A Couple of Facts

A study from JupiterResearch reveals that “77 percent of online shoppers use consumer generated product reviews/ratings and those who find them useful are more loyal to stores with reviews/ratings featured”.

A 2007 global survey from The Nielsen Company reveals that:
- 78% of online shoppers ranked Recommendations from consumers as by far the most trusted form of advertising.
- 66% of North Americans considered Blogs as reliable sources of information.

Since most marketing decisions should revolve around driving sales, here is a chart from BtoBOnline that should incite conversation about what we are spending our money on and what is actually working. Executive Seminars seem to be the most valuable... a great way to get out to teach AND learn (click on image to enlarge):

Cloudy Today. Cloudier Tomorrow

Nick Carr inspiring the Cloud Computing Forum today with www.xconomy.com. The Cloud? IT's Next.

History repeats itself. History repeats itself. Nick's examples (also from his latest book, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google) give us reference for the evolution of utility computing ... Software as a Service, Cloud Computing ... where pay-as-you-go tech services are now hosted "out there"and not on your own expensive, maintenance-needy, heavy, servers in a clean, cooled (more expensive) data center/closet.

So, everyone involved with all that needs to reconsider their business models!

This Blog is a good example. I (not traditional Broadcasters) have amazing control over what I publish, share, and view. Easily from any browser I access Blogger software. Nothing on my hardware or on my server. Blogger efficiently maintains the latest version of their platform for all bloggers on their cloud.

Amazon Web Services is becoming the cloud of choice for boot-strapping Web startups. For more about the 5 Clouds concept, see my post from last December.

It's all about shifting with the shifts of resources and control. The Advertising Industry is in an upheaval with this... reacting to the consumer-controlled "Power shift of Media" and, thus, different models of Agency compensation... clients are less likely to pay for mass (wasteful) broadcasting of brand messages. Please go here to see my post last year about this and Garfield's Chaos Scenario 2.0.

Today Carr described market opportunities with an historical look at shifts of control. In the 1850s Henry Burden could sell more pick axes and shovels to the gold miners (!) because he created more power than his competitors with his own waterwheel-powered energy supply. A key point is that 50 years later this solo model was dead but Burden's business was still strong because he shifted his energy source to the more efficient supplier - Mr. Westingouse's widely distributed steam powered electricity.

Leading to electricity and electric outlets in every house - plug and play potential! Consider all the innovation of products developed after electricity was available everywhere.

The business world is flat because of clouds. Consumers (and entrepreneurs) have the first and last say on their media and their brands - cheaper and easier.

How are you taking advantage of this latest shift?

Duct Tape on Concrete

These cheap and powerful applications (Blogs, Wikis, Twitter) are helping us learn about our new media world. This is great. But they are not yet really effecting the core foundation (concrete) of our businesses in many important ways - such as: the data is not connected with our master databases, Org Chart responsibilities are not changing to prioritize engaging the customer, online requests are not tied into supply chains, etc... Companies have used duct tape to slap the Internet onto existing marketing processes. Easy-on but not deep enough to fully leverage the valuable opportunities of the Net.

Again, this is great because we are learning so much. But duct tape, in all it's majesty, does not work for long on concrete.

I am having great discussions about how to evolve and integrate current online successes into the foundation of your company. This is inevitable. The efficiencies and cost savings are huge, the customer knowledge and sales opportunity are huge... when do you want to go huge?

Choose your solution resources (vendors/partners) wisely. They will be business-minded first, but craftsmen at what you need and trusted advisors for what you want … they should say “why?” and “no” a lot.

A few months ago I posted a little on the duct tape removal for the Media/Entertainment Industry from OnMedia NYC.

McD's User Generated Fun

Here's a :30 spot that was created for much less than the (nicely chosen) song rights. Please admire how simple can be cool.

For some fun, just take just 3 minutes to go to www.linerider.com to instantly turn a few of your lines into a crazy sledding expedition.

You can save them, go mobile, and soon play it on your Wii. This below one is artfully mesmerizing:

Engineering A Better Life - Dick and Jane 2.0

Yvonne Spicer of the National Center of Technological Literacy and I are looking for ways to combine our efforts to facilitate a more educated and capable society of Students, Teachers, and Business. We are discussing ways to leverage Social Media to accomplish their agenda.

NCTL's goal is to integrate engineering as a new discipline in schools nationwide and to inspire the next generation of engineers and innovators.

We are looking at ways to redefine "engineering"... more like correctly define it as the concept of thinking, efficiency, planning, design, logic, life!

Let's discuss how you can participate - easily (Without Breaking Stride ... WOBS) - while making an important impact.

Start by reading on their site about "Our Nation in Crisis." Then look at their powerful Supporters and consider where you intersect.
This is an important professional and personal agenda because it effects the success of our society and business. My first Blog post in 2000 has one of my favorite quotes that is relevant for this agenda - it's the Emerson one that defines success.

Key elements to leveraging the Web to engage this community:
  • 12 Social Networking Resources (like Mashable)
  • Harness the new rules/opportunities of Branding
  • Tapping celebrities
  • Advertising is dead - valuable content lives
  • Control your Personal Brand
    • Transparency is the rule
Here is good reference material
- Business Week covers their coverage of Blogging and Social media (very 2.0)
- Their articles on the Future of Social Media

How can we work the vast education system?
- Concentrate on the NEXT ideas that they have not yet put into their own system, agenda, method, silo, dead-end... Pick your battles. Don't waste (too much) energy challenging or trying to change any existing agendas

With so many new ways to learn, We need new ways to teach
- We could call it "Dick and Jane 2.0"
- Yvonne has a great question she asks teachers. "Are we preparing our (students) for their future or our past?”


Internet Week NY - Random Raves

A week long block party across every block in Manhattan. Wow, this is good. See more coverage of this extravaganza at Mashable

At IAC , the calm before the amazing storm known as NY Tech Meetup, Scott Hieferman, CEO of the industry-galvanizing Meetup, ponders their awesome new Meetup features!

Below is a shot from the belly of the beast...

At NYU, I Want Media set up a live program called The Future of Media.

Analog (mostly print) and Digital fur was flying between the traditional media panel and the new media - namely Eric Schonfeld from TechCrunch - who successfully positioned the disruptors as thoughtful visionaries and practical business men.

As the old school system tries to manage the new speed of decisions and delivery, the Webfolk are writing in a fun, relevant style while breaking stories, not just annotating (er, stealing) from the BigBoys.

The contenders:

And for those counting.... HERE ARE THE WEBBY AWARD WINNERS FOR 2008

Advertising 2.0 ... Big and Small

There were two panels today that transcended the usual buzzword bingo at Advertising 2.0, a 2-day conference here in NY by Digital Hollywood and Advertising Age where the top dozen New Media terms were repeatedly defined, combined, and exhausted by noon the first day. The reality check is that there is still need for more sharing of successful deployments that should increase mandates to re-design marketing processes around digital.

The two most valuable panels came in two sizes:
- Big - Keynote Roundtable State of the Industry
- Small - Widgets as a Platform

The “State” panel was very good. (even if the Moderator was distractingly attention-hungry) They summed up the issues with relevant examples from real deployments of interactive advertising campaigns. Laura Lang set the stage with a refreshing position on customer-focused marketing and the real change that is taking place within companies to interact with Client 2.0.

Scott Sorokin added key elements to the Carat philosophy about this change... no more buying time to interrupt. Marketers must make life better for their customers, actually create relevant time (and value) then be invited in and interact within it. Nike Plus is a great example that reflects his point - Marketing is not a spectator sport anymore ... it is a contact sport.

Here's the line-up (in the picture left to right):
Laura Lang, Chief Executive Officer, Digitas
Keith Fox, President, BusinessWeek
Scott Sorokin, President, Carat
Dave Morris, Chief Client Officer, CNET Networks
Chet Fenster, Director of Content Creation Mediaedge:cia
Michael Kassan, Entertainment and Media Consultant, Moderator

The Widgets panel was interesting for a few reasons. The title of this Strategic Workshop was “Widgets as a Platform: Content, Commerce, Communications” – that’s a lot to expect from these cute little things (that you see in the Test Lab over there on the right).

Here were the leaders of the real future of the Web at a very early stage trying to sort through all the issues of a new medium - business model, compete or partner, standards in specs and reporting, etc. Here is a new distribution concept where the audience is simultaneously creating, distributing, and viewing.

I believe Widgets have an uphill battle worth fighting. This very small (very – 2 % of online budgets)needs to convince marketers of the obvious... that driving traffic to their site isn't the only way to gauge success of a campaign. That campaigns are short sighted when you can have a longer relationship with your customers than 13 weeks. That counting the number of email addresses on your list is folly. That it is OK to put their brand into the existing conversations - to fish where the fish are - as Will Price of WidgetBox calls it, "Off Domain Consumption"

Here's the line-up:
Walter Schild, Founder and CEO, Genex
Will Price, CEO, Widgetbox
Cynthia Crossland, Senior Director of Advertising, RockYou
Sonya Chawla, Senior Director, Advertising, Slide
Michael Berkley, co-founder & CEO, SplashCast
Ben Pashman, Vice President, Business Development, Gigya
Jennifer Cooper, co-founder and CEO, MixerCast
Sun Jen Yung, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Collins Stewart - Moderator

As an example, Here is my WidgetBox – a mini, portable version of this Blog. It allows you to put an updated view of what I am posting on any other site. Dozens have. You may want to. Or not.

Knowledge is power. If I want to know what my readers are interested in, here is a look at the number of daily clicks within all my distributed Widgets for the last 30 days:

EconAds - Supply and Demanding

I was impressed at the depth of conversation at this half-day (perfect timing) seminar - EconAds: The Economics of Ad Deals produced by ContentNext, best known for the 6 year strong PaidContent.org. It is sobering to assess the beautiful mess we call Internet Advertising through the cold, heartless, ROI-eyes of investors. I don't mean that the Financial Guys are no fun... it's just that their passion is not the cool stuff that we love to dance around. Strictly bottom line.

This event was more than the evangelists preaching to the choir. Rafat Ali and David Kaplan not only know their stuff and how to ask the hard questions, but they also assume the audience is ready and willing. MEC's Adam Schlachter pulled in some real world (digital world) examples. Greg Smith from Ogilvy summed up the need for extra resources and hard work when he said, "unless you know the future, you have to make a lot of bets."

Here is a list of speakers who cut right to the chase:

(more picks at flickr)


Women Rule!

Bill Sobel and his NY: MIEG (New York Information Exchange Group) knows how to put on great events for 3 reasons:

1) Bill is connected. The diversity of participants across all media make for a more well-rounded and relevant conversation.
2) Bill is a Content Guy. You can't beat today's program called "Shifting the Paradigm: Young Women with Cool Jobs Making a Difference in Digital Media and beyond."
3) Bill is well defined. Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting used these 5 words about Bill (in honor of next week's Webby Awards' speech etiquette), "You Are An Adorable Geek" and "Thanks For What You Do."

The presentation was helpful and relevant with deep dives into the "Great Convergence" of Story, Experience, and Branding across Media/Content/People.

Here is a related Business Week coverage of Men versus Women online - Women (will) Rule the Social Media Gender Gap ... Women are more social than men. Grunt.

The Line-Up:

Natali Del Conte - senior editor for CNET TV

Allison Mooney - Senior Director/Mobile Insights for Next Great Thing (NGT), a division of Fleishman-Hillard (pictured above)

Kelly Hefner - Executive Producer at WEtv

Mindy Spire - Director Sales Development at World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE)

Romina Rosado - Global Head of Marketing at The NewsMarket

Moderator: Limor Schafman - President of KeystoneTech Group and publisher of "DigIn!"

Natalie, CNet (CBS), gives this event and Internet Week NY a few mentions on Loaded...