Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Destruction of the Media Industry: Will We Be Better Off In the Long Run?

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Laying out the fundamental issues and challenges in a post has become an integral part of the success of our weekly events.  Usually I produce the post and the moderator comes on Tuesdays and facilitates the discussion.  This week is an exception.  Our moderator, Paul Gillin, has delightfully taken the initiative to not only come up with his own topic, but to construct a post as well.  The following is the guest post by Paul Gillin:


tough-times-newspaperAs we head into the second decade of the new millennium, it’s amazing to think how much has changed in such a short time

January, 2000, few people had heard of Google.  Online advertising was banners and e-mails.  Big media brands dominated the Web. US newspaper ad revenue would hit record levels that year.  Newsroom employment would peak in 2001 as newsstand sales of the top 100 magazines approached 30 million.  No one had heard of blogs.  People used mobile phones to talk.

Fast forward to 2009.  Last year, people spent six billion minutes on Facebook, downloaded one billion YouTube videos and logged over 1.4 million blog entries every day.  The iPhone became the first mobile phone to be used more for data than for voice.  The Internet became the second most popular news medium behind television.  Wikipedia posted its three millionth article.

Meanwhile, US newsroom employment fell to a 25-year low and magazine newsstand sales dropped 63% from of their 2001 peaks.  Reader’s Digest declared bankruptcy.  Comcast said it would buy NBC.

The statistics go on and on. In just 10 years, our century-old mass-market media model has given way to a new structure dominated by the economics of one.  Customers now take their opinions directly to the market.  Woe to organizations that don’t listen.

The contraction of mass-market media has brought plenty of pain.  Tens of thousands of media professionals have lost their jobs in the past two years, crowdsourcing has sent some professional fees into a tailspin and veteran marketers are under threat if they don’t “get” social media.  But is this pain necessary, even beneficial in the long run?

Media has historically been one of the least efficient disciplines on the planet. It’s a profession that declares success if only 97% of its audience ignores an ad or tosses the mailer into the trash. It gains one customer at the expense of annoying 50 bystanders. When department store magnate John Wanamaker said half his ad dollars were wasted, but “I don’t know which half,” he was being generous.

The new Internet has flipped the economics. As media control has passed from institutions to individuals, waste has begun to be worked out of the system. The cost of reaching a targeted customer will only decline in the years to come.  Sadly, efficiency will also devastate those industries and professions that thrived on media’s historical inefficiency.

There’s no question we’re in a period of media destruction, but is this a necessary precursor to a better world?  Today, everyone can be the media.  That means we have unprecedented access to information from all points of view, but we’ve also lost our sense of whom to trust.  Is ubiquitous access to unlimited information a blessing or a curse?  What will we be saying about his period a decade from now?


That’s a great foundation for this week’s topic.  I’ll add a couple of thoughts directed squarely at the corporate side of this discussion that relate to content, trust and brands.

Today anyone can produce content and distribute to a potentially sizeable market.  The capabilities are ubiquitous and the cost is next to nothing.  With so much content now available, many forms of content quickly become commoditized and thereby become almost irrelevant.  With that, think about your company for a minute and the brand/s you represent.  These brands are usually strongest when consumers view them as a resource for their specified purpose whether it’s household cleaning, motor oil lubrication, exercise equipment or anything else. 

Since commoditized content is counter-intuitive to your brand strategies, aggregating stuff (content) just so you have more stuff does not fit with most corporate objectives.  Whether it’s for your customers, employees or partners, you want them to come to you as a resource for trusted content rather than as an aggregator of everything. 

Harnessing appropriate and relevant content as a resource for your customers / audience is becoming a significant differentiator in the market. 

Topic:  Destruction of the Media Industry: Will We Be Better Off In the Long Run?

Q1:  Does the proliferation of new media make us more informed or just more confused?

Q2:  Can businesses and institutions legitimately fill some of the trust gap that’s been created by the collapse of media institutions?

Q3:  Can armies of bloggers and citizen journalists fill the void left by the loss of media institutions?

So the chat will take place Tuesday 2/9/10 at noon EST.  Participate by following #sm46.

Fear Factor: Understanding the Value of Adding Social Media to the Mix

Monday, February 1st, 2010

FUDFUD! (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) is typically used by sales and marketing types to position themselves against competitors.  IBM used to be renown for using this tactic and now it’s being used in a different way.  Executives are turning FUD around and using it on their own organizations with regards to the use of social media.  While companies widely accept that social media is transforming the business landscape, executives are still reluctant to approve anything more than small tests or pilot programs. 

This reluctance by executives is being translated by many to simply infer that they are scared.  Looking at it from an executive point of view however might shed a different light on the use of social media.  Companies have spent decades building out their networks of consumers, partners, suppliers, employees, and special interests.  So why does management shudder whenever you begin to put a “social” in front of the network?  Consider, today’s business models are developed with layers of hierarchy and managed very linearly.  By this, I refer to the typical order of developing product, inserting the supply chain, managing distribution, creating point of sale campaigns and attracting consumers.  There is a very linear process for managing corporate messaging, customer service, measuring consumer sentiment, channel partner alignment and so on.  What social media does is dis-intermediates most linear processes and connects disparate networks in ways that enterprises have not yet created “management” solutions for.  Like the classic management book implies, we have moved the preverbial manager’s cheese.   So what does this mean to social media champions inside companies?

In order to make decisions, executives need clear objectives, relative impact on short term and long term business and data points to back it all up…not theory.  Introducing a company’s employees to be social is one way to start (a good post by Rachael Happewill help identify ways to get started).  This helps to build confidence, trust and develop skills for those tactical purposes.  What is still missing though is the bigger issues surrounding change management and working procedurally in a non-linear environment.  For instance, at its most basic, what happens when corporate messaging is spread by consumer reviews not Corp Comms department?  What happens when consumers demand (or request) product features instead of market research?  Take it a step further now and consider what might happen if your consumers could connect directly with your suppliers and eliminate your company’s rolein assembly?  Now it moves beyond ratty little conversationalists to a complete dis-intermediation of non-essential middlemen and your company is no longer relevant (think newspaper business). 

In order for companies to consider adopting social across an enterprise, social media strategists need to move beyond campaigns and tactics and begin considering corporate lineages.  A research study commissioned by Cisco contained keen observations for agencies and strategists to consider.

        “Only one in seven of the companies that participated in the research noted a formal process associated with adopting consumer-based social networking tools for business purposes, indicating that the potential risks associated with these tools in the enterprise are either overlooked or not well understood.”

This is only one of the findings that was pointed out.  The entire excerpt was reported by CNNMoney here.

How do we ease executive’s minds and begin socially infusing companies?  Our moderator this week is tasked with helping connect those dots.   Helping us out this week, B.L. Ochman will provide her years of insight and success at convincing executives to get past dipping their toes in the water.  Our topic and questions follow:

Topic: Fear Factor: Understanding the Value of Adding Social Media to the Mix

Q1) Why do executives still doubt social media?

Q2) Do companies have time for social media?

Q3) Are there quick tactics that can be used to build company enthusiasm around SMM?

The twitter based chat will take place on Tuesday 02/02/2010 at noon EST.  To participate follow #sm45 on your favorite Twitter client or on our live site.

Twitterville – What's Happened, What's Coming

Monday, January 25th, 2010

TwittervilleIt is not often that a technology comes along and changes the world.  That is the case with Twitter.  Started in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter is a micro-messaging platform used to communicate via the web or mobile 160 characters at a time.  In only a few short years the service, both widely acclaimed and widely criticized, has certainly had it’s impact across all corners of the globe.

The impact varies as much as the individuals who use it.  Some things Twitter has been used for includes:

  • Reporting News – the first news and pictures of the Hudson plane crash were sent out on Twitter before any major media was on the scene.
  • Civil Unrest- like the twitterscope (microscope that Twitter creates, yeah I just made that up!) around the Iranian presidential elections of 2009.  The world gained insight into the civil dissention surrounding the election proceedures with detail like nothing ever witnessed before.
  • Education – grade school teachers turning to Twitter to help in class projects and providing global experiences.
  • US Politics- most notably, President Barack Obama used Twitter daily to connect with supporters pre-inauguration.
  • New Business – small companies using Twitter to scale like Threadless and others use it to pick up incremental business like Tony & Alba.
  • Public Relations – many companies are lifting the corporate communications veil and using Twitter to humanize the organization like Kodak’s CMO.  Government agencies are also using Twitter to communicate better

Need more examples?  Well, this week’s moderator actually wrote the book on Twitter case studies from over a hundred interviews he completed.  Now he wants your story.  Shel Israel has a storied career in the social media space helping companies, from start-up to grown-up, better utilize digital communications to grow their businesses.  This week’s #socialmedia chat will take a look at how Twitter is affecting all of us and where Twitter’s value will lie in the future.  As one of the industry’s most respected thought leaders, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to “hang out” with Shel Israel for an hour.

Topic: Twitterville – What’s Happened, What’s Coming

Q1: How did Twitter change you business in 2009?

Q2:  How will Twitter change in 2010?

Notice anything different here?  This week we will focus on only two questions (compared with the usual 3).  Please join us Tuesday 01/26 at 12 noon EST and follow along at #sm44

The Social Media RFP: How to Get the Best Results

Monday, January 18th, 2010

RFP_ImageIf you want to purchase an accounting system, customer relationship manager (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform for your company, it’s a pretty established process.  There are a few meaningful vendors in your space determined by the size of your company, the features are all pretty clear and there are case studies galor for how-to and how-not-to select, implement and run those systems.  Now, if you want to source some external help for social media, well that’s a different story.

We hear how everyone is a social media expert whether they’re certified or self-proclaimed.  You can find people who believe many are akin to snake-oil salesmen and of little use.  But if you are a company who needs external help, how do you weed through this entirely new industry?  That is the point of this post, to effectively source external software and/or services to help deliver on your social media initiatives.

The industry is growing by the day: Agencies (traditional, interactive, digital, public relations, etc), Consultants (individual or small teams), web-development (SEO, measurement, advertising, now with social elements), Software Vendors, Service Vendors and you could continue to sector this list ad nauseum.  All of these different components all have varied levels of experience whether personal or corporate and varied levels of perceived successes.  Wading through all this fluff to get to someone who can meet your specific needs is difficult at best.  One of the most proven methods of sourcing external suppliers is through a Request For Proposal process or RFP.  As stated in Wikipedia, an RFP is:

“is an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. A bidding process is one of the best methods for leveraging a company’s negotiating ability and purchasing power with suppliers. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront.”

Where to Start?  There is a widely accepted order by which to initiate and execute a typical RFP. 

  1. Establish Criteria for Evaluation: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” ~ Alice in Wonderland.   Two key things here: 1) pull together a cross-functional team to develop criteria.  this gets broader input and incorporates all departments from the start which will make ultimate buy-in that much easier. 2) evaluate your needs and develop criteria that would best meet those needs.
  2. Vendor Research: Once you have identified the criteria by which to evaluate, begin to research which vendors may fit (large agencies, small consultants, big integrators, small off-the-shelf, etc) and develop a preliminary list.
  3. Request For Information (RFI) or Request For Qualifications (RFQ): Some will say this step is not necessary or that it drags out the entire process too long.  I tend to disagree however as it allows you to understand the market better and, done correctly, will provide additional direction for your RFP.  From the RFI, you can eliminate roughly half of the prospective vendors on you list.
  4. Develop and Send the RFP: Here are 2 RFP Templates to consider Sample Social Media Template from Social Media Group and  Sample Unbranded SEO RFP.  Possible organization by Purpose/Goals, Criteria, Timelines, Vendor Questions / Responses, initial cost estimates.  The RFP should convey what you are looking to accomplish, the criteria by which you will measure, the expected timelines, additional capabilities and cost estimates.  This will elicit consistent responses by which to evaluate and rank the responses.
  5. Review the Responses: taking into account the criteria, evaluate the best responses by committee (remember the more input along the way, the easier the buy-in at the end) and narrow down to a top three (or simply choose a winner – see the next bullet for why not to do this)
  6. Interview the top 3 responses: At this point, you notify the vendors they have either made it to the finals or they have been eliminated from consideration.  By having this process, you maintain the most negotiating leverage.  During this phase, you can narrow the scope, interview vendors and negotiate final costs.  If vendors know they are still competing, they will continue to put the best package together that they can offer.  If you wait to negotiate pricing after you award a final vendor, the negotiating leverage moves to the vendor.
  7. Make a Selection:this speaks for itself.  Remember to organize timelines and accountability from both sides to make sure everyone knows who’s responsible for what during the installation process.

 Now this is a traditional process and for the most part I would follow this procedurally.  My one hesitation is actually in developing social media criteria, companies will typically lump technology, strategy development, execution, community management, SEO, advertising purchasing, etc into one big project labelled “Social Media Initiative”.  Personally, there is not one company let alone person who could pull this entire project off.  My recommendation then, is to create sections of the RFP and allow vendors to submit responses only for those areas where they are strong or to actually create 3-4 separate RFP processes which most companies are not equipped to pull off.  Let us know in the comments if there is a better process that you have encountered.

While this is a good start, it does not provide the nuanced detail needed to truly start this process for your own company.  For this, we bring in the creator of the Social Media RFP and top strategist Maggie Fox.  Maggie and her team at the Social Media Group work with companies like Ford Motor and SAP to deliver social media solutions.  She will moderate this week’s session and help us all prepare to source external suppliers to help meet our social media needs.  This week’s topic and specific questions include:

 Topic: The Social Media RFP: How to Get the Best Results

Q1:  How do you formulate a proper RFP that conveys your social media goals?

Q2:  How do you identify the vendors, consultants or agencies to send your RFP to?

Q3:  How do you evaluate your responses to pick the best solution?

Please join us this week as Maggie Fox moderates our Tuesday #socialmedia chat at noon EST.  You can follow along by watching #sm43 from any twitter client or simply from our LIVE page.

Socializing My Business – What Comes After the Chit-Chat?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

chitchatcafeEveryone’s talking about integrating social media into our everyday business.  Whether you have a small local business or are a global enterprise, everyone is interested in the best way to incorporate social media practices in some way to solve their business challenges.  As with any disruptive technology there are no shortages of short-sighted integration strategies. Initially we all focus around the new shiny toys/technology then we focus on the people side and the individuals who are using the shiny new toys are how great they are for it.  Eventually we need to evolve, to discover the best ways to integrate into our management and business practices.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen many attempts at defining the RIGHT approach.  First, it was Forrester with the POST methodology where the People, Objectives, Strategy then Technology were the core focus.  This approach turned everyone into strategists, albeit for the betterment of campaigns.  Campaigns are how agencies are oriented, client teams organized by geography then charged with the next big idea to WOW consumers.  Therefore, this is how many large companies who outsource their creative and marketing duties with agencies started “trying out” social media, through a number of well-thought out , one off campaigns.  The problem with the campaign approach is that everyone figured out that if social media is about developing relationships then a series of unique campaigns could not possibly deliver on the expectations that social media marketing promises. 

On the other side of the spectrum, the Dachis Group recently rolled out their methodology around Social Business Design.  This approach says that the only way to compete in the future is re-organize the entire enterprise from the ground up with a framework to be a social business by design.  There is some good thought here around culture, business process and technology however no company wants to be the first one to scrap decades of legacy to “try” a new way to build a company.  Even if the management agrees to it, the shareholders will demand proven solutions.

So where does that leave companies?  Right now it depends on their leaders.  If you break out small businesses, it comes down to the type of leader that runs the company.  Some individuals “get” Twitter or other tools and will figure out how to make them work best to solve their unique business challenges.  Other small business leaders still need to be convinced this new “fad” will last before they invest any of their time into it.  For each respective small business competing in a local market, it will come down to whomever continues to build better relationships with their consumers whether online or off.  If customers feel a connection, they will patronize that local company whether they follow them on Twitter or not.  It’s still that simple.  Want proof?  Look at how many small businesses still do not have a true website…and they have made it this far.  Focus on a great product and over-the-top service and people will continue to purchase from you and spread the good word.

For larger business competing in multiple markets or globally, social business will play a larger part of their business success.  The speed by which information travels socially is simply overwhelming, good or bad.  Consumers have a new expectation for engagement, service and transacting.  Companies who succeed will be the ones who are able to embrace this new consumer, employee, partner or shareholder and manage appropriately to those expectations.  Note of caution: Simply communicating quickly does not equate to a new, successful social business.  So what else is there? 

Social business transformation is happening from many fronts and is yet to be perfected.  But one thing is for certain, you do need to understand more than just technology and culture to truly apply social to your business.  While every business is different from it’s management, employees, culture, focus, expectations, etc your consumers are still the same as your competitors.  The big question then is how to win.  In my opinion, those who consider the underpinnings of prior corporate revolutions will be better suited to transcend into this new age than those who continue to stay shallow in their thoughts.  Consider such areas of practice such as:

  • Phsychology: Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs which refers to 5 basic needs including: physiological, safety, social, self-esteem and self actualization
  • Sociology: which is often referred to as the Social Science, is the study of human societies.
  • Network Sciences: LikeMetcalfe’s Law - which conspires that networks (of faxes, phones, computers, people, or anything else) dramatically increase in value with each additional node or user

These sciences have influenced business revolutions including the information, managment and globalization business revolutions that have helped shape the pace by which we operate today.  The question is how the new Social revolution will re-shape traditional business practices today and in the future.  Less discussed movements like social production, cognitive outliers, the wisdom of crowds and distributed transparency will certainly help shape this business revolution and the companies who embrace these learnings will emerge as leaders in the future.  The only way to get your businesses out front will be to look beyond the shallow dialogue like openess, autehnticity, transparency and building relationships that is prevalent today and start understanding how the sciences will continue to influence business and consumer expectations.

Social, Managerial and Organizational Dimensions will all have an impact on both intra-organizational and inter-organizational aspects in social business integration.  To take us through this week’s conversation will be a true change agent in her own right, Kristi Colvin.  Kristi has a tremendous amount of experience leading corporate integration of disruptive technolgies.  She will lead us through a series of questions to help challenge us to think deeper in managing our organizations through this monumental, customer led sea-change that is upon us.  The topic and questions follow:

Topic:  Socializing My Business – What Comes After the Chit-Chat?

Q1:  Why do we even need to integrate social into our businesses?

Q2:  How should you begin to socialize your business and what should you expect?

Q3:  What does social business integration look like for employees & the company?

This week’s chat will take place Tuesday 1/15 at 12 noon EST as usual.  To follow the discussion, use #sm42 from any popular Twitter app (like tweetchat, Tweetdeck,Seesmic) or from our LIVE page.

Advancing the Discussion of Social Media & ROI

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Return on Investment or (ROI) is one of those terms that has been mis-used by all in 2009.  As we look to 2010, how can we get back on track.  We know there is going to be a strong influx of interest in social media projects by companies.  In fact, a report from econsultancy and bigmouthmedia suggest that 86% of the 1,100 companies surveyed plan to spend more on social media in 2010 and 13% plan to spend the same amount.  The report is further detailed here.  With all this investment in 2010, will any of it be tied to ROI or will it be looked at as non-financial impact?

We stated that the term ROI is widely mis-used.  Here’s what we mean:

This is NOT ROI:

  • The return of my Twitter usage is 2009 is 1,637 followers.
  • I increased the page views of my website by 300% on an investment of $120.
  • I increased my brand awareness by putting better content on my blog.

The actions above relate to non-financial impact on a business.  For more information on Impact on Business we did a post a couple of months ago here.  What seems to happen is that we take what is a financial term (ROI) and mix it around with investments in media measurement or listening tools or other social media tactics that are a part of non-financial metrics like building relationships, brand management or engagement.  While these are all necessary and they do require an investment, the results are almost always non-financial.  Therefore, if you are in front of executives and trying to attain funding or approvals, they will be interested in financial returns as measurement.  While redefining the terms to meet your specific needs may be fun or even cute, no one is going to sign up for ROI when it means Return on Interest or Return on INgagement. 

So what is ROI?  The accepted definition of return on investment is very straightforward: gain from investment minus cost of investment, then divided by cost of investment.  In other words, recruitment, engagement, interactions, listening are all very important pieces of the ROI equation however until that customer or prospect does something (ie: make a purchase) there is no financial measurement.  The exception to this is the relation to cost savings realized by an investment.  A great image of this was done by Olivier Blanchard:








Another important piece of the ROI pie is about actuals.  ROI is not about what we think is going to happen, it is about what happened.  Or in the words of Olivier again, “It’s not about potential, it’s about actual performance.”  So ROI is not a forward looking statement, rather it is backwards looking results.  So if you are looking for a quick refresher, check out this widely viewed deck on ROI here.

You may have guessed already on who could possibly by moderating this much needed discussion on ROI.  If you guessed Olivier Blanchard aka “The Brand Builder” then you are correct!  Olivier has long been a recognized and sought after practitioner and speaker on the topic of social media ROI.  He brings a very clear yet in-depth understanding to the topic and we are thrilled to have him moderating this chat with us.  The topic and question this week are as follows:

Topic: Advancing the Discussion of Social Media & ROI

Q1: How can strategy & planning can impact ROI?

Q2: What are the steps to integrate SM across a business?

Q3: What is the difference between measurement & ROI?

Please join us this Tuesday 12/22 for the weekly chat event at 12 noon EST.  The hashtag for this event will be #sm39.

The Impact of Social Media in Government

Monday, November 30th, 2009

gov20-mediumFor the past 7 months or so, the #socialmedia chat has focused on what social media can do for businesses.  We’ve covered b-2-b and b-2-c, we’ve looked into how social media affects internal departments as well as external communications.  Well, now it’s December.  For the month of December we promised to shake it up a bit and start to take a look from different perspectives on how social media is influencing different sectors and what the future holds (or at least 2010).  For the first day of December we will focus on the business of Government and what impact social media has had and will have.

First, the term being used to associate social media and Government is Gov2.0.  For this purpose, I will refer mostly to gov2.0 in this context for the rest of the post.  Second, why now?  Why is gov2.0 the soup du jour for describing the change needed in government?  Roughly, it started with the Howard Dean campaign for president in 2004.  As an early front runner for the Democratic ticket, he started using the web in very different ways to help run his campaign.  Gov2.0 got a sharp uptick in popularity as it fueled President Barack Obama’s successful run in 2008.  Then in 2009, President Obama issued The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Act) of 2009 offering close to $787 Billion in stimulus funds for agencies.  However, the Act requires an extraordinary level of “transparency” on the part of Federal, State and Local agencies.  While the Act’s intent is to create new levels of transparency at all levels of government, there are no guidelines on exactly how.  Many are looking at the application of social technologies and methodologies to meet the demand for more transparency and inter-departmental coordination.

Today there are few great examples of government using social media to complement its efforts to either better communicate with constituents or coordinate better across agencies.  There are many people who talk about it like Steve Radick from Booz Allen Hamilton who authors a well-read blog and some who are actually in charge of doing it like Jeff Levy who’s the Director of Web Communications from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Then you have Brian Drake from Deloitte saying gov2.0 is not moving fast enough  and on the other side Larry Lessig who cautions too much transparency can be detrimental and all are paving new roads with their work as the Gov2.0 movement is certainly in it’s infancy. 

So how can businesses, who have dipped their toes further into the waters, help Government not have to re-learn all the mistakes that have already been made?  Conversely, government has been dialoguing with their constituents for decades already and what learnings can transfer over to businesses, some of whom are communicating for the first time with their consumers. 

I know you are thinking who in the world would agree to take on this monster of a topic.  Well, with a bit of coaxing, we believe we have the perfect person.  Kim Patrick Kobza is the CEO and founder of Neighborhood America (disclaimer, I work for Neighborhood America and started along with Marc Meyer and Terry McKyton as a skunkworks project).  Kim has been bridging the experience gap between government and private enterprises for much of his career.  His thought leadership and actual work is sought after by many leaders in governement, those behind the gov2.0 movement and companies alike.  Kim blogs here and Neighborhood America published a Gov2.0 readiness kit under his guidance here.

Topic: The Impact of Social Media in Government

Government 2.0 is being promoted as one of the most transformative trends in governance. But what does it mean? And what meaningful impact can social media have in the relationship between citizens and their government?

Q1) What does Gov 2.0 mean to you?

Q2) What can government agencies & companies learn from each other’s experiences in implementing social media strategies?

Q3) What do you think are the primary barriers for citizens and agencies in implementing gov 2.0 strategies?

This chat will be held on Tuesday December 1st at 12 noon EST.  The format will stay the same with the first question at noon with Q2 and Q3 to follow in 20 inute increments.  Follow along on #SM36 on on our LIVE site.

Stop Campaigning and Start Conversing The New Marketing Paradigm

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

conversationBuild a relationship, garner trust and a customer will never leave.  Sounds pretty easy!?  In fact we have been talking about it since the dawn of time (social media time anyway) with the Cluetrain Manifesto that started in 1999 and identified that the Internet has forced marketing to be more about conversations than messages.  Since then we have Valeria Maltoni the Conversation Agent (a past moderator here), a great book called Naked Conversations written by Shel Israel (an upcoming moderator) and Robert Scoble and countless other examples.  So why is it that companies still market via campaigns and agencies still win business with this approach?

A classic example of movement for the sake of motion? Possibly.  Consider all the money and effort that goes into concept, strategy, creative, execution of marketing campaigns.  Brands spend all that time creating a pitch to consumers, introducing themselves time and time again, selling stuff to unwilling customers then when it’s done, they see how much product was sold, cut off the pitch to those customers and prospects then rinse and repeat the whole daunting process all over.  So where is the conversation part of this we have been talking about now for at least 10 years?  Not the cordial, “wave to each other at a cocktail party” conversation but the relationship conversation that lasts for months, years or longer?  The conversation where you find out what each other needs and wants (notice I said both), you know, a real relationship not a manufactured one.

So what does that look like and how do marketers break out of the campaign mentality?  Think about the impact of this scenario: A company with multiple brands has a consolidated marketing department focused on customer relationships.  They are in charge of courting the consumer and understanding how they live, work and play.  From that relationship, the company understands what products (Brands) can help that customer and how they add value to that consumer’s life.  Then the Brands become stewards for helping those customers buy the things they need (considering people like to buy things yet do not like to be sold).  The company pours their monies into acquiring a customer once then facilitating their purchases across the various products.  This is very different than what happens today as each Brand pays to acquire the same customers over and over across all brands independently.  This may be some utopian dream to many but the speed of communicating and the ubiquity of access to communicate is forever changing the old norms and customers have left that station.  Companies need to figure out how to adapt and soon.

We are very happy to have Tom Martin moderating this topic on tuesday.  Tom spends a lot of time in this space covering all aspects of branding, marketing and social media and brings a creative approach to his work.  He will help us work through this topic and facilitate a great learning opportunity for all of us.  The topic and questions will be:

Stop Campaigning and Start Conversing – The New Marketing Paradigm

1) What is the difference between a marketing campaign and a customer conversation?

2) How do agencies have to change in order to create conversations instead of campaigns?

3) What are some examples of brands or agencies that have succeeded in making the jump from campaign to conversation?

The chat will take place Tuesday 11/24 at noon EST.  We will use the #sm35 for the event.

Ford’s Fusion 41 Challenge – What Are We Missing?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Sit down and buckle in (literally), this week we are taking the #SocialMedia discussion in a very different direction.  Instead of learning during these chats, we have been asked by Ford Motor Company’s Scott Monty to helpford-logo-big teach.  If you are not aware, Scott is on a tear of late with the tremendous success of the Ford Fiesta Movement, he is now going for the equivalent of an encore with the Fusion 41 challenge.  Their newest challenge asks for:

  • Current 2010 model Ford Fusion owners/leasees to apply for the challenge
  • Eight (8) teams (to include the owner and four (4) team members each) will be selected
  • Ford will provide a 2010 Fusion model to each team to compete with
  • Teams will perform a series of challenges taking place over a 3 week period.
  • To coincide with the Fusion Hybrid’s 41 mpg rating, the challenges will take place every 41 hours
  • Team members will complete a task and “hand-off” like a baton to the next member
  • All the while, team members are required to post content and updates across their social networks online

The winning team’s leader will get their new 2010 Fusion paid off and the team members will get free gas for a year.  If you want all the rules check here.

So how can all of us help Scott Monty and Ford Motor?  Well, hang on a second and we’ll get to that.  First, it’s important that you understand where they have come from and where they are going.  This deck from Scott’s recent keynote at OMMA Global 2009 provides a good overview and some insight into Ford Motor’s social media marketing strategy.

View more presentations from Scott Monty.

If you notice, the last content slide lists “Listening to our community for suggestions”  and that, my friends, is why we are all here.  Scott has asked for input regarding Ford Motor’s latest social media marketing project, the Fusion 41 challenge.  The format will be similar to prior weeks with 3 questions, a new question every 20 minutes.  The difference is the questions.  Scott will be providing insight into the planning of the campaign and we will be providing recommendations in how to think differently and possibly add a new dimension to the initiative.

Yes that’s right, for an hour we will all be honorary social marketing consultants for one of the hottest social media brands out there.  Please note: any suggestions made by you during this one hour +/- event are provided for Ford Motor and Ford Motor may use your suggestions at will.

Topic: Ford’s Fusion 41 Challenge – What Are We Missing?

Q1: Evaluate the WOM/Influence strategy

Q2: Evaluate the online marketing strategy

Q3: What are we missing to make this truly exceptional?

Disclosure & It’s Effect on the Brand Marketing Ecosystem

Monday, October 19th, 2009

disclosureWe have all heard a lot about the Federal Trade Comissions’ (FTC) latest policy on the expectation for full disclosure on endorsements and paid reviews or testimonials.  But, how much do we really know about it and how will it affect all of us who are in the business?  That is the focus of this week’s #socialmedia event moderated by C.C. Chapman

To start, you can review the document for yourself and develop your own interpretation of it (it’s actually an update to it’s guides, not a law, and therefore open to some interpretations) as it was announced earlier this month.  Next the rules will be enacted on December 1st so anything being done now is not covered in this under the new guides.  More, while we have all read about the $11,000+ fine, this fine is only enacted after several warnings and for serious offenses as noted in this interview with the FTC from the LATimes:

When a LA Times reporter asked about Restaraunt Reviews, the answer was, “Technically, you’re supposed to disclose all comped meals. But if you don’t, the FTC’s not likely to do anything about it.”My initial reaction to that scenario [comped meals] is that disclosure would be required,” says Rich Cleland of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our primary concern relates to the fact that you received something of value and it’s for the exchange of writing about the product.”

So is this a conspiracy theory that gives ”big brother” yet another way to find out what my top ten social media blunders post is all about?….probably not as they really don’t care.  What it does do is provide a vehicle for them to be able to pursue the really bad people out there and have some teeth in the punishment.  Read their take on this issue of monitoring (from the same LATimes article),

“But the FTC has a limited interest — and ability — in monitoring blog traffic. According to Cleland, the FTC is far more interested in pursuing advertisers, especially those who violate the rules after repeated warnings, than they are in dunning individual bloggers. Unless the FTC receives numerous complaints about a specific blog, it’s unlikely to investigate. It’s a matter of enforcement priorities.”

And how does the FTC decide who to go after?  It looks like it will be more of an “opt-in list” meaning they already get inquiries from citizens on publishers (bloggers) who are possibly scamming.  they will still filter for the more detrimental publishers and go specifically after them.  In their words:

“If we received complaints,” Cleland says, “we’d look at how serious the representations are. Are there other possible violations? What kind of blog is it? We might be more concerned about a blogger who was writing a review of a medical device that’s used for a serious disease than we would be about someone who’s writing a restaurant review.”

So if the new FTC guidelines are really just meant for the true scumbags out there then what’s all the hub-bub about?  This goes deeper into the expectations that consumers have where honesty and disclosure are now a ”need-to-have” and no longer a “nice-to-have” for reviews, promotions and endorsements.  These new guides begin to shine a light on all marketing relationships and will have serious affects for Brands who try to fool their consumers.  While some may say this officially shifts the responsibility of disclosure from the advertisers to the publishers, what is really does is says that everyone is accountable – the advertisers and the publishers.  Not longer can we stand around like school-children and point fingers at each other saying “she did it”!  We are all responsible and accountable. 

With this expectation being more clearly defined thanks to the FTC, how will companies react? How should they react?  Is this business as usual or do Brand marketers need to re-imagine their word-of-mouth practices, affiliate marketing, product testers, viral campaigns and more?  Helping us out this week is C.C. Chapman, Creative Director and partner at Campfire, a marketing firm offering full-service creative development and production management.  This week on Tuesday 10/20/09, C.C. will moderate the following topic and questions starting at 12 noon EST:

Topic:  Disclosure & It’s Effect on the Brand Marketing Ecosystem

Q1:  What is affected by the new FTC disclosure policy?

Q2:  How does the FTC disclosure policy change Brand marketing

Q3:  How does disclosure affect branding communities / bloggers / WOM networks?

Feel free to join us by following along on Twitter, TweetChat(recommended) by following #socialmedia or simply go to our LIVE  page (highly recommended).