Monday, January 9, 2012

About Scott Crider

scott crider, watchdog causes, social media, activism, interactive marketing, political, politics, communications, progressive
Scott Crider is "a social media wizard."

Crider is a "social media savant."

"Scott Crider is someone you should listen to."
One-Line Bio: A 25-year marketing veteran, Scott Crider is an award winning digital creative director, social media/interactive marketing strategist, professional blogger and activist living in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Short Bio: Scott Crider is an award winning digital creative director, social media/interactive marketing strategist, professional blogger and activist living in Gulf Shores, Alabama. A Web 2.0 pioneer since 2005, Crider's background in social media includes authoring two blogs that have received millions of visitors and massive media attention from virtually all major U.S. news media and many International media outlets. His work was also written about in a book about viral culture. He has also demonstrated acumen in harnessing the power of SEO techniques, Facebook community-building and the strategic application of social plug-ins to drive narrative across all media channels, online and offline. He co-founded Watchdog Causes, LLC with his wife, Morgan Robinson-Crider.

Full Bio: A digital creative director, social media strategist, interactive marketing specialist, professional blogger, and activist, Scott Crider lives and works in Gulf Shores, Alabama. In addition to achieving success as an independent blogger and social media pioneer, Crider has developed many cutting-edge interactive programs for clients large and small. Crider drives the strategy and overall execution of integrated Web 2.0 programs that leverage viral opportunities in social media and related applications. With a proven track record of identifying high-impact opportunities that provide innovative new distribution strategies for clients and brands, Crider focuses on superior content marketing, application strategy and technology integration within the Web 2.0 and Social Media space. Crider also has more than 25 years of experience in traditional marketing, advertising and public relations disciplines. Crider's social media accomplishments include the development of innovative social media integration applications that consistently exceed clients' expectations, including sales ROI in excess of 1,000% for a Fortune 100 retailer and digital promotions that have garnered tens-of-thousands of new leads for major national and international marketing organizations. Crider is also a successful blogger, having authored two blogs that have received millions of readers. One of these blogs, Dogs Against Romney, became the very definition of viral, garnering millions of readers around the world and major media features by the likes of Time, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, NPR's All Things Considered, MSN, MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Ed Show, The Young Turks, major national and international newspapers, and a book by Bill Wasik (editor of WIRED Magazine) titled And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture. His forthcoming book, SUPER PACK: How Dogs Changed the 2012 Election: The Coming Age of Social Media Activism, will document the story and provide valuable insights to other aspiring activists.  He co-founded Watchdog Causes, LLC with his wife, Morgan Robinson-Crider.

Email: Scott [at] Watchdogcauses [dot] com

Speaking Engagements: Scott Crider is available for public speaking engagements. References for public speaking can be found in the side bar of this site, and at Crider's LinkedIn profile. To arrange for public speaking, e-mail scott [at] watchdogcauses [dot] com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DMAI e-News: Holy Cr@p! Co-op Marketing and the Social Media Revolution

Here is the text of my article that was published yesterday (9/26/11) in the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) e-Newsletter. I'll be speaking on this topic at DMAI's Destination Management & Marketing Institute in Tunica, MS on Nov. 7-9. I hope to see you there!

Holy Cr@p! Co-op Marketing and the Social Media Revolution

By: Scott Crider

Social Media is the hot topic, but has it really opened up quantifiable new opportunities for destination marketers? The short answer to this question is “yes.” The longer answer is, well, longer.

First, some perspective.

Facebook is nothing less than a stunning force in marketing. Founded just 7 years ago in a college dorm room, the site now boasts over 750 million active users worldwide (Source: Wikipedia). In the U.S., the site is projected to boast over 150 million users next year (that’s almost half of all Americans!).

And it’s not all kids.

For more than a year, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook in the U.S. has been adults ages 45-55. Today, seventy-two percent of Facebook’s users are between 25 and 54 - with nearly equal distribution among all consumer age groups (Source: Socialmediatoday).

Are you ready for this jaw-dropper? That means 93% of adult U.S. Internet users are on Facebook (Source: Hubspot).

Not only that, but U.S. consumers aren’t just dabbling around Facebook occasionally. They’re devouring it daily. A study last year showed that half of all Facebook users admitted they check it every day, often multiple times. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average user spends more than 11 hours per month on the site.

That makes Facebook the biggest “time sink” on the Internet.

According to eMarketer, Facebook continues to entrench itself into consumer’s daily lives through diversification. No longer is the site primarily for keeping up with who is in a relationship with whom. What started as a “play” social network, eMarketer says, “has evolved into an all-purpose destination that is beginning to replace e-mail, instant messaging, video-sharing, gaming, and other activities that were otherwise scattered across unconnected venues.”

Considering these stats, it’s no wonder that around 80% of all businesses have by now created a Facebook page. In fact, a brand new Duke University survey of 249 U.S. Chief Marketing Officers indicated that, on average, they plan to dramatically increase use of social media over the next five years.

At the same time, though, marketing executives remain confused by social media. Many now have performance indicators built around social media metrics (such as growing Facebook “Likes”) but have little idea how to do so in a way that is strategically sound and deliver a discernable return on the investment.

The Duke University survey seems to agree, saying marketers “admitted they have a ways to go toward integrating social media in their strategy.” On a scale of 1-7, with one being “not integrated at all” almost one-quarter of marketing executives selected “one” to describe how well their company's social media is integrated with the firm's overall strategy.

Back to the original question: Has social media really opened up quantifiable new opportunities for destination marketers? You bet it has. And if you get creative, the opportunities can be enormous.

Let’s talk about an emerging trend in co-op marketing.

Virtually all media companies - television stations, radio stations, newspaper and magazine publishers - now have Facebook pages. They are challenged to continually grow “Likes” and provide innovative, fresh content that engages their audiences. Furthermore, they struggle to integrate their Facebook pages with their main programming and content.

DMOs can help media companies solve their “Facebook problem,” as one TV executive I know refers to it, and receive tens-of-thousands of dollars worth of free advertising and hundreds – even thousands – of new, targeted, drive market leads in exchange.


Media companies have hundreds of thousands of viewers, listeners, and readers (even millions, depending on the market). DMO’s have destinations that offer consumers attractive travel opportunities. By using Facebook to tie the two together, amazing results can be achieved.

I know of one case study about a DMO/TV Station/Facebook co-op marketing partnership in which the TV station experienced:

• 40% increase in Facebook fans

• 325% increase in consumer engagement (comments and shares)

• 50% increase in monthly active users

While the DMO received:

• 506 TV spots

• 30 live on-air promotions (news and morning shows)

• 25,000 Web impressions

• Over 800 highly targeted leads

• 1,200% ROI (total advertising & lead value)

It’s a true win-win situation. And this occurred in a small market in which the TV station’s Facebook page had less than 3,000 “Likes” to begin with. In a large market, where TV stations frequently have 50,000 or more “Likers” to begin with, and much more expensive advertising rates, a DMO could receive many, many thousands of high quality leads and many, many thousands of dollars worth of advertising for a very low investment.

In a word: ROI. I’m talking ridiculous, over-the-top, downright gaudy ROI.

The key element in this co-op marketing opportunity is a Facebook app designed to process sweepstakes entries. There are several companies around the U.S. that create and license Facebook apps, and some even provide campaign management and technical support.

Using an app, and some creativity and ingenuity, your DMO can be an early beneficiary of this emerging trend. Put together a win-win co-op promotion with a media partner in a key market, and you’ll gain your destination a huge amount of exposure, tons of high-quality leads, and – best of all - a remarkable return on investment.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dogs Against Romney: How I Got 1 Million Readers in 10 Days

The 2012 version of Dogs Against Romney is now live, with a the complete story of how I got 1 million readers in just 10 days back during the 2008 election. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Digital Brand Experience Marketing

Over the last few days I've been reading Razorfish's 2009 Digital Brand Experience Report. It's chock full of great data that quantifies something that I think digital marketers have sensed for some time. Online engagement seems to create a closer connection with customers than can be achieved with traditional marketing.

It turns out this is true but what I didn't realize was just how powerful online engagement - what Razorfish calls a "digital brand experience" - really is.

First of all, according to the report, the sheer numbers of people who can be classified as "connected consumers" - those who have the means and disposition to engage with brands online - has finally reached the saturation point, at least from a marketer's perspective.

Razorfish combines its own findings with those of the Pew Internet & American Life Project to determine that roughly 200 million Americans can now be classified as "connected consumers," defined by Razorfish as those who:
  • Have broadband access
  • Spent at least $150 online in the past 6 months (plane tickets, Amazon, etc.)
  • Visited a social networking site, and
  • Consumed or created some form of digital media (news, photos, video, music, etc.)
Whether or not the 200 million figure is completely accurate, its safe to say that the mainstream American public is now pretty Internet savvy.

Digital brand experiences include things like participating in an online contest, reading a corporate blog, writing or reading a product review, friending a brand on a social network, following a brand on Twitter, etc.

Here's the really juicy info, though.

First, 65% of consumers report having had a digital brand experience that either positively or negatively changed their opinion of a brand. That's a higher number than was expected - and it will continue to grow exponentially.

Second (and this is the real kicker) of these consumers, 97% say that their digital brand experience influenced whether or not they eventually purchased a product or service from that brand.

Think about that. Clearly, what happens with your brand online matters - a lot.

There is a lot more to digest in this report, but that's the gist of it. It got me thinking about the 2012 election (candidates are brands, after all). By then, its safe to say that even more people will be "connected consumers' and even more of them will be engaging with brands online. Those candidates who focus on creating digital "brand experiences" with themselves for the public could gain a lot at a relatively low cost.

That will be the subject of a future post.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Social Media Summer Series Part 2

I am honored to have been invited to serve as a subject matter expert on social media by the Consumer Packaged Goods Supergroup on Linked In. The group has over 20,000 Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry members and continues to grow rapidly under the leadership of Bill Holland, who invited me to write a series of articles for the members.

Part 2 of the 6-part series I'll be writing is posted below. You can follow it on Linked In and participate in the conversation with CPG executives here.

I hope to see you there!

Social Media Summer Part 2: Social Media is the most expansive communications tool. Ever.

In part 2, I want to talk to you about the truly mind-blowing expansiveness of social media as a communications tool. Like a huge boulder balanced on the peak of a mountaintop, there is an enormous amount of stored in energy in the social networks – at least for the brands that learn how to tap it.

Consider Facebook, in existence for just 6 years, has surpassed 500 million global users this month. That’s an average of 6.9 million new users per month. At its current pace, the social network is projected to reach 1 billion users – roughly 1/6th of the world’s total population - next year.

The latest research shows that over half of the U.S. population is using social media - and it’s not just kids. 65% of all 25 to 34-year olds and 51% of all 35 to 44-year-olds are in the social networks.

Not only is social media the most widely and rapidly adopted medium of all time, but it’s also among the fastest, most powerful, and (I’d argue) most targeted mediums – ever. What do I mean by this?

Speed of communication – Because social networks are, by nature, social, news and information about your brand can spread via “word of mouth” extremely quickly. With a single click, your customers can share coupons, deals or product information with literally hundreds of people (the average Facebook user has 130 friends). For example, a recent promotion for Kentucky Tourism generated more than 18,000 Facebook status updates seen by over 174,000 people in just 8 days.

Power – For generations, marketers have known that word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising. The social media have taken word of mouth to an entirely new level. Each “share” in social media is a de-facto word of mouth recommendation. Not only that, but (I’d argue) word of mouth itself is becoming even more powerful than ever before. In the age of information overload, research is beginning to indicate that people are actually using their social networks to screen and evaluate their purchasing decisions. If you sell cake mix, and thousands of moms share a free recipe and coupon for your product with tens of thousands of their friends, what cake mix do you think they are going to be more likely to buy?

Targeting – Also for generations, marketers have followed the rule of thumb that “birds of a feather flock together.” They found that, by and large, individual zip codes contained people of similar economic status and interests. The same is true (I’d argue) of social networks. People in social networks tend to be connected to people similar to themselves. Furthermore, people in these networks are conscious of the type of content they share – they don’t spam their friends. This means that when moms share your hypothetical cake mix recipe and coupon, they share it with other moms who are also your target – and they do it for you for FREE.

Next time, we’ll discuss more about social media for B2C marketing. Until then, please comment with any questions or topics you’d like covered and I will do my best to address them along the way.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Social Media For the FMCG Industry, Part 1

I am honored to have been invited to serve as a subject matter expert on social media by the Consumer Packaged Goods Supergroup on Linked In. The group has over 20,000 Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry members and continues to grow rapidly under the leadership of Bill Holland, who invited me to write a series of articles for the members.

Part 1 of the 6-part series I'll be writing is posted below. You can follow it on Linked In and participate in the conversation with CPG executives here.

I hope to see you there!

Social Media Summer Series Part 1: What is social media, really? And why is it important?

As an active practitioner in social media both professionally and personally since 2005, I’ve had the opportunity to watch and experience this phenomenon as it has grown in both size and potential. In just under 5 years social media has grown from an online chat environment populated mostly by teens into a socio-economic powerhouse that is likely to change the way we all buy and sell goods.

This first posting of the Social Media Summer article series will briefly outline what social media is and why it’s important for FMCG industry professionals to understand it. Beginning with Part II of the series, we’ll begin discussing in more detail what you can do with it to move products and drive sales.

So, what is social networking site? A study by UC-Berkley defined it this way: Social network sites are web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

Pretty straightforward - You set up a profile, connect with people you know, and find other people you share a common connection with.

Why is social networking important? What makes social networking enormously powerful (especially, I believe, for the FMCG industry) is that people in social networks can (and do) share brand recommendations, deals – even coupons -- very rapidly with their connections.
The sharing of brand and product information and deals can happen at an amazing rate.

I know of one regional retailer for whom a custom Facebook application resulted in nearly 30,000 downloadable e-coupons being shared by customers with their Facebook friends in a matter of days.
At one point in the promotion, e-coupons were being shared at a rate of thousands-per hour, forcing the retailer to deliberately slow the application down in order to avoid being blocked by Internet Service Providers.

There are many benefits to utilizing social networks in this way: 1) each “share” of your product is a de-facto recommendation (word of mouth advertising), 2) your customers identify new, like-minded customers for you (targeting), 3) promotions can be launched and revised quickly and easily (flexibility), 4) there are no printing, advertising, or postage costs (cost-savings), 5) virtual relationships are turned into actual store visits and purchases (ROI), 6) new customer contact information is acquired for a continued relationship (future sales), and 7) research shows that providing special deals for customers in social networks markedly increases purchases and the propensity to share your brand with others (loyalty).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Introduction: Social Media Summer Series

I am honored to have been invited to serve as a subject matter expert on social media by the Consumer Packaged Goods Supergroup on Linked In. The group has over 20,000 members and continues to grow rapidly under the leadership of Bill Holland, who invited me to write a series of articles for the members.

This is an opportunity for me to share what I've learned about social media - and its enormous amount of stored energy - for use as a selling platform (I can almost hear the social media purists screaming at the thought).

The fact of the matter is, I've been in the branding/marketing/advertising business long enough to know that - for businesses - if social media can't demonstrate real ROI (cash in the register), it's going to be underutilized and the opportunity to truly capitalize on the more ethereal brand benefits will be missed as well.

In other words, I believe that for social media to continue to advance and become the truly transformative agent it can be, it must spread beyond a social movement and become an economic movement as well.

And it can. True, selling has to be done differently in a two-way medium, but it is selling none-the-less.

The introduction to the 6-part series I'll be writing for the CPG Supergroup is posted below. You can follow it on Linked In and participate in the conversation with CPG executives here.

I hope to see you there.

Introduction: Social Media Summer Series

When Bill Holland invited me to write about social media for the CPG Supergroup, I don’t think he knew how serendipitous it was. I had joined the group just a week prior to hearing from him because I felt that CPG, while not much involved in social media, may actually have the greatest opportunity to profit from it.

It’s not surprising that so few CPG companies have embraced social media. The Internet is rife with “gurus” who insist that social media is “not a selling platform,” and that social media ROI is based only in ethereal concepts like “brand humanization” and “share of voice.”

I disagree with these gurus. First, I don’t believe that “selling” is a dirty word. Second, not only is social media a selling platform – but, used properly, my experience shows it may be the most powerful selling platform

This isn’t to say that the ethereal benefits of social media have no value for brands – they do. But companies and brands that use it only for “listening” and handling CRM issues are missing out on an enormous opportunity to move a lot of goods quickly, inexpensively, and without the damage to social media relationships predicted by the gurus.

I hope this introduction interests you enough to join the conversation. I plan to begin a six-part series next week with an overall introduction to social media, followed by more particularized information. It’s my hope that we have a lively, two-way conversation along the way so please comment with any questions or topics you’d like covered and I’ll do my best to address them.