Tag Archives: Marketing

Social capital & the strength of weak ties

Following a RT from the Herdmeister this presentation has much to get your head around.  For me the exploration of weak and strong ties, social capital and norms echoes a book on economics I read on holiday last week ( I know, I have a real life on order, just Amazon couldn’t deliver in time) – Diane Coyle’s “The Soulful Science”.

From the slideshow it looks like the Guardian are trying to measure connectedness, a theme of econometrics geeks as well. As behavioural economics inches closer to social sciences and indeed social marketing there is a niche market opening up perhaps…

Oh and Diane Coyle has one mention of transport planners in the 250+ pages, in the concluding section on where economic research has “improved policy and made people’s lives better”:

“Not all transport planners make use of good economics, but where they have the efficiency and impact of the schemes has been transformed”

Thanks, that will be us then 🙂

Measurement

It is a truism that there’s no shortage of advice on social media measurement, just not one silver bullet solution that everyone gets… coming at this from a real world engineering perspective I understand the difficulties, just as I am impatient for a solution.

Looking for answers I noted that this post even mentions the traditional engineers approach, not just asking what is being measured, but why are we measuring it?

For example is this guy right in his chosen objectives in his slideshare presentation, Social Media ROI? That link came from we are social and again this month their blog focuses on measurement. I like their approach to dis-aggregating the different media impacts, depending on whether you are looking for a quick hit or long term relationship:

Working on a campaign in Brighton with our friends at Qube I have been doing my own research on social marketing measurement just so I can understand the questions I have to ask as a client – “What does success look like?”

I keep coming back to the resources on Measurementcamp, I can just about see how you can measure the success of selling a product through SM, for example, but not so sure about pushing a concept or position ( “think how you travel”)?

This is a Sunday morning  “where do I go next” blog post, fuelled by a big mug of tea and pain au chocolat…

3:31 minutes to explain it all

I have been looking for a quick way to explain to clients the move from the broadcast model to social marketing – this just may be the answer. Enjoy.

So what is the risk?

From the Digital Life, Design 2009 conference I found this video of a discussion with Daniel Kahneman (2002 Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of “Fooled by Randomness” and “The Black Swan”). In “Reflections on a Crisis” they explore how economic behaviours, bias and risk taking got us to where we are in the global recession and how counter-intuitive actions may help us recover.

DLD is not a conference that I was too aware of until recently, but with the benefit of offering all their sessions on video we can all get the benefits without a trip to Munich (although I may be making the case for a ticket to next years event!). Other speakers videos this year well worth watching include Dan Airely (of course!), David Weinberger “Knowledge in the Age of Abundance” , Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook growth and where next and a panel on Internet Politics in the age of the first “Internet President”.

“Motorcycles finally go green” – really?

Wired Autoblog closes the year with a roundup of the half a dozen green bike orientated stories it has already run. No “new” news but OK as an intro to the subject. The article and comments pickup on the difference (for existing bikes) between good fuel economy – tick – and low pollution – uh, not really. As my Aprilia hardly gets 30mpg and 120 miles on a tank I am not even sure on the first point…

The more discussion the better, but I can’t see a lot more R&D money going into it in the next few years unless battery technology really changes.

PS why? – as usual the US comments have their kicks at the liberals and big government, or hit back at the failure of free markets – is every blog post on any topic grist to the mill for this poorly thought out rhetoric? Play nicely, children…

Measure your influence

Are there trustworthy analytics/metrics for measuring “influence”? In the web 2.0 world we count hits on the blog, friends on Facebook, Twitter stats, etc.

According to Twinfluence I have a Twitter rank of #8,862 and:

  • Velocity: 1,020 second-order followers/day
  • Social Capital: 56,171.6 +10.6 Very High
  • Centralization: 55.50% / -0.5 Average – Fragile

To understand this read a “Web Analytics Demystified” blogpost from Eric Peterson here –  in truth it means I am selective who I follow and who I allow to follow me – the figures can be manipulated…

He also talks about the Twitter ratio – mine is less than 1.0, pretty normal:

  • “A ratio of less than 1.0 indicates that you are seeking knowledge (and Twitter Friends), but not getting much Twitter Love in return.
  • A ratio of around 1.0 means you are respected among your peers. Either that or you follow your Mom and she follows you.
  • A ratio of 2.0 or above shows that you are a popular person and people want to hear what you have to say. You might be a thought leader in your community.
  • A ratio 10 or higher indicates that you’re either a Rock Star in your field or you are an elitist and you cannot be bothered by Twitter’s mindless chatter. You like to hear yourself talk. Luckily others like to hear you talk, too. You may be an ass. “

If I start using social media to get my my “numbers” up – on whatever media – is that building a brand or ego bombing your constituency? Peterson says:

“Hey, the two things I spend the most time on in Twitter is trying to find great people to follow and trying to share interesting ideas.”

Same here, although because the UK hasn’t got Twitter into the mainstream yet ( and certainly not non IT folk) I am not surprised that it is less effective in getting conversations going.

twitter

To come back to the original question web analytics are good on numbers (and can be gamed), but understanding influence in the wider sense (how to achieve behaviour change) is more than a numbers game (sorry).

Smartest guys in the room

Imagine the scene – you get Dan Kahneman, Richard Thaler, Sendhil Mullainathan in a room in California to deliver a master class on behavourial economics, courtesy of Edge. In the audience you have Jeff Bezos, Nathan Myhrvold, Danny Hillis, Ev Williams, George Dyson and other A listers.

6 sessions, with videos and text, plus Q&A.  As an example  – session 1 – Thaler’s Nudge theory, choice architecture and “libertarian paternalism” are explored – interesting that he was going to call his book “Everything Matters”.  I like the phrase “one click paternalism” as well if not the possible negative outcome. Maybe we can get the opt out choice architecture right on our company car share scheme.

While its not an instant fix – behavioral econ rarely is – its worth the investment in time to get up to speed on the basics.

BTW The use of the Enron film title is just me being ironic…

Tom’s wise words – for free

Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for the heads up on Tom Peters free stuff corner of his website. Amongst the management advice is a “Change This” Manifesto (another favourite site) that I must have missed first time around in 2006  – “111 Ridiculously Obvious Thoughts on Selling” :

13. Lunch with at least one weirdo per month (goal: always on the prowl for interesting new stuff)

30. You can’t do it all – be clear what you are good at, bad at, indifferent at. Hubris sucks. 

47. Know more than the next guy. Homework pays.

76. IT’S ALWAYS YOUR PROBLEM – you sold it to them.

In a recession we also have wise words from Jason Calacanis, who has got a lot of traffic for his take on survival. Interestingly first distributed by mass email on Jasonlist, not via his blog – see the 120% Solution, now finally published on the blog here.

Also from Guy Kawasaki’s blog, discrediting the A list social media meme, but not the “influencers like you and me” idea, talks about the use of  Twitter as a marketing tool:

Forget the “influentials.”You must buy into the theory that products and services reach critical mass because mere mortals spread the word for you. This defies the common wisdom that a handful of “influentials” shape what the rest of us try and what we adopt. In the online world, these influentials include Mike “I can go a week without Twitter” Arrington, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin, and to some extent me.

Reliance on influentials is flawed because the Internet has flattened and democratized information. Influentials don’t have as much special access, special knowledge, and distribution as you might think because of the growth of websites, blogs, and, of course, Twitter.

Social media experts needed?

Well what I need now are some social media marketing businesses to work with on a project in Brighton (lets see if this sentence gets picked up by a potential business partner, by osmosis or Google)…

While doing my research I came across the debate in various blogs on the fate of the self appointed/publicly acclaimed experts as well as the corporate social media specialists and the hired guns (and much speculation whether they will/can survive the recession?)  Examples include Shel Israel’s  post and the highly relevant comments – as Shel says in his open letter to CEOs –

“This is the time to think about the most efficient way to be closest to you customers, to what’s left of your company ecosystem. You need to be among the first to detect the nuances of your market and adjust. You need to think about the most efficient way to keep in the conversation. “

Enough to encourage Hugh MacLeod to produce several (tongue in cheek) Social Media Specialist drawings :

Someone said in one of the blog comments that the only proof of SM expertise is results – agreed, so thats what I am looking for.

Who do you trust?

David Cushman, author of the “Power of the Network”, questions the role and usefulness of the focus group in his blog, Faster Future . Although the Scoble example is appropriate in a web/Twitter context it is David’s “Communities of Purpose” proposition, which ties in with some of the new thinking we are pushing in travel behaviour change, that is causing us to review the theories that back our work.

Key criteria for the communities of purpose in the example related in the blog:

  • The community self organized around something they care about.
  • The real community of purpose here, the real creators of value, were the ones who cared enough about the purpose to drop everything in real time, right now.

Some of the blog comments note that the focus group is hardly dead and a collaborative approach to harnessing knowledge and enthusiasm may work better when the promoter is well known.

David has been promoting the idea of self-forming collaborative communities of interest and purpose for some time and has challenged some very established ideas about network behaviours. Some more deep reading is required to see what practical explanations can be pulled from this work, but I thought I would link to it early and analyse later.

Herd Mentality

Mark Earls blogs on his own site and the Marketing Society site, yet again hitting several topical nails on their heads. Read the full blogpost here, but I can’t help myself in picking a choice quote:

“To be honest, copying is much more important than independent thinking to shaping human behaviour and is much more common: as Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahnemann puts it, humans are to independent thought as cats are to swimming. We can do it if we really want to but will avoid it like the plague if we can…”

With the reference to BrettConsult’s favourite behavioural economist how can he go wrong?

In related news my new model for travel behaviour change is getting some attention (virally, of course) and another article beckons. My paper for European Transport Conference has been published and a copy is available here – aet-paper-081006.  As always some feedback would be welcome.

Social Objects & Markers

From Fast Company TV and Shel Israel, a good interview with Hugh MacLeod on “social objects”.

I met Hugh a while back on the Scoble Pissed as Newts tour, had a few beers and discussed microbrands, blogging & markets – hence “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time” – now you know who to blame, although it was Robert that really encouraged me to “just do it”.