Using Sex to Sell Social

Fast Company Sexy SOcial Media Cover from September Issue

Perhaps you have seen the September issue of Fast Company.

The cover headline refers to sex and social media with Mindy Kaling’s demure yet suggestive picture. Yet Mindy’s story doesn’t focus on anything about sex.

Instead it discusses how the Office screenwriter built a substantial personal brand on Twitter, and garnered a TV sitcom. It’s even got some cool stats on TV social network sharing.

The cover baits men and women who may be interested in Kaling’s sex appeal and how social media embellishes it.
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Will Social Rule the Marketing World?

54 Percent of All Ad Expenditures in 2010 Were Spent on Direct Marketing

No. It won’t.

The truth? Online media — all forms of it — increasingly rules the world, but social is just a piece of that converged puzzle.

When you look at the numbers direct marketing rules the world, at least from an overall marketing spend perspective (see above chart from the Marketing in the Round infographic), money is being invested in direct tactics like email marketing, direct mail, search, and more first. That’s because the direct marketing approach yields the most ROI at a 10:1 ratio, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
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Marketing in the Round Infographic: The Tip of the Iceberg

Marketing in the Round Infographic

Today, Gini Dietrich and I launch Marketing in the Round in Chicago with a virtual (1 ET) U-Stream book bomb and a live (5 CT) networking event! Read Gini’s post here about how the book happened.

Immersed in the era of visual media, what better way to start the day than with an infographic of statistics used in the book (also available directly on Flickr and Scribd). The RAD Campaign designed infographic demonstrates how today’s online marketing conversation, actual business expenditures, and business selection of tactics are not in synch.

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Why “The Pitch” Will Perpetuate Bad Practices

Perhaps you have seen the preview episode of The Pitch, AMC’s newest show about the advertising industry, which debuts on April 30. In this first episode WDCW competes against McKinney Advertising for a Subway breakfast ad campaign. While dramatic and entertaining, the episode also perpetuates several bad practices that plague the entire marketing sector.

This “reality” TV approach focuses on the tension of competitive pitching for major accounts. It assumes that winning depends on the creative that resonates most with the decision committee. In this case a Mac Lethal video-inspired campaign from McKinney out duels WDCW’s zAMbie campaign for Subway’s breakfast line.

But nowhere in the episode do we see serious conversations about the following:
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Six for Six

Day 71 - Dreidl Die
Image by slgckgc

Next Monday marks the six year anniversary of my first blog post. As I’m blogging less these days, I decided my final post of this year with six reflections based on my experiences over these years. Here are my observations about social media, blogging and marketing based on my journey:

1) The Idealism of Better Business Through Social

When I began blogging, I believed in The Cluetrain Manifesto. Its raw message that businesses would be forced to act better thanks to social media spoke to me. Cluetrain inspired hope that conversations could change the very fiber of business in favor of people. I was full of passion for that change, and my first book Now Is Gone reflected this idealism.

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2012 Trend Spotting: Social TV

(Image by Read/Write/Web, based on research from Yahoo!)

The rise of social TV creates dynamic implications across media type. Viewers are commenting about or engaging with other viewers of TV programs real time via their smartphones, tablets and laptops. This unprecedented integration of diverse broadcast and social media types changes programming, advertising and equipmemt.

In essence, social media and instant messaging forms a massive TV back channel, empowering people to talk about a program as it airs. Programmers see this as an opportunity to engage the audience on the back channel with value added content and live interaction. As a result, engagement has increased.

Last Spring HBO had Howard Stern on Twitter while airing his movie, Private Parts. The effort caused a huge viewing spike for HBO. Talk and reality programs like The Voice and Conan O’Brien are integrating social commentary and feedback into their programming.

Twitter has embraced its role as a social TV back channel. It has created an agreement with the X Factor to create voting features to drive the program’s outcome. Further, Twitter is actively seeking to additional TV programming relationships.

Apps, Ads and Gear

Applications like GetGlue are letting viewers check into shows, and comment as they run. Updates can be broadcasted onto Twitter and Facebook, extending a program’s viewership. On the content creator side, Trendrr is helping programmers and advertisers better understand how stakeholders are using these diverse media.

At the basis of the social TV shift is a transition from passive audiences to engaged, interacting stakeholders, but in addition they are engaged in other non-related content. In essence, when the ads are on, the viewer is gone.

This means that advertisers will be further challenged to evolve their content beyond the 30 second spot. They, too, may be forced to create value added interactive content, similar to some of the Super Bowl ads developed over recent years. This will increase the quantity of high quality branded content developed for social channels.

In the 1997, speculators debated wether a PCTV was possible at the Consumer Electronics Show. Fourteen years, later that vision is coming true. Equipment manufacturers are racing to integrate social elements into their TV equipment, and TV into their computing devices (small and large). Perhaps the most anticipated development here is the possible unveiling of Apple iTV.

Implications

Clearly, more programmers will engage in social TV programming in 2012. Viewership is going down, generally, and social increases real-time engagement. But there is a saturation point that has not been achieved yet. Sooner or later, adding social interaction into a program will no longer be novel, and can’t guarantee a spike.

At the same time, programming that doesn’t offer some sort of back channel value add will risk those who have been accustomed to second screen engagement. According to Yahoo! 86% of smartphone users engage on their phones while watching TV, and recent statistics show smartphone use in the U.S. has surpassed 40%. This is a strong minority of TV viewers.

It also means the continued commercialization of the social web will increase. As media companies seek to harness and own the conversations about their shows, casual peer-to-peer engagement will become less natural. And this may cause conversations about non branded content to become more private as conversationalists seek less noise.

What do you think of social TV? How will it change media?