Social Media: Just Another Marketing Channel?

There was a study that was reported on recently with the bold headline “Social Media Fails to Manifest as a Marketing Medium“.  The article covers the results of a study done by consumer research firm, Knowledge Networks.  Their press release summarizes the results with the equally bold title “INTERNET USERS TURN TO SOCIAL MEDIA TO SEEK ONE ANOTHER, NOT BRANDS OR PRODUCTS” (the use of caps is theirs).  The findings were, according to them “surprising” and included the following insight: …when Knowledge Networks asked users whether they regularly turn to (social media) sites when trying to make a purchase decision, the highest percentages among nine categories were 4%, for travel and banks/financial services. Responses for clothes/shoes, restaurants, mobile phone services and five other categories ranged from 1% to 3%… Almost two thirds (63%) of social media users agree that ads are a “fair price to pay” for use of these sites and features; but a much smaller proportion (16%) say they are more likely to buy from advertising brands. “Staying connected” – to friends and family, as well as meeting new people – is by far what is “most liked” (54%) about participating in social media. To summarize – this study showed that when I want to buy a new car or a cell phone I don’t go to Flickr or Last.fm or YouTube or Twitter to find out which brand I should buy.  According to this study, consumers “surprisingly” don’t go on Facebook and browse the ads to make purchase decisions. (Note the list of sites included in the study notably leaves out those specifically devoted to reviewing or talking about products/services such as Amazon, Chowhound,...

5 Not Obvious Reasons Product Marketers Should Twitter

Thomas Fuchs Martin over at webproductblog.com had a great post called “the 7 reasons why good product managers must be on Twitter” which covers the big reasons like listening to customer feedback and connecting with other PM’s.  This then got me thinking about other perhaps less pressing reasons to be on Twitter and I give you… 5 non-obvious reasons product marketers should Twitter: 1.  Communicate Bad News – You thought Twitter was just for tooting your/your company’s horn?  Twitter is all about real time information distribution.  You’re having a major service problem? Your website just went down?  Your CEO just got arrested?  Your customers will be happy they heard it from you first before they got a chance to get all cranky because they don’t know why things aren’t working (well OK, maybe not that last one). 2.  Spy on the Other Guys – There are actually not that many examples of people leaking corporate secrets on Twitter but you can certainly get a feel for what certain groups are thinking by following the individual Tweet streams. Plus you get to feel like a spy. 3.  Get inside the heads of Analysts and Experts – They curse! They make geeky jokes! Watch them in their native environment and understand what makes them tick (or at least have some better small talk topics lined up when you next meet with them). 4.  Find People you Want to Hire (and some you don’t) – You can learn a lot about a person from their Twitter stream.  I’ve got a list of people I only know from Twitter that I would like...

ProductCamp NYC

On Saturday July 18th I’m going to be at ProductCamp New York and so should you. I moved back to Toronto after spending a few years in manhattan in 2006.  When I lived in New York I was really surprised at how few tech community events there were (especially when I compared it with Toronto, where literally I can find a geeky event every single night of the week if I’m looking for one).  It’s been a few years so I’m sure things have changed but I’m looking forward to this event because it’s exactly the sort of thing I was always looking for when I lived there. The great thing about the un-conference style of event is that the attendees get to set the agenda.  I’d like to lead a product marketing discussion and have a handful of topics I am thinking about including: Why product marketers should be on Twitter Startup product marketing mistakes and how to avoid them Segmentation – how to get started and get concensus Storytelling in product marketing – ways to use stories to bring your value propositions to life How to engage customers and prospects using social media What do you think would make a good topic?  Leave me your ideas in the comments, or if you’re shy, click on link below and let me know what you really think (it’s totally anonymous). Click here to vote on a topic or propose a new one. If you live in or around new york make sure you come to this event and when you do, make sure you say hi to me. **Update*** Here’s...

Come See Me in Calgary (or Join the Webcast)

Hold on to your cowboy hats, I’m coming to Calgary!  The lovely folks at CNW have asked me to speak at a breakfast event they are holding next Tuesday (that’s March 24th).  Breakfast is on them so if you are in Calgary come on by and say hi. If you aren’t in Calgary you can join via Webcast.  Click here to register. This topic is going to focus somewhat on social media, specifically how more traditional marketing departments can get started with social media.  Rather than just re-hashing a bunch of “how to get started with social media” tips that frankly anyone with a search engine could figure out, I’m going to focus on sharing some of my personal experiences from working at IBM and Nortel and as a consultant working with smaller technology start-ups. Here are a few of the highlights: Blogging – how IBM and Nortel dipped their toe in the blogging waters and what the results were including what worked and what didn’t. YouTube/Video – why I think companies need to use it a LOT more than they do. I’ll use a couple of examples from Nortel and Sybase where video got us a lot of attention from both traditional media as well as from the blogging community. Social Media Press Releases – I am going to talk about my experience using them at Nortel and what worked and didn’t work. Twitter – What I’ve learned in the past year and my personal best practices for getting the most out of it.  I will also get into my side of the National Post Twitter Meltdown story...

MeshU – What Would You Like to Learn?

I had a conversation with “the Mesh guys” (what will they do if they ever get a gal working with them!?) and they have invited me to speak at MeshU on April 6th.  Oh boy, I’m so excited! MeshU is a 1 day educational event focused on folks in the startup community.  Who should attend?  According to the MeshU web site: You know who you are. You live and breathe technology – what it can do and what it can mean in people‘s lives. Every new tool, new approach and new technology? You’re there first. As a developer, you were using AJAX when most people thought it was only a cleaning product. As a project manager, you were deploying agile development across your team before the term even existed. As a designer, your passion for designing great user experience is so profound it hurts. And when others catch up, you’ve already moved on. Pushing, innovating, leading. It’s what you do. Whoa. All that “live and breathe technology” stuff is just a bit too Terminator for me.  Good thing April is “channel your inner Sarah Connor” month so I’ll have no choice but to kick some living, breathing technology butt! The MeshU schedule has tracks for technology folks, design folks and “management”.  Not only am I in the “management” track but I am also the very last session of the day. Here’s the schedule, and here is my session description: A great product and user experience can only take a company so far. With no marketing budget and limited people to get things done, taking a focused approach to going...

Lessons Learned from a Twitter Meltdown

Earlier today I was involved in a Twitter fight which was captured in a few places, including here (mediastyle.ca) and here (Torontoist) and here (Valleywag.  My version of the events is described in the post – Unhappy Customers Complain.  The apology from the National Post is here. I think I’ve said everything I can on either Twitter or the mediastyle.ca post on what he said/she said so I will let the who was right and wrong discussion take place over there (and frankly, it’s all so like, 2 hours ago).  What it did get me thinking about is what lessons we can learn from all of this. Here are a few: Be nice because power is shifting – Social media advocates have been saying this for ages but it’s still news for some folks.  Newspaper reporters can no longer afford to treat the marketing and PR folks in their ecosystem badly any more than the marketing and PR folks can treat them badly in return.  We all have to figure out a way to play nice. Don’t forget there are people behind that text – David was clearly having a bad day but so what?  He’s about to change jobs and move to a different country and he’s got deadlines and stress.  Does that give him the right to be a jerk? Of course not!  He crossed a line and he can’t expect me to not talk about that.  Should he lose his job or even have this be a subject of conversation a week from now?  No way!  I too have been known to drop the f-bomb in...
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