Archive for September, 2009

25 / 09 / 2009From social media to social strategy

“To be successful, you need to shift your mindset from social media to social strategy. A good social strategy essentially uses the same principles that made online social networks attractive in the first place, by solving social failures in the offline world. Firms should begin to do the same and help people fulfill their social needs online.

Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, is an associate professor and a Marvin Bower Fellow in the Strategy unit at Harvard Business School. I believe he provides us with his a fresh look into social network sites with his research work, and I would like to share it with you.

There is not a single day passing lately, without online media titles from SEW through ClickZ or Brandweek, suggesting “how-to’s” with SNS. Basically, they all end up encouraging tactical use of SNS to readers, knowing that approaching these tantalizing markets is very attractive to business leaders of all walks: ‘Let’s talk to people on Twitter or let’s have a Facebook page or let’s advertise.’

“And these are good first steps but they are nowhere close to a social strategy”, adds professor Piskorski. But it is as if, basic knowledge of consumers’ behavior is suddenly forgotten, meaning that consumers are often more interested by the social advantage a product can offer than by the mere functional benefit it is supposed to provide them…This is the basic principle used by advertising itself to address consumers!

Social media is powerful but bound to the potential of a technological mean. It is very useful to help and leverage group dynamics, not become a substitute for them.

In this perspective, I fully adhere to the following statement: “Firms will need to start making changes to the products themselves to make them more social“. The products are the mere pretexts for socializing. The tangible vehicles to express, build and maintain our social links.

This is food for thoughts, I encourage you to read the full article “Understanding Users of Social Networks” by Sean Silverthorne, from Harvard’s most recent issue of Working Knowledge. Sean actually interviews prof. Piskorski on his latest research projects on SNS users and interesting valuable results are also mentionned regarding what content woorks best (i.e.; photos!) and gender differencesin SNS uses which I do not cover in this post.

Working Knowledge is Harvard’s site section and newsletter destined to give a first look at faculty research, a concept I love and would like to see promoted within all universities! Something HEC Montréal puts forward in an interesting way in its Gestion magazine, where most of the articles presented are based on studies and research programs led by HEC Montréal professors. Such initiatives to share and transfer the knowledge is a very useful way to bridge with Quebec’s business community and the international business community at large.

24 / 09 / 20095 à 7 UX: Bonnes pratiques de la rédaction Web

5 à 7 UX d’Utilisabilité Québec ce soir!
Jeudi le 24 septembre, de 17 h à 20 au Belmont, situé au 4483, rue St-Laurent à Montréal, métro Mont-Royal.

Thématique: « La rédaction Web : un facteur de l’expérience utilisateur ? ».

Ma collègue blogueuse Aurélie Ponton de l’agence Mikimya se penchera sur les bonnes pratiques et apportera son point de vue. Place ensuite à la discussion et au partage d’expériences.

Ce thème avait eu beaucoup de succès lors de nos conférences passées, dont celle de François Hubert et de Nick Usborne, auteur du livre NetWords.

Gratuit et accessible à tous, mais il est toujours préférable de confirmer votre présence par courriel à 5a7@utilisabilitequebec.org 🙂

Merci et bravo à Étienne Garbubli de Kotsego pour l’organisation des 5 à 7 UX!

15 / 09 / 2009Electronic marketing references

eMarketing, when you come to think of it, what is it exactly?

What is the difference between ecommerce, internet marketing and emarketing? Are they distinct disciplines or distinct research fields? What differentiate them as research fields then, from their fields of practice?

Here are the kind of questions you don’t need to ask yourself, one might answer. And it is the kind of answer, another might not tolerate either. So for both of them, here is a good reference to settle the matter!

The truth is that beyond those basic defining questions commonly avoided, so many people are now self-declaring themselves experts on the topic…it ends up very rare that we can find trustable references on electronic marketing matters.

Here is a 2009 textbook titled ‘Electronic marketing’ by Charles Hofacker, PhD, marketing professor at Florida State University, seen on Elmar, the American Marketing Association‘s virtual community newsletter.

My favorite chapters are in section IV, about ‘The Electronic Network as a Connection Service’ vs ‘as a distribution channel’. Here is the table of content to give you an overview of the book content (186 p.):

Section I. Marketing and Electronic Networks

Chapter 1. What Is Electronic Marketing?
Chapter 2. Electronic Service
Chapter 3. Internet Design and Philosophy
Chapter 4. Observational and Experimental Data
Chapter 5. Legal and Ethical Aspects of E-Marketing
Chapter 6. Internal Company Operations

Section II. The Electronic Network as a Communications Medium

Chapter 7. Consumer-Business Relationships
Chapter 8. Business-Business Relationships
Chapter 9. The Online Audience
Chapter 10. Human Information Processing
Chapter 11. Visual Design Practice
Chapter 12. Writing for the Web
Chapter 13. Web Site Structure
Chapter 14. Interactive Advertising

Section III. The Electronic Network as a Distribution Channel

Chapter 15. Consumer Problem Solving Online
Chapter 16. Consumer Search
Chapter 17. Channels and Direct Channels
Chapter 18. Selling Strategy
Chapter 19. Hubs and Auctions
Chapter 20. Information versus Inventory

Section IV. The Electronic Network as a Connection Service

Chapter 21. Firm-Generated Content
Chapter 22. User-Generated Content
Chapter 23. Virtual Communities
Chapter 24. Strategy in a Networked World
Chapter 25. The Future of E-Marketing

This book is available for sale, and this version differs from the previous version in terms of the addition of a chapter on strategy, Chapter 24.

Evaluation copies are available on request if you use a university email account and send your request to chofack@cob.fsu.edu. I thank professor Hofacker very much for sending me a pdf version of his book while still in preparation a few months ago.

I also recommend the textbook by Dave Chaffey and PR Smith, “eMarketing eXcellence” (2008, 3rd edition) which offer very well chosen ’emarketing excellence’ examples to illustrate concepts. Also disseminated throughout the book, you can find helpful topic-related research-based theoretical frameworks under the label of ‘e-marketing insight’. For teaching contexts, every chapter begins with a few very well defined learning objectives, and ends with useful concise chapter summaries.

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