The purpose of this post is to clearly delineate the distinct differences between strategy and tactics, and show how they work in tandem for your organization.
Often, we use the terms strategy and tactics interchangeably and in a haphazard manner. When probing at online definitions and dictionaries, they often share many of the same characteristics, making them difficult to differentiate. Rather than debate Greek military etymology, Sun Tzu philosophy, or latest publications from the Harvard Business Press, here’s a simple way to look at strategy and tactics by their associated actions:
[The difference between strategy and tactics: strategy is done above the shoulders, tactics are done below the shoulders]
While a tweet-worthy catch phrase, this metaphor risks glib over-simplification. To explore deeper, let’s dissect strategy vs tactics in the following breakdown:
Breakdown: The Difference between Strategy and Tactics
||To identify clear broader goals that advance the overall organization and organize resources.
||To utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission.
||Individuals who influence resources in the organization. They understand how a set of tactics work together to achieve goals.
||Specific domain experts that maneuver limited resources into actions to achieve a set of goals.
||Held accountable to overall health of organization.
||Held accountable to specific resources assigned.
||All the resources within the organizations, as well as broader market conditions including competitors, customers, and economy. Yet don’t over think it, to paraphrase my business partner Charlene Li, “Strategy is often what you don’t do”.
||A subset of resources used in a plan or process. Tactics are often specific tactics with limited resources to achieve broader goals.
||Long Term, changes infrequently.
||Shorter Term, flexible to specific market conditions.
||Uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication.
||Uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams.
||Produces clear organizational goals, plans, maps, guideposts, and key performance measurements.
||Produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, time.
Strategy and Tactics Must Work in Tandem
These two must work in tandem, without it your organization cannot efficiently achieve goals. If you have strategy without tactics you have big thinkers and no action. If you have tactics without strategy, you have disorder. To quote my former business partner, Lora Cecere, she reminds me that organizations need big wings (strategic thinking) and feet (capability to achieve).
To illustrate, here’s some specific examples across different industries of how strategic goals can be communicated with clear tactical elements, in a linear and logical order:
- Strategy: Be the market share leader in terms of sales in the mid-market in our industry. Tactics: Offer lower cost solutions than enterprise competitors without sacrificing white-glove service for first 3 years of customer contracts.
- Strategy: Maneuver our brand into top two consideration set of household decision makers. Tactics: Deploy a marketing campaign that leverages existing customer reviews and spurs them to conduct word of mouth with their peers in online and real world events.
- Strategy: Improve retention of top 10% of company performers. Tactics: Offer best in market compensation plan with benefits as well as sabbaticals to tenured top performers, source ideas from top talent.
- Strategy: Connect with customers while in our store and increase sales. Tactics: Offer location based mobile apps on top three platforms, and provide top 5 needed use cases based on customer desire and usage patterns.
- Strategy: Become a social utility that earth uses on an daily basis. Tactics: Offer a free global communication toolset that enables disparate personal interactions with your friends to monitor, share, and interact with.
Action: Using Strategy and Tactics to advance your Organization
First, educate your staff and colleagues on the differences of terms and how they vary. Next, ensure that all tactics align to business strategy, and all strategies take into account tactics on how they will be achieved. Finally, cascade in all communication how strategy and tactics work in tandem, advancing how your organization can see the larger goals, and better utilize resources to achieve.
That’s my take, but please expand the conversation with your perspective, in the comments below.
Image credit: “Telescope” by Kristin Marshall, used within creative commons licensing.
The purpose of this post is to serve as an industry reference for converged media workflows: How companies will coordinate paid, owned and earned as one orchestration. This is continued coverage on Converged Media, read the full report.
Customers already experience advertising, corporate content, editorial, and social media at the same time, often in an integrated manner, although most brands do not approach the experience in one deployment. As Facebook, Twitter deploy social ads that utilize earned and owned content amplified by paid, these worlds are quickly merging. Brands that want to achieve the best experience for their customers in digital channels must approach in an integrated converged method, and understand how to utilize each channel’s strength. Brands that don’t have these workflows are at risk for inefficiency, and give agencies an opportunity to lead. Brands that produce these workflows working with agency and software partners can deliver an orchestrated experience.
Converged Media Workflows Represent Complexity in a Simple Graphic
This is continuing coverage of research I’m conducting with Rebecca Lieb (Bio, Blog, Twitter, Books), my co-author on this report as well as Jessica Groopman (Bio, Twitter), researcher. I recommend you first read the whole report on Converged Media (Paid, Owned, and Earned), in which we didn’t go into depth into the workflow that we found. As the industry starts to combine these often disparate channels, we’ll see new forms of workflows emerge that coordinate all these channels. Don’t be fooled by these simple diagrams, as each step transcends a different channel, intense coordination is required on brand side, agency side, as well as software. A new ecosystem of players will also converge in order to serve this new workflow, and professionals that run to meet this future need now will be ahead in their careers over those that do not.
Definition: A Converged Media Workflow is a simple yet comprehensive diagram that represent complex streams that coordinate paid, owned, and earned channels in a holistic manner across an entire customer experience –beyond a siloed approach. As a result, the entire customer experience has a greater net benefit to customers and brands than individual deployments.
Start with Strategy
Companies should not approach the Converged Media approach without first having a goal in mind, as there are significant changes that happen both internally, with agency partners, and new software requirements. To get the most return in your effort, start by:
- Have a Content Strategy that Works Across Paid, Owned, and Earned. Re-purposing the same content on each channel is not s recipe for success, as each provides a unique opportunity, challenge, and therefore approach. Instead, develop a broader Content Strategy by first understanding that all companies (even those selling widgets) are now media companies. Secondly, develop a strategy by understanding how to rebalance your marketing equation by developing a content strategy. Read Rebecca’s blog with many resources on this topic, or the specific report on Content Marketing to further understand this growing trend. New roles, content coordination, and the ability to track all of these content changes across the enterprise will emerge, as well as new professional opportunities for those that are seeking to grow.
- Expect Savvy Marketers to have Playbooks –Supplemented by Agency Partners. Don’t expect to brands to recreate a new workflow each time from scratch, we’ve started to collect some of the workflows below, and expect that many agencies and brands will develop playbooks and bring them forth in the planning stage. Don’t overly rely on the same play, as competitors may exploit the same play time and time again, so expect flexibility based on what the data tea leaves are reading. When selecting a converged media workflow, ensure that it spans both paid, owned and earned channels, but also looks at media sites, social networks, microsites, brand sites and hosted communities. Ensure these are also representing a global perspective, and consider how it can impact multiple product sets within the brand.
- Be Ready: Significant Industry Changes Ahead in Brand, Agency and Software. While the research report goes into greater depth on the predicted changes coming, we see a few significant changes to the entire ecosystem. Inside of brands, the marketing department will start to restructure outside of silos so that the advertising group, corporate communication, brand marketing, and social media teams start to work together on a more frequent basis. Then, we expect marketing leadership to demand that agency partners come together to look at converged media from one strategic viewpoint –digital agencies that lead this discussion will be in a position of power over those that do not. Lastly, new software solutions are starting manifest including from Adobe Digital Marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing, Bazaarvoice, Lithium, ThisMoment, IBM, ExactTarget, and a host others of suites that I’m tracking. Expect a network of software point players to assemble and connect to each other –in order to counter the suites.
Altimeter’s Research Found a Workflow Pattern
There are many workflows –this is just the most common one, although we know many more will emerge. Altimeter conducted research with 34 ecosystem contributors and continue to take briefings and share this workflow with others. Depending on who you speak with, you’ll find different emphasize on different parts of the workflow.
Above: Altimeter found a workflow pattern based on 34 interviews, while we heard a variation on workflow patterns, this one was common, read the full report to learn more.
Matrix: Breakdown of One Converged Media Workflow
||What You Need
||What No One Tells You
|Real-Time Measurement & Iteration (Center item)
||This is a baseline requirement across all phases. This internal center effort is apart from periodic reporting, as it should be gauging in real time the performance of all paid, owned, and earned channels and allow for rapid iteration. Don’t expect this team to be able to see the forest through the trees as they peer in closely, so ensure the periodic reporting phase is included –you need both.
||Real time measurements require a sane way to communicate these changes to the company, by providing daily wrap ups, trend diagrams, and maybe even real time tickers. Barry Judge, former CMO of Best Buy told me he has a digital ticker in his office with all mentions of his company so he can make iterative changes in real time.
|Periodic Strategic Analysis and Reporting (Top)
||If your effort is kicking off, start by conducting analysis of what’s happened in earned, and owned channels. We often heard from interviews that earned tells you what target market is saying or where they are, which informs owned. However in most cases, launches were built off existing products so analysis on owned was common. This analysis should be conducted looking back several periods (months to years).
||In addition to seeing what your customers say, analyze what’s being said of competitors and what they’ve said. Find out what’s resonated and what has not and why. Follow colleague Susan Etlinger to learn more.
|Content Strategy (Clockwise)
||Often companies jump to decide what they say, without analyzing what people want to hear, and that’s why the prior phase on analysis and reporting was a requirement. Companies can now develop a content strategy, but should understand how it changes and varies depending on the following variables: product type, geography, channel, screen, and source of information. Note that this spans many internal teams from corp comm, brand marketing, media buying, social media team and all related agency partners.
||To try to focus on a consolidated content strategy across all of the permutations (we call this the Dynamic Customer Journey) get focused on the top persona behaviors in each of the three channels and top screens. Get focused.
|Publication Across Channels
||This phase requires both internal governance on message and engagement orchestration that includes communication, internal collaboration, a series of meetings, a clear leader and the tools to support. We’re currently seeing a variety of tools from CMS, media network management, and social media management system (SMMS) technologies span this environment.
||Agency and brand stakeholders are seeking collaboration tools that will span all teams, in particular, watch how PBworks and Adobe Creative Cloud develop to serve these real time needs.
||Real time measurement and iteration (center item) should be occurring as a baseline, as a result, post-publication, teams will identify hot paths and hot conversations where content is resonating. Then, teams should invest in sending in content experts, community managers, product leads, executives, or influencers to trigger further discussion.
||Don’t limit engagement to only when a hot discussion is occurring, but set a baseline in monitoring and engagement. Consider how many brands are already deploying Command Centers (focused on social now, but quickly going broader)
||New media units have been on the rise from Facebook and Twitter in the form of social ads. These units often can be promoted based upon resonating with earned or owned content in social networks. Double and triple down on content that’s resonating to reach a broader audience, or tap into the social graph by allowing those involved to share with their networks.
||Social ads are not limited to social networks alone. Bazaarvoice has already launched social ads “media” product that aggregates ratings and reviews into IAB approved units. Expect new media networks to emerge that support social content.
||Nothing is static in this real time world –even your umbrella messaging and tag lines. Understand that messaging must evolve and change in real time to meet needs the changes of the market. Savvy marketers will know when to bend, by involving customers into these process –and know when to stay on overall message to lead market to a new stance in positioning.
||New tools will emerge that allow customers/end users to help collaborate in creating future messages and integrating across all channels. Watch Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle for tools that can enable this at the enterprise level.
||The workflow is a circle and in this workflow, the cycle should continue repeat, fueling consistent and constant content across coordinated channels.
||What we don’t know is how often this cycle will repeat, as there isn’t industry data on how fast this process can occur.
Notable Industry Converged Workflows
Altimeter has obtained a few of these workflows through online search, slideshare, as well as received content from contributors. I’ll continue to add notable examples as I see them overtime, please leave comments below.
Above: Edelman’s David Armano shows a workflow between Paid Owned Earned
Analyst Note: This early diagram quickly delineates a workflow among channels focusing on strength of each
Social Marketing and Engagement, Slideshare
by David J Carr (twitter, blog), Digital Strategy Director, Chemistry Communications
Analyst Note: The integration of social listening, social engagement, email, website and communities
Social Marketing and Engagement, Slideshare
by David J Carr (twitter, blog), Digital Strategy Director, Chemistry Communications
Analyst Note: The integration between multiple channels both from awareness push to engagement and across screens
Related Resources on Converged Media Workflows
I sifted through many online resources, found a few select pieces here, leave comments below, I’ll add to this over time.
- Slideshare Using Earned, Owned, Paid by Ford’s Scott Monty.
- Interactions, Engagement & Ecosystems by David Armano.
- David Carr Digital Fragments, which I referenced above, by David Carr.
- Workflows around Dove Case Study (cross channel, cross screen), see portfolio by David Carr
- Mr./Ms. CMO — tear down these walls! by Scott Brinker.
- Graphic on Paid Owned Earned by Dr Matt McDougall
- Case study of Huggies in HK (video), using social, FB, physical display by Ogilvy and Mather
- Infographic: Social Media Impact Across Bought, Owned and Earned Media by Spredfast.
- What’s old is new again: Earned Media can be your Hub by Todd Defren, head of Shift.
- Excerpts of Paid Owned Earned Book. This book was foundational to my research as it dissects each channel by Nick Burcher.
- Defining Paid, Owned, Earned, by former colleague Sean Corcoran.
- 10 steps to reinvent media strategy (new post) by Todd Defren
- Hybrid Theory was foundational thinking on how converged needs to occur in marketing, read this three part series by colleague Brian Solis
- Womma has shared this workflow, by Dana Oshiro
- Paid > Earned > Owned > Earned > Paid > Owned > Paid > Earned by colleague Rebecca Lieb.
Today, most workflows are limited to individual channel deployment and lack a holistic view of the entire customer experience. We found few public workflows in our quest, but see more emerging in briefings with software marketing companies and agency leads. Expect that a playbook will emerge from lead agencies and digital marketing suites that outline how all these channels and efforts work in a consolidated way. New opportunities for the emergence of a new market, professionals, strategists, and software and agency partners will emerge, and those that lead will have more opportunity to shape the conversation over those that follow.
I look forward to the dialog as this space evolves, please leave a comment with your point of view, or URLs to related Converged Media workflows.
Web Strategists, I wanted to thank you all for being so involved in the comments, reading, and sharing the Web Strategy blog over the past years. As you often hear me discuss how orginizations must involve their own customers and marketplace involved in their feedback loops, I want to also live that as best as I can. I’m embarking on yet another blog redesign, working with Engage Sciences (Design), and Mitch from StudioNashVegas (Development, in the next phase), to build the next generation of this website. As I’ve done in the past, I always want to involve you, the customers, as part of the feedback loop.
I’d love your feedback in the following three comps, using discussion points loosely around the required JJG’s Five Elements of UX which I’ve adopted many times:
- Look and feel: Branding. Out of the three comps, which one best fits my brand and that of the community?
- Interface and Interaction design: Does it look easy to use some of the interactive pieces to find and navigate to information?
- Information Design: In the classical IA sense, is the information displayed in a way that makes it easy to read, find, and consume?
The other 2 elements (content and strategy) remain constant from previous posts, but you can see the below comps have a greater focus on the content assets (speeches, reports, webinars, slides, infographics) beyond just text.
Here’s three distinct comps for your review:
(note: I updated so when clicking on thumbnail you are advanced to full size image)
Wireframe 1: Professional personal brand. This design would feature more of the ‘personal brand’ or ‘career brand’ as I prefer to say, and could have more pictures of me. While I’m a bit bashful to push that too hard (as I’d rather have the focus be on content, not me) it’s a concept the team wanted to try. You can see this variation that has images as the BG, but I worry about sending the wrong message (larger than life ego) and of course readability.
Wireframe 2: Corporate Ready: True to my business focus, and those I serve in the world’s largest corporations. The navigation elements are easier to use and centralized, and there’s dedicated features for reviewing content assets towards the bottom. Also notice the decreasing ‘content funnel’ with the latest post in largest form, then they reduce in size as older content decrescendos.
Wireframe 3: Fresh and Friendly. This one is a real departure from the others shown, or anything done to date. While the color palette can easily be changed, the goal is to really allow fresher perspective that’s warmer and inviting, and using a different layout. Assume the ‘colored fan’ would be replaced by a graphical element suitable for the overall brand, that’s just a placeholder.
You can see all the wireframes here in the full flickr set, provided by Engage Sciences team.
I really look forward to your feedback below, I’ll read and respond to as many comments as possible, as well as the design and development team. We’ll make some final tweaks based on your feedback then move into development cycles and prepare for dev testing then production launch.
A few years ago, I wrote a controversial post suggesting corporate websites were irrelevant. Why? Decisions were being made off-domain by customers and peers. Secondly, many marketers were trying to get customers to go to their corporate website versus joining where they already are, “Fish where the fish are.”
Today, I’m pleased to see that the thinking –and technology, has emerged, where we’re finding a variety of companies that are integrating social technologies right into the corporate website, bringing the trusted discussions closer to the corporate site. In fact, I’m kicking off the Gilbane CMS conference in SF as the keynote, and will be sharing this deck live on stage.
Although the highest state of nirvana (seamless integration) doesn’t yet exist, we should expect there to be very little difference between social technologies and corporate websites as content will assemble on the fly. I predict URLs won’t matter, as content will be dynamically assembled around the buyer and their context in a variety of devices. Sure, that’s far out thinking now, but that’s why we have several other stage gates that companies must first go through.
In fact, use this presentation (loosely modeled after a post of the same topic) as a roadmap for brands, web strategists, and the vendors that serve them. Feel free to use these slides with attribution.
Thanks to our head of Research, Christine Tran for her assistance.
Many Brands That Adopt Social Are ‘Throwing Away’ Hard Earned Traffic
Many brands are jumping on the social media bandwagon, without giving proper thought about the impacts to their marketing effort. In particular, many brands are putting ‘social chicklets’ on their homepage to “Follow us on Twitter” or “Friend us on Facebook” without considering the ramifications.
[Brands that arbitrarily adopt social tools may be unknowingly undermining their own efforts. Instead, first understand the full ramifications as you integrate social with your corporate website. Secondly, have a clear roadmap]
Marketers spend millions of dollars to get people to visit their corporate website, so why would they be so quick to send them away? Use this strategy matrix to help make your decisions. Be deliberate by first understanding the ramifications:
Matrix: Evolution of Social Media Integration and Corporate Websites
|1) Do nothing, no social integration
||Corporate websites that have no integration with social tools at all.
||Cheap. Ignorance is bliss, at least in the short term
||Your corporate website is irrelevant.
|2) Link directly away without a strategy
||Corporate homepages that have chickelts that say “Follow us on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube” sending traffic away, see sharethis, add this and tweetmeme
||Encourages growth of social channels
||Sending traffic away, without having a strategy
|3) Link away, but encourage them to share with a pre-populated message
||A chicklet that encourages new Twitter followers to Tweet at their friends “I’m now following X brand”
||Triggers a social alert as a form of endorsement
||Better than the above, it may not have a followup or call to action
|4) Brand experience is integrated in social channels
||Extending the brand to social channels, so the corporate experience is somewhat mirrored on social channels
||Regardless of wherever users go, they are still experiencing the brand
||Social channels sometimes serve better as a conversational area –not for traditional branding campaigns
|5) Aggregating the discussion on your site
||Aggregating select conversations from Tweets like the skittles homepage did, top discussions in communities or blogs, see Disqus and Echo.
||Centralizes the discussion on your site, making it a resource to first look at. Low cost content
||Lack of control over which content can be created, still links off site
|6) Social login systems that allow users to stay on site
||Using FB connect, or Twitter connect allow users to use their existing logins to access site, see how JanRain and Gigya (client) helps
||May increase sign ups, widening marketing funnel, chances are content is more accurate than a sign up form
||May not have access to email addresses, as users passthrough using social logins.
|7) Social login systems that allow users to stay on site, but triggers viral loop
||In addition to the above, there’s an actual social or interactive experience on the corporate site that triggers them to share with their friends
||Users stay on site, interact with brand or peers, yet recruit other members in social networks
||Requires planning, a campaign, and extensive resources.
|8. Complete integration between corporate site and social sites
||Other than URLs there’s no difference between a corporate site and a social site, the experiences are seamless
||Customers, prospects, and employees mix together, churning on new members and viral activity
||It doesn’t exist, yet.
Be Deliberate: Use This Roadmap For Your Web Strategy
Use this guide to map your current situation and where you plan to go, copy and paste the framework into your corporate planning deck, and identify where your assets are now. Get actionable by taking these three steps:
- Take inventory of current corporate website assets. Social strategists must determine what level of sophistication they are at now, and document in their project plans. Take inventory of all corporate web assets and tag with this framework.
- Identify what the desired state is, and then build a plan against it. Note that the further you go down in sophistication, the more resources and stakeholder buyin are needed. Start small and slow, and be sure to have a strategy.
- Don’t arbitrarily jump into the to social marketing space without measurable KPIs. Be deliberate in your actions. Indicate on paper what the measurable goals are and how they’ll tie back to business metrics: Increase brand awareness, increase leads, increase site conversion.
Once you’re ready to get actionable, and are ready to integrate the technologies, see this important matrix of Roadmap: Make Your Corporate Websites Relevant by Integrating Facebook, Google, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Companies Must Approach Social Programs In A Coordinated Effort
Many companies are enthralled by the opportunity to use social technologies to connect with customers, yet many lack a plan or coordinated effort. Additionally, things are going to get more difficult as they don’t realize that as consumers and employees rapidly adopt these tools the level of complexity increases across the organization. While it’s easy to get caught up on the specific new technologies that are constantly emerging, companies should focused on business trends and themes in 2010. In particular, companies must develop a business strategy based on customer understanding, put the baseline resources in place to get your company ready, deliver a holistic experience to customers –and build advocacy programs and anticipate customer need.
Open Research: You can download the slides from slideshare, and use with attribution for non-commercial reasons.
To Be Successful, Companies Should Focus On Four Key Trends
While there are many themes in 2010 for companies, II focused in on the four key themes companies must focus on:
1) Don’t fondle the hammer. Understand customers, focus on objectives, not develop strategies based on ever-changing tools. Companies really need to understand their customers first, see our recorded webinar to learn more.
2) Live the 80% rule. This is a movement: get your company ready. 80% of success is getting the right organizational model, roles, processes, stakeholders, and teams assembled –only 20% should be focused on technology.
3) Customers don’t care what department you’re in. Customers just want their problem fixed, they don’t care what department you’re in. Yet, now, nearly every department can have a direct relationship with your customers using social tools. As a result, provide customers with a holistic experience Start to investigate how brand monitoring, community tools and CRM systems are merging.
4) Real time is *not* fast enough. Companies cannot scale when it comes to social media, for most companies, you cannot hire enough people to monitor and respond to the conversation, As a result, lean on advocates, by building unpaid armies, and anticipate customer needs through advanced listening techniques.
This event was hosted last night at the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association nice redesign, and hosted by Adobe (disclosure: an Altimeter client). I was later joined by Jeannette Gibson, social media executive of global marketing at Cisco, Ed Terpening, VP of Social Media at Wells Fargo, Maria Povermo, leading Social Media in Marketing at Adobe, and Rob Fuggetta of Zuberance to have a lively panel on how they are using these technologies. The event was recorded, I’ll add a link as soon as it becomes available.
Text translations now in Japanese
Know The Upsides –And Downsides Of Your Adoption Behavior
Individuals and companies should be deliberate in their adoption strategy, there are benefits and risks to each category. It’s been interesting watching different group adopt social technologies over the past few years, I can see who benefits from being first –and the pains to be a thought leader of both individuals and companies.
Above, this is the standard Rogers Adoption Curve, it’s important to point out that my matrix below only is in context of social technologies, it will vary from technology to technology. I found this take on the adoption stages of social technologies helpful in framing how I thought about the following matrix. I built this following matrix in the context of social technologies and adoption by both individuals and mixed in with organizations and industries.
Matrix: Social Technology Adoption Curve Benefits –and Downsides
||These brave souls take on new technologies, trial them, then will often evangelize them. I’d put those that adopted Twitter in 2006. or any entrepreneurs that creates new technologies fitting into these categories. From a corporate perspective, Dell was forced into this arena, and has benefited.
||Glory for being first, a thought and practice leader.. Will have learned from their mistakes, and have far more experience than any others. Will always be able to tout they were first.
||Very costly in terms of time, effort to find new technologies that are often flawed. Additionally, since innovation becomes cheaper and more accessible, this becomes more difficult as more entrants to the market launch products. Lastly, while these folks may be first for some technologies, they are often wrong for the many other technologies that did not take off.
||This behavior is exhibited by those that try out new technologies in a careful way, often thought leaders. Some analyst firms like Forrester adopted early, and the Tech industry deployed social. Agencies like Edelman, Razorfish have helped their clients.
||Learn from the failures of innovators, they reduce risk. Often they have the opportunity to explain how it works to others. Become the case studies that other groups follow
||Never first, and have to write the playbooks. They may adopt, but at higher costs than the majorities as the technology has not matured. Tech companies adopted social in 2005-2007 as an early industry, but a lack of measurement, and rapid tool change required great effort to stay current.
||Although thoughtful in their deployment, they adopt faster than the mainstream. in 2009, we saw industries like consumer packaged goods, finance, and healthcare adopt social technologies. I think of when mainstream Oprah joining Twitter as a defining moment as she was ahead of most celebrities and media.
||Technology starts to mature, reducing risk and costs. Standards emerge, although this group gets to help define mainstream adoption.
||Some of the cool factor leaves, and brands start to move in on social technologies, scaring off some innovators.
||This skeptical group only adopts when the mainstream does. Industries that only got on board with social when Obama, mainstream press, or celebrity adoption occurred fit here. Companies adopting in 2009 and beyond.
||Reduced risk from learning from who’s done it right and wrong, as well as benefits from standard proccesses, and consolidation of vendors.
||Not seen as thought leaders and don’t benefit from the residual buzz from being ‘cool’, instead come across as a ‘me too’./td>
||Still cautions in deployment, even after the technology has become mainstream. These folks will adopt social technologies in 2010 or later.
||Cookie cutter deployment from standardization and very little risk. Deployment may actually be faster and with less effort than those above.
||In balance with lower risk, lower opportunity for reward. No thought leadership, and little additional reputation or buzz value from the intended investment.
Matrix: Be Deliberate In Your Adoption Strategy
Each category has specific benefits and risks, but rather than just behaving in a way that comes natural, I encourage you in your personal and work adoption to be deliberate in your actions.
- Examine your organizations adoption patterns. First, define how quickly your organization responds and adopts to technologies, and factor into your considerations.
- Be a Category Ahead Of Your Company. If you’re responsible for new technologies at your company, your personal adoption should be a level or two ahead of the organizations adoption, as you cannot effectively deploy for your company if you don’t personally understand the impacts of the new technologies.
- Track The Category Ahead Of You. Find an individual that’s above your adoption category (the early adopter watches the innovator) and be sure to watch their behaviors and learn from them. Adopters are often blazing their own trail, and may not ever follow anyone.
My Strategy: Early Adopter –But Not Innovator
One thing is clear, being first doesn’t mean you’re right, in fact, the Innovators have a difficult time dealing with early and late majority, paving roads of opportunity for analysis, agencies, and consultants. As a result, I make a distinct effort to be an early adopter of new social technologies, but not the innovator, as I find I’d rather be more often right, and expend less energy trying to be first.
Leave a Comment. Share Your Adoption Strategy
Let’s learn from each other, I’d like to know about your adoption behavior and that of your company. Were you deliberate in choosing your adoption strategy? How does it hurt or help your company?
Local Businesses Can Benefit From Mobile Social Networks
The nearly mainstream social web is now evolving and graduating to mobile devices. This emerging space of mobile-based social networks are empowering customers to find the best venues and prices, and offering savvy companies unique ways to cater to this new medium. Yet, despite the emergence of applications like FourSquare, Yelp, and recently launched GoWalla, there are risks as customers talk directly to each other and opportunities for businesses who harness the tools. Local businesses should approach the mobile social networking space by first listening to their customers, responding to commenters, provide special offers to advocates, and prepare for pricing to be impacted.
Mobile Social Network Offers Discounts Based On Location
Using FourSquare, a location based social network, I ‘checked in’ to the movie theatre indicator to my friends my location. Immediately after the application identified my approximate location it offered a ‘special nearby’ which I clicked. The Savvy Cellar Wine Bar offered me 50% off a wine flight to a store 2 blocks away. Using both my general location using 3GS on the iPhone and my explicit checkin to the location, it was able to serve up advertisements based on my physical location. We should expect FourSquare to evolve and eventually offer advertisements based on your friends interests “John, Amy, and Allen all like Los Taqaritors, invite them now for a 20% off discount”. Location based ads will soon connect with social information.
Catering To “Top” Customers Spur Word Of Mouth
The opportunities aren’t just focused on location based, but also provide opportunity for developing an unpaid army of advocates. Take for example Foursquare’s point system, those who ‘check in’ the most to a location can become the ‘mayor’ of their particular store, indicating they’re the top customer. Some savvy restaurants provide free drinks or other services to the mayor, who will continue to spread their affinity for a restaurant using social networks. A few weeks ago, I spent time with Yelp’s marketing team and their community manager Connie who oversees many of the community facing events. I learned that many local restaurants cater to Yelp Elite, and will likely provide them with quality service above and beyond, in fact, Yelp has launched a program for restaurants to offer a prix fixe menus for Yelp users. Expect to see Yelp’s mobile application advertise these special deals for Yelpers as they search for restaurants online using mobile devices.
Empowered Customers Check Prices In Real Time –Impacting Buying Behavior
Even if you don’t have a physical store, but offer a consumer good, consider RedLaser, which is a real-time bar code scanner that allows any phone to scan UPC codes and find them cheaper online. This means that retailers with higher priced products may miss out as consumers can quickly buy it from a competitive store down the street or find it online. If this trend continues, manufactures may shift their supply away from high-priced retailers to compensate for the change in demand. (Thanks Andrew Hyde for the tip)
Innovative Market Dependent On Adoption
Despite the innovation, location based marketing and advertising has its limitations as it’s dependent on: total number of consumers with mobile devices, adoption of mobile social networks, and their desire to find location-based offers.
Key Takeaways For Local Businesses:
Local businesses should approach these mobile social networks in a four part strategy –not simply reacting without a plan. Companies should approach this space by:
- Listening In For Free Research. Local businesses should immediatly montior their brands on mobile social networks like Yelp and FourSquare. Use this information as free research: find out the perception of customers opinions both good –and bad to learn about their market.
- Responding To Reviewers. Use negative information as a way to improve products and services and let your community know you’re listening to their feedback. Although there are always two-sides to any complaint use these same tools to respond to customers in public, but be sure to abide by the terms of service.
- Rewarding Top Customers. Customers that frequently patron your store and tell others on these mobile social networks should be rewarded. Build both in person and online relationships with them so they’ll continue to advertise and market on your behalf. Free drinks anyone?
- Preparing for pricing impacts and positioning. With disruptive tools like RedLaser appearing, customers can quickly find pricing of products and find them at nearby retailers. Retailers like CVS, Walmart, Target, BestBuy, Safeway should take heed as consumers continue to become empowered through instant information. Companies will need to respond by: making product pricing more competitive, or offering other deals such as bundling, speed, time, or other value-based offerings.
Update: Here’s some screenshots, I learned how to take screenshots with your iPhone by holding the main button and power button.
Having just returned from vacation, (hence the break from blogging) I had the distinct pleasure of keynoting Silicon Valley AMA last night at Cisco’s Telepresence suites in Santa Clara. In my opening keynote, I had a specific message to marketing leaders in the valley to think holistic about social. I outlined some of the major impacts to other departments beyond marketing.
Companies Must Plan Holistically For Social –Beyond Marketing
PR and Communication: The first business unit to be impacted by social, these organizations realized and have adopted the rise of blogs as early as 2005, and in response, many have launched their own blogs, or are sophisticated in blogger outreach. Additionally, AR professionals are just starting to recognize the impacts of social as analysts are able to bypass traditional gatekeepers and talk directly to product teams using these tools.
Marketing: Whether it be corporate or field marketing, the impacts are far reaching to marketing. Marketing has had to become an enabler as anyone who participates in the company with social is now acting on behalf of the company. There’s been several instances of support mishaps that have become the domain of marketing.
Events: Whether it’s virtual or physical, events need to develop a strategy around social. Event teams need a pre, during, and post strategy, and need to join communities where they exist. I’ve outlined how events need to harness social into their strategy in this informative post.
Sales and Field: Sales teams have always been social, now these tools amplify their relationships and communications. Marketing must be a resource and educate sales teams how to appropriately use these teams, including teaching them how to listen, engage, and act professionally as they would in real life.
Sales Operations: Systems that organize customer data need to quickly ramp up and include social data. Information found in LinkedIn, and other social networks can be aggregated into customer databases such as CRM systems.
Partners and Channel Marketing: The opportunity to allow your customer and partner channel to learn from each other, syndicate your product content, or to quickly educate them is at hand. See how channel marketing can benefit from social.
Human Resources: Now, with websites like Glassdoor.com employees can rate their experience at an employer, and even gauge the quality of leadership. HR professionals know they must build internal communities to allow and encourage employees to connect to each other. They also should extend existing behavior guidelines or disclosure policies to include the social domain before a crisis emerges. Recruiters have been using social tools to find candidates such as LinkedIn, Google Searches, and scanning blogs.
Product Development: Engineering, R&D, and other product or service creation teams recognize that customers are talking about their products and making suggestions in websites such as UserVoice, or Linkedin or Yahoo answers and need to envelope customer feedback and factor into the product lifecycle.
Support: Client service teams must reach customers where they are (like BestBuy or Comcast in Twitter) to support customers, as well as use social tools within their own companies to provide an opportunity for customers to self-support each other, or develop a collaborative knowledge base that can be shared between customers and support teams. Support teams should fix their existing support issues –not just respond in Twitter as it teaches customers bad habits.
Executives: Often the job of great leaders is to listen and communicate. These tools amplify each of these behaviors and can be used to listen to employee and market insight, as well as communicate back to them. John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO has an internal blog in which he communicates to employees on a regular basis.
I certainly didn’t get every department and look to you to fill in the gaps for the opportunities and risks for those that I listed above or those I missed. A few years ago, I created this diagram of how social can impact the product lifecycle, it’s finally become relevant.
Leave a comment below of some departments that I missed, and the opportunities and risks to each.
Update: Kirsti attending the event, and has more notes from the presentation. She notes the changes that companies must prepare for: disparate websites, internal rebellions, and developing long-term plans.
I hope this is one of those resources you print out pin to your desk, and share with others. This is the core theme of this blog, the balance needed for successful web endeavors in organizations.
I originally posted this diagram in 2006, then updated it in 2007, and it’s time to revisit the core structure of the goals and challenges of a Web Strategist, especially as I reset as I change roles.
Who’s a Web Strategist? In a company, they often are responsible for the long term vision of corporate web properties. At a web company where their product is on the web, they’re often the product manager or CTO. Regardless of role, the responsibilities are the same, they need to balance all three of these spheres, and make sure their efforts are in the middle of all three.
1) Community Sphere
To be successful, the Web Strategist must understand (by using a variety of techniques and tactics) what customers and prospects want. Stemming from, ethnography, analytics, brand monitoring and primary and secondary research the end result should be a web experience profile and mental model.
Specific skills needed: Ability to understand and implement research, strong understanding of user experience which would include usability, information architecture. Ability to synthesize content from a variety of real time locations such as web analytics, customer feedback from support and surveys and communities, and an ability to be empathetic to customers. Above all, this strategist should be able to predict where customers will be in coming years –not just understanding of previous or current states.
Key Recommendations for 2009-2010: Focus on brand monitoring of customers in the social space. We’ve seen an increase in consumer adoption of social technologies which has caused a shift in where customers make decisions (not just on your corporate website). This is an opportunity to quickly identify who they are, what they want (and don’t want) and understand the language they use in order to reach them.
2) Business Sphere
Yet understanding customers alone isn’t sufficient, the Web Strategist must be able to achieve measurable business objectives. This leader must be able to first identify key stakeholders within an organization, capture their needs, prioritize, and balance into a plan that meets both their needs and the community. This delicate dance requires the strategist to balance the needs of a variety of internal teams, offset daily fire drills, yet meet the needs of the company. Many Web Strategists fall short here, they meet the goals and objectives of internal stakeholders yet fail to balance the needs of the community. The end result? A website where users rarely visit, and go elsewhere to make trusted decisions.
Specific skills needed: Ability to communicate within a company, understand and prioritize emphatically the needs of multiple business stakeholders and prioritize. This leader will also need to be a mediator and must defuse the assertive business stakeholders will cool logic and business acumen, as well as ensure the web team operates in an efficient operation. Management skills are critical here: project management, human relations, communication, and the ability to define clear concise goals based on dates for content and technical teams. Lastly, the core of the role includes skills in marketing leadership, advertising, media, product management and marketing.
Key Recommendations for 2009-2010: In many cases, the recession has clamped budgets down to operations with budgets coming from campaigns and business units to innovate. Where budgets are limited, learn how to use inexpensive technologies like community software, blogging, or status update tools internally –yet have a long term plan for how they work. On the external front, provide guidelines and resources to internal teams to use social before it cascades to many areas of the company without common framework –fragmenting the customer experience and wasting business resources.
3) Technology Sphere
Lastly, the Web Strategist should be an expert in their own realm of internet technologies. They’ll need to know the capabilities and deficiencies of their current arsenal of tools as well as adopt new technologies that are ever emerging. Leaders in this space often become complacent configuring current systems and forget to plan into the immediate roadmap new technologies that widen the breadth and width of what can be done. If the Web Strategist is performing the Community sphere correctly, they are already watching how the use of customers technology adoption is changing.
Specific skills needed: Ability to understand the workings of web architecture in the internet field. While they are not technical experts they should be able to understand the impacts of these technologies to the business and community. They should also be watching for emerging technologies and devote a percentage of resources to research and development for new technologies –never falling behind. The strategist should demonstrate skills of innovation, and experiment and practice with new technologies as they emerge first hand –but by keeping a focus on long term business objectives.
Key Recommendations for 2009-2010: Web Strategists need to prepare for a new set of connected devices that are quickly emerging. While social caught most companies off guard, mobile technologies within and outside of your company will impact how information is quickly shared. Start by analyzing related applications and mobile social networks in rich mobile devices such as Blackberry, iPhone, and Palm Pre.
To be successful, the Web Strategist must balance all three of these spheres. Becoming a master in each of these spheres requires incredible dedication, so the leader must rely on their team for input, actively seek out education, attend workshops, and read books on the various subjects. Also, if this helps to shape your career, or you’re a hiring manager for this role, I hope it helped to define what to look for.
The community sometimes translates my posts, I’m thankful and am happy to highlight them here: