I spent the day today at the Nielsen CGM Summit in NY listening to some panels and presentations from Nielsen and many of their clients about the future of measuring CGM. One thing I was looking forward to about this event in particular is that the percentage of brands vs. agencies in attendance would be much more favored toward brands. It is sadly ironic when you think about all the events that agency folks attend to basically talk to themselves, while their clients are all interested in (and spending time attending) events on measurement (which few creative folks from agencies would be able to stay awake through). I must admit, I had a bit of a hard time staying awake myself today … but to be fair, that was probably due to my redeye from the west coast to NY last night.
In any case, I managed to stay awake throughout the day long enough to take some notes on some key takeaways from the summit which you will find below. I also had the chance to meet several folks in person that I have been reading or known from afar, including Peter Kim, Henry Copeland, and Emanuel Rosen (author of The Anatomy of Buzz). Though some of the "wonder of Nielsen" presentations that I expected throughout the day ran a bit long (not yours, Pete!) – overall the day was a great deep dive into all the ways we can and should be measuring. As one speaker shared earlier in the day, "media is not an island" and is interconnected as consumers watch and interact with messages across mediums. Marketers may be specialists in one particular channel (TV, Online, Mobile, WOM, etc.) … but consumers are most definitely becoming experts in all of them and use them concurrently.
Anyway, here are some key notes and insights I took away from the event:
- Influencers are emailers. There was an interesting data point in one of the presentations that said that 55% of people who were considered "speakers" (those who share opinions vocally) have emailed directly to a company about a product that they liked. This was a big insight throughout the day, as it indicated that brands seeking their influencers may simply need to listen more closely to the feedback they are already getting.
- CGM generates powerful insights, not just influential voices to "target" – In response to a question from Max, I shared this point of view during the recap of the day and it was something that came up repeatedly throughout the morning. Listening to CGM can drive strategy if you find the gaps which you can use CGM and social media to solve. One example I shared was using CGM to find the conversation about Julian Beever (a sidewalk chalk artist) before we started our Fountain of Youth program for Aveeno. We learned that there was lots of discussion online where people wanted to see more of his images and know how he does it. So we created a Flickr gallery of all his images and a video of him drawing to rave reviews online.
- Buzzphrase #1: Consumer Fortified Media – This was a new concept that Pete introduced in his presentation about how brands are putting their commercial messages online (like Dove Evolution), and consumers are talking about them and adding credibility to these messages, thus making them fortified. Of course, there is a handy acronym for this as well: CFM. (I suppose it could be CFM2 when those commercial messages are for products already "fortified" … um, like Fruit Loops).
- A new reason 2008 Superbowl ads will be better than the game – The guy from Fox Interactive shared that next year Fox has a deal with the NFL to create an official site where the 30 second spots will be accompanied by "long form video." The smart marketers will take the chance to create "making of" secondary ads around their $3 million Superbowl spots. Not sure how CGM plays a part here (unless lots of brands do the "you can create our Superbowl ad" thing again), but I still thought this idea of extending the most watching ads in the world with long form content behind them is a great concept. Maybe worth an idea bar post at some point …
- "Getting out of the way" is a strategy – During the panel where media brands shared what they believe will happen in 2010, the guy from CBS talked about the things that they are doing and noted a significant moment where a random user placed a clip from Letterman where he interviewed Paris Hilton on YouTube and the clip got millions of views. His point … we didn’t go after him, which signifies a great case study. I loved the irony that getting out of the way is now considered a strategy. Actually, sometimes it’s the best one.
- Buzzphrase #2: Consumer Emulation – In this second concept from Pete’s presentation early in the day, he talked about how we are in the midst of a wave of "consumer emulation." Citing examples like the JetBlue and Mattel CEOs addressing the public as if they were doing consumer produced Youtube videos, or politicians and celebs who have Facebook or MySpace pages – the point he made is that the pros are sometimes emulating the amateurs. And of course, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t …
- It’s not about volume anymore – The great conflict with how brands used to purchase media to buy influence online versus how they do now is that tricky measure of CPMs. When you are buying in blocks of thousands of impressions, it is impossible to say you are not buying volume. Yet as many marketers noted today, less is really becoming more. One thought I shared is that sponsorships of blogs and social media sites that are persistent can offer a much higher value, but not measured in terms of page views, but rather in terms of brand perception.
- The silo-fication of marketing remains a barrier – Many of the brands that participated in the day were large ones, and all seemed to struggle with similar issues when it comes to ownership. This was not about the typical debate on whether blogs belong in corporate comm, or product development, or marketing, etc. The silos on a macro level are those between marketing/communications, customer service, product testing, and other large divisions. In many large organizations, these groups are in geographically disparate locations. CGM may be a brilliant place to gather insight, but if the marketing team who gets the blog monitoring reports isn’t sharing them with product development, or the customer service team who is speaking with a blogger doesn’t share that information with marketing … the power of CGM is never realized.