Saturday, June 21, 2008

Energizer battery ads: Disturbing but effective?

Though I can appreciate the creativity, I'm not sure this is good for their brand. Do moms want to buy batteries from a company who threatens them (indirectly)? The copy in the corner reads: "Never let their toys die. The World's Longest Lasting Battery"

Agency: DDB, South Africa
Creative Director: Gareth Lessing
Art Director: Julie Maunder
Copywriter: Kenneth van Reenen
Photographer: Clive Stewart

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Top 10 US Social-Network and Blog-Site Rankings

Here it is... a listing of the top 10 Social Networks all in one place. These numbers are for the US in April 2008.

Top US social-networking site’s audience was up 3% in April compared with April ‘07, but second-place Facebook’s was up 56% from a year earlier, according to custom lists compiled by Nielsen Online.

LinkedIn, continuing its stellar growth, increased its unique audience a whopping 361% from a year earlier, reaching nearly 8.7 million in April, compared with less than 1.9 million a year earlier - and retaining its No. 4 position after having unseated Windows Live Spaces in March to take its spot.


MySpace’s unique audience totaled 58.8 million in April, compared with No. 2 Facebook’s 22.5 million.

Google’s Blogger remained atop the blog site rankings with 38.4 million unique visitors, up 40% from 27.4 million in April ‘07:


WordPress was again up - an impressive 160% from April ‘07 - increasing its unique audience to 16.6 million.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The 4 People Every Business Owner Needs

I like this article because, as an entrepreneur, I'm on the roller coaster of small business ownership all the time. Having people to level out your highs and lows emotionally and tactically is invaluable and almost critical to success.

With so many facets to running a business--including sales, marketing, technology and protecting your physical and intellectual properties--having the right people in your corner can be a tremendous asset, providing both emotional support and business know-how. Unfortunately, many new entrepreneurs go it alone, without that emotional backing from friends or family.

Typically, there are four common types of supporters who serve as emotional backers and/or advisors. If you are fortunate enough to find all four, you may have your own little village to help you raise a business.
"The Cheerleader"
rally behind your ideas and believe in you as an entrepreneur
"The Role Model"
actively teaching or training
"The Expert"
more than willing to go the extra mile by providing their expertise in a specific area.
"The Techie"
someone with the ability to provide such technical help in today's business world can be a godsend.
Some people are fortunate to have such supporters
others may simply need to look
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Social Media - Do people really use it?

So we know what social media is but do people really use it? In order to understand the who, we have to start with the HOW. This article from Forrester Research breaks adult internet users into six groups based on their involvement in social media. What category are you in? Your customers?
clipped from

At the heart of Social Technographics is consumer data that looks at how consumers approach social technologies – not just the adoption of individual technologies. We group consumers into six different categories of participation – and participation at one level may or may not overlap with participation at other levels. We use the metaphor of a ladder to show this, with the rungs at the higher end of the ladder indicating a higher level of participation.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

iPhone Obsolete: Google Unveils Mobile Phone Operating System Today

Google held a developers conference today and actually unveiled their mobile phone operating system: Android. It has some similarities to the iPhone but... believe it or not... BETTER!

Check out this video demonstration of the functionality! They start showing the phone system at 24 minutes. If you are pressed for time though... skip to the demonstration of streetview with "compass" at 31 minutes!! Unbelievable.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

part 3: facebook. simplified.

I've received several emails over the past few weeks inquiring about my lack of blog postings. Some of the theories as to why I haven't been blogging:

A) I developed a severe case of carpal tunnel and can no longer type.
B) I'm pursuing my dream of hitchhiking across the country.
C) I joined a cult in Texas where social media is forbidden.
D) All of the above.

If you guessed C, then you are correct... However, it turns out that I can't live without the internet so I'm back and the blogging shall commence.


As I began to think about how best to summarize what facebook is all about, I decided to do a search to see what videos are out there that may be able to explain it better using visuals and screen shots (read: less work on my part). Much to my surprise, I found a video that a couple girls did for a class project that highlights exactly why facebook is so popular... especially among the teen and college demographics... in just 55 seconds! (The side-bar commentary is somewhat annoying but further illustrates exactly what people are thinking when on facebook).

In other words, facebook is a way to:

  • Connect with old friends
  • Meet new friends
  • Keep up-to-date on what your friends are doing
  • Join in on fun events
  • View and share pictures/videos
  • and gossip about people!
It's kind of like stalking... but with a little less "creep factor" than the more traditional off-line version.

I know that this post is the epitome of simplification regarding facebook but hearing two teenage/college girls explain the highlights in less than a minute is the best way to understand why it has become a pop culture phenomenon. If you want to know more about facebook, create a profile and find some people you know! Unless you are 75 years old, I guarantee you'll find an old friend.

And a note for all of you avid facebook users:

What if the interaction on facebook wasn't a website but actually how people interacted in daily life? I came across this video in my search and, though it is vulgar in some places, it points out some of the annoying things about facebook that people should be aware of before diving into any social networking platform.

NOTE: If you do not use facebook, do not watch this video. It will make absolutely NO sense to you.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

part 2: social networks. simplified.

Social Networks are technology platforms that facilitate meaningful interaction among people. In other words, they make it easy to share with each other, to build upon that which is shared and to discover people, places and things. Social Networks, though a dominant force in the evolution of the internet, are just one part of a much larger movement referred to as Web 2.0. We’ll start there.

Web 2.0 is the “new” web that has changed from a “read-only web” where most users go online to read and review content to a “read and write web” where users go online to generate their own content.

This change in online behavior (Web 2.0) has been facilitated by the development of technology that allows non-tech-savvy internet users to publish content relatively easily (i.e. blogs, wikis, video/picture sharing sites). One of the most influential of these technologies is the social networking platform also referred to as the "architecture of participation."

These platforms (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut) allow users to create profiles and then connect their profiles to their friends’ profiles so they can keep tabs on each other and share content (videos, music, pictures, messages, events, notes, etc…). They also have powerful search features allowing users to locate lost friends and classmates and reconnect. Users can also see who their friends have listed as friends allowing them to grow their network through mutual connections.

MySpace was really the first very successful social network and most likely your first introduction to this phenomenon. MySpace allows users to easily create and control their own personalized “space” on the web. They can post pictures, pick their own background, stream their favorite music, rebel against convention, preach against rebellion, communicate with friends, find new friends and discover lost friends. In many ways, a MySpace page is as much a vehicle of self-expression as a teen’s bedroom.

Facebook is a more structured, formalized network that is less customizable and as a results, easier to use. Facebook seems to be emerging as the “mature” MySpace.

LinkedIn is really just a glorified address book that can be shared with people you know. The primary benefit is being able to search not only your professional network but anyone connected to people within your network. As an example, I have 124 contacts in my LinkedIn network giving me access to over 2.9 million people (friends of friends of friends).

It’s About People. Not Content.

In the early 90’s, there were websites that made it easy for users to create their own web pages (Tripod, Geocities). The difference between those sites and the social networks of today is that those early sites had no easy way for users to get their friends to the web page or to let them know that it had been updated. It was pretty boring to have a web page that nobody saw! Those sites didn’t survive but their demise demonstrated one very important point: Web 2.0 is not about user-generated content. It’s about user-generated content that is a result of social interaction. In other words, it starts with the people, and then comes the content. Therein lies the lesson for us marketers.

Brands are constantly trying to harness the power of social networking to build community around their products. Though sometimes an emphasis on really strong content (i.e. by P&G) is enough to draw like-minded people to a network, for small businesses without multi-million dollar budgets, it’s not likely to be successful.

The key to marketing via Social Networking is not to create your own branded network but to tap-in to the networks that already exist. People want to spend time where their friends spend time. If every company has their own social network, and consumers accept this and participate, they will never cross paths with friends again since everyone will be dividing their time across 20 different networks.


There are many ways to take advantage of social networks as a business. In fact, there are hundreds of businesses that exist solely for this reason. One big business today is the development of “widgets.” Widgets are applications that can interact with social networks and operate within the network platform. You can create games, contests, etc…, all with a widget that users can add to their profile or use to interact on their friend’s profile. The main benefit of “widgets” is that they allow you to associate your brand with something fun that users enjoy and deliver a brand message at the same time. Widgets are also somewhat viral in that as one person adds the application to their profile, all of their friends are notified and are likely to add it as well. This pattern continues thereby increasing your exposure at little to no additional cost = viral. is keeping a running tally of the "total number of apps (Widgets) installed" on Facebook: 12.8 million as of July, 2007. That refers not to the number of applications, but to the number of users who installed the widgets to run on their Facebook pages or blogs. I’m sure this number has more than doubled since.

Simple Marketing through Social Networks

According to eMarketer's, 38% of all Internet users, or 72 million people, used social networks at least once a month in 2007. Among 18-34 year olds, 25% visit social networks daily and among 9-17 year olds, 55% spent between 5 and 30 hours per week on social networking sites.*

If you are not ready for widgets, there are also more “traditional” ways to market via social networks.

Using Google Adwords as a campaign management tool, you can place ads (text, image or video ads) on many of the popular social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Facebook recently launched its own campaign management tool making it easy to geographically target specific demographics with your ads.

Through the Google Adwords and Facebook campaign management tools, advertisers can place ads on a CPM (cost per thousands impressions) pricing model or a CPC (cost per click) pricing model. Which one you choose depends on your objective: brand awareness = CPM; lead/sales generation = CPC.

Basic ads on these networks driving traffic to your website is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leveraging the power of social networks. Facebook allows you to create your own “group” that people can join to rally around your industry/product/service. It also allows businesses to create their own “page” that people can “fan” or “opt-in” to receive updates when new content is posted. I’ll explain these tactics in more detail next week.

There are many strategic, creative ways to harness the power of social networks. If you think your business could benefit from an updated internet marketing strategy leveraging social media, contact me and I’d be happy to help.

*Dynamic Logic "Ad Reaction 2007," Grunwald Associates
Web 2.0 Chart by Social Computing Magazine