Innovative Disruption: The New Normal for Online Media

Innovative Disruption: The New Normal for Online Media | KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas BlogLast week I took my daughter to her first Red Sox game. We got there early, explored the ballpark, and enjoyed some Fenway Franks, peanuts and ice cream while we watched the first four innings. We left before the first rain delay of the 2013 season. This game was also a long-term milestone for the team, as it was their first non-sold-out game in ten years.

That’s disruption.

On the train ride to Boston’s North Station, I used a new payment system provided by the MBTA; mTicket, a mobile app that lets you buy your ticket and activate it when you board. I worried that it wouldn’t work, or that the T conductor had never heard of it, and we’d get tossed from the last car at a low speed. Instead, the app worked perfectly.

More disruption.

On the subway ride to the ballpark, we saw several people reading books on Kindles and other handheld devices. During the game, a lot of people took pictures with their phones, of the game, the players, and each other. I joined in the fun, and we’ve all seen Facebook friends posting pics of themselves at the game. People take mobile pics at rock concerts, too. It harkens back to the (circa 2004) obnoxious use of cell phones while sitting behind home plate.

All of that is disruption.

Innovative Disruption: The New Normal

Innovation has made it possible to disrupt one industry after another, from home delivery of groceries to genetic RNA interference. In the realm of education and training, Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, allow countless users to take part in university courses, which may be regular in-person courses or specialized for online learning.

In business, online video and online presentations have become a disruptive tool for sales and marketing, as more video communications tools emerge and more conferences occur online. I remember when we thought videoconferencing was a killer for the airline industry, but in reality online video and presentations have enhanced live events, while the real killer apps aren’t just about communication, but collaboration.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen has led the discussion on disruptive innovation for years. His books have focused on new technologies and mechanisms that have changed companies, industries, and the world. We think of mobile devices and social websites as disruptive innovations, and they are; but it doesn’t have to be technology. Business methods and ideas can also turn the tables on how things are.

What makes a concept disruptive?

It’s important to note that disruptive technologies and ideas are nearly impossible to identify, except to visionaries. This is because they should be characterized not by what they are, but for what they aren’t:

  • They are not a reason for change: Brian Solis says that disruption is a catalyst for change, but not the reason. Look at the current content marketing trend, which is considered disruptive, but it emerged partly because of social media, which required a constant flow of new, original, branded and unbranded content. Similarly, tablets like the Apple Newton existed for decades, without a clear purpose, before Apple launched the iPad and changed everything.
  • They lack refinement: Often, new technologies have no single organization driving best practices. MySpace and Friendster began as an expanded version of online chat, and only now, with the emergence of the Facebook Timeline and Google Plus, are we beginning to see design dominance in online social platforms. Or are we? Pinterest is driving a completely different look for social sharing, and Facebook’s frequent updates still drive people nuts.
  • They lack performance analytics: Views, shares, likes, retweets, leads, opportunities, influence, and engagement…the list goes on. These terms are still fairly new, and it’s unclear which of these communications metrics actually mean much to a company’s bottom line. More importantly, how marketers can best manipulate these numbers remains a mystery, as does how they can readily use these metrics to drive true business impact.
  • They lack an audience: A disruptive innovation is usually a simple fix to a product that is meaningful only to a small group of people, the way content management systems began as a better way to store documents and share them with people across internal networks. It mattered only to IT managers. Today, a CMS like WordPress allows any web publisher to share just about anything with the whole world, using customized designs and access levels.
  • They lack an application: It’s usually easy to see something emerge, but be unable to imagine a use for it. Look at the iPad, which sold well at the outset but originally stymied people as to its best use. The complaints included “no keyboard”, “too big to be a phone”, and “too underpowered to run desktop applications”. That didn’t matter. Mobile apps and cloud technology combined drove the success of these platforms, and now people can browse, read, search, communicate, and view videos while watching TV, working in retail or healthcare, sitting at the beach, or riding the train.

In online media, whether it is for communications or social sharing, disruption is driving incredible changes in the way we do things. It’s already hard to imagine how we got by without Facebook, and five years from now we’ll wonder how we survived without something some software developer is creating right now.

But disruption still has its holdouts. On the subway ride home, I saw a student reading Clayton Christensen’s book “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns”.

In hardcover.

Originally published on The KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.

The Spirit Of Edison: Advancing Online Content Technology

The Spirit Of Edison: Advancing Online Content Technology | KnowledgeVisionWhy do we communicate?

With so many advanced tools out there, it’s easy to think of communications technology as something we’ve always had. We wake up in the morning, and there’s yet another social media platform to learn about.

Books are written to show us why we should use them, and how we can best use them for… sharing content, making money, spreading knowledge, promoting music and making people laugh with clever pictures of cats.

It should be amazing.

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I Gotta Admit, I Like Being Quoted

The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement | AgilityAtWork & PR NewswireIt’s a small thing, really.

Earlier this year, I took part in a video project for Curata, a brilliant software firm providing an easy-to-use site where users can find online content for their own newsletter and online portal. They were doing a video shoot at their User Conference, and I wound up being quoted in the Curata Mobile App press release!

Then I published a few blog posts and videos of my own for KnowledgeVision, showing off our product and how I like to use it for presenting interesting topics. It’s mostly about how best to use online presentations, but also industry issues and shifts in technology. Some of our stuff got picked up by Business2Community and the Custom Content Council, and posted all over the social web. I love that.

The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement | Tom BishopNow I’ve contributed a segment to an e-Book for PR Newswire, “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”. It’s part of their promotion called Agility At Work – It’s a social hub dedicated to sharing tips, tools and best practices to keep up with changes in the realm of earned media. The e-Book is a comprehensive guide for any marketer who wants to find and energize their best social media followers.

My segment is part of Chapter 4, and is called “Turning Influencers Into Your Brand’s Voice”. It’s about what to do once you have been able to work with your most influential followers. I set a few ground rules for engaging them, such as: The most influential people are not necessarily your customers; people use social platforms mostly to converse with friends, not to shop, and; there is a difference between turning a person into an influencer and making them a customer.

PR Newswire did a tremendous job with “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”, and I look forward to the outcome of this e-Book and getting some more recognition for me and for KnowledgeVision. That is, after all, what I do.

I should also point out a few other people who wrote segments of Chapter 4: Anne-Marie Kovacs is founder of the BOOMbox Network, an agency focused on marketing for Boomers; Lee Ann Forbes is a former commodities trader and Marketing Manager for Micro Strategies, and; Vatsala Isaac, an experienced Marketing Consultant. Each of their segments are a must-read for turning influencers into brand advocates.

I don’t say this often, but I gotta say I like being noticed in my industry and quoted as an expert on topics related to it. Just once in awhile I can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m pretty cool.”

Online Video Is Trending: Drive Holiday Sales In-Store And Online

Online Video Is Trending: Drive Holiday Sales

Image Courtesy ABC News

As we enter Cyber Week 2012, we know that record numbers of shoppers hit the stores over Thanksgiving weekend. Among the online shopping trends we’ve seen include multi-channel shopping, mobile advertising, and opening times that are earlier than ever.

Social platforms will be a bigger factor than before. 2012 will also be the year that Pinterest really starts to show its worth for driving online purchases, especially with apparel.

Another trend is that stores are pushing for in-store sales, using sales that aren’t available online and by guaranteed price-matching.

But the biggest trend appeared earlier in the year, when 2012 officially became the first year that online clothing purchases, or purchases influenced by the web, surpassed those made in a store. The driving factors in online retail are increased use of mobile devices and tablets, and an increasing emphasis on video. It turns out that 40% of video viewers wind up in the store or on the store’s website.

That’s huge. Do 4 out of ten viewers of television ads drop everything and head for the store? Nope. No way.

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Being The Lightning Rod: When A Social Media Disaster Strikes Unfairly

Have you seen a more egregious example of unfairness than this?

Facebook | The ING New York City Marathon

During Hurricane Sandy, aka #frankenstorm, some Good, Bad, and Ugly things happened on social networks. There were fake tweets about flooding at the NYSE, and of course the American Apparel #SandySale fiasco (WTF were they thinking?).

But the New York Road Runners, the running community and ING bank can hardly be blamed for the devastation wrought by the superstorm, yet the social backlash against the New York marathon dwarfs all the venom ever spent against McDonalds for #McDStories, Kenneth Cole for using the Cairo uprising to sell clothes or KFC Thailand for suggesting that a deadly earthquake was caused by people buying chicken.

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Social Complaints: So What The Hell Do You Want?

Social Complaints: So What The Hell Do You Want? | MyLeftOneSay you’re browsing on Facebook, or Google+, where this is less of an issue (for now), and up pops yet another post complaining about something.

Usually, it’s a complaint about a certain type of post, like political arguments or fitness boasts.

And there are enough of these complaint posts-about-posts that they’ve become a new type of post themselves.

Well, here’s my complaint:

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Using Rich Media Content To Drive Leads

Ever wonder how you can build brand awareness but also track important marketing metrics like cost per lead and conversion rates? Tom Bishop attended the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum and sat in on a session that covered exactly how it can be done. Here is Tom’s KnowledgeVision presentation about the session:

Using Rich Media Content To Drive Leads | KnowledgeVision

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If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be #CMWorld: Twelve Ways To Make Content Interesting

If It's Wednesday, This Must Be Columbus: Twelve Ways To Make Content InterestingAnother day, another marketing event!

I’ve been excited about this trip to Content Marketing World 2012 (#CMWorld) for some time. For one, it’s the largest gathering of content marketing professionals in the world. Two, it’s presented by our friends at the Content Marketing Institute. Three, I’m heavily involved in content marketing and am excited to meet so many other people who are versed in the same stuff. Four, we’ll get to swoon over the brilliant speakers as they impart their experience to us.

Five, it’s during the biggest week in my marathon training schedule (50+ miles) and I’m jazzed about running the Scioto Mile, a riverfront park and pavilion and the centerpiece of Columbus’ riverside trail network. Incidentally, I learned about the trails while tweeting with The Columbus Marathon (@CbusMarathon).

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Keyword Filtering In The Real World: The HubSpot Inbound Conference 2012 – Day One

Keyword Filtering In The Real World: The HubSpot Inbound Conference 2012 - Day OneHow about a little reality today?

I’m on the train headed to the Hubspot Inbound Conference 2012 in Boston. After a big hiking weekend and a 5K run this morning to get the kinks out, I’m treating myself to a hazelnut coffee and a smoothie (I need 10K to earn a bagel), and of course I’m reading new articles about content marketing, e-learning and how to get more inbound links. All before the conference opens at 8AM.

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Inspire People to Action: How Online Video Drives Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Inspire People to Action: How Online Presentations Drive Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

What makes people respond to your content? Not everyone is inspired to act by text, but it’s been proven that photos and videos work better than words. ComScore reported that online video improves sales effectiveness when landing pages and e-commerce sites include them. In fact, social videos work better than television. What is it about video that drives inbound clicks?

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