Google just moved their Chinese search engine to Hong-Kong. While people tend to say it’s because they lost the “war” against Baidu or that they were not making money and needed an excuse to get out, I don’t think that’s the main reason. I would say, they did it to protect the rest of their market i.e. Google users around the world.
How is Google making money? Pay-per-click advertising.
Why do they have such an effective PPC service? They target the right ads to the right people.
How do they do that? With the HUGE amount of data they collect from their users.
Why do their users let them collect so much personal data and are happy with it? They trust Google and in return, users get excellent services.
Their competitive advantage is the data they collect from the relationship they have with their users. For those who don’t know, Google creates personal and corporate profiles from data they get from Analytics, Gmail, Search, iGoogle, Blogger, Google Voice, Maps, etc. However, many like myself, continue to use their services because I am confident that this data is being used in a way that would not upset me.
I don’t think it was the Chinese operations that were at risk but rather their competitive advantage they would lose. What would the rest of the world think if there were more breaches? What if Google had to give some of their data to the Chinese government? That would undermine the public trust and the Google users would move somewhere else. Bing has much “better” privacy policies but who cares? If there is an incident in the future, people will care.
This should be a good lesson for your company. Respect your users, show them that trust is the most important thing inside your organization and your users will return you the favor… trust me :-)
7 years ago, I had an iPod to listen to my music, a Nokia to call my friends and a GPS for my car. Then smart phones like the Iphone arrived and changed my habits and created big concerns for companies like Garmin, Sony, etc. Today, I can already tell there is another merge on the way and a big battle is brewing.
In my opinion, the next everyday object to be replaced (and on a massive scale!) will be: the book! Just like music and movies, the whole distribution model will have to evolve, creating a crisis for certain companies and opportunities for others. We may have to wait 10 years for a device that will completely replace my beloved books, but one day, it will come. As most of you probably know, we already have contenders: Kindle, Nook and even the Ipad!
We can buy physical books right now, read them, resell them but it is extremely difficult to reproduce them. The cost of a “real” book is no doubt more expensive than the digital version because of the manufacturing and distribution costs. The eBook, if it follows the same path of most digital mediums, will not be sold like a traditional book.
Most likely, you will be able to “buy a license” rather than own it. The book will be linked to your account or device and won’t be transferable. In other words, you will lose a lot of rights. To convince you to switch, eBooks will have additional features and carry a lower price tag. If the store ever closes, you will most likely lose access to the books you bought legally but the hacker who cracked the system will be safe. You will be able to store thousand of books in a slim device but it will never look as beautiful as a room filled with books (just like my favourite library: the Austrian National Library in Vienna).
What will the device feel like? Look at the upcoming iPad, merge it with a screen as good as the Kindle but in color, vivid as the new oled screens (just like the Nexus One).
Will companies be able to adapt or will they fight against an evolving world by trying to impose their obsolete models? What about schools? Will the students just pirate the most expensive books? What will change for an Internet strategist like me? Will I be able to buy publicity in ebooks that could be targeted to specific readers according to their personal profile? Publicity that will change depending on the time of day and location? That would be amazing! Who could provide such a framework? Could it be you?
There are a lot of great opportunities everywhere. The ebook market will be one of them. So what is your plan to take advantage of it? Now is an excellent time to prepare yourself for the next big revolution!
Marketing campaigns can sometimes become very expensive. For this reason, it is important to calculate if the campaign brings you customers or new sales and if you’re making any money out of it. This is standard for traditional media in most businesses. However, when it comes to social media, most don’t calculate the return on investment (ROI) of their efforts.
I think the biggest reason businesses don’t track their efforts is because of the lack of tools and standardized metrics. Here are some ideas of what can be used to get meaningful results.
First, you need to set objectives. It is unlikely that you would want to put money into something that wouldn’t be profitable. The goal could be revenue (sales), new members, exposure, etc. What is important to know is how much money a new member or a published article will bring your company.
For example, let’s say an average member who found your website on a social media website spent $10 on your products, you can extrapolate the ROI by calculating how much money needs to be spent to acquire one member based on previous campaigns. Then just make sure it’s profitable!
To be continued…
Professional advertisers don’t just publish ads and hope they will work. Yes, some ideas come from creativity and brainstorming sessions, but, in my opinion, the best campaigns are the ones that are tweaked using mathematical techniques.
Today we will explore the challenger/recruit concept. The main idea is simple: at any time in your campaign, you should always have two variations of your best ads running. Why? It is rare that a new concept will work perfectly out of the box. Reasons are that the public might not react exactly the way you expected or worse, a competitor started his campaign with a similar ad and you lost your distinctive concept.
Ads resulting from this technique will be slow incremental improvements? based on market response. Let’s say for example your best ad is “Most practical product, click here”. You should cut 20% of its budget and reallocate the money into a new slightly different ad for example: “Most practical product, buy here”. Run the recruit for a few days and if it’s performing better than the challenger, replace it.
One difficulty can be determining how many impressions you need before making a decision. Ads should run for a minimum of 1 week to eliminate the effect of week days i.e. if your ad contains the word “coffee”, it might be more popular on Monday hehe. Also, be careful of special holidays. There is no absolute rule on the number of impressions you should base your decision on, however, a good rule of thumb is about 200 impressions per day for the monitoring period.
A few years ago, consumers started looking at online reviews before buying a product or service. Today, who would buy a TV without first looking at different reviews and then finding the best price in a store nearby?
With the ever increasing presence of social media in our daily life, ordinary people have started to document their shopping experience. For example, if there is a line up in front of a restaurant, someone may write on Twitter: “stuck in front of XXX, my fav restaurant” with his cellphone. It doesn’t have a widespread impact because, unlike reviews, the number of people reading this messages will be limited. However, people that are reading this message will trust the sender and that innocuous cellphone message could have a deeper impact than a typical restaurant review.
Here are a few tricks to search for types of messages similar the cellphone example above. All the examples below are given with a fake brand named MegaBook.
1. Look for your brand and add “:(” ex: MegaBook :(
2. Use the “from:Twitterer” with someone famous. For example, if you’re in the social media business, “mashable” is a collective of web critics with a lot of influence. ex: MegaBook from:mashable
3. Look for your brand with the “near” keyword ex: MegaBook near:Vancouver
4. Search for unanswered questions for your product with “?” ex: Megabook ?
Finally, what do you do with all these conversations? Being in touch with your customers and engaging in conversations is a must; especially if your customer had a bad experience.
If your customer believes he received a bad service, respond as if you were speaking to him face to face.
1. Apologize. Even if it’s not your fault, the customer thinks it is.
2. Make sure you understand his problem. Reformulate and restate what you understand until you’re both on the same page.
3. Offer either excuses or something special (not necessarily free goods) that will encourage your customer to return.
On the other hand, if your customer was happy with your service, just a quick work to say “thanks for supporting us” is usually more than enough.
Happy new year!