Archive | December, 2011

Merry Christmas

Happy holidays! We’re going to take a break from posting for one week, but we’ll be back with fresh content on Monday January 2nd, 2012.

So: merry Christmas and a happy New Year! May all your Christmases be white, your IT systems fully integrated, and all your marketing campaigns highly original…

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Tell Me, What Do You See?

How much information do you need to recognize a brand? Surprisingly little, it turns out. To celebrate the release of their On Brand module, Vyre have launched a great (and frankly, pretty addictive) game: The Brand Quiz II. See if you can guess twenty-one brand names with just a rorschach test-like image and one cryptic description. It’s amazing how srongly we associate colors and images with certain brands, even when taken out of context.
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Clue: 10 to the 10th power

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An earlier edition of The Brand Quiz is also availabe. This reduces a brand to just two colors, a visual hint, and a cryptic verbal clue. Where do bright yellow, electric blue and a hex key bring you? Hint: everything comes in flat packages…
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MRM in 60 Seconds: Five Marketing Resources

In the final instalment of the MRMLOGIQ series MRM in 60 Seconds, the Five Marketing Resources are introduced: Materials, Manpower, Machines, Money and Minutes. Each marketing process involves all of these resources. An MRM strategy determines how to use them in the best possible way.

With the final piece of the MRM puzzle in place, you now have a complete overview of the processes and resources involved in Marketing Resource Management. Use them to your best advantage!
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WARC Conference: Online and Digital Research

Over the last decade online research has grown exponentially. With consumers worldwide empowered by the Social Web and the increasing adoption of mobile devices, there is now more pressure than ever on researchers to stay flexible, keep up with the rapid pace of change and be fast adopters of new innovations. Read More…

Governance and Social Media

Clearly the corporate committee from this Tom Fishburne cartoon does not yet understand the use or usefulness of Twitter. Their debate about a single corporate tweet exemplifies why many organizations have been struggling with social media.

Camel – a Horse Made by a Committee
Communications committee members discuss typical governance policies in many companies. Traditional media is predominately one-to-many and outbound. This includes press releases, advertising, product literature and web sites. They speak at rather than with people.

Because staff are often not in response mode, there is more time for redundant reviews before a piece is published. Often committee compromises are made that are in the best interest of avoiding risk, not delivering responses to emerging questions. That is why social media is more similar to public relations and customer services than traditional advertising and marketing groups.

Of course, corporate communications strategies also seek to engage with customers, prospects and influencers. But the new nature of social media often requires a change in the way corporate policies treat these dialogs in terms of content and speed. Social media and web-based conversations are many-to-many conversations instead of one-to-many. People talk with other people – about you.

Customers, prospects and influencers have always talked to each other about your brand. But social media allow those conversations to circulate worldwide within moments. This has traditional corporate communicators feeling that they are no longer in charge of their brand image. I would argue that they never were.

Social Media is New – Is It?
Many organizations are not used to having conversations and they choose to engage (or not engage) in online conversations with typical corporate speak from an anonymous voice. Unfortunately, most of the time your customers want to speak to a human and not a corporation. They can tell when they get a canned response, when you are not prepared and when you are not genuine.

Not responding or engaging in social media conversations is much worse than engaging and making a few mistakes along the way. If a brand doesn’t respond to questions or correct inaccuracies, outsiders only see a blank screen. This silence demonstrates lack of concern and respect for customers.

Surveys have indicated that 40% of organizations ignore email messages sent to public email addresses. When individuals are ignored often no one else knows but them. When those messages occur on public social media platforms, however, everyone can see the failure to respond. Many communications professionals now understand the importance of a strong monitoring process to make sure staff are aware of conversations anywhere on the web. The next step is a plan on how to respond.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
In terms of corporate governance, policies and procedures, there are a few things you can do in your planning process. First is to ensure that social media channels are a core part of the Strategic Marketing, Public Relations and Corporate Communications plans. The plans should include tactics for initiating conversations on all outbound channels. Outbound communications should include a call to action that are easy for customers to respond to and are measurable.

Outbound communications plans can include an Editorial Calendar of topics and conversation starters around natural industry events and cycles. These topics can generate content for all media types, both offline and online. Remember to include space for unplanned topics as well. Natural conversations are fluid, are not scripted, and can go in unexpected directions. But having note cards with talking points is a way to create cohesiveness and consistency for all participants.

Not planning a strategy for inbound conversations is a plan for failure. There are many lessons learned from call centers and customer service operations. Conversation scripts can be used to help form a consistent corporate response and then create channels for question resolution in a timely manner. But timeliness is key.

There are many resources available to help you craft your own policies and plans. A good place to start is SocialMediaGovernance.com for many real examples. However you craft it, for any plan to succeed in this hyper-connected world, it will need to include a calendar of topics to initiate dialog (planned) and giving staff the freedom to talk interactively (unplanned), and to make the rights points (scripts) in response.

In planning a social media (or just call it media!) communications plan, it should include the following objectives:

  • Promote Channels – how do people find you and engage you?
  • Sharing Messages – how do you enable and encourage sharing your content by others?
  • Conversation Engagement – who in your organization is ready to question and answer?
  • Encourage Behavior – what polls, surveys and contents will others respond to?
  • Monitor, Measure, Manage – establish business results metrics, not how many followers you have.

Depending on how you organize functions, these policies may cover expectations for one group, or many. Feel free to research best practices and reevaluate often. Peoples’ behavior changes every day. Governance policies are a good way to communicate internally how these changing landscapes can become a corporate asset. But not changing is not an option, and having committees designing responses will only yield failure.
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Why ZMOT is the new FMOT

Catching the attention of potential customers as early as possible is more important than ever. Consumers have constant access to product information, reviews and coupons, and this changes their decision-making process. Google’s Jim Lecinski has written a thought-provoking book on the subject, showing how marketers can use this principle to gain a competitive advantage. Read More…

Lenskold 2011 Marketing ROI & Measurement Study

The use of ROI metrics to assess marketing effectiveness is slightly below the 2010 peak but continues to show advantages in growth and higher marketing effectiveness and efficiency. 28% of marketers use ROI metrics to assess at least some portion of their marketing investments, while 36% use some financial metrics but not ROI. The remaining 36% use only traditional, non-financial metrics. This is one of the findings from the Lenskold 2011 Marketing ROI and Measurement Study, which assesses the basic practices of social media measurements in addition to the seventh annual tracking of marketing ROI measurement trends. Read More…

Bookstore Saved With One Tweet

This story is pretty amazing. A few years ago, Aaron Durand (@everydaydude) saw his mother struggling to keep her local bookstore open. He promised to buy everyone (well, at least everyone untill his creditcard was empty) who spent over $50 at the store a burrito, and sent a Tweet with a link to the post. The message got picked up and soon enough, customers came flocking to the store. Durand had accidentally created a great viral marketing campaign, using the informal nature of social media. A great example of how social media can be used to appeal to people’s goodwill. Read More…

MRM in 60 Seconds: Ten Functional Areas, Part Two

In the sixth instalment of the MRMLOGIQ MRM in 60 Seconds series, the Ten Functional Areas Model is examined in closer detail. (If you missed the first part of the TFA Model, you can watch it here.) You’ll get a definition and description of all Functional Areas, which really are sub-processes within Marketing Operations.

The end-to-end process layer at the bottom of the model deals with the creation and execution of marketing campaigns: from the assembly of marketing copy and images to the finished product (a flyer, poster, website, you name it). On top of that is the management layer, which coordinates the procuction process, keeps track of deadlines, bugets and knowledge. Finally, the intelligence layer monitors the whole process so it can be improved continuously.

 


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SDL buys Alterian; IBM to Acquire DemandTec?

Information management providers IBM and SDL both announced planned mergers recently. After its recent acquisition of Unica, IBM is intending to acquire DemandTec, Inc., and SDL will take over Alterian.

DemandTec is one of the leading companies in cloud-based pricing, promotion, and merchandising analytics. The deal with IBM, which is subject to DemandTec shareholder approval and all of the usual closing conditions, will allow IBM’s Smarter Commerce customers to better define and deliver prices and product mix based on consumer buying trends.

IBM seeks to extends its Smarter Commerce solutions with the proposed acquisition of DemandTec, enabling companies to use cloud computing services to gain insight in customer merchandising and pricing preferences to better market, sell and deliver products. Read More…