Last week we had the pleasure to have Beth Kanter host our weekly tweetchat over at Hashtag social media. The subject was obviously about Non Profit Organizations and how social media can play favorably with them. This is the sweet spot for Beth and as a host, I have to say she was beyond amazing. She embodied all of the qualities you would want in someone engaged with their audience. Below is a summary deck of what occurred in this one hour tweetchat.
Posted: April 26th, 2010 By: Jason Breed
On its surface, this topic is a “status quo” topic, one that fits into the traditional advertising model that says radio, television and print are channels therefore the Internet is a channel too. Agencies and old-school marketers feel comfortable when discussing digital as just another channel. They figure if a portion of their budget allocated to digital and they tweak their messaging to match the medium then Whoalla! we are all new-age digital marketers.
The problem with this approach is it assumes consumers are the same and want the same messaging pushed at them to interfere with their online entertainment just like they consume television or radio entertainment. Consumers have changed! Consumers do not shop the same, communicate the same, consume content the same nor do they react the same to advertising. When it comes down to it this topic cannot be about marketers adding a new channel, it has to be about those marketers who can adopt to changing consumer behaviors and those who cannot.
Consumers no longer want to be talked at, they want to be engaged with. They want to see who prepares the food and talk with the baggage handlers, they want to feel they have a voice in determining the features of their next car model and want to help select what charities their soda maker donates to. The majority of companies today are not set up to handle this new consumer. Decades of closed systems and legally approved content are getting in the way of companies trying to interact with the consumer.
So what is this post about then? Even though consumers are changing their behaviors by the second, companies can not move that quickly. Companies need to have some transition period to move from traditional to digital and it’s not just in the way they advertise. This is a cultural shift, a systems shift, a shift in processes and approvals to a more distributed workforce. This is much more than simply a messaging shift.
This post is about transitioning. Many times, the only way to move the needle or to convince traditional executives is with proof. That proof comes in comparing what they already know and are familiar with and in a way that they understand like reports and measurements that can compare traditional apples with digital apples (apples to apples). If you measure traditional marketing with reach (ie. magazine has 100k circulation + 2 times pass along and costs $5k) and sales (call volume rises when our infomercial airs and conversion increases 12%) then your digital marketing reports cannot use language like followers, subscribers and linkbait, they must be consistent. The good news is with proven success comes additional funding and a higher tolerance for experimentation.
Once you are able to measure and report consistently across traditional/digital and begin to show positive results, how do you determine how much is the optimal amount to spend on each? Again, a fully integrated interactive marketer does not allocate a bucket of monies per channel. Integrated messaging and consumer engagement is determined by the need at the time. If a customer makes an online mess, it may require an online video response or it may require an actual television ad to express your point-of-view. In order to stay flexible and meet your daily needs you cannot have a pre-allocated budget based on channels that was set 9 months ago.
In staying with the theme though, you need to be able to show value as you transition from traditional advertising to more integrated. You have to show that any investment is worth the return before executives will release additional funds and approve more experiential marketing. In light of that, what is the right mix? Ford transitioned 25% of their marketing budget to social. Seems like an arbitrary number but what is the right mix for your company as it transitions from what it was to what it needs to be?
To help us get a better handle on the right marketing mix for your company, we are bringing in a moderator this week who not only understands the measurement and monitoring side, she also understands the business side and promotes the advancement of companies into a more integrated marketing approach. Amber Naslund, the Director of Community at Radian6, understands organizational change is just as important as technical change is and knows how to get people there. While there is before digital (traditional) and after, more importantly there is a during or a transition that not many can talk to except Amber. This week’s topic and supporting questions are as follows:
Topic: Managing the Marketing Mix: Which Channel is More Effective?
Q1: How do you know your traditional marketing efforts are effective?
Q2: How do you know your digital marketing efforts are effective?
Q3: What is the right budgeting mix between traditional & digital?
Be sure to join us Tuesday April 27 at noon Eastern and participate by following #sm57 from any Twitter client or simply goto our LIVE page during the event.
Hashtags: #socialmedia, #sm49
Topic: The Next Big Thing is So Last Year
In the 49th edition of this popular and long-running chat series, Greg Verdino of Powered and Crayon fame,will be tackling on of his favorite topics and biggest business bugaboos — marketers’ exuberant (and often irrational) obsession with the next big thing, the flavor of the month, the latest but not-necessarily-greatest shiny object. We’ll plan to cover riff on three key questions:
- Why are marketers so obsessed with the next big thing even though so many turn out to be next big busts?
- How do you balance the benefits of strategic innovation with the risks of constantly chasing shiny objects?
- What’s the one social media “old thing” most marketers still get wrong?
If you want to purchase an accounting system, customer relationship manager (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform for your company, it’s a pretty established process. There are a few meaningful vendors in your space determined by the size of your company, the features are all pretty clear and there are case studies galor for how-to and how-not-to select, implement and run those systems. Now, if you want to source some external help for social media, well that’s a different story.
We hear how everyone is a social media expert whether they’re certified or self-proclaimed. You can find people who believe many are akin to snake-oil salesmen and of little use. But if you are a company who needs external help, how do you weed through this entirely new industry? That is the point of this post, to effectively source external software and/or services to help deliver on your social media initiatives.
The industry is growing by the day: Agencies (traditional, interactive, digital, public relations, etc), Consultants (individual or small teams), web-development (SEO, measurement, advertising, now with social elements), Software Vendors, Service Vendors and you could continue to sector this list ad nauseum. All of these different components all have varied levels of experience whether personal or corporate and varied levels of perceived successes. Wading through all this fluff to get to someone who can meet your specific needs is difficult at best. One of the most proven methods of sourcing external suppliers is through a Request For Proposal process or RFP. As stated in Wikipedia, an RFP is:
“is an invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. A bidding process is one of the best methods for leveraging a company’s negotiating ability and purchasing power with suppliers. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront.”
Where to Start? There is a widely accepted order by which to initiate and execute a typical RFP.
- Establish Criteria for Evaluation: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” ~ Alice in Wonderland. Two key things here: 1) pull together a cross-functional team to develop criteria. this gets broader input and incorporates all departments from the start which will make ultimate buy-in that much easier. 2) evaluate your needs and develop criteria that would best meet those needs.
- Vendor Research: Once you have identified the criteria by which to evaluate, begin to research which vendors may fit (large agencies, small consultants, big integrators, small off-the-shelf, etc) and develop a preliminary list.
- Request For Information (RFI) or Request For Qualifications (RFQ): Some will say this step is not necessary or that it drags out the entire process too long. I tend to disagree however as it allows you to understand the market better and, done correctly, will provide additional direction for your RFP. From the RFI, you can eliminate roughly half of the prospective vendors on you list.
- Develop and Send the RFP: Here are 2 RFP Templates to consider Sample Social Media Template from Social Media Group and Sample Unbranded SEO RFP. Possible organization by Purpose/Goals, Criteria, Timelines, Vendor Questions / Responses, initial cost estimates. The RFP should convey what you are looking to accomplish, the criteria by which you will measure, the expected timelines, additional capabilities and cost estimates. This will elicit consistent responses by which to evaluate and rank the responses.
- Review the Responses: taking into account the criteria, evaluate the best responses by committee (remember the more input along the way, the easier the buy-in at the end) and narrow down to a top three (or simply choose a winner – see the next bullet for why not to do this)
- Interview the top 3 responses: At this point, you notify the vendors they have either made it to the finals or they have been eliminated from consideration. By having this process, you maintain the most negotiating leverage. During this phase, you can narrow the scope, interview vendors and negotiate final costs. If vendors know they are still competing, they will continue to put the best package together that they can offer. If you wait to negotiate pricing after you award a final vendor, the negotiating leverage moves to the vendor.
- Make a Selection:this speaks for itself. Remember to organize timelines and accountability from both sides to make sure everyone knows who’s responsible for what during the installation process.
Now this is a traditional process and for the most part I would follow this procedurally. My one hesitation is actually in developing social media criteria, companies will typically lump technology, strategy development, execution, community management, SEO, advertising purchasing, etc into one big project labelled “Social Media Initiative”. Personally, there is not one company let alone person who could pull this entire project off. My recommendation then, is to create sections of the RFP and allow vendors to submit responses only for those areas where they are strong or to actually create 3-4 separate RFP processes which most companies are not equipped to pull off. Let us know in the comments if there is a better process that you have encountered.
While this is a good start, it does not provide the nuanced detail needed to truly start this process for your own company. For this, we bring in the creator of the Social Media RFP and top strategist Maggie Fox. Maggie and her team at the Social Media Group work with companies like Ford Motor and SAP to deliver social media solutions. She will moderate this week’s session and help us all prepare to source external suppliers to help meet our social media needs. This week’s topic and specific questions include:
Topic: The Social Media RFP: How to Get the Best Results
Q1: How do you formulate a proper RFP that conveys your social media goals?
Q2: How do you identify the vendors, consultants or agencies to send your RFP to?
Q3: How do you evaluate your responses to pick the best solution?
Please join us this week as Maggie Fox moderates our Tuesday #socialmedia chat at noon EST. You can follow along by watching #sm43 from any twitter client or simply from our LIVE page.
2010 is going to be an interesting year for all of us. With that being said, what year isn’t right? Well anyway, I wanted to start the first week of the new year with some things you might have missed that are worth sharing. These are sites, posts and links that will make you smarter at what you do and better at it too.
1) A September 2009 MarketingProfs survey of B2B and B2C marketers found that the marketing tactics most often used on social sites are not necessarily the best ones. Odd, but the net and social media does create somewhat of a Flash mob “follow” mentality. Find out more about what’s working for social media marketers in this great E-marketer piece.
2) As my side Twitter project Hashtagsocialmedia.com continues to build momentum, someone asked if there were a way to follow everyone who had participated in the Tweetchat. In less than 10 minutes the answer came back with Blastfollow.
3) Jay Baer is a smart dude, but we’re smarter because of him and that’s a good thing. Not only does his blog, Convince and Convert bring value to those who read it, but he also stumbles across things that he shares with his readers that make him better and us as well. One of those things is TwitSweeper– a way to clean up and clean out the spammers that are in your Twitter account. You have to pay for it, but the cost is not obscene.
4) Staying on the Twitter theme a bit longer, I came across Refollow and thought that the features were interesting. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks to be a way to tighten up your Twitter presence and the relationships you have crafted.
5) Tamar Weinberg is a star. Look no further than her latest book, The New Community Rules-Marketing on the Social Web. However she recently cranked out a blog post titled, The Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2009 in which if you did nothing for the next 3 days and read all of the posts that she has compiled, it would make up for the last 362 days had you not read anything. BTW she mentions one of my posts. 🙂
6) Obviously my #socialmedia Tweetchat is not the only Tweetchat out there. Surprisingly, to my knowledge, there are not that many. But how do you find them? What are the topics? When do they occur? Well, the beauty of the social web is that someone has decided to create just that type of source. A Google doc that lists all of the known Twitter chats.
7) Ike Pigott, one of the truly razor sharp folks out there in the social space, turned me onto this. YOURLS is a small set of PHP scripts that will allow you to run your own URL shortening service (a la TinyURL). You can make it private or public, you can pick custom keyword URLs, and it comes with its own API. How cool would it be to have Ma.rc as my own Bitly?
8. Face it, analytics for most of us, are very important. You might want to read this: 10 signs you don’t understand web analytics.
9) Want a really good list of people’s blogs to read and or follow? Check out this list of 30 bloggers to watch in 2010
10) Lastly I wanted to share with you something that we need more of this year in social media. I share with you this…
mean, selfish, greedy, self-interested, self-centred, self-seeking, ungenerous, egoistic(al), egotistic(al)
Not another post about social media…Yes and no, but indulge me.
Yesterday Jason Breed of Neighborhood America and I were talking about elevating our game with hashtagsocialmedia in the same fashion that #Journchat tried to do Monday night on Twitter. Journchat, if you were not aware, hosted some live sessions in a number of cities that coincided with their regularly scheduled Monday night session. It worked to a certain a degree if not for the sake of trying. They get props for trying to raise their game.
Meanwhile, I had been expressing to Jason that I would like to see that eventually happen with Hashtag Social Media as well-namely some type of larger more event like type of setting for #socialmedia; and it was then that Jason brought up a seriously major point.
“What could we say or do that people have not already heard countless times?”
Which led me to pause, reflect and nod my head in agreement. I think he’s right. Has social media or the writing and talking about social media reached a level of saturation? In my opinion yes. But with a caveat. Yes, for those of us on the front lines and in the bubble. What more can we read and or write about that has not already been said? What power list have we not seen? What 10 sure fire ways to do something in social media have we not bookmarked, read or saved a half dozen times? How many blog posts about social media measurement have resonated with you? Whose Venn diagram have you saved and shared with your colleagues? How many slideshares about social media have you embedded?
Saturation yes. Maturation no.
After Jason and I agreed that though much has been said and repeated about social media, we both then agreed that there is still much, much more to learn, share, and expound upon. If we were to look at the Gartner Hype Cycle for example or even just your traditional bell curve, and we were to determine where social media, holistically speaking, was located on the curve, we would both say we had not even come close to critical mass.
Before you can run you have to walk. before you can walk you have to crawl. The history of social media is but a mere blip on the radar that is social computing, networks and clouds. Its a starting point that we have to get beyond. Let’s quit spinning our wheels about what it is and get to, “What it can do and how”.
We can all continue to write about things that we have all read countless times in different forms, and then we can slap each other’s backs and share it amongst ourselves. or we can step beyond that monotone and truly start to think about social media on business levels and use levels and not adoption levels. Am I wrong or am I just too close to the subject?
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