Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Media on tap at upcoming conferences

Those of you planning to attend the upcoming TAVMA convention in Orlando or the Mortgage Bankers Association's Technology in Mortgage Banking show in Tampa, will have the opportunity to hear more about these new media tools and how they are being used in our industry today.

I'll be on a panel at both shows, talking about how these tools can be leveraged and why financial services industry players should be learning how to use them now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Don't impersonate your customers

It's not legal for a consumer to pretend to represent a company if he doesn't. Does it make any sense for marketing executives to impersonate customers? In a way, that's what advertising has always done. Now that we're leveraging new tools to get company messages across, some of the rules are changing.

In his blog, Communities Dominate Brands, Alan Moore talks about a new law in Europe that will penalize companies that use New Media tools to pretend to be their customers.

In America, we've already seen some high profile blunders caused by companies and public relations firms that thought they could sneak a company spokesperson into a blog or podcast without telling their audience.

It's one thing to put a smiling face in an advertisement and hope that people jump to the conclusion that they'll be smiling too if they only buy the company's product. Don't try that with a blog or podcast. The results will not be satisfying.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Inman features the bubble bloggers

Inman is running an interesting series on real estate bloggers who have chosen to write about real estate bubbles.

I think these business bloggers have been successful because they are writing at the intersection of the real estate business and the general public's information focus. People have been trained by the mainstream media to accept a real estate bubble as an important issue even though very few are real estate speculators and most have yet to see any negative home price appreciation. If you were writing a blog about capital requirements for mortgage bankers, you wouldn't get this kind of readership.

While this is a good way to use New Media to make a name for yourself, bubble your site to the top of the search engine listings and engage an audience you hope to sell to, it's gotta be tough for a real estate agent to make a lot of money telling people that the market is going to implode.

I like hearing these stories because it helps get the message across to business that these tools can be useful. When we read stories about bloggers attracting huge audiences, it helps marketing executives take blogs more seriously, because they've been trained to look for big numbers when it comes to media impressions.

In truth, it doesn't matter how big your market is if your product has a high enough margin and you can engage that audience effectively. I know mortgage loan origination vendors that can earn millions on a single implementation. Do they need to attract a blog audience big enough to get on the cover of an industry trade publication? Nope. They can be blissfully ignored as they use their blogs to move their customers swiftly through the sales cycle to the close.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Social Media by the numbers

Social Media. Need a quick look at the numbers? Check out this blog post and see why it's important that you get a handle on this stuff.

MediaToob goes straight to the phones

And now we have another easy way to deliver podcast audio and video content directly to mobile phones. If you think iPods are great, the handheld phone/MP3 player/PDA/God-knows-what-else is going to be really great.

Get this podcasting stuff down. All of our content will come to us like this in the future.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Inman: Into the wiki space

I've got to hand it to Brad Inman and his Inman News company. These guys really get out and try new things.

They were the first trade publication to host a group blog and featured some of the top thinkers in the industry. It faded away as these folks got busy, lack of effective moderation failed to keep the thinkers on track and, presumably, the link between writing and reward stretched thin, but for a while it was a very good read.

Inman still hosts its blog, though these days it's mostly written by Inman reporters. Still, I often find it very interesting and have pointed to it in my own blogs more than once.

Now, Inman is trying something new. Well, new for us anyway. Wiki pages have been around for some time, with Wikipedia being the best known example. The basic idea is that you give a bunch of folks the ability to edit the Web page and a much better (or informative or interesting or even weird) page will result. Inman's new wiki page is online now and I can't wait to see how it develops.

New Media demands innovation from those who hope to benefit from the advantages it offers. Inman, as you probably know, offers its own industry innovation awards every year. This is another perfect example of the company taking its own medicine. Well done!