Don’t Target Your Fans, Target their Friends

sap-esmeDuring a presentation recently by Steve Sammartino, I was reminded of one of the most simple human behaviours – the short cut. Put simply, Steve told us, with no inducement humans will seek a short cut, a loophole, or way around a roadblock. We’ll look to “game” the system.

I think this is, in part, why we sometimes struggle with social media.

You see, social media is a great complex beast. It appears easy on the surface – setup one or more free accounts and go! But we all soon learn that growing a Twitter following is hard graft. We learn that our customers don’t always want to be our Fans. And that “being social” as a person doesn’t always translate to “being social” as a brand.

But I think this is largely due to our narrow focus – to our desire to take a short cut. Think about Facebook. We think – in our marketing world view – that the best approach to grow a community or fan base is to target our customers. BUT that isn’t social – that’s broadcast. That is assumption writ large. The underlying assumption is “I’ve got something for you”.

Perhaps, instead, we need to think about giving, pushing or delivering. We need to think about SERVING. How do we serve our customers needs?

And taking a purely social mindset, clearly the answer is to serve our customers friends.

Facebook and ComScore have teamed up to provide a new service called Social Essentials. If only 16% of branded messages reach Facebook users in a given week, we clearly need a different approach – and Social Essentials aims to bring the network scale to bear on this problem. For example, Starbucks has 23 million Facebook fans. Sounds big, right? But those 23 million fans have 670 million friends. Now that is what I call reach! But more importantly, it explains and commoditises what we too often call “influence” (and no, influence isn’t your Klout score). 

For the moment, Social Essentials seems to be about the measurement of campaigns, but there are big plans afoot. As FastCompany reports:

The service will, in the future, be able to track what kinds of products users are purchasing, what they were doing before and after seeing messages, and even what type of credit card was used–making it easier to conjure up savvy promotions that scintillate the particular pressure points of Facebook users.

Nike has called Facebook the “new TV” – and this new service sounds like it may just start delivering the digitally-verifiable reach that TV has claimed for decades. But it will become really interesting when this data is turned inside out and becomes available for real time targeting. I bet that’s what Google will be doing with Google+.

Do You Know a SuperNova?

There was a time where I would cast a curious and sceptical eye across any new innovation, platform, technology or website that would make its way to market. I’d look for the holes. For the things that could have been done better. And I’d find them – there are always plenty.

But time and experience has shown me that every success is built upon the shoulders of a thousand small failures. To bring something new to market doesn’t just require tenacity. Or a budget. Or a team. It requires a whole range of skills and capabilities. It requires thick skin. It requires an individual with a pioneering spirit and the passion to identify, embrace and deliver innovation – sometimes even when your business or your bosses don’t see the need.

And sometimes, just sometimes, at the end – everyone loves it. Wants to own it. Claim it.

The SuperNova is the unsung hero who made it happen.

They may not have had the recognition they deserve – but you know who they are, right? They are the folks you’d gladly work with, support, or join forces with.

Well, if you ARE a SuperNova – or know one – Constellation Research Group are calling out for nominations. There are only a few days left! There are five categories in which you can submit your application:

  1. Social business
  2. Mobile enterprise
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Advanced analytics
  5. Emerging technologies

These types of awards come along rarely – and this is a great chance to have an innovator recognised for their work. Get to it. Nominate now.

Australasian Sourcing Summit #sosu11

How did you find your last job? Did it find you – or did you find it?

Increasingly, employers will face the challenging prospect that the best people are already “otherwise engaged”. So how do you find and attract the best people to your business? The Australian Sourcing Summit – in Sydney on August 10-11 – will shine a beacon of light into this strategically important space. With speakers from Deloitte, Ernst& Young, Qantas (amongst others) – and kicked off by yours truly, it promises to be a fascinating blend of insight and practical experience. Hope to see you there!

Curation is the New Black

When you really start to delve into a subject online it can be overwhelming. You soon find that we are living in a time of information abundance. There are not just the traditional sources of content – newspapers, broadcasters and publishers – but a whole new generation of individual publishers and content producers. We have bloggers like Darren Rowse who can turn their experience and expertise into significant business properties. There are brands whose efforts are showing traditional publishers a thing or two. And there people who just love sharing their thoughts, insight, expertise and observations.

But if content is king – then curation is the cutting edge. Yes, curation is the new black. And black is the colour de rigueur for any digital flaneur.

In a world where abundance rules, the curator’s taste is not just helpful, it’s necessary. It’s strategic. And a good curator can save you not just time and effort. They can simplify your life, sifting the gold from the slag. But perhaps, more importantly, if your curator is focused on your area of expertise, then it is likely they will be looking for the same vital insight that you are.


This is why I love what David Wesson is doing with his Social Media Strategist Scoop.It site. It’s like he is pulling the best posts from my RSS reader and publishing them just for me. And I can get the updates in my email, in my reader or on the web.

But curation is not just a manifestation of social media. It’s part of the fabric of our digitally lived lives. Curating content for your audiences, for your influencers or just for your friends allows you to tap into the Auchterlonie Effect – a way to create networks of trust and influence that will transform your business.

Take a look at what David Wesson is doing. Read Darren Rowse’s blogs. Then think about the strategic intent behind their efforts and how you can apply the same principles to your efforts. But there is one caveat – a good curator builds their focus around a deep understanding of their audience and brings an educator’s energy to the task. Don’t just fling content into a new web space – be selective. Show your taste. But most of all, show your understanding.

Roger McNamee – The Social Web is Over

Roger McNamee has us all talking. He is a director and co-founder of venture capitalist, Elevation Partners – and has been investing in technology for almost 30 years.

In this 30 minute speech, 10 Hypotheses for Tech Investing, Roger brings his history and knowledge to his speech at the Paley Center for Media – and it’s fascinating. There’s another 20 or so minutes of Q+A which follows – but it’s well worth your time. In the talk, Roger canvases:

  • The demise of Microsoft and the opportunities that may arise (especially in the enterprise)
  • The challenges that Google face due to the shift in relevance of search
  • The power of experience and why HTML5 will allow communities, developers and publishers to out innovate Apple (and if you sell ads on TV, you want to get onboard now)
  • The need for all innovators and business people to understand what tablet computing means for their business. He likens the iPad to the IBM PC – and claims there has not been another company like Apple since IBM in the 1970s
  • Any screen access – “the cloud” enables us to access our data from any screen that we have. But Google, Facebook, Microsoft have failed to get mobile right – and Apple’s no better
  • The “Social Web is Over” – Facebook has won and is now a commodity
  • The internet enabled TV will reveal that viewer statistics aren’t as strong as ratings agency suggest they are (TV is the last protected media)

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Brown-Eyed SusansIt’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a weekend on a meta level. The unthinkable made real events in Norway, the sports-mad enthusiasm over Cadel Evans’ win at the Tour de France and the not-so-surprising-yet-tragic death of Amy Winehouse. And while these events send shockwaves that affect us all, there were other events, smaller, but also full of insight and impact. These five posts may provide a welcome distraction:

  1. Jinal Shah shares her experience at JWT, suggesting that the Role of the Digital Strategist Needs to Evolve
  2. John Haydon explains that in the rush for traffic we always think about many blog readers. He suggests we need to Create Content that feels Direct and Personal
  3. Jeff Jarvis talks about how #fuckyouwashington moved from a sense of outrage to a trending topic on twitter – all within hours
  4. There has been plenty of noise about Google+, but one of the things that has been simmering away is the issue with brand pages/accounts. Thus far, Google has been trying to get brands to wait – even though many have jumped in creating the equivalent to Facebook’s Fan page. Mathew Ingram explains why Google’s Screwup on Google+ Brand Pages is a Big Deal
  5. On the tragic death of Amy Winehouse, Russell Brand calls on us to rethink the way that we treat and deal with addiction – not for Amy for whom it is too late, but for those who we know need help.

The Social Travel Revolution

When you travel, you want to travel with friends. Or meet some new ones. Or catch up with some old ones. After all, travel is not just about the destination. It’s about the experience. It’s about what you did and who you met. It is about the people. And it is about you.

But what about before and after? What about the research and planning? What about the choices? And what about preserving those memories and experiences? It makes me think that travel may be one of the best ways of describing The Social Way (and I will need to give this more thought).

Katy Daniells posted this infographic over at DigitalBuzzBlog and it got me thinking. How is the social travel revolution playing out in your life?


Get Unwired for Sound with Sonos S5

1311393259I’m always buying gadgets of some kind or other. Sometimes they are things I will use for work, sometimes it is software. Sometimes it’s just something fun – or that I “always wanted”. But rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I’d share it with you – as part of my Gadget Weekend posts.

This week I look at the Sonos S5 and Sonos Bridge wireless music system.

I have always loved live music. Rock. Punk. Opera. Strings. Acoustic. As long as it was live (and played well), you could count me in. I think there is something about the way that vibrations affect your body that thrills me. That and the tightrope of performance – wondering how the performer will thrill or disappoint – soar or die.

But you can’t have live performers on call – so I have the next best thing. A bunch of recordings of my favourite live performers. I have CDs, DVDs, MP3s and even vinyl. But to get a good sense of these live performances, you need a pretty good sound system. Good amp. Good speakers. And a good distance between you and your neighbours.

But with these sound systems comes a lot of wires. It gets messy. And it is inflexible.

So I was excited to hear about the Sonos S5 – a wireless digital amplifier and speaker system that taps into your digital music collection.

1311393129 I did my usual research – read the forums, website reviews and so on. I asked people on Twitter what their thoughts were (Tony Hollingsworth claimed that Sonos had changed his life – so it seemed like a no-brainer).

You need a way of connecting your digital music library (eg iTunes or a network file server) to the network, so you need not just the Sonos S5 speaker and amplifier combo, but also the Sonos Bridge that connects to your router. This gives access to digital radio stations from around the world – and a number of music subscription services (, iTunes and – but not Spotify as yet).

The research looked solid – and with the iPhone controller app available for free – I checked out the Store Locator and headed over to JB Hi Fi to pick up the system that would revolutionise the way I listened to music.

Forget Retail, Buy Online

When I arrived at JB Hi Fi, I found the small in-store promo space. It repeated the same information from the website. It gave you the chance to hear the S5 up close (even though you were standing in a wide open shop space which is not ideal). Biting the bullet I accosted a young sales assistant. He seemed to know enough about the device – he read the main points off the box and offered to press the buttons so I could hear the sound. But was there any stock?


He checked via his handheld device. None to be found in the local neighbourhood. In fact, none to be found for miles around. And by miles, I mean about 50.

No wonder retail sales are down – retailers keep little to no stock on hand and then expect customers to return when it suits the retailer. What did I do? Went home and found Scott from Platinum AV on the web. I shot him off an email and got a response back in hours. And a day or so later the Sonos S5 and Sonos Bridge arrived at my front door ready to go. It couldn’t have been easier (Scott also offered to help configure the online music services for free!).

1311393354 The Sonos Setup

Setting up was a snap. Plug the Bridge into your router and it creates a wireless mesh network that runs independently of your wifi (meaning that your high bandwidth music files won’t interrupt the throughput on your wifi network). You install the controller software on your PC, sync the Bridge with the S5 by pressing a couple of buttons and voila!

If you have ethernet running through your house, you can also use that. In fact, with two ethernet ports, you can very easily connect your network storage device, game console or setup box to the Sonos S5. It’s a very well thought out piece of gadgetry!

Multizone Wireless Music

You setup the S5 according to zones within your house. You can then use the controller to simultaneously play the same music everywhere or different tracks or playlists in different “zones”. So while you are rocking out to Radiohead in the study, the kids can listen to a Roald Dahl audiobook in the family room.

All of this is managed directly from your PC via the controller software, or ingeniously through a free iPhone or iPad app. These apps are genius. You don’t need to have your computer on (unless it is powering your library) – you just plug the S5 into a power socket and fire up your iPhone.

And because the Sonos S5 is lightweight, you can easily move it around the house (or garden). It’s like a high quality boombox connected to every song in your collection. Awesome!

And the Sound?

1311393951 The Sonos S5 has a five driver speaker system powered by dedicated amplifiers. It includes two tweeters, two midrange drivers and a subwoofer – all in one stylish, easy-to-carry box. The clean white (or black) design lines remind me of Apple’s popular products.

And the sound is perhaps, the most surprising of all.

A single device can easily fill a room with sound. The speaker combinations spread the music in such a way that you cannot immediately tell the source of the sound – which means you can feel surrounded by music (one of my favourite feelings). And because the sound is pushed out in this way, you don’t have to find the “sweet spot” in quite the same way as you do with a dedicated, fix speaker setup.

Playing classical music delivers outstanding performance. The subwoofer delivers real depth and the tweeters ensure that you get a full sense of the dynamics of the music. Rock music is best played loud, and the S5 can get surprisingly loud without distortion.

Do I Love It?

1311393543 To be honest, the Sonos S5 is better than I had even hoped for.

Many of my CDs have been stored in boxes for years, and they were literally out of sight and out of mind. Until now, I hadn’t realised that I have been living without many of the songs that I have loved. The Sonos S5 has changed all that. 

It’s so easy to use – from the PC or from the app – and gives me immediate access to my complete song library. And the joy that I get from listening easily outweighs the slight difference in sound quality delivered from my dedicated sound system.

I now just need to save up for the Zoneplayer 90 so that I can connect up my existing sound system and I will be in audio heaven.

Will You Love It?

If you have wanted to get rid of the wires all over your house – but still experience quality audio – then this is the answer for you. And if you want an easy way to access your music collection without the needing a degree in device management, then the iPhone app controller will make everyone happy. It’s not cheap – but with the release of the new Play:3 speakers, it may just be a little more affordable than you’d expect.

Drop Scott at Platinum AV an email and sit back and wait for your new toy to arrive. Hollingsworth was right – the Sonos S5 will change your life – or at least reacquaint you with the music that you loved.

My Kingdom for a Horse

A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!

I have always loved Shakespeare’s Richard III. It’s an epic experience – no matter whether you see it live in performance or whether you let those words loose in great emptiness of your cognitive surplus. The line comes at the point in the play where Richard – the evil and arrogant king – is about to meet his doom.

Like many of Shakespeare’s best lines, it has found its way into our everyday speech. Accordingly, we use it in a variety of situations – where we are exasperated, challenged or just down right desperate.

But there is more to it. Increasingly I am hearing this in the world of business.

When dealing with strategy and the challenges of social media, many CEOs, CMOs and their compatriots on the agency side are heard uttering these same words. But they are not asking for a horse. They are asking – nay demanding – that you pay attention not to their words, but to the source of their problem.

Any Tom, Dick or Harry can show up with a fistful of Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts. But the true strategist will look beyond the words to the insight – seeking to understand the root cause, understand the behaviour driving the need and develop an approach which will solve the problem. Sometimes it will indeed be a horse.

Rob Campbell suggests that many agencies have been trapped by a form of creativity-by-the-numbers. Rob places the responsibility on the shoulders of the creative and media agencies:

… because clients tend to judge their effectiveness by the level of media exposure they’ve achieved [R&F] – rather than by specific business goals – media agencies are basically being encouraged to push for creative work that can be placed in measurable media channels because it help ensure they get their fees.

But I think clients – the CEOs, the CMOs and all their direct reports also carry some of this responsibility. You may think it is a horse that you need, but that’s applying logic to the problem. What you want is creativity.

If someone had delivered Richard a cannon perhaps history would have had a very different shape. Next time someone calls for a horse, don’t give them what they ask for. Give them what they need.