Study: IBM defines four categories for digital identities

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In a recent study called Beyond digital, IBM analyzed the digital behavior of 3,800 respondents in six countries (China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States).

The study explains how the digital industry changes with the evolution of the so-called „The Connected Consumer“ how Saul Berman, author of the study, calls us today. Us? Well, everybody who engages online provides custom experiences, and thus the term was created. It makes clear that 78% identify themselves as digital device adopters – more than half of those read newspapers online.

Companies need to become a clearer picture of their consumers. These identify themselves as either Early Adopters 12%; Late Adopters 32%; Mainstream Consumers 35%, or Stragglers 21%. Over half of the „mainstream consumers“ show a range of digital consumption behaviors. They check news onion. They watch video online. They access mobile services. They participate in social networking, or visit user-generated content sites.

IBM took a new approach to identifying the respondents in four different categories – although in my eyes categories will be difficult to hold as user cross category borders permanently these days. One of the reasons why I have created the Community Centric Strategy which I launched at the last IBM Social Business event IN Germany.

Still, the four digital personalities IBM found have more to do with their degrees of access to technology and content. Older target-group definitions like age come in second line.

The biggest group is the Efficiency Experts. They make up 41% of tech users, the largest portion of connected consumers.

The other three categories are…
Content Kings (9%) – dedicated gamers, newshounds, movie buffs, music lovers and TV fans.
Social Butterflies (15%) – have consistent access to networks, but engage with friends and family, rather than media-supplied content.
Connected Maestros (35%) – using mobile devices and Smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.

„These respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.“

Spot On!
Companies should take a close look at the Connected Maestros as they are providing tailored customer experiences. They require brands to build insightful profiles and continually update them as consumers evolve their digital content consumption behaviors. They are eager to get to know more about brands, companies and products. Assuming they are more likely to get engaged with brands, or to become brandvangelists.

Would you agree…? Where do you see yourself?

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger’s work?

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Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The „Pay a Blogger Day“ is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the „Pay a Blogger Day“.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to „donate“ for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: „Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.“ One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the „Pay a Blogger Day!“ on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission „Give something back to bloggers!“ A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the „Pay a blogger day!“). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, „plusers“ and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say „Thank you“ and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

Social Commerce – An impact on purchase decisions?

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Credits Picture: Penn Olson

Some weeks ago, someone said (and please comment here as I cannot access my elder tweets anymore) I might be the next and right expert to thing about social commerce of the future. OK, here we go… brief and based on studies as usual.

Many companies ask themselves if social commerce ist he next big thing and what impact it might have on the buying process of consumers. Let me give you two examples to think about social commerce visions with two of the latest studies that I came across in the last two days.

An optimistic view…
The E-Tailing Group Inc., sponsored by PowerReviews, finds in a research that one in two respondents say they spend 75% of their overall shopping time researching for products (compared to 21% last year). Customer reviews have the biggest impact on the decision to buy: 90% respond reviews have an impact on their decision; 60% say they’re the most important factor.

The report The 2011 Social Shopping Study finds that 29% of shoppers are turning to social networks to research products. However, only 18% of retailers in The E-tailing Group’s annual mystery shopping survey in the fourth quarter of 2010 feature customer reviews on their Facebook pages.

“People are willing to take the time to do research,” she says. “They will do anything to find the right price. (…) Social is emerging as a significant way that some consumers research products (…) The real question will be whether social media is adopted by most younger consumers and become a standard way consumers research products.” Lauren Friedman, President, The E-tailing Group

Some essential findings for social commerce future consideration…
– 59% say they read customer reviews (if on social platforms or not is not quantified)
– 42% access question-and-answer features that allow a consumer to pose and respond a/to question(s) to/of other shoppers
– 26% converse in community forums
– 15% view user-generated videos or create their own video
– 13% access a retailer or manufacturer’s Facebook page
– 9% monitor, respond to, or post tweets on Twitter.

A pessimistic aspect…
A representative study conducted by Havas Media and Lightspeed Research of 1.007 UK social networkers finds that 89% of respondents not having bought anything on Facebook. Above that, 44% of people are not even interested in doing so.

However, if the provider or manufaturer offers some special discount and deals, 77% of respondents are more likely to buy via Facebook shops. And targeting then becomes key: 70% of the people said, they would buy things from Facebook tht were based on their interests and prevous shopping behaviour (so business intelligence and data mining are welcome with consumers it seems). Also Location-Based Advertising (LBA) gets some impact then: 55% would even „check-in“ to a venue or stire via Facebook Places or Foursquare promotions.

Exclusivity is a main factor for social commerce according to the study. One quarter (25%) responding they would purchase a product on Facebook if it wasn’t available anywhere else, 22% make trust in a brand they know dependable on their buyiong process, and 17% said, they would purchase if it was easier than shopping via ecommerce solutions. Even, 11% stating they would buy something that was only offered to ‚fans‘ of a brand.

Brand advocates and brandvangelists are essential. The study shows the power of online recommendations and the influence of friends is essential for socail shopping. If friends recommend a brand, 53% of consumers were more likely to look up information about a brand. 17% were likely to buy from a brand if it was recommended by someone they knew.

And crowd shopping for discounts seems to become a trend. More than half of respondents were interested in getting together with friends to buy products in services in groups. 60% of males finding this opportunity compelling, compared with 48% of women. And women are generally speaking more „neutral“ and „negative“ when they see a brand on a social networking site (83%), according to the “Women & Brands Online: ‘The Digital Disconnect’ Emerges” study, from ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive’s “Women Channel”. Those same female Internet users responded they were more likely to be affected by coupons and discounts (41.6%).

Spot On!
Social Commerce is evolving to play a bigger role in the purchase decision process. And like in earlier offline ages, it is the social graph (friends and influencers) that make the important difference in my eyes. You buy from those people you trust (if they are the middlemen and know about it, or not). The studies show a clear trend: People, especially men while women being more difficult to affect with social branding activities, buy when they are addressed with the ads of the poeple they know and trust in. Brandvangelists are an essential factor that companies and brands need to consider embracing in their customer acquisition tactics when thinking about the future of their web strategy.