Thursday, March 12, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Mike Lewis (44 of 45)

And today's special guest is friend, and CMO of Awareness, Mike Lewis (not to be confused with Tim Walker's idol, Michael Lewis). I first met Mike on Twitter but then got to know him through his involvement in Chris Brogan's New Marketing Summit in Boston last year. Mike came to our offices along with David Scott and Paul Gillin to do a podcast for the event. Mike and I then sat down for a video interview at Gillette Stadium to talk about the meaning of "new marketing."

Since then, Mike has taken over as the head of marketing at Awareness. I've been impressed with some of the programs he's put together including a kick ass webinar series featuring folks like Sony, Brogan and other folks moving the bar in the social media space. Mike and I are hoping that sometime soon, Awarenss and Powered can do a joint webinar that's double the fun!

Okay Mike, let's see how you answered the five questions from the Experts in the Industry series:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I am an entrepreneurial marketer that helps companies build brand and revenue through traditional and social marketing initiatives. The most successful marketing programs include a significant amount of risk and I help companies take strategic risks and uncover innovative ways of bringing products and services to market. 
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I have always been passionate about Internet technologies that help improve how we conduct business.  I initially got involved in social media a few years back when I was the VP of Marketing at Salesnet by launching a customer focused blog and a blog focused on improving sales processes.  Since then I have been an early adopter of social technologies and have tried to include them in every marketing program I run.
If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
For me it’s a toss-up between Zappos and Jet Blue.  Zappos is because they are passionate about using social media, they are very successful and they have fun doing it. I would invest in Jet Blue because their use of social clearly aligns with their overall business objective of delivering a superior customer experience.  From the top down they are passionate about serving their customers and they adopted social media as a way to support that goal.   In my opinion that is something many companies who are adopting social media are missing – aligning social media marketing to real business objectives.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I know you asked for 1, but here are 3… 1 for each category:
  • Political figure: Mitt Romney.  I have a lot of respect for him both as a businessman and as a politician.  From a political standpoint he turned a $3B deficit in Mass to a $700M surplus and had to make a lot of tough decisions along the way that didn’t align with many of the other politicians in Massachusetts.
  • Business leader: Steve Jobs.  His track record speaks for it itself.  I have a lot of respect for his innovation, creativity and drive.
  • Public Figure: Howard Stern.  OK... this is the outlier, right?  Here’s why I respect Howard.  He’s a guy that never lost sight of his dream to be a radio star and worked his butt off to get there.  You may not like what he says but you have to respect his work ethic and determination.
No… simply because I have no interest in toothpaste.  That said, I am likely to sign up for a community if it’s a product or subject I am interested in and passionate about. 
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
I spend a lot of time speaking with marketing execs at companies who are talking an awful lot about social media, but aren’t actually doing anything yet.  In the words of Nike, my advice is: Just do it.  It’s easy to get started in social media, test the waters, listen to what people are saying and use that as a way to formulate a more complex plan that aligns with your business objectives.  

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