the markITeer

Archive for June, 2007

The Future of Communications – A Manifesto for Integrating Social Media into Marketing

Posted by the markITeer on June 26, 2007

Social media is everywhere. Websites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and numerous blogging platforms attract millions of visitors from all over the world. Visitors that are not just passing by to see what’s going on, but are willing to participate in discussions, upload content and make themselves heard. Web 2.0 has given a clear voice to the people. People who might well be your customers. Or your customers-to-be. That’s why it’s important for companies and marketers to connect to social media and lay out an integrated communications strategy not based on the old monologue, but on dialog.

Brian Solis of FutureWorks PR put together a manifesto for integrating social media into marketing. He emphasizes the importance of not only diving in, but -more important- of making the mental shift. Find your audience, find the influencers, listen to them, get involved.

A few quotes:

“It’s an understanding that social media is about sociology and less about technology. It’s a mashup of new and traditional media that spans across advertising, PR, customer service, marcom, sales, and community relations.”

“The key point here is that Social Media has yet to reveal its true impact. While many are defining its future, the majority of people around the world have yet to embrace it and participate. This means that it’s only going to become more pervasive and as such, become a critical factor in the success or failure of any business.”

“Listening is marketing.
Participation is marketing.
Media is marketing.
Conversations are marketing.
Comments are marketing.”

“Everything we’re integrating into the marketing mix is aimed at sparking and cultivating not only conversations, but relationships. It’s humanizing companies and their products and services so that they matter to people.”

“In order to reach people, we have to figure out who they are and where they go for information. In the process, you’ll quickly discover that there is no magic bullet for reaching everyone – all at once”

“Remember, the future of communications introduces sociology into the marketing strategy. The technology is just that, technology. The tools will change. The networks will evolve. Mediums for distributing content will grow.”

“By listening, reading, and participating, corporate marketing will be smarter and more approachable than ever before. This is how we humanize brands, create loyalty, and earn customer’s business.”

You can read the full manifesto here and here.

Posted in walking the walk, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Hacker’s Paradise

Posted by the markITeer on June 19, 2007

Imagine a world where all billboards are digital…

Posted in science faction | 1 Comment »

Putting your presentations online

Posted by the markITeer on June 18, 2007

Marketers create presentations. Lots of presentations. Presentations for clients, presentations for management, presentations to show a new product or to launch an idea, presentations to bundle information or presentations to convince the inconvincible. Some of these presentations are top secret, classified. But a whole lot of them are just waiting for a larger audience, waiting to bring you eternal fame and glory.

And that’s where Web 2.0 comes in: the ‘social web’ presents you with the audience whereas SaaS (‘Software as a Service’) offers you a whole bunch of online tools to rocket your presentations into cyberspace.

SlideShare, SlideBurner, AUTHORstream… there’s a whole lot of websites out there offering you the possibility to upload your presentation and show it to a community. The idea is simple: you register, you upload a presentation, the presentation is converted into a Flash file, some previous and next buttons are added and the whole thing is put on their website for everybody to view and comment on. And just like with eg YouTube, your converted presentation can also be embeded into websites and blogs using some simple code.

Having your slides available on the web this way is very nice. But something really important will still be missing: you. Slides are often just a framework for your presentation and the real convincing is in how you bring the message. That’s why Zentation came up with the brilliant idea of letting you synchronize your Powerpoint presentation with video material posted to Google video. After logging in, you upload your presentation and enter the URL of your video. You can then synchronize both by simply clicking a button next to the slide when the video reaches the point that the slide has to appear. And they too offer code so you can embed the result into your web page or blog. Check out Guy Kawasaki’s blog for an example (and a good presentation).

Here’s a small comparison table of some of the players:

As for the technical side, there are some issues with the conversion to Flash you have to take into account:

  • animations might (and mostly will) not work
  • slide transitions might (and mostly will) not work
  • exotic fonts might not be recognized
  • the appearance of bulleted lists might be altered

For those looking for something more: check out Adobe Connect, WildPresenter PRO or Articulate. These tools enable you to create fully-fletched online presentations with all the bells and whistles you want. it’s another league… with other rules regarding costs and time-to-deploy.

To round up, here’s a funny video by stand-up comedian Don McMillan on creating Powerpoints:

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Getting Real

Posted by the markITeer on June 14, 2007

Getting RealNow here’s a must read: ‘Getting Real’ by 37signals. 37signals is the company behind the Web 2.0 application classic ‘Basecamp‘ and the Ruby-on-Rails development framework. And although the subtitle says that it’s about ‘the smarter, faster, easier way to build a succesful web application’, it’s about a lot more…

‘Getting Real’ is really a book on how to cope with ever-changing demand and on how to keep up with (and get ahead of) competition. It’s about how to survive in a fast-moving world and how to take full advantage of the present-day possibilities of the Internet when creating a presence on the web.

In two words, ‘Getting Real’ promotes being lean and agile: small teams, no more months of writing functional specifications, no more useless meetings, limited functionalities, focusing on what matters, … It’s formatted as a series of essays bundled into chapters covering the whole process from idea to support and post-launch. Very well written, very easy to understand.

Check it out at http://gettingreal.37signals.com/. You can read it for free online, or you can buy a copy ($19 for the PDF version, $29 for the paperback).

Not convinced? This is what marketing guru Seth Godin has to say about it:
Every once in a while, a book comes out of left field that changes just about everything. This is one of those books. Ignore it at your peril.

Posted in walking the walk, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Adobe AIRs Apollo

Posted by the markITeer on June 12, 2007

Adobe AIRYesterday, Adobe released a beta version of its framework for Rich Internet Applications. The framework, previously known by the codename ‘Apollo’ is now called ‘AIR’ : Adobe Integrated Runtime. Shame that they gave it such a ‘techy’ name, because it’s actually something really pretty: It allows you to port Rich Internet Applications from the web to the desktop.

And so the lines between Internet and desktop applications are starting to blur…

AIR is a small (9MB) piece of software you have to install on your computer. Once installed, you’re ready to run any AIR application available. Think of it like the Flash plug-in: you install it once and you can see all flash-enabled websites. The beauty is that, just like Flash, AIR applications are also platform-independent. After you installed your version of AIR, you can run any AIR application you want on your desktop, whether you’re on Mac or PC!

To create AIR applications, Adobe pushes of course it’s own Flex development environment, which is kind of the programmers equivalent of Flash aimed towards creating Rich Internet Applications. But you could also use the plain old HTML and JavaScript web technologies (and AJAX) to built your web application and port it to the desktop using AIR. Needless to say that AIR will also be fully supported by Adobe’s Flash and DreamWeaver products in the new CS3 product suite…

To make the story complete, Adobe teamed up with Google to deliver real off-line capabilities to online applications using Google’s recently launched Google Gears. This open-source browser plugin installs a very light-weight database on your computer that can be used when online applications -which often depend on a database- are taken offline. As an example of this, Google made it’s own RSS reader available offline. If you have a Google Reader account, be sure to check out the ‘Offline’ link at the top of the application. It allows you to read your RSS feeds even when you’re not connected to the Internet!

Although all this may sound very technical, it really is the next big killer app out there. And what’s more: it’s a nice example of the convergence trend going on between Internet applications and desktop applications. It’s a new game and all the big boys are playing: Adobe (AIR), Google (Google Gears), Microsoft (SilverLight), Sun (JavaFX), …Time to place your bets…

Here’s a demo of the eBay AIR application given some time ago by Mike Downey from Adobe:

To test it yourself, download the AIR beta from http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/air.html and check out some neat examples (at this point, the eBay desktop example shown in the video is not live yet).

Posted in talking the talk, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »