MAD Perspectives Blog

Seek Actionable Data Within Big Data

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Before anyone pursues a marketing, sales or product strategy, they collect data. It is data about the market and its trends or needs. It's data about the prospective customer - who are they, where are they, what are their needs? It's data about competitors, their products, their go-to-market strategy, their offer. We collect all this data, and more, to validate our goals and align our strategies.  We desire sales leads, web traffic, sales. We want to understand our position relative to the market, customers and competition.

We've been collecting data for ages. We have gigabytes and petabytes of data, but often we don't know what to do with it. We know we should be utilizing it to support marketing plans and product roadmaps. We collect even more data by deploying social media monitoring solutions, but we can't prioritize actions. We are buried in data - yet Big Data is the Big Buzzword across every industry. The IT industry loves it as it provides them with new solutions for their customers. The promote storage, business intelligence and analytics. Manufacturing, financial services, media, consumer goods and hospitality businesses are interested in any opportunity to better understand their customers and sell more products or services.

So, now we have all this data. What are we going to do with it. Is it even the right data? Can we analyze the data to prioritize customer requirements and then adapt product, marketing and sales strategies to meet those requirements? If we're trying to sell widgets, do we understand how our customers are using those widgets? Have we collected the data that will tell us how our customers want to sell them widgets? This is the potential power of Big Data.

The who, what, where, why and when is the holy grail of Big Data. Understanding the context of that data is the challenge that must be overcome. Sifting through the mounds of data to eliminate that data which is irrelevant is critical. Using human skills to assess the meaning behind a Facebook post or Tweet and then correlating that to other comments can reveal the actionable data (note, not Big Data) needed to develop the right programs to influence customer behavior.

Data has hidden narratives that with the right analysis reveal the story that will compel customers to take action. We can capture and map the data, but we don't always see the underlying story. There is great value in data driven content creation. Social media provides even more customer touch points. It provides marketers with the ability to intelligently segment their customers based on contextual and cultural insight. Don't just settle for a Big Data solution. Consider what data you really need to drive tangible results. Take a step back and consider what kind of data can really impact your strategy.

What's your perspective?



Why Mobile is So Important to the Future of TV

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about the impact of mobile devices on the TV business model. This is not just hype, it is based in facts about how we, the mass public, consume content. Multi-platform consumption is the new normal. Where just a few years ago, media properties were focused on their internet and mobile web presence they are now investing in the development of mobile apps. Content is viewed and, if compelling enough, shared via social networks. Consumers are demanding content that is aggregated and pushed to them based on their personal interests.

This shift in consumption has arisen thanks to  three factors.

1. DEVICE ADOPTION

More than 50% of U.S mobile consumers now own a smartphone. According to DigiTimes, tablet shipments will surpass Notebook shipments in 2013. For the TV industry this is notable as tablet users having a higher propensity to engage in more involved media behaviors, such as visits to photo and video sharing sites or watching long form video.

2. NETWORK CAPACITY

Content distribution, be it across the internet or mobile networks, has always been limited by bandwidth. The increasing availability of WiFi has eased the burden on wireless networks, enabling consumers to access social networks, games, email and video on the go.  while the performance of these networks continues to improve thanks to 4G and LTE technology.  The Cisco Visual Networking Index indicates that mobile video traffic exceeded 50% of all mobile traffic in 2012. More importantly, by 2017 2/3 of the world's mobile data traffic will be video.

3. APP DEVELOPMENT

According to a Compuware Study, 85% of users prefer mobile apps over mobile websites.  Why? Because, they believe that apps are more convenient, faster and provide a better user experience. For media properties, the dilemma is more complex. They must balance development costs (different apps for each device operating system), support costs, potential revenue share versus user experience and performance. Any smartphone or tablet user can access a mobile website, while apps must be downloaded. This raises the possibility that users who make the effort to download apps are actually more invested in the content provided by the app. However, if that app does not meet performance or content expectations, 48% of users will abandon the app.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

If you are a media property, your strategy must include mobile. Media companies can expand their reach by 29% through their use of mobile channels. It offers additional advertising revenue opportunities. It increases consumer engagement. Yet, even as mobile is currently drawing attention as a consumption channel, it also has the power to capture and distribute content. In an age of increasing user generated content, the smartphone has the ability to become our eye on the world. It is cost effective and easy to use. The constantly improving mobile network allows us to share any kind of video content, on the fly. Our quality expectations have adapted based on our understanding of where the content originated. So, even as the the TV industry focuses on HD, user generated content via mobile devices may indeed be the future.

What's your perspective?



Is Video the Next Chapter for Social TV?

Peggy Dau - Monday, March 11, 2013

Today, Social TV is about second screen interaction related to the program being watched on-air. That interaction takes the form of textual posts on existing social networks, apps like Viggle or Miso, interaction on network branded platforms (provided by the likes of zeebox, Magic Ruby, Echo and others), and discovery via apps from Buddy TV, Dijit or TV Guide. Programs from networks like USA support engagement in the form of quizzes, pictures and engaging posts. 

There are also Social TV solutions that primarily focus on enhancing the delivery of live TV programming (e.g., Never.no and Tellybug). They curate and incorporate social content into the presentation of sports, news and chat programs, with integration into the broadcasters actual production workflow.

None of these Social TV solutions, to my knowledge, integrate video. What if consumers are chatting about a show using Facebook's video chat? What if super fans want to contribute video "selfies" expressing their opinion? Does this add to the consumer experience? I believe it provides a deeper level of engagement for the fan. With the continuous growth of online video and user generated content, I wonder if this is the next phase of Social TV - which is just gaining momentum? Video could enable the true water cooler experience, yet definitely introduces challenges for delivery and format (to name a few!).

This is just a thought on my part, prompted by some cool video technology that I've been exposed to recently.  I'd love to know your thoughts!

What's your perspective?




Learning about LinkedIn

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I taught an introductory LinkedIn class last night for my local Continuing Education program. My audience represented LinkedIn's core user base, adults ages 35-55. My goal was to help them better understand how LinkedIn can hep them achieve their business goals, whether that is getting a new job or generating more business. It was also an educational experience for me - a huge fan of LinkedIn.

i learned the following:

     - Writing a good summary is intimidating for most users. I'm not completely surprised by this. My summary has been developed over time, based on my own investigations on how to best optimize LinkedIn. While we all understand that LinkedIn is complementary to a resume/CV, it is often difficult to find the words that best reflect our professional journey, how we interact with clients or the value we provide as professionals.

     - LinkedIn Groups may be the most underestimated benefit of the social network. I'm a fan of groups as I generally find them to be great sources of information. Yes, there can be a lot of spam in groups as unscrupulous individuals post random content regarding crazy business opportunities or promotion of irrelevant topics. However, the power of engaging with the group is exemplified through the engagement between and the support amongst members. There is no such thing as a "silly question" - groups typically provide good insights and guidance to fellow members. Groups are a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and your network.

     - LinkedIn is best used by business professionals. I suppose this obvious, yet there we several educators present last night. One was an administrator, the other a former teacher. Both were seeking options to expand their networks to gather information and understand non-education sector opportunities. Sadly, we could not find any groups that could offer them tangible value, unless they wanted to pursue corporate training as a career. LinkedIn is doing a great job creating options that will attract students. Perhaps there is also room to develop solutions that will help those in the education sector.

As always, no single social network is the be all end all. It often takes a combination of networks or tools to achieve your goals. These options could include the primary social networks, plus online tools like Meetup.com. The value LinkedIn does provide is a mechanism to manage all of your contacts. Whether we network online or in person, maintaining the connection can be difficult. LinkedIn provides a framework for managing relationships for the long term, regardless of changes in the roles or the employers of each user.

I look forward to additional opportunities to engage with LinkedIn users. The top industries reflected on LinkedIn are currently high tech (no surprise), retail & consumer, professional services and oil & energy. Financial services is emerging. What's next?

What's your perspective?



Monetizing SocialTV

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I was fortunate, last week, to attend Never.no's Social TV Salon in London. They provided a comfortable, engaging forum to articulate the impact of Social TV and how the various participants across the value chain benefit from the increasing use of the second screen. Speakers included Nigel Walley of the Decipher Group, Dan Biddle of Twitter, Stian Kleppo of Viasat and Scott Davies of Never.no.

The keys to success in the second screen are discovery and engagement. The number one activity being pursued by viewers when using a second device while watching TV is to discover programming. Honestly, it's that basic, especially when the dominant second device is the remote control. With all the reports extolling the use of smartphones and tablets, we've forgotten that the most important device is the remote. What do we use it for? To change channels, look at the program guide, search for on-demand or recorded content or change the volume.  As a result Social TV apps are primarily focused on discovery and engagement.

Who makes money in this effort to increase viewer enjoyment of TV programming? Anyone along the value chain for creating and delivering the content. This includes: program producers, broadcasters, platform providers, device manufacturers and 3rd parties.

     - Immediate Value is derived from revenue generated through program sponsorship, app sponsorship, in-app advertising, banner ads synchronized to programming and targeted ads

     - Long Term Value is earned through improving syndication sales, increased audience, increased value for linear spots, audience sharing of content.  

An unsung enabler of social interaction is the hashtag, #, which has emerged as the tool to draw attention to trending content. It draws audiences together while enabling brands, broadcasters and producers to track conversations and create calls to action. The hashtag activates interaction which is measured and used to define success or identify opportunities for new content production (e.g., advertising or scripted programs).

Monetization in this space will continue to evolve. New advertising opportunities will continue to emerge as the second screen allows for advertising that complements, yet does not interrupt on-air content.

What's your perspective?




Social TV - The Second Screen Driving TV Engagement

Peggy Dau - Monday, February 11, 2013

We love the intersection of industries and technologies. As a result we've spent the last few months investigating the rise of Social TV. You've read a few of our posts on this topic. This is a broad segment addressing consumer search for and engagement with TV programs, as well as the analytics about who's engaging. Social TV is the use of a second screen, typically a smartphone or a tablet, to seek information while watching TV. Apps and platforms aggregate content from fans interacting on social networks and content producers to enhance the fan experience.

Engagement is taking place, on the second screen, in the form of check-ins, quizzes, polls and interactions with fellow fans, program producers, cast and crew. For loyal fans, the second screen is providing them with an opportunity to create a stronger emotional connection to the show with access to exclusive content relevant to on-air programming. Broadcast and cable TV use of these Social TV apps is on the rise as they recognize the opportunity to lure viewers back to live TV, and increase long tail consumption. The second screen provides producers a mechanism to discover the desires and capitalize on the incremental advertising opportunity.

Read our analysis and learn more about this engaging trend to understand why this is a game changer for TV!

What's your perspective?





Key Trends Changing the Shape of Broadcast

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Everyone is watching four key trends in 2013. They are, in no particular order, mobile, social, cloud and big data. Of course, they are all interrelated and the impact on business varies by industry. Today, we’re going to look at the impact on the broadcast industry. This is the industry that enables worldwide viewing of the Olympics, CNN, Big Brother and Downton Abbey.  But, distributing content is just part of their business, they must also create and manage content. How are these trends changing the way broadcasters do business?

MOBILE

Broadcast has traditionally been about consuming content via your TV on a schedule determined by the broadcasters themselves.  This has changed over the past years with the introduction of VCRs, then DVRs and OTT (broadband delivery of content). Now, thanks to the introduction of the tablets and smartphones as well as improved networks (e.g., Wi-Fi, 4G and LTE), we are consuming video content on a vastly diverse set of devices. The impact for broadcasters is massive. It is no longer acceptable to simply create content for on-air consumption.  They must also prepare content for online and wireless distribution and consumption. This requires multiple versions of the same core story. However, the story may be told slightly differently depending on consumption device. For example, the TV version of the final pass of the Super Bowl showed the entire field before zooming in on the receiver. The mobile version may only show the quarterback throwing the pass and the receiver anticipating the catch. Versions may be created in different languages in addition to different formats. The challenge for broadcasters is whether to repurpose existing content or to create multiple versions simultaneously in the production workflow.

SOCIAL

The trend that is not only changing the way we consume content but also how we elect which content to watch is social media. Social networks are now an integral part of the consumer experience when enjoying live or scripted content. We tweet and post updates about the cast, plot, score, fashion and more. Our comments influence our friends and followers. Apps and platforms have evolved and collectively referred to as Second Screen TV.  These solutions enhance the consumer experience with complementary content not found elsewhere – thus providing fans with even greater insight into their favorite programs.  Again, the impact for content owners is huge. How do they staff and create relevant content in a timely manner? How do they incorporate social content into their live broadcasts? What is the impact on their workflows and the on-air talent?

CLOUD

As broadcasters are creating content for a wider audience using a greater number of devices, there is a huge impact on the infrastructure needed for transcoding, storage, playout and metadata management. Broadcasters who have been resistant to off-premise hardware are now recognizing the flexibility cloud computing provides. They can “rent” capabilities on-demand to fulfill spikes in demand for additional CPU cycles and storage. With file-based workflows combined with constantly improving compression technology and network connectivity, broadcasters can create workflows in the cloud, enabling geographically distributed production teams to upload low-res proxies and edit in the cloud. This will eventually reduce the amount of on-site staff required for live events.

DATA

The volume of data surrounding any broadcast is immense. As broadcasters integrate social media that also implies mobile, the volume of data will only increase. It’s not only the metadata describing the media assets, it’s data bout the consumer. The increased use of social platforms, including second screen platforms, provides broadcaster with more data than previously available about their audience. The ability to capture, aggregate and analyze this data is a massive business opportunity. The insight that can be gleaned will impact programming, scheduling, use of talent and presentation of content.

The impact of these trends for broadcast is game changing. The industry has been under attack as news, in particular, is shared in real time tweets without validation of source. However, the same technologies that challenge the industry can also help the industry remain relevant. Broadcast must embrace the benefits that these trending technologies can provide.

What’s your perspective?    



Get Smart About Social Media

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 28, 2013


There have been a number of blogs (here's one from Harvard Business Review) since the new year reflecting a sentiment that companies should reduce their social media presence. If taken out of context, one could conclude that social media doesn't work and that companies are only just realizing this. This is not the case. BUT, it is evident that companies must integrate their use of social media with existing marketing tools to improve the customer experience. Finding the right balance has forever been the challenge of marketing organizations. It's understanding your company goals (which may shift depending on the maturity of your business), the needs of your customers (which vary depending on where they are in the buying process) and your budget (which sadly is never big enough).

REAL VALUE REQUIRES INVESTMENT

Those companies who have made public statements about shutting down social sites have done so because they did not understand the demands of social media. The value lies in the ability to engage in real time conversations with customers, to extend the interaction beyond face to face meetings and website visits, to gain insight about the issues most important to customers.

Just like the stock market, where understanding the strategy, management team, financials and markets is important to making investment choices, social media requires investment. In this case its understanding how social media complements existing marketing programs. If your goal is to increase sales, then aligning social media to lead generation efforts makes sense. This could mean using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to alert customers to a product launch webinar, to meet key executives at an upcoming conference or to trial new software/services using a special code only available through social networks.  

The investment takes the form of both time and budget - and both are related to the human resource required to define the social strategy, create content and manage your social presence. Social media is more than simply posting intriguing 140 character tweets with links to more information. It's about listening to customers who are sharing their needs, concerns and goals. Their thoughts can guide your investment.

FIND THE BALANCE

Social Media will never completely displace traditional marketing programs. Customers still want to read data sheets and white papers, engage with execs to understand product roadmaps, get hands-on product demos, compare competitive offerings. Social media is simply another option for sharing much of this information while assessing customer sentiment. The goals of companies will vary. Early stage businesses must incorporate social media to create market presence, while mature companies use social media to remain relevant. Companies manufacturing infrastructure products such as steel, farm equipment or pipelines use social media to educate and inform while technology companies add lead generation and customer support to the social media mix.

Many companies are using social media to extend their touch points with their customers. With travel budgets under constant attack, any opportunity to maintain contact with clients is welcome. Social networks provide an opportunity for ongoing casual contact, keeping your company's name in front of your customers even if your sales representatives cannot be present.

GET SMART

Social media is not dead - far from it. However, companies are putting more thought into how they can best use social media, in combination with other marketing solutions, to achieve their goals. Managing the programs, understanding which solutions fit best given company goals and customer need and aligning resources (financial, human and time) require teams to get smart. For larger companies, there are integrated marketing platforms to help manage programs. Smaller companies will often align manpower alone. In either case, more time is now spent preparing to use social media.

For some interesting statistics regarding B2B use of social media, check out Penton Marketing Services blog.  It re-affirms the point that social media is not dying!

What's your perspective?





Social Network Enabled Customer Support - It's a High Wire Act

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 21, 2013

The decision to engage via social networks is not a casual one. Or, at least it shouldn't be.  As evidenced by the recent decision of a Charter Communications to cease its social media efforts related to customer support, social media is not easy.  There is a misconception that social media is "free".  Sure, it doesn't cost anything to create a Twitter account or a Facebook or LinkedIn Page.  However, an investment can be made in branding these sites. More importantly and investment MUST be made in aligning the right resources - human and other.

Charter's challenge was related to resourcing and responsiveness. Their decision was a wise one considering that they did not dedicate enough resources to managing their social customer support channels. If a business does not have the resources or tools in place to listen, monitor and react to issues raised via social networks, they should not use them. Especially when it customer to customer service. Any customer who posts a concern about a product or service on any social network, is looking for an immediate response. The answer may be provided by another customer, but the company must also respond. They must acknowledge the concern and take action to address the concern. 

Good social support often combines traditional methods with social solutions. Support communities are just that - a forum for open discussion of concerns shared by many. The benefit is that the community often resolves the issue on behalf of the company, based on its collective experience. A good community manager will thank the member who provided the answer and perhaps point the community to further information about the particular challenge. If the concern is larger than what can be resolved online, the community manager must facilitate the transition to a phone discussion with the right resources to solve the problem.

Social media has change the face of customer satisfaction. It has introduced a new level of urgency - a demand for immediate resolution of any problem. A customer support model that incorporates social media is a high wire act. It demands a balance of core strength - meaning a deep bench of expertise to solve a range of customer issues, and artistry - meaning the vision to understand how to blend traditional, online and social tools to serve the customer. 

Many will argue that companies MUST incorporate social media into their support models. Just as many are correct in delaying their use of social networks for support. These are the companies that recognize that they don't have the right resources in place to deliver the level of support their customer will demand. Or these are customers in industries that have been slower in their adoption of social media. These companies will slowly build their capabilities and when they are ready, they will take their first tentative steps. 

What's your perspective?



Mobile is the new Social

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 07, 2013

Entering 2013, it is almost impossible not to consider the opinions of online, media and advertising pundits heralding the power of mobile. Even though the first mobile phone was released in 1946 (yes, 1946 thanks to AT&T) they didn't get "smart" until the Blackberry hit the market in 1999 and Ericsson introduced the the "smart" term related to its R380 mobile phone.  But, the current phase of smartphones really arrived when Apple launched the iPhone and its App Store in2007. Apps have changed our relationship with our mobile phones, turning them into devices that combine work and play, encouraging us to advance from texting and emailing to interacting with content enabled by the plethora of apps.

When it comes to social networks, mobile is the future. Facebook was criticized in 2012 for its lack of a clear mobile strategy. As the details of their mobile strategy were clarified, the stock began to climb. The Pew Research Center reported in late 2012 that 60% of Americans use their smartphone to access social sites (vs. 68% in Great Britain, 72% in Greece and 74% in Mexico). Why are smartphones so popular with business users? One reason is portability. While mobile phones started as large, cumbersome devices - they quickly shrunk to compact, pocket size devices. Interestingly, the form factor has increase in size to allow for larger screens, but they still fit in pockets. Analysts are already predicting a combination smartphone-tablet as gadget enthusiasts head to CES in Las Vegas this week.

More importantly, smartphones are multifunctional. Not only to they enable voice and data, in the form of both text messaging and email. They allow users to share pictures and video. If you are in business, you can share pictures of products, quickly read and reply to customer questions, research competitive offerings or download the latest price list. With network connectivity constantly improving, accessibility via 3G, 4G or WiFi networks allows sharing of greater volumes of data. From a social perspective, LinkedIn's mobile apps continue to evolve and will allow you to see who's nearby - enabling ad hoc meetings with colleagues in the same locale. Or perhaps you notice a negative tweet about your company, your smartphone allows you take action to resolve a potential problem - whether that is to respond to the tweet, call your social media gurus or text a colleague.

Social networks may connect us to friends and colleagues, but mobile is the enabler for that connectivity. The advancement of mobile apps targeting the B2B community is the next wave of investment. In 2013, look out for apps that improve productivity for the road warrior. Mobile will displace social as the most talked about technology.

What's your perspective?