Topspin develop branded widgets and analytics platform

Last month I urged Topspin to start developing versions of their tools for brands. We didn’t have to wait long – as yesterday they unveiled their first branded widgets on their blog.

Topspin’s VP of Business Development Jan D’Alessandro described a partnership to support Mazda’s sponsorship of Stone’s Throw artist Mayer Hawthorne’s upcoming US tour :

“The e4m is a perfect marketing tool for brands and bands alike as it helps build an email list of interested consumers who have opted in to hear from both the brand and the band.  Brands can utilize the metrics available in Topspin’s dashboard (e.g. geolocation of fan, identification of  fans’ Twitter and Facebook names as well as number of followers/friends, and insight into the specific offers to which fans responded) to devise targeted, compelling marketing messages. Stay tuned for a series of Topspin-powered streaming videos to come from MAZDA2 Presents Mayer Hawthorne over the next 2 months as Mayer tours the US with MAZDA2.”

There’s many other active examples that Topspin are working on, including an interesting one for American Express, where any user paying for a Paul McCartney live album with AmEx received exclusive tracks.

This is a great step-forward, as long as brands have a great long-term content strategy – as the real benefits of this system are generating an email database and the analytics around the downloads.

There’s still one piece of the puzzle missing as far as Topspin’s widgets are concerned, and that’s getting the music onto blogs. Yes, it’s true that the widget can be embedded, but this won’t get picked up by Hype Machine and spoils the users experience of using a blog. There must be a lighter solution, even if you don’t get the e-mail address, but can still make use of the stats package in the backend, which will be of huge value to the brand and marketeers running the programme.

I’d also be slightly worried about differentiating my brands programme from that of others – as you can see from flicking through their Sponsorship Package PDF, many of the widgets look similar at this stage – and possibly, a little too much like adverts.

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