The only candidate who can be HRC in a general election.
Yes, before someone flames me, allow me to explain. I think it was great that people submitted videos and the candidates answered them. I'm glad Republicans participated in the debate and the questions were fine.
What I didn't like about the format and what left me feeling empty was that there were too many questions asked during the debate. At best 2 candidates were able to answer the question even when the person wanted to hear from all of the folks on the stage.
I really believe that if they had less questions there would have been even more fireworks on the stage and more separation between the Presidential candidates. We would have had more debate on the stage because it certainly looks like they were all ready to duke it out. Plus it seemed that you saw candidates in bunches at a time or at least that's what it appeared to me. Again probably due to the many questions and not enough time to have a more than 2 people answer.
I did a quick, unscientific analysis using TiVo; I did miss a question at the end because the actual debate went more than the 2 hours I had it recording (I watched it semi-live, but recorded it for later.) I recorded 32 questions including the ones asked without a YouTube video. Looking at who was asked to answer first and then who got to answer second kind of proves my point that I think there were too many questions and not enough time spent getting more people involved. Granted this is just counting and not based on time answering (I have some form of a life), but the candidate that got to answer first was alloted more time. First answer counted the questions that only one candidate answered and of course these solo answers didn't have someone else giving a second response.
|1st Answer||2nd Answer|
Anyway, I don't have any issues with the general concept of having citizens submit videos for questions. I just wish the debate would have allowed more of the candidates to answer the individual video submissions because it doesn't appear based on my observations there was an even distribution and who got to answer the questions. My guess is that is CNN's fault and not YouTube's. Finally, I really believe CNN was more interested in showing as many YouTube questions as possible and could care less about having more debate on the questions.
My good friend and <gulp> dare I say one of my mentors at AT&T is in an awesome, must-read article in this week's BusinessWeek called Time Out Well Spent. The article basically profiles what Vance did and how she positioned herself in between leaving her job as PNC Bank's CMO and her new current job as VP of Sales, Service and Marketing at Sirius Radio. The entire article is so Vance and even if you don't know her or don't care about AT&T, you must read this article if you are in Corporate America and facing a job change - forced or not (this means you E*Trade employees who I know read this blog). In a nutshell here are:
VANCE'S TIPS FOR SURVIVING YOUR IN BETWEEN JOB TIME
I met Vance back in 1994 when I transferred into her Consumer Card group from a job tip from my friends Sheryl R. and Grace B who shared an office (side note: Back when AT&T was focused on MOI as a financial measurement, they stole an office sign from someone else in the building whose name spelled out Watchin Moi and hung it on their ceiling). The district manager who I worked for at the time who reported into Vance was shall we say a little different from other managers. However, even though he probably hated it, he did allow me to have more than my share of exposure with my Division Manager Vance. Many times I had to go around him to work directly with Vance.
Vance used to keep a binder filled with key facts that she needed to know in meetings. If you've known me since 1995, you've noticed that I kept a binder too and I religiously kept it updated because as Vance once told me, if you get asked a question in a meeting you need to have an answer right there. My binder has been replaced by a laptop.
During AT&T's response to MCI's Friends and Family 2, I was locked (not physically) in a conference room for a week working on the response by putting together a multi-million dollar campaign that included direct mail, TV, budget, as well as forecast with a cast of other marketing folks. Vance surprised me with 5 American Express gift certificates as a thank you; I bought Amazing Spider-man (need the hyphen) comic books with them.
Anyway, I'm out of steam and the YouTube debate tonight kind of ruined my train of thought. So I'll stop here with the Vance love-fest.
****DISCLOSURE FIRST****I normally refrain from making overt political posts, but this article really upset me. I do work for the McCain campaign if you didn't know*************
I can't believe I actually read this online. Reading The Politico's Jonathan Martin blog called Romney says Muslims not needed for national security posts, I got completely disgusted. According to an article written by Mansoor Ijaz that was referenced in the post Ijaz quotes Romney as saying that "...based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."
Oh and if this form of discrimination doesn't disgust you enough or if you think Romney was mis-quoted, guess again. According to Jonathan Martin, "Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told my colleague Mike Allen this morning that “they weren't focused on the composition of a cabinet. "But the governor does not believe that in order to effectively fight radical jihad you need to have Muslims serving in the cabinet.”
Seriously, that's disgusting to think that any public official would discriminate in 2008 and go on public record saying that it is accurate is wrong. There is no place in our country for this type of bigotry and I'm surprised that someone who didn't want to make his religion an issue in this election would choose to discriminate against people based on a different religion. Really disgusting. Truly if people think that it is ok to discriminate based on religion in the name of national security, then we really have become Our Own Worst Enemy. I do know how you can fix that (see disclosure above).
PardonMyFrench (and political post),
This reminds of a post I made a while back called Bloggers versus Political Bloggers where Political Bloggers seem to get away with a lot more than what I've seen around the marketing blog world. In my two years of actually working in the political world, I've seen posts made that were based on no facts and when pointed out to that, the author just ignored the comments. I've seen well known columnists shill for a politician and create negative comments about their competition. Add to that the brew ha with over zealous commenting bots and pay for comments and you can see that it really is a wide open range for what is acceptable and not acceptable.
From the corporate marketing world pay per posts are frowned upon. Making obviously fake posts and websites (like WalMart flogs) are quickly discovered and reported on. Shilling for a corporation or product is considered unethical unless you properly disclose it. Marshalling tactics like some of those mentioned in the YouTube post above are not kosher; why else would Dan refuse to name clients of his that participated in these schemes.
As with any reporting or writing you really need to understand the motivations behind the author. Whether it is to make money, retire early, support a candidate, or whatever it really matters to understand what the blogger's storey is (mistake on purpose). Besides figuring that out, your best bet is to get multiple views on a subject that interests you and that includes main stream media. Personally I've found that the "truth" is always somewhere in between the different views and who knows you might learn something new in the process when you listen to an opposing view point.
I have to be blunt; I'm very confused and a little upset over what Kevin Martin at the FCC believes is good competition and what is bad competition. I'm reacting to today's editorial in the Wall Street Journal called The FCC Plays' "Monopoly" which of course could be just opinion, but there are certainly some scary points raised in it:
Now, I'm certainly not a lover of cable service and in fact hate their service and prices and haven't used them for almost 10 years; opting instead for DirectTV. Yes, I have a convoluted system for these services. I use DirectTV for TV, Embarq the worst brand name ever for phone and DSL, and Verizon for wireless.
In beautiful Long Valley I have no choices for phone service. I can choose Embarq which I did or crappy cable. Oh and if you've ever tried to call me on my wireless phone when I'm home you know that if the phone rang at all you were greeted with more static than you'd hear by listening to WFAN in a lightning storm. That's why I've written over and over again how the FCC and Kevin Martin don't understand the telecom industry and why consumers are getting charged more money for terrible service. Now, not to be outdone, the Wall Street Journal wrote today "we're beginning to wonder if the head of the Federal Communications Commission knows the first thing about the cable industry he regulates."
Can cable use a little bit of a hair cut on their prices? Sure. Same with your local phone company. Can cable use more competition? Sure, but unlike the local phone market where there isn't any competition, you at least have two satellite providers and perhaps a local phone company fighting for your TV viewing time; and that's not all if you want to count watching TV programming on the internet.
There is way more competition for your cable time than your local phone service. Not sure why Martin wants to squeeze cable companies more than he does with local phone companies. I guess that's what has me so confused regarding what he chooses to regulate. BTW - MarketWatch has more detail on Kevin Martin not getting much support for his initiative and where the data is coming from (not to be used by the FCC according to the source)
I saw this post the other day over at Techcrunch called The Secrets Strategies Behind Many "Viral" Videos and like the over 400 or so comments I was appalled. That is appalled until after I took some time over the long weekend and read the post again. Am I pissed off about some of the tactics mentioned in the post? Of course, but I'm not surprised at all that there are companies out there that help advertisers get top rated videos and top blog posts. If there are ways to game a community voting system, there will be companies to help you out smart the system. As Dan Ackerman Greenberg bragged about in the Techcrunch post "How the hell did that video get so many views?” Chances are pretty good that this didn’t happen naturally, but rather that some company worked hard to make it happen – some company like mine."
Is this an indictment of social media and social networks? A little. Personally, I've often wondered how some marketing blogs get a ton of traffic when really their content is completely useless. Some of the things I've noticed about these blogs are that they've been around a long time (3+ years), have a blogroll that features a similar cast of bloggers, and perhaps were someone famous in the marketing community. However, having a large following for a long time is NOTHING compared with what Dan outlined in his post, but what is similar is that it all comes down to building a following, naturally or not. Let's take a look at Dan's tips and translate the good and the bad of them...
The original Techcrunch post sure got a lot of people fired up, myself included. At a high level, Dan's tips look like this "use hot women, pay bloggers to make posts, setup fake accounts to make a ton of comments, mislead people with provocative headlines, and then make sure you have hot women on the thumbnails". It certainly casts an ominous shadow on real word of mouth marketing. However, if you sift through the shady tips, there are some useful tactics that you should be using on your own social networking campaigns.
I made the following post two years ago while I was still with Harrisdirect. It was right after the E*trade acquisition was approved and the folks like myself that weren't retained were just waiting out our time to be officially shown the door. It was one of my earliest posts and I brought it over from my original blog at Blogger. I thought it was still interesting to read two years later and even though a lot has changed since then, it is worth re-posting.
In those two years I've met a lot of great people and worked on a lot of interesting projects including John McCain for President. To be honest, I didn't think I was going to last this long outside of corporate America and days like today, I'm not sure how much longer I can make it. Anyway, the post helped me out, hopefully it does for you too. The picture wasn't originally included but my friend Cyrus from the RNC sent it on and I thought it was funny. Oh, and finally, the friend mentioned at the top of the post is Becki Donatelli.
*************REPOST FROM NOVEMBER 2005************************
Sure, every website you visit these days has some schmuck writing about why they are thankful this year. I guess if the malls can window dress on a seasonal basis than why not your favorite columnist. Well, this site will not be the exception, but of course I'll give a different spin. What am I most thankful for these days? Simple, I thank the big guy upstairs for making sure I wasn't retained by the firm acquiring my current employer. Sure it is a little scary with a wife at home that needs medical treatment and two little kids, but what was the alternative? Bad benefits, a commute from hell (not the current one that sucks the life out of me), and trapped in an industry that I only joined because the Monster.com ad looked interesting. As a good friend of mine said, "Eric, it is time for a course correction". So, what has this change resulted in and why do I seem so happy?
Ok, so why did I really write this post today? It wasn't to brag about how good I feel, but it was meant to help anyone in a similar situation. Don't sit around waiting for something to happen or a mentor to pull you into a new position. Grow up and make your own luck and use the time and new found freedom to pursue something you always wanted to do, but a company's golden handcuffs prevented you from going after it. With a little luck, you too could have a cheesy website and a little
I saw this article today over at Business Week called Web Video: Move Over, Amateurs and I had to laugh. Like that was somehow news? It is no secret that YouTube built its audience on the backs of users uploading copyrighted material. The facts are that the professionally generated content is well, better. That's why there are so many fights over where the videos are hosted and who commands the advertising dollars. As I wrote before, just follow the content to see who wins the battle over your eyeball. That's why companies are fighting over the material they paid to produce.
Personally, I'd rather have fewer places to go to watch video clips and of course my first stop is always YouTube. I just like the layout and the community better, but that doesn't mean that Google should get a free ride on the videos that people are watching. When consumers generated great content that is the place to look for it first.
Up until recently I only loaded up the "home video" for friends and family to watch over at my family blog. They were your typical home movies only fit for family consumption, but I did have a great video of Jacob on the entire Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disney that anyone would be interested in especially if you were on your way to vacation there. That got 304 views which was only topped by another Disney video I uploaded of the kids in the Animal Kingdom which garnered 492 views.
That was until yesterday when I made this post on Subway and uploaded a copy of The Family Guy Subway ad. In the roughly 2 days since I uploaded it, its received almost 1,600 views. Now if you notice on the post, the video link was actually from BlipTV because when I uploaded the video at YouTube it didn't appear in my folder so I thought YouTube zapped it (I still expect them to).
The vast majority of CGC is basically crap and that includes my home videos. Sifting through it can be tough; however that doesn't mean anyone should stop trying to be their own director. YouTube is a great way to level the playing field for professional versus consumers. If you have an idea, a camera, and a well thought out plan you can build an audience up and truly deliver content that rivals the professionals.
Do people like professional content better? Well of course they do, but that only means that people want well written, filmed, and edited content and any talented person can deliver on the promise.
We had a bit of a dusting yesterday that stuck to the trees and the grass, but we woke up this morning to almost 2 inches in the street and about 4 inches in the lawn. Wow. We still have baseballs and footballs in the back yard and leaves on the trees.
That first picture is a view out our front porch and the picture below is out the back featuring our newly redesigned deck that includes a hot tub ready for our use tonight in the snow!!! 104 degrees will feel great with snow around us.
Today will be one of those days where it is great to work out of the home office. It would have been one when I would have taken a white knuckled drive to Jersey City because nobody else would have had to deal with snow.
It is still snowing here right now at 8:45 AM. Check this 9 second video out!!
I went over my friend Jim's house today for his child's birthday party and thankfully he put the Giants-Lions football game on. He doesn't have a DVR so we had to watch the game "live" which really put me at a disadvantage because I can't remember the last time I watched TV live with commercials. I couldn't go to the bathroom and I wasn't sure when I should get my soda filled up (being a little funny). So basically, I sat through commercials and got a good look at what I've been missing lately which of course was a bunch of garbage.
What did get me a little confused and not because they were poorly designed were the Subway commercials. The ads themselves look like one of my least favorite creatives to review in a meeting with an agency. The classic "Beautiful ad execution that is off strategy" version. Of course I don't know what Subway's strategy is but it looked to me like they were drifting away from their "eat fresh/eat healthy" strategy with their new ads.
Everyone knows about Subway's Jared Fogel, their tie in with the American Heart Association, and if you've ever eaten in one, their dedication to helping people make healthier fast food selections. They do have a campaign on their website regarding New Fresh and Fit which includes a diet coke, healthier sandwich and Dannon yogurt. What surprised me today was Subway's The Family Guy ad that featured a "less than" healthy sub called "The Subway Feast" composed of pepperoni, ham, roast beef, salami, and cheese piled high on bread. Definitely a very "un-Jared-like" sandwich which surprised me (see the ad I uploaded). They do say at the end "take that Jared".
I'm a little surprised that they are trying to deviate from their healthy alternative platform. Sure it seems like a line extension of their brand, but lets face it, their sandwiches aren't very good if you are going the fatty, unhealthy route. They were always on the thin side when it came to the meats and to really make it filling you had to load it up with veggies, black olives, and etc. Throw on top of that a diet coke and baked chips and you had a decent healthy lunch for a good price. The meats themselves never looked up to or tasted as well as say a Boar's Head but like I wrote you were ok with that because it was better than going to get some greasy burger joint.
I don't have an ax to grind with them and I really hope they do well. I just find it interesting that they are trying to move away from their healthy alternative to compete in the fatty fast food world. Sometimes trying to appease investors by expanding outside your core strengths looks great on paper (well if we just capture 5% of blah blah we'll make more money) but often dilutes the overall brand message. It is tough to try and reverse a good position in the market with a brand new message that deviates from the successful Jared healthy sandwich brand position.
P.S. Just saw the Subway Big Philly Cheese steak which again is definitely not Jared friendly. Clearly Subway is embarking on a less than healthy path for the brand going forward.
The Rimm-Kaufman group published a study the other day called Search and Politics 2008 and they get this study correct unlike past ones where I was very critical. What usually gets me fired up is when some knucklehead blogger spends 10 minutes running some search queries and makes erroneous conclusions regarding the extent of politicians running PPC ads. These wanna be search marketers are very often wrong and have no basis for the "advice" they dish out for free. This version of the Rimm-Kaufman study is not only more than directionally correct but provides me with a basis for confirming what I've always believed the competition is doing online.
Also towards the back, they offer 6 basic search techniques that the novice search marketer should pay attention to. Obviously this is search 101 and applies to political marketing but as I personally can attest to is not a full proof plan for running search campaigns; as a colleague once told me marketing politics is not like selling cds. The 6 search techniques are:
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the Rimm-Kaufman study and other than our brilliant McCain search campaign, I liked getting some confirmation as to what our competition is doing. Rudy's team has a good search strategy while everyone else if they have even figured out how to spell "PPC" are still just playing around.
Today Google posted this article over at the AdWords blog called Google content network tips: Part 1 - Recent improvements which goes over some recent changes to their content network. The highlights for me were:
Now those are all fine and dandy, but what gets me fired up lately is more to do with the transparency coupled with the flexibility. When running ads I can see where they show up in their network and if one particular site is performing well I can drop it into a site targeting campaign to make sure my ads run there. That also gives me flexibility to move in and out of "deals" with these sites. And, that's extremely important when you don't have a ton of cash to test and learn.
Just today a great article ran featuring one of my accounts on a well known National News site. I called my rep to see if I could buy ads just around that article for about a week and they wrote back and said "sure, but our minimum amount is $7500" which immediately canceled the deal. I went into Google to see if I could buy that page but sadly it wasn't available and the majority of placements on this site in Google's network were text only. However, it reminded me how lucky we are that Google provides such visibility and flexibility.
Following up on the visibility was a call I had today without another ad network. As I wrote a few days ago, I'm not afraid of using ad networks and if done properly they can be very effective (comes from running like $150 million in online ads since 1998). The major problem I do have with them and this includes Yahoo's partner network is the refusal to provide visibility into where the ads run. These networks are afraid that you might go direct which is really ridiculous; case in point see Google that provides the visibility yet is showing tremendous revenue growth.
The drawbacks with Content are:
BTW - one final word to the wise. Google is letting you buy on a CPC basis in their site targeting, but like other techniques it may not be to your benefit. You need to pay attention to CPMs, CPCs, and of course CPA no matter how you pay. If you are smart sometimes a site bought on a CPM basis can have an extremely attractive CPCs and the CPM will get you more visibility.
Sadly I get most of my breaking news these days from Google Trends. I usually take a peak in the middle of the day and when I took a peak today I saw ETFC as the #3 hottest trend on Google for 11/12. ETFC of course stands for E*Trade Financial and the stock is getting pounded today because Citi Financial Research Analyst Prashant Bhatia slashed his rating on the bank in a report Sunday headlined, “Bankruptcy risk cannot be ruled out.”
Also from Herb Greenberg's post: Following Friday’s news of an SEC investigation, further mortgage-related losses and the withdrawal of earnings guidance, Bhatia wrote, “The continued negative news flow about charges resulting from its mortgage & CDO exposure, an SEC inquiry, and continued deterioration in its financial condition, all increase the likelihood of significant client attrition.” You can also read this analysis from The Wall Street Journal and watch this video from Jim Cramer who called it a shocker with a potential run on their bank.
Now I know a little bit about E*Trade from the few months I spent with them after they acquired Harrisdirect. I can't write (say) that I was upset to leave them when I received my package because I was happy to try something new (yes those two links are from 2005). I'm sure a bunch of you readers think that I'm going to gloat but I won't.
I'm actually kind of melancholy for the people that have their money with them and for the employees that actually work extremely hard for their meager salaries. I'm sure both the non-executives as well as the average investor are concerned about their jobs and their investments. Uncertainty is quite natural in times like this. Me? I left them a long time ago and moved my money out as soon as they dropped me from their employee accounts.
Sadly this is what happens when mergers happen and we as regular citizens are left with future choices. Sure everything works great as long as you are getting good service, but as soon as something goes wrong, you are left scrambling with less choices.
Two things come to mind when I saw the news. First was back in the CSFBdirect days when we were having a competitive review of the brokers. When we got to E*Trade I said that they were vulnerable because they had so many other lines of business that they'd take their eye off their trading business; the agency team that presented the results thought I was nuts because the diversity was their strength. The second was back when TD and Ameritrade merged. I wanted to run an email campaign saying that people should bring their accounts to Harrisdirect because we were safe and secure. Smarter folks canceled the ad campaign for obvious reasons.
Anyway, good luck with E*Trade. If you are a current employee worried about what comes next, read this post. You never know what's out there until you try. If you are an investor, well, there were valid reasons why the banking, trading, and insurance businesses were separate entities at one time. Just remember, it is your money and you need to be an informed person. Good luck.
I saw several postings online on Yahoo's Citizen 2.0 conference including this one from Michael Bassik. You can get the details from Michael's post, but for me a veteran of almost every one of these summit's that Yahoo has put on since 2001, I really enjoyed it. Let me quickly explain why...
Like it or not, Rove and Cleland are good examples of what consultants can expect out of the vast majority of strategists, campaign managers, and candidates that are out there right now. Would I rather have someone on my side that "gets it?" Well it does make my life easier, but I'd rather help someone win an election and use the internet as much as we can to get that goal met. Every client we have uses the internet in totally different strategies. Remember as much as we don't want to believe it there are millions and millions of people who don't respond to paid ads, banner ads, or email and only respond to direct mail and the ads on the 5 o'clock news.
The biggest critique of the conference was the same one I've had a past Yahoo Summits - the research is great, but how do I find these people online or in databases? I need something actionable not theoretical profiles based on the research. It reminds me of an answer that I gave my former Yahoo Sales Exec when she asked me about the research at the Yahoo Summit on Women. I replied "if you can tell a man how to find women that meet his target, then truly you are sitting on the Holy Grail of male-female relationships.
P.S. I really hated that Yahoo called the special profile of voters Citizen 2.0. The "2.0" is getting so played out its starting to bug me. I think I'll scream "Enough 2.0" the next time I hear a new term with 2.0 on the end of it.
I got a real chuckle out of this article in the New York Times called Your Ad Here: Web Surprise Hits '08 Race. Basically the article talks about some unwarranted political ads showing up on sites that political campaigns didn't intend for them to show up on. I'm not going to repeat the examples used in the article because I think they are almost laughable. Laughable because the New York Times does a great job of baiting wanna be online marketing "experts" into commenting on the effectives or lack there of ad networks. To me, it almost seems like a hit job by old media New York Times ripping on the "Wild West" of new media; the underlying tone of the article is see political advertisers you don't have this problem with old media newspaper (a complete waste of advertising dollars unless it is your local community newspaper) or TV.
The article does touch on a few points that are more critical than a few errant ads that were not directly placed by campaigns (please the point of the article is not that Romney ads appeared on Gay.com). The only good points in the article are:
But on the Web, campaigns are also venturing into unruly territory where they risk losing the thing they crave most: control.
But for all the promise of the Web to allow sophisticated microtargeting of messages, it remains to many campaigns a bit of a Wild West where the rules are still being written and politicians by and large are newly arrived settlers.
When any advertiser, political or not, goes to an ad network they are trying to get a broad reach with relatively low priced CPMs. The inventory often provided by ad networks including Google are often sub-premium because to be blunt, if they could have sold them direct for a higher price the site would have. Google for all of the love I give them and they give me back, the inventory often available is most likely unsold with Google AdSense being the ad filler of last resort. When you go to an ad network you give up control of which sites are in the mix, but you can always opt-out of sites; if you knew the actual number of sites we exclude for McCain, you'd be surprised and we add in more every day.
How do ad networks compensate for your loss of control? By bringing the promised land of behavioral targeting and conversion optimization to the mix. With promises of cheap CPMs, huge reach, optimization, and behavioral targeting an ad network is very very promising for any advertiser. However, those promises often fall very short of what a campaign manager would like to have when they see their ads running.
You see in an offline world you have control over where the ads run, which newspaper, what TV show, and maybe even the section of a magazine or newspaper. The ad runs and BAM you don't have "bad placements" like you can on the web. In an online world to have complete control you would have to buy direct on sites and most web teams that I know don't have the bandwidth to do all of those buys or don't want to pay a media agency the right amount of money to manage that type of campaign. Have you ever bought on a ton of sites? Probably not, but I have and for every $5K buy I've done it takes almost as much work to get a $500K buy done.
Finally (some rant I have going here isn't it) the ad networks including Google don't really have a good handle right now on content tone. Sure they can identify consumer generated content, but they don't know how to separate out conservative versus liberal sites and other nuances that political advertisers would want controlled. I actually have a media recommendation in my hands that lists The Huffington Post and The DailyKos as good sites for a conservative Republican. When I said to them, that's not going to fly they replied back "really, I never would have thought of them that way."
Ad Networks can provide benefits that going direct just can't get you which is mainly huge reach at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately misplaced ads are going to happen; this post is long enough but maybe this weekend I'll repost a story of how some AT&T One Rate 5 Cent banners appeared in serious porn pages. The internet is still growing, but unlike newspaper, TV, and radio ads at least we can track the results to see what works and doesn't work. At the end of the day, it matters whether your online campaigns deliver your results or not; you cut the bad stuff away and move on.
A very good article in yesterday's Politico called Pols get second change to connect online and it just wasn't because I was quoted towards the end of it. The article gives a pretty good over view of what has been done in SL to date when it comes to politicians and also provides some input from experts on how to use or not use SL. My quote towards the end I think really summarizes my feelings towards politics in Second Life
Still, technology experts expect more presidential candidates to appear as the 2008 election heats up. Eric Frenchman has been on Second Life for 18 months, trying to organize the Republican base for some of his clients.
Chief Internet strategist with the marketing firm Connell Donatelli, Frenchman is also in charge of online advertising for GOP presidential candidate John McCain, although he wouldn’t say whether the senator from Arizona plans to appear in the virtual world.
“We haven’t seen too many Republicans. But I think once we have a party nominee, you might see somebody in there,” Frenchman said.
I am spending more of my own time reaching out to the Republican group in Second Life and as mentioned earlier in the article it really is like the Wild West. I have no idea what tactics can work and I'm especially concerned about the reach especially when you try and target voters in a state. For now, I'm trying to use Second Life as another marketing channel to see if we can push GOTV, register to vote, and perhaps online activism for key issues. Again, this is just in my spare time and more to see if we can find some lever to pull or to see if something can actually get started in the virtual world.
Personally, I'd like to see more events like the Newt Gingrich one because they are far more informative and far more interactive than just a boring conference call or instant message exchange. There were protesters, offline media buzz, a few glitches, and of course a little action. Besides reaching out to voters there is the potential for a little in-world and off-world buzz.
As I said towards then end, I think you'll see more activity when it comes to a general election contest than in the primaries. Right now, candidates are focusing on getting the numbers they need to the polls in each of the states and unfortunately when you break up Second Life's user base by state the numbers don't pan out. However, nationally you could have some buzz and also generate some activism around the right issues.
Newsweek has a great article in this week's magazine called The Search for A Candidate and it basically goes into an analysis of the search campaign that we at Connell Donatelli Inc run for the McCain for President campaign. Highlights from the article include:
I think that was the most we've seen yet of anyone digging into political search campaigns. I don't think that keywords are cheap right now in fact I believe cost per clicks are going up. Besides a change to Google's algorithm which impacts how much you pay to be in the top position, there are more than just campaigns that are bidding on the candidate's name. Just look to see who shows up on the search results.
Finally, I'm also glad that Newsweek quoted me regarding buying competitive words. I've written and said over and over again that it isn't some nefarious trick to steal votes or web traffic (stealing traffic that doesn't convert is a waste of time). Search is built around people looking for information and if someone is searching for a competitive name, why wouldn't you want to have your ad there too? That's why super markets have a soda aisle and put Coke next to Pepsi. If you are looking for soda, why wouldn't you want to look at all the choices. I wish more bloggers and marketers would pay more attention to this tactic.
Three interesting articles this weekend and in no particular order....
That's certainly a lot of articles on Facebook who continues to rival Google for news and changes to their advertising platform. Notice the lack of any marketing buzz these days for MySpace which I've stated over and over again that it is nothing more than the Web 2.0 version of Geo Cities. I've pretty much stated (and did so at a conference on social marketing) that buying banner ads on a social network is almost a complete waste of marketing dollars. The vast majority of ads that I see in Facebook today are cheesy network buys that are probably worth at best a CPA; personally, I always asked to remove consumer generated content from any network buys. However, even without Project Beacon (from Techcrunch) there is hope in the Facebook ads when you use their flyers or get access to their targeting selects. I've seen better ads lately and unscientifically here's what I'm seeing tonight on 10 page refreshes
Clearly Facebook figured out that right now they are selling ugly wall paper which their users are most likely ignoring en masse. Using the available data in Facebook to work on targeting is definitely a welcome step. Project Beacon however "kicks it up a notch".
One of the great parts of Facebook unlike Google, MySpace aka Geo Cities, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and all of the other pretenders is that Facebook makes it fun and easy to blast updates to your network. They import my blog and tagged articles, when I take an action on Facebook it is broadcast, when I meet a new friend my network is notified, and I can send a blast note out to the entire group.
Now off-Facebook actions like book and CD purchases can be broadcast. This provides powerful word of mouth marketing and testimonials without asking you the purchaser to write a post. It can be broadcast to your network giving the product owners and website owners free advertising. Couple that with Facebook demographics, movie ratings, etc and if Facebook can actually make sense of that data for the vast majority of stupid advertisers they have a real shot to solve the consumer generated content advertising challenge.
The other thing I like about Facebook's ad changes is that anyone, regardless of spend or importance can get access to demo targeting and ad construction. This makes it very Google-like and helps the small advertiser to get access to their user base. Clearly they are moving in the right direction.
Here in beautiful Long Valley NJ we are in the midst of a pretty hotly contested race for 2 seats on the Township Committee. One of those seats looks like it is going right back to current Mayor Kevin Walsh but the other seat looks like a battle. There are 2 Democrats running, but well in Morris County that's a bit of a challenge (that was nicely said, right?). Howard Popper is the other Republican running and this spurred another Republican (that's what I was told) to run as an Independent and his name is Rich Reilly.
Now not going into who I'm going to vote for (secret ballot kind of thing), Howard Popper made what looks like a huge error in dropping a negative direct mail piece Personally being involved in politics I know and understand what it means to go negative, but in this town that's a risk because people here don't like to see their dirty laundry, right or wrong. The other mistake Popper made was sending a direct mail piece which of course yours truly didn't read.
So how does Rich Reilly respond? Simple with an email blast that goes point by point to show how Howard Popper was stretching the truth and running a negative campaign. This is BRILLIANT. The email which may be the last word on the direct mail piece can live forever and get circulated among friends while the direct mail piece that Popper sent out is most likely ending up in the trash heap. I friggin LOVE THE RESPONSE and it also came very quick.
Continuing the response on the internet is really the way to go where people can have an ongoing conversation. Reilly's website could have used a little help because this Firefox user couldn't read the mouse print. One more trick he could use is post the email response on his website and for the next 5 days run some Google and Yahoo ads geo-targeted to Long Valley to drive people to the response. Nicely done, Rich.
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