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Digital marketing digital pr General PR marketing online pr tech pr Technology PR

Are you a UK Social Media Power Player?

(This article first appeared on Marcom Professional)

Can online influence be determined algorithmically?

That’s the serious question behind the bit of fun I had last week creating the PR Week UK Social Media Power Player league table.

Using PeerIndex to determine an overall influence score (and based on PR Week’s original Power Player selection), I’ve so far listed around 283 people (if you feel you should be on the list, then sent me a Tweet – @andismit).

As I explained in my original Storify piece, I was simply testing out the new group creation feature of PeerIndex. However, little did I realise the Pandora’s box I was opening.  If I’ve learnt anything this last week, it’s that PR folk love a league table and are hugely competitive. The clamour to be included on the list was astonishing (as of this morning, the list has been viewed nearly 7,500 times). And clearly some people have begun obsessing about their rankings.

Inevitably, some have questioned what meaning – if any – a PeerIndex score has (or a Klout score for that matter).  I’d have to agree that an absolute rating like the overall PeerIndex tally probably doesn’t really provide much insight – other than being a modest diversion for PR people. However, PeerIndex clearly has plans to provide a rating relative to specific topics. That to my mind is far more interesting. Being able to have insights into which people may have more or less influence in relation to specific subjects is far more worthwhile for PR and marketing people.

Of course, that begs the question as to how PeerIndex arrives at its scores.  Like Google, they aren’t revealing the details of their People Rank algorithm. Some might argue that it is impossible to determine influence algorithmically. And I’d agree that PeerIndex isn’t perfect. At the same time, I applaud the effort to try and do it. Given the choice between attempting something and doing nothing I’ll always plump for the former.

So the debate about PeerIndex and its ilk will no doubt rumble on. But I can’t help but feel that this kind of algorithmic approach to determining online influence will play an ever increasing role in  21st century PR and marketing.

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Digital marketing digital pr General PR online pr tech pr Technology PR

Are you suffering from the endowment effect? (Marcom Pro)

Stop sniggering at the back there.

The title of this week’s Marcom Pro Round-Up has nothing to do with Viagra-related spam e-mails.

The endowment effect was an expression coined by American economist Richard Thaler to describe our tendency to set a higher selling price on what we own (are endowed with) than what we would pay for the identical item if we did not own it. In Peter Bernstein’s excellent book Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story Risk, there are numerous insightful examples of this effect in action (not to mention a host of other intriguing principles such as Prospect Theory and backwardation).

As Bernstein points out, the endowment effect arising from the nationality of the issuing company is a powerful influence on share valuations. Even though international diversification of investment portfolios has increased in recent years, Americans still hold mostly shares of American companies and Japanese investors hold mostly shares of Japanese companies, And yet, the US stock market is equal to only 35pc and the Japanese to only 30pc of the world market.

In a similar way, is marketing suffering from its own endowment effect? Are we still so heavily invested in the sunk costs of our traditional skills and tactics that we are failing to match our marketing investment with the reality of the world today?

According to Mary Meeker, the answer is yes.

If you look at only slide presentation online today, make it this one.

And in particular, look at slide 25. Look at the disparity between print media consumption and marketing spend. Proof positive of marketing’s endowment effect?

(This post first appeared here).

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Digital marketing

The decline of e-mail and the invitation avalanche

(Apologies: I’ve been testing out Storify – and this should have autoposted originally – but didn’t. So here’s what you should have seen in the first place).

09/02/2011 Comscore and social media expert Jay Baer both point to the decline in e-mail usage, consumption and influence.

According to Comscore, Web e-mail usage has declined 59% among 12 – 17 year olds.

ComScore Says You Don’t Got Mail: Web Email Usage Declines, 59% Among Teens!
techcrunch.com

In introducing his messaging platform last November Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said one of the primary motivations behind product strategy was that teenagers have given up on email, “High school kids don’t use email, they use SMS a lot. People want lighter weight things like SMS and IM to message each other.” A comScore study on 2010 digital trends reinforces Zuckerberg’s claim. It’s inevitable: As innovative social messaging platforms like Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate our online time, email begins its steady decline. Total web email usage was down 8% in the past year (YOY), with a whopping 59% decline in use among people between the ages of 12-17. Cue Matt Drudge -style alarm.
Meanwhile Jay Baer refers to: “Part 8 of the Subscribers, Fans, and Followers research series, “The Social Break-Up” which includes data that frankly shocked me”

41% of Twitter users have followed a brand, and subsequently unfollowed

71% of Facebook members have become more selective about “liking” companies

77% of email users have become more cautious about giving companies their email address – just in the past year

Continues Baer: “We are smothering our very best customers with an invitation avalanche, asking them to hang out with us in every digital clubhouse we can devise. And the reality is, they just aren’t that into us.

They are cheating on us behind our backs, committing attention infidelity right under our noses.

When no longer interested, 25% of consumers just delete, ignore, or filter emails (undetectable by marketers)

When no longer interested, 57% of consumers just ignore or remove companies’ Facebook post from their News Feed (undetectable by marketers)

47% of consumers who have created a Twitter account are no longer active on Twitter, creating ghost town accounts (undetectable by marketers)

We must focus on measuring passion in social media, not aggregation. The fact that you have 50,000 followers means very little in terms of how many people will see (much less respond) to any specific Tweet.

Consumers are already growing tired of speed dating brands, and will be playing increasingly hard to get.”

 

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Digital marketing digital pr General PR marketing online pr tech pr Technology PR

Why fungibility is the PR industry’s biggest problem (Marcom Pro)

As the head of WPP, Martin Sorrell’s pronouncements on any aspect of marketing are always worth paying attention to.

Back in December, he suggested that the PR sector’s biggest issue was the lack of talent – at least by comparison with other industries such as investment banking and management consultancy. According to Sorrell: “professional consultancy firms such as McKinsey and Goldman Sachs continuously hire the best people. Our malaise as an industry is that we don’t – we just nick them.”

On a related theme, Speed Communications joint Managing Director Steve Earl had a great post this week talking about how recession is the overriding factor dominating how PR businesses are run, how they’re developed, what their aspirations are and how PR is bought at the moment. Says Earl: “What I’m getting at is whether agency management teams are responding wisely, transparently and fairly to helping their personnel through a recession. Many of the job applicants Speed has seen through its doors in recent months talk about how many agency staffers are being asked to do jobs a level above their pay grade.”

Sorrell’s views are related to Earl’s observations. But these issues are nothing new. Professional services consultant David Maister identified the symptoms (and cures) for this malaise over 20 years – his books on Managing The Professional Service Firm and Strategy and the Fat Smoker should be required reading for senior PR management.

So what would Maister’s advice be to Sorrell and Earl?

According to Maister, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey are both “one firm firms”.  The emphasis is not so much on hiring the best talent as developing it from the ground up. Maister contrasts this with what he describes as “warlord firms”, where the productive senior members operate as chieftans presiding over their own territories, “occasionally collaborating but generally acting without a long-run commitment to the institution or each other. The past and the future are not often items high on the agenda.”

Consequently, over time, the performance of extreme warlord firms often swings through peaks and valleys. Much management energy is expended in modulating the politically charged environment.

As Maister presciently observed some years ago: “many warlord firms have reduced or eliminated entry-level recruiting, purportedly because of the short term cost of hiring and training such people. They prefer to hire laterally from other firms, to avoid the costs of investing in junior people.”  Or in Sorrell’s vernacular, nick them.  As far as Maister is concerned, “such firms are sending two uncongenial messages: the people we hire are fungible and there is nothing special about us. As a result, they fail to develop the loyalty and cohesiveness needed during periods of both prosperity and stress.”

And recession and stress go hand in hand. As Sorrell said in December of the PR sector: “we are supposed to be in the differentiation business”. In which case, the apparent “fungibility” of its most prevalent commodity may well be the most urgent issue that needs addressing.

(This post originally appeared here).

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Books Digital marketing digital pr General PR marketing online pr tech pr Technology PR

If PR was no fun in 1985, what is it now?

David Maister’s 1993 book “Managing The Professional Service Firm” is still the gold standard by which all other management books aimed at the legal, accounting, PR, marketing and consulting sectors should be judged.

A round up of material he’d been writing since the early 1980s, re-reading it again reminded me how much truth is still contained within its pages. There is very little that has dated.

Every chapter still contains golden nuggets of wisdom – not just for those in senior management positions in PR firms, but for those who are starting out on their careers.

For example, if you think the “motivation crisis” among the younger generation in PR is a new phenomenon, think again:

“PR is just not any fun any more. Today’s clients are demanding, cynical about the value they receive, and treat you less as a professional and more like an ordinary vendor. The pace, intensity and workload are greater than ever, and the firm atmosphere is competitive rather than supportive, and certainly less collegial. With all this concern about profitability, it seems like we’re being asked to work even harder for less money.”

And that was in 1985!

However, if the issue hasn’t gone away, then the solution offered 25 years ago is broadly similar. In other words, the problem isn’t one of too much work, but too much meaningless work. The role of management is to explain why work is important rather than just telling people what needs to be done. In addition, it is a function of the knowledge and skills that the firm has to offer that will give it the best chance of long term success. As Maister says, knowledge and skills are assets that left untended will depreciate in value. And quickly. And perhaps even more so in this day and age.

The PR sector as a whole clearly needs to invest in developing new knowledge and skills.

The future is bleak for those who continue milking yesterday’s assets.

 

 

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Digital marketing digital pr General PR marketing Media online pr tech pr Technology PR Web/Tech

Automated sentiment analysis? Yes, it is possible. And it’s here: Glide Intelligence

Glide Intelligence

The concept of automated sentiment analysis has pretty poor reputation. Not least because expectations have been raised in the past by vendors only to be dashed on the hard rocks of failed promises.

Glide Intelligence – launched this morning to group of 50+ senior comms professionals at the CIPR HQ in Russell Square – thus enters the market with a hefty hurdle of cynicism to overcome.

However, having been involved in the beta testing of the product over the last 12 months – and having sampled many rival attempts at sentiment analysis in the past – I’m very optimistic that Glide Intelligence really does take a major step towards the holy grail of genuine, real time automated sentiment analysis.

So what sets Glide Intelligence apart from rival sentiment analysis systems?

  1. The product hasn’t been knocked together in five minutes. As Glide CEO Sam Phillips said this morning, the project started nearly 5 years ago and has seen a 7 figure investment in its development.
  2. One of the key brains behind the project is Keith Woods-Holder, who, if anyone, is entitled to the moniker of godfather of automated sentiment analysis. He began his career 25 years ago creating advanced mathematical models for the UK Government’s Advanced Planning Unit, followed by 3 years as Research Director at Saatchis. He was then recruited by IBM to set up KWHR, on of the first ever firms to build a commercial sentiment analysis model which was subsequently adopted by brands such as Kodak, Dell, Sony and NASDAQ (Keith does a good line in Michael Dell anecdotes). The man has form.
  3. The technology is based on 4th generation advanced NLP sentiment analysis. It is also context-based, rather than keyword or dictionary based. This means it gets over one of the major traditional objections, namely, that automated sentiment analysis can’t handle irony, sarcasm or slang.
  4. The breadth of sources. Glide Intelligence will monitor broadcast, print, online and social media all at once – and in real time.  For example, you could have a real time, minute by minute, monitor of brand sentiment – and be able to spot where comms issues are developing in real time (just think what Peter Morgan at Rolls Royce could have done with this). An example was given this morning about how the tool could be used to monitor reaction to tube strikes – and where the sentiment is developing and how that is translating across media platforms. And what comms action could be taken – in real time.
  5. It can also be used to trace how a story developed eg if a particular article generates reaction across Twitter, broadcast, etc – and which could provide a blueprint for dealing with a similar issue in the future.
  6. Glide Intelligence provides multiple perspectives – in other words, not only can you view sentiment for your own organisation, but you can see how the world looks through your competitors eyes. The implications of this kind of analysis for comms professionals is obvious.
  7. Full transparency – you can pretty much drill down as far as you want to an original Tweet or article.
  8. The reporting capabilities are immense. More charts and tables than you can shake a stick at.

As you can guess, I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen so far. If Glide can deliver what’s on the tin, then perhaps the long awaited promise of automated sentiment analysis may finally have arrived.

Form an orderly queue for your demo now.

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Digital marketing digital pr Fashion marketing Media Pocket Video Video Web/Tech

Magic Ink with Dan Gold – DynamoTV episode 2: Panasonic TA1

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgzhKfOSbA]

Latest episode from DynamoTV. Great stuff.

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digital pr online pr Pocket Video Video Web/Tech

A Tinie (Tempah) bit of magic – DynamoTV episode 1 – Panasonic TA1

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_hxh0SBeSg]

How does he get the Panasonic TA1 pocket video recorder into the bottle?

10,000+ views on YouTube in half a day.

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Digital marketing digital pr online pr Video Web/Tech

Eye popping magic from DynamoTV over the next few weeks: Panasonic TA1

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR0GXYrPxN4]

If your image of a typical magician is Paul Daniels, think again.

Dynamo has certainly brought a breath of fresh air to the traditional world of sawing assistants in half and pulling rabbits out of the hat.

And over the next eight weeks he’ll be amazing some of the hottest names in entertainment with his eye popping magic. As well as the rest of us watching it on YouTube.

As the YouTube promo copy says: “Stay tuned for an AAA pass into Dynamo’s world, all captured in full HD on the Panasonic TA1 pocket video camera*.”

Anyway – keep an eye out for some mind bending magic from Dynamo over the next few weeks. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

And don’t forget to follow him on Twitter. Or Panasonic UK for that matter.

*Disclosure: Panasonic is a client

Panasonic TA1

Categories
Digital marketing digital pr General PR Media online pr

New York Times on Twitter: “The Conversation begins here”. And ends here it would seem.

Looking back over the last 24 hours, the New York Times Twitter account has Tweeted around 56 stories. An examination of the click through rates on these stories (which you can see for yourself by simply appending a ‘+” sign to any link as the NYTimes is using a customised bit.ly domain) shows that each story typically gets between 200 – 400 click throughs. Even being generous and assuming that each story gets a unique set of people clicking through, that suggests that, at best, Twitter generates around 22,400 click throughs to the site per day.

Even the “conversation” around NY Times stories on Twitter doesn’t seem too lively. The number of Retweets of each story is low, rarely getting into double figures.

According to Google Ad Planner, the New York Times site gets around 170 million visits per month and around 650 million page views. Based on the above analysis, Twitter based traffic is accounting at best for around 660,000 of those visits.

Clearly, 660,000 visits for most people would be a stonking triumph – and it could be that visits from Twitter result in people who spend longer on the site and read more content. But it suggests that the bulk of NY Times traffic is coming either directly or via search.

Of course, the overhead of running a broadcast style Twitter account for the NY Times is trivial. So perhaps in that context, the click through rates should be judged a raging success.

Then again, given the recent E-Consultancy survey which showed that most businesses are spending next to nothing on social media, you wonder if the NY Times experience is a possible explanation – namely, if the NY Times – with 2.7 million followers – finds it hard to get more than few hundred people to click on a link, what hope do we have?

What do you think?