The Game of the Century

I have found no way to casually play chess. It either informs and colors a great deal of even my most quotidian thought processes, or I have to remove myself from it for awhile to wear other glasses until my perspective becomes controllably rubbery again. Maybe this began with my epiphany upon reading Borovsky’s rules (for chess, and in my opinion, for life.)

I recently heard a super episode of Six Pixels of Separation featuring Jonathan Salem Baskin, a man who studies the connections between history and marketing. Baskin explained that the rules of social have never changed. There are no new rules, as has become a popular title of advice blogs on getting more followers by tweaking your Twettiquette for the new age. Nay. The rules have been the same for thousands of years, but the applications are different.

Throughout history, myriad diverse great leaders have pointed to chess as a learning tool that informed their strategy for war. The language is universal. The possibilities are near-infinite. Chess’s application is tenacious, though the game is very old. That’s because rules for social are implicated in rules for war, and thus in rules for chess (and business, which I’ll get to soon).

Bobby Fischer Game of the Century 1956

This week, I’ve been studying one game in particular:

The Game of the Century

Donald Byrne vs. Bobby Fischer
Rosenwald Memorial Tournament, New York City. October 17, 1956

A promising young player, thirteen-year old Bobby Fischer played one of the nation’s leading chessmasters, Donald Byrne. Continue reading The Game of the Century

Oakland Cemetery

I took these photos at Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery. This place is a trip into Confederate and Southern history while also demonstrating the oddity of gentrification, urban decay, and evolving zoning and land use trends. Depending on where you are standing, you can see the some/all/none of: the downtown skyline, a rusty industrial railroad, a field of identical soldier tombstones, a crowded Jewish section, phallic headstones, gargoyles, mausoleums, heralded magnolia trees, and nature’s insistence that tombstones move over so roots can spring up.

[postcasa][/postcasa]Oakland Cemetery Atlanta GA

Targeting Consumer Segments in 2011

Looking forward

There are a few dozen reasons to be excited for 2011 in tech. I’ll focus on one: Better targeted email marketing campaigns.

“Nearly every major announcement and R&D trend in the social industry revolves around adding data or layers of connectivity. Just in the past few weeks you have Facebook integrating e-mail, PostRank integrating Facebook data, Bing integrating Facebook data, Cotweet integrating with ExactTarget…” -Jesse Stanchak, SmartBlog on Social Media- “Why 2011 will be the year of social media convergence”

Email and Facebook Marketing

If we could send emails only to customers who clicked a particular shortlink on Twitter, this would allow for very customized marketing. However, it needs to be proven that the time spent tailoring individual emails to different consumer segments would be worthwhile. I look forward to being able to send a Facebook message to my Page’s followers who have visited a particular page on my website. It is almost overwhelming the degree of detail proposed here, however. Rather, the overwhelming part is ascertaining the threshold at which the ROI from heavy analysis and calculation of segments and expected conversion rates becomes too minute to be relevant anymore.

Email Marketing

If you can lower your cost per acquisition by using (hard cost = free) social media instead of pricy OOH advertising, for instance, you can probably only chip away at that number so much before the burden of sifting through your SM data raises it again. What I’m getting at, more specifically, is that I am tired of using ten different services to manage social media.

You have your eating disorder Twitter follower management services (binge and purge). You have post automation. You have auto welcome DMs to rotate and send. You have graphs tracking follower growth. You have Google Analytics with hits to your website and where they came from.  You have email campaign results with open rates and clicks. You have Facebook Insights.  Etc.

2011, let’s merge it all.  And hey, if anyone out there knows a service that already does this (and by service I mean a dot com or SAS, not a consultant or agency or individual workhorse tasked with conversation monitoring) by all means, comment. Note: I am partial to of late, but it doesn’t meet all the above requirements.

Shining Stars Marketing by Kroger

About a year ago, I discovered a Kroger brand cereal called Shining Stars. This cereal is to the breakfast aisle as Hello Dolly is to WordPress plugins. (The hope of a generation, if you will.) Shining Stars cerealThe mascots of the Lucky Charms-esque cherry vanilla flavored oat cereal are three teenage girls in a band called the Shining Stars. They are dressed pretty conservatively compared to Miley Cyrus. I think they write their own songs.

Singer Star Sparkle is wearing a high plaid turtleneck and braces. The African American drummer, Cherry Berry, has afro pigtails. Awkward but cute guitarist Nilla Crunch has red hair and glasses (she is the emo one).

I was so impressed by the positive, inspirational messages this branding sends to little girls that I had to continue buying Shining Stars and write this blog post commending the cereal. Unlike Bratz, these musical girls are actual role models for kids.Bratz The Shining Stars are confident and independent,  talented enough that they don’t need to objectify themselves and show a lot of skin. If Star Sparkle can get a record contract in that getup, there is hope for meritocracy yet.

Shining Stars cereal box back

The free prize inside the box is Shining Stars temporary tattoos:Shining Stars ankle temporary tattoo

You might say Kroger has won me over as a brand advocate for this product. Apparently Kroger also did a bit of well-executed pink ribbon marketing with bottled water.
“Because the packaging on water cases is so big, it enables long-form stories that also serve to honor the courage of Kroger employees. You couldn’t do the same on a can of soup.” via @SallieBurnett



Now Consumers Have First Right of Refusal

“The main reason for [companies not admitting dearth of Social Media skills] is personal technologies have outpaced business technology for the first time in a generation,” Keith Privette replied to me. Great observation- so key. Instead of consumers having second exposure after businesses have understood and implemented a new product or service, consumers have the essential dibs, the first right of refusal: they have chosen to popularize Social Media because of how innately useful, effective, and egalitarian (in the sense of a meritocracy) it is.

As you’ve read, I’ve been curious lately about where it’s all heading. In the next ten years, what will be the ultimate nuanced importance and overt importance of knowing that ten Facebook posts per day a real SM presence do not make? Working in Social Media is difficult in a different way than is, say, the field of law, because at least in the legal field, someone can respectfully/realistically aspire to – and one day actually be seen as – a guru. (Pardon my use of the word.) In an emerging field such as ours, it is difficult for someone to appreciate that seasoned, experienced SM strategists do base their expertise on learnable concepts. Those concepts, however, change everyday and that’s why SM gurudom is (and wonderfully so) like nailing jello to the wall.

Marketing, Career, Money