Interesting Effort: ESPN Audibles

Sometimes it’s just lose-lose, and that’s all it is. You try new stuff to try to improve and be different, and people find something to ding you on anyway.

Marketers always search for that Holy Grail of integration, where the message sings the same across all channels and the customer experience is stellar no matter where the customer finds you.

In pursuit of those lovely things, brands certainly look for ways to facilitate interaction and dialogue to make the experience customer compelling. Enter an appreciable effort in that regard that deserves a good, long look: ESPN Audibles.

It’s a new football talk show on ESPN where — much like a quarterback calling an audible play at the line of scrimmage — fans can change the topic of conversation by posting a question via Twitter or Facebook. Talk about interaction. Who wouldn’t be interested to see their question change conversation among experts on national TV?

I think this is one of the most tangible examples to date of integrating a traditional channel with social media. We all know sports fans are fanatics — hell, they drop billions each year on fantasy sports. So it’s not a stretch to expect a large throng of social-savvy fans to show up on Twitter and Facebook to tweets questions during the show. And for the broadcast lovers, what better way to draw them into social than empowering them to influence their preferred medium?

While Audibles has its share of critics — even for the panel’s choice of socks — it’s not just another contest or discount offer that marries social into the picture. It’s a solid effort to integrate social and traditional channels using content as the backbone. And it provides the audience with real-time control over the content to some degree. That’s a pretty enhanced experience.

And for those football fans out there, it’s an interesting mix of some of ESPN’s most opinionated analysts, including Trent Dilfer, Keyshawn Johnson, Steve Young, and Herm Edwards. Check it out.

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My Fun Awards Program Assignment

Recently I had the honor of being a judge in the American Business Media’s Sales Promotion Awards. As Chair of the ABM’s Media Marketing Committee, I’m proud to say that my committtee helps the ABM frame and conduct this awards program — so I do have somewhat of an advantage when it comes time to select the judges.

I want to thank Kevin Arsham, Partner at MediaCom, for also taking time to participate as a judge in the awards program. Kevin has been a willing and consistent supporter and participant in my committee’s activities, and we’re very grateful.

Watch the video below as Kevin and I walk through the top-performing entries, as well as some general points for B2B media marketers to consider when developing promotional materials and media kits.

If you have any questions about the awards program or interest in joining my committee, leave me a comment and we’ll discuss.