Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Does It Take to Crowdfund?

What does it mean when an attempt to crowdfund a book about crowdfunding fails miserably?

That is exactly what happened recently on Kickstarter.  While most people have been laughing at and throwing money at the latest hot project for an Ostrich Pillow, the project called Crowdfunding: a Guide to What Works and Why only raised about 10% of its goal before its eventual cancellation.

So what does it take to crowdfund successfully?

When examining the differences between the Ostrich Pillow and the Crowdfunding book, one of the major differences is the quality of the homepage video.  Sure, there are other differences, but how important is a professional, modern, and cool video?

Coincidentally, I launched a new crowdfunding campaign of my own.  It's on Indiegogo and it's a project to create a communal closet of sports jerseys.  I've attempted to make the video funny, but I chose not to include actual footage of the project owners.  Is that a mistake? I'm not sure... but we'll know in 31 days!

-- Interested in talking about videos?
Contact Michael at Melmed Media 


Apple's Cook Recommends Bing Maps, Could Shift Ad Dollars from Google to Microsoft

An interesting article discussing the recent Apple iOS 6 Maps debacle, suggesting that Apple CEO Tim Cook's apology to customers and subsequent recommendation of Bing rather than Google as a maps alternative could potentially shift advertising revenue to Microsoft at Google's expense. Although most Apple users still use Google as the primary search tool on their iPhones, and relatively little advertising revenue comes via maps, this nevertheless brings up an interesting competitive dynamic. Given the intense rivalry between Apple and Google, and Microsoft's struggle to gain market share in the online search industry, a potential partnership between Apple and Microsoft could prove formidable even against Google's massive 66% market share in search.

-Linda L.


Boehringer Ingelheim debuts pharma game ‘Syrum’ Facebook

I find this article really interesting not only because I interned at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) this summer, but also because this game represents a bold move by a pharmaceutical company to gain some presence in a social media platform.  In general, any content a pharma company promotes on the internet or via social media is risky, since the FDA has not published (and most likely will not ever publish) guidelines for pharma companies in the digital space.  In any event, It looks like BI is endeavoring to have consumers understand the opportunities and challenges facing pharma companies.  Although I haven’t played the game yet, it looks like fun!  Here is a description of it:

Grab your lab coats, the health of the world is in your hands!

Syrum is a one-of-a-kind social Facebook game based on developing pharmaceutical medicines over a 100 year period from the 1950's to the 2050's. The game was created by Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies.


mobile advertising - company revenue and market share breakout and projetions

This is a TechCrunch article from earlier in September.  It contains market research from eMarketer on mobile advertising spend.  These were the most striking points:

1) US net mobile ad revenues will be about $2.6b in 2012, growing to $6.6b in 2014. This is some pretty amazing growth in an already fairly large market!

2) Google has had a bit over 50% of market share for mobile advertising, and probably will maintain that position for the next few years.  This is thanks largely to Google's near total dominance in mobile search.  The display and SMS segments of the market will be more fragmented.

3) Pandora and Twitter are the numbers 2 and 3 for mobile advertising revenue for 2011 and 2012, although Facebook will overtake both in 2013 for the number 2 spot.  There are two reasons why Facebook hasn't caught up yet, despite its size. First, Facebook got started much later than Pandora and Twitter, so its 2012 numbers really only reflect half a year of revenue. Second, Facebook's mobile layout is just less suitable for advertising.


What SEO can do for you...

As a small business owner, I have had first-hand experience with the challenge of having to first establish a company website, then drive traffic there to promote my company's business profile and services.  I am principal partner and VP of Personnel & Operations for the Sloan Sports Group, Inc., an agency that provides contract negotiation, management, and concierge services for professional athletes.  We started our company in 2005, and in 2007 we decided to create an online presence to promote our services to our potential clients and business partners.

Our first foray into the online marketing arena was a self-designed site using Earthlink's basic webpage development and hosting tools.  This site was rather pedestrian in terms of graphic design, but it was effective in conveying our company's mission, services, and the unique aspects of our business offering.  As the size of our client roster and the quality of our business network grew over the next year, we determined that we needed to invest in a more robust, more polished presence reflective of our company's loftier pursuits.  So we enlisted San Francisco-based AxiomLogic (, a cradle-to-grave internet solutions provider, to design and host our upgraded website.  After 3 months in development, our vastly improved internet offering rolled off AxiomLogic's assembly line in March 2011.   The website, which is still hosted on AxL's servers, is located at

AxL has shown its proficiency at understanding website design for search engine optimization, an impressive feat considering it is a fellow small business and not a brand-name SEO firm.  Since shortly after its inception up until today, our company's webpage remains the first link listing to come up in searches of the term "Sloan Sports Group" using the Google, Bing, and Yahoo engines.  Likewise, a search of the more generic "Sloan Sports" term using the Big Three puts our webpage second only to the more widely known MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, an annual gathering of tech-savvy sports industry insiders that started in 2007.  (We certainly don't mind any happenstance traffic that may come to our site from sports-minded Curious Georges originally surfing the web for those guys.)

By virtue of our enhanced online presence and its favorable SEO characteristic, Sloan Sports Group has been able to utilize internet marketing to increase consumer and business partner confidence in our ability to sustain a profitable enterprise in the dog-eat-dog world of athlete representation. Our webpage -- designed and powered by one of Silicon Valley's best kept secrets -- has proven an effective branding tool for promoting the unique mission, values, and objectives of our growing company.


Volvo Goes Viral With a Marketing "Stunt"

Most people think of Volvo as the maker of the "safest cars on the road." However, in this recent commercial produced for the web known as the "Ballerina Stunt," Volvo aims to highlight the precision of its new model of big-rig trucks which will be sold exclusively in the European market.

In an unconventional digital marketing campaign, Volvo orchestrated a death defying stunt in which world record-holding highliner Faith Dickey walks on a rope between two speeding trucks on a highway. Dickey must cross the rope before the trucks enter a tunnel and the rope snaps.

The video was posted on Aug. 15th and already has over 2 million views. But as we discussed in class, does the Volvo brand message get lost? Is Volvo actually reaping the ROI for the Volvo brand or is this just another popular YouTube video that won't result in more Volvo truck sales?



Digital-ads keep attacking my phone!

Don't you hate it when digital ads keep popping up from all sort of unexpected places? Where you used to click on your notification bar to view your friend's text, suddenly you click and bam - it's an ad! And so that you know, you just unintentionally allowed access to your personal information!

Yes, the smartphone market is growing rapidly, and hence mobile advertising has huge potential. But I feel mobile advertisers have forgotten the essence of digital advertising: to serve rather than to irritate customers. Will they ever get it right?

Sources: The Economist, WSJ


General Mills and Pinterest

As someone who worked in CPG over the summer, I was fascinated to learn about how General Mills was beginning in integrate Pinterest into their marketing campaigns. Fiber One bars have integrated pages where individuals can post images Fiber One bars as a snack option of themselves and their children. Because Pinterest has 87% women, this positioning fits perfectly with Fiber One’s target. Additionally, one of the most commonly photographed categories remains food. Thus, this should help to really drive impressions for Fiber One. It will be interesting to see which other CPG companies have success on this new social media platform.


How H&M, Starbucks and Google Became Centers of Attention on Twitter

AdAge article that shows the interdependence of traditional TV advertising and social media. Companies like H&M and Microsoft have been trending after their new TV ads went on air, teaching us that a 360 strategy is needed to get more eyeballs in both the offline and online world.

See what brands have been trending on twitter here:

How H&M, Starbucks and Google Became Centers of Attention on Twitter

Lana Del Rey Commercials Did the Trick for H&M

Last week Ad Age and our editorial partner Bluefin Labsstarted ranking the brands generating the biggest lifts in buzz on Twitter -- but with added insight into the role played by national TV advertising and integrations. This week's ranking shows why that's important for brands to understand.
H&M, for example, won a big bump in its Twitter mentions by virtue of a new commercial starring singer Lana Del Rey. The spot had the greatest impact on brand conversation among the chart's top 10 brands, Bluefin found.
AARP also got far more mentions on Twitter than it usually does, but because of the reaction when Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president, addressed the group's annual convention on Friday.
Microsoft saw a major lift in Twitter chatter too. Its national TV advertising did play a part, Bluefin found. But a good portion also owed to the security advisory and patch that Microsoft issued over a vulnerability in Internet Explorer.
And Google can thank Apple for its increase in buzz on Twitter. "Google spiked as a result of the new Apple iOS update's lack of Google Maps, replaced by Apple Maps," Bluefin explained.


Internet-Media Employment Fuels Digital Job Growth

Slumping economy? New job creation in dire need? Internet-media businesses are one of the growing areas to look to!

Internet media this year became the media industry's second-largest employment sector (after newspaper) according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. As of July 2012, approximately 16% of people employed in the U.S. media industry now work for internet-media businesses, according to Ad Age's analysis.

Employment at U.S. internet-media businesses in July surpassed staffing in broadcast TV. Over the course of the last couple of years, internet-media employment surpassed passed magazines, radio and cable TV.

The only U.S. media sector with more employees is newspapers. It is worth mentioning that newspapers, over the past year, have slashed an average of 1,400 jobs a month while internet-media businesses have added about 400 jobs a month. Employment at U.S. internet-media businesses has increased 54% from its pre-recession level. 

There is a nice graphic on the link below that shows the various media types’ job shares of the overall media industry over the last 5 years.


The Next Generation Ad Opportunity? Your Twitter Wallpaper!

This week, People StyleWatch, the fashion and shopping spinoff of People magazine, redesigned the background wallpaper of its Twitter page into an ad for Jergens Daily Moisture. This is a relatively new development given that media brands on Twitter usually utilize the background to promote themselves, or in other cases, nothing at all.

This was the first time People StyleWatch has used its Twitter profile page in this manner. The Jergens ad was part of a larger deal with the brand that included print, web and social components.

Commenting on this new development, Twitter said its users are permitted to transform their profile pages into revenue generating ad venues. "The space is the user's to customize, and we encourage them to be clear if they are promoting something there, for money or other consideration," a spokesman said in an email. 


Maybe we should start turning our own facebook pages into ad venues? Kill the cover photo and stick an ad in there?