your social efforts aren't social, are they?

Spectacle Think about it.

  • Your widget - is it a conversation?  Or a tool?
  • Your blog - is it a two way conversation? or a publication?
  • Your "viral video" - is it part of something greater? Or a tactic?
  • Are your listening, monitoring or measuring the conversation? Or none of the above?
  • Your influencer relationships - are they relationships, or paid friendships?
  • Your "blogger outreach" - are you forming a relationship, inviting their participation as a two way street? Or are you sending a form letter pleading for free distribution of your campaign?
  • Are your campaigns executional? Or are they part of a broader relationship-building effort?

The key differentiators:

  • Are you making a statement or participating in a conversation? 
  • Are you:
    • a conversational brand,
    • a social object,
    • a broadcast message or
    • a social enabler?
      • Do your efforts reflect this reality?

The truest test of a brand's commitment to a relationship:
Does your customer support online, on the phone or via mail/email offer to same level of support as your social/twitter team, marketing agency, social agency or pr agency?

Key Takeaway: It's easy to care about a relationship in a silo.  It's much harder to commit to that relationship across the board.

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Like this post? Share it on twitter! http://bit.ly/3wcL4f

Inspired by Joe Jaffe's post and the follow up discussion with Craig Daitch in the comments.

project smile feature: Visible Tech VP Mike Spataro


Project smileiThe world's largest focus group sits at your fingertips.

Millions of people are speaking openly and publicly online, while millions more are reading and consuming.

But how do you listen, how do you learn, how do you measure, derive meaning, interact and report? 

Project Smile is committed to bringing the answers to you.  We've already heard from TNS Cymfony and MotiveQuest, and we will be hearing from others in the days and weeks ahead.  With that in mind, I would like to introduce Visible Technologies.

Profile - Visible Technologies

Spataro Who is Visible Tech?  What makes them special, unique, and where do they fit in this incredibly diverse landscape? 

Mike Spataro, VP of Strategic Relationships is on the hot seat.

Please feel free to submit your questions and comments via the comments section below.

Elevator Pitch


We help companies build stronger relationships with existing customers and acquire new customers. We accomplish this with TruCast, the only social media business intelligence solution in the industry that brings together the ability for brands to monitor and measure consumer perceptions online and participate or take action in one integrated application. 


Jon: What led you to launch your company?  Give us a brief history of who you are.

Mike: We started in 2003 as a search engine marketing company, offering SEO, pay-per-click, and our still very popular TruView, search online reputation management service. That experience led us to the development of our social media platform TruCast, which is an outgrowth of the success we had in helping brands manage, protect and grow their businesses.

Doing That Thing They Do

Jon: How would you describe your core capability?

Mike: Our core competency is in delivering actionable business intelligence to our clients that impact their bottom line. We do this through comprehensive data collection and analysis and how those insights support different functional areas of a company. Our core competences go beyond just providing innovative technology and tools. We combine great people, technology and client support and service to help brands wherever they need it in this new field.

Taking The Road Less Traveled

Jon: What key differentiators does your company offer?

Mike: Our competitors specialize in just one or two areas while we have a complete suite of TruCast products and services that help companies with all of their different needs. We understand that brands are approaching this area from many different points of view, so we have developed different products and services to help the business. That can take more forms, ranging from active listening, to best practices to participate, to comprehensive issue analysis, to emergency monitoring. Our enterprise TruCast platform, for instance, allows multi-disciplinary groups across a global company to analyze and interact with the data and insights in different ways that fit within their individual groups. 

Success Stories

Visible_Logo_180x49 Jon: What would you say has been your most successful engagement to date?  What made it successful?

Mike: With a 95 percent client retention rate I’d like to think most of our engagements have been successful, but we are certainly proud of the work we are doing with Microsoft, GM, Hormel, Campbell’s, AT&T, and Panasonic to name just a few. What’s particularly gratifying is not just the valuable business intelligence we provide our clients every day but seeing more of our clients move from listening to activation and the changes in consumer perceptions experienced around a particular product or issue because they turned insights into action.

Looking Forward

Jon: What are the greatest challenges facing the social intelligence industry?

Mike: The greatest challenge is how to make this intelligence part of the DNA of a company. The data is here and its importance is growing every day. Vendors and brands have more work to do on the ROI model, especially as conversational marketing evolves from text to multi-media and crosses different applications and technologies. An important conversation can start on a blog, continue on Friendfeed and finish on YouTube. Brands need to deal with that information flow reality and how to measure it. 


Jon: How do you see social media/marketing evolving over the next 3 years?

Mike: Thankfully, the term ‘social media’ will disappear from our vocabulary. However, the underlying trends driving consumer collaboration on a global scale will continue to increase. The global aspects of social media are here now and present a new set of challenges for everyone. When you consider that only one-sixth of the world’s population is online yet, you get a sense of the magnitude and growing importance of this industry.

Choosing The Right Solution For You

Jon: What role should experience play in choosing a social media intelligence solutions provider?

Mike: While experience and technology are important, selecting a partner revolves around matching the needs of your organization to the right provider. There are many companies in this industry, but none who do what we do and how we do it. You have to identify exactly what your needs are and where you fall on the spectrum between passive listening and dynamic activation. It then becomes much easier to figure out which provider is right for you.

Additional Info

Website: www.visibletechnologies.com

Blog: www.visinsights.com

Company Presences Across Social Media:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Visible_Tech

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Visible-Technologies/29281815384

Friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/visibletechnologies

Additional Info / Fun Stuff:


  • Unlocking Social Media’s ROI through Engagement & Participation link

  • Interacting with Social Media to Strengthen Communication Strategies link

Flickr :YouTube : del.icio.us : Pownce : Slideshare

Author Ecosystem

TruCast Author Ecosystem

Marketing Dashboard

Marketing Dashboard

Brand Cloud

Brand Cloud

the battle over dvr in the clouds > why it matters


Image by obieta via Flickr

Call it nDVR.  Call it VOD.  Call it on-demand streaming.  Call it ad skipping.  Call it TIVO, SlingBox, or ORB.  Call it place-shifting, copyright infringement or distribution democratization.

The outcome is the same.

The present is changing.  The past has changed.  Now is too late, but Tomorrow may be to soon.  The key to success in today's market is adaptive innovation, planned flexibility that protects today's revenue streams while laying the foundations of tomorrow's solutions.

Broadcast Networks and Content Owners will by and large continue to cling to what is known, familiar and therefor immediately advertiser friendly.  They will fight change for the upheaval and turmoil it will cause the industry, for the massive investment and effort required of both manpower and resources (not to mention infrastructural costs) towards deploying a new model.

But a new model will emerge.  And fighting the future will not keep it from coming.  I tried.  I took the batteries out of my watch.  But the day ended.  And tomorrow came.

The battle over nDVRs will continue.  And it should.  This court battle matters.  It sets a strong precedent for future technologies... which will in turn demand new models.

The Mainstream Media outlets and Cable Providers are smart.  They are battling to protect their current revenues.  But most importantly, while they are battling to protect their wallets today, they are innovating, fostering tomorrow's future all the while.  Hulu is out and is (to my mind) a success.  TheWB relaunches in weeks.  But this is only the beginning. 

The entire concept of change is still in it's infancy.  And I for one, am looking forward to quite a ride.

Comcast's Carpe Diem Moment

Comcast Corporation

Image via Wikipedia

Comcast had some service issues.  They did the right thing.  They reached out.  The became responsible digital social citizens. 

They are resolving issues. 

Sure, they may be more that they could be doing, there is always room for growth and optimization.

But perhaps the most notable component of this effort (of late) is the amazing New York Times writeup on the Comcast Cares initiative.  This mainstream recognition of Comcast efforts has driven massive spikes in buzz across the interwebs.  Comcast is on fire.

But what are they doing with this spike in conversation?  How are they fueling and enabling brand advocacy?

Ian Schafer suggests, "I would find more 'Franks', and let each of their subscribers know that it's an option."  Great idea.  But I think the immediate opportunity here transcends customer service.

Consider the conversation captured (on Twitter) below:

Comcast Cares Conversations
Comcast looks to be missing out on a tremendous social PR opportunity.

It's one thing to build a social customer service capability. It's another to internalize digital social media across an organization. 

Comcast Cares is a great program.  Here's to hoping that Comcast integrates this dynamic across the rest of their organization.

when a series of tubes go tubeless - the evolving natural web

The Windows Network and Internet icon employs the 'tube' metaphor

Image via Wikipedia

The internet is just a series of tubes, right?

It's a connection, it's a lifeline, that can be turned on and off.  It's a utility.  That's why we need net neutrality, right?

While the world of the internet within the browser or within a dedicated connected application (ex - widgets or Outlook) is far from gone, the time has come for marketers and technologists to look at the internet as more then a channel.  The connected web is the natural evolution of the human experience.

Higher speeds, open platforms, more intuitive development kits, these are all small pieces in a larger puzzle.  There is a greater endgame at play.


  • Social media has evolved via digital connectivity, and it continues to evolve.
  • Video viewing has evolved, and will continue to evolve.
  • Mobile connectivity has evolved, and clearly will continue to evolve.

We cannot look to the future without remembering the past.  The media and technology landscapes have greatly evolved over the past century.  And they will continue to evolve.  But the world didn't turn on a dime, it will not change with a single keynote.

The world is going to continue to change, but without looking through the lens of the historical human perspective, we are doomed to chasing waterfalls.

Dreaming is great for ideation, but insight is what fuels the future.

So what are your insights?  What are the key factors driving tomorrow?

life without the internet (w video)

A month ago my laptop died.  While I was in a state of occasional disconnect, my life changed.

Without regular internet access, life changed.  Suddenly,

  • I needed to ask PEOPLE for directions.
  • My home phone stopped working.
  • My social life changed.
  • My wife couldn't study for her NCLEX Nursing Exam.
  • My wife couldn't access her coursework from school.
  • We couldn't order baby-proofing solutions from Babies R Us or Amazon.
  • We couldn't share pictures or videos of our son with my parents.
  • I couldn't post, Tweet or more importantly, read digital social media from home.

Our lives were disconnected.

What would your life be like without the internet?  How would our lives change if the entire web went down for one day?

South Park may satirically humorous, but I don't know that they are too far off.  Enjoy the video below!

Kudos to Annie Heckenberger for sharing.

Smart Player > next gen online video is here (w video!)

Header OK, so that title is a bit of an exaggeration.  That being said, I am very excited about Permission TV's new Smart Player.  This is THE FIRST truly interactive web player platform I've seen.

  • It has:
    • user generated in-stream commenting,
    • socialization tools,
    • mashability,
    • plinking (product linking),
    • e-commerce,
    • embedability,
    • content oriented interactivity,
    • smart serving (based on a full suite of demographics, geo-targeting and more), and
    • dynamic content/advertising.

And best of all, it's dynamic and semantic content engine is advertiser friendly with a rich reporting suite to boot.  Video below (after the jump).

note: video removed.  You can see it here.

Some Perspective: This is currently a technology play with marketing potential.  Permission TV's next step has to be around licensing and distribution.  They have to get the right content owners and destination/distribution sites on board if this product is going to see the light of day in-market.

Future Visions: Web interactivity is only the beginning.  As out living room media experiences become more connected via iTV, Digital Cable, IPTV, Gaming Consoles, Media Extenders, DVRs and more, the interactivity of the web will merge with the simplicity of the living room media experience. 

I've been hearing more and more about "The 10 Foot Interaction".  Our media experiences will evolve.  We will interact from our couch, just not from a traditional mouse or keyboard.  It is going to be up to platform providers like Permission TV to build out tomorrow's web experiences today, and to begin thinking two steps ahead towards the living rooms experiences of the 2010s, real soon.

The web was only the beginning.

PS3 as a Tivo + SlingBox - PlayTV (w/ video)

PlayTV is a hardware add on that allows any PS3 to record AND stream live TV (video below).  You can also perform a wireless sync to a PSP.  Now THIS is where Tivo and Xbox 360 need to go next.

Think about the power of wireless syncing of pre-recorded content to your Zune. 

Better yet, how about offering this add-on free, coupled with relevant advertising.

And how relevant would this advertising be? How about...,

  • advertising targeted to your online behavior as determined by MSN,
  • your TV viewing and recording and determined by your embedded DVR solution,
  • your purchased content as determined by your Xbox360 and Zune Store,
  • your social network as determined by MSN and Zune Social,
  • your tastes in music as determined by your most played in Windows Media Player and your Zune,
  • and let's not forget, your tastes in video games. 

Let's just say, this could be extremely well targeted advertising. 

Or you could just pay for the premium ad-free service.

PlayTV Video (after the jump)