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Peter Flaschner - Making a Break Through All the Clutter and Noise: Online Marketing Today and Tomorrow


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Back in the olden days, you could build a website, do some SEO magic, and consider your day done. No longer. It’s noisier than ever out there, and getting your message in front of the right eyes at the right time takes a new mindset and a new understanding of the digital landscape. This session will focus on the who, what, where, and how of online marketing in 2010 and beyond.

Attendees Will Walk Away With:
• An understanding of the digital ecosystem
• An understanding of the importance of content
• How to turn content into social media objects

Peter Flaschner
A veteran of online marketing, Peter has worked in online strategy and design since 1997 for clients like Yahoo!, HP, The Globe and Mail, Turner Broadcasting, Unicef, and many more.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Peter Flaschner - Making a Break Through All the Clutter and Noise: Online Marketing Today and Tomorrow

  1. 1. Making a break through all the clutter and noise Online marketing today and tomorrow
  2. 2. Overview • Part 1: Clutter and noise. Understanding the landscape • Part 2: Cutting through. Content & Community • Part 3: Organizational challenges • Part 4: What’s next? Emerging trends • Part 5: The consultant is in 2
  3. 3. Hi, my name is Peter, I’ll be your tour guide • Working in the digital space since 1997 • Designer turned strategist turned consultant • Started one of the world’s first professional agencies focussed on social media – The Blog Studio • Lead the community practice at Sequentia Environics – HP, Yahoo!, Globe & Mail • Worked on digital strategy and design for a number of non profits – Unicef, SiG@MaRS • @flashlight 3
  4. 4. Who’s here? • Let’s get a sense of the room – Are you responsible for communications in your organization? – Do you have a Facebook account? – Do you have a Twitter account? – Do you know HTML? – Have you placed an using Google’s AdWords? – Do you know how to use a FTP client? 4
  5. 5. Part 1: Clutter and noise. Understanding the landscape • From static to social to mobile 5
  6. 6. Let’s start with a quick landscape scan • Yahoo just turned 15 • Google is 12 • Facebook opened to the public less than 4 years ago • Twitter launched less than 4 years ago • Does this make anyone else here feel old? 6
  7. 7. What’s changed? • Originally, the web was a place to get information. • Today, it’s increasingly a place to interact with people. • We’re talking about the social web – (not just social media) • It’s about the change in what we use the web for – Gathering information to socializing • People are spending more time online but are doing new things – Not the same old, same old 7
  8. 8. The Static Web – Place 8
  9. 9. The Two Way Web – Purpose 9
  10. 10. The Social Web – People 10
  11. 11. Back in olden times (like 2000) • Build it and they will come • It was easy: – Hire your cousin’s neighbour’s kid, pay him $250, and you’re done • It was the era of brochure-ware – Simply reuse your existing content – Everything was static • The web was 1 way • It was all about place 11
  12. 12. Along come the blogs and online banking • Blogs are really significant for a couple of reasons – Democratize the web • Easy • Free – Easy formation of community around subject matter • Comments • Trackbacks • RELATIONSHIPS • Online banking made it ok to enter private data into a website – Trained multiple generations of users on using web forms – Was a huge factor in moving people online – Purpose 12
  13. 13. Birth of Web2.0 • Let’s call this the two-way web • From consumption to creation • Created a number of irreversible shifts • Birth of the social web – Community – Thin relationships » Dunbar’s number – Thick relationships – Social recommendations – User generated content – Purpose • Dramatically changed SEO – Much greater focus on content, much less on HTML structure – Social 13
  14. 14. Volume kaboom • The thing to note here is that Web2.0 spawned the creation of BILLIONS of websites • BILLIONS(!!!) • Largest single output in human history • Conversely, the number of sites that an individual visits has plummeted 14
  15. 15. Along comes mobile • Like it wasn’t confusing enough before, right? • Mobile changes everything – Different experience – Different design and messaging needs – New opportunities – Location aware 15
  16. 16. It’s awesome, but it’s noisy • This explosion of creativity and connectivity is pretty amazing – There are LOTS of social costs, that we haven’t yet begun to understand • some good • some downright gloomy – remember focus? I used to be able to OH LOOK! Shiny! • Changing surfing habits, plus changing expectations, plus emerging technologies = – need for new ways to think about digital marketing – need for new skills, with an emphasis on softer human to group interaction 16
  17. 17. Part 2: Cutting through. Content & Community • We’re going to talk for a bit about content, community, and how to navigate the external and internal challenges of of this much more complex ecosystem. • First, a couple of definitions: 17
  18. 18. Community A group of people who share common interests or values. 18
  19. 19. Hub and Spoke 19
  20. 20. Hub and spoke, take two 20
  21. 21. Hunting vs Farming • Farming = creating an appropriate environment for things to grow – They come to you – “If you build it, they will come” • Hunting = going out into the wilds to bring down game – You go to them – eg advertising 21
  22. 22. Law of content attraction • The law of content attraction states: – if properly distributed and built for sharing, content that is designed for a specific user group will attract that user group around it • Deeply powerful, and kind of hard to grasp ‘till you see it in action – Swagger Wagon – 22
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  25. 25. Content • Content is the currency of all communication. • Without content, you’d have _____________ • So, obviously this is important. • There’s things you can do with your content to help it break through the noise 25
  26. 26. Content: Optimize for online • Copywriting • Sharing • Search • Repurpose and rework • Multiple versions – tone – length – media 26
  27. 27. Content: Distribute • Traditional content fortress • Organic distribution – Seeding via your fans and readers • reciprocity – Optimize for sharing • Hunting – Paid search • Google and Yahoo • Facebook – Seeding • difference is the relationship you have with the community 27
  28. 28. Content: Make it useful and remarkable • Useful content is inherently social – if it solves a need, likelihood of sharing increases • reciprocity – “need” can be a bunch of different things • how to • education • entertainment • Rule of thirds • Relate to Purpose 28
  29. 29. Content: Actionable • Figure out what actions you’d like the user to take – spread a message – take an action – volunteer • Make completing that action effortless – include the next step right in the content • Make every piece of content a stand-alone item – don’t assume readers will see your call to action in the sidebar 29
  30. 30. Content: Make is a sequence • This could be the most important thing I tell you today – Think about an action you’d like an audience member to take, ie make a donation – Break down the steps • awareness • info seeking • seeing results • make donation • evangelize – (Recognize that not everyone will follow all these steps in this order) – Now: create content for each step, and include a strong call to action to move to the next step – Always include a call to jump right to the end of the chain, for those who are ready 30
  31. 31. Content: Diagnostic • If you’ve got a good content sequence in place, you can get a lot of intelligence about your audience by looking at what they interact with, what they share, and what actions they take 31
  32. 32. Content: Analysis • Inherent in all of this is the ability to track content and activity – Google Analytics – Search – Social media monitoring • A lot of this is not easy or intuitive – good news: lots and lots of good content available online • YouTube 32
  33. 33. Content: Optimize for community • Definition – A group of people who share common interests or values. • It’s interesting to take a moment to think about how the internet has changed how communities form. No longer limited by – Geography – Demographics – Race • This is a monumental shift – Tapscott: Growing up Digital – Shirky: Here Comes Everybody 33
  34. 34. Content: Why community? • Why community? – Activation • Communities get things done – Mobilize the right community and whoa – Distribution • It’s where we, the people, spend our time – Discoverability • It’s where we turn for recommendations and information – Innovation • Unlimited resources • Unconstrained imagination – beginner’s mind • Communities are the new black 34
  35. 35. Content: Community creation • Farming • You can use content to coalesce a community • There is a defined practice for how to coalesce communities. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to talk about this at the end. 35
  36. 36. Content: Getting in to existing communities • Hunting • There are already communities that are either directly or tangentially related to what you do – Look for them on • Google • Facebook • Twitter • Ning • Possibly the most effective way for you to spread a message or create action is by tapping into these existing groups. But how? – Direct seeding • Create content specific to that group – Sounds daunting, but doesn’t need to be a big undertaking » simple as a tweet or wall post • Advertise 36
  37. 37. Content: Getting in to existing communities • Encourage sharing – ask your fans (who may already be members of these related communities) to introduce and share your content – make sure you have the right sharing options baked in to your content • if the community you’d like to reach is on Facebook, make sure it’s easy to “like” 37
  38. 38. Content: Getting in to existing communities • WARNING: every community has a unique culture and set of rules – Before you wade in and start posting must know and understand the etiquette – Community manager is your best starting place – Requires empathy and patience, but can pay off in a really big way 38
  39. 39. The Obligatory Facebook Slide • Should my organization be on Facebook? – Almost certainly • What should we expect to get out of it? – Depends entirely on what you’re prepared to put into it. • We’ve got a fan page, now what? – Short answer: built community – Longer answer: • post compelling content • Create (and use) an editorial calendar • Politely invite everyone in your network • Distribute content that is valuable to your target audience around the web and link back to your FB page • Use FB ads to deliver targeted invitations • Etc 39
  40. 40. Bottom line • You’ve got to stop thinking about your website as being where your content and digital activity will take place • If you build it, they may come, but only if you reach out first and offer a compelling reason for them to do so – Doesn’t mean design and usability aren’t important • if anything, it’s the opposite 40
  41. 41. Part 3: Organizational challenges • Ok, so this content and community stuff is cool, but how on EARTH am I going to get this done? 41
  42. 42. Help! I need somebody. • Help! • Not just anybody • You know I need someone • Help! 42
  43. 43. This *is* rocket science • Research • Content development • Content distribution • Community management • Analysis • We’re talking about developing a whole new skill set 43
  44. 44. You don’t need to do it all • Forget what I said earlier: THIS is the most important thing I’m going to tell you today • It’s not that you don’t need to do all of this, it’s that YOU don’t need to be one to do it all • You need support – We’ll talk about a couple of tips for getting your board to buy in in a moment • The best news: your fans can do a lot of this 44
  45. 45. Create your core of digital volunteers • This group will – help you determine what your audience wants/needs to know – help you figure out what parallel or tangential communities exist – help you figure out where your target audience spends their time online – contribute specific content ideas – (if you allow them and give them the tools) create appropriate content for you – distribute your content – notify you of opportunities – form the seed of an active, vital community of your own 45
  46. 46. Recruiting your core digital volunteers • This takes some up-front work, but you’ll reap the benefits for years and years • Step 1: ask people to join your new group. Give it a cool name – Use your existing email lists, website, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, personal networks, etc to find people who are already passionate about your organization – The name is actually quite important. You want the members to feel special (‘cause they are) • Step 2: conduct a digital habits survey – use or equivalent to find out where these folks spend their time online, and how they want to communicate • Step 3: create a private place for group members to interact – base this on the feedback from your survey – can be a private forum, blog, or Google group. – KISS 46
  47. 47. Recruiting your core digital volunteers • Step 4: setup a series of phone calls or face to face meetings – Facilitate a conversation between the group members • Hire a facilitator for a few hours if you need help. This is a critical step. – Ask questions – Spur conversation • One of the secondary goals of these phone/face to face meetings is to create connections between the members • Step 5: communicate with the group on a regular basis – email is usually the preferred method – keep it simple, but on a regular schedule – this group will forgive a lot, but will disband if you leave them alone • Step 6: ask them to distribute your content – especially in existing communities, your content will have more resonance and acceptance if it comes from a 3rd party 47
  48. 48. Getting your board to buy in • This is usually the tricky part • The good news: – This distributed content/community model is beginning to get some traction in boardrooms. – Hard to open the newspaper and NOT see something about Facebook or mobile • The bad news: – This stuff is complex. It takes time and a lot of attention to get the whole picture – You’re unlikely to get buy-in from board members who don’t participate online 48
  49. 49. Getting your board to buy in • The tricks: – The following are taken from the Sequentia Enivronics “Getting Corporate Buy-In for Social Media” white paper. Email me if you want a copy – Show the discussion that is already happening about your organization or cause • Google search volume for critical keywords or phrases • Twitter discussion around key topics or brands • Show which bloggers, Twitterers and other participants are already contributing to the industry or brand conversation – Show how others in your field are already active in content and community – Bootstrap it • Co-op with another organization • Ask for forgiveness, not permission 49
  50. 50. Getting your board to buy in • The tricks, con’t – Make it personal • Start with these questions: “In the last 1 to 2 months, either privately or professionally, in order to research a product or service, or to answer a question, how many people in this room have: – gone to the printed phone directory (Yellow Pages)? – answered a direct mail advertisement? – referred to mainstream media (newspapers, magazines, radio or TV)? – used Google or another search engine? – tapped a network of friends and colleagues online, via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, and then received a link to a web- site that you visited?” 50
  51. 51. Part 4: What comes next? • Head spinning yet? Well get used to it. This isn’t slowing down. 51
  52. 52. What’s next: Mobile • Mobile is the next frontier. • It is huge. – HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE. • Factors – always-on broadband wireless – powerful handsets – evolving interfaces – location aware • We’re getting a glimpse of what the next 5 years will look like with the iPad, the new Android tablet, etc. – it’s weird and wonderful, and doesn’t look anything like the last 5 years 52
  53. 53. What’s next: recommendation vs search • Search is going to get a lot smarter – integrate real recommendations from your real friends • making your content shareable and “likeable” is critical – We’re seeing this now, with Google and others integrating social conversations directly in search results 53
  54. 54. What’s next: smarter filters + community • We’ll get better info management systems – smart agents that predict what we want to see next • Communities will get stronger – Number of sites visited will decrease • Smart filters that bring the web to us, plus strong community hangouts means the number of sites visited will decrease 54
  55. 55. The final takeaway • If you get nothing else from this session, I hope this will be useful: – In the old days (like 6 months ago), digital communications was about Place – Today, and going forward, it’s about People + Place + Purpose • Keep an eye on People + Place + Purpose, and you’re halfway there 55
  56. 56. Part 5: the consultant is in 56
  57. 57. Thanks! • I hope this has been helpful. • Please, feel free to reach out via – – – – http:// • Slides will be on 57