Talk to Strangers – and Listen

The whole process traversed four stages that make recommendations effective: discovery, validation, confirmation, and actualization. We’ll look at all four, specifically in how they’re used in mobile situations.

1) Discovery: Recommendations need to be readily accessible. Right now, more technologically savvy consumers can find location-based recommendations easily through check-in services, Twitter, barcode scanning, and other means. To gain wider adoption, they’ll have to gain even wider distribution, especially through default mapping and local search offerings on both feature phones and smartphones.

2) Relevance: The recommendations need to resonate in some way with their audience. At Birch & Barley, there were more recommendations for the Brussels sprouts than brunch, but I quickly ignored them and forgot about the vegetables. Food’s a salient example, but this could relate to anything. When I shop at J. Crew, it won’t help if I only see mentions of women’s clothing. When I’m at a hotel, I’ll care more about the WiFi than the spa. Venues and location-based marketers will need to know their audience.

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Originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider

The whole process traversed four stages that make recommendations effective: discovery, validation, confirmation, and actualization. We’ll look at all four, specifically in how they’re used in mobile situations.

1) Discovery: Recommendations need to be readily accessible. Right now, more technologically savvy consumers can find location-based recommendations easily through check-in services, Twitter, barcode scanning, and other means. To gain wider adoption, they’ll have to gain even wider distribution, especially through default mapping and local search offerings on both feature phones and smartphones.

2) Relevance: The recommendations need to resonate in some way with their audience. At Birch & Barley, there were more recommendations for the Brussels sprouts than brunch, but I quickly ignored them and forgot about the vegetables. Food’s a salient example, but this could relate to anything. When I shop at J. Crew, it won’t help if I only see mentions of women’s clothing. When I’m at a hotel, I’ll care more about the WiFi than the spa. Venues and location-based marketers will need to know their audience.

3) Validation: Consumers must make sure there’s some credible reason to listen to the recommendation. If there’s one reviewer saying something that strikes a deeply personal chord, it may not matter at all who that reviewer is. In my case, there could be one tourist from Kazakhstan raving about fried chicken, and I’m fine taking a chance. Most of the time, other cues are needed. These factors include: quantity — the sheer number of recommendations listed; convergence — several reviews echoing similar notes; and proximity — how closely you identify with the reviewers. Leer más “Talk to Strangers – and Listen”

Social Media Insider: CheckPoints Makes An End-Run Around Location

Consider ShopKick, for example. In a recent Q&A on MediaPost, I was willing to peg Shopkick as the most overhyped mobile technology. As Shopkick has been the subject of stories in major media outlets from here to Botswana, it’s easy to call it overhyped. The gist of the app is that you earn points by walking into select stores, which the app confirms by using the microphone to pick up an inaudible audio tone played by a speaker placed near a retailer’s entrance. More points, dubbed “kickbucks,” kick in when users take specific actions within the store such as scanning select products. Location is central to the app. The kickbucks only matter so much here, as I’ve made it to level six with over 400 kickbucks (in other words, I’ve used this app a lot) and still haven’t earned a $2 Best Buy gift card. The app is still very new and can play a role in having consumers engage with locations and products, but it’s not fully baked yet. [Más…]

Yesterday, a new location-centric application called CheckPoints was announced that’s designed to shift the framework of the experience. Instead of focusing on locations, CheckPoints works with brands, including launch partners Belkin, Energizer, Seventh Generation, and Tyson Foods. While users can check in at various shopping locations, the focus is on the apps’ featured products. Scanning those products unlocks custom content and rewards. Here, the rewards are designed to be more tangible so it doesn’t take too long to understand the benefits. Rewards can include airline miles and other offers not necessarily related to the items scanned.

Brands will be rooting for this app to work. I work with a number of consumer packaged goods brands, and I’m sure this will come up in conversation with several of them. If this app starts influencing users’ purchase decisions, especially in ways brands can readily track, then brands will promote the app themselves. In essence, it will mark a transition of slotting fees to scanning fees. It’s also worth noting that despite the differences between CheckPoints and Shopkick today, Shopkick can just as easily be used to promote products across a wide range of locations.

The limitations of product-scanning apps are numerous, and they’re worth keeping in mind. The technological hurdles will be overcome within several years, but consumer behavior may not change as fast.


//www.marketersstudio.com | by David Berkowitz, Senior Director of Emerging Media & Innovation for agency 360i.


Today’s column, which originally ran in MediaPost

Checkpoints1

I’ve got a riddle for you: What’s the hardest part about location-based marketing? Here’s a hint: It’s not the marketing.

The challenge tends to lie in dealing with locations. This comes up all the time. Can locations accept mobile coupons? Does a brand have the right to run marketing around locations they don’t own? For locations that are part of a chain, is the marketing the responsibility of the store owner or the corporate marketing group? While locations now offer compelling digital marketing opportunities thanks to advances in mobile media and devices, locations also cause a few wrinkles in some otherwise solid marketing plans.

Consider ShopKick, for example. In a recent Q&A on MediaPost, I was willing to peg Shopkick as the most overhyped mobile technology. As Shopkick has been the subject of stories in major media outlets from here to Botswana, it’s easy to call it overhyped. The gist of the app is that you earn points by walking into select stores, which the app confirms by using the microphone to pick up an inaudible audio tone played by a speaker placed near a retailer‘s entrance. More points, dubbed “kickbucks,” kick in when users take specific actions within the store such as scanning select products. Location is central to the app. The kickbucks only matter so much here, as I’ve made it to level six with over 400 kickbucks (in other words, I’ve used this app a lot) and still haven’t earned a $2 Best Buy gift card. The app is still very new and can play a role in having consumers engage with locations and products, but it’s not fully baked yet. Leer más “Social Media Insider: CheckPoints Makes An End-Run Around Location”

A Reason to Care about Social Media

For those running communities, whether as a marketer, technology vendor, or any kind of community manager, the biggest lesson you can learn from CarePages is to make it as easy as possible for the target users to do what they’re supposed to do. In this case, it’s about sharing text updates, posting photos, and responding to posts. Personally, I’d love to see other features, like the ability for organizers to send updates via text messaging or custom apps, and easy ways for visitors to send virtual and physical gifts. I’m quickly getting into columnist mode, though; I don’t know firsthand how much those matter to the target users of CarePages. The simplicity seems to work for Billie’s mom.

CarePages is just one way to do it. It’s also possible to run similar communities through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging platforms, forums and countless other means. That only reinforces how far we’ve come and how meaningful social media can be. The only thing more exciting for me is that we’re just getting started, and there’s so much more good we can do.


Originally published in MediaPost‘s Social Media Insider

“Her surgery is tomorrow morning and she’s not at all nervous! Please say a prayer for her and think of her tomorrow at 7:30 when surgery begins.”

This was the first entry posted on the site “Heal Fast Billie” hosted on CarePages through the hospital where a preteen I know just had surgery. CarePages offers these private blogs either directly or through more than 625 North American healthcare facilities. I’d heard of it before, but it was hard to fully appreciate until I had a personal connection. For the past week, I’ve been glued to Billie’s site, checking updates almost as frequently as I’ve accessed Facebook. (Note that names of friends and family are changed here to protect their privacy.)

“We just met with the doctor who seemed really really pleased with everything. They are ‘closing her up’ now.” — Sept. 2, 2:41 p.m.

As I write this, the community for Billie has attracted 61 visitors and 104 public comments. Her mom publishes updates several times daily. I don’t get to see Billie and her parents that often, so without this I’d have probably heard the result of the surgery but little more. Now, while she lives several states away from me, I have this ongoing connection, and with all the positive news I’ve come to look forward to the results.

“I’m sure there’s a more tech-savvy way to do this… but I just took pictures of Billie’s x-rays and posted them to the Photo Gallery. The contrast in pre/post op images is remarkable. As I said earlier, Billie was especially happy when she saw these x-rays, even in her very groggy, post op state. All really great.” — Sept. 3, 3:47 p.m. Leer más “A Reason to Care about Social Media”

Foursquare, I Can’t Quit You

Hey, Foursquare, a social network with about 250 times as many users as yours just incorporated your core functionality and even co-opted the term “check-in” that you’ve been trying to trademark. Is it time to move on?

Not so fast. Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley tweeted a few days ago, “Call from my 86 yr old grandma: ‘Hello. I want to know if this Face-Book is like yours. It sounds like Four-Squared, but without the fun.'” Grandma Crowley, apocryphal as she may be, speaks the truth. Foursquare is still more fun, and probably always will be compared to Facebook Places. That means a lot, for now.

When Facebook Places launched, I first checked in at my agency 360i’s office and then tried it from a number of other locations in subsequent days. Most of the time, I also used a number of other location-based apps such as Foursquare, Whrrl, Gowalla, Yelp, SCVNGR, and FoodSpotting. Even if I tire of some apps over time, I’m not giving up any solely because Facebook Places is here. Here are five reasons why:

1) It’s not easy to tell on Facebook Places who’s near you. Foursquare now includes maps to plot your friends’ whereabouts, and in general it’s better at detecting who’s really nearby. Facebook’s algorithm currently places too much emphasis on how closely connected it thinks your friends are to you, but if a close friend I’ve known for half my life checks into somewhere in Iowa, that won’t matter to me when I’m in New York.

2) Foursquare’s tips are pretty useful. Yes, there’s a lot of blather, but when I checked in at the White Plains, N.Y. train station on Friday and saw all the tips urging people to avoid the men’s room, I don’t care if I have the Seinfeldian syndrome known as uromysitisis — I’m finding a different place to go. Whrrl is even more focused on recommendations, and FoodSpotting has directed me to some delectable dishes. Facebook will need great content.


IMG_0097 Here’s today’s column, originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider

Hey, Foursquare, a social network with about 250 times as many users as yours just incorporated your core functionality and even co-opted the term “check-in” that you’ve been trying to trademark. Is it time to move on?

Not so fast. Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley tweeted a few days ago, “Call from my 86 yr old grandma: ‘Hello. I want to know if this Face-Book is like yours. It sounds like Four-Squared, but without the fun.'” Grandma Crowley, apocryphal as she may be, speaks the truth. Foursquare is still more fun, and probably always will be compared to Facebook Places. That means a lot, for now.

When Facebook Places launched, I first checked in at my agency 360i’s office and then tried it from a number of other locations in subsequent days. Most of the time, I also used a number of other location-based apps such as Foursquare, Whrrl, Gowalla, Yelp, SCVNGR, and FoodSpotting. Even if I tire of some apps over time, I’m not giving up any solely because Facebook Places is here. Here are five reasons why:

1) It’s not easy to tell on Facebook Places who’s near you. Foursquare now includes maps to plot your friends’ whereabouts, and in general it’s better at detecting who’s really nearby. Facebook’s algorithm currently places too much emphasis on how closely connected it thinks your friends are to you, but if a close friend I’ve known for half my life checks into somewhere in Iowa, that won’t matter to me when I’m in New York.

2) Foursquare’s tips are pretty useful. Yes, there’s a lot of blather, but when I checked in at the White Plains, N.Y. train station on Friday and saw all the tips urging people to avoid the men’s room, I don’t care if I have the Seinfeldian syndrome known as uromysitisis — I’m finding a different place to go. Whrrl is even more focused on recommendations, and FoodSpotting has directed me to some delectable dishes. Facebook will need great content. Leer más “Foursquare, I Can’t Quit You”

Tune In, Check In, Tune Out

A tweet from Sunday night: “@ johnmccrea oh come on, will all these apps merge already?! 🙂 and yes, giving it a try now.” It was a long day of checking in, and I was reaching my breaking point.

At the time, I was online checking out Comedy Central’s roast of David Hasselhoff. I heard there was some badge for it on Philo, one of a genre of entertainment check-in apps proliferating so rapidly that they bear a resemblance to the spread of cholera bacteria I’m reading about in the book “Ghost Map.” I checked in on Philo only to have my friend Somrat Niyogi of Bazaar Labs telling me his app Miso offered a Hasselhoff badge, which I duly earned. By the time John told me about Tunerfish, I was ready to check out. My mobile Internet connection went on the fritz or I would have had to visit TV.com’s Relay site too.


Originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider

A tweet from Sunday night: “@ johnmccrea oh come on, will all these apps merge already?! 🙂 and yes, giving it a try now.” It was a long day of checking in, and I was reaching my breaking point.

At the time, I was online checking out Comedy Central’s roast of David Hasselhoff. I heard there was some badge for it on Philo, one of a genre of entertainment check-in apps proliferating so rapidly that they bear a resemblance to the spread of cholera bacteria I’m reading about in the book “Ghost Map.” I checked in on Philo only to have my friend Somrat Niyogi of Bazaar Labs telling me his app Miso offered a Hasselhoff badge, which I duly earned. By the time John told me about Tunerfish, I was ready to check out. My mobile Internet connection went on the fritz or I would have had to visit TV.com’s Relay site too. Leer más “Tune In, Check In, Tune Out”

Why WOM Trumps Q&A Ahora

Guinea pigs (cuy): as cute as they are delicious, especially when friends tell you where to find the tastiest ones

The post below was originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider
Why WOM Trumps Q&A Ahora

It was a strange experience working as a social marketing strategist while planning my July vacation to South America. I had especially high hopes for question and answer sites, given how much they’ve evolved since the days when it was just Yahoo Answers competing with the now-defunct Google Answers. I thought I’d write a column about the recommendations the sites provided, but then I started asking questions and the answers underwhelmed.


IMG_4018
Guinea pigs (cuy): as cute as they are delicious, especially when friends tell you where to find the tastiest ones

The post below was originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider

Why WOM Trumps Q&A Ahora

It was a strange experience working as a social marketing strategist while planning my July vacation to South America. I had especially high hopes for question and answer sites, given how much they’ve evolved since the days when it was just Yahoo Answers competing with the now-defunct Google Answers. I thought I’d write a column about the recommendations the sites provided, but then I started asking questions and the answers underwhelmed. Leer más “Why WOM Trumps Q&A Ahora”

21 Social Lessons from 100+ Events

Want to know how to get invited to speak at events, get tweeted, and not come off like a jerk afterwards? I’m sure there’s a self-help book here waiting to happen, but in the meantime I’ve got just the column for you.

After a madcap June filled with conferences, I jotted down over 100 lessons that I learned from speaking at over 100 events the past few years. Many conferences have been about social media, which makes sense given that the only club membership cards I’ve ever owned have been for Social Media Club and Lego Club (the latter was when I was ten, I swear). Even for the other events, social media has played a noticeable role, especially as I started speaking right around when blogging was catching on.

Many of the lessons I’ve learned involve social media in particular. If you’re speaking at, running, or even attending events down the road, perhaps a few of these will come in handy.


Rochester AMA 2
Originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider

Want to know how to get invited to speak at events, get tweeted, and not come off like a jerk afterwards? I’m sure there’s a self-help book here waiting to happen, but in the meantime I’ve got just the column for you.

After a madcap June filled with conferences, I jotted down over 100 lessons that I learned from speaking at over 100 events the past few years. Many conferences have been about social media, which makes sense given that the only club membership cards I’ve ever owned have been for Social Media Club and Lego Club (the latter was when I was ten, I swear). Even for the other events, social media has played a noticeable role, especially as I started speaking right around when blogging was catching on.

Many of the lessons I’ve learned involve social media in particular. If you’re speaking at, running, or even attending events down the road, perhaps a few of these will come in handy. Leer más “21 Social Lessons from 100+ Events”