Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How We Market

As the CMO of Powered, I try and share whatever and whenever I can. Maybe to a level that makes my boss, our CEO, a little uncomfortable. But it's my style and at the end of the day, it's what we ask our customers to do.

To that end, we were asked a question in an RFI today that I helped our sales guys answer. The question was, "How do you employ social media to market your own company's services?" Here's how I answered:

At Powered, we look at “social” as being more of a philosophy than a set of tools or tactics. As a result, all of our activities in the marketing world are predicated on the theory of “give before you get.” What this means is that when we send out e-mail campaigns, create newsletters, blog or deliver webcasts, we ask ourselves the question, “what do our customers and prospective customers care about? Or How can we make them smarter?”

With this as our premise, we do use tools like our corporate blog, my personal work blog a Twitter account as well as several of our bus/dev and exec teams personal twitter accounts -- mine being one of them. Because we are so bullish on creating content, we also help marketers better understand the rapidly emerging discipline of social marketing and what it means to their company’s marketing mix though monthly webcasts with thought leaders like Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang and MarketingProf’s chief content officer, Anne Handley OR the social media leads at Ford, GM and We also are regular contributors to publications like MediaPost and DMNews, again talking about things that marketers might care about.

At the end of the day, we realize that our marketing efforts need to deliver brand awareness and lead generation but we’ve found that the most effective way to ensure their success by “eating our own dogfood.”

How do you YOU employ social media to market your own services?

photo courtesy of:


  1. I say something stupid on Twitter and hope people go, "what's wrong with that guy" and then buy our software.

  2. No wonder why Sam started tweeting again! Actually, like you, social media is embedded into the fabric of our company and we use blogs, twitter, webinars, podcasts and other content to engage with customers. Also like you, we eat our own dog food and listen for brand appropriate conversations and engage with our audience as appropriate.

  3. Hey Aaron,

    Great stuff. Great marketing builds enduring, repeating relationships with customers. Why? Because they count on you to provide something above and beyond the original transaction. I may only need to buy something from you once a year, but if you're a resource to me all year long, you can pretty much guarantee that I'll be back when I need to buy again.

    At Radian6, we've focused heavily on immersing ourselves in the community we serve. We rely on them to help us understand what they need from our platform. We talk about and share best practices and issues on our blog, through case studies, and in our communications. We make connections with people, one at a time, through the social channels where our customers participate. We try to be informative, helpful, and human, and we spend lots of time meeting people in person to let them know how much we value their involvement in our business.

    There are few things more rewarding than to hear "not only do they provide a great solution for us, but they listen and they're great people to work with." Give me a direct mail campaign that accomplishes that.

    Cheers to you for practicing what you preach.

    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community | Radian6

  4. Any communication - be it post-cards or blog posts - needs to have a purpose. If you're approaching me, a possible consumer, and offering value...before I've even committed to your product/service, I'm going to think of you as altruistic, valuable and 'good'.

    That said, it's not imperative to give away the farm for free. I think some social-media pro's feel a liberal sense of obligation to their audiences, unwarranted.

    The best approach is to share what you can, help where you can, and be genuine and professional in all exchanges.

    I've gotten more clients by being quietly confident than I have by shouting my skills incessantly.

    Social media is a CONVERSATION. Treat it that way.

  5. First, here's how I think of it: Be a trusted resource to your customers and prospects. Ask, "How can I help?" not "How can I get them to buy?" You are quite right when you say it's a philosophy, above all.

    Second, I love dogs.

    And finally, I think it's important to be part of the conversation happening in the social media space not just to talk... but also to listen. You can gather a lot of intelligence, which informs how *and* what you market, just by being... well, social.

  6. Interesting. Now I'm off to buy Sam Lawrence's software. What's wrong with that guy? Best comment I've read in a long time, Sam!

  7. As a freelance writer, I use social media in part to establish my own strength of voice across platforms. Because I provide a unique service, I want to show myself to be a unique person.:)

    I also use it to get a sense of the general thoughts and ideas of the communities and industries I write for, both in their "official voices" and in more candid or conflicted moments.

    Most of all, though, I use it to learn about people and get to know people -- anyone working as a communicator should surround themselves with diverse voices and perspectives as much as humanly possible.

  8. I see a lot of "social media" translated as marketers reaching out to their customers. I get it, it's easier for Marketers to start with affecting the way the marketing team interacts with customers than it is for the marketing team (or other teams) to affect the way an organization interacts internally.

    I like that Powered is treating Social as a philosophy as opposed to a tool, but I would have re-written one sentence. "What this means is that when we send out e-mail campaigns, create newsletters, blog or deliver webcasts, we ask our customers the question, 'what do you and prospective customers care about? Or How can we make you smarter?'"

    Knowing you Kathy Warren, and others at Powered, I believe you do this, but there’s a difference between guessing and asking.

    Thanks for the refreshing post.

    Heather Strout | @heatherjstrout

  9. I am so fortunate to have launched a business just as social media was really beginning to hit the mainstream - oh about half-past-yesterday. I use it to learn, share, connect and more often then not, laugh.

    Sam what's your Twitter name. Need to follow....

  10. Aaron,
    I agree wholeheartedly with the philosophy approach to all things "social". Once the philosophy is in place and the goals are to share and enrich the experience of the people your company touches, the tools and tactics can easily be identified. If the tools and tactics are in place without the philosophy, the goals and objectives of any related marketing activities will likely remain unmet.

    The fact that you get the philosophy part is why you can say stupid things on Twitter and people buy your software. ;-)

    LOVE this!

  11. Great post Aaron. Straight and to the point. Is it possible to share too much? *laugh*

    At The Advance Guard our approach is direct in that we live and breath social media. Our team is made up of bloggers, photographers, podcasters and other form of content creators.

    We make sure to stay active in the communities that we are passionate about and stay on top of the latest tools and services so that we can make sure to be able to always make an informed recommendation to clients and potential clients.

  12. @samlawrence I love you man.
    @warrenss @AmberCadabra you all over at Radian6 are very good dogfood eaters ;)
    @JeffCutler good advice. I'm quietly listening.
    @LornePike don't egg him on!
    @Meg you have a wonderful voice.
    @HeatherJStrout great recommendation. I like it.
    @Melanie you're a natural - and RE Sam, he's just @samlawrence. Beware though, he's a sly one. ;)
    @shannonpaul totally agree and DON'T encourage SAM!
    @CCChapman dude, thanks so much for stopping by. And yes, you guys do a wonderful job of walking the walk at the Advanced Guard!


  13. Aaron,

    I advise our clients on social initiatives. Over the summer I helped shape the strategy when we were pitching adidas and continue to advise them as needed. I am chief instigtor for Experience Matters, my company's blog—I got us on Twitter and oversee efforts there (@lendkendall has been doing wonders with it) I came up with the mash up concept behind our always in beta lifestreaming site and turn it on whenever I go to a conference.

    And I've spend years, blogging, Twittering and giving everything I know including graphics as a service.

    If I were to narrow social media down to one thing—it's service. We have an opportunity to serve each other. it works for individuals and when done right companies as well.

    Great post.

  14. After reading that, I trust you and what your company does that much more.

    What you've instilled in your corporate culture is honesty and trust and you show that through your actions, not your words.

    As that culture spreads throughout the company, the community see that you do in fact drink your own kool-aid, thus making explaining your philosophy as simple as a blog post.

    Great post, Aaron.

  15. First, I want to point out that it's impossible to out Sam Sam, but Ann almost pulled it off with the dog comment. I'm just saying.

    Love the post Aaron. You get it more than most, although you must be getting tired of dogfood (you eat a lot).

    For a long time marketing has been about "crafting messages" designed to "position" a company's "product" in the best light to it's "target demographic" in the hope they'd buy. As a consumer (for the record, I throw up in my mouth every time I say/type that word - absolutely hate it in this context), I find this so offensive.

    People want to buy from people again. It's a return to the bazaar mentality. By embracing social media as a philosophy (totally agree with you/Ann here) companies stand a chance at becoming more human and letting people (potential customers) connect with people (your employees) that can help them solve their problem (and maybe buy your product).

    I spend more time on the "About Us" section on company web sites than any other section. Why? It's my best hope of getting an authentic look at who they are and what they value and deciding if they're someone I might want to buy from/work with.

    Thanks for getting me thinking.

    Jim | @jimstorer

  16. @Ann oops, how the hell did I miss you in my first round of comments? Thankfully my sidekick, Jim, is keeping me honest. Love the "dog" comment.
    @Armano dude, you are awesome.
    @sonnygill dude, you are my new favorite person
    @jimbo dude, one of my favorite responses yet!

  17. I echo the sentiments of pretty much all of these great commenters and, as an owner of 3 dogs, can attest to a secret love of IAMs! I would, however, like to throw the conversation a slight curve ball: many companies find themselves in the following predicament -> They make a product, let's say AMP energy drink. They have fans/customers. They want to use social media tools to better connect with those customers. They feel stupid in asking some of the questions that others can ask of their customers like "How can we make you smarter" or "What do you care about" It's not that they are necessarily the wrong questions, but, as a maker of an energy drink they have trouble making the connection. As opposed to information and service oriented companies, I think these folks require the most assistance from dudes like you. Rock on.

  18. The best way to market my services via social media is to help my customers succeed. I use social media to shine a light on what my clients value most.

    Whether they are my financial clients or Tweetworks users, I am always watching and listening to what they are doing.

    When I spot an opportunity to retweet, mention them on my video blog or participate in their blog discussions I'm on it.

    First, it's a great way to build customer loyalty.

    Second, it's a visible demonstration to others of the value of my services and commitment to my clients.

    And lastly, it very often results in client referrals or promotion of me and my services.

  19. You know the best part? (And I'll bet @Armano will vouch for this, too...) It's FUN.

    Coming up with great ideas/content that you think your loyal community (and prospects) will appreciate provides a surreal sense of validation.

    AND, it's good for business.