Canadian Marketing Association Summit 2012 in Review (Day #2)

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Canadian Marketing Association Summit. The annual two day event was packed full of insights and information from true visionaries, with content focussed on this year’s theme on connections – how connections with consumers, customers and with each other are made, maintained, and measured.

This post provides a review of the speaker sessions for day #2. Click here to read a review of the sessions for day #1.

Ethan Zuckerman
“Lessons from Revolutionaries – What Activists Can Teach Us About Social Media”

 

Ethan Zuckerman is an activist and scholar whose work focuses on the global blogosphere, free expression and social translation in the developing world. He is a fellow of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law, founder of Global Voices and the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. Ethan provided an engaging talk about the role of social media in recent world events, from which business parallels and learnings can be derived.

Some key points from Ethan’s talk:

  • Darfur and the Congo are both mired in ongoing travesties, however the Congo isn’t gaining nearly as much international aid ($300 per capita vs. $11 per capita).
    • Media attention based on celebrity support for international charity plays a role – such as Angelina Jolie in the case of Darfur.
    • However, it’s not clear whether attention generated from someone who has a wider following, such as Kim Kardashian, would necessarily result in a similar difference in aid (side note: see this post Ethan wrote for an overview of a new measurement unit for attention, the “Kardashian”).
  • The attention fallacy: “If all you do is gain more attention, change is going to happen”.
  • Attention is not the same as engagement – social change is a long, difficult process.
  • Tunisia, the first country to force its rulers from power in the Arab Spring, has gone through incredible change.
    • Initially, people did not hear about protests due to media suppression.
    • Distraught Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, lit himself on fire – incident captured on video, and sent to Al Jazeera.
    • Sadly Bouazizi died, but he also became the hero of the movement in Tunisia.
  • Revolutions need multiple channels, including new media and old media.
  • Social media enables amplification but not synchronization.
  • Effective campaigns enable people to watch, share and learn as the campaign spreads.
  • Major error in Kony 2012 campaign – the campaign was spreadable, but could not provide answers for hard questions.
  • People want to be heard – need curators and translators.
  • People want to belong – need authenticity.
  • People need stories – stories should be moving, compelling and real.
  • Revolutions come from people doing what’s right for them in their own best interest – need to help them do that.

Twitter: @EthanZ


Jordan Banks and Marie-Josée Lamothe
“How Canadian Brands are taking advantage of the Digital Transformation through the Power of Friends Influencing Friends”

Jordan Banks is the Managing Director of Facebook Canada, and is responsible for leading and managing all commercial operations at the Facebook Canada office. Marie-Josée Lamothe is Chief Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer at L’Oréal Canada. In their session, they shared thoughts – each from their unique perspective as social platform and brand – on how companies can leverage social media and social influence.

Some key points from Jordan:

  • Facebook is just “1% complete” in its evolution.
  • Facebook doesn’t have all the answers, it changes a lot and often.
  • They do things differently – they’re growing fast, but are still small.
  • Several keys to brand building on Facebook:
    • Make social an organizational priority.
    • Realize that social is 24/7 – need to always be “on”.
    • Test, measure and learn.
    • Develop a strategic media mix – consider using traditional to drive online activity.
    • Create great content – “content is king”.
    • Be social and lightweight.
    • Think about why fans should care and share.

Some key points from Marie-Josée:

  • Avoid becoming “Groupon” on Facebook – don’t primarily focus on discounts/promotions to attract fans.
  • Shift focus from marketing promotion to ongoing engagement.
  • Challenge is to provide great content – while always remaining “on” to interact.
  • Social media provides the means to make consumers into true advocates.
  • The traditional marketing model is dead.
  • Need to become less product-centric, more community-centric
  • Cited example “Canada’s Best Beauty Talent“.
    • TV on demand.
    • Activated by Facebook pages.
  • Organizational structure at L’Oreal – customer care and consumer research report into the same person.
  • If companies continue to focus on the old model, the 4 P’s, they will use the consumer.
  • Need to innovate at the same pace as the consumer – and leverage analytics to ensure you’re reading the consumer correctly.
  • L’Oreal invests heavily in employee education.
    • Digital media course for employees.
    • Code of ethics for social media, educating what’s at risk and what’s at stake.

Twitter: @Jordan_Banks, @MJLamothe


Asif Khan
“Realizing a Multi-Channel Location-Based World”

Asif Khan, a veteran tech start-up, business-development and marketing entrepreneur, is the Founder and President of the Location Based Marketing Association. His talk provided some interesting data on the growth and opportunity for location-based marketing. Asif also shared some case studies.

Some key points from Asif:

  • Location-based marketing is about the integration of media to influence people in specific places.
  • By 2014, smartphone sales will top one billion.
  • Why use location based services:
    • Navigation – 46%.
    • Find restaurants – 26%.
    • Find friends nearby – 22%
    • Search for deal or offer – 13%.
  • Everything has a location – whether at home, on screen or using phone.
  • Offering deals via mobile is important, but must be relevant and of value to recipient
  • Mobile apps and checkins not necessarily best method of delivering offers.
  • Simple but fun wins – gaming (SVNGR, for example), trivia and augment reality can engage.
  • Leverage location-based marketing, brands have opportunity to:
    • Connect.
      • Interact with and engage an audience.
      • Provide rewarding experiences.
    • Collect.
      • Acquire data (including location-based) through permission-based relationships.
    • Convert.
      • Drive to web, store, or location for an experience.
  • Content can be generated, tagged and made addressable to people based on where they are.
  • Innovative example of using Foursquare to drive sampling – the GranataPet SnackCheck (see the YouTube video – very cool!).
  • A place is wherever you are – every person, every place, everything is geo-addressable.
  • Companies in Canada are behind on location-based marketing.
  • Shoppers of the future require platforms that allow them to research, review and shop anywhere and at anytime.
  • Retailers that leverage location-based marketing and embrace technological advances will be better suited to increase profitability and grow their customer base.

Twitter: @AsifRKhan

Buckle Up

As I write this, I am fresh off of a much-needed vacation in the Rockies. It was great to spend a couple of days with my family, and at the same time, have some “digital down-time”. I did not check-in to a single campground using Foursquare, so sadly I am not on the road to becoming the major of a campground anytime soon! Nor did I access Twitter or Facebook multiple times a day. In fact, I even went a couple of days without checking e-mail. *Gasp!*

In reducing my digital intake, my vacation allowed for some time to reflect on the digital and social media madness that seems to have encapsulated my life – both the positive and the negative aspects.

There’s no doubt that my life has changed as a result of social media. Thanks in particular to Twitter, I have formed a variety of new friendships, with great people whom I otherwise likely would never have connected with. From a learning standpoint, my RSS feed is jam packed with amazing articles that are abundantly rich in information about the changing business landscape. It seems that innovation, particularly in terms of new products and services, and changing business practices, is now happening at breakneck speeds. Mass collaboration, conversations and connectivity are changing everything. I have an open mind, and am excited about the future. I sense that, as a result, my career will evolve in a manner I never thought possible a few years ago.

At the same time, I wonder what the true costs of our increased connectivity are? More and more often, we seem to hear about people needing to go through a “digital detox”. A few years ago, people debated whether they should bring Blackberries with them on vacation, devices that made them accessible to employers and clients 24/7.  Now, look at the plethora of ways in which people are connected to the Internet – there are more channels that need to be disconnected. With cars (see the MyFord Touch) and appliances becoming Internet enabled, will it even be possible to escape digital life in the future, short of going on a back-country adventure into the middle of nowhere?

I wonder if a new profession is going to evolve? Digital Life Manager? Digital Therapist?

I still think I need to work on balancing my online connectivity with time I need to spend off-line. This last week reminded me of that.

However, using a human lifespan analogy and starting from when the Internet truly became accessible to the public, the Internet is really only just emerging from it’s teenage years. What kind of ingenuity and collaboration are we going to see over the next decade? What businesses will arise?

Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride. But don’t forget, it’s OK to step out and take a breather along the way. Sanity is a good thing.

Stand for Something

One way a brand can stand out and build a stronger bond with customers is to become aligned with a relevant cause that truly benefits the greater good.

Consumers, and even customers in business to business environments, certainly expect the companies they purchase from to be good corporate citizens. Fair and ethical treatment of staff members, giving back to the local community, and adherence to green practices just make good business sense. But imagine how your customers might perceive your brand if you *WOW* them by setting a gold standard for social and environmental practices.

Digital technology is making it easier for companies to engage with consumers and support causes in new and unique ways.

Here are several examples of companies that are making a difference.

TOMS Shoes – For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need. Since the program launched in 2006, over 600,000 shoes have been given to children in the United States, Argentina, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Haiti, and South Africa

Pepsi – Rather move forward with a traditional Super Bowl TV spot, Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project. Through the $20 million crowdsourcing initiative, which will no doubt be a marketing case study, people are enticed to submit and vote on ideas that will have a positive impact on society. The best ideas will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 each.

CauseWorld – CauseWorld is an iPhone and Android app that is similar to Foursqaure and Gowalla, in that it enables users check into check into locations they visit. For each check in, users earn “Karma” points, which they can then redeem using the app to donate money to select charitable organizations. The money is provided by sponsors including Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Sears.

Have you thought about how your company can leverage digital in making a difference?

The Costs of Social Media

Last Wednesday I attended the F5 Expo, a business conference on changing technologies in the online space, including social media, search marketing and mobile marketing. Malcolm Gladwell, the noted author and columnist for The New Yorker magazine, was the conference’s keynote speaker.

The audience, not surprisingly, had a strong contingent of people who are active with social media. Perhaps it’s also not surprising that the audience seemed only lukewarm to Gladwells’ keynote, which touched on some of the costs associated with social media. To learn more about Gladwell’s thoughts on social media, here is a recent interview published in the Globe & Mail.

Before I go on, I want to state that I have benefited immensely from social media. I am very active in several different online communities, at times spending a couple of hours a day interacting on them. Through my involvement, I have met some amazing people, many of whom I have been fortunate to meet in person and become friends with. I have also been connected to countless others whom I value and have learned from.

That said, I agree Gladwell, and I think it is possible that many people don’t fully realize the costs associated with social media. Online connections, “friends” or “followers”, are missing a distinct human element, an element that I believe can only been attained through face-to-face interaction. Social media is great at enabling breadth to be achieved across a social network, however it is far more difficult to achieve depth in the resulting relationships – unless subsequent in-person connections are made.

In his keynote, Gladwell stated that in the 1980s, 10% of Americans did not have a close friend they could confide in on personal matters. That number has now climbed to 25%, which I believe is quite startling. Is social media to blame? No. But is it a factor in this? I think it might be. Stop for a second and consider the time and investment it requires to truly build a deep relationship. Now consider the number of people many are connected to on social networks.

Dunbar’s number is a theoretical limit to the number of social relationships one can maintain, the number is commonly believed to be 150. Given this, I find it hard to believe that many people aren’t being stretched by their extensive online networks, stretched in a manner that takes time away from building closer relationships and making them matter. People may have more friends than ever before, but at what cost? Strong relationships take time to develop.

There is another question that needs to be considered. In many ways, social media enables people to become more productive. One such example is the quick and easy formation of groups.  However, has it made people less productive in other ways? It seems to me that there is a lot of content clutter on social media, in particular Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I am very guilty of creating some of it.  Do people really care when I check into a cafe using Foursquare, and then post it on Facebook and Twitter?  Online friends who I have met in person, or at least built a strong connection with, might. Others, who account for the vast majority of my connections? Probably not.

Social media represents an opportunity for people to procrastinate, waiting or the next tweet or Facebook status update, taking away from time that could perhaps be better spent creating or adding value elsewhere.

Now, again I need to reiterate, I love social media. It has made a huge difference in my life, and my career direction has changed as a result. However I think it is important consider the costs associated with the social media revolution. For anyone who is interested, I recently wrote a blog post containing tips on how to better manage time spent on social media.

Foursquare Launches in Vancouver

Last Wednesday, Foursquare was launched in Vancouver at an event hosted by 6S Marketing. Foursquare is a new social media game that enables people to connect and interact with others using their mobile phones, while also identifying and tracking various places and locations visited – such as restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions.

People score points in the game by completing various tasks, such as identifying their current location using the Foursquare application (using a “Checking In” function in the app). As points are accumulated during game play, participants are awarded badges to indicate their level of achievement.

In hosting the launch event, 6S Marketing initiated a crowd-sourcing experiment to record Vancouver venues for Foursquare game play. Vancouver has a very strong and vibrant social media scene, and many notable people attended the launch event. People were encouraged to use start using Foursquare when visiting different venues. Over the weekend, I entered a few venues into the application, and even received some extra bonus points for being the first person to record them.

It will be interesting to see how Foursquare evolves, and whether it’s use takes off truly takes off. It already has gained a foothold in several US cities, and several Hollywood celebrities are using it – including Ashton Kutcher, the most followed person on Twitter.

The application does have some potential marketing applications, particularly with regards to experiential marketing for small businesses. For example, a restaurant could offer a discounted drink to someone who “Checks In” using Foursquare.  In turn, people connected to that person would learn about the drink discount, and potentially be enticed to visit the venue. Incentive programs would, theoretically, increase usage of Foursquare amongst mobile users – in turn increasing the promotion that businesses listed on Foursquare receive.

That might just be the tip of the iceberg. I am going to continue to use Foursquare, and will write additional posts to update you on my experience with the application.