Monday, July 31, 2006

Canadian Podcast Listeners Survey - The Official Story

Thanks again to Leesa Barnes of Podonomics for providing me with a scoop last week on the Canadian Podcast Listeners Survey. Leesa has a summary titled over at Podonomics titled "Podcasting Taking a Hold in Canada".

Here is a pdf of the Canadian Podcast Listeners Survey Results for download. Thanks again to Sequentia and Caprica for conducting the survey.

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Agreeing with Mathew Ingram on the CEO Blog

Mathew Ingram posted about CEO blogs: "Why CEOs should blog". I agree with Mathew that it is a good thing.

My two cents is that transparency is everything today (and I hope for tomorrow too). After rampant scandals, greed and mismanagement that seem to be in the headlines everyday, it could be a really good thing for those who embrace this medium.

As Mathew writes: "Obviously, not every CEO is going to be Mark Cuban, nor is every one going to be Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz or Edelman head Richard Edelman." True enough. However, these guys are leaders. Hopefully they are blazing trails for others courageous enough to follow.

CEOs can shine light on the character and culture of the companies they lead and tell the story of their company in a way others can't. I don't see any harm with a CEO blog unless it's used as a digital press release / truth spinning platform or to pitch product - that is where it would be all wrong. Even if those kind of shoddy blogs popped up, they would never make it. They'd be laughed out of town and no one would pay attention (in that order).

I had a chance to hear Jim Estill speak at an AIMS event a few months back. He is a CEO who gets it. And I think his company, employees and shareholders are all the better for it.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

SCOOP: 2006 Canadian Podcast Listeners Survey - results are in!

I was just sent a copy of the 2006 Canadian Podcast Listeners Survey. I believe I may have a legitimate scoop here on my hands (although I understand Mark Evans will be writing something shortly on this).

The survey was conducted in May and June 2006, authored by Sequentia Communications and Caprica Interactive Marketing. I participated in the survey when I saw it on One Degree.

Here are some highlights from the responders (n= >1000) :
- Gender spilt of podcast listener is almost even
- Just under 60% are between 25 - 44 years of age
- 72% have annual incomes of over $60,000 (48% were >$80,000)
- 77% of respondents are familiar with podcasts
- 197 different podcasts were listed as regular listens (#1. This Week in Tech #2. Ricky Gervais #3. Quirks and Quarks - CBC #5. Lost )
- 69% of respondents prefer "Original content that can't be found elsewhere" (although the results in this section did not add up to 100%, so I am not sure how this was tabulated)
- 46% want new episodes of their favorite podcast once a week
- 21% prefer length of 6-10 minutes, while 32% are indicating somewhere between 11 - 30 minutes is just fine.
- Only 2% prefer podcasts over 1 hour in length (sorry FIR, ATS and DSC)
- Video podcasts have not yet taken off

And now the marketing and advertising findings:
- 60% of respondents have come across ads in podcasts
- Podcasters are very influential: 54% of listeners surveyed indicated a likelihood to buy a product or service recommended by the host.
- 25% do not like ads in podcasts at all

Overall conclusions:
Podcasting is becoming mainstream. Those listening have above average incomes and seem to not mind advertising. Original content is a big factor and the shorter length of podcast the better. (This may be linked to the commute factor. I have no clue on this, all I know is that my subway commute is so much better listening to podcasts that are short enough to start and finish between Eglinton and King on the Yonge line on the TTC). Video podcasts are not currently widespread and will likely rise in popularity as video enabled players come down in price and desirable content increases.

Final observation: My assumption is that, from a quantitative analysis perspective, the authors realize these findings cannot be applied the Canadian population at large. The audience was not a representative sample of the population nor was it selected at random. Obviously, it skews to online savvy individuals who wanted to participate in a podcast questionnaire.

No matter though, it is just great to have this information. Kudos to the folks at Sequentia and Caprica for conducting the survey and shedding some much needed light on this new medium. Also, I am interested to find out who won the BOSE SoundDock Digital Music system for taking the survey (hope it was me!)

Huge shout out to Leesa Barnes of Podonomics. I met her this week and, not only is she very smart and passionate within the Podcast space, she supplied me with the findings for this post. I thank her immensely for providing me with a legitimate scoop here on The Client Side.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bob Dylan - 41 years later

No big post here today, just an acknowledgement of one of those true artists that comes along once in lifetime. Someone who leads and can be neither duplicated nor copied.

On July 25, 1965 at the Newport folk festival, Bob Dylan tuned up, plugged in and never looked back. Greeted with a roar of boos by his loyal fans, he was labelled a sell-out for going electric.

"But great leaders are different. They fearlessly make tough calls. They speak their truth. They run their own race, making the right decisions and worrying little about public opinion. They are courage in action". (Robin Sharma - The Greatness Guide)

Why is this so important? It is about embracing change, mastering the unknown so it does not master you. It is about doing the unexpected to help carve out who you really are, no matter how difficult or unpopular it seems. This applies to art, business or whatever pursuit you have in life. The easy road is, well, easy.

I'm a Bob Dylan fan. Not a fanatic. What makes me a fan is the respect I have for the person who makes the music, not the music itself. He is a true original. God bless that old man.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

I like being right (it is rare)

I like being right because it is rare.

Anyhow, I wrote a post a few days ago called Desperate House-dudes, this novel is for you. I spoke about the publishing of a novel by Electrolux titled Men in Aprons. The book is an attempt at long form content marketing and product placement aimed at the newly-single male segment.

In my critique, I asked "Is it any wonder these guys are recently single? Any self-respecting man I know pitches in, does the work around the house - complains a bit - but shows that we live in today’s world, not yesterdays."

Not more than 3 days later I found this article in the Globe & Mail about how men are doing more and more around the house. I thought it was ironically in-line with the point I was trying to make (although I had to hide the article from my wife so I can continue tell how much more I do than every other husband.)

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

AIMS launches Blog - discussion forum - "Blogum"

As a Board Member of AIMS - Association of Internet Marketing & Sales - you would have thought I'd have broken this news sooner on The Client Side about the brand spanking new AIMS Blog. A post by Kate reminded me how behind I was on relaying this news item. Blame it on being busy lately.

AIMS has a new General Manager, Kathryn Lagden who is putting some really positive ideas into action and effecting some real change. AIMS has always had a grassroots social goodness to it and that is definately the path we are pointing the association back towards. She describes the new blog as a discussion forum, hence the "Blogum" tag.

In the almost two years since joining the board these changes are a great leap forward.

Keep an eye out for some great stuff in the near future and add the AIMS Blog to your RSS feeds. Go there and vote on the new home page design you like best for the Association.

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Presenting like a Canadian

If you present to small groups or large crowds (even an audience of one), there are always tips to improve that you should consider.

I found this post titled I am Canadian over at Presentation Zen. The post is based on visuals from TV spot created by the folks at Bensimon Byrne a few years back for Molson Canadian. The spot was called The Rant.

Who would have thought Joe Canadian can do it better than Bill Gates?

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Power of Podcasting

Across the Sound # 44 - the latest podcast from Joseph Jaffe was brilliant. It was Joe in conversation with a room full of attendees at conference.

A few reasons why this episode is a great listen:
- Joe shares some of his blogging and podcasting content strategy
- He provides insights into the tools that make the world of blogging and podcasting work - sharing his own learning via experimentation.
- He describes today's environment & the areas of change that will impact marketing and business for tomorrow.
- As usual, he is full of passion, enthusiasm and prescription

As he described the frontier of podcasting and how it is still in it's infancy, it got me thinking about how this past year has been one of the biggest in my personal and professional growth. I attribute this growth to podcasts and blogs (and of course a stable of books).

Tapping into the this collective wisdom everyday has been an unbelievable advantage. I still don't get why everyone is not aboard this train?!?!

But here's the thing; in spite of being loaded with insights that have accelerated my learning and opinions like never before, I still had a huge fear when starting my blog (as well as becoming an Across the Sound correspondent). The fear was having nothing to add to the conversation. Then I realized that I needed to face my fear head-on. If I failed, so what? At least I would have learned something from it.

So, is it natural that my blogging will lead to a podcasting? Perhaps. The inspiration I found in this new world of uncensored conversations and ideas sparked my desire to launch The Client Side, so why not dabble in podcasting?

Across the Sound #44 made me think really hard about how the space is still being shaped and how I feel compelled to jump in and add my voice to the ones being heard - even if my audience is in single digits and I sound dorky (cause you know I will) it will still be fun. So, when my shoes are all laced up and I am ready to take that leap, I'll let you know.

Until that time, tap into the Power of Podcasting with the real experts and voices of wisdom like Joseph Jaffe, or Six Pixels of Separation with Mitch Joel, or American Copywriter with Tug McTighe & John January, or Inside PR with David Jones & Terry Fallis, or For Immediate Release with Shel Holtz & Neville Hobson, or Church of the Customer with Jackie Hubba and Ben McConnel ....... just go to iTunes and figure it out. Tell them I sent you.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dance Fever

Do you know the most popular video on YouTube is "The Evolution of Dance" and it has been viewed 29,144,965 times? I found this post on YouTube Trends over at ChaosScenario. There is a full analysis of YouTube over at No Man's Blog.

A little while ago I posted "Will YouTube Survive?". And I think it will. Joseph Jaffe at Jaffe Juice just wrote about "Why YouTube imitators will fail" and I agree that it has no equal.

On another YouTube note, this little girl has some talent, but only 94 views. She'll make it one day. But for now, it is really hard to bust a move in the Huggies.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Desperate House-dudes, this novel is for you.

Do men really want to read a novel with advice on how to do a load of laundry and learn new vacuuming techniques? Cook something other than a pack of Doritos? Load up a dishwasher and remember not to include paper plates? ? Well, Swedish appliance maker AB Electrolux seems to think so.

I found this little gem of an article by Alex Dobrota in today’s Globe & Mail (thanks to Dave M for pointing it out).

In an attempt to reach the “newly-single male” segment (otherwise know as the Archie Bunker 2.0 set), Electrolux commissioned a 171-page novel about a recently dumped guy who’s girlfriend/wife packed up all the appliances on her way to independence. Because no self-respecting woman can face her new life without her blender by her side.

Here is how the initiative was explained:
“ the company came up with a plan to publish a novel chronicling the hardships of one such young man in dealing with the single life and working the brand name into the work.
Men in Aprons, Electrolux's brazen attempt to win the hearts of young males, is the latest twist on a new sales strategy called viral marketing, one expert said.
And while the Swedish company is not a pioneer in this field, it's on the cusp of a trend that could revolutionize the marketing world, said Alan Middleton, an assistant marketing professor at York University.”

I think Prof. Middleton is off here. This is not viral. It is long form content using product placement that may contain word of mouth potential. And, I don't agree that it is controversial. Controversial is creating a version of FHM or STUFF with scantily clad ladies (or the equivalent for men for the gay market) playing house with some bullet point tips on doing the chores.

I am really not trying to be overly critical of Electrolux. I applaud them for moving into newer forms of marketing and testing out the non-traditional concepts. I'm just not sold that this novel approach (full pun intended) is the right combo. Does the demographic information on this niche segment indicate they have time to read given all the cooking and cleaning that they now face?

Now the bigger question: Is it any wonder these guys are recently single? Any self-respecting man I know pitches in, does the work around the house - complains a bit - but shows that we live in today’s world, not yesterdays.

And really, in a pinch, don’t these guys have Mom’s number?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why bother?

Mich Joel beat me to the punch, but is so right. Gggrrrr .. he always does that. (Full disclosure, Mitch is President of Twist Image and Scotiabank is a client.)

Now more than ever before it is incumbent upon marketers to know what is going on and be part of the changing landscape by involving themselves in it.

Mitch writes:
"As Marketers, we have a duty to understand every channel of communication that people are using. When we make statements like “my schedule is too busy to add another appointment, like meeting in Second Life,” what you’re actually saying is, “I’m closed minded.” Our roles are to help our clients understand the world of new marketing and social media. Like it or not, it is greatly impacting how consumers live with brands and there’s no stopping it."

So right.

I've had countless conversations with senior client and agency side marketer/advertisers where eyes just glaze over when the words podcast, blog or viral are mentioned. When they do speak of them it is just lipservice - they don't get it. Downloading a podcast, participating in a viral or sms campaign, or contributing to a blog or wikki is a world they don't get and make no effort to understand.

I hope they do begin to show more effort, as the quote goes, "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" - General Eric Shinseki, Retired Chief of Staff, US Army (thanks Ken)

There is nothing wrong with saying, "I dont understand, help me figure it out". While there is a world of wrong with saying "it's not for me, there is no point, it is a fad and its just not important".

Friday, July 14, 2006

TV changes the measurment channel

Here is where we start to mark the beginning of what could be the end. The staple of TV measurement for past six and a half decades is no longer. The world that began with CBS, ABC and NBC, and grew from there, has finally made the shift we have been waiting for. The era of program ratings has drawn to an overdue close and, the era of commercial ratings is upon us.

Arguably, the switch has been made to a slightly less ambiguous form of measurement as it won’t rate individual commercials. It will measure a stretch of commercials shown in a grouping, or pod.

Either way, the accountability spotlight is going to shine on the most expensive form of advertising. Television will increasingly be under the microscope for its effectiveness.

Two recent items on this topic include a Seth Godin post as well as an Ad Age Audio Reports podcast with Ad Age Media Reporter Abby Klaassen.

Bottom line: Digital media has really started to force the evolution where engagement and success can be quantified without any guessing. It is that simple.

The problem is that there are still strong institutional views that TV is a silver bullet for any brand. This mentality is entrenched in many a senior camp. I don’t see a marketing crisis as the paradigms shifts, but the scary part (reality) is that dollars may fall off the table forever if measurement shows TV is not worth the money.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Grad night for CMA Professional Marketing Certificate Program

I had a chance to attend the Canadian Marketing Association - Professional Marketing Certificate Program graduation ceremonies in Toronto this evening.

I met some of the talented students and had a chance to hear some stories about the effectiveness of the program.

The Canadian Marketing Association has done a great job with this initiative that is now a few years old. Over the past few years I have had some great opportunities to be a guest speaker at a variety of courses with instructors such as Jay Aber, Dan Weist, Richard Toker, and Ken Shafer. All the program instructors are knowledgeable, dedicated professionals making a difference with the next crop of marketing leaders and superstars.

The CMA, the instructors and students should all be proud of themselves.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Caught on tape - The Rocketboom files. Would you like to be on YouTube too?

Did Andrew Baron of Rocketboom know he was being taped at CaseCamp? Did Eli Singer know? The clip was posted on YouTube, then yanked, then posted back.

Leesa Barnes at Podonomics has the scoop. Take a look at the comments on the Podonmics post for CaseCamp with Andrew Baron of Rocketboom.

It looked to me that the video taping was not known ahead of time, nor did it look like it was shot in "full view".

The problem I have with this is that I, like other client siders, represent large well-know brands. While I may feel empowered to share details of my work and marketing strategy/tactics in a room full of my peers, I am quite certain that I do not want it uploaded onto YouTube. Granted that my story (or yours) may not be as compelling or newsworthy as Rocketboom's recent troubles. However, it stands to reason that this exercise in secret taping may have implications for the future of CaseCamp. At a minimum, it will change the opening remarks given by Eli from this point forward.

The open nature of BarCamp / CaseCamp is a key attribute and attraction. However, the uncool result of this unconference stunt is that others may hold back in the future or refrain from presenting at all.

Informed consent would have been much cooler. Bryce of Chickentest, I don't think you had evil intentions here. However, whatever the intention, The Client Side view is that it could have been approached a bit differently.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Will You Tube survive?

Article at CNET today by Greg Sandoval titled "Is YouTube a flash in the pan?"

According to an IDC research report by Josh Martin, YouTube may be going down the tubes due to the lack of revenue from its current business model. Martin does not seem to think there is a glimmer of hope for several reasons.

Here is a quote from IDC's Martin:
"In order to begin addressing its issues, YouTube must implement myriad changes," Martin wrote in his report. "The truly difficult task for YouTube is to change the entire culture of the viewers that propelled it to overnight success."

I disagree and think he is way off. The culture knows about advertising. YouTube is one place I believe can support ads within the environment to keep it going strong. The trick will be to not have the ads be the same-old same-old.

Perhaps I am wrong and YouTube won't last. However, Martin's comments brings to mind a couple of quotes from one of my all-time favorite authors, that great American humorist Mark Twain. "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated" Or, "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

Either way, in this case I hope Mr.Martin's prediction is like that of most analysts - not often right.

American Copywriter likes the little things too

Quick note to link a couple of posts together. I wrote a piece for the CMA - Canadian Marketing Blog last week titled " Little things matter".

Sounds like John at American Copywriter has similar thoughts on how an experience is crafted around litte things that bring you closer to the brand. Whatever it is, as long as it helps create the feeling that someones care (even a just a bit).

Are you doing the little things?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Giving Good Phone – Tips for salespeople to make better connections

Giving good phone is a rant I’ve had regarding business-to-business sales calls. It is a client-based observation (more specifically a prospect-based observation). I meant to post this a while ago when my first correspondent vignette (aptly titled ClientCast #1) was “aired” on Across the Sound episode #39. (Can we still call it “aired”?)

Why do I feel I am able to comment on this issue? Well, a) I worked in senior management in a call centre and ran fairly large sales & customer service teams, b) I’ve logged many a cold-call myself previously in a business development capacity and, c) I receive about 6-10 cold calls per week. Most of them are just plain awful.

With that in mind, here are the tips I provided on Across the Sound that salespeople should ask themselves if they are doing each time they pick up the phone:

1) Ask for the time. Don’t assume that because a prospect answered that they have time to listen to your pitch. Ask if you caught them at a good time. If not, when would be best to call back.
2) Short voice mails only, the shorter the better. As in less than thirty-seconds kinda short. Work on the elevator pitch and save the details for when you connect.
3) Explain how you got the number. Business card exchange at tradeshow? From a list? Referral from someone inside the company, or a friend / colleague? It is a smart icebreaker.
4) Ask questions. Uncover potential opportunities by asking questions and listening. You are having a conversation. It is not a monologue.
5) Don’t get mad at the prospect if the opportunity is not there.

Now, prospects need advice too. Let me be the first to admit that I am not the perfect audience for a pitch at all times. I try to be nice and return calls, but sometimes I am too busy or plain distracted. So, here are a few tips I hope make sense for those of us receiving calls:

1) Be courteous. Selling is a tough gig. Rudeness begets rudeness…it is a vicious cycle.
2) Be honest. Don’t say "call me back later" if you don’t intend to take the call. Don’t waste another person’s time.
3) Provide feedback about the pitch if it rubs you the wrong way (take this one with a note of caution as not everyone knows how to be constructive without being destructive)
4) Provide quality referrals – don’t pass off a call to someone unless they are the right person.

For all of the above points, do the Zig, not the Zag. (My sincere apologies about that corny one, but I had to work Zig Ziglar into this post somehow.) His old school stuff is still good schooling.

Check out Across the Sound by author and marketing pundit Joseph Jaffe - voted Best Marketing Podcast by MarketingSherpa - Readers Choice Award. My next ClientCast should “air” this weekend.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mentos tries on Consumer Generated Content for size

Mentos is entering the fray of consumer generated content, recruiting creative wannabes by way of a contest. Mentos Geyser Contest is not yet live, but they are collecting email addresses to notify interested participants when it is launched.

Here is how Random Culture describes the contest (and check out the videos links):
"Mentos proves they "get it" by launching a consumer generated media effort called the "Mentos Geyser Video Contest." You may have seen some of the videos floating around that demonstrate what happens when you drop Mentos into soft drinks. This one is my favorite. " Here is the full post.

Why is this likeable? Here is a client embracing the wacky side of thier product that builds on the buzz already in the marketplace. It seems honest and relevant. Mentos has done some interesting marketing in the past, so this seems in line. I don't know if the rules will be limiting the type of content that is allowed, but I am going to guess that it will be pretty wide open.

Senseo moment? Nuh uh, Mentos and Diet Coke baby! Hey wait a second, didn't that "Hey Mikey, he likes it" kid die from eating Pop Rocks and Coke at the same time?

BTW - if you get the Senseo moment reference, please let me know - everyone except Kelly that is.

Did Rocketboom lower the boom on Amanda Congdon?

Rocketboom host /vlogger Amanda Congdon is no longer just a click away (a moment of silence please.)

Reports if Amanda left on her own or was booted are conflicting. Rocketboom posted this annoucement today. Here is the story from Steve Rubel at Micro Persuassion and here is the TechCrunch report.

Amanda posted this video about her departure and I am going with that version. Either way, it sounds kinda ugly.

If you want to ask Rocketboom founder Andrew Baron about what happened, you can probably bend his hear at CaseCamp in Toronto this Friday (July 7).

Monday, July 03, 2006

YouTube and NBC learn to play together

It is good to see that parent brand NBC is letting the kids from The Office into the playground with everyone else. Here is a how AdJab describes the partnering of YouTube and NBC:

“The network is now using the community video site to show promos of their shows, and just recently they teamed up for a contest which asks viewers to create a twenty-second promo for The Office."

NBC's very corporate move a while back to remove the posting of Saturday Night Live sketch Lazy Sunday: The Chronicles of Narnia from YouTube is online legend. It did not seem to matter that more people viewed it online versus the original broadcast and that YouTube helped revive buzz around SNL content. NBC got the lawyers involved and *poof* it was gone like Chevy Chase.

So is this partnership a reversal of the earlier short-sighted manoeuvre? Nope, it just looks like NBC figured out how it could benefit NBC. Now they get something back from the online community - promotional spots and a contest to generate content for free. Wouldn’t if be better if NBC did something a little less self serving to remove the stain they left when they pulled Lazy Sunday and other content?

An interesting contest note for The Office submissions: Entrants are not allowed to use actual footage from the show in the promo spots. Here are the rules in case you are interested.

Will the Consumer Generated Content work for NBC? Chevy’s consumer generated content play around Tahoe was quite a boner. So, will The Office follow suit and tank? Probably not. The Office has a legitimate fan base and following that will likely participate (even though NBC’s version pales in comparison to the UK version starring Ricky Gervais).

How about a script mash-up where a character from The Office shows up on The Apprentice and pitches his consumer generated spot for Chevy's Tahoe to The Donald. I'd check that out.

Robert Scoble banned from Second Life

Virtual world, real boot.

ZDNet reports blogger extrodinaire Robert Scoble , formerly of Microsoft , now of PodTech (still of Scoblizer) has been banned from Second Life . "I am a Second Life Law Breaker" is Robert's own account of this situation on his blog.

It seems he broke the rules of SL when he let his twelve year old son help him build his new office in the virtual world, accessing Second Life with Scoble Sr's account.

Why do I care about this? Looking at the brand of Second Life, I applaud the enforcement so it does not become compared to My Space in the same manner.

I think Second Life did the right thing, regardless of Scobles stature in the blog world. Whether or not Linden Lab banned him knowing the name recognition would gain some extra "press" along the way through the blogosphere is not the point.

Naked converstations? That is exactly what LindenLabs hopes to reserve for the 18 plus crowd.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Three guys walk backwards out of a bar....

Congratulations to Guinness for winning the Grand Prix at Cannes. One question: Did the spot sell more beer?