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New Media Still Needs Old Media To Survive

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

If anyone can publish a blog, create a video or launch a meme, you’d think that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube would be the empires of the new, with the latest self-made stars forever in control of the cultural conversation, but here’s the thing: you’d be wrong.

recent report from HP Labs confirms the exact opposite: the most popular sources of information on Twitter are actually traditional news media outlets like CNN, ESPN and The New York Times.

One might ask why. It’s simple, really: because people like to share information that impacts large audiences, and because traditional media still has information-gathering resources and robust distribution platforms that “new” media can’t live without.

In other words, no matter how easy social media makes it to talk to others, people still need something to talk about.  New media still just doesn’t have the same impact as those mediums that are considered more “traditional”.

Social media allows people to act in ways that are perfectly natural.  We are social beings and we like to share information; social media just makes it more convenient for us to do this!

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Social media and the bottom line

Companies use social media for a variety of reasons.  They might be running a campaign to build brand awareness, build loyal communities, manage customer service, create dialog, but in the end it’s about the sale.  With social media, messages spread quickly, so companies need to make sure they know how to use the tools to their advantage: to drive the sale.

On Twitter, every tweet companies send is a pitch to a potential buyer.  Facebook status updates are like advertisements.  YouTube videos are like commercials.  Of course, these tools may be more friendly and more engaging, they may be much more community-oriented than any other tool available, but it’s still a sales tool.

Think about it in this way: every physical location of a business is there for the sale.  The store is a point of direct sale and decision making, employees are managed in an office so that they’ll increase sales, fulfillment centers ship products to complete sales, customer service centers keep customers happy so that they’ll become loyal and buy more.  With social media, the idea of the sale is not lost, it’s just continued in a different form.

So while social media may be about “conversations” and “communities” — of course, those are the social structures which make these tools useful — when it comes to brand interaction on these channels, the bottom line is always sales.

Of course, nobody is saying that social media should be talking about the sale.  In fact, direct sales should be done outside of social media tools in order to not taint any insight being gained through the use of these tools.  Through this media, companies are able to gently touch (without selling) their clients so that they are always top-of-mind.

Companies tweet to give their followers a snapshot of their company’s personality.  This makes a company more ‘human’, and makes the company one that the customer can relate to.

Facebook pages gives customers a place to ask questions and provide feedback.  This helps companies to optimize the sales process.  Plus, companies here have the opportunity to learn more about their ‘followers’.  Learning about who they are and what they like, helps companies to create the appropriate types of messages.

YouTube videos can be funny, informative or inspirational, but they are still incite viewers to buy what companies are selling.

Companies have the ability now to be as social as they want.  They can be talkative, personable, informative and entertaining, but they should never forget that they should always be selling… because just being interesting won’t keep the lights on.

 

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A merger between AT&T and T-Mobile may be bad news for Verizon

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m sure we all remember the days of the Verizon vs. AT&T map comparison: the days when AT&T had the iPhone, but people were hesitant to change carriers because they knew that Verizon just had better coverage.  In fact, Verizon was unrivaled in terms of coverage.

Verizon prides itself on being “America’s Largest Network”, but that might be changing.  AT&T recently announced that it will be acquiring T-Mobile; a merger that many ad agencies are preparing for.  Verizon will have to reposition itself, but how?

Verizon has always been known as the carrier with the largest network, but now that AT&T has lost its exclusive hold on the iPhone, it had to do something to level the playing field.  This merger would boost AT&T’s advertising budget, which is already the country’s third-largest at $2.11 billion.  The merger, of course, is an opportunity to improve service to both AT&T and T-Mobile customers.

Along with such a large transaction AT&T may also think of expediting their transition to 4G LTE (the same broadband service that Verizon is already on).  This would solve T-Mobile’s problem of being the ‘largest’ 4G network but not having any LTE plans.  This would leave Verizon in a position where all points of differentiation are now either met or surpassed.

Verizon now needs to consider how to strengthen the lead it already has, and quickly.  In such a competitive wireless market, a next move needs to always be on the time of one’s mind.  From the point of the consumer, this is an exciting time.  With such fierce competition comes innovation and new technologies that help to make the market stronger.  Who knows, maybe the end of dropped calls is closer than we all think!

 

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