The Future of Social Media Marketing?


The following article was written by Emily R. Coleman, President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc. When I first read it I absolutely knew that Emily had hit the proverbial nail on the head, and with her permission we’re now adding it to our blog.

A friend recently sent me Evan Bailyn’s Outsmarting Social Media with the instructions to “Read it!”  It’s an interesting book, well worth the time to look at.  Bailyn has some thoughtful and practical suggestions and insights on marketing through Facebook and Twitter (although I think Facebook’s new Timeline has thrown him a curve).

The subtitle of the book is “Profiting in the Age of Friendship Marketing,” and one of Bailyn’s key themes is how social media are changing the way marketers and advertising agencies will be using “influencers.”  With social media, the concept of “influencer” (or “trend setter”) is being brought down from the realm of celebrities to individuals in our lives whose opinions we respect.

What makes this granularity and personalization of influence so potent is that we decide who influences us, taking the guess work out of picking spokespersons.  As we add more and more personal information to our personal social media accounts, and as Facebook and Google (whom Bailyn sees as the main competitors in this emerging arena) perfect algorithms for real-time and truly personalized search, marketers and advertisers will be able to deliver their pitches at the level of the individual.  (In fact, Google has just rolled out its newKnowledge Graph or “semantic web” to make searches more personalized and intuitive.) 

Bailyn foresees the time when ads for sneakers, for example, will be sent to you with a picture of one of your individually chosen influencer friends wearing or endorsing the brand.

As a marketer, that sounds pretty exciting.  People will tell us what they want, what they need, and what they worry about.  Even better, they’ll tell us who they know who would influence their buying decision.  Wow!  My job just got a whole lot easier.

I have no doubt that sometime in the not-too-distant future, women will be getting personalized lingerie ads and Cialis™ promotions will be targeted more precisely.

As an individual, however, the whole thing makes me a little queasy.

It’s probably a generational thing, but I have a profound objection to the notion of my friends becoming shills for products.  Certainly, I’m interested in their opinions and experiences with products and services and just plain stuff.  But when I want those opinions, I’ll ask for them.  (And I really don’t care what underwear my friends prefer.)  More important, as soon as these opinions are co-opted by advertisers, they will be significantly diminished in my eyes.  (Actually, I’d probably get in touch with my friends and ask them if they knew they were being used, and what were they thinking!).

Certainly, the idea of friendship (or relationship) marketing is not new.  It is, after all, the basis for all the multi-level marketing (MLM) programs.

What is new is taking the personal out of the personal relationships, interjecting third-party interests between the individual and the individual’s influencers.

What is new is the coming unprecedented ability to gather and manipulate vast amounts of personal information at the most granular and individual level.

Okay, so I admit it.  I’m old-fashioned.  I’m not looking forward to a brave new world where we put more and more of what used to be private information online.  And I’m not looking forward to a brave new world where that information is increasingly accessed by people I don’t know and is used to try and sell me stuff.  I get enough unsolicited suggestions for how I should spend my money as it is.

I have no issue with companies making billions off “friendship marketing.”  I am a capitalist to my toes. (Though I am probably not going to be a very good target for their campaigns.)

But this data collection (voluntary as it may be) makes me queasy because: 

  • It will probably be a matter of minutes before politicians and political causes catch on to the advantages of granular marketing.  They will obviously use this accessible database for fund-raising, volunteer gathering, and get-out-the-vote drives – at a minimum.
  • How long do you think it will be before politicians and government agencies use this data in less benign ways?
  • What do you think the chances are that all this private and personal information you are consolidating on social media sites will not be hacked?

Okay, I’m old fashioned.  But I fear that in the not-too-distant future, we will be reminiscing about what personal privacy used to mean. 

About Emily R. Coleman

Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc., a consultancy that specializes in helping companies extend their marketing reach and impact.  Her hands-on experience extends from the development and integration of enterprise-wide marketing communications, through the creation and implementation of strategy to achieve business objectives, into the innovation of techniques to ensure that tactics support business strategy.  Dr. Coleman can be reached at ecoleman@colemanmgt.com.  She can be found on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

The Politics of DNT

Came across this brief June 8th, 2012 piece from the Wall Street Journal, “Romney Ads go Mobile.”   The short version is that both the Romney & O’Bama campaigns are using data collected about online users (via an ad service) to target their messages to swing state voters. Makes perfect sense.  Technical and marketing kudos to both teams.  This lack of understanding really hurt McCain in the last election.  Okay – so that’s about the technology – what does this have to do with Do Not Track?

Choice
This type of data collection and use is exactly what the DNT initiative is supposed to address.  The data is not just used by advertisers, it is used by politicians, law enforcement, government and potentially insurance companies or other critical services businesses that can offer or deny us services. This is why organizations such as the ACLU and EFF are so actively involved in the DNT standard setting process.  While the finger gets pointed at the behavioral targeting firms and ad engines, those in the civil rights community are far more concerned about these other uses of personal data. Ignorance is not bliss.  Technology innovations outstrip our ability to understand all the long-term consequences – good or bad. Share or don’t share, but please be aware.

 

The Future of Social Media Marketing? (Republished)

 

This is one that we really liked and wanted to pass along to you.  It was originally posted on May 21, 2012 by Emily R. Coleman.  Dr. Coleman talks from a user’s (and marketer’s) perspective as to her concerns about privacy how much data is being collected through Social Networks.  I hope you find it thought provoking.

 

A friend recently sent me Evan Bailyn’s Outsmarting Social Media with the instructions to “Read it!” It’s an interesting book, well worth the time to look at. Bailyn has some thoughtful and practical suggestions and insights on marketing through Facebook and Twitter (although I think Facebook’s new Timeline has thrown him a curve).

The subtitle of the book is “Profiting in the Age of Friendship Marketing,” and one of Bailyn’s key themes is how social media are changing the way marketers and advertising agencies will be using “influencers.” With social media, the concept of “influencer” (or “trend setter”) is being brought down from the realm of celebrities to individuals in our lives whose opinions we respect.

What makes this granularity and personalization of influence so potent is that we decide who influences us, taking the guess work out of picking spokespersons. As we add more and more personal information to our personal social media accounts, and as Facebook and Google (whom Bailyn sees as the main competitors in this emerging arena) perfect algorithms for real-time and truly personalized search, marketers and advertisers will be able to deliver their pitches at the level of the individual. (In fact, Google has just rolled out its new Knowledge Graph or “semantic web” to make searches more personalized and intuitive.)

Bailyn foresees the time when ads for sneakers, for example, will be sent to you with a picture of one of your individually chosen influencer friends wearing or endorsing the brand.

As a marketer, that sounds pretty exciting. People will tell us what they want, what they need, and what they worry about. Even better, they’ll tell us who they know who would influence their buying decision. Wow! My job just got a whole lot easier.

I have no doubt that sometime in the not-too-distant future, women will be getting personalized lingerie ads and Cialis™ promotions will be targeted more precisely.

As an individual, however, the whole thing makes me a little queasy.

It’s probably a generational thing, but I have a profound objection to the notion of my friends becoming shills for products. Certainly, I’m interested in their opinions and experiences with products and services and just plain stuff. But when I want those opinions, I’ll ask for them. (And I really don’t care what underwear my friends prefer.) More important, as soon as these opinions are co-opted by advertisers, they will be significantly diminished in my eyes. (Actually, I’d probably get in touch with my friends and ask them if they knew they were being used, and what were they thinking!).

Certainly, the idea of friendship (or relationship) marketing is not new. It is, after all, the basis for all the multi-level marketing (MLM) programs.

What is new is taking the personal out of the personal relationships, interjecting third-party interests between the individual and the individual’s influencers.

What is new is the coming unprecedented ability to gather and manipulate vast amounts of personal information at the most granular and individual level.

Okay, so I admit it. I’m old-fashioned. I’m not looking forward to a brave new world where we put more and more of what used to be private information online. And I’m not looking forward to a brave new world where that information is increasingly accessed by people I don’t know and is used to try and sell me stuff. I get enough unsolicited suggestions for how I should spend my money as it is.

I have no issue with companies making billions off “friendship marketing.” I am a capitalist to my toes. (Though I am probably not going to be a very good target for their campaigns.)

But this data collection (voluntary as it may be) makes me queasy because:

♦ It will probably be a matter of minutes before politicians and political causes catch on to the advantages of granular marketing. They will obviously use this accessible database for fund-raising, volunteer gathering, and get-out-the-vote drives – at a minimum.

♦ How long do you think it will be before politicians and government agencies use this data in less benign ways?

♦ What do you think the chances are that all this private and personal information you are consolidating on social media sites will not be hacked?

Okay, I’m old fashioned. But I fear that in the not-too-distant future, we will be reminiscing about what personal privacy used to mean.

 

About Emily R. Coleman

Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc, a firm that specializes helping companies expand their marketing reach and revenue streams. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 100 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman’s expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing communications to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding. Ask how Dr. Coleman can help your company. She can be reached at 201-836-9070 or at ecoleman@colemanmgt.com

Why Privacy cannot be a Web Service

Service

There’s a tendency when you have a hammer to think that everything looks like a nail. There’s plenty of “nails” out there to hammer with your web service, however Privacy isn’t one of them.

Why not?

In a nutshell – Because I want to be in control of the collection, flow and use of my data, AND I don’t want that data stored on a server anywhere where it’s open to others. What a web service does really well is to store and process lots and lots of data. Remember when Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks? The answer was simple – because it’s where the money is.

And that’s exactly the case when it comes to my private data. It’s far more profitable to the hackers to attack a data center rich with personal information than to try and access the data from my one device. They can access millions of records vs. a single record. Pretty much a no brainer when it comes to collect people’s valuable data.

Web services are springing up that store your private data for you, and then share that on an as needed basis with Web content providers that you authorize. Sounds pretty good so far (apart from the storage issue). They can charge a fee to manage your privacy. (Hmmm why can’t I manage my own privacy for nothing?)

But that’s not the problem – the problem is the content provider who you share the data with. You have no idea what they’re really doing with you data. What I want is a simple, easy to use solution that allows me to directly build a trusted relationship with a content provider and gives me a choice in how and what I share on a real time basis.

You don’t need an intermediary web service for that. And certainly not one that charges you for the privilege of storing your private data.

 

Choice – The Lynchpin to Online Privacy

 

Lynchpin

Choice – such a simple word, and yet so misunderstood when it comes to privacy. All I really want is a say in how people use my private data. I want to participate in the process vs. getting frozen out.

In the last few days Microsoft shipped the pre-release version of Windows 8. In doing so they stunned the online privacy community. There crime? They dared to make a choice for the user. In the browser they turned on the default setting for Do Not Track which offers the highest level of privacy.

Quelle Horreur (isn’t that awful). They made a choice for the consumer. The advertising community immediately launched a PR campaign decrying the approach. Let users make the choice on their own they screamed – and to some extent I have to agree. But (there’s always a but) you have to remember that Microsoft is a global OS company and ships their software to countries that have far more stringent privacy laws than ours. Nobody wants to ship an OS that by default opens them up to litigation.

And so they made a choice. In the US the W3C group tasked with coming up with a solution for online privacy is in a quandary. What should they do? Some want the default setting to be the same as Windows 8, and yet others (from the advertising community) argue for doing nothing (no settings are made).

I think we should add a single word here that can help us resolve this issue. “Informed” as in informed choice. If the W3C wants the default set to no settings, then they must offer a choice to the consumer when they go to install the browser.

Simply doing nothing is not a choice when it comes to privacy, and only perpetuates the already high levels of mistrust within the online community.