posted by Larry Weintraub
Thank you Bob Lefsetz for sharing this today. I wouldn't have caught it otherwise.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I was forwarded this great TED talk, you really should watch it. It's incredibly inspiring: http://bit.ly/bxH96o. It will help you see why companies like Apple excel where others don't.
Thank you Bob Lefsetz for sharing this today. I wouldn't have caught it otherwise.
Monday, May 24, 2010
But it's over. All good things must come to an end.
I don't think I realized what an event it was until I opened the newspaper and then my emails today. Story after story about reactions to the final episode. Of course there was disappointment, but I think that is just because people will miss the show. We all know ways it could have continued, but we're lucky it had a proper ending. How many times have shows been canceled without closure? We got closure last night. Like we did with the Sopranos and like I hope I'll personally get with Rescue Me soon.
What made me write this? Probably the Fast Company article I read this morning. Which led me to watch a couple of Lost Podcast episodes. And the conversation I hear outside my office doors going on right now about how emotionally drained everyone is from last night.
Not bad for a TV show. A TV show which allowed us to suspend our disbelief (substantially) every week and enabled us to forget our troubles for an hour. They say we'll never see another show like this again. Why do I find that hard to believe? I mean, we still have Mad Men.
But I'll miss Lost. The crazy roller coaster has ended.
Friday, May 21, 2010
If you were to ask me, what is my favorite iPhone app, I'd probably draw a blank. I have a ton of them on my phone, but for some reason I can never give a great answer to that question on the fly. But yesterday I looked at my phone because I was trying to prove a point to someone by stressing that apps need to provide either utility or fun. Or best case, both. Turns out most of my apps provide utility.
SmartMktg app on there too, but I won't lie, I never look at that. I'm proud of it and will gladly show it to anyone that will look, but it doesn't offer much utility to me. It might be to you if you prefer to read this blog via your iPhone. But enough with the shameless plug.
Here are my current favorite apps and why:
What about you?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Another interesting article about kids and what we can expect from future generations. This one's from the Wall Street Journal Opinion section.
My favorite quotes:
An emphasis on social networking puts younger people at a face-to-face disadvantage.
By MARK BAUERLEIN
In September 2008, when Nielsen Mobile announced that teenagers with cellphones each sent and received, on average, 1,742 text messages a month, the number sounded high, but just a few months later Nielsen raised the tally to 2,272. A year earlier, the National School Boards Association estimated that middle- and high-school students devoted an average of nine hours to social networking each week. Add email, blogging, IM, tweets and other digital customs and you realize what kind of hurried, 24/7 communications system young people experience today.
Unfortunately, nearly all of their communication tools involve the exchange of written words alone. At least phones, cellular and otherwise, allow the transmission of tone of voice, pauses and the like. But even these clues are absent in the text-dependent world. Users insert smiley-faces into emails, but they don't see each others' actual faces. They read comments on Facebook, but they don't "read" each others' posture, hand gestures, eye movements, shifts in personal space and other nonverbal—and expressive—behaviors.
Back in 1959, anthropologist Edward T. Hall labeled these expressive human attributes "the Silent Language." Hall passed away last month in Santa Fe at age 95, but his writings on nonverbal communication deserve continued attention. He argued that body language, facial expressions and stock mannerisms function "in juxtaposition to words," imparting feelings, attitudes, reactions and judgments in a different register.
This is why, Hall explained, U.S. diplomats could enter a foreign country fully competent in the native language and yet still flounder from one miscommunication to another, having failed to decode the manners, gestures and subtle protocols that go along with words. And how could they, for the "silent language" is acquired through acculturation, not schooling. Not only is it unspoken; it is largely unconscious. The meanings that pass through it remain implicit, more felt than understood.
They are, however, operative. Much of our social and workplace lives runs on them. For Hall, breakdowns in nonverbal communication took place most damagingly in cross-cultural circumstances—for instance, federal workers dealing with Navajo Indians and misconstruing their basic conceptions of time. Within cultures, Hall assumed, people more or less "spoke" the same silent language.
They may no longer, thanks to the avalanche of all-verbal communication. In Silicon Valley itself, as the Los Angeles Times reported last year, some companies have installed the "topless" meeting—in which not only laptops but iPhones and other tools are banned—to combat a new problem: "continuous partial attention." With a device close by, attendees at workplace meetings simply cannot keep their focus on the speaker. It's too easy to check email, stock quotes and Facebook. While a quick log-on may seem, to the user, a harmless break, others in the room receive it as a silent dismissal. It announces: "I'm not interested." So the tools must now remain at the door.
Older employees might well accept such a ban, but younger ones might not understand it. Reading a text message in the middle of a conversation isn't a lapse to them—it's what you do. It has, they assume, no nonverbal meaning to anyone else.
It does, of course, but how would they know it? We live in a culture where young people—outfitted with iPhone and laptop and devoting hours every evening from age 10 onward to messaging of one kind and another—are ever less likely to develop the "silent fluency" that comes from face-to-face interaction. It is a skill that we all must learn, in actual social settings, from people (often older) who are adept in the idiom. As text-centered messaging increases, such occasions diminish. The digital natives improve their adroitness at the keyboard, but when it comes to their capacity to "read" the behavior of others, they are all thumbs.
Nobody knows the extent of the problem. It is too early to assess the effect of digital habits, and the tools change so quickly that research can't keep up with them. By the time investigators design a study, secure funding, collect results and publish them, the technology has changed and the study is outdated.
Still, we might reasonably pose questions about silent-language acquisition in a digital environment. Lots of folks grumble about the diffidence, self-absorption and general uncommunicativeness of Generation Y. The next time they face a twenty-something who doesn't look them in the eye, who slouches and sighs for no apparent reason, who seems distracted and unaware of the rising frustration of the other people in the room, and who turns aside to answer a text message with glee and facility, they shouldn't think, "What a rude kid." Instead, they should show a little compassion and, perhaps, seize on a teachable moment. "Ah," they might think instead, "another texter who doesn't realize that he is communicating, right now, with every glance and movement—and that we're reading him all too well."
Mr. Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, is the author of "The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
If you happen to get our Fanscape newsletter then you would have seen an article I wrote called "Graduating With An Edge" today. The theme this month for the newsletter is advice to recent college grads as they enter the workforce. The article was edited a bit, so I've put the whole thing as originally written below. It will give you the background about why I wrote it and what I was thinking when I sat down to recap a speech I'd given at a university in Dallas a few months ago. If you know someone who is graduating please forward them this blog. Maybe even send them to look at our newsletter - http://bit.ly/bg3nFu - because there are some great tips in there. Even better, if you know someone who is a freshman or sophomore in college, or even in high school for that matter, send them this stuff. I was lucky, I knew what I wanted to do with my life when I was very very young. Most people don't figure it out until after college. There are some simple things to do or at least to be thinking about and everyone needs an edge. Hopefully this helps...
Graduating With an Edge
A few months ago I was invited to speak at a conference geared towards graduating seniors in the Communications department at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. The topic was how social networking had evolved and where it was going. I struggled with it for a few days. I knew there would be other people at the conference giving statistics and quoting how fast Facebook and Twitter were growing, I wanted to say something different. But I was stumped. The night before my speech I went to sleep at 2am, sick with the flu and sick with worry because I had nothing. Sure, I had a backup plan that would have me showing screenshots, graphs, and case studies but I was dreading having to resort to that. It would be so boring. I wanted to wow them. But I was having a hard time finding the wow.
At 5am I awoke with a jolt. I had it! I knew what to do. I would just tell them about me.
And that’s what I did. I kept my presentation to about seven slides and just told them the story of my life. What I did in college. How I got to where I am today. And what I’d learned along the way. My speech went over great. It was one of the best I’d ever given.
The key, I told them, was that they have opportunities today that didn’t exist for me. That didn’t even exist five years ago. They needed to seize them.
That, I told them, was the optimistic part.
Pessimistically, on the other hand, they were about to join the workforce at one of the worst times in recent history. 10% of the country was out of work. The competition was fierce. They were going to lose. So, if you are going to lose, I told them… Lose big!
Ok, that’s the setup, now here is the specific advice I gave to them and I now bestow on you.
I boil this down to three main points:
3. Lose Big
It is all about creating your personal brand, the authentic you. Companies do it and so should you. Follow my advice and, while I can’t guarantee that you will get the job that you are applying for, you will be at least 10 times farther ahead than the majority of graduates with whom you will be competing.
How long have resumes been around? I have no idea. My guess is that it has been common practice to deliver those one or two sheets of paper to potential employers for at least a hundred years.
You still need to do it, so definitely put in the effort, but don’t stop there. LinkedIn should be your new best friend. It is the amped up online version of your resume. It offers you the opportunity to not only expand on your work history, it also allows you more room to emphasize your experience and make the words jump off the page.
Most of your contemporaries haven’t embraced LinkedIn yet. For those of us who have been working for several years now, we have learned to make LinkedIn our go to resource for sharing information about our careers. But college students have typically been slow to board this train. So, while your sorority sisters are busy checking out what photos have been uploaded to Facebook today, you can be leaping ahead of them by building out your LinkedIn profile.
When we post a job at Fanscape we get hundreds of resumes within the first day of the post. Do you know how hard it is to go through that many resumes? It is a giant pain. So, we go through a weeding out process. If your resume pops and my hiring manager likes what they see, then it gets sent to me. My next step is to go to your LinkedIn profile. Your page better look great. Well written, no spelling errors, great insight into you; that is what I want to see.
You can drop in widgets on your LinkedIn profile that point me to your blog posts, your Twitter feed, even what books you are reading.
And don’t forget about recommendations. Have people recommend you. Haven’t had that many jobs? Start with your teachers, your counselors, the bosses where you did your internships. Ask them nicely if they will give you a recommendation on LinkedIn. I bet they use LinkedIn. Another tip, recommend others. The best way to get people to recommend you is to recommend them first. Nothing makes me happier than to see that you’ve actually recommended more people than have recommended you. Yep, I can see all that when I look at your LinkedIn page.
Fill that profile up. You can’t write too much. LinkedIn will stop you if you get too wordy. It will force you to fine-tune your descriptions and make them pop.
Trust me on this. Your friends aren’t doing any of this. Do this and you jump 10 steps ahead of them. LinkedIn is my favorite social media tool. For the business world it is the most important social network and you need to get a handle on this now!
Want to know where I go after I’ve read your LinkedIn profile? Your blog. What? You don’t have one? You really should.
See, your resume and your LinkedIn profile give me insight into your professional capabilities, but what about your personality? How can I see where your passions lie? What do you do when you aren’t working? What movies have you seen? What do you collect? What is important to you in this world besides your career?
You are probably asking, “Why do you care?” You are wondering, what your personal life has to do with your work life? .
Look, like I said, I’m trying to make a decision on hiring a new employee. I want someone that is not only a professional fit but someone who is also a cultural fit. My company is filled with people who love reality television, play video games, and check in on Foursquare. I’ve hired some who looked good on paper, but turned out to be loners who’d prefer to code in a dark room than participate in a brainstorm about a new client. And they never worked out. I need to know upfront whether or not you’d be a good fit and whether or not to interview you. Your blog helps me make that determination.
If you are not blogging, start now. Set yourself up on Blogger, Wordpress or Tumblr. It doesn’t cost a thing. Start writing or posting photos. Maybe video is more your thing. Start a YouTube channel. Just do something that shows your personality. Try to post something every few days. It might take you a couple of months to find your voice, the thing you want to share with the world, but it will come, you just have to start.
Again, want an edge over the competition? Blog. And let me know it.
Here is the brutal reality. You are not going to get most of the jobs you apply for. You are not even going to get an interview. When you send in your resume, understand that hundreds of others did the very same thing.
But when you get the interview, and you will get a few, know that you will most likely lose. So lose big.
I have interviewed over 500 people since I started Fanscape 12 years ago. 95% of them were nervous and told me what they thought I wanted to hear. Only a couple of them stood out and only one ever looked me in the eye, stood up, and told me I needed them. That person told me I was missing out on huge opportunities and that they would make those happen for me. That person told me that I didn’t have to pay them much, that they would prove their value immediately, and that soon I would be paying them much more.
I hired that person. That person won more business for me than anyone ever had before. I’ve never forgotten that first meeting. Everyone I’ve met since has been compared in my mind to that person.
Now a different boss might have been turned off by that approach. They might have thrown that person out of the office. That’s the risk you take. Remember, the odds are you are not going to get the job. So if you are going to lose, lose big.
In conclusion, what I’ve explained here is not difficult. It doesn’t cost any money and it doesn’t require any technical experience or training. Everyone can do it. But they don’t. So it’s up to you. You are setting out on the next great adventure in your life. Have fun with it. You are great. You know that. But you are about to meet a lot of people who don’t know that yet. So you need to let them in on your secret. You rule!
One final thing I’d like to share. Many in the working world (especially those of us in the digital marketing world) have seen this video - http://bit.ly/4lsSjE, but it’s incredibly inspirational. It’s a speech given by Gary Vaynerchuck, creator of WineLibrary.tv where he encourages you to “Kill it!” Follow my thoughts, create your personal brand, watch this video and you will in fact, kill it!
Monday, May 17, 2010
MarketingVox. I'm a big user of social media sites that relate to travel and food. If you run into me at a restaurant you'll often see me staring at my phone. I'm Yelping to see what people recommend. I was at the 8oz Burger Bar in Hollywood the other day because I'd bought a Groupon deal. I didn't know what to order so I looked on Yelp. Most people said to go with their "8oz." burger so I did. Good choice. Also, several people warned that the place could be really slow. Equally right on. The food was really good and the server himself wasn't bad, but boy, it shouldn't take 30 minutes to cook a hamburger at a moderately busy lunchtime. I'd go again, just need to make sure I don't have to race back for a meeting.
I have similar stories relating to travel and specifically booking hotels. I'm a huge advocate of Tripadvisor.com, especially for the forums where I can read honest feedback from travelers with similar taste to mine. So the question is, as a hotel or restaurant proprietor, what do you do to counter people's negative comments? According to this article, the advice is to proceed with caution.
Hotels Go On Offensive Against Negative Reviews
Friday, May 14, 2010
I just had a fantastic exchange with a business owner in Eau Claire, Wisconsin that really got my juices flowing. It was a follow up to my blog post the other day about social shopping. I uploaded that post to my iMedia Connection blog too and I've received some great responses as a result. Sherry Mohr owns a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury dealership in Eau Claire and she was asking my opinion on how to reach people who are, well, who are hard to reach. Here is the conversation that took place over the course of a few emails.
Date: May 12, 2010
To: Larry Weintraub
Subject: social media article in imedia connection
I read your article on the Day Spa and the expansion of localize marketing “deals”. I am going to take you up on your offer to email you.
My concern and question:
My husband and I purchased our first business 6 years ago and moved to Eau Claire, WI and renamed our business Eau Claire Ford Lincoln Mercury. We just launched a real time online service scheduling on our web site which involves the option of texting or emailing a reminder for the customers. We also started in Nov a Facebook page which I have been trying to commit to a posting of twice a week and soft more informal communications. We have not promoted hard either of those aspects.
As a local business. I am concerned how to get people like my 24 year old son/his girlfriend and my local Wireless Store Manager who is 28 and married. Both do not have cable or tv. Both use online internet sites to watch TV shows or anything they may want to watch or wait to buy a DVD series of a TV show and justify spending money on the DVD pack vs cable or satellite tv.
HOW DO YOU GET THIS GROUP???????
Facebook..they have to accept us to be a fan. And then how do you market to them IF that happens.
Local TV/Cable seems to be losing viewers to their online storage of old episodes or like HULU.com….No local ads there to buy…….
Newspaper…..Rapidly losing readership and the young don’t even bother at all.
Radio…..As a Ford store…I know how many people are tuning into Satellite Radio and extending their subscription.
Yes, third party advertise on Cars.com…autotrader..etc (yet I am using MY financed inventory to build their brick and mortar site and they keep raising their prices and offering “CONQUEST sponsorships so dealers can eat each other on their web site”…..Not interested in helping play that game long term.
So, as a middle age woman trying to figure out Social Media and spending money on the Internet…confuses me..
Not sure how to control dollars on Google…where to go to determine the legal laws, etc. I definitely, see more and more people shopping and making inquiries on our web-based marketing and scheduling online for their service appointments.
Where do you think a local car dealer should be addressing their social –web base marketing efforts. How to reach those young professionals that don’t use local media?
Thank you for your time and any consideration.
Eau Claire Ford Lincoln Mercury
From: Larry Weintraub
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010
Subject: RE: social media article in imedia connection
Thanks so much for reading my article and for sending me a note.
You are pointing out a key fact. There is so much out there, where do you begin? Right? The options are endless.
My advice is this, put yourself in the shoes of the people you are trying to reach. If you were on the other side of this, why would you want to connect with you? First, why would you want to connect with Eau Claire Ford and second, why would you want to connect with Sherry Mohr?
I am personally thinking about this right now and thinking, why would I want to connect with Eau Claire Ford whether it would be on Facebook, Twitter, or even visit your website? Thoughts:
How do you make that easier for someone? How do you gain their trust.
My answer – make it personal. Give Eau Claire Ford a face. This may be you, but if you can’t devote the appropriate time, and it needs a lot of time, find someone who can.
If Eau Claire has a friendly face via social media (Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.) then people have more reason to “friend/like” or “follow” you. If you can provide information, discounts, etc. then people will follow you because they want to hear what you have to say. Maybe you become a resource for local deals like discounts at restaurants and shops. Yes, you are a Ford dealer, but it doesn’t mean you have to just be a Ford dealer. You can be a community leader that happens to broadcast from your Eau Claire Facebook page.
Again, step back for a minute and think, “what would I want?”
Now, I live in Los Angeles, so this is really hard to do. There is tremendous competition and so much going on here. But my guess is that in Eau Claire, you have less competition. You could be a leader in Social Media in your town because others are probably not doing it.
To me, this would work much better than just advertising. Take the money you might spend on advertising and hire a young college student or something like that to build out your social media footprint. Maybe spend money to drive people to your Facebook page or company blog where they can engage with you. Then subtly brand your dealership. Maybe you have “MeetUps” or “TweetUps” where people gather at your dealership for food fairs or farmer’s markets. Or bake sales or car washes. It’s endless.
I could keep going but I think you get the message. It’s actually really exciting. I’m buzzing here as I write all of this. :-)
Again, I hope this helps. Let me know if it does.
All my best,
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010
To: Larry Weintraub
Subject: RE: social media article in imedia connection
I am so grateful to you!!!!
Your energy…ideas..enthusiasm leaps off the email page!
LOVE IT LOVE IT. Did I say love it!!!
Funny, I just made travel mugs with my catch phrase of “Blacktop café” for customer appreciation week with a coupon inside of it for a free beverage or coffee that we purchased. A local fast food owner gave me free beverage coupons to put in there as long as he could leave buy one get one free coupons in our customer lounge…
I could review fast food drive thru – food item of the week or something similar in a positive review…on our facebook or social media or he probably would love to have a buy one get one free coupon posted on my site free (not big but free for him..and like you said sets me apart..my customers would love to save money too!!!)
So your idea of reviewing outside of ECFLM – food and rest. is a great idea!!!!!!!
Thank you for the extra length in your email reply and ideas….
Do I owe you any money for this wonderful advice. If, so let me know. :-)
No money exchanged hands. LOL. I just asked Sherry if she'd allow me to share this exchange with you all. Which she graciously allowed. Also, she attached a copy of a sample note (see below) that they print and hand out. It is such a beautiful sentiment and makes me wish all businesses did this.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I was on a really good panel last week at the Digital Hollywood conference. The panel was part of the Advertising Platform track and was titled: Advertising Innovation! Broadband, Mobile, In-Video, In-Game, Social Networks, Blogs, and Podcasts. The description of the panel was this:
Advertising is finally discovering and finding its way into the next generation of technology media and entertainment industries. Broadband, mobile, IPTV, cable and interactive TV and of course in games, ads and branded information are being delivered in many forms. The technologies behind ad-insertion, ad serving, on-demand technologies and a full host of back-end management technologies are enabling greater creativity and enhanced options in the relationship between technology and advertising. In this session, we will open an ongoing conversation of how technologies are evolving, where they are heading and how the advertising and branding industries will gain further technology traction.On the panel with me was:
I am Pro. I am a believer in hyper-targeted advertising. I have to see advertising if I want the web to remain “free” so you might as well show me something that interests me. “Creepy” is for the 30+ crowd, kids will grow up with this being a fact of life.
I am Pro. Only adjunct here is that I suggest they have even more data. Ask me more with the transparent argument that if I want to watch IPTV for free then I need to have ads. Make the ads as specific to me as possible. Ads are ok if they give me some reward. Meaning they tell me something that can help me and interests me.
I am Con. Mobile is sacred. Unlike online, the perception is that I pay for my mobile service so don’t bother me with ads. Yes, I pay for online access, but I don’t really think of it that way. I don’t feel like I pay Hulu or ABC when I watch TV. But I don’t want to be bothered with text ads. As mobile converges towards online, then you can give me advertising that is similar to online when I digest content that is similar to online. Means that Hulu type companies need to build out their mobile platforms to take advantage of this.
I am Pro. In game advertising is fine. Again, if the game is free, then I have to expect ads. If I pay, that’s a different story.
I probably lean most towards Pro. The world thinks Facebook is free. What happens if they charge? Will people leave? My assumption is yes because someone will create a free version. If no one would develop a free version then Facebook could start charging. But someone is waiting around the corner with a free version. Therefore monetization via ads and brand sponsored environments are a necessity.
I am Con. Paid tweets are ridiculous. They cheapen the blogger / twitterer for sure. Now, if I’m a tweeter or blogger and I truly love a product, I will share it. If I share it and then the brand wants to talk to me about some form of above board integration, I’m game.
I am Pro. I agree with the Motrin research in that it really was a few loud mouths that shut down the campaign and most women never saw it nor did they think it was bad. It was an early reaction to the power of social media. In the future this won’t get shut down so fast. Brand communities on Soc-Nets are growing at incredible rates. Brands can easily have hundreds of thousands of “fans” fairly quickly. This is your core audience. The ones you want to reach. Oftentimes the evangelists and big voices. So you want to address things here and quickly.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Yesterday I posted a letter I sent to friend about kids growing up in a social media world. I got a great comment on my post by Rich Ullman and he pointed me to an article in the NY Times from a few months back. The angle was that innovation is moving at such a breakneck pace that even ten year olds will be old fogies by the time their younger siblings reach their age.
LarryI highly recommend that you read the article. Some of my favorite quotes were:
[Speaking about the author's 10 year old daughter] She’ll know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives, and toddler-friendly video games on the iPhone. She’ll see the world a lot differently from her parents.
Researchers are exploring this notion too. They theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.
“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”and
Another bubbling intra-generational gap, as any modern parent knows, is that younger children tend to be ever more artful multitaskers. Studies performed by Dr. Rosen at Cal State show that 16- to 18-year-olds perform seven tasks, on average, in their free time — like texting on the phone, sending instant messages and checking Facebook while sitting in front of the television.
People in their early 20s can handle only six, Dr. Rosen found, and those in their 30s perform about five and a half.and this point supports my theory from my blog post yesterday about privacy
Children my daughter’s age are also more likely to have some relaxed notions about privacy. The idea of a phone or any other device that is persistently aware of its location and screams out its geographic coordinates, even if only to friends, might seem spooky to older age groups.
But the newest batch of Internet users and cellphone owners will find these geo-intelligent tools to be entirely second nature, and may even come to expect all software and hardware to operate in this way.
Here is where corporations can start licking their chops. My daughter and her peers will never be “off the grid.” And they may come to expect that stores will emanate discounts as they walk by them, and that friends can be tracked down anywhere.
“If it’s something you grow up with, you have a completely different comfort with it than someone who has had to unlearn something about the world,” said Mr. Rainie, of the Pew project.Thanks Rich for sharing this article. It's a good one!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I received an email from a friend over the weekend. I just sent him a response but I liked the exchange so I figured I'd share it with you here:
Larry I have a question for you and I figure you would have a handle on this. I have been reading, a little bit, about socialeconomics ie social media and how many people are using. I find it interesting that so many 13-21 year olds use it. What I wonder about and hence the question for you is if these kids are spending so much time socializing on the “web” are the losing the ability to socialize and interact in real life.----------
Monday, May 10, 2010
And it is evolving quickly.
A year ago if you had asked me about social shopping I would have pointed you to Amazon and told you that the product reviews from actual buyers were examples of social shopping. Six months ago I would have told you about shopping aggregation websites like Kaboodle which allow you to view, comment, and receive deals from multiple retailers. Two weeks ago I would have told you about the new Facebook integration into websites like Levi's "Friend Store" and how you can see what your friends like. And today. Well today I'd tell you it's all about what I call the Discount Crowdsourced Shopping Experience (DCSE) being powered by Groupon, Living Social, Gilt, Blackboard Eats, Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) and more.
I'll give you a quick glossary-like description on each referenced DCSE at the end of this post, but first let me explain what this is.
A few months back I wrote a post about a new business ready to take off. What I described there was the advancement of location-based applications like Foursquare, Gowalla, and MyTown combined with recommendation websites like Yelp and Citysearch, and how they were providing huge opportunities for shop owners to drive people into their stores. DCSE's go the next step and offer discounts to drive you into these stores. All of these DCSE's are essentially mailing lists and you get regular (often daily) deals sent to your inbox.
With these DCSE sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, people are flocking to them because the deals are often tremendous, averaging in the neighborhood of 50% off of very desirable products and meals. Groupon is the leader at the moment, but if you know anyone that uses Groupon, odds are they are also using one or more of the others I mentioned. Note: part of this depends where you live. If you are in LA or New York, you can see it in action. If you live in Boise, this hasn't quite gotten to you yet. But the model is working and odds are you will see this soon in your town.
Let me tell you how I know it's working.
Last week Groupon offered a deal to celebrate Mother's Day. A local day spa in Los Angeles, Le Petite Retreat offered two treatments that normally cost $235 for only $79. A 66% discount. Incredible, right? I couldn't resist, so I bought one for my wife.
Guess how many others bought the deal? If you had asked me, I would have said 200. Maybe 300. The answer: 1,332.
Yes! So that is why I can tell you, this is exploding. I don't know the day spa business. But my guess is that this place just booked more business in one day than in the past few months combined. (based on the $79 fee, the small business just grossed over $105,000 in one day.)
Now, this is a good news / bad news situation. Or more like a be careful what you wish for situation. If you are a little shop that gets 20 customers a day. Heck, maybe even 50 on a great day. How do you deal with an influx this big?
I've heard numerous stories lately where people purchased the Groupon or LivingSocial deal only to find out that the place was so inundated that either they couldn't get a reservation for months or that the service and experience was awful.
If it were me and I was the owner of Le Petite Retreat, I would treat every customer that came in through this promotion like they paid $500. Forget that they only paid $79. Assume they paid more than the average customer. Don't ignore your regular patrons, but they already love you. These new customers are just that, new. And you know the saying, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Those 1,300+ people have the power to change your business. Think long term. This is going to be one of the most expensive advertising campaigns you've ever done, but also the most targeted. A true game changer.
But my guess is that they are not prepared to handle this. How could they be? I wonder what they thought would happen from this Groupon promotion? 500 people maybe? I think I'll ask them. If they respond, I'll let you know.
Getting back to the central point of this post. Social shopping is exploding. This is the next big thing. It's not one piece of technology. It's a quick progression in social media merging with eCommerce. And it is very exciting.
As I mentioned in that other post, if you are a shop owner and your product is good, the opportunity is amazing. The best in history. It's targeted, it's relatively easy, and the cost is probably the best investment you can ever make (some of these things are free). Get your head around it. If you can't, hire someone to do this for you. If you can't find anyone, tell your niece or nephew to study this stuff and start trying things. Shoot, tell them to email me, I'll point them in the right direction.
As promised, here's a pseudo glossary to give you some quick explanations of some of these sites.
Groupon and LivingSocial are essentially email lists. Go to their websites, sign up and each day you'll get an email sent to you with a deal. You have one day to buy the deal. You pay in advance and then get an email confirmation that you print out and take with you. A common deal is 50% off. Thus, you might get an offer for $50 in food from a restaurant for $25. You pay in advance and you have a few weeks or sometimes months to actually use the deal. Think of it like buying a gift card. You paid $25 but now you have a voucher for $50.
Blackboard Eats is a similar concept, however, you don't have to buy in advance. You just get an email telling you about a great discount at trendy and often upscale restaurants. If you like the offer, they'll send you a text message or you can print the deal out and take it to the restaurant for your discount. It's a great way to try a restaurant that you've been thinking about but weren't sure about making the investment.
Gilt, also known as Gilt Groupe, is a site that discounts high priced fashion. You have to be invited and once you get the invite, you get daily emails offering you tremendous deals on jewelry, clothing, and other luxury items.
Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) offers amazing discounts on wine in small quantities. You get an email telling you what the deal is right now. As soon as the wine is gone, a new email comes and they are on to the next one. You'll sometimes get 10 or more emails a day but if you are a wine lover, it's a great place to get a deal. Patience is key because you'll often go days or weeks without seeing anything appealing, but you'll look at those emails because missing that one deal will frustrate the heck out of you. Also check out CinderellaWine for a similar offering.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Yesterday I posted the Dell interview. Here is the Starbucks article I referenced. It's older and as we know, things are moving really quickly these days in the world of social media. In fact, I recently heard that Starbucks claims part of their recent upturn in sales is attributed to their social media strategy. (I saw that stat at an ad:tech panel but couldn't find it in a quick online search, so don't quote me on that!).
Like the Dell article, this is good encouraging about where social media is headed.
Starbucks' Social Outreach Stirs the Pot
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I was forwarded this Adweek interview with Erin Nelson, the CMO of Dell. In my opinion, the two companies leading the charge in monetizing through social media are Dell and Starbucks. I'm not saying they are selling more than others, but they are definitely getting the press and attention. It's as though both organizations said, "we're going to be the people who are out in front saying we sell more because of social media."
I'll post the Starbucks interview I read recently in a separate entry. The Dell one is more recent, so here it is:
Dell CMO on How Social Media Is Helping the Brand
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