MAD Perspectives Blog

Cultivating Relationships

Peggy Dau - Monday, February 06, 2012

I'm in London this week, cultivating relationships. What's interesting about this trip is that it is driven my belief in the power of face to face meetings, despite the fact that many of these relationships are maintained using social media. Over the course of careers we meet many contacts. Some of these contacts blossom into mutually beneficial business relationships, and many times, into true friendship. Like other social media enthusiasts, I do believe that social media provides an additional forum for sustaining business relationships.

If we look at the evolution of business communication, it has always been about the spoken and written word. The methods for written communication have simply evolved. While the spoken word in facet to face meetings or video and phone calls allows the best understanding of nuance, the written word provides a tangible account of intention, meetings, actions, goals and metrics. The options for creating that record has simply expanded over time.  From letters to faxes to email to social media, we capture and communicate our purpose.  

The challenge with social media is adapting to a open form of communication. Letters, faxes and emails were shared with a specific audience. Social networks widen the reach of our communication, which can be intimidating. However, it can also be extremely beneficial. We can reach out to our colleagues quickly and easily.  Of course, we need to pay attention to what we are saying. We need to be thoughtful about the content shared and the frequency of sharing. We must think about our goals for communicating as well as the needs of our audience.

I primarily use LinkedIn and Twitter for business purposes. I share my thoughts on social media for B2B, communication technologies and high tech. My posts have led to many face to face meetings leading to new insights and new business.  My connections have helped me fulfill deliverables for clients. On the flip side, I pay attention to what my connections are saying and what they need. This has led to my making introductions that I feel are beneficial.  Much of this is no different than what we have all done in the past - and continue to do in our daily business lives. Social media simplifies our ability to keep up with our network.

I'm enjoying my time in London, face to face meetings are fantastic. However, I know that I will use all forms of communication - email, social media, phone, Skype, to keep up with these colleagues once I've returned home. Maintaining business relationships is one key to success. Taking advantage of all the tools available to us is the key to successful cultivation!

What's your perspective?




Using the Top Social Networks for B2B Marketing

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There is an ongoing debate about the use of social media by business-to-business (B2B) companies. However, according to B2B Magazine, 93% of B2B marketing are using some form of social media marketing. As expected, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular. However, tactics, resources and metrics are key challenges. These challenges are connected and reinforce the need for a comprehensive strategy, integrating your social media efforts with your overall marketing plan. However, it is first important to understand how you can best utilize each of these social networks.

Here are a few thoughts:

     - LinkedIn:  create a group for your brand, create a company page and promote products, encourage employees to provide links within their profile to the company webpage(s), share company presentations and videos, integrate twitter feeds and corporate blogs, recruit employees

     - Facebook:  share news and videos, , promote and share pictures and comments from events, highlight expert knowledge from both employees and customers, create community through customized product pages (invite Likes, discussion, links to more information on company website), recruit employees

     - Twitter:  listen to what others (customers, competitors, influencers) are saying, share content (provide links to articles, re-tweet influencer content, invite input from your followers to validate strategy

For additional insights and tips on using social media for B2B marketing check out Social Media B2B, Marketo, Hubspot, business.com.

Identify your goals. Consider how these platforms, or others, may augment your marketing, customer service, product development or sales efforts. Be brave and be patient.  Social media is a broadcast channel enabling you to reach a very wide audience.  It takes time to build a valuable following and to learn how to interact effectively with them.

What's your perspective?





Don't Forget the I in Social Media ROI!

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, December 07, 2011

It's that time of year where we take stock of our successes and failures in the past year.  The goal is that success always outweigh failure.  BTW, failure is OK as it is often how we gain the insight required for great success.  It is also the time of year where we are finalizing our plans and commitments for the coming year. In many cases you've probably won agreement to engage (or continue engaging) in social media.  But, there is probably increasing pressure to define the return on your social media investment.

There are a zillion blogs defining the various metrics you can use to measure return.  Here are a few of them:

Similar to other marketing efforts, there are a range of qualitative and quantitative metrics that can be measured.  In all cases, the metrics should be tied to goals which are tied to business objectives.  Nothing new here.  What's interesting to me is the lack of focus on the investment required to achieve those goals and capture defined metrics.  This is the I in ROI.

Social media is often perceived as "free".  However, this ignores real costs such as:

     - Staff - Your team, (e.g, marketing, customer support, management, etc.) must invest time to engage on social networks, write blogs, monitor customer feedback, etc.  As they say, time is money.

     - Technology - Yes, the leading social networks are free of individual use.  However, do you customize your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn pages, use a social media monitoring/analytics/measurement platform to capture conversations and measure influence, use a social media hub to simplify distribution of content across multiple social networks?  If so, these are investments that must be captured.

     - Creative - In order to make your brand stand out, it is often useful to customize your social network presence.  This can include specific images for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other outlets.  It can involve the creation of badges, infographics, slides, videos or other content specifically for social networks.

     - Agency - Large companies often outsource their social media efforts, content creation efforts to agencies.  These costs should be allocated accordingly.

Capturing a meaningful ROI requires attention to detail and an understanding of what it really takes to meet defined goals.  Altimeter Group has an excellent paper outlining a pragmatic path for analyzing social success. As always, strategy first, technology last - with measuring, listening, analyzing and responding always!


Align your social media strategy with your business objectives, integrate it with your marketing plan and figure out how your going to implement and pay for the strategy. Create a plan for social media success.  Figure out the plan to make sure others recognize the value it provides in achieve business goals.  And, don't forget the I in ROI, it's the key to earning the R!

What's your perspective?



What's in a Word?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Social Media.  Social Networks.  Social Technologies. We hear these words bantered about and used interchangeably as they have become an integral part of our cultural lexicon. As I communicate using these words (and many others) every day, I began thinking about how and why I use these words. I also pondered the evolution of words and how new words and definitions are added to dictionaries each year. As you communicate, do you think about how words are going to be interpreted by the reader or listener?

We talked about the importance of context last month. Of course, understanding the context in which a word is used influences the way it is understood. For example, the word pimp evokes the unfortunate image of a person managing and selling the services of a prostitute. However, the expression "pimp my ride" has emerged reflecting a definition for pimp as "showy or impressive". It reflects a cultural interpretation of a car a pimp might drive (at least as interpreted in the movies).

The definition of words have become broader, narrower, weaker or stronger based on similarity of concepts, specialization of meaning or generalization of understanding (or misunderstanding). Words evolve to reflect psychological, societal and cultural influences.  Think about the word propaganda.  The original meaning was to share information, the common understanding today is the proliferation of false data.  With these thoughts in mind, how has the understanding of the terms social media, social network or social technologies shifted?

Social Media has a commonly understood definition as "the web, internet or mobile used technologies enabling interactive dialogue and sharing of user generated content".  In general, media is the channel or tools to store and deliver information or data. Social media is all about interaction whereas other forms of media (broadcast, electronic or print) push content to the user and do not allow real-time feedback.  Social networks are the platforms that combine elements of media and technology to create a destination for interaction.  Prevalent examples of social networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.  Each of these terms, is still relatively new and our understanding of these terms has expanded over time.  Not only do more people understand what social media is, the scope of what is considered social media has widened.

Finally, we have the term social technologies.  This term has been in existence since the late 1800s.  Charles Richard Henderson, at the University of Chicago, defined social technology as "a system of conscious and purposeful organization of persons in which every actual, natural social organization finds its true place, and all factors in harmony cooperate to realize an increasing aggregate and better proportions of the “health, wealth, beauty, knowledge, sociability, and rightness” desires.".  It's amazing that over 100 years later, the use and intent of social technologies remains the same. 

The volumed of technologies continues to explode as tools to inform, capture, share, influence, measure and analyze come to market.  Given the inclusive, interactive nature of social media it will be interesting to see how the definition and understanding evolves over the next 10-20 years.  How do you think it will change?  Will the way we use social media change the way we define it? What cultural factors will shift our interpretation or our use of social media, networks and technologies?

What's your perspective?



The Power of Connectivity

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We all live and work in an increasingly connected world.  Our smartphones and tablets connect us to information and people in ways that barely allow us any quiet time.  How do we measure the value of this connectedness?  Is there value to having thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook fans or LinkedIn connections?  Obviously the social media community believes in the power of connectivity, but do businesses? 

Connectivity is an interesting topic.  As humans we like to be connected to family, friends and colleagues.  We have more options than even to stay in contact.  I use Facebook to keep up with friends who scattered around the globe.  I use LinkedIn to manage my network of business colleagues.  Both Twitter and LinkedIn are my conduits for promoting my blog, sharing thoughts on current events and listening to what others are saying as it relates to business.  In addition, I still email (yes, i understand it may be considered a dying technology).  Why do I use all of these tools?  Because I want to be connected.

I want to learn from others.  I want to understand what is interesting to my colleagues.  I want to gain insights into new technologies.  I want to share my knowledge.  Anyone who follows my blog or my business, knows that I am a huge fan of LinkedIn.  I did not become an advocate until I had time to realize the power of the connectivity it provides.  While i was still employed by corporate America, it was simply a tool to augment or replace my rolodex.    Since leaving the corporate world, I'm exposed to a wider set of contacts.  I thought i had a good network working at HP.  It included fellow employees and business partners.  Since leaving HP, i have added contacts from a wider range of industries and roles.

Last year I was seeking information about a topic I had been invited to investigate for a client.  It was a topic where I only had high level knowledge.  I used LinkedIn Groups to post a question with hopes of getting more in depth information.  Not only did I get greater insight, I received invites for phone conversations and a face to face meeting, which resulted in a fantastic white board session.  The power of the connectivity provided by LinkedIn, in this case, was phenomenal and positioned me for greater success in my project.

I've used LinkedIn, again, recently to request introductions from my connections to some of their connections. I was seeking access to decision makers to discuss their needs and priorities around a specific topic.  Again, my colleagues responded favorably, happy to introduce me to the specific contacts I had defined.  As a result I have been able to gather a global view of this topic, again on behalf of a client.

As businesses and as individuals, social technologies are enabling us to connect more quickly and effectively. We've all networked on behalf of business in the past.  I remember scrolling through the rolodex to find the name of the contact who knew the guy who could help me close a deal.  Social technologies reduce the manual effort and time to achieve connectivity.  So, is this connectivity meaningful?  I would argue, YES it is!

Even a casual connection can lead to meaningful business.  It's all about staying in touch and reinforcing the value of the connection.  Businesses using social media should remember this.  Social networking is not just about pushing your content out via another channel.  it is about identifying the value your customers seek from you - and then providing that value.  Customer support is an excellent example.  Your customers seek answers to frequently and infrequently asked questions.  Social conversations via all of the big networks can help you understand the their needs, get ahead of critical issues and recognized trends that may impact product sales.

Connectivity is about more than the actual connection.  it's about the conversation.  It's about providing and receiving value.  This is where the power emerges.  I don't mean power from a control perspective, I mean power to move forward, make a difference, achieve a goal.  Think about the power of your connections.  What value do you see in them?

What's your perspective?











Social Media Disrupting Broadcast News?

Peggy Dau - Thursday, September 22, 2011

Social media has been at the forefront of many major events over the past few years. Flight 1549 landing on the Hudson River, the Arab uprisings this past spring, Hurricane Irene's path up the U.S. east coast are just a few. Some might argue that social media has displaced broadcast news as the primary source for immediate news.  They may be right, especially if thinking about the youth audience.  However, broadcast news is not in competition with social media, they are incorporating social media into all aspects of their operations.  The important factor for both social media outlets and broadcast news is that - news is immediate!

Newsrooms recognize this and are leveraging social media for news gathering, public opinion and new content.  Many newsrooms, such as the BBC, have implemented User Generated Content teams to monitor, validate and incorporate news generated on social sites to complement their broadcasts.  Differentiating between fact, fiction, rumor and speculation are the challenges of social news gathering.  (Just consider today's rumors about the potential replacement of HP CEO Leo Apotheker with HP Board Member and former EBay CEO) Meg Whitman.  Newsrooms around the globe are monitoring and listening to online and social news outlets not only to gather news, but to understand how their own news is being received and interpreted.  Social media can provide them with guidance on how to present news, while still maintaining journalistic integrity.

The other opportunity social media presents to broadcasters is the ability to distribute their content to a wider audience, that may not watch their scheduled broadcasts.  In fact, many premium news outlets, such as CNN or the BBC,  recognize the different characteristics of those watching their broadcasts vs. consuming news online vs. following them on Twitter or Facebook.  The ability to share news directly and indirectly (as happens in the social arena) provides news organizations with greater influence.  That influence comes with an ongoing responsibility for impartiality, truth in reporting and meaningful storytelling. 

News content will never go away.  News is now available via apps on your tablet on smartphone.  These devices will again create incremental impact in the presentation of news, if not the actual content.  News will continue to be immediate and relevant because of its immediacy.  News gathering organizations will not disappear as long as they continue to evolve and capitalize on the complementary nature of social and whatever comes next.

What's your perspective?



TV - it's More Social Than You Realize!

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, September 07, 2011

September has been all about IBC for me for the past 10 years.  In light of the dynamic nature of the broadcast industry and its influence on our daily lives, my next few blogs will examine the intersection of the Internet, Social Media and TV.

 

IBC is underway, this week, in Amsterdam.  The intersection of social media, Over-the-Top TV (OTT), and Broadcast TV are some of the hot topics being discussed.  Social TV is a term that has risen to the forefront in the 2-3 years, especially since it was named as a top 10 trend to watch in MIT’s 2010 Technology Review.  You may be wondering, what is social TV?  Hasn’t TV been social for years?  Yes, it has.  Social TV, today, is the technology that supports online social interaction in the context of watching TV or influencing TV viewer behavior.

Two years ago, at IBC, I noticed that many of the TV middleware vendors (those vendors who provide the applications that manage your subscriptions, on-demand content, channel guide and other applications viewed on your TV screen) were presenting demos of Facebook and Twitter integrations.  They showed how you could view a Facebook or Twitter feed onscreen while watching programs.  You would be able to connect to your social networks and share content while watching the program.

Today, the goal is not necessarily to communicate on your TV screen.  The increased use and adoption of smartphones has given rise to mobile social networking while watching our favorite TV programs.  New technologies from Miso or TVGenius provide integrations between access devices simplifying sharing and receiving content recommendations.  In short, technologies are emerging that mimic old school water cooler conversations.  In addition, companies like Bluefin Labs are collecting and correlating statistics about which programs are discussed most frequently on popular social networks.   It adds another dimension to the concept of Nielsen ratings.  In turn, digital agencies like Razorfish, use this data to identify which programs and which time slots show high social influence.  Broadcasters are using the data to refine the programming decisions.

We’ve been multitasking while watching TV for years.  Now we have the ability to multitask, share our opinions about the programs we watch and potentially influence the schedule, the advertising, the outcome of the plot.  Are you wondering what programs are the most social?  The recent MTV Video Music Awards currently ranks as the most social program with 1.2 million comments shared by 559,000 people.  Other highly social programs, as measured by the volume of social activity, are Glee and The Voice.  The most social TV network as I write this blog, per www.socialguide.com, is MLB.

Social TV has the ability to change how networks develop their programming and how, when and where brands advertise.  Are you social when watching TV?  Let me know!  If you are at IBC (sadly I am not attending this year), please let me know what you learn about Social TV!

What’s your perspective?



Social Media Lessons from Hurricane Irene

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those of us here on the east coast just spent the weekend tracking Hurricane Irene.  Thanks to a wide variety of communications tools, no one was in any doubt as to the potential damage that Irene could cause.  I followed the storm on local news, Twitter and Facebook.  However, the lessons from Irene lie in the planning. 

The good thing, if there is a good thing, about a hurricane - is that you know it is coming.  Unlike an earthquake or a tornado, it does not pop up out of nowhere and wreak terrible havoc.  We are able to track and predict the track of a hurricane.  as a result, we can prepare for its arrival.  This may mean boarding up windows, storing lawn furniture and potted plants in a garage, stocking up on emergency supplies or evacuating low lying areas.

How do you plan for social media emergencies?  Can you see them coming?  Are there early warning signals or do they just crop up?  I think it's a little bit of both.  If you are really listening to your customers, there are likely conversations indicating some level of customer dissatisfaction that could become a high visibility emergency, unless steps are taken to address the issue(s).  However, sometimes a product or service simply doesn't meet customer expectations and they choose to become extremely vocal about it.  This is something that is much easier to do in today's world of social media.

So, how do you plan for a social media emergency?  Here are 4 tips:

1) Develop an emergency response plan

Identify what warrants an emergency.  One negative comment may not be an emergency.  If it is a comment that spreads widely, that may be an emergency.  Identify an escalation path so that your social media team, large or small, understands the steps to take in the event of an emergency.  They should understand how to respond, or not respond, who to contact and where to find more information

2) Communicate

The key to handing any emergency, is to communicate both internally and externally.  Sometimes the best plan is to get ahead of the emergency.  Address problems pragmatically.  Provide a lot of relevant information.  Proactively inform your audience as to where they can find core documents, customer forums, product insights or answers to FAQs.  Educate your employees on the locations of this same information. 

3) Keep a positive attitude

Maintain an open mind and don't become defensive.  Social media is about open, transparent communication.  The best outcome is that you gain an understanding of the source of your customer's frustration and define a real solution. If your customer doesn't feel that you are listening or caring about their emergency, you may end up with a bigger emergency on  your hands

4) Test your options

Develop use cases of customer emergencies.  Consider how you would respond to each of the situations.  Go crazy and think way outside the box.  The issue you never imagined is the one you need to plan for.  Even if you don't come up with the emergency anticipated, at lease you will have thought through a variety of response options that could help you.

None of us want to experience a social media emergency, but the odds are in favor of a few occurring.  As you develop your social media strategy, be sure to consider your emergency response plan and be prepared.  You will find your emergencies much less frightening and may even look forward to the information you will gain.

What's your perspective?



Live Your Life!

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm enjoying vacation this week visiting friends and family.  However, we do live in a connected world and I like to stay in touch with the news.  I've seen the big news of the week about Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility.  I'm sure this will be analyzed to death for weeks and months to come.  I do find it very interesting, but the article that has really caught my attention was on cnbc.com:  Employees Bid Farewell to Corporate America.  This is the story of my journey these last 28 months!

I lived in Corporate America for 24+ years.  I evolved through several different roles, business groups and management styles.  I traveled around the world and learned how to do business in different cultures.  It was a fabulous experience, until it wasn't.  Like the individuals in the CNBC article, I lost my passion for the job and the company.  It's funny to say you are 'in love' with a company but I felt that I had fallen out of love with my employer of 24 years. 

The benefit was that the company had taught me how to manage a business, network to learn, grow a business and listen closely to identify opportunities.  I was exposed to a wide range of digital media which incited a long term interest in emerging media solutions.  At the same time, social networking went mainstream - meaning there were new opportunities for learning. In embracing social media, I found a new passion that isn't directly about social media, but it's about how social media enables a new level of communication. 

It's almost 2 years since I launched MAD Perspectives and this article reminds me why I'm an independent consultant in a down economy:

     - I have discovered new passions that had gotten lost in Corporate America.  These passions are the foundation of my business - helping companies tell their story using different communication platforms from analog to digital, especially digital.

     - I have freedom to define my day.  Since I tend to be a bit of a workaholic the business does not suffer when I choose to enjoy a yoga class or an early morning kayak paddle.  I work the hours necessary to build the business and fulfill my obligations to clients.  I am happy and providing value. 

     - I provide value, everyday, to individuals and businesses helping them tell their stories leveraging experiences from Corporate America and the new technologies of today's social communities.  The focus, in the social arena, on authenticity and value is very aligned with my personal mantra.  I am thrilled to pursue business activities every day that allow me to work on projects that excite me.

What is great about your life?  What is missing in your life?  Take the time to think about it.  One aspect of my business is assisting business teams in defining their value for clients.  The process involves taking a step back and understanding how individual careers evolved.  The resulting revelations identify core business ethics, drivers and values.  Live your life according to these values.  Find your passion and work at something you love!

What's your perspective?



Are Your Customers Helping You Innovate?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, July 27, 2011



Innovation - the magic word that inspires loyalty, adoption and disruption. It drives loyalty by employees to develop market shifting product and services.  It invites users to try a new way to address existing problems. It shifts the market landscape by providing a friendlier, smarter, cheaper or faster solution. Many consider the televison to be the greatest innovation of the 20th century.  In general, Apple is the company that comes to mind today, when considering innovation. They changed the way we buy and consume music through the introduction of ITunes and the iPod. What was so innovative about the service and the device? Ease of use. Apple was laser focused on the customer experience.

Other companies have been known for innovation (Google, IBM, Microsoft, Ford, GE, Facebook). Many continue to be innovators while others have become followers.  It's not easy to maintain a culture of innovation.  R&D budgets can be costly and don't always show significant ROI, at least not in the short term.  Subsequently these budgets shrink and grow as does the economy.  Is there a way to drive innovation in a more cost effective way?  One option is to leverage the collective intelligence and innovative spirit of the general marketplace.  Many would call this customer driven innovation.

This is not a new thought.  However, in today's social world, there are new ways to invite your customers to help you drive innovation of new products, services and business models. Social networks provide a new channel of communication with customers.  Whether you are interacting with them directly or they are talking about your company, product or industry with others, they are sharing their needs and concerns.  It's up to you to channel this intelligence.

A commonly referenced story is that of Dell and its customer support challenges.  Poor Dell, they had a great business model for quickly delivering customer defined PCs to their customers.  However, if that customer had a problem, they could rot in "Dell Hell" forever.  Dell used social media to encourage their customers to share their concerns.  Dell was overwhelmed with data, but turned around and asked these same customers to help them prioritize their needs.  This helped Dell to address the most important challenges first, with a significant improvement in their customer support model and ultimately, customer satisfaction.

How can your company use social media to drive innovation? As always, start with your business goals.  What are you trying to innovate?  Are you responding to customer satisfaction issues?  Are you hoping to launch a new product?  Have you disrupted your market and need to continue doing so?  Once you've define your goals, think about the pros and cons of crowdsourcing ideas.  The number one concern is that everyone will know what is being said.  Their is NO privacy in the social arena.

However, companies can invite debate on product initiatives.  They can discuss product features and the needs of their customers related to the product and its functionality.  Customer feedback can help prioritize the introduction of new features.  Customer comments can help improve online customer support and align support organizations to the real needs of their customers.  By using social monitoring tools, companies can quickly see market trends. 

Remember, social media happens in real-time.  Traditional market research, while valuable, is based on historical data.  Social networks are capturing conversations that reflect the current and immediate needs of your customers.  Your opportunity is to act quickly enough to deliver the solution that meets their needs.

In following the tech space, I'm saddened to see the news of Nokia's coming demise.  They provided my first mobile phone.  It was utterly reliable and easy to use.  Then there is the news of RIM's layoffs. The Blackberry was THE market changing device that created an expectation for 24x7 connectivity for business professionals.  when was the last time Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley stalwart, announced something earth shaking?  Remember, this is the company that changed enterprise and consumer printing forever.  They led the UNIX charge which enabled companeis to consider viable alternatives to large mainframe computers.

I wonder, are these companies paying attention to their customers' real needs?  If so, perhaps they would still be considered innovators.  If you want to innovate, pay attention to your customers.  They are online and they are not shy.  Leverage the power of social media to help you innovate the next big thing!

What's your perspective?