Archive for September, 2009

Technorati to Glitterati?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Ibiza1Entrepreneurs take a VIP trip to Ibiza…

What happens when you pluck 15 of London’s most promising young entrepreneurial talent, and whisk them off to the emerald isle for a lifestyle retreat they will never forget?…

I guess we are about to find out! ;)

Nicknamed “ICE:09” (Ibiza Conclave of Entrepreneurs), which represents the third in a series of retreats organised for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, this particular trip is the one that I have decided to host, with the help of one of the leading concierge services on the island – Icon Ibiza.

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Given that I am in charge of spearheading the launch of a new aspirational VIP platform for WAYN’s own collection of jetsetters, I thought it only good and proper that I sample for myself what some of our VIP members will be gaining access to, once we have partnered with some of the top lifestyle partners out there. It also happens to be my birthday today so can you blame me for wanting to make a weekend out of it? ;)

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ICE:09 is all about getting some of my mates together from the industry to show them why Ibiza rocks. But for me, this weekend is also about finding the right lifestyle and travel partners to work with, to ensure that our VIP members will be getting access to some of the best perks around.

WAYN VIP Logo

The group of Young Guns I am taking with me are going to be a tough crowd to please, particularly given that they represent a hand plucked selection of the tech crowd’s movers and shakers, who will have high expectations. By enlisting the help of Icon Ibiza – one of the top concierge services in Ibiza, I’ve got Icon’s founder and former Club Promoter – Charlie Chester doing what he does best, which includes turning the techno geek into glitzy chic.

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Charlie Chester: These guys are going to be blown away. Icon Ibiza is all about showcasing the best hidden finds in Ibiza, gaining access to the top events that are happening, and doing it all with a bit of panache and style. I’m confident that Pete and the gang will be smiling from ear to ear. I’m also looking forward to upgrading WAYN’s VIP members to experience a similar treatment when they also come over…”

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Some of the entrepreneurs that are joining us for this weekend to remember, include:

- Lucian Tarnowski, founder of Brave New Talent and One Young World Ambassador

- Andy Scott, founder of Rummble

- Charles Baybutt, founder of Curious Generation, Brands Live and the Rare Collective

- Sam Mathews, founder or Ugame

- Kieran O’Neil, founder of Playfire

- Alicia Navaro, founder of Skimbit and Skimlinks

- Andre Parrie, founder of Protopage

- Alena Dundas, founder of Gymboo

- Milo Yiannopoulos, Contributing Editor, TechCrich Europe

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With press coverage being lined up and some filming for a production company that are covering what happens on the island other than clubbing, which is looking to be commissioned for Channel 4 or Channel 5 in the UK, I am confident that with the help of Charlie Chester, we will help morph those going from the technorati to the gliteratti, overnight. I hope to do the same very soon for our very own WAYN VIP members.

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Keep it locked to this channel, to find out…

WAYN to present at Microsoft ‘s UK BizSpark Summit

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

As posted on Techcrunch on Thursday, I will be speaking at Microsoft with talks from “Dragon” James Caan, and Moo’s Richard Moross (@richardmoross) . There will also be a quick-fire pitching session, featuring TechCrunch Europe editor Mike Butcher (@mikebutcher), with prizes for the best pitches. Full article here

Microsoft has certainly been a lot more active in this space, especially with the help of super active Bindi Karia http://twitter.com/bindik) - the Biz Spark programme is a great initiative that provides Software, Support and Visibility for Software Startups – and whilst some may see this as a direct shot at Open Source, I can certainly personally relate to the great benefits our company has managed to benefit from, having been on a Microsoft infrastructure from Day one – Companies such as MySpace have clearly evolved around a Microsoft infrastructure for a long time too and it will be interesting to gauge the reaction of early stage startups at this event to see how they perceive this initiative and whether this will alter entrepreneur’s decisions when it comes to their technology investment strategy.  The event will be help on September 28th – more to come on this so watch this space! :)
Jerome

Why investing in Social Media pays off

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

August 09 will have been our best advertising revenue month of the year thus far, with a 100% increase in revenues since January of this year – it seems that our premium advertising strategy has paid off as we offer more and more targeted and premium advertising solutions to advertisers, and in particular, to the Travel and Tourism industry.  Tourism Boards have been particularly open to Social Media as we found that most are having to promote their regions even more so during a global economic downturn. WAYN.com has accommodated, forward thinking DMO’s to not only engage their target audiences with their content and key messaging, but also achieve a ‘myriad’ of marketing objectives via our ‘bespoke’ profile integration approach, such as traffic generation, brand awareness, interaction, UGC (User Generated Content), data capture and lead generation.

South Africa Tourism Board, as a case in point, is one of our many clients for whom we have offered a bespoke integrated solution – their recent campaigns on WAYN generated the highest number of views for their promotional video – in fact, the highest number of views ever generated for any promotional video they have ever ran.

The use of advanced profiles (micro sites) on WAYN enables organisations to capture and engage global audiences; our clients also experience an exponential increase in traction, when profiles are launched in synergy with a competition or survey. Targeted members are typically encouraged to engage with client profiles once they are informed of the “carrot” (What’s in it for me), and they can then apply directly via the client hosted profile, allowing clients to a) engage members with their profile hosted content, b) maximise interest in their profile ion the promotional phase and c) benefit from data capture and traffic to their website portal. Clearly the wider the reach of the campaign, the higher the odds of success – and in our experience a global campaign will become viral a lot quicker as users spread the word, and by nurturing this viral element, messages are dispersed with more ease when reaching a wider pool of contacts.

Tourism Boards are embracing the Social Media trends:  they have become far more sophisticated (and rightly so) in their online media strategies and more and more become experts, some even without the need of Media Buying Agencies – the largest Tourism Boards will now even have a Social Media Expert internally – something that clearly wasn’t commonplace a year ago, let alone a few years ago.  This is great news for the Social Media industry. Whilst many debates are still leading to the opened question of, ‘how the monetisation of Social Networks can be executed’?, many agree that the bulk of the value is yet to be discovered and the evolution of technology combined with an increasing appetite to be part of this global phenomenon, lead us to believe that we have merely scraped the surface. Fingers crossed, the trend will carry on – especially as the key to success is ultimately in a direct, consultative approach with our clients as we build our own expertise in the field and educate our clients directly – this is key for longer term client retention and commercial scalability.

Philadelphia header

The good news is that the strong performance of those integrated campaigns has led to multiple buys from more Tourism Boards in the last couple of months - Canary Islands, Tunisia, Philadelphia and Orlando , amongst others being some of the latest ones to join the ever growing WAYN client portfolio.

We are now rolling out this approach to Asia with 3 major clients coming on board shortly thanks to the signing of Fox Networks in Asia (part of News Corp) and TAN (Travel Ad Network) continues their progress in the US Market, whilst North America saw CPM rates dropped earlier this year by as much as 40% in some cases, we are certainly seeing an uplift in activities on the other side of the Atlantic. My bet however, remains on the Emerging Markets where we are still experiencing strong growth and increasing demand in online buys. We are still far from the optimal levels but patience is a virtue. Perseverance is a golden rule too!

Finally, if I had to provide 3 recommendations to companies considering investing in social media, and based on what we have seen over the last 12 months: 

  • Try to work directly with the publishers where possible – this will save you time and money and you can also tap in directly to their  experience and expertise
  • Be prepared to dip more than just your toe in and give your campaign a chance to succeed over an elongated period,
  • Be engaging, informative, enticing, provocative and overall inspirational to your target audience and embrace their feedback…they are potential customers after all

 Let’s hope for some continued momentum and more positive news in the industry for the months to come!

Jerome


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