Friday, April 10, 2009

April 10: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

As I mentioned in my last Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links post, I've asked the Powered marketing, business development and product teams to pick one news article, blog post or research report a week that "speaks" to them. With that article, they need to come to our weekly staff meeting prepared to give a 120 second update on what the article was about and why they found it useful.

My goal is to share this content on a weekly basis. Here's what our second week netted:

DP Rabalais (marketing):
My article from the Marketing Leadership Council talks about how several mega brands are incorporating social media into their overall marketing strategy.
Topics included in the article are:
  • Growth of Social Networks
  • Demographics of Social Networking Site Users
  • Implications of Social Networking Sites for Marketing
Key Objectives Companies had for integrating social media site into their marketing mix are:
  1. Improve Customer Understanding
  2. Promote Issues of Social Concern
  3. Promote Products and Services
  4. Facilitate Internal Knowledge Sharing
  5. Increase Brand Awareness
Note: this is from a PDF downloaded from the Marketing Leadership Council's site. If you're really interested in the article and don't have a subscription, e-mail me and I might be able to send you a copy. [aaron DOT strout AT powered DOT com]

Jay MacIntosh (business development):
This week's article titled, Social Media vs. Email  written by the CEO of an email service provider proposes that email doesn’t/won’t work with the under 35 crowd....perhaps he’s right? However, his theory got me wondering why is it that when a new medium comes on the scene people diminish the use/importance of the previous one(s)? Whether the medium is stylus and paper, Gutenberg’s printing press, radio, telephone, television, instant messaging, social networks, etc. aren’t all of these just different ways in which people communicate?

The core issue isn’t so much print vs. digital or broadcast vs. direct response, or face-to-face vs. video conferencing, etc. Rather it’s given the target audience and objectives, what’s the most cost-effective medium (or combination of mediums…aka integrated marketing) to increase the “signal-to-noise” ratio? This is what marketers care about (or at least should) and why managed online communities are an extremely cost-effective medium with a very high “signal-to-noise” ratio.

Doug Wick: (business development):
My choice for this week's post is from Adam Cohen’s blog. The title of the post is Social Media Impacts the Purchase Path. I liked this post because it’s relevant to our ROI discussion as well as the "ecommerce" focus that many of our prospects and customers take when it comes to "social."

One area where I disagree slightly with Adam is on his argument that purchase consideration is the easiest way to measure performance of social media on third party sites. While I agree that it might be the "easiest," my belief is that most third party sites aren’t optimized to capture people in buying mode, whereas other online spends like search placements are. So if you measure social media the way you measure other media you are setting yourself up for failure. 

Of course, social media on third party sites is very different from social media on branded sites. I describe this a bit in the comments.

Bill Fanning:  (business development):
My post for this week from Mediapost is titled Critics Of Influencer Model are Missing The Boat . It’s an interesting look at the definition of market “influencers”. It does a good job of categorizing and defining the 5 different types of influencers. Because of the internet and the ability of everyday people to give their opinions, the masses have become the most important influencer category. While the traditional influencers are still important, companies no longer need to rely on them to get the word out. Word of mouth from the masses of everyday people have become the most important “influencer” category.

This certainly validates our Facebook connect integration with our platform. If used properly, this will serve as a major traffic driver to the communities we build in the future. It also validates our own marketing efforts. While it’s important to reach out to the major analyst influencers like Gartner and Forrester, we are doing a good job of reaching out our own group of influencers to get them talking, growing our webinar participation with everyday influencers exponentially, and focusing on getting involved with the smaller social media and marketing groups regionally. This will take time, but we’ve come a long way over the last several months.

Beth Lopez:
My submission this week is not a blog article but a Forrester report called Social Brand Strategy by Lisa Bradner. The premise of this report (will be available on soon) revolves around how to create a successful brand-centric social media strategy and what companies and CMO's must do to engage consumers with their brands.  While the report discusses in context of social media, it does contain validating points that we talk of in sales situations:
  1. Think strategically about social media and social marketing
  2. Understand who your target is, how that target seeks to engage, and the role that distinct social media channels play in their brand experience.
  3. Turn off the reach and frequency blinders - marketers need to spend more time thinking about preference and loyalty than awareness.
  4. Give brand advocates tools to evangelize and reasons to get involved!

Trey Anderson: (product management):
Forbes carried an article from the CMO council titled Turning Customer Pain into Customer Gain. While I like the article a lot, the title is a bit misleading as the majority of the article covers the increasing need to manage customer experience (being custom centric) and the affinity this creates.  The premise is that CMO’s should take ownership of the customer experience.  It goes on to explain that customer experience should be leveraged to develop affinity and that affinity is the key to driving business performance through word-of-mouth (referring customers) and loyalty (additional customer purchases).  It continues to discuss the challenge’s CMO face:
  • Regardless of the fact that 59% of companies have a CEO driven customer centric culture, actions display a lack of execution
  • Lack of accountability
  • The difficulties associated with implementing the necessary lines of communication across all business units, partners, and channels

 It paints a nice picture for our business:

  • Affinity, brand perception, retention, and Net Promoter scopes are critical metrics for driving business objectives through word-of-mouth and brand loyalty
  • It is difficult and expensive for brands to implement across all business units, partners, and channels
  • We can impact these same metrics in a fraction of the time and cost

Don Sedota (product management):
My post comes from ReadWriteWeb and is entitled Community Building 101 for the Bootstrapped Startup.  The post focuses on a four month old financial news community called Tip’d that has risen to success in a very short period of time. The secret to their success... "There really isn't any secret to our success. In fact, it's community building 101 in the truest sense. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we're focusing on what the financial blogosphere (i.e. the content creators) wants, and what the financial news readership (i.e. the content consumers) wants."

The article goes on to talk about some of the compelling features they’ve implemented. This may be an obvious strategy (focus on customer needs) but one that is commonly overlooked for the sake of implementing the latest and greatest technologies that might not be in the best interest of the customer. Definitely advice that we can all take to heart and especially interesting to me as a product manager in that customer feedback/needs should always be first and foremost when formulating product strategy. 


  1. To the Powered team - Thanks very much for including my post. Doug and I have had a good discussion on what is measurable and we don't disagree on much. At any rate he's right - there is a good discussion happening in the comments.

    This is a great post of useful links, not to mention a nice introduction (for me) to the broader Powered team. Thanks again for the inclusion.

  2. Adam, I think we officially consider folks like you and Jim honorary members of the Powered team! ;)

  3. I really appreciate you sharing how you keep modern on what's going on in this gigantic swell of a wave. The links are fantastic too. Can't wait to hear about the next weekly meeting!

    Alexis Faulkner Ceule
    Overland Park, KS

  4. Thanks Alexis. Much appreciated. Next installment will be up later today.

    Aaron | @aaronstrout