Marketing to Youth – Day 2

Day 2 of the conference was much better than Day 1. There was more focus on new media. However in most presentations I felt there was still too much emphasis on the paid aspects of having an online presence, and not enough on unpaid publicity and building long-term relationships.
The most interesting thing we did today was probably when Clark Harris from Vocanic asked us to look at our own projects to see if people were talking about us in the Blogosphere, and what we could do to improve this ‘buzz’. After several minutes of discussion, Clark and Ian asked for volunteers. A period of dead silence followed, so I took the mic and shared about feedback from the Blogosphere about our campaigns and the limitations we faced, including the difficulty of marketing a product that was intangible (health) to an audience that thinks they’re going to live forever, that sees anything the Government says as uncool. That generated more discussions from the moderator and other presenters. Unfortunately, no one else in the audience wanted to come forward to discuss their own projects.
I take my hat off to today’s moderator, Paul Soon from XM Asia, for actually mentioning the importance of Web Standards and its role in search engine optimisation. This is the first time I’ve heard of it in a relatively ‘mainstream’ marketing conference and I hope it happens more often.
Frederique Covington (Bates Singapore) gave a good presentation on music and youths. She advised us to tie in our activies with something that appeals to youth. Right after lunch, we learnt from Colin _ of XM Asia about how clever research in the Japanese youth market enabled Kit Kat to become the most popular snack in the FMCG industry.
While I think Microsoft’s Chris Schaumann is a very nice guy, I had reservations about some parts of his presentation. Dramatic-looking increases in the signups for Microsoft’s Spaces over the past year can look impressive. So did a chart of how Spaces was more popular than MySpace, Facebook and other social networks.
However, we must look at the figures in context. Sure, there is huge growth in Spaces, but was there also similar growth in rival services? Considering how Facebook opened its doors to non-students last year, and how many of my Singaporean friends are signing up for a Facebook account and actively trying to Zombify me, I’d say it has potential too. The growing popularity of one particular social network could simply represent a general trend in the proliferation of social network registrations.
Also, in the comparison with other social networks, other related community websites like Flickr and Friendster were not included. Next, even if Spaces is the biggest, I thought we should also know how many accounts are active. I would ask the same question of any other social network (Second Life included) that makes claims only on how many signups they’ve had. It’s not the number of signups but the level of engagement that counts. Quality, not quantity. But people gloss over it because it looks less attractive and is much harder to earn.
I had to dash off early to go back to the office for an urgent meeting, so didn’t stay for the Q&A session, or else I might have asked these questions. Other aspects of the conference could be improved, but the conference organisers were very professional in taking my feedback. Another aspect is impossible to ask for – a more participative audience. In fact the main thing the organisers heard was complaints about the food. The Mandarin Chicken Rice we had was nowhere as good as before, but at the end of the day it’s the food for thought that is more important. It’s a pity most did not share in the latter.
[BTW I am typing this all off the top of my head, as I left the conference notes in the office, so everything I wrote down here had to be memorable enough for me to recall.]


Comments are closed.