A three-hour tour of Internet marketing

Hands up – who’s excited by the expansion of commercial television into new digital TV stations? Hmmm, as I suspected, not many hands….

I’m still struggling to understand the business model behind digital TV: It seems to be cannibalising your own audience and that of your direct competitors by broadcasting long-forgotten or obscure TV shows.

However, there is one good thing about digital TV; It’s introduced a whole new generation to the shows their parents wasted their time on when they were young.

One of my favourite shows growing up was Gilligan’s Island, the tale of a fateful group of castaways whose three-hour boat tour around Honolulu turned into a shipwrecked adventure that lasted for what seemed decades but was, in fact, three seasons.

Although the plotlines were as shallow as the island’s lagoon, when I watch the old episodes again after all these years, I can see some parallels, strangely enough, to modern-day business. For example, here are five lessons from Gilligan’s Island that can be applied to Internet marketing.

1. Be distinct, and be consistent.

Gilligan’s Island is full of archetypes – the gruff but lovable captain, his bumbling but well-meaning first mate, the unreconstructed capitalist couple, the geek, the glamourous woman and the girl next door.

You might love them or you might hate them, but you know what to expect from each of the archetypal characters in every episode. Gilligan is not going to behave like an intellectual, and Thurston Howell III is not going to become a tree-hugger; they all act in a way every week that matches their distinct character.

Online, as well as in traditional marketing, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors, by presenting your own distinct proposition to customers. And you need to consistently deliver that proposition, whether it’s your focus on customer service, your playful humour, or even the style and colour of your logo.

2. Embrace technological change

Just as the Professor improved the lives of people on the island by developing coconut telephones, a bicycle-powered radio and a hot water system, you need to be prepared to continually seek out new ways of doing things. Today, that means making sure everything you do is mobile-optimised; think of how your customers want to interact with your business out of home and develop your online offering accordingly.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas

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Australians love social networking

The latest Nielsen stats show that Australians spend more time on social networks than any other country. We’re spending nearly seven hours a month on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, with the US and UK a distant second and third at just more than six hours. Nielsen reports that nearly 10 million Australians are now using social media.

Time Spent on Social Sites by Country, December 2009
Country Unique Audience (000) Time per Person (hh:mm:ss)
United States 142,052 6:09:13
Japan 46,558 2:50:21
Brazil 31,345 4:33:10
United Kingdom 29,129 6:07:54
Germany 28,057 4:11:45
France 26,786 4:04:39
Spain 19,456 5:30:55
Italy 18,256 6:00:07
Australia 9,895 6:52:28
Switzerland 2,451 3:54:34
Source: The Nielsen Company, 2009

Content trumps transactions

Hitwise has released a report based on UK web traffic showing that content-driven websites receive 73% more traffic than transaction-based ones.

Hitwise data over a three-year period shows that entertainment and social networking sites have significantly increased their share of visitors, while shopping, classifieds and travel sites have lost market share.

Overall, transactional websites accounted for 5% more visits than content sites in July 2006, but since then content has grown steadily to now account for 73% more visits than transactional sites.

Content_vs_transactional_websites_chart

Hitwise’s Robin Goad writes: “This data chimes nicely with the findings of the latest Ofcom Communications Market Report. It concluded that the communications market has not been particularly harmed by the recession, and that ‘the internet and TV is regarded as a higher priority than almost anything except food.’ Hitwise would agree with this analysis but, although people are using the Internet more than ever, the way they use it and the sites they visit is constantly changing. In particular, the above charts show that just because people are using the web more, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are spending more money online.”

This week’s social media links

From the Zazoo blog:

Here are a few interesting stories about social media that have been published in the past few days:

Social Media Benchmarks: Realities and Myths

“….many clients still ask about benchmarks. They ask, ‘What are good CTRs, CPCs, CPMs, etc. so I know how my programs stack up?’ Well, there’s good reason those benchmarks are hard to find. Lacking a reliable source, I ran my own analysis over the last three years and came up with many eye-opening results…”

Australian Social Media Statistics Compendium

“With so many new social sites emerging it is very important for marketers to have Australian specific intelligence to determine which channels are the most attractive to pursue as part of your marketing strategy….”

How Accurately Can You Gauge the ROI of Social Media Tactics?

“Marketers are under constant pressure to measure everything they do. The result is often a default to tactics that are more easily and accurately measureable, regardless of their effectiveness. This is especially true in social media marketing which often requires qualitative measurement rather than quantitative metrics that are more familiar to online marketers….”

Online Marketing’s Evolution

“What’s the future of interactive advertising? Executives from interactive agencies and marketing technology tech companies tried to answer that question at two conferences this week in New York City. Discussions ranged from the challenges of working in social media, risks for agencies in using pay-for-performance models, one online marketing sector that’s thriving, and Amazon.com’s crowdsourcing initiative. Here are some takeaways….”

Social Media Fails To Manifest As Marketing Medium, Report Likens Twitter To TiVo: More Hype Than Reality

“Social media has reached critical mass, with 83% of the Internet population now using it… But for all the media industry’s hype and buzz surrounding social networks, microblogs, and other social networking platforms, the genre has failed to become much of a marketing medium, and in the opinion of the Knowledge Networks’ analysts, likely never will. The report, “How People Use Social Media,” finds that social media is having a profound impact on the way people connect with each other, but that it’s not becoming a very meaningful way for people to connect with brands, or advertising promoting brands….”

The Social Data Revolution(s)

“In 2009, more data will be generated by individuals than in the entire history of mankind through 2008. Information overload is more serious than ever. What are the implications for marketing?….”

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More ‘adults’ using social networks

The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2008 tracking survey.

While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk of the users of these websites. Adults make up a larger portion of the US population than teens, which is why the 35% number represents a larger number of users than the 65% of online teens who also use online social networks.

Online social network applications are mainly used for explaining and maintaining personal networks, and most adults, like teens, are using them to connect with people they already know.

  • 89% use their online profiles to keep up with friends
  • 57% use their profile to make plans with friends
  • 49% use them to make new friends
  • Other uses: organize with other people for an event, issue or cause; flirt with someone; promote themselves or their work; make new business contacts

Full report here: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Adult_social_networking_data_memo_FINAL.pdf

Online analytics and pharma companies

Erika Morphy has written a great article published today in CRM Buyer about the need for pharma companies today to use analytics to sell more effectively. As a Datamonitor researcher is quoted as saying in the article: “Traditionally, all pharma had to do to sell more drugs was employ more sales reps and equip them with the right technology, such as mobile solutions. Now, because their main drivers of profits are being squeezed – the end of blockbuster drugs’ patents and the dearth of new blockbuster drugs coming to market – pharma has come to the realization that is has to be more effective in selling drugs.”

Read the story here.