Tag Archives: new media

Marvel Comics and GetGlue

GetGlue is an service that allows you to check in to show what form of entertainment you’re partaking in.  If you’re playing a video game, watching a movie or television show, some sports, stuff like that.  For a lot of check ins you receive “stickers” to show what you’ve done. 

GetGlue is a leading social network for entertainment. Users check-in and share what they are watching, listening to and reading with friends; get fresh recommendations, exclusive stickers, discounts and other rewards from GetGlue partners.

Marvel has been taking advantage of the service, allowing fans to check in and show the comics they’re reading.  What’s even cooler is once you reach certain levels, you can get printed versions of your stickers, creating a very neat collectible for the geek set.  Check out my first batch of stickers below which arrived in the mail this week.

Marvel also dominates the trends in the book category.  As of this article, the company has 8 out of 10 spots, including the top 3.

You can connect with us (aka me) on the site at http://getglue.com/GraphicPolicy

Marvel Celebrates 2 Million True Believers On Facebook!

Official Press Release

Marvel Celebrates 2 Million True Believers On Facebook!

All day long, Marvel is celebrating over 2 million fans on the Marvel Facebook Fan Page, and  thanking you – the Marvel Universe! Be sure to head on over to www.facebook.com/marvel for your first look at exclusive art from upcoming comics, news, previews and movies from Marvel video games & movies all day long! And that’s not all because we’ll have even more Mighty Marvel surprises up our sleeves that you’ll have access to ONLY through our Facebook fan page! Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter, YouTube, GetGlue, and MySpace to further enhance your Marvel experience because this is YOUR UNIVERSE! With so many ways to get your daily dose of all things Marvel, there’s no reason not to get involved! But in order to get your exclusive look on tons of great Marvel stuff, stay tuned to www.facebook.com/marvel! With over 2 million fans strong on Facebook, thank you for making yours Marvel!

Marvel 2 Million Fans

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The Art of Organizing in a #Comicmarket – What We Can Learn From The Voice

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While I originally was going to devote this article about what free tools exist that publishers, fans, artists, writers and stores could leverage online to help promotions, I came across this article on Mashable about the breakout television show The Voice and it’s leveraging of social networking.  I admit, I’ve watched the show and 1) have enjoyed the music and it’s format, but 2) I’ve been impressed with it’s use of social media.

As the article points out, it’s not the normal chatter on Twitter and Facebook.  From the article

…what separates The Voice from other social television shows is that NBC doesn’t use social media as an awareness and marketing tool — it is core to the show as a whole, so the digital integrations are very organic.

The show is more than fan tweets, the contestants and coaches also interact, there’s a social media room, correspondent and staff to help the celebrities.  NBC also realized that a special infrastructure needed to be built to leverage the volume.

NBC spent the time to figure out an integrated social media strategy.  They figured out a plan that would leverage their assets of the contestants and judges, not just the usual pitch and hype you see.  There was encouragement for the celebrity judges to tweet during the live show, interacting with the audience and especially each other, even when they weren’t on screen.  This continued the “narrative” being shown on screen.  What also helps is a digital maestro who helps move along the conversation online and on screen in their social media room where contestants await.

They’ve also thought through when to interact, placing tweets on screen when they feel there’ll be an influx of discussion and encouraging the use of the hashtag #thevoice which has a rate of being place in show related tweets 70% of the time.  But the discussion isn’t limited to Twitter, instead the digital correspondent encourages viewers to also chat on Facebook and NBC websites.  This combination generates upwards of 3,000 tweets a minute.  NBC has also been working closely with Twitter to maximize their practices and analyze data.

The show knows it’s judges have massive followings and hasn’t been shy leveraging that.  For instance during a performance of “Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera’s team, the show was able to leverage her Facebook fans to add 10,000 new fans to the show’s page in a matter of minutes.

The most important thing, if you haven’t picked up on it, is the engagement and encouragement to interact with viewers and fans.  The UFC has an interesting take on this rewarding fighters for their Twitter interactions.

Add in the counting of iTunes purchases as votes and this might be the first fully integrated show in history.

“The story of The Voice is not just an hour or two every week,” Yaron says. “It lives online all day and all week long, and it will continue all year long. This is a living, breathing entity, it’s not just show-based.”

So what can the comic industry learn?

  1. Publishers, writers, artists and other industry leaders need to interact.  Just pushing information out there isn’t enough.  A constant conversation needs to be generated and that includes interacting with fans and especially critics.
  2. People want digital interaction.  When a story has a web address, you better use it in real life (I’ve snatched 5 addresses so far).  Take advantage of QR codes to show videos or story and character FAQs.
  3. It’s about discussion between fans.  Give fans the forum to talk to each other.  Your Facebook page should not be locked down to prevent posts from fans.
  4. Get the creators to discuss their works.  They should be proud of their creations, so they should be posting about their offerings to their audiences and drive web traffic to their publishers.
  5. Reward.  The UFC has shown how to reward employees for tweeting.  Stores, writers, illustrators can be rewarded in similar or more creative ways.  In the end it all equals sales (aka votes) for products and don’t we all want to win the competition?

Up next really will be the store/fan flip side as to how they can leverage tools to spur discussion and promotion from fans and customers.

The Art of Organizing in a #Comicmarket – Big Brother Knows What You Want

Does Your Website Need a Web Content Managemen...

Image via Wikipedia

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In the first entry to this series I talked about the power of data and how to think of your customers by grouping them by their purchasing habits and frequency of shopping, but, how do you organize all of that?  In politics, campaigns are run by database systems that combine CRM and CMS capabilities.  A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management system and CMS is a Content Management system.  One holds the data and the other is a website.  Many packages combine the two.

Examples of a CMS are Drupal, Zoomla, WordPress, Blogger (and so many more) while CRMs are everything from your POS system that Diamond might provide you to Salesforce, Parature, Zoho and the one I’m going to talk about Salsa.  Salsa is used by politically oriented progressive organizations to manage their supporters as well as an easy way to create website pages to create a point of entry for new supporters.

A typical Salsa setup might include items such as the following:

  • Supporter Management – basic supporter fields, ways to group supporters, ability to create custom fields
  • Email blast – send supporters emails and track open rates, click rates and conversions
  • Donation management – these are charity based organizations, but you can accept money through the system, also stores, people can raise money for you too
  • Action center – have supporters write their elected officials, letters to the editors or sign petitions
  • Website features – functions for quick sign up pages, tell-a-friend pages and more
  • Event Management – create events yourself and manage them and allow others to create events for you
  • Reporting – all of the data is tied together and is reportable

This “action center” is typical in the political world and integrates with your website (think an email sign up box).  I’m not only able to organize my supporters, but also see how they’re interacting with the “actions” I create.  It’s possible to know who my strongest supporters are, who the most active are and on top of that, the ability for those supporters to spread the message exists.

But, how is this useful for a store or a publisher?  As I explained in the first article, you should be gathering data on your customers.  Not only is their name important (you should get to know as many customers as possible) but their email is key.  Your goal is to get the following:

  • Name (first and last)
  • Email address
  • Phone Number
  • Address (zip, city/town, street in that order of importance)
  • What are they interested in? –  what comics, characters, toys, games, movies, television shows

That last question is key and combined with email it’s a powerful tool.  Email is cheap and when it comes to organizing your customers and raising awareness as to what’s new and going on, it’s your most powerful tool along with word of mouth.  Each week an email should be sent to customers letting them know what new releases are out and what events are going on.  But, here’s where things get amazing if you’re doing your job and organizing the data well, you can micro-target.

There’s no reason two customers need to receive the same email.  While you might do a weekly email, through dynamic content, you’re able to change parts of the email to suit the tastes of the customer.  If you have that the customer really likes Batman books or X-Men books, they can receive similar emails with just a few sections changed that highlight their interests.  If you buy a collection off of someone, why would you send an email to your entire list letting them know what came in?  Instead target the individuals that might be interested.

This is powerful, as it allows you to tailor emails to meet the interests of the individual which increases the likelihood they’ll act on the email, open the email, read the email, and less likely they’ll unsubscribe.  It increases interest and decreases burn rate of your list.  You should also see more foot traffic because of this.

This is the basics of interacting with your supporters/customers/fans.  Using data to better interact with them and make them aware of what exists that meets their interests.  Up next is how to get them to pitch for you.

Full Disclosure – I work as Salsa’s email deliverability guru and have been a client for over 3 years

The Art of Organizing in a #Comicmarket – 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Machine à calculer Numeria

Image by zigazou76 via Flickr

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This is the first in what will be a weekly article talking about the “art of organizing” and how traditional political organizing techniques can be used to engage comic book fans, both new and old.  While I love my comic books and have been reading them since I was a kid, for the last 14 years I’ve been knee deep in the political trenches bouncing around and performing almost every job imaginable, but over the last six years I’ve been primarily focused on new media and using online tools to organize.  I also have a reputation as a data nerd.

I’m sure you’re asking, “how does this person have any idea of what we as a retailer or publisher deal with?”  The answer is simple, I used to do both.  During my late teens and early twenties I was a register jockey at my local comic book store, and eventual partner in a store.  One of those stores also took on a managerial role for a local comic book artist, eventually publishing his debut comic.  Now, this is before websites or the online tools today, so organizing back then involved flyers and word of mouth.  But, I think this puts me in a good position to understand the difficulties retailers and publishers face, but also detached enough to be blunt and honest in suggestions and critiques.

To start off, I’m going to let you know a little secret about politics, it’s a numbers game.  For all the theatrics better suited for a wrestling ring, election politics really is broken down into numbers and data.  These two things drive the modern day campaign.  So much so in fact, that I can predict how many people will give money, or take some sort of action (like write their elected official), often down to the tenths of the percentage.

Here’s an example of how things have grown over the years.  If you ask someone in politics about voters, you might hear them describe the voters in terms of “1,” “2,” “3,” “4” and “5.”  These numbers for the person who deals with elections is how likely someone will vote in an election.  We, the organizers, have access to voter data and how often people vote.  If someone votes every primary and every general election, they’d be a “1.”  If someone isn’t reliable and only votes in general elections, they might be a “4” or “5” depending on how often they do so.  When I started out, this information was tracked on index cards and excel spreadsheets.  Today, this information is now in online databases that also has people’s addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and a whole host of other data.

To use this information, the campaign usually focuses on the “1” in the primary (especially when it’s a contested primary) as these people are your most likely to vote, you can count on them.  So, logically you’d want them in your corner and once they are, you don’t need to worry about mobilizing them.  They’ve shown they have a habit of voting.  From there, you’d work your way down the line until you’ve contacted everyone you could, finishing with your “5”.  When it comes to election day and getting out the vote, while you may remind your “1,” the bulk of your focus is elsewhere.  The “1” can be counted on (though you should never take them for granted).  Your main focus are the people with history but are inconsistent, your “2” but primarily “3” or “4.”  Those individuals need more pushing to get them out to vote, so that’s where the bulk of the effort is.

So, how does this apply to your store’s customers, or a publisher’s readership?  The answer is who are you focusing your efforts on?  I’m sure as a store, you have customers that are in every week.  Those customers that are plugged in and know everything that’s going on without you telling them.  Should your efforts be focused on them, or should your efforts be on those infrequent customers?  Those are the one’s which you might be able to turn into your “1.”  If you get someone to vote once, great, you get them to vote twice, it becomes a habit.  They turn into a “1,” which frees you up to focus on another “2” or “3.”

It’s a numbers and data game.  This frequency could also allow you to model how likely or often a customer will be at your store and mix it with their usual spending habits, you can predict your weekly income.  Take this store visiting frequency and add in what books they’re buying.  When a new comic staring that character comes out, your “1” will show up, but maybe a “2” or “3” needs to be told the new book is out.  With today’s organizing tools, this is both easy to do and cheap.  Most importantly, it’s effective.

Up next is going over the tools that exist to help you track your customer data, organize your customers and how you can use those customers to pitch for you.

Around the Tubes

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Yesterday was #comicmarket on Twitter and as usual the conversation was interesting and fantastic.  Today’s new comics day and there looks to be some good releases.  What are you looking forward to this week?  Why you ponder that, here’s all the news you might have missed while you were chatting on Twitter.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – Why The Kick-Ass 2 Movie Probably Won’t Ever HappenOr the money just isn’t there….

Bleeding Cool – Matthew Vaughn Tells Us Which Hot Potato An X-Men: First Class Follow Up Could JuggleThe series is all about the political subtext, embrace it people….

GeekWeek – Two More Actors Added To THE DARK KNIGHT RISESI’m still waiting for my phone call….

Comicvine – Warner Bros. TV CEO on Why Wonder Woman Pilot FailedI’m still torn on this one.

Comics Alliance – DC and Marvel Lose Digital Comics Executives at the Same TimeI’m available folks….

Comicvine – Superheroes and Social Media: #Savingtheday, One Tweet at a Time?I just had a great conversation about this with a friend over the weekend.

Bleeding Cool – Matthew Vaughn On His Mark Millar/Dave Gibbons Super Spy ProjectThe legal clearance has me intrigued.

Con Coverage:

Phoenix NewTimes – Gearing up for Phoenix Comicon

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Comics Girl – Remake Special

DC Brings Back Letter Columns. We Ask Why?

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DC Comics announced on their Source Blog the return of letter columns to their comic books.

We are pleased to announce the debut of letters pages in all of your favorite DC books. Now you have the chance to ask questions and offer your observations directly to our editors and creators — so write in now and let’s get the conversations going!

Why is DC doing this?

In an interview with Comic Book Resources Dan Didio had this to say:

Well, one of the reasons why we’re doing it is because the fans have been asking for it, to be quite honest with you. We’ve been out there talking to readers at different panels and conventions, and we’ve been getting letters and requests online as well about bringing back the letters pages and bringing back a sense of community to our books. That’s something we considered, and when we were rethinking our books and going to the $2.99 strategy, we wanted to make sure that even though the page count went down to 20 pages for the books themselves, there could still be more content or things people could enjoy in the monthly comics. One of those things we went back to was the letters pages. We looked at it and discussed it in terms of coming up with a formula that made the letters pages feel current. We didn’t want them talking about things that were three or four months old but things that were just coming out. We’re going to be putting a system in place this month to gather information, comments and more to put that sense of community back in our books again.

The reasoning to keep up content even with a lower page content is somewhat acceptable, but still something is “off” to me.  It comes off as a smoke screen where they can claim they’re still giving tons of content for $2.99 and attempt to distract that the page count is down to 20.

Jim Lee in the same interview claims it will help build community and bring back something “special.”  To me it’s filler.  Community isn’t made through a page, community in the 21st century connected world is live interaction with the fans and encouraging them to interact with each other along with comic book creators.

Now, is this even a good idea?

In this age of Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, websites, the idea of a stagnant and outdated letters just doesn’t fly.  People expect 24 hour connection and news and a letter column is antiquated way to interact with the public.  Instead, make this a daily feature to sub-sites for your comic books.  A letter of the day online would do wonders to drive traffic to a website and potentially build word of mouth and community as opposed to one page in the back of a printed book.  It’s a tradition who’s time has passed and needs a 21st century face lift and version.  In their interview it sounds like there may be more than the traditional letter page we know, but I remain skeptical.

Didio addressed the anonymity of the internet as an issue:

And I’ll add one thing too: We’re looking at the letters pages too as a place where everybody uses their real names. We want people out there to be identified so we can see who our fans are. It’s not going to be anonymous because we really want to have that sense of community where people are meeting each other, knowing who they are and enjoying the comics together.

There are methods to force those veils to be lifted online.  Facebook Connect is an example of a tool to force people on the DC websites to identify themselves.  And are there procedures in place to prove these letter writers are who they say they are?  This is a feint to the bigger issue that DC’s online interactive strategy lacks it’s competitors.

This is just a #fail for us the fans on so many levels.

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