. Partnerships with retailers, as well as social media digital signage operators and networks and brands will provide overwhelming opportunities in this space. Mobile brands also have the opportunity, as Nokia has shown, to push brand awareness and product launch messaging in novel ways. The tremendous opportunity for hyper-targeting, increases the interest in mobile (social networking and location-based) digital signage campaigns for advertisers.
The Digital Divide of Digital Signage
Agencies are allocating spending to DOOH, but they have yet to fully adopt or grasp the full capabilities of this marketing channelʼs potential. This should be a natural fit for a digital agency, especially as it regards the cohesive interplay of four screens into one campaign. Part of this misunderstanding for agencies is that the ROI is not fully understood. Another factor in the slow to speed digital agency adoption for digital signage is that there are always new networks cropping up. This makes it nearly impossible for agencies and marketers to fully understand and keep track of the media available to them or even to understand the benefits of what one network offers over another.
Measurement Standards Donʼt Exist
One of the primary challenges for digital signage are with measurement and creative unit standards. In 2010, network operators have begun to offer audited and accepted metrics, but again these are not standardized across the industry. Since metrics are not clearly defined, the industry-at-large is advocating for aggregators and aggregation models. Broadsign has released audited measurement results from Arbitron to enable advertisers to measure ROI. Together with SeeSaw, BroadSign is releasing an open API to enable the industry to collaborate on open standards for measurement of DOOH. The Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau has also issued guidelines to better understand the value of a DOOH audience to further address the challenges of calculating appropriate metrics within the industry.
AllSystems Arenʼt a Go
Many of the systems for DOOH are complicated and expensive. There are many different groups (players) involved in getting one Digital Signage deployment launched. In this regard, the opportunity for creating large, scalable campaigns is an overwhelming challenge because it is a complex landscape to traverse when it comes to networks. Also, there are myriad environmental considerations at play. Platforms that break down silos need to be created in order for scalable models to thrive in this space.
Mobile and DOOH integration isnʼt as easy as it seems, but together they will be the drivers of the interactive and customer engagement model of the Digital Signage industry. Another technological challenge is presented by the varying formats, files structures, and standards between systems, which creates a further technological gap. The major challenges in the tech area come in the form of aggregation and real-time delivery.
Digital Signage is Very Local
According to Adcentricity, 70% of all network sales are from local sales efforts, driven by the network sales staff. Most networks have no national sales force, which translates into agencies and branbrands being unaware or uneducated on the value of DOOH offerings.
What About Those Legal Issues?
There are many issues when it comes to user generated content in the legal arena. Since there are rules for mobile carriers when it comes to mobile content, anyone serving SM DOOH campaigns should consider using systems that support filtering, moderation, and curation. Also mobile users must have full disclosure on messaging pricing, and it is suggested that there be no premium set for messaging to DOOH systems as pricing could prove to be a barrier to interactivity. Disclosure must also be met on the level of access to the user in terms of whether the operator will send further messaging to the user. This can get into murky waters with spamming issues (CAN SPAM Act). Further, attention must be paid to copyright, defamation, privacy rights, and public decency laws when it comes to UGC. Because of this, it is becoming expected that network operators, event planners, and messaging suppliers provide Professional Liability (Errors and Omissions) insurance, covering possible inappropriate content being displayed in public.
For more of what I learned, see the report yourself:
And if you're wondering whether there's still any relevance to this report, here's a recent factoid from Frost & Sullivan.
New research from Frost & Sullivan's Analysis of the Global Digital Signage Systems Market analysis finds the market earned revenue of $1.27 billion in 2012. This is estimated to reach $2.55 billion in 2018, driven by the emergence of turnkey digital signage solution providers across regions. The research includes a market overview, external challenges, market and technology trends, forecasts, market share and competitive analysis, hot company watchlist, in addition to breakdown analyses of digital signage displays, software and media players. The analysis also looks at various verticals, including retail, transportation, hospitality, corporate, education, government and others.
"When properly executed, in-store digital signage reinforces purchase behavior or creates the impulse to make incremental purchases, and are therefore rapidly gaining acceptance," saidFrost & Sullivan Digital Media Program Manager Aravindh Vanchesan. "Content can be highly targeted and, since the merchandise is close to the message, the call to action is clearly communicated to accomplish the desired objectives." (More)
11.14.13 12:22 PM
In the past couple of weeks, I have been on a cleansing streak. No, not a juice cleansing or anything like that. A life cleansing. Recently having to pack up and move forced me to have to do it, but after doing it, instead of sadness, I felt a sigh of relief, as if I were able to let go of my past in order to move on to whatever is going to happen next.
There were things from my past...things I'd written in New Word or One World or Beat Down or and other now defunct independently owned magazines. Some interviews I conducted in the past and stories I'd written were photographed, and sent into the cloud -- Evernote, Google, Dropbox, and other such places we hope stay in business because what then will we do with all of our content and data? My nearly year's worth of tech writing on BlackPlanet, and writings from Africana, all nicely printed out because a lot of it was no longer out there in the ether, and much of it not even on the waybackmachine -- all made their way to a shredding machine. Shreds of paper. Shreds of words. Shreds of a former life. Shreds of self, or at least what I thought was self.
There were letters and poems to and from former lovers. There were endless writings, thoughts, doodles. Stops and starts at watercolors. Books started and unfinished. Spoken word recordings. Piles and piles of magazines. Some I'd written in. Some held for research. Some held just because they looked fly or were no longer in print. Just so much memorabilia, that at times I didn't even know how to classify or categorize things. And even with a storage room on lease, I knew I wasn't going to keep it all. I knew I couldn't keep it all.
So I started a rule. If I hadn't thought about it, looked at it or longed for it in the last 5 - 10 years, then perhaps it was time to part with it. Some books ended up in storage, and some did not. Some CDs ended up in storage, and some did not. Some cassette tapes made it into storage, and some did not. Those that didn't, are perhaps in a landfill now laid to rest as if at the end of their lives. A lot of clothes and out-of-date electronics made their way to the Salvation Army drop off. An ending for me, but a new beginning for someone else. Some furniture items made their way to Craigslist for a quick cash sale, while others stood solidly on the sidewalk until someone came along to cart them away.
Photographs though, were off limits. Whether from childhood or recent past, I was not going to part with photographs, even if they hadn't made it to photo albums or the cloud. The visual memories, deserved a place to be timeless and held dear. These things made it to storage. These things made it to that special place called forever.
A tinge of sadness welled up inside as I sorted through item, after item, after item. Yet as my past went slowly through my hands, I marveled at how it seemed that I had become a hoarder of sorts. That I was holding onto things as if there was some future to come in which these items would be important. And then, how could I come to terms with a past thrown in the trash, that was not trash? I reminded myself that I held all of these memories close and dear to my heart. I reminded myself that it's fortunate I have somewhat of a photographic memory -- so just by looking at the things I parted with, just by looking at them one last time, they would become forever etched in my brain computer and I could call them up from the catalogue that is my mind at any time. Sure my mind could go, as I get older, but no one could ever change my experiences. They would always be mine. A part of me.
There's so much more I could write and say about all of the pieces of me that were wrapped up in physical items, that moved with me from place to place to place all across Brooklyn. There's so much I could say about the move, about the past, about letting go, about learning to live in the present that I guess I'm just not ready to say. But what I do know is that I learned to let go of who I was, and who I thought I was, and all of these little perceptions I held about myself and what I thought should be happening right now in my life, and what I think I deserve and have a right to, so that I could slowly unveil and accept who I am becoming now and what is happening now.
Realizing now, that perhaps I was stuck in a definition of self that was created by things I had done, places I'd been, people I'd known, and not necessarily who I really am. It's not that my past didn't make me, it's just that the past isn't as important today as it was yesterday. Today is important today. What I do now, what I say now, who I be now, is what's important. I'm learning that in order to be, we must be bare. Pared down to the bare essentials in order to see reality. In order to see clearly. In order to be.
10.02.13 01:23 PM
[Image Source: Keepcon]
Before planning any communications strategy nowadays, it's very important to begin with true audience insights. While demographic data still proves useful in developing an overall strategy, it will be those rich, deep, and often even real-time insights that communications and marketing pros utilize to help their clients stick out from the pack and get heard in the never-ending sea of constant chatter. As consumers become more empowered by technological tools and social media platforms that enable them to insert themselves into the brand narrative and conversation, it is becoming increasingly important for brands to listen in.
Some brands are honing in on this fact. Dell launched its global command center as far back as 2010, as a means of monitoring the customer conversation and providing customer support globally through social media. What started out as brands simply monitoring conversations to track:
- share of voice
- conversation mapping
- volume/reach, and
- influencer and advocate identification;
quickly turned into brands and companies like Gatorade using the real-time data they gather to adjust and optimize marketing tactics and surprise and delight fans by giving them something extra, like free music or real-time interaction with athletes. Other companies utilize the listening data to help shape messaging, like MasterCard did with its command suite and the announcement of its MasterPass digital wallet at Mobile World Congress, after learning that early adopters were frustrated by their point-of-sale experiences and perceived lack of customer support and non-adopters cited security and confusion as core concerns. And then there's Nike, a company that in the past has used social media to drive sales conversions and even build new products with consumers as co-creators, just recently bringing its listening and community management in house in order to gain a deeper understanding of its consumers. While the activities of social analytics and monitoring going in-house with brands taking fuller control of how their insights are gathered and used is on the rise, it's definitely not the norm.
Social listening and the road it paves to big data is now a core marketing activity, and with all of that activity the CMO is destined to outpace the CTO/CIO on IT spend in the coming years.
Before taking the dive though, it's important for brands to have a clearer sense of:
- what are we listening for?
- who are we listening to?
- what is an insight?
- where does listening belong (how do we staff for listening)?
- how do we allocate resources to listening?
- where is the statistical rigor (what is the difference between social media monitoring and social research?)
Social listening is about so much more than simply knowing what's being said and being able to listen, act, and engage to develop an effective strategy, you must know who these people active in the conversation are. Sure, it sounds like a daunting and fruitless exercise, but it's important to know who is shaping the conversation. In order for social media monitoring to move from simply listening to developing actionable insights, brands need to start integrating other data sets and layering them with social to get a fuller picture of their intended audiences.
If a brand wants to know if their followers are actually their intended market, and that they people talking about them are who they really want to reach, they'll be some additional demographic mapping necessary to get to a deeper level of understanding. Going beyond demographics, the "like" is now the new intent. As the hub of a consumer's interest graph, "likes" "ReTweets" and anything similar on social platforms offers insights into people's brand affiliations, interests, and most talked about topics. Building apps and programs that leverage this type of data will offer brands deeper insights. The next level, where we get on the road to social intelligence, is integrating social data with customer and transactional data to make a better correlation between social media behaviors and actions. And finally, all business units must work together to bring all of this understanding together so that the business is deriving the most value from the customer data.
09.25.13 11:02 AM
Today's meditation: "Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." - Rosa Luxemburg
For a long time, I've held the belief that I couldn't be an entrepreneur because I don't have the basic skills to make that kind of thing work. I've long held the belief that I lack focus. I mean, not like an ADHD lack of focus, but more like trying to do too much at one time lack of focus. I mean trying to do too much at one time so that I'm not able to discern what's going to be more enriching either financially, spiritually, or otherwise.
And I've held onto these beliefs for eons.
Many years ago, when I worked in a bookstore, I once told a friend who I worked with that I really, really feared failure. He pondered what I said for a second and then asked, "How do you know you fear failure, and it's not really success that you fear?" Whoa! BOOM! I tucked this one away into my back pocket -- for eons.
So here's the deal. A few times in my life I've been laid off from FT gigs for a slew of reasons, but mostly having to do with budgets. And I'd say that each time this happens, I get committed to becoming an entrepreneur, a freelancer, a consultant. But that's only until some FT job offer comes along and I simply bow out. I'm in one of those phases of my life right now and there's a long list of reasons why a FT gig sounds better.
That's especially true when I pile up all of these reasons why I can't go it alone. "I'm not good at the biz dev part." "I need more structure in my day and in my life." And, yadda, yadda, yaa. But doesn't that sound like fear talking?
This past weekend, while watching Oprah's Lifeclass with Dr. Brenee Brown on vulnerability and daring greatly, it clicked: This lack of focus is really masked by a little something called fear. So instead of things working out, I make things hectic. I bring the chaos and the drama. So here's what I'm learning to do.
VALUE MY TIME: This is also called having a plan. There are but only so many hours in the day, and if you want to be successful at being productive on the things that matter (be they personal or professional) you've got to plan them out. Sure, you can be Zen about it and just live in the moment, but even living in the moment requires a plan. What is it that you're about to do in this moment? How will you be present if you don't know what it is you're doing?
LEARN TO SAY NO: Now this is a big one for me and it goes along really well with valuing my time. No one person can do everything. It's just completely impossible. People will understand if you have to say no, and if they don't, oh well. They will get over it. That goes for both the personal and the professional. Multi-tasking successfully is a myth, so if you can't learn to say no, you'll be drowning yourself in a list of to-dos that never get checked off and you'll never have any time for yourself.
DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: And I'm sure you've heard this one a million times, but it's really true. That dialogue we start in our heads about why we can't do something, only creates a lack of focus. We start jumping from thing to thing without a plan, and unfortunately, without motivation. Trust me, I've been there.
Fear is that crazy thing that can make us do a pile up. A pile up of what ifs. And a pile up of things that we just won't ever get to. Don't worry if you don't answer all of your email or all of your voice mail. Choose a set amount of things to do each day. And focus on what's important. Use programs like RescueTime and TimeTracker to track how you spend your time. You'll be amazed when you see how much time you spend doing things that aren't a part of your plan. And then there's a slew of programs to help you block those distractions, once you figure out what they are. StayFocused and Concentrate work for Chrome. I settled for RescueTime, as a solution I could use on both my desktop and my phone, and track my time as well as block time-wasting sites.
And most important, stop fearing what people will think of you. And stop fearing that you're not choosing the right stuff to do. If you feel it in your gut, it's the right thing for you, right now.
The other side of the crazy fear is that it can make us stand completely still. Stillness is fine as it helps us to be mindful and clear out any misgivings. But when that stillness makes us completely immobile and unproductive for a length of time, well, it's a problem.
So do I fear success? Well, we can all learn a little something from failure couldn't we. We can learn to be successful from failure. Making mistakes teaches us how to do something right, or better. But it's about taking that risk and opening ourselves up to the possibilities of what's to come without judging ourselves or others in the process. So maybe there's more a fear of not believing that I'll get to success.
Do I suffer from a lack of focus? Certainly. But most of it can be attributed to fear. And well, I'm in recovery and already learning how to kick fear in the A.
And while I'm definitely not against taking a FT post again, I want to do it for all the right reasons. And I don't want any of those reasons to be that I was afraid to at least try going it on my own.
What do you fear?
09.24.13 02:07 PM
Going to really enjoy beta testing Mail Pilot for Mac. It looks so intuitive, with a task-oriented approach to managing mail. Since Sparrow joined Google, I was using PostBox, which just felt too clunky and no better than using web-based mail. Actually ended up paying for PostBox, because I liked it's promise in terms of linking with your Dropbox or Evernote and adding social network info to your contacts, among other features like incorporating your to-dos. But on my machine, it simply runs like an old engine. Not sure why.
I'm in also on the beta for Unibox, but can't use it because my current computer is only Mac 10.6.8 and I need to be on Mountain Lion 10.8. So, I haven't been able to actually test it. (Don't ask me why I haven't upgraded yet. Seriously, don't.)
Anyway, here's a video of what Mail Pilot for Mac can do:
Unibox looks prettier than Mail Pilot, and it seems to bring all of your messaging into one box (including social network messaging). That's helpful, and saves time from having to log into so many sites (and/or apps). Can't wait until these innovations in Mail come to the Android. Right now, the only innovative mail app I've seen on Android has been Boomerang. I tried that Beta for a while, but it had too many kinks at the time. But I am thinking about going back to it, since it's a lot lighter than Gmail and enables you to "Send Later" and schedule mail, and track responses.
What innovations have you seen in mail? What are you using on your phone or desktop and why does it work for you?
09.20.13 10:52 AM
About a week or two ago, I was having a business meeting with a former business associate and friend who has always been an entrepreneur and consultant in some way. He was there with another friend who is an entrepreneur and consultant, who showed us a book that neither one of us had seen before. Immediately, I knew that if I were going to successfully do this consultant thing this time (or land the best FT job for me) that I was going to need this book.
This book, The Decision Book: 50 Models For Strategic Thinking, seemed like just the right book I needed to take things to the next level in both my personal and professional lives. It immediately signaled to me that it fit right in there with Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step and/or Dan Roam's The Back of The Napkin. All three together, fully understood, it would seem, could make one seriously poised for better articulating and selling ideas. At least that's what I'm hoping.
But as much as I knew I needed this book. I waited. And I waited. And, oh, I waited. The wait was a process of debating whether to get it in print or as a Kindle version. It felt like I needed it in print, to carry it around, to feel it and turn its pages, to mark it up, and to reference it wherever and whenever I wanted to. But I wanted it fast, and now, and I had already killed nearly a week trying to decide whether I should get the print or Kindle edition. Some books just have to be in print, and this felt like one of them. But unfortunately, I had no more time to waste. I got the Kindle version. I didn't have to wait any longer for it. I didn't have to pay shipping fees. And yes, I could still mark it up and refer to it wherever and whenever. (To tell the truth, I still want it in print.)
And this experience made me think deeply about the question in my headline: What Happened To Knowing More About A Person By The Books And Vinyl On Their Shelves?
I remember back in the days, you'd go visit someone at their house, and you'd look at their bookshelf and/or vinyl collection and you'd pretty much know who you were dealing with and whether you'd be compatible as friends (and in some cases as lovers or partners). But today I wonder, now that so many people have digital collections of everything, how we'll any longer have this ability to know a person's character by the music they listen to or books they read. I doubt we'll become a generation of people who look into other people's phones, iPads, or Kindles just to figure this sort of stuff out.
So while everyone wonders how people become more social or connected in this age of digital selves, I guess owning digital property vs physical property gives us a little more to talk about. It gives us a little more to expose (to those we deem worthy I guess.) Nowadays, people will only know what we're listening to or what we're reading if we tell them. If we share it on social media, or write about it on our blog, or talk about it in conversations. Long gone are the days of sizing someone up by staring at their bookshelf or vinyl collection or stack of magazines on the floor for hours and hours and comparing what you know or own to what they know or own. While it's an activity surely and (sorely) to be missed, it also opens up opportunities for newer and different kinds of experiences and connections. Are these experiences richer? Well, it really depends on how we approach them.
I guess some of the newer questions to ask folks nowadays are questions like: what's the most played genre (artists, song, album, etc.) on your phone or iPod? What were the last three books or magazines you downloaded? Or we can follow them and look at their last.fm charts, or follow their profiles on Spotify or Rdio or Soundcloud, or any other music service that allows folks to have a profile and be followed. And we can learn more about what they read by following them on Amazon Kindle or Goodreads. These are the new ways of looking at someone's vinyl or book shelf. These are just new and different ways of sizing someone one up and getting to know more about them. Somewhat different, and just a little bit the same.