New Media and the Future of Business

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

We enjoyed this interview with Brian Solis discussing new media and wanted to spread its message. A standout concept: competition can only take you so far. Brian highlights the importance of educating consumers on your brand and giving them a reason to continue interacting with it, noting “the future of marketing lies in shared experiences.”

Brian’s full interview with BuzzInNews can be seen here. Check out a few questions below.  

[I was recently interviewed by Israel’s BuzzInNews about new media and business. The conversation was translated from Hebrew to English, to share with you here as well. The discussion explores the evolution of social media in business from attention economics to B2B to ROI and concluding with a discussion of the brewing cold war between Google and Facebook.]

As an expert on New Media, could you provide an insight to what the difference is between New Media and Social Media? Do you think “New Media” is still new, or perhaps we should replace the word “New” with another word? If so, what word would that be and why?

That’s the thing about new media, it’s always new…Social media is just a chapter in the ongoing story of new media. For example, check-ins, augmented reality, swipes that trigger events, are all forms of new media. Social emerged as a category to document the rise of interactive platforms, channels and services that gave way to the democratization of information.

In your new book “Engage!” you talk about Attention Economics, and deem attention as a scarce and finite resource. What would you recommend Social Media agencies do in order to capture the attention of people’s attention?

Competing for attention is the problem with marketing and media and real-time media only heightens the problem. Competing for attention is similar to competing for the moment. By moving and reacting, we’re not investing in the legacy of the brand nor its presence within new digital societies. It’s real-time vs. right time + right place. Attention is only thinning for the near future and the only way to capture attention is through scale. Rather than 1 to 1 engagement, we need to focus on the opportunities where 1 + 1 = many. Recognition and empowerment are the secrets to scale. Giving reasons for people to not only consume and interact with the brand or related content, but share it is how we can earn recurring attention. The future of marketing lies in shared experiences.

How can success in a social media program be measured?

We often hear the debate about ROI, yet so very few people are qualified to address it in a way that appeases executives. It’s impossible to measure the ROI for something if we haven’t first established the R (Return) or the I (Investment). Even though social media is inexpensive or free or relatively inexpensive to host a presence, time and resources still maintain fixed costs. And, if we enhance our presences or apply greater resources, the investment goes up exponentially. The true challenge here however, is the need to first design outcomes into the equation. What do we want to accomplish? What’s the return we seek? Are we trying to sell, change, drive, cause, or inspire something specific? Are we reducing customer problems as measured by inbound volume, open tickets, public discourse? Are we trying to shift sentiment to a more positive state that increases referrals as a result? While parts of social media are purely designed for branding purposes, like direct marketing and online advertising, programs can also be designed to trigger desirable outcomes. How are you converting attention and clicks to a measurable return? Finding the answer will reveal that ROI and metrics exist at the program and departmental level and travel all the way to the top. And, they’re unique at every step of the way. Think about this and then revisit the ROI discussion.