Brand Fusion: Creative, Search and Media

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and talking about the fusion of social media into other areas of interactive marketing (especially how it is being done at my agency, Rosetta).  In some recent discussions I came across this example from Converse, fusing creative, video and paid search marketing (PPC).  For anyone who doesn’t have much of an appreciation for paid search, it will blow you away.  For those in the industry and have an appreciation for using paid search to drive branding campaigns, this will still blow you away if you haven’t heard about it yet.  It’s this kind example that truly exemplifies digital marketing as an art form.  To me it’s an amazing blend of insight, creativity and execution.  It’s not truly social – yet – but I think there could be more life to the content simply adding sharing features in the videos and giving people chances to comment.  Either way it’s still brilliant.

What do you think?  Know of any other examples?  Watch and drop your thoughts in the comments. (Feed readers please click through to see the video, which was shared with me by Jason Tabeling).  You can find the official home page of what’s described in the video at at (again, smart).

Converse Domaination from Ross Martin on Vimeo.

Cognitive Bias in Social Media Strategy

A common challenge in the field of marketing is the “everyone’s got an opinion” phenomenon.  In other fields like finance or engineering, deeply skilled practitioners do their jobs every day with few “outsiders” questioning their tactics.  In marketing, every person has an opinion on whether a tactic, campaign or initiative will resonate, no matter how deeply skilled the marketers are who developed them.  Enter the challenge of cognitive bias.

Wikipedia defines cognitive bias as:

A cognitive bias is the human tendency to draw incorrect conclusions in certain circumstances based on cognitive factors rather than evidence. Such biases are thought to be a form of “cognitive shortcut”, often based upon rules of thumb, and include errors in statistical judgment, social attribution, and memory.

Marketers don’t have to guess.  There are increasingly more data sources and proven tactics to test hypotheses, which is the entire premise behind marketing segmentation (but that’s another story).  When a new approach is involved – especially one that can question traditional tactics and measurements – it’s easy for people to apply the same filters on interpreting or judging how successful strategies will be.  Social media, and all the technologies that enable two-way and multi-way dialogue with customers, creates that same conundrum for traditional marketers.

Companies need to look at the tools they have at their disposal and leverage them to understand the customer. Web analytics, social media monitoring, feedback, surveys, market research, segmentation, business intelligence, case studies, conventional statistics and studies…There are many inputs that companies can use to determine what makes sense to fuel social strategies that will resonate with their customers in context.  The resource that should be least often used (or minimally, avoided as the sole measurement of an idea): what does someone think personally.  As a marketer, are you really your own targest customer?  Understanding the needs, attitudes and behaviors of customers with respect to social media is necessary to build an educated and insightful hypothesis to try out.  You can even collaborate with customers to figure out what may work (imagine that).  No one needs to read the tea leaves.

Photo credit: mikesell via flickr

A Free eBook for Marketers: Learning in 2010

I virtually met Ellen Hoenig Carlson several months ago through Twitter. As I have continued to work on social media initiatives in Rosetta‘s Healthcare practice, Ellen’s blog has continually been a tremendous resource to gain insight on the subtle (and often not so subtle) intricacies of marketing in healthcare and pharma. Ellen reached out to me to be included in her ebook for Pharma marketers, entitled “The Gift of Learning for Pharma and Healthcare Marketers in 2010.” First, I’m very grateful to be able to contribute and be included.  But second, my background is more traditional retail and high tech – so it’s great to read the themes from some of the top healthcare social media strategists included.  Below are the other contibutors;  One of my goals in 2010 is to meet as many of them as possible in person, Ellen included.

  • Phil Baumann, Phil Baumann online blog, CareVocate Interactive Media Solutions
  • Wendy Blackburn, ePharma Rx blog, Intouch Solutions
  • Dave deBronkart, The New Life of e-Patient Dave blog, Society for Participatory Medicine
  • Angela Dunn, Odom Lewis blog, Executive Search Specialists in Healthcare Marketing/Medical Education
  • Susannah Fox, Health Research for Pew Internet & American Life Project
  • Fard Johnmar, Path of the Blue Eye Project, Envision Consultancy
  • John Mack, Pharma Marketing blog, Editor-in-chief of Pharma Marketing News
  • Jonathan Richman, Dose of Digital blog, Bridge Worldwide
  • Marsha Shenk, Thriving Enterprise blog, The Bestwork People
  • Andrew Spong, STweM blog and Consultancy, UK
  • Steve Woodruff, Impactiviti blog and Consultancy

Themes the authors wrote about include, from Ellen’s blog summary:

1)  e-Patients are at the center and critical to learning and design;

2)  Authenticity isn’t a ‘nice to do’, it’s a ‘must’ (and you won’t be the one who decides whether you’ve succeeded);

3)  Don’t get distracted by ‘bells and whistles’ – remember the basics and keep your brand core strong;

4)  New marketing challenges require new ROI thinking…the ROI of connection, authenticity and compassion;

5)  The marketing cycle of life is going through unprecedented change requiring all marketers and communications people to unlearn much – the movement from paid marketing to earned marketing requires a different mindset and skills; and

6)  Effective marketing and engagement will require new kinds of leadership skills.

A lot of these themes apply to other industries – so I think it’s a great gift for all marketers.  Download a copy of the ebook, share it, and drop by Ellen’s post to let her know what you think.  Thanks again Ellen for including me.

Download: Best Strategic Learning Investment in 2010

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The Social Media Landing Page Phenomenon

northernlightsAs social media channels become outposts for companies, their websites need to keep up.  The big challenge: the two concepts are diametrically opposed.  Build a compelling, optimized website to bring customers (and potential customers) to you, versus establish social media outposts to go where your customers are.  Enter the new art and technique of the Social Media Landing Page (SMLP for short).  The SMLP is a bridge between the two, both to add legitimacy to social channels like a Twitter account but also risking pulling customers away from your website.  Companies who establish these pages are trying to give the subtle hint of “Nah, doesn’t bother me if you leave our domain” with “We want to hear from you.”  Here are three examples of big companies who have integrated their social media presence into their websites.  How do you think they do?


Tagline: “Continue the Conversation”

AT&T is in the midst of more press than you can quantify lately for many reasons. Many might not understand the breadth of which AT&T is reaching out to connect with customers via social channels.  Enter the AT&T SMLP.  AT&T is using Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, Blogs and even Posterous to build a footprint.  Intregrated into the “About AT&T” page on their domain, it’s easy to find as “Social Media” in the 2nd level navigation.

AT&T Social Media Landing Page

Best Buy

Tagline: “Everyone’s talking”

Best Buy took a slightly different approach.  Their recently launched (still says “new!”) SMLP is called “Community” and can be found at the bottom of their home page.  They showcase how they are leveraging forums, ratings & reviews, Twitter (also via their Twelpforce), blogs and other social media channels throughout.  I like that BestBuy is showcasing their IdeaX community where customers can collaborate on ideas for the company.



Tagline: “What people are saying about Windows 7”

For the recent Windows 7 launch, Microsoft built in conversations directly into the Windows home page on their domain.  Their clicking through to “See what everyone’s saying” brings you to an innovative SMLP that not only shows links to follow the brand’s presence elsewhere but actually aggregates the conversations on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and other social networks.  A customer has to leave the site to participate, just like the others, but right on the page loading in relative real time are actual comments.  This is a great technique but requires a lot of confidence in the product, to say the least.  I’m curious if Microsoft has any automated filtering on the feeds it brings in.  They aren’t filtering for negative comments – one in the screenshot I took was a comment on how “Windows 7 killed my laptop.”

Windows 7 Social Media Landing Page

Of the three here, I like Microsoft’s approach the best – it’s more innovative and interactive to bring conversations and topics directly into the site.  It’s also very easy to find and has a simple URL.  What other SMLPs have you come across?  Are these signs that social media is here to stay?  So many other questions open up for me, including how companies will optimize the pages – to drive followers? To engage in more conversations?  At least they are embracing social media channels head on in their web strategy.

Photo credit: studiolit via Flickr

Gargi also expressed, reluctantly, a lack of

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