Sunday, September 23, 2007

It doesn’t matter if you feed them after midnight . . . they will still come out!

They are everywhere. They are on the sides of the website you just looked at. They are there, smiling as you reading your e-mails. They creep out at all hours of the night and are infesting the World Wide Web. The only way to get rid of them . . . is to turn off your computer and hide under your bed with a cross and garlic. They are not hiding in your closet, they are hiding in your cable or DSL connection . . . they are Widgets.
Widgets are small online tools that function like mini-sites. They are interactive ads that can be posted on pages that don’t even require click-throughs. According to this New York Times article “Google Program Enlists Mini-Sites as Selling Tools for Advertisers” 48% of Internet users in America use widgets.
The majority of my fellow classmates use them, quite possibly without even realizing it. When you log onto Facebook and add that Top Friends or iLike application, you are using a widget. When you get on AOL instant messenger (AIM) and a music video starts playing at the top of your buddy list, you are viewing a widget.
Companies like Honda and Siera Mist have their own widgets to provide content or tools to potential customers. Recently Google has developed a new interaction measure to document the interest in the ads. Here’s a little snip of the article previously mentioned:

“Google tested its Gadget Ads program this summer with a group of 50 marketers. To encourage more advertisers to make such ads, Google is offering to be host of videos for the ads in YouTube’s servers — a cost-saving for advertising agencies. And Google provides tools for updating the ads, even if marketers do not bid for ads in Google’s network. Marketers pay Google only for the ads that run in its networks and not for any downloading or saving of those ads that consumers may choose to do.”

Widgets are extremely beneficial for ad agencies because they are easy to create and cut marketing expenses. A benefit could be, “Instead of paying news sites to run videos from a movie’s premiere, for example, studios can make it easy for consumers to post the movie videos on their own sites or social network profiles, providing free advertising.”

Widgets are a marketers dream, allowing the customer to decide how long with want them to live.

The Concerned Citizen

Reading Ch 1 of Citizen Marketers helped me understand the drive behind Social Media. I have used it everyday for years, but I never really stopped to think about where the motivation comes from. McConnell and Huba say that citizen marketers “don’t often represent the average person, member, customer, or citizen. They are on the fringes, driven by passion, creativity and a sense of duty. Like a concerned citizen.”
My favorite section was that of fanatics. Mainly because in class we have been talking about the power that people have to make change via the internet. The story about the Deadwood fans creating a voice strong enough to bring back the show for two two-hour episodes after it was cancelled was a great example of the power of bloggers.
It emphasizes the phrase “People are the message. Nobody likes advertisers anymore, just like I mentioned in my previous post about Brian Solis. According to Citizen Marketers “69 percent of Americans would pay for products that block out marketing and advertising.” The message is authentic when it comes from the people. These people are of all different ages and races and come from varying geographical locations, but they all have one thing in common; they are concerned citizens who create and search for genuine content that expresses what real people want, need and care about.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ikea speaks to me about home

To me, marketing is about finding out what people want, not trying to convince them to like what you already have. The whole process is a conversation between people to share an understanding of what would make each person most satisfied. Brian Solis talks about this in his blog with the article Conversational Marketing Versus Marketing Conversations. He expresses the need to find out what people want rather then forcing them to fit into a marketers mold. The control is no longer in the hands of the marketer. The power has shifted to the people who already know what they want to buy. They have their own opinions and don’t need some marketer telling them that they are wrong because they should be wanting ______. Like Solis says, “Relationships are the new metric for ROI.” You want to make money? Make relationships with your customers. Make them feel at home with you.

Speaking of home, Ikea has a new take on home. Ikea is launching a new commercial in the UK soon, which is centered on the phrase “Home is the most important place in the world.” The commercial shows different times of homes from the outside and the tracking allows you to hear what is occurring inside of the houses, for example a child’s birthday party or someone typing. When I saw this I thought awwww, how sweet, which is exactly the response that Ikea was trying to extract from their customers. It hits close to your heart. This shows that Ikea knows that home and family are the most important aspects of life for the majority of their customers.

Also, if you take a look at the Ikea homepage you can find a link to My America At Home, which is a contest where people can submit photos to be published in a book. These photos portray families of different races, cultures and background in a coffee table book. Once again, Ikea is showing that they care about families of all shapes and sizes.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Citizen Editors

After reading Citizen Marketers ch.2 I did a little research on and found an article on BBC news called Citizens New Take on News. It talks about how news agenda would be completely different if it were planned by everyday citizens rather than journalists. US Pew Research Center, mentioned in Citizen Marketers, compared news stories from mainstreams news sources, such as TV, radio and online, to three user driven sites – Digg, Reddit and The study found that the news stories that appeared on mainstream news sources and those most popular on user-driven sites varied tremendously.
People were drawn to more eclectic stories rather than stories about Iraq from different angles. There was little emphasis on single stories because readers today want to know a little bit of everything in order to be a worldly, informed citizen. The most popular stories on the user-driven site were about technology (40%) while the next popular were lifestyle stories, which is not the main content of mainstream news.
The user-driven sites are driving now web2.0highway with the top down, making your everyday people the new editors.

Who wants to be paid to be a Britney enthusiast?

Chapter 2 of Citizen Marketers not only explained to me the story behind the motorcycle riding 1%ers. The chapter also explained to me how has 400,000 registered members but grew thanks to the contribution of 1% of their members. Reading on, I found it interesting that people consider paying these 1%ers to create content.
I had to break this down in my head. Adding content to the internet is considered a hobby since no one gets paid to do so. Obviously, for some people, it takes up a majority of their free time, and even their time that they are supposed to be spending on their jobs. But if people were paid to create internet content, doesn’t that take all of the fun out of the internet. It is fun when you go to and see someone’s three minute video of two guys jamming out to Spice Girls or two guys who should never have made a video in the first place. If I knew someone was paid to dance like this it just wouldn’t be as much fun. Now I know I am speaking about a rare case because the content that Citizen Marketers is talking about it not some Britney Spears remix song, but actual useful information. But every time you look something up on don’t you get excited knowing that someone put all this information up on their free time because they actually care about the subject?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I need some coffee..

Dear bloggers,
This will be my first post which is really just a test post. I am sitting here in class, kind of hungry and ready to leave. I wish I had some interesting gossip to share, alas it has been a slow morning and I have tried not to pay attention to people. I am sitting next to Ben and I am sure his shirt belonged to a 6 year old girl. That's pretty much all I have for this post.
Over and Out