Posts Tagged ‘unm2pnm’

Advertising/Sponsorship And The Blogosphere – Issues To Consider?

April 20, 2008

Coming back to thoughts from the IDC Conference, one topic of debate was whether advertising on blogs is okay and whether it sends the right kind of message. Let’s look at it both from the corporation and from the blogger’s point of view.

The Blogger Point Of View.

I personally think third party advertising (ie Nuffnang, Google Adwords/Adsense) is okay. You’re not directly endorsing whatever they’re advertising, just making use of your internet “real estate”. And just like the real world, if you have prime real estate (ie high blog traffic of the right demographics), then why not make some money out of it? After all you’ve worked hard to build that brand and/or community and adding value, no reason why you shouldn’t reap some reward.

What I do have issue with if going straight for advertising. Starting out blogs with the intention of selling space or drawing attention to your 125×125 boxes that you’re willing to sell at $15/week or whatever. It makes me question the validity of the blog and if I should worry about whether you’re telling me A is better than B because A is in one of the 125×125 boxes.

I’m going to condense this with the issue of trust. I haven’t had companies approach me with incentives in return to review stuff. One thing I did opt in for was Joseph Jaffe’s Use New Marketing To Prove New Marketing campaign, where I receive a copy of Join The Conversation and post a review in return. (It’s coming soon). I think that’s fine for three reasons:

1) It’s directly in my niche

2) Jaffe doesn’t ask for a positive review, just an honest review.

3) It’s clear that I got the book for free and I’m reviewing it in return, as opposed to when I plug books that I paid money for.

I think as long as people know that there was a sponsorship involved, they’re fine with it. The big issue is when they’re misled. Then the backlash really comes. For example if I took Jaffe’s book and said it’s God’s gift to marketers/PR agencies/advertisers/the whole world, but didn’t tell them I got $0.10 for every book sale that comes from me, that will hurt me when it comes out. And believe me, it will come out. (That said, I am not making money from Jaffe’s book in any way)

And as a blogger I’d treat any similar “freebie” the same way. I’d be happy to take your product and give it a spin, but the fact that I had that privilege, is not going to colour my review or thoughts either way.

The Corporation’s Point Of View

Many businesses don’t look to bloggers to get their word out yet, because they’re worried about control. What if I give the blogger A and he says A sucks. Well, it comes with the territory. If you don’t give the blogger that product, someone else is going to pay money for it and blog that it sucks anyway. The fault is the product, not the message.

I think the most important thing is not to come across as a company who wants the same thing every company wants (even if you do). Because bloggers will know. A great case study which happened in the US, but could well happen anywhere, is the GM sponsorship of a Manic Mommies event, as covered in CC Chapman’s Managing The Gray. It’s a lengthy case study and you should listen to the podcast to get the full story, but essentially they didn’t say “Here’s $30k, do what you want but plaster our logo everywhere”.

No, they listened to what the Manic Mommies needed and focused on finding the common space where they can add value and build relationships, which really is what this whole space is about.

Ultimately, this space is new and is ever-changing. But trust, transparency and reputation will always be important. The method of doing your advertising online, who you approach and the results may vary, but you have to do it right. Not just “right” in terms of achieving the right metrics and ROI, but right in the proper way that values people and relationships, which will pay for it self many times over in the longterm.

Podcast Of The Month: January

February 18, 2008

Admittedly I didn’t listen to many podcasts in January, but I’m still going to do this for the month, and there are a few conditions:

  • I must have listened to the podcast in January (regardless of when it was actually released)
  • The selected podcast can be the most entertaining/informative/educational. Anything goes.

So the winner for last month goes to Jaffe Juice #101 for an excellent Winners and Losers segment covering the whole Scrabulous fiasco by Scrabble and Mattel, as well as Target’s blatant disrespect to the blogging community. On top of that, it was this episode that motivated me to take part in Joseph’s UNM2PNM (Use New Marketing To Prove New Marketing) initiative, where he sends me a copy of his latest book, Join The Conversation, and I provide him a review in return. Sounds fantastic? It is.

Other notable mentions this month:

There’ll be much more nominees for February (I’ve already listened to about 10 podcasts so far), so keep reading for that, or if you’re feeling nice, why not subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss it?

If you agree or disagree with my choice, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and alternatively, if you have a podcast you’d like to recommend me to listen to, leave me a comment as well.

Why Avenue Q Should Be Free, At Least Online

January 30, 2008

I was talking to Wanida online yesterday and telling her I really enjoyed Avenue Q, so she asked to borrow my soundtrack. I initially said no because she should watch it in person! She countered by saying that hearing the songs, will further increase her interest to catch the next time in New York. I realised that was pretty much the same for me: listening to Les Miserables on cd on an almost-daily basis when I was young made me really want to catch it when I first flew to New York to see how the scenes I imagined in my head played out on stage.

With that in mind, I went to the website to find a song or video clip to show her, but the only clips on the official site were 29 seconds long (featuring a cast who isn’t even performing anymore), and those on youtube are secretly filmed in the theatres.

So how in the world does someone in Singapore get an actual sample of what Avenue Q is about?

First of all, let’s establish that Avenue Q does a great job with traditional marketing. There are huge billboards in Times Square with really funny, provocative advertisements. That works fine if people are living in the United States and are exposed to it.

However, Avenue Q is never going to go to certain countries like Singapore and others because it’s controversial and we’re conservative. When Singaporeans (and perhaps most tourists) visit New York, the tendency is to catch the newest show (Is He Dead?), the hottest show (Wicked) or the sold-out-for-ten-years show (The Lion King). Given that there are easily 20-odd theatres with musicals at any one time, how does a show like Avenue Q get the average tourist to consider their show instead? (And hey, before you think Avenue Q isn’t any good, they won the Tony over Wicked).

My solution is to release full length audio and video clips for download and/or streaming. Before you get up from your seat and go “What? Those seats go for a hundred bucks!”, hear me out.

This will enable people to really sample what the show is like, get the show some exposure, and if they ever make a trip over to the United States, you can bet that in addition to Wicked and Lion King (which will probably be sold out anyway), they’ll have Avenue Q in mind as a possible Broadway musical to catch as well.

Why full length audio? Avenue Q has an advantage in that it has absolutely brilliant and¬†attention-grabbing song titles.¬†Imagine seeing a friend listening to “The Internet Is For Porn” or “It Sucks To Be Me” on MSN or Last.fm, that is definitely going to generate interest, which can translate to word of mouth and eventually, ticket sales.

This concept of distributing certain bits of a product for free isn’t new. I first read about it in October when Chris Anderson gave away a chapter of his book, Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation has also explored How to make money by giving something away for free.

Joseph Jaffe also has a new initiative UNM2PNM (that’s Using New Marketing To Prove New Marketing) by giving away 150 copies of Join The Conversation, as long as the recipients give an honest review of the book. I’ve applied for a book, hopefully geographical restrictions allow for it to happen.

Finally, let me say that I’m providing a fairly simplistic view of Avenue Q’s distribution. I don’t know what the legal scene is like and if this is actually possible. But if it were, this would be something I’d do straightaway.