Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yet Another Boston to Austin Trip Update

Mobile post sent by astrout using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

Yet Another Boston to Austin Trip Update

Mobile post sent by astrout using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yet Another Boston to Austin Trip Update

Mobile post sent by astrout using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekly Social Marketing Links: May 25, 2009

Each week, the members of Powered's marketing, business development and product teams pick a news article, blog post or research report 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. Links are below:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)
Found the article, The One Word You Can't Say, quite amusing given how we have always advocated the need to view social marketing as a long-term strategy. Seems that it's starting to become a mantra at all of the social marketing events and tradeshows. Per the article, the word you can't say is "campaign" when referring to social marketing...preferred alternatives include terms like "program," "initiative," or even "conversation."

DP Rabalais (Marketing)
Great article aimed at CEO / CMO level. Do You Need a Social Media Marketer? Measurement & analystic seems to be the big reason more companies aren’t embracing social media / social marketing. Another reason we need to continue to plug our analytics/insights capabilities at Powered. To that end, I called out a paragraph from the article that drives our point home:
A recent survey of 110 of the top CMOs by recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles in Atlanta seems to echo Schwartz’s point. The report found that social media was a relatively low priority—ranked in the bottom third. “Mostly it’s because of analytics,” said Lynne Seid, a partner at the firm. “The things that are measurable are a top priority. Most marketers see [social media] as an experiment.
Bill Fanning (Business Development)
This weeks article is titled Social Media vs. Social Responsibility, written by Reid Carr (president of Red Door Interactive). It's an interesting look at Social Media being the great equalizer to the companies who over the years have behaved more like magicians trying to trick people into buying their product or service rather than honestly marketing and selling their products and services.

His premise is that this behavior has lead to a severe distrust with consumers and social media allows consumers to have a powerful vioce, finally balancing the power that traditional businesses and media outlets once owned. He notes that it's our responsibility as consumers to not only support our favorite businesses by purchasing from them but also by talking about them in various social media outlets. Likewise, it's our duty to responsibly talk about the poor experiences we've had with businesses.

Jay McIntosh (Business Development)
On a self-appointed hiatus this week.

Doug Wick (Business Development)
A very short article about the brand innovation behind Cereality, a café concept based on our favorite cereals. This article struck a chord because of the way that they developed the idea for Cereality, by building on the brand equity of popular cereal brands and focusing on a food category that is both ubiquitous and taps into brand passion. The approach put forth is similar to the process behind the conception of branded online communities, which tap into passion points and truly put the consumer at the center of the experience.

A salient quote from Cereality’s founder – “When you hit that zeitgeist and people are excited and find it relevant to their lives, they start a conversation and you have to be at the center of that conversation.”

Don Sedota (Product Management)
This week I picked a report written by Forrester analyst, Laura Ramos, titled Effective Customer Reference Management Anchors B2B Community Marketing Efforts, that might be helpful to our program managers in the context of setting up community customer reference strategies for our clients and/or for our own corporate marketing efforts. Hopefully validates/supplements our current strategies in both arenas.

Do YOU Unconference?

By now, I think nearly everyone has heard of an unconference. If you haven't, it's an event where a bunch of smart people get together and then self-organize around a series of topics that they vote on. M
ore importantly, if you haven't been to an unconference, it's high time you tried one. And in particular, the one you should really consider trying is coming up in two short weeks.

The unconference I'm talking about is of course ForumOne's Online Community Unconference and it's taking place in Mountainview, CA on June 10 at the Computer History Museum. Here are just a few reasons why you might consider coming:

  • They expect between 200-300 community pros -- people that have lived and breathed community for years at Fortune 500 companies.
  • Because this is the unconference's 4th year, ForumOne has had an opportunity to fine tune the experience to maximize the learning/networking aspects of the event.
  • Folks that attend are community managers, community directors, social media strategists, product managers, executive level management, community moderators, Web producers, community/product evangelists, marketing managers and directors of primarily enterprise companies.
  • Participating organizations include: Autodesk, Cisco, Civic Ventures, Collabnet, Diddit, Executive Networks, Get Satisfaction, Google, Hi5, Intel, Intuit,  LinkedIn, LiveOps, Microsoft, NetApp, NewGang Live, PARC, Rackspace,, Scottrade, Social Edge, Symantec, TechSoup,, and Yahoo!.

Find out more about what you'll learn from from last year's wiki (including session notes). If you're a more visual person, here is a collection of attendee-generated pictures from last year's event on Flickr.

What do I get out of this you ask? Nothing actually. But I've attended a couple of ForumOne's unconferences in the past and they provided an opportunity for some wonderful learning AND networking. On top of that, Bill Johnston, the chief community officer for ForumOne, is a super smart and awesome guy.

Assuming I've piqued your interest enough to attend, head on over and sign up now before they run out of space!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 19: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

Each week, the members of Powered's marketing, business development and product teams pick a news article, blog post or research report 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. Links are below:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)
Kicking butt on next week's webcast and our new website this week - she gets a hall pass...

DP Rabalais (Marketing)

Two articles this week. One on how Retailers are Shifting Marketing Dollars. The other speaks for itself...

Bill Fanning (Business Development)
The article I’d like to share was published in Tech Crunch and is titled, Jump Into The Stream. The author, Erick Schonefeld, discusses the evolving distribution of online information, from a collection of web pages to a real-time stream, and the impact on web business and consumers of information. The interesting part of this article is the idea of the new metaphor being “streams” instead of “pages”. Web business are transforming from being owners of content to providing a place to present the most relevant stream of information, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Digg, Google Reader, and a bunch of others. Consequently, the way we consume information has been forever altered.After reading the article, I started thinking about how this applies to branded communities. I think it re-enforces the importance of being able to share your activity in a branded community with the “stream”. For example, the ability to publish a particular activity to your Facebook feed, or the ability to share an article through sites like digg or Participating in these types of distribution networks are, and will increasingly be important traffic drivers to the community. It also re-enforces the need to supply a steady stream of new and relevant content to keep the community engaged. The content could be professional, user generated or both, but it needs to constantly evolve.

This article is loosely based on a blog post by John Borthwick, CEO of Betaworks (Twitter,, Tweedeck, etc.) titled, Distribution ...Now, which he references several times. Also, well worth the read!

Jay McIntosh (Business Development)
My article this week presents a perspective on the challenges of seller vs. buyer interactions. It’s written by an experienced marketer who has been on both sides of the “fence” at different times in her career. I too have spent several years on both sides and completely understand where the author is coming from when she points out the all-too-common salesy approach taken with potential buyers. A salesy approach is when the sales person thinks, talks and acts as if it’s about them, their product, their company. This is the way the majority of salespeople (and companies) approach buyers even today. They want to tell their market all about themselves and why they’re the best…blah, blah, blah.

Anyhow, I switched over from the buy side to the sales side about 12 years ago. At that time, the promises of the Internet and all the new technologies and tools made it okay to sell/push products. Actually, it was more about just taking the customer’s orders and getting the contract/PO in place. That doesn’t, won’t and can’t work today or any time in the foreseeable future. It is all about the buyer and what the seller can do to grow their business. Start with this as the foundation of developing a business relationship. This foundation based on the seller delivering the goods, provides an ongoing compelling reason for the buyer to buy…it really is that simple!

Doug Wick (Business Development)
This week's article is taken from Business Week’s Executive Guide to Social Media, How CEOs use Twitter. The individual stories are interesting, but the common story is that these CEOs need to be able to hear individual voices, and to choose whose voices are important to listen to at any given time. The power of social is just that, to introduce not only the voices of peers, but the voices of individuals inside companies and inside brands. Within brand communities, the consumer can listen to all of these voices and decide which ones are important given their needs and where they are in the customer life cycle.

Don Sedota (Product Management)
On vacation this week - he gets a hall pass...

Quick 'n' Dirty Podcast: Logo Design Contest

The other day, I posted about the fact that my friend, Jennifer Leggio, and I are planning on doing a weekly podcast. Being more organized and forward thinking than me, she realized that we probably needed a logo. To that end, she's put the rules up on her blog. The important stuff that you need to know if you want to enter is below...
[W]e’ve pulled together some fantastic sponsors who have contributed to a prize package for the best Quick’n'Dirty podcast logo:
  • Seagate: Free Agent Go portable hard drive
  • Intel: A coveted Ajay Bhatt t-shirt
  • Scate Ignite: Copy of Scate Ignite 4 multi-media presentation and e-learning software
  • EuSecWest: Conference ticket -OR- MIMO UM710 mini monitor
Want to win all of those prizes? Simply enter the contest. Some guidelines:
  1. Aaron and I know the name is edgy but this is still a family friendly podcast. He has a wife and kids and I have… well… he has a wife and kids!
  2. Our tagline is “Because social media doesn’t have to be complicated.”
  3. Our format includes some head to head point / counterpoint, a weekly challenge to listeners, digging into unknown social networks, and highlighting up and coming social media rockstars
  4. We’re fun but we’re serious about what we do. So fun but professional would be a good tone.
Submissions should be uploaded to Flickr or a comparable site and the link (not the attachment) should be emailed to mediaphyter gmail com.

Deadline: Friday, May 29. We want to have this up and on our BlogTalkRadio page before we kick off on June 4.

Let’s see what ya got!

Content Marketing Webinar FTW

Wow! Really looking forward to moderating next week's content marketing webinar with rock stars, Lionel Menchaca of Dell, Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and our very own, Natanya Anderson of Powered. Based on the dry run we did (with Simon Salt filling the roll that Joe will play on this webinar), we're going to cover some exciting territory.

Here is the write up:
In an age where more and more consumers are taking a “search and click” approach to buying new products, it’s becoming harder for brands to differentiate themselves from the pack.  As continued pricing pressures continue to mount, companies are turning to great content as a way to drive ongoing, active engagement with their brands and products, which can ultimately create deeper loyalty with their customers.  Creating user-centric content that puts the customer’s needs first instead of focusing on brand and product messaging requires a paradigm shift and development of new ways of communicating. 

Here what three content and community experts have to say about:
  • How to bootstrap your online community with professional content
  • The best practices and case studies of companies that are seeing measurable results
  • Content that spans the brand content continuum: lifestyle, category and productHow to turn prospects into buyers with great content

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting Started with Social

In a few weeks, I'm giving a presentation to a large company about ways they can be thinking about social media. I haven't fleshed out the PPT yet but thought it might be helpful for other folks that are trying to find a "toe hold" in their companies (big OR small) to get started.
  1. What social isn’t:
    - One way conversation
    - Just another PR tool
    - Technology
    - A fad
  2. What social is:
    - Vehicle for Many-to-many conversations
    - Way to deepen customer relationships and create referrals
    - Great feedback mechanism
    - The phenomenon that happens when you bring content AND conversation together
  3. Uses for social within a brand:
    - Customer service (reduce phone/e-mail costs)
    - Marketing/sales (generate leads, deepen loyalty, lengthen customer tenure, increase referrals)
    - Market research (ongoing vs. episodic)
    - Product innovation (co-create w/ your customers)
    - An early warning mechanism (canary in the coal mine)
  4. Brands that are doing social well:
    - Zappos (Twitter, blog)
    - H&R Block (Twitter, Facebook)
    - Dell Inc. (Ideastorm, blogs, Twitter)
    - USAA (Facebook, Twitter)
    - Best Buy (Blog, Twitter)
    - American Express (Open Forum community)
    - Allstate (Twitter, blog, Youtube, Facebook)
  5. Key considerations:
    - Create a strategy (make sure it ties in with existing business goals)
    - Pick an audience/customer segment
    - Start listening (Google alerts, Twitter Search, Get Satisfaction, Radian6, Cymphony, BuzzGain)
    - Identify executive sponsors (an individual or small committee)
    - Plan to “give before you get”
    - Measure, measure, measure
  6. Twitter
    - What is it?
    - How is it different than LinkedIn or Facebook?
    - Why is it gaining momentum?
    - How are companies using it?
    - List of top companies/brands using
    - Best practices (from Tim Walker of Hoovers)
    - Pitfalls
    - Who "mans" the account? Who needs to be involved? 
As always, additions/subtractions/corrections are welcome.

Photo Credit: Robert Scoble

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Podcast Show with Jennifer Leggio aka Mediaphyter

What do you get when you combine a year plus Twitter relationship, numerous collaborative efforts including a social media charity auction, guest blog posts and losts of link love with a dinner argument over the merit of celebrities joining Twitter? A weekly podcast show with a good friend and kindred spirit, that's what. Yup, in a couple of weeks (shooting for June 4), Jennifer Leggio aka @Mediaphyter and I are kicking off a weekly podcast show.

The working title of our show is, "Quick 'n Dirty Social Media." Here's the tenative format we've discussed:
  • Case study (alternate B2B/B2C)
  • Featured guest
  • Opposing viewpoints based on the week's hot post/topic
  • Review of a social network du jour (think FourSquare, Plurk, Tripit)
  • Discuss a new exec that is blogging or twittering
  • Challenge
Because we'll be kicking our podcast off in three Thursdays (6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT), we still have time for your feedback. Are we missing something important? Are we trying to cover too much? You can either weigh in here or on the show itself (yup, we'll be broadcasting live). I don't know about you but I'm excited!

URL for the BlogTalkRadio page is coming SOON.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tara Hunt's "Whuffie Factor" Tidbits from Community 2.0

A few pearls of wisdom from Tara Hunt, marketing lead at Intuit aka @MissRogue's keynote at the Community 2.0 Conference. Her focus is on "The Whuffie Factor."
  1. Do good by doing well (quote from Craig Newmark) - also embraced by Stonyfield Farms
  2. Think customer-centrically. No brainer but one that we forget a lot. Remember to take your corporate hat off and think like a customer.
  3. Help others go further. Give tools to democratize:
    - Blogger - journalism
    - Flickr - amateur photography
    - Youtube - budding actors
  4. Spread love. Help people be better people. Mission cards are a good example - they say things like, "give someone a book" or "send drinks to a couple in love."
  5. Value something bigger. Don't forget to spend time focused on/thinking about public education, the environment, public transportation.
Following these concepts will help you to embrace The Whuffie Factor!

Photo Credit:

5 Things Marketing and Sales Can Learn from Dating

I’ve been on a kick lately. I’m talking incessantly about what businesses – marketing and sales in particular – could learn from the practice of dating. Surprisingly,  many business folk have either forgotten how to date or are so desperate, they are trying to get right to the… punch line. Either way, there are no excuses for their despicable behavior!

With that as a lead in, here are my five rules of engagement (pun intended):  
  1. Stop trying to stick your tongue down our throats on the first date! My money says that you wouldn’t try and give someone an open mouth kiss 30 seconds after meeting them so why are you trying to sell us something before you get to know us. You’re bad at this via e-mail and even worse on Twitter. Please stop!
  2. Don’t ask us to marry you within 24 hours after we meet. I’m betting that most normal people in the world don’t get married after their first date. So why do marketers assume that they have a relationship with us after one conversation? Give us some space and try courting us first.
  3. Remember the importance of conversation. Anyone that’s ever dated or been married knows that conversation is not just important, it’s the lifeblood of any good relationship. So why does it seem like many marketers and sales folks today are great at the “asking out part” but not so much when it comes to actually talking to us?
  4. I can see the condoms in your wallet (stronger visual if sales/marketing role is male and consumer role is female). When we as consumers know that all you want to do is sleep with us, it’s kind of a turn off. We’d like to get to know you first. Maybe date for a while. Send us some flowers and pay us some compliments. After that… well, you know where I’m headed.
  5. Give before you get. This isn’t a sexual reference per se (although read it however you like) but if you know anything about me, you’ve heard me say it a lot. It’s because it’s one of the most important things you can do in a relationship. Sadly, too few businesses get this right. They assume that you will automatically like them based on their looks and charming personality (marketing/sales pitch) to let them take first (money) before they give (product/service).
So when did I become such an expert on dating? Well, I’m not. But I’ve been married for close to 13 years and I’m on the receiving end of a lot of bad “dating” practices as a consumer (both personally AND professionally). As a result, I try and apply the best practices I’ve learned in creating relationships with others – my wife in particularly –  to my job.

Do you have any best practices that should be mentioned? Surely, there are others of you out there that are good at nurturing relationships. ;)

UPDATED (from comments)

@JeffCutler adds... "it's not a free and equal exchange all the time and both sides should realize that."

@ARN-edition adds... "marketers shouldn't be afraid to let consumers "date around" before making a commitment. Give them space to see what else is out there and decide if you measure up. If your product/service is as good as you think it is, they'll be back. And they'll probably appreciate you more for letting them figure it out on their own."

@MichelleBatten adds... "Don't wait days or weeks to "call" me. Let me immediately know how much you appreciated my interest, order, feedback. Make the next date with me around something you know I'll be interested in to continue the relationship"

@RHappe adds... "Don't be the guy/gal who likes long walks on the beach and cozy fires in the winter (i.e. we will facilitate strategies to leverage your potential) AND be the person/brand who has something unique to offer and don't hide it behind obscure language. In the dating world that might be "I love to sail Lasers in Buzzard's Bay". Specific. Easy to understand."

@KarinaShaver adds... "'Don't try to be someone you're not.' We can sniff you out a mile away if you're putting on airs - know who you are (what value -not product or service- you offer the consumer), and be confident that it's worthwhile."

@Kristen Escovedo adds... Made me think of some bad dates and bad pitches. Here is my addition; Don't give up romance and date nights after the wedding. Once you walk down the isle, seal the deal, and things get comfortable, couples tend to settle into a routine and forget that to keep a relationship fresh and vibrant, you still have to bring home a bottle of wine and do the dishes for no reason every once in a while.

Photo Credit:

Does No. of Followers Change Your Twitter Usage?

@NatanyaP and @Palpatim were talking about this topic this morning. I thought it would be easier to respond with an Utter. ;)

Mobile post sent by astrout using Utterlireply-count Replies.  mp3

Friday, May 8, 2009

Content Marketing FTW

This morning, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on content marketing at Bryan Person's Social Media Breakfast. I was fortunate enough to have three very smart, eloquent and experienced individuals in Lionel Menchaca, chief blogger at Dell Inc., Simon Salt, ceo and founder of Incslingers and Natanya Anderson, VP of content strategy and development at Powered (yup, she's my colleague).

The premise of today's talk was that as consumers continue with their “search and click” approach to buying new products, it’s becoming harder for brands to differentiate themselves from the pack. As continued pricing pressures continue to mount, these same companies are turning to great content as a way to drive ongoing, active engagement with their brands and products, which can ultimately create deeper loyalty with their customers. Creating this type of "user-centric" content that puts the customer’s needs first instead of focusing on brand and product messaging requires a paradigm shift and development of new ways of communicating.

Because I was the moderator, I wasn't able to take many notes but due to the power of Twitter and hashtagging, I was able to go back and read through many of the nuggets captured during the session. Here are my ten favorite:

MisssKBest content focuses on what other ppl need/want 2 hear, not what u want 2 say...gr8 take on push vs pull/outbnd vs inbnd mktg #SMBAustin

kpearlsonThere are only 26 letters in the English alphabet how hard is it to write? Same goes for creating content. Not all of it is good #smbaustin

ThomasUmstattdAs your product becomes a comodity you must compete on relationship. What kind of relationship do you have with your readers? #smbaustin

charlienbWhen a company engages with customers they also should be committed to real org change too. @lionelatdell #smbaustin

StalelifeThe closer you get to getting advocates to produce social content, the less time you spend on it yourself. #smbaustin

iamseanmcdonaldever sesne a company trying to force tongue down your throat? thx to @aaronstrout for that visual #smbaustin

StalelifeMost brands are not Disney? Not a passion brand. Content can be the proxy for the brand. #smbaustin

TWalk"Always start with the audience." @natanyap's closing thought at#smbaustin

StalelifeYou don't own your brand. Make content sharable. #smbaustin

LiveWorldGreat line from @NatanyaP at this morning's Social Media Breakfast Austin 7 (#SMBAustin): "The best content is in service of others."

Here is the full stream of tweets from Social Media Breakfast 7 (in Austin).

Is your company creating great, engaging content? Are they engagine in "social" content that Simon Salt mention is so important creating engagement?

May 7: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

Each week, the members of Powered's marketing, business development and product teams pick a news article, blog post or research report 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. Links are below:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)
Will the IAB's Social Media Metrics Definitions Help Crack The Engagement Code?   Found this article interesting particularly since we are solidifying our measurement framework and how we define 'engagement'.  The IAB published social media metrics definitions yesterday and while they aren't different from what you expect, it does help advertisers and marketers that are struggling with measuring their social programs demonstrate the value of it.  This would be good for all customer-facing folks to learn these as the IAB is regarding as the standard in defining how to measure online programs/advertising.

Here are a few of the things the IAB doc defines:
  • Application and video installs.
  • The number of relevant actions, including newsfeed items posted, comments posted, uploads, poll votes, and so forth.
  • Conversation size, which measures the number of content relevant sites and content relevant links, and the monthly uniques spread across those conversations.
  • Site relevance, which measures the density with which phrases specific to a client concern are brought up among relevant sites.
  • Author credibility, such as how relevant the author's content is and how often it is linked to.
  • Content freshness and relevance, which defines how frequently an author posts.
  • The average number of friends among users of a specific application.
  • Number of people currently using an application.

DP Rabalais (Marketing)
Keeping in line with my commitment to alignment with our Sales Plan, I selected REI as the company to do a search on this week. My post this week is by Albert Maruggi, founder and president of Provident Partners and host and producer of the Marketing Edge podcast. I chose it because I feel like it builds a strong case to support REI as a strong prospect for Powered.

Bill Fanning (Business Development)

Jay McIntosh (Business Development)
My weekly share is actually not an article but a few tidbits from a recently released study by Razorfish entitled “Digital Mom."
  1. Women control the majority of spending in the US and the world. To that end:
  • Consumer spending accounts for approximately 70% of GDP in the U.S.
  • Women a.k.a. “Chief Purchasing Officers” control 85% of household buying decisions in the U.S. and the majority handle family finances.
  • On the business side, women have accounted for 70% of all privately held start-ups over the last 15 years.
Marketers want to engage with people who buy things…women.
  1. Women, by and large, are much more “communal” than men. Think about it, women often turn to others for guidance, recommendations, etc., and they love to share (i.e. tell others about their experiences). Guys, we tend to be more independent and hierarchical. We hate to (i.e. won’t) ask for directions, we compete with each other in almost every- and anything, and usually prefer to conduct our own in-depth research rather than listen to someone who may have “better” research than us. Anyhow, the full report is about 37 pages and talks about a LOT of things, however, the three key takeaways that I found most interesting and relevant to us are the following:
  • Mom’s areas of interest are lifestyle categories…duh!
  • Their purchase decision funnel behaviors fit really well with what Powered does.
  • The highest value information sources for moms are a lot of what we provide in a Powered community.

Doug Wick (Business Development)
My post this week is from “Social Media Insider” written by David Berkowitz of 360i (cross-posted on the Agency's website).

David does a nice job of offering his experience in running a self-service Facebook targeted ad campaign, including the results he saw. Many of his results are confirming of what we’ve heard – in a pretty targeted campaign he saw very low clickthrough, and he notes that FB must find another way to monetize if it expects to live out its large valuation. The upside is that Facebook ads are extremely cheap to test, and he predicts (I think rightly) that there may be ways to reach very specific, segmented audiences with compelling content-based ads - so he encourages people to test and see.

Don Sedota (Product Management)
A recent Forrester article called, Four Essential Components of Successful Innovation Initiatives, caught my attention due to the fact that, well I’m in the product innovation business ;-). The first two components, “Creating and getting executive support for an innovation strategy” and “Use central management and coordination to carry out the strategy” are pretty straightforward.

The third component, “Use individual contributors to feed the innovation function” struck a chord because it’s something we’re currently trying to implement more effectively for the internal product strategy process. Examples of this include Dell’s Ideastorm and IBM’s annual Innovation Jam. In fact, we’ve been tossing around the idea of creating an internal Ideastorm where employees can go to submit ideas and fellow employees can comment on them and vote them up/down. This could also tie into Yammer so that everyone gets notified when a new product idea is submitted. As far as I know this actually wouldn’t be that difficult to implement internally.

The fourth component, “Ties to community bring objective insight and can deepen relationships” has to do with using community (external resources) to inform product strategy. This struck a chord because it’s something that’s come up recently in the context of our product roadmapping discussions due to interest from Clinique and Sony. This form of product strategy “crowdsourcing” is becoming more and more popular.

Monday, May 4, 2009

April 29: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

As I mentioned in our first 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 fourth week netted:

Beth Lopez (Marketing)
Paying homage to Twitter this week since I am making a concerted effort to tweet more and become more educated on best ways to utilize it both professionally and personally…couple of interesting articles:

7 tips for the Perfect Twitter Profile
Love these tips as most on twitter don't follow them (I've found)….
1. Use your real name (hard to find you if I don't know your 'handle')
2. Use a real picture (see the avatars all the time)
3. Think SEO when writing your bio
4. Include a URL
5. Consider a custom background
6. Don't protect your updates
7. Take it slow

Twitter Confesses: Most Users Don't Return
This is a very short article, but thought it very compelling. I can see why folks would not go back after using Twitter for the first time, but there is a lot of debate out there on these numbers and why people defect after the first time, so take it FWIW.
Twitter continues to grow at a rapid pace, and yet new research from Nielsen Online indicates the microblogging phenomenon faces an uphill battle in maintaining consistent use by millions of its users.

The research firm found that more than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month. During the past year, Twitter has only maintained a 30 percent retention rate. In other words, the mass of new users isn't large enough to make up for the large group that is defecting or losing interest.

For good measure, Nielsen compared Twitter's early days to that of MySpace and Facebook. Even when those two social networking sites were just emerging, their retention rates were twice as high as Twitter's, according to Nielsen data. Both Facebook and MySpace now enjoy a retention rate of 70 percent today.

DP Rabalais (Marketing)
My article of the week is not mind-blowing, but definitely relevant to our Targeted Sales Strategy. Short article on how the Big 3 US Automakers are embracing Social Media.

Doug Wick (Business Development)
This is a good article from Greg Verdino where he discusses the developing language among marketers that are referring to social media as “earned media” vs. the more traditional “paid media.” He illustrates how we aren’t really going far enough in just talking about different types of media – because media as a word still has the connotation that the message is controlled by the marketer. Greg talks about how we should be seeking “earned attention” – and that focusing on anything else as a marketer within the social web is taking your eye off of the ball.

Bill Fanning (Business Development)
This week’s article is titled, How to Breathe Life into your Loyalty Program, written by Robert Manning (VP of client services for Schematic).

As I was reading this article, I was pleased to hear him basically repeating Powered's philosophy of “give before you get”. His premise is that an effective loyalty program is good at building real relationships with people by giving them value. Not just following up with folks 9 months after purchase to try to sell them something else, but really listening to the customer, understanding the individual and providing a means for them to share their experience with your brand.

While the idea of hard rewards are nice, that will not build a strong relationship by itself…often times that builds a desire to get more points, not necessarily brand affinity. Case and point, I do everything I can to get AA miles so I can save money on personal travel (by the way, that’s getting harder and harder these days) while the fact of the matter is, I'm not a huge fan of the brand!

Don Sedota (Product Management)
There was a lot of press yesterday (and some internal conversations on Yammer) about the new Facebook Open Stream API which will allow developers to pull in Facebook’s activity streams for use within their own 3rd party applications. This article on Mashable does a good job of summarizing the announcement.

While Facebook Connect essentially allows 3rd party apps to push out their site content to the Facebook news feeds, thus enabling communities to extend its site content reach and facilitate word-of-mouth marketing (i.e., demand generation), the Open Stream API allows the consumption of Facebook content within a 3rd party site.
As a result, we could strategically leverage the Open Stream API (in concert with Facebook Connect) within our client communities.

Specifically, the OS API allows the 3rd party site to filter out comments, "likes" and stories on a per application basis. If I'm not mistaken, this means that we could track "likes" and comments that are generated from the content stories posted from the Facebook Connect facilities on our sites and could also track comments, "likes" and stories generated from the brand application on the Facebook side. In the context of our current offerings, this would allow us to keep track of Facebook conversations that occur around community content that was pushed out via Facebook story feeds.