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

Yet Another Boston to Austin Trip Update

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

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!

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

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

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.