MLB And Free Credit Score Team Up For This Year’s All-Star Game

I don’t know about you but I happen to love the MLB All-Star Game. I can remember as a kid watching and listening to the likes of Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek call the game.

Nowadays I am as much interested for what happens on the field as I am off. Much like the Super Bowl I watch to see what the marketing and advertising folks have in store for the viewing public. Always fascinating to me to see which brands will try and take advantage of what is normally a very captive audience.

But there’s also a very fond memory I have as a kid that deals with the All-Star ballot. Who else can remember trying to poke the little holes next to your favorite player on the rectangular-shaped ballot? Of course that was then and this is now, AKA the digital marketing age and while paper ballots are still being used, one would suspect most fans would cast their votes via the Internet.

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What Is Programmatic Advertising And Is It The Future?

I am by nature a very curious person especially when it comes to the world of marketing, advertising and branding. Be it the latest mobile technology or the newest social media platform or whatever, I am usually instantly drawn and my curiosity piqued.

So when I heard about “programmatic advertising” I knew I wanted to learn more. As I began to delve into it, I learned of some very interesting statistics related to it and specifically real time bidding (RTB). According to the IDC, “spending on real time-bidded display advertising will accelerate at a 59% compound annual growth rate through 2016, making in the fastest growing segment of digital advertising over the next few years.” 

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Long Tail death knell… I think not!

Some in the digital media world are declaring the death of the long tail due to digital ADD, the exponential growth of and time spent on Social Media platforms and the time taken up by gaming. I have to strongly disagree. The long tail is alive and well, and if anything, experiencing a re-birth of sorts with regard to media and independence.

As stated so well by Chris Anderson, even if he is changing his mind now… “One of the most frequent mistakes people make about the long tail is to assume that things that are not viewed by a very large audience are ‘not as good’ as things that do have vast distribution. A given niche has both quality content and a lot of junk across a broad spectrum. Sturgeon’s Revelation states that the percentage of crud (junk) is in the range of 90 percent. On a store shelf, or in any other limited means of distribution, the ratio of good to bad matters because it’s a zero sum game: Space for one eliminates space for the other. Prominence for one obscures the other. Long tails in the online world are not pre-filtered by the requirement of factors such as shelf space, bandwidth, or the biases of purchasing managers.” Companies are popping up every day to serve and offer valuable services to the long tail at very affordable rates and the desire for people to communicate, build audiences and relationships, is not only growing, but a very basic part of human nature and something that is gaining momentum, not the other way around.

As long as publishing is low-cost and easy, and people have an easily accessible means to access that content, the long tail will not only live on, but thrive.

Ted Rubin

Social Media Power – Don’t Give It Away! Unless…

Social media’s incredible power is in allowing us to instantaneously connect to, interact with, and build relationships with our audience of thousands… and it’s exactly that power that makes it risky to turn your social media campaigns over to an outside agency.

The “social” part of social media campaigns makes them quite different than traditional ad campaigns. Instead of a brand presence relying on catching attention through the initial “look and feel” (of a website, brochure, television ad, etc.), it now includes a broader and deeper ongoing connection based on personality and relationship, both of which are tough to have someone “outside” successfully convey for your brand.

Also unlike traditional ad campaigns and their weeks/months-to-market brochures and television ads, social media has the power of immediacy with seconds/minutes-to-market Tweets, Facebook postings, YouTube video clips, etc. In other words, with social media we do not have the luxury of time for multiple review cycles and sharp perfection of every public brand message.


I’m not suggesting that you should never consider using outside resources for your social media campaign. If you are still trying to figure out how your brand can use social media for relationship commerce, or you simply have run out of hours in your day to use social media effectively, you may need an outside agency’s help. Just be very careful with your hiring, and deliberate with your integration of outside resources.

Specifically, you need to make absolutely certain that:

1. The key players of your outside agency team are attached at the hip to senior management. When your brand shifts in any way, your social media messages need to immediately reflect those shifts. If your brand’s social media presence isn’t nimble, trust and therefore relationships and influence will falter.

2. Someone with a direct line to the c-suite (top management) and a clear understanding of the brand voice and long-term objectives is keeping track of, managing, and observing the process daily. The brand voice, or “personality” is the heart of your social media campaign, so someone needs to make sure the personality stays true to the c-suite message and consistent throughout the campaign.

3. If you don’t have someone on staff to oversee the social media strategy, you hire a consultant for this role. This consultant must have the requisite experience with social media, and take personal charge of the strategy. Again, you can’t afford the time for information to trickle down from senior management, so the consultant must have access to communicate directly with senior management and be someone who really “gets” how social marketing works and how to execute.

Bottom line: Who can you trust with your brand’s relationships? Make that decision wisely.

Ted Rubin

Dog Days of Social Media… I Don’t Think So!

In his recent must-read post, “The Dog Days of Social Media,” Drew Neisser reminds us that just because Facebook has lost some fans, and Forrester “recommends a cautious approach to Foursquare,” we shouldn’t panic and jump off the social media ship.

I agree wholeheartedly with Drew and appreciate his addressing such a timely topic. “Dog Days,” my ass! We are only scratching the surface here of social media potential! And even if your audience does abandon a platform “en masse”… so what? Scalable social platforms are not going away, migrations will happen — they always do eventually — but if it is not Facebook or Twitter it will be somewhere else you can still reach out, engage your audience, and interact with them.

So we need to keep in mind that, going forward, long-term brand success will not be dependent on a specific social media tool; it will be relative to the depth and breadth of the relationships built using the tool. Building relationships and interacting with consumers is where the commerce of the future is heading. Yes, real relationships = brand interest & loyalty = success (money). In fact, at OpenSky, we believe so strongly in the power of relationships as commerce that we have built an entire platform and business model around it.

Remember, though, that social media is a facilitator of relationships, but it is not the relationship itself. Use whatever combination of ways to interact works best for you and your brand. In other words, experiment! Use Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, and YouTube (don’t forget YouTube!), and use them each in several different ways. Notice what tactics engage your audience so much that they interact not only with you/your brand but with other people loyal to your brand. That’s where the magic happens!

Once you find what works for your audience, drive a truck through that opening. It’s not enough to drive that truck through and keep on going. You need to park that truck, and get out to interact with your audience. “Listen” to your market and you will be able to relate to and engage your customers, evolving with them as they evolve and change. Remember… relationships are never static, so your brand must be able to move along with the relationship or be left behind.

Bottom line: the more responsive you are to your audience, the more responsive they will be to you. Don’t wait for them to make the first move.

Ted Rubin

The “Relationship” in “Relationship Commerce”

We’re hearing (and doing) more and more about “Relationship Commerce” these days — but what does that really mean? Does having 2,000 Facebook “friends” or “fans” mean you have 2000 relationships? Or 28,000 Twitter “followers” mean 28,000 relationships?

It depends. Any one of us obviously does not have time to keep up thousands of face-to-face relationships at a time, but with the help of social media, we can certainly build and keep substantially more relationships going. However, it takes more than simply sending a Facebook friend request or clicking the “follow” button on another Twitter user’s profile.

To build relationships online, you (brand or individual) have to offer something in return, such as valuable information, personal introductions to your already-established connections, or even part of yourself through engagement and interaction.

It’s no longer enough to just suggest that someone should be interested in your product or service. You need to engage your market — ask questions, propose ideas, or simply communicate through social media in a way that gives your followers a chance and a reason to respond.

Then when they respond, interact with them to solidify the relationship, or it will just fade out. Directly acknowledge their response, ask follow-up questions, and share their insights with others. Don’t simply be responsive, be incredibly responsive. Always acknowledge those who reach out or spread your ideas. Follow me on Twitter (@tedrubin) and you will see what I mean. Bottom line: the more responsive you are to your audience, the more responsive they will be to you.

Online relationships will not survive without trust. The key to building trust is simple, but not always easy: Always be good to your word (true to your brand), always be authentic, and always be genuine. Remember, most of your social media interactions are public and very much interconnected – let a positive, trustworthy reputation be the only thing out there to spread!

One final point in this post – although Facebook and Twitter are fantastic tools for meeting and engaging with your audience, don’t forget that you can use them in combination with other relationship-building tools. Email, phone, and in-person meetings are all essential tools for bringing the virtual world closer to your “real world.” Use whatever combination works best for you, and you will quickly turn your connections into raving fans and outspoken advocates!

As you can see, Relationship Commerce is not just about financial exchange; it’s about interpersonal exchange, aka the “relationship.”

Ted Rubin