Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Innovation for independent musicians continues to up the game at ReverbNation

ReverbNation has made some big changes over the past year and while I tend to focus on the larger community I have built on Soundcloud, I am increasingly impressed by the tools and options that the folks at ReverbNation are delivering.  Promoting your music online is a constant effort and involves a lot of tools and services so the efficient and effective ones definitely stand out.

The new HTML5 player widget is now solid and if you want to remove ads etc you can with the pro version.  Here is the free version with my music.



The musician's dashboard is pretty impressive.  It gives you a quick view of your fan stats as well as your chart position locally, nationally and globally.  You also have quick access to your inbox, social integrations, and other tools. The default layout for the artist page, which you can modify extensively, provides a ton of useful options and with a bit of planning you can build one that works well on mobile devices.  Here I show my page with the Admin console closed on a desktop browser.



The team at ReverbNation has invested heavily based on user feedback in the new HTML5 player by first adding better controls and adding Share, Download, Favorite, and Playlist options. Go to the far right and head down the Rabbit Hole...I leave that for you to explore.



In that same vein, they have added more options to the widgets including one targeted for press clippings and reviews as well as one that automates the signup to your personal newsletter, FanReach.  The other options are shown here.



I truly hope this kind of innovation continues and I hope the community continues to grow and engage.  It makes it more accessible for listeners and much more powerful and credible for musicians to consider the investment of time and effort in another tool and community.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The field guide to data science

The folks at Booz Allan Hamilton have put a refreshing and well designed report on the opportunity for converting big data into big insights.




In The Field Guide to Data Science, a large and skilled cohort of Booz Allen contributors provide their insights in the following areas:

  • Start Here for the Basics provides an introduction to Data Science, including what makes Data Science unique from other analysis approaches. We will help you understand Data Science maturity within an organization and how to create a robust Data Science capability.
  • Take Off the Training Wheels is the practitioners guide to Data Science. We share our established processes, including our approach to decomposing complex Data Science problems, the Fractal Analytic Model. We conclude with the Guide to Analytic Selection to help you select the right analytic techniques to conquer your toughest challenges.
  • Life in the Trenches gives a first hand account of life as a Data Scientist. We share insights on a variety of Data Science topics through illustrative case studies. We provide tips and tricks from our own experiences on these real-life analytic challenges.
  • Putting it All Together highlights our successes creating Data Science solutions for our clients. It follows several projects from data to insights and see the impact Data Science can have on your organization.

You can download the full report here

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Why don't we actually listen to people instead of just aggregating streams?


The technology industry loves to take very meaningful words and terminology and reduce it's meaning and depth down to a shadow of it's former self for the purposes of first strike advantage or developing market share.

Having broken ground in social media, but now spreading across the digital landscape is another one of these bold misuses of the English language - the concept of Listening.  The first instances of Listening technology that I saw (a few years ago) were essentially streams of data from multiple sources, typically filtered by brands or account names.  When the volume of data was too much to read, these streams gave way to trending reports based on keyword analysis, geography, sentiment (we should probably talk about how this word has lost it's way also) and other aggregating factors that help us do amazing things, like derive averages.  Oh, we love our averages in marketing. I always say that if you want to do something average, base your strategy on the averages you get in your reporting.



Aggregating, reporting, analyzing, filtering, mining - any of these would have been a better term than listening. But Listening made it sound so active, so enticing, so concerned and empathetic to the needs of people.  Listening it was.  One small problem - it was very selective hearing.

To me this begs the question - why not actually listen?  Why don't we actively listen?  We have the capability.  Let's borrow from the psychology and personal improvement gurus and build out some inter personal skills based on real human capacity and concern.


How to Really Listen to Someone By Tina Su. “Everyone desires to be heard. When we listen to others, we validate their need to be acknowledged and understood. Deep down inside, we all want to know that we matter, that we are important.
Creativity and Listening by David Intrator. “There sure is a lot of talk about listening.But in our contemporary world there doesn’t seem to be much listening going on.Which is really no surprise, considering how noisy life’s become. Add to that the clamor that naturally goes on inside our heads as conscious human beings, and listening becomes a near impossibility.
How to listen in which Dave Gray shares his 10 commandments for listening. “If you want to be a better communicator learn to listen, and more importantly, listen to learn.

  1. "Validate their need to be acknowledged and understood."  From putting some basic acknowledgement in place to truly honouring and earning the digital opt-in, this particular facet of empathy is a great guideline for what we can with big data when we break it down into the conversations we want to have with people (marketers, people is another word for customers)
  2. "Listening becomes a near impossibility." So much noise. So much clamor. If we want to hear someone we are going to have to shut up for a minute. Stop broadcasting. Start having conversations. It will change your, I mean their, life.
  3. "Learn to listen, and more importantly, listen to learn." I do honestly care whether or not you had lunch today, but I don't need to see a picture of it. It's not about hearing every single thing that goes on, it's about the cues and clues to inform and propel the conversations we need to have. When we listen to learn, we can do something with the things we hear.
This might seem obvious, now that I've written it down, but trust me it's not. This particular area is prone to some of the buzzword-laden, inauthentic, myopic discussions I have ever had with product managers and marketers.  Trust me, I was listening.  



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Digital Marketing Tube Map

A interesting breakdown of the digital marketing space in the form of a tube map has been put out by the folks at Hallam Internet.  Tube maps are likely the first successful infographics and to many folks in the UX space they represent an important user experience that effectively abstracts a complex reality.

Digital marketing is indeed a complex reality in need of better user experiences.  Take one please.

Read more in the original post at Hallam Internet.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Constant Social Disruption

I was interviewed by Ryan Joe from Direct Marketing News for a 2013 social marketing tech trends post that was posted originally on January 17, 2013.

In the post I talk about three areas of particular interest to marketers that will influence the way in which brands invest in and use social media tools: using analytics to better understand social consumers and ROI, geo-location, and greater use of paid social media like Twitter's Promoted Tweets or Facebook's Sponsored Stories.

Excerpts:
On ROI: “Marketers are still looking at likes and followers as those are the foundations of the social environments,” Watson says. These metrics are an easy way to measure how many people are using social to communicate with a brand. “But now we've expanded it to look at traffic sources and actual interactions we're having with customers across platforms.” 
This speaks to a maturity in the analytics that enable this sort of insight, as well as marketing departments hiring more tech- and socially-savvy marketers familiar with tools that allow brands to see customer journeys more holistically—many of which begin and end on a social platform. Consider a public complaint about a lobster roll tweeted to @AuBonPain, an emailed apology and voucher, and the customer's thankful comment on the Au Bon Pain Facebook page. 
For brands, the ultimate benefit to having this 360-degree customer view is that they'll be able to understand customer lifetime value. “Being able to look at the difference of revenue per user from a social customer versus customers on more traditional channels,” Watson explains. “And what impact do clicks really have on the bottom line.”

On geo-targeting: Geo-targeting is becoming so common in social media, it's practically table stakes at this point. Global brands have local presence and can optimize campaigns for specific geographies. “I don't think [this capability] is just coming from Foursquare,” Watson says, “but from mobile ad providers, LinkedIn, Twitter, and it's an expectation at the ad-network level and publishing-provider level.” 
 
It's this latter area where geo-targeting has yet to catch on, Watson explains. The way ad networks geo-locate—by a device's IP address—makes it difficult to implement the capability, especially because there aren't any industry-wide standards. By contrast, social networks typically geo-locate based on where a user says he or she is, and publishers do the same based on an in-house database that describes where their users are. Both, of course, might have accuracy issues—but at least it avoids the complication of a single user owning three different connected devices and thus, three different IP addresses. 
“Geo-targeting should be table stakes,” Watson says. “But until it's fully integrated into the ad networks, and multiple ad purchases [under] one set of geo-targeting rules can be deployed across multiple publishers, it's still a work in progress.”
We also had a good chat about paid social augmenting content marketing and more traditional demand gen efforts.  Read the full article here: http://www.dmnews.com/the-constant-social-disruption/article/276559/

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

9 social stats for marketers


HubSpot has been banging the pots loudly at Inbound (where a lot of my marketing team from HootSuite is there as the Presenting Sponsor, speakers, dressed in a giant owl costume, etc)

The HubSpot team have been peppering the awesome content on the interwebz at the same time and I loved their collection of great stats that point to the state of the nation for marketers across all the areas of tech that they provide.  The following nine social marketing stats really do paint a great story of where we are today and what the current opportunity is for us all to move the needle.

1) Failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15% increase in churn rate for existing customers. (Source: Gartner

2) 37% of brands would like to use social media engagement to create customer-tailored marketing campaigns. (Source: Forrester

3) 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantify social media engagement. (Source: Satmetrix)

4) 51% of the top 20% of B2B marketers generating leads through social media use social sharing tools, compared to the industry average of 39%. (Source: Aberdeen

5) 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Source: Aberdeen

6) Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media. (Source: Social Media Examiner

7) Currently, marketers allocate 7.6% of their budgets to social media. CMOs expect that number to reach 18.8% in the next five years. (Source: CMO Survey

8) 60.2% of marketers are looking for analysis options, as well as other analytics options, in their social media management tools. (Source: SEOmoz

9) Regardless, marketers still continue to struggle with integrating social media into the company’s overall strategy. On a scale of 1-7, only 6.8% of respondents believe that social media is “very integrated” into their strategy (the highest rank for the question), while 16.7% believe that it's not integrated at all (the lowest rank for the question). (Source: CMO Survey

Check out the full article and stats here: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33529/33-Stats-That-Paint-a-Picture-of-the-Future-of-Marketing.aspx#ixzz24xqDSF7o

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Exploring Social Business Patterns

Over the past several years I have been part of a shift in marketing, design, development and enterprise software that has undergone fundamental shifts due to changes in the patterns of management and the patterns of product development and marketing.  This shift, in its current iteration at the edges of my bubble, is the emergence of the social business or social enterprise as it is sometimes referred to.  For now, I will use these interchangeably.

In the early days at Microsoft, community and social ecosystems and the evangelist role itself emerged as answers to the need for broad, engaged conversations around complex shifts in application architecture, development and design.  We leveraged forums, community advocates, content rankings and feedback and constant customer input as both an innovation and a market driver.  At Adobe I was one of the first bloggers (IMHO was my first Adobe blog), built the first evangelism team and worked with developer relations and marketing to leverage social ecosystem development across enterprise, agency and academia as a core GTM approach.

Now at HootSuite, as my focus shifts to expanding market readiness, and hopefully market share, for our enterpriseagency and professional offerings, I have the unique perspective of flipping the mirror around and determining which of the social business patterns are going to emerge as core market drivers and to help our customers and partners understand how this has a specific and positive impact on their bottom line, market share, HR, customer satisfaction and cost of doing business.

We now stand at the brink of another fundamental shift in the way we work - shifting more and more of our activity (not enough yet IMHO) to social platforms, better exploiting our need to communicate effectively and ultimately changing the way in which we model, design, strategize, plan, implement, deliver and measure business activity.

And, while many companies claim turf in this space and large and small agencies and consultancies alike move towards the space I feel like we are lacking some of the fundamentals for comprehension of a common shift in thinking and executing. I fall back on to my days in developer tools and developer relations, our work on architectural standards at both Adobe and Microsoft, and am turning up my quest for patterns.

Following are a potential grouping of how we might categorize some of the social business patterns (based on several examples already available):
  • - Business patterns of repeatable behaviour and consistent use of methodology or tools
  • - Technical patterns of business enablement through provision of platforms
  • - Integration patterns that exploit rampant connectivity, API and SDK model
  • - Agile patterns that embrace iteration and enable constant innovation
  • - Customer experience and UX patterns that redefine business models purely from the perspective of the customer/user
  • - Ecosystem patterns that both map and enable the complex systems of business without borders

This will be an exercise of research, accumulation, assimilation, creation and curation.

Well understood micro patterns such as update status, share ‘object’ with connections, notifications, and direct response, in turn see increasing value through understanding and documenting the macro-patterns that form when used in conjunction with each other and specifically change an aspect of how we do business, such as how we develop, market, sell, measure or report.
Seeking patterns of a revolution in communication that signal the growth of the social business.