Tag Archives: social networks

Is Facebook Too Big To Fail?

Oh that’s just not possible you say. Facebook fail, no way. Just let your imagination go for a minute.

I don’t think any of us could have imagined the possibility of General Motors failing, or AIG, or Citigroup for that matter, all of whom benefited through the combination of The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). In all of these cases, it was deemed appropriate to step in with financial help because these companies were “too big to fail.” The great economic domino effect of their failures would have lead to catastrophic consequences.

Let’s face facts, humans make mistakes, and so do CEO’s. It’s not beyond the realm of “possible” to imagine a world without Facebook, where enough mistakes, bad investments, scandals, questionable IPO’s et cetera, cause this social institution to fail. Do you suppose the government would step in and help?

I don’t want you to get confused here, I’m not trying to be political as I’m really going in another direction which I hope to reveal shortly.

Millions of people spend hours and hours documenting, sharing, responding, ranting, posting, joking, pontificating, preaching, questioning, bragging and lecturing on Facebook. The number of personal images and videos put there is staggering. Some would say that this is a giant waste of time. Regardless, when you think about the fact that whole lives are being stored on FB’s massive server farms and that this may be the only place where those lives are documented, you can begin to wonder – If that’s true, a Facebook failure could in fact cause catastrophic consequences for some. Unless of course, they have a backup plan.

I was reading recently in the “AARP Bulletin” (yes, I am old enough to read this) about the need for Baby Boomers to embrace social media, especially if they are interested in looking for a job. They talk about a “digital footprint” which I thought was a great term, because it encompasses several social media properties, including your own personal website. The article suggests that this website have your name as the URL, like davidsoxman.com. And let’s face it, if you’re not out there socially, you look out of touch.

What does your financial advisor always suggest when investing your money, diversify? By doing so, you spread risk across multiple investment strategies and therefore reduce your exposure to the failure of one. I think the same applies to how you document your life experiences on the web.

There are many ways to memorialize the important events in your life and it doesn’t have to be all in one place, i.e. Facebook. Social media sites exist that cater to all kinds of interests and life styles. If your interested in a list, Wikipedia.org has an exhaustive list and even describes what they are about. Check it out even though there are some obvious omissions like Reddit, Stumble Upon, Vimeo and YouTube to name a few.

If the leadership of Facebook pulls off something really stupid and the company fails, and the government chooses not to “bail out” the social behemoth, by having your life documented across multiple online properties, you can reduce the risk that your life’s experiences could vanish with the unplugging of a server. Or, you could gamble that Facebook really is too big to fail.

I’d love to know your thoughts.


Live by the Data or Die by the Data


I know that there are hardly enough hours in the day to take care of your customers and run the business, let alone, study and correlate all the customer-centric information which is now available at your fingertips. But, it’s never been more important than now. As Mr. Dave Frankland, an analyst with Forrester espoused, 2010 and beyond is the “age of the customer.” Customers are in more control than ever, and they are wielding that power by responding to companies that understand them and their needs.


Natalie Zmuda, with Ad Age talks about the obsession with “understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers,” as the only real differentiator that many companies have. I would add to that, the intelligence to predict behavior as well.


Never in history have business owners had such a vast amount of information available to them about their customers’ behavior, which can be a strong predictor of a “potential” customer’s behavior.


Facebook can tell you how many people in your area have expressed interest in what you do based upon specific terms? Google has reams of information available on what people are searching for. There are software companies that have created social media dashboards that provide the ability to see what conversations are taking place about you, whether you “follow” them or not. And just as important, there are your own sales statistics that you keep.


It is not only important to track sales, but also to be able to know the source of the sales lead. Those lead sources should be broken down sufficiently to understand what action the interested party initially took to become a lead. What products were purchased from what lead sources? As an example, if you only track that a sale of product A came from the Internet, what you don’t know is what action was taken. Did the lead fill out a “contact me” form or did they pick up the phone and call you? Did they ask a question through Facebook or were they referred by one of their LinkedIn contacts? Did they click on a QR code that you had on a print advertisement or did they come to you from your YouTube video?


Being able to tie sales back to a very specific lead source allows you to calculate which kind of lead results in the highest likelihood of a sale. Where should you spend precious sales resources to get the highest return? Where should marketing dollars go to stimulate these high value leads? What kind of message is successful in generating quality leads? Would extending that message to other sources for leads generate the same kind of quality lead there? Would it be better to focus on those products that generate the highest margins?


So, your business can prosper by paying attention to the data that’s available or not, it’s up to you. And, if you need some help with this, let us know.


All my best in your “data mining”




Marketing ROI: Is It All About The Low Hanging Fruit?

“I want the marketing dollars I spend to have an immediate impact.  I need to be able to see sales go up within the first thirty days or I’m unlikely to continue with it.”

“I’ve never been able to see how using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or blogging can increase the leads I receive.”

“Is there any way to get my phone to ring more?”

“I’m really only interested in going after the low hanging fruit, something that will pay for my efforts right away.  After that, I’ll figure something else out.”

We live in a world of instant gratification.  We learn to move on quickly if we’re not immediately entertained.  Wall Street demands quarterly results. If something takes too long, it’s just not worth it.

I have been accused at times of quoting Seth Godin too much.  I don’t really mean to other than I am a regular reader and I truly believe he is one of the innovative thinkers of our time.  So, please forgive my idolatry.

In “Driveby Culture and the Endless Search for Wow,” Seth poses the question of whether as marketers we should be focused on getting and measuring the number of eyeballs that view our content or whether we should be concerned about those people who have a true interest, who want to listen, who may actually become long-term customers.

I’ve always tried to emphasize to business owners that what ever marketing efforts are made, it is ultimately about sales and profits, otherwise why expend the energy?  And, I am also a proponent of prioritizing efforts so that at least you can garner the “low hanging fruit,” so you can see some immediate results.  But, I am also quick to point out that many other marketing efforts, especially those where you are trying to build a dialog, a relationship with people who can help spread your brand, people who will be your proponents, will definitely take time and patience. Sometimes a Return on Investment or ROI is not measured short-term in more leads or calls.

Do you agree?

You’re Regulated – Control Your Social Marketing!


We are now several years into the maturity of social media as an accepted form of marketing as evidenced by Shawn Kincaid’s post regarding Twitter becoming mainstream.  Many other articles have been written about the dangers to your business of refusing to hop on the social bandwagon, including one I posted.

As marketers we know that one of the most powerful aspects of social media is the two-way conversation that takes place, the ability to “listen” to what is being said about you, your brand and your products.  Never before have companies been in such an enviable position of being able to directly respond to comments made about them.  But, with this power comes the cost of losing control over your brand and marketing, something many have real problems with.

This is especially true in industries that are heavily regulated, such as financial, municipal and as Brian Morrissey writes, pharmaceutical.  I have spoken with many business owners and business developers from these industries that face similar concerns about social media and how they can engage without getting themselves and their company in a lot of trouble.  I don’t mean to say that their concerns are unjustified, and I would strongly recommend hiring knowledgeable legal resources who understand these ramifications.  As Brian states, the penalty for a social misstep can even go so far as to having your key product or your professional license removed from the marketplace!

As such, since these industries must maintain a firm control over their social interaction, even to the point of hiding their involvement, they end up being on the sidelines watching the rest of the marketing world heading forward at warp speed and leaving them behind.  Their marketing is stuck in a serious auto-pilot.

What this tells me is that our regulators, the ones trying so hard to protect us, are seriously out of touch with reality.  The kinds of restrictions placed on financial, governmental and pharmaceutical companies, and their ability to stay current in their marketing, is stuck in the 20th century.

As we all know from the many stories of celebrities getting into trouble, what takes place on the Internet is so transparent that it would appear the perfect place to allow the kinds of open dialog that is the essence of social media.  Would it not be acceptable for regulated industries to have that same level of transparency and be able to enter into constructive dialog with their customers?  I think the phrase is “trust but verify.”

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Leave Them Wanting More: 5 Steps to Making Sure They Come Back


In my varied past, I spent some time on stage as a professional opera singer, a wonderful and enriching experience.  One thing I learned was that during the curtain call when there was applause (assuming you got applause), you never wanted to let the applause die down before leaving the stage.  Really it was ideal to leave when the applause reached its apex and therefore leave the audience wanting more of you.  They were never quite satisfied and probably would be talking about you for some time after leaving the show.  It’s the same reason that no matter how hard you scream for an encore, you never get to hear that one more song.

You may wonder how this relates to an effort to market and promote your business.

Let’s make sure that we’re not confusing what someone wants with what someone needs.  If you start to leave people needing more, than your product or service is not providing what is necessary to sustain the consuming experience and it is likely that you will lose that customer.  Meeting the market’s needs is fundamental to having a product or service that is worth anything at all.

What I’m emphasizing here are wants.  A fundamental rule learned in every Economics 101 course is, “Man has insatiable wants and desires.”  The statement didn’t say insatiable needs.  Every human on earth has basic needs: we need to eat, we need to work, we need adequate health care, we need shelter, we need clothing, etc. Meet the needs and you’ll be okay, but probably not hugely successful, nor will you likely be able to sustain much growth.

What is imperative is that you are able to find how you can leave your customers or clients “wanting” more.  And this really begins with their initial exposure to you, say through your website, and goes clear through the lifecycle of that consuming experience.  Seth Godin in “Embracing Lifetime Value” reiterates how important it is for you to be able to quantify the value of that lifetime experience in order to understand what resources need to go into the relationship. You can then keep them coming back for more.

So, how do you make sure that your customers or clients leave with what they need but leave definitely wanting more?

  1. Make sure your website landing page tells them exactly what they need to know, no more. I believe that it is imperative to give enough information to fulfill the promise of the ad or email that drove them to your site’s landing page, but there is no reason to go beyond that.  If they need more information, provide an easy means for them to contact you so you can enter into a direct dialog, either by phone or chat, which as most salespersons will tell you, is how you can overcome objections and secure the sale.
  2. Try to invite questions that will cause them to engage with your site, with your brand or with you by picking up the phone. The key to consumer loyalty is the ability for them to directly engage in your brand.  Many marketers profess that companies no longer really have control over their brand with the new social media tools. You may as well accept this fact and make it as easy as possible, plus it will help you learn about what your customer needs or maybe even wants.
  3. Regularly add new, relevant content to your website so people will want to come back and see what’s new. This seems so obvious but I can’t tell you how many business owners build a really nice website and then never touch it for months and months.  Not a good idea.  Fresh content will also help improve search results.
  4. Make sure you are enhancing or adding features to your product or service, something your competition isn’t. This also seems obvious but it’s easy to become somewhat complacent as you start to have some success and forget about what improvements could be made to what you offer.  Always be innovating. 
  5. Constantly tell them how much you appreciate their business. Everyone loves to be appreciated and I believe this is rapidly becoming a lost art.  Loyalty comes by making sure to say “thank you.” Reward loyalty through offers that entice them to come back.  Make it lucrative for them to refer you to their network of contacts. 

Leave them needing more and you’ll lose them.  Leave them wanting more and they’ll come back.

Let me know your thoughts.