New Media – Implications now and for the future

New Media has changed the way our world functions.  I have written about several emerging forms of media including web logs, viral video, blue tooth marketing, text message marketing, and others, and how they affect institutions including the political process, sports, and business.  While the use of these forms of media may be relatively new in regards to the length of time that they have been available for use to the public, they enable marketers to have tools at their disposal to greater accomplish the goal that they have been working on for decades—how do companies and organizations best connect with consumers.

 

These new technologies will evolve and change throughout the coming years and decades, and advancements on these technologies will spawn new uses of media that bring consumers and organizations closer than ever.  Will these advancements there will be obvious benefits for consumers: greater availability of media content, more specifically targeted advertising that is relevant to the individual consumer, and a more fluent business and customer relationship.  However, consumers may have to suffer instances of lost or reduced privacy, media that is of lower quality and less reliable and accurate, and companies that may or may not be using new technology ethically.  No matter how you try to predict these changes, over time it will prove impossible to do so. 

 

Are these trade-offs worth it for the consumer?  With the seemingly rabid growth of technology, does the consumer even have a say in the matter?  What will the business/customer relationship look like 20 or even 50 years in the future?

 

I think that it is important that each person examines types of new media, pays attention to how and why they are used, and thinks about the implications of their proliferation. 

ET Phone Home – History of product placement and it’s implications in the digital age

In seems like that in almost every major budget motion picture, there are one or two paid product spots.  Sometimes, these product sports are simple and woven into the movie’s plot.  In other examples, the product placement is so obvious that it is almost disruptive to the flow of the motion picture.  In any event, this process is growing in popularity and is big business for advertisers.

This practice has been going on in some time.  Do you remember the movie E.T.?  Product placement for Reese’s pieces were heavily involved in the movie, and although the product was never mentioned by name, it is obvious that the Reese’s pieces brand benefited from the association.

Critics of this practice make arguments against product placement based upon the concept that the process is misleading to consumers, or are unfair and non-competitive to smaller businesses without the capital to invest in this type of marketing. Others argue that due to it’s effectiveness at targeting children, this practice is ethically questionable.  Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with product placement, except that it can be annoying at times. 

Some other funny and interesting examples of product placement in movies can be found here. With the growing integration of the business and entertainment world, this practice continues to grow. What are your thoughts on the practice? What do you think are the implications of this practice in the future?

More on the internet and the election

As we get ever closer to the election, I am going to focus even more on the growing role that new media is playing in the election process.  Today, I took some time to search through the internet to look at partisan propaganda from both ends of the political spectrum, and examine their content and potential impact on the election. 

Some interesting stuff I uncovered:

I found the video below on the left wing blog Democratic Undergound

I also found some right wing blogs sarcastically comparing Barack Obama to the messiah: Blog #1 and Blog #2.

And then a video parody of the challenges Obama has faced in the media and with public perception.

There are literally hundreds of similar blogs and videos available online.  Many are funny, but some are offensive and many are inaccurate.  While it is exciting to be involved with the first election that is truly “digital”, the sheer volume of propaganda availiable online is concerning to me in regards to the future of politics.

Reaching customers through email marketing

Email is a huge part of our daily lives. At work, at home, or on your blackberry in the car, it seems there is no place that you are completely out of touch.  Considering the level of access that email has into our personal and  professional lives, it is not surprising to find that this medium has grown in popularity over the past decade.  Companies are working to find ways to incorporate email into their larger integrated marketing plans.

Email has several distinct advantages to other direct mail advertising forms.  For instance, it can be tracked more efficiently than perhaps any other form of marketing.  A mass email campaign run with some functional software like that provided by Durham, NC’s Bronto can provide valuable information about the response to the campaign, including the delivery rate, open rate, click-through rate, etc.   Email can also touch difficult to reach customer at a time that is convenient to them.  In addition, email advertising can support other portions of an integrated marketing campaign by increasing brand recognition and top of mind awareness.

In order to effectively communicate with the public using the email as a medium, it is important to understand some best practices that will allow your organization to implement a successful email campaign.  While the list below is not comprehensive, it offers some thought on how to best use the medium.

The List – The list is critically important for an email marketing campaign.  A company must know who they are targeting, period, to be effective.  It is important for response rates to be judged.  Email marketing software is very valuable because it allows for list management and the purging of names from a list that are not responsive.

Carefully Craft your message – It is important for email marketers to realize that in most cases they are an extension of a larger marketing initiative.  Marketing emails should stay consistent with a brand message.

Get customers to opt-in-  Many customers will opt-in to receive occasional updates about a product or service they are familiar with.  It may take time and effort to build a quality list, but, in the long run email can be used as a valuable connection between you and your target customers.

Don’t overdo it – Limit your messaging to once a week or once every few weeks.  Limiting exposure will result in more effective messaging over time.

David Hasselhoff, the Credit Crisis, and Social Networking

I read a very interesting article in the New York Timesrecently regarding the future of social networking.  The article argues that social networking has perhaps gone too far at this point, and is overextended into too many different networks and sites with the same concept.  Listed as the poster child for the overextension of social networking is the recent launch of HoffSpace, a social networking site specifically for fans of David Hasselhoff.  No, I am not making this up.

The new king of social networking?

The new king of social networking?

While I will agree with the article in regards to the future demise of HoffSpace and other ill concieved social network sites, I do not think that big social networking sites are due for a decline.  I believe that MySpace and Facebook will continue to grow significantly over time as computer savvy Generation X and Generation Y age and are replaced by subsequent generations.  Today’s kids have grown up on social networking—it will stay with them for their entire lives.

Still, the larger question in regards to Facebook and MySpace’s viability is how will these companies build upon their social success to become financially successful.  With the current credit crisis and financial meltdown, I think that these sites are going to be in for a lot of changes.  Investors are going to look for social networking sites to start to produce revenue and become financially sufficient.  So, therefore, my prediction is that over the next few months you will see a lot of increases in advertising and marketing activity on social networking sites as they attempt to adjust their operations to a model that makes money.

I think that this change in operations strategy will breath new life into social networking.  In sites like Facebook there is a tremendous audience and a real potential to reach people where they play and socialize daily.  If the credit crunch forces Facebook to open the site for more advertising activity, marketers would rejoice—they would have an excellent tool to reach their audience.  I think that opening up the sites to more advertising is in the long term financial best interests for social networking sites.

As for HoffSpace, sadly, I would say the future is bleak. There are no amount of changes that are going to make that work.

Product Placement in ‘Second Life”

Second Life, a 3-D online video game community that offers the opportunity for players to colonize a virtual world has been a hot topic amongst marketers recently.  Since opening to the public in 2003, second life has grown explosively and today the game is played by millions of gamers.  The game even has it’s own currency which is exchangable for US Dollars.

One of the unique features of Second Life is the ability to buy virtual land within the game---For a price.

One of the unique features of Second Life is the ability to buy virtual land within the game---For a price.

Because of the rapid emergence of this game and the potential of the game as a marketing platform, many large companies like MTV, Coke, Dell, and American Apparel, to name a few, have decided to open up marketing operations in the game.   Some companies are even using Second life as a platform to recruit new talent. While this makes strategic marketing sense for these companies, their actions have been met with resistance from gamers who want to keep large corporations out of their newly created virtual world.

I believe that in the long run resistance to this type of product placement will subsidize as it becomes a fact of life in “Second Life”, so companies should certainly maintain their presence in the game.  However, as Second Life increases in complexity and popularity, large companies should consider altering their traditional marketing strategy and adjust specifically to marketing within the game. 

The following link attaches to a blog which outlines why traditional marketing will not work in second life and how these companies might adjust to become more effective at marketing in second life.  While the posting is not perfect, I will agree that a unique gaming platform like Second Life will require unique thought from marketers in regards to how they market their products in the game.

Lies, Rumors, and Innuendo — The role of the independent blog in the presedential election

Blogs are a great addition to life in the digital age, and one of the more powerful pieces of new media available.  Blogs give a voice to the masses, and open up fresh viewpoints and thoughts to people around the world.  Despite the many positive parts aspects of blogging, the practice also has negative attributes.  Used in a negative manner, the blogging medium can be used to spread lies, rumors and innuendo to the masses like never before.

Take for example just a few of the brief blog headlines (all lies, of course) I found in just a few minutes of searching for information on the presidential election through wordpress:

Sarah Palin endorses Barack Obama for president

McCain is a pathological liar

Obama to replace Biden with McCain?

Mayor curious about Obama being the AntiChrist

This is what people are writing (and if you write it, they will read it).  The problem is, none of it is true!  One thing that concerns me about media as it grows, changes and evolves is that in it’s quest for relevancy and individualized content it will lose it’s accountability to provide the people with information that is truthful and based upon fact.  Below is a slightly sensationalized video, Epic 2015, about the future of media—it is an interesting watch.

So a few questions for the blogosphere:

What impact do you believe that rumors like those above will have in the presidential election?  Do you think that sensationalist blogs are something we should worry about in future elections?

What are your thoughts on Epic 2015?  Do you think we are heading in this direction?