In December, I had the pleasure of spending the day with the talented Nadia Chaudhury. We walked though a very fun day in my life – including interacting with Natanya Andersen and Jan Ryan who are two of my Austin favorites as well as my team. It is a rare and special thing to have talented artists capture in words and images the joy that you find in your daily life and I adore this piece. If you’re interested, the full article and amazing photos at Austin CityGram here.
A lot has happened over the last couple of months. Most importantly, Spredfast and Mass Relevance merged this month to form a 350 person Social Marketing Platform company, for which I am pleased to serve as Chief Customer Officer. Lots more to come on that and the marketing at the speed of life made possible by the combined technologies.
In March, the folks at Entrepreneur were kind enough to publish me. Please visit them here to read the full text of Woo Loyal Customers For Life with 4 Winning Ways.
And during SXSW, I participated in the WCG’s W2O Group Pre-Commerce Summit. The video and slides from this 10 minute talk here:
Bonus: I address my very loud green jacket IN the video.
Last week, an interview I did with Entrepreneur magazine did whatever the digital version of “hit the newsstands” is. While many of these thoughts were geared to CEOs of small or medium businesses, the content could really apply to any social media leader living in the real world of constrained resources.
Please head on over there and take a gander.
The below is cross posted on the All Thing WOMM blog.
Happy New Year from all of us at WOMMA! I am honored to be serving as your Board Chair this year and looking forward to an amazing 2013.
2012 was a busy year for the organization – raising the bar on our events, upgraded educational offerings, new councils, the WOMM ROI guidebooks, and refreshed ethical and legal guidance to our practitioners, and some exciting additions to the staff. My predecessor, David Witt, set the tone across all of these efforts by focusing the organization on building brand advocacy – which has become a “true north” for us as the official trade organization for word of mouth and social media marketing.
Before I share with you our focus for 2013, I would like to contextualize it with a few sentences on my history with the organization. I was lucky enough to be present at WOMMA’s first summit in Chicago in 2005. I was a marketer at Dell and the lone member of a large department tasked with figuring out how to employ “viral marketing” for a new product launch (these were the days of Subservient Chicken, after all). At WOMMA, I not only learned the value of marketing by inspiration vs. interruption, I was more importantly given entre into a community of practice. In a medium that moves as quickly as ours, it would be impossible to stay current with simply reading industry blogs or our own experiences alone.
Over the years, WOMMA has connected me with the professionals who have given me advice that has changed my career and accelerated my own practice of WOMM. It is personal experience combined with what we learn from our respected peers that will allow us to continue to evolve WOMM as quickly as the means to spread and amplify it.
Thus, in looking at 2013, I am not here to shift our content direction, but instead to focus on HOW we as an organization, a staff, and a board serve you, the members. We want to take that amazing community feeling and valuable peer-to-peer connections of Summit & WOMM-U and extend it throughout the year and to a deeper bench of each member company’s marketers. For all of those who have approached me and wanted to get more involved, you have been heard. We will be providing many more means and opportunities throughout the year for you to take a more active role and get more value from the organization in the process.
Here’s a sampling of some new ways the WOMMA community will be extended:
- WOMMfest - On February 19, we’ll be hosting a first-of-its-kind coast to coast celebration of WOMM called WOMMfest. In addition to three anchor events in Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta, our friends at House Party are powering an opportunity for 50+ member companies across the country to host local WOMMA Trivia Nights. This is a chance to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with colleagues, clients, agencies, and vendors alike. Apply to host a party in your city here.
- New Member Center - First of its kind member center providing you an opportunity to access a huge library of presentations and research material to build your internal cases for WOMM, but the opportunity to connect with your WOMMA colleagues and fellow council members on a far more frequent basis.
- Better Events - Want to have a role in determining what content is shared on our event stages? We are assembling member task forces who will determine what speaking and content proposals will make it on stage at WOMM-U and Summit. Email Sarah Stauffer at Sarah@WOMMA.org for more info.
- More Councils - Our expanding group of councils and evolving WOMM-COM programs will provide great opportunities to get more members of WOMMA companies involved by providing year round education for members at every stage of their careers.
We wake up every day hoping to make WOMMA a more valuable organization for our members. If you have ideas or feedback, we’d love to hear from you, especially in the member center. It’s your organization, and we hope that in 2013 you’ll help us find ways to make WOMMA even better for your career, for our membership, and for the entire industry.
Start interacting and taking full advantage of your membership right now at the member center.
Happy New Year!
Wednesday night, we closed the book on another WOMMA Summit (disclosure: Spredfast is a governing member and I serve on the board). Having now had a few hours to reflect, there were some major themes.
Back to Advocacy – In session after session, we heard a focus from brands on meeting the needs not only of their X million fans, but creating content, experiences, and value for their hard core fans. One of the greatest examples of of approaching this came from Jackie Huba’s preview of her forthcoming 2013 book Monster Business. Lady Gaga’s marketing strategies focus on the 1% of her fans that want to have hyper-engaged relationships with her. The 6 Lessons of Gaga’s loyalty strategy are a fantastic reminder that this advocate strategy needs to drive platform choices instead of the tail wagging the dog.
Big Businesses are Dissolving the Social Pillar –Nestle Digital & Social Global Head (and WOMMA co-founder) Pete Blackshaw,Greg Gerik of 3M, and “Turbo” Todd Watson of IBM all shared the communications pillars of their organizations – none of which include standalone “social”. Instead of being a siloed initiative of a few trained marketers, social has permeated the way the company communicates on all fronts. This is a beautiful thought, but paying off on it requires investment in socially empowering hundreds of brand managers and SMEs, measuring the results of their efforts, and getting engagement and feedback data to the right places in the organization in a way that energizes the organization.
The Paid/Owned/Earned (and sometimes Shared) media model is here to stay as a meaningful model. No longer is there questioning about the validity or value of WOM that gets stimulated by ad dollars as the changing dynamics of what it takes for users of social platforms to actually see a connections’ recommendation. What does differ is how people are handling the integration of paid. Whether it is a new skill being picked up by the brand, executed through specialist agency collaboration, etc. – it is a skill set that must be added to your integrated WOMM team’s arsenal molto pronto.
Measurement is becoming more sophisticated and scrutinized. Many of the success metrics shared in sessions were about the “quick win”. This seems to be a result of the continued ROI pressure that social initiatives, along with the entire marketing mix face (backed up by data shared in the IBM CMO study. But elevating social activity to “business value” needs to incorporate the value of both the quick win and the long game for which social is so uniquely designed. Dr. Walter Carl shared some great guidance on how to look at the full value picture of social in a more holistic way – giving social credit for some of the “long game” communications objectives it achieves instead of short term sales, coupon redemptions, etc alone. We need to move beyond activity metrics and the “short game” and start thinking about how to give social credit for the more complex role it plays including soliciting feedback, cultivating offline WOM recommendations, and developing brand advocates who will spark to action in a crisis.
The Legal Socialpocalypse – The Summit closed with some amazing and well-timed reminders from lead legal counsel/cyberlawyers for Coca-Cola, American Express, and USAA. Reminders included the need for a higher level of rigor in terms of sharing rights-protected material to basic security in the way that social accounts are being managed by individuals in the company (personal logins to control corporate Facebook, anyone?). Above all, the guidance was to get legal involved early and often so they become involved in shaping a program instead of the late stage “no” guys.
It’s great to see so many companies that were early pioneers in social continuing to evolve and willing to share their lessons along the way for the benefit of the entire industry! For more details and sharable nuggets, visit WOMMA’s curated tweet and photo highlights the summit sessions: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. To see more of the WOM that took place at Summit, check out the Summit Social Hub powered by FeedMagnet.