MAD Perspectives Blog

Key Learnings from Marketing Profs B2B Forum 2010

Peggy Dau - Thursday, May 06, 2010

IMG_2522 by MarketingProfs Live.


I attended Marketing Profs B2B Forum 2010 in Boston this week.  For anyone seeking new ideas, validation, case studies, real life examples on how B2B companies are integrating social media into their overall marketing strategy - this is the event to attend!  (note:  I am not paid or in any way compensated by Marketing Profs).  While the event focuses on all aspects of B2B marketing (lead management/generation, SEO, Pipeline management, conversion rates, social media), I was most interested in the social media and content publishing topics.

The sessions were all led & hosted by B2B marketeers sharing their real life experiences.  Some key takeaways:

    - Align your social media strategy with your overall marketing strategy.  You've likely invested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and defined keywords.  Incorporate those keywords into your social communication.  Align your overall editorial calendar.

    - Think about who your customers are and how they consume content. Do they want to read a detailed whitepaper or do they want a high level overview?   What part of the buying process are they in as they seek, access and consume content?

    - How do you track success of your marketing programs?  Do you invite feedback from your sales team and customers about the value of the content you  provide?

    - Think about how you can repurpose existing content into social media channels (i.e., blogs, tweets, slideshare, video).

    - Gain some insight into your company's social reputation as you define your strategy.  Who is mentioning your company or products online?  What and where are the sharing their thoughts?  Who are the key influencers in your industry and do they mention your company?

Humans are social.  Your employees are human. Ergo, your employees are social at least at a personal level.  They may enjoy being social, within company defined guidelines, on behalf of the company.  As a result you may learn more about external perceptions of your company that may help you refine your marketing strategy, communicate more effectively and positively influence the buying process.

The bottom line is that business buyers are investigating solutions to their business problems online, before they engage in active discussion with your sales team.   Your company has the opportunity to influence buyers via a wide variety of distribution channels.  Know your customer.  Know what content they need, when & where.  Adopt the right tools for the right conversation.

What's your perspective? 

 



What was Hot or Not at NAB 2010?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, April 21, 2010




I went to the NAB show in Las Vegas last week.  My reasons were twofold.  Reason #1 was to see what's new and intriguing in the technology addressing the broadcast and studio markets.  It is always exciting to see what's going on in this industry and as you can imagine, the buzz word was 3D!  In addition, there is a lot of attention being paid to multi-screen content consumption and how to enhance the online viewer experience.  As often happens, sports is the target market for a lot of the enhancements that will soon be available for online video.  ESPN has been a leader in how they incorporate technology into the viewing experience and many small vendors are uniquely focused on making the online experience as interesting and compelling as the living room experience.  Pay attention as local sports comes online.  By local, I mean the town little league teams or soccer/football teams.  It's exciting and accessible!

Why is this relevant for MAD Perspectives?  Well, what happens in the M&E space usually is adapted, in some way, by other industries.  while the demands from M&E are quite high, companies in healthcare, manufacturing, green tech, oil & gas and other industries are using video more frequently in their messaging and communication strategies.  In addition, video or imaging is increasingly a core part of their information gathering or business process.  Understanding where video trends are heading, can help these industries provide enriched services.  Imagine the benefits of 3D medical imagery!

What are some of the key things I learned?

-enabling multi-platform content consumption is HUGE (manage, encode, transude, protect, distribute, display)

- encoding bitrates have made big improvements (meaning, less bandwidth required for delivery of MPEG2, SD and HD content)

- telcos are FINALLY enabling CDN services (why let Akamai have all the fun?)

- 3D is super hot (and you shouldn't try to make a project if it wasn't shot that away originally, quality does matter)

- camera prices are decreasing, meaning UGC (user generated content) quality will improve


Reason #2 for heading out to Vegas was to check in with the myriad of vendors with whom I have relationships based on my past life at Hewlett-Packard.  I was interested to see what new products they had to offer but also to understand why they don't leverage digital media more effectively in the way they tell their story online.  These are vendors who live in the digital media market.  Their solutions focus on every nuance of the moving image, yet only a few of them tweet, blog or even use video on their websites.  These companies have interesting and compelling stories about how they have solved problems of encoding, content management, broadcast automation, storage, asset management, content distribution and more.  They understand the power of video.  They understand the importance of personal relationships.  Yet, they haven't "crossed the chasm" to utilize various digital media solutions available to them to make their stories come alive.

I think the challenge for many of these companies is the understanding of how to leverage social media, in particular, in a B2B market.  We all understand social media as a person to person medium and have even seen the benefits in B2C markets.  Yet, B2B lags behind.  This is primarily due to:

- lack of time and resource - many companies have thinned their marketing staffs and are concerned about the time it may take to tweet or blog

- risk management - companies fear employees misrepresenting the company, sharing confidential information, or exposing compone networks to viruses

- traditional marketing mindset - these companies are still in a push marketing mode where they control the message

I believe we will see a shift in B2B adoption of digital media to tell their story as we move through the next couple years.  The economy is slowly turning, as evidenced by the increased attendance at NAB this year vs. 2009.  I think we are also seeing other indicators (i.e., strong earnings reports, flat unemployment, upward movement in the stock market).

Yes, it takes time to define a digital media strategy.  However, your customers are spending more time online researching, learning and comparing solutions.  You need to be memorable and share your story in a meaningful way.  You need to reach out to your customers via the channels that they use (and the "millennials" are visual and social). 

What's your perspective?



What is Digital Media? You use it Every Day!

Peggy Dau - Thursday, March 25, 2010

MAD Perspectives' charter is to help companies define and plan their digital media strategy.  But, I often am greeted with quizzical looks.  These looks are that individual's request for further definition about my business.  Their primary question is, what is digital media?!  Interestingly, this is a term that has been around for quite some time, but with new buzz words emerging every day, it is no wonder that this term has been lost in the shuffle.  Let me take a few minutes to share my opinion on what digital media is and how it can help you and your business (btw, you use digital media every day!).

Digital Media is an amalgamation of tools that allow us to communicate, electronically, using text, images, audio and video.  These tools include software, hardware and hosted platforms to create, edit, store, manage, deliver, protect and distribute digital content.  These tools allow individuals and companies to connect, collaborate and communicate for fun or for business.  Let's explore a bit more.

The term digital media is the result of the marriage of technology and creative arts.  It is the digitization of compelling content (i.e., pictures, graphics, audio or video) for distribution across a network.   It is assumed that these are not analog radio or tv networks, but IP (or some evolution there of) networks.  As the internet became commonplace and networks became more sophisticated, businesses and consumers alike, eagerly consumed online content.  We looked forward to the old AOL message "You've Got Mail".  We took email a step further and started attaching files, pictures and video.  Digital media made the world seem a little bit smaller.

Websites evolved from static, brochure-like pages of information to interactive destinations that enabled consumers to post opinions, share recommendations and download information.  Depending on the site, we could watch video.  I remember watching clips from the 2003 World Series between my NY Yankees and the Florida Marlins (yeah, the Yankees lost, sigh!) on a PC while I was traveling in Europe.  Performance was sketchy at best, but it was awesome to be able to see at least a little bit of the game.

Technology has advanced.  Forget the arguments over formats, codecs, bitrates, bandwidth, editing suites, platforms, etc. They can all be sorted out.  Now, we take online video for granted.  In some cases we still have high expectations for video quality, but YouTube has taught us that quality may not always be the primary concern.  Many business websites incorporate video, flash or animation to augment their story.  User-generated content is de-rigueur for consumer sites and broadcast television.  Our perspectives, our thoughts and our images are all part of the story, regardless of whether it is entertainment, news, B2B or consumer oriented.  We do this via online video, social media, web conferencing, video conferencing or interactive marketing.  This is digital media.

Digital Media is our ability to share information, images, pictures, presentations, videos, animations about our companies, our products, ourselves while we are online, regardless of network or device.  What's your strategy for using digital media to tell your story?

What's your perspective?




Developing a 360º Perspective

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 16, 2010

As I was watching the women’s mogul skiing competition at the Winter Olympics on Saturday, I saw how they bounced down the moguls, taking great care to maintain the correct form.  Then they would flip head over heels with in layout positions or skis crossed or spin 360º, only to land and ski through more bumps.  I thought about how companies struggle to integrate digital media solutions into a 360º interaction with customers.  What do I mean by this?  I’m thinking about how companies reach out to their customers or business partners via their website, press releases, events, in-person or online training or customer support.  There are new solutions for managing your access to or accessibility by customers, emerging every day.

Does digital media make this easier?  Harder?  Or just more confusing?  Hopefully it makes it easier, but it does require some thinking on several topics.  First, think about who your customers are and how they prefer to consume content.  While face to face meetings are always preferred, depending on the information being shared it can be equally effective, and less costly, to reach a geographically dispersed or broad range of customers through live and on-demand webinars.  What level of interaction do they prefer?  While some webinar solution allow for instant messaging or audio interaction, others don’t.  Or, perhaps a webinar is too broad and complementing in person meetings with video conferencing makes more sense.

Second, think about the kind of information you are sharing.  We have been in the mode of pushing content, through formal, relatively static channels, to our customer and business partners.  With the variety of solutions now available, we are increasingly sharing content in a more casual manner.   How can the information being shared be best presented?  A simple, concise press release can inform a very wide audience, but does not allow for interaction.  On the other hand, using social networking platforms, to reinforce the press release and listen for feedback, does enable interaction.  The goal is to strike a balance across the variety of communication channels. 



Simplistically, you can consider the following
         
  •  Company website:  informative content about your company and its products
  • Press Release:  announce compelling news about your company, its products, partnerships, customers or   executives   
  • Interactive Marketing:  online advertising and promotion of your company
  • Online Video:  one way communication of information about your company and its products
  • Webinars:  communicate targeted content about the company and its products with the ability for structured   interaction between the presenter(s) and participants
  • Video conferencing:  live interaction between a defined set of participants; enable geographically dispersed participants to meet more frequently
  • Events:  targeted representation of your company and its products based on the focus of the event; enable face to face contact
  • Social Networking:  less formal communication with a broad audience with the ability for immediate feedback

    • How do you connect with your customers and partners? Who and where are they?  Where are your competitors and how are they connecting?   How does each element of a communication strategy enable you to connect or collaborate more effectively?  Think about developing a strategy to allow your customers or partners to get a 360º perspective of your business.  In return, you will gain a 360º view of your customers and their needs.
    • What’s your perspective?

     



    The Enterprise is a Broadcaster

    Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Many of us grew up with the Big 3 Broadcasters:  CBS, NBC and ABC.  When we hear the term broadcast, we immediately think of news and entertainment programs offered by these networks.  We have adapted to include FOX, CW and the myriad of cable networks providing news 24x7, entertainment and education programming.  However, I don't think think that many us actually think about enterprise companies broadcasting.  But, they do!

    The volume of content being created and shared, live and on-demand, by corporations is increasing dramatically.  IDC's White Paper, Best Practices for Enterprise Content Delivery, estimates that employees are watching an average of 2 hours of video per month.  Initially, only very large companies could implement video streaming.  They were driven by a desire for consistent executive communication to employees.  They faced high production costs and high networking costs due bandwidth requirements.  However, they saw the benefit of enterprise video.  As companies became more geographically dispersed, video solutions provided alternatives for excecutive communication, training, product promotion, investor relations and customer service.  Large companies soon realized they could not exist without a variety of video-centric solutions.

    Simulteneously, streaming formats advanced subsequently providing better quality yet requiring less bandwidth.  DRM and network security improved thus providing confidence for corporate communication teams and IT and Networking specialists.  In addition, tools evolved to pro-actively monitor and manage the networks thus ensuring a positive quality of service.  Hosted services also evolved to alleviate the burden on the corporate network.  With VPNs available to host and delivery content securely, small & mid size companies were able to take advantage of the same benefits as the big guys. 

    As a result, there are now multiple terabytes of video content resident at most enteprise companies.  Enterprises are broadcating live to their investor community and employees while making educational, promotional and training content available on-demand.  Companies, such as Ascent Media, Grass Valley, Avid and others, that have provided solutions to the traditional media & entertainment industry, now also provide solutions to the Enterprise.

    Considering the size of the Enterprise Video market this is not surprising.  Wintegreen Research anticipates enterprise video to be a $14.4 billion market by 2014.  IDC anticipates enterprise online video to grow at a compounded rate of 50% over the next 5 years.  The economy, lack of standards and continuously evolving and emerging solutions will challenge the growth, but the committment and value seem clear. The enterprsie market cannot compare with the size and complexity of the traditional broadcast market, yet when combined with the focus exhibited by the enterprise on implementing these solutions and the evolution of vendor solutions it is clear that Enterprises have become Broadcasters.

    What's your perspective?