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Twitch Point Planning is a communications planning technique I discuss with clients to get them to “understand, map and manipulate” media consumption in a way that moves viewers closer to a sale.  Twitch Points are called such because today’s tools make it way too easy to multitask and twitch away from one media form to another.  Un-planned, this can be a bad thing.  Planned, it is a good thing.

I was reading about Conde Naste’s biggest iPad success today, with The New Yorker magazine. 75,000 paid magazine subscribers have downloaded the iPad app and 20,000 people are subscribing via the app alone. As one looks at the behavior of The New Yorker readers (the first part of understand, map and manipulate) it is clear that these readers are there to read. They don’t want to twitch away to Wikipedia to look up authors, or watch YouTube videos of punk bands inspired by the authors.  Readers of The New Yorker want to read and don’t care to be spammed away. So, here’s an iPad app for New Yorker readers:  automatically send incoming calls to voicemail.  Hee hee. Peace!



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The new big thing in marketing is transmedia — the ability to carry a consistent message from media type to media type. A video on YouTube may be an extended version of a :30 spot from TV, using a music bed and voice over from radio, telling the same story told on an out of home billboard supported by a branded geolocation app on your mobile.  It takes planning and is not easy, but for those who do it, it’s tight.

Touchpoints are marketing parlance for places consumers come in contact with the brand.  They include all the aforementioned media intersections but extent to packaging, point of sale, customer care and, to an extent, curated community.  The goal at the touchpoint level is similar to the goal at the transmedia level: foster positive opinion, create bias toward your product and sell (Foster, Bias and Sales, the name of my next business). This must be done in an organized way that doesn’t create or even begin to create confusion.

Twitchpoints are my new thing. Mapping them and making them work to your brand’s advantage is the goal in a Fast Twitch Media world.  Fast Twitch Media is bursty media consumed in small chunks that supports our ADD habits. Texting, Tweeting, hashtags, landing pages, mobile apps, reality TV. When you read something in a magazine and Google it, that’s a twitch.   Marketers who can maps and manipulate the fast twitch media behaviors of millennials and the rest of us, will have an advantage. Let’s call it the third “T”.  Pah, pah pah 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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In the tech category, moving to the middle is what the revenue hungry do. Rather than perfect what they are, they see money and desire an expansive make-over.  Google’s culture of technological obesity has driven it to invest $100 million dollars in new content for YouTube.  Being king of search is not enough; now it wants to be the next video TV station.  Google suspects there will be licensing issues for playing other people’s content and so wants to create and enable new video content to drive traffic.  As we all know, public access programming and 9.5 out of 10 consumer generated videos are deathly boring.  $100M should help bring in some creativity and will work for a while, but is a poor investment.

Case two: Twitter is talking about creating brand fan pages so they can hit some of that advertising revenue.  Misfire.  They, too, are moving toward the muddled middle; a place Facebook with its fan pages and Likes is filling. Twitter needs to let brands Tweet their stories and value, leaving the undifferentiated fan pages to others.

The thing that made the iPhone take off is application developers.  What will make Twitter accelerate is also application developers – but marketing application developers, and here’s a secret: Twitter is so easy to use and so much of the work is done (read hashtags) that non-coders will be the app developers on Twitter.  Twitter will win many of the marketing wars, it just has to stop moving toward the middle and let the apps evolve.

Why do all technology companies covert thy neighbor’s partner? Love the one your with.  Peace!


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The intro to The New York Times article today on the impending purchase of Groupon by Google says the motivation for their move is to “dominate” local online advertising and improve its play in social networking.  These two things may be results but, for me, they are byproducts.  Google never set out to be an advertising company, it was born of search. Search and arithmetic are its lifeblood. Like farmers hundreds of years ago who were good at farming then became king, search is what made Google a powerhouse.

That’s why I liked the purchase of YouTube. Google made is easy to search for video. This is why I like the move on Groupon. Talk about apps?  Couponing is a zillion dollar marketing application — and if Google sets it sights on making couponing more effective and efficient, it will completely change that market.

You may have read here before about Google’s “culture of technological obesity” and how that culture has driven the company to offer productivity software (work processing, spreadsheet, etc.), a mobile phone, an new OS and and and. These efforts have been off- piste (Is it snowing yet?) and the reason Google will trivest in less than a decade.  So I’m not a Google fanboy — but they deserve much respect for this move.  This is mad max stuff.  Now, stay away from my television until you are ready to provide a truly useable search product and we’re good. Peace!

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Twitter owned real time updates. Facebook mirrored it. AOL owned chat. Facebook copied it. Google owned search.  Facebook morphed it.  Foursquare developed check-ins.  Facebook parroted it. And Groupon owned coupon search. Facebook Places has mimicked it. 

I worked at a social media start-up (Zude) for a tech savant who wanted to out-YouTube YouTube, out-DoubleClick DoubleClick and out-MySpace MySpace. What he had – what we had – was the “fastest, easiest way to build and manage a website,” supported by a unique drag-and-drop technology.  Sadly, the CTO didn’t want to perfect usability, rather, he wanted to be the best at everything. Hence, we were the best at nothing. 

I’ve written about Google and its “culture of technological obesity” and it seems Facebook now is sharing that affliction.  You can’t be everything to everybody.  Do something well, stick to it, prefect it, then evolve it. But don’t keep stealing other people’s cheese.

The more Facebook moves toward the middle of “all” web functionality the more overweight it becomes. My advice: Focus…and let other companies play too. Peace!

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A lot of people ask “Who is doing social media right?”  Tough question. What they’re really saying is “Who is using Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare effectively?”  

Social media is complicated and often convoluted. It is actually many media types: blogs, simple messages, texts, video, audio, pictures, email, etc. They are all social because they are shared.

So who is doing social well? Coach. They have a good mix of media and are using the right tools for the right part of the sales cycles: Awareness – Interest – Desire – Action.  Of course there’s some cross over, but the people pushing and pulling the buttons at Coach are leading the way and have a plan.

Motivation in Social Media

Readers know I advocate that brands using social have a motivation, kind of like actors in a movie. Each person at the controls of their social media channel needs to understand their role and stick to it. Understanding which social media type is used for which purpose is a start and Coach’s people are pretty close to delivering on that.  Twitter is for building real time, meaningful communal discourse.  Facebook is for selling so long as it’s not too smarmy or heavy handed. YouTube is where Coach creates desire and loyalty, though this is one area still under development.  Coach also gets it’s brand motivations: “fashion”, “NYC-culture” and “lifestyle” which are all clean and discreet.  They just need to continue to live and breathe the motivations and innovate with them. Get the motivations right and the media delivery will follow.

Good job Coach! Peace.

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The next big thing will be a video webisodes channel for mobile devices. More and more today, you see people on trains and benches staring down at their mobile phones.  If they are not typing or moving the cursor they’re watching movies.

 Not everyone has time for movies.  You might have 20 minutes of alone time on the way to a museum, club or ballgame. You’re LOLed out and don’t want to bother someone with another inane cell phone conversation starting out with “Hey. What are you doing?”  The answer?  Log on and find some video programming. It will start out as a single curated channel called Mo-Tube or something, containing short length “mobi-sodes” of 16-22 minutes in duration. After a while there will be more channels and programming segments, but it will start with a single new branded channel. Not necessarily serial in nature, these mobi-sodes will be designed to load and stream efficiently and, I’m guessing will be available via subscription.   Aol, you feel me?

New Type of Programming.

This will be a new type of programming – not radio, not TV, not movies.  Just little chunks of original and mashed-up programming that stimulate the viewer, fill some time and get the brain moving. Mobi-sodes. Coming to a device near you…in three years or less.

 PS. I know someone will say the channel exists already, but if a tree falls in a the woods and no one is around….

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There is an interesting strategic disagreement going on in the men’s body wash category these days.  The commercials and video on TV and YouTube from competitors Axe and Old Spice focus on different targets. Old Spice, acknowledging that 70% of men’s body wash (a more expensive, soap substitute) is purchased by women, is using the much talked about “smell like a man” campaign from Wieden + Kennedy directed toward those women buyers. The campaign is smart because the message in not lost on men.  Conversely, the Axe work shoots straight at men, suggesting “Use Axe body wash and you won’t have to aks (New York for ask) girls out, they’ll flock to you.”  Axe is attempting to change behavior. That is, they’re trying to convince men, young and old, that it’s okay to use cleansing gels rather than the traditional, inexpensive, manly soap.    

Bud Light convinced young men that it’s okay to drink light beer, so growing the body wash category is not a bridge to far.   

It should be interesting to see who wins this strategic battle.  Will the guys without dates who are most motivated to spruce up not respond to the Old Spice work targeting women?  No, I think they will.  They’ll get the message.  But probably not ask strongly as they will receive the “chick magnet” ads from Axe and BBH. Will lady-less men’s mothers buy them body wash?  I hope not, that certainly will be counterproductive.  “Honey, I saw something on TV….” Peace.

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There was an interesting piece in the Huffington Post yesterday on the future of video. It’s author, Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube, believes in the near future video won’t be offline or online, it will just be.  That is, the video (TV shows, movies, consumer generated, music) we watch will be accessed on multiple devices, on demand, in hi-def.  This, says Mr. Walk, will be the result of improved wi-fi bandwidth (Aluminum foil hats will be big.), mad switching infrastructure and next gen streaming algorithms.

Those “anywhere, anything, anytime” ads of the 90s are coming true, it seems.  Anyway, with all of this video available, the competition will be crazy.  Forget searching for all this video for a minute, let’s think about monetizing the video. There should be two options: subscription and advertising.  The advertising approach will not be based on the television model, with pods of ads running throughout the stream. We are too evolved for that. My guess is there will be a single :30 spot at the beginning of a half-hour program and 60 seconds for an hour long program. Movies will support 90 seconds and user generated content and music video will be free.

This is the word of What’s The Idea. Peace!

Huffington Post, wi-fi, video, video advertising, whatstheidea, whats the idea, Hunter Walk, YouTube,

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