May 27, 2010

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GoogleTV -- Another Play for Domination Google TV directly addresses the greatest unsolved fantasy about the Internet; tying content, channels and devices together to build and control a limitless selling and customer relationship ecosystem. Since the dawn of the World Wide Web, marketers have drooled over the prospect of consumers watching TV, clicking on the screen and seeking out information (accompanied by ads) or directly buying the stuff they see on their favorite shows or characters. The coalition and firepower of Google, SONY, Logitech, Intel and Best Buy just might pull it off if they can strike the right deals with broadcast and cable networks. Technically Google TV will marry a bunch of technologies together into a single complete package using a set-top box, Blu-Ray players or a web-based interface supporting a remote controller with a QWERTY keyboard. Commercially Google TV aims to capture a huge share of the combined ad revenues for TV and the Internet, which are estimated to be in the $100 billion range. And while there will be a lot of commentary and hand-wringing about which services are offered, who partners with whom and how far the Android OS can be stretched, the real test, as Dan Nosowitz describes in FastCompany is how GoogleTV fares with the moms and nerds. The former predict scalability and the potential for widespread consumer acceptance. The latter determine buzz, early adopters and the likelihood of an attendant developers community dedicated to creating apps, extensions and add-ons. For nerds, “if Google TV is mostly a search bar for all my existing crap, plus Web video and assorted stuff on the Internet, it won’t revolutionize my TV experience – it’ll just make parts of it easier.” Revolutionizing the TV experience – the last remaining cultural commonality all Americans share – are the stakes behind the Google TV play. Forget about Google trying to trump Apple TV or Google edging out Amazon, Hulu, Rhapsody or NetFlix for a slice of consumer attention, traffic and spending. This is about owning the box that has dominated our cultural life and leisure time our since the 50s.
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Who Owns Social Media Monitoring? The need to understand, monitor and mine social media has prompted a scramble for ownership, authority and control among marketers, ad agencies, digital specialists and PR guys. Like the blind men and the elephant each has a legitimate claim and each has a partial view. The promise of social media is insight, conversations and engagement. So naturally the players responsible for these marketing or communications functions will scramble to embrace, control and deploy the newest tools. Interestingly each functional team is also a consumer of the “take” eager to interpret, use and apply the learnings from social media monitoring for messaging, customer engagement, media pitching and improved usability. Theoretically, according to the Useful Social Media people, this should be a team sport organized and orchestrated by a CMO. “A company’s communications team has a key role to play in the internal development of social media engagement, by incorporating key components of social media within the organizational communication strategy.” But this text book thinking never happens in real life where each team competes for the prize and struggles for limited executive level attention and resources. Consider the contenders … Marketing Team. Charged with creating the brand and moving products , they are keenly interested in what’s being said about the company, the product sets and the competition. Looking for any competitive opening or advantage, they imagine that a silver bullet or a short term tactical idea might emerge from the haze of tweets, blog posts, comments, retweets and videos online. According to the Aberdeen Group, “the marketing organization was the earliest adopter of social media monitoring and analysis and continues to be the group that utilizes consumer insights gleaned from online conversations the most.” Agency of Record. Steward of the brand and Royal High Sheriff of the messaging realm, the agency of record commands the macro viewpoint on all communications and plays the role of integrator and adjudicator on all branding, positioning, personality and messaging topics. Agencies eager to maintain their posture not only assert their overview but are interested to see how social media anticipates, reacts and reviews their work. Digital Agencies. These are the guys who actually understand the dynamics of social media because they grasp the underlying technology and as digital natives instinctively mirror the psychology of consumers as well as their online behavior. Often seen as subservient to AOR partners, these agencies actually create the content and the digital assets, manage a lot of the labor-intense work of collecting, reading, weighting and assessing social media conversations. They generally own the software or tools needed to monitor the social sphere and believe that they have a lock on crafting engagement strategy and reading the tea leaves to draw out and operationalize tactical and strategic implications. PR Agencies. Reputation managers tasked with positioning and presenting the brand by serving as spokesmen and engaging the media, they have seen social media as a way to garner greater prestige with and among clients plus a greater share of the marketing spend. Since PR has traditionally focused on reputation management, earned media, third party validation and awareness building, it logically follows, they argue, that social media falls into their portfolio. With a macro focus on overall corporate and brand objectives and the track record of identifying and engaging opinion-leaders and media decision-makers, PR guys claim to have the right perspective to understand, interpret and apply the lessons gleaned from social media most effectively. Get their broader perspective here. The struggle to “own” social media monitoring is an opportunity to advance the cause of integrated marketing in disguise. Here are 5 potential moves. 1. Marketing should assert leadership and assign roles, scope the labor-intensive workload and decide which is the most cost-effective resource to get the job done. 2. Similarly marketing should determine which tools are used and how the raw intelligence is processed and by whom. 3. This is an opportunity to force disparate agencies to work together to bring multi-perspectives and skill sets to bear in understanding what is really being said and in separating the considerable noise from the feint but potentially powerful signals being sent. 4. Collectively the players should determine what gets measured and what methodology is used to measure social media. Frequency, intensity, thought leadership, weighting and influence are all loosely-defined terms in need of common definitions. Different software tools measure different things. A dedicated collective effort could determine which tools do what and which work best together. 5. The collective should then determine what to do...

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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