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I love Twitter and have long said it is a very important media. Global, real-time news with attachments. In a presentation first given to the Long Island Social Media Club, I shared a slide entitled “rock the hashtag.” (Sorry, it was a while ago.)  I encouraged people to be inventive with the hashtag and suggested that in the future marketers would find unique and exciting ways to be promotional with it.   

publicis logo

Publicis, an advertising and holding company has just announced a R&D labs with Twitter to help consumers use Twitter thusly.  Right now, they’re focused on marrying Twitter with TV programming which is just a sign of the times; the times being there is a lot of poor television around…and more channels on which to watch them. (Psst, TV Program Creators — the idea is to not bore your audience into using second screens.) Anyway, the labs will no doubt come up with some interesting ideas and twists, which will give birth to new ideas, twists and forms of technology.  Publicis may have just hit a home run here.

Twitter is about much more than just the hashtag – but the hash is a transformative tool. Hopefully, mid-level marketing managers won’t be at the controls and brand managers will keep an eye on what is going on. Poorly executed programs will have the potential to do more harm than good…rocking that hashtag.  Peace. #merleFest

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Ghost Tweeters

The whole purpose of having a personal Twitter is to express yourself in a timely fashion.  I use Twitter to share my personality. My un-sequestered personality.   For me, Facebook is about friends and acquaintances (near and far), LinkedIn is business, the blog is business, and Foursquare is about food, drink and places.  Twitter is all those things.  It is the most well-rounded social platform as it relates to the real me. Brands that use Twitter similarly, to share their personality, are using it most properly (governed by a brand plan, of course).

Cory Booker is a big media socialist. He is also a great man, politician and power broker. He Tweets for himself as far as I can tell.  He has people to scan social media and they don’t miss much, though the Tweets are from his thumbs. Some high profile people with Twitter accounts are so busy they have ghost tweeters. That’s bullshizz.  It’s disingenuous. And it should be against the Twitter law. If you don’t have time to share your personality with people interested in you, then you don’t get the platform.

Twitter is so, so amazing…but it is getting watered down by ghosts, sycophants and marketers. When I read some of Cory Bookers article and papers, say on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, I know they are not written by him. (Or I suspect so.) And that’s okay, but at least he knows how to use Twitter.  And he had better keep his thumbs on those keys. Peace.

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Bullets vs. Tweets.

Which is more powerful the bullet or the Tweet?  I’m not likely to keep my ass down if someone is firing off a Tweet at me, but one can safely say the Arab Spring and its Gandhi-esque approach to changing the world is way more a function of Tweets than bullets. That’s power.

As we get nearer to UN Resolution 194 on a Palestinian State I’m very nervous about bullets.  Very.  The Arab Spring uprisings have, for the most part, been internecine struggles.  But the Palestinians and the Israelis are anything but.  Leading up to the U.N. vote on the Sept 23rd, the world will be watching.   And this is no platitude or verisimilitude, the world will be watching.  Thanks to Twitter and Twitpics and YouTube. 

If there is bloodshed over the resolution it will be front page news and winners and losers. And certainly lots of spin.  If there is no bloodshed, just civil disobedience and true debate, there will only be winners.  It will provide new steps toward real compromise. 

Gandhi didn’t need Twitter…but had he a smarty and some agile thumbs, independence in India may have taken months. Peace!

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Those who love social media surely are getting tired of ignorant commentators who publish that social is only used for sharing what one is doing.  Comedians, editorialists, and barflies love to hate on social media, especially Twitter, declaring it a means for sharing self-centered, self-aggrandizing bits of information — “I’m buying shoes on Spring Street.”

Perhaps Twitter was this way the first month and no doubt people still drivel on a bit about their whereabouts and transactions, but Twitter and the hashtag are a very different animal than the one naysayers see. There was a gentleman in Pakistan, Sohaib Athar (@reallyvirtual), who was tweeting about Osama’s death well before the rumors hit the U.S.  This I learned from a Fashion Institute of Technology student, who wasn’t buying shoes at the time. Mr. Athar, though not thinking about it at the time was a citizen journalist. A global citizen journalist.

When Syrian president Bashar al-Assad decides to hack the Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page and change its content, it was intended to chance the course of history. When videos on YouTube show global atrocities in near real-time, that’s important.

Marketers and investors are spending a lot to time trying to monetize social media, and that is taking our eyes off the ball.   Commentators are trying to gain contrarian props by telling us how frivolous social media is. But know this, the hashtag will change history. For good and in some cases bad.  It is a cross media, cross language symbol. Perhaps, the first such symbol or character of its time. Peace.

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My first tweet (, a fun application conceived by Noah Brier, contained a typo. That’s just about right. 

Though not a 10 tweets a day kind of guy, I do love the app. Readers know I have great expectations for Twitter in the business world.  Twitter doesn’t have the users of Facebook and many still think it a silly web exuberance, but it really has only just scratched the surface of its potential.  My daughter who’s a Millennial just signed up and she didn’t get Twitter for the longest time.

Yesterday I was in the locker room of a professional sports team.  Can’t say the name.  Outside the looker room in the hall next to the showers is where all pertinent team information is posted.  An 8 x10 memo on insurance, a notice that the barber will be on prem Friday, small laminated color piss charts encouraging proper hydration. Don’t forget to shower before you get in the whirlpool.  Next to all these little officious documents is a huge horizontal poster “Twitter Dos and Don’ts.” 

Dos: Okay to say “great game” and “thank the fans.” Don’ts: no RT (retweeting) other peoples’ unsubstantiated stuff, talk about injuries or the game plan.   The list is quite long and modular so it can be expanded. It starts at eye level and is currently down to the waist. Athletes love Twitter.

I once wrote a brief stating that a musician is never more in touch with his/her art than when staring into the eyes of the audience.  Twitter is not exactly the same thing but its close.  When marketers learn how to use Twitter to really listen it will become, as Dick Costello predicts, a billion-user application. Peace!

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Twitter’s soon-to-be-launched service @earlybird will transform marketing. @earlybird is a promotional service that posts participating companies’ specials and deals on a wide variety of products and services — a cut of each sale going to Twitter. It will generate billions in incremental sales for sponsoring companies and serious revenue basis points for Twitter. Such a deal!   

No doubt they will find a way to organize these deals by category, e.g., restaurants, technology, consumer packaged goods and, more importantly, geography.  Think of it as but offering thousands of deals a day.  Someone commented about the service in The New York Times, thinking that it would gum up their twitter feed — deals flying across the screen every minute, but the beauty of Twitter is that you don’t have to follow @earlybird (I hope) you just have to visit the tweet stream. 

Twitter will transform commerce well beyond coupons and customer service. And this 140 character promotional vehicle is just the beginning. The idea to have an idea.  I can smell marketers lining up. And small local businesses?  They’ll have an absolute  field day with this thing.  Oh the possibilities. Can’t wait. Peace!

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Spotlight on Social Media was held yesterday in NYC, put on by the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN) and Direct Marketing Association (DMA).  There were a couple of important takeaways every marketer should think about. 


Search is still important, no doubt, but it’s a little 2008.  Immediacy – what’s happening now — is the rolling thunder these days, so services like Twitter and Foursquare are the rage but the marketing future is something Rapleaf’s co-founder Vivek Sodera calls “intent driven” applications. Think of a suped up Four Square To Do tab. Facebook will certainly build an intent-based app and others in the VC pipeline will emerge, but just know intent+social+search+moblie is going to pay out lotto style. 


I know, I know it’s not a word. But it’s a better word then unanonymize, which is the word that clanked like a dropped crowbar off Mr. Sodera’s tongue during his presentation.  Hee hee. That said, it’s a word that wonderfully describes what Rapleaf does. Rapleaf crawls the web and creates single records of an individual’s behaviors, activities and associations.  And surprisingly, it’s not that scary.  They do this using your email address and a cool piece of software. In email or direct parlance they append records using the social web. When I asked to be unanonymized, the Rapleaf software generated 100 of my web proclivities, the first of which was something called “Social Care” a membership I did not recall.  All the rest were spot on. 


Facebook also presented at Spotlight and mentioned its 60 million daily logins put prime time television to shame. Sean Mahoney’s case studies of marketer successes were very impressive and prove that Facebook is the “new” digital. Its targeting capabilities are phenomenal.  There are specialty ad and marketing shops opening up just to handle Facebook-enabled selling and they’re worth looking in to.  It’s a cottage industry on the way to becoming transformational.   


Other smart companies worth mentioning include Acxiom, a behemoth company that also transforms social data into social profiles (for targeted marketing), Cisco which has a neat B2B app in its NowVan program (like Kogi BBQ trucks for routers) and Air Miles a rewards program out of Canada, trying hard and having very good success. 

 Michael Della Penna of the PMN and Conversa Marketing and Neil O’Keefe of DMA deserve shout outs for empanelling a great program. together!

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Within a couple of years many newly manufactured clothes will contain inexpensive invisible data tags.  Much like a scanner tag you find on packaged goods these tags will contain brand name, style, store and price.  What will make them unique, however, is that they’ll be scannable via phone applications.  See a cool pair of shoes on the street?  Just point-and-click and immediately know what the item is. Think of it as a paparazzi for clothing thing.  Sure it will be annoying…but we’ll live with it.

As this service gets more sophisticated and cheaper and the geo-location and privacy implications resolved, manufactures and marketers will be able to aggregate data and read that in Brooklyn, 200,000 people are walking around in Chuck Tailors on Friday but only 75,000 people on Wednesday.  We’ll know black tee-shirts outnumber red 2:1 on Monday and sundresses are really worn on sunny days.

 And don’t even get me started about clothing tags tied to coupons, promotions, search terms or Twitter codes.  I can’t even process that.  For that add two more years. Peace!  

 PS.  This is but one chapter in my worldwide inventory theory.

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I’ve written before about Google’s “culture of technological obesity” saying I think the company is taking on too much outside of its core mission.  Phones, productivity apps, the list goes on and on. The reality is — the dirty little secret no employee will readily admit — is Google is an advertising company.  (Google Doubleclick.)  Eric Schmidt and his peeps know this but it doesn’t play well at cocktail parties. The technology badge is what they wear most proudly.

Of the $6.78B in revenue announced this quarter, the lion’s share was ad generated.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love Google.  I’m not a hater. They need to succeed.  Google really is changing the world for the better. But they will Divest or Trivest at some point.  The company is a 3-ring business circus.  And because one of the rings — most profitable ring – is advertising, and because Google hasn’t been putting all of its efforts into providing innovation in advertising, it will lose market share. Ad revenue will still grow, but Google will lose market share. My bet is Facebook and Twitter will take share. Facebook is already doing it and Twitter has just begun.

 Advertising is about search, yes, but also about referral and context and point of sale (POS).  Twitter may have a leg up by combining all four.  To all the developers at Chirp…advertising still is da monies!  Peace!

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My first encounter with metrics was when a friend at Ogilvy Direct (now OgilvyOne) explained how Vanguard Funds tracked ads to resulting investments.  Each ad had a unique code that found its way through the process and when money was deposited it generated an advertising-to-sales ratio. Ad creative, size, media could all be calculated.  This approach is why direct marketing, nee direct response, nee direct mail agencies were the digital agencies of the day in the 70s and 80s.

In the 90s banner ads were the haps.  They were new and measurable and web advertising was ready to kill traditional. But as click-through rates diminished sales people told you banner were awareness builders. Display ads started to get bigger and richer and CTRs increased again. Then search became the new “new” and SEM/SEO shops multiplied like rabbits.  Search though, is a half nasty business — with a good deal of practitioners hacking their way to the top. (Are these the people who always talk about authenticity?)


Today social media is the haps. And social companies are finally taking monetization seriously.  Twitter’s resonance concept is a great start. Twitter’s Promoted Tweets measure nine factors to determine resonance, which is used to determine whether an ad stays or goes and what to charge. According to the New York Times, three of those factors are “number of people who saw the post, the number of people who replied to it or passed it on to their followers, and the number of people who clicked on links.” Some say social media is not about selling, it’s about engagement. That’s like saying you go to a singles bar to make friends. It’s only a 5% true. Resonance tied to sales is coming. Who ever cracks that code will be the David Ogilvy of the decade.  Peace it up!

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