Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things Media

Tag Archives: Hype

Moments Happen Every Day

As we move to an age of what some are calling “real time marketing” we need to consider how to make our marketing more meaningful. This past Super Bowl was a tipping point for brands who might have been on the fence about social media marketing. Efforts by Audi, Oreo and Walgreens highlighted how providing quick and contextual marketing during an event can breakthrough. This post by Jay Baer does a great job of highlighting how hard it is to do great marketing. Notice, I didn’t say great social marketing or great “real time marketing.” I said great marketing. Getting to great marketing is tough. It takes a near perfect storm of the right brand, the right team, the right opportunity and the right stage.

The key for making a lot of this work is being honest about the social currency your brand has. Not all brands have a natural social currency that leads to a natural intersection of pop culture (eg The Oscars) and marketing. Additionally, I can’t stress enough the importance of planning. “Real Time Marketing” or whatever we need to call it, isn’t just about events, it’s about being in the moment…and moments happen every day, not just during the Super Bowl, Oscars or Grammy’s.

I tend to think this is less about real time marketing and more about right time marketing. Real time marketing, as currently conceived, seems almost forced. It’s being fast for the sake of being fast. Right time marketing is more about making sure the right message, is delivered at the right time to the right audience. This isn’t easy. It takes work. It takes effort. It’s a process. It’s a marathon.

It definitely requires some new wiring internally. That re-wiring takes time. But, eventually the muscle memory gets there and it simply becomes the way you create amazing experiences.

As I turn the lens inward, we’ve evolved in the last year. I see progress every day. We, like many brands, definitely stepped up our game following the Super Bowl. For example, this effort by our Campbell Kitchen team during the Grammy’s sticks out as nailing the right moment with the right creative at the right time:

There’s still work to be done. We’re not 100% bright. No one is. That’s the fun.

There’s a certain level of “geek” in all of us. It’s part of what gets us excited when we see a great ad. One of the most challenging things is balancing the inner-geek with what’s right for the business. The inner-geek wants to do the things that are interesting, cool, innovative and headline grabbing. But, I have a responsibility to my team, the great brands I work on and the company who trusted me in this position. The easiest way to temper that inner-geek is to remind myself it’s about driving a brand’s success, not my own personal success.

The 10 Simple Steps To Social Media Success

Ok, I lied. There is no 10 step plan. There’s not a 5 step plan. It doesn’t exist. Just doesn’t. Stop looking for it. It kills me, daily, to see posts written from publications and would be experts, spouting advice…offering some holy grail of a playbook. It’s bad for all of us.

You want the truth? Social Media is HARD. It’s not even on the same continent as easy. It’s painfully difficult. Well, it’s hard and difficult to do it right…to do more than simply optimize Facebook posts or recommend what content to pin. If there’s one thing I’ve seen up close and very personal, social media ain’t easy.

To trick yourself into believing the answers can be found in a book, at a conference or in some blog post, is to set yourself up for a path to failure. You have to constantly try different things. You have to fail…repeatedly…over and over. You have to get frustrated. You have to get to the point of wanting to quit, because it’s gotten too tough, but then you come back the next day with even more resolve to succeed. I’m serious. It’s not until you find yourself in one of those conversations, where you can’t believe that person A or team X is really debating the merits of doing [insert idea] in social, that you’ll finally be ready to understand how hard it really is.

Stop looking for the quick fix. Don’t read the 10 Simple Steps To Social Media Success, posts…they’re simply holding you back. Get into the thick of it. Mix it up. Experiment. Learn. Fail. Experiment again and again. If I could impart one legitimate piece of advice to someone looking to lead social media at an organization it would be to study the 20 to 30 people in this world, who understand social media and are doing it every day, at scale for complex organizations. Pay more attention to Scott Monty than Chris Brogan. Study Rick Wion and pass on the books from Mack Collier. Pick up a phone and call Scott Gulbransen, I bet he’ll pick up, and pass on the call from so called social media consultancy with all the answers.

The truth, the honest truth, there’s a really small group of people who have succesfully built and lead social media at complex organizations. They’re out there though. And I have a feeling, they’d tell you, what I just said: social media is HARD.

The Hype Of LoSoMo

For about the last 5 or 7 years we’ve been teased with the concept that “this” was the year of mobile. I heard it in 2005, heard it a lot in 2009 and couldn’t dodge it in 2011. I think it’s safe to say that in 2012 mobile is here.

With Social Media activities dominating people’s time online; these days it’s more than 20% of internet usage, we certainly would all agree that social media is here to stay and will continue to become bigger.

And, the emphasis on local is unquestioned. You need only look at the investments by companies like Google, Apple and AOL to know that local is more relevant now that it was even pre-internet. We want local news, deals and information about things to do. It’s not that we don’t care about the national scene, it’s that local has become increasingly relevant with the instantaneous nature of the web. Like, love, hate, question or shun Groupon, you can’t disagree with how smart their Groupon Now concept is.  That’s local. That’s often mobile. And that’s relevant.

As marketers we love to create new buzz words or marketing “handles” that shape a conversation or drive toward a common vision. Last year, was the first time I remember hearing LoSoMo. It was heralded as the holy grail of marketing opportunity. You had local, social and mobile all theoretically intersecting to provide opportunity for marketers and value for customers. It’s the classic marketing win-win!

In 2009 I wrote two posts about the intersection of local and mobile. The first was titled, It’s Not Who You Are – It’s Where You Are.  This post focused on the opportunity mobile and local provided. It eliminated, on some level, the concept of demographics, because you could market based on proximity instead of a traditional funnel model that started with a broad audience.  If you will, this was LoMo.  A few weeks later I wrote a post titled, It’s Now About Where You Are – It’s About Who You’re With. In that post, I wrote:

Where our friends are can impact where we work, where we eat lunch, the gym we belong to, and yes the social communities we join.

Think about it. Experiences are amplified when they’re shared. But, I don’t mean sharing in the way we’ve used sharing these days.  The kind of sharing, where you saw something, so you “share” it on social networks. No, I mean eating dinner with your mom or attending a live concert with your best friend…hearing that one song and both of you geeking off of the energy.  That’s the real sharing I’m talking about. That’s LoSo.

Take a second and think about the last time you had a truly Local, Social AND Mobile experience.  Still scratching your head? Good. This is the problem with the LoSoMo concept. Platforms like foursquare, which I LOVE, were heralded as the perfect example of how to integrate Local, Social and Mobile.  But, does foursquare and its brethren really do that?  Think about a foursquare experience:

  1. Open up the app
  2. Choose check-in
  3. Find the location you’re already at
  4. Maybe see who’s already there, what deal is available, who’s been there, or what tips are available
  5. Check-in
  6. Earn a deal
  7. Redeem deal
  8. Share that you just scored a deal

On the surfact it looks like the perfect ven diagram of LoSoMo, but dig a little deeper. It’s actually, at best, a 2-stage process of LoMo and MoSo.  Steps 1 – 3 and 5 – 7 are all LoMo. There’s nothing social about those activities. Step 8 is definitely MoSo; you’re sharing information with your “friends” via a mobile platform. It’s local to you, but not local to them.  The only step, you could argue that fits the criteria for LoSoMo is step 4.  But, step 4 only becomes LoSoMo IF your friends had been to the location before, had left a tip that impact your decision OR by chance they were already checked in which is why you chose the location. But, think about this for a second. How likely is that?

So sure, LoSoMo could happen, but it’s a small small small opportunity, because our natural behavior isn’t LoSoMo oriented.  Our natural behavior is LoMo or MoSo. It’s just simply rare that you get all 3 to happen. Not because it isn’t possible, but because it doesn’t fit how we normally interact.  As marketers, we’re desperate to innovate. We’re desperate to reinvent. We’re desperate to come up with a new model that fits the opportunity we believe exists.  But, doesn’t that make us poor marketers? Shouldn’t we be looking for the opportunity instead of trying to force it to happen?

Just so you don’t think this is all conjecture, I want you to consider 3 things:

1. There are serious privacy concerns and questions being asked by the Government and Users. Facebook, the largest social network out there has re-dedicated themselves to privacy. That means this concept of “frictionless” sharing that Zuckerberg wants to see, becomes tougher to execute. But, you need a comfort level with privacy to realize the possibility of LoSoMo. Not just a comfort level from the end user, but a comfort level from the platform creators. If you’re a platform creator and erring to far on the side of “frictionless” sharing, you’ll draw the attention of the government.

2. Take on a little bit of Me-Search. How many LoSoMo interactions have you actually participated in, in the last 30 days. Be honest with yourself.

3. We’re seeing a major shift towards smaller, less open, more private social networks and concepts. Look at Google+, Path and Oink. The concept of open and everyone is dying. Users want control and they are taking control back with the help of platforms who understand this trend.

I see a world, in a few years, where LoSoMo becomes a real opportunity. But, it’s going to take better infrastructure (eg 4G, enhanced POS), greater comfort with privacy or lack there of, platforms that work at scale and continued adoption of social behavior.  The hype of LoSoMo is simply not ready to be realized.

The Social Media Gravy Train Is Over

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to share my thoughts at DiGi Day Social on how organizations are evolving to drive social for their business. The slides from the presentation can he seen here:

And the full presentation, including the Q&A, can be seen here:

Social is growing up. Organizations are getting more sophisticated.  Much like 1997 when organizations starting hiding credible, battle tested leaders to manage digital marketing, we’re seeing organizations take control of their potential by hiring Sr. Leaders to head up social media. These Sr. Leaders don’t have the luxury or interest in talking in hype.  Expectations are high and results rule the day.  Companies and consultants that are selling social media services need to up their game.  The day when a company could walk in and sell a concept or service without accountability is nearing it’s end.  If we want social to have a seat at the adult’s table, we need to start treating like something that matters.

The Real iPad Review

I bought my nearly 3 year old daughter an iPad this morning.  Yeap, I walked right up to the Apple Store at the Mall of America and waited behind 6 other people to purchase the iPad.  She loves it.  She absolutely loves the iPad.  Since the moment I placed it in her hands she hasn’t put it down.

Is the iPad a killer device?  Is it a game changing device?  Will you love it?  The simple answer is YES…so long as you have the mindset of a 3 year old.  Harsh?  Yes.  But, it’s the truth.  Let me break it down.

The iPad is literally a larger version of the iPhone.  When I say literally, I literally mean literally.  Everything the iPhone can do, the iPad can do.  Or rather everything the iPhone can’t do, the iPad can’t do…and it can do even less than the iPhone 3Gs.

Do you like a linear approach for doing things?  If so, the iPad is perfect for you.  Everything about the iPad interface is linear.  Every desired final action is accomplished through a series of taps.  Want to read a book?  Cool.  Tap the home button.  Tap the iBook app.  Tap the library view.  Tap the book you want to read.  Hopefully, you’re getting the point.  Some will call this brilliant.  I call it rudimentary and lacking, especially when you consider that you’ll be doing a lot of tapping since there is STILL no multi-tasking functionality.  Yes, just like the iPhone, you can’t switch between apps.  If you’re watching a movie and want to tweet a comment about it, you’ll need to exit the movie app, switch to the twitter app, tweet away, close the twitter app, re-launch the movie app, tap to resume the movie…etc.  We’re on the 3rd evolution of the iPhone and the 1st evolution of the iPad…and we still have NO multi-tasking capabilities.

The iPad, by design (weight, size, etc.) competes directly against netbooks.  You’ll find that that iPad costs significantly more than most netbooks, but lacks basic computing features that have been around for more than 20 years.  For example, you will not be able to create folders, move files between folders, rename files, edit files, upload a file, download a file, etc.  Sad.  Remember when I said it lacks features that even the iPhone 3Gs has?  Well, the big one is and integrated camera.  The iPad was tailor made for video conferencing, video streaming, video chatting, etc.  But, Apple opted to eliminate this feature.  Ugh.

The screen is beautiful, bright, vibrant, full of rich colors and a joy to look at it.  Unless of course you’ve used it for more than a minute.  Just like an iPhone you’ll find yourself wanting/needing to clean the screen every 10 minutes.  Except, unlike the iPhone, you won’t be using your shirt or pants to do so :)  Oh, and unlike the iPhone, Apple opted NOT to include a screen cleaner.  Just lame.

Sounds coming from the built-in speakers are acceptable.  They’re no substitute for your computer speakers, headphones, or home theater.  But, they do the job when it’s quiet.  However, when my nearly one year old was in the room creating more ambient noise, it was difficult to clearly hear the dialog in the movie Coraline.  Keep in mind, this was when the speakers were turned all the way up.

Apple talks about the size of the iPad as a positive feature.  I agree and disagree.  Is the the iPad sleek?  Yes!  Is it thin?  You bet!  Is it contoured nicely?  Yeaper!  But, it’s still large and not portable by any stretch of the imagination.  You won’t be grabbing for your iPad every time you’re headed out.  That’s an unrealistic expectation anyway.  But, even if you’re a traveler, like me, you’ll think twice.  Why?  Because you’re already traveling with your iPhone (or in my case a Nexus One) and your laptop.  Do you really need both of those and a iPad on the plane?  Can you imagine having yet another item to get through the airport security line?  Oyve!

As a substitute for a book, I find it lacking.  Here’s why. One, you’d never read with it by the pool because the outside light is too blinding and you can’t get the iPad wet.  Two, you’d never read with it in the tub because just as with a pool, you don’t want to get it wet.  Three, would you really take it into the bathroom to read like the 71% of people who indicated they read in the bathroom?  I didn’t think so.  All that aside, the most maddening thing is their are simply way too many options for books on the iPad.  This is a true example of the Paradox of Choice.  Seriously.  You have your Kindle books.  You have your iBooks.  You have 3rd party books like the Cat in The Hat that sit on the screen like apps.  You also have content category aggregator apps like the Marvel Comic Book app.  Each of these apps requires you to have a unique login and each manages the content purchased in that app separately from the rest of the apps.  What does that mean?  That means there is no ONE app to see ALL your books.  You need to manage book libraries across multiple apps.  Add in magazine and newspaper apps and you have chaos.

One of the coolest features of the iPad unfortunately requires a $29.99 adaptor.  You can setup the iPad to be a digital picture frame.  I love this idea especially when you consider the cost of many high quality digital picture frames.  But, requiring an incremental $29.99 investment is just adding insult to injury.

No USB, no camera, no replaceable battery, no ability to create content and heck no cleaning cloth.  I could deal with all of these shortcomings and flaws if the price was something like $349.99 (in line with iPod Touch), but not at $499.99 (minimum).  At $349.99 it would be a nice affordable stretch and step up from an iPod and complimentary to a laptop.  But, at $499.99 I just don’t see how a current iPhone or MabBook user will find value in a device that does less than both of those devices.

This of course begs the question, why did I buy one?  Two reasons.  One, my job and why I’m good at it, is to be on and ahead of trend.  I need to understand what technology can do, can’t do, will do and might do for our clients.  Having an iPad in the house will help me do that.  Two, I genuinely believe as FastCompany does, that kids today will benefit from tools like the iPad.

Let’s just be honest for a second.  What need does the iPad deliver on?  What consumer problem does it solve?  The answer to both is nothing.  It’s essentially a bright shiny Apple object and that’s exactly why you’ll buy it.  However, what I think you’ll find is that just like so many other bright shiny objects, you’ll be bored with it fairly quickly.  Unless of course you’re a 3 year old; then you’ll love it and never want to put it down.

UPDATED: April 5, 2010
Is my review harsh? Possibly. Is it fair? Absolutely. I thought you might want to check out what some other industry leaders, who aren’t blinded by the bright shiny Apply object syndrome, had to say about the iPad.

Dave Winer
“Today it’s something to play with, not something to use. That’s the kind way to say it. The direct way: It’s a toy.”

Jeff Jarvis
“I tweeted earlier that after having slept with her (Ms. iPad), I woke up with morning-after regrets. She’s sweet and pretty but shallow and vapid.” and “The iPad is retrograde. It tries to turn us back into an audience again. That is why media companies and advertisers are embracing it so fervently, because they think it returns us all to their good old days when we just consumed, we didn’t create, when they controlled our media experience and business models and we came to them.”

BusinessWeek
“People who predicted that the iPad would kill the market for dedicated E-Ink readers are dead wrong. If anything, the iPad is the amazing, magical device that proves the value of E-Ink.

Don’t believe me? Take an iPad to the beach someday and try to spend the afternoon reading. You’ll be lucky if you can see around your own reflection long enough to finish a paragraph of text.”

David Pogue
“There’s no multitasking, either. It’s one app at a time, just like on the iPhone. Plus no U.S.B. jacks and no camera. Bye-bye, Skype video chats. You know Apple is just leaving stuff out for next year’s model.

The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works. Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?”