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Social Media Rules Article in Entrepreneur

June 17th, 2013 No comments

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.

SMMS to Address Scale in 2012

January 10th, 2012 No comments

Crossposted from my new blogging home at Spredfast.  I am thrilled to be there.  More about my new job can be found here.

I am kicking off my second week of growing Spredfast’s professional services offerings to drive customer success and reduce time to value.  It is a perfect fit for me – I’ve spent the last 10 years in roles on both the brand (Dell) and the consulting (Ogilvy) side helping organizations adopt Word of Mouth Marketing and, later, social in a way that makes sense strategically and can be executed well tactically.   Early in the journey, my time was spent was spent convincing organizations that they needed to start listening and get involved.  Later on, the bulk of my work progressed to actually putting together well-organized corporate presences and campaigns while, in many cases, cleaning up some social media driftwood cluttering the ecosystem.  In the last year, however, we have seen complexity explode.  Now instead of simply trying to stem social voice proliferation, we see strategies where the whole company can truly benefit from more and more parts of the organization being heard.  But how can you manage a proliferation of voices – Continents, Countries, Brands, Products, Regions, States, Reps – and NOT confuse the customers who want to find us in their social spaces?

That’s why I’m here.  2012 is the year to tackle this complexity at scale and Social Media Management Systems (great Altimeter review on the space here) will play a critical role for those organizations serious about being able to get a handle on their social footprint – from governance to real time, rolled up analytics – and be able to prove that they are making progress against social business goals.  Getting to that point, however, takes more than great technology configured correctly.  It takes clear articulation of goals, KPIs and strategy.  It takes savvy understanding of organizational dynamics.  And perhaps most challenging – it requires behavior change.   That’s when the fun begins.

As our journey progresses and my knowledge grows about traits of those brands successfully scaling the social business hill, I’ll update this space with some of the broadly applicable lessons.  I hope you’ll join in – “network learning” will get us all further faster.

Socializing CSR

February 8th, 2010 1 comment

rsz_social media week** Cross posted on Ogilvy’s Fresh Influence Blog**

This week I participated in a Social Media Week New York panel “Putting the Social in CSR” along with Bonin Bough from Pepsico, Deb Berman from Just Means, and Chrysi Philalithes from (RED). Its an extremely timely topic and one we have been thinking a lot about from a number of different angles. The great news? Social media provides the media for corporations to leverage their Corporate Social Responsibility investments to yield greater fruit for both the customer and the beneficiary.

The time-worn model of CSR of “Purchase X and we’ll contribute to Y up to $Z amount” can leave all parties feeling a little empty. Consumers know the company has already earmarked the money for the cause and is now trying to blackmail us into unlocking it by picking their brand over the equivalent. That similarly does little for the cause beyond the actual money donated – there’s little room on a package to tell the charity’s story and there’s no way for the consumer to choose to become more involved. To paraphrase John & Yoko, “EMPTY CSR IS OVER if you want it”.

Social media allows for the type of participation that can provide better return on CSR investments to all. Just a few:

* Connecting Customer and Cause – Activating around a CSR commitment in social spaces allows the customer to choose to go a step beyond just the purchase for token donation to donating themselves, connecting to the cause’s social space or promoting the cause to there social nets.
* Inspiring Meaningful Involvement – Social media allows companies to set up infrastructure for their customers to be the connection that makes the biggest difference. For example, Time Warner Cable (Disclosure: Ogilvy client, but we are not responsible for CSR), has made a 5-year $100MM commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through their Connect a Million Minds initative. They are measuring success not with number of $$ donated, but number of minds connected – a function not of their donation, but the number of people they have inspired & empowered to take advantage of the infrastructure they have created.
* Platform for Awareness & Promotion The much publicized Pepsi Refresh Project is taking a huge step in CSR – providing $20 million in grants to individuals and small organizations with good ideas to improve their local communities. Pepsi provides a platform to tell your story, promote your idea, and is doling out 32 grants per month to the democratically selected winners. The impact for these causes will go far beyond a microscopic logo on a box.

To reference Ann Charles’ Mashable piece on CSR 2.0, the new way to look at CSR is the “triple bottom line of people, planet and profit”. Maybe social media adds a fourth P – participation – that could be a goal in itself. Participation benefits the brand, beneficiary, and consumer alike and will fuel the type of CSR that will hopefully increase the efforts and investments of corporations in some of society’s most serious challenges.

Addressing Social Media Ageism

September 21st, 2009 1 comment

ABA graphWhat you see above is are the top reasons that marketers within the American Bankers Association have not yet added social media marketing to their current mix (taken from a longer survey on the state of SMMarketing in Banking).  While the options listed are all important, the top reason for reluctance that came out in discussions in a learning lab I hosted at the ABA Marketing conference last week is not listed.  That reason is some combination of the following: “I am/my marketing manager is/my customers are TOO OLD for this stuff.”

How do you handle this statement? In the past, I have chosen to fight it with a mountain of demographic data (or the handy Forrester technographics tool), but demographic data can easily be dismissed as too generic or inflated.  This is as much a state of mind issue as state of the reality issue anyway. Here are some other options to address:
Train and encourage personal social media adoption in the workplace. Once it becomes a part of your life, it is much easier to understand the benefits, relevance to your customers, and how your might marry the two. This is  harder than it seems – it is very easy to help someone set up a Facebook account, but an uphill battle to get them to use it.
Get specific data on your customers’ social media usage. This could be done through primary methods like polls or through secondary research such as looking for mentions in social media (free tools include Summize Twitter search, searching on Facebook, or Google Blogsearch). While demographic data may not hold water with your peers, demonstrating that  your customers are looking for you is extremely compelling.
Run a pilot in your “Sweet Spot” to show results. When all else fails, ask forgiveness.  (note: this could be risky, but sometimes very successful).

What have YOU done in your workplace, your agency, or around your dinner table to respond when you hear that social media is just for kids?

LIVESTRONG Global in SocMed

August 25th, 2009 No comments

rsz_livestrongsummitToday marks Day 2 of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit taking place in Dublin.  In attendance are cancer advocates and survivors from 65 countries who can truly represent and discuss the complex issues comprising the global cancer burden.

Can’t attend? Never fear, there are plenty of ways to not only learn, but participate and make your voice heard and opinion counted from wherever you might be:

  • Summit LIVE – Sessions are live Ustreaming from AND the LIVE tab of the very robust LIVESTRONG Facebook fan page or from livestrongblog.org (which also includes aggregation of tweets from the floor).
  • Follow @livestrong on Twitter for interesting tidbits of data as they are released live on stage of the summit and opportunities to respond to Twitpolls.
  • Visit LIVESTRONGAction to sign the World Cancer Declaration and have your name included on the list of those demanding that cancer be a global priority that will be presented at the close to the summit.

<Disclosure: Ogilvy Client- – cross posted on the Fresh Influence blog>

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