March 31: Weekly Content/Social Marketing Links

I recently asked my team (marketing, sales and product) to start coming to our weekly staff meeting with one article/blog post that spoke to them. It could be on anything but they needed to be prepared to give a 120 second update on what the article was about. The goal is to share these on a weekly basis. Here’s what week one netted:

DP Rabalais:
Interesting post by DirJournal on how airlines are using social media as part of their marketing strategy. The article looks at how four airlines are using social tools such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Blogs, etc, and what kind of results they’re getting. The airlines covered are: Southwest, JetBlue, Delta and Virgin.

Jay MacIntosh:
This MediaPost article is really strong in describing the importance of content (i.e. people sharing content is the fuel of social…) and how data and insight can/should drive ongoing improvement 

Doug Wick:

My article for today’s meeting is a post from Lenovo’s VP of Consumer Marketing, David Churbuck, on his personal blog, someone who is decidedly outside the social media echo chamber (not to discount the value of thoughts from within the chamber!).

This illustrates the mindset of many marketing folks out there who are focused on consumer marketing, and his advice hints directionally at what Powered does. But most people don’t connect this idea with social – it’s still a long walk from this first bit of advice. Anyhow, thought it might spark some interesting discussion for us. Also note the sole comment from Jim Forbes . . . yeah that Forbes.

Bill Fanning:
The iMediaConnection article that I’d like to share is titled “Rules of Engagement Marketing” at . This article discusses the benefits of having a two way dialogue with your customers as opposed to old marketing tactics of shouting at prospects in an interruptive manner and expecting them to listen.

Beth Lopez:
This ClickZ article discusses a new trend that is starting to take shape – Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are driving more traffic to sites than Google. Also states that social media is poised to become possibly the only growth sector in advertising in 2009. It will be interesting to see this play out in the coming year and how the social networks/platforms will monetize their platform w/o being serving intrusive display ads – particularly in light of Gen Y psychographics towards marketing. Another question that I will pose to our team (this article had me thinking on this) – Will Google and search become irrelevant in the future (or severely minimized) and lose out to social media sites? Only time will tell. But I will say that I, personally, am using Google less and less as I connect with friends and colleagues on twitter, yammer, Facebook and email to find out where to go on the Web. In fact, for the March newsletter, the majority of content was crowdsourced on yammer and our blog instead of me going to Google to search for relevant articles. Food for thought.

This post from the Creating Passionate Users blog does a good job of discussing the types of strategies that might be employed to help cultivate a community.

This ReadWriteWeb post reinforces the impact that strong relationships and information flow have on achieving business goals within the organization.

Experts in the Industry: Mark Wallace (62 of 45)

I’ve known Mark Wallace, VP of social media for EDR, for a few years now. He and I were part of the exec team at Shared Insights (along with Jim Storer) — a company that ultimately merged with Knowledge Planet to become Mzinga. The reason I mention this is that Mark and I have spend A LOT of time together… in a good way. From trips to Vegas (conference related) to attending Tool concerts together, we’ve had a chance to bond well beyond a tradititional business relationship.

What I appreciate about Mark (and have from the day I interviewed with him) is that he is a top shelf sales guy. Not the snake oil varietal but a guy that has worked his butt off building relationships, delivering value and ultimately trying to figure out how he can make his partners that much more successful. To that end, it’s not surprising that he ended up at Mzinga client, EDR, heading up their social and online community initiatives.
I could go on and on about Mark but for your sake, I’ll let his answers do the rest of the talking in the Experts in the Industry series:
In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I am building a community for environmental and property due diligence professionals for Environmental Data Resources called commonground and have succeeded and failed enough times over the years to recognize how to create a vibrant and valuable community.
How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I originally got involved in online communities back in 2001. I worked very closely with Jim Storer at DCI building online communities in support of our exposition, conference, and seminar business. I remember when we sold our first web seminar for members to Siebel Systems (will always be one of my favorite sales of all time) when web seminars were an emerging trend. I remember the high fives flying.
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 think I would invest in HubSpot. In addition to the fact that I really like their business model, I feel like they are a company that has truly embraced social media through all aspects of their business. And, I really find value in the products and services they deliver.
Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
If I had to pick one, I would have to say Leonard Abess, Chairman and CEO, of City National Bancshares. What an amazing story. He succeeded where most other banks failed, distributed $60 million in bonuses to his current employees and former employees, and did not show up to take credit for the success when the bonuses were paid out. He is the true definition of a leader and team player. I would love the opportunity to meet him.
Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
I don’t think I would join a toothpaste community although it certainly sounds appealing! What I would like to do is to spend time with the folks who manage that community. I suspect it would be a fairly challenging task. Imagine what we might learn!
Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
Three of the most important things I have learned over the years are:
  1. Communication happens in three ways – face to face, over the phone, and online. Ignore that as part of your social media strategy and you are doomed to fail.
  2. Members, partners, and the community owner, need to receive value. If they do, they will participate and even spend money. 
  3. It is important to make time. Find a way.
You can also follow Mark on Twitter at @MWallComm

Overheard: I Survived SXSW ’09 and Lived To Talk About It (part 2)

Here’s the thing about SXSW. It’s just too great an experience to contain in one wrap up post. Last week, I wrote the first installment of my SXSX experience summary which gave six of my highlights from the event. Now it’s onto the second post about the event also known as “geek spring break”:

Experts in the Industry: Sara Dornsife (61 of 45)

Funny? Gosh darn Sara Dornsife is funny. I suspected it the first couple times we talked but what sealed the deal for me was her recent post about What your car says about you and why the U.S. auto industry is failing. I won’t spoil it for you but I guarantee you won’t be able to read it without laughing out loud.

That’s not the only thing I like about Sara, however. She’s also smart, insightful and has a certain hipness that makes me happy about the fact that I get to hang out with her semi-regularly (she and her husband live in Austin). She’s also on the market — think marketing meets great blogger/social media-type — if you’re looking (she’s @SaraD on Twitter). Given her most recent experience running projects at Sun Microsystems, she can definitely “hang” when it comes to the corporate environment.
I could go on all day but I won’t. Instead, let’s jump over to the answers to her five questions:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I am a community advocate and marketing purist.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
The old fashioned way, I fell into it. When I saw the opportunity to get involved in something new and to learn new skills and new ways to market, I took it. In my case it was through open source. We used forums, wikis, IRC, local user groups, and blogs to communicate with our communities. That was my foray into social media tools. As a marketer it was a big shift. Our users weren’t interested in glossy color brochures full of catch phrases and adjectives, they wanted the facts. And more importantly, as users, they wanted to be involved to improve a product they use. It was both fresh and refreshing.

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 like Zecco’s model and their use of social tools and a vibrant community to help their users learn how to invest.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I have enormous respect for the people who generously give their time and energy to their local communities. The local Social Media Breakfast had the people from Mobile Loaves and Fishes in to get advice on to use social media to get their message out. I give them a huge and hearty standing ovation. I know they aren’t really public figures, but they deserve our respect.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
Ah, the toothpaste community. No. Exactly, why? Communities are a relationship, and like any relationship require commitment and time to be meaningful. I wouldn’t give my time to toothpaste. It already gets 10 minutes of my life everyday. If I had an autistic child, for example, I could see giving a ton of time and commitment to that community as a means of mutual support. I can handle brushing my teeth all by myself.

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
To me, social media is a tactic. A very important one listed with other important ones like branding, messaging, PR, website content, events… Where social media differs is in that it doesn’t fall into a single bucket, it helps with support, QA, communications and development. That makes a pretty powerful tool. Cluetrain came out over 10 years ago and we are finally just starting to get it. I’m pretty excited to see what comes next.