More notes from a previous Word of Mouth event in D.C. a few months ago.
The keynote was from Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of AOL (oh, and billionaire). His presentation has tremendous insight and perspective, and was presented with disarming humility and sincerity. It is great to hear someone at his level 'get' what is happening with the market and marketing and present it with such simplicity.
Here are some of the points I captured from his presentation…
- Give customers the opportunity to create, share, and self-express. It’s why there are 55 million blogs.
- Typically corporations want executives to ‘stay on message’ and to ‘be handled’…but that doesn’t pass customers’ sniff test. Mr. Leonsis, for example, typed his responses in chat room Q&A…typos and all.
- Their job at AOL was to surrender to the audience. To hold the mirror up to the audience.
- Fastest growing markets: Latino, African American, Boomers, Youth.
- Youth is an entirely different market (note: search Millenials on Google).
- He encourages kids to study Mandarin and Math. China is producing 260k college grade in Math. U.S. is producing 22k, 10k are foreign students.
- In a happiness study, factors of happiness are: Relationships, Community, Self-Expression, Giving Back, Pursuing a Higher Calling. Online can help these things.
- Book recommendation: “A Good Third Place”
- Ad spend is 8% online, while time per person per day is 17% online and growing. Shift in spend will follow.
- Early in his career he marketed to people. Now it’s marketing to algorithms and chipsets (ex: google). He gave a great story where his car told him he needed new tires and he went and got them…5 hours out of his day. Yet tire companies spend hundreds of millions to convince him to buy tires…his car prompted him. Customer is in control…your message needs to be there right time, right place. (my interpretation: strategic need for data flexibility, interoperability, democratization, normalization).
- Business Models 2.0 don’t need any marketing around them. AOL spent 10s of millions on spam technology. Someone recommended a “report spam” button. No marketing, self policing system. AOL now most spam-free system by user contribution.
- For his sports team, he captured 101 things customers didn’t like and he attacked them one at a time, and showed progress against them.
- Create products that aren’t tricky.
- Embracing the customer: Listen (be open), Create good products with virtue, Make sharing easy, Mirror the community.
- 7 Web 2.0 Virtues: Generosity, Sharing, Politeness, Openness, Communication, Respect for Individuals, Diligence. He made note, coincidentally, that the Jesuits considered these the secrets of success in life.
- Customers have two wallets: money and time.