Why this blog?

A friend and I were having a debate on whether or not there was such a thing as a digital planner. Did being a good offline account planner automatically mean you could be a good digital one? What does it take? Since I love my job and the power it gives me to be a consumer champion I've decided to embark on a journey to prove that a 'traditional planner' can embrace the digital world.

Realising that I am going to be pulling from several sources who know what they are talking about and that there must be other planners out there in my shoes, I thought it would be worth blogging what I find. At the very least it's a good place to pull together everything for me. Without this I have a strange feeling that I will be as redundant as the banker who said 'yes buying another bank's bad debt is a really good idea'; wish me luck.

Friday, 15 October 2010


...you can now find me at Fields of Serendipidy. I could no longer resist the Wordpress widgets.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Catholics, contraception and choice

Could choice architecture help nudge millions of poverty stricken Catholics to consider artificial contraceptive and family planning as a feasible choice?

First I’m going to start with a disclaimer. I am a lapsed Catholic. That isn’t strictly true, ‘lapsed’ implies I drifted away, but I didn’t, I consciously left and in true Catholic style too. First I tortured myself over the decision and then spoke to the church who also tortured me over it. The fact that I have spent this intro desperately explaining myself probably indicates that I am still riddled with pointless guilt over the decision.

I lost faith in the Catholic teaching 20 years ago when I heard Pope John Paul II address the over populated, under nourished hillside favelas of Rio de Janeiro. He said that using any artificial form of contraceptive is sinful. I, as a privileged, educated Catholic simply did not understand this. Family planning would help these people break away from poverty and get children off the streets. In my view it was an unforgivable waste of an opportunity to do so much good. Thus I voted with my heart, soul and feet.

Vilma Lopez
Pope Benedict XVI has just visited the UK. The visit has reignited the debate over, among other things, the Church's position on artificial contraception and family planning. Here a meagre 4% of British Catholics believe that artificial contraception is wrong according to a recent YouGov survey. Some progress has been made in the developing world as shown by the Bayer Schering Pharma survey on Latin America but the Church's decision still impacts on millions of poor Catholics worldwide.

In 'The Trouble with the Pope' Peter Tatchell interviewed Vilma Lopez, a Filipino mother of eleven children with another on the way. Vilma and her family scavenge for plastic in the Manila city dump. She will not use family planning because the Pope says it is wrong and what he says is the unshakable truth - it is the word of God. How do you change faith as ingrained as this? I'm not sure you can or even should but perhaps we can change how she perceives the choices she has before her.

Behavioural economists Thaler, Sunstein and Balz developed the idea of choice architecture. They noted that decision makers don't make choices in a vacuum but in an environment with many recognised and unrecognised features that influence their decisions. Using choice architecture a choice architect can manipulate this environment to help nudge people to make better choices (as judged by themselves) without forcing certain outcomes upon anyone. The three call this libertarian paternalism. If we could nudge Vilma or her daughters in the right direction we could change the decisions they make on family planning.

In a summary paper the three economists analyse six tools at an architect's disposal and I'll have a stab at reviewing these and look at which could help women in Vilma's situation. Of course without the relevant research and analysis, this post will remain rather theoretical, but I hope to get the opportunity to spend more time on this problem in the future.

The principle behind this first tool is that people tend to stick with the default option as it requires the least contemplation and there exists the assumption that it's the best, or at least not a detrimental, option. (Hence the ubiquity of the Nokia ringtone that contributed to Dom Jolly's fame.)

Right now the default choice for Wilma is not to use artificial contraception, whether she wants another child or not. In fact she sees no other choice. The only thing a choice architect could do to change this default is to mandate that Wilma be given the choice of contraception every time she has sex. Clearly this is not viable.

Expected error
When I was on my HTML and CSS course our tutor told us to mistrust any data that users input and to put checks in place to minimise mistakes. This tool is pretty much based on the same theory. It assumes that people make decisions in error. For example, most people don't choose to leave their car headlights on all night or to leave the ATM without their bank card. That's why choice architects put in annoying alarms to force us to make conscious decisions about what we do.

In our case, I am pretty sure Vilma doesn't need an annoying alarm reminding her that sex could lead to another baby. So again, this isn't a particularly effective tool in this architecture.

Give feedback
The idea behind this is to tell people how they are doing so they can distinguish between the 'good' and 'bad' choices. Currently the only feedback Vilma is getting is that she is making the right choice by not using birth control because it is a sin. However, she does admit to considering family planning once before. Perhaps I could support the influencers who got her to even consider the subject. I could give them the ability to highlight the negative consequences of having so many children and to communicate the upsides for her and her family if there were fewer mouths to feed on $4 a day? This may just work as the Bayer Schering Pharma survey shows young people in the Asia Pacific region have an appetite for change. 62% of them want better sex education at school, 53% would like to have someone to talk to in confidence, whilst 44% would like a change in cultural attitudes.

Understand Mappings: From Choice to Welfare
A mapping is the relationship between a choice and what you get out of it or the welfare you get from it. In some cases the mapping is straight-forward, rather like looking down a Roman road. You know exactly what you're going to get, or where you're going to get to if you choose it. But in countless decisions the mapping is more difficult to do as the consequences of choices are less easy to decipher.Thaler, Sunstein and Balz said that a good system of choice architecture helps people improve their ability to map and hence to select options that will make them better off.

There are two methods that choice architects can employ, firstly to put the 'stats' in context for the decision maker and secondly by standardising the unit of comparison so that weighing up different choices is made easier. An example of the latter method is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) used to price borrowing in the UK. It takes into account the interest rate charged as well as fees incurred when borrowing money. This makes it easier to compare totally different borrowing facilities such as credit cards and overdrafts. To illustrate the first method, choosing the difference between a four mega pixel or a seven mega pixel camera is hard especially when there is £200 in it. But choosing between a camera that takes crisp pictures up to poster size versus one that is crisp up to a 5x7 inches puts the mega pixels in context of how it could be used. This makes it easier for the decision maker to choose the one most suitable to their needs.

Vilma told Peter Tatchell that she buys a kilo of rice a day. Everyone has breakfast from it, then a little lunch and if there is some left over, the children will have it for dinner, whilst the adults drink black coffee. Unfortunately on these rations she's already lost three of her eleven children.

If we were to go to a family with three children and put them on the same rice rations as Vilma's eleven, I wonder if it would be a better way of bringing home the stark realities of not using birth control?

Structure Complex Choices
People often adopt simplifying strategies when the decision to be made is important to them, or there are numerous, complicated paths to choose from. For example if a family has decided to move out of London they will have certain minimum criteria that a new town would have to reach for them to choose to live there. It has to be under an hour's train ride into London, it must have nice schools etc. They will eliminate towns that don't meet this criteria until they get to a simplified short list. Choice architects have more opportunity to influence choices for better or for worse when the decision is a complex one.

The problem I see with Vilma is that she doesn't believe she has other choices. She hasn't developed a criteria list that she can use in life-changing decisions like whether or not to have yet another baby. Perhaps this is where a choice architect could help. I could give her influencers the resources and the money to educate women like Vilma and help them to build a list of what she wants out of life for her and her family, and then to help her make her decision against what she wants, not solely on what the Church tells her to do. As the three behavioural economists say in their paper: public-spirited choice architects know that it's good to nudge people in directions that they might not have specifically chosen in advance. Structuring choice sometimes means helping people to learn, so they can later make better choices on their own.

Prices and incentives are important in any economic system. Choice architects can use this to their advantage when designing a system by putting the right choices to the right people. The three behavioural economists argue that the way to start thinking about incentives is to ask four questions about a particular choice architecture. Who uses? Who chooses? Who pays? Who profits. If you look at Wilma's current architecture; the Church uses her to keep its numbers up, it chooses for her to have children, it profits from the size of its following and the only thing Vilma does is pays. That just isn't fair.

So how do we begin to make her see this? By directing her attention to the price she pays thus the incentives she foregoes. In behavioural economics this is called making the incentives more salient. Take a taxi ride for example. You are continuously reminded of how much it is costing by a ticking meter so its price is very salient. If you were to take your car instead you are less likely to comprehend the real cost of that journey. In reality the price of you driving yourself is probably higher than that of a taxi once you include the cost of buying the car, the petrol, wear and tear, insurance etc.

If we go back to Wilma's $4 daily budget. Her influencers would need to show her how much a child costs to bring up and ask if she believes she could afford it. To make the consequences more salient, you could even persuade her to save the cost of having another child, so she understands on a daily basis the hardships that comes with having more children. I realise this sounds like a Draconian measure, so we would have to persuade Vilma to try it voluntarily by giving her an added incentive to save. Maybe we could match the money she puts away? A measure like this is truly in the spirit of libertarian paternalism.

In this post I have summarised my understanding of choice architecture and some of the tools at an architect's disposal. Where relevant I have gone on to suggest ways in which the tools could be applied to help nudge poor Catholics to come to better choices, as judged by themselves, on the subject of family planning. I have shown how understanding mapping, giving feedback, structuring complex choices and creating incentives could help in this cause. I do not believe this to be a comprehensive interrogation of choice architecture or the problem of encouraging birth control amongst poor Catholics. But I do hope that this post has shown how taking a fresh look at the problem from a choice architect's viewpoint can lend a new perspective on finding a solution to the problem. With this I hope that I can begin to effect the change I believe is needed.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Are we breaking up the internet?

The internet was heralded as the great equaliser. Futurologist predicted it would be a leveller, breaking down barriers in the physical society so that everyone in the world is connected through one big happy clappy network. Indeed it looked like this prediction was going to come to fruition, but unfortunately cracks have begun to appear along national, socio-demographic and loyalty fault lines.

Well a little sensationalism doesn't hurt, does it?

There has been a bit of coverage lately on how the internet is fragmenting into pockets of closely connected networks that are joined to other pockets by bridges, a term I've borrowed from network theory. The fault lines along which it is slowly but surely diverging are national, socio-demographic and loyalty based.

National fault lines

This visualisation by University of California’s Co-operative Association for Internet Data Analysis shows the nationality of Internet traffic. Unsurprisingly the pink that dominates the visualisation represents American traffic, British in dark blue, Italian in pale blue, Swedish in green and unknown countries in white.

The visualisation illustrates the pockets of networks far more eloquently than I can describe. If you look carefully at the pockets you will see they are made up of closely interconnected networks of the same colour which implies that the majority of traffic stays within national boundaries.

As the internet grows its traffic will consolidate around these pockets because the additional growth will come disproportionately from and stay within the nation bound networks thus fragmenting the internet even more. Governments have also started to put up firewalls thus amplifying the effect. For example, Australia wants to ban websites its government consider pedophilic whilst the Chinese authorities want to ban anything they deem unsuitable.

Data from Nielson shows that the time we spend on social networking is growing. In December 2009, when Vincos first analysed which was the most popular social networking platform by country their visualisation implied that outside of Facebook, preferences also fragments along national lines. But they re-ran the analysis just six months later, and it is now clear that Facebook is winning that particular race. However Ethan Zukerman, a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, proves that even online birds of a feather stick together. In fact we don't tend to just confine ourselves to fellow nationals, our online social circle is as tightly defined as our real life one. This leads me nicely to the second type of fault line.

Socio-demographic fault lines

In his talk at TED 2010 Zukerman shows how certain Twitter hash tags are followed nearly exclusively by African Americans whilst others solely by White Americans. Analysis of Facebook membership in Brazil versus Orkut illustrates that Facebook tends to be used by the better off. Vincos suspects this may be true of India as well. As far back as 2007, MySpace became known as 'The Ghetto' amongst American teenagers which leads you to the conclusion that social networks simply mirroring the real world's structure of class and race divides. With various companies closed platforms it's hard to see how these divides will not continue to widen. And again a nice link to my next fault line, the loyalty one.

Loyalty fault lines
With rose tinted glasses on, I'm going to call this a 'loyalty' fault line rather than a 'commercial' one. Once people choose and use the companies they want to interact through I believe they become rather attached or loyal to them. For example the first place I went to was Google to set up this blog as I use it to interact with old and new places on the world wide web everyday. This also means I contact my friends on Facebook through its internal e-mail system, use Opera to keep track of my RSS feeds and use my iPhone app to read Vanity Fair. This sounds reasonable enough behaviour, but it's loyalty like this that means we become wrapped up in company siloed networks which again fragment the internet in a different way.

The visualisation from Experian Hitwise shows how traffic flows between the top 30 websites in the UK. The size of the planet represents the website’s share of internet visits whilst the clickstream between them is represented by the arrows. An arrow's width indicates the amount of traffic moving between the sites. If you look at the traffic flows you'll see how much traffic companies like Microsoft and Yahoo! send between their different properties. Again cornering traffic and fragmenting the internet.

The three fragmentation forces I talk about are fierce ones and they worry intellectuals who fight for net-neutrality. For me, if this is the way people wish to use the internet we may have to accept that our happy clappy one world, one web may not exist in the strength we had predicted. I do however hope and believe it will exist in one form or another with people willing to share and bridge in the open way we currently do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 13 August 2010

Apple of my eye

I've realised that I treat Apple like a favoured child. Apple is definitely the younger one who is beautiful and cheeky, and gets away with daylight murder, or robbery if we were truer to reality.

An iFaux Pas
Apple didn't handle the whole iPhone 4 antenna issue well. First they try to deny the fact, then they delete threads relating to the issue, and worse still any thread that referred to the negative consumer report was taken down too. That's like trying to hide your less than glowing school report card.  Naughty Apple.

Fabulous name Mike Gikas (pronouced geek-cus) explains the antenna issue

With any other brand, this would have seriously damaged its reputation and sales. But not so with our favoured child. According to ChangeWave Research 73% of iPhone 4 owners are satisfied with Apple’s free case offer to overcome the antenna problem, and an astonishing 93% saying they are satisfied with their phone .  As for sales, they still outstrip supply, topping the three million mark in the USA alone, with Apple's latest quarterly profit surging 78% according to the Wall Street Journal.

It's not loyalty, it's iLoyalty 

Source: The Nielson Company Smartphone report
 So how do Apple do it? It's not the puppy dog eyes of Steve Jobs, or his admission of being less than perfect, it's the unstinting loyalty of its customers. According to The Neilson Company's survey 89% of iPhone OS owners say their next phone will be another iPhone OS, compared to Android's 71%, and Blackberry's 42%. Parents dream of this kind of loyalty.

Apple is most definitely a favoured child. Or perhaps Apple is a brand that has gained the respect I talked about in my last post?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Respect: The Key to a Brand's survival in the Social Age

With the blossoming of social media a brand's failing is often recorded and spread quickly through peer to peer reviews which is trusted by 78% of people. That's over five times more than the number of people who trust the brand's own TV ads. Pretty powerful stuff. Every brand will deliver customer experiences that are not up to scratch, that is the nature of this imperfect world. In order to survive these hiccups brands more than anything need to gain the respect of the people it is hoping to engage.

I believe that respect is even more important today than ever before. You see, if you respect someone or something you talk about them generously, you allow yourself to agree to disagree with them because you believe in them even if you don't always share in their beliefs, and you forgive their foibles because you trust they get it right most of the time.

Brands who have earned respect will fair better than others in this transparent Social Age.

Location:Sulgrave Rd,Hammersmith,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Social Gaming - Jargon for today

Officially: Social games are a structured activity that has contextual rules through which users can engage with one another. To state the obvious, Social games must be multi-player and have one or more of the following features: people take turns to play, are based on social platforms so you can share your progress easily, invite participants and provide users with an identity, and/or are casual.

Unofficially: A social Bermuda Triangle of time and a reason to connect when you don't have anything but lost socks to comment about

Useful summary 
Full report: Information Solutions Group: 2010 Social Gaming Research

Wikily: Wiki on Social Gaming

Social Games: A Bermuda Triangle for Time

Monday, 5 July 2010

John Lewis' v Robinsons' Britain

It's taken me a while to write this post as it's on the difficult subject of diversity in marketing. Being  half Malaysian and half Guyanese you would have thought I would do this freely but living in the melting pot that is London, I've never had to consciously contemplate it.

For me the Britain I know is personified by the Robinsons Wimbledon ad. The whole spectrum of our society rooting for the same thing, no matter how far fetched the possibility of a British Champion. A collective ideal we can all be part of.

In comparison, the John Lewis ad which has gained so much notoriety leaves me out in the cold. It uses a White, middle class ideal-family life, from cradle to grave to illustrate the store's unbroken commitment to its customer. Unfortunately the ad's lack of diversity portrays a brand that is uninterested in engaging any other walk of British life.

I respect John Lewis for its decency in pricing and love it because it's an institution I felt safe with and relied upon. I saw John Lewis as the mum to B&Q's DIY dad.

Perhaps that's why I was so disappointed with the ad. I thought I was part of the John Lewis family, but now I am left wondering.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Jargon for today...

I've learnt so much whilst wondering on my digital wanderings I feel it's time I can share a little. My mum asked me what an RSS stands for and I realised I know what it does but didn't know what it stands fro. So here we are:

RSS: Really Simple Syndication
Officially: Content that is published by an XML standard that is syndicated for (or shared by) other sites or read by others using RSS feeders like Google Reader or personalised home pages.

Unofficially: Help in spreading, sharing and splicing the word and proper kudos to for the author. Hint absolutely intended.

Wikily:  RSS on Wiki


Friday, 4 June 2010

Folksonomy - Jargon for today

Officially: More commonly known as a tag they are keywords, normally allocated by the author, that identify what topic or category an element on a website could sit under. These keywords are used in searches to find related content across the web or within a website. If folksonomies are made public, web-based book marking services are able to index them.

Unofficially: Funky name for a tag. It's a mashup of folks and taxonomy.

Wikily: Folksonomy on Wiki

That's 'taxonomy' you great Baboon, not 'taxidermy'.

Friday, 26 February 2010

First Direct have taken me from empathy to offense in under two minutes and three Tweets

First Direct really should have thought about reputation management before they embarked on their Customer Sentiment and Social campaign.

This morning I opened up my twitter account to find that I was DMed by First Direct on ways to improve my sex life. I've heard of Customer Relationship Management but this may be taking it a step too far.

My immediate reaction was one of pity because clearly they were attacked by the Twitter Phisher. But then they told me to disregard this in a public reply.

Apparently they were 'hacked' last night. So now I think 'hang on you've been hacked. But, I entrust my worldly wealth to you.'. Now I'm worried. With a re-read I notice a hint of complacency there and the anger begins to set in. But a second Tweet follows quickly. Perhaps this one will be better crafted.

Still no 'sorry', just a clarification that 'all is well'. Still no DM to me explaining what's happened. Good thing I was online at the time of the clarification. I'm not getting the 'all is well' feeling. 

Ah ha. Now the apology but in the form of another clarification. 'Just to clarify, it wasn't a password issue at all. Oh, and sorry for the offense caused.'. No offense was ever caused because of the initial attack: spam happens. I am however offended by how this has been dealt with.

First Direct clearly has no crash bag. If you are going to base your entire marketing strategy on Customer Sentiment and a Social Strategy this is a massive oversight. Especially in light of what has happened with Toyota and Euro Star recently, and the fact that Twitter had warned more phishing is likely to happen. 

It looks like First Direct is only prepared for when the going is good. In a previous post I used them as an example of a brand that should start to think about how they respond when the going is not so good, and this morning adds weight and a certain amount of urgency to this need.

In under two minutes I've gone from empathy to offense - that is the power of Social Media. First Direct I used to salute you, I no longer do.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

"Retail, meet Miss Location based Media

Ye olde days when exact targeting was a mere dream

I remember when I first started in our esteemed industry the mantra drummed into me was 'the right message, at the right place, at the right time'. Ever since then that mantra has done me proud. All my strategy was and still is driven by knowing the people you communicate with. Know them and you know what to say, and with this insight the 'where' and 'when' can be guestimated.

Location based retail marketing in the digial age

Then comes along location based apps. No more guestimation about place and time. Retail marketing meet the digital age. Now all we have to do is set up some kind of value exchange for the permissin to use these applications.

Some ideas that could be explored to bring the two together

1) On applications like mobile Google maps include promotions to drive footfall as well as contact/ address details

2) Get people to make their phone 'discoverable' with the promise of promotions when they pass your store

3) Gain permission to track an individual's mobile number by promising something unbelievably special and yummy when they get close to a retail outlet. Like a hug from the Abercrombie and Fitch boys possibly...maybe...

I wouldn't know where to start with getting the technology in place to do this, but it is something that I would love to explore.

Any takers?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Social strategy - it's not about a single minded proposition, but a many-minded conversation

Many marketeers effectively kill social strategies by trying to exert control over 'their' community. They believe it is the only way to get what they want and deal with what they don't want. Letting a community go is scary but more effective in the long run. (thanks V Dub)

The thing about a community is you can't control it.  It's like having a child that you give birth to, nurture and love, then suddenly it becomes this unwieldy teenager you can only hope to influence. For many marketeers this is hard to swallow given their modus operandi of one way, single messaging, totally controllable advertising.  This is where an Account Planner can come into their own. Instead of developing single-minded propositions, we should be managing many-minded conversations.

Here are a few things us Account Planners can do:

Don't make it up yourself

It's received wisdom that nobody likes to post the first comment. We can't control if, when or how the campaign takes off. However, we must not let fellow practitioners make the fatal error of DIY posts like Kingsmill Confessions.

Nobody buys it.

Instead, facilitate a way of collating genuine consumer views.  Many brands survey customers for satisfaction scores and comments.  This could be a perfect place to start as long as you have the customer's permission to post their comments, and that both good and bad comments are publicised. This is one of the only ways to achieve authenticity.

Face up to the facts

Mistakes happen. Allow them to be aired within the community, but deal with them promptly, painstakingly and publicly. I'm not suggesting it's an Account Planner's job to deal with the comments themselves, there are Community Managers for that. It is our job to persuade Clients that the good and not so good need to be posted and to ensure they are prepared to handle the consequences.   

First Direct customers can now post comments for all to see.  This is a brave move especially at a time when bankers are less trusted than politicians.  The positive and negative go up. Bravo.

But unfortunately there is little evidence of follow-up from the bank.  This is more like a graffiti wall with one way messaging that the bank have little permission to control.  This is marketing harikari.

Be seen to be listening 

Unfortunately the graffiti wall now feels like a brick wall. First Direct is damaging their hard won reputation of customer-centricity and transparency by not replying to the comments posted. 

Account Planners must build into their strategy the ability to deal with comments and also to leverage them.  In instances where it needs to be a private conversation, say so, do it privately but keep the community posted.

Many-minded doesn't mean many-sited 

The community will grow organically, choose what to say and where to meet. Rather inconveniently it's not always at the designated place brands create. So does this mean brands need to have space in the myriad of social platforms now in existence?  No, in short. Brands do need to keep their ear to the ground as conversations happen about them, without them.  (First Direct take note.) But brands should get involved in these conversations and then direct the conversation back to its nerve-center.

When deciding which platforms to formally partake in, brands need to ask themselves the classic marketing questions. Are target-consumers congregating there? Does the brand have permission to be there, or at least have the ability to develop this permission over time? Does being there help to meet marketing and subsequently business objectives?

If planned in this way, your social strategy can be all pervasive yet cohesive. 

In short, if you're going to embark on social media marketing be prepared to:-
  1. Leave your control freak habits behind
  2. Get the ball rolling with true authenticity
  3. Listen and react to, and learn from the community
  4. Be everywhere and only in one place at the same time.
Nobody said it would be easy, but done right, it will be extremely rewarding. 

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Have DDB sold out?

The first executions were long copy posters with crossed out words. They were rule breaking and intriguing. Nobody can resist reading something they aren't meant to. The newer execution with underlined words doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi about it. Definitely more resistible than irresistible.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

First Direct - The customer champion in banking isn't listening to its customer community.

A classic don't when it comes to building a community according to Mashable's "8 Things to Avoid when Building a Community".  See no. 3

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Warm fuzzy feeling from Linked In

After a few late nights and scratching of the little grey cells I managed to finish my Linked In profile. I sent out a couple of invites thinking nobody would respond, I mean I worked with these people years ago. But to my surprise and delight people did. Marvelous. Any brand that can be associated with this feeling is on to a winner.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 7 January 2010

My new iphone and different returns on social media - Part II

It's been a month since deciding to start this blog and I'm left wondering how on earth people find the time to read all the great stuff out there let alone write about it. This led me to the decision that I needed to use my time on the go and there it was, a perfect excuse to get an iPhone. I didn't need much persuading to be honest.

Already it's opened up so much more of the digital world to me. I had a so called smart phone before but it simply wasn't in the same league. To be fair however it was a 2G. Yes they do still exist.

Smart phones are now built more of data usage than telco efficacy. They are changing the way we communicate, disseminate and consume information, and make buying decisions. In fact, when you look at Mashable's comparison of the latest and greatest you'll see it has nothing to do with being a good phone anymore. (Good luck Nokia.)

Now all us marketeers have to do is learn to leverage this and make a little return on it. This return could be in the shape of reducing churn because a customer Tweeted a complaint and it was picked up on, or giving your advocates a platform upon which they can do the selling for you or getting free user research on a new launch. If anyone from the Google Wave team is reading this, I'd love to help with said research.

Although I am sure there are thousands of Digital Gods out there already selling ROI on social media in this way, perhaps it's time for us Mortal Digital bods to do the same?