Mashup Culture and Social Media – What We Can Learn from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Victorian zombies have class, at least they do in the popular mashup of Jane Austen‘s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. Zombies you say? Yes. Zombies. This contemporary rewriting of Austen‘s work is inscribe deeply within the 21st century, where open source culture is redefining the way we create, find inspiration and work. Internet culture, and to a great extent social media culture have been influenced by this way of thinking. Sharing and exchanging, reusing and reappropriating, adding and substracting, collaborating is at the basis of blog writing, online discussions and comments. By contributing online, we’re adding materials to a massive global mashup.

So, dear marketers, what can you learn from victorian zombies?

1- Be Open Source

More than ever before, it is essential that your thinking and materials be accessible to as many people as possible. Don’t barricade your ideas behind closed doors such as forms or password-protected areas. Let them free. Seth Grahame-Smith was able to add a twist to Pride and Prejudice since the novel has entered the public domain. This would never have been possible had the novel been protected by copyright laws. By making your content accessible to anyone, you’re engaging with people and creating discussions, which is at the basis of social media.

2- Don’t Be Afraid to Reappropriate Materials

But don’t forget to give credits where its due! Video and music mashups have been popular for a while – think Girl Talk for instance. Take something that exists, put your spin to it and you end up with a new concept or idea. A real estate website using Google Maps to display its listings is a form of re-appropriation just as writing a blog post about thoughts from another blog post would be. Or retweeting on Twitter someone’s content while adding thoughts or insights. Social media is fueled by everyone’s contribution to our local and global cultures, be it your opinion, your ideas and thoughts, your creative inputs or simply your attention. Social media is a mashup culture to which we are all adding to everyday, every instant.

Zombies have made it to Austen‘s victorian world thanks to our mashup culture. Don’t forget to let them in your next content venture, they’ll do you more good than harm!

Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook

We are very excited to bring to you Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook: How to turn your expertise into magnetic marketing material.

Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook covers these topics

  • Real-life examples of marketing successes you can emulate
  • Guidelines for identifying compelling content
  • The secrets to telling unforgettable stories
  • Hints, tips and secrets for organizing your ebook
  • How to supplement your ideas with stats, graphs, quotes, anecdotes and more
  • The right way introduce your ebook
  • An even better way to conclude your ebook to encourage reader action
  • Practical pointers on tone, theme and style
  • Suggestions for promoting your ebook

We have invited Jonathan Kranz to discuss his eBook.Today, Jonathan Kranz enjoys the confidence of numerous clients and agencies. After completing his MFA in Creative Writing in 1995 (and publishing a number of short stories in literary journals such as the Missouri Review and the Green Mountains Review), he leap-frogged agency life and jumped into freelancing with both feet. Since then, he has written a huge stack of content, advertising, direct marketing, and public relations materials for consumer and B2B clients in financial services, banking, insurance, high-tech, healthcare, education, and other industries. Jonathan is also the author of Writing Copy for Dummies.

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

Buyers learn to trust the sellers who engage in authentic relationships.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan, it is a great pleasure to discuss your latest eBook. Thanx for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Kranz Communication does?
Jonathan Kranz: Sure. Just two years ago, I would have said, “direct marketing copywriting.” But now, I’m seeing a growing, almost insatiable demand for content: web pages, ebooks, white papers, case studies, articles and more. I’m bringing a direct marketing mindset – targeted audiences, compelling offers, a drive toward action – to the emerging world of what’s called “inbound” or “content” marketing. Although many people are justly turned-off by the hype, my clients are embracing this new marketing world for one simple reason: it works.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on writing ‘The eBook eBook’?
Jonathan Kranz: A need for detailed, specific guidance. Many marketing gurus are selling the virtues of content marketing in general, but can be awfully vague in the particulars: How do you actually CREATE a successful ebook? The eBook eBook fills the gap with actionable, practical how-to’s.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the eBook writing life-cycle. How did it evolve on its journey from concept to launch?
Jonathan Kranz: Slowly and painfully! It began with a eureka shower moment, then became a draft I hammered out between client projects. Connecting with the award-winning designer, Patrick Ciano, really pulled all the pieces together.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘The eBook eBook’ addressed towards?
Jonathan Kranz: Mostly toward those businesses or organizations that have intellectually complex products or services – the kinds of offers that require research on the customer’s side. The ebook is the company’s opportunity to establish thought-leadership in its industry, and to build prospect trust by sharing expertise those prospects’ value.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What makes the eBook such an essential component of a business’s content marketing plan?
Jonathan Kranz: Without trust, there is no initial contact – no grounds for further conversation between business and customer. The ebook establishes a credibility that can initiate subsequent contact. And as a marketing tool, it’s almost unbelievably versatile, serving as a:

  • Centerpiece for a viral, buzz-building campaign within the social media world
  • Magnet that draws Web traffic
  • Potential offer for a lead-gen, direct response campaign
  • Compelling leave-behind on sales calls
  • Means to attract favorable mainstream media attention
  • Great conference/convention booth hand-out
  • Push-over piece that helps convert fence-sitters into closed sales

Social Media and Engagement: The Starbucks Example

Social media is all about engagement – engaging with people, consumers, brands, celebrities, you name it. As you know, some people tend to do it better than others. A recent research conducted by ENGAGEMENTdb attempts to measure the top 100 global brand’s value and engagement within social media channels. Before going any further, let’s review their top 10 list:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Dell
  3. eBay
  4. Google
  5. Microsoft
  6. Thomson Reuters
  7. Nike
  8. Amazon
  9. SAP
  10. Yahoo! and Intel (Tie)

I found it surprising to see Starbucks at the top of this list and were expecting instead to encounter the usual suspects in this study, i.e.Southwest airlines, Jetblue or Wholefoods. Turns out these brands were not researched since they haven’t made the global brand list. Back to Starbucks. They scored the number one spot, before technology-savvy brands such as Dell and Google. How did they do it? Alexandra Wheeler of Starbucks’ Digital Strategy department has an explanation: “We live in the physical world with thousands of natural touch points, so when we laid out the vision for our social strategy, it felt like home for the brand. It’s about the relationships we form with our customers, not marketing.” Here it is again: engagement. When approaching social media channels, it’s important to keep this in mind, before any marketing strategy you might want to conduct.

It’s been a difficult year for Starbucks financially speaking. The company has seen a decreased in revenue, which prompted it to undergo drastic changes – closing coffee shops, changing menus, etc. This also makes me wonder how this emblematic brand was able to score the top spot of the study. Patricio Robles over at Econsultancy is asking the following: “if you make the statement that “deep engagement with consumers through social media channels correlates to better financial performance” but the company that you rank as the most engaged has seen steady declines across many key business metrics (not just total revenue), how can you legitimately suggest cause and effect?”

This is a tough question that carries many underlying ones. Can social media efforts be financially measured? And if so, how can one interpret the correlation between financial gains and engagement? What if by trying to measure social media’s ROI we were just missing the point? The authors of this study came to this conclusion:

While much has been written questioning the value of social media, this landmark study has found that the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social media engagement. The relationship is apparent and significant: socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful.

What do you think? Do you see a correlation between social media efforts and direct ROI?

Bernie Borges’ Marketing 2.0 Social Media Book

We are very excited to bring to you Bernie Borges’ new book: Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyers through Social Media Marketing. Bernie’s book aims to give a macro view of social media marketing with a focus on “what it is” and “how” small and medium size businesses (SMB) can develop a strategy, implement it and measure results.

Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyers through Social Media Marketing covers these topics:

  • Marketing 2.0
  • What is Web 2.0 and Social Media?
  • Think Like a Publisher: Content Marketing
  • The Lifecycle of Interaction in Social Media Marketing
  • Measuring Results in Social Media Marketing
  • Risks in Social Media Marketing
  • Benefits of Social Media Marketing
  • Case Studies – SMBs Succeding with Social Media

We have invited Bernie Borges, the author of Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyers through Social Media Marketing to discuss his book. Bernie Borges is the Chief Find Officer of Find and Convert, an Inbound Marketing agency serving clients nationwide. Find and Convert helps companies get found on the web and build profitable relationships through search marketing and social media marketing strategies. Bernie is a podcaster, blogger and frequent speaker on social media trends in business. Bernie is a native of New York, N.Y, and resides in Palm Harbor, Florida with family.

Bernie Borges

Blog Find and Convert Twitter BernieBay

Buyers learn to trust the sellers who engage in authentic relationships.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Bernie, it is a great pleasure to discuss your Marketing 2.0 Social Media Book. Thanx for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Find and Convert does?
Bernie Borges: Find and Convert is an inbound marketing agency. We create winning marketing strategies on the web for our clients through search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), social media, content marketing and web analytics. Our clients are mostly SMBs marketing on a national and some international scale. We are meticulous about measuring results that matter for our clients.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on writing Marketing 2.0 Social Media Book?
Bernie Borges: I started Find and Convert in 2002. In 2006 I started to hear about “Web 2.0.” As I got involved in social networking I began to recognize the opportunities for business. But, I observed that most SMBs are very conservative in their thinking. Most clients and audiences I spoke to had interest in learning about social media but were not acting on it. I wrote this book to communicate that marketing on the social web is a mindset. Business owners and executive must first understand the mindset before they embrace the tactics comprised of blogs, social networks, Twitter, video, photos, etc. The mindset must come before the tactics.

Social Influence Marketing Report by Razorfish

Razorfish has recently released their annual Social Influence Marketing Report that surveys and analyzes how brands evolve within the social sphere. These reports are proving to be very useful and somehow a bit of a reality check. Indeed, amidst all the rave about how great and unavoidable social media is for brands and companies, we tend to forget to remain critical and focused in our online marketing efforts. Here are some excerpts we feel are quite relevant:

1- People trust offline channels the most when making purchase decisions

This might come as a surprise to some. According to Razorfish’s numbers, 36% of consumers tend to trust TV advertisement over expert online reviews (34%) or social network advertisement (21%.) Even more surprisingly, online friends account for even less influence (9%) – we’re a far stretch from the 66% of trust attributed to offline friends.

2- People tend to trust offline advertising mediums over online ones

Respondents seem to think brands look more authentic on TV and print than on radio, online banners, blogs and social networks. Also, respondents showed a high level of indifference to online marketing.

What does this means to brands and businesses? First, let’s not forget what social media really is about: tools that help people connect. Second, most brands are not understanding and/or using social media tools in an efficient way. As Razorfish points out, they should “focus on value exchanges. The most influence takes place around products and services, and not in terms of affiliations with a particular brand.” Third, brands need to increase their credibility on social platforms. It is not just a matter of borrowing influencers’ trust and people’s relationships but instead to develop your own language to talk to your consumers.

You can get your own copy of the report right here.

What has been your experience with social media marketing so far? Have you been able to develop your brand’s trustworthiness on these channels? Let us know what your experience has been so far.