You are currently browsing the archive for the Conferences category.

I’ll be conducting an hour-long session on Monday at 12pm on how to leverage corporate blogging in your business.  This is part of BrightTalk’s Conversational Marketing Summit.

To sign up, go here, scroll down to the appropriate session and go from there.  Hope to see some of you there.

We’ll post up the slides here when we’re all done for your reference, but it won’t have my commentating.

As a note, I thank Zach, as his session earlier this year on the topic was helpful in putting this together

We’ve been discussing (beating to death) the topic of measurement and ROI in social media for a while now.  How do you measure ROI?  What elements go into that measurement?  How do you talk about the lack of a “traditional” ROI measurement to bosses or clients who want to see it?  Can you make a convincing argument or feel good about results without it?

Well, if you’re in the industry, hopefully the answer to the last question is clear.  As Anya said this morning:

“The answer is clear: You don’t need hard numbers and a specific percentage point ROI to know if your efforts in social media and marketing are worth your time and money.”

That’s part of the point that Professor Andrew McAfee made this morning at the Boston Social Media Breakfast.  And it’s what I’ve been wanting to hear from someone of authority for a while (he’s said it before, in his blog).

A few of his points (among many others):

  • Why can’t you look at the data, not have an ROI, and still feel ok with the results?
  • Business leaders should be able to think about a situation and whether it’s outcome is good or bad without a bold and highlighted ROI number in front of them.
  • Business leaders should also trust each other without being provided an ROI (Please note: I’m not saying trust anybody, this is in conjunction with the above point)
  • Really, what has ROI ever meant?

I’d like to add one thought or expansion  that I think McAfee was hinting at.

Playing with the elements of the ROI equation has always happened.  It’s as follows:

Once you’re past your core finance or marketing class in business school, where they ever-so-conveniently but ever-so-unrealistically give you the perfect numbers, you’re usually figuring out what specific elements are the best to put into the equation and sometimes it gets pretty creative.  What’s your gain?  What are your costs?

But more importantly, what are we talking about when we say return?

ROI has really never been straight forward.  It can be different in different companies.  In some cases, the inputs have been easier to recognize.  In most cases, the ROI measurement has been used long enough in a company or industry that it takes about 30 seconds to compute and either write out bonuses or work longer hours.

I found something to think about in a really quick search I did (not the best market research, but oh well):

  • Only 7% of senior-level financial executives say they are satisfied with their company’s ability to measure [traditional] marketing ROI.
  • In contrast to the low level of satisfaction among financial executives, an April 2006 survey of senior-level marketers by MMA and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that nearly one-fourth (23%) were satisfied with their company’s ability to measure ROI.
  • Though one-third of marketers in the MMA-ANA survey agreed they could forecast the impact on sales of a 10% budget cut, only 16% of financial service executives expressed agreement with that statement.

Traditional ROI measurements have never instilled a large amount of confidence in marketers.  Yet people continue to rely very heavily and narrowly on this number.

Part of the “problem” of ROI in the social media space is that, in a sense, we’re back to square one in choosing the best inputs, figuring out what the best measurement for ROI is, for each company or campaign, without a heck of a lot of the above mentioned standards you find in traditional ROI measurements.

We’re uncomfortable because we’re stuck on the same old numbers.

As Brian Halligan of HubSpot stated in his talk at the breakfast, they do a full set of intangible measurements as well.  What’s your reach?  How many websites are linking to?  What are people saying about your brand? Etc.

The point is, people who are so strictly concerned with the numbers that go into ROI and have been looking at the same calculations for the last 10 years are missing the concept altogether.  It’s the return on your investment.  To Andrew’s point, if you can take one step back (and it’s really just one little step!) and think about the concept of ROI, you may get a little more comfortable with the input numbers that go into it.

He’s right: business people are smarter than they give themselves (and others) credit.  But any good businessman knows what it’s like to analyze something with less than perfect data, and decide whether it “looks good” or doesn’t.  If you find yourself consistently second-guessing in situations like this and looking around for numbers, frankly, I don’t think a perfect ROI calculation will make you any more comfortable….nothing probably will.

This is a bit of an extreme, but a while ago I did a post on Saul from Freshbooks.  I won’t forget what he answered when asked about ROI.  He said that he pays no attention to ROI.  He doesn’t care about it.  He works his magic and he recognizes that there are beneficial outcomes to his actions.  Now, he’s lucky and has a boss who “gets it” so he gets the go ahead for his initiatives.  But he couldn’t have gotten to that point without going with his gut a little more and thinking about the overall concept of ROI.

When the “Return” and/or “Investment” portion of this equation is different than what you’ve been measuring, don’t just say “the hell with this” and back away (in my humble opinion, I think this an absolutely horrible a pretty bad characteristic of any business person, the inability to think more broadly or creatively about these sorts of things, the answer is there with a little more work).

Rethink what returns means.  Rethink what investment means.  Then look at the results, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to figure out whether they’re good or bad.  That’s your ROI, right there.

Honestly, I feel the same way that Andrew and Saul feel about ROI, but kept thinking I needed to have the perfect answer for people, particularly potential clients, when they asked.  Well, maybe I’ll ask them everything I just asked you and see where that gets me instead.

For the record, Matt Cutler of Visible Measures also had a great talk this morning, but I remember that I pretty much listened and watched and said “that’s so cool!” for most of his talk, which isn’t a bad thing…. I was particularly pleased with his analysis of the DNC and RNC speeches by McCain, to which he applied a simple cloud map… I went to find it on their blog.  I didn’t find it, but in doing so I realized that the blog is really great (new information for my RSS feed!)

And one last, but not least, thank you to Bob Collins for putting SMB10 together. 

UPDATE: Please check out David Meerman Scott’s short answer from the New Marketing Summit a few weeks ago.  It’s up on his blog.  It’s a great addition to the conversation.

Keynote: The New Media Rollercoaster, Cynthia Gordon, VP of New Media Marketing from Universal Orlando Resort

  • The internet has completely revolutionized and transformed people’s lives.
  • It’s like a giant collective brain, and we’re sending messages back and forth to each other.
  • The consumer is in control.  Blogging has become mainstream.  The past couple of years has shown me that I need to pay attention that.  I also needed to find new and innovative ways to get in front of the audience.
  • CNN is an adaptable channel, they partnered with YouTube to bring the debates to the masses.  They figured out the concept of citizen journalism.
  • John Stewart and CNN iReporting video.
  • We went from 3 channels to over 100 channels doing multiple shows a year.  It’s must more difficult to be a marketer at these companies.
  • Ultimately, TV is still people’s preferred medium of watching shows, and that will drive online viewing.
  • You can’t stop technology, you have to make it easier for people to get your content.
  • Discussed Halloween Horror Night
  • Brought up efforts for Harry Potter theme park opening.
  • Both of these did happen some time before a Press Release was put out.
  • To promote the opening of a new Simpson’s Theme Park, Universal leveraged the millions of avatars that were made in the wake of the Simpson’s movie and made an online world for them to play in.

Panel: Social Media Marketing in Tough Times - Who Should Do What & What Should They Do?, Todd Defren, Principal at SHIFT Communications

  • We have two choices: We stick our head in the sand, cut budgets, or we can get tougher, smarter and louder.
  • Why would you cut budget for your brand in a way that gets it louder and more visible at a time when it’s most important for you to get the word out?
  • From Doug Leone, Sequoia Capital: Pound your competitor’s shortcomings, nail your sales & marketing, and an aggressive marketing and PR strategy is key right now.
  • You don’t need to reach everyone, you need to reach people who are going to find your stuff.  How are they going to find you?
  • You can simultaneously stir up the Google Juices.
  • “Findability” is cheap.  What’s expensive is the time.
  • Focus on the basics.  What you should cut: SEM (PPC), Advertising (in a downturn), Layers (internal staff), and Events (visibility comes from speeches).
  • Where do you double-down? Listening (responsiveness scores points and identifies red flags early on), Content creation (thought leadership and findability), SEO, PR (thought leadership and promotion).
  • You get to know your audience through social media, you can then tailor content to them.
  • People don’t want to go on your website to find you, they want to find you in places where you hang out.
  • Fresh Content + Smart Brains = Google Juice
  • PR is crucial. Provides third-party validation (mainstream media is influential).
  • Do: Listen, blog, hire a PR firm, focus on SEO, distribute content that’s relevant.
  • Don’t: advertise, PPC, attend events (unless you’re speaking), panic.

[Check out Anya's post on Community Platforms]

Christopher S Penn: Study Something Old to Learn Something New

  • When you’re trying to get dialogs from your company, think about old medium that it can be compared to (a blog is the same as a newspaper editorial!)
  • How can you update the information you already have in your organization?
  • There’s nothing magic or esoteric about this stuff.  You can all do this, you just need to learn a little about it!
  • Take all the info in your organization that you want to communicate: Things to Watch, Things to Read, Things to Hear, then figure out the format.
  • Think about where your customers are.  If you don’t know, go to your database.
  • New media is not a new shiny object.  Don’t treat them as new, treat them as tools in the toolbox.
  • They won’t save you if you don’t have a functional business model.  Get your business in shape first before you start new media.
  • Someone saying that they’re an expert in a particular medium is crap [we like Christopher!]
  • Think about old companies, and what made them successful when there was no internet.  What can you extract from their success to make your own business model successful?

CC Chapman: I Don’t Have Time to Play With Everything! Ten quick tips of things you can do

  1. Google your brand, see what people are saying, comment on those site, keep the PR people away, let people talk.
  2. Set up Google Alerts.  It’s free.  Put in your name.  Put in your company name.  Put in your competitor name.  Put in key words.
  3. Twitter is useful.  You don’t have to follow a ton of people, it’s not a game.  Use it in a way that’s most useful to you.
  4. Join a social network.  If you’re just starting, use LinkedIn and Facebook.
  5. Use newsletters: Marketing Vox, WOMMA and MarketingProfs are three great ones.
  6. Flickr is great.  It’s not just about photos, it’s about commenting and seeing what people are doing.
  7. Read, Read, Read.  Read everything.  Books, newspapers.
  8. Go to Events.  Nothing beats meeting people face-to-face.  Websites like, etc.
  9. Use Evernote, they’re great.  Evernote everything.
  10. Share where you love.  Find out where other people love.

Finally, Dive in and Don’t Be Afraid!

Session: Bringing Web 2.0 Marketing to Dow Jones - Alan Scott, CMO of Dow Jones

Chris: How did you get involved in marketing

Alan: I was in the B2B side of Dow Jones and I was a wise-ass sales executive who walked around saying marketing didn’t have their act together.  Well, they put me into marketing.

Chris: What’s your marketing philosophy?

Alan: Sales teaches you that you have to sell someone in order to live, and they have to buy to be successful.  It’s a crystal clear value proposition.  You have to have it completely clear.

Chris: How did you come to some of the social media decisions you’ve made?

Alan: It’s a matter of participation.  At one point it was direct mail, then moved to blogging and then beyond.  What I look for in making decisions is that it’s well thought out.  Have they sat down and said, I’m trying to tackle a certain part of the population, and there’s a clear value proposition.  Can you convince me that it’s worth a try?  I don’t expect a concrete ROI, but a concrete business value proposition.

Chris: What criteria do use to allocate resources to a social media program and what metrics do you look for to measure it?

Alan: There are certain markets we want to attack, and it’s focused.  Within our group, we decide our business goals, and we turn that into a branded investment strategy, on terms of how we look, where we’re found, etc.  Then we figure out our messaging strategy, who and how we’re talking to people.  Then we layer across that the functional advertising and PR, and then create go-to-market plans.  It gives you the ability to have transparency in our marketing mix, and we can use both pull and push methods of reaching people.  With the new marketing, you can measure all of this stuff, and there’s significant insight into what’s working and what’s not.  I look at how I want to attack the market place, I don’t necessarily have a budget for social media.  Each marketing strategy for each segment is different and they all definitely use social media.  We budget on how we can effectively market to our target.

Chris: How do I reach a CMO to sell something?

Alan: Two things.  First, it’s not true that you have to get to the CMO to sell something.  I’ve got people in my organization that will respond to business props before I will, and often I won’t even be in the process.

Chris: Will Factiva start tracking more online and social media outlets?

Alan: Yes, we’ll add that and continue adding that over time.  It’s very important.

Chris: What don’t you want to know from vendors when you do get into these conversations?

Alan: Unless it’s real, I don’t care about the ROI. Someone told you have to have an ROI, and I don’t think you do.

Chris: How does the Dow deal with the digital divide and connecting globally?

Alan: In terms of the business, about 40% of ours is outside of the US, and there are people all over the world marketing all over the world.

Audience Question: I just want to clarify that whhat you do is really continue with your marketing strategy, whether traditional or not, and you incorporate new media aspects?

Alan: Yes, that’s exactly it.

Audience Question: Can we get a widget to track the Dow on Facebook?

Alan: Ha!  Yeah, we’re working on it.

Audience Questions: What are you doing to woo digital natives to work for you?

Alan: Oh, not enough.  We’re an old company.  We’re getting close to 50/50 revenues in terms of online and print, but in a lot of ways we’re still pretty old school.  We’ve had a lot of recent discussions about how we can attract Generation Y and Generation X.  We’re really trying to foster an environment that works with them.

Chris: How do you pitch your CMO on social media?

Alan: Where I said yes to take a chance is when someone said “I understand we’re trying to sell something to someone.  Here’s who that person is, here’s how this connects to that person, and here’s how it can be converted into a sale.”

Chris: Have you had the situation where someone internally really messed up with blogging and you’ve gotten criticized for the decision to allow it?

Alan: Luckily not, but had happened, I would have said, “Sorry I screwed up.”

Final Thought: It’s all

Check out Anya’s post on PR 2.0 - Public Relations in the New World.

[Check out Anya's write up on Freddie Laker talking about What's Next in Social Media]

Session: Community Management - What Makes a Thriving Community

Panelists: Bill Balderaz, Chief Innovation Officer and Founder of Webbed Marketing; John Kembel, CEO and Co-Founder of HiveLive; Eric Schurr, VP of Marketing and Sales of Awareness Networks; Kate Swanson, Sr Sales Executive of Leverage Software.

Chris: Why are people suddenly interested in communities?  Why make your own community?  What’s the difference?

Eric: It’s a silly brand that doesn’t participate in the discussion. There’s a sense of corporate ownership and responsibility on the part of a brand.

John: Both approaches work, your own community and someone else’s.  It’s about talking and listening.  It’s not turn-taking it’s collaborating.  Most of the discussion needs to happen on the consumer’s turf, part of the process is getting them back onto your turf and into a place to talk.

Kate: You want to have a nice balance of how people can be in the same sandbox and play nicely.  People still expect the brand to have a presence.  Keeping that social layer in perspective is very important, and you have to be careful not to turn that social layer into just another silo on your website.

Chris: Remember when you could just have a nice looking website?  Now what?

Bill: It’s about interaction now.

Chris: The human element of managing a social community is difficult.  How do you advocate the human elements?

Eric: Folks generally dismiss technology.  The assumption is that the technology can provide for a vibrant community in terms of human aspects.  If you launch a community with a clear intention of who you want to communicate with, it will be much easier.

Kate: Honesty and transparency is important, and objectivity is key.  Have product managers make the community seem honest and objective.  You’re not going to have 100% happy people, that’s ok.  Position yourselves as “we want to hear it.”  It’ll open up the conversation for some really good feedback.

Chris: What trends have you seen in the space.

John: Once you get in, you have no idea how much things can change and how perspectives shift.  Trust your gut and expect change.  The second one is just getting it set up.  People tend to underestimate the design, buildout and launch phase and think it’s done much sooner than it is.  Folks tend to lean first on what they have in place internally, as opposed to hitting external sites such as Facebook

Kate: Many companies don’t have significant buy in from senior executives.  That’s crucial.  Sit back before you think about the technology, and think about what your main goal is.

Chris: Community seems like a luxury, rather than a necessity, why is it not?

Eric: It’s a necessity now.  If you’re not involved in the discussion about your brand, you’ll fail.

John: What do you turn to when the economy goes down, when bad stuff happens?  You turn to your relationships.  It’s the same for brands.  It takes a little more patience to build, but it will benefit you substantially in the long-run.

Kate: Word-of-Mouth is free and powerful.  It’s a great thing to fall on, especially in a recession.  A lot of these don’t cost anything.  If you can do something that rewards them, they’ll talk about you.  It’s basically free PR.

Bill: Take the money that you’d spend on two ad placements and put it toward building a vibrant community and it’ll benefit you immensely down the road.

Session: Selling Up - Convincing Senior Management about Social Media

Panelists: Brian Cavoli, VP of Agency Marketing of Digital Influence Group; Laura Fitton, Founder of Pistachio Consulting; Lawrence Liu, Director of Platform Strategy of Telligent.  Moderator: David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist of World Wide Rave.

David: Who do we convince them?

Laura: Step off about how cool this stuff is.  Be respectful of their positions, and demonstrate value.  If this stuff is handled correctly, we can show measurable results.

David: Lawrence, how might you have done stuff like this at Microsoft [previous company]?

Lawrence: Measurements and stats will matter more in the next year.  It will be interesting to see when people will stop asking about ROI and start focusing on doing more with the tools.

Brian: Social media has changed in the past few years, it’s become a lot more of a business decision and showing the impact it’ll have on business.  What’s it’s value?  It’s more of an economic discussion about what it’s bringing to the table.

David: What do you guys feel are the “right” things to measure?

Brian: It’s a whole new opportunity to measure.  You can really get to the quality of discussions as opposed to just straight data.  You have more than just things like volume.

Lawrence: Content is Queen and Conversion is King.  You can get down to a granular level with a lot of data.  There is a second level of metrics, and they will become more important.  Also, how many people are creating the content?  Not just using or receiving the content?

Laura:  Start with the business goals you’re trying to achieve.  Too many people are focused on little numbers.  Measure the business result, not what leads to that.

David: We know who should be creating the social media strategy, but who should be executing?

Laura: Everybody. In terms of budget, think first about what could be done better with some of these tools and then think about budget.

Brian: Every group in the organization can benefit from being involved.

Lawrence: There’s a ton of inertia going on with existing business processes with new ones that makes for really great opportunities.

David: Is there a policy that needs to be instituted within a company?

Brian: I think information about what can be done is good, but not necessarily a policy of what you can’t do.

Lawrence: Microsoft’s blogging policy is “Blog Smart.” Think also about when new people come on, training not just on standard policy, but on new tools a well.

David: The one most important tip to convince senior management of social media.  Mine is asking them when the last time that the management went to Google vs email.  They inevitably say Google.

Brian: Marketing efficiency of social media.

Laura: It has to be diagnostic.  Pull up Twitter search right in a client meeting and search their brand.  Tie it in directly.

Lawrence: Ask them if they know who your customers are?  most of them will not know (whether they admit it or not) and they will realize the opportunity for social media.

David: Should we be measuring all of these tool usages?

Laura: In the area of customer outreach, there are a lot of easy things you can be measuring.

Brian: You have to measure in order to know if these things are working.

Lawrence: Say that you can measure.  Once you show it, after a few months, you won’t have to.

David: Try it and just do it!

Session: Content Marketing - Delivering Value and Impacting Sales

Panelists: William Cava, CTO of Ektron; Darren Guarnaccia, VP of Product Marketing of Sitecore; John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka; Peter Nieforth, CEO of docmetrics.

Paul: What is Content Marketing?

Darren: About using content to drive behavior on your site.  Whatever you do in your business, using content to drive action and behavior on your site

Bill: From a marketing perspective, the ease of management and optimization of your website.  It’s impossible to manage information on the web using old school methods, content management is critical.

Peter: If you can measure it, you can manage it.

John: The creation of content that people want to consume and engage them in conversation at the point of consumption.

Paul: What is content?

Peter: Anything that your audience is looking to consume.  Look at what your audience is, and how they’re going to consume.

Paul: Is it something your audience is looking to consume, do they have a choice?

Peter: I think times are changing, people are consuming info in a whole new way, you have serve content to the audience in a way they’re looking to consume.

Paul: Is content management online only?

Darren: You have an experience, you get engaged, and you can do this anywhere, in-store or on the web.

Bill: The online presence is just a reflection of what the company is projecting offline.

Paul: What’s different between traditional marketing and content marketing?

John:  Traditional marketing is about blasting and pushing content.  Content marketing is more about content that people WANT to consume. Your job is to engage people that come to your site and want your information.

Darren: If you think about it as engagement, your website is a way to engage them online. Content gives you a view into who those people are, let’s you segment and let’s you speak to them.  You can’t do that with traditional marketing.  It’s a different way to interact with consumers.

Bill: Online marketing has the ability to hook into someone’s flow: you can tie into the tools they use on a day-to-day processes and connect to them there.

Paul: Who’s in charge of this?

Darren: Marketing team understands the customer the most.  You’re recruiting customers based on what they want to buy.

John: In today’s environment, everybody’s a marketer.  It could be the CEO, someone in customer service, or programmers.  It’s a representation of your company and core values.

Paul:  How do you bring inside people out in front of the customer without losing control?

Bill: Flock started publishing early content mockups on Flikr, and getting feedback from the community during their business processes.  Sometimes you do need to let go of control when you’re dealing with communities outside your website.

Paul: What sort of mindset has to happen to make that shift happen?  Posting content on the web before it’s “finished”?

Bill: If you’re looking to have a conversation with more control, do it on the company website.  You can do it in a way that has the level of control you’re comfortable with.

Darren: One client wanted to build a community to build trust with pet owners.  They let everyone upload videos and blog about their pets.  The goal was to drive the feelings of comfort and security about their pet, but they wanted to make sure there wasn’t inappropriate content, so they enabled tagging etc.  There were human controls in place that made the process feel comfortable for them, but still fostered customer emotion.

John: The media now helps company address controversial issues.  Engage in the conversation without being defensive or controversial.  It’s a different way of viewing content.

Paul: How do you know what will engage customers?

Peter: Measurement is key.  There are several ways you can measure what’s going on with your content.  If you’re not measuring it, how do you know how to respond to it?

Bill: Make sure you have an overall strategy.  Too many companies focus on the tactics instead of overall goals.

Darren: Engage your customers about their opinions.  What do they care about?  You can use all the analytics in the world, but sometimes just asking the question is the best way.  They may tell you which way to go.

Paul: How adept are marketers at thinking like publishers?

John: They’re not.  If Content is King, then Conversion is Queen.  Content may be important, but conversion is crucial.  Understand what publishing means now.  Many marketers just hear content, content, content.

Peter: I agree.

Paul: Is that a new skill set?

Darren: Part of this is mindset.  Think about the destinations (RSS feeds, outposts, etc), and packaging your content into a format that can be used on these outposts.

Audience Question: Why don’t we see more of this?  Why aren’t we seeing better content management?

Bill: People and organizations jumped in building a website in a way that wasn’t scalable.  People are moving over to this, but slowly.

Darren: It’s hard to use or over controlled sometimes, and it turns people off.  People haven’t caught on to being “open.”

John: There’s a misunderstanding of what the web can do for people.  It takes resources, but people don’t grip what it can do for them when managed properly.

Paul: What is a common mistake you see businesses making in the way they manage content or in content marketing?

Peter: They have a lot of content and they have no idea what getting up on there.  Give the value and then give them the option to give you information in return.

Bill: Marketers focusing so much on the analytics in spite of an overall strategy.  The second mistake is people underestimating the power of fresh content.  Updating content on a website frequently.

Darren: People don’t look at their website as a holistic experience channel.  They look at it as a hunk of brochure material.  Treat it as an experience.

John: Traditional Marketing says to test, but for some reason people aren’t doing that online.

Audience Question: Can you touch on the creation of good content?  Incorporating it into a workflow?

Darren: There’s understanding what’s great content in the workflow, and there are internal metrics about what is good content for the customer.  The way one client incentivizes internal content production is by rewarding them with positive customer feedback through a customer “rate this” option on each piece of content.

Peter: Marketing can do guerilla tactics.

Audience Question: Are there some examples on powerful content marketing?

John: While we don’t have a specific workflow, we hired a Marketing Genius, whose whole job is to review the whole organization and identify opportunities for content production. You have to staff it.

Peter: We hired a journalist who covers the .pdf world.  We’ve built relationships with this world to connect us with them.

Bill: Hiring someone is easy to do, because it’s hard to really estimate how

Paul: One idea or tool that people can take away to get more mileage out of their content please?

John: Video on YouTube and Vimeo.

Darren: Taking your assets as a hook into a show (like this) and bridge the information gap by informing people.  Use it as an “intimacy bridge.”

Bill: Event syndication, talk about events that your company is doing, and hook them into a feed.

Peter: We’ve had success, believe it or not, with press releases.

« Older entries