SoLoMo and Other ‘New’ Ideas

SoLoMo and Other ‘New’ Ideas

There’s been numerous rants about the use of ‘ad speak’ to achieve things we already do every day. However, this has become even more apparent with the introduction of some rather ridiculous buzzwords that have been coined recently. Is it just so they have something to hold over other agencies or clients?

I object to the way everyone jumps on a new catch phrase in order to hype up the release of a digital product. A couple of years ago everything was ‘cloud-based’ which in essence was okay, because at least it was a relatively different idea. The problem for me is when buzzwords get used to sell literally any digital product. This brings me to…

SoLoMo – the catch phrase for social, local and mobile.

It’s really just a combination of ideas that have been circulating for the last 5 to 25 years. If you already use social media and have a location based app, you’re essentially there. And whilst the opportunities are great, the word just sounds ridiculous. I don’t know of any large company that wouldn’t already be using those concepts in their advertising.

Basically the SoLoMo concept can be explained in one line, however there are numerous articles on the subject such as, A survival guide to SoLoMo, Do you SoLoMo?, and my personal favourites, Speak English Morons and Die, SoLoMo, Die. Obviously more than a few people are of the sentiment that these buzzwords are over-used and over-hyped.

Generally the concepts behind these buzzwords do have a lot of merit. They engage customers in new ways, but it also results in a huge number of followers on those same concepts. At the moment there are articles asking, are you SoLoMo yet? Digital media can be the ideal medium to gain first mover advantages over competitors, however in most cases, companies jump in on a buzzword or technology just a bit too late. The thing about SoLoMo is, it’s not a new concept.

A perfect example of missing the boat on a digital idea would be the usage of apps. In the last few years, every-client has wanted their own app, without thinking about which problem it is going to solve or whether it will meet a demand. It’s understandable that clients out there are looking for an easy fix, a one off cost that will give them a strategic advantage. But, if you follow your competitors on every buzzword that’s just not going to achieve results.

Being social, local and mobile won’t necessarily suit every business. There are a lot of businesses that it would suit, but success is not measured by whether you simply employ this technique. As usual its the 1% that you do differently that equates to 100% difference in return. Using the same location based app as your competitors is one thing, but why not start at the ground and develop that extra feature. For example, go beyond a store finder and look at sending push notifications about the nearby store or latest discounts when you are within a certain range.

If your competitors are already doing this you might want to add a social twist, like tagging visited locations to Facebook and status updates or tweets about purchases. This allows you to get around the Facebook Edgerank algorithm that causes some Facebook advertisers to spend way above the odds creating content that doesn’t actually get seen. And it is also a much less intrusive form of advertising and more likely to achieve high involvement from friends.

Did you know that gamification is a word now, just not according to my spell-checker.

It simply means using game design and thinking in non-game applications to sell a brand or product. An easy example is frequent flyers points, which can be compared to collecting experience points. Basically the concept is all about making things more fun for a game focused generation.

I have no doubt that the usage of game techniques, GPS and augmented reality in mobile apps will create some amazing opportunities and become increasingly valuable. Don’t get me wrong, I believe most of these buzzwords highlight extremely important concepts, however it’s the usage of the buzzwords in plain conversation that still makes me cringe.

‘Pivoting to monetize mobile hyperlocal social gamification by going viral in the cloud’ is probably the best example of marketing gibberish I have found so far.


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