Tag Archives: Trigiani

Six marketing blogs that help you run your business

There is a great deal of content floating around on the Internet about marketing, especially when it comes to incorporating social media into the traditional marketing mix.  I find myself saving posts from these blogs on a regular basis.  In reading them, I find workable ideas for clients, whatever their size and scope.

MyVenturePad.  Written for the startup but appropriate for organizations at all stages.  The writers address all aspects of running a business.

Branding Strategy Insider.  Produced by The Blake Project, offers the best descriptions and guidelines for the branding process.  The writers also help to cut through the jargon.

Small Business Trends.  Good for anyone who wants to grasp marketing from the ground up — including corporate executives.  A useful tool for testing the performance of large marketing functions as well as building a marketing focus in a small or medium business.

MarketingTech Blog.  Writers well-grounded in social media, based in the US Midwest.  This blog provides a counter-balance to the echo chamber populated by the self-proclaimed social media gurus.

Radian6 blog.  How to make social media a rich channel for connecting with stakeholders.  The company offers clients a technology platform for engaging with stakeholders online and measuring the results.  The team also produces eBooks that are easy to digest.

HubSpot blog.  Inbound marketing focused.  That's the official term for the marketing processes focused on direct connection with a company's customers.  In its blog, HubSpot addresses the nitty-gritty aspects of managing these processes.

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Lessons from a leader who looked to heaven but kept his feet on the ground

Last month, FAST COMPANY blogger David Gardner shared a memorial tribute to Paul L Locatelli, SJ, the president of Santa Clara University who passed away after a two-month illness.  Father Locatelli was something of a legend in Northern California; I had heard of his talents in management and fundraising, but this eloquent eulogy by Mr Gardner explored the qualities of Father Locatelli's style in a way I hadn't seen.  Please take a moment to read it.

Here are the basics of Father Locatelli's approach to leadership, as captured by Mr Gardner, that I took away and will keep in front of me.

  • Commit fully to your company, from vision, to strategy, to execution
  • Make commitments, not promises
  • Be relentless in pursuing your goals and don't lose heart
  • Keep speeches short and idle time shorter, all the while moving to the next thing
  • Make a list and get it done
  • Feed your physical, mental and spiritual selves equally
  • Pay attention to the people in your circles by engaging wholeheartedly with them; make time for them always
  • Listen intently
  • When someone asks for help, find a way to do it without hesitation
  • Emphasize the opportunities in life
  • Look for a value that serves others as well as yourself and honor it through optimal performance

Supernova: My gleanings

What I learned today at Supernova.

Using knowledge networks to shift the way business absorbs change

Deloitte, under the leadership of John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, earlier this year released what I believe is a landmark study:  The 2009 Shift Index.  "Measuring the forces of long-term change," this work uncovers a new way to think about shifts in business and society and absorb them to maximum benefit for the organization.  What's more, the study illuminates the pressing need for business leaders to alter the way people interact inside the organization as well as with stakeholders, and it outlines a better way to measure performance.  Beyond product and service, the distinguishing characteristic of corporate output will be the way the knowledge of its people is put to use in products, services and daily interaction.  [And the study answers the question, "what is the big deal with Twitter."]

Hagel, a speaker at the upcoming Supernova conference, was interviewed recently by Cathy Brooks on The Social Media Hour.  He pointed to what is being born out in recent news coverage of this recession:  many jobs won't be coming back and the complacent view that upturn is inevitable will marginalize even the most sound companies.  The good news:  the organizations that harness the flow of knowledge among employees and with stakeholders will thrive.  

  • Digital technologies and long-term public public policy shifts are the key factors affecting the way companies perform and interact.
  • The source of economic value is shifting from knowledge stocks to knowledge flows, making the ability to connect a key value driver.
  • The economic playing field is fundamentally different from what we have assumed for decades; established practices are not working in public companies.
  • We now have the capacity and potential to connect into knowledge flows in ways that can turn around deteriorating performance.
  • Social media gives both individuals and enterprises a richer way to connect and share knowledge, making it a significant part of the solution to deteriorating performance, especially in terms of creating scale for knowledge flows.  Over time, because we're still in the early stage, the social media revolution will increase the number of active contributors in the world's knowledge flow.
  • The enterprise's most passionate people are often the most unsatisfied.  They see the most potential but also feel the most constraint in the traditional corporate environment.  As competition intensifies, companies need more passionate people, not clock punchers.  Companies must learn to align passion with profession.

Those of us who already have concluded that this recession is actually a correction and the gateway to a truly magical intersection of society and business must take the data of The Shift Index and run with it.  Armed with this information, we have before us the kind of opportunity that distinguishes one historical era from the next.  A golden age?  A gold standard?  Knowledge is platinum for the people and organizations that welcome reality and appreciate the economic value of connecting in new ways to serve customers and society.

This post runs simultaneously on the Supernova Hub.

Liberty Mutual at BlogHer

When I was at BlogHer last weekend, I was pleased to find a Liberty Mutual booth.  The company runs my most favorite television commercials today, the ones that show people helping each other along a theme of personal responsibility.  Powerful humanity without the schmaltz.  It's remarkable how thought provoking the content is within the short timeframe.  The commercials are part of a larger campaign called The Responsibility Project.

The company was at BlogHer as a sponsor and to do some more outreach on its campaign.  Liberty's PR firm, Ketchum, had folks manning the booth. I asked the Ketchum people to give me some background on the Responsibility Project, and here's what they wrote:

"Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility
Project was a sponsor of this year’s 2009 BlogHer conference. The Project was
created in 2008 and uses entertainment content to create a forum for people to
discuss what responsibility means to them. The Responsibility Project has
covered a number of topics including parenting, education and the environment,
among others.  The  Project never takes a stand on what we feel is
right or wrong – we are simply creating a forum for discussion. Knowing that
BlogHer ’09 would be a strong gathering, Liberty Mutual decided to sponsor the
event and present an opportunity for influential women to voice their opinions
and join the discussion on what it means to 'do the right thing.'"

Rather than just hand out toys, Liberty conducted a survey — and not just on responsibility in general but on the responsibility of bloggers.

With the FTC looking into the question of bloggers accepting products for review and whether there's some underhanded quid pro quo happening, the Liberty Mutual survey featured a quick but interesting set of questions about things like the proposed FTC revisions to the Guidelines for Endorsements and Testimonials, sponsored blog posts and appropriate blog content.  I asked the PR reps to share the results.  Here they are.

  • 98 percent believe it's acceptable to receive a free product
  • A majority of participants cited transparency, disclosure and honesty as key caveats to receiving free products and to writing sponsored posts
  • 84 percent say that honesty is a key trait of a responsible blogger, followed by transparency — 66 percent, and reliable sources — 56 percent.

Liberty also conducted video interviews of bloggers, and Ketchum shared the link.  Click here.

I'm not sure yet what I think of these results, except to say that the more we can discern between bloggers and journalists, the better. We are just at the beginning of this process, however, so patience is key.

By the way:  BlogHer itself was a fun, interesting experience.  It is terrific to see so many people dedicated to writing and to exercising their franchise for free speech as well as building rock-solid businesses.  It was a good weekend for seeing the right kind of branding, from participants, to sponsors, to BlogHer itself.

Social media and business strategy: Integrating around a dynamic website

Part 3 of 3.  The KickApps
seminar I attended last month yielded a wealth of information, from
both advisors and corporate marketing people, about what to do with
social media if you're a company.  For the next three posts, I'm
sharing what I took away from the afternoon.  [To become a member of
KickApps own social network, click here.  You'll be able to watch the videos of the seminar presentations.]

These brief points are compiled from the excellent presentations made by Alex Blum of KickApps, Dylan Boyd of eROI, James Mastan of Blue Rain Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester, and Sandy Carter of IBM.

Integrate social media into every campaign

  • Always integrate — never segregate — social media, and always think of it as an element of your overall marketing effort.
  • Make listening to the user — consulting the user — a key activity during product development.  And do a lot of betas.
  • Identify the folks who seem to influence the rest of the community and converse with them.

Identify the elements appropriate for your marketing strategy

  • Figure out which tools are used by the majority of your stakeholders — users, customers, influencers.
  • Learn the language — the words — your customers use to talk about your product
  • View downloads as a metric; they are a measure of interest.
  • Add widgets and an RSS feed.
  • Put your own people on the website.
  • Choose metrics carefully.  Be particular about the metrics that tell you the most about what you
    want to know.  There's no one formula.  You have to play with this a
    bit.  Start by building a profile of the qualities and credentials that
    define a credible response from a customer or stakeholder.  In other
    words, for metrics, build a credibility engine that gathers the most
    important comments.

Identify the tactics appropriate for your marketing execution

  • Put tips and tricks in headlines around the site, including related sites such as blogs and networks.
  • If you have a boxed product, do an unboxing video — they're big right now.
  • When you create a community, start small.  Identify the alpha users
    — they will be the influencers over time.  Give existing members the
    ability to extend beta invitations.  Use pin-coded invitations and even
    handwritten notes. 
  • As the community grows, find community managers from within it.  
  • Pilot changes to your website in a contained environment — and
    remember that looking home grown is appropriate if not advantageous.
  • Avatars have five times the click through rate than regular ad-style features.
  • Twitter is food for announcements, Facebook is food for the persona.
  • When you're doing gift certificates, start small and ratchet up the value — it creates anticipation and demand.

The bottom line:  Understand the new basics of marketing as rendered by social media

No one is an expert — some of this is by instinct.

Be transparent about your features.  For example, if a character is a persona or fictional, say so; just make sure it has a unique voice.

Make sure your tone is pitch perfect for the stakeholders with whom you share ideas and information.

If you're a sales person from way back, just remember that this is a long sales cycle — but it's potentially just as rich.

Communicate personally to help each person in your community feels special.

Think
lifestyle — understand intimately the people that are interested in
your brand, products and services and build a set of experiences around
their expectations and behavior.

Listen
to the voice of the user/stakeholder/customer and incorporate their
wishes in your strategy.  One way is to create an advisory council
whose conclusions will speak volumes to the company folks who don't
necessarily want to take the next step forward with building a more
social website or building social media into a marketing strategy.

Always keep people at the center of this equation — and make sure the technology you use serves them.

When
adding talent to your team, look at case studies of what they've done
in the past and consider them in the context of what you want to
accomplish.  The magic of social media comes not from the tools but
from what you do with them — how you tailor their use to your specific
situation.  This magic needs no slight-of-hand.

Social media and business strategy: The dynamic website

Part 2 of 3.  The KickApps
seminar I attended last month yielded a wealth of information, from
both advisors and corporate marketing people, about what to do with
social media if you're a company.  For the next three posts, I'm
sharing what I took away from the afternoon.  [To become a member of
KickApps own social network, click here.  You'll be able to watch the videos of the seminar presentations.]

These brief points are compiled from the excellent presentations made by Alex Blum of KickApps, Dylan Boyd of eROI, James Mastan of Blue Rain Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester, and Sandy Carter of IBM.

Make your website more open to viral discovery

  • Customize it — not just the design but its searchability and usability

  • Focus on content that is yours — differentiate

  • Enable syndication via widgets

Integrate your website planning into your overall marketing strategy

  • Use tools that enable you to graph your user data

  • Let your branding approach give your website its context

  • Make it easy for visitors to interact with you and your brand —
    build a community or better yet, give users the ability to grow one
    organically

  • Make sure your strategy accommodates the fact that your
    communities will define your products — so don't try to control the
    communities, just be part of them and help to seed the networks within
    them

  • Craft  your website in such a way that it helps your community
    experience not just your products but the Web itself more vibrantly

  • Remember that community members trust each other more than they trust marketers

Consider three important social tools for the website

  • A wiki — a great way for customers to contribute their ideas

  • BOTs — to increase clickthrough — but use them sparingly because that's their power

  • An independent social network around your product