MEDIAWATCH #8: Mexico

Mexico is one of my favorite countries to visit for work and play.
Here are some key media trends for 2016 to 2020

MediaWatch Mexico

MediaWatch Mexico

Marie Sornin

MEDIAWATCH #7- India

India was the last (but certainly not least) stop on my Asia tour.

A fascinated market where media transformation is waiting to explode with the arrival for 4G network, accessible and available for everyone.

Here are some key stats

India Media landscape

Download the PDF  here: Mediawatch IN

Marie Sornin

MEDIAWATCH #5: The Philippines

As I continue my journey around Asia, I discovered the Philippines.

I certainly had one of my craziest travel story trying to go to the airport during #APEC2015 summit… I also discovered a really dynamic digital industry. In spit of a relatively low internet penetration (25%-42% depending on the source) advertisers are ready for innovation on digital platforms!

Mediawatch Philippines

Mediawatch Philippines

Download Mediawatch PH PDF

Marie Sornin

An essay on social currency

Guest post by Alexander Southwick– Emerging Solutions and Social Advertising Executive at Fairfax Media

As social media develops to become a mainstream marketing channel for brands, there is a critical need to define the way we measure social success. In line with the traditional measurement metric of ‘reach’, most marketers look to the total number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on their brand accounts as a key objective for their social media activities.
In theory, ‘reach’ should increase the engagement level with brands. Therein lies the dilemma of social networks: a consumer can filter out a brand if they feel they are being interrupted too much (spam). Knowing that the average post on a Facebook brand page will only reach 12% of your audience means that the total number of ‘likes’ a page has isn’t a true reflection of social success. Instead marketers need to look away from reach based messaging, to messaging that is adding value to the communities they are building around their brands: Social currency!

Social currency is a relatively new term that is applied to material being shared across social networks. People deal in social currency to increase their personal or brand standings in the eyes of peers and consumers. In short… something that people want to share and discuss. A brand updating their page with a new viral video gives their users a reason to share with their connections. As a result the creation of content with high social currency will help to add value to the community. Consequently, for marketers to be successful at social media, they need to look to develop content that gives social currency for users to take away and ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘reblog’ and ‘repin’ across social networks.

One of the most outstanding example of social currency is the  Red Bull Stratos Jump. It occurred on the 14th of October 2012 and not only did Felix break 3 world records, he helped Red Bull create truly unique and compelling ‘hook’ that people wanted to ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘reblog’ and everything in between. With more than 8 million people worldwide watching the Youtube Live stream, the post jump photo of Felix having landed safely has achieved 491,353 Likes, 21,175 comments and 50,508 shares the majority of which occurred in the first hour of it being uploaded! Multiplying the number of shares by the average number of friends a Facebook user has the reach potential got close to 11 million Facebook users. Even by applying the 12% viewing ratio, that still gives you a true reach of 1.32 million! Red Bull associated its brand to content that is so compelling  it became a mainstream topic of conversation. Direct marketing benefits are invaluable!

Creating social currency isn’t easy.
However, by deeply understanding your audience (beyond what they like about your brands & products), identifying what is  most interesting to your fans/followers and potential customers and creating content around it, you will have the keys to provide value. The next thing you need to do is break out of the TVC model and go for a ‘branded entertainment’ production model…. and that isn’t easy… only a few advertisers manage to do this well. The Mary Me Microsoft campaign we blogged about in 2010 and the ‘is it content or is it advertising?‘ post from last December showed good examples. Here is a more recent one: Teaching your consumers something new a in fun way is a particularly good, even if it has a bit of a sombre message –

As more marketers understand the importance of social currency, and consumers gain more power to ignore or amplify their message….  The process of surrounding the target consumer with messaging in an integrated campaign might not hold true anymore. Accurate measurement is critical for social media to keep growing its share in the communications mix. We must re-think how to evaluate social media KPIs and what messaging will achieve these KPIs .

As an agency or advertiser, do you have specific KPIs for your social media campaigns? Are able to clearly measure the benefit they are bringing to your marketing plans?

For more information on how to create social currency read our article “What are the three words that will guarantee social media success?”

Alexander Southwick

Sources:

Red Bull Facebook Page

Start up thinking// thinking start up

Here is a fun chat with Dan Day, founder of Kinderloop, about what it’s like to create your own start up!

Have a look at Kinderloop, and if you like the idea, let Dan know!

Good luck to the team at Kinderloop for their quest in the Silicon Valley and stay tuned an update when they return from the States!

Marie

For those of you out there…

For those of you out there who are in jobs that are not satisfying or unsustainable … (we all know there is a lot of that in the media industry)
Some of you might be looking for a new job, but I also know that some are imagining a different way of working. You might be secretly thinking: “what if, I quit my job and do what I do on my own?”
Well, that’s exactly what I did in July 2011: quit my job as a social media director at Mediabrands and became an independent digital and social strategist for my own business, digitalcuisine

Over the last few weeks, I noticed that outside of the guys I regularly mentor, more contacts from my professional circles reached out for advice. I thought more people than just the ones I meet with might benefit from my experience . That’s how this blog came about.

If I had written this post 2 years ago, it would have been another rant from an over worked, stressed, depressed media executive. Hopefully it will be an inspiration for those of you who want to achieve work-life balance and believe they can build the life they want!

Here is my story:

I was a media agency senior executive, involved in leading blue chip accounts, operating in fast pace environment, managing teams of extremely talented staff, working on sophisticated digital strategies… picture perfect, right? Read between the lines and it also means: dealing with unachievable deadlines and unreasonable clients requests, constantly working long hours, missing friends’ gatherings, sacrificing your weekends to finalise presentations…

Don’t get me wrong, participating in global pitches count as some of the most enriching experiences I have had throughout my career. Working on strategic ideas with agency professionals such as Jerome Nessim (Owner, eclosion.net), Josh Grace (Managing Director, Leo Burnett), Kathryn Apte (Marketing Manager, Youtube), Mark Pollard (VP, Brand Strategy, Big Spaceship), Leanne Brinkies (Managing Director, Zenith Optimedia Melbourne), Andrew Reeves (Communications Director, Naked communications), Jeffrey Graham (Global Ad Research Director, Twitter), Mat Baxter (CEO, UM Australia), and more… has significantly refined my business acumen and boosted my self development.
My work is driven by my passion for the digital industry, but back then I found myself in the grind all week, barely recovering from all the stress during the weekends. I have no one else but myself to blame for letting work creep into my personal space. Don’t we all do it at some point? Is there an alternative?

What was the point for me being in Australia if I was not able to enjoy the lifestyle I came to here for?

Surfing local spot Queenscliff at Sunrise

Just another weekday sunrise at Queenscliff

The ones who know me well would acknowledge how important my morning surf is. When that went, I should have been aware that I was derailing.
I started having serious problems with my sleep and other unfamiliar health related discomfort… I was concerned and sought medical advice. The doctor explained that my physical and mental health were impacted by too much stress and that I could:
1/ Do nothing and it would get worse
2/ Go on a holiday, and then come back to what I was doing with some help from medication
3/ Fix the source of the issue: balance my lifestyle

They say the trigger to change is more likely to be a crisis than a positive response to a perceived opportunity. 2/ was my trigger.

They say comfort zone is where you keep doing what you know and everything remains the same: 1/. That way out of your comfort zone is where you are so frightened you, you freeze: 2/. There is flirting with the edge of your comfort zone, which is challenging and helps you grow. That is where 3/ fitted for me.

It then became clear to me that I had to fundamentally change the way I approached work. That’s when I stopped turning the “what ifs” in my head into “How can I make the best of myself?”

I went through a few months of self-introspection that I would summarise in the following: I am good at what I do and I need to give myself more flexibility in the way I operate. Basically ditch the Monday to Friday 9 to 5, yeah!!
Being a contractor looked like the ideal proposition: work from home most times, surround myself with a tight reliable network of complementary professionals, and be flexible on how I could organise my workload.

With that in mind, I resigned from Mediabrands and had 4 weeks to transform my vision into reality… scary but also very exciting! At that point, I didn’t have all the answers on how to set up a self employed business, what my offering, rate card would be etc.… but I got the wheels in motion and clarified all the technical points pretty quickly.

The self-confidence part was what required more grounding. I looked at the possible tangible outcomes of getting out of agency land.
The fail scenario was: try for a few months, don’t generate enough income, and then look for a new job. In that case I would have taken a few months off and gone back to work to try not to let it become overwhelming again… pretty average but could happen.
Success scenario: work more efficiently, make more money, select the clients and type of projects I wish to work on.
Realistically, I was not going to end up starving with no roof over my head. That was not enough to put my mind at ease. But the penny dropped thanks to the advice of my friend Ariane. Clever thinker, she suggested I look at the situation in a different way by allowing myself a budget rather than a time frame. She said: “You have enough savings right? Start your own business, enjoy your time off work until your savings run low and then look for a job again”
That was exactly the approach I needed! Instead of giving myself 6 months to launch digitalcuisine, I decided to give myself $20K… if my savings decreased by $20k from the day I quit my agency job, it would be time for me to get in touch with head-hunters!

Guess what?
It’s been 2 years and I haven’t reached the -$20K deadline yet! In fact, my savings have grown far more than +$20K… within that time I have also been able to go travelling for a few months and buy an investment property. There is more: I even discovered myself new talents and have become a successful commercial artist!

But enough of my personal story, here is my dump of tips for those of you out there who are thinking about self-employment… (Not in order of importance):

* Plan for the worst but prepare for success: We always think about the worst possible scenarios. Of course you must be ready to react if things go wrong, but you must also be prepared to maximise things when they go well! And there is a lot more chance that you will make things go well than wrong!
I didn’t prepare myself to turn my spare bedroom into an office, then an art studio, to contribute to the most significant digital transformation for the leading news organisation in the country…

* Give yourself achievable goals: Do you have a vision for your life? When making a decision, ask yourself if it is bringing you closer to this vision or taking you away from it? When I took on my first contract with Fairfax Media, I gave myself 4 goals (outside of the deliverables of the contract) that would bring me closer to the vision I have for life and help my business development. With that in mind I spent 12 months working hard, very hard to smash my goals, which opened up amazing new opportunities, personally and professionally.

* Be self-disciplined: Getting out an office job and working on your own, doesn’t mean you are going to work less. It is actually very often the opposite. When working from home, you are the only one setting boundaries (no set working hours or location) to get into work mode. Fine if you want to work from 3pm to 1am, the only thing you need to do is to get the work done!
I have given myself a few rules like: Not working in my pyjamas (I get ready for work, just like if I was going to the office, the only difference is that the office is my spare room and that my morning commute has been replaced by 1hr of yoga or surfing), allocating blocks of time for admin & business development tasks (up to you if you want to do a little every day or every week, but don’t ignore them. They are as important as delivering!), giving myself a list of tasks to achieve every day (it’s very easy to get distracted when working from home, but if you know the minimum of what you must tick off. You are guaranteed to at least, have that done!)

* Don’t work for Free: There will always be someone to give you a good excuse to work for free (business development pitch, amazing client….). I recommend you don’t do it. You might think you’ll miss out on opportunities… actually, what you won’t miss out on is delivering work that pays. Remember that the only thing you can sell is your time. If you start filling it with free stuff… guess what will happen at the end of the month??
The one thing I would do for free is speaking at conferences. It is a great way to get your name out there and generate new business leads!
It is also important that you learn to recognise and pursue business opportunities with a real potential from dead leads which are neve going to turn into real value for you. I would say, rule of thumb: after 3 or 4 attempts to convert a lead, drop it…

* Join groups: Don’t isolate yourself working at home, join groups of similar minded people. What ever they might do. I was happy to find the Manly Home Workers Association. A small group of local self employed guys brought together by Mark Kelly. We were going for a long lunch, sometimes followed by a group surf on the last Friday of each month. Not only you can meet amazing people that way, but you can also have a fun and might even pick up projects along the way…

* Do what you know and only what you know: Don’t hesitate to invest in the services that you need & will make your life easier: One of my first gigs as a consultant was with Fairfax Media. There was no way I could sort out the legal aspect of the contract on my own. I paid a lawyer to look at it. Same goes for accounting, house keeping (re book keeping- don’t over do it, a simple excel spread sheet might do the trick).

* Watch your time: If you invoice for one-day worth of work, work for one day, not two. Track your time. Communicate with your clients early if you are going over time, and look for options to cover that extra time you need. Don’t think admin time is free… the time you spend doing your admin is time you can’t spend delivering work. It should also be charged!

* Seek advice and listen to it: It is always a good idea to sense check your ideas, presentation materials to people you trust. Be open to suggestions and implement what you consider sensible. That is how I found my business name, optimised my rate card…

* Nurture your reputation and tap into your network:  You don’t need me to tell you how important a reputation is, particularly in a small market like Australia. Be impeccable in everything you do. Don’t hesitate to let people know about what you do and what you want to do… and thank them, when they do recommend your services.
My entire client based started from being recommended by people I had worked with or encountered in my agency life! I should make a long list of people to thank here but special mentions go to Brandon Lee & Paul Sigaloff for introducing me to the Fairfax world, as well as Andrew Mudgeway for your support with doing business in Victoria!

Ride the roller coaster: You are going to have some amazing days. New business, great contacts, strong ideas… and the some other days will totally empty, blank, silence, nothing… when that happens, try to stay balance, ride it gracefully!

* Don’t feel guilty: if you give yourself a day off on a Tuesday or a 3hr surfing session in the middle of the day and your delivery is on schedule. Don’t feel guilty about it. It’s very easy to feel that way when all your mates are at work…

* Also, be prepared to deal with late payments, unhappy clients… although it might never happen.

I will finish up by recommending this excellent post: A short lesson in perspective

And listen to “everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” as often as necessary.

Now if, you have had a similar experience, are mentioned in this post, agree, disagree, have more to tell… please get involved  react, comment, share. This topic is open for debate!

Special thanks to:
Jerome Nessim, for giving the chance to be an entrepreneur, Louise O’Donnell for introducing me to Australian digital industry, Leanne Brinkies for connecting me with the entire online media community, Paul Sigaloff for being one of my best advocates. Luke Marshall for proof reading the most personal of all my blogs so far, Andrew Hughes for coming up with digitalcuisine and letting my use it for my business.
All my OTB friends for supporting me through happy and not so happy times!

Marie

Data is the new black

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By Guest blogger Kristin Kunsaginam, digital account manager at Zenith-Optimedia and passionate about data, dancing, and lots of other things!

In the world of marketing, data has earned itself a seat at the table amongst the TVCs, DPS’s and MREC’s of the world.  It is acknowledged as the new black, a trading commodity and the ability to deliver sophisticated marketing.  It is the four-letter word that marketers love to hate; it is easy enough to understand but comes with a 500+ page phantom manual.  

Data has always been at the heart of marketing – heck, budgets would not be approved if we couldn’t justify that marketing works; data being at the heart of it.   In the digital age, the use of data goes to another level; the ability to combine registration data, with browsing habits to deliver targeted messaging to a consumer, and that is just one level of how data is being used.  

Just to give an example, I was on Agoda a couple of weeks ago looking for hotels in Hanoi for an upcoming trip.  I did not “convert”, yet. I was still “researching” i.e. holding out for a deal.  Over the next few days, thanks to my robust browsing behaviour which often leads me onto to Google Content Network ad supported sites, I was served up an Agoda  ad which had 3 of the different hotels I was looking at, with a 3 different discounts. Score. One conversion. Thank you very much.  

Data in digital marketing is an essential part towards making the campaign a success.  When I read about how “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl was Pregnant Before Her Father Did” my first thought was wow and then sh*t.  This is a perfect example of how data has been used to cleverly deliver the right message at the right time.  Or maybe not so right time.

As consumers we are exposed to it almost everyday and the best example is when on Facebook, those ads that remind you that you are single by serving you an dating site ad (frankly the reporting ad functionality doesn’t appear to work, I still am served the same ad no matter how many times I say it’s against my view) is an example of how to combine the use of data in marketing can work (and work too well).  For marketers, minus my slight distaste of a reminder of my single-hood, the right information data and targeting can prove to be a useful tool for relevant marketing.  

The missing link to the Target story was if they got the demo targeting right the whole thing could have delivered the appropriate messaging at the right time i.e. the consumer is still a teenager and that itself could be an issue.  There are times that advertisers need need to do the due diligence of adding the emotional connection for the consumer and testing every scenario possible before a campaign is set live to ensure that the sensitivity is protected.  

Any advertiser has an abundance of data on their hands, however, the tricky bit is consolidating all the data points into one channel and making it effective.  While data is important to marketers, the management of data is a big question mark. Every source collecting the data is sensitive towards its use beyond its own walls.

The_new_black

It takes two to tango.
Advertisers bounded by legal obligation and risk of invading consumers privacy are often reluctant to share their data. However, being precious about the data limits an advertiser learnings for present campaigns but also gaining a wider understanding beyond its own walls. There is so many times the consumer will visit your website and so many times an eDM or DM will reach them. We need to diversify the one to one communication and with the right data it can minimise wastage and increase effectiveness.

Publishers too own significant volume of data that is the gateway for an advertiser.  From the site registration data and cookie pool collection those information is just a start.  

Data is precious, but all parties need to come to an agreement about allowing the right use of data, remembering that the consumer/ user is at the end of the stick.  In the States, the Obama Administration introduce the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” which proves that while all the use of data makes marketing a whole lot sexier, there is the risk of violation of personal space for the consumer.  

Up, up and away.
In the ideal scenario, publishers have data and advertisers have data, and the two share in good harmony to deliver consumers the appropriate message.  I think this is a place that we can get to, but the first challenge is ensuring that that the consumers privacy is protected.  Much of the education will have to start at the consumer end, that they know what they are signing up for.  The other challenge, is for advertisers and publishers to work together and deliver the right messaging.  It gets me excited thinking of the possibilities that it could unleash.

So here is 2012, that as advertisers and publishers that we come and start working together. 

Kristin Kunsaginam
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