Politics – A Third Rail

At the risk of creating a feedback “maelstrom”, I want to discuss “politics” – well, not politics per se but the discourse of politics as it pertains to the workplace.

The recent presidential election has generated a significant amount of controversy across the entire political spectrum. And, many people have felt compelled to use a variety of communication channels to express their political points of view.

We should applaud, embrace, and cherish the fact we live in a democratic society and respect and revere individual free speech rights. However, there can be consequences for expressing those rights. And, while many of us have been trained to respect employment law regarding religion, gender, and sexual issues, I have found very little guidance regarding how to manage the discussion of politics in the workplace – a topic which can be divisive and hostile.Continue Reading …

The Emergence of ADD in the Consumer Markets

Just a few short decades ago, consumers had a limited selection of real-time information and entertainment sources to choose from; TV and radio – on a very finite number of channels and stations.

Consequently, for brands and retailers, gaining access to consumers was relatively straightforward. All they had to do was to identify the demographics of the audience viewing content on these finite sources and pay the TV and/or radio network to deliver targeted messaging — ads – against that content.

Then, as well as now, quality content has been one of the biggest challenges facing TV and radio networks. Since inception, these networks have competed for content to ensure they had an appropriate target audience that advertisers would pay to access.

For those who don’t remember, in the 1940’s and 1950’s consumer product companies (e.g. P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, etc.) even sponsored content – soap operas – to secure viewers for their advertising.

Today, consumer brands and retailers have virtually unlimited access to consumers. In addition to traditional TV and radio network programming, they can use social media, email, Internet-based advertising, and other paid and earned media alternatives to easily access consumers – and relatively inexpensively.Continue Reading …

Please….For Crying Out Loud…Stop the Rants!

With the upcoming election, I feel as though I am being pummeled with rants from both the left and right via traditional and now social media. Four years ago, there were a lot fewer FB users and a lot less of the ranting.  Now, it has gotten so bad, I wrote the following and posted it on my FB feed:Continue Reading …

Face(book) It – Your Social Media Strategy isn’t Paying Off

According to eMarketer, last year, U.S. companies spent more than $3 billion on Facebook brand pages and social media advertisements and the return has been universally abysmal. GM went on record in May of this year in the Wall Street Journal saying that FB ads don’t pay off and that GM was ending all investment in FB advertising.

That said, The CMO completed a survey in February 2012 and found “…that marketers continue to increase spend on social media. In the next 5 years, marketers expect to spend 19.5% of their budgets on social media, almost three times more than the current level! Within a year, marketers expect to spend 10.8% of their budgets on social media.”

Unless the results change, however, marketers are going to lose interest in this “shiny new toy” and eventually drop or at least significantly reduce their investments in social media.

That would be a mistake.

The problem doesn’t lie with FB et al per se. The underlying problem, in my opinion, and what has recently been corroborated by research is that your social media strategy needs to include authentic customer engagement and not be viewed and used as yet another one-way digital advertising channel.

To help make this case, one of my portfolio investments, Get Satisfaction!, will hold an event on Thursday, July 26th to unveil recently completed research in this area.Continue Reading …

Are You Capitalizing Upon Your Social Media-ness?

I had a great meeting with Bindu Reddy last week. Bindu is the CEO of MyLikes and the former head of product management for Google Apps. Her husband and co-founder of MyLikes, Arvind Sundararajan, is the former tech lead for AdSense.

The premise behind MyLikes is simple: we are more likely to trust the recommendations of our friends, colleagues and advisors more than we trust consumer ads and the opinions of people we don’t know (with the exception of Hollywood celebrities and sports stars because, of course, we all know they are completely believable, role models for our children and extremely well educated – sarcasm intended).Continue Reading …