It’s March, which can only mean one thing to the Schwartz MSL Research Group- it’s time to once again get out our calculators and basketballs- it’s Social Media March Madness time.
Since we first started measuring social media muscle amongst college fan bases back in 2008 (we believe we were the first to do it), the NCAA Social Media rankings have slowly become one of our favorite and most popular analyses of the year. This year, two members of the Schwartz Research Group (Bill Bode and Kiley Phalan) took the lead. As Syracuse alum, Kiley had high stakes rooting on her Orangemen. On the other hand, Bill’s alma mater, Towson University barely missed the tournament. (Just kidding. This year, Towson set a NCAA Division-I record 41-game losing streak. Go Tigers!)
Twitter exploded in 2011, and college hoops fans have taken notice. After years of using Facebook fans as our primary data point, this year, the Schwartz MSL Research Group enhanced and refined our methodology. We realized Facebook fans of the Schools main page did not measure engagement with the basketball team. When analyzing brands it is essential to analyze the right basket. Additionally, with so much sports commentary happening on Twitter, we added that to our analysis for the first time this year.
How do we determine a winner? To determine each school’s SMPR (Social Media Power Ranking), we used the following formula: (# of Facebook fans for each college basketball team + # of Twitter followers for each college basketball Twitter handle/Number of students attending the university, according to Wikipedia.) Sure, it’s not an exact science, but it’s the closest we can get to assess each school’s social media prowess and compare them against each other. This also eliminates school size as a factor in determining the winner.
We won’t keep you waiting. Ladies and gentleman, your 2012 March Madness Social Media Power Rankings:
• Kansas takes the top prize over Duke, with a SMPR of 5.244
• Last year’s winner, Ohio State, is eliminated in the first round this year to #15 seed Loyola MD. This is likely due to our change in methodology, requiring the Facebook and Twitter fan pages to be basketball-exclusive (Ohio State has 1,135,676 likes, but only 18,042 fans of the Basketball team). This is the biggest upset throughout the tournament.
• The West is easily the weakest bracket. Memphis is able to wiggle their way into a Final 4 appearance, despite the fact that Syracuse, UNC, Gonzaga and UConn all have stronger rankings- luck of the draw!
• This year’s biggest buzzer beater was the closest match up we’ve seen in the history of Schwartz MSL’s SMPR- Memphis topped Mizzou in the Elite 8 with a difference of .002.
• Two members of the Schwartz MSL Research Group, @mcclennan and @kphalan, swear Syracuse will do better in the Dance.
The Top 10 by Social Media Power Ranking:
• Kansas- 5.244
• Duke- 4.577
• UNC- 3.957
• WVU- 3.307
• Gonzaga- 3.165
• Syracuse- 2.811
• UConn- 2.205
• Memphis- 1.832
• Mizzou- 1.830
• Michigan State- 1.650
Posted by Bill Bode on March 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM
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Today was my last full day at SxSW and it was once again filled with great discussions. For once I decided to forgo payments panels, and spent more of my time in panels that discussed B2B social media as well as a panel on brand journalism, and yes, one on the future of money.
The brand journalism panel and B2B panels were filled with a lot of insight and tips that will be of interest to our B2B clients and to B2B communications professionals.
First, it is clear that B2B companies are embracing content marketing. According to a survey from Marketing Profs, 49% of companies plan to increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months. The two biggest content challenges these companies face are: 41% their content is not engaging enough and 20% have trouble producing enough content. As trusted advisors, communications professionals need to find ways to help our clients overcome both of these challenges.
This brand journalism panel, and a solo presentation from Tim Washer, Cisco’s Senior Manager of Social Media, hit on a key issue: B2B companies need to remember to talk to people in a human way.
B2B purchasing decisions are made both on facts and emotions. If you sell on just speeds and feeds in a competitive market, you are at a competitive disadvantage. Communicators need to keep this in mind and call out the human elements inherent in any story.
Following are four other key insights it took from the panels today:
- Gamification is everywhere and is starting to be used to drive B2B engagement. When people hear about gamification they tend to think of consumer brands, Foursquare badges or Scvngr. But Cisco has added badges to at least some of its blogs. Now visitors can receive badges for visiting the blogs, leaving their first comment, leaving 10 comments, Tweeting the blog post, etc. This is a great step. It is an easy and focused incentive to drive the business outcomes a company desires (engagement and awareness). IBM and Xerox also spoke about how they are using gamification, with IBM using it internally to drive activity and identify those most passionate about social media.
- Re-examine how you gather registration information. Cisco and other B2B companies are using Facebook and OpenID to enable social login. Why does this matter? Since Cisco implemented it, they have seen a 40 percent reduction in cost and 20 percent increase in registration.
- B2B Needs to embrace video – If your B2B company is not yet using video as part of its communications strategy you are missing great opportunities. Here is a great video from Cisco about how it is helping in Africa. It does a great job humanizing the story and moving it beyond the basics.
- Look at humor. This one is near and dear to my heart as I do standup comedy in my spare time, and understand the power of humor in business. Humor in B2B can engage your prospects and customers. It is a positive emotion, humanizes the brand, builds goodwill and cuts through the noise. If you don’t have the budget, go to a film school and ask the professor for his best seniors. Offer them an internship and $1000 if you end up using their final product. One example of humor in action comes from this Cisco Valentine’s video. It has almost 200,000 views and drove coverage in the New York Times, Network World, Light Reading and other outlets. See it here.
If B2B communicators start doing just one of these things that they may not be doing today, they will help their brand prosper and their communications programs deliver greater ROI.
The five most quotable observations from Monday at SxSW:
- Content is the new black
- Your B2B story may not be good enough for TV, but it is good enough for YouTube, your clients and prospects
- Information without analysis in the information age is as valuable as stone in the stone age
- We make things complex because frequently we are too insecure to be simple. But look at Apple. Simplicity sells.
- Question conventional wisdom. For Trulia, blogs about sports figures drove 3x the traffic as those about celebrities
, brand ambassadors
, brand journalism
, social media
Posted by Mark McClennan on at 12:10 AM
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In a guest post last week, Kitty Weldon, principal analyst for Enterprise Mobility Services at Current Analysis, offered her predictions on the iPad and BYOD. In the second part of our series, Kitty now shares her insight on mobile apps and telecom expense management.
While smartphones and tablets are becoming “must haves” for all mobile workers, how will enterprises keep telecom expenses in check as remote workers rack up increasing data and voice bills?
Telecom Expense Management (TEM) solutions have been available from platform vendors and their service provider partners for a long time to help optimize voice and data plans and show usage patterns. There were indications in 2011 that WiFi and “FMC” solutions, which can route mobile calls over wireline networks or WLANs, are finally gaining traction. Companies such as iPass and initiatives such as HotSpot 2.0 are making the WiFi experience more consistent and readily available, so that roaming employees can save money (on both voice and data) without the hassle of finding and paying separately for access to public WiFi hotspots.
AT&T just announced that there were a billion connections over its US and global hotspots in 2011, with a 350% increase in connections from the previous year. Even though the EU is mandating caps for voice and data roaming charges, there is more work to be done in 2012 (including the continuation of global partnerships such as the Freemove Alliance) to ensure that international travel does not negatively affect mobile budgets.
Mobile apps are all the rage for consumers, and often of great value to businesspeople as well. We asked Kitty for her thoughts on HTML5 Web apps, vs. native apps vs. hybrid apps; enterprise-developed apps vs. outsourced development vs. mobile application platforms/MEAPs.
When you compare approaches to app development, the lower development costs, larger target market and easier accessibility of HTML5 web apps are often contrasted to the potential for deeper integration with native enablers and other applications on a particular device platform. This debate will only get hotter in 2012, as mobile apps for the business sector become a focus of hungry developers looking for the next “new” market and hungry service providers looking to further monetize mobility services.
Once apps are developed using these approaches, they still have to be delivered and managed on an ongoing basis. Now that everything can be delivered from the cloud, there are choices to be made between enterprise server-based and hosted mobile application services that may leverage Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs).
The rise of the enterprise app store was also a big theme in 2011. A number of MDM providers are making basic app store enablement part of their platforms, but service providers are also developing (or accruing through partnerships) sets of horizontal and vertical applications (generally offered as a service) that may only require slight customization. This enterprise app store evolution will continue in a big way in 2012.
Read more about Kitty’s outlook for apps and TEM in her report, “Enterprise Mobility Services: Top Ten Trends for 2012,” available from Current Analysis. Next in part three: Kitty shares her predictions on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications.
, Current Analysis
, Kitty Weldon
, telecom expense management
Posted by Joe Palladino on March 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM
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Today was a great day at SxSW. I had the pleasure of attending three different sessions on payments and mobile wallets, one on the future of retail and a most inspiring session that looked at updating classic iconic ads for today’s technology.
I was prepared to write a very payments-focused post. But as I was thinking about today, I realize the key lessons for PR and business professionals transcend the payments market. Every presenter today, in their own way, was talking about convergence.
What do I mean?
Too often communications, marketing and business professionals think about communications and sales channels. Despite our best efforts we silo our thoughts. What does mobile allow us to do for payments, what business use can we get from mobile devices, what is the future of digital video?
While that thinking is important, it can also be limiting. It was expressed in different ways on the different panels, but it came down to a few observations.
Mobile payments isn’t about payments. If all you think about is taking a contactless card and putting it on a smartphone, you are missing the bigger opportunity and the market won’t grow. Isis is taking it a step further and realizing that for mobile to succeed it needs to be better, faster and cheaper. As I discussed yesterday, they are betting on loyalty, security and a better shopping experience to be the growth drivers.
But the discussion at the FutureShop panel made me realize there is more to it than what even Isis is saying. We need convergence and to see how all the channels can work best together. The retailers on this panel were nowhere near as optimistic about NFC as the payments players in other sessions. But they saw an even bigger picture. Convenience and loyalty offers are great. But that is just looking at one side of the opportunity. When retailers configure their stores to take advantage of mobile technology, it will prosper. The speakers gave examples of one company that had a scavenger hunt like game that lead people through the store to daily specials. These retailers see the iPhone turning into the helpful sales clerk of years gone by.
Seth Priebatsch of Scvngr challenged the status quo, but he added another piece to the puzzle. With loyalty blending with analytics businesses and communicators can adjust consumer shopping habits using game theory. In Philadelphia they ran a 45-day test that showed rainy days correlated to significantly less restaurant revenue. So they designed dynamic deals to encourage people to visit a restaurant on rainy days and saw a significant business lift.
It is only by putting the wallet vision of ISIS together with the bricks and mortar innovations of Future Shop and some of Scvngr’s futuristic ideas that we truly can see the shape of the future of mobile payments come together. Without all three perspectives, without the gestalt of the different perspectives the success will not be complete.
This transcends payments. This is a lesson that communications professionals should take to heart. We need to make sure we are not narrowing our vision to influencer channels, social media strategy or analyst relations. Sure those can drive results. But we need to look not just at how they work together and challenge ourselves to find at new ways in which they can work together.
Google and Coke did just that with projectrebrief.com (along with other brands). The project updated four iconic ads for today’s mediums.
The premise was powerful, yet simple. We don’t want to do social media campaign. We want to do a campaign that is social. What Coke did is amazing. They made it possible for someone to actually send the world a Coke. Consumers could record a video on the site, and send a free Coke to a number of machines around the world. Someone would receive your message in less than 90 seconds (after it was reviewed for content) and could then thank you. You would receive that video a minute later.
It is powerful. It is social and it harnesses physical, digital and social channels to create a result much greater than the sum of the individual parts. More communicators need to think like that. If we do so, our programs will be much more compelling, we will gain better understanding of consumers and drive greater business results.
So join me in always looking for ways to advance convergence. We won’t regret it.
It was so popular yesterday, I decided to end with it again today. The five most quotable observations from Sunday at SxSW:
- Pharma is not bad. Pharma is probably going to save your life
- Security is not a selling point for consumers. Criminals will find ways, and consumers think the phone is less secure even if it is more secure.
- We are on the precipice of shopper 3.0 – The combination of Wed, brick & mortar, and mobile.
- Tools today are an extension of our mental, not physical self. The shape of technology tools has changed dramatically over time, this is not the case with many physical tools.
- If you want to drive consumer engagement, get people to look forward, not back.
If you have any questions in this post, leave a comment or tweet me at @mcclennan to meet up at SxSWi.
Tags: mobile marketing
, social media
Posted by Mark McClennan on at 12:37 AM
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Saturday at SxSW was much more interesting than Friday. I had the pleasure of attending a very wide range of panels. The topics included strategic communications, Dad bloggers, enterprise social media, the future of mobile wallets, a comedian/activist keynote, and a look inside Joss Whedon’s head. The panels were a mix of both aspirational visions and cautionary tales.
The sessions were all great learning experiences, but they present something of a challenge. How do you blend parenting lessons from Leviticus with social analytics and loyalty programs? While many of these sessions merit their own posts (and will likely get them in the future), I wanted to focus on overarching themes that I noticed.
I would say there were two key takeaways from these sessions.
- Destroy the labels
- Know who you are
From the Mmbile wallet to NFC Chips to Dad bloggers, people and companies are too often failing to reach their full potential because they are succumbing to easy labelization. Don’t get me wrong, there is immense power in the study of groups and flocking, but if you too quickly group someone, you may come to the wrong conclusion or miss opportunities. I saw that time and time again today.
This is particularly insidious when it comes to Mom bloggers. Mom bloggers are too often defined by who they are rather than who they write about. Very few “Dad” and “Mom” bloggers blog about parenting. They are parents who blog. A mom blogger who writes about beer or food, should not be lumped in the same category as one who writes about technology or parenting. I personally have seen too many companies make this mistake. The lists created by influencer tools may serve as a good start, but influencers are not Oreos. Each is unique and needs to be understood and communicated with in context.
The same lesson applies to the mobile wallet. First of all, there is a blurring between mobile wallet and P2P payments and this line needs to be clearly understood. It also applies to enterprise social media when “employees” are lumped together as one audience as companies roll out solutions. Some of the best advice from IBM today was to understand what your corporate culture is like and what tools employees use to work and to communicate, and enhance those existing tools rather than make everyone conform to new tools. If you try to force people to do something they do not want to do, you will end up with an empty wiki, upset employees and wasted budget.
The second point is to know who you are. If you have a niche, carve it out. Just don’t let others put you in that niche.
Isis in the digital wallet space seems to clearly know this. They understand that in order to convince people to move away from contactless cards and Mag Stripe they need to offer more to retailers and merchants. They are betting their success on the premise that bringing loyalty cards and coupons into an integrated whole to provide consumers savings and convenience; and providing retailers a chance to impact consumer purchasing behavior before a transaction will push them over the edge. (That and retailers being penalized by the issuers if they do not adopt NFC by 2015).
I am not sure I agree with them completely, and I know not everyone in the audience did. Consumers have shown amazing willingness to stay with what works. As one panelist pointed out, 10 years ago the cover of Card Transactions was “Mobile Commerce is Ready for Takeoff” and we are still discussing its pending rise today. Additionally, consumers have shown a willingness to have multiple loyalty cards and apps, and there are other alternatives to impact pre-shopping behavior today (such as eGiftcards – technology from a client of mine - and location based deals).
The audience definitely did not all agree about the easy path of NFC. My most popular tweet of the day was “NFC being positioned as the Borg. Do not resist. You will be assimilated.”
Knowing who you are also helped many companies in the first panel I attended of the day. The reaction to Zappos’ data breach was much less negative than most breaches of its type. That was because Zappos quickly communicated in a way that was appropriate for its customers.
This post is getting long, so I want to wrap it up with the five most quotable observations of the day:
- Before you make a critical business decision, ask yourself – what would John Stewart say about it?
- Great ideas are not always great and not always well received.
- Bloggers have more influence over purchasing decisions than traditional celebrity endorsers do
- 48% of B2B CEOs say social media helped generate qualified leads
- Voice of customer research is not for validation, it is for discovery
, financial services
, social media
Posted by Mark McClennan on March 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM
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If today’s registration line is any indication, SxSW Interactive is going to be more popular than ever. Despite coming at an off time, registration still took more than 90 minutes – more than I ever had to wait at CES or COMDEX in its prime.
True to SxSWi though, the time was not wasted. While in line, I had great conversations about the future of interactive marketing, the rise of mobile payments, better uses of technology to aid elections and those suffering in Africa, and the five major design flaws found in most socks today (who knew?).
Based on my (admittedly small) sampling from the first day of the show two of the most prominent themes already at the conference are:
1) The transformative rise of mobile payments
2) The evolution of content
Financial services technology has always had a strong, but limited presence at the show in previous years. But between Isis’ prominent sponsorship to the 13 scheduled sessions looking at mobile wallets or mobile payments, financial technology discussions are becoming much more mainstream. It’s interesting to look at the dichotomy of the sessions’ focus. They range from “The Payment Revolution is Coming” to “How the wallet was won.” There is a very divergent set of perspectives on this topic. Personally, I disagree with both. The payments revolution has been underway for some time and the wallet is most assuredly not won. Expect me to blog more about it in the coming days.
Theme two: Content. This goes beyond Content is King. People are discussing new ways of using content to engage. I had a great 60 minute conversation with a USA Today executive about their new iPad app and new ways they are looking to leverage and use content. There were a few interesting debates on the form of content (video was the most discussed, followed by a debate on how not to lose the richness of language and its ability to subtly shift perceptions as we move to microbite creation and consumption).
All in all, a good first day at the show.
Like anyone, I realize my impressions at SxSW are shaped by the relatively small number of people I had the pleasure of speaking with. I thought it might make sense to take a step back and look at what the overall conversation trends were today:
Over the past day there were more than 140,000 tweets and blog posts about SxSW (98% were tweets). To put this in perspective, the social media volume around SxSW far exceeds that of the recent Mobile World Congress or RSA:
The discussion is relatively fragmented. The only tech brand to break into the top discussion word cloud is Nokia, thanks to its foursquare badge. Most of the discussion is what you would expect, with people surprisingly upbeat despite the rain.
What are your thoughts so far?
Tags: content marketing
, Content Rules
, social media
Posted by Mark McClennan on March 10, 2012 at 2:01 AM
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What new technologies and philosophies will dominate mobile-minded IT leaders this year and at the upcoming CTIA show? We asked Kitty Weldon, principal analyst for Enterprise Mobility Services at Current Analysis, to share her insight. In a three-part series, Kitty will forecast what we can expect to see in topics ranging from mobile apps to M2M.
In this post, Kitty discusses the rapid adoption of tablets in the enterprise. 2011 is often referred to as “the year of the tablet.” In Kitty’s report, “Enterprise Mobility Services: Top Ten Trends for 2012,” she notes that it was perhaps more accurately the year of the iPad. In fact, her #1 prediction for 2012 is the further expansion of tablets into the enterprise. We asked, “How will tablets play a bigger role in business, and which devices are likely to challenge the iPad’s dominance?”
While the iPad 2 became a popular business accessory (with a number of notable duds among Apple competitors), tablets have been driving mobile business applications, especially in retail and health care verticals. While smartphone applications are also improving, the bigger screen makes a tablet a better computing device, empowering sales and marketing efforts and allowing a much more effective display of all kinds of information, including charts, medical images, and product demos. Tablets are now being used in some cases as laptop replacements. There are also specialized MDM and security software and services offered by software vendors and mobile operators to protect enterprises from threats and data loss.
Another big market for tablets is education. Apple just introduced iBooks textbooks, which can be kept up-to-date automatically and offer interactive elements and unique navigation and study aids. 2012 may be the make-or-break year for Android tablets to finally emerge as desirable platforms, and for Microsoft/Nokia to meaningfully re-enter the mobile device fray with Windows 8 tablets (and Windows Phone smartphones). Right now, the tablets that are selling well are tied to broader ecosystems of content (iTunes and Amazon) or tablet-specific apps (Apple’s App Store).
Ultrabooks have also emerged as a major new category. They’re designed for mobility, while providing a full size keyboard and a reasonably powerful processor. The success of the Amazon Kindle Fire in the consumer market may also bring it into the business market as BYOD continues as a trend.
BYOD has become one of the hottest terms in IT. However, your research shows that not all enterprises have yet endorsed the practice. Will MDM platforms, dual-persona solutions and employee demand turn the tide for these enterprises?
Current Analysis research on BYOD usage was mixed (not every company is endorsing it; in fact, companies are simultaneously buying more tablets and smartphones for many employees). Service providers and MDM platform vendors focused strongly on “solving” the BYOD “problem” in 2011, with solutions ranging from secure containers, to rules and role-based device management offered as a service, to trials of dual-persona solutions to separate business and personal identities.
2012 will see the maturation of some of these promising solutions and their integration with existing MDM services from service providers. What makes dual persona solutions unique is that they focus as much on empowering the employee with the freedom to use his/her device the way they want, as on the company’s perspective of locking down sensitive data stores from unwarranted reach.
BYOD concerns also spawned an awakening about the importance of mobile security in 2011. While security software vendors are clearly excited about this, wireless operators and IT service providers are also planning a big role in 2012 by rolling out network-based solutions that can provide a range of functionality, including authentication, identity management, AV/firewall/anti-spam, loss and theft protection, VPNs, and on-device encryption. 2012 will see the maturation of some of these promising solutions and their integration with existing MDM services from service providers.
Next in part two of the series: Kitty shares her predictions on telecom expense management and mobile apps.
, Current Analysis
, Kitty Weldon
Posted by Joe Palladino on March 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM
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