Tag: imedia

Sunday Column (215)

This week has been an interesting one. I finally got over (most of) the viral infections and felt a lot better. It has been warmer also with some patches of rain but lots of garden time for the kids already. All that is great. Sunshine in Eastbourne and open windows at night. Spring is in the air. Coffees outside.

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On Monday, as normal these days, I spend the whole day in internal meetings catching up on everything. On Tuesday I attended a conference in Eastbourne, speaking, meeting and discussing top level as well as granular digital strategies and trends. I met a lot of cool, interesting, useful, inspiring and helpful people. The only issue is that you normally drink too much and by the time you are home on Wednesday, you just try to frantically catch up with two days of work. All well worth it.

I kept my Thursday as clear as possible but had to prepare a speaking engagement for next week. Whilst I love doing this, presenting and being at conferences, I never get too much sales done like I used to. Deep down I am a sales person, the hunter and go-getter. However, over the past 3-5 years I transformed more into the senior person, manager, country manager who coaches, develops successful high performance teams, joins high level meetings and talks to the CEOs and MDs. I like it. Yet, when you built a company and have done every job from connecting servers or putting cables down robbing on your knees, you are so more connected to the overall progress and guts of the company. Hands on I would write in a CV, and above reads a bit like one. But it is true. As many people in our industry you get approached and reflect on what you have, and I love the company I am working for. I would say that of course but we came a long way and will go a long way too. I love RTB ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see this week was very work dominated. On Thursday I met an old uni friend I haven’t seen for at least four or five years. Time flies. You know when you pick up a conversation after so many years and think you just spoke to the person yesterday? That is what it is like with Mr. N. What a good catch up. What a great friend. He also might move down to London. This would be very nice.

On the overall side of life, it is a bit of rock’n roll at the moment. Some things falling apart, some things being pulled back together. Weird stuff happening. But life is good. Some cycling, soon I go running again, a massage and chilling out. Playing times with the boys and cuddles at night. Good movies, dirty food, and sunsets. What else can you wish for sometimes. It is on bad days, comparing it to my friend I spoke to this weekend, like you are at home and hiding in your rabbit hole, just cuddling with the boys and doing family stuff. You forget about everything and anything and then you are back out there during the week. I guess that’s normal. So many dads do it. I still find it complicated to understand and live.

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Anyway, no place like sunset whilst you are on the train home seeing the Ouse Valley Viaduct throwing a shadow across an English valley with oak trees. That is when I know I get closer to home and when I know it is time to chill out and relax (in my rabbit hole). That is home, that is the reason I commute. I love this peace and quiet, the peace I couldn’t get in London. A bit like the shire.

At the weekend we had friends from Essex visiting who we haven’t seen in ages. Again, the busier you get with family, work, growing up and daily business, the more you loose touch to the important friends. So good to see we make it an annual or bi-annual occasion to catch up with our friends. Maybe my 40th will get all of our friends together. From all walks of life, across the globe. A long way to go of course ๐Ÿ™‚

Next week is another busy schedule. I look forward to it. But hopefully I’ll be home before midnight on Friday. I hate travelling Friday night. I really like being home for bed time one day a week. And that is normally Fridays. Never mind, there are always exceptions.

That’s probably all folks.
Colin got his bike. So tha’s another job done.

Have a good one.

Cheers,
Volker

What is RTB and why is it useful?

This article was written by me for iMedia connection, so the original article about RTB: what is it about and why is it useful? can be found there.

It is a top level article which sheds some light on what real time bidding (RTB) is all about from a marketing point of view. No technical insights, just a general overview on why it is useful to the advertiser and agencies running online display media campaigns. Everyone seems to be talking about it, but how does it help you?

The reader should understand the advantages of RTB and why it will help your campaign improve its performance, its visibility and efficiency. The transparency and increased performance are the key points to take away, as you will see a better ROI from your advertising spend and hence a better performance. Whether this is for direct response or branding campaigns.

Overall, the key is not to only have one technology to work across the RTB platforms but the team that is capable of using the technology and utilise it. If you think of an analogy like Formula 1: it is not only the car that matters but also the driver behind the wheel and the support team that steers the success.

Socially public

Now this post was triggered by Claire at the iMedia summit in Brighton. Her, and also John, were speaking about connections made through social media.

It is difficult to think where I best start, and what I really want to say. I was supposed to launch the social media unit of an agency back in 2009. It never happened but it gives me a certain authority to speak about social media. I also managed to get a corporate account up to 1,000 followers within 3 weeks. However, of course I never ran a social media campaign, or did I?

I have my blog. My blog links to Facebook and to Twitter. Twitter links to Linkedin, and my Linkedin profile of course has a link to my blog. Anyone searching for my name will find me, and find out what I do and where I am. The latter thanks to Foursquare which I recently joined (for good).

Now what is my reach? Just short of 1,200 followers on Twitter, over 2,000 connections on Linkedin, and about 160 friends on Facebook. With the latter I am very selective as I am happy to speak very openly about my feelings there which I wouldn’t do on any of the other sites. That is where I draw a fine line between personal and public social life.

But can there be a personal social life? I start to disbelieve that to be honest. I share my life, and I don’t mind. I am happy for John Smith to know that I just checked in at Victoria Station on my way home or that I am at work. He can read my blog and find out how much I love my kids and wife. And I am happy to share my feelings, what I believe is special and what I have done all week. Not many people are interested, but more so my clients enjoy reading my blog. A client said the other day “you are on my Google reader”: I thought that was a compliment.

In our industry, digital and online marketing, we are not client and seller, we are friends with the same passion. Most of us anyway. It is about opportunities, creating value and not being one in a million. We share our lives without being shy about what we think. This industry is open, we share!

However, there is a small percentage of my life I prefer not to share. If my wife is ill, when my dog dies or when I look for a new job. No one’s business really. How bad would it be for me to share on Twitter that I need a new job before my employer finds out. Or for me to tell the world that a close friend died whilst I just have to keep up morale in a client pitch.

This is, luckily I suppose, the minority of my experiences. Besides I am happy in my job, I don’t have too many “problems” that I don’t want to share.

Hence for me the answer to the question whether you might want to have different profiles for a “work twitter” or a “personal twitter” is NO. You are one personality, you are one person. You are who you are, and of course, even Google has a profile of me.

So for me being engaged in social media, writing a blog and being active in and for our industry, I am happy to share. Twitter is me, my blog is about me, and Facebook is my private little online space reserved for closest friends.

I love it. A mini celebrity, somehow. Don’t you think? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunday Column (108)

A quick week lies behind us. I am trying to remember how Monday started, but can hardly remember. It was probably just life as usual.

Tuesday I went to a conference from the AOP where we discussed ad exchange optimisation and internal networks. The big agency groups were there and it was interesting to see all of the groups’ solutions surrounding ad exchanges. From my point of view, GroupM’s Jakob Nielsen presented his group’s solution very well. However, looking at the responses and discussion, I also believe things are still in early stages with most agencies. Probably this is a post in itself. However, those of you who have read mexad CEO’s article on DEM, DSP, WTF will understand that it is far too early to rely on technology and that only well trained and experiences people can handle the bidding well across all the ad exchange platforms. With the experience we have, we seem to be miles ahead, and it also seems as if our positioning is much clearer than comparable companies….as some seem to build networks rather than offering an independent service solution.

Enough about my little part of the industry. Besides ad exchanges, I listened to a lot of social media this week. I attended the imedia Brand Summit in Brighton. where I felt home in terms of social media and the overall state of the online industry. My main takings however are that when I was heavily involved in the search, social and mobile marketing side of things, that we discussed the same topics. I still don’t believe that some brands haven’t figured out all the ideas around Twitter, Facebook and Mobile advertising, don’t make use of search and put display into the mix. I don’t want to have a go, but it seems as if the same topics are discussed for over 3 years. It makes me think I should work more as a consultant to the online and digital industry. I believe I have the skills and the broader 360 degree view to do a good job. However, maybe my dream to become Marketing Director of a Whisky Distillery in the Highlands, earning a good living and living the life, will one day become true….but until then I stay put where I am, as I enjoy very much what I am doing. Now, we look forward to the agency summit in the summer. It will be another, more advanced discussion all around. Or will it?

Enough said about work, our part of the industry is still very young, and things are developing quickly. Now, I finished the week off with some visitors from Germany, e.g. Rohan’s godfather, who I have known for many years. Avoiding the awful demonstrations in London over the weekend, we managed to go to the Imperial War Museum, and Colin had a blast running around. We also managed to go through the odd bottle of vino and having a great time and conversation. Today I feel a bit knackered, given the fact the clocks went forward, and that I am still lacking sleep due to the wee one. So bring on another week…I’ll be fine.

Have a good one,
Volker

Twitter’s future and customer service

I am a little behind my reading this week. On the i-media newsletter I found an interesting article from Brendan Nelson about “Where next for Twitter?”

Reason me picking up on this one is that Nelson pointed out a few very interesting things about Twitter.

The idea of brands to embrace Twitter is not new. He uses the example of First Capital Connect to alert travelers of any train problems. My hosting provider uses the same method to alert me when the server is down. I know of a company, or many by now, that embrace social media to engage with their clients. Example is a broadband provider where the Managing Director got a keyword alert on a Sunday morning for his brand name that someone was unhappy with his service. He engaged with the customer and sorted things out for him Monday morning, resulting in the person twittering about the great customer service and engagement with the client! This is just one example of many.

In the old days people recalled products, sent letters and tried to reach people through offline advertising. Nowadays people use 140 characters, instant online SMS, to engage with other people. They recommend services and point other users to positive experience with brands – but also to negative experience with brands. People use “Search”, e.g. Google, Yahoo! and Bing, to FIND recommendations, products and services. And, the more positive news they read about your product the better.

Last week on Twitter, I engaged in a conversation about a mobile phone network. Others tweeted about their bad experience being on hold to their broadband provider, eventually hung up and used a different provider.

What do brands have to do? Engage with your clients via social media. That is the key. Monitor your brand name online and be sure you are found for anything related to your products and services, your brands etc. The bigger the corporation and the more brand names you have, the more important is it to monitor all of them. You can automate that but ideally have someone dedicated to engage with anything that is said about any of your brands…at any one time.

Whilst Google for instance takes a few days to index some pages, Twitter is there instantly. It is real time. If someone opens a “can of coke” and has a bad experience, she might tweet about it whilst waiting for the bus. She turns her “downtime” into “bad reputation for the coke producer”. You want to engage with her and use her next downtime to tweet about the positive response she got from you. Make your client/customers happy! Make them being noticed and feel good. If they do, they will tell their friends about it. And don’t forget, this is REAL TIME. And that makes twitter so powerful. And of course, the more followers you or the person has, the more brand awareness (positive as well as negative) you get! Viral marketing!

Why is Twitter so closely related to search marketing? Firstly, I believe that Twitter is offering instant search. That means people will use Twitter more and more to find most relevant and most up to date information. And, it is reputation management, as people talk about things on Twitter.

Secondly, as a brand, or any brand really, you want to know what your customer says, thinks and would like to see. If someone has an idea of how to improve your chocolate bar, your computer or your software – you want to know. Therefore it becomes more and more important to find those information and turn them into value within your organisation. Dell for instance created a forum for customer support that gained them great ideas which in return relates to millions of pounds in savings for product development.

Taking the two things to mind, you want to be found for what your customers associate you with. If you produce a chocolate bar you don’t want to be found for “chocolate bar” only. If you clients talk about you having “the coolest tasting chocolate bar on the planet”, you want to be found for that keyword and drive that message out through online and digital marketing use. By driving these keywords out there, people will use those keywords and you will be found for them – that is if you optimise for them. Look at Orange’s “I am” campaign.

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Now, I can conclude, that customer service in real time is very important and that Twitter is a very valuable source, amongst blogs, forums and other social media sites, e.g. Facebook, Hi5, and Orkut, for you to engage with your clients. Get your communication right and embrace social media and your clients where they are. Embrace their opinion in real time!

Follow me on Twitter, @ballueder