What does it take today to create or improve your corporate or business digital footprint? Is reaching business elites part of your target?
As a solicitor working with content for 25 years and with digital media since 1983 I've learned a thing or two about digital media law as well as creative and commercial considerations. The question is: what works today for business? If you are pressured for time then make this sentence your mantra: The digital media footprint and functionality a business or corporation needs requires ideas and a plan. Following are free ideas, call and we can discuss a plan.
The evidence is an effective internet presence can help, very greatly in some cases. Harvard University has responded, it has gone open access according to The Economist. Harvard is where Mark Zuckerberg (pictured above), CEO and founder of Facebook started.
There are many ways to establish a digital footprint. It can include a Plain Jane web 1.0 website, a web 2.0 type site, use of audio-visual content and RSS feeds, distribution of DVDs, social networking, encouraging user-generated content, gearing up to deal efficiently with online enquiries and so forth.
For ideas there are clues among the 21 winners in last week's digital media AIMIA Awards 2008. There's considerable variety in the content of the award finalists and winners. However, before you formulate a plan take care of the bias in favour of digital media solutions which have strong visualisation or very heavy use of video content or Flash. Many are designed for bandwidth in the future, not today.
What wins advertising industry competitions or digital media awards is not necessarily what gets eyeballs. What gets eyeballs is not necessarily what is effective in terms of moving your user base online or converting your browsers into users, enquiries, customers or profits.
While you ponder the functionality you might have in your digital footprint consider the commentary on three graphs below relevant to digital media eyeballs, ads and monetarisation.
FIRST, we have a graph thanks to IBM. Sites which depend on advertising support should think through their positioning in the advertising value chain. They should then consider what functionality their sites need to have.
The IBM graphic illustrates this as well as advertising industry developments. Note the blue value chain and then note the shifts up or down in the zones underneath. The shifts reshape advertising as an industry, as noted by Lightspeed Venture Partners blog here and here.
As online advertising grows and evolves it disrupts long stable business models of existing media proprietors and it also changes deal making and the types of contracts required in the media sector. Take three examples:
Owners of brands and registered trade marks are increasingly having to send out letters of demand to companies who make unauthorised use of their names in Google AdWords accounts. The law helps defeat this type of IP piracy or infringement, but if not monitored it can be death by a thousand cuts.
The trend is in favour of video online. There is YouTube and Daily Motion. Further, there are video sites like Revver et al which pay intellectual property use fees for video content.
If Microsoft wins in its takeover play for Yahoo! and its advertising revenue streams, then 2008 will exceed 2007 and 2006 for big numbers in media deals in the U.S.
SECOND, we have a pie graph thanks to AIMIA. To reach your target audience carefully consider the platforms they are most likely to use to access your offering. Then consider how this affects the functionality you can or want to build into your digital footprint.
This AIMIA graphic illustrates the delivery platforms used by AIMIA's members for their clients. Note the percentages for PDAs, mobile devices and iTV (interactive television). They illustrates spiky trends to monitor.
In 1996 one in three Australian households had a mobile phone; today its more than one per person.
THIRD, we have a graphic thanks to Datamonitor. If user or customer engagement is important incorporate social networking functionality into your digital footprint on the internet.
Consider the percentages in the Datamonitor graphic. I'm not aware of the social networking market shares being all that different in Australia for MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Orkut, Daily Motion or others. I'd welcome comments on local statistics.
We enter 2008 with social media being the big news out of 2007. However, my friend and social media strategist and commentator, Des Walsh, points to a number of constraints holding back wider corporate use of social media in Australia.
Back in the mid-1990s Des and I worked on developing networking among AIMIA members. Des headed AIMIA's arts and digital media Special Interest Group. I was busy on AIMIA's board and remember the struggles in working in the team that put together the first AIMIA awards!
In a conversation today with Des he notes:
"Many in business or corporations don't know how to measure the return on investment (ROI) from potential use by them of social media; this leads them to assume there is no ROI in social media.
T-shirt wearing digital media developers (eg some members of AIMIA) often don't know how to communicate the message suit-wearing people in business want to send with their digital footprint; poor communication between these parties leads to poor execution (eg fancy visuals or excessive Flash).
There is insufficient use of experienced go-betweens by clients and their ad agencies and digital media developers. These project consultants or go-betweens (eg specialists such as Des or our own firm) can help translate needs and requirements stage by stage from a brief to a proposal, and from a development plan to a functional specification, through to a legally binding contract and final delivery."
These comments are supported by Fairfax Business Research (BRW Feb 28-April 2, 2008, p. 37).
In its February 2008 online survey of 155 executives with responsibility for online marketing activities it found that the number one challenge 74% said they faced was "Tracking the effectiveness of online advertising and marketing." It also found that only 37% of companies measured their return on investment from online advertising.
Call me on (+612) 9269 0229 for a conversation on how our firm and its collaborators might assist your company or venture to gain a more effective digital media footprint.