MAD Perspectives Blog

Let Your Customers Help You Tell Your Story

Peggy Dau - Monday, May 17, 2010

Once upon a time...  These are the infamous words that start many a fairy tale.  But, it is also mean we about to hear a story.  George Lucas used similar words to launch a trilogy and then a prequel of stories about a galaxy far far away.  His Star Wars movies are considered some of the best stories of my generation.

We read stories to our kids before bedtime.  We go to the movies to become enthralled with drama, comedy, horror or adventure stories.  We go online to watch webisodes of programs created specifically for Internet consumption. How do you tell your story? The most common methods have been to write product briefs, whitepapers, case studies and press releases.  However, the past few years have shown that customers want to be part of the story.  The ability for customers to comment on products, blogs, facebook or twitter, has give customers a greater share of your public face.

This is good news! Your customers have a unique perspective of your company and it's products or services.  I've learned a lot about how to tell my story, both personal and professional, by listening to my partners and customers.  My customers want me to tell my story in a way that integrates with their PR strategy.  That's ok for me, my services are complimentary to the services offered by most PR firms and, in fact, should help drive incremental revenue for these firms. 

My customers want me to share my background in high tech and in communicating in B2B environments.  By including my background as a core part of my story, they realize that I can relate to the challenges they face.  They want to understand how I made the decision to leave corporate america and pursue independent consulting as this helps them understand my motivations.  They find comfort in understanding that I too, had to figure out how to tell my story, just as I'm helping them figure out what solutions will help them tell their story.

It's also about how to tell your story.  Do you tell you story on your company website?  Via your personal blog or industry analysts or in press releases or webinars or online video?  Depending on how your customer consumes information, your story can be told in many ways...and many times.

Listen to your customers.  They will provide you with great insights on what parts of your story are interesting to them, or not! They will help you prioritize your efforts and perhaps help you reduce some aspects of your marketing budget.  They will let you know who they listen to and perhaps influencers you should also listen to and influence.

Are your customers helping you tell your story?  Share your experiences with me!

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?