Author Archive

Book Review: The Digital Mystique

Posted by on Sunday, 13 July, 2014

the-digital-mystiqueRemember that little disclaimer on the Marketing Book Reviews page that said the definition of marketing was a little loose? The The Digital Mystique by Sarah Granger is one of those.

What is the Digital Mystique About?

It’s a quick book to help you understand social media and everyday online technology. It covers the main social media networks, but also kids online, seniors online, online dating, running a business, and even social media when you pass away.

Who is the Digital Mystique For?

I think it’s clear already that this book is not for you (assuming you’re a regular Tap Dancing Spiders reader). But it is a book that you would purchase – several times. Buy it for that annoying aunt who keeps peppering you with beginner questions about Facebook. Or buy it for the grandparents wanting to chat to the grandkids online. Buy it for the parents of Tweens who think that because they don’t use social media their little darling never will.

This book covers all those demographics and more, possibly a bit too much so. It’s a little jumpy with covering so many people and this may change in the final edition. I have an unedited prerelease copy and in some parts it’s very unedited, so I’m sure there will be more changes. Get around the jumpiness by marking the chapters applicable to that recipient, and directing their reading.

Another reason why your techno-curious aunt will love this book: she’ll feel a connection with the author. Despite being active on BBSs as a young teen, social media and the technology behind it seems to still be a novelty to Sarah. The same as it is for the book’s audience.

Save yourself from the frustrating questions this Christmas and put this under the tree. In the meanwhile, if you have a NetGalley account and are curious, head over and request a prerelease copy, like the one they generously gave me in the hope of a review.

How to Automate Social Media – the Safe Way

Posted by on Monday, 7 July, 2014

Today I saw these two.

automate-social-media-fail  automate-social-media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately the second one is a mistaken parody account, but we all know of examples of automated social media gone wrong.

Can you Automate Social Media?

Kind of. I’m a fan of making this efficient but with such a dynamic, high profile marketing tactic, there’s no replacing a competent marketer. Really, look at the fails. Keyword triggered posts seem like a good idea, until a savvy customer discovers the trigger words and starts publicly playing.

Instead of automating social media, we can pre-schedule. This works on a small scale, or for a short period, but when done properly is effective and saves you time and money.

Pre-scheduling Event and Thank You Posts

There are some posts that are safe to pre-schedule. Send a parking details reminder an hour before an event, or thank speakers at the end. You have the event run sheet, so you can schedule these to hit at the right time and no one will be the wiser. It frees you up for real time engagement. This works for general promotion messages too.

I prefer to run these via Hootsuite, but we know I’m a Hootsuite Ambassador and fan girl. The benefit of Hootsuite is being able to see it in calendar view. It helps me when I’m juggling multiple accounts. However, most social media platforms will let you do this in a form. Facebook lets you schedule directly from your page.

Automate Social Media Content

scheduled-automate-social-mediaThis is a trickier one, but technology is now catching up. Chirpsy (disclaimer: occasional client) was one of the first to do this well. Choose keywords, write guidelines and sit back while appropriate posts are found, written and sent on your behalf. Since then Klout entered the arena with a totally automated account based on your previous posts. It’s VERY hit or miss, or should I say miss. Hootsuite has then taken that service and built in the ability to choose your focus words, and machine learning to start customizing your feed. You do need to curate it before it learns and I’ve had one dead link that I know of, but Suggested is the best option on the market, and it’s free. I’ll jump in every few days and see what it has for me. It will schedule them according to my account’s auto-scheduling criteria.

While it’s tempting to fully automate social media, it’s very risky, and not really worth it. Pre-schedule instead and take control.

Have you ever experienced an event disaster?

Posted by on Sunday, 29 June, 2014

Event DisasterYou know those events when it’s really a case of Murphy’s Law? Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. It’s a total event disaster.

Recently I had my first. I’ve had some major mess ups during events, all the allocated seating mixed up for a very high profile speaker comes to mind. But none where nothing went smoothly. Really, I mean nothing.

Let’s look at what I learned.

The Do’s of an Event Disaster

  • Do order swag, etc at least two weeks in advance. It was only a three hour drive away, but eight days wasn’t enough for USPS express delivery.
  • Do promote the bleep out of the event. I was a little timid directly inviting my AMA colleagues and former workmates. Next time I won’t be.
  • Do reschedule if Hillary Clinton and the North West Internet Advertising Group announce last minute events that clash. The NWIAG gets a couple of hundred marketers with the lure of free alcohol. It’s not a model I like, but it’s very popular in Seattle. OK, so the chance of this happening again is nearly 0%, but I’m not risking it.
  • Do check out the venue at the time you want to run the event. I’ve attended events on Tuesday nights there. Wednesday is trivia competition night and the audio is piped ALL through the venue.
  • Do tour EVERY room the venue has. We checked most, but were allocated a different one. It was next to the entrance – great – there was no barrier/door – not so great.
  • Do have a great draw. This was an easy networking happy hour, so we weren’t offering anything to counter the competition.

The Don’ts of an Event Disaster

  • Don’t assume that if someone registers they will attend. Generally most will, but especially with free events, if they get a better offer, you won’t see them. See: NWIAG.
  • Don’t assume a part description on Amazon is correct. Or maybe do order the VGA adaptor for your laptop early, so you can get a replacement if it doesn’t fit.
  • Don’t assume that because the venue has built in AV that they know how to use it, or the cables are long enough. It was only a promo loop, but we couldn’t use it.

It would be hard for another event to bomb as heavily as this one did, but please learn from my “experience”. It’s not fun to have an event disaster.

Note: you’ve probably assumed this photo is not from “that” event. It’s from a PSAMA Speed Networking event, that was not a disaster.

Book Review: Understanding Digital Marketing

Posted by on Thursday, 26 June, 2014

Understanding-Digital-MarketingWhen I started Understanding Digital Marketing by Damien Ryan I thought it was a text book. It has 399 pages and multiple editions. The Kindle edition was 15% in before I realized it’s a very long business book.

What makes Understanding Digital Marketing so long? It’s detailed and includes all digital marketing tools. I was surprised, but impressed by podcasts’ inclusion. This is definitely a book to teach you a lot. I was recommending it (with a caveat) before I was half-done reading it.

Who is Understanding Digital Marketing For?

In each review I decide to add structure to the flow, but then the book takes over. Once again, “Who’s it for” jumps to the start.
This a relatively junior book. It’s very tactical and even covers theories and models such as the 4Ps and a BCG grid. Both things I learned in my first semester of marketing at college. However, the information for a couple of tactics is out of date. I’ll touch on it more in the “not so good”, but … and I’m struggling here … it does need some knowledge to understand what’s current, inferring a mid-level marketer, or with at least a year or two of digital marketing experience.

The Good

The chapter on content. Really, I noted it twice. It’s practical, realistic, and includes a lot of mentions of engagement. The book is worth it for this chapter alone.
I also loved the detail. Sure, a marketer doesn’t really need to know the different web server options, but having an overview makes it easier talking with engineers. And marketers will be talking with engineers.

The case studies are also excellent. They are recent, and global.

The Not So Good

SEO. Really, that entire chapter is that bad. I don’t know Damien’s background, but whomever advised on that chapter is not an SEO expert. There have been two major Google algorithm updates in the last 18 months, and with the case studies being so recent, there’s no excuse for this chapter being at least two years old.

There are occasional other parts that are out-of-date too, thus the caveat. I recall hearing of videos in email as a hot topic last November, but it’s a no-no here.

Overall, this is a very useful book, and one I recommend as a starting point to digital marketing tools.

Dumb Ways to Die – Metro Sells Out

Posted by on Friday, 13 June, 2014

Dumb Ways to Die KidneyPicture this. You develop an incredibly successful PSA campaign for a client. Then two years later the client sells the creative to a company in a different industry overseas.

It would never happen.

I’m sure that’s what McCann was thinking until last night, Seattle time.

Metro Trains, the client for Dumb Ways to Die has sold the creative to a Canadian life insurance company. The catch phrase is now ” A dumb way to die is without life insurance”.

I’m sure you’re cursing this as much as I am. It’s a nasty, unethical cash grab.

One thing I had to remind myself was that Metro Trains is a private management company. They’re contracted by the Victorian government in Australia to run their metropolitan train network. Yes, Metro Trains is a for-profit company. Therefore, are we expecting too much for them to pass up the opportunity to make money off a PSA that has topped iTunes charts internationally, won a record number of Gold Lion awards, and launch a few successful mobile game? Oh, and meet its original goal of reducing incidents around trains.

We probably are. After all, Metro Trains exists to make money. Dumb Ways to Die gave them that opportunity.

What will be the result of the Dumb Ways to Die Sell Out?

At the very least agency/client contracts will gain an additional clause prohibiting any on-selling of the work. I’m not privy to McCann’s contract with Metro Trains, but knowing Metro Trains, the sale will be legal. I can also see agencies being less eager to push creativity if their work will be onsold and butchered. Let’s hope I’m wrong on that last count.

I kind of prefer if Metro Trains did sell their kidneys on the internet.

 

 

 

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