BBC, Best Practices, Blog, British Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Marketing Association, CMA, Design, Design and Usability, Feedback, Marketing, Steve Rubel, Twitter, Usability, Web 2.0, Web Design, Web Site
I’m already a huge fan of BBC (the documentaries and history programs are a personal obsession) and am rapidly increasing my brand fanaticism as I dive into their newly redesigned site. So far I like what I see – a lot.
The approach for the new site design was crafted with users in mind by, go figure, involving users in the process. BBC went about actively requesting, receiving and integrating ideas while in the Beta phase. The BBC Internet Blog explains the open source nature of their redesign process. The blog itself added a nice dimension of communication around the project and undoubtedly generated more interest and credibility along the way. The new BBC home page is now live and I encourage you to take a look and play with it.
While they are not the first large company to adopt a user input/feedback mechanism and model, it is reassuring to see a globally known and respected brand open up this way. This is an approach my team at Scotiabank took with the launch of MyVault last year and, although ours differed in terms of being a private beta invite for users, it was a phenomenal opportunity to learn from the community and deliver a superior product and experience at the end of the day.
Quite timely as this will make for a good discussion at tonight’s Canadian Marketing Association‘s eMarketing Professional Certificate Course. The session is all about Web Site Best Practices, Design and Usability.
Hat Tip to Steve Rubel – picked via Twitter.
That was the lead of a story reported in Ad Age that shows a downturn in employment figures in the media industry. While the media industry was on the decline, lead by a decrease in newspaper related jobs, the marketing services sector (agencies, consultants etc..) showed an increase in employment growth.
Steve Rubel points out that, the direct-to-consumer model is beginning to take hold. What we are seeing is that, as distribution channels no longer require a broker, agent or other middle-person, the change we have heard of, and expected, is being quantified.
The Ad Age article states:
“Here’s the reason behind the disparity: Marketers still invest in marketing, but they have options far beyond paid media: digital initiatives, direct marketing, promotions and events, just to name a few. That creates more opportunities for consultants to help define strategies.”
The landscape where brands like Smirnoff, Coke, Dove, Sunsilk and others experiment and see the power of a focus on content versus one where you spend against mass media distribution is shaping up .
Looking a little further into media and distribution trends, the direction taken buy the likes of Radiohead with the release of their latest recording, In Rainbows, (as well as artists like Jane Siberry) show an active embrace of the direct to consumer distribution strategy. The shift taking place is aligned with channels of congregation – not ownership saturation. The implications are not subtle.
However, my belief is that this is not a zero-sum proposition. As online and digital grow, bright minds from the media fold will be brought on board and add talent and ideas to the evolution taking place.
Proof of this can be found in the stats:
“Internet media companies, a sector that includes search engines and web portals, is a bright spot, with a 13.4% jump in jobs last year. Still, internet-media employment remains 31% below its dot-com-bubble peak.” Although that last statistic may not be such a bad thing.
Let’s say you don’t read blogs. Let’s pretend for a minute that you are Joe or Jane Average. You are not into following the tech scene and don’t care what Scoble, Arrington or Rubel are saying or doing. Or, have even heard of these guys.
Here is the email I received today from Apple. It works, doesn’t it?. One of the most important things in marketing is to get the fundamentals right. Yes, Apple does the innovation part to the nines. Yes, they ooze cool in everything that they produce. They have nailed down the sex appeal in technology. Yes, they have changed the game several times over. And, the marketing communications just make you want to buy the product in a heart beat.
Below is the timely email they sent. Look at how they do the right thing in terms of ensuring the message is clear, concise and in your inbox at the same time the world is exploding with the news that they have done it all over again, just in case you’ve been in a cave and missed the hype. All this via the “antiquated” mode of marketing through email.
Good job Jobs.
Many clients are users of the GMOOT. It stands for “Get Me One Of Those”. Scott Donaton of Advertising Age coined the term that is, unfortunately enough, not a rare phenomenon in practice. While the notion of a “GMOOT” syndrome is not new, we are seeing more and more of it in digital as the marketplace grapples with accelerated growth and transformational change.
Look no further than the explosion of contests where marketers attempt to exploit Consumer Generated Content with lame calls-to-action like “make us a commercial” or “submit your kooky video extolling our product” (this whole CGC thing is itself another post ). GMOOT can be overheard in boardrooms when the agency is asked to “go create a viral marketing campaign”, “start a blog” or, “build a community”.
“It’s a phenomenon that helps explain why there are so many lousy viral videos and half-assed new-media initiatives out there. They’re not the end result of a real strategy, but are done for the sake of doing something because . . . well, because everyone else is.”
Steve Rubel of Micro-Persuasion pointed out that the gold rush in Second Life may have been nothing more than GMOOT in action. And Todd Defren of PR Squared (and others) weighed in too. My prediction is that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg as it generates out of the misguided fear of missing an opportunity to look cool or “leading edge”.
If there were ever a time when clients need to look deeper into all of the options presented by new media and the evolving digital world, it is now. However, to combat the GMOOT you need to get involved by getting involved. By that I mean involvement on a personal level before the brand level. Be come a lurker and/or an active participant. You can’t differentiate by simply doing what others are doing from the outside looking in.
Clients need to work harder than ever to avoid the knee-jerk response that leads to a “get me one of those” discussion. Another way to state the case here is to know what you want and what you are asking for. Assess and investigate the landscape by looking at each individual area as an opportunity to research how individuals are using it. Interact within unique eco-systems and gain a deeper understanding of potential fit. You my end up determining it is not for you, but at least you will know and be able to articulate the case.
And, the agency owns a big part of the responsibility here too. They need to take the keys out of client’s hands when they’ve had too much GMOOT spiked Kool-Aid and want to get in the driver’s seat. Agencies with well dressed “yes men” can only lead to trouble. Clients require strategic insight and the right amount of push back when appropriate. And, to know the difference in terms of listening to what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear.
Don’t get me wrong. There are huge opportunities and real business applications in these areas. The real issue is how to go about it properly and avoid being caught up in the storm, using tactic after tactic with no strategy.
I’m not sure I agree with Steve Rubel on his post “Google Should Pay a Big Share of Wikipedia’s Bills”. It is an interesting question, and I’m not sure I have even fully formulated my own answer. Raises a question in my mind if we all at risk of being crushed under the weight of our own success one day? What do you think? What would Elvis think?
Check out the dialogue over at Micro Persuasion.