Tag Archives: Social media

Learning From A Splendid Failure

7 Mar

Uh oh... Oscar took a little tumble this year...

The 2011 Oscars:  Let’s call them a splendid failure for 2 reasons:

1.  I didn’t even get to watch the show! I was away for a conference and the hotel’s cable was out… when I called to express my dismay at missing my favorite awards show, the concierge apologized for the hotel’s ‘incompetent cable.’ At least I got a little laugh out of the situation.  Thank goodness for the Internet…

2.  And the ratings? Not quite as ‘Oscar worthy’ as I predicted.  Instead of seeing an increase in ratings, the ratings for the 2011 show fell 10% from the 2010 awards show.

Let’s look at my original predictions and see what we can learn from this failure:

Continue reading


Oscar Worthy

25 Feb

And the Oscar goes to…

The Ratings!

My predictions for the 2011 Academy Awards: Ratings will increase at least 10%, driven by an increase in young viewers (P18-49).

And here’s why that will happen:

1. Ten Best Picture Nominees: The Academy upped the number of nominees for Best Picture from 5 to 10 in 2010, and continued the trend for the 2011 show.   Why do I think this is important? Relatability.  Here’s one of my simple ideas: I think the majority of the population wants to know what’s going on- if they haven’t seen (or even heard of) the films nominated, they aren’t going to be all that interested in watching.  People want to root for their favorites– to say ‘I loved that movie, too!’ By expanding the best picture nominees from 5 to 10 films, there’s room for the ‘blockbusters’ the average Joe has seen that may have been previously excluded from consideration.

And this year there are plenty of ‘blockbusters’ for the everyman to root for during the Awards show- which hasn’t been the case in past years.  Let’s take a look: This year, 5 of the 10 the nominees (and coincidentally as well in 2010) grossed/have grossed as of late February over $100M in box office sales, whereas in 2009, only 2 of the 5 nominees grossed over $100M and in 2008, only 1 of the 5 nominees reached the $100M mark.  That’s not to say that a less ‘successful’ nominee (by box office standards) can’t win- last year’s Best Picture winner, the Hurt Locker, only grossed $17M in theaters.  But rounding out the nominees in 2010 were films like Avatar (grossing roughly $750M), The Blind Side (~$256M), and Up! (~$293.)  You’d be hard pressed to find any average Joe who didn’t know/see at least one of the films- and the box office numbers prove it.

This year’s nominees haven’t grossed quite as much as Avatar, but big names like The Social Network, Toy Story 3, and Black Swan are all on the list for Best Picture… as are less ‘blockbuster’ films: 127 Hours ($18M), The Kids Are All Right ($21M), and Winter’s Bone ($6M).

Everyone has something to root for! Relatability.

My prediction: Natalie Portman continues her ‘Best Actress’ Awards show streak and wins again for Black Swan; The King’s Speech or The Social Network win for Best Picture.

2. Fresh New Hosts- Anne Hathaway and James Franco are hosting the Oscars for the first time- she’s only 28, he’s 32.  Last year’s hosts? Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, average age between the two: 58.5.  The hosting average age just dropped by 28.5 years! Now I love Steve Martin (Alec Baldwin… meh), and I know older generations love him from his SNL days, but I think the younger generation most readily sees him as a white haired gentleman who was a wonderful dad in the Father of the Bride films or Cheaper by the Dozen franchise. And the key word here?: Dad. I think going with younger hosts is a good idea- if you’re trying to speak to the younger generation, speak to them in their language.  Hathaway and Franco fit the bill for the younger generation-both were in recent movies, graced magazine covers, and made headlines this year- but are also among the smartest and most poised of their generation of actors.  Hiring these two was a smart choice by the Academy- hiring someone like Robert Pattinson, Miley Cyrus, or Justin Bieber may have attracted younger viewers, but most certainly would have turned off older vieweres. I think Hathaway and Franco have both the youth and poise to appeal to a broader demographic and bring a little refined fun to the show.

And please, don’t even tell me you didn’t like Hathaway’s opening with Hugh Jackman for the 2009 Academy Awards:

Other hosting choices I would have enjoyed watching: Conan.  He’s had a pretty big year this year and could draw on his massive, engaged fan base to draw attention to the Awards show.  Plus, he’s hilarious.  Tina Fey. A bit older, but in my opinion, the funniest lady on TV/in movies these days.

3. The ‘You’re Invited Campaign’ and a big push for Interactive, Muliplatform viewing– On the Oscar.com website: “You’re invited to the 83rd Academy Awards and this invitation is like no other. Celebrate Hollywood’s biggest night with unprecedented access that even the winners won’t have. With exclusive backstage cameras, you’ll go where few have ever been and walk and mingle among the stars.”  And how will viewers get this access? On the Web through multiple outlets (Oscar.com, People, E!…) and on their iPads, iPhones, and iPods.  Viewers can manipulate camera angles on the red carpet, follow actors backstage after winning their Award, and for a nominal fee, can go into dressing rooms and inside the Governor’s Ball. Ah, cue the fascination with Hollywood and wanting to find out ‘what really goes on’ behind the scenes.

And don’t forget about social media– fans can check in/vote/share their with their friends through Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.  Oscar.com will also run a live feed of nominees’ tweets.  We’ve seen how the use of social media can boost ratings- especially with live events.  Take the 2010 VMAs for example- “During the show, 2.3 million tweets came in and 11.4 million viewers tuned in, almost double the 2006 low and up 27% from 2009. In fact, it was the VMA’s best showing since 2002” (fastcompany)  And Stuart Elliott of the NYTimes writes, “The ability of viewers to discuss with one another in real time what they see taking place on the field or the red carpet is being credited with increasing the audiences for several live programs, among them Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, which was the most-watched TV show ever; the Grammy Awards on Feb. 13, with the best ratings since 2000; and the N.B.A. All-Star Game last Sunday, which drew the highest ratings since 2003.” (NYTimes)

And I know it’s an assumption, but if the majority of live shows this year have seen an increase in ratings- and attribute them to social media- then why will the Oscars be different?  Especially since they’re making a mammoth push for viewer interaction and inclusion.

The Academy’s invitation and inclusion of viewers on multiple platforms= smart move.  Viewers want the inside scoop on Hollywood– take the popularity of magazines like People and US Weekly for example- and the Academy is not only giving viewers the inside scoop, they are giving them the scoop in real time- and interacting with viewers.

So there you have it: my predictions for the 2011 Oscars… a ratings win for young viewers.  Relatability and inclusion are the key for why I think ratings will increase at least 10%: more blockbuster films on the docket, fresh young hosts, and a focus on interactivity and multiplatform engagement all equal relatability and inclusion of key young viewers.

Leave your predictions and I’ll recap how we all did next week!

**All box office data from Boxofficemojo.com

**For perspective: I consider myself an average Joe.

A New Type of Street Team

1 Feb

Can we use social media to redefine a b(r)and’s ‘street team?’

Street Team: A dedicated fan of a band (or brand) who decides, by simple virtue of liking a band (or brand), that they will take it upon themselves to help promote their favorite band (or brand)… for free or minimal return.  A member of a street team could promote a band (or brand)by distributing promotional materials , tacking up fliers to promote an upcoming show, call radio stations to request songs by their favorite band, post to online message boards, etc… and in return? Eh, maybe some free swag or early access to ticket sales…basically nothing compared to the virtually free promotion/advertising (and largely in the trusted word-of-mouth advertising form at that!)  by your biggest band (or brand) advocates.

Sweet deal for the band (or brand), right?

And why would a fan want to be a member of a ‘street team?’   Because they want to feel like they’re a part of something.  Because the (minimal) return- say, a sweatshirt exclusively available to members of the street team- is an exciting and rewarding incentive.  Because they just love the band (or brand).

What if we tweaked the idea of a ‘street team’ by asking our tried and true, loyal brand advocates to be our ‘street team’… instead of waiting for these fans to come to us?

Social media makes it extremely easy for a brand to identify their most loyal and dedicated fans- so why not ask these fans, who are already talking about your brand just because they love it , to help you out with promotions/advertising? Here’s a golden opportunity for a brand to connect with fans and  show them they’re appreciated…. and here’s the opportunity to create a new kind of street team.

So what do we need to create this new street team from social media fans?

DATA! Don’t run away yet- you’ll be shocked at just how simple (and inexpensive) it is to get information about a brand’s fans on social media sites.  Two examples of extremely easy tools:

1. Rowfeeder: lets you  ‘track Tweets and Facebook posts in a spreadsheet… We provide raw data, with no bells and whistles, in a format that fits existing workflows – spreadsheets’ (via crunchbase)

Ok, thanks for the data, but how is it useful? A company can look at trending of posts/tweets–> are there a few fans/twitterers who mention the brand over and over in a positive manner?  Also included in the data- information the fan/twitterer has already provided about themselves (twitter bio, etc)- a brand can see if these loyal fans/twitterers have personal blogs, how many followers they have… IE how large of a network they’re reaching with every Facebook post or tweet.

And the cost? Free for tracking one term, $35 a month for tracking up to 3 terms and 5,000 comments/tweets.  And the most premium package listed on Rowfeeder‘s site? $255 a month for up to 10 terms and 50,000 comments/tweets. Wowzers.  That’s a lot of valuable data for not a lot of cash.

2.  Topsy: ‘indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain queried…Topsy displays realtime results for related terms & articles, trending topics, identifies experts (influencers) for any queried term and shows you trackback pages for everything in its index, displaying what everyone is saying about that query. (via Topsy about us page) a

Ok, there’s the data. Tell me why I should care. The results are in realtime, and Topsy not only lists tweets about the search term, the site also lists results from all over the web.  The most useful information (for my current purposes) is the ‘expert’ information, a listing of everyone who has tweeted the search term, with a count of how many times they’ve tweeted that search term.

And the cost? Free as far as I can tell.

(And that’s just two of the simple, inexpensive social media analytic tools available for anyone to use)

So now that we know how to get information about who mentions a brand/tweets about a brand, etc, what do we do with it?  How can we create a new ‘street team’ from this information set?

Let’s say a cable channel wanted to amp up promotion for the return of a popular series. The channel thinks that by reaching out to fans and by asking them to tweet about the show, post comments to their facebook page, or even blog about the show, they can increase the reach of their promotion efforts.  And by employing the fans who are already mentioning/tweeting about their love of the show/channel- the cable channel can simultaneously say ‘thank you’ to these loyal fans and ’employ’ them to continue to keep spreading positive sentiment about the show/channel.

To start, the cable channel used one of the tools listed above (or both, or multiple other ones) to identify their loyal fans. All they did was type in a key search phrase- the name of the show, or a popular character on the show, or even just the name of the cable channel itself, and track the data for a few days.  Once the cable channel had an adequate sample size, they analyzed the data to see which fans/twitterers had been the most active around the search term.

After taking out comments from ‘verified’ accounts, (for example, FOX wouldn’t want to count the @gleeonfox twitter account as a brand advocate as the account is a corporate, and not personal account) the cable channel identified a handle of users who were frequent (and positive!) mentioners of the search term.

Now that the cable channel has identified a collection of loyal fans, let’s turn these fans into our new ‘street team:’

First, the channel should immediately thank these fans for being such loyal devotees of the channel/show!  The channel could send these fans a message/send them schwag from their favorite show/anything to show these fans they care!  And to get these fans to become the new ‘street team’ and get them to help promote the returning series? The cable channel could send the fans an advance preview tape of the premiere episode and ask them to tweet about it, ask the fans to attend a press screening and tweet/blog about the experience, have a few fans do an interview with the stars of the show and post the interview to the web…

Are you noticing a trend with the possibilities for the new street team? Advance preview tapes, special screenings, exclusive interviews… hmm… all activities traditionally reserved for the ‘press.’  And the point of these efforts?  To get the show featured on the ‘what to watch this week section’ of the newspaper, for Matt & Meredith to talk about the show on the Today show, to have pictures of the  show’s stars in the next issue of People magazine.  And while these (and other) traditional outlets are still very important in a show’s promotion, why not give loyal fans the same opportunity?

What do you think- can companies/brands ’employ’ these already loyal fans on social media sites as a new type of ‘street team? ‘

Creative Musings

17 Jan

A recent article in FastCompany (have I mentioned I’m obsessed with this magazine) caught my eye and sparked a little creative thinking:

Inside Xtranormal‘s Budding Do-It-Yourself Movie Empire:

‘Xtranormal puts simple tools at the disposal of regular people. Choose from a selection of several dozen characters. Enter text (profane or otherwise) for your characters (bears or otherwise) to act out. Set your camera angle. Sprinkle in sound effects. Presto! You have your own mini-movie, ready for its online premiere… the company’s original goal was to produce an application to give film studios a storyboarding tool during preproduction. Hollywood loved the idea, but the animation and controls were too basic. Not true for the do-it-yourself crowd… revenue now comes from selling special characters and sets to users. While the company has yet to make a profit, [Xtranormal] anticipates getting into the black during the first half of 2011. With plans to go mobile and allow for collaboration over social networks, the challenge for [Xtranorma] will be to keep things simple while giving Joe Public more options to unleash his inner Tarantino.’

Read the full FastCompany article here.

And Spark!: my creative juices start flowing and the ‘what ifs’ just won’t stop…

What if… a cable channel used this ‘make your own movie’ site for a viewer ‘create your own promo’ contest?  The cable channel would invite viewers to create their own promo for a popular show with Xtranormal’s tools, and then the cable channel would pick the best promo (or few) to run on air.  Xtranormal’s revenue ‘now comes from selling special characters and sets to users’ (FastCompany)– so what if revenue came from creating customized characters/sets/sounds/actions/etc for the cable channel’s promotion?

Brainstorming this idea:

Situation: A cable channel is set to premiere a new season of a popular show (or a high profile special) and wants the  show/special’s promotional mix to include social media.  The channel thinks leveraging fans through social media would be a good way to connect with viewers and to spread the word about the show.  The channel has seen competitors embrace social networks to increase viewer engagement and knows it needs to amp up previous efforts in order to really make a splash with this new show/special.  They’ve been looking at some recent examples of how other cable channels are engaging viewers (just 2 among many, many others):

1. Bravo’s championship of Twitter and it’s creation of @BravoTV, ‘a real-time social media experience and interactive site where fans can engage with each other 24/7 about their favorite Bravo shows and Bravolebrities.’ (via FutonCritic)

2. Starz launch of the Facebook game ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ to the first 10,000 fans to sign up, a few weeks earlier than the show’s linear premiere to ramp up interest in the new show and to ‘[c]ater to fans’ growing belief that a TV show should live on in other forms of media’ (via Mashable)

The cable channel starts to see a trend: let the viewer be in control of  their own ‘viewing’ experience, (viewing in quotations because they know watching TV is no longer a passive viewing experience by traditional definition, but an interactive experience that spans platforms and senses) yet keep the TV show as the center of the conversation.

But what to do to make their own interaction with viewers unique? Hmm…

And then, a crafty researcher picks up her latest issue of FastCompany and reads the article about Xtranormal. Shazam!  The lightbulb goes off–

Solution: The cable channel lets it’s fans create the promos for the upcoming show/special.  Winning promos will run just like normal promos, giving the lucky winner (or winners) his/her 15 minutes of fame.

How the contest would work: The cable channel would promote the contest on air/off air/through social networks/on its website.  Promotions would drive viewers to the channel’s website, where the microsite for the contest would have videos about the upcoming show/series, contest guidelines, etc.  so viewers could learn about the show they are going to be creating a promo for.  And of course- the most important aspect of the microsite would be the embedded Xtranormal technology, allowing the viewer to create his/her promo directly on the channel’s website.  Viewers would only be able to use the custom characters, voices, sounds, actions, settings, etc. that Xtranormal would have created for the cable channel (back to the FastCompany article- the company is hinging making a profit on customization).  If each viewer has to work with the same customized elements, then it’s the dialogue/action/overall creativity they choose that will make the promos unique and entertaining but at the same time still ‘on-brand’ for the channel.

And talk about easy…viewers would simply have to create the promo with the customized elements and hit upload.  And the social networking aspect? A viewer would have to share the video on at least one other social site when they submit the video to the channel’s website. (think of the ubiquitous ‘share now’ buttons that link to twitter, facebook, digg, stumbleupon, etc. ) The ripple effect from sharing could be, in my humble opinion, huge.  (People love to share weird/interesting/unique things with friends, especially when incentivized)

Why I think this contest could be a big success: All three parties involved- the cable channel, Xtranormal, and viewers would benefit.  And it’s pretty simple.

1. Cable channel benefits: What better way to ensure that promos resonate with viewers than if the viewers create them themselves? And the cable channel would also benefit from letting viewers do a lion share of the promotion for the show through sharing videos through social networks… ah the ripple effect.

2. Xtranormal benefits: Perhaps help them turn a profit?  From the FastCompany article: ‘revenue now comes from selling special characters and sets to users.’  Creating custom elements for a cable channel would increase revenue by a larger scale than just selling special characters/sets to individual users.  Also, lots of added promotion for Xtranormal through the cable channel’s use of the technology (assuming the cable channel would either keep the Xtranormal tag on the video or at least link to the Xtranormal website)

3.  Viewer benefits: Chance for your creative work to be on TV? Not too shabby… and the chance to feel like your thoughts matter/can influence a cable channel? Also, not too shabby– I’ve written about it before, but I think the more viewers/consumers feel involved with your brand, the better– for all parties involved (past post here)

Now all I need is a cable channel and Xtranormal to buy into my idea… but I do think the idea of uploading video as a way to engage viewers is a very simple and workable idea… so hopefully this idea is a real possibility!

I haven’t done much research on as to what demographics best fit this idea, but judging from the stats and demo information from YouTube and Twitter/Facebook, I’d say video upload/watching attracts a broad audience:

‘People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube…Our user base is broad in age range, 18-55, evenly divided between males and females, and spanning all geographies. Fifty-one percent of our users go to YouTube weekly or more often, and 52 percent of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues. With such a large and diverse user base, YouTube offers something for everyone.’ (via YouTube factsheet).

Gender is also relatively equally split on facebook/twitter, and the 18-44 age break accounts for 70% of users for both facebook and twitter. (information via this infographic)

Given this small amount of research, (my data lovin’ self is begging for more, but you probably aren’t) and the findings that both YouTube and Facebook/Twitter’s sweet spot in terms of age looks to be 18-44, (taking into account that 18-34 year olds mentioned as the ones who share videos instead of the 18-55 age group for Youtube and the 18-44 age break for the social networks) a younger skewing cable channel would probably benefit most from this type of promotion.  I would also assume that a channel with an already strong online ‘fanbase’ would most greatly benefit from this type of promotion, as the cable channel would have to leverage these core fans to be the first guinea pigs (or referencing The Tipping Point, the influencers who will spread the word about the project).

And why do I call the idea simple? The idea of uploading video isn’t earth shattering- or hard- and Xtranormal touts itself as a simple, easy to use platform.  From their info page on facebook: ‘ If you can type, you can make movies. The characters in the movie speak the dialogue in the script, and react to performance triggers—icons that are dropped directly into the script, just like smileys in IM/chat. Movies can be shared through e-mail, blogs and online video sharing and social networking sites such as YouTube™, MySpace™ and Facebook.™ And a cable channel running a contest?  Not exactly earth shattering, either. 

Simply, this idea embraces social networking, advances in technology, and the changing ways in which viewers consume television to, hopefully, successfully promote a television show/special & engage viewers.

So what do you think? Feasible? Silly? Boring? Willing to try it out?

At the very least- am I showing you that maybe, just maybe, researchers can be creative thinkers?

And just for some giggles, the video I made on Xtranormal… in about 5 min… just to show how easy it is:

Can you do the Cann Cann?

21 Dec

If you can’t read through the blur, the important part of this .png is:

Contest #2: From now through December 31, send a tweet with the hashtag #mccann2011 and describe what you think the most important trend in advertising will be in 2011.  The author of the most insightful #mccann2011 tweet will win lunch with Mark Fallows, McCann NY’s Director of Creative Technology, and Alessandra Lariu, McCann NY’s Digital Group Creative Director.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, (or lets be honest, the opportunity for a free lunch) I thought I’d put my thinking cap on and try to win this bad boy.

So here goes- my prediction for the most important trend in advertising in 2011:

Increased personalization, made possible by continued innovations in research- which are enabled by advances in technology.

The need for increased personalization:

TV/web/mobile/magazine/newspaper/iPad/email/billboard/subway steps/bus wrap/taxi video screen/coffee cup holder/umbrella/pen… if you’re scratching your head and saying, geez, she left out xyz advertising surface, then I’ve effectively made my point.  We’re barraged by hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisements every single day- and as the number of consumer touchpoints (read: advertising space opportunities) continue to increase, so does the clutter.   The increasing number of consumer touchpoints (and the resulting clutter) is making it, in turn, increasingly harder for advertisers to reach and connect with their target consumers.

And it seems as if in an effort to cut through the clutter, advertisers are only barraging consumers with more and more advertisements, creating more clutter and dare I say- losing sight of what consumers really want?  If consumers are constantly bombarded with [an increasing number of] advertisements, how do advertisers convince consumers to buy their products over their competitors’ products?

Enter the need for personalization (and for some critical thinking), stemming from this very simple question:  Why do consumers really buy a product? From a very basic/macro level  perspective, I think consumers buy products based on need or want, which are personal and emotional decisions. But how exactly does need or want manifest in a purchase decision?

Let’s think through an example: I need a pair of pants.  Why? Society (and law) dictate that covering your bottom half is the appropriate thing to do while in public places.   But then this need of a pair of pants could be questioned- why not need a dress or a skirt?  Because pants will keep me warmer during the winter.  Ok need covered, moving on to want– I want to fulfill my law abiding covering my bottom-half needs by buying a pair of jeans.  Why jeans over slacks/leggings/sweatpants?  Because jeans are more comfortable.  Or because they are more flattering.  Or because they are less expensive than other options.  Or because I can wear them at work and at play.  Or because, because, because… once again I hope you’re scratching your head and saying, geez, she hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of why a consumer would buy a pair of pants.  But once again, that’s the point— consumers buy products for a variety of personal and emotional reasons.  And advertising is about trying to figure out those personal, emotional reasons- and we’re not all a size 2 with a great derriere.  So advertising needs to think smarter and more personal, rather than thinking larger.

I think 2010 saw a breakthrough in general advertiser thinking- from thinking the larger the reach the greater the return, to thinking of smarter ways to reach the people who are most likely to buy their products.  I think this shift was greatly enabled by advances and innovations in research, (oh no, the awful word!) made possible by advances and innovations in technology.   In 2011, I think advertisers will increasingly embrace these changes in research and harness the power of technology to create more personalized advertisements for their target consumers.

Advances/Innovations in research and technology that have been enabling/and are going to continue to enable personalization in 2011:

1.  Social media– 2010 was a big year for social media.  According to eMarketer, 73% of companies with 100+ employees used social media in their marketing mix in 2010.   I think this percentage will increase to (at least) the high 80s in 2011, as advertisers realize the benefits of social media.  Short list of benefits: social media is relatively inexpensive for an advertiser and enables a 2 way conversation with consumers.  (see my full list here)  This 2 way conversation creates the opportunity for advertisers to interact with consumers in real time and to talk directly with consumers.  Read: allows for advertisers to get personal.  Ironic, isn’t it– this innovation in technology mimics a really ‘old’ form of advertising- the door-to-door salesman- that allowed for personalized pitches to consumers.

But consumers have changed the way in which they learn about products, and advertisers need to adapt the ways in which they reach out to and connect with consumers.   And this innovation in technology (that creates the opportunity for greater personalization) creates the opportunity for innovations in research. Social media creates a real time sounding board for advertisers- what do consumers really like about a product? Or really hate about a product?  What are they saying about competitors?  Advertisers can use this research (yes research- it’s data from a large, randomized sample, isn’t it?) to tweak their campaigns in other media- have consumers taken to facebook/twitter/myspace/blogs to say they love how your jeans really flatter their rear end?  And do traditional focus groups/web surveys substantiate this claim? (I think it’s best to use multiple sources for a more well-rounded understanding- so while I think social media is an innovation in research, I don’t think we need to discount any other forms of research either)  And does your current TV ad/print ad/radio ad, etc. advertise to consumers this rear-end enhancing benefit?  Whether the answer is yes or no, advertisers can use this research and tweak (not replace!) existing or future advertisements that take these findings into consideration.

Quick recap: Advances in technology (social media) enables advertisers to have a direct, real time conversation with their consumers (personalization).  This advance in technology also creates the opportunity for innovation in research methods- an unsourced, self populating focus group.

2. Hyper targeting- While hyper targeting isn’t new, technology is enabling new ways for advertisers to reach super niche audiences.  Hyper targeting allows advertisers to personalize their messages since the focus is on a much smaller audience.  And (eek!) like it or not, research and data collection are a large part of hyper targeting- using data to better direct your messages to a relevant audience.  And data collection through innovations in technology are affecting how advertisers can more effectively hyper target their audience.  For example, in television advertising, companies like TRA are ‘match[ing] household television ad exposures with the actual purchases of the products being advertised in that same household’ (via TRA) so advertisers can reach a more targeted audience.  How’s that for helping advertisers eliminate waste/reach viewers more likely to purchase their products– made possible by the innovation in research methods- connecting purchases to TV viewership.  And companies like Invidi are rolling out targeted TV ads by cross-referencing US census data and set top box data (Invidi).  Similar to how social media is redefining what ‘direct’ communication is, companies like Invidi are redefining the uses of US Census data- hey, that’s using the innovations in technology to advance research methods!

And on the Internet, data collection through tracking (think even as simple as Google Analytics) can give advertisers a better idea of what their consumer looks like- for example, what are other websites do their visitors go to- giving advertisers the opportunity to target consumers on these sites as well.  Or companies like Colligent, who aggregate data across social media networks to give advertisers a better idea of their consumers-  for example, fans of Levi jeans are most likely to be men ages 25-44, like to read ESPN, and spend the most time watching Border Wars. (read more about Colligent here)

Quick recap: Innovations in research, fueled by advances in technology, are giving advertisers a better idea of who their target consumer is- and not just who their customer is on the web or TV, but across multiple platforms.  These innovations in research and advances in technology are moving the idea of hyper targeting forward and allows for increased personalization.

3. Neuromarketing- ‘research [that] removes subjectivity and ambiguity by going right to measuring observable brain behavior. Respondent attention level, emotional engagement and memory storage are common metrics’ (from fastcompany).   Advances in technology have made neuromarketing possible- for example, Innerscope Research uses a chest strap to capture the biometric measurements, which neuroscientists then analyze to form an overall engagement score. (more about Innerscope here).  Neuromarketing gives advertisers data that shows what creative elements made viewers engage/disengage with the ad.  Advertisers can then take this data to create an advertisement that will better connect with their consumers on an emotional, personal level.  And if advertisers have defined a targeted, niche audience, they can use this data to create personalized messages that resonate on an emotional level- hmm, didn’t we talk about earlier how advertising and purchase decisions are really emotional decisions?

Quick recap:  Are you starting to notice a trend?  Once again, advances in technology have enabled innovations in research, which in turn, is helping advertisers personalize their messages for their target audience.

So there you have it- my prediction for the most important trend in advertising in 2011- Increased personalization: made possible by continued innovations in research, enabled by advances in technology.  Of course, social media, hyper targeting and neuroscience aren’t the only examples of how personalization will occur, but I think they are three great examples!

If you’re reading this and aren’t affiliated with McCann, that’s ok- like I said, I never turn down the opportunity for a free lunch- or for that matter, the chance for a great, creative discussion! 🙂



7 Dec

: a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. (thanks Twitter about us page!)

I have a bit of an odd relationship with technology.  On one hand, I’m quite the laggard.  Oh I’m geeked out by the latest and greatest, but I’ll never own the newest and greatest gadget (my current computer is going on it’s 5th year).  And on the other hand, I’m completely fascinated by technology, and couldn’t be a bigger tech-evangelist WHEN it comes to seeing how the intersection of the traditional/’old school’ and technology helps to move various industries forward.  (Recent examples I’m just blown away by: Art more readily available to everyone via the iPad, professors using twitter in classroom discussion to enhance the learning experience, and Animal Planet’s charity drive with donations directly linked to program viewership).  I guess you could say I’m not going to be impressed by technology just for technology’s sake– it’s gotta be cool and beneficial for me to be really interested.

Think of technology as cool vs. beneficial as a traditional cost/benefit analysis (remember, I’m a total research nerd).  And technology for technology’s sake just isn’t cut it in a cost/benefit analysis.   Sure, I’d love a new computer or iPad (or just a new powercord at this point), but I can’t justify the purchase.  Why?  The expense far outweighs the practical benefits.  The functions I need a computer for- Excel, Powerpoint, Internet Browsing- can all be done relatively well on my old clunker.  I just don’t need a better one.  Besides looking great and perhaps not catching on fire (true story, my current computer has caught on fire and is somehow still fully functional), the cost would far outweigh the practical benefits for me at this point in my life.  A new computer wouldn’t move me forward in any way other than ‘cool’ factor.  Of course, if I decide to become, say, a graphic designer, the cost/benefit ratio will change and I will need more functionality.  That shiny new computer and new technology capabilities changes from just being ‘cool’ to ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial’— the technology jackpot in my opinion.

So what technology is topping my list as ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial?’  TWITTER.  And in the larger scheme of things, SOCIAL MEDIA.

Why I think Twitter is ‘cool:’

1.  It’s Easy and Convenient. Say something in 140 characters? Done in the blink of an eye.  Create lists so I can follow all the headlines I want in one place? Done in an instant.  Want to tweet from your computer? Your phone? Your iPad? Shoot, you could even tweet from the bathroom! Twitter is just so easy to use, it’s hard not to be impressed.

2.  It’s Free. Yep, in the world of overpriced gadgets and gizmos, Twitter is 100% free.  Even if you don’t own a computer or a cell phone, there’s always a public library/work computer to use.  I have access to all this great information for absolutely nothing.

3.  It Allows for Tremendous Access and for Network Expansion. On what other platform can I communicate directly and as easily with a top marketing exec or with someone from a different country? And for free? And in real time? And here’s the shocker– the response rate is great and Twitter actually allows for a true two-way real time conversation.  There’s no way that I would meet even half of the people I follow in mere months if I was trying to track them down in person or by phone, email, etc.  And going back to the ease point– it’s easy for someone to shoot off a quick 140 character response.  It’s harder to find an extra 15 min in the day to talk to someone.

So there’s the ‘cool’ factor recapped.  But how can this ‘coolness’ benefit the advertising industry (personally I think Twitter has huge potential for almost every industry, but just for modeling purposes lets stick to advertising)?  Let’s wrap all the ‘coolness‘ factors together–Twitter is easy, convenient, free, and a ‘networking’ tool… hmm networking you say?

Why I think Twitter/social media can be beneficial to the advertising industry:

Networking is the key to why I think Twitter/social media is beneficial to the advertising industry.  Twitter’s networking capability is an example of how the intersection of the traditional (networking, ie people connecting with people) with technology (Internet) can move the advertising industry forward.  We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly busier/faster/more cluttered, which in turn is making it harder and harder for advertisers to really connect with consumers– and for consumers to feel like a part of the conversation.  But Twitter is a ‘cool‘ and ‘beneficial‘ technology that provides advertisers with an easy, convenient, and real time network to (re)connect with consumers–

–So why are advertisers so resistant to including Twitter and social media as a viable and valuable advertising tool?  Isn’t the idea of advertising to engage and connect with consumers?  Here’s a great platform that gives advertisers the opportunity to have a one-on-one, two way conversation with their consumers, coupled with the fact that Twitter is easy to use, convenient, and free.  And the ironic part of it all? Twitter (and modeled to social media) broken down to the basics, taken from the about us section of Twitter: a real-time information network that connects you (whether it be on the advertiser end or the consumer end) to [information/people/the world around you]. That’s actually a really old, traditional concept- people connecting with other people.  So really, the joke’s on the advertiser if they continue to resist the change- since Twitter and social media is just the intersection of the traditional with technology.  The benefits of Twitter/social media far outweigh the costs- why not??

Your thoughts- what else can advertisers do with the intersection of the traditional with technology?  What other technologies are ”cool’ and ‘beneficial’ that could move the advertising industry forward?

Update: This nerd just can’t get enough– an example of an advertiser that GETS IT: Gatorade –> ‘The company recently created the Gatorade Mission Control Center inside of its Chicago headquarters, a room that sits in the middle of the marketing department and could best be thought of as a war room for monitoring the brand in real-time across social media.’ (from mashable, full article here)

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