Posts Tagged 'marketing'

Social is not a Campaign!

A recent study of US marketers by the Direct Marketing Association and COLLOQUY found that brand awareness was the most popular objective of social media “campaign”. How can this be I ask? For starters, “Social” is not a campaign, it is an ongoing dialogue between a brand and a consumer.  Secondly, how can companies expect to build brand affinity without first establishing customer loyalty?
My opinionated attempt to explain:
Think back to the days when marketers referred to word of mouth as the best form of “advertising” a company could ever hope for, yet there were very few ways to prove that positive or negative word of mouth affected brand or impacted the bottom line. Even more puzzling was the fact that marketers had very few ways of touching consumers on a personal level if they needed to remedy a problem, or thank someone for being a loyal supporter.
Today, those same “word of mouth” conversations still take place, except now marketers have an opportunity to see them, understand them, influence them, and most importantly, connect them to individual customers. Never before, have Marketers and Brands had an opportunity to get as close to their customers as they can today, yet so many of them limit their “social efforts” to simply “advertising” to consumers within social forums.
Those who understand the value of today’s social ethos, know that social media is not about a “campaign”.  Its not how much money you sink into advertising on social networks, and it’s not about how many leads can be delivered. It’s about making sure your company in sync with its customers – It’s about providing value. When you provide value to consumers you establish trust and loyalty, which lead to brand affinity & awareness. It is only then, when companies can expect to see the fruits of their labor through increased sales, and overall growth etc.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I will say that I do believe its beneficial for Marketers and Brands to “advertise” in social environments, but these efforts should not be looked at a social media, they simply should be looked at as advertising campaigns (which is what they are). And should not be measured any differently than other “campaigns” with specific and measureable KPI’s.
I welcome your thoughts.

5 Tips for Companies Entering Social Media

By Tim Baker

We’ve approached the time where consumers are expecting companies and brands to have a social media presence. Not having a Facebook page, Twitter account, company blog or other direct access to consumers is a sign of a brand that is out of touch. Fortunately, more and more business are wising up and adopting social networking every day.

Entering the social web can be a scary undertaking for a business; many are afraid they will “do it wrong,” not have the time to keep it up, or do more harm than good. Luckily, following these simple tips and a little common sense is all a company needs to begin successfully engaging with potential and existing customers.

Choose Your Goals
As a business, your number one goal is simple: to make money. Why are you interested in social media? Are you hoping to use it as a customer service vehicle? Promote your business online? Do you want to put a human face on your brand? Whatever your reason is, stick to it. In fact, a brand that is successful in social media is a mixture of all of these.

Start Small
There are countless social media outlets on the web, from the major players (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to the smallest Ning communities. Just because they exist doesn’t mean you need to be there. Pick one venue to start with and begin to build up your community. Getting involved in social media doesn’t mean going all-in from day one.

Don’t Just Exist
A huge mistake brands make when entering the world of social media is a stagnant presence.” Simply having a blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or other social networking profile that just sits there and collects digital dust can actually be worse than having nothing at all. Stagnant blogs and profiles make a company look lazy and engagements from customers that fall on deaf ears are helping nobody.

It’s Not All About You
Approach social networking the same way you would a first date. Don’t spend the entire time talking about yourself. There’s a high likelihood that your followers already know what you do, so talking about how great you are all the time will do nothing but turn your customers away.

What should you say? Listen to what people are saying to and about your company and engage with them. Did they post a tweet or blog post about how much they love your establishment? Thank them for coming and ask them if there’s anything they’d like to see you do differently. The only thing people like in social media more than hearing themselves talk is knowing that people are listening.

Don’t Ignore the Bad Stuff
There may be people that make disparaging comments about your company. Again, listen to what they have to say and engage with them if you feel there’s a genuine opportunity for you to help or remedy the situation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed someone airing their frustration with a brand do a complete 180º when that brand engages them with an honest attempt to offer assistance. We’re all human and we just want to know people care.

Social media is not as scary as it seems. The internet culture moves so fast that what’s the talk of the town on Monday is forgotten by Wednesday. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to flush the years of your blood, sweat and tears down the drain with one tweet. Just put a face and a name to your brand, show people that you’re more than just a logo and treat them with respect. The rest will come with a little common sense, which you most likely have if you’re running a somewhat successful business in the first place.

Traditional Media Is Dead

By Tim Baker

Have people forgotten what the term “traditional” actually means? Merriam-Webster defines “traditional” as an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior. So why is it that many marketers and publicists use the term “traditional media” when discussing print or “offline” outlets?

Just the other day it was reported that more people get their news online than they do in print and radio. With this being the case, why are so many still segmenting marketing and PR efforts down the two channels they refer to as “traditional” and “digital.” Using Merriam-Webster’s definition of “traditional,” doesn’t the fact that news is being devoured more online than in print or radio mean that the internet is now the customary pattern of thought, action or behavior? I think so.

The inherent problem in separating print and online is that news and consumption of media is not separated into two channels. When is the last time you read an article in a newspaper that wasn’t also available online? When was the last time you saw or heard a commercial for a product or service that didn’t have a corresponding website?

The point I’m trying to make is that proclaiming traditional media is dead is actually untrue because there’s no such thing as “traditional media” to begin with, at least in the context that many marketers and publicists now use it. The new “traditional media” is actually “Tradigital” media.

In order for any marketer or publicist to execute a successful strategy, they must think along one road – the “tradigital” path. With media existing in so many outlets, including online, mobile, print, television radio and social, the dividing lines have been blurred. These days, print, radio and television all exist online and offline. Social media isn’t just on your computer anymore. Building a successful strategy requires choosing the appropriate “tradigital” elements that make sense in selling your message or brand. If you’re working on a team, everyone must be in sync, not segmenting responsibilities by those handling”digital” and those handling “traditional” media.

Media is progressing so fast and every day brings new and emerging technologies for brands to spread their message. In order to find true success in this “new media,” a marketer must know how to see the big picture, and that big picture is no longer in black & white.

The Top 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade

By Dominic Custodio

Has it really been over 10 years of internet? The Internet has come a long way, and with 2010 just around the corner The Webby Awards came out with a list of the Top 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade. Whether you agree or disagree with their selection, it’s as good time as any to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come; to remember that what is now taken for granted, used to be biggest buzz.  The list:

Craigslist expands outside San Francisco (2000)
In 2000, the free classifieds site broadened its reach outside of San Francisco into nine additional U.S. cities, sending chills down the spines of newspaper publishers everywhere. Today Craigslist serves free listings in more than 500 cities in 50 countries, serving as a model for no-frills business and community success and the catalyst for countless jobs, apartments, and just about anything else you can think of.

Google AdWords launches (2000)
With the launch of AdWords in October 2000, Google turned advertising on its head. The self-service ad program opened up the marketplace to any business, no matter how big or small, and allowed advertisers to target their customers with laser-sharp precision.

Wikipedia launches (2001)
Containing 20,000 articles in 18 languages by the end of its first year online, Wikipedia today boasts more than 14 million articles in 271 different languages. The free open-source encyclopedia epitomizes the Internet’s power to bring strangers from around the world together to collaborate on projects both big and small.

Napster Shut Down (2001)
Although Napster was shut down in 2001, it opened the file-sharing floodgates. Its demise sparked a wave of innovations that forever changed how we obtain and experience music and video – from Hulu to iTunes to Radiohead famously dropping its label and self-distributing their “In Rainbows” CD online for free.

Google IPO (2004)
Google’s IPO, one of the largest in history, put the six year old search engine on the path to becoming the most dominant and influential company of the decade. From gmail and YouTube to Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Android, the Internet giant and constant innovator is the engine that powers countless aspects of our everyday lives.

Online video revolution (2006)
In 2006, a perfect storm of faster bandwidth, cheaper camcorders, and the groundbreaking use of Adobe’s Flash 9 video player by YouTube combined to launch the online video revolution. The trifecta led to a boom in homemade and professional content – the Diet Coke and Mentos guys, lonelygirl15, SNL’s Lazy Sunday, and Senator George Allen’s “macacagate” – that has reshaped everything from pop culture to politics.

Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter takes off (2006)
In September 2006, a social networking site for college students changed its user qualifications to include anyone 13 and older with a valid e-mail address. Facebook struck an immediate chord — and almost overnight, social media went mainstream. Less than a month later, the creators of Twitter acquired the company and its assets from its investors, paving the way for the service to take off in 2007. Both companies took social media mainstream, radically changing the way we connect, collaborate, and communicate with everyone from friends to colleagues to customers.

The iPhone debuts (2007)
The iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. By the end of the weekend, half a million had been sold, and smartphones had gone from a luxury item to a necessity. The iPhone inspired the development of operating systems like Google Android, as well as an app for just about every aspect of modern life. Over the next decade, it’s estimated that a billion new users will come to the Internet for the first time through mobile devices.

U.S. Presidential Campaign (2008)
The Internet altered presidential politicking in 2008 much as television had forty years earlier during the Kennedy/Nixon race. From videos like “Obama Girl” and the Reverend Wright clip shaping the debate, to social media mobilizing voters, to record-breaking online fundraising from small donors, every facet of the way campaigns are run was permanently transformed.

Iranian election protests (2009)
When Iran’s 2009 presidential election produced fishy results, the opposition took to the tweets — and the “Twitter Revolution” was born. In fact, it was so vital to organizing demonstrations that the U.S. State Department asked the company to delay planned maintenance.. The protests also highlighted Twitter’s key asset as a protest tool: Since most users don’t access it through a central website, it’s nearly impossible to censor.

An interesting selection. I would add a few that really stand out from personal experience:

  • Gmail launches: It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, the battle was between Yahoo and Hotmail. Even I had my doubts about the new contender. E-mail addresses are a sticky commodity, like a cell phone number, which you’d ideally like to keep forever (unless you want to go MIA). Who uses yahoo and hotmail as their primary address anymore? Exactly. Conversation style email, combined with the power of Google search tipped the scales. Can you imagine your life without it?
  • Adobe buys Macromedia: Momentous, especially as a designer, because it meant the merging of the de facto design tools (photoshop/illustrator) and with the de facto web tools (dreamweaver/flash). From a production standpoint, it really meant streamlining the flow between designing and buildling sites, and blasted the creative doors wide open for web designers.
  • The rise of AJAX: Another thanks to google. With AJAX, web applications could now retrieve data from the server asynchronously in the background without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page. Everything Google (gmail, docs, maps), not to mention many of the standard functionalities we find on Web 2.0 sites would not have been possible without it.
  • Amazon Kindle: eBooks. Up until this point, it all seemed like a pipe dream – an empty promise from the beginning of the digital revolution. Many had tried to come up with a good e-reader and a viable business model, but with little success. And then the Kindle came a long. With its smart interface, simplicity and the backing of the largest online bookstore in the world, it became a runaway hit. You could now download not just books, but magazines and newspapers, wirelessly as well. Sony and Barnes and Noble have followed suit with their own readers, but whoever wins the battle in the end, eBooks/eReaders are a pipe dream no longer.

What are your moments?


The Bacon Explosion: Wielding Social’s Power

By Valerie Zlotsky

What do you get when you combine 400,000 internet users, a net-savvy marketer, 2 lbs of bacon and 2 lbs of sausage?  Whatever you get, it certainly won’t get you too many kosher friends, that’s for sure.  What it will do however, is provide an incredibly poignant study on the massive power of social networks, as well as illustrate the importance of intelligently harnessing that power.  Oh, and it will also get you a deliriously fatty dish called the Bacon Explosion.

I first read about the Bacon Explosion in an article in the New York Times.  Now usually, a story’s viral life cycle is just beginning when a national publication picks it up.  People read about it, talk about it and spread it around.  In this case however, the article was just a cherry on top of the 5,000 calorie recipe’s viral life.

The Bacon Explosion (its full name is “Bacon Explosion: the BBQ recipe of all recipes”) is a pork lover’s dream-come-true; the recipe calls for making a basket out of bacon, wrapping sausage in that basket, layering cooked bacon in between, for added crunch and then slathering the whole football sized pork-fest with BBQ sauce.  But this outrageous recipe isn’t the story here.  The real story is how the creators of this recipe, two BBQ experts and an internet marketer  trying to promote their website (, used social networks to spread the recipe around so much that it became an online sensation.

The Bacon Explosion was originally a challenge for the BBQ experts, sent via a Twitter message.  After creating the recipe, the team posted it on their website and sent out twitter messages to 1,200 of their followers.  They also posted links on various other social networks, like StumbleUpon, a site which attempts to help users navigate towards internet content that they might find interesting.  Within two days of posting the recipe, 27,000 users had visited the site.

“The Bacon Explosion posting has since been viewed about 390,000 times. It first found a following among barbecue fans, but quickly spread to sites run by outdoor enthusiasts, off-roaders and hunters. (Several proposed venison-sausage versions.) It also got mentions on the Web site of Air America, the liberal radio network, and National Review, the conservative magazine.  Jonah Goldberg at wrote, “There must be a reason one reader after another sends me this every couple hours.”

After gaining so much popularity, the New York Times picked up the story, which I read:

Now, I’m writing this blog, spreading the word even more.  No doubt, readers of this blog will want to see what this meaty monstrosity looks like and will visit the BBQ site.  When you do visit , you’ll note that a link to the recipe is front and center, prominently displayed underneath the NYT logo, thus providing users with a brilliantly smooth user experience.

I should note that the BBQ website relies solely on advertising revenue to operate.  I am sure the 400k+ increase in traffic and nation-wide coverage has given the BBQ team some leverage in ad sales negotiations.  And to think, all of it started with a great recipe idea and a well thought-out social networking campaign.

In a cruel twist of irony, this blog was written by a non-pork consuming Jew.  So, if any brave carnivorous souls out there have tried making the Bacon Explosion, please do share your thoughts right here on our blog!!

FD kinesis helps launch Coldwell Banker® on the iPhone

FD kinesis is continuing to help the 100-year+ Coldwell Banker brand blaze a path of innovation in the real estate industry with today’s launch of the first fully-integrated, home search and home valuation tool for iPhoneTM users from a national, full-service real estate brand.

Users who visit using their iPhone (or iPod Touch) Safari browsers will automatically be presented with the specially-designed iPhone version of the site, which offers a streamlined, nationwide home property search and home value estimator tool. Users need no special software to benefit from this enhancement to the Coldwell Banker mobile technology.

A review of the site is available at the technology blog ReadWriteWeb here –

This new user-experience is part of an overall mobile strategy for Coldwell Banker to reach users whenever and wherever they may be when they are interested in real estate – whether that is at the beginning “dreaming” phase, or when they’re out looking at homes in the “shopping” phase. In July, 2008, FD kinesis helped launch a Coldwell Banker home search and open house finder on the Dash GPS device.

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