Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Should Crave the Rave!

I recently finished reading David Meerman Scott’s latest book World Wide Rave. It is a great how-to book on creating “triggers that get millions of people to spread your ideas and share your stories”. With the same quick pace of his past books Scott introduces readers to his six Rules of the Rave:

1) Nobody cares about your products (except you)
2) No coercion required
3) Lose control
4) Put down roots
5) Create triggers that encourage people to share
6) Point the word to your (virtual) doorstep

In the following chapters he shares some powerful examples of how PR, marketing and product professionals took advantage of these ideas to raise awareness. My favorite story was how Cindy Gordon, VP of new media at Universal Orlando Resort, hyped the upcoming Harry Potter attraction by telling just seven people. These seven were so influential that eventually 350 million people heard about the attraction.

He also weaves some best practices like creating buyer personas to understand who you are trying to reach and tactics like using negative titles (Do Not Read This Blog Post).

I also appreciated his admonitions about what not to do like creating “lead bait” or tracking leads and press clippings as a measure of effectiveness.

World Wide Rave is a great kick start for people who need to get their message out so people will beat a virtual path to your doorstep.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Stephen King & Intertemporal Pricing

About 11 years ago, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled The Future of the Book. It was written by Daniel Akst on December 18, 1998. It made a real impression on me because he made some prognostications about what would happen to the price of books when they became digital. Akst argued the following:

The cost of books ought to plummet once they are distributed and consumed electronically. Consider that a hardcover book retails for $30 and wholesales for $16. Out of that sum, $6 goes into manufacturing (paper, printing, etc) to say nothing of shipping, inventory costs and publisher’s overhead. Editorial expenses are a mere $.67, and the author’s royalty is $4. Publisher’s pretax profits is $1.

E-distribution could radically lower the cost of publishing – and the barriers to entry in the publishing business.

I was reminded of this article (subscription required) recently when I read about Scribner’s decision to delay the e-book release of Stephen King’s newest title “Under the Dome” for about six weeks. The cited rationale was to “preserve the value of the hardcover edition”. King supported this strategy as a way to help the independent bookstores and the national bookstore chains sell the hardcover edition. Adam Rothberg, a spokesman for Simon & Schuster rightly pointed out that “Publishers have long issued different formats of a book at different times… and that this is an opportunity to see what happens when we issue the e-book at a different time in the publication sequence”.

In business school I learned that this was called inter-temporal pricing and it is market segmentation based on time of need. In the case of books the manufacturing costs for a paperback and a hardcover are about the same so the hard cover reader agrees to pay a premium for first access. Movie studios have also experimented with the timing of releases, although one of the drivers for that seems to be about piracy and most recently some have issued all formats at once. One of my favorite examples of this used to be how the New York Times would sell the paper at once price in the morning, and then drop it if you purchased a copy after 2 pm.

In looking at the Stephen King example, the only people who might be miffed are Kindle owners that happen to be Stephen King fans. The WSJ shared that this same release strategy will be in place for Sarah Palin’s upcoming book as well as for Ted Kennedy’s memoir. However as e-reader adoption grows, we’ll undoubtedly see more experimentation here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Content Nation Review

I just concluded John Blossom's Content Nation. It was a great read that taught me alot. As promised, here's the reveiw I posted on Amazon.com:

I have found Content Nation to be an informative read on several levels. I like how the author shared a variety of rules and guidelines including Seven Secrets of Social Media, Content Nation Marketing Rules, Content Nation Enterprise Rules etc. The benefit of these distillations is that they can help the practitioner evaluate their current and future social media strategies using these tools as guidelines. Moreover, each of these is illustrated by case studies and examples that help explain the concept. I learned about many new companies and brands as a result of reading Content Nation. I also found it useful that the author shared both the positive and negatives of this phenomenon and provided cautionary tales for people who might seek to deceive the marketplace. Blossom has created a very useful tome that puts scholarly rigor to a part of the publishing industry that is still considered the Wild, Wild West by some-- long live Content Nation!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New York Times Automotive UGC
In a recent NY Times "Wheels" email, I clicked on a curious link entitled 2008 Collectible Car of the Year Contest (I must have missed it during the last six months of emails). I was brought to a user generated photo gallery where readers had submitted photos and descriptions of their cars for the community to vote upon. The winner, in case you were wondering, was The Marquis de Soto.
The fact that users are submitting this kind of info to the web is not new. Rate My Space, which was constructed by SIIA Member Neighborhood America does this for living spaces, and I'm certain that Car & Driver, Road & Track, as well as Hemmings Motor News are doing this for cars. What impressed me was that the venerable NY Times was trying to build such a niche audience.
I dont' know how successful this venture has been, but I'm sure that many readers of the NYT have the disposable income to buy collectible cars. By creating a way to draw users together, bestow awards, and curate content, the NYT is employing some of the tactics they'll need to survive in an online world.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

= Panels?

In looking at some of the people I follow on Twitter, I'm impressed and intrigued by the number of followers they have accumulated.  Then it dawned on me that perhaps there's a way to make some money by selling access to your twitterati.  Suppose you wanted to gain some insight into what David Meerman Scott's followers had on a PR or Marketing idea you had.  For a price and maybe a $ on the hash tag you would be permissioned to survey his list.  Same could go for someone who wants to know what David Pogue's followers have to say about a new gadget or device.

Is anyone doing this now?  Do you think it is similar to the panel business that market research firms have built?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Substitutes & Complements
If you've ever taken a marketing or economics course you've been introduced to the notion of substitutes and complements -- these are products or services that could either replace your offering or could make it better. I had a real life example of that concept this morning at Union Station in Washington DC. I had to catch a train to New York and had limited time before the train and headed toward the Starbucks and saw a line that had at least 20 people in it. Doing the quick calculus I figured I'd miss my train so I opted for a substitute -- Primo Cappucino that had virtually no line.

Big surprise that the espresso was lousy, the scone was stale, and the yogurt tasted like strawberry frosting.

In the information industry we've talked about the phenomenon of "just good enough" replacing premium services. As in the breakfast example above, you get what you pay for and next time I'll get up earlier for the premium service. I also think that most of the professionals served by our industry that are making market moving, life saving and critical strategic decisions will continue to rely on the premium services that we have to offer.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Content Nation now available from John Blossom

John Blossom, a friend and longtime member of the SIIA has recently published his first book. I've already ordered mine from Amazon and will post a review after I read it. Here's a description from John:

Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives and Our Future
How will you survive and thrive as social media changes our world?
What are the best ways to use social media to succeed in our work, our lives and our future?

"Content Nation" is a wide-ranging look at what makes social media tick, offering case studies and practical tips as to how we can conduct our business, our politics and our personal lives using social media and a look at how a future shaped by social media will be very different in many ways than the civilizations of the past several thousand years.

In the process of changing our world, social media will bring us back to our pre-historic roots and simultaneously thrust us into a magnificent future in which the very DNA of human society will change forever.

Best of all, chances are you're a part of that future already as a publisher of social media - a citizen of Content Nation.You can order the print edition of the book online now or write a review!