Philip Kotler in Sofia, seminar and press conference

Two things:

  1. I’m extremely busy, so this post will be short;
  2. I’ll be able to go back to my marketing professor in Holland, after my placement, and tell him I had breakfast (or high tea) with Kotler.

Yesterday as I went to the Philip Kotler seminar I spoke about earlier to interview some of the participants, I was invited to stay and witness the seminar in the afternoon. Sweet.

Kotler signing books at the seminar in Sofia

Over here Mr. Kotler!

Note: you can use these pictures IF you include a link to this website. Do NOT infringe copyrights. I will find out.

Then today I went to the press conference, which turned out to be in the panorama restaurant of the Kempinski hotel here in Sofia. Very good service from the personel, as can be expected in a classy hotel like the Kempinski. It was just a round-table setting, everything was translated to Bulgarian also (to my annoyance), but it was pretty informal and comfortable to ask him a question. Also got a Bulgarian translation of Kotler’s book “Lateral Marketing” signed by him. Sweet. Maybe some day I’ll be able to read the book. More content another time, have to get all my stuff through to the radio first. Can’t post any real data on here before then. I’ll make sure to post the links to all the material as soon as they’re up on the Radio Bulgaria website.

Philip Kotler signing book at Sofia press conference

Oh, go check out my Photoblog, it has updates!

Notice there’s no picture for today yet. That’s because I’m joining a journalist from Hristo Botev to the CD presentation of the Bulgarian Pop Idols winner. We’ll see what’s more interesting ;-)

Facebook’s Social Ads & Privacy

A rather big discussion erupted on using Facebook members’ names and pictures for making ‘social ads’. You read things like:

Daniel Solove, an associate professor of law at George Washington University law school, blogged that Facebook “might be assuming that if a person talks about a product, then he or she consents to being used as an advertisement for it. It is wrong to assume that just because a user visits a Web site or rates a product highly or speaks well of a product that the user wants to be featured in an ad.”

Now to put it quite simply, this guy doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. Sure, he understands laws and surely he understands at least a little about the internet… However, times are changing, marketing is changing and he doesn’t get the concept that Facebook’s using.

Basically it’s a type of viral marketing, using the functionality of a Web 2.0 application. These ads should not be seen as any traditional ad we know. It links a user’s action to a product, but does not claim the user endorses the product. You see this a lot in blogs right now, where writers give their honest opinions about products. They may be very critical about it, but they will often offer affiliate links for all the skeptics.

Now my point is, the ads will most likely pop up in users’ news feeds as:

* Bas reviewed product X.
or
* Bas purchased product X.

This does not mean anything. Other users now have the opportunity to contact me to see what I think about the product, or read the review. In other words, if an advertiser doesn’t offer value, he will not make sales. This is the new marketing.

Showing these ads does not mean you endorse the product, it means exactly what they say; that you either reviewed or purchased the product. Nothing more, nothing less. And if Facebook can earn a little money from that, why not. Let’s not make an overcomplicated system with requests for endorsements everywhere, when it really isn’t necessary.

And hey, if a review inspires friends to give a product a chance, why not. It’s what we do anyway. When we see our friends walking around with certain products, we buy them (*cough* iPod *cough*). When we buy something from a shop, the vehicle for carrying it (usually a plastic bag) is an ad for the shop. You’re now advertising for the shop, only because you bought one product.

Let’s just stop being so scared and get ready for a transition, the old types of marketing stopped working – long ago. We’re finally recognizing this and now we have the opportunity to get some genuine recommendations, not from marketeers, but from our friends and family. This is both good for the consumer, as well as for the sellers of products who offer value. Bad value products; your best days are over.

Philip Kotler in Sofia

Philip KotlerThe past week or so, in between all the partying, I’ve been trying to arrange for me to attend the Philip Kotler seminar here in Sofia. Now I really wanted to attend, since it was a great opportunity to do my job as a journalist and learn about marketing at the same time… Kotler being one of the most important names in marketing of all time. It turned out to be completely full, even for journalists. So I decided to see what I could do then… Three things, it turned out:

  1. Go to the hotel where the seminar is to hold interviews with some participants. The organizers helped arrange this.
  2. The day after the seminar I’m attending the press conference.
  3. Interview with the organizers!

It’s not the same as attending the event, but this is as close as I can get. Hopefully I’ll be able to pose a good question for the press conference, but I’m not exactly a press conference veteran so we’ll see how it goes.

A tip for WordPress marketing

Notice that on the right-side of the frontpage you can see a list of tags. Next to this tag it says “more”, which will lead you to “Hot Topics” on WordPress. Use these as categories! If one of your categories is “Showbizz” for instance, see if there is a synonym that ranks higher, such as “Entertainment”. Use this instead. It will get you more page hits through category-tags. Especially with the addition/separation of categories and tags. Use the tags to be specific, use the categories to attract a broader group.

Specific: more likely to be a smaller group of visitors, but you can expect these visitors to be interested in the content.
Broad: more likely to be a bigger group of visitors, but expect a lot of them to not pay attention to the content so much.

Use both ways, especially if it’s this easy.

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