- Twits Can Ruin a Social Media Strategy– A campaign advisor to Senator
Scott Brown and presidential candidate Mitt Romney stirred up a media firestorm for his bosses when he created a twitter account using the name @crazykhazei to make fun of Alan Khazei, who is running against Brown for the Massachusetts Senate seat that Brown now holds. The campaign aide, Eric Fehrnstrom might have stayed under the radar with his tweets – which Senator Brown says he didn’t know about – except that he made a mistake: he sent a tweet from the wrong Twitter account. The lesson for marketers: One of the strengths of social media is also one of the things that give marketers ulcers. Social media gives everyone working on a campaign – be it a political campaign or a marketing campaign – a public-facing way to show their support. It’s the ultimate democracy where a 20-year-old intern can reach the same audience as a senior manager. So training, policies, and a clear understanding of the rules is essential – and it needs to be ongoing.
- Policing Social Networks – After riots in Vancouver and London, law enforcement turned to social networks to help them identify looters and rioters with good results. Now, police forces in the UK are putting together a plan to turn social media into a primary community outreach forum to engage citizens, allow people to report crimes, and share information with the police. The London Metropolitan Police force’s Twitter account was used extensively to communicate during the recent riots that blighted the city, and even now updates are still being given out as to how many arrests and convictions have been made. The lesson for marketers: If law enforcement can use social media to engage the public in solving community problems (like reporting crimes, or identifying participants), and also to deliver real-time updates on emergency situations, then so can corporations. For instance, in a weather emergency (hurricane, earthquake, blizzard) it could be a way to let people know about store closures, the availability of supplies, power outages, and so on. Cell phones often work when the power is off – and with fewer people owning portable radios these days, they become a lifeline for emergency information.
- Interactive Marketing Spend Will Near $77 Billion By 2016 — Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk took to the Forbes magazine blog to report that by 2016, advertisers will spend $77 billion on interactive marketing – as much as they do on television today. Search marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing, email marketing, and social media will grow to 35% of all advertising spend within the next five years. One surprise in her article is that Forrester is projecting “moderate growth” in social media marketing while mobile overtakes social during the last quarter of 2011. The lesson for marketers: If you haven’t yet updated your own personal skill set, it’s time to start thinking about the future. And if interactive marketing isn’t a growing part of your budget planning for 2012, you may be left behind as competitors follow consumers into newer media.
- “Highly questionable Evidence” in Copyright Claims Taint Cases– Mike Masnick wrote this week in his Copyright column on the TechDirt website that a popular “anti-piracy” tracking technology used by many copyright litigators was found to be “notably wanting” by a European court, which wrote in an opinion that “the tracking software is not very good at actually identifying infringement, since it fails to determine if any work is actually shared.” In fact, it seems that the particular product only identifies that a copyrighted work was “made available” – not that a specific person actually downloaded it. The ruling may put at risk more than 100,000 pending cases in the U.S. filed by a Washington D.C. law firm which used the same software as the basis for its claims. The lesson for marketers: Regardless of whether you think your firm may ever be drawn into a copyright infringement case or not, understanding the terminology and the rules matters. And so does “due diligence” on software products that make specific claims about monitoring your brand or intellectual property online. If the people using this tool as the basis for protecting their copyrights had understood what it actually did – and what it couldn’t do – their IP might have been better protected, and so would the company’s reputation.
- Steve Jobs: The Core of Apple’s Marketing? — The sad announcement this week that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is stepping down due to pancreatic cancer had nearly every journalist, blogger, and pundit scrambling for an “angle” – and more than a few PR people who wound up with egg on their face when they wrote hilariously inappropriate pitches in an attempt to get coverage for their clients on some far-fetched link to Jobs. (Some of the tweets from journalists publicly scolding the worst offenders are so pointed and funny they should be required reading in every PR or marketing class.) But the truth of the matter remains that Steve Jobs has been so central to Apple’s marketing efforts over the years that it’s hard to see how the company will be able to move on quickly with new leadership. The lesson for marketers: Consistency and brand identify are important, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote two centuries ago, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Apple has known for several years that its beloved CEO was ill, and has tried (unsuccessfully) to divert media attention and coverage to other company representatives. Perhaps a better strategy might have been to avoid creating the cult-like following the CEO achieved by not linking the brand so irrevocably to one person over so many years.