Going Beta

Hi FlashForward Strategy Fans!

This is the home of the new site, new logo and we are going beta… please be patient as older posts are re-loaded onto the site and let me know if there are broken links to information you want.

Love the fans, love social media and love the fact that the digital age is very much in its infant phase.


Why Google? Or, Twitter Should Be Scared NOW

“… However the challenge is, what’s the value prop in trying to get people to switch from FB.  It’s too similar to FB it needs to have a differentiator” ~ Jermiah Owyang, Altimeter Group

Jeremiah Owyang posted this comment on Google+ and it is compelling, yet, incomplete.  As a Google+ tester I was going to release a blog post today about the pluses and minuses of Google+, instead, I am going to cover the positives and negatives through reacting to this post.

Facebook should be scared in 24 month, Twitter should be scared NOW
As Jeremiah pointed out, there is considerable work in moving over a Facebook community.  And, I have contended for a while now that the reason FB is safe, despite unrest by early adopters, is that wedding and kids photos posted by moms and dads are encouraging even grandmothers and grandfathers to get on and stay on Facebook.  This culture will take some time to unravel or migrate to Google+ — not impossible, but definitely not a tomorrow concern for Facebook.

Conversely, Twitter does not yet have a viable commercial business structure today… more on this in the next comments.

Circles make segmentation SIMPLE and INTUITIVE
In Google+ you drag and drop people into different circles– families, friends acquaintances are the starting topics.  This is easy to do and the screen layout for it is organizationally clean.  I think Twitter Voyeurs, those people who want to mostly be audience or active listeners on Twitter (see longer definition from my last blog post) will really take advantage of the circles.  Yes, you can create lists on Twitter, but there is something counter-intuitive or structurally cumbersome in doing this.

How do I suggest Twitter Voyeurs use the Google+ circles?  Think about segmenting based on topics you want to watch– as an example let’s say you want to look at travel deals and you also enjoy reading about social media but are overwhelmed by Hubspot and Chris Brogan posts.  I suggest you create two additional circles 1)  Travel and 2) Social Media Experts.  When you are ready to travel check the Travel Circle for deals and special offers and when you are doing industry research for your marketing strategy practice check the Social Media Experts.  Most of the time you will check friends and family circles to keep track of your nearest and dearest!  You are now easily and intuitively segmenting information in a way that works for you versus sifting through Twitter trash.  

People EXPECT Google to be a commercial marketplace
Google doesn’t suffer from a DNA of non-commercialism.  That ship sailed with Google Ad Words and ever since Google has maintained their desire to grow and change in a way that is business focused.  This means we will expect commerce to occur in this social networking site and I see strong potential for the simplicity of the +1 feature.  Therefore the overall DNA of Google is a strong differentiator in the types of communities that will grow inside the product. 

Google has RESOURCES and is COMMITTED to developing a social networking solution
“If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try (and try) again!”  I love this attitude by Google in the social networking space!  I am only partly kidding when I say, Google wants to take over the world and Google+ is yet another sign that the company is going to keep throwing money and resources at the social networking space until they get it right!  If you are a social networking tool, whether tomorrow or in a few years, be afraid, be VERY afraid!

Do you want some help coming up with your Google+ marketing strategy?  Let us know, we would love to help!

Are My Fans Breaking Up with Me? Or, Fandwidth Saturation

Fandwidth“, noun

1a) A customer’s bandwidth, b) ability for a customer to care about a product, service or brand

Usage: While I love the Apple iPhone, AT&T’s dropped call record has saturated my fandwidth, therefore, I am going to switch to Verizon.

The FlashForward Strategy blog is a place to explore strategic marketing.  Often, what is highlighted is the dynamics/relationship between customers and companies.  Frequently, topics come to me while watching sports.  Why?  Well, sports fans tend to be passionate and, unlike most of our customers, sports fans want their team to know everything about them.  I look at sports as an innovation incubator for customer service.

Fandwidth is a term I coined watching the Boston Bruins.  I think the saddest moment watching sports was seeing a Garden full of, mostly, adult men screaming “We Want It Bad” as the Bruins were bounced earlier than expected from the playoffs.  Then, last year was the historical four game implosion by the team against the Flyers… who would have thought Philie would play the Red Sox to the Bruins Yankee performance!?!

As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I have been down the road of team disappointment before and experience the redemption of not just 1, but 2 World Series wins in the past decade.  So, I have a long history of cheering ups and downs and fan elation married with fan frustration.  This got me thinking at what point do you turn your back on your team and say, “No more!” to the tickets, merchandise, and journalism because no amount of free hotdogs and family four pack deals can obscure the bad product on the field?  Cubs, Knicks and Lions fans feel free to add your thoughts…

Related to your own marketing strategies, fandwidth is important when thinking about new customer service processes, product development and tactical marketing.  Are you branding your company and its unique DNA in a way that ignites people’s fandwidth?  Are they passionate about your product or service?  Could you get them to be passionate by tweaking your message or adding a feature to your product that makes your customer’s lives or interaction with your product simple?

Flipping this around, have you saturated your fandwidth after blasting out too many email marketing campaigns with irrelevant programs or product information?  Are you noticing that customers are complaining online about service or product components?

Over the next few months we will more thoroughly describe the actual metrics you can use to determine your fandwidth.  Until then looking at repeat customers, your outreach efforts to those customers and perceived consumer ranking of your company are all related factors in our calculation.

As always, give us a call if you would like  some help looking at ways to pump up or tone down your fandwidth – until then, “Go Bruins”!

Innovative Buying Habits- A New Year’s Resolution a Little Later in the Year…

New Year’s resolutions are interesting- they bring out the idealized self in many of us. In general, resolutions are not for the faint of heart- well at least not if you want to keep them! So, with that, I got inspired: by FlashForward, the state of the market and the utopia of potentially buying my Christmas tree online a little later this year! 

Let me explain:

The nexus for the resolution comes from reading a small business article on WSJ.com about three days after spending a frustrating Christmas Eve trying to buy a live tree. I was so disappointed! My holidays (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve day) are hectic like most Americans and juggling all of it leads to some ridiculous situations- like the tree incident. Finally with some time on my hands during Christmas Eve day I went searching for a tree and was shocked to find that everything was sold out or no longer in stock!

Not to end up treeless- I bought a pitifully small fake thing with decorative balls and lights included from a big box retailer. A disappointing purchase to say the least!

About two days later I was reading the Small Business section of WSJ.com and came across an article about a young man who started an online channel for his family’s Christmas tree farm business (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126161238663703227.html). I was intrigued. I could have clicked my way to getting a fresh Christmas tree directly from a farm? How fabulous! How innovative! Or, wait- “How innovative?” I thought. I started thinking about all of the many purchases I make every day just because that’s the way I always made them-even when clearly those purchasing habits are not working for me or my lifestyle today.

Then, I got thinking about FlashForward and our company’s mission to support start ups and small businesses and boom- a New Year’s resolution (okay, several months later, but still…)! For the next twelve months, I will put my own money where my mouth is and only support companies that innovate and that have product solutions, purchasing practices and service solutions that fit into the lifestyle of a consultant who is working with companies in this space.

This is a make up the rules as you go along sort of adventure… the next post will be about some of the first rules…