Experts in the Industry: Kathy Warren (33 of 45)

How lucky am I? In one day, I get to post interviews about two of my favorite women in the world (my wife, mother and sister excepted of course). Minutes ago, I just put up an inteview with Ann Handley of MarketingProfs. Now I have the chance to highlight my colleague and good friend, Kathy Warren.

When I met Kathy five or six months ago, I knew immediately that I liked her AND was going to like Powered. She ran the gamut of being funny, smart, sassy and innovative — all traits that I would look for in any of my co-workers. Over the last four months, my appreciation for Kathy’s skills — she’s our VP of Account Planning & Management — have grown exponentially. That’s not to say that I didn’t understand her value out of the gate, but rather that in many ways she’s like an onion. The more I learn about her strategy, analytics and overall online community building skills, the more I appreciate what she does.
Before Kathy gets TOO big of a head, here are the answers to her Experts in the Industry questions:
In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I help brands drive business results by building marketing strategies that lead with consumer needs vs. marketing messages and I’m good at this because I use data to avoid subjectivity like the plague.
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
Multiple client-side marketing roles and an obsession with the potential for relationship marketing I found could be realized when I arrived at Powered. Creating a value exchange between a brand and its audience is the real challenge – community will follow if there’s real value there.  
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?
Aside from Powered, I’d say Netflix because they make the best use of my behavioral data and that of my network to drive my loyalty & high volume video consumption. But seriously, Powered, because if brands don’t start seeing measurable ROI, we’re all in trouble.
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Ann Richards for her candor, her wit, her intelligence and a leadership style that uncompromisingly leveraged it all.
No, because toothpaste is a transactional purchase in my household. A health and beauty community sponsored by a toothpaste brand on the other hand…..
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
I don’t think it’s particularly difficult to measure social marketing programs or branded communities. If those communities are not based on audience needs and/or are not delivering value however, it can most certainly be an unpleasant experience. Marketing practitioners should think through social marketing initiatives as they would any other marketing program and in fact should analyze the contribution of their online communities against other online marketing efforts. Desired business outcomes should drive data strategy (behavioral and attitudinal) which will establish benchmarks for effectiveness and efficiency metrics throughout the life of the initiative.

Experts in the Industry: Ann Handley (32 of 45)

Where do I start with Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs? I met Ann for the first time at a blogger dinner held in Jeremiah Owyang’s honor in Fall of 2007. I was (and still am) a big fan of MarketingProfs and had started following Ann on Twitter. My conversation with Ann at the Rattlesnake Bar in Boston didn’t last long that night but as I’ve talked about before, it was nice to make a personal connection with Ann.

Since that time, Ann and I have done Webinars together, talked regularly via Twitter, e-mail and occasionally on the phone. It’s always refreshing because Ann is such a wealth of knowledge and just a nice person in general. To that end, here are her answers to the Experts in the Industry questions:
In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I have two sides: I create and manage digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals (right now at www.marketingprofs.com), and I’m a writer (right now at www.annhandley.com). I am good at it because I love it, I suppose, but I’d rather leave that judgment up to others. 
 
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I invented blogging when I was a kid. It just took 30 years for the technology to cach up.  
I am only partially kidding: I have always been a believer in interaction, feedback and community, and in the power of talking to an audience in an intimate and immediate environment, and in hearing their voices talk back. I’ve embraced it as a business tool, certainly, as a way to educate, elucidate, and be educated. But, at the same time — just as I did when I was a kid — it’s rooted for me in the joy of communicating, the creativity of writing, and the thrill of the conversation.
 
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?
I’m not sure I’d invest in anything “only based” on their use of social, since I see social as a tool, not a business model. That said, I’m impressed with what lots of companies are doing to embrace social media tools — but that usually requires a shift in mindset more than an influx of cash. p.s. I would, however, invest in MarketingProfs. There’s lots of things we’d like to do here, and $10 million would sure get us there quicker.
 
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Politician: Barack Obama. Business leaders: Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown. The writer I’d most like to meet: David Sedaris
 
This reminds me of my favorite inner debate, which do I hate more? The dentist or the gynocologist? Which would you say?
 
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
Thanks for including me here, Aaron. I’m grateful to anyone who wants to hear what I have to say, both in the physical world, and online, both in business and in life. My pearl, my mantra is this: Your community is everything: Foster it. Feed it. Respect it. Don’t abuse it.

Experts in the Industry: Len Devanna (31 of 45)

Len Devanna, director Web strategy, EMC is one of the few people on this list I haven’t actually met in person. There have been several times where we were supposed to be at the same event but one or the other of us ended up blowing it (mostly me I think). However, between Twitter and our mutual friend, Adam Cohen, I feel like I’ve gotten to know more about Len and the great work he’s doing to bring “social” to a little old company called EMC.

Len is a smart guy and I think you’re going to enjoy how he answered his Experts in the Industry questions:
In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I help drive online evolution at EMC Corporation, and am good at it because I am truly, truly passionate about the topic.
 
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
It all started with the big bang…  Wait – probably going too far back. In’ 94 I fell in love with the web – well, Usenet at the time. I achieved 30% helpdesk call deflection by simply putting answers to common questions online (trust me – it was an epiphany at the time). Since, I’ve focused my career on helping companies leverage the online realm to better communicate with their audience. The emergence of social is simply the latest step in the evolution. Where the notion of one way information flow was appealing in the past, the ability to now engage and interact opens a world of opportunities that we’ve not even started to tap. 
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the impact of friends Jeremiah Owyang and Sean O’Driscoll. Both have a contagious passion for the online world and helped me understand just how powerful the opportunities at hand are.
 
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?
Tough to cite a particular company – Rather would focus on the notion of common credentials and reputation management. Many have toes in this pond, but no one has nailed it, yet. To me, this is a MASSIVE opportunity. The ability to traverse the web, leveraging common credentials and being able to bring my likes, dislikes, network, social capital, etc; along with me is truly exciting.
 
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I’ve been impressed with the adoption of the social web by some political heavies. President Obama did a masterful job engaging the younger generation via the usual social channels. I can’t think of any of his predecessors that were so successful in tapping into the younger crowd on ‘their’ turf. I’m a recent transplant to the San Fran area – and have also been impressed with Governor Schwarzenegger’s use of social tools to engage CA residents.
 
If only I had a dollar for every time I was asked this…  I’d join any community if the subject matter was interesting to me. Toothpaste, unfortunately, is not.
 
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
You get one trip on this ride we call life. Make the most of it. Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy every minute of every day. 
Lastly – Aaron – thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about myself and for coming up with such a creative way to connect folks in the community! [Aaron: My pleasure Len!]

How We Market

As the CMO of Powered, I try and share whatever and whenever I can. Maybe to a level that makes my boss, our CEO, a little uncomfortable. But it’s my style and at the end of the day, it’s what we ask our customers to do.

To that end, we were asked a question in an RFI today that I helped our sales guys answer. The question was, “How do you employ social media to market your own company’s services?” Here’s how I answered:
At Powered, we look at “social” as being more of a philosophy than a set of tools or tactics. As a result, all of our activities in the marketing world are predicated on the theory of “give before you get.” What this means is that when we send out e-mail campaigns, create newsletters, blog or deliver webcasts, we ask ourselves the question, “what do our customers and prospective customers care about? Or How can we make them smarter?”


With this as our premise, we do use tools like our corporate blog, my personal work blog a Twitter account as well as several of our bus/dev and exec teams personal twitter accounts — mine being one of them. Because we are so bullish on creating content, we also help marketers better understand the rapidly emerging discipline of social marketing and what it means to their company’s marketing mix though monthly webcasts with thought leaders like Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang and MarketingProf’s chief content officer, Anne Handley OR the social media leads at Ford, GM and Edmunds.com. We also are regular contributors to publications like MediaPost and DMNews, again talking about things that marketers might care about.

At the end of the day, we realize that our marketing efforts need to deliver brand awareness and lead generation but we’ve found that the most effective way to ensure their success by “eating our own dogfood.”

How do you YOU employ social media to market your own services?
photo courtesy of: http://dogs.lovetoknow.com/