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  • The digital citizen 9:46 pm on April 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apple, , customer service, john lewis   

    2 brilliant brands, 1 great marketing strategy 

    I have always said that the best marketing campaigns cannot make up for poor customer service.

    Great customer service however is any brand’s best ambassador. It will earn the brand respect, trust and profit.

    I have had not 1, but 2 amazing experiences today, firstly at John Lewis and 20 minutes later at Apple.

    I returned my toaster to John Lewis, which I bought about 6 months ago, as it was faulty. Without wasting my time debating the problem, the customer service assistant went in the storeroom and brought me a brand new one.

    He also informed me that the new one is on a year’s guarantee, starting today and encouraged me to email the maker and inform them of the issue.

    10 minutes later I went to my appointment with Apple to check what caused my Macbook to crash and never start again. The assistant checked the serial number and about a minute later told me that Apple were willing to replace my hard disk, for free, as there have been a number of faults with the particular series in the past.

    Having had my Macbook for 3 1/2 years, I was more than prepared to buy a new one, thinking that my current had reached its expiry date, however the assistant encouraged me to keep the one I have, as he found no other problem with it at all.

    So brands, before investing huge budgets on great adverts, social media and any other forms of advertising, make sure that your company’s ethics are high and your stuff trained to the highest standards. The best advertising after all is word of mouth and I have already tweeted , blogged and told all of my friends of my great experience!

  • The digital citizen 4:28 pm on April 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: acquisition, efficiency, in gaming, , mobile advertising, mobile gaming, product placement, video   

    Alternative mobile advertising 

    Ok, so mobile has come of age and increasingly advertisers include mobile in their media plans.

    This however, for heavy mobile users is intrusive and annoying. When you are using your smart phone so much, you get tired of being bombarded by adverts constantly.

    I have been trying to think of alternatives and here are some ideas I have come up with:

    • For those using their smart phone for gaming purposes, how about in-game, instead of top/bottom of the screen ads? By choosing the right games, advertisers can be almost 100% sure that they are targeting the right audience. In gaming advertising is vastly growing on consoles, such as the XBox 360 and research has shown that it is really impactful too.
    • For those watching videos, the obvious alternative advertising would be product placement in the videos. Finally the ban on product placement on TV has been lifted in the UK and naturally this should reflect on all other advertising platforms.
    • Finally, if you are mostly reading on your phone, hyperlinks on the advertised terms is possibly the way forward. Ideally, upon clicking an offer becomes available to the user. This would further enable the implementation of cost per acquisition models on mobile, increasing it efficiency.


    Of course, at the moment, most paid for apps do not serve any ads but how long will they be free for? Trends, including apps, can only remain forever popular if they keep improving and these improvements require investment which can only be covered by advertising.

  • The digital citizen 3:27 pm on March 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cancer, garlic, heart, problem, tetris, wine, world   

    The world and its problems 

    The solutions to the world’s problems have been here for decades, centuries, millenia. Only we did not know it.
    Gardic has been a cure to irregular heartbeat, only now we acknowledge.
    Red wine is good for the heart, whilst white protects against cancer.

    TETRIS CAN REDUCE LONG TERM STRESS: http://tinyurl.com/yh5fyum


  • The digital citizen 12:40 pm on March 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: crowdsourcing, Culture   

    The Culture of free: Crowdsourcing 


    A lot of conversation is happening around crowdsourcing these days. In case you don’t know, Crowdsourcing is a neologistic compound of Crowd and Outsourcing for the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an “open call” to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions.

    A great example of a crowdsourcing project are the Huffington Post, in its early days.

    But can crowdsourcing be a reliable way of doing things in the future?

    Everyone active on Twitter must have noticed the large number of self proclaimed evangelists and coaches. These guys are usually amateurs, trying to break it into the industry of their choice by posting stuff they have read on various blogs and other industry sites. They will get involved in anything that becomes available that needs some help free of charge.

    However these people cannot normally offer anything to these projects, as they lack expertise and experience. In fact it is my belief that the project is likely to cost more at the end that it would have had it gone to contractors from the very beginning of its existence.

    But the worst is tha skilled individuals remain in the dark. People who chose to charge, because they deserve it, miss out in this culture of free. But this is also the culture of compromised quality.

    Many will argue that crowdsourcing have given talented and passionate individuals the opportunity to shine and opened the doors to employment and creativity. I will not disagree. But this number can’t be but small and it can’t make up for the damage it causes.

  • The digital citizen 11:30 pm on March 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Detroit, dialogue, Ford, General Motors,   

    Detroit is dead, long live Detroit 

    Watching “Requiem for Detroit“, a BBC documentary on the rise and fall of the city of Detroit, among the many things that attracted my attention was how the automotive industry in the 50s influenced the current culture and in a way is responsible for the materialistic way people live their lives today.

    When owning a car stopped being a privilege of the rich, Ford and General Motors made the car a need for everyone.

    Ford increased the daily wage to 5$ in a time when the average USA wage was 2.5$ in order to make his cars affordable among his employees.

    General Motors created 2 series of cars, The Cadillac, the more expensive car targeting the rich and the Chevrolet for the lower middle class. Everyone should own a car.

    Both were responsible for and the main pressure group for the creation of the  great Detroit freeways, creating the sense that further to a need for the obvious reasons, driving can also be a great experience. This way they created a need for sports cars, which, of course, they provided for.

    It is true that the automotive industry raised the standard of life among the residents of Detroit who increasingly started moving to the suburbs. GM did not fail to spot the opportunity to market cars as a need among the suburbs wives, if they were to be modern and independent.

    Detroit’s flourishing and prosperity made the city inspirational for Americans living in across the country, spreading the need for a car and the general Detroit lifestyle beyond Michigan’s borders.

    I can’t help wondering; if Detroit is the actual place when it all started, the hometown of imposed needs and material happiness, what does its collapse mean for the rest of us?

    A new beginning, I hope. Thankfully, social media have enabled global dialogue and this means that only people, and not an industry alone, can influence people.

    • Zoe Marmara 12:09 am on March 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      “Social media have enabled global dialogue”: Isn’t that an oxymoron? The notion of ‘global’ applies to everybody, yet, we are aware of the fact that Social Media are means accessible only to the industrialized part of the world. Anyway, I think what you describe is part of the long history of globalization, which is strongly connected to western culture. Material happiness is a long sociological process. I can’t think there’s a way back. Back where? Marketing and sales rely on human behaviour and needs. Back, was when we needed, not less, but different things. Man can’t think differently. There are social norms that drive us. People more ambitious than the rest, used common sense, ethical values and religious beliefs to start economical progress. The truth is, if the drive for ‘material happiness’ stops, we will be poor, uneducated, unethical and immoral. Comes with the territory. I guess it was a good thing I studied sociology in high school… :))

      • The digital citizen 12:21 am on March 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Still it is the western world that influences modern culture. Social media have enable conversation among people, regardless of location, ethnicity, culture and we no longer need brands to tells us how to behave, we have each other to ask for advice when we need it.
        I am optimistic that Detroit will not be repeated because the people are now responsible for the social norms.

    • Zoe Marmara 10:47 pm on March 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right, we have each other. I like optimism in you – I think you’ve just set a nice example there. 🙂

  • The digital citizen 12:10 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , myscpace, social, ,   

    Social media and real sociability 

    When we are talking Social Media we tend to mean campaigns using the normal social media platforms, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc to connect with the public, building a strong relationship.

    It has been playing a lot lately in my mind that, as much as I love and believe in social media, that a great work, “social” is being misused or, at least, restricted to a limited amount of platforms, whose common ground is the internet. The internet is social but not just the internet is. My local coffee shop is social as is my local hospital.

    I was wondering, therefore, would it be possible to create local campaign, activated on the internet? Here is what I mean:

    During the HIV awareness week, we all see ads on the tube and red ribbons on twitter avatars. There is a number of walk in clinics in London and around the cities of the world. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to partner those clinics and launch a series of awareness lectures, where real people can talk of their experiences? Online and mobile media have now got the technology to recommend the closest clinic to where you are when you are seeing this advert. Such a campaign will result is much reduced media costs, with the rest of the budget donated to the clinics, which often struggle with their finances.

    Videos filmed within the clinics, showing real people, doctors and patients, can then become great viral material which can be distributed for next to nothing, with the power of social media, to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands to others, increasing the awareness.

    The internet is social, but human beings have been social before the internet. Could there be ways to activate the social element of the human with technology yet in environments outside it and within the society? Social media is undoubtedly a driving force for dialogue, yet has SM the power to generate the same dialogue outside the comfort of our sofa and within the real world, unmasked? This is how philosophy was born.

    • Another Day On Facebook 3:00 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      All I can do is clap. I have been wondering this question for some time. I even just posted a blog about how I discovered how social media really connects us through the internet but disconnects us in real life.

      I feel as if people are beginning to get lazy. It is easier to sit in front of the computer and click the like button on one of those pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness. It is harder to actually rally support in your community behind a cause.

      Another Day On Facebook

  • The digital citizen 8:23 pm on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Location based services,   

    How can Location Based Services boost business? 

    With the launch of Foursquare in the UK, everyone in and outside twitter is talking about location based services (or LBS).

    In case you wonder, Foursquare is a location service based social network that tells your friends where you are once you have checked in. You might be able to do a lot more than that but I could not tell, as I haven’t had a descent go at it but, as more of my friends join, I will write a review here.

    Some other LBS are aka*aki, Plazes, Loopt and Brightkite

    The reason I am really interested in LBS is because I really think that businesses can really benefit from using LBS and here is how:


    Almost everyone with a smart phone has used an LBS to find a restaurant, supermarket or petrol station in their area. Everytime one of us is using the service, it collects valuable information about us, such as favourite food, shopping habits, if we have a car etc. It will not be long before LBS are in a position to suggest local activities or shops using information gathered from our past searches. This information will then be available to businesses anywhere in the country or the world where the user is, making LBS able to display relevant suggestions. So next time you are lost in a new place, you won’t have to look for restaurants and touristic activities; they will find you.


    LBS with social elements, like Foursquare allow businesses a extra level of interaction further to relevancy and here is how. Say for example that the data collected so far about strongly indicate that you are a fan of pizza, Pizza Hut can then interact with you when you are close to a Pizza Hut restaurant, by letting you know of the pizza or the offer or the day or by allowing you to book a table or place your order to minimise the waiting time once you get there!


    The wealth of information of course will have a huge impact on mobile behavioural targeting. So far we can only target a relevant audience by displaying ads on mobile sites that we assume this audience browses. However, the more we know about a user, the closer we get to being able to more precise about the advert this users sees anywhere in the mobile web. For advertising purposes, LBS is in some way acting as an IP address.

    If social media help businesses strengthen relationships with the consumers, LBS can initiate relationships. But where social media interactions quite often stay in the web, LBS can instigate real ones. Although loyalty and retention both depend on the very direct relationship, AKA customer service.

  • The digital citizen 9:35 pm on January 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2010   

    Happy New Year! 

    It’s the 3rd day of 2010 and my very first change to sit back to reflect on 2009 and contemplate 2010.

    I am not going to make any predictions but I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year!

    • Be happy!
    • Be healthy!
    • Be inspired!
    • Be successful!

    BUT ABOVE ALL………….

    Be open to whatever 2010 has in store for us, ready to change the way you do things, you share things, you share your secrets, you share yourselves!

    I, for one, have never looked forward to a new year like I do now!

    Bring on 2010!

  • The digital citizen 11:18 am on December 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #uksnow, London, mobile internet, real time search,   

    The world is on the verge of becoming a very small place! 

    Two days ago London was brought to a standstill because of 2cm of snow. Airports were shut, train stations were shut, buses could not move, you had to fight to get a taxi.

    I was checking my Twitter feeds regularly on my phone to keep busy whilst trying to catch a cab in the cold but also hoping that fellow londoners would have initiated a twitter campaign, helping people get home faster. Here is what I mean:

    I was at London Bridge area along with hundreds of others trying to get a taxi home. Surely there must have been loads of people trying to go towards the same directions as me and we could have shared a taxi home, using the service to its full capacity. People driving to central London to collect loved ones, surely could have picked up strangers trying to get to the same direction.

    We all know that Londoners have a great sense of community but someone needs to activate them. Twitter has got the ability to activate thousands of people in seconds, via hashtags (#uksnow became an instant hit) or just nomal tweets. But it seems not a large enough percentage of Londoners are active on Twitter.

    Imagine though how different things would have been if someone saw in real time search, whilst trying to find a taxi back home, a tweet from someone offering to share their taxi.

    Sure, not everyone is on Twitter, but almost everyone is on Google. And increasinlgy via their mobile phones.

    Real time search + mobile phone internet =


    • Zoe Marmara 3:08 pm on December 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      May I add to that: A large interactive display that would track #uksnow and display the referring feed on screen in London Bridge would be most helpful in situations like the one you described. The system would also inform people how to use MMS or SMS technologies to send their own message to the display via Twitter API. Local government bodies need to use the Twitter framework to manage transport services. It’s free, after all! 🙂

  • The digital citizen 3:00 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Huffington Post, online, paid content   

    Paid for content: a recipe for failure 

    As the digital world is divided on the paying/non paying for online content debate, the real world is not really that divided. About 91% of the population have said it clearly: they are not paying.

    And they shouldn’t. The internet was created to enable the free and fast exchange of information and its free nature is the reason behind the internet becoming the people’s medium.

    Here are some reasons why people will not pay:

    The internet has given people options. In the past we had to rely on a few sources to get information and analysis. Nowdays, there are millions on online sources we are visiting to get the information we need, not necessarily the good old press turned online titles. The Huffington Post recently overtook the Washington Post  in unique users, but did anyone either know off or was in a position to predict that a blog could achieve this level of popularity a few years ago?

    The internet has also made us more demanding when it comes to free. We reacted to the high prices of music and chose piracy. Eventually, the record labels had to admit defeat and compromise their trading models in order to survive. The same kind of reaction is expected when major UK titles, such as the Times Online, implement the paid for content, although this might not include piracy to that degree necessarily. All this model could possibly achieve is giving the change to smaller but equally good sites to shine, as people will be looking for alternative sources to get their informations. And, as the swift towards the free will increase, there will be more advertising income available to the smaller sites, which they can invest to get hold of the required resource to sustain the success of their sites.

    Piracy is easy online. What would happen if tv channels opted for a paid for model for their online content? Be 100% sure that people would find a way of getting this content for free, whether this would be by legal or illegal means, and they should not be held responsible for that. If publishers have made the mistake and granted people certain rights, then these rights cannot and should not be taken back. I am not supporting piracy but paid for content encourages it.

    It is true that many online titles are losing money and it is not the free model which is responsible for that. It is rather the fact that these titles failed to capitalise on the amount of people visiting their sites daily by means of advertising. It was their own lack of flexibility and innovative thinking that drove advertisers away from them. They failed to see how the internet was changing and the efforts to adopt a more social face failed as they seemed as forces efforts to be trendy rather than sincere efforts to engage with their audiences. By charging for content that can be obtained elsewhere will only make things worst for them, as they will start losing the advertising income which, until now, they had taken for granted.

    Is there a solution? Well, my opinion is that there is only 1 industry that makes big cash from the internet, and this is the internet provider industry. What makes it ironic is that the industry would not be booming if there weren’t for this great online content.

    Also, for anyone who works in the online advertising industry, they would know by now that the cost per thousand model does not work for anyone. I tend to commit most of my budget to whoever agrees to work on my agency’s cost per engagement model, as this is an indication that the publisher will work harder for their money. There is a need therefore for brave trading decision moving forward. And the time has come for publishers to prove everything they have been claiming regarding their audiences.

    Finally and most importantly, online can’t be allowed to become the scapegoat for the years of faulty business by the publishers. But still, I can’t wait for their panicking reactions to people looking for (and finding) the same quality in free environments.

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