Social Media Week Bingo - Play NOW!

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It's Social Media Week! To celebrate, we've put together this very special print-out-then-cut-out-then-keep-then-throw-away-after-a-few-days SMW bingo card. The rules are pretty simple:

1. Click to enlarge the image below.

2. Print out then cut out then... you get the idea.

3. Attend as many events as possible at your friendly neighbourhood conference.

4. When you see things, tick them off on your card. Not any old things though - just the things featured on the card. Don't tick off a pretty rainbow or a worrying mole on your forehead.

5. As soon as you've ticked off all 16 things on the card, shout "I'm a winner!"

6. Feel very good about yourself.

7. Contact us about about your prize.

8. Feel sad about there not being a prize.

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Enjoy, and we'll see you down the front, moshing to Gartner's keynote on big data.


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Financial Services: why the industry needs to rethink its loyalty strategy

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The digital age hasn't been kind to the financial services industry. On the one hand, online banking and self-serve product applications have facilitated enormous growth and resource streamlining. On the other hand, there's no such thing as loyalty anymore. A quick scan for 'credit cards' on Google gives a top search result for a price comparison site. And the second result? Another price comparison site. That's before Wikipedia's even defined what a credit card is.

And that's a big problem: when customers have become ferocious deal-hunters, and when the very best interest rates and fees are only a click away, it becomes almost impossible to compete without stripping back your product to its bare bones and scrapping it out to offer the lowest prices. And, when you're racing to the bottom, it's pretty hard to keep your customers with you - the moment you're not the cheapest in town, you might as well quit town altogether.

In recent months and years, FS companies have tried to offer value-adds as an incentive to lure - and retain - customers. It's the "I might not be as pretty as the girl who just moved in next door, but I know how to


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Analysis: Paddy Power are favourites to revolutionise social

Paddy Power In-Play

"Every man", said Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy on a recent call with city analysts, "over the age of 18 on Facebook in the UK is connected to at least one Paddy Power fan."

Them's fighting words and, being a) a man, b) in the UK and c) waaaay older than 18 (weep), I thought I'd give it a go. Guess what? I'm connected to three Paddy Power fans. Turns out that hot air wasn't nearly hot enough.

The important thing, though, is that Paddy Power aren't simply sitting back on their laurels and enjoying their place at social's top table. It's not enough for them to have over a million people listening to them on Facebook, they've got people talking about them, too. In fact, if you compare them with other brands who have similar a number of Fans, they generate six times as much conversation as Costa Coffee, 48 times as much as Pringles and 83 times as much as Blackberry. And Blackberry are in the conversation business.

All this is because, 18 months ago, Paddy Power totally reassessed their growth strategy. As underdogs, they were in no position to compete on level terms with the likes of


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Are you actually doing social commerce? Five simple tests.

Five ways to tell your social commerce campaign isn't actually social commerce 

Hey, look! It's a Friday! That must mean yet another company unveiling its great new social commerce campaign which ISN'T ACTUALLY SOCIAL COMMERCE.

NB: this also happens on other weekdays plus, occasionally, if the agency who've been commissioned to come up with this stuff are charging enough, Saturdays and Sundays.

It seems that social commerce is the buzziest of buzzing buzz trends right now, but very few people are doing it right. So, here's our top five ways to tell that your social commerce campaign isn't actually social commerce.

1. There's no actual in-situ commerce

Linking to your bog-standard e-commerce site from a YouTube video isn't social commerce. It's social marketing. Stop trying to pretend it's anything new.

2. User reviews, if-you-like-this-then-you'll-like-this widgets, Facebook commenting on product pages, Pinterest boards, etc...

These are all social things in and around the world of commerce. And that's wonderful. But it's not social commerce. It's still just social.

3. You're selling stuff just like usual but... wait for it... you've set up a store in Facebook!

That's F-Commerce and everyone realised ages ago that it's a stinker. Step away...

4. Every purchase is a solo activity

That's like calling a ready-meal-for-one a dinner


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Competitions are officially worthless

Competitions are officially worthless

We'll keep this one short but sweet. In fact, you only really need to read the quote in bold below. It's a biggie. So, here we go...

We had a fascinating meeting with the Marketing Director of a consumer goods giant this morning. It would be wrong to name names, but this company's high up in the Forbes Global 2000, they're a household name brand. And one line struck us hard. It should strike you hard, too:

"We need to stop doing competitions. They're worthless to us. We need to prove that the fans we're attracting to our Facebook page are willing to invest in our brand."

Take a second to let that sink in, because it's a massive, unspoken truth. Competitions might seem to work, you might collect umpteen new 'Likes', you might gather god-knows-how-many email addresses. But all you're actually doing is identifying people who want something for nothing - the very people, in fact, you should be actively eradicating from your marketing databases.

It's a really bold move from this brand, and we're delighted to be helping them explore ways of growing a real community of passionate advocates who actually want to buy their products. Because that's


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