Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Show Me Da Monies: Live from OMMA Social

This morning, I had the pleasure of listening in on a panel at OMMA Social titled, Social Media - Hot to Connect Metrics with Objectives. As you can imagine, the focus was on the Holy Grail of social media i.e., measurement. The list of panelists are below (David B. moderated the panel). Since I'm live blogging, the write up will be more of a collection of notes/tweets vs. a cohesive write up. Depending on where this goes, I may go back and do a second look. Here goes:
The panel started off with a discussion of a basic principal of measurement (could be applied to any marketing discipline) namely that it starts with goals. Any company needs to know what they are trying to achieve and ideally, what the benchmarks look like for those measurements. Amber (Radian6) cited a case recently where a company wanted help with measurement yet wasn't benchmarking across other channels. Of course this isn't unique but might lead to future frustration as marketers hope/expect that agencies/service providers in the world of "social" will magicially be able to pull meaningfull statistics out of thin air.

David (360i) asked the question of the panelists, "what one thing do you hear that marketers wish they could measure better?" Some of the answers that came back were:
  • Which of all the stuff going on (Facebook, blogging, Twitter) is the most successful?
  • What is the reach (personally, this is a huge one and likely will make or break many social media campaigns this year).
  • Who are my most influential advocates? What spurs them to take action?
Another question (this time from Twitter), "when will predictive analytics take hold in social media?" A good response to this was captured by DaveYamon on Twitter...
@jimsterne says predictive analytics is data poor, SM is data rich: "Chocolate and peanut butter waiting to happen" #ommasocial
Amber chimed in and said that a lot of companies that Radian6 is working with are still in the early phases of adoption. So understanding second and third level impact is still on the horizon. She also emphasized the need for commonality in language between brand marketers and the C-suite. Knowing what "ROI" means and what the expectations are of what's getting measured (and what's possible) is key.

Carla (Six Apart) mentioned the importance of letting go a little bit of the rigid structure of traditional measurement.

Another good Twitter comment by Forrester Analyst, Augie Ray...
What is the value of a follower? Depends on what they're saying! #OMMASocial panel<-the tweet that proves its own rule

My new friend, Siouxsie Jennett, asked a question that built on Augie's point. She mentioned that the CEO of a client company was complaining about only having 200 followers on Twitter. Her question was how to make the C-suite better understand the relative value of a follow. For instance, the aforementioned company only targeted 1,200 companies worldwide. From that perspective, 200 out of 1,200 looked pretty darn good.

Another topic of focus was share of conversation. This metric measures the share of possible conversation that a company could be part of. For instance, a small B2B company should expect to get the same interaction/share of conversation as Nike. But this company should be looking at the amount of conversation around their industry and specifically, among their competitors.

Bottom line, panels like these never dig as deep into the world of metrics as we'd like but there definitely were some interesting perspectives shared. To that end, keep an eye on the Twitter stream coming from OMMA today for other interesting nuggets.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quick-n-dirty Podcast Recap 28: The Powered Acquisition News

It's always nice when you have a chance to mix business and pleasure. I guess you could say I do that every week on the Quick-n-Dirty podcast show I do with my co-host, Jennifer Leggio. Even though the show happens after work hours for me, I try and take full advantage of putting into practice things I learn at work into the show and vice versa. However, this week in particular, I had the opportunity to invite three of my new colleagues onto the show.

To that end, my company, Powered, announced this week that we had acquired three other social media agencies -- crayon, Drillteam and StepChange. With those acquisitions came 35 new social media smarties including Greg Verdino, chief strategy officer at crayon, Steve Kleinberg, principal of Drillteam, and Kevin Tate, principal at StepChange, the very same three guests that joined us on the Quick-n-Dirty show.

Not wanting to muck things up too much, we did start the show off with our usual "social network or tool of the week." I voted for Boxcar which unfortunately isn't on the Android or the Blackberry platforms (a negative for Jennifer). The bottom line is that Boxcar allows you to surface status updates and messaging alerts to text messaging level on the iPhone. For instance, you can choose to be notified when someone DM's you on Twitter, when one of your friends on Facebook does a status update or when your favorite blogger publishes a new post. The reason I like Boxcar is that I've found the "send to SMS" feature to be a little flukie. It also gives me the capability to set times to turn the alerts on and off (for instance turn the alerts on at 7 AM and turn them off at 11 PM).

Next up, was the guest portion of the show. To keep the new Powered team on the up and up, I agreed with Jennifer to swing around and sit in the guest seat with Jennifer playing the role of interviewer. She asked some engaging questions like, "do you really believe that Powered is the first full service social agency?" Why did we decide to maintain the StepChange and Drillteam names while folding crayon into Powered proper?"and "can Powered really call itself a full-service agency when it's still made up of three somewhat separate companies?" (she pulled no punches!)

Pictured: Greg Verdino, Kevin Tate & Steve Kleinberg

This week's featured "Twitterer" was none other than the fabulous Adele Mcalear (whom we know pronounces her last name "mac-a-lear"). Both Jennifer and I have followed Adele for a while and like her poise, sense of humor and smart thinking about the social space. As a nice bonus, Adele was listening in on the podcast and hung out in the chatroom so we got to interact with her as the conversation was going on.

Last but not least, we did our signature "point / counterpoint" portion of the show which wasn't really much of a debate this time. Our focus was on "real social media leaders" or people that were learning and sharing based on actual experience in helping businesses tap into the power of social media. This was opposed to some of the motivational speaker types that don't have any real business experience but rather are working hard at translating their own personal social media success into a viable business model. No suprise that Jennifer and I were both in strong agreement on this front.

Just a reminder, our live show is every Thursday at 3 PM PT. Archived versions of the show can be found on iTunes (search Quick and Dirty), on BlogTalkRadio or on my blog as a widget in the right-hand column. Write ups from the each episode can be found on this blog or on Jennifer's ZDNet blog.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lending a Helping Hand Social Media Style

Unless you live under a rock, you know about the living hell that people in Haiti are going through right now. And if you're like me, you've likely already been solicited by a dozen plus pleas to donate. Well, donating is definitely a great way to help (I will be donating this weekend) but my colleague, JoeJaffe and I wanted to take this a step further.

To that end, Joe is donating a keynote speech (minimum bid of $10,000). If you haven't heard Joe speak, let me just tell you that your head will hurt afterward (in a good way). And one other thing I can tell you is that Joe regularly fetches more than $10,000 for his speaking activities (he's a former keynote from such events as DMA2008 and the ANA's Masters of Marketing).

For my part, I've signed our company to donate $1,000 AND I will play radio show host as part of an effort being put forth by my good friend, Jim Turner who is partnering with Stephanie Agresta of Ogilvey to put together a 24 hour radio-thon starting this Sunday. If you get a chance, try and stop by sometime during the 24 hour show.

Are you using your social media know how to help? If so, let us know how below.

Photo courtesy Reuters

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Marketers Want

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post titled, The Start of Something Bigger? It came on the heels of Ants Eye View's announcement that they had just joined forces with authors/consultants, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Then last week white label community provider, Jive Software, announced that they had purchased listening platform, Filtrbox. All the while I watched with interest knowing that we had some big news of our own to announce in early January.

Let's start with the news since I know that nobody likes to be left hanging. Today, I'm  proud to announce that Powered Inc is launching a full-service social media agency through the acquisition of industry leaders crayon, Drillteam and StepChange. The reason we're so excited about this is because we feel that we are now better positioned to help brands (and their agencies) define and deliver comprehensive social media strategies that integrate with their traditional marketing mix. How shall we do this you ask? By leveraging tools and tactics such as Facebook, Twitter, blogger outreach, events, communities and mobile applications of course.

We felt like it was important to take this approach because up until now, marketers have lacked a "go to" resource that could meet all of their social needs. This does not diminish any of the smart, driven and successful other boutiques and consultancies out there that help their clients with their social initiatives but rather that none of them truly provide the end-to-end solutions necessary to meet all of a marketers needs -- at least not with scale. While this may not have been a big deal in 2009 when the entire economy took a mulligan, it will be in 2010 as social media moves from experiment to mission critical.

Okay, I know you've probably got tons of questions. I'm going to try to preemptively answer a few below but you there will also be several opportunities to join us live this week:
As for the answers, here goes...

Why didn’t Powered just develop these additional social media capabilities?
We thought long and hard about the “build vs. buy” strategy, but in the end, we realized that we would dramatically increase our speed to market and add some serious talent (not to mention about 50 new brand relationships) to the Powered team by moving forward with these acquisitions.

Who are Crayon, Drillteam, StepChange?
  • Crayon brings extensive experience as a strategic social marketing consultancy to the table. They work with Fortune 1000 brands to develop strategies that positively impact customer relationships through the integration of continuous online conversations into traditional marketing programs. Crayon President Joseph Jaffe and his entire team will join Powered’s robust staff of marketers, content creators and social media leaders, with crayon and Powered immediately merging their capabilities.
  • Drillteam is an engagement marketing agency specializing in earned media.  Drillteam helps brands acquire and energize customer advocates, then sustain momentum through both offline events and online communities, and promotions on platforms like Facebook, niche blogs and Twitter.  Drillteam will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.
  • StepChange enhances a brand’s reach by extending presence into social networks and mobile platforms through Facebook development/applications, social site development, mobile/apps and Widget Ads.  StepChange will retain its name and operate as a Powered company.
Will Joseph Jaffe (Crayon) be staying on? If so, what role will he play at Powered?
Who is Joe Jaffe? Of course we’re kidding. Joe will play a big role in the new organization as “Chief Interrupter” of the group. He will continue to challenge the industry by providing prolific thought leadership, vision and guidance via his Jaffe Juice blog, podcast and TV show, keynote and panel presence at industry events and conferences, as well as his three books (Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and soon to be released, Flip the Funnel). More importantly, he will serve as a valued resource to Powered clients to “interrupt” the status quo, think through their social strategy and help conceive and flesh out unique and specific ideas and programs in the space.

Does the industry need another agency?
The industry certainly doesn’t need another agency that does the same thing as its predecessors. To be perfectly honest, we’re not exactly enamored with the idea of being called an “agency” at all. But this isn’t about us: It’s about the world’s largest, loved and important brands and what they need. Many members of our leadership team have lived, and successfully navigated through, several key advances in brand management, communication and emerging media innovation—led by the rise, fall and rise again of digital. We see the gaping void, disconnect or chasm between identification of need and the ability to fully deliver against that need. Social media is not another color on the media flow chart and it is not a subservient subset of digital either. Instead, we see social as a truly pervasive and transformational category in of itself that spans the entire marketing gamut—and even beyond it (touching P.R., customer service, R&D, innovation and customer experience). For that reason, we believe that we will be one of the first—and certainly not the last—of specialist, best in class agents that are equipped, staffed and scaled to fully execute and activate against this growing capability, skill set, need and opportunity. 

What is a Social Agency?
A Social Agency or social media agency is an entity that assists companies and brands in the new world of conversational marketing. The confluence of digital, virtual and peer-to-peer networks is causing consumers to act more as a collective than ever before, and they are demanding a truly two-way conversation. We are looking to be the partner that will help brands enter and be successful in that conversation, by building a successful strategy that:
  • Connects business to social
  • Joins and manages network presence
  • Builds and manages branded communal spaces
  • Connects conversationally through mobile and physical events
The Social Media Agency is the horizontal layer that must be centrally managed but also closely integrated with all of the traditional vertical functions of marketing, such as media, interactive, PR and creative.

What else am I missing? A lot I'm sure. But as you know, I'm pretty good at delivering updates real time through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog, etc. Oh, we're also planning a couple of big blowouts at OMMA Social (January 26) and South by Southwest (SXSW Interactive) in mid-March.

Let's get it on!