Friday Wrap #8: AR for shoppers, a tepid declaration, KISS vs. engagement, and sucky content2012-07-06
(c) Can Stock PhotoA review of articles that piqued my interest during the last week, whether or not they were earth-shattering.
Augmented Reality in the Grocery Aisle
Some people are more deliberate than others when they shop. While many just want to replace that empty box of Candy-Coated Sugar Grenades and other staples, there are those who are intent on finding only organic food, whole-grain cereals, locally-sourced fruit and/or biodegradable packaging. IBM aims to make those items easier to find via an Augmented Reality (AR) app developed by its Haifa, Israel staff. On your smartphone or tablet, you enter the characteristics of the ingredients you want, along with those you don’t (e.g., processed sugar, gluten, lactose). You can even enter the products you need to prepare a complete meal. Now, by scanning the aisles with the phone or tablet’s video camera, “As you pass the product the app will recognize it and superimpose thei nformation ou’re looking for on the product itself,” John Kennedy, VP-corporate marketing, told AdAge. IBM is testing the app is a few undisclosed U.S. retail locations.
Some guys issue a Declaration of Internet Freedom
Every now and then, with fanfare and hubris, somebody releases a document that is supposed to Change Everything. There have been blogger codes of ethics and a host of other manifestos that briefly grab attention before everyone realizes that no broad coalition supports them and there’s no mechanism for enforcing or promoting them; then they fade from memory like a straight-to-DVD movie. Here’s another one. A group of Net advocates, entrepreneurs and academics have issued a Declaration of Internet Freedom, “a set of five broadly worded principles (expression, access, openness, innovation and privacy), intended to protect the Internet from interference,” according to The Verge. Motivated by SOPA and other ill-conceived legislation that would neuter the Net, the group of “thought leaders” (The Verge’s description) set to work on the declaration, eventually bringing together representatives of other online constituencies. The Verge tells the tale of the convoluted process of assembling the team and crafting the document. Unfortunately, the response to the Declaration doesn’t exactly compare to the rallying of townspeople to one of Sam Adams’ rousing speeches. The Atlantic Wire says it “speaks in broad generalizations, calling for ideals like ‘access’ and ‘freedom’ without any details of how we can achieve these things.’” At least it has the virtue of brevity at only 104 words.
Keep it simple, stupid
IBM’s Institute for Business Value released the results of a study, according to only 20-30% of consumers said they follow brands on social media sites because they want to be a part of a community. The main reason they follow brands: discounts. Of course, we’ve seen studies that tell us the same thing for a couple years now. There was, for example, a study from a year ago that noted contests, giveaways, sales, discounts, coupons and special offers were among the top reasons people like a brand’s Facebook page. So there’s nothing new in the IBM study. But the Corporate Executive Board went further, according to a Forbes article, surveying 7,000+ consumers and interviewing 200 marketing executives before concluding that marketers should focus on “Decision Simplicity”—simplifying the decision-making process to the point that consumers don’t have to think to hard about the decision. To do this, they need to build trust (by providing recommendations from consumer advisors, ratings and reviews), offer clear and streamlined brand-specific product information targeted to each decision stage, and offer transparent buyhing guides and brand-differentiated information. A 20% increase in Decision Simplicity results in a 96% increase in customer loyalty, according to the group. Does that mean you should “forget engagement,” as the Forbes headline suggests? Only if you no longer care about that small percentage of superfans who have been proven (in other research) to be so valuable to a brand. The fundamental mistake in this research was the assumption that community-building is aimed at every customer and not focused on the most enthusiastic and passionate among them. Besides, how often does it make sense to read a study and say, “We must stop doing this altogether and start doing nothing but that instead?” (Not that I have anything against simplicity, mind you.)
Your content marketing isn’t working? Maybe your content sucks
Business-to-business marketers have embraced content marketing as much as anyone else, but 80% say their demand generation campaigns are ineffective to semi-effective, according to a survey from Corporate Visions. Those 80% admit that content is their greatest challenge: 37% point to content that “isn’t engaging or provocative,” 31% said the problem was a lack of sales and marekting alignment, 12% say budget constraints is the problem and 9% say they just don’t have enough content. (Maybe that’s because they’re part of the 12% with anemic budgets.) Worse, 65% say their sales teams use less than half the demand-generation content their marketing department produces. The MarketingProfs write-up quotes Corporate Visions Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Tim Riesterer: “Ironically, the survey revealed that the two largest disconnects are the two most important factors to achieving demand generation success: creating engaging content and developing messages that clearly address customer pain points.”
Why agencies are failing at Facebook
I liked this Digiday piece by Spruce Media CEO Rob Jewell, who explains clearly why so many traditional marketing/advertising agencies are showing such meager results from their Facebook campaigns. “The bigger challenge lies in that agencies and holding companies are not suitably designed to facilitate social buying — ad units are different from display,” Jewell writes; “to be successful on Facebook, you need tight integration of creative, media and public relations — but this hardly ever happens with the current agency structure where in most cases media buying and creative are siloed between agencies.” Because agency trading desks, holding companies and brands were organized to handle TV and traditional display-ad buying, they don’t understand the entirely different world of Facebook’s success metrics. Even if you don’t work for an agency, this short opinion piece is worth a read. (I’m talkin’ to you, GM, even though you’re apparently back at the table looking to advertise on Facebook once again.)