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Flex Your Muscle; Don’t Lose Your Way with Real Time Marketing

25 Feb

Real Time Marketing does not represent the sum of the newsroom. RTM is only one part of what a newsroom mentality has to offer.  Long form journalism is the bedrock for news outlets.  Likewise thoughtful relevant content which engages audiences in authentic way should be the bedrock of the newsroom.  There will always be breaking news, but it doesn’t mean that your brand always has a right to be there.  Stop milking it.

Real Time Marketing, as we’ve seen with the Super Bowl and now the Oscars, is about quickly responding to something happening in a live of event on behalf of a brand.  By the very nature the reaction time is a critical variable.  The quicker the better, if it hits the mark.  If it doesn’t, you can try again – maybe.  Among the marketing community, last night was about seeing how many brands were prepared to activate around the Oscars like the 9 brands who did so during the Super Bowl blackout.  There was even a special # set up to follow and comment on the action #OscarRTM.  As a practitioner in the ‘newsroom’ space, I was struck by the absurdity at some of the pundits who were just waiting to pounce on brands (and their agencies) for the content they were putting out.  I agree with @armano in his blog “How the Marketing Community lost its way last night.”  I do believe the Oscars was beneficial for marketers, it allowed brands to develop new muscles.  It will be needed as Relevance Marketing takes a foothold in our marekting arsenal.  Real time responses are only one point on the content spectrum.

Relevance Marketing is about finding the intersection between consumer interests and brand purpose to create relevance and value.  It’s about using the cues from popular culture to create engaging content.  Sometimes this happens in a matter of minutes like the Tide and Audi posts during the #blackout. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to cultivate the right strategy and content like the 100 days of Oreo.  The point is to lead with relevance, the deadline will be determined on a case by case basis.  It’s about the idea.  You still need to have a great idea. The strongest relevant ideas are unexpected.  Unexpected because they usually show timeliness (unusual in this time of campaign driven marketing across channels), empathy for the audience (a true connection) and they offer real value (smile inducing, time saving, monetary).

disclosure: I am the co-director of @Digitas’s BrandLIVE, a creatively led relevance marketing platform.

Milking Life Lessons from SXSW 2012

13 Mar

This was my first year at SXSW Interactive.  I was unprepared.  I am a planner to my core.  SXSW is different, you simply can’t prepare in the normal sense of planning what sessions you will attend, making dinner reservations, getting the right invitations to the after hour parties, scheduling business meetings with potential partners, etc.

The way to prepare for SXSW is to take classes in mediation and to embrace the theory of going with the flow. Truly – let go!

This post is for my future self and what I will do differently for next year; and it is for my present self – lessons to apply to my everyday life.

#1 Future:
Don’t check the twitter stream when you are in a session that you are enjoying; no matter how good Seth McFarlane is, you will find yourself clenching your fist when you read that Jimmy Fallon is tearing it up at the Nike tent across the street.

Today:
Stay present in the moment you are in.  Don’t check your wall or stream or Instagram, you will find things that may be more interesting that you could be doing – but now you’re not only NOT doing that but you are NOT enjoying what you are actually doing. This concept was actually a topic for a session where the question was asked Is Social killing Social? Good question for the next dinner party – try it especially in mixed generations.

#2 Future:
It’s ok to indulge in the persistent use of devices with screens.  It’s ok to not look up at all during a session even though there is a live person on stage.  It’s ok to check in.  It’s ok to tweet.  All the time. Even if you opt out of being able to tell people back home what Austin topography is like.

Today:
Save that behavior for Austin.

#3 Future:
Don’t go to panels.
But be willing to change your steadfast rule, as you may stumble across an energizing panel on How to Hire the Right People like my colleague did.  He is a technologist (aka geek) and was more energized from that one session than most anything else he saw at SXSW.

Today:
Be open. You may be surprised.

#4 Future:
Stay in town. Book as soon as the dates are announced (even if you pay a cancellation fee if you choose not to go.)

Today:
Don’t put off what you can do today until tomorrow.  Make plans, you can always adjust.  Plans, like education, give you options.

#5 Future:
Don’t amble, lead the group. You’ll know when you’ve gone too far.  It’s always better to have colleagues/friends to attend sessions with, but at the end of the day you have to do what interests you and you can’t wait to see what everyone else is doing and if they will get there.  Most times I did change my mind minutes before a session because someone would suggest something that sounded better than what I originally picked. That’s how I saw Seth McFarland with Mark Wahlberg talking about Ted Movie and Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop.

Today:
See #3 AND once a decision is made go for it with gusto.

#6 Future:
Pack an umbrella and two raincoats (light and heavy), then do a rain dance.
If it hadn’t rained Thursday, Friday, Saturday and the morning of Sunday, I would have had a very hard time staying indoors absorbing all the great discussions, presentations and conversation.  On Sunday I went outside the Convention Center for a quick bite to eat at a food truck; it was very hard to go back inside.  The weather had turned from a rainy/windy 45 degrees to a sunny 75 in a matter of hours.
 
Today:
There is always a bright side, it just may take you longer to find it.

#7 Future:
Call Wilson.  Our cab driver.

Today:
Surround yourself with people who will answer the call.

The last thing is just a note of something very valuable for parents to remember and keep learning – let children fail.  It was dimensionalized for me during two sessions about the principles of Gamification.  This builds resiliency and drive to overcome obstacles.  Don’t jump in to stop the error, don’t say “trust me because I have the experience” – unless it is dangerous.  Let them learn and apply.

Google+

8 Jul

The beauty of Google+ is also causing me great frustration – it is truly collaborative and you can see changes being made on an hourly basis because of user comments and feedback. But while I like being an early adopter and knowing more than the average person, I feel dumb with Google+. It takes time to get to know how to use this, it’s cumbersome at points, things disappear and then reappear… I need a personal guide to lead me through the ins and outs – but everyday because everyday things change. I know this is in beta. I accept that fact, I just think it should be easier to use right away. As a marketer I know how hard it was to get people to embrace Facebook, never mind Twitter where a lot of people still haven’t fully ventured. If Google+ doesn’t get a whole lot more intuitive, it will be for a bunch of marketing/tech geeks who like to know more about this space because we can. The unfortunate thing is that their friends won’t be with them here because they’ll still all be on Facebook. So a new circle could be called “Non-Facebook Friends who aren’t really friends, but rather virtual acquaintances”

Top three things that annoy me:
1.) The invitation process/system, it’s social – if I can’t have my friends with me what’s the point?
2.) Mobile lag time. Social is so mobile and in the moment. I felt like I went back a year thinking about the next time to go to the desktop.
3.) Trying to explain Google+ to people

I will stick with this because it’s Google. I will try to learn it because it’s my job. I will have fun because some of the stuff is cool like Hangouts where you can have a video chat with IM with YouTube videos all at the same time. I will continue to be frustrated with the assumption that people will just figure this out. I will be annoyed that things aren’t readily available like a mobile app for the iPhone (but one came out today – kind of…), and that you can’t use Hangouts on the iPad2 and that if you do follow ‘celebrities’ in your stream the comments cascade and are quite plentiful and simply annoying.

I’ll tell you one thing – it is causing a lot of conversation for sure. Real live debates and virtual ones. It’s wonderful to be part of such an opinionated and boisterous crowd. I’m not into defending any social platform/network. Like any product or service, if the story is better than the store it will be exposed. People find a purpose for whichever service they prefer, but most of use many, so adding one more doesn’t feel like the end of the world – but wouldn’t it be great if there was one killer app that did it all – including mobile payment and changed your address with all of your creditors at one time so you didn’t have to do change of address. Can’t everyone be on a Facebook Connect like system?

Have fun exploring this (if you are lucky enough to get in before the official public launch).

 

Here is a link to an article asking why Google launched before they were ready….
http://allthingsd.com/20110628/google-execs-explain-why-they-launched-google-now-before-its-ready/