Book review- Flip The Funnel by Joseph Jaffe

I received this book from the author at SXSW at the Powered Party that was celebrating both the sale of Jaffe’s company, Crayon as well as the release of Flip The Funnel.

Overall, I found this book to be a pretty good read. I think that Jaffe would admit that he is much more in the strategy or idea realm than in the operational area, so parts of this work are a bit high level.

That said, Jaffe makes a solid point that:

“What is the real role of Social Media? Is it possible to grow the business from the inside out? What happens when customer evangelists become effective salespeople? Is it possible to incentivize existing customers to spread the good word about you, your company, and your goods and services without muddying the waters in the process?”

Personally, I agree that once an entity becomes a paying customer, they should not be allowed to leave and become part of a churn statistic. I could give many examples in my career where the sales methodology required a focus on new business at all costs. Once the customers signed the contract, they were treated as a commodity and basically joined a queue to exit the customer base.

Jaffe makes the point that growing business by a focus on your existing customers, you will grow your business with a lower cost per sale. As stated before, Joseph is more of an idea man, so I felt some of the data presented was not as granular as it could be. Granted, he is preaching to the choir, here, but to get a receptive audience among the non believers in the corporate world, there may need to be some more data.

The entire concept of making customer care and related services as a profit center as opposed to the more typical cost center to be outsourced, I think will be a difficult pill to swallow for the corporate world.  I am looking forward to see where this goes.

Ad Targeting-The Delta Between It’s Use and Its’ Understanding

This piece of research from eMarketer shows how Behavioral Targeted ads are growing in the marketplace.

“eMarketer predicts online advertisers in the US will spend more than $1.1 billion on behaviorally targeted advertising in 2010, rising to $2.6 billion in 2014.”

I have worked around various areas of BT for over 6 years. It is rather amazing to see how the growth is estimated to continue.

BT is made possible by the loads of online data that is collected via surfing sessions conducted by online travelers. The rub is here that not very many people realize that 1. their data is being collected and 2. that this data will be used to profile them and then target them in the future.

“Audience discomfort around marketers collecting data has led to calls for regulation, and some brands are staying on the sidelines of behavioral targeting because they fear consumer backlash,”

“When the online audience is so ignorant of current data protections, it is little wonder that they also misunderstand exactly what online ad targeting is, how it may not really be a threat and what benefits they derive from Websites supported by advertising.”

The funny thing is that the more targeting that is done, and how soon the diminishing returns show themselves. What I mean is that even though Technology allow for the hyper targeting of audiences, the reality is that this hyper targeting can be scaled to satisfy large advertisers.

Does Anyone Want More Advertising?

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Other than the folks that sell media or technology related to media, does anyone really want more advertising? It seems that in all channels, people (not consumers nor users) are going out of their way to avoid ads.

The proliferation of choice with over 100 channels on most cable systems and the built in DVRs (and Beta and VHS before them) have always made it possible to avoid TV ads.

Online there is a number of ways to avoid excessive advertising- which is predominately based on cookie technology. There are plenty of programs out there like Ad Block Plus which allow a surfer to avoid banner advertising. Other people flush their cookies frequently and this wreaks differing levels of havoc upon web publishers that depend on banner advertising for their revenue. Despite this click throughs (CTRs- the dominant metric) are at a statistical zero, so even when people see ads they are not clicking on them.

Government is starting to make online privacy a political issue and even though it is pretty well documented that political types are not very internet savvy, things are starting to happen.There has been a period of self-governing followed by some IAB PAC sponsored old fashioned D.C. lobbying. Conversations that I have been a part of feel that there will be some sort on government-mandated regulation in the next year or so.

This NYTimes article discusses how the Future of Privacy Forum developed a logo to let people know how they received the particular ad- behaviorally targeted, contextually targeted etc. They came up with the blue logo above. Does anyone think that will address privacy concerns and make people feel better about targeted advertising (and the underlying technology?)

It comes down to, do people want more advertising?

This post originally appeared here.

Clarity

like the pic above, things are less clear as we go along. I took this picture in a friend’s house, between the art itself, daylight reflection and the glass over the art it is hard to see what is going on.

This is not unlike many of the conversations that I have had with people lately. With all the uncertainty going on, political, economic, weather etc. many folks seem to be using this as an excuse to be even more opaque.

I definitely find it more difficult to really connect with people, it seems that the endless Facebook updates and reality tv viewing has made people more narcissistic. I guess it is hard to know where people stand as many seem to be fronting.

The flipside to this is when I do connect with someone, and not the casual internet “friending,” it seems that the connection can become deeper more quickly. Via the following, sharing and other communication channels, getting to really know someone can move a bit more quickly.

Book Review Six Pixels of Separation By Mitch Joel

The title of this is right on for the current times. I am a light Facebook user, but I have recently reconnected with people that I have not seen/spoken to/ thought about since college days. Everyone is definitely connected, and I don’t mean in the macrame, hippy way.

Due to all of the interaction and personal media creation going on currently, there is more data and thusly more hooks to latch onto other people-whether they are from the past or the future.

Joel starts with a chapter called “I google you, just like You google me.” While this is pretty obvious to me and probably anyone reading this, it is my belief that if something (you) does not appear in the mighty G, you don’t exist. Conversely, all the digital trail that you have put out there (or others have put out there about you) is in the Cloud forever. This is a pretty heady concept. I think that this makes it both more difficult to start over or disappear as a person. It is also a huge opportunity to build your own brand. People have a chance to brand themselves by engaging and sharing content to the rest of the world. His “Personal Brand Questionnaire” on pg. 129 is helpful here.

He talks a lot about the Trust Economy, not unlike the book Trust Agents. He gives some good advice, but this is targeted towards new users of some of the SM tools-Consistency, Add Value and use a global user name.

I think one of the most useful sections is where he outlines many of the tools that one can use to join the online conversation. Some of the tools include RSS Readers, Google Alerts, etc. I took some inspiration from his discourse on setting up real world meetups. I feel that there are not enough real meetups here in the Chicago area, so I used some of the suggestions for setting one up.

Joel’s analysis and foreshadowing about mobile seems a bit dated, but that can’t be helped with the time lag involved with offline publishing. The point is valid, as your age decreases, the audience becomes increasingly mobile.

Overall, I found this a quick read and a good primer for folks that may be late adopters to the techniques and concepts of Social Media. I would recommend that marketers review this book- it is a great way to get up to speed quickly in this area.

ATT Wireless Fun #FAIL

I had a Blackjack II from a former employer that was on AT&T and I kept the phone when I left the employer.

Around the holidays, I decided to join the iPhone cult. When I ordered the phone, they said that the old phone would be canceled and that the new billing would be transferred over to the new phone service.

When I received my first bill, the bill was at least $50 too much. When I called to complain, they said that the billing fell between cycles and that I would see a credit on my next bill.

Surprise, the second bill did not include the credit. So I had to call again, even though I got results- I was able to see my amount currently due amount change in real time on the AT&T website, this was way more stressful and time consuming than necessary. It turns out that ATT sent a check (!?!) to my former employer instead of to me.

Here are some real time tweets while I was on the phone with AT&T Wireless:

man the worst- the ATT wireless acct person just said that he didnt want 2 pass buck and then did

i can see how ppl get frustrated w/ att wireless#FAIL

spoken w/ 3 billing experts/supervisors @ ATT Wireless so far#FAIL

wow- all i can say is be persistent w/ AT&T Wireless, almost 45 min later, i got my credit! why do I feel triumphant for getting whats rite?

I shudder to think that this is the improved version of their customer service. I worked very hard to keep my composure, and that seemed to help, but the sheer number of uninformed people that I had to deal with was amazing.

Also since in the greater than 24 hours since this occurred, I have not received any outreach, I am also surprised. I would suggest that ATT look at the examples that both Dell and Comcast have set by joining the conversation in the Social Media channels.

Google Voice

Late to the game on this one.

I got an invite 6 months or so back, but procrastinated and forgot about it. I set it up today and I am truly amazed what the GOOG is offering for “free.”

I selected a local phone number that offers number portability, in that I can have that number ring the landline or my mobile. As I roll out the plans with the new endeavor, I plan to use this new number as a no cost option to setting up a separate phone line.

Also the functionality of Google Voice, in that I select a number to dial, and it will call me back on a line of my choice- how about my landline-I also get free long distance. What is not to like?

I am seeing how Apple did not want to have this native on the iPhone, in turn I see a huge advantage to the Android platform since this service is native.

I have not even started with the voicemail features. Having the files sent to an inbox and having the ability to have it transcribed. Also it looks like there is free SMS.

Thanks, Google!