Launching a Web 2.0 campaign

How do you launch a Web 2.0 media campaign? You don’t. If you’re thinking of “launching” “campaigns” in the Web 2.0 media space, you’ve broken your legs out of the starting gate.

How does a corporate brand manager “launch” a Web 2.0 “campaign” to counter (or embrace) a consumer-generated product review like Dirt Devil vs Electrolux found via the “dirt devil mvp comparison to electrolux” Google search (clicking the page 1, position 1 result takes you to the video product review). Let me repeat this: for the search phrase “dirt devil mvp comparison to electrolux”, the first organic result on Google is a consumer-generated YouTube video. How does one forecast for this eventuality, and account for this within the deliberative, plodding, and corporate-controlled product development and roll-out plan? All the push-marketing tactics cannot totally devalue the kitschy product review from a real consumer who’s having a good time making a video. Will “I” trust the brand, or the consumer?

Here are some considerations while pondering the the concept that brands are no longer in control:

Step 1: Educate yourself on new ways of thinking about business (notice I did not suggest topics confined to “Web 2.0”, which is a simple moniker to encapsulate a new way of thinking about business). Here’s a list of books to read to get going: The Black Swan, The Art of the Start, The Four Hour Work Week, Competing on Analytics, Crossing the Chasm, The Innovator’s Dilemma. If you have other books to add, suggest them an I’ll start a formal book list.

Step 2: Step into the abyss. Yes…join a social network. I started with FaceBook. To follow the progress of building a community from the ground up on FaceBook, follow/join the Mighty Tour de Nez FaceBook Group I started about one of the country’s most exciting, innovative, and competitive cycling events. The key take-away with respect to the TDN is that even though this event has been going for over a decade, draws record crowds and record pro cyclists, building a community on the Web does not happen overnight. To see the power of an established Group, look at the Ironman FaceBook Group. Also, while you’re on FaceBook, add me as a friend and I’ll add you back.

Step 3: Go create a mission statement and have a good laugh.

Step 4: Trust yourself to make mistakes and not care that you’ve done so.

Wikia Search versus Google Search: Round 1

Test of which service gives a more relevant result for typical real estate searches (of course, relevancy is subjective). For this test, I am defining relevancy as routing me to the local market expert real estate firm or agent in the most expeditious manner.

  • “columbia south carolina real estate for sale” : Wikia Google : Winner is Google. The top search results on Google take me to South Carolina.
  • “60647 condos for sale” : Wikia Google : Winner is Google since the top search results take me directly to that zip code. Wikia delivered one result.
  • “lincoln park luxury homes” : Wikia Google : Tie. Both services presented me with similar results. Wikia was a little scattered in that it showed “lincoln park” results from around the country. Whereas Google directed me mostly to Chicago websites (which was my intent). Interesting note: When I added “illinois” to Wikia, it did not change the results much, and doing so on Google muddied the results (on Google, lots of optimization going on for the combo “lincoln park” in conjunction with “illinois)

Semantic web optimization?

With social networking sites surpassing search engines in terms of popularity, will the marketing value of search engine optimization diminish over time? This article makes a great case that the usefulness of organic search for consumers may eventually wane.

Interesting question: when a social network community provides answers–as opposed to an algorithm–can anyone really “optimize” their website for social networks? In fact, in this context, one can argue that the concept of “optimization” is a legacy marketing principle more akin to “push” marketing concepts as opposed to “engagement” or “Web 2.0” marketing concepts.

Let’s consider this phrase “semantic social network”. Via Google, I get this result, and via Wikia Search I get this result; as of this post, I am awaiting help from my FaceBook community.

Obviously, Google and Wikia will return a faster result than the community, and arguably the time I am waiting for the community to respond to my request (if it responds) I can peruse the myriad results via the two search engines. What I am hoping for, though, is that the community will point me in a direction that’s more pointed and vetted via its collective consciousness.

SXSW: Marketing without marketing

Summary of Self Replicating Awesomeness: The Marketing of No Marketing:

Panelists:

Tara Hunt www.horsepigcow.com
Chris Heuer www.theconversationgroup.com
Jeremiah Owyang www.web-strategist.com
Deborah Schultz www.deborahschultz.com
Hugh MacLeod www.gapingvoid.com
David Parmet www.marketingbeginsathome.com

Key take-aways:
Passion for people. Put passion into product.
Let go to gain more.
Social objects are the future marketing.
Technology changes, human behavior does not; nothing replaces listening, nothing.
A story without love is not worth telling

Hunt (horsepigcow.com): Way of looking at customers rather than product; process not not product (MY COMMENT: product is the message). Conversations are about marketing, customer service, product development. Dont be afraid, it’s an open opportunity. Art more than a science. Get out of the ivory tower, don’t push, weave (network weaving). Look for customers that love you. Put up a FAQ, marketing, customer service. Go local, keep it local, use global reach to distribute locally. Short term strategy: tell the story. Cultural DNA shift, tactics are great; we are in a relationship economy (exchange of free and sometimes exchange currency); marketing is now a mosaic or a puzzle…the payback is long time in coming.

Heuer (theconversationgroup.com): Idea of community (traditional marketing is now saying “Build me a community I want one tomorrow”; this is not the way to think of this). Interpersonal connections make the community, not the tool. Social media is not new marketing, it simply changes how we relate; i.e., company to customer relationship. Attitudinal shift, stop trying to sell, help me want to buy. Make the service the product when there is an expensive product to market and cannot give away for free (e.g., Audi has WiFi, cleaning services). Share knowledge and facilitate interpersonal communications. SHORT TERM: depends on the quality story; “the brands with the best storytellers win” (said by iProspect guy). How do we give an experience of our product away for free. You are giving away a connection, cultivate a feeling, get away from selling a message.

Owyang (Web-strategist.com): conducts research on this market; online community best practices, clear that companies that let go and let customers take charge have thriving communities, for example, grant private access to an brand “embassy”, let them (evangelists) have access to private data, advocates in the embassy go out and evangelize. HOW DID THEY SELECT THE PASSIONATE ADVOCATES? Blog roles, Technorati rankings, who’s talking most about product, can also use brand monitoring companies, buzz metrics, symphony, buzz logic; the main point is that you can find your “brand lovers”. While at Hitachi, created industry-wide Wiki, let anyone in the community to add to it; became starting points to searches for data storage devices; still in use today.

Schultz (deborahschultz.com) the more one gives away the more business one gets. Social capital is basically the value of the relationships and reputation. But how much do you give away without going broke? Traditional marketing aims to promote a generic spread of a message; whereas Hugh saw great opp in the market of bloggers and geek friends to promote wine; read book BLUE OCEAN STRATEGIES.

Macleod (gapingvoid.com): let them say what they want, no preconditions on reviews, gave out the product (wine) with no conditions aside from asking for FLIKR photos; contextual conversations around the wine (ie., product), create Kula, social object within this group; make social gestures, which beget social objects, which begets social markers (demarking the territory); iPhone is a social marker (i.e., SAMSUNG blackjack is not a marker); come “FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES” is not a marker (MY COMMENT: the tagline is a lie the first time a flight attendant is rude). What matters is not the iPhone but that we’re friends and that we have objects (iPhone) as a way for social communications; the object is our conversation binding; technology is only a facilitator of communications; go in Apple store, they’ve done lots of little things well; little things inform the big things. Create social objects that are cheap if you have an expensive product.

Parmet (marketingbeginsathome.com): It’s not the message, it’s not the logo, using such is missing the human, and missing the opp to service our fellow humans. “YOU DONT GO VIRAL; THE PRODUCT GOES VIRAL”. You’re not going through an intermediary, why not go to the customers themselves? Put it in the hands of the people who actually use it.

SXSW output

SXSW update: Since this is my first SXSW since 1990, I’ve had to re-orient myself to the pace and orgiastic creativity of the scene. Thus, no long posts on the relevancy of this year’s SXSW to the real estate industry until I’ve had a chance to digest properly. Nevertheless, here are the salient take-aways, as I see it:

10 Things We’ve Learned at 37signals: make tiny decisions, tiny decisions are easy to roll-back, easy to make forward progress. Break down problems to their “atomic” levels, which allows one to tackle a whole set of issues in a rational manner. Focus on non-consumers; that is, find the consumers that are not using a specific product but need the salient points of that product (why do I need MS Project, when BaseCamp works just fine, b/c I interested in quick iteration, team collaboration, and forward progress, not a status update using a GANTT chart).

The Science of Designing Interactions: Great conversation between an entrepreneur Ming Yeow Ng and Andreas Weigend, Stanford professor. Quote from Mr. Ng “Discovery is the new cocaine.” Brilliant. As social media hounds, many of us have a bit of Lewis & Clark in us. Discussion focused on how to set up metrics to gauge engagement and use metrics to determine what motivates behavior and how to motivate behavior. Glad I read Owyang here and here as well as Peterson here before this session. Here’s a quick search result from my site for more info.

Core Conversation: 10 Easy Ways To Piss Off A Blogger (And Other Mistakes Marketers Make): Go to Jonny Goldstein’s post on this session, he not only summarized the top 10, he adds relevancy.

Designing for Freedom: Anil Dash added great perspective that “freedom” in a vacuum is not “freedom”; sometimes constraints on user “freedom” actually promotes freedom (e.g., he analogized that the constraints of marriage freed him from the pressure to pursue women). My thoughts: Although the pace and iterative necessities dictated by Silicon Valley pressures force most early-stage companies to focus on product features over customer behavior analytics; it’s the analytics side of the equation that will really allow a company like Ning to create a better product than it already is.

Scoop the Story on Your Blog: This was the most interactive session I attended. What was a brilliant move by the panelists is that all five broke into separate groups and had hallway conversations, which delved deep into the many business applications of Utterz. Owyang challenged my group to focus on weaknesses of the product.

SEO 3.0: Optimizing Search & Social for 2008 and Beyond: For a competitor to beat Google, Google will have to 1) faceplant and 2) the product will have to be better than Google. Not likely to happen anytime soon. Google’s the search engine of choice in much of the world, except for China. Well-written content is the key over the next one to two years, as Google is beginning to “understand” contextual attributes in the penumbra of a site’s content. Online reputation management is important to focus on from a brand perspective (i.e., blogger digs and accolades, trademark infringement, etc).

Social media marketing campaign?

Contemplating a social media campaign? Don’t go about it in the “traditional” media planning sense. BuzzMarketing has a titillating thought on this concept. And this social media slide show gives an entertaining and educating primer on why traditional media planning will not work well in a social media context.

Innovation, John Kao’s insights

With respect to new product development initiatives, he challenges us to embrace a dexterous and daring approach rather than a artless and timid one; a paradigm especially relevant in a Web 2.0 marketing environment.

John Kao, author of Innovation Nation, offers a great perspective on innovation (one hour interview). His analogy to jazz performance and composition is especially compelling. With respect to new product development initiatives, he challenges us to embrace a dexterous and daring approach rather than an artless and timid one; a paradigm especially relevant in a Web 2.0 marketing environment.

Social networks, marketing choices

Social networks will change the way real estate professionals interact with their clients. Terms like engagement, conversation, and community underpin social networks. And in “off-line” environments real estate professionals have likely “engaged” in meaningful and relevant “conversations” while building a “community” of long-term clients.

Yet many real estate professionals are reluctant to embrace social networks as a new marketing channel. One refrain I often hear is “it’s hard to get going and sustain my ‘involvement'”. Aside from asking the question, “So when has it ever been easy to earn a client’s trust and payment?”, one also senses a certain fear of not making a mistake, or in not taking the time to fully grasp the profound change that’s occuring.

As to the former issue, fear is, indeed, a legitimate emotion to overcome, but can be overcome with a step-by-step approach to getting involved; and the Social Community section of this Web2.0 map is a great place to begin. With respect to the latter issue, Charlene Li of Forrester Research presents an informative road map of the future of social networks.