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September 2016 Archive


Marketing is a Company-Wide Function, Not a Department

Sept. 29, 2016

You might have noticed a few more ads in your Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter feeds, you name it social media locations. Well you're right. The word is that digital advertising has surpassed TV advertising (and you thought that was bad!). While they're getting in your way of talking with friends, family, business associates and folks you just want to chat with the number will only increase because well gee "everyone's doing it." And the programatic delivery is just getting better at stuffing your screen. After awhile it gets to be so many you just don't see them. And when you are thinking about buying something...you ask someone. It's really hard to quantify what ads work even though people continually tell folks you make your decisions based on recommendations. That means product/technology enthusiasts, real users, real reviewers and the thousands of customers who talk about what's really important - how the product works, quality of customer service/support, value. In other words the decision making process is out of marketing's hands and everyone knows it...okay everyone but marketing unless they know how to deal with, work with, support the customer. When they do...hey the job is a snap. Their bosses are happy and so are you. All it takes is listening instead of marketing.
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The Virtual Buzz at IBC Starts to Look Real

Sept. 16, 2016

I'd probably enjoy IBC just as much even if it weren't in Amsterdam but I sure wouldn't want to find out. Or maybe the city just looks better through 360/VR glasses because everyone at the convention centre seemed to have the suctioncup lines on their face. But the discussions at IBC - suppliers, studios, networks, filmmakers, production people - always seemed to touch on how quickly VR had come and how much further it had to go. True VR isn't "brand new" because it's been around since 1929 (Link Simulator) and the first headsets were introduced in the 1960s but now we've got affordable cameras to shoot 360 video and defining VR films. Most of the films are short right now - under 30 minutes - but it won't be long before we have a solid feature film. Still most of the stuff you're streaming to your TV, computer, smartphone screen is still 360 video and there are reasons like high powered computers are needed and bigger, better wired/wireless pipes but that will get solved. In the meantime when some guy/gal says you're watching 360VR...you'll know.
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The Most Effective Marketing Comes from the Customer

Sept. 16, 2016

The toughest job in a company today – yes we know, it’s yours but … it’s the lofty title of CMO (chief marketing officer). How tough could that be? The CMO gets to dictate how the budget is going to be spent. You know … the events, the contests, the ads, the web site, the social media stuff, all designed to project the brand image the company wants to project. And to do it he/she today has an unbelievable tsunami of data about the customer and prospective customer. If they don’t have the information, it ain’t worth knowing! In addition, they have a shopping cart full of analytical tools to give them in-depth insight into the customer’s behavior to lead the way for increased revenues. The only problem is it’s all based on SWAG (scientific wild *** guesses) and there isn’t a whole lot of precision involved. Data Value – Companies – and others – capture so much data about customers, visitors and their activities they increasingly find it difficult to safely store the information and process it to enhance their marketing activities. The marketing person won’t admit it to you – and perhaps not even to him/herself, but there is no status quo, no clear/concise roadmap for ownership, success. Today’s digitally native consumer has taken control of the buyer-seller relationship. They are guiding, determining what they want/need, evaluate what’s available, and carry out the transaction. And the uncomfortable truth is they have no intention on relinquishing their control. They have obliterated the time-proven sales processes and cycles, leaving the marketing person with a huge mound of meaningless, useless data and a ton of expectations from the boss and other stakeholders. We’ve entered the era some pundits like to call real-time marketing, where some of these folks think they have to be first to win the moment. The only problem is the customer simply doesn’t care. He/she doesn’t care if you’re first – or not. However, they are quick to let you know if you make a mistake. Just as firms are struggling to deal with new competitors and new business models, the rapid innovation of products/services and rising customer expectations they stand ready to tell you when potential customers misinterpret, don’t pay attention to or don’t notice the context of their carefully crafted message(s). Marketing spends a lot of time, effort and money measuring and explaining their ROI (return on investment); but very little (if any) on the cost of nonparticipation--not being seen/mentioned, little to no competitive share of voice, no control over how consumers are talking about brands in their market area. If no dollars and cents are spent, how much return is lost? There is a risk of loss by not contributing/participating in the consumers’ areas of primary interest. Customer Focus – All too often, marketers focus on a product’s features rather than on the benefits that will appeal to the consumer which center on basic human wants/needs. Maslow’s decision points have stood the test of time but are still often ignored. Aligning first with the customers’ primary interests and secondarily with the company’s objectives is difficult and painful to measure but is it less important for the firm that is in business for the long haul? Assigning a dollar value to the worth of social impact/influence isn’t easy but it can have a more profound (profitable) long-term impact on the organization’s web traffic/conversions. Consistently, across all generations, people place the greatest trust in opinions of friends, family and people they know as well as consumer opinions and editorial coverage for their considerations, evaluations and purchasing decisions. Influence – Millennials don’t dislike ads but they do find recommendations from friends, customer opinions and third-party reviewers carry more weight for them than paid ads. Sometimes the brand or company isn’t directly invited into the conversation because the moment or topic may not be right; but it doesn’t mean there is no value in the discussion or the ultimate decision. Yet all too often, these influences are simply credited to “over the transom,” incidental, accidental or lucky sales. Sometimes the real value to the firm is to listen, evaluate the opportunities, tread lightly and at times say/do nothing. Today, the customer plays the pre-eminent role in the technology purchasing equation and marketing has to fully embrace and understand how it has changed the way we do business and will do business in the future. Marketing has to shift its priority from building the brand to engaging the customer and appealing what ignites their passions. That means creating the product ecosystem around what the customer wants to buy, not what you want to sell. Doing this quickly keeps the company, brand and products relevant. Developing and maintaining a sincere, open two-way conversation with customers enables the company to learn as much as the customer knows … which is a lot! User reviews are today’s hands-on demos today. Transparency Counts – By being transparent in their social media contacts, companies increase their credibility with consumers. “Likes” are fine but prospective customers still do a lot of research on the Web to ensure they get products that are backed by the company and its service/support organization. An about.com study found that 84 percent of the respondents felt brands need to prove themselves trustworthy before they’ll interact with or consider them. To generate trust in the firm’s accuracy, expertise and transparency; consumers placed a high priority in seeing a significant number of positive reviews. Credibility rose dramatically when they also didn’t hide less than positive reviews. The key is for people to share experiences through the website and social media. In fact, some of your best creative marketing messages can come from customer reviews. In addition, constantly monitor outside reviews; and when negative issues are raised, address them immediately and openly, resolve them and learn from the experience. Providing useful information helps build consumer engagement and trust. It also gives people a more positive overall view of your brand. Too Much Info – Increasingly, consumers--especially younger generations--are more attracted to visual messages such as photos and videos. Interestingly, unboxing videos continue to be important landing points. Increasingly, that means visual information. And according to WebDAM, there are good reasons for this influence: - The average person gets distracted in eight seconds - 81 percent of people only skim online content, reading 20-28 percent of the words - People form their first impression in 50 milliseconds - 84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018 - 79 percent of Internet traffic will be video by 2018 - Posts with images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only - Video posts attract 3X more links - People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after a product video The CMO Council emphasized though that the most effective video content doesn’t rely on or add a heavy sales message but rather sound, useful information. The greatest consumer demand was visual with photos (46 percent) and video (36 percent) being most important. Perhaps that’s why videos on Facebook’s news feed have increased 3.6x, brand Facebook posts earned 85 percent more engagements and Tweets with images had 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets. For years, marketing has been talking about gaining a complete view of the customer and managing the end-to-end customer experience. Marketing is slowly, painfully beginning to use customer insight and intelligence to cross-sell and upsell customers as a group. Only a few have mastered it at the individual consumer level. Perhaps the best way to do this is to put the customer in charge?
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IoT, IoE isn’t Coming to Benefit You, the Customer

Sept. 9, 2016

We've got watches talking to phones, connected cars, great progress in connected cities, the ability to track (in real time) shipments anywhere in the world, real time monitoring/tracking your health. We're piling up and processing data so quickly we don't even know - or really care - where to store it or really how to use it, protect it. But it's going to be great when we get everything connected because then more data will be created that we can store somewhere and use sometime. If you don't use your data it's okay because someone, somewhere will find a use for it. "They" always do. After all your data has to be useful to someone, somewhere, sometime.
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Movies, Video Are More Than Just a Little Flash

Sept. 1, 2016

We know you take storage for granted except when it's slow, not available, dies. But filmmakers are always thinking about their storage. They don't want much just fast, rugged, reliable, HUGE and inexpensive. No I didn't say cheap I said inexpensive and it was the last check mark for the filmmaker because reshooting is way too expensive and often impossible. At FMS (Flash Memory Summit) awhile ago industry experts - manufacturers, integrators and filmmakers - spent a day telling the attendees how they work, how they use flash and what they need to handle the growing volume of content they capture, process, produce and finalize for folks to consume at the theater as well as on their TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones. Great content is too valuable to lose. Just ask the people who make their living as creative visual/audio storytellers.
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16 Month Shoot

Sept. 1, 2016

Gregg Ellman is used to capturing everything with his camera up close, personal and fast. Sometimes he has to go to great lengths and heights to get just the images his clients want. For more than 16 months he juggled NASCAR action, sporting events and the remodeling of Dallas' landmark , 561-ft Reunion Tower. It's all in a day's work for the action and documentary photographer.
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