Simon & Schuster Turns to Webcam Videos to Connect Authors and Readers

If you could ask your favorite author anything, what would you ask? Would it be a question about how to become a best selling author? A query about the motivations of a character or something more personal like, what would you do if you found out your date had false teeth?

No question is off limits on Simon & Schuster’s Ask the Author page, but just cause you can ask, doesn’t mean you’ll get an answer. Unlike canned interviews of the past, this new program is set up so fans can leave a question for a particular author and get a video response back at a later date. You can also scan through a list of current questions and listen to the answers that have already been recorded. The whole thing is made possible by VYou.com and if you visit their webpage you’ll see how other businesses have used their conversational video software to connect with their readers and fans.

Turning Social Media Followers into Brand Evangelists

Do you know VABeachKevin? He’s a guy on Twitter who might answer your question if you’re confused about a product from Omniture. Funny thing is, he doesn’t work for the company. He’s just a guy who likes the product and likes to share what he knows. He’s a brand evangelist and his word is worth more than ten tweets from a salesman on the company Twitter.

Brian Watkins of Adobe has an interesting new webcast available that talks about how you can get your own VaBeachKevin, because seriously, we all need at least one like him.

American Idol Voters Are Not Fans of Facebook

“sick of everything coming dependent on FB trend…wouldn’t let me vote unless I registered with my FB….grrrr!”

That sentiment is begin repeated over and over again on America Idol’s official posting board in a thread called “The Online Voting Sucks.” So much for the show’s grand, new social media experiment.

For the first time in its history, Idol offered online voting and Ryan Seacrest pimped it regularly throughout the first two performance shows. But when people flocked to the website to actually cast their votes they ran into a number of problems. Some found a message saying the voting was already closed, some simply couldn’t access the site, likely due to traffic issues, but many were stopped cold by the Facebook requirement.

FanTrail App Provides New Marketing Avenues for Musicians

For musicians, MySpace used to be the social network of choice, but now that the stands are empty over there, it’s sort of Facebook or nothing. Enter FanTrail, a new smartphone app with some exciting ideas about marketing to fans. Even if you’re not a musician, keep reading because there’s inspiration here for all of us.

FanTrail is a free application that allows a musician to communicate and sell to his fans on a variety of levels. For the fan, the app acts as a digital newsletter providing social media updates (which can all be updated at the same time with one click), a calendar of events and links to the musician’s music on iTunes. If a user buys through the app, the musician gets a percentage of the price over and above the royalty he makes from iTunes.

Who Needs a Company Website When You Have Facebook?

If you have a Facebook page with 21 million “likes,” do you really need a company website? Stephen Haines, commercial director of Facebook’s U.K. operation, says no!

Speaking at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising conference in London yesterday, Haines demonstrated the power of Facebook by comparing “likes” to web page views. For example, Starbucks who has 21.1 million likes to 1.8 million site visitors, or Coca-Cola who has 20.5 million likes compared with 270,000 visitors.

CNET, who covered the event, thought there was some merit to the idea.

A&E Uses Augmented Reality to Market New Series

If you’re in NYC on Thursday, March 3 and you happen to see a man in an orange prison jumpsuit, don’t call 911. Just dial up the Breakout Kings app on your iPhone and you could win a prize.

A&E is going all out with an augmented reality promo for their new prison break / conman series and I fear it will be the Mafia Wars incident all over again.

Though I’m sure the actors playing prisoners on the loose will be clearly marked with a Breakout Kings logo, certainly their presence in the city will cause some confusion and spark a few calls to the cops. Right? A&E is ready to take that chance maybe because even if they end up paying a fine to the city, it’ll only help them make bigger headlines.

Women Love a Sensitive Man

Don’t worry, you didn’t accidentally stumble upon a new relationship blog, this is still Marketing Pilgrim, but today we’re going to talk about the softer side of men. According to January’s Women and NBCU’s Brand Power Index, women are warming up to marketing campaigns that show men as emotional and sensitive.

Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP of Trends and Strategic Insights for Women at NBCU says;

“After a year of advertising that touted the ‘alpha male,’ with campaigns like Dockers’ ‘Wear the Pants’ or Dodge’s ‘Man’s Last Stand,’ we are seeing a noticeable shift in the marketplace as brands break down gender stereotypes in their ads and portray a less traditional and more sensitive, family-centric male.”