When I was in Beijing this past May, I found it highly amusing that the signposts explaining each of the buildings inside the Forbidden City were "Brought to you by American Express."
I found it no less amusing to see "Squawk on the Street's" Erin Burnett broadcasting live this morning from Red Square in Moscow.
What's next, capitalist extraordinaire President George W. Bush is going to start writing checks so Uncle Sam can bail out the Big Three automakers??
Yes, the world of laissez-faire capitalism may have been turned on its head, but as author and globalist Tom Friedman has explained to us, the world is flat, hot, and getting more crowded day by day.
Whatta you gonna do about it?
All this talk of heat and crowds and bankruptcy is giving me a headache. Just be forewarned: Taking Motrin may be hazardous to your social media health.
And though that particular campaign may not have followed doctor's orders, IBM has some new prescriptions for advertising success.
In its second global online survey of 2,800 people in six countries concerning digital media and entertainment habits, the data from this year's study would suggest that consumers are getting jiggy with digital media, and are even willing to be marketed to in a more personal manner.
But before we get into the details, some quick catchup.
Last year, the study clearly showed the decline of TV as the primary media device even though it still dominated as a device. Flash forward a year, and we're now knee deep in the digital media, with large scape adoption and usage of digital content services accessed by PCs and mobile phones.
This year's study suggests that adoption for most categories of digital content services doubled from last year, with services like social networking now at 60 percent penetration and Internet data plans for mobile devices at over 40 percent for respondents globally.
Consumers both desired, and are comfortable with, wired and wireless content.
This year, 76 percent indicated they had already watched video on their PCs (up 27 percent). 32 percent indicated they had viewed video on a portable device or mobile phone (up 45 percent). And interest in mobile video content has more than doubled in a year, to 55 percent.
As to how and pay for all that new digital content? Ad-supported models (vs. consumer pays) are preferred by almost three to one around the globe.
For both PC and mobile video, over 70 percent of respondents prefer advertising-supported models as opposed to consumer-paid models, representing a huge growth opportunity for the industry. Preference for ad-supported models ranged from 62 percent to over 80 percent by country, with Japan having the highest preference for ad-supported on both devices.
But whatever else you do, don't get too much in the way of their content. When asked how they prefer to view advertising associated with online videos, a majority of respondents said they prefer to see it before or after a video.
And respondents from all six countries polled protested traditional television models such as interruption advertisements during the video or the use of product placements within programs.
As an Internet marketer and communicator, however, what I found most interesting about the study was with regards to the value exchange between marketer and consumer.
Close to 60 percent of total respondents were willing to provide information about themselves -- such as age, gender, lifestyle or communications preferences -- in exchange for something of value.
Younger respondents had fewer concerns about revealing personal preferences, and a sizeable portion of participants over the age of 45 were also willing to share information about themselves.
However, all respondents indicated the need for perceived value and incentives as a trade-off to provide personal information.
By way of example, consumers listed free high-quality music/videos, discounts to favorite stores, and air travel/hotel points as the most desired and attractive incentives.
These findings were consistent across all countries polled, with Japan and India having the least reservations about providing personal preferences, and with over 62 and 72 percent of respondents respectively willing to share information, versus 45 percent of respondents in the US.
This data would seem to suggest there's still plenty of upside in online marketing, but that marketers and advertisers need to learn to speak more fluently in the lingua france of the "round trip" that the digital interactive media can uniquely provide.
This consumer study is a component of the upcoming report "Beyond Advertising: Fact or Fiction" jointly authored by several folks at IBM associated with the IBM Institute for Business Value, a group within IBM comprised of consultants around the world who conduct research and analysis in 17 industries and across five functional disciplines.Read More]