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Monday, February 28, 2011

Report: Brands Pursue the Social Consumer

Report: Brands Pursue the Social Consumer

The Pivot Conference is unique in its focus of seeking and dissecting branding's next revolution: The Rise of the Social Consumer. In October 2010, the inaugural event took place in New York, uniting brands, agencies, and industry experts to share insights, best practices and also explore the horizon for relevant emerging technologies and methodologies.

At the end of 2010, the research team at Pivot conducted a survey among its 700-plus attendees to reveal 2011 challenges, opportunities and the plans to organize efforts around them. The results were analyzed and underpinned the planning for the 2011 Pivot conference. However, the insights we learned in the process are far too valuable to keep behind the firewall. We've assembled the highlights into this report and are making it freely available to download, review and share.

The following data should not be viewed in the context of a conference. Instead, this information is reflective of the brand's eye view on the state and future of social media in 2011 development and execution. Views included here give us access to the plans and corresponding spending in new media for the year ahead.

The Pivot Audience

Pivot attendees were by and large focused on marketing and advertising, comprising 78 percent of the audience. Brand marketers and business executives made up the majority of those seeking insights for the future of marketing, representing 54 percent of the overall audience. Agency professionals and consultants represented less than half of their in house counterparts.

Over two-thirds of survey respondents hold executive, VP or director titles, representing the following industries:

- Arts – 23%
- Banking/Financial Services – 15.9%
- Beauty – 20.6%
- Entertainment – 33.3%
- Food/Beverage/Restaurants – 17.5%
- Marketing/Advertising/PR – 34.9%
- Media/Publishing – 34.9%
- Retail – 19%
- Technology (Business) – 22.2%
- Technology (Consumer) – 30.2%

Social Media is held close to the brand vest. While many functions associated with advertising and marketing are outsourced to agencies, social media is an exception. Over half (52 percent) of brands report that they're running social media marketing in house. 19 percent are feeding this function to full service ad agencies and another 15 percent rely on specialized agencies to lead their social marketing programs.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Pivot research team asked participants which marketing/advertising functions they are responsible for or what specifically they oversee. By far, social media marketing was the number one role at 64 percent followed by brand marketing at 58 percent and advertising/marketing campaign development at 50 percent. Marketing research and analysis showed a strong appearance at 48 percent. If we were to combine public relations and corporate communications, it would tie for second with brand marketing at 58 percent.

It's clear that those focused on branding's next revolution are responsible for a great array of functions. Functions with strong showings included Website development, product marketing, mobile and direct marketing.

An Investment in Time and Resources

Marketing professionals revealed how they plan to spend their time over the next 12 months. For those of us trying to figure out whether or not we're focused on the right outside resources and opportunities, benchmarking against peers is as helpful as it is telling.

Social Media: In 2011, marketers plan to increase usage of social media by 75 percent. 19 percent will remain at current levels and only one percent of respondents actually plan on decreasing usage.

Mobile: Apps for iPhone and Droid will see a rise of 62 percent, 21 percent will remain constant and 1 percent will decrease.

Microblogging: 61 percent will increase use of streaming apps such as Twitter and Yammer, 27 percent will stay the course and 5 percent will reduce current usage.

Video: 55 percent of marketers will increase video production and distribution with YouTube, Vimeo and the like, 31 percent will continue as is, and no one plans to decrease their efforts in this category in 2011.

Blogs: Contrary to a recent story in the New York Times insinuating that the statusphere would spell the end of the blogosphere, brands will increase their focus on top tier blogs to reach customers and peers by 52 percent, with 35 percent staying constant and 5 percent reducing focus.

While every category will experience increases at varying levels, there are certain platforms and networks that showed double-digit decreases in 2011. Geo-location networks such as Foursquare and Gowalla and Review sites will see a 10 percent retraction in focus this year. On the contrary, brands will increase usage of virtual worlds such as Second Life by 11 percent.

Advertising/Marketing Budgets

The average annual marketing/advertising budget for those who could disclose it was $16.8 million. 24 percent of that budget, on average, was earmarked for social media.

Social Media Touches the Adaptive Business

Participants were asked whether they agree or disagree with a series of statements around social media.

Customer Focus: At the top of the list, 69 percent believe social media is a component of an effective customer relations program

Brand Impact: 66 percent believe that social media has a significant impact on companies and brands.

State of Adoption: 57 percent see advertising and marketing in the early stages of capitalizing on social media

Social Media as a Differentiator: Surprisingly only 35 percent of respondents see social media as fundamentally different from all other media. We predict this too will change over time as brands look beyond traditional command and control strategies in new media.

Social Media as a Disruptor: 22 percent see social media as a Trojan Horse in the market, giving hope to emerging brands seeking to displace established brands.

Social Media Success

Attaining ROI is an important quest in social media. A majority of brands that participated in the Pivot study are measuring social media against internal goals and objectives. Of those who are measuring, 73 percent find social media programs to be successful. Four percent say that social media is not delivering as hoped. However, a full 23 percent cannot yet tell. Expect this number to decrease by this time next year.

Social Consumers

The focus of Pivot 2011 is on the rise of the social consumer. The research team asked about the importance of the social consumer in the company's social media marketing efforts.

59 percent see social consumers as pivotal to the brand, and as such, welcome their involvement and participation. On the other hand, 22 percent are proceeding with caution, maintaining control over process.

Who are Social Consumers?

Participants in the Pivot study were asked to estimate the age range of social consumers. 61 percent estimated 21-30 years old. 57 percent guessed 11-20. 43 percent targeted 31-40. 27 percent cited 41-50. For the record, Millennials currently fall between the ages of 16 and 31. The answers are surprising however. Social consumers represent all ages on the chart and are aligned by psychographics as we move forward, not demographics.

Are Social Consumers Important Marketing Targets?

This is the billion-dollar question. Aside from age group, 84 percent of brands and agencies participating in this study see the Social Consumer as a primary or secondary target in 2011.

Readiness to Support New Advertising Platforms

Brand marketers and their agency counterparts are more than ready to embrace new advertising platforms such as Twitter's promoted products and Facebook's new in-stream opportunities. 62 percent agree that if there's benefit, they are willing to be among the first to test and use. 20 percent on the other hand prefer not to be among the first. Nine percent will wait and see.

Conclusion

2011 is a pivotal year for social media. While many brands believe in its importance, there is still a great deal to learn. What's clear however, is just how early brands are in this growth curve. Social Consumers are expanding beyond the Millennial demographic as social-savvy individuals are migrating from the edge to the center of technology adoption and prowess. As they do, social networks and new media apps and services become their platforms of choice. All signs, according to this study, point towards greater investment in time, money, and resources to better understand and excel in social media.

About Pivot

The Pivot Conference is focused on helping brand managers, executives, creative teams, and agencies bridge the gap between brands and the emerging market of Social Consumers. Combining inspiration and education through a series of keynotes, discussions and workshops, Pivot teaches through immersion how to captivate attention where and when it's focused and how to steer experiences and actions beneficial to the brand.

The two-day conference will engage the heart and the mind of attendees through a structured approach to understanding strategies and tactics to effectively attract and engage social consumers. Part inspiration and part education, together we'll walk away with ideas and programs we can put to work immediately and throughout 2012.

Pivot will be limited to 500 brand and their agencies in 2011. (Click here to register.)

Contact Mike Edelhart at medelhart@pivotcon.com to inquire about sponsorships.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

Image Credit: Shutterstock (edited)


--
Ralph Paglia
Vice President

New Google Algorithm Has Major Impact on Car Dealers

Google's Search Cleanup Has Big Effect

By AMIR EFRATI

Google Inc.'s move last week to lower the search rankings of websites that the company said offer little useful information appears to be having a dramatic impact, according to firms that study search-engine data.

Google has changed its search algorithm in an effort to filter out data from "content farms" in search results. Marcelo Prince, Jessica Vascellaro and Simon Constable discuss how this affect site rankings and revenues for businesses.

Many websites that previously ranked highly in searches for certain keywords on Google dropped sharply following the change in the company's search algorithms, the firms found. Some of the sites that were hurt defended the quality of their content, arguing that they had been unfairly lumped with bad actors on the Internet.

Meanwhile, some well-known social-networking, retail and news sites emerged as apparent winners, rising in Google's rankings.

Google has said the change was aimed, among other things, at sites with what it calls "low quality" content: just enough information to appear in search results and lure users to pages loaded with advertisements. It estimated that the new algorithms would affect about 12% of U.S.-based search queries and would expand to non-U.S. queries in the near future.

"It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down," Google engineers Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts wrote in a blog post Thursday night. They said sites with original content "such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on" will move up.

A Google spokesman said Sunday that "user feedback has been positive" to the change and mirrored the feedback it received from "human raters," hundreds of people outside the company hired to evaluate changes on a regular basis. Google has said it often measures whether users click the "back" button quickly after visiting a search result, which might indicate a lack of satisfaction with a site.

David Harry, a Canada-based consultant who helps websites rise in Google's rankings, said "there's a fair amount of collateral damage" from Google's changes and that "perfectly legitimate sites are being hit, thus it's hard to say search quality overall is improving." He added that "ultimately people may be losing their jobs as revenues change" at the affected companies.

Many sites rely heavily on Web traffic from Google searches, and even a small drop in the rankings could have a large impact and might reduce revenue they generate from ads on their pages. Google didn't name any specific sites that would be affected by the changes.

A study released over the weekend by Sistrix GmbH, a research firm based in Bonn, Germany, attempted to show which websites dropped and rose in search results for one million search queries, such as "credit" or "real estate." Several owners of sites listed in the study agreed that it assessed the impact of Google's moves on their search rankings accurately.

Denis Grosz, president of Conjecture Corp., is the owner of one such site. He said his site, WiseGeek.com, took a "substantial hit" in traffic, though it was "hopeful that could be changed." Some WiseGeek articles ranked as the fifth result rather than the second result for certain queries.

"We got unfairly lumped with a lot of players that had much lower-quality content," he said. "We're not perfect, but I vouch for the quality of our content."

WiseGeek, which pays writers at least $10 to produce articles on a wide range of topics, including trust funds and apartheid, "rejects anything that doesn't meet our standards," Mr. Grosz said. The site,which has more than 124,000 articles, relies on search engines for the majority of its traffic, he said. He called on Google to provide guidance "on what to do and some assurance that if we improve quality we can get back to where we were."

A Google spokesman said in an email: "As always, we have a variety of methods for site owners to raise their questions directly with us," including through Google's "webmaster central" site.

Other sites that were identified by Sistrix as being hurt by the Google changes included information sites EzineArticles.com and Mahalo.com, as well as TheFind.com, which helps users shop for products online.

Jason Calacanis, who runs Mahalo.com, said the site's mission of "creating high-quality, expert-driven" articles and videos "aligns us perfectly, in the long-term, with Google's changes." He said he's "been through changes like this before" while at other sites and his experience shows that Google's ranking system "can be brutal in the short-term but it gets it right over time."

Chris Knight, chief executive of EzineArticles.com, on Saturday said in a post on his company's blog that the Google change might cut the traffic to his site, which got 57 million unique visitors over the last month, by half. He listed a slew of actions the site is taking to climb up the rankings, including reducing the number of ads per page "to improve the perceived user experience" and removing thousands of articles from its site that are deemed to be of lower quality.

TheFind declined to comment while it reviews the study and compares it with the site's own findings.

Associated Content, which offers more than two million articles on a wide variety of topics, was also on the Sistrix list of sites hurt by the Google changes. A spokesman for Yahoo Inc., which bought Associated Content last year, said Yahoo's strategy is to make sure that more traffic to Associated Content articles would come from users of Yahoo's content sites rather than from search-engine users.

The study by Sistrix, which provides data to companies on how they and their competitors rank in search results, also showed that many well-known sites rose in Google's rankings. Those sites include social networks LinkedIn.com and Facebook.com and news sites of Time Warner Inc.'s Time Inc., News Corp.'s Fox News and the New York Daily News. Retailer sites, including those of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and eBay Inc. also rose in rankings, the study found, as did Google's own video site, YouTube. (News Corp. also publishes The Wall Street Journal.)

John Cantarella, president of Time Inc.'s digital news operations, said in an email that "it's really too early to tell" how Google's changes would affect the company. "We applaud this change that gives preference to high-quality original reporting," he wrote.

An eBay spokesman declined to comment. Representatives of the other sites didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

A Google spokesman said that if YouTube had benefited from the changes, it was "happenstance." He said the algorithm change didn't single out any specific sites.

Buy.com is one shopping site that says it is seeing greater traffic following the Google change. Neel Grover, Buy.com's chief executive, said in a statement that he was "delighted" that the new Google ranking algorithm "is helping naturally improve the search rankings for 'actual' relevant companies, including ours."

Demand Media Inc., which some industry observers had thought was a target of the Google change, appears not to have been hurt overall. Demand's eHow.com site, which gives users information on how to build fires or cook eggs, among many other things, rose in Google's rankings, Sistrix found, while a couple of Demand's smaller sites fell. A Demand Media spokeswoman declined to comment. On Thursday a Demand Media executive said the Google change had no material impact on the company.

Johannes Beus, Sistrix's founder, said in an email that many of the sites that appeared to drop in Google's rankings had what the Web industry would call "low-quality" content. "Google aimed at low-quality pages and it looks like it did succeed," he wrote.

By AMIR EFRATI

<Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPad>

Ralph Paglia

http://www.RalphPaglia.com 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yahoo! Dies The Death of a Thousand Cuts

Here we go again... Yahoo! Continues to die the death of a thousand cuts. I am still bummed out over the Yahoo! Team's euthanasia of Geocities, but now they are exterminating one of the few Yahoo features I make daily use of, and pay them a fee for... MyBlogLog has been a very useful tool and app that many social media marketers have been using for years. 

This announcement is further proof that Yahoo has become like a person with unmanageable diabetes, various body parts are being amputated as this former online giant slowly withers away, while dying the death of a thousand cuts. 

I received the message below via email:
 Yahoo!

Dear MyBlogLog Customer, 

You have been identified as a customer of Yahoo! MyBlogLog. We will officially discontinue Yahoo! MyBlogLog effective May 24, 2011. Your agreement with Yahoo!, to the extent that it applies to the Yahoo! MyBlogLog, will terminate on May 24, 2011

After May 24, 2011 your credit card will no longer be charged for premium services on MyBlogLog. We will refund you the unused portion of your subscription, if any. The refund will appear as a credit via the billing method we have on file for you. To make sure that your billing information is correct and up to date, visithttps://billing.yahoo.com

Questions?
If you have questions about these changes, please visit the Yahoo! MyBlogLog help pages.

We thank you for being a customer on Yahoo! MyBlogLog.

Sincerely,

The Yahoo! My BlogLog Team
Yahoo! is located at 701 First Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Vice President
Tier 10 Marketing
cell: 505-301-6369 
fax: 801-340-8918

In the Car Business? Really? Then you are a member: http://ADM.fm 

Friday, February 25, 2011

FORD SUPPLIERS ADD 5,500 JOBS TO SUPPORT GLOBAL LAUNCH OF ALL-NEW FORD FOCUS

FORD SUPPLIERS ADD 5,500 JOBS TO SUPPORT GLOBAL LAUNCH OF ALL-NEW FORD FOCUS
Ford Motor Company's outstanding success in both North America and Europe continues to be a major source of Jobs Creation within the American economy... 

As the all-new Ford Focus gets set to hit dealer showrooms across Europe and North America, Ford's global supply network is expanding to meet the needs of the vehicle's international launch.

Here in the USA, on top of new production plants being built in St. Louis and elsewhere, Ford's demand for parts and components from suppliers is driving the creation of additional new jobs and major hiring initiatives. It is worth noting that automotive industry manufacturing jobs are amongst the highest paying and best employee benefits based jobs in the USA. 

While many manufacturers are looking for ways to cut payroll expense and reduce "head count" Ford's willingness to hire Americans and commit to their suppliers is one the best and brightest spots in the American economic recovery.  In many ways, I see Ford's leadership in this area of jobs creation as  yet another good reason for people to consider buying Ford cars and trucks. 

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Vice President
Tier 10 Marketing
c: 505-301-6369 
F:801-340-8918

In the Car Business? Really? Then you must be a member of:
http://ADM.fm 

Social Media Marketing: Hertz NeverLost Mapping Issue

Check this out... Oscar saw a Tweet from me complaining that a business was located incorrectly by the Hertz Neverlost GPS System I was using in a car I rented at Washington Dulles International Airport. This response from Oscar Loera is simply amazing.  Obviously he monitors the social web for mentions of his company and their products. The fact is that he snapped into action after seeing my post from http://twitter.com/RalphPaglia and has even gone so far as to refund my cost of using the Neverlost GPS guidance System in the Hertz Rental car I was using at the time. 

Oscar included his direct phone, email and personal cell phone in his communications with me. He also posted a public apology on Twitter and explained what his company was doing to correct the problem that initiated my tweet.  

Oscar's highly effective and proactive response process has increased my loyalty and intent to continue using Hertz for my rental vehicle needs. 

This is also a good example of why Hertz continues to out-perform other companies in their business segment for their shareholders. 

To Oscar: 

Thank you for being such an outstanding example of how a business can use Social Media for Reputation Management and to better achieve Marketing Communication objectives. 

On Feb 25, 2011, at 12:01 PM, "Loera, Oscar" wrote:

Ralph:

I apologize for the mapping issue that you ran into while using the Hertz NeverLost.  While we update our units year round, we realize that issues like this sometimes occur.  We also offer Real-Time customer service at 800-823-2547 for any issues, but I'm sure that is not helpful to you when you are trying to get to your destination and run into an error.  Please contact me and let us try to address the cost of the Hertz NeverLost system that you incurred.  We always want to ensure that you get to your destinations safely.  We even offer Online Trip Planning to let you plan those in advance at www.neverlost.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Oscar Loera, Jr.

Director - Online Marketing and Social Media

Navigation Solutions

3314 N. Central Expressway

Plano, Texas 75074

Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx

www.neverlost.com

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Vice President
Tier 10 Marketing
c: 505-301-6369 
F:801-340-8918

In the Car Business? Really? Then you must be a member of:
http://ADM.fm 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New 'Crazy Kevin' ad campaign launches for Explorer

New 'Crazy Kevin' ad campaign launches for Explorer

The reinvented 2011 Ford Explorer has gone "crazy" – well, maybe not literally, but it is the star of a hilarious new urban advertising campaign featuring comedian and actor Kevin Hart. "Crazy Kevin," the new campaign, debuted during The Game on BET; the 60-second TV ad will air during the 2011 NBA All-Star Game Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on TNT. The campaign features TV ads, print, radio and digital executions highlighting key features found on Explorer like the unique Terrain Management System™ and class-exclusive rear inflatable seat belts.

Michelle Matthews-Alexander | mmatth64@ford.com | 313.585.4060

Focus Global Test drivers – stoked and ready

Anticipation is building for the 100 participants in Focus Global Test Drive kicking off this weekend in Spain. These consumers and bloggers will be among the first outsiders to put the all-new Ford Focus through its paces. The program offers something for everyone: Participants enjoy the experience of a lifetime, Ford engineers get rapid feedback from these social media mavens, and the test drivers' preferred charities are the beneficiaries of $10,000 each. The driving challenges will take place at a private proving grounds facility near Madrid.

Mark Schirmer | mschirme@ford.com | 313.390.8647

Ford's Gimme the Gig band search wraps up

Ford and Grammy® Award-winning producer Don Was have announced the culmination of their seven-month competition, titled Gimme the Gig, sponsored by the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The grand prize-winning band will be chosen during a live performance Thursday at the world-famous Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles. The event will showcase performances by the seven top-voted up-and-coming bands selected from a pool of 2,500 applicants. Legendary producer Was will host the competition.

Octavio Navarro | onavarr1@ford.com | 949.242.6676


[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Vice President
Tier 10 Marketing
c: 505-301-6369 
F:801-340-8918

In the Car Business? Really? Then you must be a member of:
http://ADM.fm 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cool Cars and Hot Dates on Valentine's Day

MPRESS YOUR VALENTINE WITH THESE COOL DATE NIGHT FEATURES FROM FORD
For me, it was a 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible... Red on red with bucket seats and a 429 cubic inch bog block motor.  The rear speaker was in between the two rear seat backs, with a big chrome mesh grill cover.  She had 5 spoke alloys and red lines... No, not my date, the car!

I recently was contacted via Facebook by my first Valentine's Day date after 37 years since the last time I heard from her... She shared a photo of the two of us from that evening. To this day I believe my hot ride, that red convertible is what compelled her to accept my date request!

Just about everyone remembers the car they rode in on their first date. Was it a convertible with a great sound system, or a boat on wheels with lots of space? Whatever it was, both men and women agree that cars can make or break that first and often memorable impression. "A person's car is most definitely an extension of themselves," said Ellen Fein, dating expert and best-selling co-author of The Rules. "You often get one chance to make a right impression, and your car is one of the first personal things your date sees about you.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
c: 505-301-6369 
F:801-340-8918

In the Car Business? Really? Then you must be a member of:
http://ADM.fm 

Monday, February 7, 2011

posted a photo http://ping.fm/BZWxO
2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention http://ping.fm/XZg60

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 at NADA Convention