Marketing


…it’s time to go on a diet.

At a time when many of us are trying to eat healthier, buy local and think / operate sustainably, engaging in social media is like being on a high fat, high carb diet. It just leaves you bloated, tired and ripe for diabetes or ADD.

Personally, I have a history of trying out anything that screams BETA! It’s like a shopohalic seeing a $$Sale$$ sign.

Time for a social media diet?

Still, I’m learning to be more selective with what I try, download and test. I’m weaning myself off the BETAs — and sorting, repurposing or recycling all the “tools” I’ve tried; I’m testing social media in a more responsible manner.

So, not very long ago I was listening to a “This Week in Asia” podcast. I thought it would be very cool to be clued in to what’s hot over there. Well, someone has come up with a Foursquare for Asia. No surprise right? It was all very fascinating until one of the guest hosts jokingly said the new tool could be used to “stalk” a guy you like. She suggested that’s how many people are meeting each other these days.

Ok. Reality is, with the kind of information people share via Foursquare, Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn [reader insert your favorite here], it would unfortunately be pretty easy to pickup a few stalkers.

In fact, as I was writing this post, MSNBC was reporting on a National Center for Victim’s Rights stat that 1 out of 4 victims of stalking are stalked on the Internet! So, it is a real problem.

There are people out there who have lost their sense of boundaries.

Enter…mobile marketing.

What does mobile marketing have to do with social media? Well, according to The Washington Post article, Mobile coupons help retailers track customers,” when you sign up to use mobile coupons, some companies are then pulling your personal information and “relevant” details shared online to create profiles about you: age, gender, income, buying history, websites you’ve visited… current location, geographic routine. Did you know you had a geographic routine?

Did I scare you away from social media, piss you off or confirm what you already knew? Good.

Am I advocating that everyone delete all their accounts and become neo-luddites? Not really.

I am suggesting now is probably a good time to go on a social media diet and be more selective about what we make readily available — or at the very least understand that someone “out there” is just waiting to take advantage of that information.

It’s so easy to get carried away with the desire to be at the forefront of innovation, but sometimes the trade-offs go a little too far… at least for me.

Seen on the DreamGrow Digital blog…a world map of social networks created by Italian writer, blogger and photographer Vincenzo Cosenza.

world map of social networks

The article provides the following rundown of the largest social networks in the world:

Facebook is still strong and on the rise. It is dominating most of the western world, together with Africa, Middle-East and the Pacific region.

Russia, it is still dominated by Odnoklassniki and V Kontakte.

Mixi is mainly dominant in Japan.

China’s QQ, when only usernames are concerned, is the biggest social network in the world.

From BtoB Magazine…

CMOs should take advantage of the current trends in social media and apply them to their marketing mix. Whether or not your budget allows for more traditional spend in areas such as advertising, public relations and events, you’ll get the most bang for your buck online. Social media and online marketing vehicles are transforming marketing in a cost-effective way by offering new means of collaboration in a virtual environment using an authentic voice—yours.   Here are five social media and online marketing tactics frugal marketers should adopt in 2009:

Digital content. Invest in the quality of your content and drive costs out of the production and distribution of your marketing materials.

Tools such as videos, podcasts, webcasts and online newsletters have become ridiculously cheap. Leverage your customers—one of your greatest assets—whenever feasible to be your spokespeople. They are your most effective (and least expensive) advertising. Invest in a low-cost, in-house video studio and utilize talent within your organization; use qualified interns to fill the gaps.

Social networking/collaboration. Keep in touch with your customers, partners and co-workers using such free social networking sites as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Collaboration tools such as wikis are valuable for internal communications and many are free.

Blogs. Encourage your co-workers to blog on your company’s Web site, create their own blogs or comment on industry blogs. Blogs are not only the most authentic voice of your business, they are also cheap to write and publish. Microblogs such as Twitter are beginning to find their way into the enterprise, so get familiar with them.

Virtual events. Travel and conference budgets will be one of the biggest victims of the current downturn. This represents a huge opportunity to reach your target audience through virtual trade shows and interactive webcasts. Additionally, conduct internal and external meetings remotely via videoconferencing.

Search engine marketing. This has emerged as one of the most cost-effective marketing tools. Optimizing your Web pages to your messaging/communication strategy is easy and cheap. Paid search is cost-effective. However, make sure you are purchasing the right terms for your business. The keywords that target your market and differentiate your products will have the highest ROI.

Economic downturns are blessings in disguise for the frugal marketer. An organization’s marketing function plays an even larger role in recessionary times, as limited resources must be applied to the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. As a result, your organization will be in a much stronger position to capitalize during the economy’s resurgence.

Mark Wilson is VP-corporate marketing at Sybase. He can be reached at mark.wilson@sybase.com.

Straight2Market has developed the Visual Dial iPhone app, letting you put folks on visual speed dial.  According to TechCrunch, “Visual Dial lets you add a picture of a friend to the iPhone home page (as if it were an application).”  You can check out a demo of the Germany-based company’s new app here.  Want to part of the private beta test?

Can you imagine having clients, colleagues or friends on visual speed dial?  Could it be linked to Facebook mobile?  Imagine going into Facebook, clicking on a person’s profile photo and dialing them? So hawt!!!

Who is responsible for the marketing, client relations and customer communications efforts behind the $700 billion bailout?
 
In the legal profession, law firms are responding to client concerns by developing new practice groups focused on the economic crisis, according to today’s edition of The National Law Journal.
 
From “recovery task force” to “bail out task force,” firms are moving swiftly to help allay fears and guide clients through this cloud of uncertainty.
 
“Clients are really looking to understand the terms of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act,” the $700 billion bailout package signed into law last week, said Paul Merolla, head of LeClairRyan’s financial services practice group.  Whether clients understand the finer points of the bailout or not, most of them are relieved, he noted.

The American Bar Association apparently even asked law firm Carlton Fields to create a “white paper” on what the bailout plans means.  The analysis is expected to be completed this week.

You may not have created it, you may not like it, but the current economic conditions and credit crisis could be your opportunity to help move clients through this cloud of uncertainty.

You can learn more about the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act at http://financialservices.house.gov/

From mortgage crisis to credit crunch…looks like what was expected to be mainly a problem of Wall Street and those overextended in their mortgages, has come to bite small businesses in the back door. 

According to National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a year has passed since the Federal Reserve declared the existence of a credit crunch.  While I saw significant indications of a downturn last  November, and even prognosticated pending economic changes to near strangers, even I missed that important message.

Now I understand why so many large businesses have been drawing down on their credit lines over the past six months!

So, where does that leave you…the small business owner?

One of my favorite marketing organizations, MarketingProfs, is hosting a webinar on October 10th titled, “Marketing in an Economic Downturn: How the Current Wall Street Crisis Will Affect Professional Marketers.”  Could provide some interesting insight. 

In the meantime, Seth Goldinpoints out by example that as tempting as it may be to try to recoup your losses by raising prices with existing cusotmers…don’t!    

In Seth’s case, it was an insurance company’s repeatedly raising his rate for not reason.  Sound familiar?

If revenue increases enough to make up for the few who quit, you come out ahead. So, quarter after quarter, year after year, repeat the same process. Raise it a little, check to see if revenue rises in aggregate, and repeat.  I’d get the bill, sigh about the fee, consider the hassle of switching, pay the bill and move on.  Until last week. Last week the number was too high.

Push customers too far… they are customers no more.