Tag Archives: Marketing

East Coast Roadshow Redux: ANU Public Seminar, October 15, 2009

The last public seminar from the East Coast Roadshow Tour: ANU, School of Marketing Management and International Business, OCtober 15

Evidence based intervention has become the touchstone phrase for social marketing, public health and policy development in Australia in the recent years. The recent release of the Australia: The healthiest country by 2020 report by National Preventative Health Taskforce is based on delivering an evidence based social change platform through education, legislation and social marketing interventions. Whilst the increasing political centrality of the major political parties is suggesting “evidence based intervention” sits as a politically neutral position in pursuit of a common “social good”, the experience of the New Zealand social marketers suggests that a change of government can quickly change what constitutes the “evidence” in an “evidence based intervention”.

The presentation discusses how social marketing as theory, academia and practice sits within the broader social change agenda in Australia. Based on data collected through personal interviews with Australian social marketers, outcomes of the International Non Profit and Social Marketing conference, and from observations of events unfolding in the application of social marketing in the political, government and non-profit spheres, this paper outlines the areas for future debate and research in the application of commercial marketing theory in social change.

Slideshare of the presentation available on the day.

The Pear Necessities: Pear Analytics’s Pointless Babble Beta needs more work

I was raiding the Pear Analytics Website for the reference to their initial report, and I noticed they’ve upgraded to have a brand spanking new Beta(TM)  Feature – the PointlessBabble Filter so we can see just how what counts as pointless babble.  Under their own house rules for what counts into each different category, they’ve stuffed up the first six of seven items on the page (and I just wandered in, screenshot and counted. Your mileage won’t vary that much, they’d stuffed a large number of other tweets down the page).

Once again, I find myself grateful I don't have these people as my students
Once again, I find myself grateful I don’t have these people as my students

Seriously, if you’ve set criteria of (@, RT or HTTP) how hard is it to keep to that criteria?

Also, Ryan, it pays to read the report you’re defending before you defend it.  When you explained about the criticisms of the categorisation, you made one minor error of consistency.

Categorization – lots of comments claimed that the categories were vague and subjective. I still feel the categories are fine – but what we can do is sub-categorize on the next round.  For example, on the News category, we could break it out into mainstream, tech, social media, etc.  For Conversational and Pass Along Value, we could add which percentage of those had links.  This keeps the primary categories consistent between reports for comparison purposes.

News: Any sort of main stream news that you might find on your national news stations such as CNN, Fox or others. This did not include tech news or social media news that you might find on TechCrunch or Mashable.

Categorisation of "News" now includes the excluded
All the news that's quite limited and doesn't include social media stuff

Sarah, Ryan, Pear Analytics et al, before you drop the October 15 report, here’s a set of suggestions

  • Pick up on the lack of attention to detail that’s thwarting you from producing coherent arguments – look for the internal consistency in your software, your document and your site.  The example above is a neat demonstration of the lack of cohesive understanding of the “News” category .
  • Clean up the bugs on the Philtro system – ensure the auto-categories (RT, @, url) don’t appear on the pointless babble stream.
  • Redefine your content categories with greater precision so you don’t find yourself excluding with the left and including with the right.
  • Specify if single count or multi count method is used where a tweet could fit multiple categories
  • Read Naaman, Boase, and Lai (2010) – Is it Really About Me? Message Content in Social Awareness Streams.

Good luck for the October 15 release.  You know I’ll be waiting for the report.

ETA: Sarah Monahan has been in contact to let me know she’s no longer with Pear Analytics.

Trebuchet List: A matter of zepplins, catapults, and the right cutlery

Wreckage of the :en:Zeppelin LZ4 after the cra...
Image via Wikipedia

It probably helps to imagine this conversation not taking place over Facebook, but in a Victorian Era decor club somewhere before brandy, cigars and the 19th Century were scientifically demonstrated to be incredibly unhealthy activities. It’s also an alternate universe where the Trebuchet List is more of a set of guidelines than prohibitions.

Our players are Chancellor of the Exchequer Shridutt Devagirir and your not so humble host.

Stephen: Bunnings. Good chaps for a rock flinging device of doom

Shridutt: Esp. if you use multiple stores

Stephen: Well, if I need multiple trebuchets…I’d have to hire a flatbed truck too

Shridutt: or a blimp. Because nothing says BAMF better than an armed blimp.

Stephen: You can’t use a trebuchet on a zepplin. It’s just…IT’S TACKY

Shridutt: fine, Ballistae then. I sense some resentment that you didn’t think of arming a blimp

Stephen: Zepplins are a refined bomber class, with some light air to air defensive gunnery. The trebuchet is a form of field artillery. It’s like serving fish with a red wine

Shridutt: Yes. THE PARADOX! They will never see it coming! “PISH man! Who would arm a blimp? You’re fired!” “But sir!”

Stephen: Not to mention, the stablising mechanisms for counteracting the trebuchet’s rock displacement would potentially distort the aerodynamics of

the airship, and then there’s the point where you’re carry whopping great rocks on a lighter than air dirigible.

Shridutt: yeah you’d need really small siege weapons

Stephen: I mean, really, who hauls half a bloody mountain into the sky to fling it at someone?

Shridutt: um, the Brothers GF from Final Fantasy VIII did that

Stephen: I mean, apart from them.

Shridutt: Good point. Probably no one that wasn’t pixellate

Stephen: I mean, sure, the Prussian First Airborne Experimental Ballistics Unit, but they ended their careers after the incident in Munich

Shridutt: I see. Wait, were they the ones considering manned cruise missiles?

Stephen: After Lord Mountbatten covered up the Flying Flinging Fusileer’s drunken antics with a catapult and hot air balloon and a laundry wagon, it’s a miracle the phrase “What happens in Prague, stays in Prague” didn’t include the bloody lot of them.

At which point, Chancellor of the Exchequer Shridutt expressed polite doubt as to the veracity of my story.

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The Revolution needs to be commercialised

Kitty is approaching Critical Mass
Image by Dr Stephen Dann via Flickr

There’s a bigger story that is worth noting that has to do with the way the cultural struggle for a better world is carried out. In short, the right wing is very aware that political power grows out of people’s beliefs and hopes and dreams and they support their cultural warriors unstintingly. Our side thinks in terms of “issue campaigns” and leaves its cultural workers to work second jobs or take out mortgages to support their projects. We may wish to rethink this strategy.

Northland Poster Collective: Northland Closes (Accessed Sun Aug 02 2009 20:33:35 GMT+0800)

Cultural warriors on full paid salary versus the ad-hocery of the volunteer, several jobs and too many more commitments social change activists.  If we’re going to compete, we’re going to need to compete in some of their marketspace to at least block, parry and counter.  One Keith Olbermann does not a revolution make.

The question is – how do we commercialise the left-wing, centre (bi-partisan moderates) and moderate right (liberal social justice) to be able to counteract the heavily rating driven shock-extremism of the commercial entertainment industry?

One aspect is to divide the objectives into a partisan commercial focus, and a non-commercial bi-partisan operation.  Let the news, policy and debate that generates ideas for real change and solutions be conducted outside of the mainstream media, away from the 24 hour news cycle, and through the blogs, twitterstream, articles, long form magazine posts and pdf files.   Then bring a dedicated set of frontline icons to present a 24-hour, all-partisan, all social revolution, all the time entertainment focus to the fore.  Use the FoxNews entertainment model for creating a compelling taster dish for the real deep main courses of a more bi-partisan future on key issues.

At the moment, there’s a sense that the entertainment, edutainment, and news entertainment media is beneath the left-centre-moderate right, and that coming down to the grass roots showdown is sullying the good names of the movement(s).  Unfortunately, it’s called mass media because it’s for the masses – and if it remains an uncontested zone where bi-partisan means supporting Republicans in and out of elected office, it’s a going to be a problematic place for society.

It can be done.  The left, social-justice liberals, and the centre allegedly has the comedians, the entertainers, the showpeople and the firepower. It’s a question of commercializing it to the point of sustainability, and making it sufficiently socially sustainable as to continue in perpetuity against the professional cultural warrior circuits.

The commercialisation will add two elements.

1) First, with sponsors comes credibility – whether that’s justified, justifiable, a tragic indictment on our society or anything else, it’s one of those things that’s basically just an annoyance to work around until the system changes.  Think of it like a download patch for upgrading societal views – a large slice of the general public uses social cues found in the forms of endorsements from third party trusted sources as short cuts for decision making because they want to be secure in their position in the majority.  This we know from consumer behaviour theory, from innovation adoption theory, and the stunning success of films that aren’t that good, but which receive rave reviews from known sources.

2) Commercialisation brings money to the side of light, good and counter-evil ass kicking.  Instead of relying on spare change, donated time and vapours (fuel, or attacks of the), bringing money to the fight means full time staff, research cadres who can dedicate their time to providing the ammo to the frontline entertainment units.  Cash, commercial interest and resources means the chance to turn progressive into professional progressive, and to not walk away at the end of an issue campaign.

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Product Review: Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Space invaders on the iPod Touch
Space invaders on the iPod Touch

Space Invaders Infinity ($5.99, iTunes store)

Space Invaders on the iPhone is a pretty good fit.  unstoppable cultural icons meeting the unstoppable cultural iconic device.  What makes this match even better is the unstoppable genius of a procedurally rendered space invader levels.

For the fun of it, I tried playing the Imperial March as rendered by Space Invaders.  I did badly, and it was epicly awesome fun.

The main game brings one part evolution, one part adaptation as the game shifts through the various levels, you collect weird little DNA (or windows logos) that fill an “EVOLUTION” bar.  Once you’ve gained enough of these items, the game expands by unlocking bonus levels, bonus items, new weapons and new bosses.

In fact, the part where the game opens up to a whole amazingly new level is the introduction of six new ships to accompany the classic single fire ship from the original series.  Space invaders was never a true strategic game at the outset – survival tactics emerged, but weren’t really strategic options.  Adding a choice of ships with different weapon capacity makes the game a little bit harder, and throws a few more rounds of replayability into the fold.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene gave me a few extra late nights on the East Coast Roadshow tour, kept me amused on the bus rides around the country, and definitely made the Space Invader sighting in Perth even more awesome.

Disclaimer: unpaid product review simply because this game is an awesome retake on the classic.