SXSW Interactive and the Exchange of Ideas

I’m pleased to announce that I will be representing Cramer-Krasselt at SXSW Interactive 2015 and obviously, I’m super excited to attend this annual, sharing of the minds convention. Even though this is my second time attending the Interactive festival, I’m still very much eager to learn, network and see what the future of marketing may hold.

As a digital strategy director at the agency, my goal at SXSW is to not only listen and assimilate new methods of digital marketing and innovations within the category, but to exchange ideas with others in the field. Where the previous time I attended SXSW, I took on a more passive role within the festival and soaked in as much information about trends, innovation and methodologies, this year my goal is to be more active. This year, my goal is to not only obtain as much information around trends, innovations and marketing methodologies, but it’s also about sharing and conversing about contemporary approaches to digital marketing with others in the fields.

SXSW INTERACTIVE

What does this secondary goal really mean? Well, it’s less about networking and more about the conversation, debate and brainstorming new ideas. It means it’s more of an active role during the week. Yes, there is the exchange of ideas with people at the festival, but I feel as though it’s more one person speaking to a room of 30. Discourse and dialogue in-between, over coffee on the sidewalk or at a restaurant is where the ideas discussed come to life.

This is not to say that I won’t be attending any sessions, far from it. I have planned out a full calendar of sessions, and yes I’m pretty double-booked. So far, my focus of the sessions will be on new technology and consumer tech approaches to wearables, the quantified self, and the Internet of Things as well as overarching innovations in digital marketing and new ways to think about the consumer.

It is also important to note, I will be assisting in a Cramer-Krasselt led workshop on Friday, March 13th at 11am called, “How to Keep Ideas Alive After SXSW.” I know that the workshop is already sold out, but if you want to discuss the ideas and approaches from that session, I’m happy to meet up afterward to discuss how you can take all these ideas back to your organization and make them come to life.

So, with all that said, if you want to meet up and discuss what we have been learning at the sessions at SXSW, I’m all for it. If you want to meet up to discuss potential agency and client relationships, I’m all for it. Basically, I’m open to the free exchange of ideas and how that is going to move our industry forward.

I will be there for the entire SXSW Interactive portion of the conference. If you want to hit me up, feel free to reach out to me using the social SXSW portal, Twitter (@ebreakdown) or on LinkedIn. Basically, you can find me anywhere.

With that said, I look forward to the new ideas, thoughts, methods and innovations at SXSW. I look forward to meeting new and inspiring people and of course, I look forward to the parties.

See you in Austin!

Recap: #SocialEvents Twitter Chat – Move Beyond the Check-In

Last week, in an effort to increase awareness around Critical Mass’ SxSW submissions, we hosted five days of Twitter chats. Each Critical Mass entry had its own chat. It was a great experience interacting with some top minds, sharing ideas and taking a critical look at the digital and social landscape from different perspectives – all on Twitter.

Just to recap, my SxSW entry is about making events more social and more engaging for the participants, in real-time and long after the event is over. (Don’t forget to vote!)

From the Move Beyond the Check-In: Making Events Truly Social Twitter chat, there were some interesting themes that came up.

  • Privacy is still a major concern with location-based services. Especially when it comes to integrating LBS into existing social networks.
  • Check-in and consumer loyalty are not always synonymous.
  • Incentives are still top-of-mind with consumers and marketers as a method to engage consumers.
  • Layered incentives or achievements can motivate consumer retention.
  • Gamification is another method still being considered or employed for consumer retention.
  • Marketers sometimes find it difficult to move beyond the incentive and game when engaging audiences at events.
  • Engagement at events with the event itself or crowd, could be a viable next step after incentives; curating real-time relationships.

So, to grow this conversation even further, how can we as marketers, move beyond the incentive and using technology, engage the consumer at events with real-time value and long term experiences?

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Twitter chat with me and Critical Mass! You all were great, highly engaged and provided incredible insights into event-based marketing! Below (after the fold) is the Twitter chat, formatted for your reference.

Please don’t forget to vote (Friday, September 2nd) is the last day to vote!

Continue reading “Recap: #SocialEvents Twitter Chat – Move Beyond the Check-In”

#SXSW 2012: Move Beyond the Check-In: Making Events Truly Social

A while back, I first viewed Amon Tobin’s new stage for his ISAM tour. It was an illuminating and innovative experience to view online. Yes, I am going to see him when he comes to Chicago in October to experience the projection mapping for myself. Yet, when I viewed it, I knew that it was so powerful and could not go unnoticed. I tweeted the video and got some amazing responses. One of the responses was from @mrrylln from our London office. This guy, is an amazing creative and witnessed the show himself out in the UK. He brought an amazing idea to the table. It was simple, how can you integrate social into something like that? Well, that got me thinking.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/26057973 w=400&h=225]

I wasn’t just thinking about projection mapping and social media, but events and social media with innovative technologies. We are reaching a period where users are starting to engage themselves with brands and locations rather than the other way around. How do we tap into that advocate power being marketers? These users who are checking into venues and are leaving comments about the experiences and by extension, building brand awareness for us.

Now, my question is, how do we take that check-in and make it worth something to the consumer? Well, it has to be valuable to the consumer, it has to be innovative to leave a mark, and it has to be engaging. I think that we have become pigeonholed into the simple check-in in social media. Check in here, then you get this. Incentive based check-ins have their place in the social ecosystem, but not to the point of consumer retention.

Another question is, can you buy friends, can you buy loyalty? The answer is no, you cannot buy loyalty. Loyalty, like trust, has to be earned and brands are not exempt from that. So, let’s push this forward a bit. Let’s move beyond the check-in and beyond a simple incentive.

Real-time engagement is the key; real-time engagement through innovative technologies. Let’s think of a concert. There is a band on stage and you have checked into the venue and that’s about it. You told your friends, both online and offline that you are there. Where is the engagement by the band? Perhaps they have a tweet to screen or a photo-to-screen technology set up? What if the band allowed you to vote during the show, via LBS, what the set-line up should be? And, what if, after the show, those who participated got the concert for free as a download? What if then, the band asked you to rate the show and share your experience or if the set line up worked? Or, what if the same type of line up occurred in Europe, from others voting and the band let you know after the fact? This is the type of real-time engagement I’m talking about here; taking the check-in by a consumer and doing something with it.

Recently, Foursquare announced they are offering event check-ins along with their location check-ins. Instead of checking into a concert venue, you are checking into the concert itself. This change was created by Foursquare after they observed all the check-ins by their users and noticed they were commenting on the event and not the location. This idea is brilliant and the next level of where event based social needs to go.

I submitted a SxSW panel topic called, Move Beyond the Check-in: Making Events Truly Social. This is line of thinking is what I will, hopefully, be presenting at SxSW 2012. I will be exploring new trends, technologies, consumer behaviors and ideas in event based marketing.

This is the new frontier. We, as marketers, need to take this relationship that the consumers form with the brands, onsite to online. We, as marketers, need to engage these consumers on behalf of the brand in innovative ways through technologies that offer value and excitement to the consumer. We, as marketers, need to retain the consumer long after the event is over. These consumers who are checking into events are the advocates that all brands are looking for, and we need to welcome them with open arms into the social community.

I have some wonderfully smart and creative people joining me on this panel from all over the industry. Vice President of Social Media, Heidi Skinner from Critical Mass will offer her unique insights into consumer loyalties and new technologies. Chief Creative Officer, Joe Sutter from GMR Marketing will bring his unparalleled experience in event-based marketing to the panel. And, Siobhan Quinn who is one of the original Product Managers at Forusquare. Her experience in location-based service is unquestionable.

Here comes the shameless plug. Please read my panel entry and vote for me to speak at SxSW. I firmly believe event-based social is the new frontier for marketers and the new way to interact with consumers. (Also, if you do vote for me, thank you!)

PS: A few others from Critical Mass have also submitted entries to SxSW and I invite you to check them out.

For the Chatty Community Managers:
Confessions of a Community Moderator
Workshop and interactive “confessional booth” including moderators for Converse, Peanuts, Humana and Aveda.

For the Statistically-Relevant and Uber-Accountable:
F**k Privacy: Neuromarketing is the Web’s Future
Panel, led by CM’s VP of Marketing Science, Shaina Boone, with contributions from the Chief Privacy Officer of Adobe and CEO of Next Stage Revolution.

For a Brand’s Strategic Moneymakers:
Social Commerce: The New Standard of Loyalty
Dual presentation from CM’s VP of Social Media, Heidi Skinner, and Social Commerce Today editor, Paul Mardsen.

For the Gadget Gods and Goddesses:
Consumer Goods: The Next Social Channels
Panel, prototyping contest and demo led by CM’s SVP Executive Technology Director, Scott Ross.

Brand Follower Expectations Are Changing in Social Media

We have all seen the numbers, seen the stats and have seen how fast social media is taking off. We are trying our best to create audiences, promote product, educate users and become influencers for the brand’s new market. Marketing industry professionals, myself included, are eager to sign clients, create promotion strategy, sort out metrics and compile analytics. To what end?

I’m not saying that we’re blind to what we are doing here, quite the contrary. What I am saying is, even though social media is new, it’s evolving already.

All of us, including the users and brand followers, are creating a revolution in the marketing world. All of us in some capacity, are improving the networks and driving innovation and expectations further. Never before have we seen such immediate communication between the sellers and the buyers. Social media marketing is fairly new to the advertising/marketing/communication world and it’s changing faster than we can assimilate at times.

What sometimes slips through our cracks is the end user’s expectations of the rapid evolution of social media. Brand followers and customers are not stupid. And in all honesty, they never really were, we just treated them like that. That needs to change. The driving force in the next steps of social media marketing will be adapting to the expectations of the brand follower/user/customer.

For a while now, new media marketers have been set to a standard of post, link, editorial, post, link, editorial, and engagement when needed. Where content is king (whatever that means) and the flow of information is the most important asset any company has. Users, from what I have noticed, are starting to expect more out of the brands they follow. They are starting to understand what marketers are doing, which is basically conventional advertising and marketing practices guised as social media.

So, what do I foresee what brand followers will expect out of us in the near future? It’s hard to tell exactly what the evolution will be. However, if you look at the big picture, you start to notice behavioral changes. Here are a few ideas.

    BRAND PERSONALITY OFFICER
    Brand followers were fine, for a while, with brands just pushing information out on them. Followers liked the idea of “liking” their favorite brand and telling their friends about it. However, the brands have become too passive. To speak to a follower, you need to be able to speak TO them, not at them, or wait for them to speak to your brand. Followers will start to expect a “Brand Personality Officer” to interact with while online and one who creates and fulfills the personality of the brand to the followers. The BPO’s mission will be to engage with brand followers utilizing their own personality mixed with that of the mission of the brand. “Speak as if you ARE Brand X.” If the brand doesn’t have anyone to speak with, the user will most likely pull the plug on the “follow.”

    INCENTIVES
    Why do your brand’s followers actually follow you? What is in it for the brand followers other than a link on their Facebook page and a post twice a day? Incentive based social media marketing has already popped up on the grid but, we need to press further. Rewarding the followers of the brand that have taken the time to view your page or feed is the right thing to do and, in all honesty, the followers are wanting, if not expecting it. Service with a smile and a free cup of coffee.

    USER GENERATED CONTENT IS KING
    It once was said that, “Content is King” in the land of social media. Well, that was true about a year ago. But now, as we press forward and engage with our followers, the brand followers want to engage with “their” brand, they are thirsting for it.* Imitation is the best form of flattery. Allowing and promoting brand followers in generating their own content and sharing it with the brand, even if it’s crappy, is a gold mine of promotion.** Think of it, you as a marketer don’t even have to spend anything to promote your brand, they’re doing it for you and they are happy, if not, eager to do it! Give them the avenue and the “incentive” to do so.

    * Brand followers have a belief that their favorite brands are actually “their” brands.
    ** One key thing about User Generated Content, is the “Brand Personality Officer” needs to comment on it, thank and engage the follower for doing so.

These are just some observations and predictions I have as to the future of online marketing to brand followers. What is the common denominator with all of these? The brand follower wants to be engaged by the brand and wants some sense that there is a person behind the curtain they have access to. The brand followers are going to be expecting more out of the brand and us as marketers. We have to be ready to foresee and adapt to their changing expectations.

->> PS: These are merely observations and not based upon any sort of analytic, just in case you were wondering.

Facebook Privacy Fiasco and the Reasons I Like Facebook

There has been a lot of negative press lately regarding Facebook and their institution of Open Graph and their changes to privacy. People seem to be in an uproar over Facebook messing with “their” information and privacy even to the point of users deleting their Facebook account and writing their opinions on blogs.

Let me be clear, this post is not one of those “How to delete your Facebook account” or a “Facebook privacy damages users” posts. I’m writing this post to inform you of my reasons and rationalizations for KEEPING my Facebook account.

    1) OPEN GRAPH:
    Open Graph is a good thing. There, I said it. I agree with Zuckerberg when he said this is a new way to build communities, measure influence, meet new people and bring the world closer together. I believe Open Graph is just the tip of the social media 2.0 iceberg. What you are going to see in the coming year(s) is more integration of sites. I personally want that. I know that some of my interests will be made public, but only interests I decide to post.

    2) PRIVACY:
    I have done my due diligence and education of privacy settings on Facebook. I understand how to limit the flow of information on my profile to other users, corporations and the public. Since I understand that, I’m fine with the adjustment to the settings because I understand them. In the social networking landscape, it’s a little unreasonable to have a 100% expectation of privacy. Zuckerberg also said it best, if you don’t like it, leave. It’s a little brash, I know, but it makes sense. Facebook profiles are not owned by the users, the users borrow space on Facebook’s servers.

    —> Sidebar: However, I do get discouraged when Facebook has bugs and makes mistakes when it comes to privacy. An example would be when you could view other user’s chats. That is unacceptable, but was immediately remedied.

    3) NETWORKING:
    Facebook is a very valuable tool when it comes to networking. I am a social media guy, this is my job and a little bit of my life. For me to do away with a major social networking site would be an idiotic decision. Plus, I like meeting new people, learning what we have in common and finding out information from brands.

    4) MY JOB:
    Like I said in #3, social networking is my job. I have to be on there.

    5) INFORMATION:
    Facebook has a massive, MASSIVE flow of information running through it. It’s easy to keep up on current events, what your friends are doing, where they go, what businesses are doing, where the next networking event is, etc. I’m a sucker for information, I always want more.

    6) PROMOTION:
    If you use it properly, it’s great way to promote a business or yourself.

    7) MYSPACE:
    It’s not MySpace

    8) SEO:
    Being on Facebook adds to my search engine results.

    9) FRIENDS:
    I enjoy the fact that my friends are on there sharing what they are doing day-to-day.

    10) MYSPACE:
    It’s not MySpace

I know this may sound a bit over the top, but in all seriousness, being on Facebook isn’t a bad thing. The change in privacy isn’t a bad thing. The introduction of Open Graph isn’t a bad thing. Ignorance breeds malcontent. I’m sure that once some users do their due-diligence on understanding how to use the Facebook privacy settings and what Open Graph really is, like I have, opinions may change.

Personal Social Networking Rules

400+ million users on Facebook and 100+ million users on Twitter, social networking is becoming more prominent and more invasive. This medium has grown so quickly and we’re all eager and willing to pick up the technology and use it.

Some of us, whether it be inherently or actually spelled out, set up rules for ourselves, our brands, that we adhere to when it comes to posting. I have always had a set of posting rules in place for my social presence. The rules were always just in my head. So, I decided to spell them out for you to see if you agree with them or not, or just to inform you what you will not see from me.

    Politics:
    I am a fairly political person. I enjoy having critical discussions on the nature of government and social change with my friends and family. I make an effort to respect the opinions of others and enjoy learning new points of view. However, I will not speak/post about any sort of political subject on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s not beneficial to me. Plus, that’s not what I’m all about. I’m a designer, social media guru, music and art lover. Those subjects are what I post about.

    Talking politics has become such an intense practice, especially as of late. It polarizes people, it alienates opinions and encourages confrontation. That’s not what I am about. I encourage opinions, knowledge and engagement. I see no real benefit to post about politics unless you want to get into an argument; and I don’t want to do that.

    Religion:
    Oh boy, this topic is just as polarizing and intense as politics. I am a spiritual person, and that is probably the last you’ll hear of it. I respect other people’s beliefs by not speaking about beliefs.

    Negativity:
    Social networking tends to be a “happy” place. From what I’ve noticed in the 5+ years I’ve been on social networking sites, is that the environment promotes positivity. No one likes an angry person, so no one likes an angry extension of person. I’m not saying I won’t be critical, I’m saying that you can be critical without being negative. No fights, no swearing and no alienating other users.

    Personal Adventures:
    Yes, I check in on Foursquare at the venues I go to (not all of them though). I inform my followers of the networking events I attend. However, I believe a disconnect from social networking sometimes is needed (at least for myself). I don’t think that everyone needs to know about all of my adventures when I’m out and about, nor do they probably want to read it. So, with that said, certain times I don’t bring up what I’m doing, where I am or who I am with. It’s nice to unplug a bit and it’s certainly great to keep some adventures for yourself.

    Promotions:
    Please RT me. Do you need design services? Do you need social media services? I don’t like to receive these via Direct Message or via spam bots. I’m sure that if people want those services from anyone, they’ll do their due diligence and find out the companies with the right fit. I do like to promote my blog content and stuff, that’s just because I think it’s a good read. But you won’t find me trying to pitch you my services. I know, that may sound like I’m not a good marketer, but that’s not what my accounts are set up to do.

    Automated Feeds:
    Why do you want to go to Facebook and read something that is on Twitter, or vice versa? The content that I choose to push through my tied in accounts are pushed through for a reason. Not just to post something, but to post something of substance. The use of linked and feed accounts are only for ease of use and workflow, not to just push content. When I post something, and a user replies, you’ll be sure that I’ll reply to it. There is always a reason behind my madness.

    Job Seeking:
    Yes, I’m looking for a job. I have been looking for a job for quite a while now. I have integrity and I’m a little proud I guess. I won’t outright ask users for a job. I won’t randomly post “Leif Fescenmeyer #design #socialmedia #chicago #milwaukee #lookingforwork” or something like that. It just feels to me that it’s a little desperate and a little too vague. Plus, if I were to look for a job in social media, using social media like that; it obviously shows I don’t know what social media is. (PS> But, if you do want to talk about an interview, I’m not against that. Ha Ha…)

    Privacy:
    This is a big one! We all have concerns over our privacy. If you want users to respect your privacy, respect theirs. Posting of photos that I wouldn’t want posted of me, retweeting protected users, and handing out contact information are all against my rules. Granted, I may break this rule from time to time, but rest assured it was not on purpose and I try to make sure if/what I post about others is vetted by that user first.

Keep in mind that we all are fallible. Yes, these are my rules and rules are sometimes broken by mistake. So, let’s just say I try my best to adhere to these guidelines.

What guidelines to you adhere to? Do you disagree with any of mine? (Remember, to disagree doesn’t always mean you have to be negative.)