Archive for June, 2011

Indian firms using social media to get business

Dileep Athavale, TNN | Jun 8, 2011, 05.13pm IST

PUNE: There is a marked rise in use of social media by businesses worldwide as a tool to win new business, a recent study has found. An increasing number of Indian companies are using social media as an effective business tool, the study said, adding that 83 per cent firms in India agree that without social media activity, marketing strategies cannot hope to be successful. Globally, 74% companies endorse the view, it said.

Importantly, two fifths (39 per cent) of companies globally and almost half in India (49 per cent) devote up to 20 per cent of their marketing budget to business social networking activity, the study noted. The global Regus survey findings are based on the responses of over 17,000 managers and business owners across 80 countries.

Human resources and workplace solutions company Regus conducted the study which observed that rising awareness among business internationally about social networking which was a nice-to-have part of IT use till recently has moved close to centre stage and become a necessity.

According to the survey, the last year has seen a rise in Indian companies using social networks, blogs, micro-blogs and forums to win new business. In 2010 Regus found that 52 per cent of Indian firms were successfully winning new customers through business social networking activity. A year later, the proportion has risen to 61 per cent. The research also reveals that globally more firms are also using social media to connect and engage with existing customers than a year ago.

There is a rise of 7 per cent in the proportion of businesses successfully recruiting new customers through social networks such as Facebook while 52 percent of businesses globally and 64 per cent in India use websites such as Twitter and Weibo to engage, connect with and inform existing customers, the study observed. In India 67 per cent firms encourage their employees to join social networks such as Linkedin, Xing and Video, compared to 53 per cent globally.

It is still not the end of traditional media though. Indian (66 p.c.) and global firms (61p.c.) are also emphasizing the need for a balance of marketing media, confirming their belief that without a combination of traditional and digital techniques marketing campaigns will not work.

Madhusudan Thakur, Regional Vice-President, South Asia for Regus said, “As businesses emerge from the downturn they are increasingly reconsidering pre-recession working practices and opting for more flexible, competitive strategies. From supply chain management, to leaner working practices, to cloud computing, to increased use of video communications and mobile working no area of business is being overlooked. Particularly in India where Nielsen reports that 3 out of 4 social media users visit a social networking site at least once a day, and a discussion forum once a week, more and more companies are leveraging this channel to increase the loyalty of existing customers, and as a successful acquisition tool.”

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Student cites freedom of speech after suspension for online videos

Article was published on Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 10:53pm

Jack Christie’s videos are the kind of thing you see every day on the Internet. Crudely animated stick figures swear and fire automatic rifles. There are off-colour jokes about everything from race to pedophilia to cocaine. Absurd incidents – such as the assassination of an evil talking mango – seem to happen at random.

But administrators at the Grade 12 student’s Whitby high school were so offended when they found the animations on YouTube last month, they sent him home and called the police. He is being kept out of school during the investigation.

Now, fellow students at Donald A. Wilson Secondary School are demanding the 18-year-old be reinstated, arguing the school overstepped its bounds by meting out punishment for something that happened off campus. Mr. Christie says the administration is stomping on his right to freedom of speech.

“They’ve unfairly judged me and judged my character based on something I made for entertainment,” he said on Wednesday. “I have the right to post videos on the Internet on my own time.”

A spokeswoman for the Durham District School Board refused to discuss the case, citing confidentiality laws, but obliquely explained the school’s actions: “If something is considered detrimental to the positive moral tone of the school, it doesn’t necessarily have to happen inside the school [for us to get involved],” said Andrea Pidwerbecki.

Neither Mr. Christie’s principal nor the superintendent for the area responded to requests from The Globe and Mail for comment.

Mr. Christie created the videos on his laptop for presentations in economics and politics classes over the course of the last school year. Titled Jack Christie Talks to Children, they feature an animated representation of himself leading a pair of kids on adventures and purporting to explain various subjects, such as politics and corporate whistle-blowing.

He said his teachers had no problem with the content – one even lent his voice to an animation – and he didn’t get in trouble until he uploaded the videos to YouTube. He was swiftly given a one-day suspension. A few days later, his principal laid out an ultimatum: Take the videos down or the police would be called. He refused to budge.

Mr. Christie hasn’t been allowed to return to class for a week and is unsure whether he can attend his prom on Friday. He says the school board has not given him the opportunity to defend himself.

Durham Regional Police confirmed the force received a complaint from the principal and his superior. An officer is investigating but has not reached any conclusions.

Donald A. Wilson Secondary School, meanwhile, is abuzz.

“I know that lots of students are talking about it and they’re kind of annoyed,” said Grade 12 student Matt Primeau. “It seems there’s no real reason why Jack’s missed so much school.”

Gavin Russell, prime minister of the student government, gathered scores of signatures on a petition supporting Mr. Christie before two staff members warned him that, if he continued, he could also face punishment.

Mr. Russell said he understands administrators’ concern about the videos being shown in class, but suggests they over-reacted by trying to stop them being put online.

“I don’t think they did the right thing in giving him an indefinite suspension based on videos he made at home that weren’t under their jurisdiction,” he said.

Richard Rosenberg, a civil-liberties advocate and professor emeritus in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Computer Science, said there is no clearly-defined line on how far a school can regulate student activity off-campus.

“You might tell a student that it is offensive, but I don’t think I would go so far as to suspend or to demand students apologize or take it down,” he said.

Mr. Christie, meanwhile, has protested against the situation with another video. In it, he speaks directly to school officials through his cartoon avatar.

“We live in a nation where freedom of expression and media is considered a staple of our constitution,” he says. “I have the right to say and advertise whatever … I want, and I hope that today’s bunch of 17- and 18-year-olds are smart enough to understand that it’s all comedy and nothing more.”

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New Tool Promises to Put Social-Media ROI on Same Footing as Traditional Media

By: Jack Neff

Social media has struggled for years to demonstrate return on investment on the same analytical playing field as more established media. Now, Marketing Evolution, which has been working on cross-media analytics for more than a decade, is joining with media planning software provider Telmar to release an ROI tool they say will do just that.

The companies will unveil the Telmar Matterhorn ROI tool, which became available earlier this week for early clients including Interpublic’s Universal McCann, during a presentation at Federated Media Publishing’s Conversational Marketing Summit June 6, the start of Internet Week in New York. That’s fitting, said Marketing Evolution CEO Rex Briggs, because a statement by Federated’s executive chairman, John Battelle, at a conference last year prompted development of the new tool.

“He lamented the fact that there was no way you could put the investment you were making in social media side by side with your TV investments or even digital display to figure out where you should be investing more or how much,” Mr. Briggs said. At that point, Mr. Briggs said he turned to Rick Brunner, a Doubleclick and Google veteran and longtime internet marketing analyst who has headed Marketing Evolution’s work on the project, and said, “We’ve got the data to do that. Why don’t we solve that?”

Mr. Briggs has been conducting cross-media effectiveness analysis with a wide variety of marketers for more than 10 years, adding new media in along the way as they emerge. The Telmar Matterhorn service will be based on data collected in working with clients such as as Unilever, Coca-Cola Co., Nestle, MTV, Time Warner and EA, among others. Inner workings of how the TMR tool evaluates media will be open for inspection, Mr. Briggs said, and open to addition of new media as they emerge.

“A lot of social media, search and digital advertising models just don’t follow the traditional reach and frequency and cost-per-thousand framework that media-planning tools have been using for decades,” he said.

In fairness, marketing-mix modeling now used by many big advertisers already can analyze sales impact from just about any marketing input, given sufficient levels of spending and a sufficiently well-defined time horizon. The problem, however, is that lower levels of spending for digital and social media often get swamped by the impact of higher-reach media, and earned media such as social and PR don’t always work on the same predictable schedule as paid media.

Also, not every campaign has as its objective an immediate sale, often focusing further toward the fat end of the so-called purchase funnel. Mr. Briggs points, for example, to automotive marketing that may aim to get a brand into consideration for a purchase that may not take place for years.

To address this problem, Marketing Evolution years ago began analyzing campaigns based on objectives often besides sales — such as changes in survey responses regarding what brands consumers are considering.

The TMR tool will look at “basically for every dollar you spend, how many people do you influence on whatever that business objective is — building awareness, changing a brand position, generating purchase intent or generating sales,” Mr. Briggs said.

Analyzing much of digital advertising isn’t so different than traditional, given that it operates on similar reach and frequency data and often similar pricing schemes, he said. But social media and other earned media, that is, public relations, depart from those norms in two key ways.

The costs are often structured very differently, with much of it coming in the form of relatively fixed salary or fee costs for internal or agency staff to, say, run a social media monitoring command center, Mr. Briggs said. Traditional analysis tools also often fail to count all or some of the pass-along effect of social media.

Lack of any ROI norms may have been OK when social-media marketing was still in its infancy and considered experimental, he said. But now the discipline has been around a few years — at least in its toddlerhood — and increasingly expected to stand on its own two feet.

“Earned media and the people curating it probably need to be held a bit more accountable today,” Mr. Briggs said.

Seemingly, such programs would have such a short history and wide range of reach, pass along and impact that it would be difficult to predict outcomes based on past experience, which is how the Telmar Matterhorn ROI tool works for other media. But that hasn’t been the case, Mr. Briggs said.

“What we began to see pretty quickly is that there is a range of results just like with any advertising,” he said. “Some TV ads are better than others. Some programs are more conducive to social sharing than others. But there are absolutely common patterns and averages. One thing we can do is say if you spend $100,000 or $1 million, what should you be expecting to get back as results? If you’re not getting these levels, the budget should really trade over to be invested somewhere else.”

At the same time, other ads in traditional media also generate social-media pass along that needs to be calculated, and draw on some of that investment in things like social-media monitoring, Mr. Briggs said. TMR can account for that, but, he said, more important, it aims to calculate the combined impact of media elements, including their synergy, rather than viewing them entirely in isolation.


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