LOTD: 11/27/08

  • Okay, we know that Facebook took out the “is” from its status field, and with the ability for Twitter and other services to the platform, that was a no brainer. That said, I would love to know why Mashable didn’t get more responses to this survey from last week. Of course, the audience of Mashable doesn’t encompass the overall usership of a Facebook or another service, but still. I’d love to have that survey done through “regular” (read: non Web 2.0 workers) users. (TB)
  • Guitar Hero does indeed blend, as Gizmodo points out. (TB)
  • Marijean Jaggers is advising everyone that they better get on the RSS delivery bandwagon because she just unsubscribed from all her email newsletters. (CT)
  • Steve Outing at Poynter suggests news operations should setup Twitter feeds for breaking news, something journalists in the field can use to share short little updates on developing stories. (CT)
  • Kevin Dugan says if your press release is more than 22 words long Google’s going to ignore it, so keep it brief or be prepared for zero search love. (CT)
  • Cory at Lost Remote takes up the issue I was discussing the other day of why newspapers and other online pubs don’t link out. (CT)
  • Ben McConnell makes my day with this list of ways to tell you have too much money in the marketing budget. (CT)

Quick Takes: 11/27/07

  • filmstrip.jpgKarina is wondering what exactly the thinking is behind the names included on Warner Bros.’ “For Your Consideration” ad for The Assassination of Jesse James. Seems to be some odd exclusions, I agree.
  • Speaking of Oscar nomination ad buying, Don Day at Lost Remote wonders if the huge ad units on The Hollywood Reporter allow for any actual content to remain on the site.
  • Firebrand (see my earlier post here) gets it official multi-platform launch with the debut of a regular spot on the ION television network.
  • If you ever wondered what the worst idea ever was, it’s buying a DVD and having the movie you’re watching interrupted with commercials. That’s exactly what could be coming based on this patent application from IBM.
  • Interested in winning a walk-on role in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Warner Bros. is partnering with MSN to give one lucky fan just that.
  • Gus has a good round-up of the posters for the 15 documentaries being considered for the five slots that lead to the selection of one Oscar winner.

Book Review: Now is Gone

When I got back into the office from a trip to The Garden State a couple weeks ago there on my desk was a package. Hmmm, I thought. I’d already gotten this month’s Bloggers Gone Wild: Spring Break WOOOO!!! Edition VHS and everyone I know had already tried to assassinate me. So I was curious to see what was inside.

To my pleasant surprise I found it to be a copy of Now is Gone by Geoff Livingston with Brian Solis. The book purports to be a “primer” for executives to acclimate themselves to the new media world and figure out, if they already haven’t, how to create effective marketing relationships in that world. Livingston places heavy emphasis on the idea of relationships, saying time and time again that they are what needs to be focused on and not traditional marketing. Not only because doing so allows you as a marketer to know what people are saying, but it gives the people formerly known as the audience the sense that they are participating in the success of a company or product that they feel an affinity for.

The strongest point Livingston makes in the book is that it’s not enough to just take your existing marketing and put it on the web. It needs to be high-quality, appropriate for the people you’re trying to reach and delivered on a platform that they are already using. The combination of those three things may not insure your marketing efforts will be successful, but it gives those efforts a better chance of not blowing up in your face.

If there’s one thing that I took issue with in Now is Gone, it’s Livingston’s tendency to paint things as definitively right or wrong or to characterize the social media world as if it operated with a single collective conscious. At one point Livingston warns public relations practitioners that if they send out a heads-up to bloggers and that pitch does not result in the story being written up then it’s a failure and they need to scrap the entire program since it’s obviously not adding value to the larger community.

While I agree that PR people should approach bloggers carefully (that’s why it helps to have someone who knows the community and that language) and that pitches need to be individually crafted to make the story as valuable to the blogger as possible I don’t think failure to achieve pick-up is a sign of a bad program. I get pitches all the time that aren’t that attractive to me, but sometimes that’s just because I’m in a bad or just funky mood. Since blogging is so highly personal – even if I’m not blogging about personal matters – sometimes I just can’t get excited about a story that would normally be right up my alley. Bloggers are moody, something that occasionally renders any hard and fast rules about engagement moot.

Considering that Livingston is aiming at the higher levels of the org chart with who he’s trying to speak to the book does succeed more often than it doesn’t at making its points. Marketing in the social media-powered world of 2007 is not like marketing as few as 10 years ago. The rules are different because the balance of power is shifting, the risks are higher and the demands even more demanding.

While there are points of view in Now is Gone I don’t exactly agree with, it is worth picking up and reading. It’s just like reading anything else. There are things I completely agree with and others I don’t, but when it’s all been tallied up it does add something to the conversation. I’d rather read something and disagree with the author than read something and have no opinion. I think that can be said of just about everything in my RSS list as well as my book shelf.

Quick Takes: 11/24/07

  • filmstrip.jpgVariety has a profile piece up about Peggy Siegal who is, apparently, an incredibly in-demand publicity person in New York City when it comes to films. Seigal specializes in organizing parties, screenings and other events for the studios to help raise the buzz-o-meter on specialty films that might be flying under the radar of large portions of the public.
  • Warner Bros. is hoping that being audience-pleasing will make up for August Rush’s lack of easy marketing hook. The movie has reportedly been doing well at screenings but still suffers from the fact that not many people may know about it or be able to draw the line between “that looks nice” and actually buying the ticket.
  • CK uses the story in the movie Lars and the Real Girl to make a point about the power of community to embrace someone they love and see past their eccentricities to make them feel welcome.
  • CinemaBlend says Disney has begun promoting Bolt, an animated feature about a dog who thinks he has super powers, at its theme park gift shops.
  • Defamer kindly reminds Facebook users that should they decide to add things like DVD rental queues or movie ticket buying applications to their profiles, they risk showing everyone just what stupid movies they’re actually choosing to watch.


Blockbuster testing $1 rental kiosks

blockbuster.jpgIt makes complete sense to me that Blockbuster would want to get into the DVD kiosk business. The chain is apparently doing just that, testing a handful of kiosks in Papa John’s pizza places and Dollar Store locations in Kentucky. The DVD rentals cost just $1, the same price other kiosk operators charge, and discs can be returned to any Blockbuster kiosk, not just the one the movie was rented from.

Blockbuster right now is looking for ways to increase revenue and cut costs. The $1 price point comes not only from the competition but from the fact that kiosks require little in the way of overhead. You’re paying more or less just for the movie and not for the store lighting, employee wages and floorspace rental.

The next logical step, of course, is kiosks that are connected to a high-speed central server that allow you to burn any movie on demand. That takes the concept from one that can only supply the top couple hundred titles (no room for the Long Tail when space is a premium) to one that could satisfy just about anyone’s impulse purchase desires.

I know some testing along these lines has been done by others but Blockbuster, despite all its problems, has the name recognition to take that ball and run with it.