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But the bit missing for me is any sort of proof that "exceptional growth of owned media properties", or "stronger ties with consumers" of itself isn't sufficient to justify the investment. It is very easy to strengthen a relationship with a consumer, or a group of consumers - but strengthening relationships with all of your consumers, in a cost-efficient way, is another matter. If you are only going to reach small numbers of people at any one time (which, by and large is all that you can do in the social / digital space) these relationshiops have to be hugely more valuable than the relationships we created in traditional audience-based (content-based) marketing.
It is very hard, in my experience, to create such relationships on the back of content. The only reason that marketing has focused on content to date (and thus wishes to continue focusing on it) has been because there were not scalable alternatives available and the channels we used meant that we could get this content in front of millions of people. Content requires an audience - but in the social digital space the audience isn't there. Or rather, the people that are there don't want to be treated as a member of an audience.
But if you have the data that shows you are creating big enough audiences to make a content-driven approach work - fair enough.
Anyway - happy for you to respond, but I think this is going to be my last comment. There is probably not a big enough audience at this point to justify maintenance of this particular stream of 'content'!
Has been a good discussion - thanks for taking the time to respond.
But the ambition is to get the message in front of as many people as possible and the message is designed with this ambition in mind. The only reason you can't get in front of all your potential audience at once is that it is not economically efficient to do this - hence segmentaion and targeting.
I guess the issue for me is that, impressive as these numbers are (bounce rate etc) - are they impressive enough? Creating audiences in the social digital (or even traditional digital space) is very hard - mostly because when people are in this space they don't want to be treated as part of an audience. I just haven't seen any evidence that the attempts to create audiences within this space are creating groups big enough to be considered 'an audience' and thus justify the maintenance of an audience-based approach.
Marketing as we know it is really audience-based marketing - because audience-based channels have been the only ones available. Marketing therefore was a channel (reach) and message (content) game. In the social space people are behaving as individuals, not as members of an audience. The name of the game is therefore behaviour identification and response. It is all about an approach that is based on the assumption that you only ever deal with small numbers of people at any one time (based on responding to their behaviours or initiatives) - and therefore have to create a relationship with these people hugely more valuable than that which you can ever hope to achieve through receipt of generic pieces of content. And it is not about targeting, because an individual is not just a very small audience. (If you want more on this read my book! http://www.amazon.com/Social-Media-Three-Cent-Rule-ebook/product-reviews/B00DI4H440)
If an organisation is wedded to the idea of the creation of content - my advice would be to focus much more on what you do with the content after you have produced it, rather than on volume of production. Think of content as a process, not a thing. Content becomes valuable (visible, useful) only once it has become socialised - in effect once it has become information. And if you spend more effort socialising your content this will help you become more focused on what content to produce (as well as forcing you to make less of it). You basically have an information management strategy, rather than a content strategy. This is why of all the points you raise - point 3 is the one which interest me the most. Value is created through the process you apply before and after production, not in the production process itself. This is where a brand approach would differ dramaitically from that of a traditonal media operation. http://richardstacy.com/2013/12/05/need-talk-content-marketing/
In many ways I love Journey. As a corporate website it is bold, innovative and attractive and you have to give credit to the organisation for the courage to head in this direction. I just fear it is the wrong direction.
I haven't read the Eric Schmidt piece - so I haven't factored his comments into my criticism.
You say that Journey shares thousands of pieces of content that a few years ago would never have seen the light of day. Fine - but perhaps they never justified seeing the light of day in the first place.
You also say that Journey is a brand focused destination. You are also a brand that is focused on almost everyone on the planet. Frankly I don't really know what a brand focused destination is, other than a buzz word. However, given the size of your consumer audience it seems to me that whatever it is, it either has to reach a huge number of people (more than the New York Times), or it does indeed have to be focused on very specific needs, where the value of the contact you create is hugely greater than that which is created through almost any form of conventional, impression-based, publication. Social media, after-all, is a high engagement / low reach space.
Which brings us to another important point. Social media is a space, not a place (destination). The most popular post on my blog is not found on my blog, no-one comes to my blog to read it. They find it in Google (or as a link in other blog posts). My blog is simply a launch pad and this particular post has visibility because it has become socialised. Rather than focus on producing lots of content, brands should focus on producing a much more restricted amount of very specific content (information) based on what it is their consumers want to know, and invest the time in socialising that information so that becomes visible and accessible. Social media is not a channel and message game (mostly because there is no audience associated with the channel anymore), it is a behaviour identification and response game. That is my mantra anyway!
Finally - to Mark's point, I find that many companies justify their social media activities on the basis of large percentage increases in things like 'engagement' or other measures of channel usage, but as Mark points out, percentage increases in themselves mean nothing. A 100% increase in something that has little effect on the bottom line doesn't mean much - whereas a 0.5% increase in margin or market share (for a brand the size of Coca-Cola) can be hugely significant. And even if you are dramatically increasing visits to the corporate website - does this actually mean anything? I thought we had got beyond the point of seeing corporate websites as simply being there to attract the largest number of visits - especially for a brand whose audience is almost everyone on the planet.
Anyway - you say that these initiatives are hitting the numbers. Fair enough, but my question (and point of the article) is - prove to me that are these the right numbers to be hitting.
It is not a cliched question - it is an incredibly important issue. What we are really talking about here is not so much old fashioned surveillance, it is about how data and algorithms can be used to shape society. I think the algorithm is the most powerful tool for social control invented since the sword. The fact that we tend to look at the Googles and the Facebooks and their use of data and algorithms primarily to target marketing messages is really a distraction. The real issue is what can happen as a consequence of information we generate which we don't necessarily want to keep private, or even which is generated on our behalf be the objects we interact with (Internet of Things etc).
Like the idea that any road looks good when you don't know where you are going!
I think the broader problem is not just lack of roadmap - it is trying to get to the wrong detsination. It is easy to see the social space as simply an extension of the traditional marketing space - which is all about channel and message, reach and frequency. Social media is a behaviour identification and response challenge - it is completely different.
Social media is a low reach space (at any moment in time) so therefore the levels of engagement you need to create have to be very high - and the sort of engagement most organisations are creating - no matter how impressive the metrics might seem - is the wrong type of engagement. It is engagement that looks at how consumers engage with what brands are doing, not how brands understand and are 'engaged with' what consumers are doing.
So you are absolutely right - we have got the wrong metrics - but shifting from likes to more sophisticated measures won't solve the problem. It is still measuring the wrong type of engagement.
@dsearls @adriana872 Will Big Data kill VRM and the #intentioneconomy http://t.co/otY0GoOb0k
#Privacy: let's have the right conversation #dataprotection #bigdata http://t.co/zz5x6H8YKQ
Is #ConvergedMedia the next big thing? Yes (and No) http://t.co/p5U6UGT5GD
@jer979 Smart buy. There is money in them there #ConvergedMedia hills. But there also be money pits http://t.co/RrvVQ92CaP from 2 years ago
@GalbraithJeremy Would be interested for your thoughts (comment on post?)