Archive for November, 2009

Personal Goals and #OperationBluewater


Most people miss out on life because they don’t have a strategy around personal goals.

Most Lack a Personal Goal Strategy
Let me lay out some the observations I’ve noticed from some of the smartest folks I’ve watched achieve success in their lives.  Often they first tell me about the challenges, that most people don’t even have a personal goal strategy.  1) Most people don’t even have personal goals, seriously try it,  ask folks you work with: “What’s your personal goal?”   2) Most people think the end goal is a at 65 and do all their planning in anticipation of retiring a glorious life after doing 45 years in a desk job.  3) People confuse personal goals with personal first downs.  In football, A first-down is an incremental improvement (10 yards) but not the final goal.  Some examples of first-downs are  to finish a project, get a raise at work, lose 5 pounds, or to put money in their 401k account –all short term tasks but not addressing what they really would do if they were freed in life.  4) Most people keep their personal goals private and to themselves.  Afraid of rejection, or wanting to keep it private they write their idea down in the back of their minds, hoping it’ll someday get accomplished.

Develop A Personal Goal Plan
Now that I’ve outlined some of the challenges, let’s focus on the guidelines.

  1. Actually have a personal goal. This is the most difficult one, although this requires some soul-searching think about the following questions:  “What would you do if you were able to retire right now?”   or  “What would you do if you were able to stop working because you’d be independentatly wealthy”.
  2. Weave this goal into your life. Rather than waiting for 65 to achieve this goal, start weaving it into your life right now.  Make it your job, your career, your mission.  Do real research and write a blog about the topic, start to speak about it, people will see you as someone focused on it, which will fuel your path to the this goal.
  3. Work backwards. Setting the goal is easy, but then layout the steps you’ll need to achieve in order to get there, I try to lay out 10 steps, and I can obviously see the first few steps and the last few steps, yet it’s dizzying filling out the in-between steps.
  4. Tell everyone. Rather than keep your personal goals secret use your online and offline social networks to help people achieve your goals.  You’ll be surprised at people who have similar goals, or want to make that their goal and will join you.   Your network of friends will help you fill in the middle or ending steps that you might have been unable to see.

My Personal Goal: Operation Bluewater, 30 days in Hawaii, Net Positive
For what it’s worth, I’m going through this as I focus on #OperationBluewater: To spend 30 days in Hawaii net positive (I’m not paying to be there) a year, which I briefly outlined a few weeks ago.

Retirement, why wait now?  weave it into my career now, and work from the beach.  I blogged before how I love the tropics, the beautiful beaches, warm humid air, pink skies, Japanese food, and kind souls .  It’s a mere 5 hours plane ride for me from SF, and half way to Asia, and while it feels like another place, the creature comforts I’m used to are all accessible.  Rather than waiting till I’m 65 to retire there, I’m going to slowly relocate, up to 30 days at a time and maybe increase the duration over time.   So far, my plan is on track, and I’m following the guidelines above.

So how is it going? A few weeks ago I was at RetThink at Hawaii and was able to meet locals and those that loved being at the islands, I told anyone who would listen about my goals, and they were supportive.  Lately, it’s started to take on a life of it’s own, more people are talking about #OperationBluewater (see Twitter stream), and want it to be a personal goal of their own, and Christine Lu, Chris NobleEric Nakagawa are starting to talk about ways to make this happen.   Often people are coming up to me and saying “I support your goal of #OperationBluewater” which I translate as “I want to do it too, let’s do it together”, great let’s do it.  So there it is,  I’m putting my personal goals out there, let’s see if my goal can grow into a larger movement.

I wish you success on your own #OperationBluewater, I hope these guidelines helped.  Please share with others about your goals, or methods in which you achieve them in your life.

Photos from the last visit to Oahu two weeks ago
Waikiki Afternoon
East OahuShadePalms on Waikiki
SalvationVintage Truck In Haleiwa, HIDiamond Head at SunriseQuietness

Is Your Company Trusted or Do You Have a Digital Comb Over?


Is Your Company Trusted?

Many companies are entering the social/green/community space, with hopes of impressing customers, yet despite their best intentions, they could come across as inauthentic, and be damaging their own brand.  Companies should first take a self-assessment of their brand to see if they’re ready before they decide to enter the social space.

Companies should first assess their culture and ask:

  • Is the company ready to talk about the good –and bad– with the market?
  • Is the internal culture ready to embrace customers on their own terms?
  • Is the culture ready to make changes based on the request of customers?

Launching a corporate blog is easy, a Twitter account even easier, yet if companies culture doesn’t match the values they’re telling the market, they risk brand damage through reduced credibility. You’re not fooling anyone.

Evolution: The Eight Stages Of Listening


As Social Customers Become More Empowered, Organizations Must Have A Listening Strategy
As we approach 2010 planning companies need a strategy around listening. Sadly, most companies, and their agency partners don’t know why to listen or how. As a result, they must identify which stage of listening they are at, and then set a goal on which stage they see to aspire in 2010. I originally published this matrix for client workshops and a keynote presentation on developing listening and advocacy programs, and I’m going to continue to share more and blow-out each of my slides.

Web Strategy Matrix: The Eight Stages Of Listening

Stage Description Resources Needed Impacts
1) No objective at all Organization has a listening program but has no goals, nor uses the information for anything resourceful Simple alerting tools, like Google Alerts and feedreaders will suffice. At the basic level, simple self-awareness.  Yet without any action from the data, this is useless.
2) Tracking of brand mentions Like traditional “clip reports” of media relations, companies now track mentions in the social space.  Despite tracking there is no guidance on what to do next. Listening platform with report capability based on brand or product keywords.  Radian 6, Visible Technologies, Techrigy/Alterian, Buzzmetrics and Cymfony, Dow Jones are providers. Improved self-awareness to track volume of information, yet unable to track depth, and tonality of conversations.  As a result, not a full understanding of opportunities.
3) Identifying market risks and opportunities This proactive process involves seeking out discussions online that may result in identifying flare-ups, or possible prospect opportunities. In addition to a listening platform staff must actively seek out discussions and signal to internal teams.  Alerting tools, and listening platforms are required. Organization can reduce risk of flare ups before they become mainstream, identify prospects and poach unhappy competitors customers.
4) Improving campaign efficiency Rather than just measure a marketing effort after it’s occurred, using tools to gauge during in-flight behavior yields real-time marketing efficiency. Dedicated resource to manage reactions, activity, and sentiment to a marketing effort, and the resources to make course corrections nearly real-time.  Traditional web analytics tools like Omniture, Webtrends and Google Analytics are common. Campaigns can be more effective, as hot spots are bolstered, and dead spots are diminished.
5) Measuring customer satisfaction In addition to customer satisfaction scores,organizations can measure real-time sentiment as customers interact. Sysomos and Backtype have focus areas into this space. Customer experience professionals will have to extend their scope to the social web, using a listening platform and sentiment analysis.  Insight platforms like Communispace and Passenger offer online focus groups solutions. Brands can now measure impacts of real time satisfaction or frustration during the actual phases of customer interaction.  Then identify areas of improvement during customer lifecycle
6) Responding to customer inquiry This proactive response finds customers where they are (fish where fish are) in order to answer questions.  Example: Comcastcares account on Twitter asks customers if they need help –then may respond. An active customer advocacy team that’s empowered, training, and ready to make real-time responses nearly around the clock. Customers will fill a greater sense of satisfaction, yet this teaches customers to ‘yell in public’ to get a response.
7) Better understand customers Evolving the classic market research function, brands can improve their customer profiles and personas by adding social information to them. Social CRM systems are quickly emerging that tie together a customer record and their online behavior, locations, and preferences. Salesforce, SAP, both have partnerships with Twitter to synch data The opportunity to not only serve customers in their natural mediums, but to offer them a richer experience regardless of their customer touchpoints.
8. Being proactive and anticipating customers Minority Report: This most sophisticated form actually anticipates what customers will say or do before they’ve done it.  By looking at previous patterns of historical data, companies can put in place the right resources to guide prospects and customers. An advanced customer database, with a predictive application put in place, as well as a proactive team to reach out to customers before an incident has happened.  Haven’t seen any such application yet. Identifying prospects and engaging them before competitors can yield a larger marketing funnel, or reducing customer frustration as problems are fixed before they happen.

Exercise: Self-Assess Culture, Roles, Process, Data, and Tools

Use this matrix to initiate a discussion within your company on which stage you’re at, then put a plan in place to grow to the next level. Do note, depending on size and complexity of the organization, different groups may be in more than one phase. First, identify the characteristics your company currently has, then define which phase you’re in:

  1. Does the organization have the right culture setup that’s ready to listen?
  2. Is the organization prepared to react to customer opinions? how about in real time?
  3. Are the processes in place to triage information to the right teams? How about during a real-time crises on a Saturday morning?
  4. Are the right roles in place to listen? Are proactive marketing and support teams trained, empowered, and ready to respond?
  5. Is there a single repository of customer information or is it currently fragmented around the enterprise
  6. Lastly, what technology platforms are in place to facilitate this strategy? ? Hint: choose this last –not first.

For Dialog: Which Stage Are Companies At?
Curious to hear your professional opinions, what stage do most companies think they’re at?  In reality, what stage are they truly acting at?

Please translate into other languages, I’ll be happy to link back to you

Thanks to the team at Foreplay, a digital agency, making the slides available in English.

Two Approaches: Shotgun vs Laser


Companies approach social in one of two ways: The first way, companies experiment with little order or goals, the second way, companies have clear goals and intend to invest in a deeper relationship.

1) Shotgun: Toyota’s Yaris Campaign Spreads Chances
While experimentation is always important, companies must do so in the context of a goal, whether it’s to test and learn, or just to prove to management it can be done. Take for example Toyota’s latest campaign, which is much akin to interactive marketing or advertising (not social engagement), where they’ve funded eight agencies to spend $15,000 only on their social marketing campaigns. The goal is to see who can make it work and stick, then they’ll spend more money with the firm that achieves ‘viral’ growth. This shotgun approach has caught the criticism of Laurel Papworth, she’s right at vegas, this is called spreading your bets on the roulette table.

2) Laser: Ford’s Fiesta Movement Amplifies a Smaller Target
On the other hand, take for example the competitive car, the Ford Fiesta, which also plays the young hip efficient car for today’s youth. Ford’s approach was more focused, they put most of their eggs into reaching only 100 drivers that were social savvy influencers to get them to spread the word. This “Fiesta Movement” (NYT) was targeted at social influencers, empowered them although it’s unknown what the final impacts of the expensive loaner car program is.

Web Strategy Matrix: Social Marketing Approaches, Shotgun vs Laser

Shotgun Laser
Description Hiring multiple agencies to conduct social campaigns Building a deeper relationship with a core group of influencers
Similar to Interactive Advertising, “Fishing” Influencer Relations, ‘Friending”
Benefits Efficient way to get started, identify hot spots to pursue. Deeper relationships with core influencers who may spread word of mouth, and become brand evangelists.
Risks Brand burnout on community, risk of appearing disingenuous Spending more resources on a smaller few reduces chances of spread.
Costs Inexpensive. In this case, it was 15k X 8 agenices, for a total of 120k. Costly. Relationship marketing estimated 50-100k in agency costs. Loaning 100 economy cars at 15k each around 1.5 million.
Takeaway Ideal for the company that doesn’t understand social marketing and is willing to test on their own customers. Ideal for company that’s ready to invest time, people and money on relationships.

Brands Should First Start With Understanding Customers

So which way is better? First, let’s start with the most important factor, people. While padding the top line for revenues in a slumping economy continues to be important, it’s important to note that burning out your relationships with your community can cause long-term drain. Rather than test eight campaigns on a community causing ‘brand overload’, first do the research to find out the social behaviors (we call this SocialGraphics), identify who they trust online, and where they are located at online before doing anything. By first starting with data, you can reduce eight campaigns to two, or maybe one, and avoid burning out your brand –and community.

So what does this means to Toyota and Ford?  Toyota’s social efforts come across as young, they’re not sure what they’re doing so they’re hoping to see which (interactive+advertising) agency will figure it out for them.  On the other hand, Ford comes across as slightly more mature as having true influencer relationships (Similar to PR Influence Relations) and spend the time to build these real-world relationships.

Update: Thanks to Barbara for the “Fishing vs Friending” analogy.  Apparently the CEO of Ford read this post, welcome, an honor.

Insights for CMOs: A Column For Forbes


Good For BusinessI’m very thankful that Forbes has extended me an offer to be a regular contributor discussing emerging technologies for the evolving customer strategy.

CMOs are hungry for information. The information landscape is in flux, consumers are more empowered as they assert control using social technologies. Additionally, things are moving faster, as mobile devices and microblogging makes real-time responses from companies not fast enough.  As a result, they are thirsty for what’s next, and how they can get ahead of the curve –with minimal risk.

This regular monthly (or more) column on the Forbes CMO network (@ForbesCMO) isn’t reporting, but instead will marry industry level insight and provide pragmatic advice. After I post industry insights at Forbes, I’ll also cross-post or point to it from the Web Strategy blog so you don’t miss out on anything.

View my contributions on the Forbes Network

Having met many of the CMO and marketing leaders at a recent Forbes event, they are certainly more sophisticated in their understanding (my first piece at Forbes) of new technologies and are ready to understand, trial, and adopt new methods. While we know that ‘social marketing’ is the hot topic for senior marketers especially during a recession, I’ll be pushing the thinking as I explore location based social networks and mobile technologies –all in support of improving the customer relationship.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to advance the industry, and hope to be a guide to marketing leaders who want to benefit from new technologies.

Now, to hear your opinions. As we continue to connect with marketing leaders and CMOs around the globe, I need your help what do you think they should know about emerging technologies. If you could speak to CMOs, what would you tell them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

People on the Move in the Social Media Industry: Nov 6, 2009



Things appear to be picking up in the economy, and I’d like to continue to recognize those moving in the social media space. I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:

  • Mike Pascucci leaves AAA Mid-Atlantic, and accepts the job of Social Media Strategist with Ektron, a Content Management System (CMS) company based out of Nashua, NH. Find him on Twitter at @mikepascucci.
  • Kingsely Joseph leaves Salesforce and joins Digital Chocolate an digital gaming company in San Mateo as Sr. Product Manager, Social Games at Digital Chocolate. I’m sure I’ll be hearing a lot about his new ventures, as we share the same building (keep it down up there alright? kiddin), find him on Twitter at Kingsley2
  • Former Facebook platform marketing manager Josh Elman joins Twitter as the Product Manager. I’ve interacted with Josh frequently during his role at Facebook, and found him insightful, helpful, and now a friend. Best wishes to Josh on his new adventure at yet-the-next-big thing. Find him on Twitter at @joshelman
  • Warren Sukernek leaves Radian 6 and was hired at Lift 9 as the Partner & VP of Strategies. Warren will be responsible for leading teams in providing actionable insights from the company’s socail media research and analytics solutions, find him at @warrenss
  • Gwen Peake joins Ford Motor Company as the Digital Communications Manager Reporting to Scott Monty, and will coordinate digital communications & social media efforts for Ford. Find Gwen on twitter at @gwenj.
  • Mike Osswald is promted at Hanson, Inc., a digital agency as VP, Experience Innovation Where he will focus on identifying future-forward, significant trends and technologies. His focus on, social technologies will allow co-workers and channel partners to engage in all facets of product and service design.
  • Additionally, Lisa Wilberding also joins Hanson, Inc as the Midwest Social Engagement & Messaging Strategist where she will define, plan and execute long-term Social Engagement solutions for clients, as well as create messaging for web sites and interactive communications.
  • Dan Kidd is hired at community platform vendor Neighborhood America as a Senior Director, CPG, Custom Research where he’ll be focused on Social Media Campaign Analytics.
  • Last but not least, congrats to Augie Ray, who was hired at Forrester Research as an industry analyst covering Social Computing For Interactive Marketers. We wish him the best in this fantastic new role –congrats to the team! Find him at @augieray

How to connect with others (or get a job):
Several people have been hired because of this blog post series, here’s how you can too:

Submit an announcement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, fill out this form.

Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources

This list, which started with just 8 names continues to grow as folks submit to it. List of Social Computing Strategists and Community Managers for Enterprise Corporations 2008 –Social Media Professionals.

Job Resources in the Social Media and Web Industry

  • Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic (Post a job there and be seen by these blog readers, these affiliate fees pay for my hosting)
  • Read Write Web keeps announcements flowing at Jobwire, although is broader than just social media jobs
  • Facebook group for community manager group in Facebook
  • Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
  • Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
  • SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
  • ForumOne Jobs for Social Media and Community
  • Teresa has a few jobs, some around community
  • New Media hire has an extensive job database
  • Social Media Headhunter
  • Social media jobs
  • Jobs in social media
  • Altimeter Group’s list of social media consultants and agencies
  • Hiring? Leave a comment
    If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, please)