The Next Big Thing? Lot’s of Little Things.

If you haven’t met our VP of strategy here at Powered, Greg Verdino, you should try and remedy that soon. He’s a smart guy who brings a healthy dose of wit and snide to any channel you connect with him in. He’s also just written a book. A really good book I might add. One that is made better by NOT being about social media. Well, it includes many references to social media tools and examples… but the book itself is about marketing. MicroMarketing. If you’re wondering what that is, you came to the right place to find out.

microMarketing FTW

Before I talk about what microMarketing is, I want to go back and provide a little context for this post. In helping my friend and colleague, Greg, get the word out about his new book, Mr. Verdino and I decided that rather than just send the book out to a bunch of influential folks and ask them to write about it, we’d ask them to cover a single chapter. I’m not in any way criticizing the traditional approach but in the spirit of “micro” we realized that shorter might be better. The roster of people that have agreed to speak is pretty awesome. I’ve included the names/dates/chapters they are covering and a link to their blogs below. As their write ups go live, I’ll swap out the generic blog links to those that point at the actual chapter posts:

Monday Sept. 20 – Chapter 1

Tuesday Sept. 21 – Chapter 2

Wednesday Sept. 22 – Chapter 3

Thursday Sept. 23 – Chapter 4

Friday Sept. 24 – Chapter 5

Monday Sept. 27 – Chapter 6

Tuesday Sept. 28 – Chapter 7

Wednesday Sept. 29 – Chapter 8

Thursday Sept. 30 – Chapter 9

Getting back to “what is microMarketing,” the title of the initial chapter of the book, “The Next Big Thing is Lots and Lots of Small Things,” does a nice job as summarizing the entire book. To that end, chapter one does a nice job setting the stage for the rest of the book by offering up examples of how the world is shifting from a mass to micro focus. With examples like “Sasquatch Dancing Man,” the Iranian election coverage by citizen journalists and Ashton Kutcher’s unlikely victory over CNN in a race to one million Twitter followers, the book demonstrates the loss of control by the mainstream media and in some cases, the government, over we, the consumer’s, time and attention.

If one were to summarize the entire book into it’s bare essence, this illustrative chart on page 21 pretty much says it all:

As a marketer or someone running a business big or small, it’s these types of prescriptive recommendations that make microMarketing so useful. When you take a quick look at the success of a site like Facebook with it’s 500 million members who share over 30 billion pieces of content each month, it’s not hard to understand that there is a new sheriff in town and his name is NOT “mainstream media”.

I promise that I won’t ruin the rest of the book for you. And while the reviews that you’ll get from my fellow bloggers over the next two weeks will be useful aids in understanding the new phenomena that Verdino writes about, it’s certainly no substitute for all of the useful examples and suggestions in the book itself. In fact, if you’re in the New York City area on September 27th, there’s a great seminar (I’ll be leading a panel with some of the folks mentioned in the book). You can also meet Greg and get your own signed copy of the book which comes with the price of admission.

If you’ve already read the book and have thoughts on Chapter 1 that I haven’t covered here (I’ve yadda yadda-ed over a lot), feel free to include them in the comments.

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Looking at the Future: Onstar’s Live On

It’s an OnStar kinda night at Stubbs — Austin, TX

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a fabulous event at Stubb’s BBQ here in Austin. The host of the party was OnStar (a Powered client) and the purpose of the shin dig was to announce OnStar’s latest and greatest in mobile technology called Live On. Without getting into too much of a marketing pitch, the crux of what VP of Planning and business development at OnStar, Nick Pudar, walked us last night through focused on these four areas:

  1. Innovative technology
  2. 9th generation hardware
  3. Enhanced safety features
  4. New marketing campaign
Rewinding a little bit, I had a chance to try out some of OnStar’s technology a few months back when my colleague, Joe Jaffe, and I were in Detroit for the Future Midwest conference. Friend and director of social media at GM, Christopher Barger, was kind enough to lend us a Cadillac Escalade. In addition to it being a REALLY sweet ride, it was equipped with OnStar technology. What I loved about the technology (in addition to coveting the ability to remotely unlock my doors) was the fact that everything is done via voice. As someone that is married to their iPhone, I can tell you that I know how dangerous it is to try and text or tweet while driving. I also know how aggravating it is to not be able to enter an address into my GPS en route.
Joseph Jaffe, Powered and Christopher Barger, GM
Back to last night… what I like about OnStar’s thinking is that they are working hard to keep drivers safe on a lot of different fronts. Considering the fact that over 6,000 people died last year in texting or other smartphone related accidents — a number that’s destined to go up dramatically — allowing people to do the thing that they will inevitably do in a safer, smarter fashion makes a ton of sense to me. In fact, OnStar President, Chris Preuss said it best in yesterday’s announcement:

Giving our customers control of their vehicles with smart phone application technology is a key advantage of OnStar’s in-vehicle connectivity. This technology empowers drivers to make decisions about their travels well before they enter the vehicle,  meaning their full attention can stay where it needs to be – on the road ahead.

To that end, allowing for the ability to use your smartphone’s bluetooth capability to to perform text to voice OR using OnStar to be able to update your Facebook status (and listen to recent updates) is huge.
Inside a Chevy giving commands to Facebook via OnStar
The live updates coming from our car as we update from OnStar
On the “room for improvement” side of things, it does take a little doing to coordinate the Facebook updates. And once you do an update, it results in a voice >> text >> automated voice update on Facebook itself. However, this is OnStar’s first shot of the gate with this stuff so I imagine that the technology and capabilities will smooth out soon. I’m also envisioning that services like Twitter and location-based applications will be included in subsequent releases of this technology.
One other thing to note is the ability to go to OnStar’s site, enter in a location and then send it to your car is VERY cool and something that is a no-brainer. As I noted earlier, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten into my car, forgotten to enter my destination into the GPS and ended up having to pull over onto the side of the road.
So a big kudos to OnStar last night for pulling off a fun and informative evening (something they replicated across the country). Also, a great big thank you to my friend, Kameya Shows, who was kind enough to invite me to last night’s soiree. You can see other pictures from the event over on my Flickr page.
Simon Salt, Incslingers, Aaron Strout (that’s me) and Wayne Sutton, TriOut & OurHashTag
Cross-posted on blog.stroutmeister.com