Regardless of industry, business interest in social media continues to rise. At the same time, the continued expansion of regulations seems to undercut the ability to have a credible or even remotely interesting social media presence if you work in healthcare, financial services, or biopharmaceutical markets. One client I work with still has to send […]
Regardless of industry, business interest in social media continues to rise. At the same time, the continued expansion of regulations seems to undercut the ability to have a credible or even remotely interesting social media presence if you work in healthcare, financial services, or biopharmaceutical markets. One client I work with still has to send every Tweet through Corporate Marketing for approval. Another’s Twitter page clearly states that it’s open for Tweeting only from 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.
Yet the surge in demand for social media as a marketing channel finally seems to thawing the resistance. One pharmaceutical executive who’d recently left Roche told me that the most valuable thing their CRO (contract research organization) had done for them was to provide social media training.
Training pharmaceutical executives in social media? Wasn’t it only a few years ago that I sat at a healthcare social media conference watching a J&J marketing manager roll her eyes as she recalled receiving the 40-page draft of their legal department’s social media employee guidelines?
Think about what social media can do in a highly regulated industry and it all starts to make sense:
- It can improve company image in a market where leaders often look like the bad guys, even if they create and distribute life-saving therapies
- It can keep lines of communication open when there is a dearth of new product introductions
- It can demonstrate transparency, a quality that is essential to any brand’s success today but one that regulated companies never instinctively offer
So what should a marketer in a highly regulated environment – whether pharma, financial services, or healthcare – do to charge up their social media these days?
- You can post thought-provoking content that doesn’t put you at risk. Bank of America leveraged the credibility and content development expertise of the Khan Academy to deliver valuable financial education content to younger customers. And they got a lot of people blogging about it.
- You can do firsthand research. If you’re in financial services, you can gather input to improve your customer service experience or to shape or improve products and services.
- You can pilot an idea and build it from there. When our agency launched a Twitter/Facebook/YouTube program for Boston Scientific, we started on safe ground, promoting the company’s global support of World Diabetes Day and highlighting how any office or employee could get involved.
And even if you’re in big pharma, the most highly regulated industry you can imagine, the possibilities are just as broad to educate and inform, be that across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, XING, YouTube or corporate blogs. Just look at how far Roche has come, sharing thoughts about #nerdlove.
Imagine you’re at party at which there seem to be more than the average share of nerds. You’ve just finished telling a small group your most sharable story of the week: how your friend’s dog drooled all over your iPhone, causing Siri to sound like the dragon from the Hobbit. The guy who’s laughing the […]
Imagine you’re at party at which there seem to be more than the average share of nerds. You’ve just finished telling a small group your most sharable story of the week: how your friend’s dog drooled all over your iPhone, causing Siri to sound like the dragon from the Hobbit. The guy who’s laughing the hardest – the tall one who was fiddling with his ridiculous looking glasses throughout your story – puts his hand on your shoulder and says “Sweet, my Circle is gonna love that!”.
“Yeah, ha ha… wait, your what?”.
“My Google+ Friends Circle. I just posted a video of your story to it”.
The enabler of this disconcerting but entirely plausible scenario is Google Glass, the incredible and controversial technology that allows it’s wearer to record video of anything that can be seen through them. Until recently, I’ve never been one to get that worried about privacy – I use Twitter, Facebook and even Google+, despite the privacy concerns raised about each. But, until recently, there has been no way for an individual to record me so fully without my knowledge.
A coffee shop owner in San Francisco was recently concerned enough about privacy that she asked a patron of hers to leave the shop, because he was wearing Google Glass. Even that was possible only because Glass still has a distinctive bulk which no other non-video recording glasses share, that allowed other patrons to identify them. Given what history has shown us about how quickly electronics shrink, that distinction won’t last long.
I think stories like this are an indication that a Pandora’s box of privacy concerns is about to be opened, causing us to question the ramifications of currently acceptable behavior. Should we be able to bring a smart-phone into a locker room? To a hospital? A police station?
This is particularly interesting to me as the Director of Technology at PJA, where we are always on the lookout for ways in which the changing privacy landscape comes up against the desires of our clients to get in touch with their most important audiences.
It wasn’t that long ago that you’d be concerned, or at least mystified, if you saw someone at a party, alone in the corner, shouting “Can you hear me now?” at a piece of glass and metal in his hand. And, it won’t be too long until we get used to people calmly asking each other, not assuming an answer one way or the other, “Are you recording this?”
Flickr: Loic Le Meur on Google Glass
Last week Facebook purchased WhatsApp (an app that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio, and video messages through the Internet) for a record breaking $19 billion dollars. To say this has caused some buzz would be a massive understatement. Since the deal was announced last Wednesday there have been articles weighing in […]
Last week Facebook purchased WhatsApp (an app that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio, and video messages through the Internet) for a record breaking $19 billion dollars. To say this has caused some buzz would be a massive understatement. Since the deal was announced last Wednesday there have been articles weighing in from just about every viewpoint:
“WhatsApp is well worth $19 billion”
”Is Facebook Crazy for Buying WhatsApp?”
”Food Stamps to Messaging Billionaire”
“WhatsApp is everything wrong with the U.S. economy”
The one constant among all of the stories are the mind-boggling numbers:
- At $19 billion WhatsApp is worth more than American Airlines, Campbell Soup, The Gap, and Harley-Davidson.
- The app was bought for billions more than what Google paid for YouTube $1.65 billion or Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for $1 billion.
- $19 billion is the highest price paid for a start-up in history.
- The 5-year-old company has just 55 employees (that’s $345 million per employee).
- WhatsApp is the global leader in mobile messaging with 450 million monthly active users globally.
- WhatsApp is growing by 1 million registered users per day.
- WhatsApp users send over 100 million video messages per day
- WhatsApp users send 500 million pictures per day (about 150 million more than Facebook).
- WhatsApp processes 50 billion messages every day.
Whether you think the deal “propels Facebook to new heights by powering its mobile and international ambitions” or ”Facebook just bought the only app that could truly call itself a Facebook killer” the numbers involved clearly mark a new chapter in Technology. A chapter in which apps are gaining millions of users a day and being sold for billions of dollars.
As for myself, I bet Facebook could’ve closed the deal for $18 billion.
A few years back I bought a book, Draw It With Your Eyes Closed; the Art of the Art Assignment. It’s a weird, wonderfully curated compilation of art assignments from current instructors and some from students recounting the assignment they can’t forget, the ones formative to who they now are as artists. Not surprisingly, several […]
A few years back I bought a book, Draw It With Your Eyes Closed; the Art of the Art Assignment. It’s a weird, wonderfully curated compilation of art assignments from current instructors and some from students recounting the assignment they can’t forget, the ones formative to who they now are as artists. Not surprisingly, several of the assignments are hand-me-downs — used and offered up by a current instructor who got it from his teacher.
This sounded like a great book for someone — me — who thrives on tasks (or, more accurately, doesn’t thrive when left to their own devices). There are perhaps 150 assignments, which range from “Take an eighteen-by-twenty-four-inch paper and make a drawing using nothing but your car,” to the much longer and elaborate one which requires a particular room at Ohio State University, or recently laid macadam and a hot day. There is the occasional assignment that’s no longer taught because of fear of lawsuits. Doesn’t that make you want to get the book right away?
I do love this book, but I didn’t use it at all the way I planned. It sits on my bedside table, something I read at the least opportune time when my true aim is to make art. It functions like some cookbooks I own, like the onslaught of Ottolengi books that have come out the last couple years. The Israeli-born, London chef is belching out beautifully photographed, well–produced food porn that feels perfectly content to be the travel book of the country you’re never going to go, at least at my house.
Now the intelligent people at Paper Monument have created a companion site. Not only will the assignments be shared with a wider audience but new assignments will be elicited from a much broader group of practitioners and, I imagine and hope, it will become more international.
So I’ve jumped on their coattails and created the blog, Draw, Draw It With Your Eyes Closed.
It’s an invitation to create something from drawitwithyoureyesclosed.com. This is, as well, a ruse to get off my ass and start using the assignments myself. Check out both sites and if you’re interested in participating, send me an email (from the tumblr site) and I’ll make you a member.
If this seems like something only creative types should or can do, I propose you at least look at the assignments and entertain the thought that you’re more creative than you think. I suspect that one of them will inspire you.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Calvin Trillin for a book of photographs of creative people, he being one of them. All the subjects were given a fat, black, ink soaked paint brush and told to create something on the white seamless background they were being photographed against. He wrote on the paper behind him “I always fail tests of creativity.” You’re not Calvin Trillin, so lighten up.
Location based and contextual marketing continues to dominate digital strategies for both B2B and B2C organizations. Search, display and other media channels have become smarter creating unique opportunities for marketers to serve messaging in the right place and at the right time to consumers. This relevance helps to increase engagement and drive more conversions. These opportunities however require […]
Location based and contextual marketing continues to dominate digital strategies for both B2B and B2C organizations. Search, display and other media channels have become smarter creating unique opportunities for marketers to serve messaging in the right place and at the right time to consumers. This relevance helps to increase engagement and drive more conversions.
These opportunities however require multiple action steps to be taken by a user. For instance, a geo-fenced paid search ad will only be served if the user is searching on their mobile device inside the geo-fence. Same for mobile display ads appearing within different web placements. Once that ad is served, both still require a click through in order to serve up your full message. SMS, which allows for push messaging, requires fewer steps but the challenge is that the adoption rate (especially within B2B) is less than ideal.
All of this is about to change with the launch of sensor beacons. Beacons are a small, low-cost hardware devices that utilize low-energy Bluetooth (Bluetooth LE) connections to send push notifications to iOS devices (phones or tablets in close proximity. They are expected to replace the once touted NFC technology and open the door for marketers to push proactive messaging out to consumers and leads with little action required from those individuals.
Beacons, for the most part are being discussed in the context of retail and consumer shopping. They will however provide amazing opportunities for B2B marketers and should not be overlooked in 2014.
Short term opportunities where B2B marketers can begin to test beacons:
TRADE SHOWS: Stand out from a crowded trade show floor by expanding your presence digitally. Rather than relying on foot traffic to stop at your booth, with beacons, marketers can now push messaging directly to prospects without them ever stopping. The content pushed can be used to lure attendees into your booth or simply keep them informed on the latest news or upcoming events (e.g., keynote speech) from your organization.
DISCOVERY SESSIONS: Many sales teams are using discovery sessions as a way to 1) better understand a prospect’s organization, and 2) to begin building a foundation for potential long term relationship. Beacons could help enhance these sessions and create a more interactive experience that further engages the influencer and decision makers.
PARKING LOT/LOBBY: Yes, it could be as easy as placing one in your lobby. Marketers should consider using beacons as a way to create a customized welcome experience for those entering your office. Simple, yes, but this could be very effective in helping to build successful relationships. Should this replace an actual human? Of course not, but a beacon-driven experience could become a nice compliment to the team. Plus, in the near-term, it provides a great WOW factor for those new to your organization.
Beacon technology will become more advanced as time passes. For now, B2B marketers should not take a “wait and see” approach. Investing in a few beacons and beginning to test with them will allow your organization to become familiar with the technology, and start generating ideas of how they can increase the impact of your marketing initiatives.