Project ideas

Sunday 11th of July 2010 02:55:54 PM

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ContextNote is the coming together of note taking and Knowledge Management. Specifically, ContextNote is a multi-platform (Web, Android, and iOS), topic map-based, semantic note taking application.

Website: ¿Qué sucede? or What's going on?

A site for the Spanish-speaking web community to report on anything that is going on around them from either a social, political or cultural point-of-view (or any combination of).

Initially, each entry (or report) will try to answer the immediate 'what', 'where' and 'when', leaving the 'who', 'why' and the 'how' (Five Ws and one H) to, perhaps, a later date.

I will apply Joshua Porter's AOF Method (as outlined in his book Designing for the Social Web) extensively when implementing the site. The AOF Method is made up of three general steps (page 23 of the above-mentioned book):

  • Focus on the primary Activity. The first question you must answer is: What is your audience doing?
  • Identify your social Objects. Once you've got the activity down, you have to identify the objects that people interact with while doing said activity.
  • Choose your core Feature set. From both the activity and objects you can derive a core feature set, answering the question: What are the actions people perform on the objects, and which are important enough to support in the web application?

An important question to ask here is: How does this website/application provide personal value to the individual that is using it? That is, 'personal value precedes network value'. Perhaps this project fails from that point of view... honestly, where is the personal value in this site/application?

¿Qué sucede? project page...

Marketing intelligence framework and accompanying dashboard

A combined marketing intelligence and scenario planning system built with Clojure and a JavaScript visualization library.

I like the idea of using the output (i.e., the result) of a PESTLE analysis as the input for defining the data for the scenario planning world.

Social networking and media strategy

In simple terms, the single most important thing that a company can do in terms of web presence is to have a social web strategy that both revolves around authentic conversations (with their customers) and is social through and through and not just an afterthought or an add-on. That is, a web strategy that is not firmly grounded on a model of profound social interaction is hardly worth pursuing. The long-term benefits of actively engaging vastly exceed the short-term pain from potential negative press. However, as a side note: for a social strategy to actually be effective, it must be authentic. You can’t use stock photography and made-up quotes and expect people to react positively to them... people can smell fake a mile away :-)

General truisms:

  • We (as consumers) have too many products to choose from with a seemingly infinite amount of information about those products.
  • In all of our daily activities we (as consumers) ask others for help in making decisions and relying on (both online and offline/non-web) social networks is how the vast majority of decisions are made! Furthermore, it is important to understand that this is a forced move due to, for example, point 1 (above); that is, we need to turn to trusted sources to assist us in our decision making process. Keep in mind the following key aspects of social behaviour:
    1. When humans are uncertain, they rely on social connections to help them out
    2. People usually compare themselves to those in their social group, not to society at large
    3. The people we know and interact with greatly influence how we behave and act
  • In order to effectively engage with (potential) customers, a company must define its web presence in terms of consumer behaviour and (online) intent as it is becoming more and more clear that the traditional focus on consumer demographics is basically putting the cart before the horse. Furthermore, there is a growing body of (marketing) evidence demonstrating that it makes far more sense to build sites that are aligned with and (subsequently) driven by both consumer (social) intent and behaviour - the Intent index outlines the underlying reasons or motivations for people going online.
  • Context-aware marketing is about making the right marketing-mix combination available at the both the right time and place in relation to your customer. To move in that direction a company should adopt a social (web) strategy based on reaching out to customers according to a combination of their behaviour and intent:
    • Examine the online social behaviours of your target market, to determine what is possible with your customers. Groups include consumers participating in at least one of the following (monthly) activities:
      1. Spectators (70%), e.g., read blogs, watch videos from other users, read online forums, read customer ratings and reviews, etcetera
      2. Joiners (59%), e.g., maintain a profile on a social networking site and/or visit social networking sites
      3. Collectors (20%), e.g., use RSS feeds, add tags to web resources (bookmarks, pages, photos, etcetera)
      4. Critics (37%), e.g., comment on blogs, contribute to online forums, contribute to/edit articles in a wiki
      5. Conversationalists (33%), e.g., post updates on micro-blogs (e.g., Twitter) and/or update their status on a social networking site
      6. Creators (24%), e.g., publish a blog or web pages, upload videos/audio/music they have created, write articles
    • Design a business plan that encompasses the business’ objectives, strategy and technology moving from what customers are doing now to creating an application that is valuable to the company’s marketing long term - based on Forrester's POST (People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology) methodology.

The next point is related to Return on Investment. Let’s agree that ROI = (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment.

Question: Why the focus on ROI?
Answer: a (social) web presence is not free:

  • It takes people
  • It takes technology
  • It takes time

... all of which are limited resources. There is always a bottom line; so the strategy needs to be tied to actual business performance in terms of:

  • Cost reduction
  • Revenue generation
  • ... or a combination of both

Side note: focus on social marketing tactics in terms of effort/effectiveness (in relation to communicating to the company's customers).

Effectiveness to effort ratio of social marketing tactics

We need proof that what we're doing is actually working, hence the following monitoring process will need to be put into place:

  • Establish a baseline (before social web presence vs. since social web presence):
    1. Baselines illustrates deltas (changes)
  • Create activity timelines
  • Look at KPIs:
    1. Sales revenue
    2. Number of transactions
    3. Net new customers
  • Measure (transactional) precursors (including, but not limited to):
    1. Negative mentions
    2. Positive mentions
    3. Blog visits
    4. Blog comments
    5. Website visitors
    6. Blog-to-website clickthroughs
  • Overlay all timelines:
    1. Activities
    2. Social data
    3. Web data
    4. Transactions
    5. Loyalty metrics
  • Look for patterns
  • Prove relationships

With regards to the above, interesting subject areas to research include (but are obviously not limited to):

  1. Advertising and Desensitization
  2. The Attention Economy
  3. The Amazon Effect
  4. The Paradox of Choice
  5. The (Application) Viral Loop Equation
  6. Social Psychology and Lewin's Equation
  7. The (Five Stages of the) Usage Lifecycle
  8. The Paradox of Choice
  9. Forrester's POST Method
  10. Object-centered Sociality
  11. "Customer Service is the New Marketing"

Widget application - Build your own dream product

In order to define an effective on-line presence, it makes a lot of sense to have a set of very specific niche sites, each one targeting a pre-defined segment of the larger market in which a company operates so as to position itself and its respective products and services. There are several techniques available to assist in effectively segmenting the market, e.g., cluster analysis in conjunction with web-based data mining (used to determine consumer patterns which can then be used to deduce relevant market segments), and (in this context) widget applications (for example, build your own Mini widget application) that will enable the company to both generate leads on-line but more importantly, will enable it to build-up a database of the ‘needs and wants’ of the consumer that will be analyzed on a continual basis in order to build an accurate profile of consumer patterns which enables the company to tweak its web presence by means of mapping said patterns to (niche) sites and/or email campaigns.

Widget applications like the personalized Mini builder, what they are actually doing is surveying people without actually presenting it as a survey, i.e., that is, the application engages the user in a manner that they don’t really realize that they are providing very accurate (and from the company’s point of view, actionable) data. These applications serve several purposes:

  • The user engages with the application in a way that entertains them (admittedly, a short period of time), the outcome of which is a PDF detailing their customized product and/or service in conjunction with a beautiful desktop wallpaper of their chosen/configured product (with the appropriate branding/web address, etcetera).
  • The company collects email addresses and some preliminary data in a non-obtrusive manner that can be used for lead-generation purposes.
  • More importantly, when a sufficient number of ‘surveys’ have been collected, they can be analyzed (e.g., cluster analysis or decision tree analysis) to provide insights into the consumer needs and wants within the given market.

Industry monitoring tool and algorithmic website generation

Build a comprehensive online reputation monitoring dashboard to monitor (among others things) a company's products and brands, the company itself, competitors, key people within the organization and industry trends, etcetera. Obviously, said dashboard could be put to use to discover threats and opportunities from specifically a (on-line) marketing point of view. This would be the first part of the project, that is, the monitoring tool is basically a glorified auto-searcher... it has a few more bells and whistles because it also displays trends (in a graphical format) for relevant search terms. However, at the end of the day, that is what it is... an auto-searcher on steroids for on-line content matching predefined search terms and subsequently presenting that information to a user.

As mentioned above, said monitoring tool is not the end-game: it is relatively easy to interact programmatically with search results, that is Google provides search services that can be ‘consumed’ by means of an application allowing developers to automate searches and process the results of those searches within a program. So, you would build a set of automated searches for relevant search terms and based on the results of those searches automatically generate sites (e.g., a mashup). That is, in simple terms, these automated searches return a list of links to both positive and negative content related to the industry in general or the company and its products/brands (or key people within the organization) specifically.

Said list of links would then be used to generate a set of web pages/topics and internal links between those pages automatically, that is, it would generate the content structure for a full-blown web site (using a topic map-based CMS). Included within the process outlined above would be the automatic building of external links to the positive content (hence, reinforcing the authority of said positive content) whilst at the same time building those topic/pages relevant to the negative content as place holders for a Publishing team to provide content to counter said negative content.

Obviously, because all of the above is automated, you would need to build a notification system into the automatic process to inform the Publishing team that they, in the case of negative content, have to write a (positive) counter article to hopefully offset (somewhat) the negative content.

Side note: have to research how to deal with the duplicate content detection algorithms that the search engines have in place – doable, but tricky.


Document filtering@09-09-13 14:51:50 by Brett Kromkamp

I will need to look into the whole subject of classifying documents based on their contents with, for example, a naive Bayesian classifier.