Character assassination

There has been a lot of talk recently about Twitter’s proposed relaxation of the 140 character limit for tweets.

Well, I say a lot of talk.  More accurately, quite a lot of moaning.

I can’t see what the fuss is about to be honest.  The “point” of Twitter isn’t the 140 character tweet limit.  If that was the point then embedding images, vines, gifs etc wouldn’t be as fundamental part of the experience.

Your timeline isn’t going to become a column of blogs, rather than a column of tweets.  All that’s going to change is that the experience of “read more” is going to keep you on Twitter, rather than send you somewhere else.

Why should “text” have fewer options for engagement than imagery or video?  Doesn’t make that much sense to me to keep the limit.

And if you’re worried about people becoming all verbose and spammy – unfollow them.  You get the timeline you deserve, basically.

And if people get mass unfollowed because they can’t keep it brief, then they will soon sort themselves out.

I guess we’ll see, but if Twitter owns the one-to-many communication space, then more options in how to communicate is a good thing, in my opinion.



If you’re a B2b marketer, you probably have ambitions of marketing a product that people love – one which your customers do your marketing for you.  You probably have ambitions of creating a community of passionate advocates, of sharers, of amplifiers.

And you probably have ambitions of hosting events, big ticket events at which these communities congregate and discuss, debate and extol the virtues of your product.

If that’s case, take a look at this year’s conference from Tableau, the visual analytics software company.  All you have to do is search the hashtag #Data15 on Twitter (sidenote – a ballsy hashtag, no product or tableau focus, and a deliberate attempt to own the space, I imagine).  Or look at the website here

The whole thing is an absolute masterclass in crafting a product that people love to use, then using all of the main B2b techniques (a whole load of which are 1-2-1 and under the radar – the real hard yards) to build a community that builds and develops that passion, creating a whole new load of users, or people with ambitions to be users.

I know Adobe do something similar (and equally brilliantly), but if you have any other examples of this kind of thing, please let me know.

Muddle in the middle

The news that Morrisons is really struggling has hardly come as a surprise.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, not least the King Canute-esque refusal to follow industry trends (online shopping, convenience shopping over “big” shopping) until everyone else had it pretty much nailed.

But it’s also a failure of positioning, and another blow for those in an industry trying to occupy middle ground.  Premium is an easy sell, as is budget, but if you’re trying to do a bit of both you risk missing everyone.  I think Morrisons has done just this.  A desire to not undersell the quality has made people confused about the value, but a desire to not undersell the value has made people confused about the quality.

People can’t be bothered with that, they’ll just go for something that doesn’t confuse them, largely instinctively.

And this kind of stretching to each end of the spectrum is happening in a lot of industries – sport, movies, video games.  The big ticket stuff is still as big ticket as ever, and the niche stuff forms a long tail of interest, but the bits that try to do a bit of both are either struggling or no longer exist.

Stop trying to acquire me

I loved this from the always excellent Bryony Thomas on the aggressive nature of marketing language.

“Capture”, “Acquire”, “Target” etc.  All very SAS and a tone that makes B2b buyers run a mile.

It got me thinking about how this translates to sales people in B2b organisations as well.

Go onto LinkedIn, go to your “who viewed your page” bit.  If you’re a B2b buyer or involved in the decision making process in any way, look at the job titles of the people who have been “hunting” you.

The vast majority of them make me think “oh christ, I hope that person doesn’t call me”.

It’s probably about time we had a good look at this stuff.  Job titles are often the first thing people see.  As someone said at the B2b Marketing Summit the other week – your staff’s social profiles are your store front nowadays.  Not your website, not your brochure.

And yet we’ve got job titles that scare people off, with photos to match.

So change your mind-set, stop thinking of people are targets, then work that mind-set through your organisation, taking care to understand where people will first interact with your company.

Up Periscope

I had a good play with Periscope last night.

I won’t be the first to say this, or the last, but I feel that it is a real game changer.

Blogging turned us all into publishers, and Twitter turned us all into commentators.  Periscope (and Meerkat, shouldn’t forget Meerkat) can turn us all into broadcasters.

Genuinely engaging and world shrinking.  The possibilities for brands are huge of course, but the real impact may be felt between individuals communicating their experiences to each other across the globe.  Imagine something like this existing during the Arab Spring, for example.

Twitch invasion

At various points during reading this you’ll probably think that I’m a massive nerd.  That’s fine, I accepted it long ago.  I’m comfortable with it.  So with that out of the way….

I was watching a documentary about professional video gamers the other day.  It was interesting and bewildering in equal measure – a secret other realm in which people don’t finish games of Call of Duty with a 1 kill, 22 deaths score (I was tired, sitting at a funny angle to the TV and I think the batteries in my controller were dying).

During this documentary (which is still on iPlayer by the way), there was a fascinating section on the video game streaming service Twitch.  Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Twitch, you need to start getting familiar with it.  Especially if you work in or around (cc Andy Townsend) digital media.

Check out these stats and you’ll see what I mean.

So whether you think streaming and watching people playing video games is weird or not is irrelevant.  It’s massive, and getting bigger.

And the big thing for me here is how it essentially cuts out the middle man.  The content creators become the broadcasters and the viewers completely and totally pick their own schedules.  It’s time-shifted viewing on steriods.

Just think of how this model could affect the landscape of all broadcast media in future, and of sport in particular.  Will the traditional broadcasters still hold all of the cards, still control the access to the viewer and will the rights deals of the future still look the same?  How will the balance of power shift?  And how will this differ down the “tiers” of sports properties – including sports, leagues and individual clubs (or even athletes)?

I don’t know.  Stop asking me.  All I do know is that anyone who isn’t at least thinking of this new future should be feeling, well, twitchy.

Corp Blimey

Sport isn’t getting any less important.  I’ve talked about this before.

Soon, every bit of media people consume will be on their own time.  TV schedules will mean nothing and the importance of channels will diminish as your Sky Planner (or whatever) becomes your channel.

So the fact that sport means people all want to watch the same thing at the same time will provide something fairly unique for advertisers.  And its importance will grow and grow.

So the mega-bucks gazillionaire corporations are going to continue to be drawn to it.  To own it.  They start with one or two clubs as you see now with organisations like Fenway Sports Group owning the Red Sox and Liverpool.  Then they’ll pluck a basketball team here, and an American Football team there.

Or, like the owners of Man City, they’ll hoover up a few clubs of the same sport in different countries.

So where does this end up?  I think it will end with the entirety of global top level sport being owned and controlled by 25-50 companies, all owning dozens of clubs across multiple sports – sharing brand and resource of all kinds.

I think we’ll also see the first pan-sport superstar as soon as he can be crafted in some lab somewhere.  A bit like when Hulk Hogan tried boxing in Rocky 3.