Social Business: My bet’s with Wall Street, too!

2 03 2012

Susan Scrupski put it so precisely in her blog post: Social business is going mainstream and Jive is a great example for the growing investor interest in the category.

Being a numbers’ girl myself, I certainly won’t argue with a company that in less than three months doubled its stock price since its market debut to reach a whopping $1.24b valuation. Or take Yammer, a company with less than $4m in revenues that yesterday announced their $85m round of funding on a $500m valuation.

Big numbers, big dollars, and big things ahead.

Social CMO – my first experience, and a good one it was

19 01 2012

Today I participated in a panel discussion called “The Social CMO in B2B: Lessons from Marketing Leaders on Social Media Marketing Success”.  It was fun, actually, for a couple of reasons:

1) I kinda like, like it or not

So, one of my general principles is that it is hard for niche social networks to be effective and worth your time, because in most cases, they cannot actually attract and retain the valuable, focused community you seek.  Hence, company is not so good, content is not so good, quality of the connections…

Very, and refreshingly different with Focus: a vibrant community of social media literate and highly interested professionals that are engaged, supportive, and generally add value to what is being discussed.  Dare I say it, I am impressed.

2) Great questions, unscripted answers, real interactions = truly social

So, the format is challenging in that you watch the event news stream, the questions, the voting on questions, the value of what’s being discussed, just while you are trying to focus on the conversation. Oh yeah, and you can message your comments, tweet your comments, comment on comments, all while the discussion is in full speed.  It’s stressful. Or maybe I’m getting old.  But: it was one of the most truthful, less practiced, public discussions I’ve ever had.  And it worked perfectly!

So, check out, and see how you like it.  I’d be interested in your take and will watch out for you.  Because, for sure, I will be back.

Digital Hollywood New York: Social sells!

10 03 2010

This post was first written for and published on Loomia’s blog.

This week I attended the Digital Hollywood East conference in New York. I was relieved to find the general motion to be a lot less fearful, and somewhat more optimistic compared to last year, as it seems like the industry has seen the bottom of the economic downturn. It also allowed more focus on the changes and challenges the recovery will not address: How will the media remain relevant and profitable, when online, mobile, social trends are turning existing business models up-side-down?

Sarah Chubb, President of Conde Nast Digital, pointed out the value of the brand across all channels, the value of the “package” of content and ads that make a magazine, and the value of the relationship triangle between the publisher, the advertiser, and the end-user. On a panel with fellow executives from Yahoo!, ABC, and MSNBC, among others, she reiterated their desire and strategy to simply listen to the user and give them what they want – now, that’s truly social.

When it came to discussing the balance between art and science in today’s media business, Lem Lloyd of Yahoo! would not discount the value of human editors as quality guarants, as reinforced by Steven Schwarz of Wenner Media, but sided with Kevin Krim, Global Head of Bloomberg Digital, in that “scale” had to be added to the equation – by means of analytics and automated tools to assess in real time what content users want.

At Loomia, we share the vision of creating personalized experiences that scale, without ever compromising the value of the brand, and without ever thinking one size fits all. Visit our web site to see examples of business cases our solution has resolved.

Do we matter? – Recipe for a meaningful ad industry in a social world

21 08 2009

Young_People_Large_355477The ad industry is in trouble.  Budgets are down, budgets are shifting, CTRs tank, users revolt, what worked before doesn’t work anymore, so we’re moving online, mobile, social, yet we don’t know why and how, and the cyclical symptoms are only accelerating the systemic issues we’re dealing with.  How can advertising stay a meaningful and relevant industry in this social world we’re living in?

David Koretz asked the very question in his recent post to the topic named so appropriately “Do we matter?”.  His key points are to make it all about the user:

  • Let the user own their data.
  • Remember the user experience.
  • Continue to optimize.

Yes, it’s all about the user.  In fact, I’d bring it one step further which is realizing that we live in a social world now!

I strongly believe that most users (particularly those consuming free content) would actually appreciate ads, if they were just relevant to them. But because they are not, they become clutter. And clutter is annoying. The answer is not to put more ads up, which is just multiplying the clutter, it is about the right ad for me, the user, when i want it.

Imagine publishers actually knew the type of products I was interested in and then could sell against that interest, instead of making me “a demographic” they decide should fit a certain set of advertised products. Why don’t they just ask?

Imagine they let me vote on ads (cudos to Facebook) and they would actually change the ads based on my feedback (sorry, not quite there, Facebook).

Imagine the publication put me so much in control of my ad experience that eventually it would turn into a point of search when i look for certain products?

Advertising’s inherit problem is that marketers don’t know where to draw the line between brand building (= reach) and targeting (= action), hence the whole obsession with CTRs. In our social world my bet is that we need to apply relevance to both, because the user is taking control, and that’s a good thing. We need to look at users as individuals and not in aggregate, and cater to each individual’s needs accordingly.

It means lots of changes in the industry, from data collection and management, to how we sell ads (and networks could have a whole new meaning), to technology that lets the user manage their data, and optimization that is user-based.

Lots of work, for sure, but making a meaningful industry going forward.

If they don’t innovate – we must! Or: Don’t Be (The) Evil (Giant)

7 08 2009

innovationsIn this week’s SearchInsider post named “Don’t Be (The) Evil (Giant)”, Kaila Colbin discusses Google’s remarkable success, and concluded the giant was not evil but rather the best at serving their markets’ needs.  As much as I enjoyed Kaila’s post, I really did not agree with her opinion, which started a discussion around how Google buys or kills small, but promising new players in the market as a way of “outsourced” innovation.  This is from my comment on Kaila’s post:

“I actually used to work for Eurekster, a true innovator in social search and the first to launch universal search results and a custom search engine anybody could put on their site or blog.

It took Google (and other search providers, to be fair, though they are less impactful) about 6 months to offer similar functionality, and i can’t help but think that their capabilities to innovate reside with the tiny start-ups that have great ideas and bring them to market, but would rarely ever be able to compete with the big players when it comes to market share. Read Charles Knight’s for plenty of great search companies out there. (I applaud Twitter for having been able to beat the odds thus far.)”

Kaila’s response entertained this remarkable question:

“…more than one of you suggest that Google doesn’t actually serve the needs of the market better than others — that it’s momentum, not innovation, that is largely responsible for Google’s current success.

So here is my question to you: what evidence do we have that innovation is a market need? That, as you suggest, it’s a greater need than comfort or consistency?

From where I sit, we don’t have any. Precisely the opposite, in fact. The market continues to reward companies that serve its needs, including its need to not have to learn new technologies or re-solve problems it already believes solved.”

I’d say innovation is absolutely a market need, and I’d argue that no company will succeed long-term if it stopped to innovate, as innovation is all about anticipating and addressing the needs of tomorrow’s market. That’s why competition is so important. Only in a monopoly can a market player afford to not innovate and to disregard the changing needs of the market.

For more opinions, please see the Continuous Innovation LinkedIn Group discussion I started on this topic.

Clicks, page views and other lies

27 07 2009


Last week’s Research Brief from the Center of Media Research, which I should disclose I’m a big fan of, discussed various findings related to the effectiveness of advertisements in offline media, specifically magazines, to drive traffic to the advertiser’s site. It inspired me to leave the following comment:

I’m mildly surprised that magazines so clearly outperform TV when it comes to driving traffic to the web, as well as mildly concerned that our obsession with accountability might force us number-crunching marketers even deeper into campaigns driven by questionable metrics with limited relevance for campaign success.

The good:

It’s good to hear offline media are driving online traffic, just like online campaigns are driving in-store sales, simply because it proves the concept of true interactivity and validates the right for online and offline media to co-exist.

The bad:

The supposedly infinite measurability of online media really resulted in a campaign-unhealthy focus on CTR as the key engagement metric, which is fine if your goal is to generate clicks and not sales. The much discussed disgrace of the online display ad, though proven to strengthen brands and drive search, clearly is one of the more famous victims of this trend.

The (possibly) ugly:

What motivation do users have when they go from magazine ads to the advertiser’s web site? What other ways could they take to accomplish the same? Which page will they visit and how qualified will their visit be relative to the campaign goal?

The (possibly) beautiful:

If marketers are able to appropriately weigh web visits as one of many effects of magazine ads, and are clear about the correlation with the campaign goal, then this is a good metric for campaign success.

It won’t address the fact, though, that consumer behavior is fundamentally changing, their decisions are influenced differently, and therefore, the contribution of a web visit as part of the funnel is the nut the marketer really needs to crack.

When measuring success of any campaign, the applied metrics need to be specified in terms of the extent to which they contribute to the campaign goal. In other words: What is the value of a click and what is the value of the page view relative to new sales or conversions?

To My Customer…

1 07 2009

I came across this beautiful quote which, unfortunately, did not name the author.  Worth to remember:

“To my customer:  I may not have the answer, but I will find it.

I may not have time, but I will make it.

I may not be the biggest, but the most committed to your success.”