Social Media defeats e-mail

Last week I read an interesting article about the use of social media in comparison with e-mail. Although I do find myself still e-mailing a lot (too much!) apparently e-mail is degrading to a secondary form of communication:

On the PC e-mail is still ruling for communication purposes. On the mobile phone however, mail has been surpassed by social media. From recent research executed by the UK-based company TNS it appears that we use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter a factor 1.4 more than e-mailing. On average we spend 3.1 hours to these services, whereas e-mail gets only 2.2 hours of our attention span. In addition, all respondents indicated that they will use much more social media on their mobile phone. The PC is being switched off.

According to the researchers the popularity of social media on mobile phones have to do with ‘instant gratification’, such as short messages being sent and read. Next to that, the variety of communication is appealing to many: public messages, private messages, video, pictures, status updates, geo-locations. Much more attractive than a simple e-mail. The number of users is increasing dramatically as well, mainly due to the enormous uptake of smartphones such as the iPhone or Android. It is expected that next year more smartphones are being sold than ‘normal’ mobile phones (shall we call them ‘dumb’ phones?).

The biggest users of social media are found in emerging markets by the way, such as Malaysia, Russia and Thailand. On average people in these countries spend 8 hours per week on social networks. In the west of the world this average is much lower. According to TNS this is due to the fact that we see the internet as ‘normal’, a given. In emerging markets people are grateful for each new form of communication.

Punch line of the story: we are a bunch of spoiled kids not realizing the power we have in our hands.

Facebook – The Movie

New times, new heroes. Back in the 90s the usual suspects for producing a tech-geek movie were obviously Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. And let’s be honest, their story is indeed a saga, with heroes, villains, drama, a plot, an agonist and antagonist. Pirates of Silicon Valley remains one of the top Geek Movies of all times. If you have anything to do with the digital world I encourage you to watch it on YouTube:

But these times request for new heroes, new Jobsian heroism, fighting against the status quo. And fortunately we have a few nowadays. One of the most well-known of course is founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckenberg. As an ‘Enfant Terrible’ he is moving through the landscape of digital media. Never afraid to express his opinion about Microsoft, Google; location-based services, the future of his platform and of course privacy. Neither he is shy. I a recent interview he acclaimed that Facebook will reach the 1 billion members. “It’s not a matter of if, but when”, he said.

Well, if that ain’t a nice start for an intriguing drama? Add some unreliable friends, managers who want to take advantage of his success and throw in a girlfriend or two and I’m sure the ingredients for a new ‘Pirate in Silicon Valley’ may arise. Recently Colombia pictures released the first trailer of the movie ‘The Social Network‘, the movie about Facebook. Taglined “You can’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’ this motion pictured is expected to hit the cinemas in October. Or earlier, on YouTube…

Enterprise 2.0 – Not if, but when do you start?

“My products have hashtags”, as Ramon de Leon -the brilliant pizza baker from Domino’s Pizza indicated. Ramon was the true rock star who shook up the congress “Enterprise 2.0 – RIP or ROI” in Amsterdam on January 27 and 28. But there were more oneliners on this congress we attended:

“Know what ROI means? Return on Ignoring”,
“You’re best Social Media tool is as good as the person sitting behind the keyboard”,
“I have a click-and-kill behavior against newsletters per email”,
“To whisper works better in social media than to shout”,
“Let people love you, that’s all you gotta do”,
but the best remains: “My products have hashtags.”

With an audience of about 50 people and on stage quiet a few remarkable names (i.e. Google, Vodafone, Philips, Airbus, SWIFT, SAP, Lego, Nokia, Kodak, Roger Smith Hotel). A small but intimate setting with a promising program. And they delivered the promise. The intention of this event wat to give insight in new and innovative strategies for better performance within the organization by using social media engagement.These strategies, not only focussed on the external customer or as part of the promotion of product, but also for communication internally.

Vodafone kicked off with a presentation by Eva Buschkrei (VP Entertainment, Communications and E-Commerce) about the social media campaign around their new service Vodafone 360. At the introduction Vodafone first aimed for users via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, causing the initiation of the conversation. “It’s more about the people, than about the products”, said Eva, embracing the importance of Word of Mouth for Vodafone.

Mobile is going to play an increasing role, as Eva indicated. Georges Edouard Dias (L’Oreal) adds later: “If you don’t use mobile, then you’re an idiot! Use mobile in your brand conversations and you’ll find the way to the heart of the customer. It’s as close as you can get!”. Vodafone still has no clue about how to measure the ROI of Social Media (wow, where did we hear that before?) and has thus introduced Social Media Currency. Five questions which should offer immediate answers on why you are recommended by other people:

  • Social Authority – who is talking about you?
  • Social Conversations – with whom do they talk about you?
  • Social Sentiment – how do they talk about you?
  • Social Network Valuation – positive versus negative?
  • Social Conversation and Referral – how can you benefit from that?

In my view this provides a rather good insight into ROI, especially if your goal is to bring your product or service under a broad attention.

Return on Investment. Each and every congress it’s a topic. And never somebody was able to answer the ultimate question satisfactory.ROI is difficult, especially for communication-activities. “What you really shouldn’t do is looking at the number of HITS”, said Matteo Rizzi from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). “HITS means ‘How Idiots Track Success'”. For SWIFT the use of Social Media is more aimed at reducing costs than to increase revenues. The value is also much more in teh ‘intangible benefits’ and much less in the ‘tangible’. Last year SWIFT has introduced their platform for innovative collaboration, Innotribe. Innotribe makes use of the power of the community by bringing together customers, vendors and partners to share knowledge and ideas. Innotribe makes this possible by facilitating in crowd-sourcing, mash-ups and cloud computing. “It made the dinosaur move”, according to Matteo. As we speak Innotribe has 1,712 members. That doesn’t seem a lot but in this industry it’s certainly an indication that there is a need for collaboration. It has also resulted in the development of Mindtagger, a nonpublic concept, by which people with the right expertise connected through tags.

Kees Mulder prefers to speak about Return On Ignoring. He hints to the more than 1 billion active users on social networks which an not be ignored anymore. Kodak, almost had to shut down themselves (revenues in traditional photofilm from $15 billion to $300 million in 10 years!) just realized the changes on time. They appointed a ‘Chief Listener’ which had the task to listen to what was said about Kodak online, as a kind of airtraffic controller. Based on that, ways were sought do profile the new Kodak – especially through these new media. An example of this was the ‘eyecamera’ which created a lot of buzz – not in the last place because it was an April’s Fool-joke. “It’s all about the 4 Social Media E’s: Engage, Educate, Excite and Evangelize. Key here is to use OPM; Other People’s Money. That has saved Kodak from a certain death and since then the brand went through quiet a shift.

Co-creation Classic
Lego already understood end of last century how important it sis to listen to your customers. In 1998 one of the robots of the just launched Midstorms was hacked by a few students from Standford University, to ‘improve the product’, sort to speak. Lego had two choices; sue or listen. They chose the latter. “We knew we owned the trademark, but we realized that we didn’t own the brand. Our customers do”, said Tormid Askilsen who was working for the company around that time. Lego realised that there are many users feeling connected to the brand which are more than willing to help designing new stuff. The essence of Lego is: ‘being able to express something that I see in my head so that other people can see it.’ The story of Lego obviously is well-known, but still nice to hear from first hand.

Phillips is still struggling to implement social media in their marketing activities. Hugo Raaijmakers and Marco Roncaglio gave a surprisingly smooth presentation about the development of a Social Media strategy within Philips. The current initiatives such as for example Facebook are too fragmented, too much ad hoc and inconsistent to be effective. Especially if you compare it with competitor Samsung. Besides that, there are no guidelines and there’s not team directly responsible for Social Media. Time for a strategic plan, Hub & Spoke, which is strongly based on Forrester’s POST method. Philips has chosen for a combination of ‘bottom-up support’ and a ‘top-down steering’. This means that local social media activities are being stimulated but streamlined through guidelines and at the same time creating awareness at senior management level. Especially the latter is important because without this support each social media activity is doomed to fail. What was surprising however was that Philips only focussed on social media for external activities and not at all for internal usage (they later wrote us an e-mail explaining that they do have internal activities)

First internally, then externally
Not starting internally is a missed chance according to us, because a company devoted to external use only may oversee crucial parts or -even worse- damage itself severely. Next to that, in many organizations little attention is given to the communication with the internal customer, the employee. Especially when compared to external communication. An interactive platform for internal communication is a win-win:one gets experience with social media and improves internal communication.
“If you don’t have an Internal Communications Department, start one tomorrow”, said Sean MacNives van SAP. Sean has followed this principle, with success. Within a year SAP developed a strategy and a social media platform which is used intensively by the employees. Guidelines were desgned and adapted according to the dynamics of the platform. In this case a lot of experience is gained which can be utilized externally as well. “When you start Social Media internal before external you’re as authentic and real as possible.”

The mouse that roared
That there’s no need being a multinational to be successful with Social Media proved Adam Wallace from the Roger Smith Hotel. This hotel based in New York used to be small and unknown. But now it has grown to a hotel with true fans which make the Waldorf and The Four Seasons look at it with envies eyes. How did they achieved that? By being open and transparent showing people what’s happening around the hotel. By being active on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube. By speaking to potential customers directly. Because they will start talking about you, such as Chris Brogan and iJustine. No smushbags in the Social Media space. “The biggest ROI is to look back and look at everything as if we were the customer”, said Adam Wallace, head New Media Marketing. Also the employees of the hotel play an important role. “The people that provide our service are the ones creating our brand, not me”, outlining the authenticity of the Roger Smith Hotel.

A congress needs to end with a big bang. Something sticky, something impressive. More often than not this doesn’t happen, and many congresses fade away in the darkness of our day to day business. Intentionally planned or not, Ramon DeLeon was that big bang. Franchise entrepeneur from Domino’s Pizza in downtown Chicago knew how to turn

the audience upside-down. With a overwhelming presentation he showed the audience how he, as an owner of 6 pizza shops, knows how to deal with Social Media. Just before his presentation he placed this on his Facebook wall:

“AWESOME Pizza Deal!! To the 1st person who responds to this status update, how ever many minutes it took you to answer “ME”, that is the price you pay for Two Large Pizzas with anything on it plus any Two Side Items (my stores only).”

Within two minutes people responded. Nice deal for $2. This is Ramon. Ramon ‘gets it’. “We need customers to tell a friend about us. We want to wow our customers”. And the proof is in eating the pizza ..eehh.. pudding. When a rather distasteful video is placed on YouTube by two (now former) employees of Domino’s negative publicity takes over.Everywhere in the US Domino’s sees revenues falling. Except in downtown Chicago. On teh contrary, more pizzas were sold! “That doesn’t happen at Ramon’s”, said his fans, and continue eating truckloads of pizzas. What is his secret? “Passion”, Ramon told us afterwards, “passion and love for my customers. I don’t have to promote my pizzas. I make contact with my customers and they will find out I make pizzas”.

After two days it’s clear to us. For companies it’s not the question if, but when are they going to start with Social Media. Start with a sound strategic plan, convince management and start internally to gain experience. Then go play outside. Doing so might provide yet another advantage: loyalty from young employees. This is the way they communicate, and providing these possibilities for them might become important in a time where switching jobs is getting easy again. Because after we crawl out of the misery called Recession and after all those babyboomers are spending their hard-earned money on their retirement activities, who’s gonna work, still?

Blogworld 2009: Human Business and a Guinness World Record


Social Media has definitely grown out of its infancy. Although, according to all the geeks that attended the first integrated edition of Blogworld and New Media Expo in Las Vegas. More than 2500 bloggers, podcasters, consultants and other new media mavericks visited Sin City for 3 days to talk about and share experiences on Social Media. Close to 300 speakers gave dozens presentations and panel discussions on a large variety of subjects. Without going into detail of all of them, I will give you the highlights of the conference.

Twitter rawks

If there was one subject that was mentioned in almost every discussion then it was Twitter. With great passion Twitt-lebrities like Laura Fitton (@Pistachio), Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) and Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout) shared the power of Twitter. “The power of unisolating people”, according to Laura. “And it’s not about the writer, it’s not about the number of followers you have but it is about the message you share. People are made to socialize, also in business. For that it is important to surround yourself with inspiring people. Twitter is a great tool for that.”

Guiness World Record

Thanks to Twitter a Guinness World Record was set during Blogworld. The highest number of social network mentions within 24 hours. And last Monday the record was confirmed by Guinness World Record: a total of 209,771 social network mentions of #beatcancer in one day via Twitter, Facebook and blog posts. As a result eBay/Paypal and MillerCoors offered a donation of $70.000 to four non-profit cancer organizations (Spirit Jump, Bright Pink, Alex’s Lemonade, and Stand UP to Cancer). As the campaign continues, you can still donate and help promote this initiative via


More good causes-support from eBay/Paypal. Their booth was completely dedicated to this theme. One of the good causes was Shoe4Africa, a non-profit organization aiming at ‘empowerment through sports and education, creating unique health initiatives, and promoting AIDS awareness.’ Cornerstone project is the development of a children’s hospital in Kenya, which will be the first public hospital in Kenya and the largest children’s hospital in Africa. The project is supported by Anthony Edwards, who sat in the keynote Celebrity panel. Although not yet very active in Social Media, Edwards understands the difference he can make as a celebrity using Social Media to spread the word around this project. So at Blogworld, he lost his Twitterginity and made his first tweet. Follow him on @anthonyedwards4. We also had a short interview with him which will be published shortly.

Dutch presence
And of course we ran into Vincent Everts, a webexpert and trend-watcher. Vincent presence at Blogworld was to promote, a video aggregator the collect videos from over 30 popular video sources. Previously known as, but you can imagine, not a name that would work well in the US (although, flickr didn’t change its name for Holland…) And of course, Vincent not only did his upmost for yubby, he also worked on his own brand. Being very present at various sessions and as member in one of the panels, the success of his quest was confirmed to be successful during the closing keynote. When one-time talk-show host Guy Kawasaki asked the audience who has not heard of Jenny the Blogess, Vincent raised his hand as one of the few. Guy looked at him and said ‘oh, that’s that guy in the white suit’. An interview with Vincent will be launched shortly.

Chris Brogan

If there is one Social Media guru that is reaching superstar status without losing it, it’s Chris Brogan. I think he is the most mentioned, quoted, RTweeted and appreciated speaker of Blogworld 2009. And true, Chris is a very sympathetic and respectable person, but moreover, he is a visionary and true knowledge expert in the field. His keynote on day one was for me the most inspiring of all sessions. ‘Stop tapping each other on the back, but get out there and start working. There is so much to do out there’. And he is right. Social Media has grown out of its infancy. As much as we liked the pioneering atmosphere at New media Expo 2007, those days seem to be over. Social Media is becoming true business. Moreover, we shouldn’t call it Social Media anymore. It’s Human Business.

For more details go to Chris’ blogpost on his keynote. Here you can find the entire keynote (and all other keynotes).

Trend for 2010
On the exhibition floor, there were several companies that demonstrated applications based on aggregation of content. We already mentioned as a video aggregation site, but aggregation goes beyond video. Zemanta is an application that helps you look for content related to the blogpost you are writing. While you’re writing, it ‘looks over your shoulder [..] and gives you tips and advice’. It analyzes your content, suggests keywords and related articles. With Zemanta, your blog becomes more visible and generates more traffic.
Regator goes even further in aggregation. There is an enormous amount of content available within the blogosphere. Regator ‘gathers the world’s best blog posts and organizes them in a way that’ makes it easy to find the things you need’. This selection is not purely done through some fancy algorithm, but through a team of editors. Yes, real people that search the web for valuable content. In fact, they decide for you what’s valuable or not. Regator uses criteria like regular updates, topical, well written, originality and whether or not your blog is ‘awesome’ based on which you can be added to the selection. The last criterium is rather vague and subjective, but that’s admitted by Regator.

Content is still king in new media. But finding the right content becomes like a monk’s job. For that we need aggregation, and we predict aggregation becomes the trend for 2010.

Audio Bummer
Was it all highs in Vegas? No, there was definitely a bummer. As there were more than 5-6 simultaneous tracks, you had to make up your mind what session to attend. Obviously, that was challenging as interesting presentations were scheduled at the same time. At New Media Expo in the past all participants were given the opportunity to download the audiotracks of all presentations. For free (or better, at no additional fee). Blogworld changed that policy: audiotracks are now available for $15 per session. Not funny. I can’t split myself up in 6, but feel that I have paid close to 1200 bucks to make all these sessions possible. Therefore I plead that all participants should have access to all recorded sessions (at least audio). And I was not the only one complaining about that. Organizer Rick Calvert should make up his mind or consult Tim and Emile Bourquin, former organizers of New Media Expo.

Another disappointment was that there was not much on the use of New Media for internal communication, in our view the way to learn what New Media is, to gain experience and in addition, to improve your internal communication, which in many organizations is underdeveloped. Truly win-win. A separate track should have been developed for this topic. Hopefully the organization considers this for the next edition.
Further, there was a strong focus on blogging, too strong to my liking. New Media is more than just blogging and Twitter. The focus overall was too much on the technology. There was hardly any attention for the development of a New and Social Media strategy. If we really want to go out there and help companies adapt New and Social Media, we need to understand that this is key to success. From that perspective I didn’t really hear anything new in these three days.

Conclusion for Blogworld and New Media Expo 2009: a lot on technology (and then mostly blogging) and too little on strategy. A lot of panels, some good and some which had a tendency towards too much ‘incrowd’. Some very inspiring speakers, a good atmosphere and at night awesome parties. Overall, a more than average event. Rick Calvert only has to solve this audio issue and I will certainly consider attending Blogworld and New Media Expo 2010.

people blogworld

Facebook acquiring again


Just in from Reuters: Facebook acquiring FriendFeed.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, said it will acquire FriendFeed, an up-and-coming social media startup.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Facebook said that FriendFeed would continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine long-term plans.

Friendfeed lets people share content online in real time across various social networks and blogs.

FriendFeed’s four founders, former Google Inc employees who started the company in 2007, will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.

Facebook has more than 250 million registered users. In May, the social networking company announced a $200 million investment from Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies that pegged the value of its preferred shares at $10 billion.

Original post here.

Who is using Twitter?

Last week during one of our New Media Masterclasses somebody asked me what kind of people are actually using Twitter. Although I do have a hunch, I have not seen any demographics, so I owed the person an answer.

It’s funny how the little things in life sometimes can be pretty amazing. This weekend I was reading the ‘Intermediair’, a Dutch magazine for working professionals in which I found a small article entitled: Twitterers are mainly ICT people and marketers’. Well, well…

According to the article the group using people still is a very small niche which can be identified as ‘Online Network Pioneers’. More than half of the Twitter-users is active in Information and Communication Technologies, marketing, sales, advertising or consultancy. Other job functions can hardly be found. About 75% is male, between 30 and 40 years old. Seventy-five percent has a higher education (bachelor or higher).

Still I have the feeling that Twitter is becoming more and more mainstream in the Netherlands. You see it on TV and hear it on the radio. Many celebrities have a Twitter account which they use to stay in touch with their fan base. We even have a few politicians fanatically tweeting about their thoughts. Don’t know if Twitter is here to stay, but it is certainly moving something. What about Twitter in your country?

Source: Intermediair, June 12 2009

Digital Pharma Congress 2009- Socially Challenged Pharma


We all know Social Marketing is the Next Big Thing. Or at least, that’s what we are all saying to each other. Making each other believe that the era of the 4/5/6 P’s is finally over. And of course Big Pharma can not stay behind forever. In a relatively short period the content of pharma congresses has changed dramatically. Two years ago a typical pharma marketing congress dealt with eDetailing, brand management and CRM systems. Now it’s about communities, Twitter, authenticity and transparency. Finally.



It was the first attempt for EXL Pharma to enter the ‘Old World’ with their Digital Pharma congress. Already an established event in the States, they now found the time right to see whether the Europeans are like-minded in the exciting area of new/social/digital media in pharma. And it seems that they are not the only one, by the way. This year alone we have been contacted by two other congress organizations which are planning to enter this space as well. It’s an interesting area to be in right now, especially when you have a story to tell.

We just returned from Barcelona (raining for two days, bummer!) and we look back to -in our view- a succesful first event organized by EXL. Of course not all things were perfect, it usually isn’t – especially when you do it for the first time. But I have to admit that Jason Youner and Bryan Main did a good job in pulling this thing off. Kudos go to them.

Now, let’s dive a bit into the program. I won’t cover all presentations, only the ones which were truly remarkable for me. For the Twitter feed with all tweets during the conference I refer to the EXL website with the Cover It Live feed (or search Twitter with #digitalpharma)

Old skool
EXL’s Digital Pharma Europe was organized in Barcelona on March 30 and 31. See for the full program here. The morning of the first day was reserved for a workshop entitled ‘Successfully integrating Digital Media into the Overall Marketing Mix’. Sam Trujillo, Director of Marketing Women’s Health explained in a three hour session the view of Bayer Schering on the way to engage with digital media in the marketing mix. Apart from the fact that a workshop usually involves ‘working’ and we didn’t do more than just listening, I did not find his story appealing and at it’s place at this event. His story was mainly focussing on digital media (fair enough) but it looked like the process he was presenting very much described the traditional approach of pharma companies using media: to stay in control. Seriously, I just do not think that putting your commercials on YouTube will generate a lot of traffic towards your channels. Who on earth is going to watch voluntarely a commercial of a pharma company, including the usual fair balance BS? It’s just not the channel for that.

The rest of the day was reserved for more Social Media stuff. So did Jeff Hithcock from ‘Children With Diabetes‘ (CWD) a touching presentation on his social network for parents and children with diabetes. Once started as a virtual space he created for his daughter suffering from diabetes, now a huge online community for thousands of diabetes children. Recently J&J acquired CWD. It’s not clear to me however what’s in it for J&J.

Pharma going social
Another great presentation was from Heidi Youngkin, Executive Director Global Marketing at J&J. She held an informative and engaging talk on her ‘Social Media Adventures’ within J&J. Intruiging to see that a pharma company is already that advanced. No doubt the fact that J&J is a huge company with a lot of FMCG might help, but still. I’m sure that her guidelines will be used as a ‘golden standard’ and reference frame within more pharma companies (I saw a lot of people making notes, since her presentation was not available online). Interestingly J&J started slowly with a blog about the history of the company (nice and safe). After they gained sufficient experience with this new medium they introduced a blog more specifically targeted towards their end users and dealing with more complex subjects. Now they have entered the third stage, going beyond blogs such as participating in the beforementioned community CWD. During the rest of the  conference J&J was quoted and cited as ‘Best Practices’ on several occassions.

The first day finished by a lively panel discussion moderated by Len Starnes, Head of Digital Marketing & Sales General Medicine at Bayer Schering. The panel discussion covered the paradigm shift of web 2.0 in the pharma world. Or should we say how pharma lives in the past not using (some of) these technologies. Interestingly it turned out that the FDA was present as well. Silently sitting in the back of the room, observing how Big Pharma is struggling with this paradigm shift. It sure is a pitty they (or anybody else for that matter) didn’t take the opportunity to start the conversation. And where were the European authorities?

Doctors and communities
Len must have done a great deal with EXL 😉 because the next day he kicked-off the second day of the event with his presentation entitled ‘Healthcare Professionals’ Social Networks – The Beginning of the End of Pharma Marketing As We Know It’. We’ve met Len at several other congresses and it’s always good to listen to his vision on digital marketing within Big Pharma. This time he gave a sound overview of all possible social networks available for the HCP (Health Care Professional). Although a few big players (Sermo and MedScape) there is still room for niche players like Ozmosis for example. And what about Europe? Well, it seems that and DocCheck Faces are the biggest players on our continent but they will soon face competition by the Powerhouse Sermo which intends to introduce here in the not so distant future. Main question of course is how Big Pharma can participate in these communities. Sermo has a partnership with Pfizer, so is this the way to go? Len was firm in his statement that the pharma industry should observe, research, engage and discuss, but under no circumstances should hard sell. He also did a small poll on LinkedIn which showed that 86% of his network believes that Social Networks will have an impact on pharma marketing within the near future.

Enterprise 2.0 and innovation in Pharma

My presentation was next, talking about the internal use of Social Media in the light of innovation in marketing services. I am always surprised to see that an entire industry just jumps on the bandwagon of using social media for external use and just forgets that they first have to deal with yet another -equally important- community: their employees. Why is it that I can’t find more about my colleagues in Outlook’s address book other than their name, telephone number and office number whereas when I check on Facebook and LinkedIn I can find half of their life? Why is it that even a New Media Specialist is blocked access to YouTube at the office because she ‘might watch YouTube videos all day long’? Get seriouss, executives. Wake up in a new world and embrace yourself for the entrance of the digital natives, people who are actually used to share information with each other (and are hence not afraid to lose their ‘power’ when they do). Or read this for a change. We want to create a common platform within our organization where employees can find our internal blog, wikis, podcasts and share ideas. And if that means that we have to pull-in some people screamin’ and kickin’, so it is. Change is never without some pain.





YouTube genius
Yet another great presentation was from Kevin Nalty, Marketing Director Dermatology at a large pharma company which name could not be revealed but starts with an ‘M’ and ends with ‘erck’. Besides his serious job he moonlights as an official YouTube Comedian. His website Willvideoforfood is described as ‘a blog for online video, advertising, viral marketing, consumer generated media and blatant self-promotion’. Don’t know if he really needs a site doing all this since he’s one of the top-10 most viewed YouTube comedians with more than 750 videos seen in excess of 60 million times. He even wrote an e-book ‘How To Become Popular On YouTube Without Any Talent’. Well, I don’t have to explain you that we 100% agree with his vision about the power of video in communication. What we do differ in opinion is that although content is still king, form is becoming more and more important. By that I mean that the basic elements of filming should be carried out well (e.g. sound, lightning, basic rules of camera movement). That doesn’t mean that I think one should make a slick commercial. Please don’t. Some ‘rough edges’ gives it most of the time a bit more genuine look. But I will skip videos where the sound quality is poor, even if they have a nice story to tell.

Now, online video is exploding: Pharma, wake up and start using it!

The last presentation was an overview of the possibilities Google has to offer big Pharma. Interesting in that respect is, a CSR initiative of Google helping the community with their innovative concepts.

A quick wrap up ended the Digital Pharma Congress in Barcelona. Main take home messages of the audience (well, from people who actually dared to shout it out loud):


That last point was not put in by me, but most probably due to me…

The future
I think it was a good start for such an event. I hope that for next congresses dealing with this subjects participation of European authorities is paramount since they are the gatekeepers of communication possibilities within our industry. Compared to the US Europe is different in that respect, also because we (still) have many different local authorities which can play and are playing according to their rules. The market is changing, people are getting more informed. The question is which information they use in order to get informed, and to what respect the quality of information is improved if Pharma can participate in the discussion. Pharma on the other hand should take it’s responsibility too, by being open and transparent about their products and claims. Pharma is low on the trust-scale, time to open up and fix that. Looking to the people in the audience I have the feeling that Pharma is ready for it. Now authorities, give them the opportunity to do so.

Stay tuned, soon I will post my presentation including the video online.

Social Media: many possibilities, little knowledge


A recent survey by the Dutch Social Media Professionals Association (SMPA) amongst 277 respondents investigated the use of social media for commercial purposes. 82% says to be good informed about the developments on social media, but 67% indicated that there is too little knowledge to put social media into practice commercially.

Much faith

There is much need for knowledge and insight about the effects social media can have on brand awareness, image, involvement, traffic and conversion. So basically we are looking at metrics. People are also interested to learn best practices, do’s and don’ts, inspiration and how far companies can go with social networks commercially. Despite the lack of knowledge there is much faith in the commercial use of social networks. It seems that the lost of control often related to the use of social networks is not an issue anymore.


There are many definitions of social media, but the one the SMPA uses for now can be definied as follows:

“Social Media are media where users communicate with each other, share things such as knowledge, pictures, videos, experiences, stuff to sell, opinions, software, collaborative work and games. It is the technique that helps to be able to know more and  do more together”

More results

  • Companies not using social media don’t do this because of the lack of experience (60%) and lack of knowledge (44%)
  • More than half (53%) of the companies having put social networks into practice say it was a success
  • Of those companies almost two third (64%) indicated that it had a positive effect on the brand. Almost in half (46%) of the cases it had a positive effect on buying behaviour. It had no negative effect.
  • A company blog had been identified as a powerful tool to use social media since it shows some measurable results on site traffic, brand reputation and conversion.
  • Less successful cases of social networks were mainly due to the lack of connection to the target audience.
  • Half of the respondents find their company advanced in the use of social media commercially. A third thinks their company is behind these developments.
  • Almost 75% said to use social media much more commercially in 2009. For the next five years this increases to 89%.

More info on the website of the SMPA. Wanna know more about social media?

Dutch are supernetworkers


According to a recent article in the Dutch magazine Intermediair are Dutch people champions in digital networking. A study executed by Synovate shows that 49% of the population is a member of at least one digital social network such as Hyves (most popular in this country), LinkedIn or Facebook. Compared to the US, cradle of digital social networks, only 40% is active. According to Synovate’s President Reinier Heutink: “The Netherlands has always been a front runner on the internet, so it’s no surprise also in digital networking”.

“Another explanation may be the fact that Dutch people are traders and have an open view”, says Albert Benschop, sociologist and specialized in internet behaviour. “At the same time Dutch people are very much dependent from each other due to the dikes and water, which increases solidarity. They like to ‘polder’ “. (discuss and negotiate endlessly about anything. Red). May be with these two characteristics one can explain the popularity of networks.

I don’t know whether we are ‘supernetworkers’ or not, but in the meantime I’m having fun with the inclusion of apps in the updated LinkedIn.

Source: Intermediair

Facebook helps with market research

One of the main challenges marketers nowadays have is the question how to utilize all these social networks to the advantage of their marketing campaigns. Of course, one can listen to the conversation, influence the conversation (dangerous, please don’t) or start a conversation by yourself. At Facebook, they see more possibilities.

DigiRedo was in New York where we spoke to Kevin Colleran, Director National Sales at Facebook. We talked about the growth of Facebook, their business model and innovative marketing tools using their social network.

Kevin told us that Facebook now outpaced MySpace with a daily growth of 400,000 subscribers per month. This growth is mainly coming from international expansion. Interesting aspect in this is that Facebook wanted to use traditional translation agencies for localizing their software. Once they found out that this was too costly and took too much time they asked the community to help them with the translation: everybody who wanted to translate in their language could give it a try. Within weeks they had French, Spanish and Dutch sites up and running.

One of the most intruiging options is the use of polls. As a marketer we have executed several marketing surveys. Necessary and justified in many cases, but also expensive and time-consuming. Facebook has introduced last year their ‘Quick & Dirty’ approach to market research and gave the meaning ‘fast’ a whole different meaning in this respect. Funny to see that they never really gave a lot of noise to this feature.

Imagine you want to know which anticonceptive pill is the most favorite amongst your target audience ‘young women between 18 and 25 years’. With this new feature you can create your own poll (1 question, 5 answers), select your target audience and the time by which you want to receive your results. Within 20 minutes it will costs you $1 per reply, if you can wait 24 hours it  drops to $0.25. After the necessary creditcard checks Facebook does its thing. It sends the poll out to the network of 90 million people. No doubt 1,000 people of the chosen target audience are online and receive the poll. Usually they reply immediately.

As said, the poll stops when 1,000 respondents are reached. In our case that costs us $1,000 in total. The most striking is that you can actually see the results coming in ‘live’. As if you were watching a competition which brand is going to win. Check out the video for a demonstration.

I can imagine that this kind of market study is not suitable when you want to do some serious studies. However, I have been in many marketing discussions whereby such feauture would have helped us tremendously in guiding the discussion if we would have known how our target audience thinks of a certain topic.

Yet another feature Facebook is working on is the ability to check what the conversation is saying about your brand. For a fee you can enter your brand in the system after which you receive a detailed analysis of the health of your brand in the social community. Interesting times.

It’s still a long way to the semantic web, or Web 3.0. However, I firmly believe that these kind of innovations certainly pave the way towards this future web.

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