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Posts Tagged ‘word of mouth marketing’

The week in social: Tumblr cashes in, new look Flickr and super-specific searches

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Yahoo buys Tumblr

As predicted last week (we must have had our ears pressed firmly to the ground), Yahoo bought Tumblr on Monday for a whopping $1.1billion. All cash. That’s a lot of suitcases full of notes. In an attempt to attract younger players to the Yahoo brand, CEO Marissa Mayer said Tumblr was perfect to appear “cool and relevant’ and signposted that this deal represents ‘the stake in the ground of what her strategy is going forward for Yahoo.”

Read more on the deal here.

  
Twitter hands you your cards

Announced last week, Twitter Cards now enable users to sign up for a product or service with a single click (no more filling out the same info on several forms). The Lead Generation Card - “makes it easy for users to express interest in what your brand offers. Users can easily and securely share their email address with a business.”

Learn more and see how they could work for you.

  
Flickr gets new look

Smack bang in the middle of the day that Yahoo bought Tumblr, the Yahoo-owned photo storage giant Flickr went and got itself a makeover. It’s almost like it was planned… as Marissa Mayer explains: ‘We have a nice set of the creator brands. Photographers and writers. With that, there is natural set of opportunities that arise between Flickr and Tumblr and we’ll deal with that as it comes’. In a coup for users, alongside the revamp was the news that each account holder now receives 1 Terabyte of free storage – or enough room to park 537,731 photos. So get snapping!

  
Pinterest gets more…pinteresting

In a move aimed to broaden Pinterest’s appeal, it announced Wednesday that it would be partnering with individual brands to allow them to display deep dive data instead of simply linking back to the original item in the form of Product Pins. For example, a grocery store could pin a photo of a meal, and have the Pin display all the ingredients and prices needed to create it. Handy as it stops users ending up being directed somewhere else, able to “glean more information direct from the site…making the platform more attractive to advertisers in the process.” Are we looking at a ‘visual Google’ in the new age of SAO (Social Aggregation Optimization)?

Find out here.

  
Gaming gets more social

Alongside the Xbox One announcement this week, Microsoft debuted Skype on the new device. Alongside group video calling (via the Kinect camera), the Xbox/Skype combo will allow you to share in-game (or in-movie) screenshots via the Snap feature of the console and the photo sharing capabilities of Skype. Voice commands will also be available making it “easy and natural for you to celebrate and experience the moments that matter to you—how and when you want, together, through your living room TV”.

Read more on the official blog.

  
Lend us a tenner…

…on your phone. Things just got interesting – and a little bit secretive – in the money-lending stakes. Square Cash, an invite-only page, purports to let friends send money directly to each other’s debit cards. We’re not sure whether this is a good idea, or has the potential to go very wrong (perhaps late at night, perhaps having imbibed a few adult beverages and feeling particularly friendly).

See how it could work for you here.

  
Is Facebook turning teens off?

A Pew study has shown that online teens are spending less time on Facebook. It mentions ‘over-sharing’ and ‘drama’ as being turn offs and reasons for turning to other platforms such as Twitter (which has seen an increased usage among teens from 16% in 2011 to 24% today). Interestingly, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest don’t get much of a look-in among this demographic, with only 11%, 3%, 5% and 1% reach respectively.

Visit Pew for more.

  
Twitter launches ad targeting for TV

Via a special dashboard, Twitter now allows campaign managers to monitor when a commercial has aired on TV and coordinate promoted tweets, pushing social interaction with live programming. Michael Fleischman of Twitter said that the new service uses ‘video fingerprinting technology to automatically detect when and where a brand’s commercials are running on TV, without requiring that advertiser to do any manual tracking or upload media plan details’. Instream broadcasting clips can also now be broadcast by a brand as part of Twitter Amplify, with BBC America, FOX, Fuse and the Weather Channel being among early adopters.

Read more on the Twitter ad blog.

  
Foursquare launches super-specific searches

This week, Foursquare launched a more advanced suite of super-specific search options for mobile users looking to find relevant places of interest nearby. In a blog post, Foursquare showcased a number of sample searches as examples of how users might use the new functionality including. “One of the museums in Paris that my friend Matt went to last year, that’s also near my hotel.” and “A bar downtown that’s new to me, but that my friends have been to. Oh, and that has margaritas.” There is also the option to indicate the amount of money you’re willing to spend while searching for restaurants and the like using a series of pecuniary symbols like $, $$, $$$.

  
100 hours of video per minute…

..is the rate at which the 1 billion YouTube users (per month) are uploading to the service. Someone else did the maths, and that’s over 4 days of video uploaded every minute of every day. Helping the increase (from 72 hours per minute last year) are YouTube’s move into paid-for channels that are ‘aimed at rivalling streaming services like Hulu and Netflix’.

More stats and facts here.

  
Another purchase for Yahoo?

Rumours abound that Yahoo (fresh from buying Tumblr and revamping Flickr) are looking to move into the streaming video world with a reported bid for Hulu. Up against other bidders like Directv and Time Warner Cable, it looks as if Yahoo have thrown their hat into the ring too. To see the pricing, and find out the bidding history for the site, read more here.

  
App.net passes 100,000 users

ADN (as the service is sometimes known – App Dot Net) is an ad-free social platform popular with developers, and has both free and paid-for options. Free users can follow 40 other people and have 500MB storage on-site. Paid subscriptions keep the site clean of ads for both sets of users. The site is responsible for 1,500 developed apps, and has 150 in their app directory.

For more details, read this post.

  
Digg says new Reader won’t be a standalone app

This week, Digg announced that Digg Reader, Digg’s Google Reader replacement tool will not come as a standalone app, rather as an addition to Digg’s current platform. Announcing the news at Internet Week New York, Andrew McLaughlin (CEO of Digg) said “aiming to build something that’s very clean, very simple and very fast.” The new service will include the ability to sort by popularity, and will be displayed in “a really clean, uncluttered way, with a lot of speed and performance”.

More info on the service can be found here.

The new face of 1000heads

Monday, February 27th, 2012

We have a new look.  Perhaps the result of a delayed January detox and an early Spring clean, we’ve tweaked our brand identity and revamped our website.

Yet while visual updates are refreshing and reinvigorating, what else has changed?

Mike Rowe recently talked about the journey we’ve come on, from humble beginnings in 1999 to more recent client wins, new hires and award successes.  Over that time we have changed – in size and skill set – but what’s remained constant is our steadfast belief in Word of Mouth, conversation and sharing; in social communication.

And as the marketing and social landscape continues to change, at a rate nobody could have ever predicted, this ethos has never been more relevant.

So we’ve given ourselves a new look and used some new, simpler words to set out our stall.

Tell us what you think.

Don’t be an ass

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Picture the scene. A mangy, decrepit, hungry, exhausted ass (careful with that imagery) is dragging its sorry carcass along a dusty track.

via greg westfall @ Flickr

Suddenly, the ass espies a huge pile of grain on one side of the road. It can’t believe its eyes. Then it notices an equally large pile on the other. It nearly faints with excitement. It’s desperate for food.

But which pile does it choose?

Asses have little or no capacity to reason. And theoretically, given two perfectly equal and attractive choices, it is impossible for the ass to pick one or the other.

Instead, our poor ass, baffled, befuddled and confused, is torn between the two. It stands and stares – it cannot decide. Eventually the last lifeblood ebbs away and the ass collapses, a victim of logic.

A cheery tale.

But one that, in the midst of all the thinking, and case studies, and research, and complexities around word of mouth that we cover on the 1000heads blog, reminds us why we’re doing this in the first place.

The point being, if there was a discernable difference between the two piles, if one was more attractive than the other, the ass would have been fine. It would have been able to make an informed choice. As it was, the ass was akin to an ill-informed consumer, with no reason to choose one option over the other.

Of course, even without information, we (as consumers) are capable of making choices – we are not asses. But the more information we have, the more reason to choose one brand, product or service over another, the better.

And the more reasons there are to choose that particular brand, product or service, the more stimuli for word of mouth there are. And that is how information and recommendation are spread. That is how and why someone will choose your pile of grain over your competitors’.

Make your offering different. Generate word of mouth. Help people make a choice.

Don’t be an ass. Don’t treat your potential customers like asses, either.

Don't be an ass

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Picture the scene. A mangy, decrepit, hungry, exhausted ass (careful with that imagery) is dragging its sorry carcass along a dusty track.

via greg westfall @ Flickr

Suddenly, the ass espies a huge pile of grain on one side of the road. It can’t believe its eyes. Then it notices an equally large pile on the other. It nearly faints with excitement. It’s desperate for food.

But which pile does it choose?

Asses have little or no capacity to reason. And theoretically, given two perfectly equal and attractive choices, it is impossible for the ass to pick one or the other.

Instead, our poor ass, baffled, befuddled and confused, is torn between the two. It stands and stares – it cannot decide. Eventually the last lifeblood ebbs away and the ass collapses, a victim of logic.

A cheery tale.

But one that, in the midst of all the thinking, and case studies, and research, and complexities around word of mouth that we cover on the 1000heads blog, reminds us why we’re doing this in the first place.

The point being, if there was a discernable difference between the two piles, if one was more attractive than the other, the ass would have been fine. It would have been able to make an informed choice. As it was, the ass was akin to an ill-informed consumer, with no reason to choose one option over the other.

Of course, even without information, we (as consumers) are capable of making choices – we are not asses. But the more information we have, the more reason to choose one brand, product or service over another, the better.

And the more reasons there are to choose that particular brand, product or service, the more stimuli for word of mouth there are. And that is how information and recommendation are spread. That is how and why someone will choose your pile of grain over your competitors’.

Make your offering different. Generate word of mouth. Help people make a choice.

Don’t be an ass. Don’t treat your potential customers like asses, either.

We must dispel the myth that WOM marketing is cheap

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

We all love cheap now, right? The It-bags; the £35,000 cocktails; the massive mortgages; all those hallmarks of pre-recession mid-noughties extravagance are so… well, so 2006. Nowadays we brandish our Aldi own-label beans as if they’re a mark of social responsibility.

It’s nonsense, of course. We don’t value these mass-produced items, and we feel more nourished by the idea than the taste of our cut-price beans. We know that cheapness comes at a price: the sweatshop workers; the unsustainable farming methods; the two-for-one bulk. Cheapness always bites back. It’s temporary. It’s wasteful. So why is still so often cited it as a positive attribute of ‘social marketing?’

The social world rewards time and attention more than money and ads, so that’s what brands need to invest in. You don’t get passion, excitement, emotional fidelity and ongoing human loyalty by throwing a one-size-fits-all digital asset, or the odd chirpy tweet, into cyberspace. And no, those clever kids who created Facebook and Twitter haven’t done the expensive work on brands’ behalf and served them up a free marketing channel on a digital plate. They’ve given us new social spaces – accessible places where humans love, talk, create, trust, influence, and buy – but brands have to inspire those spaces with enthusiasm and loyalty.

Brands have crept into word of mouth marketing with predictable scepticism and caution, offering a tiny handout for an experimental advocacy programme here, or a piece of basic conversation monitoring there. It’s understandable – this can be a scary new world for companies constrained by annual budgets and rigid structures – but it’s also a waste. When they’re still happy to throw thousands at a microsite (does anyone want to gambol in a branded playground any more?) or a few hundred grand at a TV campaign (that research shows no-one’s paying attention to any more) – both of which have a pretty short shelf-life – it seems extraordinary that they’re reluctant to give a far more lasting marketing approach the equivalent financial respect.

What word of mouth, done right, really offers is not cheapness but good value. By doing less but better, in a highly strategic way, brands can achieve extraordinary results.

I’ve written more about this topic over on my monthly column for Admap, but I’d love to know what you think. Do you think this just self-interest talking or do you agree? If you work in the industry, are you starting to push back on clients on this front? How can we better get brands to value WOM?

Brands need to shape up for a social Christmas

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I know, I know. A post involving the ‘c-word’ already. But for brands wanting to maximise recession-hit holiday retail, it’s already high on the agenda – and many are realising that word of mouth could be the key to their success. The American digital marketers at OneUpWeb have just released their 2009 Holiday Report, and one of the key findings is that WOM is driving on and offline retail in the US like never before.

A recent Penn State study found that one in five tweets mention specific brands or services. But according to eMarketer research cited in the report, consumers aren’t just airing opinions – they’re getting much more direct in their referrals, with 25% of US social media users now directly linking to a company, product or service as part of their regular interaction online. As the report authors conclude, ‘long-term growth on social sites may play a more influential role in consumer behaviour this holiday season than ever before.’

It seems no coincidence that The Wall Street Journal is reporting that online retailers are focusing on customer service rather than big discounts to secure festive sales. It’s the experience of a brand that really gets people talking, so in a word of mouth dominated environment, it’s no wonder the likes of Amazon, Zappos and Ebay are devising ways to restore the ‘wow’ factor into the customer journey, rather than pushing cheap sales at the cost of the quality of engagement.

It’s a lesson companies around the world need to start learning: this trend is only going to increase.

Conversational catalogues

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Catalogue e-Business recently asked us to write about how word of mouth applies to the  home shopping industry, which was a great opportunity to return to the roots of WOM marketing.

Back in the nineteenth century, catalogues and the retail principles that underpinned them inspired a word of mouth revolution, sharing many features with social media commerce today. Modern businesses can learn a lot from the examples set by Sears and other catalogue pioneers; have a read below.

The Path of Action: WOM lessons from Confucius

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Google have been re-appropriating their logo to commemorate great moments for aeons (well, seemingly); on 28th September they even paid homage to Confucius on the anniversary of his birthday. Confucius, as you may know, was a chap who liked a good quote, and Google’s doodle sent me scrolling back through some of his best bon-mots. And I found one that I think applies rather well to our industry:

The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it

Let’s treat the action as word of mouth and social media, and the people as marketers.

These days, pressure is on marketers to try to integrate social media and/or word of mouth into what they do. This supposedly ‘free’ media is too much to ignore. Their boss has heard of Groundswell, read The Tipping Point and wants to put the one-to-many, influencerapproach to work getting their brand positive WOM. Then of course, there’s the PR / Advertising / Digital / Media / Promotional / DM agency that needs to hire a social media specialist to help them win pitches.

However, two things prevent these groups understanding the path of action and thus, prevent them from choosing the right one to follow.

The first is time.

The brand needs to send out video assets as they have spent thousands on something that nobody is watching and they need results by the end of the quarter. The agency sees competitors are all over Twitter, and feel like they are missing a trick by missing out, or worse, in danger of being considered a bit slow.

The second is knowing who needs to own ‘understanding the path of action’.

There is a frankly embarrassing dismissal of the word of mouth industry in its own right. There are a small number of individuals within brands and agencies that have lived in this space and are completely dedicated to this path of action. Until this is acknowledged, too many brands are going to miss maximizing the success of integrated and sustained WOM projects, which will not only hurt the industry but also the real people.

The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it. These old guys knew a thing or two.

Essential WOM events from The Guardian and Emmanuel Rosen

Monday, September 21st, 2009

There’s a lot of buzz around word of mouth marketing, but many businesses and agencies are crying out to be educated on what this industry is really about, what it can do for them, and how they can get involved. That’s why I’m delighted to announce a couple of London-based upcoming events organised by WOM UK which will give two exciting and accessible perspectives on the WOM landscape as it stands.

First up on 8.30am Wednesday 30th September, The Guardian present their new word of mouth research study and communications planning tool that provides a practical framework for identifying influential people. Kicking off with breakfast and lasting until 10am at Guardian News & Media, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, it’s an easy chance to squeeze in some learning, as well as some networking with top WOM practitioners, at the start of your day. Free to all; email julian.ferguson@womuk.org to sign up.

Then on 8.30am Wednesday 7th October, Emmanuel Rosen talks about ‘The Anatomy of Buzz (Revisited)’, the newly updated version of his WOM guide which topped the bestseller lists in 2001 and became an instant international classic. Drawing on his own experiences in high tech as well as hundreds of interviews with consumers, researchers and marketing executives, Emmanuel will discuss proven techniques for stimulating buzz. It’s another morning session lasting until 10.30am at Ogilvy & Mather, 10 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, E14 4QB. Free to WOM UK members, £10 for everyone else; email julian.ferguson@womuk.org for a place.

As sponsors, we’ll be attending, blogging and fuelling discussions, so come along and say hi.

Is word of mouth marketing cheap?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

A few days ago I spoke to Ben Cooper of Retail Week for his article on how highly targeted and low-cost marketing techniques are attracting recession-hit retailers. Word of mouth and social media are often cited as cheap marketing options, but as I emphasised to Ben, their high comparative value is more important than their low cost.

It’s dangerous to think of WOM as a quick-n-easy fix; it reqiures the same investment and long-term commitment as any effective marketing approach. The difference is that with WOM most of that investment is in time, human resource and creativity, rather than flash digital builds or content production costs. But the great economic advantage of WOM is that it’s so scalable. Rather than trying to do lots badly with little cash, companies can focus on engaging with two or three advocates in a really deep way, or at least invest in ongoing listening so they’re benefitting from that collective intelligence about their brand.

A while back Bob Troia published a smashing post about how WOM ROI resembles an S-curve, not the linear model of traditional marketing, and therefore requires more investment to reap its more impressive and lasting returns. It’s worth another look.