Yes, we’re on radio too. At least Larry is. Join him on WebmasterRadio.FM today at Noon ET as he talks with GE CMO & SVP Beth Comstock. Comstock, who headed back to GE in March, after spending two years as President of Integrated Media for NBCU, will discuss the future of global marketing and communications. She will also give insight into the struggle that CMO’s deal with when it comes to advocating change and developing new marketing plans. Hopefully Larry gets a chance to ask her about digital media as well, as she has a wealth of knowledge there (As you can tell from the embedded Wallstrip interview above, filmed during her time at NBCU).
Comstock leads GE’s organic growth and innovation initiatives in the marketing, sales and communications functions. Right now, she is focused on building cross-business digital programs and creating a partnership network to extend GE’s eco-magination green technologies.
Just as Google celebrated its 10th B-Day over the weekend, we celebrated our 1st B-Day (albeit to slightly less fanfare). So while gloating that we share our September 27 birthday with the Montain View giant (as long as they don’t switch it again); I took a look back at our 250 posts over the last year to define the ten biggest stories which occurred at the intersection of marketing, media and the Internet. Did I miss anything or should I move some stories around?
#10)Facebook Beacon: “Once every hundred years media changes,” declared Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on November 6 of last year, while launching its Beacon advertising system. His message was meant to declare that advertising is a social experience online and Facebook would leverage this to forever change the landscape of marketing and advertising. It was an admirable goal and Facebook was on the right track. The holy grail of the next generation ad network is intelligently engaging in brand discussion and behaviorally targeting individuals at every touch point in their lives. However, Zuckerberg and Facebook made some missteps along the way with its targeting technology, which led to severe media and PR backlash. The result? Marketers and advertisers dropped out, Beacon’s targeting was questioned and the next generation of online marketing was delayed.
#9)Murdoch Re-shapes the Wall Street Journal into a BizzaroNew York Times: With Rupert Murdoch finalizing his bid to acquire Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal a month before we kicked off RaceTalk last year, it became part of our regular conversation. In late April, Murdoch made his biggest power play to-date, by pushing out managing editor Marcus Brauchli. He then took aim at relaunching the WSJ.com and launched the quarterly WSJ magazine. Today’s Wall Street Journal doesn’t resemble the business daily that it did at this time last year. Business coverage on the front page of the Wall Street Journal was down more then 50 percent (before the market crisis) - leaving marketing, advertising and PR managers to reassess their relationships with the outlet, which now resembles a conservative New York Times.
#8)Mainstream Media Goes Social: Fast Company was the first major print outlet to take the jump by completely changing its online site into a social community in February. Over the last two-months three other major outlets have blended social community with their online publications including the New York Times with “Times People,” BusinessWeek with Business Exchange and the Wall Street Journal with its Journal Community. With this new ability to be part of the real-time editorial conversation (within the online walls of these publications) - marketers and communication’s executives have a new window into story creation.
#7) Facebook, iPhone, Widgets & Applications Everywhere: While the iPhone 3G and the introduction of the GPhone has not sparked a surge in advertising spend for mobile devices, it has made advertising a common aspect of the mobile experience (77 million users in the U.S. report seeing advertising on their mobile device in Q2 of this year, according to Nielson). The fully readable Web experience, which the iPhone provides, allows marketers to target users in the way they target Web traffic. More importantly, it provides a bigger current opportunity with the application and widget market, which was originally spawned by Facebook opening up its site to developers in May of last year. Widget and application marketing isn’t just for start-ups looking to create buzz. Major corporations like Wal-Mart and eBay have launched successful “widget marketing campaigns.”
#6: I Blog, You Blog, We All Blog: According to the latest Technorati “State of the Blogosphere”report, 95 of the top 100 newspapers now have reporter blogs. In the month of August alone, 77 million unique visitors from the US visited a blog. Any “old media,” types hoping that we may revert back to the olden days of media better look for a new job. If you, your media outlet or even your Fortune 500 corporation isn’t blogging or creating original content – you’re way behind.
#5 We All Get Green: As Ben followed closely throughoutthe year, all organizations were rushing to get their green marketing message down to incorperate into their Website or perhaps a micro-site. In fact, so many people were jumping on the green marketing message that many questioned if it was even a competitive advantage anymore. However, some organizations like Marriott understood that the green message needed to be part of a bigger corporate strategy around sustainability, which can have immediate and future bottom-line business benefits. A strategy and message that has real “staying” power.
#4) The Viral Video Goes Mainstream: Whether it was Barack Obama, Kanye West, Jerry Seinfeld & Microsoft, Stride Gum or Sarah Palin - everyone seemed to be part of the growing world of viral videos. Slate’s new online business magazine TheBigMoney.com, even has a feature that is called “YouTube Brandwatch,” which analyzes “how the world’s best-known businesses, so adept at managing their images offline, are being perceived online, where control is harder to come by.”
#3) Big Business Harnesses the Power of the Crowds: Just as the mainstream media finally agreed to relinquish some control to the power of the crowds, “big business” appeared to be harnessing the same approach. While monitoring customers’ opinions online has been fairly common for years, this year marked the first time that major corporations leveraged Web 2.0 technology to launch their own social networks in an effort to incorporate customer ideas into corporate strategy. Michael Dell and Dell was one major corporation to take the leap by launching IdeaStorm. The idea, simplified: “Harness consumer feedback and ideas on current products, build better products in the future.” Starbucks took a similar approach with “My Starbucks Idea,” to harness consumers’ thoughts on services and products within its coffee shops.
#2)Microsoft Bids for Yahoo!; Yahoo! Goes with Google: Arguably the second biggest and most covered business-related news story of the year (not including anything that has been a part of the current Wall Street meltdown). At first the deal appeared to signify the start of a cold war between Microsoft and Google. The failure of Microsoft to close the deal, which led to Yahoo!’s partnership with Google – Now poses a looming question in D.C -“Is Google Monopolizing Monetization on the Internet?” Marketers, advertisers and publishers seem to be leaning towards “yes” in answering that question and the future of advertising on the Internet may hang in the balance.
#1) Twitter: The adoption rate has been freakish and so has the media coverage and usage. At first we laughed at its importance and then we marveled at the tools which were following in its path. Now, it’s the storyline of a new CNN show and has kicked off the idea of Web 3.0 or the “Live Web.” For marketers and communication’s executives it points to the new battle ground of “brand management,” which has become a major bullet point on our job descriptions. For consumers it represents a new way to take control of the media conversation. For media it finally leverages the idea of “crowd sourcing.” It is even reshaping the way we discuss and gauge presidential debates.
RaceTalk recently connected with Bertalan (Berci) Meskó, a “Medicine 2.0″ enthusiast, active Twitter member, and up-and-coming medical mind who takes a look at the intersection of medicine, genetics and Web 2.0 on his award-winning blog, ScienceRoll. Among his many achievements, Berci is also a last-year medical student with a goal of becoming aclinical geneticist that specializes in personalized genomics. Below, Berci has given us some insight into the work he is doing, resources and tips for PR professionals, and a few best practices for engaging in healthcare and medical social media conversations and communities.
Q: How would you define Medicine 2.0?
Web 2.0 is changing the way medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered. When we focus on the changes in medical education and communication between patients and physicians, we refer to it as medicine 2.0. When the healthcare system and on-line support groups are in focus, we refer to it as health 2.0. Actually, there is a new term, evidence-based web 2.0 originated from the evidence-based concept that is the main approach in medicine. As Dean Giustini said, it means the integration of the best available evidence of social software use in promoting effective time and information management skills in the digital age.
Q: What are a few sites, communities or resources you would recommend for a medical or healthcare company looking to get involved in Web 2.0?
There is a huge collection of medicine 2.0 services and sites on my blog and in the Medical Education Evolution community, we’re also working on a database containing useful links and tools of medicine and health 2.0.
Q: Do you have any basic guidelines or tips for companies that want to participate in Web 2.0 healthcare communities?
It depends on what kind of communities they plan to participate in. The main approach here is not to create something similar to what others are already doing. There are more and more scientific community sites and plenty of them are based on the same concept which is not a good idea when you want to attract people to take part in constructing your community. I think these companies must come up with a unique idea; must be open to collaborate with and respect quality bloggers; should use the power of web 2.0 to promote their projects instead of sending impersonal PR letters everywhere. David Rothman, one of the best medical librarian bloggers, has recently written about this issue and had some tips for PR people.
Q: What is some advice you would offer for PR people engaging in conversation on behalf of their clients, who are working to raise awareness about medical products or services within a Web 2.0 healthcare community?
Even if many bloggers tend to think PR letters are useless, I think it is a good way to discover a new medical service. But to be honest, when I receive an e-mail from a PR person and it doesn’t start with a personal welcome message, I click on the delete button immediately. If they want me to promote a new service (which can be beneficial for me too as I can get interesting content) at least they should find out more about that particular blogger.
Of course, newspapers are the main channels to promote new services, but take a look at some blogs such as Medgadget.com or WSJ Health and how many visitors they regularly have. Quality health bloggers should be taken seriously.
Q: Where do you see the future of healthcare and medicine heading? Are there trends we should watch for?
I believe, the Medical Education Evolution community can change radically the way medical education is organized these days. Education should not be traditional while practicing medicine is changing rapidly. There are three trends we should follow.
I would say, Jay Parkinson and his on-line medical practice (hellohealth.com) are on one side of the river of medicine. He revolutionized the way medicine is practiced by having a laptop and a car and being without a staff or an office.
On the other side of the river, there are e-patients who would like to communite with their doctors on-line, who would like to find information about their medical conditions on-line and do a search for the name of their doctor in Google. A good example is Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald who blogs about his medical condition, shares messages on Twitter, images on Flickr and X-rays on Slideshare.
Between them, there should be a bridge which, I hope, Webicina will be. Webicina.com is the first medicine 2.0 service which aims to help physicians enter the web 2.0 era with personalized packages, on-line image building solutions and e-courses.
The reason why I’m saying medicine will change a lot in the next few years is not the power (or bubble) of web 2.0, but the needs and expectations of e-patients. They will change the way medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered. And physicians of the 21st century should be open and qualified to meet these challenges.
Thank you, Berci for your time! To learn more, visit RaceTalk’s sister blog Diagnosis PR, where Berci has answered a few more questions for us about the future of medicine, virtual learning, and scientific and medical social media tools.
RaceTalk: In addition to your full-time job at the Kusnetzky Group, you have a lot going on between your ZDnet blog and Virtual Strategy Magazine column. What do you enjoy most about the media side of your life?
Dan Kusnetzky: I enjoy working with the movers and shakers in the software market. I find most of them to be really interesting people.
RaceTalk: Is there anything you’ve learned about being on the media side of things that stands out to you as a surprise?
DK: Wrong information lives forever on the Internet. It simply is impossible to correct mistaken information as the incorrect information continues to turn up on search engines.
RaceTalk: You wrote a blog post this morning about your dealings with PR people. I know your overall experiences have been very positive, but for someone that hasn’t worked with you before, what’s the most important thing they should know before contacting you?
DK: I’ve been around for quite a number of years and have served in many roles. This means that I generally understand what products are doing and how they are doing it pretty quickly. I would prefer quick overviews of a technology and then a chance to ask questions rather than sitting through a long presentation that spoon feeds the audience.
I also prefer people to be up front about product and services. I’m not fond of people who want me to attend “mystery meetings.” I constantly have to prioritize my time to offer my clients the best service. A mysterious message that doesn’t get to the point is generally escorted to the trash bin.
RaceTalk: Since you’ve been nicknamed ‘the virtual man’, can you give us your take on the crowded virtualization market and where you think it’s headed?
DK: At this point, I’ve spoken with executives of well over 120 different companies who are offering products or services in the areas of virtualization technology. I expect this technology to revolutionize industry standard system environments much as it did mainframe environments 30 years ago and midrange system environments 20 years ago.
RaceTalk: What types of topics do you enjoy writing about and analyzing the most? (i.e. industry news, product news, case studies, etc.)
DK: I’m always interested in learning more about system software, open source software and virtualization technology. This includes general industry news, product launches and the like.
With so much user content on the internet these days, the ability for everyone to connect and share their opinions on our next president has created a wide-spread dialogue across multiple platforms and social networks.
Twitter launched an election 2008 page, where people can see automatic live feeds of election-related tweets. And can even sort by specific topics such as Wall Street, David Letterman, Katie Couric, or each of the candidates.
It’s a pretty cool way to connect with people that you normally wouldn’t interact with on Twitter, and get involved in a conversation with people that share your interests.
When we finally had a chance to pull Robert away from his iPhone 3G (He actually turns 3G off for more battery life to enjoy FriendFeed), we got to ask him a few questions for our blog. As he recently posted about, Robert is spending most of his time these days on FriendFeed (Where he has 19,000 followers), enjoying the “Live Web.” While Robert acknowledges that the “Live Web” encompasses Twitter (He has 34,000 folks following him there), he sees FriendFeed as ongoing conversation versus the short bits of information that are shot out and often forgotten about on Twitter.
Of course Twitter feeds into FriendFeed (as long as you link the two), but FriendFeed also allows you to group your “Friends” into different topical categories. Robert obviously follows people in the technology space but he also follows those tracking politics and sports.
He also made an interesting point when noting how the “Live Web” fits into the evolution cycle of the Internet:
“One way I like to look at it is, Web 1.0 was getting a Webpage up there. Web 2.0 was adding people and interactive features to those pages. Web 3.0 is now getting rid of the page all together. Each one of these (updates on FriendFeed) is a URL, so is that really a Webpage? It’s not really a page and now you can access this information through your mobile or through applications like twhirl.”
As Robert mentions in the video above, one of the cool new companies, which got his attention yesterday was Burlington, MA-based neoSaej (A Racepoint client) and makers of MoneyAisle.com. Below is a video interview with neoSaej’s CEO Mukesh Chatter (Which Robert shot with his Nokia video phone) and broadcast live over the Internet yesterday afternoon.
So, somehow we’ve managed to survive our day with @Scobleizer and his truly cool sidekick Rocky (And I’m not talking about 1 of his 3 phones because Robert isn’t a fan of T-Mobile). Here is a hazy look back at the day that was.
Last spring Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban banned bloggers from entering the Maverick’s locker room to interview players. His ban (which he later reversed) caused quite the commotion, and he addressed the issue in his personal blog:
“Newspaper blogging is probably the worst marketing and branding move a newspaper can make. The barriers to entry for bloggers are non existent. There are no editorial standards. There are no accuracy standards. We bloggers can and do write whatever we damn well please. Historically newspapers have set some level of standards that they strived to adhere to. By taking on the branding, standard and posting habits of the blogosphere, newspapers have worked their way down to the least common denominator of publishing in what appears to be an effort to troll for page views.”
“Bankruptcy is probably your best friend because you get to recapitalize and start all over again. It’s not that people don’t or won’t read newspapers, it’s just they won’t in the numbers they have in the past. The only way to get rid of the deadwood and the legacy financial aspect of it is through bankruptcy.”
While Cuban’s advice will likely not be taken by many (if any) newspapers, I’d be interesting to hear if Cuban’s view of bloggers has shifted as newspapers have continued to struggle. As Kyle wrote the other day, bloggers are part of the media even though some people continue to try and separate them from our traditional mainstream press.
Do you think newspapers should take Cuban’s advice and give up, or is there enough demand for our old fashioned source of news?
(Not only are bloggers - like Michael Arrington of TechCrunch - media, they’re also making more $ than the mainstream press)
By Kyle Austin
A few weeks ago Todd Defren at Pr Squared posed the question - Are Bloggers Media? His conclusion: Although they are not media, they are just as important (maybe more) and just as influential. While I can’t argue with his final two points, I will argue with his take on bloggers not being “media.” In my humble opinion, bloggers must be treated as part of the “media landscape,” and therefore are media.
I was chatting with Sam Whitmore (who has a great new partnership with Cision BTW) last week and together we surmised that bloggers have been “media” for years. Sure, they are different then the mainstream media, but as Todd also pointed out (with help from Paul Gillin): Bloggers often know more about specific topics then reporters and are often more influential with targeted audiences. In addition, while bloggers may not have editors and the journalism code of ethics, they do have the blogosphere to keep them in-line. This self-policing, which Dave Winer often cites, also adds to their media integrity.
About 95 of the top 100 newspapers now have reporter blogs.
In the month of August 77 million unique visitors from the US visited a blog.
In the last 120 days there were 7.4 million blog posts generated.
On average there was 1.5 million blog posts created per week last year.
61% of bloggers say they are most influenced by other bloggers.
Bloggers have been at it an average of three years and are collectively creating close to one million posts every day.
Blogs have representation in top-10 web site lists across all key categories, and have become integral to the media ecosystem.
Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800, but it’s paying off. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month.
In addition to the numbers here is what Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra had to say about this year’s numbers versus previous reports.
“Blogs are media. That is the difference now. They are as relevant as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. The blogger with 5,000 readers may be just as credible a source of information for those 5,000 people as anyone else.”
Tomorrow, RaceTalk will spend six hours with Scoble, considered by many to be one of the top five bloggers / media influencers in the technology industry. Look forward to sharing our additional thoughts on this topic (assuming we make it through the day) tomorrow night.
Sarah Lacy, the author of Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good, keeps very busy between her gigs with BusinessWeek, Tech Ticker and all of her Twittering, but she was in Boston earlier this week to give a keynote and decided to have a book signing the night before.
Afterwords she took some time to answer a few questions for us.
RaceTalk: While doing research for your book and speaking with many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, was there a particular experience or story about someone’s road to success that surprised you most?
Sarah Lacy: It’s hard to out-do (PayPal co-founder) Max Levchin’s road to Silicon Valley. This is a guy who grew up in soviet Russia learning to code on a programmable calculator. He actually wrote code out long hand in notebooks sitting on a park bench near his home, never knowing if it would actually work until he finally got his hands on a computer. He’s actually eluded death about four times. And even on his drive from Chicago to Palo Alto, his truck broke down and he was stranded for days. All entrepreneurs are determined, but Max takes it to an extreme level. Most surprising: he hasn’t gotten less intense as he’s had success.
RaceTalk: In your book you reference how Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have turned into celebrities. Do you think this is good for the tech space or does it place some additional unneeded pressure on these (often young) entrepreneurs?
SL: I’m hard pressed to find a way that it’s good, except that it hopefully encourages more smart kids to go down this path. Living in that spotlight is incredibly hard when you never asked for it and you’re working non-stop trying to build a company at break-neck speed. I’ve seen the toll it takes on them, and there’s a lot of injustice in how they get built up, then brutally torn down, when really, they’re just trying to build something they believe in.
RaceTalk: Some Silicon Valley start-ups have been extremely successful, but still haven’t figured out a great model for making money (Facebook, YouTube). Do you think they’ll overcome this issue, or might it turn into a major problem down the road?
SL: Both. In every wave of Silicon Valley there are a ton of ideas and a subset of those turn into products, a subset of those turn into good products, and still another subset of those ever figure out how to make money. Only a handful ever become big multi-billion dollar powerhouses. So, there will be a ton of failure and a ton of sub-$100 million deals. But I have no doubt a select few will crack the code. If you look at all the usage data, it’s simply too big an opportunity. And remember: This is not 1999. Many of these companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars already and they haven’t even really rolled out their killer business model yet, linkedin, facebook, myspace among them.
RaceTalk: You’re one of the more visible journalists in today’s world, as you’re using many different outlets to communicate with your readers (BusinessWeek, Tech Ticker, Twitter, your blog). Is there a particular means of communication that you enjoy most?
SL: Well you left out my book, which as a writer was my favorite! It’s rare in today’s media world that you really get the luxery to take so much time with one thing. But it’s not a great mass communication tool obviously because the process takes so long and book conversion is still way too hard.
So, right now I’m pretty high on Twitter. All social networks pull these levers that affect us in human ways—that’s what makes them so addictive. One of those levers is human connection and you can forge deeper, more intimate connections on Twitter than anything else. It’s also a way I can alert my audience to all of the things I’m doing, so it feeds all the other ones you mention. It was absolutely indispensable in planning my book tour.
RaceTalk: Clearly you’ve been focusing a lot on stories coming out of Silicon Valley, but is there another area that you’re interested in covering more in the future?
SL: I actually started covering venture capital and startups in the late 1990s as an outsider in the South. I was so captivated by it that I had to move to Silicon Valley to really study it. I’ve spent about 10 years doing that—close up and from every angle. I have no plans to abandon the Valley, and expect that San Francisco will always be my home, but I’m fascinated with taking that insight and going back into the rest of the world now, and studying other areas as deeply. I’m lucky that I work for myself (and just contract to Yahoo, BW etc) so I have some flexibility, really for the first time in my career. I think we’re at a crossroads when it comes to Web innovation and I want to see where else it’s happening, and how it’s taking on different forms.
RaceTalk: I hear you’re going to be taking some time off next year to work on your next book. Can you give us a teaser about what this one will be about?
SL: Why Ben, who’s the reporter now? If it’s next year it’ll be very late next year. I have a two-year contract with TechTicker that runs through Nov. 2009, and I really love working there and definitely plan on honoring that. After that we’ll see! But I do absolutely know what my next book will be about and I’m subtly gathering string on it, thinking about it all the time. It’s definitely not a sequel, but it’s similarly something I’m uniquely qualified to write. Mostly because I’m insane! It’s a very ambitious project.