Monthly Archives: February 2007

MySpace “Gorilla” Marketing

Buckets of red paint on fur coats. Nude models parading the city streets. Graphic online videos. PETA is one of those organizations that people either love or hate. Such strong passion is a direct result of their intense and controversial marketing campaigns, which usually draw quick media attention. When they market, people notice. PETA is also an organization that has embraced Web 2.0 marketing with great fervor. MySpace, Flickr, YouTube–they’re all over the place. A recent interview with PETA marketing manager Joel Bartlett shed some great light on why Web 2.0 marketing is now the way to go.

So read-up and see what you learn. But no, I’m not suggesting you dump red paint the next time a patron keeps a book out long past it’s due date. (As badly as you may want to…)

An excerpt:

Joel Bartlett:
We’ve had a lot of success on YouTube and other video sharing sites. We’ve had a three-pronged plan for them. Our first step was just getting all our content on the various popular video sharing sites like YouTube, MetaCafe, Break.com, and GoogleVideo. Our goal is for people to find PETA videos whenever and wherever they’re searching for videos online. If someone is searching on YouTube for an interview of their favorite band—say Good Charlotte—they’ll find our interview with band member Billy Martin talking about vegetarianism. Or if they’re searching for John McEnroe, they’ll find his spay and neuter PSA. From just our efforts of posting videos we estimate we’ve received almost 2 million video views.

We also try to harness word of mouth on YouTube, in a few ways. For instance, we encouraged finalists in our “World’s Cutest Vegetarian” contest, run on our youth division Web site peta2.com, to send us videos of themselves asking people to vote for them. We posted the videos on our blog and MySpace profile, and they also promoted them to everyone they knew.

We also recently had a contest on peta2.com asking our Street Team members to create videos of themselves explaining why they went veg and how it’s benefited them. The winning video received over 1,000 votes.

Most recently, we’ve been working to encourage our supporters to upload animal rights videos to their accounts. peta2 just finished a “mission” asking our Street Teamers to do this, with a prize of a digital camera going to the Street Teamer with the most views to a video in the span of three weeks. The winning video received 258,275 views in the first three weeks and is now up to over 320,000 views.”

Read the whole interview.

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The Future of Online Marketing

Marketing Profs released today a “Top Ten” list of online marketing predictions for 2007. Points such as “Great content is king” and “Thoughtful, cause-related marketing is the biggest winner in 2007” suggest that the overwhelming influence of Web 2.0 marketing tools has attracted an informed and sophisticated audience that places a higher emphasis on quality. In other words, bells and whistles are fun, but it’s targeted marketing and substantive user-generated content that will have the strongest effect this year. With so many newsletters, blogs, social networking sites, and YouTube videos out there, it’s the organizations who take the time to create interesting and relevant content that ultimately reap the rewards.

As a clear example of this paradigm, the article contrasts the word-of-mouth influence of “Grey’s Anatomy” fans over those of the movie “Snakes on a Plane.” The former’s fanbase has grown exponentially since the first season “because the content of the show is good enough to keep [nonbelievers] coming back once they’ve heard about it.” On the other side of the spectrum is “Snakes on a Plane,” which had a remarkable “grassroots” following before it was even produced, only to bomb miserably at the box office due to lousy content.

It’s an important lesson to keep in mind when brainstorming and implementing your library’s next viral marketing campaign.

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What’s the buzz?

“Frank, maybe it’s the old-time salesman in me, but I’ve always had one conviction, and that’s this: when you’re trying to sell an idea, I don’t care how complicated or what it may be, you’ll never find a more effective instrument of persuasion than the living human voice.”

Richard Yates, “Revolutionary Road,” 1961

A few years ago, I was introduced to BzzAgent, an innovative Word-of-Mouth (WOM) marketing company that works to spread the word about new products by allowing users to try them.

As BzzAgents (My agent name is “Nandita”), we are essentially agents of “cool” within our various social networks. Using IM messages, e-mails, casual conversation, and other indirect and direct methods of communication, we are encouraged to “buzz” about the products that we try out. One of the cornerstones of the BzzAgent Code of Conduct is that they’ve always encouraged honesty and transparency among it’s users; that is, if it turns out that we don’t like a product or are not happy with aspects of it, we are encouraged to talk about that too. This level of honesty ultimately makes this type of marketing stronger, because it gives creedence to your word and allows others to trust your opinion.

BzzAgent was founded in 2001, and has since evolved into a powerful force in the marketing industry. In just 6 years, the company has recruited more than 250,000 “agents” (all volunteer), and worked on more than 250 WOM campaigns.

When I first joined, I was attracted by the idea of trying out free products. Over the years, however, I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the philosophy of WOM marketing, as well as the process itself. Their site is actually quite exciting, and I encourage you to check it out as a source of inspiration. It’s chock full of quotes, research, and case studies that demonstrate the power of marketing through conversation. It’s an interesting example of just what can happen when you harness the power of word of mouth.

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No benefits, but you can work in your pajamas

The Wall Street Journal turned its critical eye towards the blogosphere today with an analysis and breakdown of blogging as a career. It noted that some top bloggers can bring in “between $2,000 and $10,000 a month from ad sales.” Bloggers set their own hours and some of the top “breaking news” bloggers report working between 40 and 60 hours a week. It also identifies blogging as a bit more than just a career, quoting a media blogger who calls it “an obsession” and admits to the guilt he feels when he goes a few days without posting.

The WSJ also sheds light on how easy it is for anyone to become a blogger and points out that patience is key toward establishing any kind of an audience. It notes that “most bloggers start out using free Web sites such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com” and that it takes “at least six months to build readership and clout in the blogosphere.” They recommend picking a topic that you are passionate about (such as libraries!), because you will spend quite a bit of time writing about it. While the article acknowledges that “a background in journalism or communications helps,” it also states that it really isn’t required.

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