Thursday, 17 January 2008

Are you a Pico-Marketer?

I recently stumbled upon a couple of ex-colleagues, Roger Warner and Stan Woods who are now running a Marketing/PRgroup called Velocity.

There was a great article the other day on their blog on Pico branding which is well worth a read (as is the rest of their blog). The net of it is that today's marketer needs to focus on participation in the little projects as well as the big mega-bucks corporate campaigns. In other words it's about capturing peoples interest via the "new" channels that they will be passing by - blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook etc, and using that to drive them towards some of your more polished content. Here's a quote from their article

Pico-branding is not about building grand audience destinations (like the mega-bucks web site of yesteryear), because if you spend lots of time and money building it there’s no longer a guarantee that they’ll come (there’s every chance they’ll be polishing their Facebook profile instead).

No, Pico-branding is all about building smaller, more discrete stopping points across all of these new online outlets, with the aim of capturing your audience’s attention and either complimenting (and informing) what they’re doing or diverting their interest towards a destination that you do own (ie, something from your Mega-brand bucket of work).

A good analogy is with the board game Monopoly. Everyone knows it’s a bad strategy to invest in only one area of the board. Too random and not enough traffic. A better way to generate cash is to buy lots of smaller properties at all of the places that people visit regularly, as well as investing in the big stuff: so, collectively, a bunch of houses on Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road can add a great deal of strategic, money-making value to those expensive hotels on Park Lane.

I think this is an area that we need to focus more attention on . As reported in Wired some while ago  - "Attention has become the scarce resource of the information economy". While we continue to invest in large scale activities - large events, plush web presences, etc let's spend a little more time figuring out how we can attract people to these investments. The mantra of "be where the people are looking" has been espoused for some while, but often this only translates to a plan to increase Google search word investments. Don't get me wrong - buying Google words is a powerful tool and warrants a significant part of our spend. But there is much more that we can do, and much of it requires focus more than it does cash.

My own experimentation in this space with this blog has been quite instructive (for me at least!). I use Google Analytics (a free tool) to analyse the traffic that is coming to my blog. I'm frankly astonished by the huge amounts of insight it provedes about the audience coming to my site and where they're coming from.

In an effort to drive up traffic I've tried a few things. From my analysis here are some personal tips:

  • Blog comments drive visitors. Use Google to find a few Blog sites that have a broad readership in your subject area. Comment in those blogs and link back to your own content. Technorati can also help here to find the sites with the greatest influence. This can drive significant traffic, provided the comments you make are relevant and authentic. This has been the biggest contributor of new visitors to my site.
  • Social Bookmarking. By tagging entries appropriately in Del.icio.us, Digg and other social bookmarking sites, I was pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in visitors coming from Delicious in particular.
  • Twitter. Personally I'm not a serious user of Twitter. I haven't figured yet how I can use it to add value to what I do, rather than act as another interruption. But I know many people are passionate about it. Signing up with Twitter and "following" a few people who are interested in some of the same areas as myself has also brought quite a few new readers to my site.
  • Linking all your activities. By trying to have my mail closing, my linked-in profile profile, and any other elements of my online presence all point towards the blog allows additional traffic to be driven with no incremental effort.
  • Keep at it. If I don't blog for a few days I can see the traffic start to tail off. So frequency is clearly critical

I guess I should also do something on Facebook but simply haven't got around to it yet.

Of course this is only the beginning of the journey. Having brought people to your page you need to provide a reason for them to come back. But that's a topic for another day.

What has worked for you? Please share.

2 comments:

Roger said...

hey pete - thanks for the quote! you're spot on, of course. alll this social media stuff and new ways of branding is all about capturing attention in new ways (in an increasingly attention-poor world). the real rabbit / hat trick is what to do once you've got their interest. hopefully, this won't mean we recreate a bunchh of boring old things that turn folks off straight away. rich web sites, video, that kind of thing is the way to go i feel. (nb: this may require more funding than the pico stuff!!)

Roger said...

hey pete - here's another one on a similar theme... in relation to Gladwell's "Tipping Point'. There's a great piece in Fast Company this month that looks at why pursuit of 'Tipping' may not be so useful to us. Anyways, here's the url for our take on it: http://www.velocitypartners.co.uk/2008/02/01/whose-tipping-point-is-it-anyway-a-b2b-perspective/